Shrimad Bhagavat Gita Mahatmya

Vasudeva of Yadu Vamsa was married to Devaki, the daughter of King Ugrasena, who was dethroned by his son Kamsa who was vicious, inhuman and sadistic. Even at the time of the wedding of Vasudeva and Devaki, there was an ‘Akashavani’ (Voice from the Sky) addressing Kamsa that Devaki’s eighth son would kill him. While trying to kill Devaki at once, Vasudeva advised that she was after all she was his sister and could be imprisoned along with him and that the eighth son could be killed.

As Bhagavan Vishnu was in ‘Yoga Nidra’(Yogic Slumber) on Sesha Nag in the midst of Ksheera Sagara (Ocean of Milk) stating that he was meditating Bhagavan Maheswara, Devi Maha Lakshmi wondered as to why did Vishnu assert that he was Paramatma himself and none else! Did he not ask Arjuna in no uncertain terms that he should fight without hesitation and dedicate all actions and results to Him, since He was the Cause, the Causation and the Causer! Fully endorsing what Devi Lakshmi said, Bhagavan defined that out of the Eighteen ‘Adhyayas’ (Chapters) of Bhagavad Gita, five Adhyayas constituted five of his Faces, ten Adhyayas were his ten hands, one Adhyaya was his belly and two were his two feet. He further gave the illustration of Susharma and said that intelligent people like him who read an Adhyaya of Gita a day or half of it or a quarter, or atleast a stanza, would certainly secure Mukti. Susharma was no doubt a Brahmana by birth but was a chronic sinner; he did neither dhyana nor japa, neither homa nor ‘Atithi Satkar’ or Puja of Guests; on the contrary he was a drunkard, meat eater and a regular womanizer. One day he died of a snake bite. After experiencing retribution in various ‘Narakas’, he was born as a bull and served under an oil-extractor for seven to eight years and died out of hard work and exhaustion. A few persons contributed prayers for the animal’s salvation and among them was a ‘veshya’ (prostitute) who donated some ‘Punya’ on her account. In the rebirth the bull became a pious Brahmana in the same village as a ‘Jyatismara’ with the gift of memory of the past birth. He met the Veshya and enquired as to which Punya that she donated at the death of the bull. She said that she bought a parrot which used to mutter some lines of a stanza always although she did not guess what was it but surely that muttering had highly soothing effect. The Brahmana asked the Parrot and the latter said that she was earlier in an Ashram in a cage where a Rishi was teaching something to his desciples and it learnt it but a hunter stole the bird and sold to the Veshya. The Rishi conveyed that he taught the First Chapter of Gita! That was the Punya which the Veshya acquired from the parrot’s muttering that was learnt at the Ashram. Such was the Mahtmya of the First Chapter.

Bhagavan Vishnu then explained to Devi Lakshmi the significance of the Second Chapter of Gita.  A Veda Pandit Deva Sharma of Purandarapura in Dakshina Bharat was anxious to learn and attain ‘Tatwa Gyan’ and came across a visiting Mahatma about his desire. The Mahatma directed Deva Sharma to a Goat Keeper called Mitravan at Sowpur in a forest seated on a rock on the banks of a river bed nearby. Mitravan narrated one of his experiences about a tiger approaching a helpless goat; all other goats fled away but this one waited as though it welcomed the tiger to eat him up. The tiger hesitated and asked the goat as to why he had the courage to stand firmly but did not run. The goat questioned as to why the tiger did not pounce on her! The tiger replied that her hunger subsided suddenly. Both the tiger and the goat met a Mahatma in the forest and he asked them to approach a Vanara Raja (Monkey). The Vanara Raja replied that there was a highly religious Brahmana named Sukarma who meditated in a Shiva Temple not far off for long time. When Sukarma was asked, he said that one Maha Purush appeared in the Temple and Sukarma requested him to teach him Tatwa Gyan. The Maha Purush asked Sukarma to read an inscription on a rock nearby the Temple from the Second Chapter of Gita emphasizing the importance of ‘Abhyasa’or Practice. Having said this, the Maha Purush disappeared. The Second Chapter states:

Karmaneyvaadhi kaarastey maa phaleshu kadaachana,
maa karmaphala heturbhuh maa tey sangostva karmani/

(Partha! You have freedom only to perform your duty. The rest is not relevant to you. But You should perform the ‘Karma’without expecting the fruits).Bhagavan defined a Tatva Gyani as follows:

