Gita 15.15 explained
Transcript of Bhakti-Shastri class on this verse by Chaitanya Charan
15 th verse – talks about Spiritual arrangement
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
sarvasya — of all living beings; ca — and; aham — I; hṛdi — in the heart; sanniviṣṭaḥ — situated; mattaḥ — from Me; smṛtiḥ — remembrance; jñānam — knowledge; apohanam — forgetfulness; ca — and; vedaiḥ — by the Vedas; ca — also; sarvaiḥ — all; aham — I am; eva — certainly; vedyaḥ — knowable; vedānta–kṛt — the compiler of the Vedānta; veda–vit — the knower of the Vedas; eva — certainly; ca — and; aham — I.
I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.
sarvasya cāhaṁ, in all living beings heart
hṛdi sanniviṣṭo, I am situated
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
from Me comes three things 1. smṛtir (Remembrance) 2. Jñānam(Knowledge) 3. apohanaṁ (forgetfulness)
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
like 15.7 has two parts so this verse is also having two parts there are two distinct thoughts conveyed here and they are linked also.
So first is Krishna’s indwelling presence and His action through His indwelling presence. Second part is His connection with the Vedas i.e.
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
By all the Vedas I am to be known,
vedānta-kṛd, I am the compiler of Vedanta and therefore veda-vid eva cāham, I know it. Sometimes we forget something which we wrote or spoke a year back but Krishna is not like that He remembers everything. He is not under illusion so He does not forget.
So let us discuss these two units, their significance and their interconnection. So first is Krishna is present in the heart that is talked earlier also in 13.23 most prominently.
bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ
paramātmeti cāpy ukto
dehe ’smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ
upadraṣṭā — overseer; anumantā — permitter; ca — also; bhartā — master; bhoktā — supreme enjoyer; mahā–īśvaraḥ — the Supreme Lord; parama–ātmā — the Supersoul; iti — also; ca — and; api — indeed; uktaḥ — is said; dehe — in the body; asmin — this; puruṣaḥ — enjoyer; paraḥ — transcendental.
Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.
dehe ’smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ, in the body there is a transcendental person. puruṣaḥ paraḥ that is the Supreme Lord, so there the focus was on upadraṣṭānumantā ca, how the Lord is the observer and maintainer. But here the focus is on how He acts internally.
Krishna acts internally as Chaitya Guru indwelling Super Soul is Chaitya Guru from the Chetana He is the Guru from inside Chaitya Guru, so same Krishna who is indwelling inside as Chaitya Guru is present externally as Guru, Sadhu and Shashtra, so from there Krishna gives us Jyana, and when we get the Jyan after that we have the choice, what we do with the Jyan? If we decide to change our desire according to the Jyan for example I get the Jyan that I am not the body I am the soul, I am meant to love and serve Krishna and I will get far greater happiness in loving and serving Krishna and not trying to enjoy independently from Krishna, this Jyan is not just meant for accumulating in the head (pooling) it is meant for pulling, to pull us towards Krishna, this Jyana is meant to increase our attraction towards Krishna, increase our desire to surrender to Krishna, as mentioned in SB Dharma Sva Anusthitha Pumsam…If our attraction towards Krishna is not increasing then it is just a waste of time.
So now I have a choice that I have heard the knowledge and based on my knowledge I can change my desire, I can try to turn towards Krishna, if I desire to turn towards Krishna one trajectory come and if doesn’t desire to come towards Krishna then another trajectory comes.
So when we say Krishna gets forgetfulness what does it means? Sometimes we hear from Scripture that Sense Gratification leads to misery, but when sense object comes in front of us. We surrender to Maya at that time instead of surrendering to Krishna. We give up everything else and forget about all the teachings. That is what happens to Ajamil. He forgot all dharma, forgot dharam as son, forgot dharma as Brahmin, forgot dharma as a member of respected society and just capitulated to the attraction of the prostitute.
