sri bhagavan uvacha –mayy-asakta-manah partha yogam yunjan mad-ashrayahasamshayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrinu
Bhagavan Sri Krishna said: O Partha, please listen – when the mind is attached to Me and one practices yoga and takes full shelter of Me, then you will certainly be able to know Me.
jnanam te’ham sa-vijnanam idam vakshyamy-asheshatahyaj-jnatva neha bhuyo’nyaj jnatavyam avashishyate
I will explain to you this knowledge and it’s realization. Once you understand this, there is nothing else in this world that remains to be known.
manushyanam sahasreshu kashcid yatati siddhayeyatatam api siddhanam kashcin mam vetti tattvatah
Amongst thousands of men, one may try to achieve perfection. Amongst those rare persons that endeavor for perfection, one may actually know Me.
This chapter of Bhagavad-gita is entitled Jnana-Vijnana Yoga. Jnana means knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or knowledge that the self is not the body. Vijnana means realized knowledge or realization of ones intrinsic relationship with Krishna. Srimad Bhagavatam also mentions jnana and vijnana as follows:
jnanam parama guhyam me yad vijnana-samanvitam
sa-rahasyam tad angam ca grihana gaditam maya
Knowledge (jnanam) about Krishna as described in the Vedic literatures is very confidential, and it has to be realized (vijnanam) in conjunction with the secrets of devotion. (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.31)
When we speak of knowledge, modern man immediately thinks of scientific knowledge which he deems to be most perfect. However, jnana in Bhagavad-gita refers to that knowledge of the self as distinguished from the knowledge of matter or scientific knowledge. Knowledge of matter is called apara-vidya and it is quite distinct from the knowledge of the self in that it never leads to self-realization.
Since the beginning of the Rationalist Movement, some five centuries ago, science has completely rejected the idea of consciousness as independent of matter. Many scientific theories have been presented to explain the origin of the universe and the origin of life such as the ‘Big Bang’ and Darwinian Evolution, but these explanations remain mere theories, lacking conclusive evidence.
For centuries the scientific community and the theistic community have been at odds with each other, but recently it appears that the two may finally be drawing closer. At last, leading persons in the scientific community are willing to accept consciousness as a scientific fact. Indeed, biologist and stem-cell therapist, Dr. Robert Lanza has of late rocked the scientific world with his book, Biocentrism – How Life Creates the Universe, in which he postulates that consciousness has evolved matter and not that matter has evolved consciousness. If this current trend continues then indeed science may very well be on the path of jnana.
The worldview of consciousness being the origin of matter has taken a long time to manifest. But as Krishna says in verse three, those who endeavor for perfection are very rare, and rarer still are those who actually understand Krishna. To this end, all learned and educated people in the world should take lessons from Bhagavad-gita.
bhumir apo’nalo vayuh kham mano buddhireva caahankara itiyam me bhinna prakritir ashtadha
Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intelligence and false-ego – these are the eight different elements of My material nature.
apareyam itas tvanyam prakritim viddhi me paramjiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat
However, should know that there is another, superior to this inferior nature. It is a conscious potency that consists of the living beings and maintains the universe.
etad yonini bhutani sarvanity-upadharayaaham kritsnasya jagatah prabhavah pralayas tatha
Try to understand that all beings are manifest from these two sources and that I am the cause of the creation and annihilation of the entire universe.
The basic material elements that comprise the universe have been mentioned here. Earth (bhumi), water (apa), fire (anala) and air (vayu) are, for the most part, easy to grasp – whereas kham, the invisible element, is rather more difficult. Kham is defined as accommodating space for existence. For a long time, modern science has rejected the Bhagavad-gita’s concept of space as an element. However, once again the scientific community finds itself facing serious problems wherein an illusive element must be present in the universe in order for them to explain how the universe works. This element, physicists say, may comprise up to 80% or more of the universe, but is unknown to them and is thus far undetectable. They have called this ‘Dark Matter’.
