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BG 18.62 reads as

tam eva śaraṇaṁ gaccha sarva-bhāvena bhārata

O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly.

Bg 18.63

iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā

Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential

18.64

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ iṣṭo 'si me dṛḍham iti tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.

18.66

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

Krishna suggests to surrender in 18.62, and then calls it more confidential knowledge in 18.63. In 18.64,Krishna says he is going to teach most confidential knowledge and says in 18.66 to surrender.

In 18.61-62 & 18.65-66, the process suggested is the same 'bhakti' /'surrender' . Then what is the most confidential thing that Krishna says in 18.64?

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In 18.66, he has just repeated what he said in 18.62. I think the translation quoted in the question is missing the word again. Let me quote the word by word translation from Vedabase:

sarva-guhya-tamam — the most confidential of all; bhūyaḥ — again; śṛṇu — just hear; me — from Me; paramam — the supreme; vacaḥ — instruction; iṣṭaḥ asi — you are dear; me — to Me; dṛḍham — very; iti — thus; tataḥ — therefore; vakṣyāmi — I am speaking; te — for your; hitam — benefit.

You may refer English translation by Gambhirananda:

18.64 Listen again to My highest utterance which is the profoundest of all. Since you are ever dear to Me, therefore I shall speak what is beneficial to you.

Or English translation of Shankaracharya's commentary:

18.64 Srnu, listen; bhuyah, again; to me, My; paramam, highest; vacah, utternace; which is sarva-guhyatamam, profundest of all, most secret of all secrets, though it has been repeatedly stated. Neither from fear nor even for the sake of money am I speaking! What then? Iti, since, considering that; asi, you are; drdham, ever, unwaveringly; istah, dear; me, to Me; tatah, therefore, for that reason; vaksyami, I shall speak; what is hitam, beneficial; te, to you, what is the highest means of attaining Knowledge. That is indeed the most beneficial of all beneficial things. 'What is that (You are going to tell me)?' In answer the Lord says:

So, here Lord Krishna is just repeating the knowledge what is said, probably because to preach more effectively or to make it trustful for Arjuna as said "Since you are ever dear to Me, therefore I shall speak what is beneficial to you."

Another thing we can observe is: In 18.62 Lord Krishna said to take refuge in Him whereas in 18.66 he said take refuge in Me. Now, it's obvious that Lord Krishna who is addressed as Me in 18.66 would be more closer/visible/admissible (since Krishna is in front of Arjuna) than Ishvara who is addressed as He in 18.62. So, it can convince more effectively regarding preaching Bhakti-Yoga or Sharanagati; though He and Me refers to same Brahman absolutely.

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    Then calling one as more confidential and the next as most confidential is redundant. Just saying bhuyah would have been enough. – Krishna Varna May 21 at 5:01
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    @KrishnaVarna: Good observation. May be like many scriptures having interpolations, BG might have interpolations like this one. – srimannarayana k v May 21 at 6:28
  • @KrishnaVarna If I got correctly, you question is what is the difference between confidential knowledge given in 18.62 and 18.66, right? – Paṇḍyā May 21 at 12:09
  • @Pandya in a sense yes, what makes 18.65 & 66 most confidential when same thing is said in 18.62. – Krishna Varna May 21 at 12:47
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It seems that Lord Krishna in those verses differentiates between awareness of paramatma and awareness of bhagavan, ie him the Lord or Supreme Personality.

This is seen from his switching of personal pronouns "Him" to "Me". First he used personal pronoun "Him" in verse 18.62 which is actually just a continuation of that what he described in the preceding verse 61 where he was talking about paramatma feature of the Absolute.
And after that in verses 64-66 (do not forget verse 66 as well!) he switched from using of personal pronoun "Him" to "Me". Now, what is significant about those verses where he used the personal pronoun "Me" is that in those verses he said he is talking about knowledge which is more confidential than the knowledge which he explained in those verses where he used the personal pronoun "Him". Moreover in verse 64 he even says that that knowledge is "the most confidential knowledge of all" (sarva-guhya-tamam) and also he says it's "My supreme instruction" (paramam vacaḥ). Thus he is actually saying that the knowledge he is revealing to Arjuna in verses 65-66 is the highest and the most confidential knowledge of everything he presented in the Bhagavad-gita!

