Spiritual Vision – Bhagavad Gita 13.27

यावत् सञ्जायते किञ्चित्सत्त्वम्́ स्थावर-जńगमम्

क्स्̣एत्र-क्स्̣एत्रज्ञ-सम्́योगात्तद् विद्धि भरतर्स्̣अभ

yāvat sañjāyate kiñcit

sattvaḿ sthāvara-jańgamam


tad viddhi bharatarṣabha

yāvat — whatever; sañjāyate — comes into being; kiñcit — anything; sattvam — existence; sthāvara — not moving; jańgamam — moving; kṣetra — of the body; kṣetra-jña — and the knower of the body; saḿyogāt — by the union between; tat viddhi — you must know it; bharata-ṛṣabha — O chief of the Bhāratas.

“O chief of the Bhāratas, know that whatever you see in existence, both the moving and the nonmoving, is only a combination of the field of activities and the knower of the field.” – Bhagavad Gita 13.27


Both material nature and the living entity, which were existing before the creation of the cosmos, are explained in this verse. Whatever is created is but a combination of the living entity and material nature. There are many manifestations like trees, mountains and hills which are not moving, and there are many existences which are moving, and all of them are but combinations of material nature and the superior nature, the living entity. Without the touch of the superior nature, the living entity, nothing can grow. The relationship between matter and nature is eternally going on, and this combination is effected by the Supreme Lord; therefore He is the controller of both the superior and inferior natures. The material nature is created by Him, and the superior nature is placed in this material nature, and thus all these activities and manifestations take place.


You have to understand that whatever exists, even inert things, comes to exist because of a union between the world and spirit.


It is easier to see that living things, especially those that move around and exhibit will and intelligent, are a union of the spirit with the material. After all we see they have a material body, and we also see that there is a spiritual consciousness animating the material body, which ceases to be animated when the not-directly-tangible spiritual consciousness disconnects from its union with that body. But tad viddhi – we have to understand that even things that seem inert are actually alive.


Without the touch of the superior nature (“spirit”) nothing can grow. A tree grows. Crystals grow. Even rocks grow from the earth, exist, and then are eroded and die. Mountains similarly. A mountain exists because the spiritual energy contacted the material energy. Material energy on its own is inert. But nowhere does material energy exist divorced from the superior energy. The superior energy is always the husband of the material energy. Thus we have things called surface tension, gravity, and electricity – all which display symptoms of life and intelligence in minute proportions.

The Earth has coalesced as a globe, a glob due to the active principle of gravity. Why is there an active principle in an inert substance!? It is because the atma pervades all mater at the finest subatomic level. Therefore inert substances are not truly inert.


Everything that we see in our world, be it “alive” or “not” is in fact the inert material energy being piloted by the active spiritual energy. The active spiritual energy is of two categories, the individual fragment of energy (atma), and the all pervading energy (paramatma).


Now, to put this in perspective.


The 13th chapter of Bhagavad Gita has five major sections. (1) First Arjuna asks the question, basically, “what is matter and spirit, and how do can we educate ourselves about them?” Then Kṛṣṇa describes (2) matter and spirit as the field of action and the knower of the field. (3) Kṛṣṇa next describes the process and purpose of education in this subject. (4) Then Kṛṣṇa describes how matter and spirit become unified.  (5) Finally Kṛṣṇa describes the result of becoming educated in these topics.


The texts that correspond to these sections are: Section one is only 1 verse, the first. Section two goes from text 2 to text 7. Section three from 8 – 19. Section four is 20-26. The final section is the remainder, 27 – 35.


This means that today’s verse, 13.27, begins a new section for us! So let’s summarize the previous section in more detail and then give a “coming attractions” for the new section.

The previous section described how spirit and matter merge and form a union, and what that union is like. It begins in text 20 and 21 by saying, “Matter constantly transforms from one state to the other. These transformations appear to be sometimes desirable, sometimes undesirable to a living being, but the truth is that the pleasure or pain experienced from these transformations does not exist at all in the transforming matter, it only exists in the subjective perception of the spirit projecting itself into those transformations.”


Then text 22 identifies the weld that unified matter and spirit, “the desire to enjoy a sensation of pleasure from positive transformations is what binds soul to matter.”


The remaining texts do not talk about the individual soul. There are, we already know from early in the chapter, two types of soul – an individual fragment, and an all-pervading whole. The fragmental soul is atma and the complete soul is paramatma (“Supersoul”). The difference is that the ever-fragmented spirit is an individual being of infinitesimal scope, but the ever-whole Supersoul is a unified being of infinite scope.


Text 23 begins this subsection by saying, “The Supersoul is never bound to matter by a desire to enjoy it, only the fragmented soul is.” Text 24 says, “If you realize that there is a soul which is never bound to matter, you are going to become liberated from matter too.” Text 25 explains how to realize this divine, unfettered Supersoul, “Loving devotion tangibly reveals the Divine Personality of Godhead to the fullest extent. Otherwise, science, meditation, and selflessness can reveal the Divine Supersoul to a lesser extent if mixed with devotion.” How do you get devotion, the most important ingredient in seeing God? Text 26 answers, “Hear about God from those who know about God by dint of direct realization!”


That is my summary of the previous section. Now to give you a coming attraction for the next section.


This section describes the effect of being able to see the Supersoul.


27: We see that everything, even what appears inert, is full of the Supersoul.


28: In every living thing we see the Supersoul.


29: Seeing the Supersoul everywhere we are always god-conscious and thus naturally free of self-degrading selfish desires (which are the weld that binds us to matter).


30: We see that matter is just transforming constantly…


31: The spirit is completely above and beyond everything that happens in the material world.


32: Though it can be welded to matter, it always remain distinct and can detach itself and be free from matter.


33: In this it is like space, which holds everything within it, but is separate from everything too.


34: Or like the Sun, which illuminates everything from a distant place beyond all the things it shines on.


35: Seeing thus, the fragmental soul becomes liberated like the Supersoul.

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