with original Sanskrit text,
Roman transliteration, English equivalents,
translation and elaborate purports
His Divine Grace
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda
A Division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.
Collier Macmillan Publishers
ÇRÉLA BALADEVA VIDYÄBHÜÑAËA
who presented so nicely
the “Govinda-bhäñya” commentary
The Bhagavad-gétä is the best known and the most frequently translated of Vedic religious texts. Why it should be so appealing to the Western mind is an interesting question. It has drama, for its setting is a scene of two great armies, banners flying, drawn up opposite one another on the field, poised for battle. It has ambiguity, and the fact that Arjuna and his charioteer Kåñëa are carrying on their dialogue between the two armies suggests the indecision of Arjuna about the basic question: should he enter battle against and kill those who are friends and kinsmen? It has mystery, as Kåñëa demonstrates to Arjuna His cosmic form. It has a properly complicated view of the ways of the religious life and treats of the paths of knowledge, works, discipline and faith and their inter-relationships, problems that have bothered adherents of other religions in other times and places. The devotion spoken of is a deliberate means of religious satisfaction, not a mere outpouring of poetic emotion. Next to the Bhägavata-puräëa, a long work from South India, the Gétä is the text most frequently quoted in the philosophical writings of the Gauòéya Vaiñëava school, the school represented by Swami Bhaktivedanta as the latest in a long succession of teachers. It can be said that this school of Vaiñëavism was founded, or revived, by Çré Kåñëa-Caitanya Mahäprabhu (1486-1533) in Bengal, and that it is currently the strongest single religious force in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. The Gauòiya Vaiñëava school, for whom Kåñëa is Himself the Supreme God, and not merely an incarnation of another deity, sees bhakti as an immediate and powerful religious force, consisting of love between man and God. Its discipline consists of devoting all one’s actions to the Deity, and one listens to the stories of Kåñëa from the sacred texts, one chants Kåñëa’s name, washes, bathes, and dresses the mürti of Kåñëa, feeds Him and takes the remains of the food offered to Him, thus absorbing His grace; one does these things and many more, until one has been changed: the devotee has become transformed into one close to Kåñëa, and sees the Lord face to face.
Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gétä from this point of view, and that is legitimate. More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Kåñëa devotee interprets his own texts. It is the Vedic exegetical tradition, justly famous, in action. This book is then a welcome addition from many points of view. It can serve as a valuable textbook for the college student. It allows us to listen to a skilled interpreter explicating a text which has profound religious meaning. It gives us insights into the original and highly convincing ideas of the Gauòiya Vaiñëava school. In providing the Sanskrit in both Devanagari and transliteration, it offers the Sanskrit specialist the opportunity to re-interpret, or debate particular Sanskrit meanings—although I think there will be little disagreement about the quality of the Swami’s Sanskrit scholarship. And finally, for the nonspecialist, there is readable English and a devotional attitude which cannot help but move the sensitive reader. And there are the paintings, which, incredibly as it may seem to those familiar with contemporary Indian religious art, were done by American devotees.
The scholar, the student of Gauòéya Vaiñëavism, and the increasing number of Western readers interested in classical Vedic thought have been done a service by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, he has increased our understanding manyfold; and arguments for understanding, in these days of estrangement, need not be made.
Professor Edward C. Dimock, Jr.
Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization
University of Chicago
Originally I wrote Bhagavad-gétä As It Is >in the form in which it is presented now. When this book was first published, the original manuscript was, unfortunately, cut short to less than 400 pages, without illustrations and without explanations for most of the original verses of the Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä. In all of my other books—Çrémad Bhägavatam, Çré Éçopaniñad, etc.—the system is that I give the original verse, its English transliteration, word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents, translations and purports. This makes the book very authentic and scholarly and makes the meaning self-evident. I was not very happy, therefore, when I had to minimize my original manuscript. But later on, when the demand for Bhagavad-gétä As It Is considerably increased, I was requested by many scholars and devotees to present the book in its original form, and Messrs. Macmillan and Co. agreed to publish the complete edition. Thus the present attempt is to offer the original manuscript of this great book of knowledge with full paramparä explanation in order to establish the Kåñëa consciousness movement more soundly and progressively.
Our Kåñëa consciousness movement is genuine, historically authorized, natural and transcendental due to its being based on Bhagavad-gétä As It Is. It is gradually becoming the most popular movement in the entire world, especially amongst the younger generation. It is becoming more and more interesting to the older generation also. Older gentlemen are becoming interested, so much so that the fathers and grandfathers of my disciples are encouraging us by becoming life members of our great society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In Los Angeles many fathers and mothers used to come to see me to express their feelings of gratitude for my leading the Kåñëa consciousness movement throughout the entire world. Some of them said that it is greatly fortunate for the Americans that I have started the Kåñëa consciousness movement in America. But actually the original father of this movement is Lord Kåñëa Himself, since it was started a very long time ago but is coming down to human society by disciplic succession. If I have any credit in this connection, it does not belong to me personally, but it is due to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Viñëupäda Paramahaàsa Parivräjakäcärya 108 Çré Çrémad Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Gosvämé Mahäräja Prabhupäda.
If personally I have any credit in this matter, it is only that I have tried to present Bhagavad-gétä as it is, without adulteration. Before my presentation of Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, almost all the English editions of Bhagavad-gétä were introduced to fulfill someone’s personal ambition. But our attempt, in presenting Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, is to present the mission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa. Our business is to present the will of Kåñëa, not that of any mundane speculator like the politician, philosopher or scientist, for they have very little knowledge of Kåñëa, despite all their other knowledge. When Kåñëa says, man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru, etc., we, unlike the so-called scholars, do not say that Kåñëa and His inner spirit are different. Kåñëa is absolute, and there is no difference between Kåñëa’s name, Kåñëa’s form, Kåñëa’s quality, Kåñëa’s pastimes, etc. This absolute position of Kåñëa is difflcult to understand for any person who is not a devotee of Kåñëa in the paramparä (disciplic succession) system. Generally the so-called scholars, politicians, philosophers, and svämés, without perfect knowledge of Kåñëa, try to banish or kill Kåñëa when writing commentary on Bhagavad-gétä. Such unauthorized commentary upon Bhagavad-gétä is known as Mäyävädé-Bhäñya, and Lord Caitanya has warned us about these unauthorized men. Lord Caitanya clearly says that anyone who tries to understand Bhagavad-gétä from the Mäyävädé point of view will commit a great blunder. The result of such a blunder will be that the misguided student of Bhagavad-gétä will certainly be bewildered on the path of spiritual guidance and will not be able to go back home, back to Godhead.
Our only purpose is to present this Bhagavad-gétä As It Is in order to guide the conditioned student to the same purpose for which Kåñëa descends to this planet once in a day of Brahmä, or every 8,600,000,000 years. This purpose is stated in Bhagavad-gétä, and we have to accept it as it is; otherwise there is no point in trying to understand the Bhagavad-gétä and its speaker, Lord Kåñëa. Lord Kåñëa first spoke Bhagavad-gétä to the sun-god some hundreds of millions of years ago. We have to accept this fact and thus understand the historical significance of Bhagavad-gétä, without misinterpretation, on the authority of Kåñëa. To interpret Bhagavad-gétä without any reference to the will of Kåñëa is the greatest offense. In order to save oneself from this offense, one has to understand the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He was directly understood by Arjuna, Lord Kåñëa’s first disciple. Such understanding of Bhagavad-gétä is really profitable and authorized for the welfare of human society in fulfilling the mission of life.
The Kåñëa consciousness movement is essential in human society, for it offers the highest perfection of life. How this is so is explained fully in the Bhagavad-gétä. Unfortunately, mundane wranglers have taken advantage of Bhagavad-gétä to push forward their demonic propensities and mislead people regarding right understanding of the simple principles of life. Everyone should know how God or Kåñëa is great, and everyone should know the factual position of the living entities. Everyone should know that a living entity is eternally a servant and that unless one serves Kåñëa one has to serve illusion in different varieties of the three modes of material nature, and thus perpetually one has to wander within the cycle of birth and death; even the so-called liberated Mäyävädé speculator has to undergo this process. This knowledge constitutes a great science, and each and every living being has to hear it for his own interest.
People in general, especially in this age of Kali, are enamored by the external energy of Kåñëa, and they wrongly think that by advancement of material comforts every man will be happy. They have no knowledge that the material or external nature is very strong, for everyone is strongly bound by the stringent laws of material nature. A living entity is happily the part and parcel of the Lord, and thus his natural function is to render immediate service to the Lord. By the spell of illusion one tries to be happy by serving his personal sense gratification in different forms which will never make him happy. Instead of satisfying his own personal material senses, he has to satisfy the senses of the Lord. That is the highest perfection of life. The Lord wants this, and He demands it. One has to understand this central point of Bhagavad-gétä. Our Kåñëa consciousness movement is teaching the whole world this central point, and because we are not polluting the theme of Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, anyone seriously interested in deriving benefit by studying the Bhagavad-gétä must take help from the Kåñëa consciousness movement for practical understanding of Bhagavad-gétä under the direct guidance of the Lord. We hope, therefore, that people will derive the greatest benefit by studying Bhagavad-gétä As It Is as we have presented it here, and if even one man becomes a pure devotee of the Lord we shall consider our attempt a success.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
12 May 1971
cakñur unmélitaà yena
tasmai çré-gurave namaù
sthäpitaà yena bhü-tale
svayaà rüpaù kadä mahyaà
I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.
When will Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé Prabhupäda, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?
vande ’haà çré-guroù çré-yuta-pada-kamalaà çré-gurun vaiñëaväàç ca
çré-rüpaà sägrajätaà saha-gaëa-raghunäthänvitaà taà sa-jévam
sädvaitaà sävadhütaà parijana-sahitaà kåñëa-caitanya-devaà
çré-rädhä-kåñëa-pädän saha-gaëa-lalitä-çré-viçäkhänvitäàç ca
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master and unto the feet of all Vaiñëavas. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé along with his elder brother Sanätana Gosvämé, as well as Raghunätha Däsa and Raghunätha Bhaööa, Gopäla Bhaööa, and Çréla Jéva Gosvämé. I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Kåñëa Caitanya and Lord Nityänanda along with Advaita Äcärya, Gadädhara, Çréväsa, and other associates. I offer my respectful obeisances to Çrématé Rädhäräëé and Çré Kåñëa along with Their associates, Çré Lalitä and Viçäkhä.
he kåñëa karuëä-sindho déna-bandho jagat-pate
gopeça gopikä-känta rädhä-känta namo ’stu te
O my dear Kåñëa, You are the friend of the distressed and the source of creation. You are the master of the gopés and the lover of Rädhäräëé. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
tapta-käïcana-gauräìgi rädhe våndävaneçvari
våñabhänu-sute devi praëamämi hari-priye
I offer my respects to Rädhäräëé whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Våndävana. You are the daughter of King Våñabhänu, and You are very dear to Lord Kåñëa.
väïchä-kalpatarubhyaç ca kåpä-sindhubhya eva ca
patitänäà pävanebhyo vaiñëavebhyo namo namaù
I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaiñëava devotees of the Lord who can fulfill the desires of everyone, just like desire trees, and who are full of compassion for the fallen souls.
çré kåñëa caitanya prabhu nityänanda
çré advaita gadädhara çréväsädi-gaura-bhakta-vånda
I offer my obeisances to Çré Kåñëa Caitanya, Prabhu Nityänanda, Çré Advaita, Gadädhara, Çréväsa and all others in the line of devotion.
hare kåñëa, hare kåñëa, kåñëa kåñëa, hare hare
hare räma, hare räma, räma räma, hare hare.
Bhagavad-gétä is also known as Gétopaniñad. It is the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upaniñads in Vedic literature. Of course there are many commentaries in English on the Bhagavad-gétä, and one may question the necessity for another one. This present edition can be explained in the following way. Recently an American lady asked me to recommend an English translation of Bhagavad-gétä. Of course in America there are so many editions of Bhagavad-gétä available in English, but as far as I have seen, not only in America but also in India, none of them can be strictly said to be authoritative because in almost every one of them the commentator has expressed his own opinions without touching the spirit of Bhagavad-gétä as it is.
The spirit of Bhagavad-gétä is mentioned in Bhagavad-gétä itself. It is just like this: if we want to take a particular medicine, then we have to follow the directions written on the label. We cannot take the medicine according to our own whim or the direction of a friend. It must be taken according to the directions on the label or the directions given by a physician. Similarly, Bhagavad-gétä should be taken or accepted as it is directed by the speaker himself. The speaker of Bhagavad-gétä is Lord Çré Kåñëa. He is mentioned on every page of Bhagavad-gétä as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavän. Of course the word “bhagavän” sometimes refers to any powerful person or any powerful demigod, and certainly here Bhagavän designates Lord Çré Kåñëa as a great personality, but at the same time we should know that Lord Çré Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as is confirmed by all great äcäryas (spiritual masters) like Çaìkaräcärya, Rämänujäcärya, Madhväcärya, Nimbärka Svämé, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge in India. The Lord Himself also establishes Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad-gétä, and He is accepted as such in the Brahma-saàhitä and all the Puräëas, especially the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, known as the Bhägavata Puräëa (Kåñëas tu bhagavän svayam). Therefore we should take Bhagavad-gétä as it is directed by the Personality of Godhead Himself.
In the Fourth Chapter of the Gétä the Lord says:
(1) imaà vivasvate yogaà proktavän aham
vivasvän manave präha manur ikñväkave ’bravét
(2) evaà paramparä-präptam imaà räjarñayo
sa käleneha mahatä yogo nañöaù parantapa
(3) sa eväyaà mayä te ’dya yogaù proktaù
bhakto ’si me sakhä ceti rahasyaà hy etad uttamam
Here the Lord informs Arjuna that this system of yoga, the Bhagavad-gétä, was first spoken to the sun-god, and the sun-god explained it to Manu, and Manu explained it to Ikñväku, and in that way, by disciplic succession, one speaker after another, this yoga system has been coming down. But in the course of time it has become lost. Consequently the Lord has to speak it again, this time to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra.
He tells Arjuna that He is relating this supreme secret to him because he is His devotee and His friend. The purport of this is that Bhagavad-gétä is a treatise which is especially meant for the devotee of the Lord. There are three classes of transcendentalists, namely the jïäné, the yogé and the bhakta, or the impersonalist, the meditator and the devotee. Here the Lord clearly tells Arjuna that He is making him the first receiver of a new paramparä (disciplic succession) because the old succession was broken. It was the Lord’s wish, therefore, to establish another paramparä in the same line of thought that was coming down from the sun-god to others, and it was His wish that His teaching be distributed anew by Arjuna. He wanted Arjuna to become the authority in understanding the Bhagavad-gétä. So we see that Bhagavad-gétä is instructed to Arjuna especially because Arjuna was a devotee of the Lord, a direct student of Kåñëa, and His intimate friend. Therefore Bhagavad-gétä is best understood by a person who has qualities similar to Arjuna’s. That is to say he must be a devotee in a direct relationship with the Lord. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he also has a direct relationship with the Lord. That is a very elaborate subject matter, but briefly it can be stated that a devotee is in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five different ways:
1. One may be a devotee in a passive state;
2. One may be a devotee in an active state;
3. One may be a devotee as a friend;
4. One may be a devotee as a parent;
5. One may be a devotee as a conjugal lover.
Arjuna was in a relationship with the Lord as friend. Of course there is a gulf of difference between this friendship and the friendship found in the material world. This is transcendental friendship which cannot be had by everyone. Of course everyone has a particular relationship with the Lord, and that relationship is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. But in the present status of our life, we have not only forgotten the Supreme Lord, but we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Every living being, out of many, many billions and trillions of living beings, has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. That is called svarüpa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarüpa, and that stage is called svarüpa-siddhi—perfection of one’s constitutional position. So Arjuna was a devotee, and he was in touch with the Supreme Lord in friendship.
How Arjuna accepted this Bhagavad-gétä should be noted. His manner of acceptance is given in the Tenth Chapter.
(12) arjuna uväca
paraà brahma paraà dhäma pavitraà paramaà bhavän
puruñaà çäçvataà divyam ädi-devam ajaà vibhum
(13) ähus tväm åñayaù sarve devarñir
asito devalo vyäsaù svayaà caiva bravéñi me
(14) sarvam etad åtaà manye yan mäà vadasi
na hi te bhagavan vyaktià vidur devä na dänaväù
“Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal Divine Person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty. All the great sages like Närada, Asita, Devala, and Vyäsa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me. O Kåñëa, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the gods nor demons, O Lord, know Thy personality.” (Bg. 10. 12–14).
After hearing Bhagavad-gétä from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna accepted Kåñëa as Paraà Brahma, the Supreme Brahman. Every living being is Brahman, but the supreme living being, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Supreme Brahman. Paraà dhäma means that He is the supreme rest or abode of everything, pavitram means that He is pure, untainted by material contamination, puruñam means that He is the supreme enjoyer, divyam, transcendental, ädi-devam, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, ajam, the unborn, and vibhum, the greatest, the all-pervading.
Now one may think that because Kåñëa was the friend of Arjuna, Arjuna was telling Him all this by way of flattery, but Arjuna, just to drive out this kind of doubt from the minds of the readers of Bhagavad-gétä, substantiates these praises in the next verse when he says that Kåñëa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead not only by himself but by authorities like the sage Närada, Asita, Devala, Vyäsadeva and so on. These are great personalities who distribute the Vedic knowledge as it is accepted by all äcäryas. Therefore Arjuna tells Kåñëa that he accepts whatever He says to be completely perfect. Sarvam etad åtaà manye: “I accept everything You say to be true.” Arjuna also says that the personality of the Lord is very difficult to understand and that He cannot be known even by the great demigods. This means that the Lord cannot even be known by personalities greater than human beings. So how can a human being understand Çré Kåñëa without becoming His devotee?
Therefore Bhagavad-gétä should be taken up in a spirit of devotion. One should not think that he is equal to Kåñëa, nor should he think that Kåñëa is an ordinary personality or even a very great personality. Lord Çré Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at least theoretically, according to the statements of Bhagavad-gétä or the statements of Arjuna, the person who is trying to understand the Bhagavad-gétä. We should therefore at least theoretically accept Çré Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and with that submissive spirit we can understand the Bhagavad-gétä. Unless one reads the Bhagavad-gétä in a submissive spirit, it is very difficult to understand Bhagavad-gétä because it is a great mystery.
Just what is the Bhagavad-gétä? The purpose of Bhagavad-gétä is to deliver mankind from the nescience of material existence. Every man is in difficulty in so many ways, as Arjuna also was in difficulty in having to fight the Battle of Kurukñetra. Arjuna surrendered unto Çré Kåñëa, and consequently this Bhagavad-gétä was spoken. Not only Arjuna, but every one of us is full of anxieties because of this material existence. Our very existence is in the atmosphere of nonexistence. Actually we are not meant to be threatened by nonexistence. Our existence is eternal. But somehow or other we are put into asat. Asat refers to that which does not exist.
Out of so many human beings who are suffering, there are a few who are actually inquiring about their position, as to what they are, why they are put into this awkward position and so on. Unless one is awakened to this position of questioning his suffering, unless he realizes that he doesn’t want suffering but rather wants to make a solution to all sufferings, then one is not to be considered a perfect human being. Humanity begins when this sort of inquiry is awakened in one’s mind. In the Brahma-sütra this inquiry is called “brahma-jijïäsä.” Every activity of the human being is to be considered a failure unless he inquires about the nature of the Absolute. Therefore those who begin to question why they are suffering or where they came from and where they shall go after death are proper students for understanding Bhagavad-gétä. The sincere student should also have a firm respect for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a student was Arjuna.
Lord Kåñëa descends specifically to reestablish the real purpose of life when man forgets that purpose. Even then, out of many, many human beings who awaken, there may be one who actually enters the spirit of understanding his position, and for him this Bhagavad-gétä is spoken. Actually we are all followed by the tiger of nescience, but the Lord is very merciful upon living entities, especially human beings. To this end He spoke the Bhagavad-gétä, making His friend Arjuna His student.
Being an associate of Lord Kåñëa, Arjuna was above all ignorance, but Arjuna was put into ignorance on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra just to question Lord Kåñëa about the problems of life so that the Lord could explain them for the benefit of future generations of human beings and chalk out the plan of life. Then man could act accordingly and perfect the mission of human life.
The subject of the Bhagavad-gétä entails the comprehension of five basic truths. First of all, the science of God is explained and then the constitutional position of the living entities, jévas. There is éçvara, which means controller, and there are jévas, the living entities which are controlled. If a living entity says that he is not controlled but that he is free, then he is insane. The living being is controlled in every respect, at least in his conditioned life. So in the Bhagavad-gétä the subject matter deals with the éçvara, the supreme controller, and the jévas, the controlled living entities. Prakåti (material nature) and time (the duration of existence of the whole universe or the manifestation of material nature) and karma (activity) are also discussed. The cosmic manifestation is full of different activities. All living entities are engaged in different activities. From Bhagavad-gétä we must learn what God is, what the living entities are, what prakrti is, what the cosmic manifestation is and how it is controlled by time, and what the activities of the living entities are.
Out of these five basic subject matters in Bhagavad-gétä it is established that the Supreme Godhead, or Kåñëa, or Brahman, or supreme controller, or Paramätmä—you may use whatever name you like—is the greatest of all. The living beings are in quality like the supreme controller. For instance, the Lord has control over the universal affairs, over material nature, etc., as will be explained in the later chapters of Bhagavad-gétä. Material nature is not independant. She is acting under the directions of the Supreme Lord. As Lord Kåñëa says, “Prakåti is working under My direction.” When we see wonderful things happening in the cosmic nature, we should know that behind this cosmic manifestation there is a controller. Nothing could be manifested without being controlled. It is childish not to consider the controller. For instance, a child may think that an automobile is quite wonderful to be able to run without a horse or other animal pulling it, but a sane man knows the nature of the automobile’s engineering arrangement. He always knows that behind the machinery there is a man, a driver. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is a driver under whose direction everything is working. Now the jévas, or the living entities, have been accepted by the Lord, as we will note in the later chapters, as His parts and parcels. A particle of gold is also gold, a drop of water from the ocean is also salty, and similarly, we the living entities, being part and parcel of the supreme controller, ésvara, or Bhagavän, Lord Çré Kåñëa, have all the qualities of the Supreme Lord in minute quantity because we are minute éçvaras, subordinate éçvaras. We are trying to control nature, as presently we are trying to control space or planets, and this tendency to control is there because it is in Kåñëa. But although we have a tendency to lord it over material nature, we should know that we are not the supreme controller. This is explained in Bhagavad-gétä.
What is material nature? This is also explained in Gétä as inferior prakåti, inferior nature. The living entity is explained as the superior prakåti. Prakåti is always under control, whether inferior or superior. Prakåti is female, and she is controlled by the Lord just as the activities of a wife are controlled by the husband. Prakåti is always subordinate, predominated by the Lord, who is the predominator. The living entities and material nature are both predominated, controlled by the Supreme Lord. According to the Gétä, the living entities, although parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, are to be considered prakåti. This is clearly mentioned in the Seventh Chapter, fifth verse of Bhagavad-gétä: “Apareyam itas tv anyäm.” “This prakåti is My lower nature.” “Prakåtià viddhi me paräm jéva-bhütäà mahä-bäho yayedaà dhäryate jagat.” And beyond this there is another prakåti: jéva-bhütäm, the living entity.
Prakåti itself is constituted by three qualities: the mode of goodness, the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance. Above these modes there is eternal time, and by a combination of these modes of nature and under the control and purview of eternal time there are activities which are called karma. These activities are being carried out from time immemorial, and we are suffering or enjoying the fruits of our activities. For instance, suppose I am a businessman and have worked very hard with intelligence and have amassed a great bank balance. Then I am an enjoyer. But then say I have lost all my money in business; then I am a sufferer. Similarly, in every field of life we enjoy the results of our work, or we suffer the results. This is called karma.
Éçvara (the Supreme Lord), jéva (the living entity), prakåti (nature), eternal time and karma (activity) are all explained in the Bhagavad-gétä. Out of these five, the Lord, the living entities, material nature and time are eternal. The manifestation of prakåti may be temporary, but it is not false. Some philosophers say that the manifestation of material nature is false, but according to the philosophy of Bhagavad-gétä or according to the philosophy of the Vaiñëavas, this is not so. The manifestation of the world is not accepted as false; it is accepted as real, but temporary. It is likened unto a cloud which moves across the sky, or the coming of the rainy season which nourishes grains. As soon as the rainy season is over and as soon as the cloud goes away, all the crops which were nourished by the rain dry up. Similarly, this material manifestation takes place at a certain interval, stays for a while and then disappears. Such are the workings of prakåti But this cycle is working eternally. Therefore prakrti is eternal; it is not false. The Lord refers to this as “My prakåti.” This material nature is the separated energy of the Supreme Lord, and similarly the living entities are also the energy of the Supreme Lord, but they are not separated. They are eternally related. So the Lord, the living entity, material nature and time are all interrelated and are all eternal. However, the other item, karma, is not eternal. The effects of karma may be very old indeed. We are suffering or enjoying the results of our activities from time immemorial, but we can change the results of our karma, or our activity, and this change depends on the perfection of our knowledge. We are engaged in various activities. Undoubtedly we do not know what sort of activities we should adopt to gain relief from the actions and reactions of all these activities, but this is also explained in the Bhagavad-gétä.
The position of ésvara is that of supreme consciousness. The jévas, or the living entities, being parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, are also conscious. Both the living entity and material nature are explained as prakåti, the energy of the Supreme Lord, but one of the two, the jéva, is conscious. The other prakåti is not conscious. That is the difference. Therefore the jéva-prakåti is called superior because the jéva has consciousness which is similar to the Lord’s. The Lord’s is supreme consciousness, however, and one should not claim that the jéva, the living entity, is also supremely conscious. The living being cannot be supremely conscious at any stage of his perfection, and the theory that he can be so is a misleading theory. Conscious he may be, but he is not perfectly or supremely conscious.
The distinction between the jéva and the éçvara will be explained in the Thirteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä. The Lord is kñetra-jïaù, conscious, as is the living being, but the living being is conscious of his particular body, whereas the Lord is conscious of all bodies. Because He lives in the heart of every living being, He is conscious of the psychic movements of the particular jévas. We should not forget this. It is also explained that the Paramätmä, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is living in everyone’s heart as éçvara, as the controller, and that He is giving directions for the living entity to act as he desires. The living entity forgets what to do. First of all he makes a determination to act in a certain way, and then he is entangled in the acts and reactions of his own karma. After giving up one type of body, he enters another type of body, as we put on and take off old clothes. As the soul thus migrates, he suffers the actions and reactions of his past activities. These activities can be changed when the living being is in the mode of goodness, in sanity, and understands what sort of activities he should adopt. If he does so, then all the actions and reactions of his past activities can be changed. Consequently, karma is not eternal. Therefore we stated that of the five items (éçvara, jéva, prakåti time and karma) four are eternal, whereas karma is not eternal.
The supreme conscious éçvara is similar to the living entity in this way: both the consciousness of the Lord and that of the living entity are transcendental. It is not that consciousness is generated by the association of matter. That is a mistaken idea. The theory that consciousness develops under certain circumstances of material combination is not accepted in the Bhagavad-gétä. Consciousness may be pervertedly reflected by the covering of material circumstances, just as light reflected through colored glass may appear to be a certain color, but the consciousness of the Lord is not materially affected. Lord Kåñëa says, “mayädhyakñeëa prakåtiù.” When He descends into the material universe, His consciousness is not materially affected. If He were so affected, He would be unfit to speak on transcendental matters as He does in the Bhagavad-gétä. One cannot say anything about the transcendental world without being free from materially contaminated consciousness. So the Lord is not materially contaminated. Our consciousness, at the present moment, however, is materially contaminated. The Bhagavad-gétä teaches that we have to purify this materially contaminated consciousness. In pure consciousness, our actions will be dovetailed to the will of éçvara, and that will make us happy. It is not that we have to cease all activities. Rather, our activities are to be purified, and purified activities are called bhakti. Activities in bhakti appear to be like ordinary activities, but they are not contaminated. An ignorant person may see that a devotee is acting or working like an ordinary man, but such a person with a poor fund of knowledge does not know that the activities of the devotee or of the Lord are not contaminated by impure consciousness or matter. They are transcendental to the three modes of nature. We should know, however, that at this point our consciousness is contaminated.
When we are materially contaminated, we are called conditioned. False consciousness is exhibited under the impression that I am a product of material nature. This is called false ego. One who is absorbed in the thought of bodily conceptions cannot understand his situation. Bhagavad-gétä was spoken to liberate one from the bodily conception of life, and Arjuna put himself in this position in order to receive this information from the Lord. One must become free from the bodily conception of life; that is the preliminary activity for the transcendentalist. One who wants to become free, who wants to become liberated, must first of all learn that he is not this material body. Mukti or liberation means freedom from material consciousness. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam also the definition of liberation is given: Mukti means liberation from the contaminated consciousness of this material world and situation in pure consciousness. All the instructions of Bhagavad-gétä are intended to awaken this pure consciousness, and therefore we find at the last stage of the Gétä’s instructions that Kåñëa is asking Arjuna whether he is now in purified consciousness. Purified consciousness means acting in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. This is the whole sum and substance of purified consciousness. Consciousness is already there because we are part and parcel of the Lord, but for us there is the affinity of being affected by the inferior modes. But the Lord, being the Supreme, is never affected. That is the difference between the Supreme Lord and the conditioned souls.
What is this consciousness? This consciousness is “I am.” Then what am I? In contaminated consciousness “I am” means “I am the lord of all I survey. I am the enjoyer.” The world revolves because every living being thinks that he is the lord and creator of the material world. Material consciousness has two psychic divisions. One is that I am the creator, and the other is that I am the enjoyer. But actually the Supreme Lord is both the creator and the enjoyer, and the living entity, being part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, is neither the creator nor the enjoyer, but a cooperator. He is the created and the enjoyed. For instance, a part of a machine cooperates with the whole machine; a part of the body cooperates with the whole body. The hands, feet, eyes, legs and so on are all parts of the body, but they are not actually the enjoyers. The stomach is the enjoyer. The legs move, the hands supply food, the teeth chew and all parts of the body are engaged in satisfying the stomach because the stomach is the principal factor that nourishes the body’s organization. Therefore everything is given to the stomach. One nourishes the tree by watering its root, and one nourishes the body by feeding the stomach, for if the body is to be kept in a healthy state, then the parts of the body must cooperate to feed the stomach. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the enjoyer and the creator, and we, as subordinate living beings, are meant to cooperate to satisfy Him. This cooperation will actually help us, just as food taken by the stomach will help all other parts of the body. If the fingers of the hand think that they should take the food themselves instead of giving it to the stomach, then they will be frustrated. The central figure of creation and of enjoyment is the Supreme Lord, and the living entities are cooperators. By cooperation they enjoy. The relation is also like that of the master and the servant. If the master is fully satisfied, then the servant is satisfied. Similarly, the Supreme Lord should be satisfied, although the tendency to become the creator and the tendency to enjoy the material world are there also in the living entities because these tendencies are there in the Supreme Lord who has created the manifested cosmic world.
We shall find, therefore, in this Bhagavad-gétä that the complete whole is comprised of the supreme controller, the controlled living entities, the cosmic manifestation, eternal time, and karma, or activities, and all of these are explained in this text. All of these taken completely form the complete whole, and the complete whole is called the Supreme Absolute Truth. The complete whole and the complete Absolute Truth are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa. All manifestations are due to His different energies. He is the complete whole.
It is also explained in the Gétä that impersonal Brahman is also subordinate to the complete. Brahman is more explicitly explained in the Brahma-sütra to be like the rays of the sunshine. The impersonal Brahman is the shining rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Impersonal Brahman is incomplete realization of the absolute whole, and so also is the conception of Paramätmä in the Twelfth Chapter. There it shall be seen that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Puruñottama, is above both impersonal Brahman and the partial realization of Paramätmä. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is called sac-cid-änanda-vigraha. The Brahma-saàhitä begins in this way: éçvaraù paramaù kåñëaù sac-cid-änanda-vigrahaù/anädir ädir govindaù sarva-käraëa-käraëam. “Kåñëa is the cause of all causes. He is the primal cause, and He is the very form of eternal being, knowledge and bliss.” Impersonal Brahman realization is the realization of His sat (being) feature. Paramätmä realization is the realization of the cit (eternal knowledge) feature. But realization of the Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, is realization of all the transcendental features: sat, cit and änanda (being, knowledge, bliss) in complete vigraha (form).
People with less intelligence consider the Supreme Truth to be impersonal, but He is a transcendental person, and this is confirmed in all Vedic literatures. Nityo nityänäm cetanaç cetanänäm. As we are all individual living beings and have our individuality, the Supreme Absolute Truth is also, in the ultimate issue, a person, and realization of the Personality of Godhead is realization of all of the transcendental features. The complete whole is not formless. If He is formless, or if He is less than any other thing, then He cannot be the complete whole. The complete whole must have everything within our experience and beyond our experience, otherwise it cannot be complete. The complete whole, Personality of Godhead, has immense potencies.
How Kåñëa is acting in different potencies is also explained in Bhagavad-gétä. This phenomenal world or material world in which we are placed is also complete in itself because the twenty-four elements of which this material universe is a temporary manifestation, according to Säìkhya philosophy, are completely adjusted to produce complete resources which are necessary for the maintenance and subsistence of this universe. There is nothing extraneous; nor is there anything needed. This manifestation has its own time fixed by the energy of the supreme whole, and when its time is complete, these temporary manifestations will be annihilated by the complete arrangement of the complete. There is complete facility for the small complete units, namely the living entities, to realize the complete, and all sorts of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the complete. So Bhagavad-gétä contains the complete knowledge of Vedic wisdom.
All Vedic knowledge is infallible, and Hindus accept Vedic knowledge to be complete and infallible. For example, cow dung is the stool of an animal, and according to småti or Vedic injunction, if one touches the stool of an animal he has to take a bath to purify himself. But in the Vedic scriptures cow dung is considered to be a purifying agent. One might consider this to be contradictory, but it is accepted because it is Vedic injunction, and indeed by accepting this, one will not commit a mistake; subsequently it has been proved by modern science that cow dung contains all antiseptic properties. So Vedic knowledge is complete because it is above all doubts and mistakes, and Bhagavad-gétä is the essence of all Vedic knowledge.
Vedic knowledge is not a question of research. Our research work is imperfect because we are researching things with imperfect senses. We have to accept perfect knowledge which comes down, as is stated in Bhagavad-gétä, by the paramparä disciplic succession. We have to receive knowledge from the proper source in disciplic succession beginning with the supreme spiritual master, the Lord Himself, and handed down to a succession of spiritual masters. Arjuna, the student who took lessons from Lord Çré Kåñëa, accepts everything that He says without contradicting Him. One is not allowed to accept one portion of Bhagavad-gétä and not another. No. We must accept Bhagavad-gétä without interpretation, without deletion and without our own whimsical participation in the matter. The Gétä should he taken as the most perfect presentation of Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge is received from transcendental sources, and the first words were spoken by the Lord Himself. The words spoken by the Lord are different from words spoken by a person of the mundane world who is infected with four defects. A mundaner 1) is sure to commit mistakes, 2) is invariably illusioned, 3) has the tendency to cheat others and 4) is limited by imperfect senses. With these four imperfections, one cannot deliver perfect information of all-pervading knowledge.
Vedic knowledge is not imparted by such defective living entities. It was imparted unto the heart of Brahmä, the first created living being, and Brahmä in his turn disseminated this knowledge to his sons and disciples, as he originally received it from the Lord. The Lord is pürëam, all-perfect, and there is no possibility of His becoming subjected to the laws of material nature. One should therefore be intelligent enough to know that the Lord is the only proprietor of everything in the universe and that He is the original creator, the creator of Brahmä. In the Eleventh Chapter the Lord is addressed as prapitämaha because Brahmä is addressed as pitämaha, the grandfather, and He is the creator of the grandfather. So no one should claim to be the proprietor of anything; one should accept only things which are set aside for him by the Lord as his quota for his maintenance.
There are many examples given of how we are to utilize those things which are set aside for us by the Lord. This is also explained in Bhagavad-gétä. In the beginning, Arjuna decided that he should not fight in the Battle of Kurukñetra. This was his own decision. Arjuna told the Lord that it was not possible for him to enjoy the kingdom after killing his own kinsmen. This decision was based on the body because he was thinking that the body was himself and that his bodily relations or expansions were his brothers, nephews, brothers-in-law, grandfathers and so on. He was thinking in this way to satisfy his bodily demands. Bhagavad-gétä was spoken by the Lord just to change this view, and at the end Arjuna decides to fight under the directions of the Lord when he says, “kariñye vacanaà tava.” “I shall act according to Thy word.”
In this world man is not meant to toil like hogs. He must be intelligent to realize the importance of human life and refuse to act like an ordinary animal. A human being should realize the aim of his life, and this direction is given in all Vedic literatures, and the essence is given in Bhagavad-gétä. Vedic literature is meant for human beings, not for animals. Animals can kill other living animals, and there is no question of sin on their part, but if a man kills an animal for the satisfaction of his uncontrolled taste, he must be responsible for breaking the laws of nature. In the Bhagavad-gétä it is clearly explained that there are three kinds of activities according to the different modes of nature: the activities of goodness, of passion and of ignorance. Similarly, there are three kinds of eatables also: eatables in goodness, passion and ignorance. All of this is clearly described, and if we properly utilize the instructions of Bhagavad-gétä, then our whole life will become purified, and ultimately we will be able to reach the destination which is beyond this material sky.
That destination is called the sanätana sky, the eternal spiritual sky. In this material world we find that everything is temporary. It comes into being, stays for some time, produces some by-products, dwindles and then vanishes. That is the law of the material world, whether we use as an example this body, or a piece of fruit or anything. But beyond this temporary world there is another world of which we have information. This world consists of another nature which is sanätana, eternal. Jéva is also described as sanätana, eternal, and the Lord is also described as sanätana in the Eleventh Chapter. We have an intimate relationship with the Lord, and because we are all qualitatively one—the sanätana-dhäma, or sky, the sanätana Supreme Personality and the sanätana living entities—the whole purpose of Bhagavad-gétä is to revive our sanätana occupation, or sanätana-dharma, which is the eternal occupation of the living entity. We are temporarily engaged in different activities, but all of these activities can be purified when we give up all these temporary activities and take up the activities which are prescribed by the Supreme Lord. That is called our pure life.
The Supreme Lord and His transcendental abode are both sanätana, as are the living entities, and the combined association of the Supreme Lord and the living entities in the sanätana abode is the perfection of human life. The Lord is very kind to the living entities because they are His sons. Lord Kåñëa declares in Bhagavad-gétä, “sarva-yoniñu…ahaà béja-pradaù pitä.” “I am the father of all.” Of course there are all types of living entities according to their various karmas, but here the Lord claims that He is the father of all of them. Therefore the Lord descends to reclaim all of these fallen, conditioned souls to call them back to the sanätana eternal sky so that the sanätana living entities may regain their eternal sanätana positions in eternal association with the Lord. The Lord comes Himself in different incarnations, or He sends His confidential servants as sons or His associates or äcäryas to reclaim the conditioned souls.
Therefore, sanätana-dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord. Sanätana-dharma refers, as stated previously, to the eternal occupation of the living entity. Rämänujäcärya has explained the word sanätana as “that which has neither beginning nor end,” so when we speak of sanätana-dharma, we must take it for granted on the authority of Çré Rämänujäcärya that it has neither beginning nor end.
The English word “religion” is a little different from sanätana-dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but sanätana-dharma refers to that activity which cannot be changed. For instance, liquidity cannot be taken from water, nor can heat be taken from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken from the living entity. Sanätana-dharma is eternally integral with the living entity. When we speak of sanätana-dharma, therefore, we must take it for granted on the authority of Çré Rämänujäcärya that it has neither beginning nor end. That which has neither end nor beginning must not be sectarian, for it cannot be limited by any boundaries. Yet those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that sanätana-dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeply into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, it is possible for us to see that sanätana-dharma is the business of all the people of the world—nay, of all the living entities of the universe.
Non-sanätana religious faith may have some beginning in the annals of human history, but there is no beginning to the history of sanätana-dharma because it remains eternally with the living entities. Insofar as the living entities are concerned, the authoritative çästras state that the living entity has neither birth nor death. In the Gétä it is stated that the living entity is never born, and he never dies. He is eternal and indestructible, and he continues to live after the destruction of his temporary material body. In reference to the concept of sanätana-dharma, we must try to understand the concept of religion from the Sanskrit root meaning of the word. Dharma refers to that which is constantly existing with the particular object. We conclude that there is heat and light along with the fire; without heat and light, there is no meaning to the word fire. Similarly, we must discover the essential part of the living being, that part which is his constant companion. That constant companion is his eternal quality, and that eternal quality is his eternal religion.
When Sanätana Gosvämé asked Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu about the svarüpa of every living being, the Lord replied that the svarüpa or constitutional position of the living being is the rendering of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we analyze this statement of Lord Caitanya, we can easily see that every living being is constantly engaged in rendering service to another living being. A living being serves other living beings in two capacities. By doing so, the living entity enjoys life. The lower animals serve human beings as servants serve their master. A serves B master, B serves C master and C serves D master and so on. Under these circumstances, we can see that one friend serves another friend, the mother serves the son, the wife serves the husband, the husband serves the wife and so on. If we go on searching in this spirit, it will be seen that there is no exception in the society of living beings to the activity of service. The politician presents his manifesto for the public to convince them of his capacity for service. The voters therefore give the politician their valuable votes, thinking that he will render valuable service to society. The shopkeeper serves the customer, and the artisan serves the capitalist. The capitalist serves the family, and the family serves the state in the terms of the eternal capacity of the eternal living being. In this way we can see that no living being is exempt from rendering service to other living beings, and therefore we can safely conclude that service is the constant companion of the living being and that the rendering of service is the eternal religion of the living being.
Yet man professes to belong to a particular type of faith with reference to particular time and circumstance and thus claims to be a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or any other sect. Such designations are non-sanätana-dharma. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Muslim, or a Muslim may change his faith to become a Hindu, or a Christian may change his faith and so on. But in all circumstances the change of religious faith does not effect the eternal occupation of rendering service to others. The Hindu, Muslim or Christian in all circumstances is servant of someone. Thus, to profess a particular type of sect is not to profess one’s sanätana-dharma. The rendering of service is sanätana-dharma.
Factually we are related to the Supreme Lord in service. The Supreme Lord is the supreme enjoyer, and we living entities are His servitors. We are created for His enjoyment, and if we participate in that eternal enjoyment with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we become happy. We cannot become happy otherwise. It is not possible to be happy independantly, just as no one part of the body can be happy without cooperating with the stomach. It is not possible for the living entity to be happy without rendering transcendental loving service unto the Supreme Lord.
In the Bhagavad-gétä, worship of different demigods or rendering service to them is not approved. It is stated in the Seventh Chapter, twentieth verse:
kämais tais tair håta-jïänäù prapadyante ’nya-devatäù
taà taà niyamam ästhäya prakåtyä niyatäù svayä
“Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” (Bg. 7.20) Here it is plainly said that those who are directed by lust worship the demigods and not the Supreme Lord Kåñëa. When we mention the name Kåñëa, we do not refer to any sectarian name. Kåñëa means the highest pleasure, and it is confirmed that the Supreme Lord is the reservoir or storehouse of all pleasure. We are all hankering after pleasure. Änandamayo ’bhyäsät. (Vs. 1.1.12) The living entities, like the Lord, are full of consciousness, and they are after happiness. The Lord is perpetually happy, and if the living entities associate with the Lord, cooperate with Him and take part in His association, then they also become happy.
The Lord descends to this mortal world to show His pastimes in Våndävana, which are full of happiness. When Lord Çré Kåñëa was in Våndävana, His activities with His cowherd boy friends, with His damsel friends, with the inhabitants of Våndävana and with the cows were all full of happiness. The total population of Våndävana knew nothing but Kåñëa. But Lord Kåñëa even discouraged His father Nanda Mahäräja from worshiping the demigod Indra because He wanted to establish the fact that people need not worship any demigod. They need only worship the Supreme Lord because their ultimate goal is to return to His abode.
The abode of Lord Çré Kåñëa is described in the Bhagavad-gétä, Fifteenth Chapter, sixth verse:
na tad bhäsayate süryo na çaçäìko na pävakaù
yad gatvä na nivartante tad dhäma paramaà mama
“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. And anyone who reaches it never comes back to this material world.” (Bg. 15.6)
This verse gives a description of that eternal sky. Of course we have a material conception of the sky, and we think of it in relationship to the sun, moon, stars and so on, but in this verse the Lord states that in the eternal sky there is no need for the sun nor for the moon nor fire of any kind because the spiritual sky is already illuminated by the brahmajyoti, the rays emanating from the Supreme Lord. We are trying with difficulty to reach other planets, but it is not difficult to understand the abode of the Supreme Lord. This abode is referred to as Goloka. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is beautifully described: Goloka eva nivasaty akhilätma-bhütaù. The Lord resides eternally in His abode Goloka, yet He can be approached from this world, and to this end the Lord comes to manifest His real form, sac-cid-änanda-vigraha. When He manifests this form, there is no need for our imagining what He looks like. To discourage such imaginative speculation, He descends and exhibits Himself as He is, as Çyämasundara. Unfortunately, the less intelligent deride Him because He comes as one of us and plays with us as a human being. But because of this we should not consider that the Lord is one of us. It is by His potency that He presents Himself in His real form before us and displays His pastimes, which are prototypes of those pastimes found in His abode.
In the effulgent rays of the spiritual sky there are innumerable planets floating. The brahmajyoti emanates from the supreme abode, Kåñëaloka, and the änandamaya-cinmaya planets, which are not material, float in those rays. The Lord says, na tad bhäsayate süryo na çaçäìko na pävakaù yad gatvä na nivartante tad dhäma paramaà mama. One who can approach that spiritual sky is not required to descend again to the material sky. In the material sky, even if we approach the highest planet (Brahmaloka), what to speak of the moon, we will find the same conditions of life, namely birth, death, disease and old age. No planet in the material universe is free from these four principles of material existence. Therefore the Lord says in Bhagavad-gétä, äbrahma-bhuvanäl lokäù punar ävartino ’rjuna. The living entities are traveling from one planet to another, not by mechanical arrangement but by a spiritual process. This is also mentioned: yänti deva-vratä devän pitèn yänti pitå-vratäù. No mechanical arrangement is necessary if we want interplanetary travel. The Gétä instructs: yänti deva-vratä devän. The moon, the sun and higher planets are called svargaloka. There are three different statuses of planets: higher, middle and lower planetary systems. The earth belongs to the middle planetary system. Bhagavad-gétä informs us how to travel to the higher planetary systems (devaloka) with a very simple formula: yänti deva-vratä devän. One need only worship the particular demigod of that particular planet and in that way go to the moon, the sun or any of the higher planetary systems.
Yet Bhagavad-gétä does not advise us to go to any of the planets in this material world because even if we go to Brahmaloka, the highest planet, through some sort of mechanical contrivance by maybe traveling for forty thousand years (and who would live that long?), we will still find the material inconveniences of birth, death, disease and old age. But one who wants to approach the supreme planet, Kåñëaloka, or any of the other planets within the spiritual sky, will not meet with these material inconveniences. Amongst all of the planets in the spiritual sky there is one supreme planet called Goloka Våndävana, which is the original planet in the abode of the original Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa. All of this information is given in Bhagavad-gétä, and we are given through its instruction information how to leave the material world and begin a truly blissful life in the spiritual sky.
In the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gétä, the real picture of the material world is given. It is said there:
ürdhva-mülam adhaù-çäkham açvatthaà prähur avyayam
chandäàsi yasya parëäni yas taà veda sa veda-vit
“The Supreme Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.” (Bg. 15.1) Here the material world is described as a tree whose roots are upwards and branches are below. We have experience of a tree whose roots are upward: if one stands on the bank of a river or any reservoir of water, he can see that the trees reflected in the water are upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward. Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. The material world is but a shadow of reality. In the shadow there is no reality or substantiality, but from the shadow we can understand that there is substance and reality. In the desert there is no water, but the mirage suggests that there is such a thing as water. In the material world there is no water, there is no happiness, but the real water of actual happiness is there in the spiritual world.
The Lord suggests that we attain the spiritual world in the following manner:
dvandvair vimuktäù sukha-duùkha-saàjïair
gacchanty amüòhäù padam avyayaà tat.
That padam avyayam or eternal kingdom can be reached by one who is nirmäna-moha. What does this mean? We are after designations. Someone wants to become a son, someone wants to become Lord, someone wants to become the president or a rich man or a king or something else. As long as we are attached to these designations, we are attached to the body because designations belong to the body. But we are not these bodies, and realizing this is the first stage in spiritual realization. We are associated with the three modes of material nature, but we must become detached through devotional service to the Lord. If we are not attached to devotional service to the Lord, then we cannot become detached from the modes of material nature. Designations and attachments are due to our lust and desire, our wanting to lord it over the material nature. As long as we do not give up this propensity of lording it over material nature, there is no possibility of returning to the kingdom of the Supreme, the sanätana-dhäma. That eternal kingdom, which is never destroyed, can be approached by one who is not bewildered by the attractions of false material enjoyments, who is situated in the service of the Supreme Lord. One so situated can easily approach that supreme abode.
