The Ninth Teaching
The Ninth Teaching
The Magnificent Mystery
I will teach you the secret of life, Arjuna because you trust me;
Know it and you will be free from suffering.
This is the supreme wisdom, knowing beyond all knowledge, experienced directly, in a flash, joyous to perform and unchanging.
Men without faith cannot reach me, Arjuna;
they return to the cycles of death and rebirth.
My unmanifest form pervades the whole universe;
All creatures exist in me, but I do not exist in them.
Behold the power of my discipline; these creatures are really not in me;
myself I quicken creatures, sustaining them without being in them.
Just as the wide-moving wind is constantly present in space,
so all creatures exist in me; understand it to be so.
As an eon ends, all creatures fold into my nature, Arjuna; and I create them again as a new eon begins.
Gathering in my own nature, again and again I freely create this whole throng of creatures, helpless in the force of my nature.
These actions do not bind me, since I remain detached in all my actions, Arjuna, as if I stood apart from them.
Nature, with me as her inner eye, bears animate and inanimate beings; and by reason of this, Arjuna, the universe continues to turn.
Foolish men despise me in the human form I take, ignorant of my true nature as the great lord of all life and death.
Reason warped, hope, action, and knowledge wasted, they fall prey to a seductive, fiendish, demonic nature.
With a single-minded dedication, great souls devote themselves to my divine nature, knowing me as the eternal inexhaustible source.
Those on the path of devotion glorify me. They are firm in their devotion and pay their unending devotion to me and worship me always with endless love.
Those on the path of knowledge, know me as many, the One, behind the faces of different aspects of the divine they can see my face.
I am the ritual, the worship, the libation for the dead, the healing herb, the sacred hymn, the clarified butter, the fire, the oblation.
I am the universal father, mother, essence and goal of all knowledge, purifier, holy syllable OM and the threefold sacred lore.
I am the beginning and the end, origin and dissolution, shelter, refuge, true friend, stability, womb and imperishable seed.
I am heat that withholds and sends down the rains;
I am immortality and death; both being and nonbeing am I.
Men learned in sacred lore, soma drinkers, their sins absolved, worship me seeking to win heaven.
Reaching the holy world of Indra, king of the gods, they savor the heavenly delights of the gods in the celestial sphere.
When they have long enjoyed the world of heaven and their merit is exhausted, they fall back into the mortal world; desiring desires, they achieve only what is transient.
Men who worship me thinking solely of me always disciplined, win the reward that never can be lost.
All those who worship other gods with deep faith, are really worshipping me, Arjuna, even if they don’t know it.
For I am the only object and enjoyer of worship;
And they fall back because they cannot know me as I truly am.
Worshipping the gods men go to the gods, ancestor-worshippers go to the ancestors,
Those who propitiate ghosts go to them, and my worshippers come to me in the end.
Any offering-a leaf or flower or fruit or water-I will take from the man of loving heart and devotion.
Whatever you do-whatever you say or eat, take or give a gift, worship or suffer-do it as an offering to me, Arjuna.
In this way you will be freed from all the bonds of actions, fortune and misfortune;
Untroubled, unfettered, you will come to me.
I am impartial to all creatures and no one is hateful or dear to me;
But men devoted to me are in me and I am within them.
If he is devoted solely to me, even a heartless criminal must be deemed a man of virtue, for his resolve is right.
His spirit quickens to sacred duty, and he finds eternal peace; Arjuna, know that no one devoted to me is lost.
If they rely on me Arjuna, women, commoners, men of low rank, even men born in the womb of evil, can reach the highest way.
How much easier for ordinary people or for those with pure hearts. In this transient world of sorrow devote yourself to me and find freedom.
Keep your mind focused on me with devotion, fill your heart with my presence, love me, bow to me, worship me, and you will reach me at last!
As I Understand It:
The ninth teaching contains popular verses 24, 27 and 33. It emphasizes that Krishna and Krishna alone is to be worshipped. As within him he contains entire pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. This chapter is also a warning for those who underestimate Krishna’s divine power. It eulogizes Krishna, exalting him as the creator of the world and also the one immanent in his creation.
Those persons who do not know Krishna’s real nature and are motivated only by self-centered desires go through the cycles of rebirth. They neither progress spiritually nor attain the goal of life that is to realize God. Until Krishna is known soul cannot escape creating more karma, which must be worked out before a person can be one with God, however many lives it may take. The choice to turn towards God-realization or Self-realization is always open.
Krishna says he accepts every offering made to him in the right spirit so everything-Arjuna (or any devotee) does-every act, every meal, every gift, even all his sufferings–must be offered to Krishna. This is so because only by offering themselves in totality can Arjuna can be release from the bondage of karma. Only then would his spirit be free and he will attain the mystic union with Krishna. No one who has genuine devotion can come to spiritual harm.
The Gita underlines the teaching that whatever a person deeply desires, deeply loves will eventually be attained in this or future life. The ultimate goal, however, is to attain Krishna, the ultimate good. This kind of complete devotion, called bhakti in Sanskrit is not simple love but love with understanding that Krishna is not personal but universal. Only when Arjuna loves and understands Krishna’s universal aspect will he truly attain the immortal state.
The awe-inspiring magnificent mystery that Krishna promises to reveal Arjuna is genuine love-love for Krishna who is in you as Self and in all the creatures. If your love is genuine you will attain the supreme goal of union with the Lord.
The Bhagavad Gita, Translated for the Modern Reader with general introduction by Eknath Easwaran, chapter introductions by Diana Morrison. Nilgiri Press, Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, California.1996 (1st Pub. 1985).
The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna Counsel in Time of War, Translation and Introduction by Barbara Stoler Miller. Bantam Doubleday Dell Group, Inc. New York. Bantam Books, 1986.
Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation, Stephen Mitchell, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2000.