Duhkheshvanu dvignamanaah Sukheshu vigataspruhah,
Veeta raga bhayakrodhah Sthidheermuniruchyatey

(A Stitha-Pragna or a Tatwa Gyani is he who is least disturbed when there is unhappiness and difficulty and gets elated when there are reasons to be delighted; if one could practise equanimity without desire, fear or anger, that only is the feature of Tatwa Gyan (Sthita Pragnyatwa). Thus the chain of Deva Sharma-the Mahatma-Mitravan the Goat Keeper-the Tiger and the Goat-the Vanara Raja-Sukarma and the Maha Purush revealed the Message of Tatwa Gyan which simply stated that one should practice one’s own duty and Tatwa Gyan would unfold itself!
Describing the Mahatmya of the Third Chapter of Gita titled Karma Yoga, Bhagavan cited the example of a Brahmana named Jada who practiced the profession of a ‘Vaishya’ or of business.He amassed wealth from this line but became a victim of vices. He desired to earn more and travelled to a far off city. On way he halted for the night and slept off under a tree in a village. A gang of robbers looted and killed him and he turned to be a ‘Pretaatma’ (goblin) and resided on the same tree. Jada’s son was a dutiful Brahmana and followed the duties of a Brahmana. As he was concerned of his father’s where abouts, the son asked a friend of his father and he conveyed that the latter was looted and killed on way in a village under a tree. Being highly saddened by the news, he proceeded to Varanasi to perform the obsequies of his father and coincidentally halted under the tree of the same village where his father also halted for an overnight stay and got killed by the gang of robbers. Before he desired to sleep, the son recited the Third Chapter of Gita; his father who was also on the same tree as a Preta appeared before the son, and while boarding an air-plane to Vaikuntha since he was redeemed as a result of the recital of the Third Chapter of Gita, he asked his brothers also to revert to the Brahmana Varna at once and observe the duties concerned and more importantly recide the Third Chapter. Since Jada’s son was also visiting Varanasi anyway as planned by him, the son should invoke the forefathers of the Vamsa by reciting the Karma Yoga or the Third Chapter of Gita so that they too would realize Salvation. The principal message of the Third Chapter sressed:

Shreyan swadharmo vigunah pardharmatswanushthaat,
Swadharmey nidhanam shreyah Para Dharmo bhayaapah/

(Even if one feels that the ‘Dharma’or duty of somebody else’s is attractive, one must observe one’s own Dharma since ‘Para Dharma’
or Dharma of others is worse than death). Another significant instruction given by Krishna to Arjuna in this Chapter stated:

Mayi sarvaani karmaani sanyasyadhyatma chetasa,
niraaseermamo bhutwa yudhyasya vigata jwarah/

(Partha! I create all actions and hence perform your duty targetting me and leaving results to me and fight).
As the son followed his father’s instruction in letter and spirit and all the forefathers flew to Vaikuntha by air-planes, Yama Dharma Raja was concerned that several ancestors were leaving away to Vaikuntha from Narakas as per the directive of Vishnu dootas and thus double-checked from Lord Vishnu and the latter endorsed the instructions. As Yama Raja enquired ofVishnu whether there were further instructions to him, the latter replied that he should better perform Yama Raja’s own Swadhrma!

 Bhagavan Vishnu narrated to Devi Lakshmi the illustration of Mahatma Bharat worshipping at Vishwanatha Temple of Varanasi on the banks of Ganga, while signifying the Mahatmya of the Fourth Chapter of Gita. One day, he desired to rest under the shade if two bilva trees which were located side by side with a gap of five-six feet. Bharat kept his head at the bottom of one bilva and placed his feet at the bottom of another tree and recited the Fourth Chapter and after a while left for his home. Even as he was leaving, he found that the trees were fast drying up and when he reached home he found two ‘Kanyas’ (young girls) at his house. The Kanyas thanked Bharat profusely and said that were relieved of a curse by a Tapasvi named Satyatapa that they received at a curse at a Kshetra called ‘Chhinna Paapa’ (Relieved of Sins) on the banks of River Godavari. The two Kanyas were two ‘Apsaras’ bathing half nude seeking to entice the Tapasvi at the behest of Lord Indra since the latter felt a threat to his Throne at Swarga, whereas the Tapasvi’s desire was to attain ‘Jeevan Mukti’ or Mukti while he was alive; hence the curse that the Apsaras should turn as trees at Varanasi on the banks of Ganga. When the Apsaras pleaded for mercy, the Tapasvi agreed to get their original forms when a Mahatma called Bharat would one day rest under the trees reciting the contents of Gyana Yoga in the Fourth Chapter of Gita titled Jnaana Yoga. The redeemed Apsaras took up to thr regular recitation of the Fourth Chapter of Gita.
Incidentally, it was in this this Adhyaya titled ‘Jnaana Yoga’ that Lord Krishna declared:

