Gita in a Nutshell #2: Experience Infinite Wonder in All Things

Via on Nov 17, 2010

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations.
For notice of each weekly blog,
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)

It’s a great revelation to read the Gita by major theme instead of in the order it’s written. Today let’s talk about the second major theme:

EXPERIENCE INFINITE WONDER IN ALL THINGS

As with our previous blog, the Gita contains many powerful passages on this theme, but they are scattered throughout the text. When you read them all together, as below, the main ideas jump off the page with crystalline clarity.

Read though these stanzas slowly and thoughtfully, jotting down your reactions as you go. Share your comments and questions, and we’ll get some conversation going:

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the main voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same.)

Mature in yoga, impartial
everywhere that he looks,
he sees himself in all beings
and all beings in himself.

The man who sees me in everything
and everything within me
will not be lost to me, nor
will I ever be lost to him.

He who is rooted in oneness
realizes that I am
in every being, wherever
he goes, he remains in me.

When he sees all beings as equal
in suffering or in joy
because they are like himself,
that man has grown perfect in yoga.
   (BG 6.29-32)

~

I permeate all the universe
in my unmanifest form.
All beings exist within me,
yet I am so inconceivably

vast, so beyond existence,
that though they are brought forth
and sustained by my limitless power,
I am not confined within them.

Just as the all-moving wind,
wherever it goes, always
remains in the vastness of space,
all beings remain within me.   (BG 9.4-6)

~

He who can understand
the glory of my manifestations
is forever united with me
by his unwavering love.

I am the source of all things,
and all things emerge from me;
knowing this, wise men worship
by entering my state of being.
   (BG 10.7-8)

~

Whatever in this world is excellent
and glows with intelligence or beauty—
be sure that it has its source
in a fragment of my divine splendor.

But what need is there for all these
details?  Just know that I am,
and that I support the whole universe
with a single fragment of myself.   (BG 10.41-42)

~

Look, Arjuna: thousands,
millions of my divine forms,
beings of all kinds and sizes,
of every color and shape.

Look: the sun gods, the gods
of fire, dawn, sky, wind, storm,
wonders that no mortal has every
beheld.  Look! Look. Arjuna!

The whole universe, all things
animate or inanimate,
are gathered here—look!—enfolded
inside my infinite body. 
  (BG 11.5-7)

~

crowned with fire, wrapped
in pure light, with celestial fragrance,
he stood forth as the infinite
God, composed of all wonders.

If a thousand suns were to rise
and stand in the noon sky, blazing,
such brilliance would be like the fierce
brilliance of that mighty Self.

Arjuna saw the whole universe
enfolded, with its countless billions
of life forms, gathered together
in the body of the God of gods.
   (BG 11.11-13)

~

I see you everywhere, with billions
of arms, eyes, bellies, faces,
without end, middle, or beginning,
your body the whole universe, Lord.   (BG 11.16)

~

Why should they not bow, eternal
Creator, infinite Lord?
You are both being and nonbeing,
and what is beyond them both,

the primal God, the primordial
Person, the ultimate place
of the universe, the knower and the known,
the presence that fills all things.

You are wind, death, fire, the moon,
the Lord of life, the great ancestor
of all things. A thousand times
I bow in front of you, Lord.

Again and again I bow to you,
from all sides, in every direction.
Majesty infinite in power,
you pervade—no, you are—all things. 
  (BG 11.37-40)

~

And as often as I remember
the Lord’s vast, wondrous form,
each time I am astonished:
each time I shudder with joy.

Where Krishna is—Lord of Yoga—
and Arjuna the Archer: there,
surely, I think, is splendor
and virtue and spiritual wealth.
   (BG 18.77-78)

[These last two stanzas are the concluding words of the Gita]

Next:
#3: Focus the Mind

Previous:
#1: Live and Act with Love and Purpose

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
To receive notice of each weekly blog,
please join our Facebook group.)

