Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries of Ramanuja | Discourse 10 verse 1-9

Chapter 10
Vibhūti  Yogaḥ
Manifestation of Divine Glories

Summary of the Teaching

The science of bhakti or loving devotion with its requirements was revealed by Lord Krishna in chapter nine.

In order to nourish and engender such loving devotion and increase it, Lord Krishna undertakes with compassion to discourse further and expatiate on the subject of the infinity of infinite glories of the Supreme Lord,

such as unrivalled sovereignty, indomitable will, inviolable power, unparalleled compassion, paramātma or the Supreme soul within all sentient beings and all creation comprising His transcendental form.

śrī bhagavān uvāca
bhūya eva mahā-bāho śṛṇu me paramaṃvacaḥ|
yatte’haṃprīyamāṇāya vakṣyāmi hita-kāmyayā|| 1 ||

The Blessed Lord said;

1. Further, O Arjuna, listen to My supreme teaching, which, desirous of your welfare, I shall impart to you who love Me.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna speaks the words te priyamanaya which can mean one who possesses divine love or one who is a beloved confidant.

Because Arjuna became delighted by listening to the glories of the Supreme Lord to further increase his joy and to fan his ardour for loving devotion,

Lord Krishna once again reveals revelatory information regarding the sublime glories and incomparable attributes of the Supreme Lord. This He does desiring Arjuna's highest good and ultimate benefit.

na me viduḥsura-gaṇāḥprabhavaṃna maharṣayaḥ|
aham-ādir-hi devānāṃmaharṣīṇāṃca sarvaśaḥ|| 2 ||

2. Neither the hosts of gods nor the great seers know My glory. Indeed, I am the sole source of the gods and of the great seers.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The myriad hosts of devas totally 330 million in charge of universal management throughout all creation and even the great liberated sages who are highly illuminated and capable of super subtle perception knowing past, present and future are both not incognizant of the Supreme Lord Krishna's prabhavam which is His supreme, sublime divine appearance.

This means that they are not aware of the transcendental nature of His rūpa or form, His guṇa or attributes, His Līlas or pastimes, and His dhāma or abode.

In every way Lord Krishna is the cause and the source of the essence, intelligence and power possessed by all gods, devas and sages.

Whatever intelligence and power they have is limited corresponding to the measure of entitlement warranted and which is awarded solely by the Supreme Lord according to their merits. This is what makes them have their position and makes them devas and great sages.

Their consciousness being limited it is impossible for them to fathom Lord Krishna divine, transcendental nature which is inconceivable to comprehend with the mind.

Yet now such knowledge although inconceivable will be revealed by Lord Krishna, which will remove the irascible impediments and obnoxious obstacles that detrimentally impede bhakti or loving devotion to the Supreme Lord from germinating and growing.

yo mām ajam anādiṃca vetti loka-maheśvaram |
asamūḍhaḥsa martyeṣu sarva-pāpaiḥpramucyate || 3 ||

3. One who knows Me as unborn and without a beginning; the great Lord of the worlds —is undeluded among mortals and is liberated from all negative acts.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

He who, unlike other beings, exists ‘without being born’ at any particular time is ‘unborn’ in the sense of being eternal. This attribute denotes a unique state essentially different from both  inorganic  things  which  are  subject  to  modifications,  and  from  the  Jīva  involved  in Samsara  and  conjoined  with  insensible  matter.  In this state of material involvement the birth of the Jīva is caused by Karma.

The term anādi meaning without beginning differentiates the Supreme Lord from the muktas or liberated beings in the spiritual worlds who although having become birthless did have a beginning at the time of their liberation.

The term ‘Anādi’, or without beginning, is used to distinguish the state of the Lord, which is distinct from that of the liberated Self.

Although the liberated Self is in fact also eternal, it can be said to have a beginning from the point of view that the state of liberation has a beginning. Previously the Self had been trapped in material nature, a state from which it had to be liberated. 

Hence the term ‘Anādi’ implies that the Lord is without such involvement and does not deserve the same description.

The Veda also says: — ‘He who is stainless’ (Sve.Up., 6:19).

Thus, an undeluded person understands that Krishna’s nature is totally contrary to any association with negativity.

The term ‘delusion’ refers to the error of regarding Krishna simply as one among other divinities of the same kind. To be free of this delusion is to be ‘undeluded’ —such a person is released from all reactions of negative acts which obstruct the rise of Bhakti.

Another angle of vision is that as in the world the emperor although the most powerful monarch amongst humans, he still is like all others subject to old age, disease and death. Yet he has been awarded emperor by the Supreme Lord due to some act of merit.