Elsewhere in the Gétä it is stated:
avyakto ’kñara ity uktas tam ähuù paramäà gatim
yaà präpya na nivartante tad dhäma paramaà mama.
Avyakta means unmanifested. Not even all of the material world is manifested before us. Our senses are so imperfect that we cannot even see all of the stars within this material universe. In Vedic literature we can receive much information about all the planets, and we can believe it or not believe it. All of the important planets are described in Vedic literatures, especially Çrémad-Bhägavatam, and the spiritual world, which is beyond this material sky, is described as avyakta, unmanifested. One should desire and hanker after that supreme kingdom, for when one attains that kingdom, he does not have to return to this material world.
Next, one may raise the question of how one goes about approaching that abode of the Supreme Lord. Information of this is given in the Eighth Chapter. It is said there:
anta-käle ca mäm eva smaran muktvä kalevaram
yaù prayäti sa mad-bhävam yäti nästy atra saàçayaù
“Anyone who quits his body, at the end of life, remembering Me, attains immediately to My nature; and there is no doubt of this.” (Bg. 8.5) One who thinks of Kåñëa at the time of his death goes to Kåñëa. One must remember the form of Kåñëa; if he quits his body thinking of this form, he approaches the spiritual kingdom. Mad-bhävaà refers to the supreme nature of the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being is sac-cid-änanda-vigraha—eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. Our present body is not sac-cid-änanda. It is asat, not sat. It is not eternal; it is perishable. It is not cit, full of knowledge, but it is full of ignorance. We have no knowledge of the spiritual kingdom, nor do we even have perfect knowledge of this material world where there are so many things unknown to us. The body is also niränanda; instead of being full of bliss it is full of misery. All of the miseries we experience in the material world arise from the body, but one who leaves this body thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at once attains a sac-cid-änanda body, as is promised in this fifth verse of the Eighth Chapter where Lord Kåñëa says, “He attains My nature.”
The process of quitting this body and getting another body in the material world is also organized. A man dies after it has been decided what form of body he will have in the next life. Higher authorities, not the living entity himself, make this decision. According to our activities in this life, we either rise or sink. This life is a preparation for the next life. If we can prepare, therefore, in this life to get promotion to the kingdom of God, then surely, after quitting this material body, we will attain a spiritual body just like the Lord.
As explained before, there are different kinds of transcendentalists, the brahmavädi paramätmävädi and the devotee, and, as mentioned, in the brahmajyoti (spiritual sky) there are innumerable spiritual planets. The number of these planets is far, far greater than all of the planets of this material world. This material world has been approximated as only one quarter of the creation. In this material segment there are millions and billions of universes with trillions of planets and suns, stars and moons. But this whole material creation is only a fragment of the total creation. Most of the creation is in the spiritual sky. One who desires to merge into the existence of the Supreme Brahman is at once transferred to the brahmajyoti of the Supreme Lord and thus attains the spiritual sky. The devotee, who wants to enjoy the association of the Lord, enters into the Vaikuëöha planets, which are innumerable, and the Supreme Lord by His plenary expansions as Näräyaëa with four hands and with different names like Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Govinda, etc., associates with him there. Therefore at the end of life the transcendentalists either think of the brahmajyoti, the Paramätmä or the Supreme Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa. In all cases they enter into the spiritual sky, but only the devotee, or he who is in personal touch with the Supreme Lord, enters into the Vaikuëöha planets. The Lord further adds that of this “there is no doubt.” This must be believed firmly. We should not reject that which does not tally with our imagination; our attitude should be that of Arjuna: “I believe everything that You have said.” Therefore when the Lord says that at the time of death whoever thinks of Him as Brahman or Paramätmä or as the Personality of Godhead certainly enters into the spiritual sky, there is no doubt about it. There is no question of disbelieving it.
The information on how to think of the Supreme Being at the time of death is also given in the Gétä:
yaà yaà väpi smaran bhävaà tyajaty ante kalevaram
taà tam evaiti kaunteya sadä tad-bhäva-bhävitaù
“In whatever condition one quits his present body, in his next life he will attain to that state of being without fail.” (Bg. 8.6) Material nature is a display of one of the energies of the Supreme Lord. In the Viñëu Puräëa the total energies of the Supreme Lord as Viñëu-çaktiù parä proktä, etc., are delineated. The Supreme Lord has diverse and innumerable energies which are beyond our conception; however, great learned sages or liberated souls have studied these energies and have analyzed them into three parts. All of the energies are of Viñëu-çakti, that is to say they are different potencies of Lord Viñëu. That energy is parä, transcendental. Living entities also belong to the superior energy, as has already been explained. The other energies, or material energies, are in the mode of ignorance. At the time of death we can either remain in the inferior energy of this material world, or we can transfer to the energy of the spiritual world.
In life we are accustomed to thinking either of the material or the spiritual energy. There are so many literatures which fill our thoughts with the material energy—newspapers, novels, etc. Our thinking, which is now absorbed in these literatures, must be transferred to the Vedic literatures. The great sages, therefore, have written so many Vedic literatures such as the Puräëas, etc. The Puräëas are not imaginative; they are historical records. In the Caitanya-caritämåta there is the following verse:
mäyä mugdha jéver nähi svataù kåñëa-jïäna
jévera kåpäya kailä kåñëa veda-puräëa
(Cc. Madhya 20.122)
The forgetful living entities or conditioned souls have forgotten their relationship with the Supreme Lord, and they are engrossed in thinking of material activities. Just to transfer their thinking power to the spiritual sky, Kåñëa has given a great number of Vedic literatures. First He divided the Vedas into four, then He explained them in the Puräëas, and for less capable people He wrote the Mahäbhärata. In the Mahäbhärata there is given the Bhagavad-gétä. Then all Vedic literature is summarized in the Vedänta-sütra, and for future guidance He gave a natural commentation on the Vedänta-sutra, called Çrémad-Bhägavatam. We must always engage our minds in reading these Vedic literatures. Just as materialists engage their minds in reading newspapers, magazines and so many materialistic literatures, we must transfer our reading to these literatures which are given to us by Vyäsadeva; in that way it will be possible for us to remember the Supreme Lord at the time of death. That is the only way suggested by the Lord, and He guarantees the result: “There is no doubt.” (Bg. 8.7)
tasmät sarveñu käleñu mäm anusmara yudhya ca
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir mäm evaiñyasy asaàçayaù
“Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me, and at the same time you should continue your prescribed duty and fight. With your mind and activities always fixed on Me, and everything engaged in Me, you will attain to Me without any doubt.”
He does not advise Arjuna to simply remember Him and give up his occupation. No, the Lord never suggests anything impractical. In this material world, in order to maintain the body one has to work. Human society is divided, according to work, into four divisions of social order—brähmaëa, kñatriya, vaiçya, çüdra. The brähmaëa class or intelligent class is working in one way, the kñatriya or administrative class is working in another way, and the mercantile class and the laborers are all tending to their specific duties. In the human society, whether one is a laborer, merchant, warrior, administrator, or farmer, or even if one belongs to the highest class and is a literary man, a scientist or a theologian, he has to work in order to maintain his existence. The Lord therefore tells Arjuna that he need not give up his occupation, but while he is engaged in his occupation he should remember Kåñëa. If he doesn’t practice remembering Kåñëa while he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Kåñëa at the time of death. Lord Caitanya also advises this. He says that one should practice remembering the Lord by chanting the names of the Lord always. The names of the Lord and the Lord are nondifferent. So Lord Kåñëa’s instruction to Arjuna to “remember Me” and Lord Caitanya’s injunction to always “chant the names of Lord Kåñëa” are the same instruction. There is no difference, because Kåñëa and Kåñëa’s name are nondifferent. In the absolute status there is no difference between reference and referent. Therefore we have to practice remembering the Lord always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and molding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.
How is this possible? The äcäryas give the following example. If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a woman other than his wife, then the attachment is to be considered very strong. One with such an attachment is always thinking of the loved one. The wife who is thinking of her lover is always thinking of meeting him, even while she is carrying out her household chores. In fact, she carries out her household work even more carefully so her husband will not suspect her attachment. Similarly, we should always remember the supreme lover, Çré Kåñëa, and at the same time perform our material duties very nicely. A strong sense of love is required here. If we have a strong sense of love for the Supreme Lord, then we can discharge our duty and at the same time remember Him. But we have to develop that sense of love. Arjuna, for instance, was always thinking of Kåñëa; he was the constant companion of Kåñëa, and at the same time he was a warrior. Kåñëa did not advise him to give up fighting and go to the forest to meditate. When Lord Kåñëa delineates the yoga system to Arjuna, Arjuna says that the practice of this system is not possible for him.
yo ’yaà yogas tvayä proktaù sämyena madhusüdana
etasyähaà na paçyämi caïcalatvät sthitià sthiräm
“Arjuna said, O Madhusüdana, the system of yoga which you have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.” (Bg. 6.33)
But the Lord says:
yoginäm api sarveñäà mad-gatenäntarätmanä
çraddhävän bhajate yo mäà sa me yuktatamo mataù
“Of all yogés, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga, and is the highest of all.” (Bg. 6.47) So one who thinks of the Supreme Lord always is the greatest yogé, the supermost jïäné, and the greatest devotee at the same time. The Lord further tells Arjuna that as a kñatriya he cannot give up his fighting, but if Arjuna fights remembering Kåñëa, then he will be able to remember Him at the time of death. But one must be completely surrendered in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
We work not with our body, actually, but with our mind and intelligence. So if the intelligence and the mind are always engaged in the thought of the Supreme Lord, then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service. Superficially, at least, the activities of the senses remain the same, but the consciousness is changed. The Bhagavad-gétä teaches one how to absorb the mind and intelligence in the thought of the Lord. Such absorption will enable one to transfer himself to the kingdom of the Lord. If the mind is engaged in Kåñëa’s service, then the senses are automatically engaged in His service. This is the art, and this is also the secret of Bhagavad-gétä: total absorption in the thought of Çré Kåñëa.
Modern man has struggled very hard to reach the moon, but he has not tried very hard to elevate himself spiritually. If one has fifty years of life ahead of him, he should engage that brief time in cultivating this practice of remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This practice is the devotional process of:
çravaëaà kértanaà viñëoù smaraëaà päda-sevanam
arcanaà vandanaà däsyaà sakhyam ätma-nivedanam
These nine processes, of which the easiest is çravaëaà, hearing Bhagavad-gétä from the realized person, will turn one to the thought of the Supreme Being. This will lead to niçcala, remembering the Supreme Lord, and will enable one, upon leaving the body, to attain a spiritual body which is just fit for association with the Supreme Lord.
The Lord further says:
abhyäsa-yoga-yuktena cetasä nänya-gäminä
paramaà puruñaà divyaà yäti pärthänucintayan
“By practicing this remembering, without being deviated, thinking ever of the Supreme Godhead, one is sure to achieve the planet of the Divine, the Supreme Personality, O son of Kunté.” (Bg. 8.8)
This is not a very difficult process. However, one must learn it from an experienced person, from one who is already in the practice. The mind is always flying to this and that, but one must always practice concentrating the mind on the form of the Supreme Lord Çré Kåñëa or on the sound of His name. The mind is naturally restless, going hither and thither, but it can rest in the sound vibration of Kåñëa. One must thus meditate on paramaà puruñaà, the Supreme Person; and thus attain Him. The ways and the means for ultimate realization, ultimate attainment, are stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, and the doors of this knowledge are open for everyone. No one is barred out. All classes of men can approach the Lord by thinking of Him, for hearing and thinking of Him is possible for everyone.
The Lord further says:
mäà hi pärtha vyapäçritya ye ’pi syuù päpa-yonayaù
striyo vaiçyäs tathä çüdräs te ’pi yänti paräà gatim
kià punar brähmaëäù puëyä bhaktä räjarñayas tathä
anityam asukhaà lokam imaà präpya bhajasva mäm
“O son of Påthä, anyone who will take shelter in Me, whether a woman, or a merchant, or one born in a low family, can yet approach the supreme destination. How much greater then are the brähmaëas, the righteous, the devotees, and saintly kings! In this miserable world, these are fixed in devotional service to the Lord.” (Bg. 9.32–33)
Human beings even in the lower statuses of life (a merchant, a woman or a laborer) can attain the Supreme. One does not need highly developed intelligence. The point is that anyone who accepts the principle of bhakti-yoga and accepts the Supreme Lord as the summum bonum of life, as the highest target, the ultimate goal, can approach the Lord in the spiritual sky. If one adopts the principles enunciated in Bhagavad-gétä, he can make his life perfect and make a perfect solution to all the problems of life which arise out of the transient nature of material existence. This is the sum and substance of the entire Bhagavad-gétä.
In conclusion, Bhagavad-géta is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. It is capable of saving one from all fear.
nehäbhikrama-näço ’sti pratyaväyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya träyate mahato bhayät
“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Bg. 2.40) If one reads Bhagavad-gétä sincerely and seriously, then all of the reactions of his past misdeeds will not react upon him. In the last portion of Bhagavad-gétä, Lord Çré Kåñëa proclaims:
sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù
“Give up all varieties of religiousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear.” (Bg. 18.66) Thus the Lord takes all responsibility for one who surrenders unto Him, and He indemnifies all the reactions of sin.
One cleanses himself daily by taking a bath in water, but one who takes his bath only once in the sacred Ganges water of the Bhagavad-gétä cleanses away all the dirt of material life. Because Bhagavad-gétä is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-gétä. In the present age, mankind is so absorbed with mundane activities that it is not possible to read all of the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-gétä, will suffice because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges certainly gets salvation, but what to speak of one who drinks the waters of Bhagavad-gétä? Gétä is the very nectar of the Mahäbhärata spoken by Viñëu Himself, for Lord Kåñëa is the original Viñëu. It is nectar emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Ganges is said to be emanating from the lotus feet of the Lord. Of course there is no difference between the mouth and the feet of the Supreme Lord, but in our position we can appreciate that the Bhagavad-gétä is even more important than the Ganges.
The Bhagavad-gétä is just like a cow, and Lord Kåñëa, who is a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. The milk is the essence of the Vedas, and Arjuna is just like a calf. The wise men, the great sages and pure devotees, are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-gétä.
In this present day, man is very eager to have one scripture, one God, one religion, and one occupation. So let there be one common scripture for the whole world—Bhagavad-gétä. And let there be one God only for the whole world—Çré Kåñëa. And one mantra only—Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare. And let there be one work only—the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
THE DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION
Evaà paramparä-präptam imaà räjarñayo viduù. (Bhagavad-géta, 4.2) This Bhagavad-gétä As It Is is received through this disciplic succession:
1) Kåñëa, 2) Brahmä, 3) Närada; 4) Vyäsa, 5) Madhva, 6) Padmanäbha, 7) Nåhari, 8) Mädhava, 9) Akñobhya, 10) Jayatértha, 11) Jïänasindhu, 12) Dayänidhi, 13) Vidyänidhi, 14) Räjendra, 15) Jayadharma, 16) Puruñottama, 17) Brahmaëyatértha, 18) Vyäsatértha, 19) Lakñmépati, 20) Mädhavendra Puré, 21) Éçvara Puré, (Nityänanda, Advaita), 22) Lord Caitanya, 23) Rüpa (Svarüpa, Sanätana), 24) Raghunätha, Jéva, 25) Kåñëadäsa, 26) Narottama, 27) Viçvanätha, 28) (Baladeva) Jagannätha, 29) Bhaktivinode, 30) Gaurakiçora, 31) Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté, 32) His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda.
Bg 1. Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra
DaMaR+ae}ae ku-å+ae}ae SaMaveTaa YauYauTSav" )
MaaMak-a" Paa<@vaêEv ik-Maku-vRTa SaÅYa )) 1 ))
mämakäù päëòaväç caiva
kim akurvata saïjaya
dhåtaräñöraù—King Dhåtaräñöra; uväca—said; dharma-kñetre—in the place of pilgrimage; kuru-kñetre—in the place named Kurukñetra; samavetäù—assembled; yuyatsavaù—desiring to fight; mämakäù—my party (sons); päëòaväù—the sons of Päëòu; ca—and; eva—certainly; kim—what; akurvata—did they do; saïjaya—O Saïjaya.
Dhåtaräñöra said: O Saïjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukñetra, what did my sons and the sons of Päëòu do, being desirous to fight?
Bhagavad-gétä is the widely read theistic science summarized in the Gétä-mähätmya (Glorification of the Gétä). There it says that one should read Bhagavad-gétä very scrutinizingly with the help of a person who is a devotee of Çré Kåñëa and try to understand it without personally motivated interpretations. The example of clear understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gétä itself, in the way the teaching is understood by Arjuna, who heard the Gétä directly from the Lord. If someone is fortunate enough to understand Bhagavad-gétä in that line of disciplic succession, without motivated interpretation, then he surpasses all studies of Vedic wisdom, and all scriptures of the world. One will find in the Bhagavad-gétä all that is contained in other scriptures, but the reader will also find things which are not to be found elsewhere. That is the specific standard of the Gétä. It is the perfect theistic science because it is directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Çré Kåñëa.
The topics discussed by Dhåtaräñöra and Saïjaya, as described in the Mahäbhärata, form the basic principle for this great philosophy. It is understood that this philosophy evolved on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra, which is a sacred place of pilgrimage from the immemorial time of the Vedic age. It was spoken by the Lord when He was present personally on this planet for the guidance of mankind.
The word dharma-kñetra (a place where religious rituals are performed) is significant because, on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was present on the side of Arjuna. Dhåtaräñöra, the father of the Kurus, was highly doubtful about the possibility of his sons’ ultimate victory. In his doubt, he inquired from his secretary Saïjaya, “What did my sons and the sons of Päëòu do?” He was confident that both his sons and the sons of his younger brother Päëòu were assembled in that Field of Kurukñetra for a determined engagement of the war. Still, his inquiry is significant. He did not want a compromise between the cousins and brothers, and he wanted to be sure of the fate of his sons on the battlefield. Because the battle was arranged to be fought at Kurukñetra, which is mentioned elsewhere in the Vedas as a place of worship—even for the denizens of heaven—Dhåtaräñöra became very fearful about the influence of the holy place on the outcome of the battle. He knew very well that this would influence Arjuna and the sons of Päëòu favorably, because by nature they were all virtuous. Saïjaya was a student of Vyäsa, and therefore, by the mercy of Vyäsa, Saïjaya was able to envision the Battlefield of Kurukñetra even while he was in the room of Dhåtaräñöra. And so, Dhåtaräñöra asked him about the situation on the battlefield.
Both the Päëòavas and the sons of Dhåtaräñöra belong to the same family, but Dhåtaräñöra’s mind is disclosed herein. He deliberately claimed only his sons as Kurus, and he separated the sons of Päëòu from the family heritage. One can thus understand the specific position of Dhåtaräñöra in his relationship with his nephews, the sons of Päëòu. As in the paddy field the unnecessary plants are taken out, so it is expected from the very beginning of these topics that in the religious field of Kurukñetra where the father of religion, Çré Kåñëa, was present, the unwanted plants like Dhåtaräñöra’s son Duryodhana and others would be wiped out and the thoroughly religious persons, headed by Yudhiñöhira, would be established by the Lord. This is the significance of the words dharma-kñetre and kuru-kñetre, apart from their historical and Vedic importance.
d*îa Tau Paa<@vaNaqk&- VYaU!& duYaaeRDaNaSTada )
AacaYaRMauPaSa®MYa raJaa vcNaMab]vqTa( )) 2 ))
dåñövä tu päëòavänékaà
vyüòhaà duryodhanas tadä
räjä vacanam abravét
saïjayaù—Saïjaya; uväca—said; dåñövä—after seeing; tu—but; päëòava-anékam—the soldiers of the Päëòavas; vyüòham—arranged in military phalanx; duryodhanaù—King Duryodhana; tadä—at that time; äcäryam—the teacher; upasaìgamya—approaching nearby; räjä—the king; vacanam—words; abravét—spoke.
Saïjaya said: O King, after looking over the army gathered by the sons of Päëòu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and began to speak the following words:
Dhåtaräñöra was blind from birth. Unfortunately, he was also bereft of spiritual vision. He knew very well that his sons were equally blind in the matter of religion, and he was sure that they could never reach an understanding with the Päëòavas, who were all pious since birth. Still he was doubtful about the influence of the place of pilgrimage, and Saïjaya could understand his motive in asking about the situation on the battlefield. He wanted, therefore, to encourage the despondent King, and thus he warned him that his sons were not going to make any sort of compromise under the influence of the holy place. Saïjaya therefore informed the King that his son, Duryodhana, after seeing the military force of the Päëòavas, at once went to the commander-in-chief, Droëäcärya, to inform him of the real position. Although Duryodhana is mentioned as the king, he still had to go to the commander on account of the seriousness of the situation. He was therefore quite fit to be a politician. But Duryodhana’s diplomatic veneer could not disguise the fear he felt when he saw the military arrangement of the Päëòavas.
Paa<@uPau}aa<aaMaacaYaR MahTaq& cMaUMa( )
VYaU!a& d]uPadPau}ae<a Tav iXaZYae<a DaqMaTaa )) 3 ))
äcärya mahatéà camüm
tava çiñyeëa dhématä
paçya—behold; etäm—this; päëòu-puträëäm—of the sons of Päëòu; äcärya—O teacher; mahatém—great; camüm—military force; vyuòham—arranged; drupada-putreëa—by the son of Drupada; tava—your; çiñyeëa—disciple; dhématä—very intelligent.
O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Päëòu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple, the son of Drupada.
Duryodhana, a great diplomat, wanted to point out the defects of Droëäcärya, the great brähmaëa commander-in-chief. Droëäcärya had some political quarrel with King Drupada, the father of Draupadé, who was Arjuna’s wife. As a result of this quarrel, Drupada performed a great sacrifice, by which he received the benediction of having a son who would be able to kill Droëäcärya. Droëäcärya knew this perfectly well, and yet, as a liberal brähmaëa, he did not hesitate to impart all his military secrets when the son of Drupada, Dhåñöadyumna, was entrusted to him for military education. Now, on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra, Dhåñöadyumna took the side of the Päëòavas, and it was he who arranged for their military phalanx, after having learned the art from Droëäcärya. Duryodhana pointed out this mistake of Droëäcärya’s so that he might be alert and uncompromising in the fighting. By this he wanted to point out also that he should not be similarly lenient in battle against the Päëòavas, who were also Droëäcärya’s affectionate students. Arjuna, especially, was his most affectionate and brilliant student. Duryodhana also warned that such leniency in the fight would lead to defeat.
MaheZvaSaa >aqMaaJauRNaSaMaa YauiDa )
YauYauDaaNaae ivra$=ê d]uPadê MaharQa" )) 4 ))
atra çürä maheñv-äsä
yuyudhäno viräöaç ca
drupadaç ca mahä-rathaù
atra—here; çüräù—heroes; maheñväsäù—mighty bowmen; bhéma-arjuna—Bhéma and Arjuna; samäù—equal; yudhi—in the fight; yuyudhänaù—Yuyudhäna; viräöaù—Viräöa; ca—also; drupadaù—Drupada; ca—also; mahärathaù—great fighter.
Here in this army there are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhéma and Arjuna; there are also great fighters like Yuyudhäna, Viräöa and Drupada.
Even though Dhåñöadyumna was not a very important obstacle in the face of Droëäcärya’s very great power in the military art, there were many others who were the cause of fear. They are mentioned by Duryodhana as great stumbling blocks on the path of victory because each and every one of them was as formidable as Bhéma and Arjuna. He knew the strength of Bhéma and Arjuna, and thus he compared the others with them.
k-aiXaraJaê vqYaRvaNa( )
PauåiJaTku-iNTa>aaeJaê XaEBYaê NarPau®v" )) 5 ))
käçiräjaç ca véryavän
purujit kuntibhojaç ca
çaibyaç ca nara-puìgavaù
dhåñöaketuù—Dhåñöaketu; cekitänaù—Cekitäna; käçiräjaù—Kaçiräja; ca—also; véryavän—very powerful; purujit—Purujit; kuntibhojaù—Kuntibhoja; ca—and; çaibyaù—Çaibya; ca—and; nara-puìgavaù—heroes in human society.
There are also great, heroic, powerful fighters like Dhåñöaketu, Cekitäna, Käçiräja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Çaibya.
iv§-aNTa otaMaaEJaaê vqYaRvaNa( )
SaaE>ad]ae d]aEPadeYaaê SavR Wv MaharQaa" )) 6 ))
yudhämanyuç ca vikränta
uttamaujäç ca véryavän
saubhadro draupadeyäç ca
sarva eva mahä-rathäù
yudhämanyuù—Yudhämanyu; ca—and; vikräntaù—mighty; uttamaujäù—Uttamaujä; ca—and; véryavän—very powerful; saubhadraù—the son of Subhadrä; draupadeyäù—the sons of Draupadé; ca—and; sarve—all; eva—certainly; mahä-rathäù—great chariot fighters.
There are the mighty Yudhämanyu, the very powerful Uttamaujä, the son of Subhadrä and the sons of Draupadé. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.
iviXaía Yae TaaiàbaeDa iÜJaaetaMa )
NaaYak-a MaMa SaENYaSYa Sa&jaQa| TaaNb]vqiMa Tae )) 7 ))
asmäkaà tu viçiñöä ye
tän nibodha dvijottama
näyakä mama sainyasya
saàjïärthaà tän bravémi te
asmäkam—our; tu—but; viçiñöäù—especially powerful; ye—those; tän—them; nibodha—just take note, be informed; dvijottama—the best of the brähmaëas; näyakäù—captains; mama—my; sainyasya—of the soldiers; saàjïä-artham—for information; tän—them; bravémi—I am speaking; te—your.
O best of the brähmaëas, for your information, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.
k-<aRê k*-Paê SaiMaiTa&JaYa" )
AìTQaaMaa ivk-<aRê SaaEMaditaSTaQaEv c )) 8 ))
bhavän bhéñmaç ca karëaç ca
kåpaç ca samitià-jayaù
açvatthämä vikarëaç ca
saumadattis tathaiva ca
bhavän—yourself; bhéñmaù—Grandfather Bhéñma; ca—also; karëaù—Karëa; ca—and; kåpaù—Kåpa; ca—and; samitiïjayaù—always victorious in battle; açvatthämä—Açvatthämä; vikarëaù—Vikarëa; ca—as well as; saumadattiù—the son of Somadatta; tathä—and as; eva—certainly; ca—and.
There are personalities like yourself, Bhéñma, Karëa, Kåpa, Açvatthämä, Vikarëa and the son of Somadatta called Bhuriçravä, who are always victorious in battle.
Duryodhana mentioned the exceptional heroes in the battle, all of whom are ever-victorious. Vikarëa is the brother of Duryodhana, Açvatthämä is the son of Droëäcärya, and Saumadatti, or Bhüriçravä, is the son of the King of the Bählékas. Karëa is the half brother of Arjuna, as he was born of Kunté before her marriage with King Päëòu. Kåpäcärya married the twin sister of Droëäcärya.
bhv" éUra MadQaeR TYa¢-JaqivTaa" )
NaaNaaXañPa[hr<aa" SaveR YauÖivXaarda" )) 9 ))
anye ca bahavaù çürä
anye—many others; ca—also; bahavaù—in great numbers; çüräù—heroes; mad-arthe-for my sake; tyakta-jévitäù—prepared to risk life; nänä—many; çastra—weapons; praharaëäù—equipped with; sarve—all of them; yuddha—battle; viçäradäù—experienced in military science.
There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military science.
As far as the others are concerned—like Jayadratha, Kåtavarmä, Çalya, etc.—all are determined to lay down their lives for Duryodhana’s sake. In other words, it is already concluded that all of them would die in the Battle of Kurukñetra for joining the party of the sinful Duryodhana. Duryodhana was, of course, confident of his victory on account of the above-mentioned combined strength of his friends.
TadSMaak&- bl&/ >aqZMaai>ari+aTaMa( )
PaYaaRá& iTvdMaeTaeza& bl&/ >aqMaai>ari+aTaMa( )) 10 ))
aparyäptaà tad asmäkaà
paryäptaà tv idam eteñäà
aparyäptam—immeasurable; tat—that; asmäkam—of ours; balam—strength; bhéñma—by Grandfather Bhéñma; abhirakñitam—perfectly protected; paryäptam—limited; tu—but; idam—all these; eteñäm—of the Päëòavas; balam—strength; bhéma—by Bhéma; abhirakñitam—carefully protected.
Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhéñma, whereas the strength of the Päëòavas, carefully protected by Bhéma, is limited.
Herein an estimation of comparative strength is made by Duryodhana. He thinks that the strength of his armed forces is immeasurable, being specifically protected by the most experienced general, Grandfather Bhéñma. On the other hand, the forces of the Päëòavas are limited, being protected by a less experienced general, Bhéma, who is like a fig in the presence of Bhéñma. Duryodhana was always envious of Bhéma because he knew perfectly well that if he should die at all, he would only be killed by Bhéma. But at the same time, he was confident of his victory on account of the presence of Bhéñma, who was a far superior general. His conclusion that he would come out of the battle victorious was well ascertained.
AYaNaezu c SaveRzu
>aqZMaMaevai>ar+aNTau >avNTa" SavR Wv ih )) 11 ))
ayaneñu ca sarveñu
bhavantaù sarva eva hi
ayaneñu—in the strategic points; ca—also; sarveñu—everywhere; yathäbhägam—as they are differently arranged; avasthitäù—situated; bhéñmam—unto Grandfather Bhéñma; eva—certainly; abhirakñantu—support may be given; bhavantaù—all of you; sarve—respectively; eva—certainly; hi—and exactly.
Now all of you must give full support to Grandfather Bhéñma, standing at your respective strategic points in the phalanx of the army.
Duryodhana, after praising the prowess of Bhéñma, further considered that others might think that they had been considered less important, so in his usual diplomatic way, he tried to adjust the situation in the above words. He emphasized that Bhéñmadeva was undoubtedly the greatest hero, but he was an old man, so everyone must especially think of his protection from all sides. He might become engaged in the fight, and the enemy might take advantage of his full engagement on one side. Therefore, it was important that other heroes would not leave their strategic positions and allow the enemy to break the phalanx. Duryodhana clearly felt that the victory of the Kurus depended on the presence of Bhéñmadeva. He was confident of the full support of Bhéñmadeva and Droëäcärya in the battle because he well knew that they did not even speak a word when Arjuna’s wife Draupadé, in her helpless condition, had appealed to them for justice while she was being forced to strip naked in the presence of all the great generals in the assembly. Although he knew that the two generals had some sort of affection for the Päëòavas, he hoped that all such affection would now be completely given up by them, as was customary during the gambling performances.
SaÅNaYaNhz| ku-åv*Ö" iPaTaaMah" )
iSa&hNaad& ivNaÛaeÀE" Xa«& dDMaaE Pa[TaaPavaNa( )) 12 ))
tasya saïjanayan harñaà
çaìkhaà dadhmau pratäpavän
tasya—his; saïjanayan—increasing; harñam—cheerfulness; kuru-våddhaù—the grandsire of the Kuru dynasty (Bhéñma); pitämahaù—the grandfather; siàha-nädam—roaring sound, like a lion; vinadya—vibrating; uccaiù—very loudly; çaìkham—conchshell; dadhmau—blew; pratäpavän—the valiant.
Then Bhéñma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conchshell very loudly like the sound of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.
The grandsire of the Kuru dynasty could understand the inner meaning of the heart of his grandson Duryodhana, and out of his natural compassion for him he tried to cheer him by blowing his conchshell very loudly, befitting his position as a lion. Indirectly, by the symbolism of the conchshell, he informed his depressed grandson Duryodhana that he had no chance of victory in the battle, because the Supreme Lord Kåñëa was on the other side. But still, it was his duty to conduct the fight, and no pains would be spared in that connection.
>aeYaRê Pa<avaNak-GaaeMau%a" )
SahSaEva>YahNYaNTa Sa XaBdSTauMaul/ae_>avTa( )) 13 ))
tataù çaìkhäç ca bheryaç ca
sa çabdas tumulo ’bhavat
tataù—thereafter; çaìkhäù—conchshells; ca—also; bheryaù—bugles; ca—and; paëava-änaka—trumpets and drums; go-mukhäù—horns; sahasä—all of a sudden; eva—certainly; abhyahanyanta—being simultaneously sounded; saù—that; çabdaù—combined sound; tumulaù—tumultuous; abhavat—became.
After that, the conchshells, bugles, trumpets, drums and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.
ìeTaEhRYaEYauR¢e- MahiTa SYaNdNae iSQaTaaE )
MaaDav" Paa<@vêEv idVYaaE Xa«aE Pa[dDMaTau" )) 14 ))
tataù çvetair hayair yukte
mahati syandane sthitau
mädhavaù päëòavaç caiva
divyau çaìkhau pradadhmatuù
tataù—thereafter; çvetaiù—by white; hayaiù—horses; yukte—being yoked with; mahati—in the great; syandane—chariot; sthitau—so situated; mädhavaù—Kåñëa (the husband of the goddess of fortune); päëòavaù—Arjuna (the son of Päëòu); ca—also; eva—certainly; divyau—transcendental; çaìkhau—conchshells; pradadhmatuù—sounded.
On the other side, both Lord Kåñëa and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells.
In contrast with the conchshell blown by Bhéñmadeva, the conchshells in the hands of Kåñëa and Arjuna are described as transcendental. The sounding of the transcendental conchshells indicated that there was no hope of victory for the other side because Kåñëa was on the side of the Päëòavas. Jayas tu päëòu-puträëäà yeñäà pakñe janärdanaù. Victory is always with persons like the sons of Päëòu because Lord Kåñëa is associated with them. And whenever and wherever the Lord is present, the goddess of fortune is also there because the goddess of fortune never lives alone without her husband. Therefore, victory and fortune were awaiting Arjuna, as indicated by the transcendental sound produced by the conchshell of Viñëu, or Lord Kåñëa. Besides that, the chariot on which both the friends were seated was donated by Agni (the fire-god) to Arjuna, and this indicated that this chariot was capable of conquering all sides, wherever it was drawn over the three worlds.
ôzqke-Xaae devdta& DaNaÅYa" )
PaaE<@\& dDMaaE MahaXa«& >aqMak-MaaR v*k-aedr" )) 15 ))
pauëòraà dadhmau mahä-çaìkhaà
päïcajanyam—the conchshell named Päïcajanya; håñékeçaù—Håñékeça (Kåñëa, the Lord who directs the senses of the devotees); devadattam—the conchshell named Devadatta; dhanaïjayaù—Dhanaïjaya (Arjuna, the winner of wealth); pauëòram—the conch named Pauëòram; dadhmau—blew; mahä-çaìkham—the terrific conchshell; bhéma-karmä—one who performs Herculean tasks; våkodaraù—the voracious eater (Bhéma).
Then, Lord Kåñëa blew His conchshell, called Päïcajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhéma, the voracious eater and performer of Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell called Pauëòram.
Lord Kåñëa is referred to as Håñékeça in this verse because He is the owner of all senses The living entities are part and parcel of Him, and, therefore, the senses of the living entities are also part and parcel of His senses. The impersonalists cannot account for the senses of the living entities, and therefore they are always anxious to describe all living entities as sense-less, or impersonal. The Lord, situated in the hearts of all living entities, directs their senses. But, He directs in terms of the surrender of the living entity, and in the case of a pure devotee He directly controls the senses. Here on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra the Lord directly controls the transcendental senses of Arjuna, and thus His particular name of Håñékeça. The Lord has different names according to His different activities. For example, His name is Madhusüdana because He killed the demon of the name Madhu; His name is Govinda because He gives pleasure to the cows and to the senses; His name is Väsudeva because He appeared as the son of Vasudeva; His name is Devaké-nandana because He accepted Devaké as His mother; His name is Yaçodä-nandana because He awarded His childhood pastimes to Yaçodä at Våndävana; His name is Pärtha-särathi because He worked as charioteer of His friend Arjuna. Similarly, His name is Håñékeça because He gave direction to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra.
Arjuna is referred to as Dhanaïjaya in this verse because he helped his elder brother in fetching wealth when it was required by the King to make expenditures for different sacrifices. Similarly, Bhéma is known as Våkodara because he could eat as voraciously as he could perform Herculean tasks, such as killing the demon Hiòimba. So, the particular types of conchshell blown by the different personalities on the side of the Päëòavas, beginning with the Lord’s, were all very encouraging to the fighting soldiers. On the other side there were no such credits, nor the presence of Lord Kåñëa, the supreme director, nor that of the goddess of fortune. So, they were predestined to lose the battle—and that was the message announced by the sounds of the conchshells.
Bg 1.16, Bg 1.17, Bg 1.18, Bg 1.16-18
raJaa ku-NTaqPau}aae YauiDaiïr" )
Naku-l/" Sahdevê SaugaaezMai<aPauZPak-aE )) 16 ))
k-aXYaê ParMaeZvaSa" iXa%<@q c MaharQa" )
Da*íÛuManae ivra$=ê SaaTYaik-êaParaiJaTa" )) 17 ))
d]uPadae d]aEPadeYaaê SavRXa" Pa*iQavqPaTae )
SaaE>ad]ê Mahabahu" Xa«aNdDMau" Pa*QaKPa*Qak(- )) 18 ))
nakulaù sahadevaç ca
käçyaç ca parameñv-äsaù
çikhaëòé ca mahä-rathaù
dhåñöadyumno viräöaç ca
drupado draupadeyäç ca
saubhadraç ca mahä-bähuù
çaìkhän dadhmuù påthak påthak
King Yudhiñöhira, the son of Kunté, blew his conchshell, the Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughoña and Maëipuñpaka. That great archer the King of Käçé, the great fighter Çikhaëòé, Dhåñöadyumna, Viräöa and the unconquerable Sätyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadé, and the others, O King, such as the son of Subhadrä, greatly armed, all blew their respective conchshells.
Saïjaya informed King Dhåtaräñöra very tactfully that his unwise policy of deceiving the sons of Päëòu and endeavoring to enthrone his own sons on the seat of the kingdom was not very laudable. The signs already clearly indicated that the whole Kuru dynasty would be killed in that great battle. Beginning with the grandsire, Bhéñma, down to the grandsons like Abhimanyu and others—including kings from many states of the world—all were present there, and all were doomed. The whole catastrophe was due to King Dhåtaräñöra, because he encouraged the policy followed by his sons.
DaaTaRraí\a<aa& ôdYaaiNa VYadarYaTa( )
Na>aê Pa*iQavq& cEv TauMaul/ae_>YaNauNaadYaNa( )) 19 ))
sa ghoño dhärtaräñöräëäà
nabhaç ca påthivéà caiva
saù—that; ghoñaù—vibration; dhärtaräñöräëäm—of the sons of Dhåtaräñöra; hådayäni—hearts; vyadärayat—shattered; nabhaù—the sky; ca—also; påthivém—the surface of the earth; ca—also; eva—certainly; tumulaù—uproarious; abhyanunädayan—by resounding.
The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious, and thus, vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhåtaräñöra.
When Bhéñma and the others on the side of Duryodhana blew their respective conchshells, there was no heart-breaking on the part of the Päëòavas. Such occurrences are not mentioned, but in this particular verse it is mentioned that the hearts of the sons of Dhåtaräñöra were shattered by the sounds vibrated by the Päëòavas’ party. This is due to the Päëòavas and their confidence in Lord Kåñëa. One who takes shelter of the Supreme Lord has nothing to fear, even in the midst of the greatest calamity.
VYaviSQaTaaNd*îa DaaTaRraí\aNk-iPaßJa" )
Pa[v*tae XañSaMPaaTae DaNauåÛMYa Paa<@v" )
ôzqke-Xa& Tada vaKYaiMadMaah MahqPaTae )) 20 ))
atha vyavasthitän dåñövä
dhanur udyamya päëòavaù
håñékeçaà tadä väkyam
idam äha mahé-pate
atha—thereupon; vyavasthitän—situated; dåñövä—looking on; dhärtaräñörän—the sons of Dhåtaräñöra; kapi-dhvajaù—one whose flag is marked with Hanumän; pravåtte—while about to be engaged; çastra-sampäte—the arrows released; dhanuù—bow; udyamya—after taking up; päëòavaù—the son of Päëòu (Arjuna); håñékeçam—unto Lord Kåñëa; tadä—at that time; väkyam—words; idam—these; äha—said; mahé-pate—O King.
O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Päëòu, who was seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanumän, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of Dhåtaräñöra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Håñékeça [Kåñëa] these words:
The battle was just about to begin. It is understood from the above statement that the sons of Dhåtaräñöra were more or less disheartened by the unexpected arrangement of military force by the Päëòavas, who were guided by the direct instructions of Lord Kåñëa on the battlefield. The emblem of Hanumän on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanumän cooperated with Lord Räma in the battle between Räma and Rävaëa, and Lord Räma emerged victorious. Now both Räma and Hanumän were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Kåñëa is Räma Himself, and wherever Lord Räma is, His eternal servitor Hanumän and His eternal consort Sétä, the goddess of fortune, are present. Therefore, Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemies whatsoever. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Kåñëa, was personally present to give him direction. Thus, all good counsel was available to Arjuna in the matter of executing the battle. In such auspicious conditions, arranged by the Lord for His eternal devotee, lay the signs of assured victory.
Bg 1.21, Bg 1.22, Bg 1.21-22
SaeNaYaaeå>aYaaeMaRDYae rQa& SQaaPaYa Mae_CYauTa )
YaavdeTaaiàrq+ae_h& Yaaed(Dauk-aMaaNaviSQaTaaNa( )) 21 ))
kE-MaRYaa Sah YaaeÖVYaMaiSMaNr<aSaMauÛMae )) 22 ))
senayor ubhayor madhye
rathaà sthäpaya me ’cyuta
yävad etän nirékñe ’haà
kair mayä saha yoddhavyam
arjunaù—Arjuna; uväca—said; senayoù—of the armies; ubhayoù—of both the parties; madhye—in between them; ratham—the chariot; sthäpaya—please keep; me—my; acyuta—O infallible one; yävat—as long as; etän—all these; nirékñe—may look; aham—I; yoddhu-kämän—desiring to fight; avasthitän—arrayed on the battlefield; kaiù—with whom; mayä—by me; saha—with; yoddhavyam—to fight with; asmin—in this; raëa—strife; samudyame—in the attempt.
Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see who is present here, who is desirous of fighting, and with whom I must contend in this great battle attempt.
Although Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, out of His causeless mercy He was engaged in the service of His friend. He never fails in His affection for His devotees, and thus He is addressed herein as infallible. As charioteer, He had to carry out the orders of Arjuna, and since He did not hesitate to do so, He is addressed as infallible. Although He had accepted the position of a charioteer for His devotee, His supreme position was not challenged. In all circumstances, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Håñékeça, the Lord of the total senses. The relationship between the Lord and His servitor is very sweet and transcendental. The servitor is always ready to render a service to the Lord, and, similarly, the Lord is always seeking an opportunity to render some service to the devotee. He takes greater pleasure in His pure devotee’s assuming the advantageous postion of ordering Him than He does in being the giver of orders. As master, everyone is under His orders, and no one is above Him to order Him. But when he finds that a pure devotee is ordering Him, He obtains transcendental pleasure, although He is the infallible master of all circumstances.
As a pure devotee of the Lord, Arjuna had no desire to fight with his cousins and brothers, but he was forced to come onto the battlefield by the obstinacy of Duryodhana, who was never agreeable to any peaceful negotiation. Therefore, he was very anxious to see who the leading persons present on the battlefield were. Although there was no question of a peacemaking endeavor on the battlefield, he wanted to see them again, and to see how much they were bent upon demanding an unwanted war.
Ya WTae_}a SaMaaGaTaa" )
DaaTaRraí\SYa dubuRÖeYauRÖe iPa[Yaick-IzRv" )) 23 ))
yotsyamänän avekñe ’haà
ya ete ’tra samägatäù
yotsyamänän—those who will be fighting; avekñe—let me see; aham—I; ye—who; ete—those; atra—here; samägatäù—assembled; dhärtaräñörasya—the son of Dhåtaräñöra; durbuddheù—evil-minded; yuddhe—in the fight; priya—well; cikérñavaù—wishing.
Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhåtaräñöra.
It was an open secret that Duryodhana wanted to usurp the kingdom of the Päëòavas by evil plans, in collaboration with his father, Dhåtaräñöra. Therefore, all persons who had joined the side of Duryodhana must have been birds of the same feather. Arjuna wanted to see them in the battlefield before the fight was begun, just to learn who they were, but he had no intention of proposing peace negotiations with them. It was also a fact that he wanted to see them to make an estimate of the strength which he had to face, although he was quite confident of victory because Kåñëa was sitting by his side.
WvMau¢-ae ôzqke-Xaae Gau@ake-XaeNa >aarTa )
SaeNaYaaeå>aYaaeMaRDYae SQaaPaiYaTva rQaaetaMaMa( )) 24 ))
evam ukto håñékeço
senayor ubhayor madhye
saïjayaù—Saïjaya; uväca—said; evam—thus; uktaù—addressed; håñékeçaù—Lord Kåñëa; guòäkeçena—by Arjuna; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; senayoù—of armies; ubhayoù—of both; madhye—in the midst of; sthäpayitvä—by placing; rathottamam—the finest chariot.
Saïjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, being thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Kåñëa drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.
In this verse Arjuna is referred to as Guòäkeça. Guòäka means sleep, and one who conquers sleep is called guòäkeça. Sleep also means ignorance. So Arjuna conquered both sleep and ignorance because of his friendship with Kåñëa. As a great devotee of Kåñëa, he could not forget Kåñëa even for a moment, because that is the nature of a devotee. Either in waking or in sleep, a devotee of the Lord can never be free from thinking of Kåñëa’s name, form, quality and pastimes. Thus a devotee of Kåñëa can conquer both sleep and ignorance simply by thinking of Kåñëa constantly. This is called Kåñëa consciousness, or samädhi. As Håñékeça, or the director of the senses and mind of every living entity, Kåñëa could understand Arjuna’s purpose in placing the chariot in the midst of the armies. Thus He did so, and spoke as follows.
SaveRza& c Mahqi+aTaaMa( )
ovac PaaQaR PaXYaETaaNSaMaveTaaNku-æiNaiTa )) 25 ))
sarveñäà ca mahé-kñitäm
uväca pärtha paçyaitän
samavetän kurün iti
bhéñma—Grandfather Bhéñma; droëa—the teacher Droëa; pramukhataù—in the front of; sarveñäm—all; ca—also; mahékñitäm—chiefs of the world; uväca—said; pärtha—O Pärtha (son of Påthä); paçya—just behold; etän—all of them; samavetän—assembled; kurün—all the members of the Kuru dynasty; iti—thus.
In the presence of Bhéñma, Droëa and all other chieftains of the world, Håñékeça, the Lord, said, Just behold, Pärtha, all the Kurus who are assembled here.
As the Supersoul of all living entities, Lord Kåñëa could understand what was going on in the mind of Arjuna. The use of the word Håñékeça in this connection indicates that He knew everything. And the word Pärtha, or the son of Kunté or Påthä, is also similarly significant in reference to Arjuna. As a friend, He wanted to inform Arjuna that because Arjuna was the son of Påthä, the sister of His own father Vasudeva, He had agreed to be the charioteer of Arjuna. Now what did Kåñëa mean when He told Arjuna to “behold the Kurus”? Did Arjuna want to stop there and not fight? Kåñëa never expected such things from the son of His aunt Påthä. The mind of Arjuna was thus predicated by the Lord in friendly joking.
iPaTa›NaQa iPaTaaMahaNa( )
ìéuraNSauôdêEv SaeNaYaaeå>aYaaeriPa )) 26 ))
taträpaçyat sthitän pärthaù
pitèn atha pitämahän
äcäryän mätulän bhrätèn
puträn pauträn sakhéàs tathä
çvaçurän suhådaç caiva
senayor ubhayor api
tatra—there; apaçyat—he could see; sthitän—standing; pärthaù—Arjuna; pitèn—fathers; atha—also; pitämahän—grandfathers; äcäryän—teachers; mätulän—maternal uncles; bhrätèn—brothers; puträn—sons ; pauträn—grandsons; sakhén—friends; tathä—too, çvaçurän—fathers-in-law; suhådaù—wellwishers; ca—also; eva—certainly; senayoù—of the armies; ubhayoù—of both parties; api—including.
There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his father-in-law and well-wishers—all present there.
On the battlefield Arjuna could see all kinds of relatives. He could see persons like Bhüriçravä, who were his father’s contemporaries, grandfathers Bhéñma and Somadatta, teachers like Droëäcärya and Kåpäcärya, maternal uncles like Çalya and Çakuni, brothers like Duryodhana, sons like Lakñmaëa, friends like Açvatthämä, well-wishers like Kåtavarmä, etc. He could see also the armies which contained many of his friends.
k-aENTaeYa" SavaRNbNDaUNaviSQaTaaNa( )
k*-PaYaa ParYaaivíae ivzqdiàdMab]vqTa( )) 27 ))
tän samékñya sa kaunteyaù
sarvän bandhün avasthitän
viñédann idam abravét
tän—all of them; samékñya—after seeing; saù—he; kaunteyaù—the son of Kunté; sarvän—all kinds of; bandhün—relatives; avasthitän—situated; kåpayä—by compassion; parayä—of a high grade; äviñöaù—overwhelmed by; viñédan—while lamenting; idam—thus; abravét—spoke.
