Supreme God in Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita gives knowledge about three different God including the Supreme God. If you search the internet for "Who is the Supreme God in Bhagavad Gita", you will get scores of websites claiming Shri Krishna to be the Supreme Personality or Supreme God. However, if someone reads Bhagavad Gita properly, it becomes apparent that Shri Krishna is not the Supreme God. We will elaborate further on this in the article below just a little later but let us first look at a few agreed attributes of Supreme God.

Attributes of Supreme God

  • Supreme God never takes birth or dies
  • Supreme God holds the most valuable knowledge
  • Supreme God is all capable
  • Supreme God is the creator of the entire creation

With the above mentioned points in mind, one should re-read Bhagavad Gita and especially pay particular attention to the below mentioned verses.

Description of Supreme God in Bhagavad Gita is given in the following verses.

  • Chapter 2, verse 17
  • Chapter 4, verse 34
  • Chapter 8, verse 5 - 10 and 12 - 13
  • Chapter 13, verse 13 - 17
  • Chapter 15, verse 1 - 4, 16 - 17
  • Chapter 17, verse 23 - 28
  • Chapter 18, verse 46, 61, 62, 64, 66.

Let us take them one by one. People sometimes question that these verses have been taken out of context. It is a request that if you read them, you will find that the verses may appear discrete but are very well within context and logical construct of Bhagavad Gita. 


Mortal and Immortal God

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Verse 5, 9

Gita 4.5: Oh Parantap Arjun! You and I have had several births. You do not know all of them but I know.

The knowledge giver God of Gita claims to be in birth and death. Hence cannot be Supreme God.

Gita 4.9: O Arjun! My births and actions are divine i.e. transcendental. Thus one who understands this in essence, he on abandoning the body does not take birth again, but one who does not know me, Kaal, in essence, comes to me only.

The speaker of Bhagavad Gita again clarifies that he does have birth although they are divine. The bottom line is that he takes birth. Therefore not Supreme.

Gita 10.2: Neither do the gods, nor the great seers know my origin because I am the prime cause of the gods and the great seers in all respects.

Again the knowledge giver God of Gita is talking about his origin. No one knows his origin because the other gods and seers have taken origin from him.

Now read Gita 2.12 and 2.17


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 12

Gita 2.12: Neither it is that I was not there at any time or you were not there or these kings were not there, and nor it is that we will not be there beyond this.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 17

Gita 2.17: You should know Him to be indestructible/immortal from whom this whole visible world has pervaded. No one is capable of destroying this Immortal.

The speaker of Bhagavad Gita draws a clear distinction between himself and the Supreme God. he calls himself to be in birth and death and this other God to be immortal

Now read Gita 15.16-17


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Verse 16 - 17

Gita 15.16: In this world, there are two types of Gods, Perishable and Imperishable. Likewise, in these two loks, the bodies of all the living beings are said to be perishable and the soul, imperishable.

Gita 15.17: The Supreme God is, however, someone else other than the two aforesaid Gods, Kshar Purush and Akshar Purush, who by entering the three loks, sustains everyone and is called as the Eternal Parmeshwar Parmatma (Immortal Supreme God).

Conclusion: This proves that the God speaking Gita is in Birth and Death whereas the Supreme God that he alludes to in his conversation is Immortal.


Who holds the Most Superior Knowledge (Tatvgyan)

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Verse 34

Gita 4.34

The speaker or the knowledge giver of Bhagavad Gita is saying to Arjun that for the most valuable knowledge, you will need to find "Tatvadarshi" Saints, who will instruct you with the supreme knowledge.

Point to Ponder - The point this verse raises is, that the knowledge giver God of Bhagavad Gita does not hold the most superior knowledge. He therefore doesn't know everything and thus cannot be the omnipotent God.

Pranaam vs Dandwat Pranaam

  • Pranaam = Bow
  • Dandwat Pranaam = Prostrate (by lying prone)

Another point that 4.34 raises is that the narrator of Bhagavad Gita is asking Arjun (and rest of humankind) to prostrate before a Tatvadarshi Saint and show extreme humility in order to gain the most supreme knowlege. 

About himself he says in 18.65 that bow before me.

Gita 18.65: Become my devotee based on the opinion with one mind. Worshipping me according to the opinion, bow to me. You will only attain me. I truly promise you; you are very dear to me.

This also proves that a Tatvadarshi Saint holds a higher position when compared to the narrator of Bhagavad Gita. In reality, a Tatvadarshi Saint is either the Supreme God himself or is someone ordained by the Supreme God and thus carries powers similar to Supreme God. 


