Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 28

अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत ।
अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना ॥२-२८॥

  avyaktadini bhutani vyaktamadhyani bharata
avyaktanidhanani eva tatra ka paridevana  ॥ 2-28 ॥



Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 28 by Lord Krishna encompasses a very deep spiritual meaning. In this shloka verse Lord Krishna details to Arjuna the very essence of life in cosmic system.


Lord Krishna addresses, O Bharatvanshi Arjuna (descendant of Emperor Bharata): All manifest that we perceive through limited power of senses originated from unmanifest, inanimate world of souls atmans, God Almighty himself (Brahman in Hinduism)! The unmanifest had the power to create, manifest, but vice versa was not true. For a manifest, birth and death was inevitable!


Before manifestation of objects, the whole cosmic system was unmanifest! As life evolved in cosmic system, the manifest world came into being! When death overtook the manifest form, again unmanifest took over! Between both stages of unmanifest exists manifest! In laymen terms… it confirms presence of a soul atman, the spirit within the living object!


Krishna advises Arjuna not to grieve for temporal, ephemeral phase of life! As control of life lay in hands of the unmanifest, what use clinging to Moha (deep emotional attachment) and grieving for anticipated death of close relatives and friends in the enemy camp. That which was ordained by god was inevitable, unchangeable! Control over death never laid in hands of human beings.


Krishna indirectly admonishes Arjuna for indulging in manifest. Instead of worrying about death of maternal grandfather Bhishma Pitamah and Guru Dronacharya, Arjuna must look within. Essence of spirituality, essence of life laid in unmanifest soul atman, not the physical manifest human form! For Arjuna, concentrating on real goal of life was more important than seeking solace in company of close relatives and friends in the enemy camp.


The Explanation:

From spirituality point of view… every soul atman (the consciousness within) manifests various life forms one after another to evolve, remove dross impurities within! As of its own it could not cleanse self… it needs a medium, a body to work out its karma! This analogy can be explained through following example:


Imagine a 100 KG lump of gold ore possessing one KG of pure gold! To extract this one KG of pure gold… we need passing this ore through various mechanisms. Initially we need to wash this gold ore. All external impurities removed, the size of lump reduces to 95 KG. Earlier we could say… hundred KG of ore possessing one KG of pure gold. Now it is 95 KG lump of ore containing one KG of pure gold.


In stages as the cleaning process continues… the concentration of gold in the lump of ore keeps increasing! It may be like… 75 KG lump of ore containing one KG of pure gold, 49 KG lump of ore containing one KG of pure gold, seven KG lump of gold ore containing one KG of pure gold and finally all dross impurities removed… we obtain one KG of pure gold. All 99 KG of impurities removed forever… one KG lump of gold shines in all its glory.


In spiritual parlance this means… after passing through 1.1 million manifestations in human form… our soul atman, the consciousness within has finally reached stage of absolute purity. The stage when a human being is termed an enlightened one… a bodhi, a Jina… a Mahavira forever! The passing of gold ore through different stages of purification simply means our soul atman, the consciousness within passing through different stages of life on mother earth. Of 8.4 million manifestations on the whole… the initial 7.3 million manifestations occurred in insect, plant and animal life. In the remaining 1.1 million manifestations in human form… one was expected to reach stage of enlightenment, self realization, god realization!


Does it really mean before manifesting human form for the first time, we as a soul atman, the spirit within has already manifested 7.3 million life forms in insect, plant and animal life! Yes, this is an absolute fact of life. Human form is the highest manifest stage in cosmic life cycle. It was only in human form… our consciousness within finally succeeds in reaching cosmic end of life, 8.4 millionth manifestation when human beings reached stage of enlightenment and finally salvation moksha! Spirituality is the path to reaching god in present life. The teachings of Lord Krishna contained in Srimad Bhagavad Gita acted as a guide in this spiritual journey of life.


In Hinduism the word Jiva (living being) stood for all 8.4 million types of manifestations undertaken by consciousness within. Every form of insect life, every form of plant life, every form of animal life had a soul atman within it. Numerous life forms not visible to naked eye also had a soul atman, the consciousness within! The first manifestation by a soul atman in its cosmic life cycle was form of amoeba (single cell formation). It further evolved into multi-cell formation, then insect life, plant life, animal life and finally forms of human beings. All human beings who thought only human form had a soul atman, were totally ignorant in matters spiritual!