Yadaa yadaahi Dharmasya glaanir bhavat Bharata!
Abhyuddhhaana madharmasya sadaatmaanam srijaamyaham/
Paritraanaaya Saadhunaam vinashaya cha dushkirtman
Dharma Samsthaapanaarthaaya Samshavami Yuge Yuge

(Arjuna! As and when Dharma is affected adversely and Adharma prevails, I shall take the ‘Avataras’ (incarnation) to vindicate the cause of the Virtuous and destroy the Forces of the Evil!)

Underlining the magnitude of the Fifth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Vishnu told Lakshmi example of a Brahmana named Pingala of Madra Desha, ignoring his responsibilities as a Brahmana but built up expertise in music and dance and eventually achieved reputation in the profession as also proximity to the King as his favourite. He married a woman of low caste called Pingali alias Aruna. One night, being jealous of Pinala, Aruna killed him in his sleep. He suffered in Narakas and was born eventually as a vulture and afer her death due to pox, Aruna was reborn as a parrot. Being aware of the memory of previous life, the vulture saw the parrot and tore it apart as the latter was dropped in a pond. A hunter spread a net and the vulture was entangled and died as he threw the vulture’s body too fell in the same water body as the parrot fell. Suprisingly, both the birds achieved salvation! They asked Yama Dharma Raja as to what was the reason for both the sinners of equal guilt to head for Swarga since Pingala left the duties of a Brahmana and had loose morals while Aruna killed Pingala! Dharma Raja explained that their dead bodies fell in the same water body leading to a River on the banks of which was a pious Brahmana always reciting the Fifth Chapter of Karma Sanyasa Yoga in Gita!
Bhagavan Vishnu narrated to Devi Lakshmi the value of Sixth Chapter of Gita entitled Jnana Yoga and described the virtue, fame and high charitable disposition of the King Janashruti. Even Devas made flying trips as ‘Hamsas’ (Swans) to his Kingdom on the banks of River Godavari with Pratishthanapuri as its Capital to appreciate the noble deeds being executed by the King. Once the King while strolling on the top of the Palace overheard the remarks of flying Hamsas that the King’s greatness and virtue were nearing even those of Mahatma Reik’s who was residing at Manikeswar on the top of Himalaya Mountains beyond the Kashmira Region. The King immediately decided to visit Manikeswara at the Temple of Bhagavan Chandrasekhara where Mahatma Reiki stayed. On way from the Pratishthanapuri, the King along with his big entourage passed through several important Tirthas and worshipped Kasi Vishwanath, Gadadhar at Gaya, Shri Krishna at Mathura near Kalindi (Yamuna) and on to Kashmirapuri where he stopped over at the Manikeshwara Temple of Bhagavan Shiva. At the main Dwara of the Temple, the King spotted a beggar-like Sadhu stationed on an empty cart under a big tree. The King’s Sarathi (charioteer) introduced the King to the Mahatma who made kind enquiries about the various charities, constructon of temples, water bodies and public gardens as also Yagnas and Vratas that the King was responsible for. Then the King sought to donate several chariot-full of gifts of Dhana (money)-Dhanya (foodgrains), Cattle, Jewellwery and clothes. The Mahatma became suddenly furious and shouted on the King in white anger: ‘Arre Shudra! You think you can buy me with these gifts? Has not somebody told you about me? Take these away and get lost!’ The King was dazed at this sudden spurt of the Mahatma’s rage and was afraid that he might not give a ‘shaap’ (curse) to him. The King profusely apologized and fell on his feet shivering with fear and shame. After the Mahatma cooled down, he conveyed to the King that he always recited the Sixth Chapter of Gita on ‘Jnaana Yoga’:

Yadaa hi nendriyaartheshu na karmaswanu- shajjetey/
Sarva sankalpa sanyaasee yogaarudhasta dochatey

(A Saadhaka or Yogi would become ripe only ‘Indiras’-body parts of external and internal nature- and their desires are left out, Karmas or duties are too avoided subduing the feelings of the giver or the taker and the totality of the ‘You’ or ‘I’ is avoided then only one becomes a Yogi).

