chapter x: krishna quells many of arjuna’s doubts, though some persistby Eileen Sembrot May 28, 2012
Chapter 9 ended with Arjuna still doubting if Krishna is the sole Originator, Maintainer, and eventual Destroyer of this world, as well as of all other worlds. Though the warrior acknowledges Krishna’s divinity during His present human incarnation, Arjuna as yet remains unconvinced that Krishna is the Supreme One—Lord of all Lords, God of all gods, and Highest, Unmanifest Brahman. In the beginning of this chapter, Krishna tells Arjuna, “Whoso shall know Me as unborn, beginningless, [and] great Lord of [all] the worlds, shall never know delusion among men, from every evil freed” (10.2).
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter X:
Krishna Quells Many of Arjuna’s Doubts, Though Some Persist
No being is there, whether moving or unmoving, that exists or could exist apart from Me. (10.39)
A longstanding debate in European and American metaphysical philosophy concerns whether or not living beings are contingent upon God. If a being is contingent upon God, it cannot exist unless God exists; alternatively, if a being is not contingent upon God or a Higher Source of some sort or another, the being can live independent of the Higher Source. Although this controversy seems to be primarily a religious topic, the point at which science and theology diverge is where the philosophy of metaphysics is located. Metaphysics searches for truths beyond scientific observations, and the possibility or impossibility of God or a Divine Universal Being is one of its favorite discussions.
While Indian philosophers also debate the reality of God, nearly all sects of Hinduism acknowledge a Higher Being, upon which living beings are contingent. Certainly, in the narrative of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna destroys all doubts regarding this philosophical controversy.
As Krishna explains His divine essence to Arjuna, the God-incarnate dispels any thoughts that anything whatsoever in this world, whether manifest or non-manifest, material or spiritual, thriving or dying, infinitesimal or encompassing, Krishna is the sole Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer of everything. It is Krishna’s manifestation as lower Brahman, or Nature, that creates and constitutes everything—humans, wild creatures, and earthly materials such as soil, fire, wind, and rocks. Krishna’s divine breath is that which sustains, and makes movement and progression, as well as non-movement and regression, viable. And finally, at the end of each eon, it is Krishna’s wrath that destroys His creation in order to make all anew in the next eon. In other words, Krishna assures Arjuna that He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all seeing), and omnipresent (everywhere at all times), and nothing—absolutely nothing—exists without Me or outside of Me.
Therefore, while Krishna’s self-description dispelled the warrior’s doubts about His Divine Incarnation, the warrior requests more proof that Krishna is truly the Highest of the High, the Unmanifest beyond the Unmanifest. For although all saints and sages recognize Krishna as the Most Divine One, Arjuna states that, “neither gods nor demons acknowledge [this] manifest [world] as yours,” even as they recognize Your current divinity (10.14).
Following next week in Chapter 11, Krishna reveals His awesome and immense appearance to Arjuna. Only then does the warrior understand his lack of faith and knowledge that his cousin and friend Krishna is truly the God above and beyond all others, of whose divinity the warrior was unaware even though they rarely separated from each other during their childhoods.
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