Clear Distiction Between Two Gods in Bhagavad Gita

The speaker of Bhagavad Gita uses the word 'maam' (me / mine) in the verses whenever he addresses himself, whereas at many places he addresses a different bigger God and uses the word 'tat' (that / he). 

In the verses from Chapter 8 below, the speaker of Bhagavad Gita first talks about himself from 5-7 and then talks about another God (Supreme God) from verses 8-10. These verses dispel all doubts.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 5 - 10

Gita 8.5: One who even at the time of death, gives up his body while remembering me alone, he attains the nature of scripture-based bhakti, sadhna upto Brahm. There is no doubt in this.

Gita 8.6: O son of Kunti, Arjun! While remembering whichever form i.e. whichever god, this man gives up his body at the time of death, he goes to that only because he always attains the same nature of bhakti i.e. nature.

Gita 8.7: Therefore O Arjun! You should remember me at all times and fight as well. Thus, possessing the mind and intellect devoted to me, you will undoubtedly come to me i.e. whenever you will have a human birth, you will engage in my worship and will remain with me only.

In the following 8, 9, 10 Verses, the giver of the knowledge of Gita has said about the Complete God other than him.

Gita 8.8: O Paarth! Endowed with bhakti in the form of practice of the repetition of mantra (jaap of naam) of the Supreme God i.e. engrossed in the worship of the Supreme God with undeviated attention, a bhakt who constantly thinks of God goes to the Supreme Divine God i.e. to Supreme God only.

Gita 8.9: Kavirdev i.e. Supreme God Kabir who becomes famous as a poet, He is immemorial, controller of all, subtler than the subtlest, inconceivable, perpetually radiant like the sun. He who (does sumiran of) remembers that Sachchidanandghan Parmeshwar (the true happiness-giving Supreme God) beyond the darkness of ignorance.

Gita 8.10: That worshipper equipped with bhakti, at the time of death, by the effect of the bhakti of the repetition of mantra (jaap of naam) by properly fixing the life-breath in the middle of the eyebrows, then with a steadfast mind goes to the unknown, divine Supreme God only.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Verse 12 - 17

In all the following verses, the speaker of Gita is talking about another God

Gita 13.12: I shall properly declare him who is worthy of being known and knowing whom one attains the supreme happiness. That beginningless Supreme Brahm is neither called manifest, nor unmanifest.

Gita 13.13: He has hands and feet in all directions, has eyes, heads and faces on all sides, and has ears in all directions. Because he is situated pervading everyone in the world.

Gita 13.14: He is the knower of the objects of all the senses, but in reality, is devoid of all the senses, and even though detached, is the sustainer of all, and despite being Nirgun (without gunas) is the enjoyer of the gunas.

Gita 13.15: He dwells inside and outside all the moving and non-moving beings and is also in the form of the moving and the non-moving, and because of being subtle is incomprehensible i.e. one whose correct state can not be known and He only is situated very near and also far away.

Gita 13.16: Even though undivided, He is situated within the living beings as if divided and that God, worthy of being known, is the sustainer of the living beings in Vishnu-form and is the destroyer and the originator of all.

Gita 13.17: That Supreme God is said to be even the light of the lights and other than the Maya-dhaari Kaal. That God is (a form of) knowledge, worthy of being known and worthy of being attained through Tatvgyan (True Spiritual Knowledge), and is situated in everyone’s heart in a special way.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Verse 1 - 4

Gita 15.1: With the roots above in the form of Supreme God and the branches below in the form of the three gunas i.e. Rajgun-Brahma, Satgun-Vishnu and Tamgun-Shiv, it is an imperishable, extensive Pipal tree, whose divisions, small-small parts, just as there are verses in Vedas, are said to be twigs and leaves. One, who knows that tree of world in detail, is completely knowledgeable i.e. is Tatvadarshi.

Gita 15.1 describes the attributes of a Tatvadarshi Saint

Gita 15.2: That tree’s three gunas–(Rajgun-Brahma, Satgun-Vishnu, Tamgun-Shiv)–like defects (lust, anger, attachment, greed, arrogance) in the form of shoots and branches – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv, extended below and above, are the root cause of binding the soul to actions, and in the world of men – Heaven, Hell and Earth, have been arranged below – in hell, 84 lakh births and above in heaven etc.

Gita 15.3: Neither does this creation have a beginning, nor an end, nor is such a form perceived, and here in this discussion i.e. in the knowledge of Gita being imparted by me, even I do not have full information because even I do not adequately know the state of the creation of all the brahmands. With this determined weapon of unsmeared Tatvgyan i.e. pure Tatvgyan which has a strong form and a permanent state, cutting down i.e. considering the bhakti of Niranjan to be short-lived.

