One of the great disciples of Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita asks him, ‘Swamiji, if I come with you what will you teach me? What will you give me?’ Vivekananda says, ‘I will teach you how to face death.’ That is the ultimate teaching. Here, Kṛṣṇa is giving that ultimate teaching. In these verses, He is saying something very strange:
janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ I
tvaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna II 4.9
It means: if you understand the secret of My birth and death, you will be liberated from birth and death, Arjuna.
How? Let us see the secret of the birth and death of Kṛṣṇa, how we all go through the birth and death cycle. Now, just as Kṛṣṇa made the statement, ‘I tell you this because you are my devotee and friend’, now I have to make the same statement to you all again. Here I am going to speak on something, which is beyond logic. It is pure experience. Before speaking, I take an oath: With integrity and authenticity, whatever I speak is the truth.
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This is a very strange statement. He says, ‘One who understands the nature of My appearance and activities will be liberated from this birth and death cycle.’ How can it be? He says, ‘Understand my transcendental nature of birthlessness and deathlessness.’ Just now He said he is birthless and deathless. Ajopi — I am birth less. Just now He says, ajo’pi sann avyayātmā bhūtānām īsvaro’pi san. He says, ‘I am birth less and deathless.’
Kṛṣṇa is making this statement in a place where He needs to prove it. He is making this statement in a battlefield, where His life itself is at risk. One arrow is enough to finish His body. Yet He boldly declares, ‘I am God.’ What courage and energy behind His words! It can come only from a solid experience, a deep conscious experience.
Now He says,
‘If you understand the truth of the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities, once you leave the body you will not take birth and death like ordinary humans do. If you understand My transcendental nature, you will also achieve the same transcendental nature.’ ‘If you understand that I don’t take the body, you will not take the body either. If you understand I am liberated, you will realize that you are also liberated.’
How can it be?
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Somebody asked me, ‘Swamiji, can dead Masters teach us like Paramahamsa Yogananda, Mahavatar Babaji etc.? If I pray to them, can they show me the path?’ I told him: dead masters are not dead as you think. When they are alive, their presence had a body. When they are dead, their presence has no body, that’s all. Having a body or not having a body is in no way going to affect their presence. They are eternally alive and available to you. All you need to do is just turn towards them. When normal human beings die, the soul leaves the body. In the case of masters, they leave the body! The very wording is different. So having a body or not having a body is in no way connected to their presence. They are available to the planet always, to the whole of humanity.
source: chapter 4, Bhagavadgita Decoded verses, 4.4 – 4.8
Kṛṣṇa starts His message as a response to Arjuna’s question. This shows that Arjuna still needs to have the maturity. He asks, ‘The Sun god is elder to you by birth; he is so much your senior. How am I to understand that in the beginning you instructed this science to him?’
Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa are almost of the same age. Suddenly, Kṛṣṇa says He gave this science to the Sun god thousands of years ago! Moreover, Arjuna lived with Kṛṣṇa for a long time. He knows and has seen the human side of Kṛṣṇa, all of Kṛṣṇa’s līlā (plays), all of Kṛṣṇa’s moods. So now, it is very difficult for Arjuna to believe Kṛṣṇa’s words.
When Rāmakṛṣṇa declared that the same being who came as Rāma and Kṛṣṇa had now come down in the form of Rāmakṛṣṇa, he was called mad! People did not receive or respect him. But a few qualified people received his words and transformed their lives. Continue reading →
In the next verse, Kṛṣṇa says:
sa evāyaṁ mayā te ‘dya yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ I
bhakto ‘si me sakhā ceti rahasyaṁ hy etad uttamam II 4.3
He says, ‘I am telling you about this very ancient science of the ultimate Enlightenment or entering eternal bliss, and being My devotee and my friend, you will understand the supreme mystery of this science.’ Continue reading →
You need to understand that Kṛṣṇa is just thirty-two years old when He makes this statement! Physically His body is only thirty-two years old. But He says, ‘I gave this imperishable knowledge to Sūrya, the Sun god – imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam (4.1).’ Of course, this is very difficult to understand! With logic, you cannot understand this statement. With ordinary logic, which you use in your daily life, you cannot make any meaning out of this statement. In the next statement He says: ‘The supreme science, this yoga as it was, appears to have been lost in course of time.’ Continue reading →