Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 15: Sloka 8

October 18, 2020

™na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ
    yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama (XV-7)

XV/7. Neither doth the sun illumine there nor the moon,
    nor the fire; having gone thither, they return not: this is my supreme

Swamiji's Commentary

     The jīva or the living soul is the Lord himself. It has a mysterious dual relationship with the supreme being, even as a cell in our body has a dual relation with ‘us’. If the cells do not constitute our body, what else is the body? Yet do we not refer to them as being different from the body?

     In its essential nature, the jīva is none other than God; yet in a mysterious way (which we call ignorance on account of the fact that the soul thus ignores its identity with the supreme being) it deludes itself that it is an independent particle.

     This individual independent existence, however, is in a way willed by God himself – ‘I am one, may I become many’, for the purpose of his experiencing his own bliss-nature. For this purpose the jīva or the living soul ‘attracts to itself’ the organs of perception and action, as well as their co-ordinating agent, the mind. Through these it objectifies its own natural bliss and tastes it. Yet such is the nature of ignorance that very soon the jīva is deluded into imagining that happiness is in the outside objects and not in its own nature, objectified for the purpose of a certain experience.

      In the ultimate analysis even sensual pleasure experienced in the external world is nothing but the bliss of Brahman; but it is veiled by ignorance and sustains the jīva’s delusion of duality and plurality.

     Whereas the bliss of meditation is unexciting and peaceful, sensual pleasure is preceded and accompanied by restlessness and excitement, and followed by exhaustion. All pleasure which disturbs the mental equilibrium and the calmness of the spirit is to be avoided. It is this disturbance which is the only risk in sensual pleasures. The pleasure inherent in the sense objects is also derived from the absolute, whose perfect expression can only be experienced in perfect tranquillity. We do glimpse this state occasionally in our life; but the mind jumps in, ‘enjoys’ it, labels it as pleasure and craves for repetition. This craving turns delight into pleasure and so into pain.

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