Chapter 3 – Verse 15 – Part 1
कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्
तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम्
Karma brahmodbhavam viddhi brahmaksarasamudbhavam
tasmat sarvagatam brahma nityam yagna pratishtitam
karma – ritual
brahmodbhavam – born of the veda
brahma – the veda
aksara-samudbhavam – born of the imperishable ishwara
viddhi – may you understand
tasmat – therefore
sarvagatam – all pervasive
brahma – the veda
nityam – always
yajne – in yajna
pratisthitam – abides
May you understand that Karma (ritual, prayer etc.) is born of the Veda and the Veda is born of the imperishable ishwara. Therefore, the all-pervasive Brahma (the Veda) abides in yagna.
This verse talks about what is Veda and why it is important for us to know. By karma, Krishna here refers to the Vedic rituals i.e. vaidika karma. These rituals are to be understood as coming from the Veda itself, called Brahma in the verse. Brahma is the Veda that reveals the nature of Karma and therefore becomes its cause. The verse also says that Brahma is born of aksara, the imperishable, that which never dies nor gets born. Therefore Brahma cannot be this absolute Brahman.
The Veda comes from the imperishable Brahman and it also reveals the four human pursuits i.e. security (artha), pleasure (Kama), righteousness (dharma) and liberation (Moksha). All these 4 contain the human beings pursuits and hence the Veda is considered as sruti mata or the mother of knowledge.
The Veda is also said to be revealed by Ishwara because knowledge cannot be created. It is already there, but we don’t know about it due to our ignorance. When I say ignorance it is not related to a thing or an activity, but it is related to our true nature or self. Therefore, knowledge is nothing but realization of facts. Likewise, ignorance is also not created. It is there always and will be till such time knowledge takes place. Veda is also a body of knowledge and its words are sabda pramana.
Chapter 3 – Verse 15 – Part 2
A pramana can produce two types of knowledge i.e. direct and indirect or paroksha gyanam or aparoksha gyanam depending upon the subject matter to be known. When you have faith, sraddha in pramana the knowledge is indirect. E.g. homeopathy and ancient systems of medicine that have not been scientifically tested is indirect means of knowledge. Another example would be that the Masai in Africa do a special type of dance to pray for rains. And it rains and it is their belief. This is paroksha gyanam or indirect knowledge as you have faith, sraddha in the ritual.
However, when the Veda talks about what it is, the knowledge is direct. It talks about you, the self, ‘I’. In the vision of the veda, the self is the whole and there is nothing beyond. Another important thing is that Veda does not belong to any individual or culture. It is for everyone of all faith and for all people. You will see many westerners showing interest in our culture, the Vedanta because it gives direct knowledge. It tells you what is and if you grasp it, you get immediate knowledge. It is also born out of Ishwara and the Veda is said to abide in the yagna.
If you look below, all the subsequent things including the Veda, yagna, rain, food, living beings are coming from Brahman. So brahman is sarvagatam( all pervasive) , nityam (ever present) , asangaha (not attached), aksara (imperishable). Brahman is also consciousness which is present in all beings.Everything originates from it.
Brahman-> Veda -> Yagna-> rain -> food->All living beings-> Beings do yagna -> from yagna comes rain-> food.
So this is cyclical and called the chakra. Thus we can see that if we perform the yagna, then we are naturally in tune with ishwara and we are never far away from him.