Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) — Chapter IX: 5

June 30, 2020

™na ca matsthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaraṁ
bhūtabhṛn na ca bhūtastho mamā ’tmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ (IX-5)

IX/5. Nor do beings exist in me; behold my divine yoga:
supporting all beings but not dwelling in them, is my self,
the efficient cause of beings.


Swamiji's Commentary

     “Measure not the immeasurable in words”, warned lord Buddha. Dakṣiṇāmūrti indicated it by silence and the symbol of wisdom (cin-mudrā). The vaidika seers exclaimed “Hau, hau”, unable to find words to express their vision. Sage Yajñavalkya declared that all positive definitions are distractions and that the reality can only be approached by the total negation of all names and forms, thoughts and concepts – ‘neti, neti’, ‘not this, not this’.

     Yet, if no one said anything, no one (except the rarest few to whom silence is meaningful) could learn. Here we are, on the horns of a dilemma. The method adopted by the Indian sage to overcome this is paradoxical. Every thesis is immediately opposed by its antithesis, and the resultant inexpressible synthesis is the nearest point which human intellect can reach before awakening to the reality (an event which the Zen Buddhists call ‘satori’) which is enlightenment.

     The previous verse said ‘all beings exist in me’, and here we are told ‘nor do beings exist in me’! Deep meditation on this conundrum will remove the suggestion of duality and plurality implied in the first statement. It is not like saying: “sweets are in the tin”, but rather “vapor is pervaded by water”, where vapor and water are not two different things, but one is just the manifestation of the other. Thus, the reality is there, everywhere, all the time, in not-so-obvious a manner.

     God is the creator and sustainer of all beings, yet not outside them. God dwells in all beings, yet is not limited to them. All beings are pervaded by him, yet not as ‘all beings’ (diverse and different) but in a mysterious manner all are forever one with him, without in any way affecting him, tainting him, limiting him or conditioning him. This indeed is the divine yoga; and the Lord explains it further in the following verses.


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