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Bhagavad Gita Chapter X – Verse 16 – 17

You should indeed tell me, without reserve, of Your divine attributes by which, filling all these worlds, You exist. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter X – Verse 16)

How shall I, O Yogin, meditate ever to know You? In what various aspects are You, O Blessed Lord, to be thought of by Me? (Bhagavad Gita Chapter X – Verse 17)

This is Arjuna’s appeal to Sri Krishna, whom he addresses as Yogin. Bhagavan is the ideal yogi, possessed of all power and wisdom.

‘I have to live in this world,’ says Arjuna. That means, ‘I have to live the sense life. So even while performing my duties, I want to think of You. That will purify my mind and then at last I may be able to really meditate and realize Your highest form. Teach me, O Krishna, how to live in the world so that everything will remind me of You, that I may go through life never forgetting You. Then I will be safe; the world will not be able to tempt or contaminate me.’

That which Arjuna wants to acquire, we find demonstrated in the life of great saints. Everything reminds them of Bhagavan. We find that throughout Sri Ramakrishna’s life even small and insignificant things were occasions for his discourses on God and absorption into samadhi.

The saint Avadhuta had twenty-four gurus, mostly animals and inert things. But all taught him to direct his mind towards God. Once he saw a crane intently watching the water for hours to catch a fish. Then Avadhuta thought, ‘How great is the crane. She stands there for hours to gain the object of her desire, never stirring. May I be as patient and self-controlled during the hours of my devotions.

That is practical religion. That is what is meant by sincere life. Thus we grow spiritually, always thoughtful, always endeavoring to keep God before our mind. God has created the senses to enjoy the external world. Therefore, our natural tendency is to go outwards through the senses. Our life is going outwards from the centre, which is the Soul. It is only in deep sleep that the senses are gathered up and then the soul rests within itself. And this is also the case in meditation. What is done unconsciously in deep sleep is done consciously during meditation.

A rishi of old realized that God could not be found by going outwards through the senses. Then he collected his senses and went inward. He concentrated all his faculties on the heart. And then, he found the great Reality. In meditation he found the great secret.

And there was a Western saint who sang, ‘I searched for God with heart-throbs of despair, beneath the ocean’s depth, above the vaulted sky. At last I searched myself and found Him there.’

But we are now dealing with another phase of realization. Arjuna is not speaking of meditation, but of the possibility of seeing God in nature. The saint is like an artist. The artist has found something behind sense experience, something behind what the senses offer. He cannot reach it. But through the senses he tries to get near it. Ordinary people are satisfied there, but the artist gets a glimpse beyond. He uses the senses in order to go beyond the senses. He pushes on; he penetrates where the senses cannot go. The external suggests to him the internal. And that is what Arjuna wants. He wants to be reminded of Bhagavan through the external, through that with which he comes in daily contact, which he cannot avoid. Later on, we will see that Arjuna gets a higher vision. Finding that the external cannot satisfactorily reveal the Reality, the saint goes inward. That is prayer and meditation and discrimination. He realizes that through the senses full vision is not possible. He then retires within himself. And after seeing God within himself in samadhi, he comes out and he sees God everywhere. He reverses the process.

First the external covers Bhagavan, but now Bhagavan covers the external. The saint is the perfect artist. He looks through the spiritual eye, the eye of God. And then, everything becomes beautiful, for he sees God through all. Everything is illumined with the glory of God. God is Beauty. And that Beauty he sees everywhere. Arjuna wants to train his mind so that, even thinking of external objects, he may be able to contemplate Bhagavan in His manifestations.