Gita in a Nutshell #4: Each of Us is Already Infinitely Wondrous (Divine, if you prefer)

Via on Dec 1, 2010

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

Let’s review our first three themes:

LIVE AND ACT WITH LOVE AND PURPOSE,
DETACHING EGO FROM RESULTS (GN #1)
2.48, 2.50, 3.7, 3.19, 3.25, 3.30, 4.18-24, 5.23-25, 6.1-4, 7.28, 11.55, 12.13-14, 18.53

EXPERIENCE INFINITE WONDER IN ALL THINGS (GN #2)
6.29-32, 9.4-6, 10.7-8, 10.41-2, 11.5-7, 11.11-13, 11.16, 11.37-40, 18.77-78

FOCUS THE MIND (GN #3)
5.26-28, 6.10, 6.12,  6.15, 6.35, 8.9, 9.22, 9.34, 12.2, 12.8, 12.14, 18.57

The fourth major theme is:

EACH OF US IS ALREADY INFINITELY WONDROUS

Each of us is already infinitely wondrous—
miraculous, awe-inspiring, unfathomable
(divine if you prefer).

Our wondrous nature is the same as the infinite wonder of the universe.

We experience this infinite wonder by waking up to reality.

As before, the Gita contains strong passages about this theme, but they are scattered throughout the text. When you read them all together, as below, they are almost overwhelming in their power and 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 will teach you the essence of this wisdom
and its realization; when you come
to master this, there is nothing
further that needs to be known.
(BG 7.2)

~

Know that it is the womb
from which all beings arise;
the universe is born within me,
and within me will be destroyed.

There is nothing more fundamental
than I, Arjuna; all worlds,
all beings, are strung upon me
like pearls on a single thread.   (BG 7.6-7)

~

I am the primal seed
within all beings, Arjuna;
the wisdom of those who know,
the splendor of the high and mighty.   (BG 7.10)

But when a man is released
from dualities, he can act
purely, without attachment,
and can serve me with all his heart.   (BG 7.28)

Freedom is union with the deathless;
the Self is the essence of all things;
its creative power, called action,
causes the whole world to be.   (BG 8.3)

This is the supreme wisdom,
the knowing beyond all knowing,
experienced directly, in a flash,
eternal, and a joy to practice.
(BG 9.2)

~

Understanding and wisdom,
patience, truth, peace of mind,
pleasure and pain, being
and nonbeing, fear and courage,

nonviolence, equanimity,
control, benevolence, fame,
dishonor—all these conditions
come forth from me alone.   (BG 10.4-5)

~

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)

~

I am the Self, Arjuna,
seated in the heart of all beings;
I am the beginning and the life span
of beings, and their end as well.   (BG 10.20)

I am the divine seed
within all beings, Arjuna;
nothing, inanimate or animate,
could exist for a moment without me.   (BG 10.39)

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 11.40)

Previous:
#3: Focus the Mind

Next:
#5: Why Is the Gita So Upsetting At First?

(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.

2,208 views

Like this article? Leave a tip!

(We use PayPal but you don't need an account with PayPal.)

Elephriends - Mindful Affiliates

42 Responses to “Gita in a Nutshell #4: Each of Us is Already Infinitely Wondrous (Divine, if you prefer)”

  1. Such a difficult lesson this one, we are all one indeed, but sometimes it gets so blurry to see that the other person (maybe the one that cut me in traffic) is also me… One thing I have found to work well, funny enough in the case of the driver that cuts me, is to just say "God Bless Her or Him". For some reason, when I say that then it is not so bad… Thanks for the reminder Bob.

  2. [...] Next: #4: Each of Us Is Already Infinitely Wondrous (Divine if you prefer) [...]

  3. [...] Gita in a Nutshell #4: Each of Us Is Already Infinitely Wondrous (Divine if you prefer) [...]

  4. carrie says:

    here is my take we are all wonderful unique creatures with our own special gift to share with the world
    we are all connected the the power of love

  5. yogabird says:

    I find these passages very powerful. Perhaps its because many of them involve birth and death imagery, but at the same time they aim for the reader to be "released from dualities" (i.e., ideas of death and birth). With this in mind, I was especially moved by: "I am the source of all things, and all things emerge from me; knowing this, wise men worship by entering my state of being."

