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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 22

O son of Pritha, that supreme Purusha, in whom all beings abide and by whom all this is pervaded, can be attained by wholehearted and exclusive devotion to Him. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 22).

We find the same teaching in all religions, the voice of God calling to His devotees, calling to all creation, ‘Come unto Me.’ There the way is shown how to reach the supreme Self, beyond whom naught exists; that Spirit, in whom all beings abide as the effect abides in the cause, and by whom the whole world is pervaded as the Knower of all. That within us that feels that it knows is a mere reflection of the supreme Spirit.

How can we reach that Spirit? By wholehearted and exclusive devotion to Him, by that supreme devotion which realizes ‘I am not different from Him.’ The whole universe would be emptiness were it not for the supreme Spirit. And I am not different from Him. ‘For we are His offspring, in Him we live and move and have our being.’ He is the container and also the contained. But not like water in a jar, not only external — no, all-pervading.

‘Just as a bird in the home-tree nest, in just the selfsame way does all this nestle in the Self Supreme.’ (Prashna Upanishad, 4.7.)

 ‘He who knows that imperishable Being, bright, shadowless, bodyless, colourless, pure —verily he attains the Supreme, the undecaying Purusha. O my good friend, he who knows the Atman becomes all-knowing, becomes all. He who knows that imperishable Being, wherein rests the intelligent self (buddhi), the gods, the pranas and the elements — he becomes all-knowing and enters into all.’  (Prashna Upanishad, 4.10-1).

This is the saguna Brahman, Purusha reflected in maya. Nirguna Brahman is unqualified. Then there is no world, no beings, only One-without-a-second, no knower, no cognizer, One and One alone. That will come later.

Saguna Brahman means conditioned Brahman, and nirguna Brahman means unconditioned. The contemplation of nirguna Brahman is only for the highest jnanis, who have realized the distinction between the Real and the unreal. Otherwise there is the danger of mistaking the avyakta, the unmanifest universe, for unconditioned Brahman. And that would lead to tamasic conditions. And it is said that ultimately that may lead to prakritilaya or absorption in nature, almost the starting point of spiritual evolution.

Sri Krishna recommends contemplation of Ishvara, or saguna Brahman, manifest in the universe, Brahman viewed as the source and guide of the universe, the all-pervading, self-conscious supreme Lord, immanent in every part of the universe.

We have now come to a very difficult part, where the paths are described of those who depart from here never again to return, and of those who go but do come back again to this mortal sphere.

Source - Reflections on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Atulananda – Prabuddha Bharata February 2004 issue.