 

About Bob Weisenberg

Bob Weisenberg: Editor, Best of Yoga Philosophy / Former Assoc. Publisher, elephant journal / Author: Yoga Demystified * Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell * Leadership Is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology / Co-editor: Yoga in America (free eBook) / Creator: Gita Talk: Self-paced Online Seminar / Flamenco guitarist: "Live at Don Quijote" & "American Gypsy" (Free CD's) / Follow Bob on facebook, Twitter, or his main site: Wordpress.

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45 Responses to “Gita in a Nutshell #2: Experience Infinite Wonder in All Things”

  1. yogi tobye says:

    There's a fear, especially from Capitalists and neo-liberalists of this equal oneness we all speak about. The ego gets quite wound up at the thought of losing that uniqueness we all have.

    But even though we are all one in 6 billion, we are still all the same. our uniqueness and ability to step out from the crowd is only that. We need an ability to recognise each other as different even though we are all one, all the same.

    • integralhack says:

      Nice, yogi tobye! After all, it's all well and good to point out the oneness and interconnection of all but if we can't recognize the pathologies of ideology (whether it is ego, tribe, or nation) that keep us harming one another, what good is it?

      It's time to move past the Hallmark card Gita and toward real interpretation in light of our modern context and crises.

      • yogi tobye says:

        Certainly! I see tribe and nation to be just a larger sense of ego anyway…. Does it matter if you're for the Dolphins or the Cowboys? It's all football! :o)

  2. KarenM says:

    I really resonate with the verses from the 6th Chapter. To be mindful of these words and truly abide in them, a person could live in a state of being where there is absolutely no fear !!!

  3. [...] Next: Gita in a Nutshell #2: Experience the Wonder of Everyday Life [...]

  4. integralhack says:

    Mitchell's translation differs from many other translations of the BG in that he avoids the use of Self or Atman (in the first stanza "himself" is translated as "self" or "Self" by Stoller Miller and Easwaran, respectively). I can't help but wonder if such emphasis on modern pronouns–not to mention pronouns with gender bias–can take away from meaning and understanding.

  5. integralhack says:

    I was only referring to one stanza, Bob, I wasn't criticizing all the passages.

    I was posing a question rather than giving an answer, but I would say that both are equally important: the particular–or details–as well as the big picture. In fact, the Gita suggests we should see ourselves in both.

  6. My translation reads: that man has grown perfect in yoga who looks really really good in his Lululemon pants…

  7. Will Price says:

    More than an invitation to meditation, the Gita is an instruction manual for the self-conscious human aspiring to live the purposeful life. The different types of Yoga that Krishna instructs Arjuna on, are meant to bring the seeking individual to the point of the integral "I". The Self, personified by Krishna, guides the resolute individual, into successively higher states of realization, through the various modes of Yoga, while reassuring him along the way that his efforts are never in vain and always successful. Eventually, the human being, overcoming his doubts and misconceptions, arrives at the supreme status of mental being, when he is presented with the vision of the Universal form, difficult as it is for her/him to grasp in totality, in chapter eleven.

  8. carrie says:

    Meditation is a tool to use to explore our minds and discover new feelings while feeling our emotions. It helps connect within ourselves and be aware of our surroundings. My meditation and yoga practice go in hand in hand

  9. steve says:

    thanks for that answer, Bob. Brings up another quesiton for me. Do you believe that God in the form of Krishna is the aspect of God which most often interacts directly with us?

  10. Colleen says:

    What these stanzas really meant to me is that they seemed to embody by thoughts on god and spirituality. As a way to tell someone "my god is not a person, but if it were, here is what it would say." I think if someone asked me right at this moment if I believed in god I might say I believe in humanity – not the kumbaya-we-are-the-world feel-good humanity, but the idea that there is something powerful beyond our understanding that connects us.

    I think this is so powerful:

    I permeate all the universe
    in my unmanifest form.
    All beings exist within me,
    yet I am so inconceivably

    vast, so beyond existence,
    that though they are brought forth
    and sustained by my limitless power,
    I am not confined within them.

