Madalsa was the queen of king Ritudhwaj.
She was very enlightened, spiritually-learned and an ideal mother.
She had four sons namely, Vikrant, Subahu, Shatrumardana, and Alarka. When they were little babies and did cry often, Madalsa used to sing this lullaby to them rather than pleasing them with toys and dolls. The lullaby sung by Madalsa and her story is mentioned in the Markandeya Purana. It goes on like this:
शुद्धोसि बुद्धोसि निरँजनोऽसि
सँसारस्वप्नँ त्यज मोहनिद्राँ
Meaning: Madalsa says to her crying son – You are pure, enlightened and spotless. The world is just an illusion and constantly changing. Leave this illusion of the world and wake up from this deep slumber of delusion, O child.
You are pure. Enlightened. Spotless.
And due to her teachings her all the four sons left the throne and went for penance.
Attaining the Supreme
In the beginning of the eighth chapter today, Arjuna asks a question to Lord Krishna, he says:
किं तद्ब्रह्म किमध्यात्मं किं कर्म पुरुषोत्तम।
अधिभूतं च किं प्रोक्तमधिदैवं किमुच्यते।।8.1।।
Meaning: Arjuna inquired – O Lord, what is Brahman? What is the self? What are the fruitive activities? What is this material manifestation? And what are demigods?
अधियज्ञः कथं कोऽत्र देहेऽस्मिन्मधुसूदन।
प्रयाणकाले च कथं ज्ञेयोऽसि नियतात्मभिः।।8.2।।
Meaning: How does this Lord of sacrifice live in the body, and in which part does He live, O Madhusudana? And how can those engaged in devotional service know You at the time of death?
अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमं स्वभावोऽध्यात्ममुच्यते।
भूतभावोद्भवकरो विसर्गः कर्मसंज्ञितः।।8.3।।
Meaning: The Supreme Lord said – The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called the self. Action pertaining to the development of these material bodies is called Karma, or fruitive activities.
When Bhagwan Swaminarayan as Neelkanthvarni was on his spiritual journey all over India, he went to different ashrams and monasteries and whomever he met there he asked them five fundamental questions.
Those five questions were:
- What is jiva?
- What is ishvar?
- What is maya?
- What is Brahman?
- What is Parbrahman?
He passed on to different places asking about these five basic entities but no where he got the satisfactory answers to his questions. Except at the ashram of Ramanand Swami in Loj, Gujarat where he met a senior sadhu of Ramanand Swami, Muktanand Swami. And from then on Neelkanthvarni Maharaj stayed there until he met Ramanand Swami and got initiated from him in the Uddhava Sampradaya.
In the Vachnamrut, Bhagwan Swaminarayan explains about these five eternal elements in detail which becomes the basis of Vishistadvaita Philosophy.
Jiva – The Soul
One’s true identity is not this human body but the jiva that resides within it. The jiva, also called ‘atma’ or soul, is eternal – it cannot be destroyed. The jiva has no gender; it is neither male nor female. It is said to reside in our bodies in the same area as the heart.
Ishwar – Divinities
Ishwar transcends the jiva. It is the next element above the jiva. These beings partake in the creation, sustenance, and destruction of each universe. Ishwars are conscious spiritual beings that have greater realization than jivas. While the jiva must work to realize its divine presence within the human body, ishwar is aware of that divinity. There are infinite ishwars, and but they are all bound by maya.
Maya – Ignorance
Maya is the ignorance that separates the jivas and ishwars from Brahma and Parabrahma. It is the desire that hinders a spiritual aspirant’s path to moksha. Maya directly translates to attachment for worldly objects. Maya is the instrument through which Parabrahma facilitates karma and moksha. Only when a devotee is able to overcome maya — overcome the darkness of attachment to worldly objects — is he or she able to attain moksha. Maya manifests from physical matter, and it is difficult for the jiva or ishwar to transcend. Bhagwan Swaminarayan has advocated the jiva to engage in constant bhakti or devotion to God, to be able to move beyond maya and towards one’s liberation.
