Srimad Bhagavad-gita Study Group
- Chapter 10 -
The Divine Glories of the Lord
The Supreme Lord Krishna establishes that He is the primeval origin of all the gods and the great sages of yore even though they are unable to comprehend His divine descent into the world. Whosoever knows Him as the one unborn, beginingless, fountainhead of all that exists and realises the transcendental nature of His eternal, all beautiful, humanlike form and knows this to be above both His aspects as the indwelling supersoul (Paramatama) and the all-pervading impersonal feature (Brahman) is purged of all sin and released from the delusion of Maya. All the qualities of the living beings; intelligence, knowledge, freedom from delusion, forbearance, truth, happiness, unhappiness, etc., all have their origin in Him. The seven ancient sages, the four fabled brahmacharis, and the fourteen Manus are all born of Lord Brahma and empowered by the Lord. The human race is their progeny. Those who worship the Lord with firm faith and unadulterated devotion, knowing Him to be the cause and origin of all that be are truly enlightened in transcendental knowledge. The Lord then gives the Chatur-sloki or the four essential root verses of the Gita (8-11) beginning with aham sarvasya prabhavo. These verses encapsulate the nucleus of the whole Gita. He begins by declaring that He is Krishna, the Sweet Absolute, the cause of all and that those who realise this embrace the eternal path of divine love and adore Him forever. Those fully surrendered devotees constantly speak about Him and enlighten and enliven one another in the ecstasy of their shared realisations. Such devotees come to the Lord in the deepest intimacy of Love inspired by irresistible desire for spiritual union with Him. Feeling the heart-break of their separation from Him, the sweet Lord illuminates their hearts with His all-loving presence of joyful communion with Him.
Arjuna then asks the Lord to describe His opulences so that he can always be absorbed in thought of Him. The Lord replies that His glories are unlimited so He will tell him of some of the principal divine manifestations in this world. He is the Vishnu of the Adityas, the Sun, the Moon, the Sama Veda, Indra the king of gods, sage Kapila, devotee Prahlad, warrior Parasuram, Mount Sumeru, the ocean and the syllable Om. Flower-bearing spring is He, valour, victory, perseverance, truth, the silence of secrets and the wisdom of the wise. Vasudev of the Vrishnis and Arjuna of the Pandavas. He is the beginning, the middle and the end of all. The science that deals with God, the soul and matter and their inter-relationship—He is that. In other words, whatever is remarkable in this world due to its grandeur, its might, its glory, its sublimity or its beauty, you should know that to be a manifestation of His divine splendour. The Lord concludes by saying there is no need to further elaborate His wondrous glories as He pervades and supports the entire creation with just a fraction of Himself in His expansion as the Paramatma.
Useful Acronym to remember the chapter contents:
When discussing the subject of spirituality among different audiences, certain reservations invariably seem to surface. People complain that they cannot see God at work, that He is not manifest in person before their eyes, and that they have no direct experience of His existence. “Show me God,” the sceptics posit, “and then I’ll believe in Him.” In Chapter Ten, Krishna explains how the spiritualist can simultaneously perceive God as the source of the creation and also see God within the creation. However, this requires more than an intellectual understanding. It actually calls for transformation of one’s consciousness and revelation from within.
S Source of Everything
E Essence of Gita
S – Source of Everything (Verses 1-7) - Modern science is founded upon the methodology of ascending knowledge, where one attempts to understand reality in its fullest extent by empirical research and experimentation. Krishna makes a simple but powerful rebuttal of such an approach. He explains how something which has been created cannot understand its source independently. For example, if one wanted to ascertain the identity of their father using a purely experimental approach, it would be highly impractical and most likely inconclusive. However, if one accepted the testimony of their mother first, and subsequently experimented, such an approach would more likely be successful. In the same way, all material and spiritual creations have their source in Krishna, and one who approaches Him can get scientific insight into their identity and purpose. Later, Krishna will explain how such knowledge can actually be directly perceived.
