Krishna, The Unmanifest, Unborn, and Imperishable

 

Krishna denotes all manifestations of Bhagavān Viṣṇu — the carefree and effortlessly self-manifest personality who is the fountainhead of all-pervasive consciousness. But Nāma Kaumudī finishes its definition by stating that the word krishna specifically refers to someone who was “raised on Yaśodā’s breast.” So, although krishna refers to consciousness itself (brahman) and although it refers to Viṣṇu as the source of all consciousness (paramātmā) and the epitome of all personality (bhagavān), in the ultimate focus this word denotes a very specific form of Bhagavān: the one who is raised by the loving breast-milk of the queen of Vraja, Śrī Yaśodā Devī. Ultimately, the word krishna refers to the famous Gopa of Vṛndāvana whom the Bhāgavata Purāṇa lauds as the fountainhead of all Viṣṇus, who are themselves the fountainheads of all consciousness, which is the very substance of reality itself.

The most literal, basic meaning of krish- is simply, “pull.” Krishna- means “existence.” It has this meaning because existence is the tangible coagulation of consciousness, a structure pulled into place by consciousness’ gravity. The primary trait of Krishna is that he “pulls,” like a magnet, like gravity.

 

Krishna has already spoken of himself several times as the highest deva, one with Brahman, thus very much invoking the spirit of monotheism. Historically, there is a very strong emphasis on monotheism in the Abrahamic traditions. We hear the very subtle and powerful enunciation of monotheism in the Jewish Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–5) This proclamation has had an enormous impact on Christianity and Islam as well. Monotheism is often considered by pious people and scholars in the West to be the acme of religious understanding. But no other religious notion has had a more pernicious consequence in creating bigotry and fanaticism than monotheism. Monotheism has resulted everywhere in “my-theism,” leading to warfare against other people’s religious forms. No one would say, “There is one God, and it is not my God but yours.” The late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz said, “We owe to monotheism many marvelous things, from cathedrals to mosques. But we also owe to it hatred and oppression. The roots of the worst sins of Western civilization—the Crusades, colonialism, totalitarianism—can be traced to the monotheistic mindset…. For a pagan, it was rather absurd that one people and one faith could monopolize the truth.”

Krishna’s monotheism is not of an exclusive sort that says “You must not worship any other god.” On the contrary, it is very inclusive. Of course, depending on the degree of understanding and the quality of one’s inner nature, a person may be inclined to worship this or that deva. But all the devas are included in Krishna and he blesses them all. “But whatever form any devotee with shraddhā (faith, respect) wishes to worship, I make that shraddhā firm and steady. Disciplined by that shraddhā, the devotees who worship those forms obtain their desires. In truth I myself give these to the devotees.” (7.21–22) It may be mentioned in passing that this inclusive aspect of the Hindu religion was much emphasized by Vivekananda, the great Hindu monk of India, in his speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, and he quoted these shlokas from the Gita. It should also be mentioned with some sadness that in some Hindu quarters there is a tendency, often in reaction to exclusivist biblical religions, to make Krishna a sectarian God, in competition with other gods, but the Gita is nothing if not inclusive.

Krishna, as the Unmanifest, Unborn, and Imperishable, is not and cannot be revealed to all. Most of us are caught in the delusion of opposite—us and them, believers and infidels, good and evil, and the like—which arises from desire and hatred, attraction and repulsion; and this illusion arises right at birth, as Krishna says. (7.27) This could lead to a notion similar to “original sin” in Christianity, resulting in a deep sense of personal guilt. But it is possible to be free of this delusion of opposites and come to Krishna realizing that all action is Brahman. (7.29 and also 4.24) Those who know that Krishna is the supreme being (adhibhūta), the highest deva (adhidaiva), and the greatest yajna (adhiyajna) remember him even at the time of death and are united with him.

 

From The Bhagavad Gita by Ravi Ravindra © 2017 by Ravi Ravindra. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.shambhala.com

A Vedic Scholar Is Inspired: (Sai Gayatri) – Mantra And The Meaning

Deva Premal singing the Gayathri Mantra

 

The occasion was Christmas Eve, 1977. The place was the Sathya Sai Mandir in Brindavan, Whitefield, near Bangalore. The assembled audience consisted of a group of students and faculty members of Sri Sathya Sai College as well as a number of visiting devotees. It was in the presence of Sai Baba himself, that the Vedic scholar Pandit Sri Ghandikota Subrahmanya Shastry, was inspired to announce Sri Sathya Sai Gayatri, the mystic formula devoted to Sri Sathya Sai.


Which reads as follows:


The meaning of this is:


“I know through Gurus and Shastras (and by direct experience), that Sai is Bhagavan and ‘Iswara’ (Chosen deity). I meditate on this form in my heart with all my mental faculties. He is the embodiment of truth, divinity, universal consciousness and one who pervades all the words. I pray to such a Saiparameswar to direct our intellects to engage in auspicious and righteous activities. I meditate on this great form.”


