भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान्यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः | ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम् ||१८-५५||
bhaktyā māmabhijānāti yāvānyaścāsmi tattvataḥ . tato māṃ tattvato jñātvā viśate tadanantaram ||18-55||
18.55. Through devotion he comes to know of Me : Who I am and how, in fact, I am-having correctly known Me, he enters Me. Then afterwards,
Shri Purohit Swami
18.55 By such devotion, he sees Me, who I am and what I am; and thus realising the Truth, he enters My Kingdom.
Sri Abhinav Gupta
18.55 See Comment under 18.60
18.55 Through such devotion, he knows ‘who I am,’ i.e., knows My own essence and My nature, and ‘what I am,’ i.e., in My attributes and glory. Knowing Me truly, he rises to a higher level than this Bhakti, and aciring knowledge of the truth, enters into Me through devotion. The meaning is that he attains Me by means of infinite and unsurpassed Bhakti which develops subseent in time to the vision of the nature, attributes and glory of the Lord in reality. Here the term ‘Tatah’ (through) denotes that devotion is the cause of attainment; for it has been stated to be the cause of entrance n the text, ‘But by singel-minded devotion it is possible ৷৷.’ (11.54).
In this way, the crowning development has been told starting from the disinterested performance of periodical and occasional rites suitable for the various stations and stages of life, which are to be performed to propitiate the Supreme Person. Sri Krsna now explains that even for actions meant for attaining desired objects (Kamya-karmas) the crowning stage is the same as for these described above, provided they too are done not for fulfilling one’s desires but as offerings to propitiate the Supreme Person.
18.55 Bhaktya, through devotion, through that devotion described as Knowledge; abhijanati, he knows; mam, Me; tattvatah, in reality; as to yavan, what I am, with the extensive differences created by limiting adjuncts; and yah asmi, who I am when all distinctions create by the limiting adjuncts are destroyed-Me who am the supreme Person comparable to space [In points of all-pervasiveness and non-attachment.] and one-without-a-second, absolute, homogeneous Consciousness, birthless, ageless, immortal, fearless and deathless. Tatah, then; jnatva, having known; mam, Me, thus; tattvatah, in truth; visate, he enters into Me, Myself; tadanantaram, immediately after that (Knowledge). Here, by saing, ‘having known, he enters without delay’, it is not meant that the acts of ‘knowing’ and ’entering immediately after’ are different. What then? What is meant is the absolute Knowledge itself that has to no other result, [In place of phalantarabhava-jnana-matram eva, Ast. reads ‘phalantarbhavat jnanamatram eva, absolute Knowledge itself, since there is no other result’.-Tr.] for it has been said, ‘And৷৷.understand Me to be the “Knower of the field”, (13.2). Opponent: Has it not been contradictory to say, he knows Me through that which is the supreme steadliness (nistha) in Knowledge? Vedantin: If it be asked, How it is contradictory? Opponent: The answer is: Whenever any Knowledge of something arises in a knower, at that very moment the knower knows that object. Hence, he does not depend on steadfastness in Knowledge which consists in the repetition of the act of knowing. And therefore, it is contradictory to say one knows not through knowledge, but through steadfastness in knowledge which is a repetition of the act of knowing. Vedantin: There is no such fault, since the culmination of Knowledge-which (Knowledge) is associated with the causes of its unfoldment and maturity, and which has nothing to contradict it- in the conviction that one’s own Self has been realized is what is referred to by the word nistha (consummation): When knowledge-which concerns the identity of the ‘Knower of the field’ and the supreme Self, and which remains associated with the renunciation of all actions that arise from the perception of the distinction among their accessories such as agent etc., and which unfolds from the instruction of the scriptures and teachers, depending on purity of the intellect etc. and humility etc. which are the auxiliary cuases of the origin and maturity of Knowledge-continues in the form of the conviction that one’s own Self has been realized, then that continuance is called the supreme steadfastness (nistha) in Knowledge. This steadfastness in Knowledge that is such has been spoken of as the highest, the fourth kind of devotion in relation to the three other devotions viz of the afflicted, etc. (cf. 7.16). Through that highest devotion one realizes the Lord in truth. Immediately after that the idea of difference between the Lord and the Knower of the field vanishes totally. There-fore the statement, ‘one knows Me through devotion in the form of steadfastness