param brahma param dhaama pavitram paramam bhavaan |
purusham shaashvatam divyamaadidevamajam vibhum || 12 ||
You are the supreme absolute, the supreme abode, supremely pure. You are the divine eternal person, the original deity who is beyond birth, all-pervading.
param : supreme
brahma : absolute
dhaama : abode
pavitram : pure
bhavaan : you are
purusham : person
shaashvatam : eternal
divyam : divine
aadidevam : original deity
ajam : beyond birth
vibhum : all-pervading
Over the course of the previous chapters, Arjuna gained an understanding of the real nature of Ishvara, and of Shri Krishna as an avatara, a divine manifestation of Ishvara. This understanding prompted him to praise Ishvara, and that is what we will see in the next few shlokas.
Arjuna spoke of Ishvara as “parama brahman” which is the absolute reality, the eternal essence that was spoken of in the second chapter. He understood that Ishvara’s real nature is beyond time and space, it is that which is the support of time and space. Ishvara is”parama dhaaman”, the supreme goal, the ultimate abode of all beings. Ishvara is also the supreme purifier, as he destroys all traces of impurities in the form of ignorance.
The word “purusha” literally means, one who fills the body. Ishvara is the “divyam shaashvatam purusha”, the divine eternal person the comprises the entire universe, just like all of the cells in our body are termed as “body” in aggregate. Ishvara is divine because he is beyond the realm of impermanence caused by maaya. He is “ajam”, beyond birth, but is the cause of everyone else’s birth. He is “vibhum” which is all-pervading, he alone appears as everything.
Like the Vishnu Sahasranaam that enumerates a thousand names of Ishvara, this shloka can be used as a prayer to meditate upon Ishvara’s glories. Now, did only Arjuna think that this was the real nature of Ishvara or did others as well? Arjuna takes this up in the next shloka.