And thus he says that awareness of him, the Lord or bhagavan Krishna, is more confidential knowledge compared to awareness of paramatma. And thus by saying that it is more confidential knowledge he is actually saying that it is better to be aware of bhagavan than to be just aware of paramatma, namely those yogis who are Krishna conscious are better yogis than those who are just paramatma conscious without knowing the bhagavan feature of the Absolute or Brahman.

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In my view, we have to read and understand slokas starting from 18.59 of BG.

यदहङ्कारमाश्रित्य न योत्स्य इति मन्यसे।

मिथ्यैष व्यवसायस्ते प्रकृतिस्त्वां नियोक्ष्यति।।18.59।।

That you think 'I shall not fight', by relying on egotism,-vain is this determination of yours. (Your) nature impel you!

स्वभावजेन कौन्तेय निबद्धः स्वेन कर्मणा।

कर्तुं नेच्छसि यन्मोहात्करिष्यस्यवशोऽपि तत्।।18.60।।

Being bound by your own duty born of nature, O son of Kunti, you, being helpless, will verily do that which you do not wish to do owing to indiscrimination.

तमेव शरणं गच्छ सर्वभावेन भारत।

तत्प्रसादात्परां शान्तिं स्थानं प्राप्स्यसि शाश्वतम्।।18.62।।

Take refuge in Him alone with your whole being, O scion of the Bharata dynasty. Through His grace you will attain the supreme Peace and the eternal Abode.

इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया।

विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु।।18.63।।

To you has been imparted by Me this knowledge , which is more secret than any secret. Pondering over this as a whole, do as you like.

Thus, expounding all subtle issues to Arjuna, Sri Krishna again stressed the importance of Karma Yoga in slokas 18.59 and 18.60, as it is the duty of Arjuna to fight, being a warrior, and suggested to do Karma, by taking refuge in the Almighty God, which will lead to SUPREME PEACE.

That was the SECRET, in my view.

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If you read the entire 18th chapter, its talk about the relation between Sanyas and Tyaga. Whether one should abandon one's dharma for liberation or not? Krishna is talking about ego of Arjuna that Arjuna will not fight

Bhagavad Gita 18.59 If, motivated by pride, you think, “I shall not fight,” your decision will be in vain. Your own material (Kshatriya) nature will compel you to fight.

Bhagavad Gita 18.60 O Arjun, that action which out of delusion you do not wish to do, you will be driven to do it by your own inclination, born of your own material nature.

Bhagavad Gita 18.62 Surrender exclusively unto him with your whole being, O Bharat. By his grace, you will attain perfect peace and the eternal abode.

Than he told Arjuna that entire Mahabharata directed by Krishna(this was also confirmed by Iravan, witness of entire Mahabharat), as he has appeared on earth for destruction of Adharma, therefore Arjuna should surrender to him at that time of war.

After the war, while the Pandavas are boasting about vanquishing the Kauravas, Krishna asks Aravan—the sole witness of the entire war, "who was truly responsible for winning this war?" Aravan replies that he saw two things: Krishna's discus decapitating the enemy, and his conch shell collecting their blood. This reply is understood to give all the credit for the victory to Krishna.

As long there is some ego "I am this or that", one will always be misguided and confused by one's inferior animal nature. No matter how much yog a person does or Vedas read, but as long there is Ahamkaar/ego of non-self from Adhyasa/superimposition, that "I am the doer", one cannot unite with true self/Brahman even after living in forest for entire life. So, surrender of ego is what Krishna is talking about in chapter 18.

Bhagavad Gita 3.20 – 3.21 By performing their prescribed duties, King Janak and others attained perfection. You should also perform your work to set an example for the good of the world. Whatever actions great persons perform, common people follow. Whatever standards they set, all the world pursues.