So Krishna is telling to surrender to Me but we can have other desires, so what happens is when Maya tempts us we often just tempt to forget all the instruction we have heard form Guru Sadhu and Shashtra, and we succumb to the temptations, so now can we say that Krishna gave the forgetfulness therefore Krishna is responsible? We have to understand that Krishna is responsive and we are responsible. Krishna is responsive, He responds to our desires. Response + Able = responsible, we are able to choose our response. And we are meant to choose right response, responsible. That means when temptation comes and we forget all the instructions we have heard from scripture, why that is happening is mentioned in 2.62 & 2.63
dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ
kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ
Krishna said that it all begins with contemplation then he gives the whole sequence in which we let the consequences degenerate contemplation, attachment, infatuation (kama), anger, delusion, then forgetfulness comes after samoha, delusion. That means when the temptations come it is we who contemplate “that is nice, I would like to have that”, and we entertain the desires, and when Krishna sees that we are entertaining the desire, we are telling Krishna that I have heard all the things that You have told me but I don’t care about it, I want to enjoy, then Krishna says OK, if that is what you wants to do, you wants to enjoy separate from Me, you want to continue to struggle the tiny little pleasure that is there in the material world that is what you want I will let you do that, so Krishna gives us forgetfulness because we want to act in the forgetfulness of that reality, then you say no no no actually I want to remember, I want to act according to Krishna’s instruction, yes we want You but when the temptation comes what is our response we often entertain our desires, we allow then to enter and we don’t dismiss the desire we retain the desire, entertain = enter + retain. That is entertain, when we entertain the desires they starts taking more and more space, we give them a foot hold and they take a strong hold over there, they get a full hold on our consciousness, then what happens is Aparhat Chetasam, our consciousness gets abducted away, so we cannot blame Krishna for forgetfulness, Krishna is reciprocal He is responsive. So when temptation comes we still choose to love and serve Krishna then Krishna will gives us stronger remembrance of the message of Guru, Sadhu and Shashtra. And over a period of time Krishna will give us forgetfulness of material desires and material enjoyment, and then we won’t feel I am missing something I have to renounce something, no actually we will feel that those who are chasing after that are unfortunate. That is what the position of Prahllad Maharaj is,
Naivo Dvijo Paradurtyaiva Tranyas
Tvad Virya Gayan Maha Mrita Agni Chitah
So chetto Vimukh Chetttsa indriya artha
Maya Sukhaya Bhraman udvahto Vimudhayan
So he says my dear Lord I don’t have anxiety how I will cross beyond material existence, why? Because Tvad Virya Gayan, in glorifying you, Maha Mrita Agni Chitah, I have got immense nectar
So chetto Vimukh Chetttsa, I lament for those whom Vimukh Chettsa, those whose consciousness has turned away,
Vimukh Chetttsa indriya arthan, for the sake of sense gratification those who has turned their consciousness away from Krishna, then what happens
Maya Sukhaya Bhraman, for the sake of illusory happiness
udvahto Vimudhayan, big burden Vimudhas foolish people are carrying
Vimudhas are empowered fool, who are empowered to do lot of foolish activity.
Our desires empower us, if the desires are positive then the empowerment will be positive and if the desires are destructive then empowerment will be destructive.
So Prahllad Maharaj is saying my dear Lord I pity those who are chasing after sense gratification, a tiny pleasure which is actually a big burden of hankering and lamentation.
What does it means coming back to the current verse of BG. It means when Prahllad Maharaj sees people enjoying sense gratification, he has heard from Guru Sadhu and Shashtra, from Narad Muni and others that actually there is no real pleasure here, it simply gives suffering so what he is saying now? He is saying that he is not even considering enjoying the sense objects enjoying sense gratification. Because he is strongly chosen desire to serve Krishna so Krishna is giving him more and more remembrance, more and more remembrance of His own beauty His own sweetness His own glory and then what happens by that?
