Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge, Text: 17
pitāham asya jagato
mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁ-kāra
ṛk sāma yajur eva ca
Translation: I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable oṁ. I am also the Ṛg, the Sāma and the Yajur Vedas.
In this verse Krishna says that he is provider of everything in this life for us. Here he states 6 important things from gratitude perceptive:
- The first point Krishna says is “pitāham asya jagato”. I am the father. The father gives the seed that is the primary function of the father so Krishna in BG.14.4Krishna says “aham bija-pradah” I am the seed-giving father for the entire universe or universes
- The second point Krishna says is he is the mother. Mother provides the environment where the seeds can germinate and it can grow safely without any issues. The nourishment comes from the mother. Here mother means material nature and it is created by Krishna and it works under his direction. In BG.9.10 Krishna says “mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram”. This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
- The third point Krishna says is he is the “Dhata” which means he is the creator and supporter as well. He is the glue factor to keep everything together in this world. If Krishna is not there everything will be dismantled. Example) the entire planetary system: the milky way is so intact we never hear Jupiter hit the sun or moon fall from its orbit. This is the cosmological level comparison. Even if we look in our day to day life everything is perfectly functioning because the person behind this scene is Krishna and through his representatives makes everything happen and everything rests upon him. In BG.7.7 “Krishna is saying “mayi sarvam idam protam sutre mani-gana iva” which means everything rests upon him. If we take a pearl necklace all the pearls are held together but in fact what is making them actually hold together, it is the thread.
- The 4th point here Krishna says he is Grandsire also. Grandparents teaches us family traditions, culture, how one should behave, how one should act in a particular situation and of course they are the creator of the family. So here Krishna is the supreme Grandfather “Adidevam”. In BG.10.12-13 Arjuna says to Krishna “purusam sasvatam divyam adi-devam ajam vibhum” which means Krishna is the original person, the unborn, the mightiest. Whatever we learn comes from him.
- The 5th point Krishna says is “I am Omkara”, I am the syllable Om. In BG.7.8.8 “pranavah sarva-vedesu sabdah khe paurusam nrsu”. I am the transcendental syllable Om. Any mantras first start with “Om”, that sound represents Krishna
- The 6th point here what Krishna says is, “I am all Vedas”. He is object and subject matter of Vedas. The goal of Vedic scriptures is to know him and attain him. He talks about the process as well. In BG.15.15 Krishna says,” By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas”.
From the descriptions above we can clearly see that Krishna provides everything for us to live comfortably in this world. But we are rebellious souls. We were in the spiritual world with Krishna because our constitutional position is to love and serve him and since we want to enjoy separate from him, we are placed in this material world now. Why, because Krishna respects our free will and our desires, and as a good parent he created this material world for us to try and enjoy. Krishna also knew very well that we cannot enjoy without him but still, out of love he is creating everything for us in this material world. He provides us the environment to understand the material level of reality as well as the spiritual level of reality. Among the first 6 points the first 4 represents what he provides in material level of reality and in the last 2 points he says whatever spiritual level you get in this world also comes from him.
So now let’s see what Krishna is providing us. Everything at the cosmological level, terrestrial level and physiological level is engineered and architected by Krishna only. At the cosmological level he provides the entire structure for this universe. He created the sun, moon, the energy. The nuclear fusion that is happening within the sun and in that reaction, it gives energy, which is actually coming from Krishna only. In terrestrial level he keeps earth in the orbit. He sustains the earth, land, rivers, oceans, forests, trees and in Aquatics level also he provides everything. And at Physiological level he engineered our body and he sustain and maintains all our body functions too, because of that every organs of our body functions properly like blood circulation, heart pumping, digestion, we don’t have to do any of these works. And at emotional level, the experience of love, shelter, affection, inspiration, well wishes, the glories, facilities, the strength we get through from our loved ones comes from Krishna. And whatever knowledge we acquire in our life be it Astrophysics, Nuclear physics, Computers, Chemistry etc. everything comes from Krishna. He is the origin of all Knowledge which includes transcendental knowledge as well. In the spiritual level Krishna provides the principles of Dharma like how to be a perfect human being first. The core of all religion and the religious principles is to teach you how to become perfect in your life. Krishna mentions about Rg, Sam and Yajur Vedas the Vedic scriptures, he sends Acharya’s in our life who could give explanation of the scriptures like Srila Prabupada and other Acharya’s in disciplic succession, Shikha Gurus, devotees in life so that we are not getting lost. So, if we are frustrated with our material life and want to progress spiritually, he gives us the platform to proceed in that direction so that we develop the love of God and we can go back to our original place. So, we can see that everything comes from Krishna.
