This Highest Knowledge is the Highest Secret. It is the greatest means of purification on earth. It is easy to practice, virtuous, pleasant, and imperishable.
This Royal Knowledge is the Royal Secret. It is the best means of purification of the body. It is easy to practice, righteous and always at hand.
- Royal (raja) – The highest authority, the highest teaching.
- Secret (guhya) – Concealed, hidden or kept secret; private, mysterious, mystical.
- Imperishable (avyaya) – Always there and unchanging. Also, ‘a woolen soma strainer’. When the soma is purified, it is amrita, the nectar of immortality. The sheep is a non-predatory animal who grazes on what is at hand. This is the standard of the yogi—he is harmless and he accepts what is available. He has surrendered himself to God, is constant in this and doesn’t work for a living, but accepts what comes as God’s grace. This is how the yogi reaches this point.
One often hears about “yogic secrets”, teachings that are given to very few. Yet here we are, listening to Lord Krishna telling them to Arjuna, one by one—and this isn’t the first time we’ve been made aware of this. But this time Arjuna is going to get the king of all secrets (so of course we are very interested to hear it).
How is this a secret since we are reading it in plain English?
Obviously, all these secrets are not secrets at all in the usual sense, but things that we either take for granted and don’t realize their significance, understand incorrectly, or wouldn’t believe if it was starring us in the face. In this way, they are hidden from us, secret.
No one is trying to hide anything from us. On the contrary, Vyasa went to all the trouble of making this God-Song (Bhagavad Gita) the central jewel of his eighteen-volume epic Mahabharata so that we could read it and discover what we need to truly know the Truth/God.
Now it follows that, if we are to understand what we are reading, we may have to stand on our heads and take new points of view that are unfamiliar to us. If you just try to fit your already existing beliefs and opinions into what you read, you are obviously going to miss the point and not realize the message…the secret. So I will repeat the opening statement in many of my books and courses:
Be willing to be wrong.
Be willing to be right.
Be willing to take different points of view about anything.
If you can do this, you can discover the “secret” that Lord Krishna intends for Arjuna to understand, and get the same perks Arjuna is meant to get.
Those who hold no faith in the dharma of this teaching do not attain Me, but take the path of death and transmigration and are born again, Scorcher of the Foe (Arjuna).
Those who have no faith in the rightness of this truth and do not believe Me do not attain Me, but take the deadly rut of successive transmigrations and are made to return, Scorcher of the Foe.
“Scorcher of the Foe”
Krishna has said that this (secret) is the greatest purifier on earth, the body, and now calls Arjuna, Scorcher of the Foe, or Parantapa, meaning ‘a high degree of purification by fire’. This purifying fire is prana, as opposed to apana. Normally, purification is managed primarily by apana, the cooling, downward flowing energy in the body. But this is the path of Night, which at death promises return to another mortal life. This is about to change for our hero, Arjuna.
Lord Krishna is saying that there are those who would not believe what Arjuna is hearing because they are not ready to hear it. In verse 1, He mentions the characteristics of one who is…
Respectful and devoted to Guru, trustworthy, and not of a jealous, covetous, begrudging or resentful nature.
This is a strong statement. If we don’t get with the program we’re going to die and have to come back here again and again until we do. We will not be united with God, but subject to the the fate of our karma. But sooner or later we will all get it and get off this merry-go-round, and be united with God, with each other, in the Imperishable Absolute.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m going for it now.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),