The knowledge giver of Gita talks about a different Supreme God in 15.4

Gita 15.4: {When one finds the Tatvdarshi saint mentioned in Gita Chapter 4 Verse 34, Gita Chapter 15 Verse 1} after that one should properly search for the supreme place i.e. Satlok of that Supreme God. Having gone where, devotees do not return to the world, and the Supreme God (Param Akshar Brahm), from whom the ancient creation–nature has originated. I also am in the refuge of that Eternal Supreme God. One should only do worship of that Supreme God with full determination.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17 Verse 23 - 28

Gita 17.23: ॐ (Om’) mantra of Brahm, Tat’ - this is coded mantra of ParBrahm, Sat’ - this is coded mantra of Purna Brahm. In this way, there is direction of rememberance of three types of mantras of Supreme God, and in the beginning of nature, based on that very Tatvgyan, the scholars created Vedas and yagya etc. They used to worship according to that.

In Gita 8.13, the speaker of Gita says that his mantra is ॐ (Om) whereas in Gita 17.23, he clarifies that the mantra of remebering Supreme God is 'Om Tat Sat'. Again draws clear distinction between 2 Gods. 

Gita 17.24: Therefore, the acts of yagya, charity and austerity and sumiran of those, who pray to God and those who advise rituals which are in accordance with the scriptural injunctions, always commence by chanting this mantra Om’ only; i.e. in the jaap of the three mantras, commencement is from Om’ mantra through breath.

Gita 17.25: The breath iti i.e. ends on the jaap of Tat’ mantra of Akshar Purush i.e. ParBrahm, and is done by those men who perform various kinds of activities of yagya, austerity and charity without desiring the fruit and with the desire of attaining well-being i.e. by those who only wish to become completely free from the cycle of birth and death. This Tat’ mantra is ‘SohM’ mantra, which is jaap mantra of ParBrahm and in the jaap of Satnaam through breaths, the breath iti i.e. ends on the Tat’ mantra.

Gita 17.26: ‘Sat’’- this Saarnaam is used in true sense and in supreme sense at the end of Tat’ mantra with the name of this very Purna Parmatma, and Oh Paarth, Sat’ Shabd i.e. Saarnaam is only used in a superior act; i.e. is added at the end of the aforesaid two mantras Om’ and Tat’.

Gita 17.27: And the state in yagya, austerity and charity is also said to be ‘Sat’’, and in the scripture-based act of bhakti done for that Supreme God only, another word is said at the end of Sat’ word by a Tatvdarshi Saint. For example, Sat’ Sahib, Satguru, Sat’ Purush, Satlok, Satnaam etc words are said.

Gita 17.28: Oh Arjun! Without faith, a hawan performed, a charity given and an austerity practiced and whatever auspicious act is performed, all of that is ‘Asat’’ i.e. is useless – it is said so. Therefore, it is neither beneficial for us in this world nor after death.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Verse 46, 61, 62, 64, 66

The speaker of Gita is clearly asking Arjun to go into the shelter of some other Supreme God in the following chapter 18 verses

Gita 18.46: The God from whom all the living beings have originated and from whom this whole world has pervaded, by worshipping that God through the performance of one’s natural activities i.e. while performing worldly tasks instead of practicing Hathyog, a man attains spiritual success.

Gita 18.61: O Arjun! Causing all the living beings, mounted on the body-like machine, to revolve according to their deeds by His Maya, the Omniscient God is situated in the heart of all the living beings.

Gita 18.62: O Bharat! You, in every respect, go in the refuge of only that Supreme God. By the grace of that Supreme God only, you will attain the supreme peace and the everlasting place (dhaam/lok) i.e. Satlok.

Gita 18.64: I will again say the most confidential of all sectrets, my utmost mysterious beneficial words to you, listen to these – this Supreme God is my definite revered deity i.e. venerated God.

Gita 18.66: Relinquishing all my religious practices in me, you go in the refuge of only that one unique i.e. Complete God. I will release you from all the sins. You do not grieve.


Conclusion

It is very obvious that the speaker of Bhagavad Gita while giving the knowledge to whole mankind via Arjun talks about himself and also some other God. The verses mentioned above are a testimony to this statement. There are many other verses where the speaker of Bhagavad Gita makes nuanced reference to the Supreme God but the glaringly obvious ones have been mentioned here. The conclusion that can be drawn is that the Speaker of Bhagavad Gita is not the Supreme God. There is another God above him who is the Supreme God.