This holds true also for Indra the king of all the devas and even higher with Brahma the architect of the material existence, both were also awarded their posts by the Supreme Lord as a result of great acts of merit.

Although they live for millions of years by Earth time calculations for them it is as 100 years and at the end of that time they die also and transmigrate into another form in another existence.

Even exalted beings come under the three-fold Bhāvanas of material existence being karma bhāvanā like Janaka and others, Brāhman bhāvanā like Sanaka and Sanātana and ubhaya bhāvanā like Brahma himself and are subject to birth and death according to their acts.

The Vedic scriptures confirm this. In Vishnu Purāṇa VI.VII.IIL it states that: Therefore they are all accountable for their acts.

The Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad states:

“He who creates Brahma” (Sve. Up. 6:18).

This also applies to any mortal who has acquired the eight main siddhis or perfections such as anima or laghimā etc.

But the Supreme Lord is loka-maheśvara the Supreme Lord of all beings in all worlds.

Loka is the total cosmos being the aggregate total of all sentient and non-sentient categories in conditions of inactive latency or active patency.

The sentient includes both muktas or liberated beings as well as baddhas or not liberated beings. So all this is under the Supreme Lord's control and rule.

1) Maha is greatness and consists of the Supreme Lord being the storehouse of unlimited attributes of glorious qualities and His always being the eternal antithesis of all that is unrighteous, demoniac and evil.

2) Īśvaraḥ means Lord as being the supreme, sovereign ruler eternally, independent of all.

Thus the Supreme Lord is completely unlike all others, singular unto Himself alone, independent and superior to all.

One who does not incur the error of including the Supreme Lord Krishna amongst all the various other lesser gods and who understands Him to be the sole cause, the sole source and the sole origin of all creation, verily realises Him and by His grace is relieved from all reactions to previous actions.

Thus by illustrating how meditation on the factual absolute nature of the Supreme Lord removes the obstacles impeding the blossoming of bhakti or loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord causing such bhakti to become inaugurated;

Lord Krishna will next explain how bhakti may be activated by deep and profound meditation on His sublime transcendental divine qualities and attributes.

buddhir-jñānam asammohaḥkṣamāsatyaṃdamaḥ śamaḥ|
sukhaṃduḥkhaṃbhavo’bhāvo bhayaṃcābhyam-eva ca || 4 ||

4. Intelligence, knowledge, non-delusion, forbearance, truth, restraint, self-control, pleasure and pain, exaltation and depression, fear and fearlessness;

ahiṃsāsamatātuṣṭis-tapo dānaṃyaśo’yaśaḥ|
bhavanti bhāvābhūtānāṃmatta eva pṛthag-vidhāḥ|| 5 ||

5. Non-violence, equanimity, cheerfulness, austerity, beneficence, fame and infamy —these different [psychological] qualities arise from Me alone.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The various moods, temperaments and dispositions of mankind all emanate from the Supreme Lord Krishna for He is the one who bestows them according to merit.

1) buddhi is the power of the mind to discriminate between the spiritual and the material
2) jñānam is exact knowledge relating to spiritual and non-spiritual matters.
3) asammohah is absence of false conceptions and correct perception of reality.
4) samah is maintaining equilibrium while amidst disturbing elements.
5) satyam is having the veracity to stand up and declare truth for the good of all beings.
6) damah is restraining the external organs from sense gratification.
7) samah is controlling the mind.
8) sukham is experiencing happiness and delightful emotions.
9) duḥkham is experiencing affliction and unhappy emotions.
10) bhāvāḥ is birth of the blissful glow arising from a happy experience.
11) abhavam is the dire sorrow one feels which an unpleasant experience engenders.
12) bhayam is the dreadful fear one has in anticipation of some impending misfortune.
13) abhayam is the absence of fear for whatever may be impending.
14) ahimsa is non-violence to any being by thought, word, or deed.
15) samata is equanimity in whatever situation one finds their self whether good or bad.
16) tuṣṭi is contentment and amiability with all.
17) tapo is bodily austerities such as fasting for spiritual benefit according to the Vedas.
18) dānaṁ is beneficence or the giving in charity to one who is worthy.
19) yaso is fame and renown for possessing excellent qualities.
20) ayasyah is infamy and notoriety for possessing bad qualities.

The subjects discussed here are the descriptions of mental states and imply the state of mind arising from activities designated by these dispositions.

Such temperaments are the active and passive expressions which give impetus to engage in activities or lethargy to remain passive and refrain from engaging in activities.

Yet all these mental states are bequeathed by the Supreme Lord to each of them according to merit accrued.