Aksharbrahma – The Eternal Abode
The gunatit sadhu, Aksharbrahma, is the pathway to God and to moksha. It is only through Aksharbrahma that a jiva can associate itself with God and understand Him well enough to seek complete refuge in Him, thereby bringing the jiva out of the darkness of maya and into the light of Parabrahma. Aksharbrahma is known to have two forms. One, which is formless and pure chaitanya, is known as Chidakash. In its other form, that Aksharbrahma remains in the service of Purshottam Narayan (Vachanamrut Gadhada I-21) and is the abode where God and the liberated jivas reside.
Parabrahma – Supreme God
The Supreme God is referred to as Purna Purushottam Narayan or Parabrahma. In the Vachanamrut, Bhagwan Swaminarayan has described this Supreme God as all-knowing, all-powerful and yet compassionate. This Parabrahma governs all the other four elements of jiva, ishwar, maya and Brahman.
अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम्।
यः प्रयाति स मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशयः।।8.5।।
Meaning: One who remembers me in his last time when he quits the body, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
यं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम्।
तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावितः।।8.6।।
Meaning: Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.
Whosoever will remember the Supreme Divine at the time of his death, is sure to attain liberation. Another similar thing is mentioned in the next verse that what one remembers at the time of his death, one attain that state after his death. We have heard the stories of Ajamil and king Bharat from Shrimad Bhagwat Puran that beautifully describes this fact. But who can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead at the time of his death. In this uncertain world there is no surety when one is going to die, so the best thing is to continuously engage one’s mind in devotion to Lord so that, even at the time of death it remains fix on Him alone.
तस्मात्सर्वेषु कालेषु मामनुस्मर युध्य च।
Meaning: Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time you must carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and you mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
Similar thing Lord Krishna says to Arjuna here, that fight with your mind devoted unto Me and you will attain Me. When we surrender ourselves to the God, we have to surrender it fully, it’s not like you can possess material desire in your heart and God as well. In the Vachnamrut Bhagwan Swaminarayan clearly states that, ‘it is either lust or Me, we cannot remain together at a single place.’ So while devoting one’s mind unto the divine feet of Lord one must forsake all his desires for material sense gratifications.
अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन चेतसा नान्यगामिना।
परमं पुरुषं दिव्यं याति पार्थानुचिन्तयन्।।8.8।।
Meaning: He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Arjuna, is sure to reach Me.
And with that singular-minded devotion, that is engaged upon Me, one attains Me without falling from the path.
There are many true aspirants and pseudo-devotees as well on the path of spiritual realization. But Bhagwan clearly mentions that, either you take Him or your desires. You can’t go both ways. It happens a lot of time that we hide so many desires in our heart for enjoying the sense gratification but God knows everything. He is omniscient. And He well knowing our intentions help us in that way.
मादित्यवर्णं तमसः परस्तात्।।8.9।।
Meaning: One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun and being transcendental is beyond this material nature.
The form of God is full of divine light as if countless suns and moons put together shining all at once. Such is the divine nature of light surrounding God. The luminosity. He is smaller that the smallest and larger than the largest. And the controller of the whole creation beyond all the modes of material nature, we should fix our mind on that Supreme entity. Only He is worth meditating and thinking.
यदक्षरं वेदविदो वदन्ति
विशन्ति यद्यतयो वीतरागाः।
यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति
तत्ते पदं संग्रहेण प्रवक्ष्ये।।8.11।।
Meaning: That, Akshar (Brahman) who glory is sung by those learned in Vedas. Desiring whom one practices celibacy. I shall now explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation.
The Aksharbrahman that we read above in the five eternal entities as mentioned by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the Vachnamrut, is talked about here. Lord Krishna says, that now I am going to give you that knowledge through which you can know about that Brahman which Arjuna asked at the beginning of the chapter. Kim Tad Brahman?
