Pragmatic Gita

Raja Vidya Raja Guhya Yoga

Unveiling the Unity of Divine Functions: Krishna’s Role in Universal Harmony: Shlokas 16 to 19

If you have not already done so, I would request you to review the Chapter 8, Akshara Brahma Yoga before studying chapter 9 as that would help set the right context.
You can find the explanation of the previous set of shlokas, 11 to 15 of chapter 9 here. Please go through that to get a better understand and maintain continuity in your learning.
You can also listen to all the episodes through my Spotify Portal.

Explore the profound teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, particularly verses 9.16 to 9.19, and delve deeper into Krishna’s roles and symbols. This analysis highlights how Krishna embodies Yajna (sacrifice), Mantra (sacred sounds), and Ausadham (medicinal herbs), illustrating the divine unity in everything. Understand how these elements demonstrate Krishna’s connection to universal harmony in the Gita.

In this detailed exploration, discover Krishna’s significant alignment with Yajna, the spiritual essence of sacrifices, and how Mantra, the sacred vibrations, lead back to him. Learn about the healing properties of Ausadham and its representation in spiritual practices. By integrating these concepts, our understanding of the Gita’s teachings on Advaita Vedanta philosophy and non-duality in Hinduism deepens.

The spiritual teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita offer invaluable insights into Vedic rituals, cosmic order, and the essence of divine unity. This content aims to help scholars and spiritual seekers alike connect more profoundly with the rich tapestry of meanings in the Gita’s verses. Embrace the wisdom of Krishna as it guides you through understanding the intricate balance of life and spirituality in the Hindu tradition.

Raja Vidya Raja Guhya Yoga, Verses  9.16 – 9.19

अहं क्रतुरहं यज्ञः स्वधाहमहमौषधम् । अहं मन्त्रोऽहमेवाज्यमहमग्निरहं हुतम् ॥ १६ ॥

ahaṁ kratur ahaṁ yajñaḥ svadhāham aham auṣadham ahaṁ mantro ‘ham evājyam aham agnir ahaṁ hutam

अहं (aham) – I; क्रतुः (kratuḥ) – Vedic ritual; अहं (aham) – I; यज्ञः (yajñaḥ) – sacrifice; स्वधा (svadhā) – oblation; अहं (aham) – I; अहं (aham) – I; ओषधं (oṣadham) – healing herb; अहं (aham) – I; मन्त्रः (mantraḥ) – sacred chant; अहं (aham) – I; एव (eva) – indeed; आज्यं (ājyam) – clarified butter; अहं (aham) – I; अग्निः (agniḥ) – fire; अहं (aham) – I; हुतं (hutam) – offering;

I am the Vedic ritual, I am the sacrifice, I am the oblation, I am the healing herb, I am the sacred chant, I am indeed the clarified butter, I am the fire, and I am the offering.

पिताहमस्य जगतो माता धाता पितामहः । वेद्यं पवित्रमोंकार ऋक्साम यजुरेव च ॥ १७ ॥

pitāham asya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra ṛk sāma yajur eva ca

पिता (pitā) – father; अहं (aham) – I; अस्य (asya) – of this; जगतः (jagataḥ) – universe; माता (mātā) – mother; धाता (dhātā) – sustainer; पितामहः (pitāmahaḥ) – grandfather; वेद्यं (vedyam) – what is to be known; पवित्रं (pavitram) – purifier; ओंकारः (oṁkāraḥ) – the syllable Om; ऋक् (ṛk) – Rig Veda; साम (sāma) – Sama Veda; यजुः (yajuḥ) – Yajur Veda; एव (eva) – indeed; च (ca) – and;

I am the father of this universe, the mother, the sustainer, and the grandfather. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier, and the syllable Om. I am also the Rig, the Sama, and the Yajur Vedas.

गतिर्भर्ता प्रभुः साक्षी निवासः शरणं सुहृत् । प्रभवः प्रलयः स्थानं निधानं बीजमव्ययम् ॥ १८ ॥

gatir bhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṁ suhṛt prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṁ nidhānaṁ bījam avyayam

गतिः (gatiḥ) – goal; भर्ता (bhartā) – sustainer; प्रभुः (prabhuḥ) – Lord; साक्षी (sākṣī) – witness; निवासः (nivāsaḥ) – abode; शरणं (śaraṇam) – refuge; सुहृत् (suhṛt) – friend; प्रभवः (prabhavaḥ) – origin; प्रलयः (pralayaḥ) – dissolution; स्थानं (sthānam) – foundation; निधानं (nidhānam) – treasure; बीजं (bījam) – seed; अव्ययं (avyayam) – imperishable;

I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the dearest friend. I am the creation and the dissolution, the basis of everything, the resting place, and the eternal seed.