Maha Mrita Agni Chitah
He is completely absorbed in remembrance of Krishna. So when one comes to this stage he forgets material enjoyments that means the tiny little enjoyment is there one doesn’t even crave for this, one thinks for that little enjoyment so much hankering so much lamentation e.g. of big dry sandwich. So Krishna can invert normal dynamics for a serious devotee. Normal dynamics for the struggling sadhaka is that when sense objects come in front of the person, he forgets Krishna and Guru Sadhu and Shashtra, and then remembers Maya. So now Krishna is giving the forgetfulness and remembrance because that is what the soul is desiring.
The struggle will become much lesser for us.
When it is possible for us to remember Krishna that time we should show earnestness then when the temptation comes Krishna will give us remembrance that do not get indulge. We begin by what we can do.
E.g. so many of us were earlier inclined to meat eating or drinking etc. but after coming in Krishna Consciousness, now we don’t feel any attraction towards those tastes, actually it becomes very bitter for us to even tolerate the smell of such things, so what happens actually? Krishna has given us forgetfulness of such type of tastes what we had earlier. So as it has happened to few of our cherished material enjoyments it will happen for the remaining things also we just have to keep persevering in our practice of devotional service, if we keep persevering we will come to a stage of liberation even from the strongest of material enjoyments, then we can purely relish the nectar of Krishan Consciousness of remembrance of Krishna of love of Krishna.
So this is the first part of this verse, Krishna gives us knowledge through Guru, Sadhu and Shashtra, then depending on the desire we cultivate He will give us remembrance or He will give us forgetfulness.
The second part says that:
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
Now we may wonder why Vedas come suddenly, because Jyana is mentioned in Vedas. So Krishna first talked about His internal role as mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca, so how He give the Jyana? He give Jyana externally through Vedas, then He is saying what the externally connection through Vedas is, He says actually by all the vedas I am to be known. Vedas talked about large number of subjects. If we use Vedas in restrictive sense it refers to four Vedas. The Vedas primarily talk about Karma Kanda but the Vedas in generic sense is knowledge and ultimate goal of knowledge is to know Krishna, Bhahu nam Janmanam Ante Jyan Van Mam Prapadyate Vasudevam Sevan Iti Sa Mahatmana Sa Durlabha, then there is broad understanding of word Vedas and moderate understanding of word Vedas, which includes purnas, Itihasas. So in general body of Vedic literature there is a progression from Karma Kanda to Jyana Kanda ultimately to Bhakti. So in that sense because there is a progression which ultimately leads to Pure Devotion to Krishna so by all the Vedas it is Krishna who is to be known. It is Krishna who is the object of different subjects which are talked in Vedas. As we have discussed in 13.18 jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyaṁ, jñāna-gamyaṁ means the object of knowledge. It is Krishna who is the ultimate object of knowledge.
hṛdi sarvasya viṣṭhitam, He is situated in the heart of everyone, similarly vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo,
It is important that when we study a book we should know what the purpose of the book is. If a book is having lots of information we may lose track what is the purpose of the book so we know this is the objective of the book. Author might have told many things in the book but we know what the most important part of the book is and what the flow of the book is.
So Krishna is telling by all Vedas I am to be known and then how does Krishna know this that He is the goal of all the Vedas? He tells He is the compiler of all the Vedas. vedānta-kṛd. How is the Krishna compiler? As Srila Vyasa Deva, who is literary incarnation of the Lord.
veda-vid eva cāham, I know all the Vedas, so I am the compiler, I am the knower and I am the goal.
What is the purpose of the book? Ask the author.
So the first part of the verse talks about how Krishna acts internally and second part shows how Krishna acts externally. And both part together talks about how Krishna strives to elevate us. He strives actually. Krishna is working.