We read that Aksharbrahman has two forms, one in the form of intense divine light, which is also known as the abode of God. And the other is in the form of eternal servitor of Supreme God. The eternal servitor, who is constantly engaged in the service of Purushottam Narayan (Supreme God) transcends all the three modes of material nature. He remains beyond all the illusions and thus remains in the service of God. If we want to attain the abode of God, we need to attain the nature to that of Aksharbrahman, and we can do so, by remaining in the company of Satpurush who is manifestation of God on this earth and the form of that Akshar.
अनन्यचेताः सततं यो मां स्मरति नित्यशः।
तस्याहं सुलभः पार्थ नित्ययुक्तस्य योगिनः।।8.14।।
Meaning: For one who remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयमशाश्वतम्।
नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिं परमां गताः।।8.15।।
Meaning: After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
When we die we go to different lokas (realms) according to the karmas we have performed in our past lives. There are different realms which serves according to the fruits of activities one perform in this world. After exhaustion of those merits and demerits one returns back to this world. And then the cycle begins again. But those who once attain the Supreme abode of God, never return back to this temporary world and thus they always remain in the service of God.
मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते।।8.16।।
Meaning: From the higher planet in the material world down to the lowest all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O Arjuna, never takes birth again.
यः स सर्वेषु भूतेषु नश्यत्सु न विनश्यति।।8.20।।
Meaning: Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.
The abode of God which is full of divine light, chidakash, Akshardham, we discussed above is such that one never returns back from there to the temporary world. It is Supreme to all other abodes or realms and thus known as Supreme abode. Those who are constantly engaged in the divine service of Lord attains that divine abode.
शुक्लकृष्णे गती ह्येते जगतः शाश्वते मते।
एकया यात्यनावृत्तिमन्ययाऽऽवर्तते पुनः।।8.26।।
Meaning: According to the Vedas, there are two ways of passing from this world – one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back but when one passes in darkness, he returns.
Path of darkness. Path of light. When one leaves this body while contemplating about this world and the relations of this world, that is known as the path of darkness. While when one contemplates on the form of God only and nothing else except that, that is the path of light. When one goes through the path of light, he never returns back.
नैते सृती पार्थ जानन्योगी मुह्यति कश्चन।
तस्मात्सर्वेषु कालेषु योगयुक्तो भवार्जुन।।8.27।।
Meaning: The devotees who know these two paths, O Arjuna, are never bewildered. Therefore be always fixed in devotion.
वेदेषु यज्ञेषु तपःसु चैव
दानेषु यत्पुण्यफलं प्रदिष्टम्।
अत्येति तत्सर्वमिदं विदित्वा
योगी परं स्थानमुपैति चाद्यम्।।8.28।।
Meaning: A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. At the end he reaches the Supreme abode.
Often people think that to tread on the spiritual path of God one should have to read all of the books and philosophy and need much of understanding but that is not the thing here. If one firmly establishes the conviction of God and His form in his mind and follows the path of devotion under a bonafide spiritual master who is knower of Brahman, then one can easily attain the Supreme. And that is the only thing we need to understand. From last two chapters we read first about the knowledge of the absolute truth and we learned God to be that absolute truth who is being discussed in the Vedas and other scriptures. Next we learnt about the Brahman (Aksharbrahman) and how to attain the Supreme. In our next session we are going to see the most confidential knowledge that Lord Krishna tells to Arjuna.
26 April 2020
Gaurav S Kaintura
Note: If you find any error or have any doubts then please notify in the comments, you can also raise your questions. This is something sublime and beyond the comprehension of an average human mind, for any mistake on my part, I ask forgiveness in advance. For there could be any flaws in the expression or iteration but here I try to present best of what I understand and know with best of my intentions.
- Bhagvada Gita: as it is https://asitis.com/
- Story of Queen Madalsa: https://medium.com/@madhavbahl10/the-lullaby-of-queen-madalasa-the-madalasa-upadesha-4e06e1813b10
- Associating with Brahman through contemplation: https://www.anirdesh.com/vachanamrut/index.php?format=en&vachno=164
- The five eternal elements: https://www.baps.org/Spiritual-Living/Philosophy/The-Five-Eternal-Elements.aspx