तपाम्यहमहं वर्षं निगृह्णाम्युत्सृजामि च । अमृतं चैव मृत्युश्च सदसच्चाहमर्जुन ॥ १९ ॥

tapāmy aham ahaṁ varṣaṁ nigṛhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca amṛtaṁ caiva mṛtyuś ca sad asac cāham arjuna

तपामि (tapāmi) – (I) give heat; अहं (aham) – I; अहं (aham) – I; वर्षं (varṣam) – rain; निगृह्णामि (nigṛhṇāmi) – withhold; उत्सृजामि (utsṛjāmi) – send forth; च (ca) – and; अमृतं (amṛtam) – immortality; च (ca) – and; एव (eva) – indeed; मृत्युः (mṛtyuḥ) – death; च (ca) – and; सत् (sat) – being; असत् (asat) – non-being; च (ca) – and; अहं (aham) – I; अर्जुन (arjuna) – O Arjuna;

O Arjuna, I give heat, I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality personified and I am also death personified. Both being and non-being are in Me.


The Unity of Divine Functions

Bhagavad Gita 4.24

Bhagavad Gita 4.24 krsnadaasa

Shri Krishna further explains His magnificence. Hope you remember 4.24. 

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् | ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ||

Brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma haviḥ brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam Brahmaiva tena gantavyaṁ brahma-karma-samādhinā

The offering is Brahman, the instrument using which it is offered is Brahman, the act of offering is Brahman, and the sacrificial fire is also Brahman.

In verse 9.16, Krishna says that he is the various elements of all sacrifices. He says that he is the following:

  1. Kratu: Krishna identifies himself with Kratu, referring to the rituals prescribed in the Sruti scriptures, such as the Vedas. These texts are considered ‘heard’ or divinely revealed. The rituals (yajnas) detailed in these scriptures are not merely ceremonial but are designed to align the microcosm (individual soul) with the macrocosm (universal soul), emphasizing the unity of the individual with the divine, which Krishna embodies. By stating that He is the kratu, Krishna emphasizes that the ultimate purpose of these rituals is to attain Him.
  2. Yajna: Yajna, often detailed in the Smriti scriptures like the Dharma Shastras and Epics, which are ‘remembered’ texts, transcends mere physical acts of offering. Krishna, as the yajna, is the object of these sacrifices and also the one to whom they are offered, illustrating the cycle of cosmic order where all offerings ultimately go to the creator of the Universe. 
  3. Svadha: Svadha represents the offerings made to the ancestors during rituals like the Shraddh. This acknowledgment of the ancestors not only reflects respect and remembrance but also a recognition of the continuity of existence and the cycle of life and death, which Krishna governs.
  4. Ausadham: In claiming association with Ausadham, the medicinal herbs used in various rites and healing, Krishna aligns himself with the nurturing and restorative forces of nature. These herbs represent the healing aspect of the divine, showing that God’s grace extends to the health and well-being of the physical body, bridging divine benevolence with earthly existence. Krishna, as the ausadham, is the ultimate healer.
  5. Mantrah: Mantras are vibrational energies encapsulated in sound, used extensively in Vedic rituals. By identifying with Mantrah, Krishna asserts that he is the primal sound or vibration (Aum) that underlies and creates the universe. This also indicates that all mantras ultimately lead to Him and that He is the power behind their effectiveness.
  6. Ajyam: Ghee, offered in sacrificial fires, is a purifier, symbolizing purity and the fluidity that sustains life. Krishna’s identification with Ajyam emphasizes his role as the purifier of sins and the nurturer of life, integral to the sacrifices that sustain societal and cosmic order.
  7. Agnih: Fire (Agni) is the medium that transforms the physical offerings into spiritual submissions. As Agnih, Krishna represents transformation and the divine energy that consumes the material to reveal the spiritual, representing the destruction of ignorance through knowledge.
  8. Hutam: Finally, the act of offering itself, Hutam, signifies the selfless surrender of the ego and personal desires to the divine will, culminating in the realization of the self’s unity with Brahman. By embodying Hutam, Krishna teaches the ultimate goal of life—to offer oneself entirely to the divine process.