Somewhat on the lines of the Brahmana Jada in the Third Chapter earlier, Shankhakarna too followed the Vaishya profession, became extremely rich and desired to marry for the fourth time and proceeded to a neighbouring village.But on way, he was bitten by a serpent and died and was born again as a serpent. He came in the dreams of his sons as a serpent and conveyed that he hid crores of cash and jewellery at such and such a shrub in the backyard of their home. Next morning, the brothers dug up at the location as per the dream, but a serpent appeared, desired to ascertain their identity and said that they should recite the Seventh Chapter of Gita titled Vigyan Yoga at once. To their utter surprise, the serpent took the form of their father, handed over huge reserve of gold and jewellery to the sons and boarded a Viman destined to Vishnu Loka. The sons were all virtuous, performed Yagnas, charities and such other noble tasks as digging up wells, water bodies and construction of choultries, rest houses etc. for public benefit. Most importantly however was the recitation of the Seventh Chapter of Gita and attained Vishnu Loka! The essence of this Chapter was stated by Bhagavan to Arjuna as follows:

Beejam mam Sarva bhutaanaam viddhih Parthah Sanatanam,
buddhirbuddhimatamasmi Tejastejasvinamaham/
Balam balavataam chaham kamaraga vivarjitam,
Dharmaa virudho bhuteshu kaamosmi Bharatarshabha/

(Partha! Do realize that the timeless seed responsible for germinating the entire Creaion is me; I am the Intelligence to the intelligent; Radiance to the radiant, Physical Power to the powerful etc. I am also the desire and hatred; virtue to the virtuous, vice to the vicious and so on!).

About the ‘Mahatyma’ of the ‘Ashtama Adhyaya’, Lord Vishnu gave the example to Devi Lakshmi of Bhava Sharma who lived in Amardakapura in Dakshina Bharat. Being a Brahmana by birth, he married a ‘Veshya’ and was a meat-eater, wine drinker and a debauche. Once he and his wife were drunk dead and became huge ‘Tada Vrikshas’
(Palm Trees). Another Brahmana couple called Kushibal and Kumati were wrong examples of deceipt, greed, and anger. Kushibal used to accept ‘daanaas’ of horses and ‘Kaala Purusha Pratimas’ and were also involved in base tantras. This couple died and turned out to be ‘Brahma Rakashasas’and made the ‘Tada Vrikshas’as their abode. Once a Vedavedya Brahmana came to rest under the trees, when the Rakshasa couple appeared and asked as to how they could get rid of their Rakshasatva and obtain ‘Mukti’. The Brahmana said: ‘Brahma Vidya’s Upadesha’ or teaching, ‘Adhyatmika TatwaVichara’ or the Awareness of Inner Consciousness and Karma Vidhi Gyana or the Knoweldge of performing Karmas / deeds are the three factors which could redeem them! Then the Brahma Rakshasi got confused and said: Kim tat Brahma! Kimadhyantakam! Kim Karma! (Who is this Brahma? What is this Adhyatma? And which is this Karma?) As soon as the Brahma Rakshasi muttered these words, a miracle happened and the Brahma Rakshasa couple attained ‘Mukti’ and so did the Palm Trees/ Bhava sharma couple! These were the opening lines of the Eighth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita entitled Akshara Brahma Yoga and hence the miracle!  The further lines of the stanza stated:

Adhi Bhutam cha kim proktam Adhi Daivam ki muchyatey/

(What is Adhi Bhutam? What is Adhi Daivam?) To this question of Arjuna, Bhagavan Krishna’s reply was:

Aksharam Brahma Param Swabhaavodhyaatma muchyatey,
Bhuta bhaavodbhava karo virangah karma sanjnitah)
(Arjuna! The Supreme and Indestructible Soul is Brahma; His nature is Adhyatmika, Adhi Bhautika and Adhi Daivika)!