    • Hi, yogabird. Yes, it is powerful, isn't it?

    • writeonyoga says:

      Thanks for bringing up the birth and death imagery. I'm fascinated by the process and symbolism of birth as well as the emerging and dissolving of life. Birth and death are such mysteries, but also such common occurrences that we know a lot of facts about. They're so opposite and so similar–so fascinating!

      • Hi, writeonyoga.

        Some famous Gita commentator, I don't remember who, said he started getting caring more about the Gita in preparation for his own death. That's certainly one of the reasons I'm so deeply interested in it. I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, but I'm old enough to start thinking about it more.

        Bob W.
        Yoga Editor

        • sonyata says:

          Again, I wanted to thank you for these posts, Bob. I am so happy to find people who share some of the understandings that were so difficult for me to come to. It is so encouraging, and I love to read and learn true wisdom. It is no coincidence that Savasana (Corpse posture) is the last position in yoga practice:)

          32. O SON OF THE SUPREME! I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom? (Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

          Thank you again. I am looking forward to learning more about the Gita.

  6. KarenM says:

    I will teach you the essence of this wisdom
    and its realization; when you come
    to master this, there is nothing
    further that needs to be known. (BG 7.2)~

    This is the supreme wisdom,
    the knowing beyond all knowing,
    experienced directly, in a flash,
    eternal, and a joy to practice. (BG 9.2)

    ~I am really receiving alot from these 2 verses. They say to me that inherent in the Gita is the Power and the Grace to have the direct experience of its words, it’s knowledge and wisdom. That we are led to the Fountainhead of all wisdom via the direct realization that it grants us. By our efforts and desires to know what is being said in the Gita, we automatically grow spiritually. Other translations of the Gita add that not only is this supreme wisdom a joy to practice , but it is easy to practice. Sounds good to me ! :-)

    • Well said, Karen. This point is so important that I've put these and related quotes together in what will be a later Gita in a Nutshell. If you want to look ahead:

      Yoga calls for direct experience & straight-forward wisdom (over scripture, dogma, and ritual).
      2.40, 2.42-46, 2.52-53, 4.33, 4.38, 6.46, 7.2, 8.14, 9.2, 11.53, 18.55

      Bob W.

  7. I was reading this post yesterday and now somehow, "coincidently" comes to me again, I look at that first sentence where you say that we are all wondrous already and I remember what Marianne Williamson said:

    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

    And this chapter of the Gita also frightens us a bit, to me it does, because when we have a glimpse that we truly are all one then we cannot blame anyone anymore, then we must take responsibility, then we must "be the change"

    So happy you keep reminding us of this Bob

  8. Thanks for writing, Yogainthevalley.

    I've always loved that particular line, too, and I love the way you relate it to your 6- year old son and his future.

    Bob W.

  9. What a profound insight, sonyata. A long, long time ago, just out of college, one of my favorite places to play flamenco guitar was the Bahai Coffee House in Milwaukee. There was alway such a warm, friendly, receptive group there.

    You're right on track with your thoughts above. I love the way many people's comments are perfect lead-ins to future blogs in this series. In this case for example, you thoughts are the exact subject of what will be Gita in a Nutshell #14 (you can see it in the outline):

    The Gita embraces all Gods and all paths. Yoga is universal truth.
    4.11, 4.32, 7.21, 9.15, 9.23, 9.29-32, 10.2

    Bob W.

    • sonyata says:

      Again, the issue many may still have is the idea of polytheism vs monotheism. God is One. But we are many peoples, each of whom God sent His messengers to with the very same truth and spirit. How it manifest among the many peoples is how we came to have so many religions. Fundamentally they are the same, teaching us as people where we come from, where we are going, what we should do, and how we should do it. God gave us each the opportunity to "taste the apple", to decide for ourselves the difference between good and evil. Some things are certainly good, and others most certainly evil. But there is a lot in between that is a matter of personal choice, and taste. So we can choose who we are, and who we want to become. In time, we will come together with those who agree with our choices. Eventually we come into agreement with what is love, and what is not love.

