Q: Gurudev, in Chapter-14, verse 27 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that He is also the primal cause of the Para-Brahman (Supreme all-pervading Consciousness) and He is also its very existence. This became a point of confusion among many learned scholars. Sri Adi Shankaracharya also got confused when he read this. Please throw some light on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Lord Krishna gave knowledge in three different ways: the pratham purush (meaning to narrate as first person), madhyam purush (meaning to narrate as second person) and uttam-purush (meaning to narrate as the detached Seer or the Self). So at times Lord Krishna spoke about God using “Him”, or “That” or “He”. At other times He spoke about God using words as “You” or “Yours”; and then He also spoke about God by referring to the Self, saying “Me” or “I”.
So we say “Tat tvam asi” (Meaning: You are That), and we also say “Sarvam khalvidam Brahmasi” (Meaning: Everything is Brahman). “Tat tvam asi” means you are That, and That (the Self or consciousness) is within you. Then it is also said “Aham Brahmasmi”; meaning “I am Brahman”. So, sometimes you find that Lord Krishna says ‘Come take refuge under Me’, while sometimes He says ‘Take the refuge of God’. Both are correct in how they are said. The duty of a Guru is to take a person forward from where he is on the Path. Before Lord Krishna revealed His Vishwa-Rupa (supreme universal form) to Arjuna, He said:
Ishvarah sarva-bhutanam hrida-deshe Arjuna tisthati |
Bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya || (18.61)
He says that God resides in everyone’s hearts. And then by revealing His Vishwa-Rupa form to Arjuna, He showed him that everything resides within Him, after which He says, ‘Surrender everything and take refuge in Me alone’.
The Gita has been interpreted in thousands of ways, called Tikas. But the essential thing is that the Truth is one, but it is explained in different ways from time to time (depending upon the need and conditions of mankind at the time). And there is contradiction right from the beginning to the very end in Gita. Arjuna himself asks Lord Krishna, ‘O Lord! Tell me one sure way to be free from misery. I am confused listening to so many ways. One moment you suggest one path, the next moment another path. I am already confused and dejected, why are you confusing me further?’ See, the Bhagavad Gita shows a unique way of helping a person go step by step towards Divinity, towards the Self. There is no other scripture equal to the Gita. There is no other scripture other than the Gita that leads one to the Truth through contradiction after contradiction.