What is Krishna ? Bhagavad-gita 7.03 and 7.26

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Mon Jul 13 09:38:25 CDT 1998

My apologies to Shri Ravi for my rather harsh admonition in my
last post. The same point could have been made in more soft wording.
Again, it is a case where my ego has taken over. Also, on further
reflection, I recognize there is much wisdom in the contents of
Shri Ravi's statements.


I like to get to the topic with a broader starting point. We always
take it that there are three paths for the attainment of moksha
(removal of ajnAna). These are

karma mArga (desireless action)
bhakti mArga (self-less devotion and complete surrender to God)
jnAna mArga (the incisive analysis and recognition of the sameness of
  Atman and Brahman)

jnAna is of two kinds (muNDAka upanishhad):

(i) the intellectual knowledge, that is gained by the intellect using
its discriminatory capability. This jnAna does not lead to moksha, but
on the other hand, could strengthen the ego of the jeeva. Such is counter
(ii) the true jnAnam, that is beyond the capability of the intellect.

Shri Shankara says that without jnAnam, moksha cannot be attained
and that karma yoga and bhakti yoga do lead to jnAnam that leads to
moksha. Shri Shankara is referring to true jnAnam here. And this true
jnAnam is not directly available to an average jeeva.

This is implied in BG7.03 (out of thousands who strive to know what
Shrikrishna is, only one truly knows). The jeeva has to be purified
by either the karma or bhakti yogas before true jnAnam dawns.
BG14.16 says "karmanah sukr^tasyAhuh sAttvikam nirmalam phalam" - The
result of good action is development of sAttvika. BG14.17 says "sattvAt
samjAyate jnAnam" - From sAttvika arises jnAnam (this is the jnAnam that
leads to moksha). Similarly going from the bhakti route, BG7.16 describes
the four types of bhaktAs and BG7.18 says the most illustrious of the
bhaktAs is the jnAni or man of wisdom.

BG7.03 can be understood from this perspective. Of the thousands and
thousands of jeevAs, only a few follow the karma yoga (desireless
action) that leads to sAttvika that leads to jnAnam. Of the thousands
and thousands of jeevAs that follow bhakti mArga, only a very few
worship God for the knowledge that leads to jnAnam to moksha.

Thus karma or bhakti yogas, with dispassion lead to jnAnam that results
in moksha.  Thus, the scarcity of jnAnam in embodied form. As for the
last portion of BG7.03 (kashcin mAm vetti tattvatah - scarcely one knows
Me in truth), my earlier interpretation seems consistent (that Shrikrishna
is the higher Self and Arjuna the lower self). The above is my understanding
of BG7.03. Again, I would be grateful for list members for clarifications
of concepts.

I am grateful to Shri Ravi for his post, which on first glance seems off
the topic, but which made me go through Chapter 7 again and relevant
portions of other chapters.

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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