Ramana Maharshi

The Yogis attach the highest importance to going up to sahasrara i.e., the brain centre or the thousand-petalled-lotus. Some yogis say that there are other centres higher up with greater involutions e.g., 100,000 (100) petalled or 100,000,000 (108) petalled ones. Let us omit them for the present. They point out the scriptural statement that the life-current enters the body through the fontanelle and argue that, viyoga (separation) having come about that way, yoga (union) must also be effected in the reverse way. Therefore we must by yoga practice, gather up the pranas and enter the fontanelle for the consummation of yoga. The jnanis point out that the yogi assumes the existence of the body, its separateness from the Self, and therefore advises effort for reunion by the practice of yoga. In fact, the body is in the mind which has the brain for its seat, which again functions by light borrowed from another source as admitted by the yogis themselves in their fontanelle theory. The Jnani further argues: if the light is borrowed it must come from its native source. Go to the source direct and do not depend on borrowed resources. Just as an iron ball comes into being separate from the mass of iron, gets fiery, in fire, later cools down giving up the fire, but must again be made fiery to reunite with the original mass, so also the cause of separation must also form the factor of reunion. Again if there is an image reflected there must be a source and also accessories like the Sun and a pot of water for reflection. To do away with the reflection either the surface is covered up corresponding to reaching the fontanelle according to the yogis or the water is drained away which is called tapas (Tapo Brahmeti - tapas is Brahman). That is to say, the thoughts or the brain activities are made to cease.

This is jnana-marga. All these are however on the assumption that the jiva is separate from the Self or Brahman. But are we separate? “No”, says the Jnani. The ego is simply wrong identity of the Self with the non-self, as in the case of a colourless crystal and its coloured background. The crystal though colourless appears red because of its background. If the background is removed the crystal shines in its original purity. So it is with the Self and the antahkaranas.

Still again the illustration is not quite appropriate. For the ego has its source from the Self and is not separate like the background from the crystal. Having its source from the Self, the ego must only be retraced in order that it might merge in its source. The centre of the ego and its core is called the Heart, the same as the Self.

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Firstly, although Krsna (beginning with Chapter 2, verse 11: "While speaking learned words you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead") appears to be speaking the Bhagavad-gita in order to incite Arjuna to fight, this is not Krsna s actual purpose. Krsna does not need to convince Arjuna to fight, for Arjuna will fight anyway (Chapter 18, verse 60: "Under illusion you are now declining to act according to My direction. But, compelled by Your own nature, you will act all the same, 0 son of Kunti." ). Krsna's actual intention in speaking the Gita was to teach the ultimate goal of life.

Bhagavata Gita verses 18.61-66 are as follows:

TEXT 61

īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā

The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.

TEXT 62

tam eva śaraṇaṁ gaccha sarva-bhāvena bhārata tat-prasādāt parāṁ śāntiṁ sthānaṁ prāpsyasi śāśvatam

O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.

TEXT 63

iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ guhyād guhya-taraṁ mayā vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa yathecchasi tathā kuru

Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.

TEXT 64

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ iṣṭo ’si me dṛḍham iti tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.

TEXT 65

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo ’si me

Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.

TEXT 66

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

The ultimate goal of life, which is the actual message of Bhagavad-gita, is described as a great secret. Lord Krsna says in 18.64.

The word "guhyat" (in verse 63) refers to knowledge of impersonal Brahman, and the word "guhyataram" refers to the more confidential knowledge of the all-pervading Supersoul.

In these six verses from Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna explains the worship performed by one situated in a little transcendental knowledge (in verse 18.61, beginning with the words "isvarah sarva-bhutanam"), and he openly states the supreme secret of pure devotional service (in verse 18.65, beginning with the words "man-mana bhava"). In the first quote the reference to Lord Krsna is remote, but in the second quote the reference to Him is obvious.

