Bhagavān

Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam supported by Bhagavad Gītā

In several previous posts, we have seen Śrī Jīva Goswami’s conclusion that the Bhāgavata teaches the concept that Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone is Svayaṁ Bhagavān. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi bases his analysis on what he identifies as the emperor statement: kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayaṁ. Śrī Jīva derives the same conclusion also from the Bhagavad Gītā through an original analysis of the Gītā’s concluding statements.

The Gītā’s concluding statements

Verse 18.61-66 along with Sri Babaji’s translations are reproduced below:

īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe’rjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā

O Arjuna, the Supreme Immanent Self (Īśvara) resides in the hearts of all living beings. By His extrinsic potency, He causes all of them to revolve [through the cycles of creation, maintenance, and dissolution] as if they were riding upon the machine [of their bodies]. (GĪTĀ 18.61)

tam eva śaraṇaṁ gaccha sarva-bhāvena bhārata
tat-prasādāt parāṁ śāntiṁ sthānaṁ prāpsyasi śāśvatam

O Arjuna, seek refuge in Him alone with all of your being. By His grace, you will attain supreme peace and the eternal abode. (GĪTĀ 18.62)

iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa yathecchasi tathā kuru

Thus, I have declared to you knowledge more secret than all secrets. Reflect on it fully and then do as you wish. (GĪTĀ 18.63)

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo’si me dṛḍham iti tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

Hear again My supreme instruction, the foremost of all secrets. Because you are extremely dear to Me, I shall disclose this beneficial teaching to you. (GĪTĀ 18.64)

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo’si me

Fix your mind on Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and bow down to Me. By doing so, you will come to Me. I promise this to you truly, because you are dear to Me. (GĪTĀ 18.65)

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Abandoning completely all [attachment to] conventional duties, seek refuge in Me alone. I will free you from all sins; do not grieve. ( GĪTĀ 18.66 )

How the concluding statements support kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi astutely notes that the above verses contain the following words:

guhya – confidential

guhyatara – more confidential

guhyatama – most confidential

sarva-guhyatama- most confidential of all

What is the reason for Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s choice of words? Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi proceeds to enlighten us:

[GĪTĀ 18.61 says:]

ya eka sarvāntaryāmī īśvaraḥ, sa eva sarvāṇi saṁsāra-yantrāruḍhāni bhūtāni māyayā bhrāmayan, teṣām eva hṛd-deśe tiṣṭhati |

The One Supreme Regulator (Īśvara), who is the indwelling Self of the entire cosmos, causes all living beings, who are mounted on the mechanism of saṁsāra , to roam about, impelled by His extrinsic potency ( māyā ), while He remains situated in the region of their hearts.

[GĪTĀ 18.62 says:]

sarva-bhāvena puruṣa evedaṁ sarvam [śve.u. 3.15] iti bhāvanāyāḥ sarvendriya-preraṇatayā vā |

(O Arjuna, seek refuge in Him alone) with all of your being ( sarva-bhāvena ), or in other words, with the awareness ( bhāvanā ) that “all this is only the Puruṣa” ( ŚU 3.15 ). Alternatively, sarva-bhāvena could mean “by engaging the totality of your sense capacities.”

[ GĪTĀ 18.63 says:]

guhyād brahma-jñānād api guhyataraṁ, dvayoḥ prakarṣe tarap |

This knowledge [of Īśvara, or Paramātmā] is more confidential ( guhyataram ) even than the knowledge of Brahman, which is specified simply as confidential ( guhya ). The comparative suffix tarap [applied to the word guhya ] is used to show the superiority of the former over the latter.

Sri Babaji explains in the commentary that we can gather the following from these verses:

1. Knowledge of Brahman is confidential ( guhya ).

2. Knowledge of Paramātmā and surrender to Him, as described in GĪTĀ 18.61–62 , is more confidential ( guhyatara ) than the knowledge of Brahman ( GĪTĀ 18.63 ). The Īśvara described in GĪTĀ 18.61 refers to Paramātmā, the Supreme Immanent Self situated in everyone’s heart.

