Chapter 12. The glory of association with devotees – vital role of life force and the various presiding deities in creation, sustenance and liberation.

In the 12th chapter, resuming the discourse, the Lord stresses on the importance of association with the Lords devotees as a means of emancipation and cites examples of those liberated among all species of living beings. Then the Lord goes on to glorify the devotion of Gopis as being superior in character, because of complete and unconditional surrender of all their thoughts and actions.

Uddhava has a doubt after hearing the praise of the Gopis and says he cannot resolve the doubt whether Vayu is superior or the Gopis. This doubt is resolved in the following shlokas where the vital role of Mukhya Prana is stressed; how Chathurmukha, the progenitor of all the deities presiding over ahankara etc along with Sri Lakshmi and Sri Narayana enters the heart space of Rudra and others and becoming the Controller of their minds, assumes the subtle form; and how through propounding of the Vedas, thereafter, assumes the gross form.

The life force mutates from the subtle into gross sound form as it passes successively from muladhara, swadhistana, manipura, anahata, visuddhi and ajna, the six spiritual centers (chakras) in the body. Just as fire existing in the unmanifested form of heat in the sky, appears in a minute form as a spark when being repeatedly churned with force out of a block of wood, and fanned by the wind and growing larger in course of time, blazes forth with the help of oblations poured into it, even so the Lord manifests as the Veda through the successive stages of speech viz para, pasyanti, madhyama and vaikhari; through the instructions of Guru.

All articulation, actions through the different indriyas, cognition, intellection. self identification, the entire range of objective existence, the modification of gunas etc are the manifestations of the Lord. Chaturmukha the foremost among jeevas or jeevothama, with the blessings of Sri Hari, permeates the entire creation beginning with ahankara and operating through the various regulating tattvas and their respective deities. As a piece of cloth owes its existence to the woven warp and woof of threads, the entire creation rests on Chaturmukha, though not identical with him. Brahma and Saraswathi are the two seeds (which grow into a tree of mundane existence), the innumerable activities are its roots, three viz Chandra, Indra and Rudra (presiding deities respectively of mind, intelligence, and false ego) are its stalks, the five elements are its main boughs, it yields five kinds of saps in the shape of the five objects of senses; the ten indriyas and the mind are its secondary branches; it shelters the nest of the two birds, one which is ceaselessly striving through activity for enjoyment and the other through dispassion, for final liberation; it has three layers of bark in the shape of sattva, rajas and tamoguna;two types of fruits in the shape of enjoyment (swarga) for the karmis and final liberation (moksha) for the yogis.

He alone, who understands this truth of mundane existence, understands the true import of the Vedas and is thereby liberated. At the conclusion of the 12th chapter, the Lord instructs Uddhava to forge the axe of God knowledge through single pointed devotion to and service of sadguru, and with the sharp edge of the axe, cut asunder the veil of ignorance covering the jiva to attain to Sri Hari and experience the joy of liberation.That the praising of the Gopis by the Lord is not to show they are superior to Brahma and others, is thus brought out.

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