in Knowledge’, is not contradictory. And, in this sense, all the scriptures-consisting of Vedanta (Upanisads etc.), History, Mythology and Smrtis-, as for instance, ‘Knowing (this very Self the Brahmanas) renounce৷৷.and lead a mendicant’s life’ (Br. 3.5.1), ‘Therefore they speak of monasticism as excellent among these austerities’ (Ma. Na. 24.1), ‘Monasticism verily became supreme’ (ibid. 21.2), which enjoin renunciation become meaningful. Thus, monasticism means renunciation of rites and duties. There are also the texts, ‘Having renounced the Vedas as well as this world and the next’ (Ap. Dh. Su. 2.9.13), and ‘Give up religion and irreligion’ (Mbh. Sa. 329.40; 331.44), etc. And here (in the Gita) also various relevant) passages have been pointed out. In is not porper that those texts should be meaningless. Nor are they merely eulogistic, since they occur in their own contexts. Besides, Liberation consists in being established in the changeless real nature of the indwelling Self. Indeed, it is not possible that one who wants to go to the eastern sea and the other who wants to go in the opposite direction to the western sea can have the same course! And steadfastness in Knowledg consists in being totally absorbed in maintaining a current of thought with regard to the indwelling Self. And that is opposed to coexistence with duties, like going to the western sea. It has been the conclusion of those versed in the valid means of knowledge that the difference between them is as wide as that between a mountain and a mustard seed! Therefore it is established that one should have recourse to steadfastness in Knowledge only, by relinishing all rites and duties. The fruit of the attainment of success from the Yoga of Devotion consisting in worshiping the Lord with one’s own actions is the ability to remain steadfast in Knowledge, from which, follows stead-fastness in Knowledge, culminating in the result, Liberation. That Yoga of Devotion to the Lord is now being praised in this concluding section dealing with the purport of the Scripture, with a veiw to generating a firm conviction with regard to it (the purport of the Scripture):
18.55 Through devotion, he comes to know Me fully - who and what I am in reality, who I am and how I am. Knowing Me thus in truth, he forthwith enters into Me.
18.55 Through devotion he knows Me in reality, as to what and who I am. Then, having known Me in truth, he enters (into Me) immediately after that (Knowledge).
18.55 By devotion he knows Me in truth, what and who I am; then having known Me in truth, he forthwith enters into the Supreme.
18.55 भक्त्या by devotion? माम् Me? अभिजानाति (he) knows? यावान् what? यः who? च and? अस्मि (I) am? तत्त्वतः in truth? ततः then? माम् Me? तत्त्वतः in truth? ज्ञात्वा having known? विशते (he) enters? तत् that? अनन्तरम् afterwards.Commentary My devotee? O Arjuna? who has attained to union with Me through singleminded and unflinching devotion is verily My very Self. Devotion culminates in knowledge. Devotion begins with two and ends in one. ParaBhakti (supreme devotion) and Jnana are one. Devotion is the mother. Knowledge is the son. By devotion he knows that I am allpervading pure,consciousness he knows that I am nondual? unborn? decayless? causeless? selfluminous? indivisible? unchanging he knows that I am destitute of all the differences caused by the limiting adjuncts he knows that I am the support? source? womb? basis? and substratum of everything he knows that I am the ruler of all beings he knows that I am the Supreme Purusha? the controller of Maya? and that this world is a mere appearance. Thus knowing Me in truth or in essence? he enters into Me soon after attaining Selfknowledge.The act of knowing and the act of entering are not two distinct acts. Knowing is becoming. Knowing is attaining Selfknowledge. To know That is to become That. Entering is knowing or beoming That. Entering is the attainment of Selfknowledge or Selfrealisation. These are all jugglery of words only. Knowing and entering are synonymous terms. It is very difficult to understand or comprehend transcendental spiritual matters. The teachers use various terms or expressions? analogies? similes? parables? stories? etc. to make the aspirant grasp the matter clearly and lucidly. Words are imperfect and languages are defective. They cannot fully express the inner spiritual experiences. The teacher somehow or other expresses to the students or aspirants these spiritual ideas. The aspirant himself will have to realise the Self. That is beyond the reach of words of expressions or analogies of similes. How can there be similes for that nondual Brahman These words are a sort of help or prop for the aspirants to lean upon in the beginning to understand spiritual matters. When he realises the Self? these words are of no value to him. He himself becomes an embodiment of knowledge.