The significance of the Ninth Chapter of Gita was explained by the instance of a goat being given as a sacrifice at a Yagnya by a Brahmana named Madhava who resided at Mahismati Nagar on the banks of River Narmada. The goat talked suddenly in raised human voice to the surprise of the ‘Ritviks’ performing the Yagna as also the audience and said that the Yagna was of no avail since it was certain that human beings would have to be born again, their old age and death were inevitable; the goat also said:’Look at my fate; you are going to kill me now!’ Then the onlookers enquired of the goat as to who was it in its earlier birth? The goat replied that he was a Brahmana who desired to perform a sacrifice of a goat kid to appease Devi Chandika, as his son was extremely ill; but Devi Chandika was furious to kill a goat kid to save a child and cursed the Brahmana to become a goat; thus said the goat to the Ritviks and others at the Yagna. It further narrated that in Kurukshetra, a King named Chandra Sharma gave a Kala Purusha Pratima as a ‘daan’ in connection with a Solar Eclipse and from the Pratima a Chandala couple surfaced about to devour both the King and the Brahmana but the Brahmana was quick in reciting the Ninth Chapter of Gita titled ‘Raja Vidya Raja Guhya Yoga’of Gita and the Chandala couple named ‘Paapa’ (Sin) and ‘Ninda’ (Blame) disappeared. Bhagavan in this Chapter says:

Ananyaschintanaamto maam ye janaah paryupaasatey,
Teshaam nithyaabhi yuktaanaam yogakshemam vahaamyaham

(Those who always think and meditate of me always, I look after them and assure them of their welfare)! Eversince then, the King always recited and reflected of the contents of the Adhyaya and eventually The goat which narrated the incident of Chandra Sharma was released to freedom.
Bhagavan Shankara gave the example to Devi Parvati of Brahmana Dhirabuddhi residing in Kashipura who was an unparalleled ‘Vedarupi’(the form of Vedas) who could readily vision ‘Atma Tatwa; it was widely believed that Bhagavan Shankara always held on to Dhirabuddhi’s hand, run along with him and care for him wherever the Brahmana moved with affection and consideration. What indeed was the kind of Tapa- Homa-Dhyana that Dhirabuddhi performed to deserve this unique treatment that Bhagavan took such concern about him! Once when Bhagavan sat on the mount of Kailash, one Hamsa (Swan) fell at His feet and narrated that it fell with a thud down while flying above in a Sarovar in Saurashtra; the usually white swan got blackened. The Swan told Bhagavan that a lotus shub with five beautiful flowers was responsible for this incident; it said that as soon as it flew across the shrub it released sixty five bees when it actually fell and thus its form got black. The Lotus Shrub was in its third previous birth a Brahmana house wife called Sarojavadana, who no doubt was a Pativrata but was attracted too much to a Myna Bird in a cage in their home and was unmindful of her husband’s callings as she was immersed in play with the bird; the husband got furious and cursed her to become a Myna bird. The cursed Myna was brought up by a Muni Kanya where the Muni regularly recided the ‘Vibhuti Yoga Adhyaya’ which was the Tenth Chapter of Gita and she learnt the contents fully; in her next birth, the Myna bird was born as an Apsara. Sage Durvasa was performing Tapasya on the banks of a Sarowara when the Apsara was bathing and out of fury, Sage Durvasa cursed the Apsara to become a Lotus shrub which was crossed by the Swan and became black in its form. Such was the power of Vibhuti Yoga (the Tenth Chapter) in which Lord Krishna told Arjuna that all kinds of ‘Vibhutis’/ manifestations were his own like radiance, Shaktis, Virtue, Meditation, prosperity and victory. The Vibhutis would include the Swan crossing the lotus shrub was out of ignorance; Brahmani Sarojanavadana’s attraction to the Mynah Bird; her husband’s anger causing the creation of another Mynah; the cursed Mynah’s learning of the ‘Dashama Adhyaya’ from the Muni; her becoming an Apsara, Sage Durva’s curse out of anger crating a lotus shrub, Dhirabuddhi’s Vision of Atma Tatva and Parameswara’s great affection for Dhirabuddhi!