When the son of Kunté, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus:
d*îeMa& SvJaNa& k*-Z<a YauYauTSau& SaMauPaiSQaTaMa( )
SaqdiNTa MaMa Gaa}aai<a Mau%& c PairéuZYaiTa )) 28 ))
dåñövemaà sva-janaà kåñëa
sédanti mama gäträëi
mukhaà ca pariçuñyati
arjunaù—Arjuna; uväca—said; dåñövä—after seeing; imam—all these; svajanam—kinsmen; kåñëa—O Kåñëa; yuyutsum—all in fighting spirit; samupasthitam—all present; sédanti—quivering; mama—my; gäträëi—limbs of the body; mukham—mouth; ca—also; pariçuñyati—drying up.
Arjuna said: My dear Kåñëa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.
Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all the good qualities which are found in godly persons or in the demigods, whereas the nondevotee, however advanced he may be in material qualifications by education and culture, lacks in godly qualities. As such, Arjuna, just after seeing his kinsmen, friends and relatives on the battlefield, was at once overwhelmed by compassion for them who had so decided to fight amongst themselves. As far as his soldiers were concerned, he was sympathetic from the beginning, but he felt compassion even for the soldiers of the opposite party, foreseeing their imminent death. And so thinking, the limbs of his body began to quiver, and his mouth became dry. He was more or less astonished to see their fighting spirit. Practically the whole community, all blood relatives of Arjuna, had come to fight with him. This overwhelmed a kind devotee like Arjuna. Although it is not mentioned here, still one can easily imagine that not only were Arjuna’s bodily limbs quivering and his mouth drying up, but that he was also crying out of compassion. Such symptoms in Arjuna were not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord. It is said therefore:
yasyästi bhaktir bhagavaty akiïcanä
sarvair guëais tatra samäsate suräù
haräv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guëä
mano-rathenäsati dhävato bahiù
“One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (Bhäg. 5.18.12)
Mae raeMahzRê JaaYaTae )
Gaa<@qv& ó&SaTae hSTaatvKcEv PairdùTae )) 29 ))
vepathuç ca çarére me
roma-harñaç ca jäyate
gäëòévaà sraàsate hastät
tvak caiva paridahyate
vepathuù—trembling of the body; ca—also; çarére—on the body; me—my; roma-harñaù—standing of hair on end; ca—also; jäyate—is taking place; gäëòévam—the bow of Arjuna; sraàsate—is slipping; hastät—from the hands; tvak—skin; ca—also; eva—certainly; paridahyate—burning.
My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end. My bow Gäëòéva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.
There are two kinds of trembling of the body, and two kinds of standings of the hair on end. Such phenomena occur either in great spiritual ecstasy or out of great fear under material conditions. There is no fear in transcendental realization. Arjuna’s symptoms in this situation are out of material fear—namely, loss of life. This is evident from other symptoms also; he became so impatient that his famous bow Gäëòéva was slipping from his hands, and, because his heart was burning within him, he was feeling a burning sensation of the skin. All these are due to a material conception of life.
Xa¥-aeMYavSQaaTau& >a]MaTaqv c Mae MaNa" )
iNaiMataaiNa c PaXYaaiMa ivParqTaaiNa ke-Xav )) 30 ))
na ca çaknomy avasthätuà
bhramatéva ca me manaù
nimittäni ca paçyämi
na—nor; ca—also; çaknomi—am I able; avasthätum—to stay; bhramati—forgetting; iva—as; ca—and; me—my; manaù—mind; nimittäni—causes; ca—also; paçyämi—I foresee; viparétäni—just the opposite; keçava—O killer of the demon Keçé (Kåñëa).
I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of the Keçé demon.
Due to his impatience, Arjuna was unable to stay on the battlefield, and he was forgetting himself on account of the weakness of his mind. Excessive attachment for material things puts a man in a bewildering condition of existence. Bhayaà dvitéyäbhiniveçataù: such fearfulness and loss of mental equilibrium take place in persons who are too affected by material conditions. Arjuna envisioned only unhappiness in the battlefield—he would not be happy even by gaining victory over the foe. The word nimitta is significant. When a man sees only frustration in his expectations, he thinks, “Why am I here?” Everyone is interested in himself and his own welfare. No one is interested in the Supreme Self. Arjuna is supposed to show disregard for self-interest by submission to the will of Kåñëa, who is everyone’s real self-interest. The conditioned soul forgets this, and therefore suffers material pains. Arjuna thought that his victory in the battle would only be a cause of lamentation for him.
é[eYaae_NauPaXYaaiMa hTva SvJaNaMaahve )
Na k-a¿e ivJaYa& k*-Z<a Na c raJYa& Sau%aiNa c )) 31 ))
na ca çreyo ’nupaçyämi
hatvä sva-janam ähave
na käìkñe vijayaà kåñëa
na ca räjyaà sukhäni ca
na—nor; ca—also; çreyaù—good; anupaçyämi—do I foresee; hatvä—by killing; svajanam—own kinsmen; ähave—in the fight; na—nor; känkñe—do I desire; vijayam—victory; kåñëa—O Kåñëa; na—nor; ca—also; räjyam—kingdom; sukhäni—happiness thereof; ca—also.
I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Kåñëa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.
Without knowing that one’s self-interest is in Viñëu (or Kåñëa), conditioned souls are attracted by bodily relationships, hoping to be happy in such situations. Under delusion, they forget that Kåñëa is also the cause of material happiness. Arjuna appears to have even forgotten the moral codes for a kñatriya. It is said that two kinds of men, namely the kñatriya who dies directly in front of the battlefield under Kåñëa’s personal orders and the person in the renounced order of life who is absolutely devoted to spiritual culture, are eligible to enter into the sun-globe, which is so powerful and dazzling. Arjuna is reluctant even to kill his enemies, let alone his relatives. He thought that by killing his kinsmen there would be no happiness in his life, and therefore he was not willing to fight, just as a person who does not feel hunger is not inclined to cook. He has now decided to go into the forest and live a secluded life in frustration. But as a kñatriya, he requires a kingdom for his subsistence, because the kñatriyas cannot engage themselves in any other occupation. But Arjuna has had no kingdom. Arjuna’s sole opportunity for gaining a kingdom lay in fighting with his cousins and brothers and reclaiming the kingdom inherited from his father, which he does not like to do. Therefore he considers himself fit to go to the forest to live a secluded life of frustration.
Bg 1.32, Bg 1.33, Bg 1.34, Bg 1.35, Bg 1.32-35
raJYaeNa GaaeivNd ik&- >aaeGaEJas„ivTaeNa va )
YaezaMaQaeR k-ax(i+aTa& Naae raJYa& >aaeGaa" Sau%aiNa c )) 32 ))
Ta wMae_viSQaTaa YauÖe Pa[a<aa&STYa¤-a DaNaaiNa c )
AacaYaaR" iPaTar" Pau}aaSTaQaEv c iPaTaaMaha" )) 33 ))
MaaTaul/a" ìéura" PaaE}aa" XYaal/a" SaMbiNDaNaSTaQaa )
WTaaà hNTauiMaC^aiMa ganTaae_iPa MaDauSaUdNa )) 34 ))
AiPa }aEl/aeKYaraJYaSYa heTaae" ik&- Nau Mahqk*-Tae )
iNahTYa DaaTaRraí\aà" k-a Pa[qiTa" SYaaÂNaadRNa )) 35 ))
kià no räjyena govinda
kià bhogair jévitena vä
yeñäm arthe käìkñitaà no
räjyaà bhogäù sukhäni ca
ta ime ’vasthitä yuddhe
präëäàs tyaktvä dhanäni ca
äcäryäù pitaraù puträs
tathaiva ca pitämahäù
mätuläù çvaçuräù pauträù
çyäläù sambandhinas tathä
etän na hantum icchämi
ghnato ’pi madhusüdana
hetoù kià nu mahé-kåte
nihatya dhärtaräñörän naù
kä prétiù syäj janärdana
kim—what use; naù—to us; räjyena—is the kingdom; govinda—O Kåñëa; kim—what; bhogaiù—enjoyment; jévitena—by living; vä—either; yeñäm—for whom; arthe—for the matter of; käìkñitam—desired; naù—our; räjyam—kingdom; bhogäù—material enjoyment; sukhäni—all happiness; ca—also; te—all of them; ime—these; avasthitäù—situated; yuddhe—in this battlefield; präëän—lives; tyaktvä—giving up; dhanäni—riches; ca—also; äcäryäù—teachers; pitaraù—fathers; puträù—sons; tathä—as well as; eva—certainly; ca—also; pitämahäù—grandfathers; mätuläù—maternal uncles; çvaçuräù—fathers-in-law; pauträù—grandsons; çyäläù—brothers-in-law; sambandhinaù—relatives; tathä—as well as; etän—all these; na—never; hantum—for killing; icchämi—do I wish; ghnataù—being killed; api—even; madhusüdana—O killer of the demon Madhu (Kåñëa); api—even if; trailokya—of the three worlds; räjyasya—of the kingdoms; hetoù—in exchange; kim—what to speak of; nu—only; mahé-kåte—for the sake of earth; nihatya—by killing; dhärtaräñörän—the sons of Dhåtaräñöra; naù—our; kä—what; prétiù—pleasure; syät—will there be; janärdana—O maintainer of all living entities.
O Govinda, of what avail to us are kingdoms, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed in this battlefield? O Madhusüdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, then why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive? O maintainer of all creatures, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.
Arjuna has addressed Lord Kåñëa as Govinda because Kåñëa is the object of all pleasures for cows and the senses. By using this significant word, Arjuna indicates what will satisfy his senses. Although Govinda is not meant for satisfying our senses, if we try to satisfy the senses of Govinda then automatically our own senses are satisfied. Materially, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. The Lord will satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may covet. But when one takes the opposite way—namely, when one tries to satisfy the senses of Govinda without desiring to satisfy one’s own senses—then by the grace of Govinda all desires of the living entity are satisfied. Arjuna’s deep affection for community and family members is exhibited here partly due to his natural compassion for them. He is therefore not prepared to fight. Everyone wants to show his opulence to friends and relatives, but Arjuna fears that all his relatives and friends will be killed in the battlefield, and he will be unable to share his opulence after victory. This is a typical calculation of material life. The transcendental life is, however, different. Since a devotee wants to satisfy the desires of the Lord, he can, Lord willing, accept all kinds of opulence for the service of the Lord, and if the Lord is not willing, he should not accept a farthing. Arjuna did not want to kill his relatives, and if there were any need to kill them, he desired that Kåñëa kill them personally. At this point he did not know that Kåñëa had already killed them before their coming into the battlefield and that he was only to become an instrument for Kåñëa. This fact is disclosed in following chapters. As a natural devotee of the Lord, Arjuna did not like to retaliate against his miscreant cousins and brothers, but it was the Lord’s plan that they should all be killed. The devotee of the Lord does not retaliate against the wrongdoer, but the Lord does not tolerate any mischief done to the devotee by the miscreants. The Lord can excuse a person on His own account, but He excuses no one who has done harm to His devotees. Therefore the Lord was determined to kill the miscreants, although Arjuna wanted to excuse them.
TaSMaaàahaR vYa& hNTau& DaaTaRraí\aNSabaNDavaNa( )
SvJaNa& ih k-Qa& hTva Saui%Na" SYaaMa MaaDav )) 36 ))
päpam eväçrayed asmän
tasmän närhä vayaà hantuà
sva-janaà hi kathaà hatvä
sukhinaù syäma mädhava
päpam—vices; eva—certainly; äçrayet—must take upon; asmän—us; hatvä—by killing; etän—all these; ätatäyinaù—aggressors; tasmät—therefore; na—never; arhäù—deserving; vayam—us; hantum—to kill; dhärtaräñörän—the sons of Dhåtaräñöra; svabändhavän—along with friends; svajanam—kinsmen; hi—certainly; katham—how; hatvä—by killing; sukhinaù—happy; syäma—become; mädhava—O Kåñëa, husband of the goddess of fortune.
Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhåtaräñöra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kåñëa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?
According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors: 1) a poison giver, 2) one who sets fire to the house, 3) one who attacks with deadly weapons, 4) one who plunders riches, 5) one who occupies another’s land, and 6) one who kidnaps a wife. Such aggressors are at once to be killed, and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors. Such killing of aggressors is quite befitting for any ordinary man, but Arjuna was not an ordinary person. He was saintly by character, and therefore he wanted to deal with them in saintliness. This kind of saintliness, however, is not for a kñatriya. Although a responsible man in the administration of a state is required to be saintly, he should not be cowardly. For example, Lord Räma was so saintly that people were anxious to live in His kingdom, (Räma-räjya), but Lord Räma never showed any cowardice. Rävaëa was an aggressor against Räma because he kidnapped Räma’s wife, Sétä, but Lord Räma gave him sufficient lessons, unparalleled in the history of the world. In Arjuna’s case, however, one should consider the special type of aggressors, namely his own grandfather, own teacher, friends, sons, grandsons, etc. Because of them, Arjuna thought that he should not take the severe steps necessary against ordinary aggressors. Besides that, saintly persons are advised to forgive. Such injunctions for saintly persons are more important than any political emergency. Arjuna considered that rather than kill his own kinsmen for political reasons, it would be better to forgive them on grounds of religion and saintly behavior. He did not, therefore, consider such killing profitable simply for the matter of temporary bodily happiness. After all, kingdoms and pleasures derived therefrom are not permanent, so why should he risk his life and eternal salvation by killing his own kinsmen? Arjuna’s addressing of Kåñëa as “Mädhava,” or the husband of the goddess of fortune, is also significant in this connection. He wanted to point out to Kåñëa that, as husband of the goddess of fortune, He should not have to induce Arjuna to take up a matter which would ultimately bring about misfortune. Kåñëa, however, never brings misfortune to anyone, to say nothing of His devotees.
Bg 1.37, Bg 1.38, Bg 1.37-38
PaXYaiNTa l/ae>aaePahTaceTaSa" )
ku-l/+aYak*-Ta& daez& iMa}ad]aehe c PaaTak-Ma( )) 37 ))
k-Qa& Na jeYaMaSMaai>a" PaaPaadSMaaiàviTaRTauMa( )
ku-l/+aYak*-Ta& daez& Pa[PaXYaiÙJaRNaadRNa )) 38 ))
yady apy ete na paçyanti
mitra-drohe ca pätakam
kathaà na jïeyam asmäbhiù
päpäd asmän nivartitum
yadi—if; api—certainly; ete—they; na—do not; paçyanti—see; lobha—greed; upahata—overpowered; cetasaù—the hearts; kula-kñaya—in killing the family; kåtam—done; doñam—fault; mitra-drohe—quarreling with friends; ca—also; pätakam—sinful reactions; katham—why; na—shall not; jïeyam—know this; asmäbhiù—by us; päpät—from sins; asmät—ourselves; nivartitum—to cease; kula-kñaya—the destruction of a dynasty; kåtam—by so doing; doñam—crime; prapaçyadbhiù—by those who can see; janärdana—O Kåñëa.
O Janärdana, although these men, overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, with knowledge of the sin, engage in these acts?
A kñatriya is not supposed to refuse to battle or gamble when he is so invited by some rival party. Under such obligation, Arjuna could not refuse to fight because he was challenged by the party of Duryodhana. In this connection, Arjuna considered that the other party might be blind to the effects of such a challenge. Arjuna, however, could see the evil consequences and could not accept the challenge. Obligation is actually binding when the effect is good, but when the effect is otherwise, then no one can be bound. Considering all these pros and cons, Arjuna decided not to fight.
Pa[<aXYaiNTa ku-l/DaMaaR" SaNaaTaNaa" )
DaMaeR Naíe ku-l&/ k*-TòMaDaMaaeR_i>a>avTYauTa )) 39 ))
dharme nañöe kulaà kåtsnam
adharmo ’bhibhavaty uta
kula-kñaye—in destroying the family; praëaçyanti—becomes vanquished; kula-dharmäù—the family traditions; sanätanäù—eternal; dharme—in religion; nañöe—being destroyed; kulam—family; kåtsnam—wholesale; adharmaù—irreligious; abhibhavati—transforms; uta—it is said.
With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligious practice.
In the system of the varëäçrama institution there are many principles of religious traditions to help members of the family grow properly and attain spiritual values. The elder members are responsible for such purifying processes in the family, beginning from birth to death. But on the death of the elder members, such family traditions of purification may stop, and the remaining younger family members may develop irreligious habits and thereby lose their chance for spiritual salvation. Therefore, for no purpose should the elder members of the family be slain.
Pa[duZYaiNTa ku-l/iñYa" )
ñqzu duíaSau vaZ<aeRYa JaaYaTae v<aRSaªr" )) 40 ))
stréñu duñöäsu värñëeya
adharma—irreligion; abhibhavät—having been predominant; kåñëa—O Kåñëa; praduñyanti—become polluted; kula-striyaù—family ladies; stréñu —of the womanhood; duñöäsu—being so polluted; värñëeya—O descendant of Våñëi; jäyate—it so becomes; varëa-saìkaraù—unwanted progeny.
When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kåñëa, the women of the family become corrupt, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Våñëi, comes unwanted progeny.
Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and spiritual progress in life. The varëäçrama religion’s principles were so designed that the good population would prevail in society for the general spiritual progress of state and community. Such population depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood. As children are very prone to be misled, women are similarly very prone to degradation. Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. By being engaged in various religious practices, women will not be misled into adultery. According to Cäëakya Paëòit, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. So, the different family traditions of religious activities should always engage them, and thus their chastity and devotion will give birth to a good population eligible for participating in the varëäçrama system. On the failure of such varëäçrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence.
Nark-aYaEv ku-l/ganaNaa& ku-l/SYa c )
PaTaiNTa iPaTarae ùeza& lu/áiPa<@aedk-i§-Yaa" )) 41 ))
kula-ghnänäà kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hy eñäà
saìkaraù—such unwanted children; narakäya—for hellish life; eva—certainly; kula-ghnänäm—of those who are killers of the family; kulasya—of the family; ca—also; patanti—fall down; pitaraù—forefathers; hi—certainly; eñäm—of them; lupta—stopped; piëòa—offerings; udaka—water; kriyäù—performance.
When there is increase of unwanted population, a hellish situation is created both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. In such corrupt families, there is no offering of oblations of food and water to the ancestors.
According to the rules and regulations of fruitive activities, there is a need to offer periodical food and water to the forefathers of the family. This offering is performed by worship of Viñëu, because eating the remnants of food offered to Viñëu can deliver one from all kinds of sinful actions. Sometimes the forefathers may be suffering from various types of sinful reactions, and sometimes some of them cannot even acquire a gross material body and are forced to remain in subtle bodies as ghosts. Thus, when remnants of prasädam food are offered to forefathers by descendants, the forefathers are released from ghostly or other kinds of miserable life. Such help rendered to forefathers is a family tradition, and those who are not in devotional life are required to perform such rituals. One who is engaged in the devotional life is not required to perform such actions. Simply by performing devotional service, one can deliver hundreds and thousands of forefathers from all kinds of misery. It is stated in the Bhägavatam:
na kiìkaro näyamåëé ca räjan
sarvätmanä yaù çaraëaà çaraëyaà
gato mukundaà parihåtya kartam
“Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all kinds of obligation, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind or forefathers.” (Bhäg. 11.5.41) Such obligations are automatically fulfilled by performance of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
ku-l/ganaNaa& v<aRSaªrk-arkE-" )
oTSaaÛNTae JaaiTaDaMaaR" ku-l/DaMaaRê XaaìTaa" )) 42 ))
doñair etaiù kula-ghnänäà
kula-dharmäç ca çäçvatäù
doñaiù—by such faults; etaiù—all these; kula-ghnänäm—of the destroyer of a family; varëa-saìkara—unwanted children; kärakaiù—by the doers; utsädyante—causes devastation; jäti-dharmäù—community project; kula-dharmäù—family tradition; ca—also; çäçvatäù—eternal.
Due to the evil deeds of the destroyers of family tradition, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.
The four orders of human society, combined with family welfare activities as they are set forth by the institution of the sanätana-dharma or varëäçrama-dharma, are designed to enable the human being to attain his ultimate salvation. Therefore, the breaking of the sanätana-dharma tradition by irresponsible leaders of society brings about chaos in that society, and consequently people forget the aim of life—Viñëu. Such leaders are called blind, and persons who follow such leaders are sure to be led into chaos.
MaNauZYaa<aa& JaNaadRNa )
Narke- iNaYaTa& vaSaae >avTaqTYaNauéué[uMa )) 43 ))
narake niyataà väso
utsanna—spoiled; kula-dharmäëäm—of those who have the family traditions; manuñyäëäm—of such men; janärdana—O Kåñëa; narake—in hell; niyatam—always; väsaù—residence; bhavati—it so becomes; iti—thus; anuçuçruma—I have heard by disciplic succession.
O Kåñëa, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell.
Arjuna bases his argument not on his own personal experience, but on what he has heard from the authorities. That is the way of receiving real knowledge. One cannot reach the real point of factual knowledge without being helped by the right person who is already established in that knowledge. There is a system in the varëäçrama institution by which one has to undergo the process of ablution before death for his sinful activities. One who is always engaged in sinful activities must utilize the process of ablution called the präyaçcitta. Without doing so, one surely will be transferred to hellish planets to undergo miserable lives as the result of sinful activities.
MahTPaaPa& k-Tau| VYaviSaTaa vYaMa( )
Yad]aJYaSau%l/ae>aeNa hNTau& SvJaNaMauÛTaa" )) 44 ))
aho bata mahat päpaà
kartuà vyavasitä vayam
hantuà sva-janam udyatäù
ahaù—alas; bata—how strange it is; mahat—great; päpam—sins; kartum—to perform; vyavasitäù—decided; vayam—we; yat—so that; räjya—kingdom; sukha-lobhena—driven by greed for royal happiness; hantum—to kill; svajanam—kinsmen; udyatäù—trying for.
Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts, driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness.
Driven by selfish motives, one may be inclined to such sinful acts as the killing of one’s own brother, father, or mother. There are many such instances in the history of the world. But Arjuna, being a saintly devotee of the Lord, is always conscious of moral principles and therefore takes care to avoid such activities.
DaaTaRraí\a r<ae hNYauSTaNMae +aeMaTar& >aveTa( )) 45 ))
yadi mäm apratékäram
dhärtaräñörä raëe hanyus
tan me kñemataraà bhavet
yadi—even if; mäm—unto me; apratékäram—without being resistant; açastram—without being fully equipped; çastra-päëayaù—those with weapons in hand; dhärtaräñöräù—the sons of Dhåtaräñöra; raëe—in the battlefield; hanyuù—may kill; tat—that; me—mine; kñemataram—better; bhavet—become.
I would consider it better for the sons of Dhåtaräñöra to kill me unarmed and unresisting, rather than fight with them.
It is the custom—according to kñatriya fighting principles—that an unarmed and unwilling foe should not be attacked. Arjuna, however, in such an enigmatic position, decided he would not fight if he were attacked by the enemy. He did not consider how much the other party was bent upon fighting. All these symptoms are due to softheartedness resulting from his being a great devotee of the Lord.
WvMau¤-aJauRNa" Sa&:Yae rQaaePaSQa oPaaivXaTa( )
ivSa*JYa SaXar& caPa& Xaaek-Sa&ivGanMaaNaSa" )) 46 ))
evam uktvärjunaù saìkhye
visåjya sa-çaraà cäpaà
saïjayaù—Saïjaya; uväca—said; evam—thus; uktvä—saying; arjunaù—Arjuna; saìkhye—in the battlefield; ratha—chariot; upasthaù—situated on; upäviçat—sat down again; visåjya—keeping aside; sa-çaram—along with arrows; cäpam—the bow; çoka—lamentation; saàvigna—distressed; mänasaù—within the mind.
Saïjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.
While observing the situation of his enemy, Arjuna stood up on the chariot, but he was so afflicted with lamentation that he sat down again, setting aside his bow and arrows. Such a kind and softhearted person, in the devotional service of the Lord, is fit to receive self-knowledge.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the First Chapter of the Çrémad-Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra.
Bg 2. Contents of the Gétä Summarized
Ta& TaQaa k*-PaYaaivíMaé[uPaU<aaRku-le/+a<aMa( )
ivzqdNTaiMad& vaKYaMauvac MaDauSaUdNa" )) 1 ))
taà tathä kåpayäviñöam
viñédantam idaà väkyam
saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; tam—unto Arjuna; tathä—thus; kåpayä—by compassion; äviñöam—overwhelmed; açru-pürëa—full of tears; äkula—depressed; ékñaëam—eyes; viñédantam—lamenting; idam—this; väkyam—words; uväca—said; madhusüdanaù—the killer of Madhu.
Saïjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusüdana, Kåñëa, spoke the following words.
Material compassion, lamentation and tears are all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is self-realization. The word “Madhusüdana” is significant in this verse. Lord Kåñëa killed the demon Madhu, and now Arjuna wanted Kåñëa to kill the demon of misunderstanding that had overtaken him in the discharge of his duty. No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress—the gross material body. One who does not know this and laments for the outward dress is called a çüdra, or one who laments unnecessarily. Arjuna was a kñatriya, and this conduct was not expected from him. Lord Kåñëa, however, can dissipate the lamentation of the ignorant man, and for this purpose the Bhagavad-gétä was sung by Him. This chapter instructs us in self-realization by an analytical study of the material body and the spirit soul, as explained by the supreme authority, Lord Çré Kåñëa. This realization is made possible by working with the fruitive being situated in the fixed conception of the real self.
ku-TaSTva k-XMal/iMad& ivzMae SaMauPaiSQaTaMa( )
ANaaYaRJauíMaSvGYaRMak-IiTaRk-rMaJauRNa )) 2 ))
kutas tvä kaçmalam idaà
çré bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; kutaù—wherefrom; tvä—unto you; kaçmalam—dirtiness; idam—this lamentation; viñame—this hour of crisis; samupasthitam—arrived; anärya—persons who do not know the value of life; juñöam—practiced by; asvargyam—that which does not lead to higher planets; akérti—infamy; karam—the cause of; arjuna—O Arjuna.
The Supreme Person [Bhagavän] said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.
Kåñëa and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are identical. Therefore Lord Kåñëa is referred to as “Bhagavän” throughout the Gétä. Bhagavän is the ultimate in the Absolute Truth. Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding, namely Brahman or the impersonal all-pervasive spirit; Paramätmä, or the localized aspect of the Supreme within the heart of all living entities; and Bhagavän, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kåñëa. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam this conception of the Absolute Truth is explained thus:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaà yaj jïänam advayam
brahmeti paramätmeti bhagavän iti çabdyate.
“The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramätmä, and Bhagavän.” (Bhäg. 1.2.11) These three divine aspects can be explained by the example of the sun, which also has three different aspects, namely the sunshine, the sun’s surface and the sun planet itself. One who studies the sunshine only is the preliminary student. One who understands the sun’s surface is further advanced. And one who can enter into the sun planet is the highest. Ordinary students who are satisfied by simply understanding the sunshine—its universal pervasiveness and the glaring effulgence of its impersonal nature—may be compared to those who can realize only the Brahman feature of the Absolute Truth. The student who has advanced still further can know the sun disc, which is compared to knowledge of the Paramätmä feature of the Absolute Truth. And the student who can enter into the heart of the sun planet is compared to those who realize the personal features of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Therefore, the bhaktas, or the transcendentalists who have realized the Bhagavän feature of the Absolute Truth, are the topmost transcendentalists, although all students who are engaged in the study of the Absolute Truth are engaged in the same subject matter. The sunshine, the sun disc and the inner affairs of the sun planet cannot be separated from one another, and yet the students of the three different phases are not in the same category.
The Sanskrit word Bhagavän is explained by the great authority, Paräçara Muni, the father of Vyäsadeva. The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation is called Bhagavän. There are many persons who are very rich, very powerful, very beautiful, very famous, very learned, and very much detached, but no one can claim that he possesses all riches, all strength, etc., entirely. Only Kåñëa can claim this because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No living entity, including Brahmä, Lord Çiva, or Näräyaëa, can possess opulences as fully as Kåñëa. Therefore it is concluded in the Brahma-saàhitä by Lord Brahmä himself that Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is equal to or above Him. He is the primeval Lord, or Bhagavän, known as Govinda, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.
éçvaraù paramaù kåñëaù sac-cid-änanda-vigrahaù
anädir ädir govindaù sarua-käraëa-käraëam
“There are many personalities possessing the qualities of Bhagavän, but Kåñëa is the supreme because none can excel Him. He is the Supreme Person, and His body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the primeval Lord Govinda and the cause of all causes.” (Brahma-saàhitä 5.1)
In the Bhägavatam also there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kåñëa is described as the original Personality of Godhead, from whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand:
ete cäàça-kaläù puàsaù kåñëas tu bhagavän svayam
indräri-vyäkulaà lokaà måòayanti yuge yuge
“All the lists of the incarnations of Godhead submitted herewith are either plenary expansions or parts of the plenary expansions of the Supreme Godhead, but Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.” (Bhag. 1.3.28)
Therefore, Kåñëa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, the source of both the Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman.
In the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna’s lamentation for his kinsmen is certainly unbecoming, and therefore Kåñëa expressed His surprise with the word kutas, “wherefrom.” Such unmanly sentiments were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Äryans. The word äryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Viñëu, or Bhagavän, and they are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Äryans. Although Arjuna was a kñatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Äryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity to become famous in this world. Lord Kåñëa did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.
SMa GaMa" PaaQaR NaETatvYYauPaPaÛTae )
+aud]& ôdYadaEbRLYa& TYa¤-aeitaï ParNTaPa )) 3 ))
klaibyaà mä sma gamaù pärtha
naitat tvayy upapadyate
klaibyam—impotence; mä—do not; sma—take it; gamaù—go in; pärtha—O son of Påthä; na—never; etat—like this; tvayi—unto you; upapadyate—is befitting; kñudram—very little; hådaya—heart; daurbalyam—weakness; tyaktvä—giving up; uttiñöha—get up; parantapa—O chastiser of the enemies.
O son of Påthä, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.
Arjuna was addressed as the “son of Påthä,” who happened to be the sister of Kåñëa’s father Vasudeva. Therefore Arjuna had a blood relationship with Kåñëa. If the son of a ksatriya declines to fight, he is a kñatriya in name only, and if the son of a brähmaëa acts impiously, he is a brähmaëa in name only. Such kñatriyas and brähmaëas are unworthy sons of their fathers; therefore, Kåñëa did not want Arjuna to become an unworthy son of a kñatriya. Arjuna was the most intimate friend of Kåñëa, and Kåñëa was directly guiding him on the chariot; but in spite of all these credits, if Arjuna abandoned the battle, he would be committing an infamous act; therefore Kåñëa said that such an attitude in Arjuna did not fit his personality. Arjuna might argue that he would give up the battle on the grounds of his magnanimous attitude for the most respectable Bhéñma and his relatives, but Kåñëa considered that sort of magnanimity not approved by authority. Therefore, such magnanimity or so-called nonviolence should be given up by persons like Arjuna under the direct guidance of Kåñëa.
k-Qa& >aqZMaMah& Sa&:Yae d]ae<a& c MaDauSaUdNa )
wzui>a" Pa[iTaYaaeTSYaaiMa PaUJaahaRvirSaUdNa )) 4 ))
kathaà bhéñmam ahaà saìkhye
droëaà ca madhusüdana
arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; katham—how; bhéñmam—unto Bhéñma; aham—I; saìkhye—in the fight; droëam—unto Droëa; ca—also, madhusüdana—O killer of Madhu; iñubhiù—with arrows; pratiyotsyämi—shall counterattack; püjä-arhau—those who are worshipable; arisüdana—O killer of the enemies.
Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu [Kåñëa], how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhéñma and Droëa, who are worthy of my worship?
Respectable superiors like Bhéñma the grandfather and Droëäcärya the teacher are always worshipable. Even if they attack, they should not be counterattacked. It is general etiquette that superiors are not to be offered even a verbal fight. Even if they are sometimes harsh in behavior, they should not be harshly treated. Then, how is it possible for Arjuna to counterattack them? Would Kåñëa ever attack His own grandfather, Ugrasena, or His teacher, Sändépani Muni? These were some of the arguments by Arjuna to Kåñëa.
é[eYaae >aae¢u-& >aE+YaMaPaqh l/aeke- )
>auÅqYa >aaeGaaNåiDarPa[idGDaaNa( )) 5 ))
gurün ahatvä hi mahänubhävän
çreyo bhoktuà bhaikñyam apéha loke
hatvärtha-kämäàs tu gurün ihaiva
bhuïjéya bhogän rudhira-pradigdhän
gurün—the superiors; ahatvä—by killing; hi—certainly; mahä-anubhävän—great souls; çreyaù—it is better; bhoktum—to enjoy life; bhaikñyam—begging; api—even; iha—in this life; loke—in this world; hatvä—killing; artha—gain; kämän—so desiring; tu—but; gurün—superiors; iha—in this world; eva—certainly; bhuïjéya—has to enjoy; bhogän—enjoyable things; rudhira—blood; pradigdhän—tainted with.
It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed, our spoils will be tainted with blood.
According to scriptural codes, a teacher who engages in an abominable action and has lost his sense of discrimination is fit to be abandoned. Bhéñma and Droëa were obliged to take the side of Duryodhana because of his financial assistance, although they should not have accepted such a position simply on financial considerations. Under the circumstances, they have lost the respectability of teachers. But Arjuna thinks that nevertheless they remain his superiors, and therefore to enjoy material profits after killing them would mean to enjoy spoils tainted with blood.
YaÜa JaYaeMa Yaid va Naae JaYaeYau" )
YaaNaev hTva Na iJaJaqivzaMa‚
STae_viSQaTaa" Pa[Mau%e DaaTaRraí\a" )) 6 ))
na caitad vidmaù kataran no garéyo
yad vä jayema yadi vä no jayeyuù
yän eva hatvä na jijéviñämas
te ’vasthitäù pramukhe dhärtaräñöräù
na—nor; ca—also; etat—this; vidmaù—do know; katarat—which; naù—us; garéyaù—better; yat—what; vä—either; jayema—conquer us; yadi—if; vä—or; naù—us; jayeyuù—conquer; yän—those; eva—certainly; hatvä—by killing; na—never; jijéviñämaù—want to live; te—all of them; avasthitäù—are situated; pramukhe—in the front; dhärtaräñöräù—the sons of Dhåtaräñöra.
Nor do we know which is better—conquering them or being conquered by them. The sons of Dhåtaräñöra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield.
Arjuna did not know whether he should fight and risk unnecessary violence, although fighting is the duty of the kñatriyas, or whether he should refrain and live by begging. If he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be his only means of subsistence. Nor was there certainty of victory, because either side might emerge victorious. Even if victory awaited them (and their cause was justified), still, if the sons of Dhåtaräñöra died in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances, that would be another kind of defeat for them. All these considerations by Arjuna definitely prove that he was not only a great devotee of the Lord but that he was also highly enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, is another sign of detachment. He was truly virtuous, as these qualities, combined with his faith in the words of instruction of Çré Kåñëa (his spiritual master), indicate. It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance of liberation. Arjuna was competent in all these attributes, over and above his enormous attributes in his material relationships.
Pa*C^aiMa Tva& DaMaRSaMMaU!ceTaa" )
YaC^\eYa" SYaaiàiêTa& b]Uih TaNMae
iXaZYaSTae_h& XaaiDa Maa& Tva& Pa[PaàMa( )) 7 ))
påcchämi tväà dharma-sammüòha-cetäù
yac chreyaù syän niçcitaà brühi tan me
çiñyas te ’haà çädhi mäà tväà prapannam
kärpaëya—miserly; doña—weakness; upahata—being inflicted by; svabhävaù—characteristics; påcchämi—I am asking; tväm—unto You; dharma—religion; saàmüòha—bewildered; cetäù—in heart; yat—what; çreyaù—all-good; syät—may be; niçcitam—confidently; brühi—tell; tat—that; me—unto me; çiñyaù—disciple; te—Your; aham—I am; çädhi—just instruct; mäm—me; tväm—unto You; prapannam—surrendered.
Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.
By nature’s own way the complete system of material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone. In every step there is perplexity, and therefore it behooves one to approach a bona fide spiritual master who can give one proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bona fide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life which happen without our desire. They are like a forest fire that somehow blazes without being set by anyone. Similarly, the world situation is such that perplexities of life automatically appear, without our wanting such confusion. No one wants fire, and yet it takes place, and we become perplexed. The Vedic wisdom therefore advises that in order to solve the perplexities of life and to understand the science of the solution, one must approach a spiritual master who is in the disciplic succession. A person with a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything. One should not, therefore, remain in material perplexities but should approach a spiritual master. This is the purport of this verse.
Who is the man in material perplexities? It is he who does not understand the problems of life. In the Garga Upaniñad the perplexed man is described as follows:
yo vä etad akñaraà gärgy aviditväsmäl lokät praiti sa kåpaëaù
“He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs, without understanding the science of self-realization.” This human form of life is a most valuable asset for the living entity who can ultilize it for solving the problems of life; therefore, one who does not utilize this opportunity properly is a miser. On the other hand, there is the brähmaëa, or he who is intelligent enough to utilize this body to solve all the problems of life.
The kåpaëas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, namely to wife, children and other members, on the basis of “skin disease.” The kåpaëa thinks that he is able to protect his family members from death; or the kåpaëa thinks that his family or society can save him from the verge of death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals who take care of children also. Being intelligent, Arjuna could understand that his affection for family members and his wish to protect them from death were the causes ot his perplexities. Although he could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still, on account of miserly weakness, he could not discharge the duties. He is therefore asking Lord Kåñëa, the supreme spiritual master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Kåñëa as a disciple. He wants to stop friendly talks. Talks between the master and the disciple are serious, and now Arjuna wants to talk very seriously before the recognized spiritual master. Kåñëa is therefore the original spiritual master of the science of Bhagavad-gétä, and Arjuna is the first disciple for understanding the Gétä. How Arjuna understands the Bhagavad-gétä is stated in the Gétä itself. And yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Kåñëa as a person, but to “the unborn within Kåñëa.” There is no difference between Kåñëa’s within and without. And one who has no sense of this understanding is the greatest fool in trying to understand Bhagavad-gétä.
raJYa& Saura<aaMaiPa caiDaPaTYaMa( )) 8 ))
na hi prapaçyämi mamäpanudyäd
yac chokam ucchoñaëam indriyäëäm
aväpya bhümäv asapatnam åddhaà
räjyaà suräëäm api cädhipatyam
na—do not; hi—certainly; prapaçyämi—I see; mama—my; apanudyät—they can drive away; yat—that; çokam—lamentation; ucchoñaëam—drying up; indriyäëäm—of the senses; aväpya—achieving; bhümau—on the earth; asapatnam—without rival; åddham—prosperous; räjyam—kingdom; suräëäm—of the demigods; api—even; ca—also; ädhipatyam—supremacy.
I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to destroy it even if I win an unrivalled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.
Although Arjuna was putting forward so many arguments based on knowledge of the principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem without the help of the spiritual master, Lord Çré Kåñëa. He could understand that his so-called knowledge was useless in driving away his problems, which were drying up his whole existence; and it was impossible for him to solve such perplexities without the help of a spiritual master like Lord Kåñëa. Academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, etc., are all useless in solving the problems of life; help can only be given by a spiritual master like Kåñëa. Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one hundred percent Kåñëa conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for he can solve the problems of life. Lord Caitanya said that one who is master in the science of Kåñëa consciousness, regardless of his social position, is the real spiritual master.
kibävipra, kibä nyäsé, çüdra kene naya
yei kåñëa-tattva-vettä, sei ‘guru’ haya.
(Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 8.127)
“It does not matter whether a person is a vipra [learned scholar in Vedic wisdom] or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life—if he is master in the science of Kåñëa, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master.” So without being a master in the science of Kåñëa consciousness, no one is a bona fide spiritual master. It is also said in Vedic literatures:
ñaö-karma-nipuëo vipro mantra-tantra-viçäradaù
avaiñëavo gurur na syäd vaiñëavaù çvapaco guruù
“A scholarly brähmaëa, expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge, is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaiñëava, or expert in the science of Kåñëa consciousness. But a person born in a family of a lower caste can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaiñëava, or Kåñëa conscious.”
The problems of material existence—birth, old age, disease and death—cannot be counteracted by accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world there are states which are replete with all facilities of life, which are full of wealth, and economically developed, yet the problems of material existence are still present. They are seeking peace in different ways, but they ean achieve real happiness only if they consult Kåñëa, or the Bhagavad-gétä and Çrémad-Bhägavatam—which constitute the science of Kåñëa—or the bona fide representative of Kåñëa, the man in Kåñëa consciousness.
If economic development and material comforts could drive away one’s lamentations for family, social, national or international inebrieties, then Arjuna would not have said that even an unrivalled kingdom on earth or supremacy like that of the demigods in the heavenly planets would not be able to drive away his lamentations. He sought, therefore, refuge in Kåñëa consciousness, and that is the right path for peace and harmony. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment by the cataclysms of material nature. Even elevation into a higher planetary situation, as men are now seeking a place on the moon planet, can also be finished at one stroke. The Bhagavad-gétä confirms this: kñéëe puëye martyalokaà viçanti “When the results of pious activities are finished, one falls down again from the peak of happiness to the lowest status of life.” Many politicians of the world have fallen down in that way. Such downfalls only constitute more causes for lamentation.
Therefore, if we want to curb lamentation for good, then we have to take shelter of Kåñëa, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked Kåñëa to solve his problem definitely, and that is the way of Kåñëa consciousness.
WvMau¤-a ôzqke-Xa& Gau@ake-Xa" ParNTaPa" )
Na YaaeTSYa wiTa GaaeivNdMau¤-a TaUZ<aq& b>aUv h )) 9 ))
evam uktvä håñékeçaà
na yotsya iti govindam
uktvä tüñëéà babhüva ha
saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; evam—thus; uktvä—speaking; håñékeçam—unto Kåñëa, the master of the senses; guòäkeçaù—Arjuna, the master at curbing ignorance; parantapaù—the chastiser of the enemies; na yotsye—I shall not fight; iti—thus; govindam—unto Kåñëa, the giver of pleasure; uktvä—saying; tüñëém—silent; babhüva—became; ha—certainly.
Saïjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kåñëa, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.
Dhåtaräñöra must have been very glad to understand that Arjuna was not going to fight and was instead leaving the battlefield for the begging profession. But Saïjaya disappointed him again in relating that Arjuna was competent to kill his enemies (parantapaù). Although Arjuna was for the time being overwhelmed with false grief due to family affection, he surrendered unto Kåñëa, the supreme spiritual master, as a disciple. This indicated that he would soon be free from the false lamentation resulting from family affection and would be enlightened with perfect knowledge of self-realization, or Kåñëa consciousness, and would then surely fight. Thus Dhåtaräñöra’s joy would be frustrated, since Arjuna would be enlightened. by Kåñëa and would fight to the end.
ôzqke-Xa" Pa[hSaiàv >aarTa
SaeNaYaaeå>aYaaeMaRDYae ivzqdNTaiMad& vc" )) 10 ))
prahasann iva bhärata
senayor ubhayor madhye
viñédantam idaà vacaù
tam—unto him; uväca—said; håñékeçaù—the master of the senses, Kåñëa; prahasan—smiling; iva—like that; bhärata—O Dhåtaräñöra, descendant of Bharata; senayoù—of the armies; ubhayoù—of both parties; madhye—between; viñédantam—unto the lamenting one; idam—the following; vacaù—words.
O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kåñëa, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.
The talk was going on between intimate friends, namely the Håñékeça and the Guòäkeça. As friends, both of them were on the same level, but one of them voluntarily became a student of the other. Kåñëa was smiling because a friend had chosen to become a disciple. As Lord of all, He is always in the superior position as the master of everyone, and yet the Lord accepts one who wishes to be a friend, a son, a lover or a devotee, or who wants Him in such a role. But when He was accepted as the master, He at once assumed the role and talked with the disciple like the master—with gravity, as it is required. It appears that the talk between the master and the disciple was openly exchanged in the presence of both armies so that all were benefitted. So the talks of Bhagavad-gétä are not for any particular person, society, or community, but they are for all, and friends or enemies are equally entitled to hear them.
AXaaeCYaaNaNvXaaecSTv& Pa[javada&ê >aazSae )
GaTaaSaUNaGaTaaSaU&ê NaaNauXaaeciNTa Pai<@Taa" )) 11 ))
açocyän anvaçocas tvaà
prajïä-vädäàç ca bhäñase
gatäsün agatäsüàç ca
çré bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; açocyän—that which is not worthy of lamentation; anvaçocaù—you are lamenting; tvam—you; prajïä-vädäù—learned talks; ca—also; bhäñase—speaking; gata—lost; asün—life; agata—not past; asün—life; ca—also; na—never; anuçocanti—lament; paëòitäù—the learned.
The Blessed Lord said: 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.
The Lord at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. The Lord said, you are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned—one who knows what is body and what is soul—does not lament for any stage of the body, neither in the living nor in the dead condition. As it will be explained in later chapters, it will be clear that knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the controller of both. Arjuna argued that religious principles should be given more importance than politics or sociology, but he did not know that knowledge of matter, soul and the Supreme is even more important than religious formularies. And, because he was lacking in that knowledge, he should not have posed himself as a very learned man. As he did not happen to be a very learned man, he was consequently lamenting for something which was unworthy of lamentation. The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow; therefore the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the material body.
JaaTau NaaSa& Na Tv& NaeMae JaNaaiDaPaa" )
Na cEv Na>aivZYaaMa" SaveR vYaMaTa" ParMa( )) 12 ))
na tv evähaà jätu näsaà
na tvaà neme janädhipäù
na caiva na bhaviñyämaù
sarve vayam ataù param
na—never; tu—but; eva—certainly; aham—I; jätu—become; na—never; äsam—existed; na—it is not so; tvam—yourself; na—not; ime—all these; janädhipäù—kings; na—never; ca—also; eva—certainly; na—not like that; bhaviñyämaù—shall exist; sarve—all of us; vayam—we; ataù param—hereafter.
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
In the Vedas, in the Kaöha Upaniñad as well as in the Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad, it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations according to individual work and reaction of work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord, can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace.
nityo nityänäà cetanaç cetanänäm
eko bahünäà yo vidadhäti kämän
tam ätmasthaà ye ’nupaçyanti dhéräs
teñäà çäntiù çäçvaté netareñäm.
The same Vedic truth given to Arjuna is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna, and all the kings who are assembled on the battlefield, are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned as well as in their liberated situations. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and Arjuna, the Lord’s eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there are individual, eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.
The Mäyävädé theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of mäyä or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Kåñëa, the supreme authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Kåñëa clearly says herein that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is confirmed in the Upaniñads, will continue eternally. This statement of Kåñëa is authoritative because Kåñëa cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality is not a fact, then Kåñëa would not have stressed it so much—even for the future. The Mäyävädé may argue that the individuality spoken of by Kåñëa is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Kåñëa’s individuality? Kåñëa affirms His individuality in the past and confirms His individuality in the future also. He has confirmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared to be subordinate to Him. Kåñëa has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gétä has no value as authoritative scripture. A common man with all the four defects of human frailty is unable to teach that which is worth hearing. The Gétä is above such literature. No mundane book compares with the Bhagavad-gétä. When one accepts Kåñëa as an ordinary man, the Gétä loses all importance. The Mäyävädé argues that the plurality mentioned in this verse is conventional and that it refers to the body. But previous to this verse such a bodily conception is already condemned. After condemning the bodily conception of the living entities, how was it possible for Kåñëa to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, individuality is maintained on spiritual grounds and is thus confirmed by great äcäryas like Çré Rämänuja and others. It is clearly mentioned in many places in the Gétä that this spiritual individuality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord. Those who are envious of Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona fide access to the great literature. The nondevotee’s approach to the teachings of the Géta is something like bees licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of honey unless one opens the bottle. Similarly, the mysticism of the Bhagavad-gétä can be understood only by devotees, and no one else can taste it, as it is stated in the Fourth Chapter of the book. Nor can the Gétä be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord. Therefore, the Mäyävädé explanation of the Gétä is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Caitanya has forbidden us to read commentations made by the Mäyävädés and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the Mäyävädé philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gétä. If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need of teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual soul and of the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is confirmed by the Vedas as above mentioned.
dehe k-aEMaar& YaaEvNa& Jara )
TaQaa dehaNTarPa[aiáDasrSTa}a Na MauùiTa )) 13 ))
dehino ’smin yathä dehe
kaumäraà yauvanaà jarä
dhéras tatra na muhyati
dehinaù—of the embodied; asmin—in this; yathä—as; dehe—in the body; kaumäram—boyhood; yauvanam—youth; jarä—old age; tathä—similarly; dehäntara—transference of the body; präptiù—achievement; dhéraù—the sober; tatra—thereupon; na—never; muhyati—deluded.
