Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) — Chapter XI: 20-21

August 11, 2022

dyāvāpṛthivyor idam antaraṁ hi
   vyāptaṁ tvayai ’kena diśaś ca sarvāḥ
dṛṣṭvā ’dbhutaṁ rūpam ugraṁ tav ’daṁ
   lokatrayaṁ pravyathitaṁ mahātman (XI-20)

amī hi tvāṁ surasaṅghā viśanti
  kecid bhītāḥ prāñjalayo gṛṇanti
svastī ’ty uktvā maharṣisiddhasaṅghāḥ
  stuvanti tvāṁ stutibhiḥ puṣkalābhiḥ (XI-21)

XI/20. This space between the earth and the heaven and all the quarters are filled
by thee alone; having seen this, thy wonderful and terrible form, the three
worlds are trembling with fear, O great-souled being.

XI/21. Verily, into thee enter these hosts of gods; some extol thee in fear with
joined palms; bands of great sages and perfected ones say: “May it be
well”, and praise thee with sublime hymns.

Swamiji's Commentary

      Different theories have been advanced to explain what is often dismissed as nothing – space. The corpuscular theory admitted of a ‘substance’ called ether, but the wave theory made that unnecessary. Theories apart, intuitive common sense inevitably presumes that space as such is a tremendous power which is able to hold all other substances within it. Even for these ‘waves’ to radiate there should be a stable substratum, and that is what we regard as space. The power and the consciousness in that space is God.

      ‘The three worlds are trembling with fear’! A simple common sense explanation is possible for this. Do we not know that the entire universe is a limitless panorama of vibrant atoms? Apply that condition to yourself. When you vibrate, what is the condition called? Trembling. When do you tremble? In fear.

      We need not be troubled if the explanations sound ludicrous. They will serve two purposes:

1. To help us develop faith in the scripture and not dismiss it as nonsense, and

2. To lead us to the door of intuitive realisation, even as the Zen koans do.

      It is then that we realize that these explanations are not nonsense, but non-sense – beyond the senses. It is then that we understand the beauty of Kierkegaard’s expression: “God does not exist, he is eternal”. These puzzling paradoxes do bring the transcendental close to the eye of intuition, breaking all conditioned mental activity.

      Then this insight becomes intuitively aware of its own reality which is God.

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