There would be thousands of instances that would signify the Eleventh Chapter of Gita regarding ‘Vishva Sandarshana Yoga’ and Bhagavan Shiva described only one to Devi Parvati. In Meghankara Nagar on the banks of River Pranita, there was a Parama Bhakta of Vasudeva called Sunandana Muni who undertook a Kshetra Yatra and on way had to halt over a night in a village. The Village head noboubt welcomed the Muni but said that there was a Rakshasa in the village with whom there was an understanding not to kill any villager but might eat up any stranger who did not specify by the Village head; but the Rakshasa ate up the Village head’s son himself by mistake. Sunandana Muni asked the Village head as to how this Rakshasa came to this Village. The background was that there was a Brahmana in the village engaged in farming and used to look after his own farm inthe nights. A huge vulture chased a traveller staying overnight in the village near the Brahmana farmer’s farm; as the traveller shouted for help since he fell in a ditch and could not pull up by himself, the Brahmana Farmer though could give a helping hand to save the traveller but did not bother. An infuriated Tapasvi cursed the Brahmana Farmer to become a Rakshasa in the village. When the latter begged for mercy, he diluted the cusre saying that if any Buddhiman recited the Eleventh Chapter of Gita and also explain its meaning to the Rakshasa then the latter could be liberated from the Rakshasatva. On knowing the background, Sunandana Muni recited and explained the contents of the Adhyaya to the Rakshasa and latter was liberated. Not only that, all the men and women who were killed by the Rakshasa including Village head boy son were lifted up by a Viman to Vishnu loka. The Chapter stated:

 Anaadi madhyantamananta veeryam,
Ananta baahum Sashi Surya netram/
Pasyaami twaam deepta hutaasa vaktram,
Swatejasa vishwamidam tapantam/

(I am enabling you the Vision of the Supreme Form who has no beginning or end; whose might is unlimited; who has innumerable hands; who possesses Surya and Chandra as his eyes; who has a fiery and radiant face like Agni and who has a
powerful and red-hot scorching Form.)

One of the major highlights of Bhagavad Gita was the Bhakti Yoga (Twelfth Chapter) explained by Shri Krishna to Arjuna as was narrated by Bhagavan Shiva to Devi Parvati. In Kolhapuri of south-west of Bharata Varsha, the most reputed Maha Lakshmi Temple had been fulfilling the desires of Bhaktas for centuries. A young Prince came into the Temple and prayed to her very earnestly as follows: ‘Mother! You are the Icchaa Shakti, Jnaana Shakti, and Kriya Shakti all rolled into One Swarupa; You are the Nishkala, Nirmoha, Nitya, Niraakaara, Niranjana, Antarahita, Antahkarana, and Niramaya; You are the Shatchakra Bhedini, Anahata Dhwani, Bindu, Naada and Kalaa; You are Para, Pashyanti, Madhya and Vaikhari; Brahmi, Vaishnavi, and Maaheswari, Vaaraahi, Naarasimhi, Iaindri, Kaumari, Chandika, Savitri and so on. Maha Lakshmi was pleased with the euologies and asked the Prince of his desire. He told her that his father King Brihadhratha had half-done an Ashwamedha Yagna and died, that although the horse returned successfully after Vijaya Yatra (Victory Travel) it had suddenly disappeared and that his prayer was to secure the missing horse and bless him to complete the Yagna. Bhagavati Lakshmi directed the Prince to approach Siddha Samadhi Muni at the entrance of the Temple and the needful would be done. Siddha Samadhi was approached and the Prince was astonished to vision a few Devatas responsible for the theft of the Yagnashwa at the behest of Indra! He pulled them up and commanded that the horse should be in its original position at once. The Prince was so impressed that he was emboldened to request the Siddha Samadhi to revive his dead father since his body was still in oil at the Yagnashala. The Muni smiled and and asked the Prince to take him to the Yagnashaala. Having reached there, the Muni sprinkled ‘Mantrajal’ and the King emerged afresh from the oil and completed the Yagna successfully. When asked as to how the Muni could miracles to reprimand Devatas to secure the missing horse and also revive the King to life, the Muni’s cool reply was that the powers attained was due to the constant recitation and dedication to the Bhakti Yoga (Twelfth Chapter) of Bhagavad Gita alone and nothing else!
The Sacred Book states:

Yo na hrushyati na dveshti na shochati na kaamkshati,
Shubhaashubha parityagee bhakti maanyassa me priyah/

(A devotee who is free from likings and dislikings as also from happiness and unhappiness, and who dedicates all my deeds to me totally is my favourite);

Etu Dharmyamritamidam yathoktam paryupaasatey,
Shraddhadhaana matparaah bhaktaastheva mey priyah/