Referring to this quote of Isha Upanishad Verse 6 (also Isopanisad mantra 6)…


“यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतान्यात्मन्येवानुपश्यति ।
सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते ॥६॥

yastu sarvani bhutanyatmanyevanupasyati ।
sarvabhutesu chatmanam tato na vijugupsate ॥6॥


One who sees god in all, meaning thereby one who considers all living beings as equal, only different variations, manifestations of Almighty God. Here existence of a soul atman, the spirit within every living being is not denied. Rather existence of same soul atman in every living body is accepted. As souls atmans were part of God Almighty, how could we develop enmity towards other human beings or lower forms of life! Furthermore, essence of all souls’ atmans was the same. They all originated from the same source… God Almighty himself!


Further referring to this quote in Chāndogya Upaniṣad…

सर्वं खल्व् इदं ब्रह्म

“sarvam khalu idam brahma” (3.14.1)


It clearly says… Everything manifest originated from God. Meaning God pervades all forms of life in cosmos. Beyond God, collection of all pure souls atmans… nothing existed in cosmos! For human beings to assess domain of God Almighty was beyond comprehension.


It must also be remembered that everything contained in Bhagavad Gita could never be understood literally. Everything demands reading in between the lines. To differentiate manifest from unmanifest, to understand underlying hidden truths of life, our indulgence in spirituality, various scriptural texts was necessitated. None propels us towards path of spirituality other than our soul atman, the spirit within! As the present journey of life in human form belonged to our soul atman, the spirit within… it all the time prompts from within to start spiritual journey of life at the earliest. But human beings dominated by a bloated ego keep postponing the same.


But for how long! We cannot indefinitely postpone travelling spiritual path! So was not to be. If we do not do as per dictates of our soul atman, the spirit within that resides in our heart… it communicates to us through medium of dreams. Still, if we do not want to follow dictates of our soul atman, the spirit within… it does not directly interfere in our lives. After all, we had a total of 1.1 million manifestations in human form to reach stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana). For it commoner, one amongst the masses… there was no need for any hurry. But for a seeker like Swami Vivekananda… time was essence of life!


Any human being world over who wants to reach god in present life has to expedite the spiritual journey. For this… sacred scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads (independent treatises) come to our rescue.


The manifest human form is an interim stage in the life of a soul atman, the spirit within! It is this important aspect of life that Lord Krishna wants to convey to Arjuna. Ephemeral life was temporal, carried no meaning in spiritual world! What value of material riches that could never be carried to next life, next manifestation by our soul atman, the consciousness within! As stated in Bhagavad Gita… it is only residual balance of karma that gets carried to next life, next manifestation. Apart from residual balance of karma, nothing we owned in this materialistic world gets carried to next life. Whole life we run accumulating material riches for no reason or rhyme.


We must all try to understand the spiritual essence conveyed in Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 28 by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. Our soul atman, the spirit within (Lord Krishna residing in our heart) was the only truth of life. Rest all was temporary, ephemeral that would fade with time! Even close relationships that we nurtured all our life would be left behind the moment death of body occurred. Bondages of earthly life were always temporary. Why grieve over death of one in the family when control of life lay in hands of our soul atman, the spirit within! Definitely, indirect control of life lay in our hands in form of karma performed by us.


By controlling our karma… we can definitely manifest our destiny! Indulgence in good karma, positive karma all the time was an indication that we travelled path prompted by our soul atman, the spirit within! People in West did it most of time. They had no knowledge of Bhagavad Gita yet, the glow on their faces said it all. Speaking lies all the time was not their forte but in India it has become our culture to cheat people all the time. When we face fury of god… only then would we realize our folly. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna not to fall for infirmities of life. He must forego all his inclinations towards Moha (extreme emotional attachment) towards his family members.


The biggest hurdle, the biggest factor that was dissuading Arjuna from spearheading the war was his Moha (attachment) towards his maternal grandfather Bhishma Pitamah and Guru Dronacharya. Krishna repeatedly advises Arjuna that all living forms in cosmos were simple manifestations by our soul atman, the spirit within! The manifest did not last forever. Human beings had a limited time span. All had to die one day. Everything was based on karma performed by us. When Bhishma Pitamah and Guru Dronacharya sided with evil, they were in fact supporting adharma (lawlessness). In the circumstances, it was duty of Arjuna to root out evil, re-establish dharma (righteousness) by fighting battle of Mahabharata.


In all stages of life, it was difference in perception that differentiated one human being from other. By travelling path of spirituality detailed by Lord Krishna, human beings finally overcame all hurdles of manifest life reaching stage of enlightenment in their lifetime. Krishna also tells Arjuna that due to limitations of five senses and mind, human beings were unable to realize the unmanifest. The moment we overpowered five senses and mind… we reached stage of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (stage of absolute nothingness) when not a single thought entered our brain uninvoked. This is the stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana).


Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – Sep 11, 2014

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