To give an integral knowledge of God, along with His attributes and glories, so as to enable one to practice the various methods of devotion and to fix the mind constantly on Him, Krishna tells Arjuna that He will reveal to him the knowledge of God. After knowing this, nothing more would remain to be known. Among thousands of people, scarcely one strives for perfection. Of those who strive, only one perchance knows Him in truth.
God Himself is the sole cause and ultimate support of the entire creation. The universe is the manifestation of and is pervaded by God, like a cluster of gems strung on a thread. Because of the veiling power of maya the world fails to recognize His presence. Those who take refuge in Him alone can cross over this maya. The Lord is not visible to those who are deluded by the three gunas - sattva, rajas and tamas. Maya veils the understanding of worldly-minded people. They feel that the world and the visible objects are alone real. They suffer through many births and deaths.
Four types of virtuous persons worship Him, viz., the person in distress, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth and the seeker of wisdom.
Among these, the seeker of wisdom, whose devotion is single-minded, is the dearest to God. After many births, deaths and sufferings, one realizes that the Supreme Self alone is real. Such a person is very difficult to find. All forms are the forms of the One Lord. According to one's individual temperament, faith and ideal of life, one obtains the fruit of one's worship. The deity or object of worship is only a means to make the mind one-pointed, but one should not take this itself as the goal. If, with one-pointed mind, one continuously meditates on the chosen object, gradually the thoughts will cease, and one will experience the all-pervasive consciousness.
By the delusion of pairs of opposites, raga (attraction) and dvesha (repulsion), pleasure and pain, heat and cold, happiness and sorrow, success and failure, all beings fall under the clutches of maya. They forget the presence of the Lord, and suffer birth and death. Those who fully surrender themselves and take refuge in Him know His integral being. A person who fails to know and remember God throughout his life will not remember Him even at the time of death.
Chapter 7 teaches that God is the cause of the function of three gunas (qualities of nature), viz., sattva, rajas and tamas. The entire universe exists and is governed by the interplay of these three qualities. Because of ignorance, most people are deluded and identify themselves with the products of the gunas - mind, senses and body. God has given humanity the power of discrimination with which it is possible to go beyond the clutches of nature and realize their cause (God). Devotion is the means of union with God without identifying oneself with any product of nature viz., mind, senses and body. The aspirant should attune to the supreme consciousness. Even in an individual all the limbs are moved and connected by a single consciousness. Similarly, the entire universe exists because of the all-pervasive consciousness of God. This supreme consciousness can be invoked through any means according to one's temperament; one can merge in and attain supreme happiness. Those who understand that sufferings arise from birth, diseases, old age and death, realize that God alone is the supreme goal and the culmination of all human pursuits. They act with faith and wisdom, attain Him and are not born again.
IMPORTANT VERSES IN CHAPTER 7
2.1 Shall declare to thee in full this knowledge combined with direct realization, after knowing which nothing more there remains to be known.
3. Among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows Me in essence.
7. There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, 0 Arjuna. All this is strung on Me, as clusters of gems on a string.
16. Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, 0 Arjuna. They are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O lord of the Bharatas.
1. Why is it that so few people actually strive for perfection?
2. What are the two powers of maya?
3. What are the 'pairs of opposites'?