(Those devotees who keep unreserved faith in me and observe Dharma as I prescribe are my most beloved ones).
Describing the Mahatmya of the Thirteenth Chapter of Gita titled ‘Kshetra Kshetragna Yoga’, Maha Deva told Devi Parvati that on the banks of River Tungabhadra in the Southern part of Bharata Varsha, there was a popular Kshetra called Harihara Nagar where Vedic Brahmana Hari Dikshith lived. His wife named Kuvaacha was however a characterless slut. Looking for a male companion one night, she treaded into a forest and faced a tiger. The tiger felt that if the woman was of morality then she would not kill her but otherwise she certainly would. As the tiger killed the woman, she landed in several Narakas like Rourava and was reborn as a Chandalini.As she grew, she became a victim of diseases and reached a Temple of Jambhaka Devi where a Brahmana always recited the thirteenth chapter of Gita; the purport of the Adhyaya was to distinguish the Kshetra and Kshetrajna. Steeped into the world of vice, the soul of Kuvaacha had in the past gone through Narakas as an iron rod went through white heat. Also as a Chandalini with diseases in the current life, she underwent difficult times due to diseases and continued ill-health; thus she realized Kshetra Gyana from Devi Jambhaka Temple when the Brahmana explained the meaning of the Chapter verse by verse and she finally reached Vishnu dhama!

Idam Shareeram Kounteyah Kshetramityabhi dheeyatey,
Etadyo vethhi tam praahuhu Kshetrajna iti tadvidah/

(Kounteya! This body is known as the Kshetra; by inference, those who realize this truth that if one does honest effort, the Kshetra could lead to ‘Ishvara Praapti’).

Kshetrajnam chaapi mam viddhi Sarva kshetreshu Bharata!
Kshetra Kshetrajna yorjnaanam yatthad jnaanammatam mama/

(Arjuna! Do realize that I am the Kshetrajna; the real Jnaana is the awareness of the Kshetra and Kshetrajna)!

The Fourteenth Chapter of Gita-Gunatraya Yoga-highlighted the ‘Bhava bandhana Vimochana’ (Relief from the shackles of Samsara) and gave the illustration of the King of Simhala Dwipa viz. Vikrama Betala, who went on a hunting spree on horses showing the way in a forest chasing a few hares.The hares crossed a breach which the dogs could not cross easily and there was a peaceful Ashram of Muni Vatsa who along with his disciples always recited the ‘Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga’of Gita. One of the disciples of the Muni cleaned up his feet with water before entering the Prayer Hall of the Ashram where the recitation was practiced. The sand and water mix became muddy and the hares fell in the slush; as soon as the hares fell in the slush, they were lifted by a Vimana bound for Vishnuloka thanks to the Mahatmya of the recitation of the Adhyaya. Meanwhile the chasing dogs arrived and having fallen in the slush they too were airlifted in the form of Gandharvas. The King Vikrama reached the Ashram and the Prayer Hall and asked the Muni for the reason that the hares and horses went to higher lokas. The Muni explained that there was a Brahmana called Keshava and his wife Vilobhana were both vily; the Brahmana killed the wife and was turned as dogs and the wife was born as hares. Both of these thus were beneficiaries of the Recitation of the Fourteenth Chapter of Gita. The message of the Adhyaya was given by Krishna as follows:

Gunaanetaanateetya treen dehi deha samudbhavaan,
Janmamrityu jaraa duhkhaihi vimuktomrita masnutey/

(Once the three gunas of Satva, Rajasa and Tamasa which are responsible for the ration of old age and death, then the Beings break away from the chains of Samsara and attain Salvation.).

Maam cha yopyabhichaarena Bhakti yogena sevatey,
sa gunaan Smateethyaitaan Brahma bhuyaya kalpatey/

(He who worships me with unreserved devotion would cross the barriers of the three Gunaas of Satva, Rajas and Tamas and would become eligble to step int the ‘Parama Brahma Sthiti’or Highest Salvation!)
Maha Deva cited the example to Devi Parvati of an arrogant and uncontrollable elephant named Arimardan belonging to King Khangabahu of Saurashtra in Gujarat, while signifying the Sixteenth Chapter of Gita titled ‘Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga’.A number of elephant tamers from the neighbouring Kingdoms landed to control Arimardana, not only to secure hefty Prizes of high value but also name and fame but to no avail. Heavy iron rods, piercing tridents and such other weapons were used but despite streams of blood flowing from the body, the animal was getting further wilder. One Brahmana arrived at the scene and touched the elephant with affection and everybody was taken aback since it was not even allowing touching it earlier. Queried as to how the miracle happened, the Brahmana that he attained Siddhis due to the relentless recital of the Sixteenth Chapter of Gita. The King then ordered that the elephant be freed and move about freely on the streets of the Nagar and even children used to play with it for fun!