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi then turns his attention to the use of the word guhyatama in 18.64:

[ GĪTĀ 18.64 says:]

athedam api nijaikānta-bhakta-varāya tasmai na paryāptam iti avadhyāya svayam eva mahā-kṛpā-bhareṇodghāṭita-parama-rahasyaḥ śrī-bhagavān anyām api pradyumna-saṅkarṣaṇa-vāsudeva-parama-vyomādhipa-lakṣaṇa-bhajanīya-tāratamya-gamyāṁ bhajana-krama-bhūmikām atikramyaiva sarvato’py upādeyam eva sahasopadiśati—sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ [18.64] iti |

Thereafter, considering even this instruction as insufficient for Arjuna, His own exalted, one-pointed devotee, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa spontaneously instructs him in that knowledge which, indeed, is most worthy to be imbibed above all, the foremost secret revealed out of overwhelming mercy, concerning that which transcends altogether the hierarchical levels of bhajana that are correlated to the respective gradations of the divinities to be worshiped ( bhajanīya ), among Śrī Bhagavān’s numerous forms, such as the progression from Pradyumna, to Saṅkarṣaṇa, to Vāsudeva, to the Master of the spiritual sky [Nārāyaṇa]. With this intent, Kṛṣṇa begins: “Hear again the foremost of all secrets.”

We can see here that

3. Knowledge of and surrender to Bhagavān is the most confidential ( guhyatama ) of all knowledge ( GĪTĀ 18.64–66 ).

yadyapi guhyatamatvokter eva guhya-guhyatarābhyām api prakṛṣṭam idam ity āyāti, tathāpi sarva-śabda-prayogo guhyatamam api parama-vyomādhipādi-bhajanārtha-śāstrāntara-vākyam atyeti, tasya yāvad-artha-vṛttikatvāt | bahūnāṁ prakarṣe tamap | ata eva paramam | sva-kṛta-tādṛśa-hitopadeśa-śravaṇe hetum āha—iṣṭo’si me dṛḍham itīti | paramāptasya mamaitādṛśaṁ vākyaṁ tvayāvaśyaṁ śrotavyam iti bhāva ity arthaḥ |

Although the use of the superlative form ( guhyatama ) is itself sufficient to signify that this instruction supersedes those concerning both the confidential ( guhya ) as well as the more confidential ( guhyatara ), still, by addition of the word “all” ( sarva ), what is indicated is the further transcendence even of the most confidential itself ( guhyatamam api ), which in this case means transcendence of the teachings of other scriptures directed toward the bhajana of the Master of the Spiritual Sky [Nārāyaṇa] or other such forms. This is so because the modifier “all” ( sarva ) includes the full spectrum of entities that fall within its range. The superlative suffix tamap indicates superiority among a plurality. For this reason, Kṛṣṇa describes this most confidential knowledge of all as His supreme ( paramam ) instruction (vacaḥ ).

We can now conclude that:

4. Among all forms of Bhagavān (Nārāyaṇa, Rāma etc.), the supreme and most confidential of all is that of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This is the significance of the pronoun sarva (all) in the compound sarva-guhyatamam . If this meaning is not accepted, then the pronoun sarva serves no purpose in the verse. This also implies that Kṛṣṇa’s human form is superior to His manifestations as Brahman ( GĪTĀ 13.12 , 14.27 ), Paramātmā ( GĪTĀ 15.15 , 18.61 ), and Virāṭ ( GĪTĀ 11.10–13 ).

Summary

In this way, by noting the use of the word ‘sarva’ in front of guhyatama, Śrī Jīva Goswami concludes that the Bhagavad Gītā also teaches us that Kṛṣṇa is Svayaṁ Bhagavān, the source of all other avataras. The Gītā overrides any other scripture that directs one to the bhajana of others. We can conclude that the Gītā also is consistent with kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayaṁ.

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