Reflections on the Bhagwat Geeta – Chapter XV

In Chapter XIII-The Basis of Yog , we discussed the Samkhya duality of Prakruti and Purush. As we saw in Chapter XIII , the Bhagwat Geeta synthesizes the dualist Samkhya approach with the Ved-Upanisadic approach in discussing Atman.

For example, in Verse 2 of Chapter XIII , Shree Krishna tells Arjun Know Me as the क्षेत्रज्ञ (Kshetradnya) of all Kshetra (क्षेत्र). In the Samkhya terminology, this would mean that Shree Krishna is The Ultimate Purush or पुरुषोत्तम (Purush-Uttam).

In Chapter XV, this approach is extended: 

  • Verse 12 The Radiance in the Sun that brightens the entire world, the Radiance that is in the Moon, in the Fire, Know It to be My Radiance (तत तेजः विद्धि मामकं) .
  • Verse 14, Line 1I am the Agni that lives inside created beings (अहम् वैश्वानरो भूत्वा प्राणिनाम देहं आश्रितः) .
  • Verse 15I reside in the hearts of all…I am what the Ved understand, I am the Creator of Vedanta and I am the knowledge of the Ved.

Then Shree Krishna touches on the more colloquial terminology of Purush or people. He does so by describing ordinary Purush as parts of Prakruti and the Param-Atman as the ultimate Purush or पुरुषोत्तम (Purush-Uttam).

  • Verse 16There are two types of Purush called क्षर (Kshar) and अ-क्षर (A-Kshar). The Kshar comprise of all created beings and the central essence of Prakruti inside them is called A-Kshar.
  • Verse 17But the उत्तम पुरुष (Uttam Purush) or Ultimate Purush that is different from these two is called परम-आत्मन  (Param-Atman)He is the imperishable, permanent ईश्वर  (Eshwar) that comprises the Three Worlds.
  • Verse 18Since I am beyond (or greater than) both Kshar and A-Kshar, I am known both colloquially and in Vedanta as पुरुषोत्तम (Purush-Uttam).
  • Verse 19He who understands Me as पुरुषोत्तम (Purush-Uttam) without any doubts, He, upon understanding everything, worships Me in every way, O Son of Bharat (स सर्व-विद भजति मां सर्व-भावेन भारत) .
Shree Krishna ends Chapter XV be telling Arjun that upon understanding this (एतत बुध्वा) One becomes  Buddhi-Maan (बुद्धि-मान स्यात)  (or obtains Buddhi) and कृत-कृत्य (one whose work has been completed).

Thus Endeth Chapter XV named Purush-Uttam-Yog (पुरुषोत्तम-योग ) of Shree Bhagwat Geeta, of the Upa-Nisad (उप-निसदत्सु) , of the Yog-Shaastra (योग शास्त्र) of Brahma-Vidyaa (ब्रह्म विद्या), of the dialog (संवाद) between Shree Krishna & Arjun.

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