As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.
Since every living entity is an individual soul, each is changing his body every moment, manifesting sometimes as a child, sometimes as a youth, and sometimes as an old man. Yet the same spirit soul is there and does not undergo any change. This individual soul finally changes the body at death and transmigrates to another body; and since it is sure to have another body in the next birth—either material or spiritual—there was no cause for lamentation by Arjuna on account of death, neither for Bhéñma nor for Droëa, for whom he was so much concerned. Rather, he should rejoice for their changing bodies from old to new ones, thereby rejuvenating their energy. Such changes of body account for varieties of enjoyment or suffering, according to one’s work in life. So Bhéñma and Droëa, being noble souls, were surely going to have either spiritual bodies in the next life, or at least life in heavenly bodies for superior enjoyment of material existence. So, in either case, there was no cause of lamentation.
Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and nature—both material and spiritual—is called a dhéra or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies. The Mäyävädé theory of oneness of the spirit soul cannot be entertained on the ground that spirit soul cannot be cut into pieces as a fragmental portion. Such cutting into different individual souls would make the Supreme cleavable or changeable, against the principle of the Supreme Soul being unchangeable.
As confirmed in the Gétä, the fragmental portions of the Supreme exist eternally (sanätana) and are called kñara; that is, they have a tendency to fall down into material nature. These fragmental portions are eternally so, and even after liberation, the individual soul remains the same—fragmental. But once liberated, he lives an eternal life in bliss and knowledge with the Personality of Godhead. The theory of reflection can be applied to the Supersoul who is present in each and every individual body and is known as the Paramätmä, who is different from the individual living entity. When the sky is reflected in water, the reflections represent both the sun and the moon and the stars also. The stars can be compared to the living entities and the sun or the moon to the Supreme Lord. The individual fragmental spirit soul is represented by Arjuna, and the Supreme Soul is the Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa. They are not on the same level, as it will be apparent in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter. If Arjuna is on the same level with Kåñëa, and Kåñëa is not superior to Arjuna, then their relationship of instructor and instructed becomes meaningless. If both of them are deluded by the illusory energy (mäyä), then there is no need of one being the instructor and the other the instructed. Such instruction would be useless because, in the clutches of mäyä, no one can be an authoritative instructor. Under the circumstances, it is admitted that Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Lord, superior in position to the living entity, Arjuna, who is a forgotten soul deluded by mäyä.
k-aENTaeYa XaqTaaeZ<aSau%du"%da" )
AaGaMaaPaaiYaNaae_iNaTYaaSTaa&iSTaiTa+aSv >aarTa )) 14 ))
mäträ-sparçäs tu kaunteya
täàs titikñasva bhärata
mäträ—sensuous; sparçäù—perception; tu—only; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; çéta—winter; uñëa—summer; sukha—happiness; duùkha-daù—giving pain; ägama—appearing; apäyinaù—disappearing; anityäù—nonpermanent; tän—all of them; titikñasva—just try to tolerate; bhärata—O descendant of the Bhärata dynasty.
O son of Kunté, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
In the proper discharge of duty, one has to learn to tolerate nonpermanent appearances and disappearances of happiness and distress. According to Vedic injunction, one has to take his bath early in the morning even during the month of Mägha (January-February). It is very cold at that time, but in spite of that a man who abides by the religious principles does not hesitate to take his bath. Similarly, a woman does not hesitate to cook in the kitchen in the months of May and June, the hottest part of the summer season. One has to execute his duty in spite of climatic inconveniences. Similarly, to fight is the religious principle of the kñatriyas, and although one has to fight with some friend or relative, one should not deviate from his prescribed duty. One has to follow the prescribed rules and regulations of religious principles in order to rise up to the platform of knowledge because by knowledge and devotion only can one liberate himself from the clutches of mäyä (illusion).
The two different names of address given to Arjuna are also significant. To address him as Kaunteya signifies his great blood relations from his mother’s side; and to address him as Bhärata signifies his greatness from his father’s side. From both sides he is supposed to have a great heritage. A great heritage brings responsibility in the matter of proper discharge of duties; therefore, he cannot avoid fighting.
Ya& ih Na
VYaQaYaNTYaeTae Pauåz& PauåzzR>a )
SaMadu"%Sau%& Daqr& Saae_Ma*TaTvaYa k-LPaTae )) 15 ))
yaà hi na vyathayanty ete
so ’måtatväya kalpate
yam—one who; hi—certainly; na—never; vyathayanti—are distressing; ete—all these; puruñam—to a person; puruñarñabha—is best among men; sama—unaltered; duùkha—distress; sukham—happiness; dhéram—patient; saù—he; amåtatväya—for liberation; kalpate—is considered eligible.
O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.
Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation. In the varëäçrama institution, the fourth stage of life, namely the renounced order (sannyäsa) is a painstaking situation. But one who is serious about making his life perfect surely adopts the sannyäsa order of life in spite of all difficulties. The difficulties usually arise from having to sever family relationships, to give up the connection of wife and children. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties, surely his path to spiritual realization is complete. Similarly, in Arjuna’s discharge of duties as a kñatriya, he is advised to persevere, even if it is difficult to fight with his family members or similarly beloved persons. Lord Caitanya took sannyäsa at the age of twenty-four, and His dependants, young wife as well as old mother, had no one else to look after them. Yet for a higher cause He took sannyäsa and was steady in the discharge of higher duties. That is the way of achieving liberation from material bondage.
>aavae Naa>aavae ivÛTae SaTa" )
o>aYaaeriPa d*íae_NTaSTvNaYaaeSTatvdiXaRi>a" )) 16 ))
näsato vidyate bhävo
näbhävo vidyate sataù
ubhayor api dåñöo ’ntas
tv anayos tattva-darçibhiù
na—never; asataù—of the nonexistent; vidyate—there is; bhävaù—endurance; na—never; abhävaù—changing quality; vidyate—there is; sataù—of the eternal; ubhayoù—of the two; api—verily; dåñöaù—observed; antaù—conclusion; tu—but; anayoù—of them; tattva—truth; darçibhiù—by the seers.
Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both.
There is no endurance of the changing body. That the body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of the different cells is admitted by modern medical science; and thus growth and old age are taking place in the body. But the spirit soul exists permanently, remaining the same despite all changes of the body and the mind. That is the difference between matter and spirit. By nature, the body is ever changing, and the soul is eternal. This conclusion is established by all classes of seers of the truth, both impersonalist and personalist. In the Viñëu Puräëa it is stated that Viñëu and His abodes all have self-illuminated spiritual existence. “Jyotéàñi viñëur bhavanäni viñëuù.” The words existent and nonexistent refer only to spirit and matter. That is the version of all seers of truth.
This is the beginning of the instruction by the Lord to the living entities who are bewildered by the influence of ignorance. Removal of ignorance involves the reestablishment of the eternal relationship between the worshiper and the worshipable and the consequent understanding of the difference between the part and parcel living entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can understand the nature of the Supreme by thorough study of oneself, the difference between oneself and the Supreme being understood as the relationship between the part and the whole. In the Vedänta-sütras, as well as in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, the Supreme has been accepted as the origin of all emanations. Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The living entities belong to the superior nature, as it will be revealed in the Seventh Chapter. Although there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, the energetic is accepted as the Supreme, and energy or nature is accepted as the subordinate. The living entities, therefore, are always subordinate to the Supreme Lord, as in the case of the master and the servant, or the teacher and the taught. Such clear knowledge is impossible to understand under the spell of ignorance, and to drive away such ignorance the Lord teaches the Bhagavad-gétä for the enlightenment of all living entities for all time.
TaiÜiÖ YaeNa SavRiMad& TaTaMa( )
ivNaaXaMaVYaYaSYaaSYa Na k-iêTk-TauRMahRiTa )) 17 ))
avinäçi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idaà tatam
na kaçcit kartum arhati
avinäçi—imperishable; tu—but; tat—that; viddhi—know it; yena—by whom; sarvam—all of the body; idam—this; tatam—widespread; vinäçam—destruction; avyayasya—of the imperishable; asya—of it; na kaçcit—no one; kartum—to do; arhati—able.
Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.
This verse more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body. Anyone can understand what is spread all over the body: it is consciousness. Everyone is conscious of the pains and pleasures of the body in part or as a whole. This spreading of consciousness is limited within one’s own body. The pains and pleasures of one body are unknown to another. Therefore, each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul’s presence is perceived as individual consciousness. This soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size. The Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad confirms this:
bälägra-çata-bhägasya çatadhä kalpitasya ca
bhägo jévaù sa vijïeyaù sa cänantyäya kalpate.
“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.” (Svet. 5.9) Similarly, in the Bhägavatam the same version is stated:
keçägra-çata-bhägasya çatäàçaù sädåçätmakaù
jévaù sükñma-svarupo ’yaà saìkhyätéto hi cit-kaëaù
“There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms, which are measured as one ten-thousandth of the upper portion of the hair.”
Therefore, the individual particle of spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms, and such atoms are innumerable. This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a spiritual spark is spread all over the body as the influence of the active principle of some medicine spreads throughout the body. This current of the spirit soul is felt all over the body as consciousness, and that is the proof of the presence of the soul. Any layman can understand that the material body minus consciousness is a dead body, and this consciousness cannot be revived in the body by any means of material administration. Therefore, consciousness is not due to any amount of material combination, but to the spirit soul. In the Muëòaka Upaniñad the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further explained:
eño ’ëurätmä cetasä veditavyo
yasmin präëaù païcadhä saàviveça
präëaiç cittaà sarvam otam prajänäà
yasmin viçuddhe vibhavaty eña ätmä.
“The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air [präëa, apäna, vyäna, samäna and udäna], is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.” (Muëò. 3.1.9)
The haöha-yoga system is meant for controlling the five kinds of air encircling the pure soul by different kinds of sitting postures—not for any material profit, but for liberation of the minute soul from the entanglement of the material atmosphere.
So the constitution of the atomic soul is admitted in all Vedic literatures, and it is also actually felt in the practical experience of any sane man. Only the insane man can think of this atomic soul as all-pervading Viñëu-tattva.
The influence of the atomic soul can be spread all over a particular body. According to the Muëòaka Upaniñad, this atomic soul is situated in the heart of every living entity, and because the measurement of the atomic soul is beyond the power of appreciation of the material scientists, some of them assert foolishly that there is no soul. The individual atomic soul is definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The corpuscles which carry the oxygen from the lungs gather energy from the soul. When the soul passes away from this position, activity of the blood, generating fusion, ceases. Medical science accepts the importance of the red corpuscles, but it cannot ascertain that the source of the energy is the soul. Medical science, however, does admit that the heart is the seat of all energies of the body.
Such atomic particles of the spirit whole are compared to the sunshine molecules. In the sunshine there are innumerable radiant molecules. Similarly, the fragmental parts of the Supreme Lord are atomic sparks of the rays of the Supreme Lord, called by the name prabhä or superior energy. Neither Vedic knowledge nor modern science denies the existence of the spirit soul in the body, and the science of the soul is explicitly described in the Bhagavad-gétä by the Personality of Godhead Himself.
deha iNaTYaSYaae¢-a" Xarqir<a" )
ANaaiXaNaae_Pa[MaeYaSYa TaSMaaÛuDYaSv >aarTa )) 18 ))
antavanta ime dehä
tasmäd yudhyasva bhärata
antavantaù—perishable; ime—all these; dehäù—material bodies; nityasya—eternal in existence; uktäù—it is so said; sarériëaù—the embodied souls; anäçinaù—never to be destroyed; aprameyasya—immeasurable; tasmät—therefore; yudhyasva—fight; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata.
Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.
The material body is perishable by nature. It may perish immediately, or it may do so after a hundred years. It is a question of time only. There is no chance of maintaining it indefinitely. But the spirit soul is so minute that it cannot even be seen by an enemy, to say nothing of being killed. As mentioned in the previous verse, it is so small that no one can have any idea how to measure its dimension. So from both viewpoints there is no cause of lamentation because the living entity can neither be killed as he is, nor can the material body, which cannot be saved for any length of time, be permanently protected. The minute particle of the whole spirit acquires this material body according to his work, and therefore observance of religious principles should be utilized. In the Vedänta-sütras the living entity is qualified as light because he is part and parcel of the supreme light. As sunlight maintains the entire universe, so the light of the soul maintains this material body. As soon as the spirit soul is out of this material body, the body begins to decompose; therefore it is the spirit soul which maintains this body. The body itself is unimportant. Arjuna was advised to fight and sacrifice the material body for the cause of religion.
veita hNTaar& YaêENa& MaNYaTae hTaMa( )
o>aaE TaaE Na ivJaaNaqTaae NaaYa& hiNTa Na hNYaTae )) 19 ))
ya enaà vetti hantäraà
yaç cainaà manyate hatam
ubhau tau na vijänéto
näyaà hanti na hanyate
yaù—anyone; enam—this; vetti—knows; hantäram—the killer; yaù—anyone; ca—also; enam—this; manyate—thinks; hatam—killed; ubhau—both of them; tau—they; na—never; vijänétaù—in knowledge; na—never; ayam—this; hanti—kills; na—nor; hanyate—be killed.
He who thinks that the living entity is the slayer or that he is slain, does not understand. One who is in knowledge knows that the self slays not nor is slain.
When an embodied living entity is hurt by fatal weapons, it is to be known that the living entity within the body is not killed. The spirit soul is so small that it is impossible to kill him by any material weapon, as is evident from the previous verses. Nor is the living entity killable because of his spiritual constitution. What is killed, or is supposed to be killed, is the body only. This, however, does not at all encourage killing of the body. The Vedic injunction is, “mähiàsyät sarva-bhütäni” never commit violence to anyone. Nor does understanding that the living entity is not killed encourage animal slaughter. Killing the body of anyone without authority is abominable and is punishable by the law of the state as well as by the law of the Lord. Arjuna, however, is being engaged in killing for the principle of religion, and not whimsically.
iMa]YaTae va k-daic‚
àaYa& >aUTva >aivTaa va Na >aUYa" )
AJaae iNaTYa" XaaìTaae_Ya& Paura<aae
Na hNYaTae hNYaMaaNae Xarqre )) 20 ))
na jäyate mriyate vä kadäcin
näyaà bhütvä bhavitä vä na bhüyaù
ajo nityaù çäçvato ’yaà puräëo
na hanyate hanyamäne çarére
na—never; jäyate—takes birth; mriyate—never dies; vä—either; kadäcit—at any time (past, present or future); na—never; ayam—this; bhütvä—came into being; bhavitä—will come to be; vä—or; na—not; bhüyaù—or has come to be; ajaù—unborn; nityaù—eternal; çäçvataù—permanent; ayam—this; puräëaù—the oldest; na—never; hanyate—is killed; hanyamäne—being killed; çarére—by the body.
For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
Qualitatively, the small atomic fragmental part of the Supreme Spirit is one with the Supreme. He undergoes no changes like the body. Sometimes the soul is called the steady, or küöastha. The body is subject to six kinds of transformations. It takes its birth in the womb of the mother’s body, remains for some time, grows, produces some effects, gradually dwindles, and at last vanishes into oblivion. The soul, however, does not go through such changes. The soul is not born, but, because he takes on a material body, the body takes its birth. The soul does not take birth there, and the soul does not die. Anything which has birth also has death. And because the soul has no birth, he therefore has no past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing, and primeval—that is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being. Under the impression of the body, we seek the history of birth, etc., of the soul. The soul does not at any time become old, as the body does. The so-called old man, therefore, feels himself to be in the same spirit as in his childhood or youth. The changes of the body do not affect the soul. The soul does not deteriorate like a tree, nor anything material. The soul has no by-product either. The by-products of the body, namely children, are also different individual souls; and, owing to the body, they appear as children of a particular man. The body develops because of the soul’s presence, but the soul has neither offshoots nor change. Therefore, the soul is free from the six changes of the body.
In the Kaöha Upaniñad also we find a similar passage which reads:
na jäyate mriyate vä vipaçcin
näyaà kutaçcin na vibhüva kaçcit
ajo nityaù çäçvato ’yaà puräëo
na hanyate hanyamäne çarére.
The meaning and purport of this verse is the same as in the Bhagavad-gétä, but here in this verse there is one special word, vipaçcit, which means learned or with knowledge.
The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we do not find the sun in the sky owing to clouds, or for some other reason, but the light of the sun is always there, and we are convinced that it is therefore daytime. As soon as there is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies—whether man or animal—we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the supreme consciousness is all-knowledge—past, present and future. The consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the superior lessons of Kåñëa. But Kåñëa is not like the forgetful soul. If so, Kåñëa’s teachings of Bhagavad-gétä would be useless.
There are two kinds of souls—namely the minute particle soul (aëu-ätmä) and the Supersoul (the vibhu-ätmä). This is also confirmed in the Kaöha Upaniñad in this way:
aëor aëéyän mahato mahéyän
ätmäsya jantor nihito guhäyäm
tam akratuù paçyati véta-çoko
dhätuù prasädän mahimänam ätmanaù
“Both the Supersoul [Paramätmä] and the atomic soul [jévätmä] are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul.” Kåñëa is the fountainhead of the Supersoul also, as it will be disclosed in the following chapters, and Arjuna is the atomic soul, forgetful of his real nature; therefore he requires to be enlightened by Kåñëa, or by His bona fide representative (the spiritual master).
iNaTYa& Ya WNaMaJaMaVYaYaMa( )
k-Qa& Sa Pauåz" PaaQaR k&- gaaTaYaiTa hiNTa k-Ma( )) 21 ))
ya enam ajam avyayam
kathaà sa puruñaù pärtha
kaà ghätayati hanti kam
veda—in knowledge; avinäçinam—indestructible; nityam—always; yaù—one who; enam—this (soul); ajam—unborn; avyayam—immutable; katham—how; saù—he; puruñaù—person; pärtha—O Pärtha (Arjuna); kam—whom; ghätayati—hurts; hanti—kills; kam—whom.
O Pärtha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?
Everything has its proper utility, and a man who is situated in complete knowledge knows how and where to apply a thing for its proper utility. Similarly, violence also has its utility, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge. Although the justice of the peace awards capital punishment to a person condemned for murder, the justice of the peace cannot be blamed because he orders violence to another person according to the codes of justice. In Manu-saàhitä, the lawbook for mankind, it is supported that a murderer should be condemned to death so that in his next life he will not have to suffer for the great sin he has committed. Therefore, the king’s punishment of hanging a murderer is actually beneficial. Similarly, when Kåñëa orders fighting, it must be concluded that violence is for supreme justice, and, as such, Arjuna should follow the instruction, knowing well that such violence, committed in the act of fighting for Kåñëa, is not violence at all because, at any rate, the man, or rather the soul, cannot be killed; so for the administration of justice, so-called violence is permitted. A surgical operation is not meant to kill the patient, but to cure him. Therefore the fighting to be executed by Arjuna at the instruction of Kåñëa is with full knowledge, so there is no possibility of sinful reaction.
Jaq<aaRiNa YaQaa ivhaYa
NavaiNa Ga*õaiTa Narae_Parai<a )
TaQaa Xarqrai<a ivhaYa Jaq<aaR‚
NYaNYaaiNa Sa&YaaiTa NavaiNa dehq )) 22 ))
väsäàsi jérëäni yathä vihäya
naväni gåhëäti naro ’paräëi
tathä çaréräëi vihäya jérëäny
anyäni saàyäti naväni dehé
väsäàsi—garments; jérëäni—old and worn out; yathä—as it is; vihäya—giving up; naväni—new garments; gåhëäti—does accept; naraù—a man; aparäëi—other; tathä—in the same way; çaréräëi—bodies; vihäya—giving up; jérëäni—old and useless; anyäni—different; saàyäti—verily accepts; naväni—new sets; dehé—the embodied.
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul, but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age. From old age, the change is transferred to another body. This has already been explained in the previous verse.
Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is made possible by the grace of the Supersoul.The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the atomic soul as one friend fulfills the desire of another. The Vedas, like the Muëòaka Upaniñad, as well as the Çvetäçvatara Upanisad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Kåñëa) is simply watching His friend. Of these two birds—although they are the same in quality—one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend. Kåñëa is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the cause of one’s changing his position from one tree to another or from one body to another. The jéva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body, but as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the supreme spiritual master—as Arjuna agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Kåñëa for instruction—the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both the Kaöha Upaniñad and Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad confirm this:
samäne våkñe puruño nimagno
’néçayä çocati muhyamänaù
juñöaà yadä paçyaty anyam éçam asya
mahimänam iti véta-çokaù
“Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord and knows His glories—at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties.” Arjuna has now turned his face towards his eternal friend, Kåñëa, and is understanding the Bhagavad-gétä from Him. And thus, hearing from Kåñëa, he can understand the supreme glories of the Lord and be free from lamentation.
Arjuna is advised herewith by the Lord not to lament for the bodily change of his old grandfather and his teacher. He should rather be happy to kill their bodies in the righteous fight so that they may be cleansed at once of all reactions from various bodily activities. One who lays down his life on the sacrificial altar, or in the proper battlefield, is at once cleansed of bodily reactions and promoted to a higher status of life. So there was no cause for Arjuna’s lamentation.
i^NdiNTa Xañai<a NaENa& dhiTa Paavk-" )
Na cENa& ©e-dYaNTYaaPaae Na XaaezYaiTa MaaåTa" )) 23 ))
nainaà chindanti çasträëi
nainaà dahati pävakaù
na cainaà kledayanty äpo
na çoñayati märutaù
na—never; enam—unto this soul; chindanti—can cut into pieces; çasträëi —all weapons; na—never; enam—unto this soul; dahati—burns; pävakaù—fire; na—never; ca—also; enam—unto this soul; kledayanti—moistens; äpaù —water; na—never; çoñayati—dries; märutaù—wind.
The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.
All kinds of weapons, swords, flames, rains, tornadoes, etc., are unable to kill the spirit soul. It appears that there were many kinds of weapons made of earth, water, air, ether, etc., in addition to the modern weapons of fire. Even the nuclear weapons of the modern age are classified as fire weapons, but formerly there were other weapons made of all different types of material elements. Firearms were counteracted by water weapons, which are now unknown to modern science. Nor do modern scientists have knowledge of tornado weapons. Nonetheless, the soul can never be cut into pieces, nor annihilated by any number of weapons, regardless of scientific devices.
Nor was it ever possible to cut the individual souls from the original Soul. The Mäyävädé, however, cannot describe how the individual soul evolved from ignorance and consequently became covered by illusory energy. Because they are atomic individual souls (sanätana) eternally, they are prone to be covered by the illusory energy, and thus they become separated from the association of the Supreme Lord, just as the sparks of the fire, although one in quality with the fire, are prone to be extinguished when out of the fire. In the Varäha Puräëa, the living entities are described as separated parts and parcels of the Supreme. They are eternally so, according to the Bhagavad-gétä also. So, even after being liberated from illusion, the living entity remains a separate identity, as is evident from the teachings of the Lord to Arjuna. Arjuna became liberated by the knowledge received from Kåñëa, but he never became one with Kåñëa.
Wv c )
iNaTYa" SavRGaTa" SQaa<aurcl/ae_Ya& SaNaaTaNa" )) 24 ))
acchedyo ’yam adähyo ’yam
akledyo ’çoñya eva ca
nityaù sarva-gataù sthäëur
acalo ’yaà sanätanaù
acchedyaù—unbreakable; ayam—this soul; adähyaù—cannot be burned; ayam—this soul; akledyaù—insoluble; açoñyaù—cannot be dried; eva—certainly; ca—and; nityaù—everlasting; sarva-gataù—all-pervading; sthäëuù—unchangeable; acalaù—immovable; ayam—this soul; sanätanaù—eternally the same.
This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.
All these qualifications of the atomic soul definitely prove that the individual soul is eternally the atomic particle of the spirit whole, and he remains the same atom eternally, without change. The theory of monism is very difficult to apply in this case, because the individual soul is never expected to become one homogeneously. After liberation from material contamination, the atomic soul may prefer to remain as a spiritual spark in the effulgent rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the intelligent souls enter into the spiritual planets to associate with the Personality of Godhead.
The word sarva-gataù (all-pervading) is significant because there is no doubt that living entities are all over God’s creation. They live on the land, in the water, in the air, within the earth and even within fire. The belief that they are sterilized in fire is not acceptable, because it is clearly stated here that the soul cannot be burned by fire. Therefore, there is no doubt that there are living entities also in the sun planet with suitable bodies to live there. If the sun globe is uninhabited, then the word sarva-gataù—living everywhere—becomes meaningless.
TaSMaadev& ividTvENa& NaaNauXaaeicTauMahRiSa )) 25 ))
avyakto ’yam acintyo ’yam
avikäryo ’yam ucyate
tasmäd evaà viditvainaà
avyaktaù—invisible; ayam—this soul; acintyaù—inconceivable; ayam—this soul; avikäryaù—unchangeable; ayam—this soul; ucyate—is said; tasmät—therefore; evam—like this; viditvä—knowing it well; enam—this soul; na—do not; anuçocitum—may lament over; arhasi—you deserve.
It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
As described previously, the magnitude of the soul is so small for our material calculation that he cannot be seen even by the most powerful microscope; therefore, he is invisible. As far as the soul’s existence is concerned, no one can establish his existence experimentally beyond the proof of çruti or Vedic wisdom. We have to accept this truth, because there is no other source of understanding the existence of the soul, although it is a fact by perception. There are many things we have to accept solely on grounds of superior authority. No one can deny the existence of his father, based upon the authority of his mother. There is no other source of understanding the identity of the father except by the authority of the mother. Similarly, there is no other source of understanding the soul except by studying the Vedas. In other words, the soul is inconceivable by human experimental knowledge. The soul is consciousness and conscious—that also is the statement of the Vedas, and we have to accept that. Unlike the bodily changes, there is no change in the soul. As eternally unchangeable, the soul remains atomic in comparison to the infinite Supreme Soul. The Supreme Soul is infinite, and the atomic soul is infinitesimal. Therefore, the infinitesimal soul, being unchangeable, can never become equal to the infinite soul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This concept is repeated in the Vedas in different ways just to confirm the stability of the conception of the soul. Repetition of something is necessary in order that we understand the matter thoroughly without error.
iNaTYaJaaTa& iNaTYa& va MaNYaSae Ma*TaMa( )
TaQaaiPa Tv& Mahabahae NaENa& XaaeicTauMahRiSa )) 26 ))
atha cainaà nitya-jätaà
nityaà vä manyase måtam
tathäpi tvaà mahä-bäho
nainaà çocitum arhasi
atha—if, however; ca—also; enam—this soul; nitya-jätam—always born; nityam—forever; vä—either; manyase—so think; måtam—dead; tathäpi—still; tvam—you; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; na—never; enam—about the soul; çocitum—to lament; arhasi—deserve.
If, however, you think that the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed.
There is always a class of philosophers, almost akin to the Buddhists, who do not believe in the separate existence of the soul beyond the body. When Lord Kåñëa spoke the Bhagavad-gétä, it appears that such philosophers existed, and they were known as the Lokäyatikas and Vaibhäñikas. These philosophers maintained that life symptoms, or soul, takes place at a certain mature condition of material combination. The modern material scientist and materialist philosophers also think similarly. According to them, the body is a combination of physical elements, and at a certain stage the life symptoms develop by interaction of the physical and chemical elements. The science of anthropology is based on this philosophy. Currently, many pseudo-religions—now becoming fashionable in America—are also adhering to this philosophy, as well as to the nihilistic nondevotional Buddhist sects.
Even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul—as in the Vaibhäñika philosophy—there would still have been no cause for lamentation. No one laments the loss of a certain bulk of chemicals and stops discharging his prescribed duty. On the other hand, in modern science and scientific warfare, so many tons of chemicals are wasted for achieving victory over the enemy. According to the Vaibhäñika philosophy, the so-called soul or ätmä vanishes along with the deterioration of the body. So, in any case, whether Arjuna accepted the Vedic conclusion that there is an atomic soul, or whether he did not believe in the existence of the soul, he had no reason to lament. According to this theory, since there are so many living entities generating out of matter every moment, and so many of them are being vanquished every moment, there is no need to grieve for such an incidence. However, since he was not risking rebirth of the soul, Arjuna had no reason to be afraid of being affected with sinful reactions due to his killing his grandfather and teacher. But at the same time, Kåñëa sarcastically addressed Arjuna as mahä-bähu, mighty-armed, because He, at least, did not accept the theory of the Vaibhäñikas, which leaves aside the Vedic wisdom. As a kñatriya, Arjuna belonged to the Vedic culture, and it behooved him to continue to follow its principles.
Da]uvae Ma*TYauDa]uRv& JaNMa Ma*TaSYa c )
TaSMaadPairhaYaeR_QaeR Na Tv& XaaeicTauMahRiSa )) 27 ))
jätasya hi dhruvo måtyur
dhruvaà janma måtasya ca
tasmäd aparihärye ’rthe
na tvaà çocitum arhasi
jätasya—one who has taken his birth; hi—certainly; dhruvaù—a fact; måtyuù—death; dhruvam—it is also a fact; janma—birth; måtasya—of the dead; ca—also; tasmät—therefore; aparihärye—for that which is unavoidable; arthe—in the matter of; na—do not; tvam—you; çocitum—to lament; arhasi—deserve.
For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.
One has to take birth according to one’s activities of life. And, after finishing one term of activities, one has to die to take birth for the next. In this way the cycle of birth and death is revolving, one after the other without liberation. This cycle of birth and death does not, however, support unnecessary murder, slaughter and war. But at the same time, violence and war are inevitable factors in human society for keeping law and order.
The Battle of Kurukñetra, being the will of the Supreme, was an inevitable event, and to fight for the right cause is the duty of a kñatriya. Why should he be afraid of or aggrieved at the death of his relatives since he was discharging his proper duty? He did not deserve to break the law, thereby becoming subjected to the reactions of sinful acts, of which he was so afraid. By avoiding the discharge of his proper duty, he would not be able to stop the death of his relatives, and he would be degraded due to his selection of the wrong path of action.
>aUTaaiNa VYa¢-MaDYaaiNa >aarTa )
AVYa¢-iNaDaNaaNYaev Ta}a k-a PairdevNaa )) 28 ))
tatra kä paridevanä
avyaktädéni—in the beginning unmanifested; bhütäni—all that are created; vyakta—manifested; madhyäni—in the middle; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; avyakta—nonmanifested; nidhanäni—all that are vanquished; eva—it is all like that; tatra—therefore; kä—what; paridevanä—lamentation.
All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation?
Accepting that there are two classes of philosophers, one believing in the existence of soul and the other not believing in the existence of the soul, there is no cause for lamentation in either case. Nonbelievers in the existence of the soul are called atheists by followers of Vedic wisdom. Yet even if, for argument’s sake, we accept the atheistic theory, there is still no cause for lamentation. Apart from the separate existence of the soul, the material elements remain unmanifested before creation. From this subtle state of unmanifestation comes manifestation, just as from ether, air is generated; from air, fire is generated; from fire, water is generated; and from water, earth becomes manifested. From the earth, many varieties of manifestations take place. Take, for example, a big skyscraper manifested from the earth. When it is dismantled, the manifestation becomes again unmanifested and remains as atoms in the ultimate stage. The law of conservation of energy remains, but in course of time things are manifested and unmanifested—that is the difference. Then what cause is there for lamentation either in the stage of manifestation or unmanifestation? Somehow or other, even in the unmanifested stage, things are not lost. Both at the beginning and at the end, all elements remain unmanifested, and only in the middle are they manifested, and this does not make any real material difference.
And if we accept the Vedic conclusion as stated in the Bhagavad-gétä (antavanta ime dehäù) that these material bodies are perishable in due course of time (nityasyoktäù çarériëaù) but that soul is eternal, then we must remember always that the body is like a dress; therefore why lament the changing of a dress? The material body has no factual existence in relation to the eternal soul. It is something like a dream. In a dream we may think of flying in the sky, or sitting on a chariot as a king, but when we wake up we can see that we are neither in the sky nor seated on the chariot. The Vedic wisdom encourages self-realization on the basis of the nonexistence of the material body. Therefore, in either case, whether one believes in the existence of the soul, or one does not believe in the existence of the soul, there is no cause for lamentation for loss of the body.
MaaêYaRvÜdiTa TaQaEv caNYa" )
é[uTvaPYaeNa& ved Na cEv k-iêTa( )) 29 ))
äçcarya-vat paçyati kaçcid enam
äçcarya-vad vadati tathaiva cänyaù
äçcarya-vac cainam anyaù çåëoti
çrutväpy enaà veda na caiva kaçcit
äçcaryavat—amazing; paçyati—see; kaçcit—some; enam—this soul; äçcaryavat—amazing; vadati—speak; tathä—there; eva—certainly; ca—also; anyaù—others; äçcaryavat—similarly amazing; ca—also; enam—this soul; anyaù—others; çåëoti—hear; çrutvä—having heard; api—even; enam—this soul; veda—do know; na—never; ca—and; eva—certainly; kaçcit—anyone.
Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.
Since Gétopaniñad is largely based on the principles of the Upaniñads, it is not surprising to also find this passage in the Kaöha Upaniñad.
çravaëäyäpi bahubhir yo na labhyaù
çåëvanto ’pi bahavo yaù na vidyuù
äçcaryo vaktä kuçalo ’sya labdhä
äçcaryo jïätä kuçalänuçiñöaù.
The fact that the atomic soul is within the body of a gigantic animal, in the body of a gigantic banyan tree, and also in the microbic germs, millions and billions of which occupy only an inch of space, is certainly very amazing. Men with a poor fund of knowledge and men who are not austere cannot understand the wonders of the individual atomic spark of spirit, even though it is explained by the greatest authority of knowledge, who imparted lessons even to Brahmä, the first living being in the universe. Owing to a gross material conception of things, most men in this age cannot imagine how such a small particle can become both so great and so small. So men look at the soul proper as wonderful either by constitution or by description. Illusioned by the material energy, people are so engrossed in subject matter for sense gratification that they have very little time to understand the question of self-understanding, even though it is a fact that without this self-understanding all activities result in ultimate defeat in the struggle for existence. Perhaps one has no idea that one must think of the soul, and also make a solution of the material miseries.
Some people who are inclined to hear about the soul may be attending lectures, in good association, but sometimes, owing to ignorance, they are misguided by acceptance of the Supersoul and the atomic soul as one without distinction of magnitude. It is very difficult to find a man who perfectly understands the position of the soul, the Supersoul, the atomic soul, their respective functions, relationships and all other major and minor details. And it is still more difficult to find a man who has actually derived full benefit from knowledge of the soul, and who is able to describe the position of the soul in different aspects. But if, somehow or other, one is able to understand the subject matter of the soul, then one’s life is successful. The easiest process for understanding the subject matter of self, however, is to accept the statements of the Bhagavad-gétä spoken by the greatest authority, Lord Kåñëa, without being deviated by other theories. But it also requires a great deal of penance and sacrifice, either in this life or in the previous ones, before one is able to accept Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kåñëa can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the pure devotee and by no other way.
iNaTYaMavDYaae_Ya& dehe SavRSYa >aarTa )
TaSMaaTSavaRi<a >aUTaaiNa Na Tv& XaaeicTauMahRiSa )) 30 ))
dehé nityam avadhyo ’yaà
dehe sarvasya bhärata
tasmät sarväëi bhütäni
na tvaà çocitum arhasi
dehé—the owner of the material body; nityam—eternally; avadhyaù—cannot be killed; ayam—this soul; dehe—in the body; sarvasya—of everyone; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; tasmät—therefore; sarväëi—all; bhütäni—living entities (that are born); na—never; tvam—yourself; çocitum —to lament; arhasi— deserve.
O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature.
The Lord now concludes the chapter of instruction on the immutable spirit soul. In describing the immortal soul in various ways, Lord Kåñëa establishes that the soul is immortal and the body is temporary. Therefore Arjuna as a kñatriya should not abandon his duty out of fear that his grandfather and teacher—Bhéñma and Droëa—will die in the battle. On the authority of Çré Kåñëa, one has to believe that there is a soul different from the material body, not that there is no such thing as soul, or that living symptoms develop at a certain stage of material maturity resulting from the interaction of chemicals. Though the soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it is not discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified in terms of the sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.
cave+Ya Na ivk-iMPaTauMahRiSa )
DaMYaaRiÖ YauÖaC^\eYaae_NYaT+ai}aYaSYa Na ivÛTae )) 31 ))
sva-dharmam api cävekñya
na vikampitum arhasi
dharmyäd dhi yuddhäc chreyo ’nyat
kñatriyasya na vidyate
svadharmam—one’s own religious principles; api—also; ca—indeed; avekñya—considering; na—never; vikampitum—to hesitate; arhasi—you deserve; dharmyät—from religious principles; hi—indeed; yuddhät—of fighting; çreyaù—better engagements; anyat—anything else; kñatriyasya—of the kñatriya; na—does not; vidyate—exist.
Considering your specific duty as a kñatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.
Out of the four orders of social administration, the second order, for the matter of good administration, is called kñatriya. Kñat means hurt. One who gives protection from harm is called kñatriya (trayate—to give protection). The kñatriyas are trained for killing in the forest. A kñatriya would go into the forest and challenge a tiger face to face and fight with the tiger with his sword. When the tiger was killed, it would be offered the royal order of cremation. This system is being followed even up to the present day by the kñatriya kings of Jaipur state. The kñatriyas are specially trained for challenging and killing because religious violence is sometimes a necessary factor. Therefore, kñatriyas are never meant for accepting directly the order of sannyäsa or renunciation. Nonviolence in politics may be a diplomacy, but it is never a factor or principle. In the religious law books it is stated:
ähaveñu mitho ’nyonyaà jighäàsanto mahékñitaù
yuddhamänäù paraà çaktyä svargaà yänty aparäìmukhäù
yajïeñu paçavo brahman hanyante satataà dvijaiù
saàskåtäù kila mantraiç ca te ’pi svargam aväpnuvan.
“In the battlefield, a king or kñatriya, while fighting another king envious of him, is eligible for achieving heavenly planets after death, as the brähmaëas also attain the heavenly planets by sacrificing animals in the sacrificial fire.” Therefore, killing on the battle on the religious principle and the killing of animals in the sacrificial fire are not at all considered to be acts of violence, because everyone is benefitted by the religious principles involved. The animal sacrificed gets a human life immediately without undergoing the gradual evolutionary process from one form to another, and the kñatriyas killed in the battlefield also attain the heavenly planets as do the brähmaëas who attain them by offering sacrifice.
There are two kinds of svadharmas, specific duties. As long as one is not liberated, one has to perform the duties of that particular body in accordance with religious principles in order to achieve liberation. When one is liberated, one’s svadharma—specific duty—becomes spiritual and is not in the material bodily concept. In the bodily conception of life there are specific duties for the brähmaëas and kñatriyas respectively, and such duties are unavoidable. Svadharma is ordained by the Lord, and this will be clarified in the Fourth Chapter. On the bodily plane svadharma is called varëäçrama-dharma, or man’s steppingstone for spiritual understanding. Human civilization begins from the stage of varëäçrama-dharma, or specific duties in terms of the specific modes of nature of the body obtained. Discharging one’s specific duty in any field of action in accordance with varëäçrama-dharma serves to elevate one to a higher status of life.
caePaPaà& SvGaRÜarMaPaav*TaMa( )
Saui%Na" +ai}aYaa" PaaQaR l/>aNTae YauÖMaqd*XaMa( )) 32 ))
sukhinaù kñatriyäù pärtha
labhante yuddham édåçam
yadåcchayä—by its own accord; ca—also; upapannam—arrived at; svarga—heavenly planet; dväram—door; apävåtam—wide open; sukhinaù—very happy; kñatriyäù—the members of the royal order; pärtha—O son of Påthä; labhante—do achieve; yuddham—war; édåçam—like this.
O Pärtha, happy are the kñatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.
As supreme teacher of the world, Lord Kåñëa condemns the attitude of Arjuna who said, “I do not find any good in this fighting. It will cause perpetual habitation in hell.” Such statements by Arjuna were due to ignorance only. He wanted to become nonviolent in the discharge of his specific duty. For a kñatriya to be in the battlefield and to become nonviolent is the philosophy of fools. In the Paräçara-småti or religious codes made by Paräçara, the great sage and father of Vyäsadeva, it is stated:
kñatriyo hi prajä rakñan çastra-päëiù pradaëòayan
nirjitya parasainyädi kñitià dharmeëa pälayet.
“The kñatriya’s duty is to protect the citizens from all kinds of difficulties, and for that reason he has to apply violence in suitable cases for law and order. Therefore he has to conquer the soldiers of inimical kings, and thus, with religious principles, he should rule over the world.”
Considering all aspects, Arjuna had no reason to refrain from fighting. If he should conquer his enemies, he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in the battle, he would be elevated to the heavenly planets whose doors were wide open to him. Fighting would be for his benefit in either case.
cetviMaMa& DaMYa| Sa°aMa& Na k-irZYaiSa )
TaTa" SvDaMa| k-IiTa| c ihTva PaaPaMavaPSYaiSa )) 33 ))
atha cet tvam imaà dharmyaà
saìgrämaà na kariñyasi
tataù sva-dharmaà kértià ca
hitvä päpam aväpsyasi
atha—therefore; cet—if; tvam—you; imam—this; dharmyam—religious duty; saìgrämam—fighting; na—do not; kariñyasi—perform; tataù—then; svadharmam—your religious duty; kértim—-reputation; ca—also; hitvä—losing; päpam—sinful reaction; aväpsyasi—do gain.
If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.
Arjuna was a famous fighter, and he attained fame by fighting many great demigods, including even Lord Çiva. After fighting and defeating Lord Çiva in the dress of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the Lord and received as a reward a weapon called päçupata-astra. Everyone knew that he was a great warrior. Even Droëäcärya gave him benediction and awarded him the special weapon by which he could kill even his teacher. So he was credited with so many military certificates from many authorities, including his adopted father Indra, the heavenly king. But if he abandoned the battle, he would not only neglect his specific duty as a kñatriya, but he would lose all his fame and good name and thus prepare his royal road to hell. In other words, he would go to hell, not by fighting, but by withdrawing from battle.
>aUTaaiNa k-QaiYaZYaiNTa Tae_VYaYaaMa( )
SaM>aaivTaSYa cak-IiTaRMaRr<aadiTairCYaTae )) 34 ))
akértià cäpi bhütäni
kathayiñyanti te ’vyayäm
akértim—infamy; ca—also; api—over and above; bhütäni—all people; kathayiñyanti—will speak; te—of you; avyayäm—forever; sambhävitasya—for a respectable man; ca—also; akértiù—ill fame; maraëät—than death; atiricyate—becomes more than.
People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.
Both as friend and philosopher to Arjuna, Lord Kåñëa now gives His final judgement regarding Arjuna’s refusal to fight. The Lord says, “Arjuna, if you leave the battlefield, people will call you a coward even before your actual flight. And if you think that people may call you bad names but that you will save your life by fleeing the battlefield, then My advice is that you’d do better to die in the battle. For a respectable man like you, ill fame is worse than death. So, you should not flee for fear of your life; better to die in the battle. That will save you from the ill fame of misusing My friendship and from losing your prestige in society.”
So, the final judgement of the Lord was for Arjuna to die in the battle and not withdraw.
Ma&SYaNTae Tva& MaharQaa" )
Yaeza& c Tv& bhuMaTaae >aUTva YaaSYaiSa l/agavMa( )) 35 ))
bhayäd raëäd uparataà
maàsyante tväà mahä-rathäù
yeñäà ca tvaà bahu-mato
bhütvä yäsyasi läghavam
bhayät—out of fear; raëät—from the battlefield; uparatam—ceased; maàsyante—will consider; tväm—unto you; mahä-rathäù—the great generals; yeñäm—of those who; ca—also; tvam—you; bahu-mataù—in great estimation; bhütvä—will become; yäsyasi—will go; läghavam—decreased in value.
The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you a coward.
Lord Kåñëa continued to give His verdict to Arjuna: “Do not think that the great generals like Duryodhana, Karëa, and other contemporaries will think that you have left the battlefield out of compassion for your brothers and grandfather. They will think that you have left out of fear for your life. And thus their high estimation of your personality will go to hell.”
bhUNvidZYaiNTa TavaihTaa" )
iNaNdNTaSTav SaaMaQYa| TaTaae du"%Tar& Nau ik-Ma( )) 36 ))
aväcya-vädäàç ca bahün
nindantas tava sämarthyaà
tato duùkhataraà nu kim
aväcya—unkind; vädän—fabricated words; ca—also; bahün—many; vadiñyanti—will say; tava—your; ahitäù—enemies; nindantaù—while vilifying; tava—your; sämarthyam—ability; tataù—thereafter; duùkhataram—more painful; nu—of course; kim—what is there.
Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you?
Lord Kåñëa was astonished in the beginning at Arjuna’s uncalled-for plea for compassion, and He described his compassion as befitting the non-Aryans. Now in so many words, He has proved His statements against Arjuna’s so-called compassion.
hTaae va Pa[aPSYaiSa
SvGa| iJaTva va >aae+YaSae MahqMa( )
TaSMaaduitaï k-aENTaeYa YauÖaYa k*-TaiNaêYa" )) 37 ))
hato vä präpsyasi svargaà
jitvä vä bhokñyase mahém
tasmäd uttiñöha kaunteya
hataù—being killed; vä—either; präpsyasi—you gain; svargam—the heavenly kingdom; jitvä—by conquering; vä—or; bhokñyase—you enjoy; mahém—the world; tasmät—therefore; uttiñöha—get up; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; yuddhäya—to fight; kåta—determination; niçcayaù—uncertainty.
O son of Kunté, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination.
Even though there was no certainty of victory for Arjuna’s side, he still had to fight; for, even being killed there, he could be elevated into the heavenly planets.
SaMae k*-Tva l/a>aal/a>aaE JaYaaJaYaaE )
TaTaae YauÖaYa YauJYaSv NaEv& PaaPaMavaPSYaiSa )) 38 ))
sukha-duùkhe same kåtvä
tato yuddhäya yujyasva
naivaà päpam aväpsyasi
sukha—happiness; duùkhe—in distress; same—in equanimity; kåtvä—doing so; läbhäläbhau—both in loss and profit; jayäjayau—both in defeat and victory; tataù—thereafter; yuddhäya—for the sake of fighting; yujyasva—do fight; na—never; evam—in this way; päpam—sinful reaction; aväpsyasi—you will gain.
Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat—and, by so doing, you shall never incur sin.
Lord Kåñëa now directly says that Arjuna should fight for the sake of fighting because He desires the battle. There is no consideration of happiness or distress, profit or gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Kåñëa consciousness. That everything should be performed for the sake of Kåñëa is transcendental consciousness; so there is no reaction to material activities. He who acts for his own sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is subject to the reaction, good or bad. But he who has completely surrendered himself in the activities of Kåñëa consciousness is no longer obliged to anyone, nor is he a debtor to anyone, as one is in the ordinary course of activities. It is said:
na kiìkaro näyamåëé ca räjan
sarvätmanä yaù çaraëaà çaraëyaà
gato mukundaà parihåtya kartam
“Anyone who has completely surrendered unto Kåñëa, Mukunda, giving up all other duties, is no longer a debtor, nor is he obliged to anyone—not the demigods, nor the sages, nor the people in general, nor kinsmen, nor humanity, nor forefathers.” That is the indirect hint given by Kåñëa to Arjuna in this verse, and the matter will be more clearly explained in the following verses.
Tae_i>aihTaa Saa&:Yae buiÖYaaeRGae iTvMaa& é*<au )
buÖya Yau¢-ae YaYaa PaaQaR k-MaRbNDa& Pa[haSYaiSa )) 39 ))
eñä te ’bhihitä säìkhye
buddhir yoge tv imäà çåëu
buddhyä yukto yayä pärtha
eñä—all these; te—unto you; abhihitä—described; çäìkhye—by analytical study; buddhiù—intelligence; yoge—work without fruitive result; tu—but; imäm—this; çåëu—just hear; buddhyä—by intelligence; yuktaù—dovetailed; yayä—by which; pärtha—O son of Påthä; karma-bandham—bondage of reaction; prahäsyasi—you can be released from.
Thus far I have declared to you the analytical knowledge of säìkhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of yoga whereby one works without fruitive result. O son of Påthä, when you act by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of works.