This Sathya Sai Gayatri Mantra, like other Gayathris, is on a par with Veda Mantra or mystic formula. It has twenty four letters; it consists of three lines, each with eight letters. Such a composition has unique properties. According to Maharishi Vararuchi, the numerology of all letters adds up to one hundred and eight. This is why recitation is to be done 108 times; to realise the full effect of Siddhi, which is signified by the 108th number, i.e. Meru or the tassel of a rosary of japamala. Ashtottara Sata Nama, the 108 name chanting leads to the realisation of God, which is the goal.


Every Gayatri Mantra has a revealing prophet or Rishi and a presiding deity Adhishthana Devata, who is the subject of the mantra. This mantra is expressed through the inner workings of Sathya Sai through the mouth of Pandit Sri Ghandikota Subramanya Shastry in the presence of Sri Sai Baba. Needless to say that Sai Baba himself is the presiding deity of this mystic formula or mantra.
Shri S. Sastry expressed the essence of the Sathya Sai Gayatri in a verse of metrical form, Anushtup Chandas:
This verse means:


“Let the effulgent energy of Sathya Sai which exists always in my heart as pure consciousness enveloped by the body, direct or influence our mind-intellects to take the path of Dharma – virtue; santhi – peace; Sathya – truth and prema – love.”


“The real purpose of performing Karma is only to get rid of Ahamkara or ‘mine-ness’?; Karma or work, offered for the love of God comes back as grace. This is the strategy of escaping the bondage of Samsara. One must persuade the heart to meditate; persuade your heart and you can persuade the people. If you do wrong, your heart feels it. The heart is your witness. Move from the gross to the subtle, from the sense, the mind and the intellect, are getting closer to the Atman.


The effulgence of Atman transcends the senses, whose nature is fickleness. The senses do not have the capacity of power of decisiveness. Karma and upasana (spiritual instruction) are the two wings which enable us to fly upward to God. Karma is for disciplining body, mind and intellect; Karma is not slavery to senses or fate; life is a long journey which is helped by Yantra, Tantra, and Mantra; these make the journey easier. We must reduce our luggage. Being detached in samsara (our desires – destiny) is like mascara in the eye, like ghee on the tongue, one need not leave the worldly activity. The journey should be continued till the end. Don’t get off the train in wayside stations. One should reach the real destination with enthusiasm and animation, with a pure heart. Your pole-star or light is the name of God; that supreme light is the light of life, ‘jivanjyothi.)


The performance of duty by the God-given body is essential. Man’s accumulated blemish or sin is washed away by such action. Karmakanda, the field of action is like the flower from which follows the Upasana Kenda, the field of spiritual practice, which is like the raw fruit. This subsequently ripens into a sweet fruit of jnana, (wisdom).


The one supreme is described in different ways by the wise. Ekam Sat: Viprah Bahudha Vadanti. The puranas and the Vedas (holy Hindu scripture), contain the knowledge about Nature, (Prakruta Jnanam.) They teach the path of subtle action. They teach that immortality is the fruit of sacrifice; the path of enjoyment or  bhoga, leads only to illness and suffering- Roga. It is often said one cannot cross the path of Karma on a dusty road. It is only when you stop the moving vehicle that one is overtaken by the trailing dust. So long as you keep moving or performing Karma in a detached way, you are not overtaken by its bondage. Narada, who is omniscient, did not leave the field of action of Karmakanda.


There are really two aspects of conduct, good conduct and bad conduct; with egoism it becomes bad conduct. Ahamkara, ‘mine-ness’ or selfishness is the crown of all bad qualities. Wearing such a crown, even such notable personalities as Kamsa Sisupala, Danta Vaktra, Vishwamirtra and Sathyabhama came to grief.


All the lights of life are lit up on Divali Day; so light up the darkness of the past, which enveloped the Light of The Real Self in the past. The technique is to remove the threads of attachment one by one; at the end, the ‘cloth’ disappears and the mind is clear and pure.


Man is a bundle of desires. It is necessary to live in seclusion in order to avoid the wrong paths, thereby, avoiding the five wrongs or blemishes of sight, speech, mind, action and intellect. Moksha or liberation is nothing but Mohakshaya, the depletion of infatuation of the mind. One should engage in spiritual practices to remove all blemishes. Strength and support are gained thereby for the performance of one’s own duties and actions. Imitations or comparison with others are harmful and weakening.


Pursue the 5 F’s in life:
Follow the heart, the conscience, the atma in the heart.
Follow an adapt in spirituality.
Face the devil or evil without fear or favour.
Flight to the end.
Finish the game of life with success and liberation.
Daily life is Tapas. Tapas is devotion to the living Gods-Father and Mother. Sadhana is the cultivation of special attention to one’s true self. Sankaracharya expresses it in a paradoxical manner: “I have committed three sins, Oh God! By my pilgrimage to Benares, I have offended the principle of God’s all pervasiveness. Two, by meditation on You, it seems as though I have confined you who transcends the mind. Three, by praising you, I have committed the sin of limiting you who transcends speech.”


YO DEVASSATHYA SAYI NAH BUDDHIM DHARMADIGOCHAR AM


This verse means:


“Let the effulgent energy of Sathya Sai which exists always in my heart as pure consciousness enveloped by the body, direct or influence our mind-intellects to take the path of Dharma – virtue; santhi – peace; Sathya – truth and prema – love.”