God is One and Two, and herein lies a paradox (or two): There is only one God. God is manifold. God is both Relative and Absolute. But such opposites do co-exist without conflict. Lord Krishna explains…
(4) Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego constitute the divisions of My eightfold material nature. (5) Such is My inferior nature. But otherwise know My Highest nature by which all life is sustained.
I have quoted these two verses before in other articles because they answer so many questions and resolve so much confusion about God, Truth, Creation, ourselves and others. In the previous verses, Lord Krishna introduced these teachings as being the Highest Wisdom.
Our human perspective causes us to think of God as if God were some superior Being that is better and more powerful than any of us. We hear that God created the earth and are awed at such power.
While it is entirely possible that there is such an individual (God has no limitations), or even that there is a Divine Individual for every star in Cosmos that could be logically called “God” or “a god”, this isn’t the whole of the story. The whole story is much bigger, and may be difficult to comprehend. For this reason, we have myths, legends and stories, such as the Adam and Even story. There are multiple versions of these stories, all teaching the same things.
God is One and Two. When you understand that there are two aspects of God/Truth, things begin to clear up. In chapter two this was explained at a personal level as ‘the embodied one’ and ‘the being’. For you personally, the embodied one is you as you Really are: a Divine Individual that is never born and never dies. What you are being however, is human. The first of these two is Absolute, the second is Relative.
- Absolute – Unchanging, complete, not subject to any limitation, unconditional, unlimited power, independent, not relative to anything.
- Relative – Existing in relationship to something else, comparable, subject to limitations, dependent.
In these two verses, verse 4 defines the Relative, which is what we humans are able to perceive—earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego. Verse 5 then defines the Absolute, which is beyond all these, and not so easily understood, even conceptually. It is this Absolute God that we are driven to seek, whether we realize it or not. And it is our destiny to find It.
(6) Understand this: I am the womb of all living beings. I am their coming to be and their coming not to be. (7) Nothing superior to Me exists, Arjuna. On Me all of creation is strung like pearls on a thread.
These two verses continue with the description of the Absolute, as the Highest nature of God. In verse 6, Lord Krishna is saying that He is the cause of life as we know it, and that He is also what ends it (the Relative). Verse 7 is reassuring—there is something Higher that is behind it all that is eternal (the Absolute).
Remember this? Earlier, we learned that the womb, or source, of Creation and the dissolution of it, was female, Hiranyagarbha (‘Golden Womb’). Later, after leaving the remnants of the Golden Age behind, the source of Creation became known as male: Brahmā, and later Prajāpati (‘Lord of born beings’).
You as human, with a body, thoughts and feelings, consisting of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego, is you as a being (Relative).
When you cease being a being, the Real You in all your Divine Glory is revealed. And ultimately, as the sainted Paul says in First Corinthians, you attain incorruptible perfection—“the corruptible becomes incorruptible” (Absolute).
Hence, God is One and Two.
This state cannot be accomplished by belief, by any kind of mental effort, learned knowledge, immense intelligence, insight, direct experience or realization. From chapter three through six, we have Lord Krishna driving home to us that it is the action of yoga (Karma Yoga) that gets us to this point. So now we have chapter seven reminding us of this ultimate aim of yoga.
All that is, is God. Anything that looks like something else is an illusion (not what it seems). This includes the entire relative world we call home. But we are to understand that there is something higher than this that is behind all of creation, a higher aspect of God/Truth that we are missing if we only take it this far—The Absolute, the home of eternal happiness.
Now we are beginning to see how the Gita teaches us. These concepts are not new, we’ve read them before, but now, as Lord Krishna restates them in different words for his disciple, Arjuna, along with more clues to help him understand, we listen in so we can understand. And we are about to hear more.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),