According to the Nirukti, or the Vedic dictionary, saìkhya means that which describes phenomena in detail, and saìkhya refers to that philosophy which describes the real nature of the soul. And yoga involves controlling the senses. Arjuna’s proposal not to fight was based on sense gratification. Forgetting his prime duty, he wanted to cease fighting because he thought that by not killing his relatives and kinsmen he would be happier than by enjoying the kingdom by conquering his cousins and brothers, the sons of Dhåtaräñöra. In both ways, the basic principles were for sense gratification. Happiness derived from conquering them and happiness derived by seeing kinsmen alive are both on the basis of persona1 sense gratification, for there is a sacrifice of wisdom and duty. Kåñëa, therefore, wanted to explain to Arjuna that by killing the body of his grandfather he would not be killing the soul proper, and He explained that all individual persons, including the Lord Himself, are eternal individuals; they were individuals in the past, they are individuals in the present, and they will continue to remain individuals in the future, because all of us are individual souls eternally, and we simply change our bodily dress in different manners. But, actually, we keep our individuality even after liberation from the bondage of material dress. An analytical study of the soul and the body has been very graphically explained by Lord Kåñëa. And this descriptive knowledge of the soul and the body from different angles of vision has been described here as säìkhya, in terms of the Nirukti dictionary. This säìkhya has nothing to do with the säìkhya philosophy of the atheist Kapila. Long before the imposter Kapila’s säìkhya, the säìkhya philosophy was expounded in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam by the true Lord Kapila, the incarnation of Lord Kåñëa, who explained it to His mother, Devahüti. It is clearly explained by Him that the Puruña, or the Supreme Lord, is active and that He creates by looking over the prakåti. This is accepted in the Vedas and in the Gétä. The description in the Vedas indicates that the Lord glanced over the prakåti, or nature, and impregnated it with atomic individuals souls. All these individuals are working in the material world for sense gratification, and under the spell of material energy they are thinking of being enjoyers. This mentality is dragged to the last point of liberation when the living entity wants to become one with the Lord. This is the last snare of mäyä or sense gratificatory illusion, and it is only after many, many births of such sense gratificatory activities that a great soul surrenders unto Väsudeva, Lord Kåñëa, thereby fulfilling the search after the ultimate truth.
Arjuna has already accepted Kåñëa as his spiritual master by surrendering himself unto Him: çiñyas te ’haà çädhi mäà tväà prapannam. Consequently, Kåñëa will now tell him about the working process in buddhi-yoga, or karma-yoga, or in other words, the practice of devotional service only for the sense gratification of the Lord. This buddhi-yoga is clearly explained in Chapter Ten, verse ten, as being direct communion with the Lord, who is sitting as Paramätmä in everyone’s heart. But such communion does not take place without devotional service. One who is therefore situated in devotional or transcendental loving service to the Lord, or, in other words, in Kåñëa consciousness, attains to this stage of buddhi-yoga by the special grace of the Lord. The Lord says, therefore, that only to those who are always engaged in devotional service out of transcendental love does He award the pure knowledge of devotion in love. In that way the devotee can reach Him easily in the ever-blissful kingdom of God.
Thus the buddhi-yoga mentioned in this verse is the devotional service of the Lord, and the word säìkhya mentioned herein has nothing to do with the atheistic säìkhya-yoga enunciated by the impostor Kapila. One should not, therefore, misunderstand that the säìkhya-yoga mentioned herein has any connection with the atheistic säìkhya. Nor did that philosophy have any influence during that time; nor would Lord Kåñëa care to mention such godless philosophical speculations. Real säìkhya philosophy is described by Lord Kapila in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, but even that säìkhya has nothing to do with the current topics. Here, säìkhya means analytical description of the body and the soul. Lord Kåñëa made an analytical description of the soul just to bring Arjuna to the point of buddhi-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. Therefore, Lord Kåñëa’s säìkhya and Lord Kapila’s säìkhya, as described in the Bhägavatam; are one and the same. They are all bhakti-yoga. He said, therefore, that only the less intelligent class of men make a distinction between säìkhya-yoga and bhakti-yoga.
Of course, atheistic säìkhya-yoga has nothing to do with bhakti-yoga, yet the unintelligent claim that the atheistic säìkhya-yoga is referred to in the Bhagavad-gétä.
One should therefore understand that buddhi-yoga means to work in Kåñëa consciousness, in the full bliss and knowledge of devotional service. One who works for the satisfaction of the Lord only, however difficult such work may be, is working under the principles of buddhi-yoga and finds himself always in transcendental bliss. By such transcendental engagement, one achieves all transcendental qualities automatically, by the grace of the Lord, and thus his liberation is complete in itself, without his making extraneous endeavors to acquire knowledge. There is much difference between work in Kåñëa consciousness and work for fruitive results, especially in the matter of sense gratification for achieving results in terms of family or material happiness. Buddhi-yoga is therefore the transcendental quality of the work that we perform.
Pa[TYavaYaae Na ivÛTae )
SvLPaMaPYaSYa DaMaRSYa }aaYaTae MahTaae >aYaaTa( )) 40 ))
pratyaväyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
träyate mahato bhayät
na—there is not; iha—in this world; abhikrama—endeavoring; näçaù—loss; asti—there is; pratyaväyaù—diminution; na—never; vidyate—there is; svalpam—little; api—although; asya—of this; dharmasya—of this occupation; träyate—releases; mahataù—of very great; bhayät—from danger.
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
Activity in Kåñëa consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Kåñëa without expectation of sense gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work. Even a small beginning of such activity finds no impediment, nor can that small beginning be lost at any stage. Any work begun on the material plane has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure. But any work begun in Kåñëa consciousness has a permanent effect, even though not finished. The performer of such work is therefore not at a loss even if his work in Kåñëa consciousness is incomplete. One percent done in Kåñëa consciousness bears permanent results, so that the next beginning is from the point of two percent; whereas, in material activity, without a hundred percent success, there is no profit. Ajämila performed his duty in some percentage of Kåñëa consciousness, but the result he enjoyed at the end was a hundred percent, by the grace of the Lord. There is a nice verse in this connection in Çrémad-Bhägavatam:
tyaktvä sva-dharmaà caraëämbujaà harer
bhajan na pakko ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva väbhadram abhüd amuñya kià
ko värtha äpto ’bhajatäà sva-dharmataù
“If someone gives up self-gratificatory pursuits and works in Kåñëa consciousness and then falls down on account of not completing his work, what loss is there on his part? And, what can one gain if one performs his material activities perfectly?” (Bhäg. 1.5.17) Or, as the Christians say, “What profiteth a man if he gain the whole world yet suffers the loss of his eternal soul?”
Material activities and their results end with the body. But work in Kåñëa consciousness carries the person again to Kåñëa consciousness, even after the loss of the body. At least one is sure to have a chance in the next life of being born again as a human being, either in the family of a great cultured brähmaëa or in a rich aristocratic family that will give one a further chance for elevation. That is the unique quality of work done in Kåñëa consciousness.
buiÖreke-h ku-åNaNdNa )
bhuXaa%a ùNaNTaaê buÖYaae_VYavSaaiYaNaaMa( )) 41 ))
bahu-çäkhä hy anantäç ca
vyavasäyätmikä—resolute Kåñëa consciousness; buddhiù—intelligence; ekä—only one; iha—in this world; kuru-nandana—O beloved child of the Kurus; bahu-çäkhäù—various branches; hi—indeed; anantäù—unlimited; ca—also; buddhayaù—intelligence; avyavasäyinäm—of those who are not in Kåñëa consciousness.
Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
A strong faith in Kåñëa consciousness that one should be elevated to the highest perfection of life is called vyavasäyätmikä intelligence. The Caitanya-caritämåta states:
‘çraddhä’-çabde viçväsa kahe sudåòha niçcaya
kåñëe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kåta haya
Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one is engaged in the duties of Kåñëa consciousness, he need not act in relationship to the material world with obligations to family traditions, humanity, or nationality. Fruitive activities are the engagements of one’s reactions from past good or bad deeds. When one is awake in Kåñëa consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Kåñëa consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are no longer subject to dualities like good and bad. The highest perfection of Kåñëa consciousness is renunciation of the material conception of life. This state is automatically achieved by progressive Kåñëa consciousness. The resolute purpose of a person in Kåñëa consciousness is based on knowledge (“Väsudevaù sarvam iti sa mahätmä sudurlabhaù”) by which one comes to know perfectly that Väsudeva, or Kåñëa, is the root of all manifested causes. As water on the root of a tree is automatically distributed to the leaves and branches, in Kåñëa consciousness, one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Kåñëa is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.
Service in Kåñëa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kåñëa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kåñëa consciousness. As such, to be well-versed in Kåñëa consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Kåñëa, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one’s mission in life. Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkur instructs us, in his famous prayers for the spiritual master, as follows:
yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo
yasyäprasädänna gatiù kuto ’pi
dhyäyaà stuvaàs tasya yaças tri-sandhyaà
vande guroù çré-caraëäravindam.
“By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Kåñëa consciousness. I should, therefore, meditate and pray for his mercy three times a day, and offer my respectful obeisances unto him, my spiritual master.”
The whole process, however, depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body—not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer chance for sense gratification manifested in fruitive activities. One who is not firmly fixed in mind is diverted by various types of fruitive acts.
Bg 2.42, Bg 2.43, Bg 2.42-43
PauiZPaTaa& vac& Pa[vdNTYaivPaiêTa" )
vedvadrTaa" PaaQaR NaaNYadSTaqiTa vaidNa" )) 42 ))
k-aMaaTMaaNa" SvGaRPara JaNMak-MaRf-l/Pa[daMa( )
i§-YaaivXaezbhul/a& >aaeGaEìYaRGaiTa& Pa[iTa )) 43 ))
yäm imäà puñpitäà väcaà
nänyad astéti vädinaù
yäm imäm—all these; puñpitäm—flowery; väcam—words; pravadanti—say; avipaçcitaù—men with a poor fund of knowledge; veda-väda-ratäù—supposed followers of the Vedas; pärtha—O son of Påthä; na—never; anyat—anything else; asti—there is; iti—this; vädinaù—advocates; käma-ätmänaù—desirous of sense gratification; svarga-paräù—aiming to achieve heavenly planets; janma-karma-phala-pradäm—resulting in fruitive action, good birth, etc.; kriyä-viçeña—pompous ceremonies; bahuläm—various; bhoga—sense enjoyment; aiçvarya—opulence; gatim—progress; prati—towards.
Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.
People in general are not very intelligent, and due to their ignorance they are most attached to the fruitive activities recommended in the karma-käëòa portions of the Vedas. They do not want anything more than sense gratificatory proposals for enjoying life in heaven, where wine and women are available and material opulence is very common. In the Vedas many sacrifices are recommended for elevation to the heavenly planets, especially the jyotiñöoma sacrifices. In fact, it is stated that anyone desiring elevation to heavenly planets must perform these sacrifices, and men with a poor fund of knowledge think that this is the whole purpose of Vedic wisdom. It is very difficult for such inexperienced persons to be situated in the determined action of Kåñëa consciousness. As fools are attached to the flowers of poisonous trees without knowing the results of such attractions, similarly unenlightened men are attracted by such heavenly opulence and the sense enjoyment thereof.
In the karma-käëòa section of the Vedas it is said that those who perform the four monthly penances become eligible to drink the somarasa beverages to become immortal and happy forever. Even on this earth some are very eager to have somarasa to become strong and fit to enjoy sense gratifications. Such persons have no faith in liberation from material bondage, and they are very much attached to the pompous ceremonies of Vedic sacrifices. They are generally sensual, and they do not want anything other than the heavenly pleasures of life. It is understood that there are gardens called nandana-känana in which there is good opportunity for association with angelic, beautiful women and having a profuse supply of somarasa wine. Such bodily happiness is certainly sensual; therefore there are those who are purely attached to material, temporary happiness, as lords of the material world.
VYavSaaYaaiTMak-a buiÖ" SaMaaDaaE Na ivDaqYaTae )) 44 ))
samädhau na vidhéyate
bhoga—material enjoyment; aiçvarya—opulence; prasaktänäm—those who are so attached; tayä—by such things; apahåta-cetasäm—bewildered in mind; vyavasäyätmikä—fixed determination; buddhiù—devotional service of the Lord; samädhau—in the controlled mind; na—never; vidhéyate—does take place.
In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.
Samädhi means “fixed mind.” The Vedic dictionary, the Nirukti, says, samyag ädhéyate ’sminn ätmatattva-yäthätmyam: “When the mind is fixed for understanding the self, it is called samädhi. “Samädhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment, nor for those who are bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.
veda iNañEGau<Yaae >avaJauRNa )
iNaÜRNÜae iNaTYaSatvSQaae iNaYaaeRGa+aeMa AaTMavaNa( )) 45 ))
traiguëya—pertaining to the three modes of material nature; viñayäù—on the subject matter; vedäù—Vedic literatures; nistraiguëyaù—in a pure state of spiritual existence; bhava—be; arjuna—O Arjuna; nirdvandvaù—free from the pains of opposites; nitya-sattva-sthaù—ever remaining in sattva (goodness); niryoga-kñemaù—free from (the thought of) acquisition and preservation; ätmavän—established in the Self.
The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the Self.
All material activities involve actions and reactions in the three modes of material nature. They are meant for fruitive results, which cause bondage in the material world. The Vedas deal mostly with fruitive activities to gradually elevate the general public from the field of sense gratification to a position on the transcendental plane. Arjuna, as a student and friend of Lord Kåñëa, is advised to raise himself to the transcendental position of Vedänta philosophy where, in the beginning, there is brahma-jijïäsä, or questions on the Supreme Transcendence. All the living entities who are in the material world are struggling very hard for existence. For them the Lord, after creation of the material world, gave the Vedic wisdom advising how to live and get rid of the material entanglement. When the activities for sense gratification, namely the karma-käëòa chapter, are finished, then the chance for spiritual realization is offered in the form of the Upaniñads, which are part of different Vedas, as the Bhagavad-gétä is a part of the fifth Veda, namely the Mahäbhärata. The Upaniñads mark the beginning of transcendental life.
As long as the material body exists, there are actions and reactions in the material modes. One has to learn tolerance in the face of dualities such as happiness and distress, or cold and warmth, and by tolerating such dualities become free from anxieties regarding gain and loss. This transcendental position is achieved in full Kåñëa consciousness when one is fully dependant on the good will of Kåñëa
odPaaNae SavRTa" SaMPl/uTaaedke- )
TaavaNSaveRzu vedezu b]aø<aSYa ivJaaNaTa" )) 46 ))
yävän artha udapäne
tävän sarveñu vedeñu
yävän—all that; arthaù—is meant; udapäne—in a well of water; sarvataù—in all respects; sampluta-udake—in a great reservoir of water; tävän—similarly; sarveñu—in all; vedeñu—Vedic literatures; brähmaëasya—of the man who knows the Supreme Brahman; vijänataù—of one who is in complete knowledge.
All purposes that are served by the small pond can at once be served by the great reservoirs of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.
The rituals and sacrifices mentioned in the karma-käëòa division of the Vedic literature are to encourage gradual development of self-realization. And the purpose of self-realization is clearly stated in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gétä (15.15): the purpose of studying the Vedas is to know Lord Kåñëa, the primeval cause of everything. So, self-realization means understanding Kåñëa and one’s eternal relationship with Him. The relationship of the living entities with Kåñëa is also mentioned in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä. The living entities are parts and parcels of Kåñëa; therefore, revival of Kåñëa consciousness by the individual living entity is the highest perfectional stage of Vedic knowledge. This is confirmed in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam (3.33.7) as follows:
aho bata çvapaco’to garéyän
yaj-jihvägre vartate näma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuù sasnur äryä
brahmänücur näma gåëanti ye te.
“O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a cäëòäla [dog eater], is situated on the highest platform of self-realization. Such a person must have performed all kinds of penances and sacrifices according to Vedic rituals and studied the Vedic literatures many, many times after taking his bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Such a person is considered to be the best of the Äryan family.” So one must be intelligent enough to understand the purpose of the Vedas, without being attached to the rituals only, and must not desire to be elevated to the heavenly kingdoms for a better quality of sense gratification. It is not possible for the common man in this age to follow all the rules and regulations of the Vedic rituals and the injunctions of the Vedäntas and the Upaniñads. It requires much time, energy, knowledge and resources to execute the purposes of the Vedas. This is hardly possible in this age. The best purpose of Vedic culture is served, however, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, as recommended by Lord Caitanya, the deliverer of all fallen souls. When Lord Caitanya was asked by a great Vedic scholar, Prakäçänanda Sarasvaté, why He, the Lord, was chanting the holy name of the Lord like a sentimentalist instead of studying Vedänta philosophy, the Lord replied that His spiritual master found Him to be a great fool, and thus he asked Him to chant the holy name of Lord Kåñëa. He did so, and became ecstatic like a madman. In this age of Kali, most of the population is foolish and not adequately educated to understand Vedänta philosophy; the best purpose of Vedänta philosophy is served by inoffensively chanting the holy name of the Lord. Vedänta is the last word in Vedic wisdom, and the author and knower of the Vedänta philosophy is Lord Kåñëa; and the highest Vedantist is the great soul who takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord. That is the ultimate purpose of all Vedic mysticism.
Maa f-le/zu k-dacNa )
Maa k-MaRf-l/heTau>aURMaaR Tae Sa®ae_STvk-MaRi<a )) 47 ))
karmaëy evädhikäras te
mä phaleñu kadäcana
mä karma-phala-hetur bhür
mä te saìgo ’stv akarmaëi
karmaëi—prescribed duties; eva—certainly; adhikäraù—right; te—of you; mä—never; phaleñu—in the fruits; kadäcana—at any time; mä—never; karma-phala—in the result of the work; hetuù—cause; bhüù—become; mä—never; te—of you; saìgaù—attachment; astu—be there; akarmaëi—in not doing.
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.
There are three considerations here: prescribed duties, capricious work, and inaction. Prescribed duties refer to activities performed while one is in the modes of material nature. Capricious work means actions without the sanction of authority, and inaction means not performing one’s prescribed duties. The Lord advised that Arjuna not be inactive, but that he perform his prescribed duty without being attached to the result. One who is attached to the result of his work is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of the result of such actions.
As far as prescribed duties are concerned, they can be fitted into three subdivisions, namely routine work, emergency work and desired activities. Routine work, in terms of the scriptural injunctions, is done without desire for results. As one has to do it, obligatory work is action in the mode of goodness. Work with results becomes the cause of bondage; therefore such work is not auspicious. Everyone has his proprietory right in regard to prescribed duties, but should act without attachment to the result; such disinterested obligatory duties doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation.
Arjuna was therefore advised by the Lord to fight as a matter of duty without attachment to the result. His nonparticipation in the battle is another side of attachment. Such attachment never leads one to the path of salvation. Any attachment, positive or negative, is cause for bondage. Inaction is sinful. Therefore, fighting as a matter of duty was the only auspicious path of salvation for Arjuna.
ku-å k-MaaRi<a Sa®& TYa¤-a DaNaÅYa )
iSaÖyiSaÖyae" SaMaae >aUTva SaMaTv& YaaeGa oCYaTae )) 48 ))
yoga-sthaù kuru karmäëi
saìgaà tyaktvä dhanaïjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoù samo bhütvä
samatvaà yoga ucyate
yoga-sthaù—steadfast in yoga; kuru—perform; karmäëi—your duty; saìgam—attachment; tyaktvä—having abandoned; dhanaïjaya—O Dhanaïjaya; siddhi-asiddhyoù—in success and failure; samaù—the same; bhütvä—having become; samatvam—evenness of mind; yogaù—yoga; ucyate—is called.
Be steadfast in yoga, O Arjuna. Perform your duty and abandon all attachment to success or failure. Such evenness of mind is called yoga.
Kåñëa tells Arjuna that he should act in yoga. And what is that yoga? Yoga means to concentrate the mind upon the Supreme by controlling the ever-disturbing senses. And who is the Supreme? The Supreme is the Lord. And because He Himself is telling Arjuna to fight, Arjuna has nothing to do with the results of the fight. Gain or victory are Kåñëa’s concern; Arjuna is simply advised to act according to the dictation of Kåñëa. The following of Kåñëa’s dictation is real yoga, and this is practiced in the process called Kåñëa consciousness. By Kåñëa consciousness only can one give up the sense of proprietorship. One has to become the servant of Kåñëa, or the servant of the servant of Kåñëa. That is the right way to discharge duty in Kåñëa consciousness, which alone can help one to act in yoga.
Arjuna is a kñatriya, and as such he is participating in the varëäçrama-dharma institution. It is said in the Viñëu Puraëa that in the varëäçrama-dharma, the whole aim is to satisfy Viñëu. No one should satisfy himself, as is the rule in the material world, but one should satisfy Kåñëa. So, unless one satisfies Kåñëa, one cannot correctly observe the principles of varëäçrama-dharma. Indirectly, Arjuna was advised to act as Kåñëa told him.
ùvr& k-MaR buiÖYaaeGaaÖNaÅYa )
buÖaE Xar<aMaiNvC^ k*-Pa<aa" f-l/heTav" )) 49 ))
düreëa hy avaraà karma
buddhau çaraëam anviccha
düreëa—by discarding it at a long distance; hi—certainly; avaram—abominable; karma—activities; buddhi-yogät—on the strength of Kåñëa consciousness; dhanaïjaya—O conqueror of wealth; buddhau—in such consciousness; çaraëam—full surrender; anviccha—desire; kåpaëäù—the misers; phala-hetavaù—those desiring fruitive action.
O Dhanaïjaya, rid yourself of all fruitive activities by devotional service, and surrender fully to that consciousness. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.
One who has actually come to understand one’s constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Lord gives up all engagements save working in Kåñëa consciousness. As already explained, buddhi-yoga means transcendental loving service to the Lord. Such devotional service is the right course of action for the living entity. Only misers desire to enjoy the fruit of their own work just to be further entangled in material bondage. Except for work in Kåñëa consciousness, all activities are abominable because they continually bind the worker to the cycle of birth and death. One should therefore never desire to be the cause of work. Everything should be done in Kåñëa consciousness for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. Misers do not know how to utilize the assets of riches which they acquire by good fortune or by hard labor. One should spend all energies working in Kåñëa consciousness, and that will make one’s life successful. Like the misers, unfortunate persons do not employ their human energy in the service of the Lord.
JahaTaqh o>ae Sauk*-TaduZk*-Tae )
TaSMaaÛaeGaaYa YauJYaSv YaaeGa" k-MaRSau k-aEXal/Ma( )) 50 ))
tasmäd yogäya yujyasva
yogaù karmasu kauçalam
buddhi-yuktaù—one who is engaged in devotional service; jahäti—can get rid of; iha—in this life; ubhe—in both; sukåta-duñkåte—in good and bad results; tasmät—therefore; yogäya—for the sake of devotional service; yujyasva—be so engaged; yogaù—Kåñëa consciousness; karmasu—in all activities; kauçalam—art.
A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, O Arjuna, which is the art of all work.
Since time immemorial each living entity has accumulated the various reactions of his good and bad work, As such, he is continuously ignorant of his real constitutional position. One’s ignorance can be removed by the instruction of the Bhagavad-gétä which teaches one to surrender unto Lord Çré Kåñëa in all respects and become liberated from the chained victimization of action and reaction, birth after birth. Arjuna is therefore advised to act in Kåñëa consciousness, the purifying process of resultant action.
buiÖYau¢-a ih f-l&/ TYa¤-a MaNaqiz<a" )
JaNMabNDaiviNaMauR¢-a" Pad& GaC^NTYaNaaMaYaMa( )) 51 ))
karma-jaà buddhi-yuktä hi
phalaà tyaktvä manéñiëaù
padaà gacchanty anämayam
karma-jam—because of fruitive activities; buddhi-yuktäù—being done in devotional service; hi—certainly; phalam—results; tyaktvä—giving up; manéñiëaù—devotees who are great sages; janma-bandha—the bondage of birth and death; vinirmuktäù—liberated souls; padam—position; gacchanti—reach; anämayam—without miseries.
The wise, engaged in devotional service, take refuge in the Lord, and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of action in the material world. In this way they can attain that state beyond all miseries.
The liberated living entities seek that place where there are no material miseries. The Bhägavatam says:
samäçritä ye padapallava-plavaà
mahat-padaà puëya-yaço muräreù
bhävambudhir vatsa-padaà paraà padaà
paraà padaà yad vipadäà na teñäm
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda or the giver of mukti, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoofprint. Param padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuëöha, is his goal, not the place where there is danger in every step of life.”
Owing to ignorance, one does not know that this material world is a miserable place where there are dangers at every step. Out of ignorance only, less intelligent persons try to adjust to the situation by fruitive activities, thinking that resultant actions will make them happy. They do not know that no kind of material body anywhere within the universe can give life without miseries. The miseries of life, namely birth, death, old age and diseases, are present everywhere within the material world. But one who understands his real constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Lord, and thus knows the position of the Personality of Godhead, engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Consequently he becomes qualified to enter into the Vaikuëöha planets, where there is neither material, miserable life, nor the influence of time and death. To know one’s constitutional position means to know also the sublime position of the Lord. One who wrongly thinks that the living entity’s position and the Lord’s position are on the same level is to be understood to be in darkness and therefore unable to engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. He becomes a lord himself and thus paves the way for the repetition of birth and death. But one who, understanding that his position is to serve, transfers himself to the service of the Lord, at once becomes eligible for Vaikuëöhaloka. Service for the cause of the Lord is called karma-yoga or buddhi-yoga, or in plain words, devotional service to the Lord.
Maaehk-il/l&/ buiÖVYaRiTaTairZYaiTa )
Tada GaNTaaiSa iNaveRd& é[aeTaVYaSYa é[uTaSYa c )) 52 ))
yadä te moha-kalilaà
tadä gantäsi nirvedaà
çrotavyasya çrutasya ca
yadä—when; te—your; moha—illusory; kalilam—dense forest; buddhiù—transcendental service with intelligence; vyatitariñyati—surpasses; tadä—at that time; gantäsi—you shall go; nirvedam—callousness; çrotavyasya—all that is to be heard; çrutasya—all that is already heard; ca—also.
When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.
There are many good examples in the lives of the great devotees of the Lord of those who became indifferent to the rituals of the Vedas simply by devotional service to the Lord. When a person factually understands Kåñëa and his relationship with Kåñëa, he naturally becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities, even though an experienced brähmaëa. Çré Mädhavendra Puré, a great devotee and äcärya in the line of the devotees, says:
sandhyä-vandana bhadram astu bhavato bhoù snäna tubhyaà namo
bho deväù pitaraç ca tarpaëa-vidhau nähaà kñamaù kñamyatäm
yatra kväpi niñadya yädava-kulottamasya kaàsa-dviñaù
smäraà smäram aghaà harämi tad alaà manye kim anyena me.
“O Lord, in my prayers three times a day, all glory to You. Bathing, I offer my obeisances unto You. O demigods! O forefathers! Please excuse me for my inability to offer you my respects. Now wherever I sit, I can remember the great descendant of the Yadu dynasty [Kåñëa], the enemy of Kaàsa, and thereby I can free myself from all sinful bondage. I think this is sufficient for me.”
The Vedic rites and rituals are imperative for neophytes: comprehending all kinds of prayer three times a day, taking a bath early in the morning, offering respects to the forefathers, etc. But, when one is fully in Kåñëa consciousness and is engaged in His transcendental loving service, one becomes indifferent to all these regulative principles because he has already attained perfection. If one can reach the platform of understanding by service to the Supreme Lord Kåñëa, he has no longer to execute different types of penances and sacrifices as recommended in revealed scriptures. And, similarly, if one has not understood that the purpose of the Vedas is to reach Kåñëa and simply engages in the rituals, etc., then he is uselessly wasting time in such engagements. Persons in Kåñëa consciousness transcend the limit of çabda-brahma, or the range of the Vedas and Upaniñads.
Tae Yada SQaaSYaiTa iNaêl/a )
SaMaaDaavcl/a buiÖSTada YaaeGaMavaPSYaiSa )) 53 ))
yadä sthäsyati niçcalä
samädhäv acalä buddhis
tadä yogam aväpsyasi
çruti—Vedic revelation; vipratipannä—without being influenced by the fruitive results of the Vedas; te—your; yadä—when; sthäsyati—remains; niçcalä—unmoved; samädhau—in transcendental consciousness, or Kåñëa consciousness; acalä—unflinching; buddhiù—intelligence; tadä—at that time; yogam—self-realization; aväpsyasi—you will achieve.
When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realization, then you will have attained the Divine consciousness.
To say that one is in samädhi is to say that one has fully realized Kåñëa consciousness; that is, one in full samädhi has realized Brahman, Paramätmä and Bhagavän. The highest perfection of self-realization is to understand that one is eternally the servitor of Kåñëa and that one’s only business is to discharge one’s duties in Kåñëa consciousness. A Kåñëa conscious person, or unflinching devotee of the Lord, should not be disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas nor be engaged in fruitive activities for promotion to the heavenly kingdom. In Kåñëa consciousness, one comes directly into communion with Kåñëa, and thus all directions from Kåñëa may be understood in that transcendental state. One is sure to achieve results by such activities and attain conclusive knowledge. One has only to carry out the orders of Kåñëa or His representative, the spiritual master.
iSQaTaPa[jSYa k-a >aaza SaMaaiDaSQaSYa ke-Xav )
iSQaTaDaq" ik&- Pa[>aazeTa ik-MaaSaqTa v]JaeTa ik-Ma( )) 54 ))
sthita-prajïasya kä bhäñä
sthita-dhéù kià prabhäñeta
kim äséta vrajeta kim
arjuna uväca—Arjuna said; sthita-prajïasya—of one who is situated in fixed Kåñëa consciousness; kä—what; bhäñä—language; samädhi-sthasya—of one situated in trance; keçava—O Kåñëa; sthita-dhéù—one fixed in Kåñëa consciousness; kim—what; prabhäñeta—speak; kim—how; äséta—does remain; vrajeta—walk; kim—how.
Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in Transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?
As there are symptoms for each and every man, in terms of his particular situation, similarly one who is Kåñëa conscious has his particular nature—talking, walking, thinking, feeling, etc. As a rich man has his symptoms by which he is known as a rich man, as a diseased man has his symptoms, by which he is known as diseased, or as a learned man has his symptoms, so a man in transcendental consciousness of Kåñëa has specific symptoms in various dealings. One can know his specific symptoms from the Bhagavad-gétä. Most important is how the man in Kåñëa consciousness speaks, for speech is the most important quality of any man. It is said that a fool is undiscovered as long as he does not speak, and certainly a well-dressed fool cannot be identified unless he speaks, but as soon as he speaks, he reveals himself at once. The immediate symptom of a Kåñëa conscious man is that he speaks only of Kåñëa and of matters relating to Him. Other symptoms then automatically follow, as stated below.
Pa[JahaiTa Yada k-aMaaNSavaRNPaaQaR MaNaaeGaTaaNa( )
AaTMaNYaevaTMaNaa Tauí" iSQaTaPa[jSTadaeCYaTae )) 55 ))
prajahäti yadä kämän
sarvän pärtha mano-gatän
ätmany evätmanä tuñöaù
çré bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prajahäti—gives up; yadä—when; kämän—desires for sense gratification; sarvän—of all varieties; pärtha—O son of Påthä; manaù-gatän—of mental concoction; ätmani—in the pure state of the soul; eva—certainly; ätmanä—by the purified mind; tuñöaù—satisfied; sthita-prajïaù—transcendentally situated; tadä—at that time; ucyate—is said.
The Blessed Lord said: O Pärtha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense desire which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.
The Bhägavatam affirms that any person who is fully in Kåñëa consciousness, or devotional service of the Lord, has all the good qualities of the great sages, whereas a person who is not so transcendentally situated has no good qualifications, because he is sure to be taking refuge in his own mental concoctions. Consequently, it is rightly said herein that one has to give up all kinds of sense desire manufactured by mental concoction. Artificially, such sense desires cannot be stopped. But if one is engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, then, automatically, sense desires subside without extraneous efforts. Therefore, one has to engage himself in Kåñëa consciousness without hesitation, for this devotional service will instantly help one on to the platform of transcendental consciousness. The highly developed soul always remains satisfied in himself by realizing himself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord. Such a transcendentally situated person has no sense desires resulting from petty materialism; rather, he remains always happy in his natural position of eternally serving the Supreme Lord.
Sau%ezu ivGaTaSPa*h" )
vqTaraGa>aYa§-aeDa" iSQaTaDaqMauRiNaåCYaTae )) 56 ))
sthita-dhér munir ucyate
duùkheñu—in the threefold miseries; anudvigna-manäù—without being agitated in mind; sukheñu—in happiness; vigata-spåhaù—without being too interested; véta—free from; räga—attachment; bhaya—fear; krodhaù—anger; sthita-dhéù—one who is steady; muniù—sage; ucyate—is called.
One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.
The word muni means one who can agitate his mind in various ways for mental speculation without coming to a factual conclusion. It is said that every muni has a different angle of vision, and unless a muni differs from other munis, he cannot be called a muni in the strict sense of the term. Näsau munir yasya mataà na binnam. But a sthita-dhé-muni as mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni The sthita-dhé-muni is always in Kåñëa consciousness, for he has exhausted all his business of creative speculation. He has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Çré Kåñëa, or Väsudeva, is everything. He is called a muni fixed in mind. Such a fully Kåñëa conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord’s grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord. And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not influenced by attachment or aversion. Attachment means accepting things for one’s own sense gratification, and detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Kåñëa consciousness has neither attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of the Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful. A Kåñëa conscious person is always steady in his determination.
SavR}aaNai>aòehSTataTPa[aPYa éu>aaéu>aMa( )
Naai>aNaNdiTa Na Üeií TaSYa Pa[ja Pa[iTaiïTaa )) 57 ))
tat tat präpya çubhäçubham
näbhinandati na dveñöi
tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä
yaù—one who; sarvatra—everywhere; anabhisnehaù—without affection; tat—that; tat—that; präpya—achieving; çubha—good; açubham—evil; na—never; abhinandati—prays; na—never; dveñöi—envies; tasya—his; prajïä—perfect knowledge; pratiñöhita—fixed.
He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor lament when he obtains evil, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.
There is always some upheaval in the material world which may be good or evil. One who is not agitated by such material upheavals, who is unaffected by good and evil, is to be understood to be fixed in Kåñëa consciousness. As long as one is in the material world there is always the possibility of good and evil because this world is full of duality. But one who is fixed in Kåñëa consciousness is not affected by good and evil because he is simply concerned with Kåñëa, who is all good absolute. Such consciousness in Kåñëa situates one in a perfect transcendental position called, technically, samädhi.
Sa&hrTae caYa& kU-MaaeR_®aNaqv SavRXa" )
wiNd]Yaa<aqiNd]YaaQaeR>YaSTaSYa Pa[ja Pa[iTaiïTaa )) 58 ))
yadä saàharate cäyaà
kürmo ’ìgänéva sarvaçaù
tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä
yadä—when; saàharate—winds up; ca—also; ayam—all these; kürmaù—tortoise; aìgäni—limbs; iva—like; sarvaçaù—altogether; indriyäni—senses; indriya-arthebhyaù—from the sense objects; tasya—his; prajïä—consciousness; pratiñöhitä—fixed up.
One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.
The test of a yogé, devotee, or self-realized soul is that he is able to control the senses according to his plan. Most people, however, are servants of the senses and are thus directed by the dictation of the senses. That is the answer to the question as to how the yogé is situated. The senses are compared to venomous serpents. They want to act very loosely and without restriction. The yogé, or the devotee, must be very strong to control the serpents—like a snake charmer. He never allows them to act independantly. There are many injunctions in the revealed scriptures; some of them are do-not’s, and some of them are do’s. Unless one is able to follow the do’s and the do-not’s, restricting oneself from sense enjoyment, it is not possible to be firmly fixed in Kåñëa consciousness. The best example, set herein, is the tortoise. The tortoise can at any moment wind up his senses and exhibit them again at any time for particular purposes. Similarly, the senses of the Kåñëa conscious persons are used only for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are withdrawn otherwise. Keeping the senses always in the service of the Lord is the example set by the analogy of the tortoise, who keeps the senses within.
iviNavTaRNTae iNaraharSYa deihNa" )
rSavJa| rSaae_PYaSYa Par& d*îa iNavTaRTae )) 59 ))
rasa-varjaà raso ’py asya
paraà dåñövä nivartate
viñayäù—objects for sense enjoyment; vinivartante—are practiced to be refrained from; nirähärasya—by negative restrictions; dehinaù—for the embodied; rasa-varjam—giving up the taste; rasaù—sense of enjoyment; api—although there is; asya—his; param—far superior things; dåñövä—by experiencing; nivartate—ceases from.
The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of eatables. The patient, however, neither likes such restrictions, nor loses his taste for eatables. Similarly, sense restriction by some spiritual process like añöäìga-yoga, in the matter of yama, niyama, äsana, präëäyäma, pratyähära, dharaëä, dhyäna, etc., is recommended for less intelligent persons who have no better knowledge. But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Kåñëa, in the course of his advancement in Kåñëa consciousness, no longer has a taste for dead material things. Therefore, restrictions are there for the less intelligent neophytes in the spiritual advancement of life, but such restrictions are only good if one actually has a taste for Kåñëa consciousness. When one is actually Kåñëa conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.
k-aENTaeYa PauåzSYa ivPaiêTa" )
wiNd]Yaai<a Pa[MaaQaqiNa hriNTa Pa[Sa>a& MaNa" )) 60 ))
yatato hy api kaunteya
haranti prasabhaà manaù
yatataù—while endeavoring; hi—certainly; api—in spite of; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; puruñasya—of the man; vipaçcitaù—full of discriminating knowledge; indriyäëi—the senses; pramäthéni—stimulated; haranti—throws forcefully; prasabhaà—by force; manaù—the mind.
The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.
There are many learned sages, philosophers and transcendentalists who try to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavors, even the greatest of them sometimes fall victim to material sense enjoyment due to the agitated mind. Even Viçvämitra, a great sage and perfect yogé, was misled by Menakä into sex enjoyment, although the yogé was endeavoring for sense control with severe types of penance and yoga practice. And,of course, there are so many similar instances in the history of the world. Therefore, it is very difficult to control the mind and the senses without being fully Kåñëa conscious. Without engaging the mind in Kåñëa, one cannot cease such material engagements. A practical example is given by Çré Yämunäcärya, a great saint and devotee, who says: “Since my mind has been engaged in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa, and I have been enjoying an ever new transcendental humor, whenever I think of sex life with a woman, my face at once turns from it, and I spit at the thought.”
Kåñëa consciousness is such a transcendentally nice thing that automatically material enjoyment becomes distasteful. It is as if a hungry man had satisfied his hunger by a sufficient quantity of nutritious eatables. Mahäräja Ambaréña also conquered a great yogé, Durväsä Muni, simply because his mind was engaged in Kåñëa consciousness.
SavaRi<a Sa&YaMYa Yau¢- AaSaqTa MaTPar" )
vXae ih YaSYaeiNd]Yaai<a TaSYa Pa[ja Pa[iTaiïTaa )) 61 ))
täni sarväëi saàyamya
yukta äséta mat-paraù
vaçe hi yasyendriyäëi
tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä
täni—those senses; sarväëi—all; saàyamya—keeping under control; yuktaù—being engaged; äséta—being so situated; mat-paraù—in relationship with Me; vaçe—in full subjugation; hi—certainly; yasya—one whose; indriyäëi—senses; tasya—his; prajïä—consciousness; pratiñöhitä—fixed.
One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.
That the highest conception of yoga perfection is Kåñëa consciousness is clearly explained in this verse. And, unless one is Kåñëa conscious, it is not at all possible to control the senses. As cited above, the great sage Durväsä Muni picked a quarrel with Mahäräja Ambaréña, and Durväsä Muni unnecessarily became angry out of pride and therefore could not check his senses. On the other hand, the King, although not as powerful a yogé as the sage, but a devotee of the Lord, silently tolerated all the sage’s injustices and thereby emerged victorious. The King was able to control his senses because of the following qualifications, as mentioned in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam:
sa vai manaù kåñëa-padäravindayor
karau harer mandira-märjanädiñu
ghräëaà ca tat-päda-saroja-saurabhe
çrémat-tulasyä rasanäà tad-arpite
pädau hareù kñetra-padänusarpaëe
kämaà ca däsye na tu käma-kämyayä
“King Ambaréña fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa, engaged his words in describing the abode of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the temple of the Lord, his ears in hearing the pastimes of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the form of the Lord, his body in touching the body of the devotee, his nostrils in smelling the flavor of the flowers offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasé leaves offered to Him, his legs in traveling to the holy place where His temple is situated, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, and his desires in fulfilling the desires of the Lord … and all these qualifications made him fit to become a mat-paraù devotee of the Lord.” (Bhäg. 9.4.18-20)
The word mat-paraù is most significant in this connection. How one can become a mat-paraù is described in the life of Mahäräja Ambaréña. Çréla Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa, a great scholar and äcärya in the line of the mat-paraù, remarks: “mad-bhakti-prabhävena sarvendriya-vijaya-pürvikä svätma dåñöiù sulabheti bhävaù.” “The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Kåñëa.” Also the example of fire is sometimes given: “As the small flames within burn everything within the room, similarly Lord Viñëu, situated in the heart of the yogé, burns up all kinds of impurities.” The Yoga-sütra also prescribes meditation on Viñëu, and not meditation on the void. The so-called yogés who meditate on something which is not the Viñëu form simply waste their time in a vain search after some phantasmagoria. We have to be Kåñëa conscious—devoted to the Personality of Godhead. This is the aim of the real yoga.
ivzYaaNPau&Sa" Sa®STaezUPaJaaYaTae )
Sa®aTSaÅaYaTae k-aMa" k-aMaaT§-aeDaae_i>aJaaYaTae )) 62 ))
dhyäyato viñayän puàsaù
saìgät saïjäyate kämaù
kämät krodho ’bhijäyate
dhyayataù—while contemplating; viñayän—sense objects; puàsaù—of the person; saìgaù—attachment; teñu—in the sense objects; upajäyate—develops; saìgät—attachment; saïjäyate—develops; kämaù—desire; kämät—from desire; krodhaù—anger; abhijäyate—becomes manifest.
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.
One who is not Kåñëa conscious is subjected to material desires while contemplating the objects of senses. The senses require real engagements, and if they are not engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, they will certainly seek engagement in the service of materialism. In the material world everyone, including Lord Çiva and Lord Brahmä—to say nothing of other demigods in the heavenly planets—is subjected to the influence of sense objects, and the only method to get out of this puzzle of material existence is to become Kåñëa conscious. Lord Çiva was deep in meditation, but when Pärvaté agitated him for sense pleasure, he agreed to the proposal, and as a result Kärtikeya was born. When Haridäsa Öhäkur was a young devotee of the Lord, he was similarly allured by the incarnation of Mäyä Devé, but Haridäsa easily passed the test because of his unalloyed devotion to Lord Kåñëa. As illustrated in the above-mentioned verse of Çré Yämunäcärya, a sincere devotee of the Lord shuns all material sense enjoyment due to his higher taste for spiritual enjoyment in the association of the Lord. That is the secret of success. One who is not, therefore, in Kåñëa consciousness, however powerful he may be in controlling the senses by artificial repression, is sure ultimately to fail, for the slightest thought of sense pleasure will agitate him to gratify his desires.
SaMMaaeh" SaMMaaehaTSMa*iTaiv>a]Ma" )
SMa*iTa>a]&Xaad(buiÖNaaXaae buiÖNaaXaaTPa[<aXYaiTa )) 63 ))
krodhäd bhavati sammohaù
krodhät—from anger; bhavati—takes place; saàmohaù—perfect illusion; saàmohät—from illusion; småti—of memory; vibhramaù—bewilderment; småti-bhraàçät—after bewilderment of memory; buddhi-näçaù—loss of intelligence; buddhi-näçät—and from loss of intelligence; praëaçyati—falls down.
From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.
By development of Kåñëa consciousness one can know that everything has its use in the service of the Lord. Those who are without knowledge of Kåñëa consciousness artificially try to avoid material objects, and as a result, although they desire liberation from material bondage, they do not attain to the perfect stage of renunciation. On the other hand, a person in Kåñëa consciousness knows how to use everything in the service of the Lord; therefore he does not become a victim of material consciousness. For example, for an impersonalist, the Lord, or the Absolute, being impersonal, cannot eat. Whereas an impersonalist tries to avoid good eatables, a devotee knows that Kåñëa is the supreme enjoyer and that He eats all that is offered to Him in devotion. So, after offering good eatables to the Lord, the devotee takes the remnants, called prasädam. Thus everything becomes spiritualized and there is no danger of a downfall. The devotee takes prasädam in Kåñëa consciousness, whereas the nondevotee rejects it as material. The impersonalist, therefore, cannot enjoy life due to his artificial renunciation; and for this reason, a slight agitation of the mind pulls him down again into the pool of material existence. It is said that such a soul, even though rising up to the point of liberation, falls down again due to his not having support in devotional service.
AaTMavXYaEivRDaeYaaTMaa Pa[SaadMaiDaGaC^iTa )) 64 ))
viñayän indriyaiç caran
räga—attachment; dveña—detachment; vimuktaiù—by one who has been free from such things; tu—but; viñayän—sense objects; indriyaiù—by the senses; caran—acting; ätma-vaçyaiù—one who has control over; vidheyätmä—one who follows regulated freedom; prasädam—the mercy of the Lord; adhigacchati—attains.
One who can control his senses by practicing the regulated principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become free from all attachment and aversion.
It is already explained that one may externally control the senses by some artificial process, but unless the senses are engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is every chance of a fall. Although the person in full Kåñëa consciousness may apparently be on the sensual plane, because of his being Kåñëa conscious, he has no attachment to sensual activities. The Kåñëa conscious person is concerned only with the satisfaction of Kåñëa, and nothing else. Therefore he is transcendental to all attachment. If Kåñëa wants, the devotee can do anything which is ordinarily undesirable; and if Kåñëa does not want, he shall not do that which he would have ordinarily done for his own satisfaction. Therefore to act or not to act is within his control because he acts only under the direction of Kåñëa. This consciousness is the causeless mercy of the Lord, which the devotee can achieve in spite of his being attached to the sensual platform.
SavRdu"%aNaa& haiNarSYaaePaJaaYaTae )
Pa[SaàceTaSaae ùaéu buiÖ" PaYaRviTaïTae )) 65 ))
prasanna-cetaso hy äçu
prasäde—on achievement of the causeless mercy of the Lord; sarva—all; duùkhänäm—material miseries; häniù—destruction; asya—his; upajäyate—takes place; prasanna-cetasaù—of the happy-minded; hi—certainly; äçu—very soon; buddhiù—intelligence; pari—sufficiently; avatiñöhate—established.
For one who is so situated in the Divine consciousness, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state, one’s intelligence soon becomes steady.
buiÖrYau¢-SYa Na caYau¢-SYa >aavNaa )
Na ca>aavYaTa" XaaiNTarXaaNTaSYa ku-Ta" Sau%Ma( )) 66 ))
nästi buddhir ayuktasya
na cäyuktasya bhävanä
na cäbhävayataù çäntir
açäntasya kutaù sukham
na asti—there cannot be; buddhiù—transcendental intelligence; ayuktasya—of one who is not connected (with Kåñëa consciousness); na—neither; ca—and; ayuktasya—of one devoid of Kåñëa consciousness; bhävanä—mind fixed in happiness; na—neither; ca—and; abhävayataù—one who is not fixed; çäntiù—peace; açäntasya—of the unpeaceful; kutaù—where is; sukham—happiness.
One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have neither a controlled mind nor steady intelligence, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?
Unless one is in Kåñëa consciousness, there is no possibility of peace. So it is confirmed in the Fifth Chapter (5.29) that when one understands that Kåñëa is the only enjoyer of all the good results of sacrifice and penance, and that He is the proprietor of all universal manifestations, that He is the real friend of all living entities, then only can one have real peace. Therefore, if one is not in Kåñëa consciousness, there cannot be a final goal for the mind. Disturbance is due to want of an ultimate goal, and when one is certain that Kåñëa is the enjoyer, proprietor and friend of everyone and everything, then one can, with a steady mind, bring about peace. Therefore, one who is engaged without a relationship with Kåñëa is certainly always in distress and is without peace, however much one may make a show of peace and spiritual advancement in life. Kåñëa consciousness is a self-manifested peaceful condition which can be achieved only in relationship with Kåñëa.
ih crTaa& YaNMaNaae_NauivDaqYaTae )
TadSYa hriTa Pa[ja& vaYauNaaRviMavaM>aiSa )) 67 ))
indriyäëäà hi caratäà
yan mano ’nuvidhéyate
tad asya harati prajïäà
väyur nävam ivämbhasi
indriyäëäm—of the senses; hi—certainly; caratäm—while herding over; yat—that; manaù—mind; anuvidhéyate—becomes constantly engaged; tat—that; asya—his; harati—takes away; prajïäm—intelligence; väyuù—wind; nävam—a boat; iva—like; ambhasi—on the water.
As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.
Unless all of the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them engaged in sense gratification can deviate the devotee from the path of transcendental advancement. As mentioned in the life of Mahäräja Ambaréña, all of the senses must be engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, for that is the correct technique for controlling the mind.
Mahabahae iNaGa*hqTaaiNa SavRXa" )
wiNd]Yaa<aqiNd]YaaQaeR>YaSTaSYa Pa[ja Pa[iTaiïTaa )) 68 ))
tasmäd yasya mahä-bäho
tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä
tasmät—therefore; yasya—of one’s; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; nigåhétäni—so curbed down; sarvaçaù—all around; indriyäëi—the senses; indriya-arthebhyaù—for the sake of sense objects; tasya—his; prajïä—intelligence; pratiñöhitä—fixed.
Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.
As enemies are curbed by superior force, similarly, the senses can be curbed not by any human endeavor, but only by keeping them engaged in the service of the Lord. One who has understood this—that only by Kåñëa consciousness is one really established in intelligence and that one should practice this art under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master—is called sädhaka, or a suitable candidate for liberation.
SavR>aUTaaNaa& TaSYaa& JaaGaiTaR Sa&YaMaq )
YaSYaa& JaaGa]iTa >aUTaaiNa Saa iNaXaa PaXYaTaae MauNae" )) 69 ))
yä niçä sarva-bhütänäà
tasyäà jägarti saàyamé
yasyäà jägrati bhütäni
sä niçä paçyato muneù
yä—what; niçä—is night; sarva—all; bhütänäm—of living entities; tasyäm—in that; jägarti—wakeful; saàyamé—the self-controlled; yasyäm—in which; jägrati—awake; bhütäni—all beings; sä—that is; niçä—night; paçyataù—for the introspective; muneù—sage.
What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.
There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep in such a night due to their ignorance of self-realization. The introspective sage remains alert in the “night” of the materialistic men. The sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual culture, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his sleeping condition. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reaction.
SaMaud]MaaPa" Pa[ivXaiNTa YaÜTa( )
TaÜTk-aMaa Ya& Pa[ivXaiNTa SaveR
Sa XaaiNTaMaaPanaeiTa Na k-aMak-aMaq )) 70 ))
samudram äpaù praviçanti yadvat
tadvat kämä yaà praviçanti sarve
sa çäntim äpnoti na käma-kämé
äpüryamäëam—always filled; acala-pratiñöham—steadily situated; samudram—the ocean; äpaù—water; praviçanti—enter; yadvat—as; tadvat—so; kämäù—desires; yam—unto one; praviçanti—enter; sarve—all; saù—that person; çäntim—peace; äpnoti—achieves; na—not; käma-kämé—one who desires to fulfill desires.
A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
Although the vast ocean is always filled with water, it is always, especially during the rainy season, being filled with much more water. But the ocean remains the same—steady; it is not agitated, nor does it cross beyond the limit of its brink. That is also true of a person fixed in Kåñëa consciousness. As long as one has the material body, the demands of the body for sense gratification will continue. The devotee, however, is not disturbed by such desires because of his fullness. A Kåñëa conscious man is not in need of anything because the Lord fulfills all his material necessities. Therefore he is like the ocean—always full in himself. Desires may come to him like the waters of the rivers that flow into the ocean, but he is steady in his activities, and he is not even slightly disturbed by desires for sense gratification. That is the proof of a Kåñëa conscious man—one who has lost all inclinations for material sense gratification, although the desires are present. Because he remains satisfied in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he can remain steady, like the ocean, and therefore enjoy full peace. Others, however, who fulfill desires even up to the limit of liberation, what to speak of material success, never attain peace. The fruitive workers, the salvationists, and also the yogés who are after mystic powers, are all unhappy because of unfulfilled desires. But the person in Kåñëa consciousness is happy in the service of the Lord, and he has no desires to be fulfilled. In fact, he does not even desire liberation from the so-called material bondage. The devotees of Kåñëa have no material desires, and therefore they are in perfect peace.
k-aMaaNYa" SavaRNPauMaa&êriTa iNa"SPa*h" )
iNaMaRMaae iNarhªar" Sa XaaiNTaMaiDaGaC^iTa )) 71 ))
vihäya kämän yaù sarvän
pumäàç carati niùspåhaù
sa çäntim adhigacchati
vihäya—after giving up; kämän—all material desires for sense gratification; yaù—the person; sarvän—all; pumän—a person; carati—lives; nihñpåhaù —desireless; nirmamaù—without a sense of proprietorship; nirahaìkäraù—without false ego; saù—all; çäntim—perfect peace; adhigacchati—attains.
A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego—he alone can attain real peace.
To become desireless means not to desire anything for sense gratification. In other words, desire for becoming Kåñëa conscious is actually desirelessness. To understand one’s actual position as the eternal servitor of Kåñëa, without falsely claiming this material body to be oneself and without falsely claiming proprietorship over anything in the world, is the perfect stage of Kåñëa consciousness. One who is situated in this perfect stage knows that because Kåñëa is the proprietor of everything, therefore everything must be used for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. Arjuna did not want to fight for his own sense satisfaction, but when he became fully Kåñëa conscious he fought because Kåñëa wanted him to fight. For himself there was no desire to fight, but for Kåñëa the same Arjuna fought to his best ability. Desire for the satisfaction of Kåñëa is really desirelessness; it is not an artificial attempt to abolish desires. The living entity cannot be desireless or senseless, but he does have to change the quality of the desires. A materially desireless person certainly knows that everything belongs to Kåñëa (éçäväsyam idaà sarvam), and therefore he does not falsely claim proprietorship over anything. This transcendental knowledge is based on self-realization—namely, knowing perfectly well that every living entity is the eternal part and parcel of Kåñëa in spiritual identity. and therefore the eternal position of the living entity is never on the level of Kåñëa or greater than Him. This understanding of Kåñëa consciousness is the basic principle of real peace.
iSQaiTa" PaaQaR NaENaa& Pa[aPYa ivMauùiTa )
iSQaTvaSYaaMaNTak-ale/_iPa b]øiNavaR<aMa*C^iTa )) 72 ))
eñä brähmé sthitiù pärtha
nainäà präpya vimuhyati
sthitväsyäm anta-käle ’pi
eñä—this; brähmé—spiritual; sthitiù—situation; pärtha—O son of Påthä; na—never; enäm—this; präpya—achieving; vimuhyati—bewilders; sthitvä—being so situated; asyäm—being so; anta-käle—at the end of life; api—also; brahma-nirväëam—spiritual (kingdom of God); åcchati—attains.
That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. Being so situated, even at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God.
One can attain Kåñëa consciousness or divine life at once, within a second—or one may not attain such a state of life even after millions of births. It is only a matter of understanding and accepting the fact. Khaöväìga Mahäräja attained this state of life just a few minutes before his death, by surrendering unto Kåñëa. Nirväëa means ending the process of materialistic life. According to Buddhist philosophy, there is only void after the completion of this material life, but Bhagavad-gétä teaches differently. Actual life begins after the completion of this material life. For the gross materialist it is sufficient to know that one has to end this materialistic way of life, but for persons who are spiritually advanced, there is another life after this materialistic life. Before ending this life, if one fortunately becomes Kåñëa conscious, he at once attains the stage of Brahma-nirväëa. There is no difference between the kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord. Since both of them are on the absolute plane, to be engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord is to have attained the spiritual kingdom. In the material world there are activities of sense gratification, whereas in the spiritual world there are activities of Kåñëa consciousness. Attainment of Kåñëa consciousness even during this life is immediate attainment of Brahman, and one who is situated in Kåñëa consciousness has certainly already entered into the kingdom of God.
Brahman is just the opposite of matter. Therefore brähmé sthitiù means “not on the platform of material activities.” Devotional service of the Lord is accepted in the Bhagavad-gétä as the liberated stage. Therefore, brähmé-sthitiù is liberation from material bondage.
Çréla Bhaktivinode Öhäkur has summarized this Second Chapter of the Bhagavad-gétä as being the contents for the whole text. In the Bhagavad-gétä, the subject matters are karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. In the Second Chapter karma-yoga and jïäna-yoga have been clearly discussed, and a glimpse of bhakti-yoga has also been given, as the contents for the complete text.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Second Chapter of the Çrémad-Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of its Contents.
Bg 3. Karma-yoga
JYaaYaSaq ceTk-MaR<aSTae MaTaa buiÖJaRNaadRNa )
TaiTk&- k-MaRi<a gaaere Maa& iNaYaaeJaYaiSa ke-Xav )) 1 ))
jyäyasé cet karmaëas te
matä buddhir janärdana
tat kià karmaëi ghore mäà
arjunaù—Arjuna; uväca—said; jyäyasé—speaking very highly; cet—although; karmaëaù—than fruitive action; te—your; matä—opinion; buddhiù—intelligence; janärdana—O Kåñëa; tat—therefore; kim—why; karmaëi—in action; ghore—ghastly; mäm—me; niyojayasi—engaging me; keçava—O Kåñëa.
Arjuna said: O Janärdana, O Keçava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa has very elaborately described the constitution of the soul in the previous chapter, with a view to deliver His intimate friend Arjuna from the ocean of material grief. And the path of realization has been recommended: buddhi-yoga, or Kåñëa consciousness. Sometimes Kåñëa consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Kåñëa conscious by chanting the holy name of Lord Kåñëa. But without being trained in the philosophy of Kåñëa consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy name of Kåñëa in a secluded place where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna also thought of Kåñëa consciousness or buddhi-yoga, or intelligence in spiritual advancement of knowledge, as something like retirement from active life and the practice of penance and austerity at a secluded place. In other words, he wanted to skillfully avoid the fighting by using Kåñëa consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his master and questioned Kåñëa as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Kåñëa elaborately explained karma-yoga, or work in Kåñëa consciousness, in this Third Chapter.
vaKYaeNa buiÖ& MaaehYaSaqv Mae )
Tadek&- vd iNaiêTYa YaeNa é[eYaae_hMaaPanuYaaMa( )) 2 ))
buddhià mohayaséva me
tad ekaà vada niçcitya
yena çreyo ’ham äpnuyäm
vyämiçreëa—by equivocal; iva—as; väkyena—words; buddhim—intelligence; mohayasi—bewildering; iva—as; me—my; tat—therefore; ekam—only one; vada—please tell; niçcitya—ascertaining; yena—by which; çreyaù—real benefit; aham—I; äpnuyäm—may have it.
My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most beneficial for me.
In the previous chapter, as a prelude to the Bhagavad-gétä, many different paths were explained, such as säìkhya-yoga, buddhi-yoga, control of the senses by intelligence, work without fruitive desire, and the position of the neophyte. This was all presented unsystematically. A more organized outline of the path would be necessary for action and understanding. Arjuna, therefore, wanted to clear up these apparently confusing matters so that any common man could accept them without misinterpretation. Although Kåñëa had no intention of confusing Arjuna by any jugglery of words, Arjuna could not follow the process of Kåñëa consciousness—either by inertia or active service. In other words, by his questions he is clearing the path of Kåñëa consciousness for all students who seriously want to understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gétä.
l/aeke-_iSMaiNÜivDaa iNaïa Paura Pa[ae¢-a MaYaaNaga )
jaNaYaaeGaeNa Saa&:YaaNaa& k-MaRYaaeGaeNa YaaeiGaNaaMa( )) 3 ))
loke ’smin dvi-vidhä niñöhä
purä proktä mayänagha
çré bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; loke—in the world; asmin—this; dvi-vidhä—two kinds of; niñöhä—faith; purä—formerly; proktä—was said; mayä—by Me; anagha—O sinless one; jïäna-yogena—by the linking process of knowledge; säìkhyänäm—of the empiric philosophers; karma-yogena—by the linking process of devotion; yoginäm—of the devotees.
The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who realize the Self. Some are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional work.
In the Second Chapter, verse 39, the Lord explained two kinds of procedures—namely säìkhya-yoga and karma-yoga, or buddhi-yoga. In this verse, the Lord explains the same more clearly. Säìkhya-yoga, or the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter, is the subject matter for persons who are inclined to speculate and understand things by experimental knowledge and philosophy. The other class of men work in Kåñëa consciousness, as it is explained in the 61st verse of the Second Chapter. The Lord has explained, also in the 39th verse, that by working by the principles of buddhi-yoga, or Kåñëa consciousness, one can be relieved from the bonds of action; and, furthermore, there is no flaw in the process. The same principle is more clearly explained in the 61st verse—that this buddhi-yoga is to depend entirely on the Supreme (or more specifically, on Kåñëa), and in this way all the senses can be brought under control very easily. Therefore, both the yogas are interdependant, as religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Kåñëa, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Kåñëa consciousness. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gétä. The whole process is to understand the real position of the self in relation to the Superself. The indirect process is philosophical speculation, by which, gradually, one may come to the point of Kåñëa consciousness; and the other process is directly connecting with everything in Kåñëa consciousness. Of these two, the path of Kåñëa consciousness is better because it does not depend on purifying the senses by a philosophical process. Kåñëa consciousness is itself the purifying process, and by the direct method of devotional service it is simultaneously easy and sublime.
k-MaR<aaMaNaarM>aaàEZk-MYa| Pauåzae_énuTae )
Na c SaNNYaSaNaadev iSaiÖ& SaMaiDaGaC^iTa )) 4 ))
na karmaëäm anärambhän
naiñkarmyaà puruño ’çnute
na ca sannyasanäd eva
na—without; karmaëäm—of the prescribed duties; anärambhät—non-performance; naiñkarmyam—freedom from reaction; puruñah—man; açnute—achieve; na—nor; ca—also; sannyasanät—by renunciation; eva—simply; siddhim—success; samadhigacchati—attain.
Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.
The renounced order of life can be accepted upon being purified by the discharge of the prescribed form of duties which are laid down just to purify the heart of materialistic men. Without purification, one cannot attain success by abruptly adopting the fourth order of life (sannyäsa). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by adopting sannyäsa, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once becomes as good as Näräyaëa. But Lord Kåñëa does not approve this principle. Without purification of heart, sannyäsa is simply a disturbance to the social order. On the other hand, if someone takes to the transcendental service of the Lord, even without discharging his prescribed duties, whatever he may be able to advance in the cause is accepted by the Lord (buddhi-yoga). Svalpam apy asya dharmasya träyate mahato bhayät. Even a slight performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.
k-iêT+a<aMaiPa JaaTau iTaïTYak-MaRk*-Ta( )
k-aYaRTae ùvXa" k-MaR SavR" Pa[k*-iTaJaEGauR<aE" )) 5 ))
na hi kaçcit kñaëam api
jätu tiñöhaty akarma-kåt
käryate hy avaçaù karma
sarvaù prakåti-jair guëaiù
na—nor; hi—certainly; kaçcit—anyone; kñaëam—even a moment; api—also; jätu—even; tiñöhati—stands; akarma-kåt—without doing something; käryate—is forced to do; hi—certainly; avaçaù—helplessly; karma—work; sarvaù—everything; prakåti-jaiù—out of the modes of material nature; guëaiù—by the qualities.
All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.
It is not a question of embodied life, but it is the nature of the soul to be always active. Without the presence of the spirit soul, the material body cannot move. The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, which is always active and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Kåñëa consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy. In contact with material energy, the spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such affinities it is necessary to engage in the prescribed duties enjoined in the çästras. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Kåñëa consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Çrémad-Bhägavatam affirms this:
tyaktvä sva-dharmaà caraëämbujaà harer
bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva väbhadram abhüd amuñya kià
ko värtha äpto ’bhajatäà sva-dharmataù.
“If someone takes to Kåñëa consciousness, even though he may not follow the prescribed duties in the çästras nor execute the devotional service properly, and even though he may fall down from the standard, there is no loss or evil for him. But if he carries out all the injunctions for purification in the çästras, what does it avail him if he is not Kåñëa conscious?” (Bhäg. 1.5.17) So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Kåñëa consciousness. Therefore, sannyäsa, or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Kåñëa conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.
Sa&YaMYa Ya AaSTae MaNaSaa SMarNa( )
wiNd]YaaQaaRiNvMaU!aTMaa iMaQYaacar" Sa oCYaTae )) 6 ))
ya äste manasä smaran
mithyäcäraù sa ucyate
karma-indriyäëi—the five working sense organs; saàyamya—controlling; yaù—anyone who; äste—remains; manasä—by mind; smaran—thinking; indriya-arthän—sense objects; vimüòha—foolish; ätmä—soul; mithyä-äcäraù—pretender; saù—he; ucyate—is called.
One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.
There are many pretenders who refuse to work in Kåñëa consciousness but make a show of meditation, while actually dwelling within the mind upon sense enjoyment. Such pretenders may also speak on dry philosophy in order to bluff sophisticated followers, but according to this verse these are the greatest cheaters. For sense enjoyment one can act in any capacity of the social order, but if one follows the rules and regulations of his particular status, he can make gradual progress in purifying his existence. But he who makes a show of being a yogé, while actually searching for the objects of sense gratification, must be called the greatest cheater, even though he sometimes speaks of philosophy. His knowledge has no value because the effects of such a sinful man’s knowledge are taken away by the illusory energy of the Lord. Such a pretender’s mind is always impure, and therefore his show of yogic meditation has no value whatsoever.
MaNaSaa iNaYaMYaar>aTae_JauRNa )
k-MaeRiNd]YaE" k-MaRYaaeGaMaSa¢-" Sa iviXaZYaTae )) 7 ))
yas tv indriyäëi manasä
asaktaù sa viçiñyate
yaù—one who; tu—but; indriyäëi—senses; manasä—by the mind; niyamya—regulating; ärabhate—begins; arjuna—O Arjuna; karma-indriyaiù—by the active sense organs; karma-yogam—devotion; asaktaù—without attachment; saù—he; viçiñyate—by far the better.
On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.
Instead of becoming a pseudo-transcendentalist for the sake of wanton living and sense enjoyment, it is far better to remain in one’s own business and execute the purpose of life, which is to get free from material bondage and enter into the kingdom of God. The prime svärtha-gati, or goal of self-interest, is to reach Viñëu. The whole institution of varëa and äçrama is designed to help us reach this goal of life. A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Kåñëa consciousness. For self-realization, one can live a controlled life, as prescribed in the çästras, and continue carrying out his business without attachment, and in that way make progress. Such a sincere person who follows this method is far better situated than the false pretender who adopts show-bottle spiritualism to cheat the innocent public. A sincere sweeper in the street is far better than the charlatan meditator who meditates only for the sake of making a living.
ku-å k-MaR Tv& k-MaR JYaaYaae ùk-MaR<a" )
XarqrYaa}aaiPa c Tae Na Pa[iSaÖyedk-MaR<a" )) 8 ))
niyataà kuru karma tvaà
karma jyäyo hy akarmaëaù
çaréra-yäträpi ca te
na prasiddhyed akarmaëaù
niyatam—prescribed; kuru—do; karma—duties; tvam—you; karma—work; jyäyaù—better; hi—than; akarmaëaù—without work; çaréra—bodily; yäträ—maintenance; api—even; ca—also; te—your; na—never; prasiddhyet—effected; akarmaëaù—without work.
Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.
There are many pseudo-meditators who misrepresent themselves as belonging to high parentage, and great professional men who falsely pose that they have sacrificed everything for the sake of advancement in spiritual life. Lord Kåñëa did not want Arjuna to become a pretender, but that he perform his prescribed duties as set forth for kñatriyas. Arjuna was a householder and a military general, and therefore it was better for him to remain as such and perform his religious duties as prescribed for the householder kñatriya. Such activities gradually cleanse the heart of a mundane man and free him from material contamination. So-called renunciation for the purpose of maintenance is never approved by the Lord, nor by any religious scripture. After all, one has to maintain one’s body and soul together by some work. Work should not be given up capriciously, without purification of materialistic propensities. Anyone who is in the material world is certainly possessed of the impure propensity for lording it over material nature, or, in other words, for sense gratification. Such polluted propensities have to be cleared. Without doing so, through prescribed duties, one should never attempt to become a so-called transcendentalist, renouncing work and living at the cost of others.
l/aek-ae_Ya& k-MaRbNDaNa" )
TadQa| k-MaR k-aENTaeYa Mau¢-Sa®" SaMaacr )) 9 ))
yajïärthät karmaëo ’nyatra
loko ’yaà karma-bandhanaù
tad-arthaà karma kaunteya
yajïa-arthät—only for the sake of Yajïa, or Viñëu; karmaëaù—work done; anyatra—otherwise; lokaù—this world; ayam—this; karma-bandhanaù—bondage by work; tat—Him; artham—for the sake of; karma—work; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; mukta-saìgaù—liberated from association; samäcara—do it perfectly.
Work done as a sacrifice for Viñëu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunté, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.
Since one has to work even for the simple maintenance of the body, the prescribed duties for a particular social position and quality are so made that that purpose can be fulfilled. Yajïa means Lord Viñëu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Viñëu. The Vedas enjoin: yajïo vai viñëuù. In other words, the same purpose is served whether one performs prescribed yajïas or directly serves Lord Viñëu. Kåñëa consciousness is therefore performance of yajïa as it is prescribed in this verse. The varëäçrama institution also aims at this for satisfying Lord Viñëu. “Varëäçramäcära-vatä puruñeëa paraù pumän/viñëur ärädhyate…” (Viñëu Puräëa 3.8.8) Therefore one has to work for the satisfaction of Viñëu. Any other work done in this material world wilI be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer. Therefore, one has to work in Kåñëa consciousness to satisfy Kåñëa (or Viñëu); and while performing such activities one is in a liberated stage. This is the great art of doing work, and in the beginning this process requires very expert guidance. One should therefore act very diligently, under the expert guidance of a devotee of Lord Kåñëa, or under the direct instruction of Lord Kåñëa Himself (under whom Arjuna had the opportunity to work). Nothing should be performed for sense gratification, but everything should be done for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. This practice will not only save one from the reaction of work, but will also gradually elevate one to transcendental loving service of the Lord, which alone can raise one to the kingdom of God.
Pa[Jaa" Sa*îa Pauraevac Pa[JaaPaiTa" )
ANaeNa Pa[SaivZYaßMaez vae_iSTvík-aMaDauk(- )) 10 ))
saha-yajïäù prajäù såñövä
eña vo ’stv iñöa-käma-dhuk
saha—along with; yajïäù—sacrifices; prajäù—generations; såñövä—by creating; purä—anciently; uväca—said; prajä-patiù—the Lord of creatures; anena—by this; prasaviñyadhvam—be more and more prosperous; eñaù—certainly; vaù—your; astu—let it be; iñöa—all desirable; käma-dhuk—bestower.
In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Viñëu, and blessed them by saying, “Be thou happy by this yajïa [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things.”
The material creation by the Lord of creatures (Viñëu) is a chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back home—back to Godhead. All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us understand this eternal relation as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gétä: vedaiç ca sarvair aham eva vedyaù. The Lord says that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said: patià viçvasyätmeçvaram. Therefore, the Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viñëu. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam also Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé describes the Lord as pati in so many ways:
çriyaù-patir yajïa-patiù prajä-patir
dhiyäà patir loka-patir dharä-patiù
patir gatiç cändhaka-våñëi-sätvatäà
prasédatäà me bhagavän satäà patiù
The prajä-pati is Lord Viñëu, and He is the Lord of all living creatures, all worlds, and all beauties, and the protector of everyone. The Lord created this material world for the conditioned souls to learn how to perform yajïas (sacrifice) for the satisfaction of Viñëu, so that while in the material world they can live very comfortably without anxiety. Then after finishing the present material body, they can enter into the kingdom of God. That is the whole program for the conditioned soul. By performance of yajïa, the conditioned souls gradually become Kåñëa conscious and become godly in all respects. In this age of Kali, the saìkértana-yajïa (the chanting of the names of God) is recommended by the Vedic scriptures, and this transcendental system was introduced by Lord Caitanya for the deliverance of all men in this age. Saìkértana-yajïa and Kåñëa consciousness go well together. Lord Kåñëa in His devotional form (as Lord Caitanya) is mentioned in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam as follows, with special reference to the saìkértana-yajïa:
kåñëa-varëaà tviñäkåñëäà säìgopäìgästra-pärñadam
yajïaiù saìkértana-präyair yajanti hi su-medhasaù
“In this age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of saìkértana-yajïa.” (Bhäg. 11.5.29) Other yajïas prescribed in the Vedic literatures are not easy to perform in this age of Kali, but the saìkértana-yajïa is easy and sublime for all purposes.
Tae deva >aavYaNTau v" )
ParSPar& >aavYaNTa" é[eYa" ParMavaPSYaQa )) 11 ))
te devä bhävayantu vaù
çreyaù param aväpsyatha
devän—demigods; bhävayata—having been pleased; anena—by this sacrifice; te—those; deväù—the demigods; bhävayantu—will please; vaù—you; parasparam—mutual; bhävayantaù—pleasing one another; sreyaù—benediction; param—the supreme; aväpsyatha—do you achieve.
The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.
The demigods are empowered administrators of material affairs. The supply of air, light, water and all other benedictions for maintaining the body and soul of every living entity are entrusted to the demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependant on the performance of yajïas by the human being. Some of the yajïas are meant to satisfy particular demigods; but even in so doing, Lord Viñëu is worshiped in all yajïas as the chief beneficiary. It is stated also in the Bhagavad-gétä that Kåñëa Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajïas: bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäm. Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the yajïapati is the chief purpose of all yajïas. When these yajïas are perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the supply of natural products.
Performance of yajïas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation from the material bondage. By performance of yajïas, all activities become purified, as it is stated in the Vedas:
ähära-çuddhau sattva-çuddhiù sattva-çuddhau
dhruvä småtiù småti-lambhe sarva-granthénäà vipra-mokñaù
As it will be explained in the following verse, by performance of yajïa, one’s eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs, one’s very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence, finer tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is sanctified, one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Kåñëa consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.
vae deva daSYaNTae Yaj>aaivTaa" )
TaEdRtaaNaPa[daYaE>Yaae Yaae >au»e STaeNa Wv Sa" )) 12 ))
iñöän bhogän hi vo devä
tair dattän apradäyaibhyo
yo bhuìkte stena eva saù
iñöän—desired; bhogän—necessities of life; hi—certainly; vaù—unto you; deväù—the demigods; däsyante—award; yajïa-bhävitäù—being satisfied by the performance of sacrifices; taiù—by them; dattän—things given; apradäya—without offering; ebhyaù—to the demigods; yaù—he who; bhuìkte—enjoys; stenaù—thief; eva—certainly; saù—is he.
In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajïa [sacrifice], supply all necessities to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering them to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.
The demigods are authorized supplying agents on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viñëu. Therefore, they must be satisfied by the performance of prescribed yajïas. In the Vedas, there are different kinds of yajïas prescribed for different kinds of demigods, but all are ultimately offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For one who cannot understand what the Personality of Godhead is, sacrifice to the demigods is recommended. According to the different material qualities of the persons concerned, different types of yajïas are recommended in the Vedas. Worship of different demigods is also on the same basis—namely, according to different qualities. For example, the meat-eaters are recommended to worship the goddess Kälé, the ghastly form of material nature, and before the goddess the sacrifice of animals is recommended. But for those who are in the mode of goodness, the transcendental worship of Viñëu is recommended. But ultimately, all yajïas are meant for gradual promotion to the transcendental position. For ordinary men, at least five yajïas, known as païca-mahäyajïa, are necessary.
One should know, however, that all the necessities of life that the human society requires are supplied by the demigod agents of the Lord. No one can manufacture anything. Take, for example, all the eatables of human society. These eatables include grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, etc., for the persons in the mode of goodness, and also eatables for the nonvegetarians, like meats, etc., none of which can be manufactured by men. Then again, take for example heat, light, water, air, etc., which are also necessities of life—none of them can be manufactured by the human society. Without the Supreme Lord, there can be no profuse sunlight, moonlight, rainfall, breeze, etc., without which no one can live. Obviously, our life is dependant on supplies from the Lord. Even for our manufacturing enterprises, we require so many raw materials like metal, sulphur, mercury, manganese, and so many essentials—all of which are supplied by the agents of the Lord, with the purpose that we should make proper use of them to keep ourselves fit and healthy for the purpose of self-realization, leading to the ultimate goal of life, namely, liberation from the material struggle for existence. This aim of life is attained by performance of yajïas. If we forget the purpose of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord for sense gratification and become more and more entangled in material existence, which is not the purpose of creation, certainly we become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of material nature. A society of thieves can never be happy because they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no ultimate goal of life. They are simply directed to sense gratification; nor do they have knowledge of how to perform yajïas. Lord Caitanya, however, inaugurated the easiest performance of yajïa, namely the saìkértana-yajïa, which can be performed by anyone in the world who accepts the principles of Kåñëa consciousness.
SaNTaae MauCYaNTae SavRik-iLbzE"
>auÅTae Tae Tvga& PaaPaa Yae PacNTYaaTMak-ar<aaTa( )) 13 ))
bhuïjate te tv aghaà päpä
ye pacanty ätma-käraëät
yajïa-çiñöa—food taken after performance of yajïa; açinaù—eaters; santaù—the devotees; mucyante—get relief from; sarva—all kinds of; kilbiñaiù—sins; bhuïjate—enjoy; te—they; tu—but; agham—grievous sins; päpäù—sinners; ye—those; pacanti—prepare food; ätma-käraëät—for sense enjoyment.
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.
The devotees of the Supreme Lord, or the persons who are in Kåñëa consciousness, are called santas, and they are always in love with the Lord as it is described in the Brahma-saàhitä: premäïjana- cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaù sadaiva hådayeñu vilokayanti. The santas, being always in a compact of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda (the giver of all pleasures), or Mukunda (the giver of liberation), or Kåñëa (the all-attractive person), cannot accept anything without first offering it to the Supreme Person. Therefore, such devotees always perform yajïas in different modes of devotional service, such as çravaëam, kértanam, smaraëam, arcanam, etc., and these performances of yajïas keep them always aloof from all kinds of contamination of sinful association in the material world. Others, who prepare food for self or sense gratification, are not only thieves, but are also the eaters of all kinds of sins. How can a person be happy if he is both a thief and sinful? It is not possible. Therefore, in order for people to become happy in all respects, they must be taught to perform the easy process of saìkértana-yajïa, in full Kåñëa consciousness. Otherwise, there can be no peace or happiness in the world.
>aUTaaiNa PaJaRNYaadàSaM>av" )
YajaÙviTa PaJaRNYaae Yaj" k-MaRSaMauÙv" )) 14 ))
annäd bhavanti bhütäni
yajïäd bhavati parjanyo
annät—from grains; bhavanti—grow; bhütäni—the material bodies; parjanyät—from rains; anna—food grains; sambhavaù—are made possible; yajïät—from the performance of sacrifice; bhavati—becomes possible; parjanyaù—rains; yajïaù—performance of yajïa; karma—prescribed duties; samudbhavaù—born of.
All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajïa [sacrifice], and yajïa is born of prescribed duties.
Çréla Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa, a great commentator on the Bhagavad-gétä, writes as follows: ye indrädy-aìga-tayävasthitaà yajïaà sarveçvaraà viñëum abhyarccya taccheñam açnanti tena taddeha-yänträà sampädayanti te santaù sarveçvarasya bhaktäù sarva-kilviñair anädi-käla-vivåddhair ätmänubhava- pratibandhakair nikhilaiù päpair vimucyante. The Supreme Lord, who is known as the yajïa-puruñaù, or the personal beneficiary of all sacrifices, is the master of all demigods who serve Him as the different limbs of the body serve the whole. Demigods like Indra, Candra, Varuëa, etc., are appointed officers who manage material affairs, and the Vedas direct sacrifices to satisfy these demigods so that they may be pleased to supply air, light and water sufficiently to produce food grains. When Lord Kåñëa is worshiped, the demigods, who are different limbs of the Lord, are also automatically worshiped; therefore there is no separate need to worship the demigods. For this reason, the devotees of the Lord, who are in Kåñëa consciousness, offer food to Kåñëa and then eat—a process which nourishes the body spiritually. By such action not only are past sinful reactions in the body vanquished, but the body becomes immunized to all contamination of material nature. When there is an epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine protects a person from the attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered to Lord Viñëu and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material affection, and one who is accustomed to this practice is called a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Kåñëa consciousness, who eats only food offered to Kåñëa, can counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material world is full of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasädam of the Lord (food offered to Viñëu) is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not do so becomes subjected to contamination.
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity—that is the law of nature. Yajïa, specifically the saìkértana-yajïa prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.
b]øaeÙv& iviÖ b]øa+arSaMauÙvMa( )
TaSMaaTSavRGaTa& b]ø iNaTYa& Yaje Pa[iTaiïTaMa( )) 15 ))
karma brahmodbhavaà viddhi
tasmät sarva-gataà brahma
nityaà yajïe pratiñöhitam
karma—work; brahma—Vedas; udbhavam—produced from; viddhi—one should know; brahma—the Vedas; akñara—the Supreme Brahman (Personality of Godhead); samudbhavam; directly manifested; tasmät—therefore; sarva-gatam—all-pervading; brahma—Transcendence; nityam—eternally; yajïe—in sacrifice; pratiñöhitam—situated.
Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.
Yajïärtha karma, or the necessity of work for the satisfaction of Kåñëa only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the yajïa-puruña, Viñëu, then we must find out the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The Vedas are therefore codes of working directions. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma, or unauthorized or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take direction from the Vedas to be saved from the reaction of work. As one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state, similarly, one has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such directions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said: asya mahato bhütasya naçvasitam etad yad åg-vedo yajur-vedaù säma-vedo ’tharväì girasaù. “The four Vedas—namely the Åg-veda, Yajur-veda, Säma-veda and Atharva-veda—are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead.” The Lord, being omnipotent, can speak by breathing air, as it is confirmed in the Brahma-saàhitä, for the Lord has the omnipotence to perform through each of His senses the actions of all other senses. In other words, the Lord can speak through His breathing, and He can impregnate by His eyes. In fact, it is said that He glanced over material nature and thus fathered all living entities. After creating or impregnating the conditioned souls into the womb of material nature, He gave His directions in the Vedic wisdom as to how such conditioned souls can return home, back to Godhead. We should always remember that the conditioned souls in material nature are all eager for material enjoyment. But the Vedic directions are so made that one can satisfy one’s perverted desires, then return to Godhead, having finished his so-called enjoyment. It is a chance for the conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore the conditioned souls must try to follow the process of yajïa by becoming Kåñëa conscious. Even those who cannot follow the Vedic injunctions may adopt the principles of Kåñëa consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic yajïas, or karmas.
Pa[viTaRTa& c§&- NaaNauvTaRYaTaqh Ya" )
AgaaYauiriNd]YaaraMaae Maaega& PaaQaR Sa JaqviTa )) 16 ))
evaà pravartitaà cakraà
moghaà pärtha sa jévati
evam—thus prescribed; pravartitam—established by the Vedas; cakram—cycle; na—does not; anuvartayati—adopt; iha—in this life; yaù—one who; aghäyuù—life full of sins; indriya-ärämaù—satisfied in sense gratification; mogham—useless; pärtha—O son of Påthä (Arjuna); saù—one who does so; jévati—lives.
My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.
The mammonist philosophy of work very hard and enjoy sense gratification is condemned herein by the Lord. Therefore, for those who want to enjoy this material world, the above-mentioned cycle of performing yajïas is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more and more. By nature’s law, this human form of life is specifically meant for self-realization, in either of the three ways—namely karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. There is no necessity of rigidly following the performances of the prescribed yajïas for the transcendentalists who are above vice and virtue; but those who are engaged in sense gratification require purification by the above-mentioned cycle of yajïa performances. There are different kinds of activities. Those who are not Kåñëa conscious are certainly engaged in sensory consciousness; therefore they need to execute pious work. The yajïa system is planned in such a way that sensory conscious persons may satisfy their desires without becoming entangled in the reaction of sense-gratificatory work. The prosperity of the world depends not on our own efforts but on the background arrangement of the Supreme Lord, directly carried out by the demigods. Therefore, the yajïas are directly aimed at the particular demigod mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Kåñëa consciousness, because when one masters the performance of yajïas, one is sure to become Kåñëa conscious. But if by performing yajïas one does not become Kåñëa conscious, such principles are counted as only moral codes. One should not, therefore, limit his progress only to the point of moral codes, but should transcend them, to attain Kåñëa consciousness.
SYaadaTMaTa*áê MaaNav" )
AaTMaNYaev c SaNTauíSTaSYa k-aYa| Na ivÛTae )) 17 ))
yas tv ätma-ratir eva syäd
ätma-tåptaç ca mänavaù
ätmany eva ca santuñöas
tasya käryaà na vidyate
yaù—one who; tu—but; ätma-ratiù—takes pleasure; eva—certainly; syät—remains; ätma-tåptaù—self-illuminated; ca—and; mänavaù—a man; ätmani—in himself; eva—only; ca—and; santuñöaù—perfectly satiated; tasya—his; käryam—duty; na—does not; vidyate—exist.
One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.
A person who is fully Kåñëa conscious, and is fully satisfied by his acts in Kåñëa consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform. Due to his being Kåñëa conscious, all impiety within is instantly cleansed, an effect of many, many thousands of yajïa performances. By such clearing of consciousness, one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer has any obligations to the Vedic injunctions. Such a Kåñëa conscious person is no longer interested in material activities and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women and similar infatuations.
k*-TaeNaaQaaeR Naak*-TaeNaeh k-êNa )
Na caSYa SavR>aUTaezu k-iêdQaRVYaPaaé[Ya" )) 18 ))
naiva tasya kåtenärtho
na cäsya sarva-bhüteñu
na—never; eva—certainly; tasya—his; kåtena—by discharge of duty; arthaù—purpose; na—nor; akåtena—without discharge of duty; iha—in this world; kaçcana—whatever; na—never; ca—and; asya—of him; sarva-bhüteñu —in all living beings; kaçcit—any; artha—purpose; vyapa-äçrayaù—taking shelter of.
A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.
A self-realized man is no longer obliged to perform any prescribed duty, save and except activities in Kåñëa consciousness. Kåñëa consciousness is not inactivity either, as will be explained in the following verses. A Kåñëa conscious man does not take shelter of any person—man or demigod. Whatever he does in Kåñëa consciousness is sufficient in the discharge of his obligation.
SaTaTa& k-aYa| k-MaR SaMaacr )
ASa¢-ae ùacrNk-MaR ParMaaPanaeiTa PaUåz" )) 19 ))
tasmäd asaktaù satataà
käryaà karma samäcara
asakto hy äcaran karma
param äpnoti püruñaù
tasmät—therefore; asaktaù—without attachment; satatam—constantly; käryam—as duty; karma—work; samäcara—perform; asaktaù—nonattachment; hi—certainly; äcaran—performing; karma—work; param—the Supreme; äpnoti—achieves; püruñaù—a man.
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.
The Supreme is the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and liberation for the impersonalist. A person, therefore, acting for Kåñëa, or in Kåñëa consciousness, under proper guidance and without attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Arjuna is told that he should fight in the Battle of Kurukñetra for the interest of Kåñëa because Kåñëa wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a nonviolent man is a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme is to act without attachment for the result. That is perfect action of the highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa. Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But action in Kåñëa consciousness is transcendental to the reactions of good or evil work. A Kåñëa conscious person has no attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Kåñëa alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely nonattached.
Sa&iSaiÖMaaiSQaTaa JaNak-adYa" )
l/aek-Sa°hMaevaiPa SaMPaXYaNk-TauRMahRiSa )) 20 ))
karmaëaiva hi saàsiddhim
sampaçyan kartum arhasi
karmaëä—by work; eva—even; hi—certainly; saàsiddhim—perfection; ästhitäù—situated; janaka-ädayaù—kings like Janaka and others; loka-saìgraham—educating the people in general; eva—also; api—for the sake of; sampaçyan—by considering; kartum—to act; arhasi—deserve.
Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.
Kings like Janaka and others were all self-realized souls; consequently they had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties in the Vedas. Nonetheless they performed all prescribed activities just to set examples for the people in general. Janaka was the father of Sétä, and father-in-law of Lord Çré Räma. Being a great devotee of the Lord, he was transcendentally situated, but because he was the King of Mithila (a subdivision of Behar province in India), he had to teach his subjects how to fight righteously in battle. He and his subjects fought to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the Battle of Kurukñetra, every effort was made to avoid the war, even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the other party was determined to fight. So for such a right cause, there is a necessity for fighting. Although one who is situated in Kåñëa consciousness may not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public how to live and how to act. Experienced persons in Kåñëa consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is explained in the following verse.
é[eïSTatadeveTarae JaNa" )
Sa YaTPa[Maa<a& ku-åTae l/aek-STadNauvTaRTae )) 21 ))
yad yad äcarati çreñöhas
tat tad evetaro janaù
sa yat pramäëaà kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
yat—whatever; yat—and whichever; äcarati—does he act; çreñöhaù—respectable leader; tat—that; tat—and that alone; eva—certainly; itaraù—common; janaù—person; saù—he; yat—whichever; pramäëam—evidence; kurute—does perform; lokaù—all the world; tat—that; anuvartate—follow in the footsteps.
Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
People in general always require a leader who can teach the public by practical behavior. A leader cannot teach the public to stop smoking if he himself smokes. Lord Caitanya said that a teacher should behave properly even before he begins teaching. One who teaches in that way is called äcärya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the principles of çäçtra (scripture) to reach the common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-saàhitä and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leader’s teaching should be based on the principles of the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Çrémad-Bhägavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees, and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization. The king or the executive head of a state, the father and the school teacher are all considered to be natural leaders of the innocent people in general. All such natural leaders have a great responsibility to their dependants; therefore they must be conversant with standard books of moral and spiritual codes.
PaaQaaRiSTa k-TaRVYa& i}azu l/aeke-zu ik-ÄNa )
NaaNavaáMavaáVYa& vTaR Wv c k-MaRi<a )) 22 ))
na me pärthästi kartavyaà
triñu lokeñu kiïcana
varta eva ca karmaëi
na—none; me—Mine; pärtha—O son of Påthä; asti—there is; kartavyam—any prescribed duty; triñu—in the three; lokeñu—planetary systems; kiïcana—anything; na—no; anaväptam—in want; aväptavyam—to be gained; varte—engaged; eva—certainly; ca—also; karmaëi—in one’s prescribed duty.
O son of Påthä, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures as follows:
tam éçvaräëäà paramaà maheçvaraà
taà devatänäà paramaà ca daivatam
patià paténäà paramaà parastäd
vidäma devaà bhuvaneçam éòyam
na tasya käryaà karaëaà ca vidyate
na tat-samaç cäbhyadhikaç ca dåçyate
paräsya çaktir vividhaiva çrüyate
svä-bhäviké jïäna-bala-kriyä ca.
“The Supreme Lord is the controller of all other controllers, and He is the greatest of all the diverse planetary leaders. Everyone is under His control. All entities are delegated with particular power only by the Supreme Lord; they are not supreme themselves. He is also worshipable by all demigods and is the supreme director of all directors. Therefore, He is transcendental to all kinds of material leaders and controllers and is worshipable by all. There is no one greater than Him, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.
“He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence.” (Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.7–8)
Since everything is in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead and is existing in full truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Kåñëa is engaged on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra as the leader of the kñatriyas because the kñatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of the revealed scriptures, He does not do anything that violates the revealed scriptures.
Yaid ùh& Na
vTaeRYa& JaaTau k-MaR<YaTaiNd]Ta" )
MaMa vTMaaRNauvTaRNTae MaNauZYaa" PaaQaR SavRXa" )) 23 ))
yadi hy ahaà na varteyaà
jätu karmaëy atandritaù
manuñyäù pärtha sarvaçaù
yadi—if; hi—certainly; aham—I; na—do not; varteyam—thus engage; jätu—ever; karmaëi—in the performance of prescribed duties; atandritaù—with great care; mama—My; vartma—path; anuvartante—would follow; manuñyäù—all men; pärtha—O son of Påthä; sarvaçaù—in all respects.
For, if I did not engage in work, O Pärtha, certainly all men would follow My path.
In order to keep the balance of social tranquility for progress in spiritual life. there are traditional family usages meant for every civilized man. Although such rules and regulations are for the conditioned souls and not Lord Kåñëa, because He descended to establish the principles of religion, He followed the prescribed rules. Otherwise, common men would follow in His footsteps because He is the greatest authority. From the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is understood that Lord Kåñëa was performing all the religious duties at home and out of home, as required of a householder.
l/aek-a Na ku-Yaa| k-MaR cedhMa( )
SaªrSYa c k-TaaR SYaaMauPahNYaaiMaMaa" Pa[Jaa" )) 24 ))
utsédeyur ime lokä
na kuryäà karma ced aham
saìkarasya ca kartä syäm
upahanyäm imäù prajäù
utsédeyuù—put into ruin; ime—all these; lokäù—worlds; na—do not; kuryäm—perform; karma—prescribed duties; cet—if; aham—I; saìkarasya—of unwanted population; ca—and; kartä—creator; syäm—shall be; upahanyäm—destroy; imäù—all these; prajäù—living entities.
If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.
Varëa-saìkara is unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and regulations by which the population can automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life. When Lord Kåñëa descends, naturally He deals with such rules and regulations in order to maintain the prestige and necessity of such important performances. The Lord is the father of all living entities, and if the living entities are misguided, indirectly the responsibility goes to the Lord. Therefore, whenever there is general disregard of regulative principles, the Lord Himself descends and corrects the society. We should, however, note carefully that although we have to follow in the footsteps of the Lord, we still have to remember that we cannot imitate Him. Following and imitating are not on the same level. We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhana Hill, as the Lord did in His childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any time. The Çrémad-Bhägavatam affirms:
naitat samäcarej jätu manasäpi hy anéçvaraù
vinaçyaty äcaran mauòhyäd yathä ’rudro ’bdhijaà viñam
éçvaräëäà vacaù satyaà tathaiväcaritaà kvacit
teñäà yat sva-vaco yuktaà buddhimäàs tat samäcaret
“One should simply follow the instructions of the Lord and His empowered servants. Their instructions are all good for us, and any intelligent person will perform them as instructed. However, one should guard against trying to imitate their actions. One should not try to drink the ocean of poison in imitation of Lord Çiva.” (Bhäg. 10.33.30)
We should always consider the position of the éçvaras, or those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon, as superior. Without such power, one cannot imitate the éçvaras, who are superpowerful. Lord Çiva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean, but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such poison, he will be killed. There are many psuedo-devotees of Lord Çiva who want to indulge in smoking gäïjä (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Çiva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some psuedo-devotees of Lord Kåñëa who prefer to imitate the Lord in His räsa-lélä, or dance of love, forgetting their inability to lift Govardhana Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy their posts without qualification. There are so many “incarnations” of God without the power of the Supreme Godhead.
k-MaR<YaivÜa&Saae YaQaa ku-vRiNTa >aarTa )
ku-YaaRiÜÜa&STaQaaSa¢-iêk-IzuRl/aeRk-Sa°hMa( )) 25 ))
saktäù karmaëy avidväàso
yathä kurvanti bhärata
kuryäd vidväàs tathäsaktaç
saktäù—being attached; karmaëi—prescribed duties; avidväàsaù—the ignorant; yathä—as much as; kurvanti—do it; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; kuryät—must do; vidvän—the learned; tathä—thus; asaktaù—without attachment; cikérñuù—desiring to; loka-saìgraham—leading the people in general.
As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.
A person in Kåñëa consciousness and a person not in Kåñëa consciousness are differentiated by different desires. A Kåñëa conscious person does not do anything which is not conducive to development of Kåñëa consciousness. He may even act exactly like the ignorant person, who is too much attached to material activities, but one is engaged in such activities for the satisfaction of his sense gratification, whereas the other is engaged for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. Therefore, the Kåñëa conscious person is required to show the people how to act and how to engage the results of action for the purpose of Kåñëa consciousness.
JaNaYaedjaNaa& k-MaRSai®NaaMa( )
JaaezYaeTSavRk-MaaRi<a ivÜaNYau¢-" SaMaacrNa( )) 26 ))
na buddhi-bhedaà janayed
vidvän yuktaù samäcaran
na—do not; buddhi-bhedam—disrupt the intelligence; janayet—do; ajïänäm—of the foolish; karma-saìginäm—attached to fruitive work; joñayet—dovetailed; sarva—all; karmäëi—work; vidvän—learned; yuktaù—all engaged; samäcaran—practicing.
Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.
Vedaiç ca sarvair aham eva vedyaù: that is the end of all Vedic rituals. All rituals, all performances of sacrifices, and everything that is put into the Vedas, including all directions for material activities, are meant for understanding Kåñëa, who is the ultimate goal of life. But because the conditioned souls do not know anything beyond sense gratification, they study the Vedas to that end. Through sense regulations, however, one is gradually elevated to Kåñëa consciousness. Therefore a realized soul in Kåñëa consciousness should not disturb others in their activities or understanding, but he should act by showing how the results of all work can be dedicated to the service of Kåñëa. The learned Kåñëa conscious person may act in such a way that the ignorant person working for sense gratification may learn how to act and how to behave. Although the ignorant man is not to be disturbed in his activities, still, a slightly developed Kåñëa conscious person may directly be engaged in the service of the Lord without waiting for other Vedic formulas. For this fortunate man there is no need to follow the Vedic rituals, because in direct Kåñëa consciousness one can have all the results simply by following the prescribed duties of a particular person.
i§-YaMaa<aaiNa Gau<aE" k-MaaRi<a SavRXa" )
AhªarivMaU!aTMaa k-TaaRhiMaiTa MaNYaTae )) 27 ))
guëaiù karmäëi sarvaçaù
kartäham iti manyate
prakåteù—of material nature; kriyamäëäni—all being done; guëaiù—by the modes; karmäëi—activities; sarvaçaù—all kinds of; ahaìkära-vimüòha—bewildered by false ego; ätmä—the spirit soul; kartä—doer; aham—I; iti—thus; manyate—thinks.