Krishna declares Himself to be the essence of ritualistic sacrifices and offerings, encapsulating the various elements of Vedic rituals. This verse illuminates the non-duality (Advaita) aspect of Vedanta philosophy, which explains that the ultimate reality is singular, and that the individual soul (Atman) is not different from the ultimate reality (Brahman).

Advaita Vedanta and Non-Duality in Krishna’s Teachings

Taittiriya Upanishad (2.1), which is part of the Krishna Yajur Veda, echoes this sentiment by stating, “satyam jnanam anantam brahma” (सत्यं ज्ञानम् अनन्तम् ब्रह्म), meaning “Brahman is truth, knowledge, and infinity.” This aligns with Krishna’s declaration in the Gita, as it emphasizes the omnipresence and omnipotence of the divine.

The Svetasvatara Upanishad says in 4.2:

तत् एव अग्निः तत् आदित्यः तत् वायुः तत् उ चन्द्रमाः। तत् एव शुक्रम् तत् ब्रह्म तत् आपः तत् प्रजापतिः ॥२॥

tat eva agniḥ tat ādityaḥ tat vāyuḥ tat u candramāḥ| tat eva śukram tat brahma tat āpaḥ tat prajāpatiḥ ||2||

He is the fire, He is the sun, He is the wind, and He is the moon. He is also the starry firmament, He is Brahman, He is the waters, and He is Prajapati (the lord of creatures).

The verse emphasizes the idea that the Supreme Being, Brahman, is present in all the elements of nature and the universe. It identifies Brahman with fire, the sun, wind, moon, the stars, water, and Prajapati (the creator).

This mantra is very special because it reveals a key idea: the many gods mentioned in the Vedas, like the gods of fire and sun, all represent the same Supreme Being. This shows us that the ancient Vedic religion isn’t about worshiping many different gods, but rather, it’s about recognizing that all these gods are different aspects of a single, divine presence. This mantra is not only found in the Upanishads but also in other parts of the Vedas, showing a deep connection between the more practical and the more philosophical teachings.

Additionally, the way this mantra uses both masculine and neutral words to describe the Supreme Being is interesting. This subtle yet profound choice of pronouns brings out the Upanishadic concept that the Ultimate Reality is both personal and impersonal in nature. The use of masculine pronouns hints at the personal aspect of the Divine, implying a God with attributes, while the neuter pronouns like ‘it’ and ‘that’, point to the impersonal, formless, and transcendent nature of the Absolute.

The Svetasvatara Upanishad further states in 4.3:

त्वं स्त्री त्वं पुमानसि त्वं कुमार उत वा कुमारी । त्वं जीर्णो दण्डेन वञ्चसि त्वं जातो भवसि विश्वतोमुखः ॥३॥

tvaṁ strī tvaṁ pumānasi tvaṁ kumāra uta vā kumārī tvaṁ jīrṇo daṇḍena vañcasi tvaṁ jāto bhavasi viśvatomukhaḥ 

You are both a woman and a man. You encompass being young and also being a young woman. You can also be an old man who walks with a staff for support. You are even born with faces that look in every direction.

The verse states that the divine being is not limited to a specific gender or age. It says that the divine encompasses both masculine and feminine aspects and exists in various stages of life, from youth to old age.

The verse also mentions that the divine being appears in different forms, including an old person who walks with a staff and has faces in all directions.

In simpler terms, the verse emphasizes that the divine is beyond gender and age. It can be seen as a woman or a man, a young person or an old person. It can even have faces in all directions. This highlights the vastness and universality of the divine presence.

Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.11) further substantiates this: 

वदन्ति तत् तत्त्व-विदः तत्त्वम् यत् ज्ञानम् अद्वयम् । ब्रह्म इति परमात्मा इति भगवान् इति शब्द्यते ॥ ११ ॥

vadanti tat tattva-vidaḥ tattvam yat jñānam advayam | brahma iti paramātmā iti bhagavān iti śabdyate || 11 ||

Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.