      The Hindu religion is the eldest, and it is vast and full of immense wisdom. It is a treasure chest of gems. I still tell Christians that I have read the best explanations of the life and teachings of Jesus in yoga manuals. We have a long ways to go on the planet, and as a people. Perhaps another thousand years, if we can make it. We are currently at a critical point in time, as the last one hundred years has brought us together in a single context that we can all now see. We are just awakening, and opening our eyes, tasting the many flavors from around the world. In time we will see their great beauty.

      I wrote of the many cultures of the people of the Indus Valley, and how they amalgamated to form the Hindu religion, which is why they have so many diverse means of describing God. Of manifestations like Ganesh, the "Elephant Headed God", one whom Christians have a hard time with. But to an ancient people, those villages who owned an elephant were most blessed, as this was the equivalent of a bulldozer. And the many rivers, named after Goddesses. Hey, the river is the source of life for the people – don't pollute it, or offend the Goddess. I wish we had as much respect for our waterways in America. If you look at the Hindu religion in the proper context, it is most beautiful.

      There is an ongoing debate about the theft and plagiarism of yoga from the Hindu religion which I find entertaining. Without a doubt, yoga was the threads and stitching which held together the tapestry of the diverse Indus cultures, creating the quilt of Hinduism. And now, that same phenomena – the weaving together of human souls can happen to bring together the much larger tapestries of the many religions of the world. Yoga is fundamental to all people, and perhaps existed before we did. It is the core construct of the human soul. Namaste.

    • sonyata says:

      Oh, and thanks, Bob. I am a student of scriptures, so I always enjoy reading or listening to an expert on a particular script. I find your approach and attitude exceptional, and am looking forward to all of your "Gita in a Nutshells".

  10. writeonyoga says:

    This is the supreme wisdom,
    the knowing beyond all knowing,
    experienced directly, in a flash,
    eternal, and a joy to practice. (BG 9.2)

    These lines made me smile. In my teens, I struggled with my Christian upbringing and whether or not it was true. Struggle was the name of the game. I marked up my Bible with so many notes and spent hours at bookstores researching other religions. Eventually, I tired out and just lived life for a while. When I made my way back to exploring spirituality and found my way to a yoga mat, it somehow all made sense. It was the "knowing beyond all knowing," beyond words on a page and man-made religions. I don't know how it happened, but my current understanding of spirituality is a joy to experience and live.

    • Same general experience for me, with many individual twists and turns, of course.

      I also came to Yoga for a totally different kind of what to me is an ecstatic yet completely rational kind of spirituality. That's what I personally find in the Gita, just as you describe above.

      Bob W.

  11. Louise Domenitz says:

    I particularly love the imagery in these lines :

    There is nothing more fundamental
    than I, Arjuna; all worlds,
    all beings, are strung upon me
    like pearls on a single thread. (BG 7.6-7)

    It honors us as precious, lustrous individuals, yet connects us all.

    It also reminds me of this beautiful Jewish prayer:

    You are praised
    Who rolls out the rough, raw clay of the universe
    Into delicate vessels of light.
    and from nothing at all
    we could perceive in a world that has turned old
    a shimmering new Creation right before our eyes
    made this moment
    just for us.
    How much of life reveals Your presence?
    How much Torah unfolds from each new flower,
    from each new wave that breaks upon the sea!
    You are Praised, who forms from the clay that cloaks our lives,
    the delicate vessels which contain our light.

    The more I delve into the Gita and the Sutras, the more I find delightful connections with the Torah!

    : -)

    • Hi, Louise. Isn't that so true? Once one decides that much of these texts consists of soaring metaphors for things that are wondrous beyond understanding and description, they start to converge in their meaning.

      I especially like Heschel, whose book of collected writings is, appropriately enough, called I Asked for Wonder!

      Bob W.

      • Louise Domenitz says:

        You would probably also enjoy "Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life: Awakening Your Heart, Connecting with God" (by Rabbi Jeff Roth). As you pointed out, the common metaphors abound… ;-) Louise

  12. [...] Previously: #4: Each of Us is already Infinitely Wondrous (Divine, if you prefer) [...]

  13. Becky says:

    There might be a double post somewhere. Am posting but posts not showing up. Please disregard repeats. Thanks!

  14. Becky says:

    I posted once yesterday and it disappeared. I wrote another post and that one disappeared too. Here's another post to this Gita talk, hopefully it will stay.

