Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 10 Verse 34 Meaning
The Supreme Lord Krishna says: “I am Death. I am the origin of all future beings. Of females, I am Kirti, I am Sri (श्री), Vak (वाक्), Smriti (स्मृति), Medha (मेधा), Dhriti (धृति) and Kshama (क्षमा).“
The names mentioned by Sri Krishna are Goddesses that preside over divine qualities such as fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness, and forgiveness respectively.
Subtler Meaning of Death
Death puts an end to all that is associated with memory. It is the ultimate destroyer of memory which includes our body. Of all memory cells, the memory cells of the physical body are the strongest, followed by the astral and causal bodies. The physical gross body is destroyed by death as well as it puts an end to our name and form associated with our current lifetime. Death is to be understood as the Lord’s incarnation that resets all memory. When we take a new birth, all the superficial memory related to the physical organism in its previous incarnation is reset.
Tendencies representing the fundamental character of the organism are retained as a carry-over from the previous birth. This provides the new life with a base to begin with. Then there will be the acquisition of fresh knowledge in the new birth. The knowledge accumulated in this lifetime gets deposited further on the already existing innate tendencies which remained untouched by death. In simpler terms, the Vrittis (tendencies) of the jeeva (living entity) keep building as he cycles through birth and death. This great mechanism of death is indeed one of the greatest manifestations of the Lord.
The Magical Touch fades with Time
The Lord is the creator, sustainer, and destroyer. If Death is a reality, we must know that the potential of one’s future is also present in the Lord. Future and futuristic directions are sourced by the Lord. All scientific discoveries into the future are initiated by beings who have been instilled by the creative force of the Supreme Lord.
We may come across people who are creative. These creative people maybe sometimes unfortunate. Because they might attribute the creative flow to themselves. Such a midset is indeed unfortunate. We are not capable of being creative. Crediting mortals for scientific discoveries or pioneering artistic style is the greatest fallacy. We fail to understand that creativity is never permanent.
We know of filmmakers and artists who got recognition for their creativity. Suddenly, they seem to lose their magic in a matter of years. They may have not forgotten their art; that they very well remember just like the back of their palms. Yet their magic seems to fade away. People who once appreciated them, do not find their works interesting anymore. We say “The fellow lost his magical touch.” Why do we say that? It is important to remember that it is the Supreme Being who manifests or withdraws that creative potential from creators, from futuristic beings.
It is important to learn early in life that anything related to science, art, or commerce can only be the brainchild of the Supreme Being. A human being can at most be a humble recipient of that art. He can be fortunate enough to display it but the sole owner of all progress is the Lord alone. This is the teaching of this verse.
Seven Female Goddesses in the verse
The seven female goddesses represent the best qualities that you can possess in this world. Out of the seven female goddesses, 5 are daughters of the mind-created son of Brahma namely Daksha Prajapati. Sri is the daughter of Sage Bhrigu and Vak is the daughter of Lord Brahma. We shall discuss each of them to be able to see the worthiness of these seven qualities that are personified as the 7 goddesses.
Fame and Prosperity
Fortune or Prosperity is Goddess Shri, the daughter of Sage Brighu, while Fame is Goddesses Kirti, daughter of Daksha Prajapati, the mind-born son of Lord Brahma. They come to man as a result of some good action. Good action may be of this lifetime or any of the previous lifetimes.
How can these gifts be a result of our past good actions?: We see selected individuals are born in affluent, rich, and prosperous families.
What qualifies such people to possess fame and fortune?: Fame and fortune are merits for the good actions one performs. But, these rewards have a diminishing value as one starts enjoying them. They come to an end and do not multiply unless one adds into one’s account more good Karma. If one does not build good karma and continues to enjoy the fruits, fame, and fortune come to an end, some point in life.
How to build good actions?: Fame and Fortune are to be seen as rewards in exchange to something pious. Pious activities are those which are carried out in line with the scriptures either consciously or unconsciously.
Speech and Memory
Goddess Vak is the direct daughter of Sri Brahma. Many times people are blessed with the unique ability to convince and attract crowds through their power of speech. This power of attraction through the power of one’s voice is called Vak Shakti.
This might be a God-gifted, inborn ability for some people while for others it might dawn as a gift for their dedicated discipline which is called sadhana.
Speaking well may also be a result of good karma of past lives, where the talent seems to flourish without conscious cultivation. Usually, a person who is blessed with good oratory skills also has good memory power.
Smriti, the Goddess of Memory, is the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. Speech and memory go hand in hand. They are special blessings of the Supreme Lord.
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There are 2 types of intelligence. The first type is based on the intellect. It can be identified if the person possesses a good command of material sciences, troubleshooting, problem-solving, or is good at handling other people. Such a person is fast and has good decision-making capabilities. This is the first type, ordinary intelligence. It is born out of good karma, a result of pious deeds.
Higher intelligence classifies as the 2nd type of intelligence. It is not born out of good Karma. In fact, only grace, or special mercy on the part of the Supreme Being can bestow the living entity with Higher Intelligence. Such blessed beings become open vessels to receive wisdom. They develop higher insight into the nature of life as they see beyond the veil of Maya. A person qualifying in this category refers to the scriptures.
Steadfastness is a habit that is born out of clean, clear, and resolute character. It is a blessing that the Lord confers on someone who has worked towards building a character. Steadfastness means unwavering. He will hold firm on his principles, value system, morality, Truth, and practices at all times. Harsh conditions have no say. Such a man possesses the wealth of the highest integrity.
Power is conferred upon such a person because he did not desire for that in particular. Instead, he focused on creating a persona that is spotless and upright, to attract grace. He does not desire but is bestowed with it just because he pleases the Lord. So, it is the magnanimity of Bhagawan for bestows all the 7 qualities on his dear devotees who work towards His satisfaction alone. Steadfastness has the power to supersede and overshadow all the other acquired blessings.
Steadfastness, by far is the most powerful quality which is rooted in character of the individual. The grace of the Lord is felt most only through the power of character that steadfastness bestows on an individual.
This is a peculiar blessing of the Lord to his favorite devotees. If forgiveness is not part of somebody’s character, it should be seen that one is standing on fragile ground. It is forgiveness alone that shall grant the power to move on in life without getting stuck to people or circumstances. Not many people seem interested in seeking this boon. But, it is the most needed blessing to progress in life. A person blessed with the power of forgiveness is rid of all sins because he neither lays allegations on anyone nor does he blame people accusing him.
This makes his character like the leaf of the lotus flower. No blemish can stick to the character of a person who has the fragrance of forgiveness in his character.
Accepting the Lord as the sole proprietor
It is to be understood that a person who displays or sports any of the above seven qualities possesses the very power of the Lord. No one should be envious or jealous of such blessed people. If one were to feel jealous of these people, it puts the Lord’s choice under question. The Lord can never make a mistake. Our negative demeanor towards such individuals translates as an open disagreement with the Lord.
Whenever we witness these characteristics manifesting through individuals, we must see the hand of Bhagawan. Crediting individuals for their skills is foolishness. A devotee may appreciate the blessed person not because he possesses those qualities but because they served as a trigger point for him to be able to see the Creator acting. He appreciates the person only because he has the great fortune of being able to possess the Lord’s energies.
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