Krishna: The all-pervading, ultimate shelter and cause of all causes

Shri Krishna further explains how He is all-pervading, the ultimate shelter and cause of all causes. He articulates His omnipresence and His role as the ultimate refuge and the primal cause from which all causes spring. His explanation unfolds as follows:

  • “I am the father of the whole universe (pitäham asya jagato)”: Shri Krishna identifies Himself as the paternal figure of the cosmos, implying not just the creation but the guidance and protection that a father offers. He is the origin from which all life begins.
  • “I am the mother, the maintainer, and the forefather (mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ)”: By also claiming the roles of mother and maintainer, Krishna embraces the nurturing and sustaining aspects of divinity, providing care and sustenance to all beings. As the forefather, He is the ancestral source, the beginning of all lineages.
  • “I am the object of knowledge, I am the purifier and the syllable Om (vedyam pavitram omkāra)”: He is the ultimate truth to be realized, the purifier of the soul, and encapsulated within the sacred syllable Om, the sound of the universe, representing the totality of existence.
  • “I am also the Rig, the Sama, and the Yajur Vedas (rik såma yajur eva ca)”: Shri Krishna embodies the wisdom contained within the primary Hindu scriptures, signifying that all spiritual knowledge leads back to Him.
  • “I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, and witness (gatir bharta prabhuḥ sākṣi)”: He is the ultimate destination, the provider for all, the supreme authority, and the silent observer of the cosmic play.
  • “I am the abode, the shelter, and the dearest friend (nivāsaḥ saraṇam suhrt)”: Krishna is the sanctuary for all souls, the protective refuge, and the most intimate companion on the spiritual journey.
  • “I am the creation, destruction, and maintenance of all (prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthanam)”: He declares Himself to be the forces of creation, dissolution, and preservation, orchestrating the cycle of existence.
  • “I am the resting place and the eternal seed. I am the cause of all causes (nidhanam bijam avyayam)”: As the immutable seed from which life sprouts and the ultimate haven, Krishna is the uncaused cause, the essence from which all things emerge and to which they return.
  • “I give heat and I cause rain (tapāmy aham aham varsam)”: He controls the natural elements, providing warmth and rain, essential for life’s sustenance.
  • “I withhold and send forth that rain (nigrhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca)”: Demonstrating His mastery over the environment, He decides when to bestow rain and when to hold it back, managing the balance of nature.
  • “I am immortality (liberation), and I am also death (amṛtam caiva mṛtyuś ca)”: Krishna represents both the end of the physical journey and the gateway to the eternal, transcending the cycle of life and death.
  • “I am both spirit and matter (subtle and gross) (sad asac caham arjuna)”: He encompasses all that is visible and invisible, material and spiritual, affirming His presence in every particle of the universe.

The limitation of human love and the need for selfless love

Our soul is a tiny part of Krishna and eternally related to Him.  While we are manifested in this material plane and living in bodily consciousness, we look upon our bodily relatives as our true relatives and we become strongly attached to them, to the extent that we tend to forget Krishna, who is our eternal relative.  

Ask any human being and they will tell you that none of their human relatives could give them the perfect unconditional love that their soul longs for. 

There are two truths that we must all understand. First of all, bodily relationships are all temporary, without exception. All bodies are temporary and bound to die some day.  Secondly, bodily attachments are based on need and so, can never be selfless, constant or fulfilling.

In real life we can see so many examples. One day the person says that ‘I cannot live without this woman’ and once they start living together, he says ‘I cannot live with this woman’. So many glamorous couples marry and get divorced. So many successful people disown their own children. So many people forsake their parents. There are examples where brothers kill brothers for wealth and inheritance, and so on and so forth.

I would like to make a profound statement that ordinary  humans are incapable of selfless love. If we introspect long enough and honestly enough about any relationship in our lives, we will see the presence of some kind of selfishness in it. The only selfless love that is possible is that of Krishna’s love for us. Because Krishna does not need anything. Anything conceivable already belongs to Krishna. So Krishna’s love is totally selfless. Shri Krishna has repeated it in the Bhagavad Gita, that he is the Suhridam sarvabutanam

We need to realize that Krishna has accompanied us lifetime after lifetime in every life-form that we took and He remained seated in our heart as the Kshirodakshayi Vishnu.  He is thus our eternal relative. Krishna is perfect and complete in Himself.  He loves us selflessly, for He only desires our eternal welfare. Thus, Krishna alone is our perfect relative, who is both eternal and selfless.