Even though Krishna created us, created everything for us in this material world, he did not go back to Golokha and thought of resting there and let us do whatever we want, he did not like to do that because he is our loving father. The highest degree of selfless love here is he expands himself as Paramatma and comes and sits in every body we take. Sometimes due to our evil desires and lower nature, we act on it, we incur bad Karma and because of that we get the bodies of a worm in a stool, a cockroach body, a rat or a cat body. Sitting as Paramatma in our heart he gives directions, but we don’t listen to him, since we want to enjoy separate from him. As a loving father he does not care if we accept him, recognize him or not, but still he sits within our heart all the time. In this material world, only we want recognition, name, fame, be center of attraction because we are materially motivated and in the long run will feel insecure, get lost sometimes. So, when Krishna says that I am the Father, the Mother, Grandsire etc. he is talking in contextual sense, the connection and the contribution he is having with each and every one of us in this world but we think Krishna is bragging about himself. Like it is said earlier, Krishna does not need anyone of us recognition, acceptance, he does not care if we consider him Supreme Lord or not but still, he is the Supreme Lord, he has no insecurity in his heart. He keeps on repeating the words again and again that he is our Mother, Father, Grandsire and source of all knowledge only for us to remind our constitutional position that we are part and parcel of Krishna (BG.15.7).
We have to be very grateful to Krishna for whatever he is doing, if we don’t have gratitude Shrimad Bhagavatam says we are living dead. The Analogy it gives is like the bellows of black smith. The black smith blows air in to the fire. The bellows breath in and breathe out, but it is a dead matter. Scriptures say that gratitude is the fuel for the vehicle. If we have to move forward in our life enthusiastically, the fuel, the charge comes from gratitude.
There is a beautiful statement in Srimad Bhagavatam that states that “śarīramādyaṃ khalu dharmasādhanam” means if you don’t have this healthy body then how are you going to practice spirituality or do your Varna Ashrama Dharma. Even if you are a wife, mother, father, husband or a student without Dharma you cannot elevate your consciousness. Our body is given to us by our parents. Of course, Krishna is the cause of all causes. He is the primary cause. Our gratitude should develop for our own mother and father at the first place, because they have given us this body and for whom we are today is due to their contribution to us. A Mother carry’s the baby in her womb for nine months going through all kinds of discomfort, sacrifices making sure the baby is delivered in good health. Once the baby is born, she feeds and nourishes the baby and raises them. So much selfless sacrifices she is making. Father also plays a very critical role. He gives the Bheeja for birth, supports, guides his children to be successful in their life. So, we should be very grateful to our parents to start with.
In this verse Krishna is telling he himself is our Father, Mother, Grandfather. All in one person so how much gratitude we should have for him. So, when we have a deep sense of gratitude, we have a deep sense of loyalty. Scriptures say that gratitude and loyalty go hand in hand. If you don’t have the gratitude you cannot be loyal to anybody, the sense of wanting for more and more increases and will cause us more and more dissatisfaction, anger and everything in our life. For example, if you are in a financial crisis you may borrow money from your close friend. And of course, you have to return him back at some point of time. But you should have the gratitude that he helped you in your crisis situation and you have to give him back his money but instead if you think I don’t have the money to pay my friend and keep on postponing and decide not to pay him then what will be your friend’s situation. He also has his own expenses. The sense of gratitude comes when we have the sense of what we have received from the person or persons in our life. We are trained in this consumer economy to focus mainly on what we do not have and make us ungrateful for what we have. Mainly material things, big Tv, new car, anything expensive. Even though we may have these things at home still we need something bigger quality than that. If we take Shastras there are lots of examples of devotees showing gratitude towards elders glorifying them, respecting them for what they did for them and they are always successful and great in their life. For example, Yudhishthira Maharaj gratefulness to Dhirtarashta Maharaj for accepting them to his Kingdom when they were very young and to Mahatma Vidura as well when he came from pilgrimage after the war, because he was like parents to the Pandavas, teaching them Dharma, taking care of them when they were very young.