This same description of pure devotional service was also given previously in almost the same words in the following verse (Bhagavad-gita 9.34): "Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me."* Krishna uses 'bhuyah' in 18.64 to indicate this.

Someone may question:

Lord Krsna explains (18.63-64) that the last verses of Bhagavad-gita are the most confidential part of knowledge. This last part of Bhagavad-gita, however simply restates what has already been stated in a general way in the previous verses of the Gita(18.61-62). Why does Lord Krsna say that this last part is more confidential?

The answer is: It is not that in the later part of Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna explains a higher method of worship, but rather, in the last part of the Gita He explains a higher object of worship. Earlier in the Gita, the Lord describes the all-pervading Supersoul, the neutral observer of all living entities (8.4) ("tat =Him), and later the Lord describes Himself as the Original Supreme Person ("mat =Me). In this way Lord Krsna is described as the ultimate object of worship, just as in the Vedanta sutra (3.2.39), the Personality of Godhead (and not the demigods) is described as the ultimate bestower of the results of sacrifice.

That pure devotional service was described by the Lord before 18.63 is confirmed by verse 18.62 ("0 scion of Bharata, surrender to Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace, and the supreme and eternal abode"). In this verse the word "eva (certainly)" emphasizes the meaning, and the phrase "sarva-bhavena" should be interpreted according to the primary meaning of the words ("in all respects"). The secondary meaning of the words ("by accepting the process of meditation") should not be accepted here. We may also note that the Lord's own planet in the spiritual world is also described in the words "You will attain the supreme and eternal abode." In this way it should be understood that the great secret revealed after verse 18.64 is not the process of pure devotional service, but rather, the ultimate object of that service: Sri Krsna.

It is not, therefore, that in the earlier portions of Bhagavad-gita, the Lord describes an inferior process of worship, and neither does He describe the object of worship in a more indirect way in that portion of the Gita. In the beginning portion of the Gita, therefore, the Lord describes the all-pervading Supersoul, and afterwards He describes Himself as the Original Personality of Godhead, above the Supersoul.

That the form of Sri Krsna is more important than the form of the Supersoul is confirmed in the following verse of Bhagavad-gita (7.30), where Lord Krsna says: "The Supersoul form of Mine is the governing principle of the material manifestation, the one underlying all the demigods, and the one sustaining all sacrifices. The devotees know that I am the Original Supreme Lord, and that My form as Sri Krsna is more important than My form as the Supersoul." We may note the use of the word "sa" (with) in the words "sadhibhutadhidaivam" and "sadhiyajam" in this verse. The word "sa" in these compound words indicates that the word understood to be in the instrumental case in these compounds is considered secondary, and the word expressed by the whole compound is considered primary. This is confirmed in the following sutra of Panini (Astadhyayi 2.3.19): "saha-yukte 'pradhane". From this we may understand that the form of Sri Krsna is most important, and the form of the Supersoul is only secondary.

But one may doubt the above explanation because Krsna described Himself as the Supersoul present in the hearts of all living entities. This is described in the following words spoken by Lord Krsna Himself (Bhagavadgita 8.4): "I am the Supreme Lord, represented as the Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being."

This should be understood to mean that Lord Krsna expands Himself to appear as the all-pervading Supersoul. This does not mean that the original form of Sri Krsna is present as the all-pervading Supersoul. This is something like the following explanation of Dronacarya found in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.45): "He (Dronacarya) is certainly still existing, being represented by his son."

In verses 18.63-18.64: Krishna says: I have taught you this knowledge which is more secret (guhyataram) than knowledge of Brahman which is also secret (guhyat). The suffix tara indicates superiority

Thinking that this is not sufficient for his great, exclusive devotee, Kṛṣṇa then boldly teaches the highest knowledge of all, surpassing the hierarchy of worship with gradations of superiority among Pradyumna, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vāsudeva and the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. Please listen to the the highest teaching, the greatest secret (sarva-guhyatamam). Though what is most secret (guhyatamam) means that it is greater than the secret and more secret, use of the word sarva with guhyatamam indicates that it surpasses what is taught in other scriptures about worship of the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha because of the meaning of guhyatamam by itself simply means most secret. The suffix tama means excellent among all or supreme.