The first person to provide evidence and infer the existence of the phenomenon of Dark Matter was the Swiss astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky, of the California Institute of Technology in 1933. Zwicky applied the viral theorem to the Coma cluster of galaxies and obtained evidence of unseen mass. Zwicky estimated the cluster’s total mass based on the motions of galaxies near its edge and compared that estimate to one based on the number of galaxies and total brightness of the cluster. He found that there was about four-hundred times more estimated mass than was visually observable. The gravity of the visible galaxies in the cluster would be far too small for such fast orbits, so something extra was required. This is known as the ‘Missing Mass Problem’. Based on these conclusions, Zwicky inferred that there must be some non-visible form of matter that would provide enough of the mass and gravity to hold the cluster together. That was the beginning of the search for Dark Matter.
Seventy-eight years later, science is still looking for Dark Matter. They know it is literally everywhere, but it escapes detection and thus they are unable to observe it. Millions of taxpayer’s dollars are spent every year by western superpowers in the search for Dark Matter. Nothing has turned up yet.
On a parallel platform, Srimad Bhagavatam identifies a material element that among its other qualities is, for the most part, elusive. It is all-pervading, but simultaneously it is undetectable. That element according to Bhagavatam is called nabhas, or as mentioned here in Bhagavad-gita, kham.
The activities, qualities and characteristics of the kham element can be observed as accommodating space/room for existence. Space itself, both internal and external, is the element kham. This then, if taken notice of by physicists, may very well fit nicely into the ‘Missing Mass Problem’. Kham, being a material element, could theoretically be assigned a numerical code – then they might find what they are looking for.
In the Vedic way of thinking, the physical element is secondary to its qualities – when the qualities of a particular thing are understood, it is as good as or better than having the grosser subject at hand. In that sense, modern science has already discovered Dark Matter, because they have understood something of its qualities…they just haven’t realized it yet. In the Srimad Bhagavatam we find the following verse:
bhutanam chidra-datrtvam bahir antaram eva capranendriyatma-dhisnyatvam nabhaso vrtti-laksanam
The activities and characteristics of nabhas can be observed as accommodation for external and internal existences of all living beings, namely the field of activities of the vital air, the senses and the mind. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.26.34)
This verse is the potential basis of great scientific research work, for it explains how subtle forms are generated from nabhas, what their characteristics and actions are, and how the tangible elements, namely air, fire, water and earth, are manifested from the subtle form. Bhagavatam does not simply list the basic material elements, but it explains quite scientifically how those elements evolve from the subtlest plane of existence up to the divisions of the universe – this is quite elaborate and scientific indeed.
Yet for science to take full advantage of this understanding of matter and to discover how the universe came into being, they will have to do more than just add kham – they will have to add ahankara (false-ego), mana (the mind) and buddhi (intelligence) to their table of elements. For indeed, Bhagavad-gita lists these as material elements. Furthermore, these elements, ahankara, mana and buddhi are categorized as even more subtle than kham, because they are closer in character to atma, consciousness.
Beyond the gross and subtle material elements being added to the scientific table, Bhagavad-gita says that a complete understanding of existence, of reality, is not possible without adding two transcendental, anti-material concepts – namely atma and Paramatma (consciousness and super-consciousness). This, it seems, science struggles with even more than Dark Matter. We have dubbed these ‘Light Matter’.
Mind and intelligence should not be confused with the self or atma. Mind and intelligence have not arisen out of matter as some philosophers or scientists has suggested. Last in the list is ahankara or false-ego. All these are material elements which manifest from the apara-prakriti or the inferior energy of Krishna. These material elements comprise the gross and subtle elements that make up the material body and cover the self within.
Those conditioned by material elements consider the body as the self. But Krishna says that there is another energy of His – a superior energy, which is a conscious potency and consists of all living beings.
Bhagavad-gita explains the gross and subtle material elements as well as consciousness and Super Consciousness and any theory that is not all inclusive of these is surely inadequate.