Gita Daily Readings

14th June
Chapter VIII: 4
Adhibhutam (knowledge of the elements) pertains to my perishable nature and the purusha is the adhidaivam. I alone am the adhiyajna here in the body, Oh Arjuna.

Commentary

The elements, adhibhutam, have a beginning and an end. This is a continuous cycle that no one can arrest. They are not totally destroyed, but as their nature changes, the forms perish; like the transition from ice to water to vapor. The fundamental essence, however, is changeless. It is absolute immaturity to be afraid of the inevitable.

In this world, things grow, decay and disappear from view, but there is something which is capable of observing the structure that starts as a wedding procession and itself turns into a funeral procession. That observer is called the purusa. This term is almost impossible to translate. According to the two systems of Indian philosophy (sankhya and yoga) purusa is the imperishable, individual soul, uninvolved in the body and mind. According to the vedas it is the cosmic consciousness that pervades all, the God of gods. Purusa is that which is able to observe all changing phenomena including those of your own body, mental states, states of consciousness or existence, and your states of immaturity and maturity.

A subtle distinction is made here between the perishable nature of the supreme being and the imperishable nature (purusa). These are not two separable entities but two integrated principles, like the smallest blood capillaries which are all-pervading in our body! The distinction between adhibhutam and adhidaivam is one of viewpoint only, not of essence.

God alone is the principle of sacrifice in the body (cosmic and individual). Hence the vedas call him yajna (sacrifice). Yajna is a certain type of knowledge which enables you to give and take, to engage yourself in appropriate action, and to understand that all creatures in this universe have the same needs as you have. The spirit of sacrifice is God himself. By living a life of sacrifice we shall shed all illusion and delusion and attain self-knowledge.

Do not read this with your eyes, mind or intellect, but with the eyes of your heart!

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