The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.
Two persons, one in Kåñëa consciousness and the other in material consciousness, working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature, which works under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Kåñëa. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independantly, and that is the symptom of his nescience. He does not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Kåñëa, in Kåñëa consciousness. The ignorant man forgets that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Håñékeça, or the master of the senses of the material body, for due to his long misuse of the senses in sense gratification, he is factually bewildered by the false ego, which makes him forget his eternal relationship with Kåñëa.
Mahabahae Gau<ak-MaRiv>aaGaYaae" )
Gau<aa Gau<aezu vTaRNTa wiTa MaTva Na SaÂTae )) 28 ))
tattva-vit tu mahä-bäho
guëä guëeñu vartanta
iti matvä na sajjate
tattvavit—the knower of the Absolute Truth; tu—but; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; guëa-karma—works under material influence; vibhägayoù—differences; guëäù—senses; guëeñu—in sense gratification; vartante—being engaged; iti—thus; matvä—thinking; na—never; sajjate—becomes attached.
One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.
The knower of the Absolute Truth is convinced of his awkward position in material association. He knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, and that his position should not be in the material creation. He knows his real identity as part and parcel of the Supreme, who is eternal bliss and knowledge, and he realizes that somehow or other he is entrapped in the material conception of life. In his pure state of existence he is meant to dovetail his activities in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Kåñëa consciousness and becomes naturally unattached to the activities of the material senses, which are all circumstantial and temporary. He knows that his material condition of life is under the supreme control of the Lord; consequently he is not disturbed by all kinds of material reactions, which he considers to be the mercy of the Lord. According to Çrémad-Bhägavatam, one who knows the Absolute Truth in three different features—namely Brahman, Paramätmä, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead—is called tattvavit, for he knows also his own factual position in relationship with the Supreme.
SaÂNTae Gau<ak-MaRSau )
TaaNak*-Tòivdae MaNdaNk*-Tòivà ivcal/YaeTa( )) 29 ))
tän akåtsna-vido mandän
kåtsna-vin na vicälayet
prakåteù—impelled by the material modes; guëa-saàmüòhäù—befooled by material identification; sajjante—become engaged; guëa-karmasu—in material activities; tän—all those; akåtsna-vidaù—persons with a poor fund of knowledge; mandän—lazy to understand self-realization; kåtsna-vit—one who is in factual knowledge; na—may not; vicälayet—try to agitate.
Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge.
Persons who are unknowledgeable falsely identify with gross material consciousness and are full of material designations. This body is a gift of the material nature, and one who is too much attached to the bodily consciousness is called mandän, or a lazy person without understanding of spirit soul. Ignorant men think of the body as the self; bodily connections with others are accepted as kinsmanship; the land in which the body is obtained is the object of worship; and the formalities of religious rituals are considered ends in themselves. Social work, nationalism, and altruism are some of the activities for such materially designated persons. Under the spell of such designations, they are always busy in the material field; for them spiritual realization is a myth, and so they are not interested. Such bewildered persons may even be engaged in such primary moral principles of life as nonviolence and similar materially benevolent work. Those who are, however, enlightened in spiritual life, should not try to agitate such materially engrossed persons. Better to prosecute one’s own spiritual activities silently.
Men who are ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Kåñëa consciousness, and therefore Lord Kåñëa advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Kåñëa consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.
SavaRi<a k-MaaRi<a SaNNYaSYaaDYaaTMaceTaSaa )
iNaraXaqiNaRMaRMaae >aUTva YauDYaSv ivGaTaJvr" )) 30 ))
mayi sarväëi karmäëi
niräçér nirmamo bhütvä
mayi—unto Me; sarväëi—all sorts of; karmäëi—activities; sannyasya—giving up completely; adhyätma—with full knowledge of the self; cetasä—consciousness; niräçéù—without desire for profit; nirmamaù—without ownership; bhütvä—so being; yudhyasva—fight; vigata-jvaraù—without being lethargic.
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight.
This verse clearly indicates the purpose of the Bhagavad-gétä. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Kåñëa conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult; nevertheless duties must be carried out, with dependence on Kåñëa, because that is the constitutional position of the living entity. The living entity cannot be happy independant of the cooperation of the Supreme Lord because the eternal constitutional position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord. Arjuna was, therefore, ordered by Çré Kåñëa to fight as if the Lord were his military commander. One has to sacrifice everything for the good will of the Supreme Lord, and at the same time discharge prescribed duties without claiming proprietorship. Arjuna did not have to consider the order of the Lord; he had only to execute His order. The Supreme Lord is the Soul of all souls; therefore, one who depends solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words, one who is fully Kåñëa conscious, is called adhyätma-cetasä. Niräçéù means that one has to act on the order of the master. Nor should one ever expect fruitive results. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent for himself. Similarly, one has to realize that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but that everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. That is the real purport of mayi, or unto Me. And when one acts in such Kåñëa consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything. This consciousness is called nirmama, or nothing is mine. And, if there is any reluctance to execute such a stern order which is without consideration of so-called kinsmen in the bodily relationship, that reluctance should be thrown off; in this way one may become vigata-jvara, or without feverish mentality or lethargy. Everyone, according to his quality and position, has a particular type of work to discharge, and all such duties may be discharged in Kåñëa consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.
MaTaiMad& iNaTYaMaNauiTaïiNTa MaaNava" )
é[ÖavNTaae_NaSaUYaNTaae MauCYaNTae Tae_iPa k-MaRi>a" )) 31 ))
ye me matam idaà nityam
mucyante te ’pi karmabhiù
ye—those; me—My; matam—injunctions; idam—this; nityam—eternal function; anutiñöhanti—execute regularly; mänaväù—humankind; çraddhävantaù—with faith and devotion; anasüyantaù—without envy; mucyante—become free; te—all of them; api—even; karmabhiù—from the bondage of the law of fruitive action.
One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and who follows this teaching faithfully, without envy, becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.
The injunction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom, and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Kåñëa consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many philosophers who write comments on the Bhagavad-gétä but have no faith in Kåñëa. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Kåñëa consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Kåñëa consciousness.
TveTad>YaSaUYaNTaae NaaNauiTaïiNTa Mae MaTaMa( )
SavRjaNaivMaU!a&STaaiNviÖ NaíaNaceTaSa" )) 32 ))
ye tv etad abhyasüyanto
nänutiñöhanti me matam
viddhi nañöän acetasaù
ye—those; tu—however; etat—this; abhyasüyantaù—out of envy; na—do not; anutiñöhanti—regularly perform; me—My; matam—injunction; sarva-jïäna—all sorts of knowledge; vimüòhän—perfectly befooled; tän—they are; viddhi—know it well; nañöän—all ruined; acetasaù—without Kåñëa consciousness.
But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.
The flaw of not being Kåñëa conscious is clearly stated herein. As there is punishment for disobedience to the order of the supreme executive head, so there is certainly punishment for the disobedience of the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A disobedient person, however great he may be, is ignorant of his own self, of the Supreme Brahman, and Paramätmä and the Personality of Godhead, due to a vacant heart. Therefore there is no hope of perfection of life for him.
ceíTae SvSYaa" Pa[k*-TaejaRNavaNaiPa )
Pa[k*-iTa& YaaiNTa >aUTaaiNa iNaGa]h" ik&- k-irZYaiTa )) 33 ))
sadåçaà ceñöate svasyäù
prakåter jïänavän api
prakåtià yänti bhütäni
nigrahaù kià kariñyati
sadåçam—accordingly; ceñöate—tries; svasyäù—in one’s own nature; prakåteù—modes; jïänavän—the learned; api—although; prakåtim—nature; yänti—undergo; bhütäni—all living entities; nigrahaù—suppression; kim—what; kariñyati—can do.
Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?
Unless one is situated on the transcendental platform of Kåñëa consciousness, he cannot get free from the influence of the modes of material nature, as it is confirmed by the Lord in the Seventh Chapter (7.14). Therefore, even for the most highly educated person on the mundane plane, it is impossible to get out of the entanglement of mäyä simply by theoretical knowledge, or by separating the soul from the body. There are many so-called spiritualists who outwardly pose to be advanced in the science, but inwardly or privately are completely under the particular modes of nature which they are unable to surpass. Academically, one may be very learned, but because of his long association with material nature, he is in bondage. Kåñëa consciousness helps one to get out of the material entanglement, even though one may be engaged in his prescribed duties. Therefore, without being fully in Kåñëa consciousness, no one should suddenly give up his prescribed duties and become a so-called yogé or transcendentalist artificially. It is better to be situated in one’s position and to try to attain Kåñëa consciousness under superior training. Thus one may be freed from the clutches of mäyä.
raGaÜezaE VYaviSQaTaaE )
TaYaaeNaR vXaMaaGaC^etaaE ùSYa PairPaiNQaNaaE )) 34 ))
tayor na vaçam ägacchet
tau hy asya paripanthinau
indriyasya—of the senses; indriyasya arthe—in the sense objects; räga—attachment; dveñau—also in detachment; vyavasthitau—put under regulations; tayoù—of them; na—never; vaçam—control; ägacchet—one should come; tau—those; hi—certainly are; asya—his; paripanthinau—stumbling blocks.
Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.
Those who are in Kåñëa consciousness are naturally reluctant to engage in material sense gratifications. But those who are not in such consciousness should follow the rules and regulations of the revealed scriptures. Unrestricted sense enjoyment is the cause of material encagement, but one who follows the rules and regulations of the revealed scriptures does not become entangled by the sense objects. For example, sex enjoyment is a necessity for the conditioned soul, and sex enjoyment is allowed under the license of marriage ties. For example, according to scriptural injunctions, one is forbidden to engage in sex relationships with any women other than one’s wife. All other women are to be considered as one’s mother. But, in spite of such injunctions, a man is still inclined to have sex relationships with other women. These propensities are to be curbed; otherwise they will be stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. As long as the material body is there, the necessities of the material body are allowed, but under rules and regulations. And yet, we should not rely upon the control of such allowances. One has to follow those rules and regulations, unattached to them, because practice of sense gratifications under regulations may also lead one to go astray—as much as there is always the chance of an accident, even on the royal roads. Although they may be very carefully maintained, no one can guarantee that there will be no danger even on the safest road. The sense enjoyment spirit has been current a very long, long time, owing to material association. Therefore, in spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there is every chance of falling down; therefore any attachment for regulated sense enjoyment must also be avoided by all means. But action in the loving service of Kåñëa detaches one from all kinds of sensory activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Kåñëa consciousness at any stage of life. The whole purpose of detachment from all kinds of sense attachment is ultimately to become situated on the platform of Kåñëa consciousness.
ivGau<a" ParDaMaaRTSvNauiïTaaTa( )
SvDaMaeR iNaDaNa& é[eYa" ParDaMaaeR >aYaavh" )) 35 ))
çreyän sva-dharmo viguëaù
sva-dharme nidhanaà çreyaù
çreyän—far better; sva-dharmaù—one’s prescribed duties; viguëaù—even faulty; para-dharmät—from duties mentioned for others; svanuñthität—than perfectly done; sva-dharme—in one’s prescribed duties; nidhanam—destruction; çreyaù—better; para-dharmaù—duties prescribed for others; bhaya-ävahaù—dangerous.
It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.
One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Kåñëa consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Prescribed duties complement one’s psychophysical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature. Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master, for the transcendental service of Kåñëa. But both materially or spiritually, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate another’s prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the performer. When one is under the spell of the modes of material nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for particular situations and should not imitate others. For example, a brähmaëa, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a kñatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a kñatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brähmaëa who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Kåñëa consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Kåñëa consciousness, the kñatriya may act as a brähmaëa, or a brähmaëa may act as a kñatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Viçvämitra was originally a kñatriya, but later on he acted as a brähmaëa, whereas Paraçuräma was a brähmaëa, but later on he acted as a kñatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Kåñëa consciousness.
AQa ke-Na Pa[Yau¢-ae_Ya& PaaPa& criTa PaUåz" )
AiNaC^àiPa vaZ<aeRYa bl/aidv iNaYaaeiJaTa" )) 36 ))
atha kena prayukto ’yaà
päpaà carati püruñaù
anicchann api värñëeya
baläd iva niyojitaù
arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; atha—hereafter; kena—by what; prayuktaù—impelled; ayam—one; päpam—sins; carati—acts; püruñaù—a man; anicchan—without desiring; api—although; värñëeya—O descendant of Våñëi; balät—by force; iva—as if; niyojitaù—engaged.
Arjuna said: O descendant of Våñëi, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?
A living entity, as part and parcel of the Supreme, is originally spiritual, pure, and free from all material contaminations. Therefore, by nature he is not subjected to the sins of the material world. But when he is in contact with the material nature, he acts in many sinful ways without hesitation, and sometimes even against his will. As such, Arjuna’s question to Kåñëa is very sanguine, as to the perverted nature of the living entities. Although the living entity sometimes does not want to act in sin, he is still forced to act. Sinful actions are not, however, impelled by the Supersoul within, but are due to another cause, as the Lord explains in the next verse.
k-aMa Wz §-aeDa Wz rJaaeGau<aSaMauÙv" )
MahaXaNaae MahaPaaPMaa ivÖyeNaiMah vEir<aMa( )) 37 ))
käma eña krodha eña
viddhy enam iha vairiëam
çré bhagavän uväca—the Personality of Godhead said; kämaù—lust; eñaù—all these; krodhaù—wrath; eñaù—all these; rajo-guëa—the mode of passion; samudbhavaù—born of; mahä-çanaù—all-devouring; mahä-päpmä—greatly sinful; viddhi—know; enam—this; iha—in the material world; vairiëam—greatest enemy.
The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.
When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Kåñëa is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yogurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied, it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in the material world. Wrath is the manifestation of the mode of ignorance; these modes exhibit themselves as wrath and other corollaries. If, therefore, the modes of passion, instead of being degraded into the modes of ignorance, are elevated to the modes of goodness by the prescribed method of Iiving and acting, then one can be saved from the degradation of wrath by spiritual attachment.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead expanded Himself into many for His ever-increasing spiritual bliss, and the living entities are parts and parcels of this spiritual bliss. They also have partial independence, but by misuse of their independence, when the service attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment, they come under the sway of lust. This material creation is created by the Lord to give a facility to the conditioned souls to fulfill these lustful propensities, and when they are completely baffled by prolonged lustful activities, the living entities begin to inquire about their real position.
This inquiry is the beginning of the Vedänta-sütras, wherein it is said, athäto brahma-jijïäsä: one should inquire into the Supreme. And the Supreme is defined in Çrémad-Bhägavatam as janmädyasya yato ’nvayäd itarataç ca, or, "The origin of everything is the Supreme Brahman." Therefore, the origin of lust is also in the Supreme. If, therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or transformed into Kåñëa consciousness—or, in other words, desiring everything for Kåñëa—then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized. Hanumän, the great servitor of Lord Rama, engaged his wrath upon his enemies for the satisfaction of the Lord. Therefore, lust and wrath, when they are employed in Kåñëa consciousness, become our friends instead of our enemies.
viöYaRQaadXaaeR Male/Na c )
YaQaaeLbeNaav*Taae Ga>aRSTaQaa TaeNaedMaav*TaMa( )) 38 ))
yathädarço malena ca
tathä tenedam ävåtam
dhümena—by smoke; ävriyate—covered; vahniù—fire; yathä—just as; ädarçaù—mirror; malena—by dust; ca—also; yathä—just as; ulbena—by the womb; ävåtaù—is covered; garbhaù—embryo; tathä—so; tena—by that lust; idam—this; ävåtam—is covered.
As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.
There are three degrees of covering of the living entity by which his pure consciousness is obscured. This covering is but lust under different manifestations like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror, and the womb about the embryo. When lust is compared to smoke, it is understood that the fire of the living spark can be a little perceived. In other words, when the living entity exhibits his Kåñëa consciousness slightly, he may be likened to the fire covered by smoke. Although fire is necessary where there is smoke, there is no overt manifestation of fire in the early stage. This stage is like the beginning of Kåñëa consciousness. The dust on the mirror refers to a cleansing process of the mirror of the mind by so many spiritual methods. The best process is to chant the holy names of the Lord. The embryo covered by the womb is an analogy illustrating a helpless position, for the child in the womb is so helpless that he cannot even move. This stage of living condition can be compared to that of the trees. The trees are also living entities, but they have been put in such a condition of life by such a great exhibition of lust that they are almost void of all consciousness. The covered mirror is compared to the birds and beasts, and the smoke covered fire is compared to the human being. In the form of a human being, the living entity may revive a little Kåñëa consciousness, and, if he makes further development, the fire of spiritual life can be kindled in the human form of life. By careful handling of the smoke in the fire, the fire can be made to blaze. Therefore the human form of life is a chance for the living entity to escape the entanglement of material existence. In the human form of life, one can conquer the enemy, lust, by cultivation of Kåñëa consciousness under able guidance.
jaNaMaeTaeNa jaiNaNaae iNaTYavEir<aa )
k-aMaæPae<a k-aENTaeYa duZPaUre<aaNale/Na c )) 39 ))
ävåtaà jïänam etena
ävåtam—covered; jïänam—pure consciousness; etena—by this; jïäninaù—of the knower; nitya-vairiëä—eternal enemy; käma-rüpeëa—in the form of lust; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; duñpüreëa—never to be satisfied; analena—by the fire; ca—also.
Thus, a man’s pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.
It is said in the Manu-småti that lust cannot be satisfied by any amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire is never extinguished by a constant supply of fuel. In the material world, the center of all activities is sex, and thus this material world is called maithuëya-ägära, or the shackles of sex life. In the ordinary prison house, criminals are kept within bars; similarly, the criminals who are disobedient to the laws of the Lord are shackled by sex life. Advancement of material civilization on the basis of sense gratification means increasing the duration of the material existence of a living entity. Therefore, this lust is the symbol of ignorance by which the living entity is kept within the material world. While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoyer.
MaNaae buiÖrSYaaiDaïaNaMauCYaTae )
WTaEivRMaaehYaTYaez jaNaMaav*TYa deihNaMa( )) 40 ))
indriyäëi mano buddhir
etair vimohayaty eña
jïänam ävåtya dehinam
indriyäëi—the senses; manaù—the mind; buddhiù—the intelligence; asya—of the lust; adhiñöhänam—sitting place; ucyate—called; etaiù—by all these; vimohayati—bewilders; eñaù—of this; jïänam—knowledge; ävåtya—covering; dehinam—the embodied.
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
The enemy has captured different strategic positions in the body of the conditioned soul, and therefore Lord Kåñëa is giving hints of those places, so that one who wants to conquer the enemy may know where he can be found. Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus the mind is the reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a result, the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust. Next, the intelligence department becomes the capital of such lustful propensities. Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness. This false identification of the spirit soul is very nicely explained in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam:
yasyätma-buddhiù kuëäpe tri-dhätuke
sva-dhéù kalaträdiñu bhauma idyadhéù
yat-tértha-buddhiù salite na karhicij
janeñv abhijïeñu sa eva gokharaù.
"A human being who identifies this body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of birth as worshipable, and who goes to the place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered as an ass or a cow."
iNaYaMYa >arTazR>a )
PaaPMaaNa& Pa[Jaih ùeNa& jaNaivjaNaNaaXaNaMa( )) 41 ))
tasmät tvam indriyäëy ädau
päpmänaà prajahi hy enaà
tasmät—therefore; tvam—you; indriyäëi—senses; ädau—in the beginning; niyamya—by regulating; bharatarñabha—O chief amongst the descendants of Bharata; päpmänam—the great symbol of sin; prajahi—curb; hi—certainly; enam—this; jïäna—knowledge; vijïäna—scientific knowledge of the pure soul; näçanam—destroyer.
Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhäratas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.
The Lord advised Arjuna to regulate the senses from the very beginning so that he could curb the greatest sinful enemy, lust, which destroys the urge for self-realization, and specifically, knowledge of the self. Jïänam refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or, in other words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vijïänam refers to specific knowledge of the spirit soul and knowledge of one’s constitutional position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is explained thus in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam: jïänaà parama-guhyaà me yad-vijïäna-samanvitam / sarahasyaà tad-aìgaà ca gåhäna gaditaà mayä: "The knowledge of the self and the Supreme Self is very confidential and mysterious, being veiled by mäyä, but such knowledge and specific realization can be understood if it is explained by the Lord Himself." Bhagavad-gétä gives us that knowledge, specifically knowledge of the self. The living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord, and therefore they are simply meant to serve the Lord. This consciousness is called Kåñëa consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this Kåñëa consciousness, and thereby one may become fully Kåñëa conscious and act accordingly.
Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is natural for every living entity. But if one is educated in Kåñëa consciousness from the very beginning, that natural love of God cannot deteriorate into lust. When love of God deteriorates into lust, it is very difficult to return to the normal condition. Nonetheless, Kåñëa consciousness is so powerful that even a late beginner can become a lover of God by following the regulative principles of devotional service. So, from any stage of life, or from the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in Kåñëa consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the lust into love of Godhead—the highest perfectional stage of human life.
Para<YaahuiriNd]Yae>Ya" Par& MaNa" )
MaNaSaSTau Para buiÖYaaeR buÖe" ParTaSTau Sa" )) 42 ))
indriyäëi paräëy ähur
indriyebhyaù paraà manaù
manasas tu parä buddhir
yo buddheù paratas tu saù
indriyäëé—senses; paräëi—superior; ähuù—is said; indriyebhyaù—more than the senses; param—superior; manaù—the mind; manasaù—more than the mind; tu—also; parä—superior; buddhiù—intelligence; yaù—one which; buddheù—more than the intelligence; parataù—superior; tu—but; saù—he.
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
The senses are different outlets for the activities of lust. Lust is reserved within the body, but it is given vent through the senses. Therefore, the senses are superior to the body as a whole. These outlets are not in use when there is superior consciousness, or Kåñëa consciousness. In Kåñëa consciousness the soul makes direct connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the bodily functions, as described here, ultimately end in the Supreme Soul. Bodily action means the functions of the senses, and stopping the senses means stopping all bodily actions. But since the mind is active, then, even though the body may be silent and at rest, the mind will act—as it does during dreaming. But, above the mind there is the determination of the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the soul proper. If, therefore, the soul is directly engaged with the Supreme, naturally all other subordinates, namely, the intelligence, mind and the senses, will be automatically engaged. In the Kaöha Upaniñad there is a passage in which it is said that the objects of sense gratification are superior to the senses, and mind is superior to the sense objects. If, therefore, the mind is directly engaged in the service of the Lord constantly, then there is no chance of the senses becoming engaged in other ways. This mental attitude has already been explained. If the mind is engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is no chance of its being engaged in the lower propensities. In the Kaöha Upaniñad the soul has been described as mahän, the great. Therefore the soul is above all—namely, the sense objects, the senses, the mind and the intelligence. Therefore, directly understanding the constitutional position of the soul is the solution of the whole problem.
With intelligence one has to seek out the constitutional position of the soul and then engage the mind always in Kåñëa consciousness. That solves the whole problem. A neophyte spiritualist is generally advised to keep aloof from the objects of senses. One has to strengthen the mind by use of intelligence. If by intelligence one engages one’s mind in Kåñëa consciousness, by complete surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then, automatically, the mind becomes stronger, and even though the senses are very strong, like serpents, they will be no more effective than serpents with broken fangs. But even though the soul is the master of intelligence and mind, and the senses also, still, unless it is strengthened by association with Kåñëa in Kåñëa consciousness, there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind.
buÖe" Par& bud(ßa Sa&STa>YaaTMaaNaMaaTMaNaa )
Jaih Xa}au& Mahabahae k-aMaæPa& duraSadMa( )) 43 ))
evaà buddheù paraà buddhvä
jahi çatruà mahä-bäho
evam—thus; buddheù—of intelligence; param—superior; buddhvä—so knowing; saàstabhya—by steadying; ätmänam—the mind; ätmanä—by deliberate intelligence; jahi—conquer; çatrum—the enemy; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; käma-rüpam—the form of lust; duräsadam—formidable.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus—by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.
This Third Chapter of the Bhagavad-gétä is conclusively directive to Kåñëa consciousness by knowing oneself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without considering impersonal voidness as the ultimate end. In the material existence of life, one is certainly influenced by propensities for lust and desire for dominating the resources of material nature. Desire for overlording and sense gratification are the greatest enemies of the conditioned soul; but by the strength of Kåñëa consciousness, one can control the material senses, the mind and the intelligence. One may not give up work and prescribed duties all of a sudden; but by gradually developing Kåñëa consciousness, one can be situated in a transcendental position without being influenced by the material senses and the mind—by steady intelligence directed toward one’s pure identity. This is the sum total of this chapter. In the immature stage of material existence, philosophical speculations and artificial attempts to control the senses by the so-called practice of yogic postures can never help a man toward spiritual life. He must be trained in Kåñëa consciousness by higher intelligence.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Third Chapter of the Çrémad-Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of Karma-yoga, or the Discharge of One’s Prescribed Duty in Kåñëa Consciousness.
Bg 4. Transcendental Knowledge
wMa& ivvSvTae YaaeGa& Pa[ae¢-vaNahMaVYaYaMa( )
ivvSvaNMaNave Pa[ah MaNauir+vak-ve_b]vqTa( )) 1 ))
imaà vivasvate yogaà
proktavän aham avyayam
vivasvän manave präha
manur ikñväkave ’bravét
çré bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; imam—this; vivasvate—unto the sun-god; yogam—the science of one’s relationship to the Supreme; proktavän—instructed; aham—I; avyayam—imperishable; vivasvän—Vivasvän (the sun-god’s name); manave—unto the father of mankind (of the name Vaivasvata); präha—told; manuù—the father of mankind; ikñväkave—unto King Ikñväku; abravét—said.
The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvän, and Vivasvän instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikñväku.
Herein we find the history of the Bhagavad-gétä traced from a remote time when it was delivered to the royal order, the kings of all planets. This science is especially meant for the protection of the inhabitants and therefore the royal order should understand it in order to be able to rule the citizens and protect them from the material bondage to lust. Human life is meant for cultivation of spiritual knowledge, in eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the executive heads of all states and all planets are obliged to impart this lesson to the citizens by education, culture and devotion. In other words, the executive heads of all states are intended to spread the science of Kåñëa consciousness so that the people may take advantage of this great science and pursue a successful path, utilizing the opportunity of the human form of life.
In this millennium, the sun-god is known as Vivasvän, the king of the sun, which is the origin of all planets within the solar system. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is stated:
yac-cakñur eña savitä sakala-grahäëäà
räjä samasta-sura-mürttir açeña-tejäù
yasyäjïayä bhramati sambhåta-kälacakro
govindam ädi-puruñaà tam ahaà bhajämi
"Let me worship," Lord Brahmä said, "the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Kåñëa], who is the original person and under whose order the sun, which is the king of all planets, is assuming immense power and heat. The sun represents the eye of the Lord and traverses its orbit in obedience to His order."
The sun is the king of the planets, and the sun-god (at present of the name Vivasvän) rules the sun planet, which is controlling all other planets by supplying heat and light. He is rotating under the order of Kåñëa, and Lord Kåñëa originally made Vivasvän His first disciple to understand the science of Bhagavad-gétä. The Gétä is not, therefore, a speculative treatise for the insignificant mundane scholar but is a standard book of knowledge coming down from time immemorial. In the Mahäbhärata (Çänti-parva 348.51–52) we can trace out the history of the Gétä as follows:
tretä-yugädau ca tato vivasvän manave dadau
manuç ca loka-bhåty-arthaà sutäyekñväkave dadau
ikñväkuëä ca kathito vyäpya lokän avasthitäù
"In the beginning of the Tretä-yuga [millennium] this science of the relationship with the Supreme was delivered by Vivasvän to Manu. Manu, being the father of mankind, gave it to his son Mahäräja Ikñväku, the King of this earth planet and forefather of the Raghu dynasty in which Lord Rämacandra appeared. Therefore, Bhagavad-gétä existed in the human society from the time of Mahäräja Ikñväku."
At the present moment we have just passed through five thousand years of the Kali-yuga, which lasts 432,000 years. Before this there was Dväpara-yuga (800,000 years), and before that there was Tretä-yuga (1,200,000 years). Thus, some 2,005,000 years ago, Manu spoke the Bhagavad-gétä to his disciple and son Mahäräja lkñväku, the King of this planet earth. The age of the current Manu is calculated to last some 305,300,000 years, of which 120,400,000 have passed. Accepting that before the birth of Manu, the Gétä was spoken by the Lord to His disciple, the sun-god Vivasvän, a rough estimate is that the Gétä was spoken at least 120,400,000 years ago; and in human society it has been extant for two million years. It was respoken by the Lord again to Arjuna about five thousand years ago. That is the rough estimate of the history of the Géta, according to the Gétä itself and according to the version of the speaker, Lord Çré Kåñëa. It was spoken to the sun-god Vivasvän because he is also a kñatriya and is the father of all kñatriyas who are descendants of the sun-god, or the sürya-vaàça kñatriyas. Because Bhagavad-gétä is as good as the Vedas, being spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this knowledge is apauruñeya, superhuman. Since the Vedic instructions are accepted as they are, without human interpretation, the Gétä must therefore be accepted without mundane interpretation. The mundane wranglers may speculate on the Gétä in their own ways, but that is not Bhagavad-gétä as it is. Therefore, Bhagavad-gétä has to be accepted as it is, from the disciplic succession, and it is described herein that the Lord spoke to the sun-god, the sun-god spoke to his son Manu, and Manu spoke to his son Ikñväku.
ParMParaPa[aáiMaMa& raJazRYaae ivdu" )
Sa k-ale/Naeh MahTaa YaaeGaae Naí" ParNTaPa )) 2 ))
imaà räjarñayo viduù
sa käleneha mahatä
yogo nañöaù parantapa
evam—thus; paramparä—disciplic succession; präptam—received; imam—this science; räjarñayaù—the saintly kings; viduù—understood; saù—that knowledge; kälena—in the course of time; iha—in this world; mahatä—by great; yogaù—the science of one’s relationship with the Supreme; nañöaù—scattered; parantapa—O Arjuna, subduer of the enemies.
This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
It is clearly stated that the Gétä was especially meant for the saintly kings because they were to execute its purpose in ruling over the citizens. Certainly Bhagavad-gétä was never meant for the demonic persons, who would dissipate its value for no one’s benefit and would devise all types of interpretations according to personal whims. As soon as the original purpose was scattered by the motives of the unscrupulous commentators, there arose the need to reestablish the disciplic succession. Five thousand years ago it was detected by the Lord Himself that the disciplic succession was broken, and therefore He declared that the purpose of the Gétä appeared to be lost. In the same way, at the present moment also there are so many editions of the Gétä (especially in English), but almost all of them are not according to authorized disciplic succession. There are innumerable interpretations rendered by different mundane scholars, but almost all of them do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, although they make a good business on the words of Çré Kåñëa. This spirit is demonic, because demons do not believe in God but simply enjoy the property of the Supreme. Since there is a great need of an edition of the Gétä in English, as it is received by the paramparä (disciplic succession) system, an attempt is made herewith to fulfill this great want. Bhagavad-gétä—accepted as it is—is a great boon to humanity; but if it is accepted as a treatise of philosophical speculations, it is simply a waste of time.
MaYaa Tae_Û YaaeGa" Pa[ae¢-" PauraTaNa" )
>a¢-ae_iSa Mae Sa%a ceiTa rhSYa& ùeTadutaMaMa( )) 3 ))
sa eväyaà mayä te ’dya
yogaù proktaù purätanaù
bhakto ’si me sakhä ceti
rahasyaà hy etad uttamam
saù—the same ancient; eva—certainly; ayam—this; mayä—by Me; te—unto you; adya—today; yogaù—the science of yoga; proktaù—spoken; purätanaù—very old; bhaktaù—devotee; asi—you are; me—My; sakhä—friend; ca—also; iti—therefore; rahasyam—mystery; hi—certainly; etat—this; uttamam—transcendental.
That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend; therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this science.
There are two classes of men, namely the devotee and the demon. The Lord selected Arjuna as the recipient of this great science owing to his becoming the devotee of the Lord, but for the demon it is not possible to understand this great mysterious science. There are a number of editions of this great book of knowledge, and some of them have commentaries by the devotees, and some of them have commentaries by the demons. Commentation by the devotees is real, whereas that of the demons is useless. Arjuna accepts Çré Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and any commentary on the Gétä following in the footsteps of Arjuna is real devotional service to the cause of this great science. The demonic, however, concoct something about Kåñëa and mislead the public and general readers from the path of Kåñëa’s instructions. One should try to follow the disciplic succession from Arjuna, and thus be benefitted.
APar& >avTaae JaNMa Par& JaNMa ivvSvTa" )
k-QaMaeTaiÜJaaNaqYaa& TvMaadaE Pa[ae¢-vaiNaiTa )) 4 ))
aparaà bhavato janma
paraà janma vivasvataù
katham etad vijänéyäà
tvam ädau proktavän iti
arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; aparam—junior; bhavataù—Your; janma—birth; param—superior; janma—birth; vivasvataù—of the sun-god; katham—how; etat—this; vijänéyäm—shall I understand; tvam—You; ädau—in the beginning; proktavän—instructed; iti—thus.
Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvän is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?
Arjuna is an accepted devotee of the Lord, so how could he not believe Kåñëa’s words? The fact is that Arjuna is not inquiring for himself but for those who do not believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead or for the demons who do not like the idea that Kåñëa should be accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead; for them only Arjuna inquires on this point, as if he were himself not aware of the Personality of Godhead, or Kåñëa. As it will be evident from the Tenth Chapter, Arjuna knew perfectly well that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the fountainhead of everything and the last word in Transcendence. Of course, Kåñëa also appeared as the son of Devaké on this earth. How Kåñëa remained the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, the eternal, original person, is very difficult for an ordinary man to understand. Therefore, to clarify this point, Arjuna put this question before Kåñëa so that He Himself could speak authoritatively. That Kåñëa is the supreme authority is accepted by the whole world, not only at present, but from time immemorial, and the demons alone reject Him. Anyway, since Kåñëa is the authority accepted by all, Arjuna put this question before Him in order that Kåñëa would describe Himself without being depicted by the demons who always try to distort Him in a way understandable to the demons and their followers. It is necessary that everyone, for his own interest, know the science of Kåñëa. Therefore, when Kåñëa Himself speaks about Himself, it is auspicious for all the worlds. To the demons, such explanations by Kåñëa Himself may appear to be strange because the demons always study Kåñëa from their own standpoint, but those who are devotees heartily welcome the statements of Kåñëa when they are spoken by Kåñëa Himself. The devotees will always worship such authoritative statements of Kåñëa because they are always eager to know more and more about Him. The atheists, who consider Kåñëa an ordinary man, may in this way come to know that Kåñëa is superhuman, that He is sac-cid-änanda-vigraha—the eternal form of bliss and knowledge—that He is transcendental, and that He is above the domination of the modes of material nature and above the influence of time and space. A devotee of Kåñëa’s, like Arjuna, is undoubtedly above any misunderstanding of the transcendental position of Kåñëa. Arjuna’s putting this question before the Lord is simply an attempt by the devotee to defy the atheistic attitude of persons who consider Kåñëa to be an ordinary human being subject to the modes of material nature.
bhUiNa Mae VYaTaqTaaiNa JaNMaaiNa Tav caJauRNa )
TaaNYah& ved SavaRi<a Na Tv& veTQa ParNTaPa )) 5 ))
bahüni me vyatétäni
janmäni tava cärjuna
täny ahaà veda sarväëi
na tvaà vettha parantapa
çré bhagavän uväca—the Personality of Godhead said; bahüni—many; me—of Mine; vyatétäni—have passed; janmäni—births; tava—of yours; ca—and also; arjuna—O Arjuna; täni—all those; aham—I; veda—do know; sarväëi—all; na—not; tvam—yourself; vettha—know; parantapa—O subduer of the enemy.
The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!
In the Brahma-saàhitä we have information of many, many incarnations of the Lord. lt is stated there:
advaitam acyutam anädim ananta-rüpam
ädyaà puräëa-puruñaà nava-yauvanaà ca
vedeñu durllabham adurllabham ätma-bhaktau
govindam ädi-puruñaà tam ahaà bhajämi.
"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Kåñëa], who is the original person—absolute, infallible, without beginning, although expanded into unlimited forms, still the same original, the oldest, and the person always appearing as a fresh youth. Such eternal, blissful, all-knowing forms of the Lord are usually understood by the best Vedic scholars, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees." It is also stated in Brahma-saàhitä:
rämädi mürttiñu kalä-niyamena tiñöhan
nänävatäram akarod bhuvaneñu kintu
kåñëaù svayaà samabhavat paramaù pumän yo
govindam ädi-puruñaà tam ahaà bhajämi
"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Kåñëa], who is always situated in various incarnations such as Räma, Nåsiàha and many sub-incarnations as well, but who is the original Personality of Godhead known as Kåñëa, and who incarnates personally also."
In the Vedas also it is said that the Lord, although one without a second, nevertheless manifests Himself in innumerable forms. He is like the vaidurya stone, which changes color yet still remains one. All those multi-forms are understood by the pure, unalloyed devotees, but not by a simple study of the Vedas: vedeñu durllabham adurllabham ätma-bhaktau. Devotees like Arjuna are constant companions of the Lord, and whenever the Lord incarnates, the associate devotees also incarnate in order to serve the Lord in different capacities. Arjuna is one of these devotees, and in this verse it is understood that some millions of years ago when Lord Kåñëa spoke the Bhagavad-gétä to the sun-god Vivasvän, Arjuna, in a different capacity, was also present. But the difference between the Lord and Arjuna is that the Lord remembered the incidence, whereas Arjuna could not remember. That is the difference between the part and parcel living entity and the Supreme Lord. Although Arjuna is addressed herein as the mighty hero who could subdue the enemies, he is unable to recall what had happened in his various past births. Therefore, a living entity, however great he may be in the material estimation, can never equal the Supreme Lord. Anyone who is a constant companion of the Lord is certainly a liberated person, but he cannot be equal to the Lord. The Lord is described in the Brahma-saàhitä as infallible (acyuta), which means that He never forgets Himself, even though He is in material contact. Therefore, the Lord and the living entity can never be equal in all respects, even if the living entity is as liberated as Arjuna. Although Arjuna is a devotee of the Lord, he sometimes forgets the nature of the Lord, but by the divine grace a devotee can at once understand the infallible condition of the Lord, whereas a nondevotee or a demon cannot understand this transcendental nature. Consequently these descriptions in the Gétä cannot be understood by demonic brains. Kåñëa remembered acts which were performed by Him millions of years before, but Arjuna could not, despite the fact that both Kåñëa and Arjuna are eternal in nature. We may also note herein that a living entity forgets everything due to his change of body, but the Lord remembers because He does not change His sac-cid-änanda body. He is advaita, which means there is no distinction between His body and Himself. Everything in relation to Him is spirit—whereas the conditioned soul is different from his material body. And, because the Lord’s body and self are identical, His position is always different from the ordinary living entity, even when He descends to the material platform. The demons cannot adjust themselves to this transcendental nature of the Lord, as the Lord explains in the following verse.
SaàVYaYaaTMaa >aUTaaNaaMaqìrae_iPa SaNa( )
Pa[k*-iTa& SvaMaiDaïaYa SaM>avaMYaaTMaMaaYaYaa )) 6 ))
ajo ’pi sann avyayätmä
bhütänäm éçvaro ’pi san
prakåtià sväm adhiñöhäya
ajaù—unborn; api—although; san—being so; avyaya—without deterioration; ätmä—body; bhütänäm—all those who are born; éçvaraù—the Supreme Lord; api—although; san—being so; prakåtim—transcendental form; sväm—of Myself; adhiñöhäya—being so situated; sambhavämi—I do incarnate; ätma-mäyayä—by My internal energy.
Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.
The Lord has spoken about the peculiarity of His birth: although He may appear like an ordinary person, He remembers everything of His many, many past "births," whereas a common man cannot remember what he has done even a few hours before. If someone is asked what he did exactly at the same time one day earlier, it would be very difficult for a common man to answer immediately. He would surely have to dredge his memory to recall what he was doing exactly at the same time one day before. And yet, men often dare claim to be God, or Kåñëa. One should not be misled by such meaningless claims. Then again, the Lord explains His prakåti or His form. Prakåti means nature as well as svarüpa, or one’s own form. The Lord says that He appears in His own body. He does not change His body, as the common living entity changes from one body to another. The conditioned soul may have one kind of body in the present birth, but he has a different body in the next birth. In the material world, the living entity has no fixed body but transmigrates from one body to another. The Lord, however, does not do so. Whenever He appears, He does so in the same original body, by His internal potency. In other words, Kåñëa appears in this material world in His original eternal form, with two hands, holding a flute. He appears exactly in His eternal body, uncontaminated by this material world. Although He appears in the same transcendental body and is Lord of the universe, it still appears that He takes His birth like an ordinary living entity. Despite the fact Lord Kåñëa grows from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth, astonishingly enough He never ages beyond youth. At the time of the Battle of Kurukñetra, He had many grandchildren at home; or, in other words, He had sufficiently aged by material calculations. Still He looked just like a young man twenty or twenty-five years old. We never see a picture of Kåñëa in old age because He never grows old like us, although He is the oldest person in the whole creation—past, present, and future. Neither His body nor His intelligence ever deteriorates or changes. Therefore, it is clear that in spite of His being in the material world, He is the same unborn, eternal form of bliss and knowledge, changeless in His transcendental body and intelligence. Factually, His appearance and disappearance is like the sun’s rising, moving before us, and then disappearing from our eyesight. When the sun is out of sight, we think that the sun is set, and when the sun is before our eyes, we think that the sun is on the horizon. Actually, the sun is always in its fixed position, but owing to our defective, insufficient senses, we calculate the appearance and disappearance of the sun in the sky. And, because His appearance and disappearance are completely different from that of any ordinary, common living entity, it is evident that He is eternal, blissful knowledge by His internal potency—and He is never contaminated by material nature. The Vedas also confirm that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unborn, yet He still appears to take His birth in multi-manifestations. The Vedic supplementary literatures also confirm that even though the Lord appears to be taking His birth, He is still without change of body. In the Bhägavatam, He appears before His mother as Näräyaëa, with four hands and the decorations of the six kinds of full opulences. His appearance in His original eternal form is His causeless mercy, according to the Viçvakoça dictionary. The Lord is conscious of all of His previous appearances and disappearances, but a common living entity forgets everything about his past body as soon as he gets another body. He is the Lord of all living entities because He performs wonderful and superhuman activities while He is on this earth. Therefore, the Lord is always the same Absolute Truth and is without differentiation between His form and self, or between His quality and body. A question may now be raised as to why the Lord appears and disappears in this world. This is explained in the next verse.
Yada Yada ih
DaMaRSYa Gl/aiNa>aRviTa >aarTa )
A>YauTQaaNaMaDaMaRSYa TadaTMaaNa& Sa*JaaMYahMa( )) 7 ))
yadä yadä hi dharmasya
glänir bhavati bhärata
tadätmänaà såjämy aham
yadä—whenever; yadä—wherever; hi—certainly; dharmasya—of religion; gläniù—discrepancies; bhavati—manifested, becomes; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; abhyutthänam—predominance; adharmasya—of irreligion; tadä—at that time; ätmänam—self; såjämi—manifest; aham—I.
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.
The word såjämi is significant herein. Såjämi cannot be used in the sense of creation. because, according to the previous verse, there is no creation of the Lord’s form or body, since all of the forms are eternally existent. Therefore såjämi means that the Lord manifests Himself as He is. Although the Lord appears on schedule, namely at the end of Dväpara-yuga of the twenty-eighth millennium of the eighth Manu, in one day of Brahmä, still He has no obligation to adhere to such rules and regulations because He is completely free to act in many ways at His will. He therefore appears by His own will whenever there is a predominance of irreligiosity and a disappearance of true religion. Principles of religion are laid down in the Vedas, and any discrepancy in the matter of properly executing the rules of the Vedas makes one irreligious. In the Bhägavatam it is stated that such principles are the laws of the Lord. Only the Lord can manufacture a system of religion. The Vedas are also accepted as originally spoken by the Lord Himself to Brahmä, from within his heart. Therefore, the principles of dharma, or religion, are the direct orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (dharmaà tu säkñät-bhagavat-praëétam). These principles are clearly indicated throughout the Bhagavad-gétä. The purpose of the Vedas is to establish such principles under the order of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord directly orders, at the end of the Gétä, that the highest principle of religion is to surrender unto Him only, and nothing more. The Vedic principles push one towards complete surrender unto Him; and, whenever such principles are disturbed by the demonic, the Lord appears. From the Bhägavatam we understand that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Kåñëa who appeared when materialism was rampant and materialists were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas. Although there are certain restrictive rules and regulations regarding animal sacrifice for particular purposes in the Vedas, people of demonic tendency still took to animal sacrifice without reference to the Vedic principles. Lord Buddha appeared to stop this nonsense and to establish the Vedic principles of nonviolence. Therefore each and every avatära, or incarnation of the Lord, has a particular mission, and they are all described in the revealed scriptures. No one should be accepted as an avatära unless he is referred to by scriptures. It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can advent Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same—to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant, or Himself in some disguised form.
The principles of the Bhagavad-gétä were spoken to Arjuna, and, for that matter, to other highly elevated persons, because he was highly advanced compared to ordinary persons in other parts of the world. Two plus two equals four is a mathematical principle that is true both in the beginner’s arithmetic class and in the advanced class as well. Still, there are higher and lower mathematics. In all incarnations of the Lord, therefore, the same principles are taught, but they appear to be higher and lower in varied circumstances. The higher principles of religion begin with the acceptance of the four orders and the four statuses of social life, as will be explained later. The whole purpose of the mission of incarnations is to arouse Kåñëa consciousness everywhere. Such consciousness is manifest and nonmanifest only under different circumstances.
SaaDaUNaa& ivNaaXaaYa c duZk*-TaaMa( )
DaMaRSa&SQaaPaNaaQaaRYa SaM>avaiMa YauGae YauGae )) 8 ))
vinäçäya ca duñkåtäm
sambhavämi yuge yuge
pariträëäya—for the deliverance; sädhünäm—of the devotees; vinäçäya—for the annihilation; ca—also; duñkåtäm—of the miscreants; dharma—principles of religion; saàsthäpana-arthäya—to reestablish; sambhavämi—I do appear; yuge—millennium; yuge—after millennium.
In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.
According to Bhagavad-gétä, a sädhu (holyman) is a man in Kåñëa consciousness. A person may appear to be irreligious, but if he has the qualifications of Kåñëa consciousness wholly and fully, he is to be understood to be a sädhu. And duñkåtam applies to one who doesn't care for Kåñëa consciousness. Such miscreants, or duñkåtam, are described as foolish and the lowest of mankind, even though they may be decorated with mundane education; whereas another person, who is one hundred percent engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, is accepted as sädhu, even though such a person may neither be learned nor well cultured. As far as the atheistic are concerned, it is not necessary for the Supreme Lord to appear as He is to destroy them, as He did with the demons Rävaëa and Kaàsa. The Lord has many agents who are quite competent to vanquish demons. But the Lord especially descends to appease His unalloyed devotees, who are always harassed by the demonic. The demon harasses the devotee, even though the latter may happen to be his kin. Although Prahläda Mahäräja was the son of Hiraëyakaçipu, he was nonetheless persecuted by his father; although Devaké, the mother of Kåñëa, was the sister of Kaàsa, she and her husband Vasudeva were persecuted only because Kåñëa was to be born of them. So Lord Kåñëa appeared primarily to deliver Devaké, rather than kill Kaàsa, but both were performed simultaneously. Therefore it is said here that to deliver the devotee and vanquish the demon miscreants, the Lord appears in different incarnations.
In the Caitanya-caritämåta of Kåñëadäsa Kaviräja, the following verses summarize these principles of incarnation:
såñöi-hetu yei mürti prapaïce avatare
sei éçvara-mürti ‘avatära’ näma dhare
mäyätita paravyome savära avasthäna
viçve ‘avatäri’ dhare ‘avatära’ näma.
"The avatära, or incarnation of Godhead, descends from the kingdom of God for material manifestation. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatära. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When they descend to the material creation, they assume the name avatära."
There are various kinds of avatäras, such as puruñävatäras, guëävatäras, lélävatäras, çaktyäveça avatäras, manvantara-avatäras and yugävatäras—all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Kåñëa is the primeval Lord, the fountainhead of all avatäras. Lord Çré Kåñëa descends for the specific purposes of mitigating the anxieties of the pure devotees, who are very anxious to see Him in His original Våndävana pastimes. Therefore, the prime purpose of the Kåñëa avatära is to satisfy His unalloyed devotees.
The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the age of Kali. As stated in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, the incarnation in the age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who spread the worship of Kåñëa by the saìkértana movement (congregational chanting of the holy names), and spread Kåñëa consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of saìkértana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya as the incarnation of Kåñëa, the Personality of Godhead, is described secretly but not directly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures, such as the Upaniñads, Mahäbhärata, Bhägavatam, etc. The devotees of Lord Kåñëa are much attracted by the saìkértana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatära of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers them by the causeless mercy of the Lord.