    Just as the all-moving wind,
    wherever it goes, always
    remains in the vastness of space,
    all beings remain within me. (BG 9.4-6)

  11. Pamela says:

    I started a daily meditation practice at the end of my asana practice about a year ago. I've moved through various levels of understanding. But I haven't had the full blown "enlightenment" that is described.

    To me the Gita is inspirational because occasionally a part of the text that was on first reading some pretty poetry becomes an actual manual for reaching that state. When I have experienced first hand the things that are described in the text, and then read the text for the first time, that was mind blowing.

    The Gita is now like Patanjali to me, a text which describes the actuality that I have yet to experience.

    I can't expect to jump to the end, not yet, I have too much anger to get rid of. Your replies always help Bob.

  12. [...] #2: Experience Infinite Wonder in All Things #1: Live and Act with Love and [...]

  13. no wonder Richard Freeman says in his Yoga Matrix that chapter 11 of the gita should be read thousands of times… no wonder

  14. [...] (B.G. 2.55) Stephen Mitchell translation [...]

  15. [...] (For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.) [...]

  16. [...] (For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.) [...]

  17. Becky says:

    Thanks for having this group Bob. The gita is difficult, and your link to explaining why it’s difficult was nice to read.

    The first thing I learned today is Krishna is interchangeable with ‘God’ or the ‘Universe’ (learned from the comment activity).

    After reading BG 6.29-32 and 9.4-6, I thought these are immense ideas I believe I can grasp. My question here is, are these concepts are similar to traditional native American concepts about spirituality, where the spirit of the Great Spirit is in everything? Or am I off the mark?

    Also, what does it mean to “grow perfect in yoga”?

    Thanks,
    Becky

    • Hi, Becky. Thanks for your comment and questions.

      Yes, that was the big leap for me, too, suddenly understanding that the voice is just the world itself talking to me about my place in it.

      To answer your question about native American spirituality, I'm going to suggest that you just jump ahead to Gita in a Nutshell #14:

      Yoga is Universal Truth, Embracing All Gods and All Paths

      which answers you question decisively even in its title alone!

      "Growing perfect in yoga" means simply becoming more and more awake and aware of the universal truths of the Gita as you go through your day-to-day life.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks for being here.

      Bob W. Editor
      Yoga Demystified
      Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn

      • Becky says:

        Hi Bob, Thank you for nutshell #14 reference. It’ll be nice to revisit when the study group gets there. Sometimes I have a lot of questions and don't know where to begin, so I've just been contemplating a little bit more. Thanks again for your work in this group.

  18. hippie says:

    I think that Becky has had the same questions I have had in the past. I grew up in a conventional Methodist family, and I still believe in God, but I am drawn to the Gita more and more. I just recently bought a book on it and am starting that too, so this will help reading these also, and the comments and questions.thank you.

  19. Again and again I bow to you,
    from all sides, in every direction.
    Majesty infinite in power,
    you pervade—no, you are—all things.

    Ah, sweet surrender — to all that is, and isn't. The ultimate practice, it seems to me. Is that because it's so damned difficult for me? :)

  20. integralhack says:

    It's a good point, Will . . . not to get too caught up in analysis.

  21. Great question, Pamela. I have some ideas on that, but I'm going to hold back for the moment and see what others come up with first.

    Thanks for writing.

    Bob W.

  22. Hi, Colleen. Thanks for you comments.

    Mitchell himself is sensitive to the gender concerns. From his "About the translation":

    The poet of the Gita…was writing mostly for priests (brahmins) and warriors…Given this mind-set, it would have been too much of a distortion for me to call the sage "the wise woman" or even "the wise man or woman". I hope women who read these pages will forgive this particular limitation of the Gita's consciousness and realize that, with its spirits if not always with its words, it is pointing all of us to the essential truth.

    Bob W.

  23. Love these comment, Braja. It makes perfect sense.

    Thanks for being here.

    Bob

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