buddhirjnyaanamasammohaha kshamaa satyam damaha shamaha |
sukham duhkham bhavobhaavo bhayam chaabhayameva cha || 4 ||

 
Intellect, wisdom, non-delusion, forgiveness, truth, external restraint, internal restraint, external restraint, joy and sorrow, creation and destruction, fear and sorrow.
 
buddhihi : intellect
jnyaanam : wisdom
asammohaha : non-delusion
kshamaa : forgiveness
satyam : truth
damaha : external restraint
shamaha : internal restraint
sukham : joy
duhkham : sorrow
bhavaha : creation
abhaavaha : destruction
bhayam : fear
cha : and
abhayam : fearlessness
eva : also
 
Shri Krishna begins describing Ishvara’s vibhootis or expressions with this shloka. First, he describes Ishvara’s subtle expressions in two shlokas. He says that intelligence, wisdom, non-delusion, forgiveness, self-restraint, joy and sorrow, creation and destruction, fear and fearlessness, all of these are expressions of Ishvara. Whenever we come across any of these expressions, we should immediately realize that it is Ishvara expressing himself through them.
 
“Buddhihi” or intellect is the ability to know subtle things, things that are not immediately perceived by our senses. Our tongue may enjoy fried food, but our intellect will tell us not to indulge in it due to the potential health risks. Now, none of our senses saw something called a “health risk” but our intellect did. Similarly, “jnyaana” or wisdom is the ability to discriminate between the eternal essence and everything else. Engaging with the world without getting deluded into thinking that it is the source of happiness, this is “asammoha” or non-delusion.
 
With the foundation of intellect, wisdom and non-delusion, we are ready to engage with the world. We may encounter people that speak ill of us or trouble us in some way. “Kshamaa” or forgiveness lets us drop any negative thinking that is generated out of such interactions. Conversely, it is our duty to convey to others what we perceive of the world without adding any modifications or distortions. This is known as “satyam” or truthfulness. We may also encounter people, objects and situations that generate selfish desires within us. In order to guard against chasing after them, we need to cultivate “dama” or sense control, and “shama” which is control over the mind.
 
Now, let us examine Ishvara’s manifestations that come in pairs. We usually tend to be attracted towards one aspect of the pair and run away from the other aspect. First let us look at “sukham” and “duhkham” or joy and sorrow. We prefer joyful situations and tend to avoid sorrowful ones. We prefer “bhaavaha” or creation but dislike “abhaavaha” or destruction. We like to be “abhaya” or fearless, not “bhaya” or fearlessness.
 
Shri Krishna wants us to remain equanimous, remain balanced in both aspects of these pairs. Ishvara may send a sorrowful situation in order to create further vairagya or dispassion. Like a municipality that demolishes a dangerously unlivable building, he may destroy a person, object or situation so that a new one can be created in its place. Like a robber who is afraid of a burglary alarm, he may generate fear in us so that we do not commit an unlawful or unethical act.
 
The second part of this topic is covered in the next shloka.

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