Summary of Chapter 9
Since this chapter deals with the knowledge of God which is the greatest (rajavidya) and the rarest (rajaguhya), it is titled as Rajavidya rajaguhya yoga.
In the first three verses, Lord Krishna introduces the topic, its glory and the qualifications needed for its pursuit. The topic is the knowledge of God in both the saguna and the nirguna forms ( jnana and vijnana). It is the most secret and sacred knowledge which releases one from bondage. It is the easiest to pursue and immediate in giving results. The seeker should have faith in the teacher and the teaching if the pursuit should be fruitful.
In the next three verses, the Lord reveals His true nature. He pervades the entire universe. Still , He is not related to anything. In fact there is no universe other than God. Yet, it appears because of His maya. He is ever non –dual and relationless like space.
Then Krishna comes down and redefines Himself accepting the universe. He is the basis for the origin, existence , and dissolution of the entire universe. ( jagat karanam). Blessed by God, His prakrti which is inseparable from Him, keeps the cycle of creation going. Though the Lord’s presence is inevitable for all these phenomena, He is not involved in any one of them as doer or enjoyer. He is akarta and abhokta.
In the 11th verse, Krishna talks about the cause of bondage. Because of the fundamental ignorance , no one knows the nature of God. Consequently, He is mistaken for a human being with birth, form etc. Thus it is due to ignorance and the consequent delusion regarding the nature of God and oneself that one gets bound.
Though ignorance is universal, many do not accept the fact. Hence they never attempt to get rid of it. Believeing neither in the scriptures nor in the established traditions, these atheists take to evil ways as directed by their instincts and waste their precious life.
On the other hand, there are some noble people who clearly recognize their bondage and worship the Lord, seeking Him alone to get out of the bondage. Krishna points out that various devotees worship Him in manifold ways. Some worship God as identical with themselves, some as different from themselves and some as everything. In this context, the Lord describes His cosmic form, i.e visvatomukhatvam.
In the next three verses, Bhagavan talks about two types of devotees- those who seek various finite ends through Him ( sakama bhaktas) and those who seek the infinite God only ( nishkama-bhaktas). The Lord points out that the worship for finite ends will be definitely fruitful. But , being finite they cannot last long. Even the attainment of heavens is finite only. A nishkama bhakta worships God seeking nothing else. The Lord promises to take care of even the worldly well-bing of such a bhakta because he has renounced all his worldly pursuits.
From verse 23 to 29, the Lord stresses the point that whether one should continue in samsara ( bondage) or attain moksha ( liberation) is one’s own choice ( purushartha). When people seek finite goals through worship of other deities , they are invoking the finite aspects of that one infinite God alone. All their prayers go to that one God only. But the result is still finite because they invoke and seek the finite only. The amount of water we can fetch from the ocean depends on what vessel we take. Thus they miss the infinite due to ignorance. Though the Lord is capable of giving everything, He can give only what the devotee is willing to receive. Hence the Lord says that one gets what one seeks. What type of worship must one do to attain the infinite? Bhagavan says that the worship is the simplest for the niskama bhakta. He can offer anything. The attitude is important. Even if that is not possible, one should convert every action into worship by mentally offering it at the feet of the Lord. Such a bhakta is a karma yogi , because he continues to act with equanimity, as well as a sannyasi , because he renounces the concern for results. He becomes purified and liberated soon by getting the teaching of the scriptures through a guru. Lord is available to all and it si for us to claim Him or not.
In the last five verses, Lord Krishna glorifies bahkti. The greatness of bhakti is that even those who are not qualified for self knowledge because of their past sins, weakness, extrovertedness or dullness can take to bahkti and achieve the goal. Thus bhakti is universal. The devotee will never perish. In conclusion, Krishna sums up the pursuit of bhakti thus – Fix your mind on Me, be My devotee, keep Me as your goal, be My worshipper, surrender to to Me. Thus fixing the mind, you will attain Me alone who am the Self. As explained by Swami Paramarthanandaji, The Self Konwledge by the study of scriptures under a guru alone can lead one directly to liberation.