Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 13: 22-23

September 23, 2022

™upadraṣṭā numantā ca bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ
paramātme ’ti cā ’py ukto dehe ’smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ (XIII-22)
ya evaṁ vetti puruṣaṁ prakṛtiṁ ca guṇaiḥ saha
sarvathā vartamāno ’pi na sa bhūyo ’bhijāyate (XIII-23)

XIII/22. The supreme soul in this body is also called the spectator,
the permitter, the supporter, the enjoyer, the great Lord and the supreme

III/23. He who thus knows the spirit and matter together
with the qualities, in whatever condition he may be, he is not
    born again.

Swamiji's Commentary

     It is good to have a clear idea of the two-in-one and their distinct functions, as that will enable us to undecidedly recognize their manifestations. In that light of clarity we shall not, like king Canute, order the waves of ever-changing phenomena to stop; nor shall we get entangled in the web of these changes, regarding them as inevitable.

     The supreme soul ‘in this body’ is called the jīva, though on account of ignorance, this jīva considers himself limited. He is a ‘spectator’: and that is when he is happy. He is the ‘permitter’: having the prerogative to say “Yes” or “No”, and is not as helpless as he sometimes imagines himself to be. Recognizing this power of the soul, one is able to freely exercise his free-will. The jīva is the ‘supporter’: it is sheer delusion which makes him feel dependent upon material phenomena. Yet he is also the ‘enjoyer’, and because of the fact that he enjoys the material phenomena, he may come to feel that they are indispensable for his happiness. Nevertheless, he is the ‘great Lord and the supreme self’, if only he wakes up from his slumber of ignorance!

     He who knows this secret will neither resist nor cling to the world. He will not blame the world or himself for living in such a world. He knows the depth of the ocean, but he also knows his own power to swim or float on its surface. He does not get drowned. Convinced of this, it does not matter what profession he is engaged in, he is a jñānī (sage). He is not born again for whatever may be his mode of living, such a yogi lives in God. (cf VI:31).

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