The problem is attachment

Attachment with this material world is the root cause of our miseries. This world is in the realm of Maya (material energy) that consists of three modes – sattva, rajas, and tamas (goodness, passion, and ignorance.) When we attach our mind to any material object or person, these three modes affect our mind. Instead, if we endeavor to attach our mind to Krishna, who is gunateet (beyond the three modes of material nature), our mind becomes pure and calm. Hence, we find this beautiful statement by Lord Rama in the Ramcharitmanas (Uttara khanda):

सब कै ममता ताग बटोरी, मम पद मनहि बान्ध बरि डोरी।

saba kai mamatā tāga baṭorī,  mama pada manahi bāndha bari ḍorī

Cut all the strings of worldly attachment of your mind; make a rope of these strings, and tie it to My feet.

Saint Tulsidas conveys a profound spiritual message using a metaphorical language. He advises the devotee to collect the threads of affection and attachment (ममता ताग) from everything in this material world.

The poet then instructs the devotee to use this collection of strings to create a strong rope (बरि डोरी) to bind their mind (मन) to the feet of the Lord (मम पद). The feet of the divine represent surrender, devotion, and the ultimate refuge. By tying one’s mind to the Lord’s feet with the rope of divine love, the devotee can attain unwavering devotion and surrender.

This verse encourages the devotee to anchor their mind in the divine, making devotion the central focus of their life. By doing so, one can overcome worldly attachments and attain spiritual liberation.

If you remember, Shri Krishna had similarly advised us to tie our minds to the yoke of Krishna consciousness back in the 2nd chapter. 

To help us tie our mind to Him and attain peace, He has descended in many splendid forms and performed delightful pastimes. Therefore, to pacify and stabilize our mind, we have to constantly detach it from the world, and attach it to the names, forms, virtues, pastimes, abodes, and associates of the sweet Lord.

Here are a few examples from Krishna’s life and pastimes that can help us connect with His divine nature and tie our minds to Him:

Krishna’s childhood pastimes in Vrindavan

The Damodara Lila: As a young child, Krishna was once caught stealing butter by His mother, Yashoda. She tried to bind Him with a rope, but the rope was always too short. This pastime symbolizes how the infinite God cannot be bound by anything material, and it also showcases the loving relationship between Krishna and His devotees.

The Govardhan Lila: When Krishna was a young boy, He lifted the Govardhan Hill with His little finger to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra, the king of the demigods. This pastime demonstrates Krishna’s immense power and His love for His devotees, as He went to great lengths to protect them.

The Rasa Lila: Krishna engaged in the Rasa dance with the gopis (cowherd girls) of Vrindavan, multiplying Himself so that each gopi felt that Krishna was dancing with her alone. This pastime symbolizes the intimate and loving relationship between the Lord and His devotees, and how He reciprocates with each devotee according to their level of surrender and love.

Krishna’s role as a charioteer and friend to Arjuna:

Charioteer and friend: On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, when Arjuna was faced with the dilemma of fighting against his own relatives, Krishna imparted the timeless wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita to him. As Arjuna’s charioteer and friend, Krishna guided him through his doubts and helped him understand his duty as a warrior and the nature of the soul, the Supreme, and the path of devotion.

Savior of Arjuna’s life: During the battle, Krishna protected Arjuna from various powerful warriors, such as Bhishma and Karna, by using His divine powers. This demonstrates Krishna’s love and concern for His devotees and His willingness to intervene on their behalf.

Revealing His Vishvarupa: When Arjuna doubted Krishna’s divinity, Krishna revealed His universal form (Vishvarupa) to him, showing Arjuna that He is the Supreme Being, encompassing all of creation. This pastime helps readers understand Krishna’s all-pervading and all-encompassing nature.

These are just a few examples of the many pastimes and incidents from Krishna’s life that showcase His divine nature, His love for His devotees, and His role as the Supreme Being. By studying and contemplating these pastimes, we can develop a stronger connection with Him.

You can find the pragmatic explanations of the next set of shlokas 20 to 25 over here.

Hare Krishna.

Servant of Krishna
Aka +Vinayak Raghuvamshi