7. Kāla-Deśa – See Deśa-Kāla.
8. Deśa-Kāla (Space-time) – The ideas of size and duration that emerge in our minds through the experience of various objects and actions. Both deśa and kāla are expressions of the existence of the world. The world is an aggregate of things and actions. The word deśa (or dik - direction) indicates the shape and size of objects in the world and their mutual relationships. The word kāla denotes the actions of the world, the extent of their influence, and the intervals between them. The feeling of deśa-kāla exists wherever the world exists. Where there is no world, deśa-kāla does not exist or it is beyond the Universe. That is Infinite Existence; that is pure existence. Deśa and kāla are but markers of the experience of existence. This topic is extended in the Appendix.
9. Daiva-vidhi (Fate/Destiny) – The Divine order that controls the experience of a jīva. That is the law of ṛta. This is the yarn woven from two threads. One of those threads is the existing individual karma of the jīva. The other is the Universal law for ensuring order in collective existence. These two threads come together to form daiva.
10. Dharma – What sustains i.e., saves and protects, is dharma. The set of activities, worldly actions, and rules that nourishes and exalts life is dharma.
The above ten aspects belong to this world. The mode of living by which a human jīva gives up its adjuncts of body and bodily organs, subsequently attains Divine experience, and goes beyond the world is known as dharma. The system of the world that ensures deliverance for the jīva is dharma, which is applicable to the jīva as long as it is in contact with the three kinds of bodies. Once beyond the jīva state, there is no bond of dharma. (See adhi-dharma)
11. Prakṛti – The power of brahman and is its expressed state, i.e., its external form.
12. Brahman – The root meaning of brahman is big. In the śāstras, it means limitless. That is Infinity. The bounds of time or space do not limit brahman. That is of the form of consciousness. It is impossible to define it completely with words because words belong to the material world. Brahman-consciousness is not just omnipresent in the Universe but is also beyond it. It is even beyond human imagination. This brahman is parabrahman (Supreme brahman). It is also known in human conversation as Paramātmā and Īśvara. (Look at the earlier definition of the word ‘ātmā’). The source of the Universe is brahman and when expressed in the world, it is known as śabala-brahman (brahman endowed with variety) or kārya-brahman (brahman as effect). The manifest brahman is also known as parameśvara (Supreme Lord) because in this state as Īśvara, brahman causes creation, sustenance, and dissolution of the universe. When beyond the world, brahman is referred to as śuddha-brahman (pure brahman), kāraṇa-brahman (cause brahman) or Para-brahman (Supreme brahman).
These explanations are of a coarse nature. The subtleties in meaning will become clearer as we proceed.
13. Māyā – The thing that, as a result of the incessant interaction amongst the components of the world, rises as a cloud-like layer between the seer [one who is seeing] and the seen [that which is being seen by the seer]. It makes existent objects appear as non-existent and vice-versa. That which masks an existing object is known as āvaraṇa. Making a non-existent thing appear is known as vikṣepa.
The word māyā with its various shades of meaning will be seen in this work.
14. Mūrta-Amūrta (with form-without form) – Of the five primordial elements (Earth, Air, Water, Ether and Light), Earth, Water, and Light are considered to be with form and hence mūrta. Air and Ether do not have a form and are hence amūrta.
Mūrta and amūrta are also used in the sense of sa-deha (with body) and a-deha (without body).
15. Vyakta-Avyakta (manifest-unmanifest) – Vyakta refers to the state in which a thing’s inner qualities are expressed or manifested externally. The world is a manifestation of brahman’s power. Avyakta is the state wherein a thing’s qualities lie unexpressed like a sprout latent within a seed. This is the state of prakṛti before creation.
16. Vyaṣṭi-Samaṣṭi (individual-collective) – Vyaṣṭi refers to the individual level; and is something that can be counted one by one or separately.
When we say ‘rupee’, its hundred different paisas are counted together. The paisas individually count as vyaṣṭi. Samaṣṭi is the integration of different things together. A collection of all vyaṣṭi is known as samaṣṭi. Putting together a hundred different paise to form one rupee is samaṣṭi.
17. Vyākṛta-Avyākṛta (divided-undivided) – Vyākṛta is the state when different parts are seen in a single mass of objects. The state when something is divided or classified into genera (plural of genus) and classes is vyākṛta. Vyākaraṇa (Grammar) means the same. Classifying a whole language into nouns, adjectives, verbs, indeclinables, suffixes, and prefixes and defining the relationships amongst them is vyākaraṇa.
Avyākṛta is the state when a mass remains undifferentiated or undivided.
Mūrta-Amūrta, Vyakta-Avyakta and Vyākṛta-Avyākṛta are three sets of terms used for explaining the process of creation.
18. Sat-Asat (real-unreal) – These words have two or three meanings.
The first meaning.
Sat – Existent, what is created, Truth.
Asat – Non-existent, one without a “real” existence, falsehood.
In this sense of meaning, asat also means mere appearance. Whatever does not exist in reality, i.e., cannot exist by itself and is dependent on something else to be perceived by the eyes, ears, and other organs, however fleetingly, is asat.
A tree is sat; its shadow is asat. Man is sat; his reflection in the mirror is asat. Similarly, brahman is sat, the world is asat. Mithyā (error) is asat. Sat is Truth, reality.
Asat or mithyā (error) does not refer to a void; or complete non-existence; or something imaginary like the horns of a hare. It means that it is an appearance, dream-like.
The second meaning.
Sat – Something that is perceivable. What we know as existent is sat.
Asat – Something that is not perceivable. Whatever is not available to us, even if it exists.
asadvā idamagra āsīt
(Wasn’t it asat that existed before?)
Asat is imperceptible. In this meaning, asat is also avyakta (unmanifest).
The third meaning.
Sat – What is good; beneficial.
Asat – Not good; bad.
To be continued...
The present series is a modern English translation of DVG’s Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award-winning work, Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya or Jīvana-dharma-yoga. The translators wish to express their thanks to Śatāvadhāni R Ganesh for his valuable feedback and to Hari Ravikumar for his astute edits.