The next verse will explain the active agents involved in the creating, sustaining and preservation of all of creation as all beings in all existences derive their impulses solely from the will and desire of Lord Krishna.

maharṣayaḥsapta pūrve catvāro manavas-tathā|
mad-bhāvāmānasājātāyeṣāṃloka imāḥprajāḥ|| 6 ||

6.  The  seven  great  seers  [Rishis]  of  yore  and  similarly  the  four   Manus,  all  are  my  mental expansions empowered by Me. All these creatures of the world are descended from them.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word purve meaning predecessor establishes a link to the past. This past is the previous Manvantara or age of Manu.

From the mind of Brahma the seven great sages Marīchi, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasistha were all born to inaugurate the day arising of Brahma.

Although Bhrigu was also born from the mind of Brahma and a great sage, he was subsequent to the others.

The four Manus named Sāvarṇikas are Brahma, Rudra, Dharma and Dakṣa and they are responsible for overseeing the maintenance of creation.

The fourteen Manus named Manvantaras are headed by Svāyambhūva Manu and are appointed to administrate the creation for their allotted time span.

All the human beings in creation are descendants from these aforementioned. They materially create and materially sustain their descendants which include the whole human population in creation every moment throughout time until the commencement of the cosmic dissolution.

Lord Krishna states the words mad-bhāva meaning of His nature, this confirms that Brahma, Rudra, the Manus, the seven sages, etc. are all endowed with His nature and imbued with a spark of His potency and are followers of His divine plan in all situations and circumstances.

etāṃvibhūtiṃyogaṃca mama yo vetti tattvataḥ|
so’vikalpena yogena yujyate nātra saṃśayaḥ|| 7 ||

7. He who in truth knows My sovereignty and splendour of auspicious attributes, becomes imbued with the unshakeable Yoga of Bhakti; of this, there is no doubt.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word vibhūti means transcendental potencies of majestic opulence such as displayed in all of the phenomenal activities manifest in creation, preservation and sustenance and all of the wondrous workings of unlimited universes.

The word yogam or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness denotes the consensus of all glorious attributes with the exemption of all that is evil and unrighteous.

Whosoever comprehensively understands the preceding and realises the Supreme Lord Krishna through these two components of His character being vibhūti and yoga will succeed in acquiring unwavering and rapt bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.

This means that the knowledge of respecting and honouring His vibhūti and yoga by observing, pondering and reflecting how they manifest and operate as phenomenal material activities and divine attributes will assist and facilitate the awakening of bhakti and this can be practically experienced by all who think of Lord Krishna in this way.

Next will be explained how the development of bhakti is a direct result of knowledge of Lord Krishna's vibhūti.

ahaṃsarvasya prabhavo mattaḥsarvaṃpravartate |
iti matvā-bhajante māṃbudhābhāva-samanvitāḥ|| 8 ||

8. I am the source of all; everything emerges from Me —realising this the enlightened ones adore Me with complete devotion (Bhāva).

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

This confirms that Lord Krishna is the generating cause and origin of the all the wonderfully, marvellous and fascinatingly phenomenal displays of activity found abounding in all creation comprised of intelligent and non- intelligent beings and objects.

He alone energises all of creation and manifests the impulses required for all actions.

The spiritually intelligent are the mahātmanas or great illuminated beings who realise His Supreme Absolute position as the ultimate controller of all existence. Who possesses all illustrious attributes such as compassion, affection, reciprocity, friendship, etc.

These great beings are bhāva- samanvitah or endowed with a wonderful way of serving Lord Krishna in bhakti or exclusive loving devotion according to their internal mood.

The spiritually intelligent cultivate their minds in such a way as to acquire this mood and deeply immerse themselves in it. How this is accomplished Lord Krishna reveals next.

mac-cittāmad-gata-prāṇā bodhayantaḥparasparam|
kathayantaśca māṃnityaṃtuṣyanti ca ramanti ca || 9 ||

9.  With  their  minds  focussed  on  Me,  with  their   life-force  centred  in  Me,  confiding  in  one another and always speaking of Me, they live in contentment and bliss at all times.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The words mac-citta means those who devote their hearts on Lord Krishna. The words mad-gata-prāṇa means those whose lives cannot exist without Lord Krishna.

Such great beings constantly enlighten each other about His transcendental attributes and extraordinary Līlā’s or divine pastimes and exchange bliss by relating the realisations they have experienced from such.

The sense of satisfaction from the mere conversation about Lord Krishna makes them so blissful that their contentment is permanent and needs nothing else to complete it.

Furthermore simply hearing about Lord Krishna's Līlā’s causes these devotees to become ecstatic, exhibiting a rapturous and exultant glow of love.