These are a few notes and observations I made based on my attempts to understand it.
In slokas 4 and 5, Lord Krishna describes Arjuna about various natures and attributes of Himself.
"My nature is of the eight forms: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky, Mind (manas), Intellect (buddhi), Ego (ahankAra). This eight-formed nature of Mine is called "aparA" or "jadA". Besides this, I have another nature, encompassing and pervading the entire Universe, called "parA" or "chethanA", which is My personification in living form. "
Continuing in sloka 6:
"O Arjuna! All living beings of the this world, are evolved from these natures of Mine. I am the cause for the birth of this Universe and its annihilation. That is to say, I am the origin and primary cause of the existence of the entire Universe."
I found it very interesting in sloka 8 and have added something to what I understood from the sloka:
Lord Vishnu continues:
"Arjuna! I am the fluidity in water, I am the light in the Sun and Moon. I am the primitive syllable "Aum" in all of the Vedas, I am the sound in the space, and I am the Pourusha (Power or Strength) in the man."
My interpretation of this sloka is two-fold:
1) Krishna is trying to explain that He is the essence of every object, living or non-living. The basic nature of water is that it flows, and hence fluidity is one of its primary attributes, we see the Sun and Moon attribute them as the source of light in the days and nights respectively. Aum is the basic and most commonly used syllable in the Vedas, most often employed as the first syllable before the mantras or slokas. Pourusha is a characteristic of a masculine nature.
2) Krishna is the Energy inside/of everything. Water has this internal energy and the surface tension and the capillary properties, this energy is Krishna. Light is a form of energy. Aum is considered to have a very powerful affect when chanted, increasing one's energy levels and open the mind to receive cosmic waves. Sound, the vibration, which as they say will never die in the space, is a form of energy. And the Pourusha could mean the strength or power (in a man) which is a form of energy. So, Krishna is the ever-existing energy, which can neither be created nor be destroyed!!! Or should we say, the one who does not have a birth or death!!
In sloka 10, Krishna says to Arjuna "Know me to be the eternal and primeval seed of the all the elements in the world. I am the "intelligence" of the intelligent and I am the "lustre" of the brilliant."
In sloka 16, the Bhagavan describes the four kinds of people who are attracted to Him, in other words, the four kinds of His devotees:
"(a) those who perform their duties and work for fruitful results and prosperity and wealth, with good deeds (arthArtho)
(b) those who are physically or mentally depressed and are in agony (ArtHaha)
(c) those who are disinterested in worldy objects and desire to inquire into the nature and seek the knowledge of the paramAtma, the God (jigyAsuhu) and
(d) those who are blessed with divine knowledge and enlightened (gyAni)".
He goes onto say in the next sloka that, "of the above 4 devotees, the gyAni is the best. The gyAni likes me the best, as He seeks to know (or knows about) My Being. Even I like him the best over the other three."
The rest of the chapter also explains how one can attain the Lord Himself with examples of worshipping multiple dieities (polytheism), the duality of happiness and sorrow due to likes and dislikes of human beings, and the ultimate freedom from the cycle of births and deaths.
In the slokas 29-30, the God assures Arjuna that: "those who are seeking a liberation from the endless cycle of births and deaths, will attain the ultimate knowledge of the parabrahma (God), entire dynamics of the relation between the Supreme Spirit and the individual soul (spiritual knowledge) and everything about the Karma. Those who, with their diligent efforts and determined mind, know Me, the one who is the prime among all the elements, deities and sacred rituals, will eventually reach Me."
Dec 15, 2007.