Thus in Summary:

1. The knowledge of Brahman is confidential.(guhya)[BG 14.27 - Verily, I am the foundation of Brahman]

2. The knowledge of Paramatma(Supersoul) is very confidential.(guhya tara)[BG 18.61-62]

3. The knowledge of Bhagavan is most confidential.(guhyatama)

4. The knowledge of Sri Krishna, among all the forms of Bhagavan is the most confidential teaching of Bhagavad Gita. This Krishna indicates by using sarva. (sarva guhyatama)

Reference: Krishna Sandarbha of Jiva Goswami, Anuccheda 82

Just adding additional notes on the terms Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan for more clarity.

SB 1.2.11:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jñAnam advayam brahmeti paramAtmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate

Knowers of reality declare that reality to be nondual consciousness, called “Brahman,” “Paramatma,” and “Bhagavan.”

Jiva Goswami recognizes the fact that the three designations are often used interchangeably in texts; the BhAgavata mentions them here in order to indicate their primary significance. The selection of names is not arbitrary; the verse does not, for example, give “living entity” (jiva) as a name of the nondual reality. Nor is the order in which the names appear random. The BhAgavata PurAna is indicating a hierarchy of forms from Brahman to Bhagavan, based on the degree of revelation.

Bhagavan:

Bhagavan is the complete manifestation of the nondual reality and, indeed, identifiable with it. In him, all the inherent energies (saktis) of the Supreme are clearly visible—beauty, power, wisdom, majesty, abode, and associates.

Then, depending on the degree to which the fullness of the Lord’s glory is hidden, he is known as either Brahman or Paramatma.

Paramatma:

When Bhagavan’s energies are manifest in a partial way, mainly in regard to directing material nature (prakrti) and the living entities ( jivas), he is known as Paramatma—the inner controller, inspirer, and support of the cosmos.

Brahman:

"When his attributes are totally unmanifest, he is known as Brahman—the undifferentiated, unqualified, and impersonal Absolute."

Or

“That which is not qualified, and which shines because it is pure consciousness,know it to be Brahman.”

In his instructions to Sanatana Gosvami at Kasi, Caitanya explains the implications of the “vadanti” verse:

The word “Brahman” refers to Svayam Bhagavan, who is one consciousness without a second, and without whom there is nothing else. “Knowers of reality declare that reality to be nondual consciousness, called ‘Brahman,’ ‘Paramatma,’ and ‘Bhagavan.’” That nondual reality is Krsna, Bhagavan himself. He exists in all three phases of time (past, present, and future). This is evident from the scriptures. . . . The word “AtmA” refers to Krsna. His nature is greatness [brhattva]. He is all pervading, the witness of everything, and the supreme form . . . Although the words “Brahman” and “AtmA” refer to Krsna, by conventional usage they refer to the Undifferentiated [nirviSesa] and the Inner Controller [antaryAmI], respectively.

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The SANSKRIT of verse 18.65, "mam evaisyasi satyam," is generally translated as "you shall come to Me," "you shall go to Me," or "you will reach Me." Throughout the B.G. Krishna has referred to a potential UNION between Himself and His yogi devotee. BUT the sense of this verse (18.65) is less about "reaching Him" like you would reach the finish line of a marathon and more like "re-uniting" with Him like one does with someone you are head-over-heels in love with, after a painful and prolonged period of unwanted separation.

And just so, this 18th chapter summation of His yoga that He gives Arjuna as a final gift is for those who have a level of love and devotion for Krishna that might be considered irrational or insane by others. These verses, that Krishna calls "the secret of the secrets" is truly the fast track to immortality but it requires an almost unimaginable level of passionate love for God supported by an almost reckless level of abandon. 'Forget everything else (all "dharma") and trust in Me alone in every matter,' Krishna, in effect, whispers into Arjuna's ear.

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