    Freedom is union with the deathless;
    the Self is the essence of all things;
    its creative power, called action,
    causes the whole world to be. (BG 8.3)

    The stanzas before this stanza reminded me of the previous 'Gita in a nutshell #s', where the main thoughts were Krishna is in everything. This stanza made me stop and reflect. The first sentence resonated deeply, there's freedom in the union with the deathless.

    The next stanza that most stood out was
    nonviolence, equanimity,
    control, benevolence, fame,
    dishonor—all these conditions
    come forth from me alone. (BG 10.4-5)

    After reading "…fame and dishonor – all these conditions come forth from me alone" I wondered if this is interpreted to be God/Krishna/the Universe is made up of good and bad, darkness and light, yin and yang – doesn't matter, all conditions come from God/Krishna alone. Because that's all there is – everything comes from one source. I always thought a devil's advocate perspective would include this balance in what God/Krishna is.

  15. Becky says:

    ps. Reading the Gita feels like being blindfolded and walking down an unknown path. Just sayin. I mean it's kind of fun though.

  16. Becky says:

    Freedom is union with the deathless (BG 8.3)

    The stanzas before this stanza reminded me of the previous 'Gita in a nutshell #s', where the main thoughts are that Krishna is in everything. This stanza caught my eye and resonated deeply. I went off on a tangent and thought about how when we die from our bodies, we are free from sooo much, but it's not death, it's the deathless. Loved it.

    …fame, dishonor—all these conditions come forth from me alone. (BG 10.4-5) wondered if this is interpreted to be God/Krishna/the Universe is made up of good and bad, darkness and light, yin and yang – doesn't matter, all conditions come from one source.

  17. Becky says:

    Test comment 2, copied/pasted stanzas

    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)

  18. Becky says:

    Test comment 3

    Freedom is union with the deathless…(BG 8.3)

    This stanza was the first to stand out. Stanzas prior to this one made me reflect on how Krishna is in everything, similar discussed in preceding Gita talks. But this one made me think about how when we die, there is so much freedom, so much more to our lives, when ironically it is death that brings us to the deathless state. A nicely thought provoking stanza.

    The next stanza that moved me the most was
    nonviolence, equanimity,
    control, benevolence, fame,
    dishonor—all these conditions
    come forth from me alone. (BG 10.4-5)

    …fame and dishonor…come forth from Krishna alone reminded me how God/Krishna encompasses yin and yang, dark and light. Complicated, but likened to when people are hurtful – say a murderer, the thought is to still have compassion for the murderer, because they are still a part of God/Krishna/everything. Hard to do but doable.

  19. hippiecupps says:

    A difficult one for me. Is this saying to look at everything for everthing is God? or that what you maynot like in someone else is what you also do not like in yourself? in either case very powerful. I don't have much problem with looking at everything as God is in all, but when for instance someone is not very nice and trying to relate to that….well, I have a long way to go with that, because the way some people act is not how I do or want to, how do interpret that?

  20. Hue Raschilla says:

    phone retailer and you will find the hyperlinks to my some other

  21. Yes, right on, William. Thanks for sharing this.

    Bob W.

  22. sonyata says:

    My story is a long and arduous journey that I will not take up the space with here. I have had a gift of dreams and visions from my youth, which I recorded in journals. I followed through many branches of the Christian Church, but was often rejected, marginalized, and put out for the most absurd reasons. After twenty years of this, a prophecy came to pass which I had recorded. I was amazed by its clarity. It was a nineteen year old prophecy fulfilled by a young Muslim woman from Egypt. It brought all of my recorded visions and dreams into a single context, and I followed it to the Bahai religion. And then I was rejected by them, and barred at their National Spiritual Assembly Level. A few years later I came to Yoga, and everything came full circle. Now I understand Hinduism -> Buddhism, Judaism -> Christianity, Islam -> Bahai, as well as the others. This after spending nearly seven years researching world history and the religions, and practicing yoga.

    It is human nature. I am glad I am not bought into so many of the separatist philosophies, but rather content on my own, among the people. Ashtanga Yoga is a good core discipline, and is probably now my fundamental belief. But I continue to learn about all of the religions, and how to help demystify their differences. Thanks for the comment. .

  23. Fascinating story, sonyata. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Leave a Reply