A heart filled with gratitude, is compared to a golden heart. The grateful heart always wants to render service to others who are always instrumental in offering care, protection, affection, devotion to them. If you have an ungrateful heart you forget to express gratitude to people who are the real pillars of support in your life. You don’t feel like doing any service to them, you will feel insecure for everything, you will not be peaceful, the mind will be always wavering, you will be in anxiety, lamentation, and have lots of fear in your life because there is no shelter in your heart, it is a vacuum. If we have gratefulness to the Supreme Lord that he has given everything for us to be successful in our life then that heart is a sheltered heart, completely protected. Prahalad Maharaj had a supreme darshan of the Lord in Narsimha form, he first thought of his spiritual master Narada Muni. Without my teacher how can I have the darshan of the Supreme Lord face to face. My Guru convinced me. Gave me the process of devotional service. Gave me the knowledge how to practice bhakti, because of that the perfection of heart took place and I got the opportunity to see the Supreme Lord face to face. He is not highlighting this for pride but he really wants to glorify and show his gratitude to his spiritual master Narada Muni.
Sometimes we have this materialist tendency, we don’t want to acknowledge people who helped us thinking our glory will go away. In order to become a good human being, we need to have the sense of gratitude to people who helped us in our devotional service. In the material world we take everything for granted, everything runs as automatic. We see the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, Beautiful flowers of different colors and varieties are blooming, different type of fruits. The moon rises in the evening. We are benefitting from all of these. If you achieve anything in this material world you think it is because of your effort, but actually it is Krishna who is coordinating all these activities. In Bg.9.10 Krishna says “mayadhyaksena prakrtih”. The praktri works under my directions. If you see the hands of Krishna you will feel the sense of gratitude in your heart. But the default nature of some people in this world is if you get something profusely you will take it for granted, thinking it is cheap. But when it comes to pure devotional service chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, the most sublime process of self- realization, which is freely given, the association of devotees, the opportunity to do devotional service but who want to take it. It is a privilege to serve the Supreme Lord, you cannot get anything better than this. But still people do not want to take it.
We have to analyze ourselves. Are we showing gratitude to people who helped us, are we compassionate to others, are we counting our blessings? This can be explained by a story. There was teacher working in a school. In her class some kids belong to rich, poor or middle-class families. So, during one winter season she wanted to buy some woolen socks and gloves for kids who are not fortunate to have this. So, when she brought these things, she brought for all the kids. But the poor and middle-class family kids and her parents were very grateful to the teacher. But the rich kids could not acknowledge that value of the gift since these things were abundant in their house, and they were looking for some expensive gifts from the teacher. If they had really appreciated their teacher’s kind act, and saw the happiness of the kids who received the gift in need, they should automatically think of their blessings they are having in their life and stop demanding things. If we watch people around us, we can see some are sick, no money, no job, some are handicapped having no legs to walk and sitting on a wheel chair. We should be thankful for Krishna for giving all the blessings in our life. We are not handicapped, have good health, have good job, good bank balances, have good parentage, good house, car, we have this process of Chanting and scriptures given by Srila Prabupada and great Acharya’s and other Shiksha Gurus, devotee association, services in the temple, taste Krishna Prasadam, mercy of devotees, devotees helping each other in tough situation rendering their shoulders to elevate your consciousness. Then what else we need in our life. We should always remember to count our blessings. We should think always what will be the standard of living if we don’t have any of these. If we think we can figure out everything by ourselves then it is like climbing a 3-story building. Climbing up is always hard but to climb down is much easy. We will hit the ground faster. So, without the association of devotee’s proper guidance’s, lack of spiritual practices and lack of sense of gratitude, we will be degraded to lower consciousness fast because the material nature is like that. Shastras say if you have gratitude all the good qualities will develop. You will be showing respect to the person who had helped you, appreciate them, admire them, pay attention to what they are saying, then you feel affectionate, attached, the love blossoms in your heart. This is what we need to show it to Krishna. Gratitude is the vital element for us, it is a foundational virtue.
