Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 7, Verse 25

नाहं प्रकाश: सर्वस्य योगमायासमावृत: |
मूढोऽयं नाभिजानाति लोको मामजमव्ययम् || 25||

nāhaṁ prakāśhaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛitaḥ
mūḍho ’yaṁ nābhijānāti loko mām ajam avyayam

nanot; ahamI; prakāśhaḥmanifest; sarvasyato everyone; yoga-māyāGod’s supreme (divine) energy; samāvṛitaḥveiled; mūḍhaḥdeluded; ayamthese; nanot; abhijānātiknow; lokaḥpersons; māmme; ajamunborn; avyayamimmutable

Translation

BG 7.25: I am not manifest to everyone, being veiled by my divine Yogmaya energy. Hence, those without knowledge do not know that I am without birth and changeless.

Commentary

Having described two of his energies in verses 7.4 and 7.5, Shree Krishna now mentions his third energy—Yogmaya. This is his supreme energy. The Viṣhṇu Purāṇ states:

viṣhṇu śhaktiḥ parā proktā kṣhetrajñākhyā tathā ’parā

avidyā karma sanjñānyā tṛitīyā śhaktiriṣhyate (6.7.61)[v22]

“The Supreme Lord Shree Vishnu has three main energies—Yogmaya, the souls, and Maya.” Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj states:

śhaktimān kī śhaktiyāñ, aganita yadapi bakhāna

tin mahañ ‘māyā, ‘jīva, aru, ‘parā, triśhakti pradhāna (Bhakti Śhatak verse 3)[v23]

“The Supreme Energetic Shree Krishna has infinite energies. Amongst these, Yogmaya, the souls, and Maya are the main ones.”

The divine power, Yogmaya, is God’s all-powerful energy. By virtue of it, he manifests his divine pastimes, his divine love bliss, and his divine abode. By that Yogmaya power, God descends in the world and manifests his divine pastimes on the Earth plane as well. By the same Yogmaya power, he keeps himself veiled from us. Although God is seated in our hearts, we do not have any perception of his presence within us. Yogmaya keeps his divinity obscured from us, until we are eligible for his divine vision. Hence, even if we see the Lord in his personal form at present, we will not be able to recognize him as God. When the Yogmaya power bestows its grace upon us, it is only then that we get the divine vision to see and recognize God.

chidānandamaya deha tumhārī, bigata bikāra jāna adhikārī (Ramayan)[v24]

“O God, you have a divine form. Only those whose hearts have been purified can know you by your grace.”

The Yogmaya power is both formless and also manifests in the personal form, as Radha, Sita, Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Parvati, etc. These are all divine forms of the Yogmaya energy, and all are revered in Vedic culture as the Mother of the universe. They radiate the motherly qualities of tenderness, compassion, forgiveness, grace, and causeless love. More importantly for us, they bestow divine grace upon the soul, and grant it the transcendental knowledge by which it can know God. Hence, devotees in Vrindavan sing “Radhe Radhe, Shyam se milā de”, “O Radha, please bestow your grace and help me meet Shree Krishna.”

Thus, Yogmaya performs both functions—it hides God from souls who are not qualified, and bestows grace upon surrendered souls, so that they may know him. Those who have their backs turned toward God are covered by Maya, and bereft of the grace of Yogmaya. Those who turn their face toward God come under the shelter of Yogmaya, and get released from Maya.