“O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.” (Sanjaya, Bhagavad-gita, 18.76)
rājan saṁsmṛtya saṁsmṛtya
saṁvādam imam adbhutam
hṛṣyāmi ca muhur muhuḥ
At the end of the Bhagavad-gita the relay person, the one forwarding the details of the conversation taking place between the exalted speaker and the humble disciple, reveals his own mind. Named Sanjaya, he started as a neutral bystander. He took an interest in the ensuing dialogue, and he says that every time he remembers it, he takes great pleasure. He feels a thrill at every moment. The source of that thrill is the nature of the speaker, whose name of Krishna best suits Him.
What makes a name most befitting? Can a person have more than one name? We know that in sports players often get nicknames. These aren’t their legal names; they are titles given based on behavior. The Supreme Lord has behavior that spans all of space and all of time. Both work in infinite directions. Whichever direction you choose to travel, you can never reach the end of space. The same goes for travelling back in time and contemplating the future.
What are some of the names for the Supreme Lord? There is Vishnu. This means one who is all-pervading. He expands Himself to reside in the heart of every living thing. He is larger than the largest, but to stay inside of everyone He must also be smaller than the smallest. Another name for Him is Hari. This means one who takes away and it also refers to the lion species. When He chooses to act in a conflict, He is courageous and ferocious like a lion. He is the king of whichever jungle He enters.
atha vā bahunaitena
kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam
ekāṁśena sthito jagat
The name Krishna says that God is all-attractive. Those who know the Lord best understand that this name is most complete. To pervade the entire universe with but a fragment of Himself is a sign of attractiveness. To scare the demoniac when they threaten the pious makes the Lord attractive to anyone who has ever faced difficulty. The all-attractiveness is present in every area, including speech.
Krishna is also God the person. Only a person can speak and deliver rich philosophy in seemingly the oddest of settings: a battlefield. Only a person can hear questions and then give proper answers. Krishna the person lives up to His name; He is attractive from head to toe. One can meditate on each part of His body, starting from the feet and working their way up to even the hair on the head.
The Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krishna to Arjuna, and that conversation was relayed to the king Dhritarashtra by Sanjaya. Sanjaya found that conversation to be thrilling, and one who doesn’t know Krishna so well might misunderstand the source of that thrill. The main topics of the Bhagavad-gita are certainly attractive. There is the jiva, which is the living entity. Who am I? Who are you? Are we the same? Are we different? We must be non-identical if we have different names. The discussion on the jiva is thus important.
There is discussion of ishvara, or the Supreme Controller. The jivas are seemingly helpless. They can’t see everything and they can’t live forever. They are controlled by higher forces in every sphere. From the head of household all the way up to the leader of the nation, everyone is controlled. Ishvara is the controller of all controllers.
There is discussion of prakriti, or material nature. The jivas are spirit at the core, identical in qualitative makeup. They appear to be different due to prakriti, which covers them. The material nature is a kind of uniform. Not all uniforms are the same, and at the time of death the uniforms get discarded in favor of new ones.
There is discussion of karma, which is fruitive activity. Through karma determined by the acts of jivas the material nature shifts. Matter is dull and lifeless, lacking consciousness. It can only be manipulated by living things. If we run into a door accidentally, suddenly our face looks different. It has blood on it, and the mark of injury later on is the scar. That work is karma, and it is the cause of rebirth.
The remaining important topic discussed in the Bhagavad-gita is time. Karma makes the prakriti covering the jivas change, but that change cannot take place without time. Time is the great devourer; hence it is synonymous with death. Those who don’t know the detail behind the seemingly abstract concept of ishvara take death to be their supreme deity. And this deity is greatly feared.
These five topics alone make for the richest philosophy. Even so, these topics are not the source of Sanjaya’s pleasure. It is Krishna Himself who gives life to the presentation. Anything attractive we see in this world has God at its origin. The beautiful lotus flower could never be conceived in the human mind. Neither could the valleys, the hills, the mountains or the rivers that we travel so far to experience.
In the same way, the Bhagavad-gita’s attractiveness is due to the all-attractive Krishna. Because Krishna is so prominent in that work, it becomes anupama, or incomparable. No other work can compare to it. It is the secret of all secrets because the things most needed to be known are revealed. The secret is given to Arjuna because he is a devotee. That exchange between God and His devotee is very endearing to pious souls like Sanjaya, who bask in Krishna’s attractiveness.
After news to Dhritarashtra giving,
With thrills Sanjaya living.
Words from the charioteer of Arjuna to call,
Brings joy to messenger when to recall.
Though five important topics covering,
Attractiveness not from knowledge uncovering.
Due to Krishna Himself one should know,
Beautiful His each aspect from head to toe.