In the prayers of Gajendra it is said:
muktāya bhūri-karuṇāya namo ’layāya
svāṁśena sarva-tanu-bhṛn-manasi pratīta-
pratyag-dṛśe bhagavate bṛhate namas te
mādṛk — like me; prapanna — surrendered; paśu — an animal; pāśa — from entanglement; vimokṣaṇāya — unto Him who releases; muktāya — unto the Supreme, who is untouched by the contamination of material nature; bhūri–karuṇāya — who are unlimitedly merciful; namaḥ — I offer my respectful obeisances; alayāya — who are never inattentive or idle (for the purpose of my deliverance); sva–aṁśena — by Your partial feature as Paramātmā; sarva— of all; tanu–bhṛt — the living entities embodied in material nature; manasi — in the mind; pratīta — who are acknowledged; pratyak–dṛśe — as the direct observer (of all activities); bhagavate — unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bṛhate — who are unlimited; namaḥ — I offer my respectful obeisances; te — unto You.
Since an animal such as me has surrendered unto You, who are supremely liberated, certainly You will release me from this dangerous position. Indeed, being extremely merciful, You incessantly try to deliver me. By your partial feature as Paramātmā, You are situated in the hearts of all embodied beings. You are celebrated as direct transcendental knowledge, and You are unlimited. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the prayer of Gajendra it is said that muktāya bhūri-karuṇāya namo ’layāya, My Dear Lord You are liberated You are supremely merciful and striving for my liberation You are ’layāya, You never get tired, You don’t become lazy, You are constantly acting, constantly striving, so internally and externally Krishna strives for liberating us. That is Krishna’s great mercy. Krishna’s ultimate mercy is not that He maintains this material world but He takes us in His abode and He provides abundant arrangements for that.
So this concludes the Jyana Chakchu section we started 15.10 with jñāna-cakṣu, paśyanti jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ, then that section talk about if someone is not so perceptive to understand Atma Tattva then can that person make spiritual advancement? That person can see the arrangements made by Krishna at material level and gradually that person sees arrangements made by Krishna at spiritual level.
So here Arjuna get a question, that O Krishna if you have compiled the Vedas and You know the Vedas then can you tell me what is essence of the Vedas? So that leads to the Tri-Sloki Geeta. So the essence of Vedanta is taught over here in 15.16, 15.17, 15.18.
Purport: The Supreme Lord is so full that for the deliverance of the conditioned soul He is the supplier and digester of foodstuff, the witness of his activity, and the giver of knowledge in the form of the Vedas and as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the teacher of the Bhagavad-gītā.
Antaḥ-praviṣṭaḥ śāstā janānām. The living entity forgets as soon as he quits his present body, but he begins his work again, initiated by the Supreme Lord. Although he forgets, the Lord gives him the intelligence to renew his work where he ended his last life.
The ultimate goal is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.4) conﬁrms this in the following words: tat tu samanvayāt.
Samanvayāt means reconciliation harmonization
Jiva Goswami has written elaborate commentary on first four Sutra of Vedanta Sutra,
- Atha Tho Brahma Jijnasa, अथातो ब्रह्मजिज्ञासा |
- janmādy asya yato, जन्माद्यस्य यतः |
- sāstra yonitvāt शास्त्रयोनित्वात्|
- tat tu samanvayāt तत् तु समन्वयात् |
- Atha Tho Brahma Jijnasa, अथातो ब्रह्मजिज्ञासा |
First is inquire about Brahman, who is source of everything, how we know that He is source? Thai is through 3rd verse sāstra yonitvāt शास्त्रयोनित्वात् | But Shashtra says so many things how we know what is the conclusion of Shashtra? By verse 4th tat tu samanvayāt तत् तु समन्वयात् | We have to harmonize we have to reconcile, by a particular hermuinitics , by a particular analytical methodology one should be able to harmonize.
So here tat tu samanvayāt तत् तु समन्वयात् | what are the different things in the scriptures we have to understand that they are in hierarchy and on the top of the hierarchy is the knowledge of Krishna, knowing about Krishna is most important for us.
Purport: In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly deﬁned. I.e. vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo. It is Krishna who is to be known through Vedas.
End of transcription.