Chapter XXIV - 138 Home | Index | Previous | Next

Then Krishna was asked by Arjuna, thus: "It is indeed very difficult to know that basic Atma, that inner reality of all things. He is everywhere but is nowhere visible! He is the inner core of all but cannot be contacted at all! What is the cause of this mystery?"

Krishna replied: "Arjuna! You have not understood yet. The Atma is subtler than the subtlest and so it is difficult to cognise it. You know the five elements, do you not, earth, water, fire, wind and sky? Of these each subsequent element is subtler than the previous one. Earth has five qualities: Sound, touch, form, taste and smell; water has all these, except smell; fire has only three, sound, touch and form, wind has only two qualities, sound and touch; and the last one, sky has only sound. That is why each of these is subtler than the previous one and also more widely spread. The sky is everywhere, penetrating in and through all, because it has only one characteristic. How much more subtle must be the Atma which has no qualities or characteristics! Imagine how much more immanent and universal it must be! Those who are objectively minded cannot grasp this phenomenon; only the subjective minded can have the solution."

"This faith can come only to those who can reason things out. It is a fatal thrust on those who shout, in season and out of season, that God cannot be immanent in everything because He is not to be perceived at all. They do not believe that God is above and beyond the trivial qualities with which they seek to measure Him. It is a pity, indeed. God is as near to you, as you are to Him; if you keep afar, He too remains afar."

There are some fine examples of this truth in the Puranas. Hiranyakasipu sought God in all things and came to the conclusion that He is nowhere. Prahlada, on the other hand, believed that He can be found wherever He is sought and so He appeared from out of the impenetrably hard iron pillar itself! Prahlada was close to God and so God also was close to him.

The cow carries sacred sustaining milk in its own udder; but, unaware of this, it runs after the water in which rice has been washed! So too man is unaware of Madhava who is in him as his own Atma nor does he make an effort to discover Him, who is his own reality. He runs after the much inferior joy obtainable from the fleeting objects, with his defective and deceptive senses. What colossal ignorance!

To revel in multiplicity is ignorance; to visualise the unity is the sign of wisdom, Jnanam. Savam or "those who are dead to reality" alone see this as "many". Only "Sivam" or the divine see the seeming many as "one". What is called Jneyam, Atma, Kshetrajna, and Parabrahmam is that "one" only. This was taught to Arjuna so that he might experience the bliss thereof.