Dambho darpohi maanascha krodhatparaarushya meyvacha,
Agnaanam chabhi jaatasya Partha! Sampadaaasurim/

(Partha! Ignorance, arrogance, pretentiousness, egotism, anger and self-image are all natural phenomena of Asuras).

Trividham narakasyedam dwaaram naasana maatmanah,
Kaamah krodhastatha lobhah tasmadetatrayam tyajet/

(The three enemies of human beings viz. Kama (desire), Krodha (fury) and Lobha (avarice) are the destroyers of one’s own Soul and are the Entry Points of Naraka; that is why the intelligent persons avoid these).The ignorance of the elephant misdirected him and taming was accomplished by affection, peacefulness, humility and character.

The Seventeenth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita viz. Shraddhatraya Vaibhava Yoga was illustrated by the Story of King Khangabahu of Simhala Dwipa, his servant Dussahana and their elephant. Once Dussahana drove the elephant in a race, made it run too fast by poking it by an ‘Ankusha’and out of annoyance the animal dropped Dussahana dead. The servant in his next birth was born as an elephant and was born in the same Royal Court. The new elephant (Dusshahana) was gifted by the King to a Poet who in turn sold it to the King of Malwa for a good price. But on reaching Malwa, the elephant took suddenly ill and lied down without food and water. Many experts treated the elephant but to no avail. Medicines, charities and prayers did not help but finally a Brahmana recited the Senventeenth Chapter of Gita and the elephant got recovered and slowly stood up only to collapse and die. The Brahmana who recited the Chapter explained that the dead elephant in his earlier birth he was servant Dusshana and as a result of the holy recitation he attaned Moksha. King of Malwa continued the reading of the Seventeenth Chapter and attained Sayujya there after.

Satvaanu rupa sarvaswa shraddhaa bhavati Bharata,
Shraddha mayoyam purusho yoyacchhadrassa evam sah/

(Arjuna! The features and ways of life are normally shaped in every human being by his own ‘swabhhava’ or personal traits).
The Eighteenth and last Chapter of Gita named Moksha Sanyasa Yoga contained the quintessence of Vedas and Shastras signifying the termination of Samsara Bandha or the schackles of Life. It is the destroyer of ‘Arishadvargas’ of Kama, Krodha, Moha, Mada, Lobha and Matsarya; the final goal of Siddha Purushas; the Rest-Home of Indra and Devas; and the High Point of Entertainment of Sanaka, Sandanda, Sanatana and Sanat Kumaras. Sincere recitation of this Grand and Concluding Chapter of Gita constitutes sure steps forward to Moksha or complete break-away from the endless cycle of life! When Lord Indra was enjoying a dance and music programme of Rambha and other Deva Kanyas, a group of ‘Vishnu dootas’arrived in Swarga and announced the arrival of a new Indra soon! Indra wondered whether the incumbent Indra performed Hundred Yagnas successfully; constructed lakhs of water bodies; planted crores of trees for the joy of the travelers; organized countless ‘Anna daanas’and charities etc. like he did. He reached Bhagavan Vishnu lying in ‘Yoga Nidra’on ‘Ksheera Sagara’ (the Ocean of Milk) and asked him in an agitated tone as to why his ‘Indratva’ was at stake! Smilingly, Lord Vishnureplied that the Indra-Elect was a consistent reciter of the Eighteenth Chapter of Gita and that he too could retain his position by performing the same. Indra visited the Kalikagram on the banks of River Godavari by taking the form of a Brahmana and having been so impressed by what he observed there, felt that the position of Indra was none too significant to that of Indra-elect but surely deserved Vishnu Sayujya!
Who ever heard or recited even the Mahatmya of Bhagavad Gita would be entitled to ‘Yagna Phala’ or the Fruits of Performing Yagna.
The Supreme Message of the Final Chapter-and indeed of entire Gita-is summed up as:

 Sarva Karmanyapi sadaa kurvaano madvyapaashrayah,
Matprasaadaadavaapnoti Shasvatam Padamavyayam/

(Do accomplish the everlasting and indestructible ‘Parama pada’ by performing the needful ‘Karmas’ and keeping complete faith in me).

Padma Purana Home   Next: Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Nrisimha, Vamana and Parasurama Avataras

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