Markandeya Rishi, says life in this material world is like falling in to an Ocean. This is the analogy he uses and it is so true in every sense. If you fall in to the ocean there is water everywhere, there is no end to it. Even if you are an expert swimmer it is difficult to cross the waves or tides of the ocean, also there are various dangerous animals in the ocean which could harm you. You can be saved only if we take shelter of Lord by pure Bhakti. He sends the powerful boat to save you. The boat here represents our Guru, Sadhu and Shastra. Only they can help us the cross the tides of this material ocean from Birth, Old age, Disease and Death. Otherwise we will be carried away by waves of material desires which never end, and however fast you swim one day you will be caught by the “Kala Sarpa”, the eternal time. We cannot escape from his grip however hard we try. Even if you have all the success in this material world you have to leave everything and again take birth and start overall from the very beginning.
So, we should understand that the real success in our life is not based on our external success but our internal success, how much gratitude you have to Krishna that is the real success. Gratitude will transform our heart for good.
According to scriptures people without gratitude will fall under 3 categories
- What happens if a drop of water falls in to the fire, it will evaporate quickly? We may have some good qualities in us because of the past birth Sukriti but now if we don’t have gratitude towards God nor connected with him by any way, what happens is slowly your good qualities will evaporate, the lower natures like Anger, Lust, Greed, Envy, Pride will take control over us and slowly we will degrade. So, determination without Krishna consciousness makes a person stubborn. They will have relationship problems within the family and in work place. The first category of people is like this.
- What happens if a drop of water falls on to a lotus leaf? It will look like a pearl from far distance but not real pearl. The second category of people are like that they will look God conscious. They go to the temple, do some service. But they expect God to fulfill their material wishes. It is like a business transaction. A superficial conditional gratitude.
- Again, if the same water drop falls in to the Oyster shell. The Oyster goes to the ocean, and after some time through some process, the water drop turns in to a pearl. These people are like this, they have so much gratitude towards Krishna, they chant their Japa without any offence, follow regulative principles, they develop good qualities, they do selfless service, become a good human and a good Vaishnava. What ever qualities they cultivate will not go in the interest of time.
So, if you are properly situated in Krishna conscious Krishna will give you the intelligence to handle your life problems. You will know when to become firm, flexible, straight in a particular situation of your life. So, for any activity if you have enthusiasm but no Bhakti or overly enthusiastic or without any regulation or anyone to guide then it will turn to Rajasic quality we will become very sensitive and impulsive. Always remember faith with dharma is always auspicious and faith without any dharma cause violence. So, in this age of kali, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy chanting is the best process recommended and taking shelter of Krishna that should be our ultimate dharma. Sravanam and Kirtanam are important. Slowly you will develop gratitude and love towards Krishna, heart gets transformed, we take up more service, our respect, admiration, attraction, and the desire to know him increases, serve him better, we will develop a natural hankering to hear about him from our Spiritual masters, you will chant with feeling, tears will come from our eyes, a sign of gratitude, we will be even grateful to people who made a phenomenal contribution to our life and that will please the Guru parampara and all the devotees in the line of Guru parampara. You will be eager to give your knowledge to others which will transform their heart too eventually.
Krishna says through your work worship me be it anything. Competency and comfort level determine our work. Do the work which you are competent, so that it will bring some peace of mind, so you have a balanced life where you have some time to think of the Lord and appreciate him otherwise it will be burdensome and characterless. Sometimes our psychophysical nature also determines the type of work good for us. Example story of Eklavya and Dronacharya. Eklavya wanted to learn Archery from Dronacharya but as an Acharya Dronacharya knew very well that job does not suit him and he will exploit it. One day while Eklavya is practicing, he hears a dog barking. At first the boy ignored the dog, but continuous disturbance in his practice angered him. He stopped his practice and went towards the place where the dog was barking. Before the dog could shut up or get out of the way, Eklavya fired seven arrows in rapid succession to fill the dog’s mouth.
So, it is better to take guidance from our Acharyas and other Shiksha Gurus. In case if you are forced to work in a environment which you don’t like and no other option because this is the only way to feed your family, do not worry, tolerate it, and sincerely pray but do not take wrong decisions and just trust Krishna and wait. Krishna will create an opportunity and will give you an opportunity more conducive for devotional service.