E – Essence of Gita (Verses 8-11) - These four verses contain the essence of the Bhagavad-gita, and describe spirituality in its three essential stages. The first stage is entitled sambhanda, or knowledge of one’s relationship with God and the universe. The second stage is the practice and application of such knowledge in one’s daily life, technically known as abhideya. The third stage is the mature fruit of such practice, which is pure spiritual consciousness and unbounded love of God. This is known as prayojana. Thus, the Bhagavad-gita is
actually a spiritual science since there is hypothesis (sambandha), experiment (abhideya) and observation / conclusion (prayojana). These four verses (8-11) give a roadmap of spirituality from beginning to end.
E – Everywhere (Verses 12-42) - Arjuna is satisfied by Krishna’s explanations and requests Him to elaborate further on His characteristics and qualities. In response, Krsna describes the most prominent among His limitless, all pervading opulence. By doing this He explains how one can actually think about Him, meditate on Him and see Him everywhere. It is not that Krishna is physically all the things He mentions, but rather that He is the source of the opulence of these things - their strength, fame, wealth, and so on. After naming 82 opulences, Krishna concludes by stating that these simply hint at His glory since He pervades and supports the entire universe with a mere fragment of His energy.
Questions on Chapter 10
Chapter 10 slokas to learn:
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ 
aham prabhavaḥ–I am the Supreme Absolute Truth, Svayam Bhagavān or the original Supreme Lord, the cause; sarvasya–of all causes, including Brahma, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān. sarvam–All activity in the universe of matter and spirit, and the Vedas and allied scriptures; pravartate–arise; mattaḥ–from Me. matvā–Realising; iti–this deep truth; budhāḥ–persons of fine theistic intelligence; bhāva-samanvitāḥ–in their divine relationship of servitude, friendship, etc.; bhajante–worship, adore; mām–Me. 
8 I am Kṛṣṇa, the Sweet Absolute, the origin of all. The entire universe of material and transcendental play, activity, purpose, and the Vedas and allied scriptures which give guidance—all evolve from Me alone. Realising this hidden treasure, persons of fine theistic intelligence surpass the mundane and embrace the path of love divine, rāga-marg, and adore Me forever.
mach-chittā mad-gata-prāṇā bodhayantaḥ parasparam
kathayantaś cha māṁ nityaṁ tuṣyanti cha ramanti cha 
mat-gata-prāṇāḥ–Those who have dedicated their lives to Me; mat-chittāḥ–who always think of Me; mām kathayantaḥ cha–and talk about Me; bodhayantaḥ parasparam (santaḥ)–enlightening one another with the nectar of their devotional realisations; nityam–are ever; tuṣyanti cha–satisfied; ramanti cha–and ecstatic. 
9 Always thinking of Me, those surrendered souls converse about Me, enlightening one another with the nectar of their devotional realisations, ever content and ecstatic in their divine natures.
teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te 
teṣām prīti-pūrvakam bhajatām–To those loving devotees; satata-yuktānām–who are always engaged in My service; (aham)–I; dadāmi–give; tam–that; buddhi-yogam–inspiration; yena–by which; te–they; upayānti–can come; mām–to Me. 
10 To those devotees who are always lovingly engaged in My service, I give the divine inspiration by which they can come to Me.
teṣām evānukampārtham aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā 
anukampa-artham–Out of compassion; teṣām eva–for them; aham–I; ātma-bhāva-sthaḥ–appearing within their hearts; nāśayāmi–destroy; bhāsvatā jñāna-dīpena–with the shining lamp of knowledge; tamaḥ–the darkness; ajñāna-jam–born of ignorance. 
11 Out of compassion for them, I, situated within the hearts of all living beings, dispel the darkness of ignorance with the radiance of knowledge.
11 Being conquered by the love of those devotees who in their unalloyed loving devotion become afflicted by the all-devouring darkness born of their pangs of separation from Me, I illuminate their hearts with My presence, destroying the darkness of their pain of separation.