Gita : Ch-8. Introduction.
Chapter-8. (Akshara-brahma-yogam )
In the seventh chapter Lord Krishna discoursed on the nature of Parabrahma the Supreme Being, Vasudeva the Supreme cause of all causes, the object of worship being: 1) The spiritual sovereignty of all living entities, sentient and the insentient. 2) The source and cause of all there is. 3) The support and preservation of everything 4) The ultimate reference of all language used as an expression of ideas which normally relate either to the Supreme Lord's rupa which is His form, or His guna which are His qualities. The ultimate reference being the Supreme Lord Himself of whom all beings in existence are His transcendental rupa and all things existing arise from His transcendental gunas. 5) Isvara Parama or the Supreme Controller 6) The most exalted and glorious by the possession of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, and by the possession of all power, all beauty, all knowledge, all opulence, all fame and all renunciation.
Then Lord Krishna went on to explain the reasons why His supreme indomitable nature is concealed and inscrutable for normal human beings due to their committing iniquitous deeds in past lives from time immemorial and also being addicted to gratification of desires with the delights which the physical body and five senses stimulate while being covered with varying degrees of the triple qualities of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance.
Lord Krishna then revealed by what means this illusionary delusion can be removed by an embodied being who develops firm faith in the Supreme Lord and surrenders to Him, due to the grace of the spiritual master in Vedically authorised disciplic succession. This faith and resignation to the Supreme Lord manifests in following the instructions of the spiritual master and results in the performance of highly meritorious activities. Lord Krishna also showed how the differences in merit produces differences in results for different aspirants being the atharthis or seekers of fortune, the jijnansur or aspirants for realisation of the soul and jnani's or seekers of the Supreme Lord. It was also shown how out of all these aspirants the jnani was the most exalted. The eminence of the jnani's was derived from their constant devotion and unwavering love for the Supreme Lord exclusively, thus they became an object of the Supreme Lord who loves to reciprocate, warmest affection; but such a devotee of the Supreme Lord is rarely seen and very difficult to find. In conclusion Lord Krishna mentioned several requisites of knowledge which the three classes being atharthi's, jijnansur's and jnani's have to be knowledgeable of and act in accordance to in order to realise the individual goals of future felicity which each class aspires for. Arjina continues asking questions in the next verse as well.
At the conclusion of chapter seven Lord Krishna introduced terms like adhibhuta identifying with the material substratum, adhiyatma identifying with embodied beings and adhidaivas identifying with the demigods. These subjects are essential and must be well comprehended by an aspirant who seeks to become a qualified devotee of the Supreme Lord. They will be further elucidated in detail in this chapter. Since Lord Krishna had introduced these terms only briefly, Arjuna was curious to learn more about theses terms and how they relate to the Supreme Lord as well as to himself and so he raises seven queries in the first two verses. He wanted to know such things like if the term adhidaivam referred specifically to Indra the celestial chief or did it applied equally to all the demigods and also what exactly is included in adhibhutas.
The previous six chapters known as the section on karma yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness by selfless actions, the method of acquiring spiritual wisdom was described. Now the next six chapters known as the bhakti yoga section or the yoga of devotion primarily describe the glories and greatness of the Supreme Lord. The words asakta-manah means an extremely attached mental disposition. Utilising this attachment a person takes complete shelter of the Supreme Lord understanding that Lord Krishna is the ultimate controller, the ultimate protector and the ultimate refuge of all living entities. Understanding this reality fully with asamsayam or free from doubt without any reservation is the special meaning here.
Those whose minds are devoted to and fixed upon the Supreme Lord Krishna alone realise the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, karma or the reactions to performed actions, adhibhutas or material substratum, etc which were all briefly explained in the previous chapter will be fully delineated in this chapter. Arjuna desired to comprehend the true nature of the brahman, adhidaivas relating to the demigods, adhiyatma relating to the eternal soul within embodied beings, etc. which Lord Krishna mentioned at the end of chapter seven. This is why Arjuna begins with the question kim meaning what is.
To be continued ...