JaNMa k-MaR c
Mae idVYaMaev& Yaae veita TatvTa" )
TYa¤-a deh& PauNaJaRNMa NaEiTa MaaMaeiTa Saae_JauRNa )) 9 ))
janma karma ca me divyam
evaà yo vetti tattvataù
tyaktvä dehaà punar janma
naiti mäm eti so ’rjuna
janma—birth; karma—work; ca—also; me—of Mine; divyam—transcendental; evam—like this; yaù—anyone who; vetti—knows; tattvataù—in reality; tyaktvä—leaving aside; deham—this body; punaù—again; janma—birth; na—never; eti—does attain; mäm—unto Me; eti—does attain; saù—he; arjuna—O Arjuna.
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
The Lord’s descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the 6th verse. One who can understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead is already liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting this present material body. Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy. The impersonalists and the yogés attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then, the liberation they achieve—merging into the impersonal brahmajyoti of the Lord—is only partial, and there is the risk of returning again to this material world. But the devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning again to this material world. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anädim ananta-rüpam. Although there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas:
eko devo nitya-lélänurakto bhakta-vyäpé hådy antarätmä.
"The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees." This Vedic version is confirmed in this verse of the Gétä personally by the Lord. He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version, "tattvamasi," is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Kåñëa to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord, "You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead" is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection, and this is confirmed by the following Vedic assertion:
tam eva viditvätimåtyumeti nänyaù panthä vidyate ayanäya.
One can attain the perfect stage of liberation from birth and death simply by knowing the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no alternative because anyone who does not understand Lord Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is surely in the mode of ignorance. Consequently he will not attain salvation, simply, so to speak, by licking the outer surface of the bottle of honey, or by interpreting the Bhagavad-gétä according to mundane scholarship. Such empiric philosophers may assume very important roles in the material world, but they are not necessarily eligible for liberation. Such puffed up mundane scholars have to wait for the causeless mercy of the devotee of the Lord. One should therefore cultivate Kåñëa consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in this way attain perfection.
MaNMaYaa MaaMauPaaié[Taa" )
bhvae jaNaTaPaSaa PaUTaa MaÙavMaaGaTaa" )) 10 ))
man-mayä mäm upäçritäù
pütä mad-bhävam ägatäù
véta—freed from; räga—attachment; bhaya—fear; krodhäù—anger; mat-mayä—fully in Me; mäm—unto Me; upäçritäù—being fully situated; bahavaù—many; jïäna—knowledge; tapasä—by penance; pütäù—being purified; mat-bhävam—transcendental love for Me; ägatäù—attained.
Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purifled by knowledge of Me—and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.
As described above, it is very difficult for a person who is too materially affected to understand the personal nature of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Generally, people who are attached to the bodily conception of life are so absorbed in materialism that it is almost impossible for them to understand that there is a transcendental body which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful. In the materialistic concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance and completely miserable. Therefore, people in general keep this same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord. For such materialistic men, the form of the gigantic material manifestation is supreme. Consequently they consider the Supreme to be impersonal. And because they are too materially absorbed, the conception of retaining the personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When they are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they become afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void. Generally, they compare the living entities to the bubbles of the ocean, which merge into the ocean. That is the highest perfection of spiritual existence attainable without individual personality. This is a kind of fearful stage of life, devoid of perfect knowledge of spiritual existence. Furthermore there are many persons who cannot understand spiritual existence at all. Being embarassed by so many theories and by contradictions of various types of philosophical speculation, they become disgusted or angry and foolishly conclude that there is no supreme cause and that everything is ultimately void. Such people are in a diseased condition of life. Some people are too materially attached and therefore do not give attention to spiritual life, some of them want to merge into the supreme spiritual cause, and some of them disbelieve in everything, being angry at all sorts of spiritual speculation out of hopelessness. This last class of men take to the shelter of some kind of intoxication, and their affective hallucinations are sometimes accepted as spiritual vision. One has to get rid of all three stages of attachment to the material world: negligence of spiritual life, fear of a spiritual personal identity, and the conception of void that underlies the frustration of life. To get free from these three stages of the material concept of life, one has to take complete shelter of the Lord, guided by the bona fide spiritual master, and follow the disciplines and regulative principles of devotional life. The last stage of the devotional life is called bhäva, or transcendental love of Godhead.
According to Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu, the science of devotional service:
ädau çraddhä tataù sädhu-saìgo ’tha bhajana-kriyä
tato ’nartha-nivåttiù syät tato niñöhä rucis tataù
athäsaktis tato bhävas tataù premäbhyudaïcati
sädhakänäm ayaà premëaù prädurbhäve bhavet kramaù.
"In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Kåñëa consciousness, which is matured in bhäva, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called premä, the highest perfectional stage of life." In the premä stage there is constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. So, by the slow process of devotional service, under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, one can attain the highest stage, being freed from all material attachment, from the fearfulness of one’s individual spiritual personality, and from the frustrations resulting from void philosophy. Then one can ultimately attain to the abode of the Supreme Lord.
Maa& Pa[PaÛNTae Taa&STaQaEv >aJaaMYahMa( )
MaMa vTMaaRNauvTaRNTae MaNauZYaa" PaaQaR SavRXa" )) 11 ))
ye yathä mäà prapadyante
täàs tathaiva bhajämy aham
manuñyäù pärtha sarvaçaù
ye—all of them; yathä—as; mäm—unto Me; prapadyante—surrender; tän—unto them; tathä—so; eva—certainly; bhajämi—do I reward; aham—I; mama—My; vartma—path; anuvartante—do follow; manuñyäù—all men; pärtha—O son of Påthä; sarvaçaù—in all respects.
All of them—as they surrender unto Me—I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Påthä.
Eveyone is searching for Kåñëa in the different aspects of His manifestations. Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is partially realized in His impersonal brahmajyoti effulgence and as the all-pervading Supersoul dwelling within everything, including the particles of atoms. But Kåñëa is only fully realized by His pure devotees. Consequently, Kåñëa is the object of everyone’s realization, and thus anyone and everyone is satisfied according to one’s desire to have Him. In the transcendental world also, Kåñëa reciprocates with His pure devotees in the transcendental attitude, just as the devotee wants Him. One devotee may want Kåñëa as supreme master, another as his personal friend, another as his son, and still another as his lover. Kåñëa rewards all the devotees equally, according to their different intensities of love for Him. In the material world, the same reciprocations of feelings are there, and they are equally exchanged by the Lord with the different types of worshipers. The pure devotees both here and in the transcendental abode associate with Him in person and are able to render personal service to the Lord and thus derive transcendental bliss in His loving service. As for those who are impersonalists and who want to commit spiritual suicide by annihilating the individual existence of the living entity, Kåñëa helps also by absorbing them into His effulgence. Such impersonalists do not agree to accept the eternal, blissful Personality of Godhead; consequently they cannot relish the bliss of transcendental personal service to the Lord, having extinguished their individuality. Some of them, who are not situated even in the impersonal existence, return to this material field to exhibit their dormant desires for activities. They are not admitted in the spiritual planets, but they are again given a chance to act on the material planets. For those who are fruitive workers, the Lord awards the desired results of their prescribed duties, as the yajïeçvara; and those who are yogés seeking mystic powers are awarded such powers. In other words, everyone is dependant for success upon His mercy alone, and all kinds of spiritual processes are but different degrees of success on the same path. Unless, therefore, one comes to the highest perfection of Kåñëa consciousness, all attempts remain imperfect, as is stated in the Çrémad Bhägavatam:
akämaù sarva-kämo vä mokña-käma udäradhéù
tévreëa bhakti-yogena yajeta puruñaà param
"Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], or is desirous of all fruitive results, or is after liberation, one should with all efforts try to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead for complete perfection, culminating in Kåñëa consciousness." (Bhäg. 2.3.10)
k-MaR<aa& iSaiÖ& YaJaNTa wh devTaa" )
i+aPa[& ih MaaNauze l/aeke- iSaiÖ>aRviTa k-MaRJaa )) 12 ))
käìkñantaù karmaëäà siddhià
yajanta iha devatäù
kñipraà hi mänuñe loke
siddhir bhavati karma-jä
käìkñantaù—desiring; karmaëäm—of fruitive activities; siddhim—perfection; yajante—worship by sacrifices; iha—in the material world; devatäù—the demigods; kñipram—very quickly; hi—certainly; mänuñe—in human society; loke—within this world; siddhiù bhavati—becomes successful; karmajä—the fruitive worker.
Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world.
There is a great misconception about the gods or demigods of this material world, and men of less intelligence, although passing as great scholars, take these demigods to be various forms of the Supreme Lord. Actually, the demigods are not different forms of God, but they are God’s different parts and parcels. God is one, and the parts and parcels are many. The Vedas say, nityo nityänäm: God is one. Éçvaraù paramaù kåñëaù. The Supreme God is one—Kåñëa—and the demigods are delegated with powers to manage this material world. These demigods are all living entities (nityänäm) with different grades of material power. They cannot be equal to the Supreme God—Näräyaëa, Viñëu, or Kåñëa. Anyone who thinks that God and the demigods are on the same level is called an atheist, or päñaëòé. Even the great demigods like Brahmä and Çiva cannot be compared to the Supreme Lord. In fact, the Lord is worshiped by demigods such as Brahmä and Çiva (çiva-viriïci-nutam). Yet curiously enough there are many human leaders who are worshiped by foolish men under the misunderstanding of anthropomorphism or zoomorphism. Iha devatäù denotes a powerful man or demigod of this material world. But Näräyaëa, Viñëu or Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not belong to this world. He is above, or transcendental to, material creation. Even Çrépäda Çaìkaräcärya, the leader of the impersonalists, maintains that Näräyaëa, or Kåñëa, is beyond this material creation. However, foolish people (håt-aïjana) worship the demigods because they want immediate results. They get the results, but do not know that results so obtained are temporary and are meant for less intelligent persons. The intelligent person is in Kåñëa consciousness, and he has no need to worship the paltry demigods for some immediate, temporary benefit. The demigods of this material world, as well as their worshipers, will vanish with the annihilation of this material world. The boons of the demigods are material and temporary. Both the material worlds and their inhabitants, including the demigods, and their worshipers, are bubbles in the cosmic ocean. In this world, however, human society is mad after temporary things such as the material opulence of possessing land, family and enjoyable paraphernalia. To achieve such temporary things, they worship the demigods or powerful men in human society. If a man gets some ministership in the government by worshiping a political leader, he considers that he has achieved a great boon. All of them are therefore kowtowing to the so-called leaders or "big guns" in order to achieve temporary boons, and they indeed achieve such things. Such foolish men are not interested in Kåñëa consciousness for the permanent solution to the hardships of material existence. They are all after sense enjoyment, and to get a little facility for sense enjoyment they are attracted to worship empowered living entities known as demigods. This verse indicates that people are rarely interested in Kåñëa consciousness. They are mostly interested in material enjoyment, and therefore they worship some powerful living entity.
MaYaa Sa*í& Gau<ak-MaRiv>aaGaXa" )
TaSYa k-TaaRrMaiPa Maa& ivÖyk-TaaRrMaVYaYaMa( )) 13 ))
cätur-varëyaà mayä såñöaà
tasya kartäram api mäà
viddhy akartäram avyayam
cätur-varëyam—the four divisions of human society; mayä—by Me; såñöam—created; guëa—quality; karma—work; vibhägaçaù—in terms of division; tasya—of that; kartäram—the father; api—although; mäm—Me; viddhi—you may know; akartäram—as the non-doer; avyayam—being unchangeable.
According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.
The Lord is the creator of everything. Everything is born of Him, everything is sustained by Him, and everything, after annihilation, rests in Him. He is therefore the creator of the four divisions of the social order, beginning with the intelligent class of men, technically called brähmaëas due to their being situated in the mode of goodness. Next is the administrative class, technically called the kñatriyas due to their being situated in the mode of passion. The mercantile men, called the vaiçyas, are situated in the mixed modes of passion and ignorance, and the çüdras, or laborer class, are situated in the ignorant mode of material nature. In spite of His creating the four divisions of human society, Lord Kåñëa does not belong to any of these divisions, because He is not one of the conditioned souls, a section of whom form human society. Human society is similar to any other animal society, but to elevate men from the animal status, the abovementioned divisions are created by the Lord for the systematic development of Kåñëa consciousness. The tendency of a particular man toward work is determined by the modes of material nature which he has acquired. Such symptoms of life, according to different modes of material nature, are described in the Eighteenth Chapter of this book. A person in Kåñëa consciousness, however, is above even the brähmaëas, because a brähmaëa by quality is supposed to know about Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Most of them approach the impersonal Brahman manifestation of Lord Kåñëa, but only a man who transcends the limited knowledge of a brähmaëa and reaches the knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Çré Kåñëa, becomes a person in Kåñëa consciousness—or, in other words, a Vaiñëava. Kåñëa consciousness includes knowledge of all different plenary expansions of Kåñëa, namely Räma, Nåsiàha, Varäha, etc. However, as Kåñëa is transcendental to this system of the four divisions of human society, a person in Kåñëa consciousness is also transcendental to all divisions of human society, whether we consider the divisions of community, nation or species.
k-MaaRi<a il/MPaiNTa Na Mae k-MaRf-le/ SPa*ha )
wiTa Maa& Yaae_i>aJaaNaaiTa k-MaRi>aNaR Sa bDYaTae )) 14 ))
na mäà karmäëi limpanti
na me karma-phale spåhä
iti mäà yo ’bhijänäti
karmabhir na sa badhyate
na—never; mäm—unto Me; karmäëi—all kinds of work; limpanti—do affect; na—nor; me—My; karma-phale—in fruitive action; spåhä—aspiration; iti—thus; mäm—unto Me; yaù—one who; abhijänäti—does know; karmabhiù—by the reaction of such work; na—never does; saù—he; badhyate—become entangled.
There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.
As there are constitutional laws in the material world stating that the king can do no wrong, or that the king is not subject to the state laws, similarly the Lord, although He is the creator of this material world, is not affected by the activities of the material world. He creates and remains aloof from the creation, whereas the living entities are entangled in the fruitive results of material activities because of their propensity for lording it over material resources. The proprietor of an establishment is not responsible for the right and wrong activities of the workers, but the workers are themselves responsible. The living entities are engaged in their respective activities of sense gratification, and these activities are not ordained by the Lord. For advancement of sense gratification, the living entities are engaged in the work of this world, and they aspire to heavenly happiness after death. The Lord, being full in Himself, has no attraction for so-called heavenly happiness. The heavenly demigods are only His engaged servants. The proprietor never desires the low-grade happiness such as the workers may desire. He is aloof from the material actions and reactions. For example, the rains are not responsible for different types of vegetation that appear on the earth, although without such rains there is no possibility of vegetative growth. Vedic småti confirms this fact as follows:
nimitta-mätram eväsau såjyänäà sarga-karmaëi
pradhäna-käraëé-bhütä yato vai såjya-çaktayaù.
In the material creations, the Lord is only the supreme cause. The immediate cause is material nature by which the cosmic manifestation is visible. The created beings are of many varieties, such as the demigods, human beings and lower animals, and all of them are subject to the reactions of their past good or bad activities. The Lord only gives them the proper facilities for such activities and the regulations of the modes of nature, but He is never responsible for their past and present activities. In the Vedänta-sütras it is confirmed that the Lord is never partial to any living entity. The living entity is responsible for his own acts. The Lord only gives him facilities, through the agency of material nature, the external energy. Anyone who is fully conversant with all the intricacies of this law of karma, or fruitive activities, does not become affected by the results of his activities. In other words, the person who understands this transcendental nature of the Lord is an experienced man in Kåñëa consciousness, and thus he is never subjected to the laws of karma. One who does not know the transcendental nature of the Lord and who thinks that the activities of the Lord are aimed at fruitive results, as are the activities of the ordinary living entities, certainly becomes entangled himself in fruitive reaction. But one who knows the Supreme Truth is a liberated soul fixed in Kåñëa consciousness.
k*-Ta& k-MaR PaUvŒriPa MauMau+aui>a" )
ku-å k-MaŒv TaSMaatv& PaUvŒ" PaUvRTar& k*-TaMa( )) 15 ))
evaà jïätvä kåtaà karma
pürvair api mumukñubhiù
kuru karmaiva tasmät tvaà
pürvaiù pürvataraà kåtam
evam—thus; jïätvä—knowing well; kåtam—performed; karma—work; pürvaiù—by past authorities; api—although; mumukñubhiù—who attained liberation; kuru—just perform; karma—prescribed duty; eva—certainly; tasmät—therefore; tvam—you; pürvaiù—by the predecessors; pürvataram—ancient predecessors; kåtam—as performed.
All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding and so attained liberation. Therefore, as the ancients, you should perform your duty in this divine consciousness.
There are two classes of men. Some of them are full of polluted material things within their hearts, and some of them are materially free. Kåñëa consciousness is equally beneficial for both of these persons. Those who are full of dirty things can take to the line of Kåñëa consciousness for a gradual cleansing process, following the regulative principles of devotional service. Those who are already cleansed of the impurities may continue to act in the same Kåñëa consciousness so that others may follow their exemplary activities and thereby be benefitted. Foolish persons or neophytes in Kåñëa consciousness often want to retire from activities without having knowledge of Kåñëa consciousness. Arjuna’s desire to retire from activities on the battlefield was not approved by the Lord. One need only know how to act. To retire from the activities of Kåñëa consciousness and to sit aloof making a show of Kåñëa consciousness; is less important than actually engaging in the field of activities for the sake of Kåñëa. Arjuna is here advised to act in Kåñëa consciousness, following in the footsteps of the Lord’s previous disciples, such as the sun-god Vivasvän, as mentioned hereinbefore. The Supreme Lord knows all His past activities, as well as those of persons who acted in Kåñëa consciousness in the past. Therefore He recommends the acts of the sun-god, who learned this art from the Lord some millions of years before. All such students of Lord Kåñëa are mentioned here as past liberated persons, engaged in the discharge of duties allotted by Kåñëa.
ik-Mak-MaeRiTa k-vYaae_PYa}a MaaeihTaa" )
Tatae k-MaR Pa[v+YaaiMa YaJjaTva Maae+YaSae_éu>aaTa( )) 16 ))
kià karma kim akarmeti
kavayo ’py atra mohitäù
tat te karma pravakñyämi
yaj jïätvä mokñyase ’çubhät
kim—what is; karma—action; kim—what is; akarma—inaction; iti—thus; kavayaù—the intelligent; api—also; atra—in this matter; mohitäù—bewildered; tat—that; te—unto you; karma—work; pravakñyämi—I shall explain; yat—which; jïätvä—knowing; mokñyase—be liberated; açubhät—from ill fortune.
Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all sins.
Action in Kåñëa consciousness has to be executed in accord with the examples of previous bona fide devotees. This is recommended in the 15th verse. Why such action should not be independant will be explained in the text to follow.
To act in Kåñëa consciousness, one has to follow the leadership of authorized persons who are in a line of disciplic succession as explained in the beginning of this chapter. The system of Kåñëa consciousness was first narrated to the sun-god, the sun-god explained it to his son Manu, Manu explained it to his son Ikñväku, and the system is current on this earth from that very remote time. Therefore, one has to follow in the footsteps of previous authorities in the line of disciplic succession. Otherwise even the most intelligent men will be bewildered regarding the standard actions of Kåñëa consciousness. For this reason, the Lord decided to instruct Arjuna in Kåñëa consciousness directly. Because of the direct instruction of the Lord to Arjuna, anyone who follows in the footsteps of Arjuna is certainly not bewildered.
It is said that one cannot ascertain the ways of religion simply by imperfect experimental knowledge. Actually, the principles of religion can only be laid down by the Lord Himself. Dharmaà hi säkñät-bhagavat-praëétam. No one can manufacture a religious principle by imperfect speculation. One must follow in the footsteps of great authorities like Brahmä, Çiva, Närada, Manu, Kumära, Kapila, Prahläda, Bhéñma, Çukadeva Gosvämé, Yamaräja, Janaka, etc. By mental speculation one cannot ascertain what is religion or self-realization. Therefore, out of causeless mercy to His devotees, the Lord explains directly to Arjuna what action is and what inaction is. Only action performed in Kåñëa consciousness can deliver a person from the entanglement of material existence.
ùiPa baeÖVYa& baeÖVYa& c ivk-MaR<a" )
Ak-MaR<aê baeÖVYa& GahNaa k-MaR<aae GaiTa" )) 17 ))
karmaëo hy api boddhavyaà
boddhavyaà ca vikarmaëaù
akarmaëaç ca boddhavyaà
gahanä karmaëo gatiù
karmaëaù—working order ; hi—certainly; api—also; boddhavyam—should be understood; boddhavyam—to be understood; ca—also; vikarmaëaù—forbidden work; akarmaëaù—inaction; ca—also; boddhavyam—should be understood; gahanä—very difficult; karmaëaù—working order; gatiù—to enter into.
The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is, and what inaction is.
If one is serious about liberation from material bondage, one has to understand the distinctions between action, inaction and unauthorized actions. One has to apply oneself to such an analysis of action, reaction and perverted actions because it is a very difficult subject matter. To understand Kåñëa consciousness and action according to the modes, one has to learn one’s relationship with the Supreme; i.e., one who has learned perfectly knows that every living entity is the eternal servitor of the Lord and that consequently one has to act in Kåñëa consciousness. The entire Bhagavad-gétä is directed toward this conclusion. Any other conclusions, against this consciousness and its attendant reactions, are vikarmas, or prohibitive actions. To understand all this one has to associate with authorities in Kåñëa consciousness and learn the secret from them; this is as good as learning from the Lord directly. Otherwise, even the most intelligent person will be bewildered.
Ya" PaXYaedk-MaRi<a c k-MaR Ya" )
Sa buiÖMaaNMaNauZYaezu Sa Yau¢-" k*-Tòk-MaRk*-Ta( )) 18 ))
karmaëy akarma yaù paçyed
akarmaëi ca karma yaù
sa buddhimän manuñyeñu
sa yuktaù kåtsna-karma-kåt
karmaëi—in action; akarma—inaction; yaù—one who; paçyet—observes; akarmaëi—in inaction; ca—also; karma—fruitive action; yaù—one who; saù—he; buddhimän—is intelligent; manuñyeñu—in human society; saù—he; yuktaù—is in the transcendental position; kåtsna-karma-kåt—although engaged in all activities.
One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men, and he is in the tranecendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.
A person acting in Kåñëa consciousness is naturally free from the bonds of karma. His activities are all performed for Kåñëa; therefore he does not enjoy or suffer any of the effects of work. Consequently he is intelligent in human society, even though he is engaged in all sorts of activities for Kåñëa. Akarma means without reaction to work. The impersonalist ceases fruitive activities out of fear, so that the resultant action may not be a stumbling block on the path of self-realization, but the personalist knows rightly his position as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore he engages himself in the activities of Kåñëa consciousness. Because everything is done for Kåñëa, he enjoys only transcendental happiness in the discharge of this service. Those who are engaged in this process are known to be without desire for personal sense gratification. The sense of eternal servitorship to Kåñëa makes one immune to all sorts of reactionary elements of work.
SaMaarM>aa" k-aMaSaªLPaviJaRTaa" )
jaNaaiGandGDak-MaaR<a& TaMaahu" Pai<@Ta& buDaa" )) 19 ))
yasya sarve samärambhäù
tam ähuù paëòitaà budhäù
yasya—one whose; sarve—all sorts of; samärambhäù—in all attempts; käma—desire for sense gratification; saìkalpa—determination; varjitäù—are devoid of; jïäna—of perfect knowledge; ägni—fire; dagdha—being burnt by; karmäëam—the performer; tam—him; ähuù—declare; paëòitam—learned; budhäù—those who know.
One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every act is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker whose fruitive action is burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.
Only a person in full knowledge can understand the activities of a person in Kåñëa consciousness. Because the person in Kåñëa consciousness is devoid of all kinds of sense-gratificatory propensities, it is to be understood that he has burned up the reactions of his work by perfect knowledge of his constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is actually learned who has attained to such perfection of knowledge. Development of this knowledge of the eternal servitorship of the Lord is compared to fire. Such a fire, once kindled, can burn up all kinds of reactions to work.
k-MaRf-l/aSa®& iNaTYaTa*áae iNaraé[Ya" )
k-MaR<Yai>aPa[v*taae_iPa NaEv ik-iÄTk-raeiTa Sa" )) 20 ))
karmaëy abhipravåtto ’pi
naiva kiïcit karoti saù
tyaktvä—having given up; karma-phala-äsaìgam—attachment for fruitive results; nitya—always; tåptaù—being satisfied; niräçrayaù—without any center; karmaëi—in activity; abhipravåttaù—being fully engaged; api—in spite of; na—does not; eva—certainly; kiïcit—anything; karoti—do; saù—he.
Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independant, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.
This freedom from the bondage of actions is possible only in Kåñëa consciousness when one is doing everything for Kåñëa. A Kåñëa conscious person acts out of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore he has no attraction for the results of the action. He is not even attached to his personal maintenance, for everything is left to Kåñëa. Nor is he anxious to secure things, nor to protect things already in his possession. He does his duty to his best ability and leaves everything to Kåñëa. Such an unattached person is always free from the resultant reactions of good and bad; it is as though he were not doing anything. This is the sign of akarma, or actions without fruitive reactions. Any other action, therefore, devoid of Kåñëa consciousness, is binding upon the worker, and that is the real aspect of vikarma, as explained hereinbefore.
Xaarqr& ke-vl&/ k-MaR ku-vRàaPanaeiTa ik-iLbzMa( )) 21 ))
çäréraà kevalaà karma
kurvan näpnoti kilbiñam
niräçéù—without desire for the results; yata—controlled; citta-ätmä—mind and intelligence; tyakta—giving up; sarva—all; parigrahaù—sense of proprietorship over all possessions; çäréram—in keeping body and soul together; kevalam—only; karma—work; kurvan—doing so; na—never; äpnoti—does not acquire; kilbiñam—sinful reactions.
Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions.
A Kåñëa conscious person does not expect good or bad results in his activities. His mind and intelligence are fully controlled. He knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme, and therefore the part played by him, as a part and parcel of the whole, is not his by choice but is chosen for him by the Supreme and is done only through His agency. When the hand moves, it does not move out of its own accord, but by the endeavor of the whole body. A Kåñëa conscious person is always dovetailed with the supreme desire, for he has no desire for personal sense gratification. He moves exactly like a part of a machine. As a machine part requires oiling and cleaning for maintenance, similarly, a Kåñëa conscious man maintains himself by his work just to remain fit for action in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. He is therefore immune to all the reactions of his endeavors. Like an animal, he has no proprietorship even over his own body. A cruel proprietor of an animal sometimes kills the animal in his possession, yet the animal does not protest. Nor does it have any real independence. A Kåñëa conscious person, fully engaged in self-realization, has very little time to falsely possess any material object. For maintaining body and soul, he does not require unfair means of accumulating money. He does not, therefore, become contaminated by such material sins. He is free from all reactions to his actions.
ÜNÜaTaqTaae ivMaTSar" )
SaMa" iSaÖaviSaÖaE c k*-TvaiPa Na iNabDYaTae )) 22 ))
samaù siddhäv asiddhau ca
kåtväpi na nibadhyate
yadåcchä—out of its own accord; läbha—gain; santuñöaù—satisfied; dvandva—duality; atétaù—surpassed; vimatsaraù—free from envy; samaù—steady; siddhau—in success; asiddhau—failure; ca—also; kåtvä—doing; api—although; na—never; nibadhyate—is affected.
He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady both in success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions.
A Kåñëa conscious person does not make much endeavor even to maintain his body. He is satisfied with gains which are obtained of their own accord. He neither begs nor borrows, but he labors honestly as far as is in his power, and is satisfied with whatever is obtained by his own honest labor. He is therefore independant in his livelihood. He does not allow anyone’s service to hamper his own service in Kåñëa consciousness. However, for the service of the Lord he can participate in any kind of action without being disturbed by the duality of the material world. The duality of the material world is felt in terms of heat and cold, or misery and happiness. A Kåñëa conscious person is above duality because he does not hesitate to act in any way for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. Therefore he is steady both in success and in failure. These signs are visible when one is fully in transcendental knowledge.
Mau¢-SYa jaNaaviSQaTaceTaSa" )
YajaYaacrTa" k-MaR SaMaGa]& Pa[ivl/IYaTae )) 23 ))
gata-saìgasya—unattached to the modes of material nature; muktasya—of the liberated; jïäna-avasthita—situated in transcendence; cetasaù—of such wisdom; yajïäya—for the sake of Yajïa (Kåñëa); äcarataù—so acting; karma—work; samagram—in total; praviléyate—merges entirely.
The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.
Becoming fully Kåñëa conscious, one is freed from all dualities and thus is free from the contaminations of the material modes. He can become liberated because he knows his constitutional position in relationship with Kåñëa; and thus his mind cannot be drawn from Kåñëa consciousness. Consequently, whatever he does, he does for Kåñëa, who is the primeval Viñëu. Therefore, all his works are technically sacrifices because sacrifice involves satisfying the Supreme Person, Kåñëa. The resultant reactions to all such work certainly merge into transcendence, and one does not suffer material effects.
b]ø hivb]RøaGanaE b]ø<aa huTaMa( )
b]øEv TaeNa GaNTaVYa& b]øk-MaRSaMaaiDaNaa )) 24 ))
brahmärpaëaà brahma havir
brahmägnau brahmaëä hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyaà
brahma—spiritual nature; arpaëam—contribution; brahma—the Supreme; haviù—butter; brahma—spiritual; agnau—in the fire of consummation; brähmaëä—by the spirit soul; hutam—offered; brahma—spiritual kingdom; eva—certainly; tena—by him; gantavyam—to be reached; brahma—spiritual; karma—activities; samädhinä—by complete absorption.
A person who is fully absorbed in Kåñëa consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature.
How activities in Kåñëa consciousness can lead one ultimately to the spiritual goal is described here. There are various activities in Kåñëa consciousness, and all of them will be described in the following verses. But, for the present, just the principle of Kåñëa consciousness is described. A conditioned soul, entangled in material contamination, is sure to act in the material atmosphere, and yet he has to get out of such an environment. The process by which the conditioned soul can get out of the material atmosphere is Kåñëa consciousness. For example, a patient who is suffering from a disorder of the bowels due to overindulgence in milk products is cured by another milk product, namely curds. The materially absorbed conditioned soul can be cured by Kåñëa consciousness as set forth here in the Gétä. This process is generally known as yajïa, or activities (sacrifices) simply meant for the satisfaction of Viñëu or Kåñëa. The more the activities of the material world are performed in Kåñëa consciousness, or for Viñëu only, the more the atmosphere becomes spiritualized by complete absorption. Brahman means spiritual. The Lord is spiritual, and the rays of His transcendental body are called brahmajyoti, His spiritual effulgence. Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti, but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (mäyä) or sense gratification, it is called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Kåñëa consciousness; thus the offering for the sake of Kåñëa consciousness, the consuming agent of such an offering or contribution; the process of consumption, the contributor, and the result are—all combined together—Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth covered by mäyä is called matter. Matter dovetailed for the cause of the Absolute Truth regains its spiritual quality. Kåñëa consciousness is the process of converting the illusory consciousness into Brahman, or the Supreme. When the mind is fully absorbed in Kåñëa consciousness, it is said to be in samädhi, or trance. Anything done in such transcendental consciousness is called yajïa, or sacrifice for the Absolute. In that condition of spiritual consciousness, the contributor, the contribution, the consumption, the performer or leader of the performance, and the result or ultimate gain—everything—becomes one in the Absolute, the Supreme Brahman. That is the method of Kåñëa consciousness.
Yaj& YaaeiGaNa" PaYauRPaaSaTae )
b]øaGanavPare Yaj& YajeNaEvaePaJauûiTa )) 25 ))
daivam eväpare yajïaà
brahmägnäv apare yajïaà
daivam—in worshiping the demigods; eva—like this; apare—some; yajïam—sacrifices; yoginaù—the mystics; paryupäsate—worship perfectly; brahma—the Absolute Truth; agnau—in the fire of; apare—others; yajïam—sacrifice; yajïena—by sacrifice; eva—thus; upajuhvati—worship.
Some yogés perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrffices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.
As described above, a person engaged in discharging duties in Kåñëa consciousness is also called a perfect yogé or a first-class mystic. But there are others also, who perform similar sacrifices in the worship of demigods, and still others who sacrifice to the Supreme Brahman, or the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord. So there are different kinds of sacrifices in terms of different categories. Such different categories of sacrifice by different types of performers only superficially demark varieties of sacrifice. Factual sacrifice means to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Viñëu, who is also known as Yajïa. All the different varieties of sacrifice can be placed within two primary divisions: namely, sacrifice of worldly possessions and sacrifice in pursuit of transcendental knowledge. Those who are in Kåñëa consciousness sacrifice all material possessions for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, while others, who want some temporary material happiness, sacrifice their material possessions to satisfy demigods such as Indra, the sun-god, etc. And others, who are impersonalists, sacrifice their identity by merging into the existence of impersonal Brahman. The demigods are powerful living entities appointed by the Supreme Lord for the maintenance and supervision of all material functions like the heating, watering and lighting of the universe. Those who are interested in material benefits worship the demigods by various sacrifices according to the Vedic rituals. They are called bahv-éçvara-vädé, or believers in many gods. But others, who worship the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth and regard the forms of the demigods as temporary, sacrifice their individual selves in the supreme fire and thus end their individual existences by merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such impersonalists spend their time in philosophical speculation to understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme. In other words, the fruitive workers sacrifice their material possessions for material enjoyment, whereas the impersonalist sacrifices his material designations with a view to merging into the existence of the Supreme. For the impersonalist, the fire altar of sacrifice is the Supreme Brahman, and the offering is the self being consumed by the fire of Brahman. The Kåñëa conscious person, like Arjuna, however, sacrifices everything for the satisfaction of Kåñëa, and thus all his material possessions as well as his own self—everything—is sacrificed for Kåñëa. Thus, he is the first-class yogé; but he does not lose his individual existence.
Sa&YaMaaiGanzu JauûiTa )
XaBdadqiNvzYaaNaNYa wiNd]YaaiGanzu JauûiTa )) 26 ))
çabdädén viñayän anya
çrotra ädéni—hearing process; indriyäëi—senses; anye—others; saàyama—of restraint; agniñu—in the fire; juhvati—offers; çabda-ädén—sound vibration, etc.; viñayän—objects of sense gratification; anye—others: indriya—of sense organs; agniñu—in the fire; juhvati—sacrifice.
Some of them sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of the controlled mind, and others sacrifice the objects of the senses, such as sound, in the fire of sacrifice.
The four divisions of human life, namely the brahmacäré, the gåhastha, the vänaprastha, and the sannyäsé, are all meant to help men become perfect yogés or transcendentalists. Since human life is not meant for our enjoying sense gratification like the animals, the four orders of human life are so arranged that one may become perfect in spiritual life. The brahmacärés, or students under the care of a bona fide spiritual master, control the mind by abstaining from sense gratification. They are referred to in this verse as sacrificing the hearing process and the senses in the fire of the controlled mind. A brahmacäré hears only words concerning Kåñëa consciousness; hearing is the basic principle for understanding, and therefore the pure brahmacäré engages fully in harer nämänukértanam—chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. He restrains himself from the vibrations of material sounds, and his hearing is engaged in the transcendental sound vibration of Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa. Similarly, the householders, who have some license for sense gratification, perform such acts with great restraint. Sex life, intoxication and meat eating are general tendencies of human society, but a regulated householder does not indulge in unrestricted sex life and other sense gratifications. Marriage on principles of religious life is therefore current in all civilized human society because that is the way for restricted sex life. This restricted, unattached sex life is also a kind of yajïa because the restricted householder sacrifices his general tendency toward sense gratification for higher transcendental life.
Pa[a<ak-MaaRi<a caPare )
AaTMaSa&YaMaYaaeGaaGanaE JauûiTa jaNadqiPaTae )) 27 ))
sarväëi—all; indriya—senses; karmäëi—functions; präëa-karmäëi—functions of the life breath; ca—also; apare—others; ätma-saàyama—controlling the mind; yoga—linking process; agnau—in the fire of; juhvati—offers; jïäna-dépite—because of the urge for self-realization.
Those who are interested in self-realization, in terms of mind and sense control, offer the functions of all the senses, as well as the vital force [breath], as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.
The yoga system conceived by Pataïjali is referred to herein. In the Yoga-sütra of Pataïjali, the soul is called pratyag-ätmä and parag-ätmä. As long as the soul is attached to sense enjoyment, it is called parag-ätmä. The soul is subjected to the functions of ten kinds of air at work within the body, and this is perceived through the breathing system. The Pätaïjala system of yoga instructs one on how to control the functions of the body’s air in a technical manner so that ultimately all the functions of the air within become favorable for purifying the soul of material attachment. According to this yoga system, pratyag ätmä is the ultimate goal. This pratyag ätmä is a withdrawal from activities in matter. The senses interact with the sense objects, like the ear for hearing, eyes for seeing, nose for smelling, tongue for tasting, hand for touching, and all of them are thus engaged in activities outside the self. They are called the functions of the präëa-väyu. The apäna-väyu goes downwards, vyäna-väyu acts to shrink and expand, samäna-väyu adjusts equilibrium, udäna-väyu goes upwards—and when one is enlightened, one engages all these in searching for self-realization.
SvaDYaaYajaNaYajaê YaTaYa" Sa&iXaTav]Taa" )) 28 ))
dravya-yajïäù—sacrificing one’s possessions; tapo-yajïäù—sacrifice in austerities; yoga-yajïäù—sacrifice in eightfold mysticism; tathä—thus; apare—others; svädhyäya—sacrifice in the study of the Vedas; jïäna-yajïäù—sacrifice in advancement of transcendental knowledge; ca—also; yatayaù—enlightened; saàçita—taken to strict; vratäù—vows.
There are others who, enlightened by sacrificing their material possessions in severe austerities, take strict vows and practice the yoga of eightfold mysticism, and others study the Vedas for the advancement of transcendental knowledge.
These sacrifices may be fitted into various divisions. There are persons who are sacrificing their possessions in the form of various kinds of charities. In India, the rich mercantile community or princely orders open various kinds of charitable institutions like dharmaçälä, anna-kñetra, atithi-çälä, anathalaya, vidyäpéöha, etc. In other countries, too, there are many hospitals, old age homes and similar charitable foundations meant for distributing food, education and medical treatment free to the poor. All these charitable activities are called dravyamaya-yajïa. There are others who, for higher elevation in life or for promotion to higher planets within the universe, voluntarily accept many kinds of austerities such as candräyana and cäturmäsya. These processes entail severe vows for conducting life under certain rigid rules. For example, under the cäturmäsya vow the candidate does not shave for four months during the year (July to October), he does not eat certain foods, does not eat twice in a day and does not leave home. Such sacrifice of the comforts of life is called tapomaya-yajïa. There are still others who engage themselves in different kinds of mystic yogas like the Pataïjali system (for merging into the existence of the Absolute), or haöha-yoga or añöäìga-yoga (for particular perfections). And some travel to all the sanctified places of pilgrimage. All these practices are called yoga-yajïa, sacrifice for a certain type of perfection in the material world. There are others who engage themselves in the studies of different Vedic literatures, specifically the Upaniñads and Vedänta-sütras, or the säìkhya philosophy. All of these are called svädhyäya-yajïa, or engagement in the sacrifice of studies. All these yogés are faithfully engaged in different types of sacrifice and are seeking a higher status of life. Kåñëa consciousness, is, however, different from these because it is the direct service of the Supreme Lord. Kåñëa consciousness cannot be attained by any one of the above-mentioned types of sacrifices but can be attained only by the mercy of the Lord and His bona fide devotee. Therefore, Kåñëa consciousness is transcendental.
Pa[a<a& Pa[a<ae_PaaNa& TaQaaPare )
Pa[a<aaPaaNaGaTaq åd(ßa Pa[a<aaYaaMaParaYa<aa" )
APare iNaYaTaahara" Pa[a<aaNPa[a<aezu JauûiTa )) 29 ))
apäne juhvati präëaà
präëe ’pänaà tathäpare
präëän präëeñu juhvati
apäne—air which acts downward; juhvati—offers; präëam—air which acts outward; präëe—in the air going outward; apänam—air going downward; tathä—as also; apare—others; präëa—air going outward; apäna—air going downward; gaté—movement; ruddhvä—checking; präëäyäma—trance induced by stopping all breathing; paräyaëäù—so inclined; apare—others; niyata—controlled; ähäräù—eating; präëän—outgoing air; präëeñu—in the outgoing air; juhvati—sacrifices.
And there are even others who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, and they practice stopping the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Some of them, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself, as a sacrifice.
This system of yoga for controlling the breathing process is called präëäyäma, and in the beginning it is practiced in the haöha-yoga system through different sitting postures. All of these processes are recommended for controlling the senses and for advancement in spiritual realization. This practice involves controlling the air within the body to enable simultaneous passage in opposite directions. The apäna air goes downward, and the präëa air goes up. The präëäyäma yogé practices breathing the opposite way until the currents are neutralized into püraka, equilibrium. Similarly, when the exhaled breathing is offered to inhaled breathing, it is called recaka. When both air currents are completely stopped, it is called kumbhaka-yoga. By practice of kumbhaka-yoga, the yogés increase the duration of life by many, many years. A Kåñëa conscious person, however, being always situated in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, automatically becomes the controller of the senses. His senses, being always engaged in the service of Kåñëa, have no chance of becoming otherwise engaged. So at the end of life, he is naturally transferred to the transcendental plane of Lord Kåñëa; consequently he makes no attempt to increase his longevity. He is at once raised to the platform of liberation. A Kåñëa conscious person begins from the transcendental stage, and he is constantly in that consciousness. Therefore, there is no falling down, and ultimately he enters into the abode of the Lord without delay. The practice of reduced eating is automatically done when one eats only Kåñëa prasädam, or food which is offered first to the Lord. Reducing the eating process is very helpful in the matter of sense control. And without sense control there is no possibility of getting out of the material entanglement.
Yajivdae Yaj+aiPaTak-LMaza" )
YajiXaíaMa*Ta>auJaae YaaiNTa b]ø SaNaaTaNaMa( )) 30 ))
sarve ’py ete yajïa-vido
yänti brahma sanätanam
sarve—all; api—although apparently different; ete—all these; yajïa-vidaù—conversant with the purpose of performing; yajïa—sacrifices; kñapita—being cleansed of the result of such performances; kalmañäù—sinful reactions; yajïa-çiñöa—as a result of such performances of yajïa; amåta-bhujaù—those who have tasted such nectar; yänti—do approach; brahma—the supreme; sanätanam—eternal atmosphere.
All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reaction, and, having tasted the nectar of the remnants of such sacrifice, they go to the supreme eternal atmosphere.
From the foregoing explanation of differents types of sacrifice (namely sacrifice of one’s possessions, study of the Vedas or philosophical doctrines, and performance of the yoga system), it is found that the common aim of all is to control the senses. Sense gratification is the root cause of material existence; therefore, unless and until one is situated on a platform apart from sense gratification, there is no chance of being elevated to the eternal platform of full knowledge, full bliss and full life. This platform is in the eternal atmosphere, or Brahman atmosphere. All the above-mentioned sacrifices help one to become cleansed of the sinful reactions of material existence. By this advancement in life, one not only becomes happy and opulent in this life, but also, at the end, he enters into the eternal kingdom of God, either merging into the impersonal Brahman or associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa.
NaaYa& l/aek-ae_STYaYajSYa ku-Taae_NYa" ku-åSataMa )) 31 ))
näyaà loko ’sty ayajïasya
kuto ’nyaù kuru-sattama
na—never; ayam—this; lokaù—planet; asti—there is; ayajïasya—of the foolish; kutaù—where is; anyaù—the other; kuru-sattama—O best amongst the Kurus.
O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?
Whatever form of material existence one is in, one is invariably ignorant of his real situation. In other words, existence in the material world is due to the multiple reactions to our sinful lives. Ignorance is the cause of sinful life, and sinful life is the cause of one’s dragging on in material existence. The human form of life is the only loophole by which one may get out of this entanglement. The Vedas, therefore, give us a chance for escape by pointing out the paths of religion, economic comfort, regulated sense gratification and, at last, the means to get out of the miserable condition entirely. The path of religion, or the different kinds of sacrifice recommended above, automatically solves our economic problems. By performance of yajïa we can have enough food, enough milk, etc.—even if there is a so-called increase of population. When the body is fully supplied, naturally the next stage is to satisfy the senses. The Vedas prescribe, therefore, sacred marriage for regulated sense gratification. Thereby one is gradually elevated to the platform of release from material bondage, and the highest perfection of liberated life is to associate with the Supreme Lord. Perfection is achieved by performance of yajïa (sacrifice), as described above. Now, if a person is not inclined to perform yajïa according to the Vedas, how can he expect a happy life? There are different grades of material comforts in different heavenly planets, and in all cases there is immense happiness for persons engaged in different kinds of yajïa. But the highest kind of happiness that a man can achieve is to be promoted to the spiritual planets by practice of Kåñëa consciousness. A life of Kåñëa consciousness is therefore the solution to all the problems of material existence.
Yaja ivTaTaa b]ø<aae Mau%e )
k-MaRJaaiNviÖ TaaNSavaRNaev& jaTva ivMaae+YaSae )) 32 ))
evaà bahu-vidhä yajïä
vitatä brahmaëo mukhe
karma-jän viddhi tän sarvän
evaà jïätvä vimokñyase
evam—thus; bahu-vidhäù—various kinds of; yajïäù—sacrifices; vitatäù—widespread; brahmaëaù—of the Vedas; mukhe—in the face of; karma-jän—born of work; viddhi—you should know; tän—them; sarvän—all; evam—thus; jïätvä—knowing; vimokñyase—be liberated.
All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas, and all of them are born of different types of work. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.
Different types of sacrifice, as discussed above, are mentioned in the Vedas to suit the different types of worker. Because men are so deeply absorbed in the bodily concept, these sacrifices are so arranged that one can work either with the body, the mind, or the intelligence. But all of them are recommended for ultimately bringing about liberation from the body. This is confirmed by the Lord herewith from His own mouth.
Sav| k-MaaRi%l&/ PaaQaR jaNae PairSaMaaPYaTae )) 33 ))
çreyän dravya-mayäd yajïäj
sarvaà karmäkhilaà pärtha
çreyän—greater; dravyamayät—than the sacrifice of material possessions; yajïät—knowledge; jïäna-yajïaù—sacrifice in knowledge; parantapa—O chastiser of the enemy; sarvam—all; karma—activities; akhilam—in totality; pärtha—O son of Påthä; jïäne—in knowledge; parisamäpyate—ends in.
O chastiser of the enemy, the sacrifice of knowledge is greater than the sacrifice of material possessions. O son of Påthä, after all, the sacrifice of work culminates in transcendental knowledge.
The purpose of all sacrifices is to arrive at the status of complete knowledge, then to gain release from material miseries, and, ultimately, to engage in loving transcendental service to the Supreme Lord (Kåñëa consciousness). Nonetheless, there is a mystery about all these different activities of sacrifice, and one should know this mystery. Sacrifices sometimes take different forms according to the particular faith of the performer. When one’s faith reaches the stage of transcendental knowledge, the performer of sacrifices should be considered more advanced than those who simply sacrifice material possessions without such knowledge, for without attainment of knowledge, sacrifices remain on the material platform and bestow no spiritual benefit. Real knowledge culminates in Kåñëa consciousness, the highest stage of transcendental knowledge. Without the elevation of knowledge, sacrifices are simply material activities. When, however, they are elevated to the level of transcendental knowledge, all such activities enter onto the spiritual platform. Depending on differences in consciousness, sacrificial activities are sometimes called karma-käëòa, fruitive activities, and sometimes jïäna-käëòa, knowledge in the pursuit of truth. It is better when the end is knowledge.
Pa[i<aPaaTaeNa PairPa[éneNa SaevYaa )
oPade+YaiNTa Tae jaNa& jaiNaNaSTatvdiXaRNa" )) 34 ))
tad viddhi praëipätena
upadekñyanti te jïänaà
tat—that knowledge of different sacrifices; viddhi—try to understand; praëipätena—by approaching a spiritual master; paripraçnena—by submissive inquiries; sevayä—by the rendering of service; upadekñyanti—initiate; te—unto you; jïänam—knowledge; jïäninaù—the self-realized; tattva—truth; darçinaù—the seers.
Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.
The path of spiritual realization is undoubtedly difficult. The Lord therefore advises us to approach a bona fide spiritual master in the line of disciplic succession from the Lord Himself. No one can be a bona fide spiritual master without following this principle of disciplic succession. The Lord is the original spiritual master, and a person in the disciplic succession can convey the message of the Lord as it is to his disciple. No one can be spiritually realized by manufacturing his own process, as is the fashion of the foolish pretenders. The Bhägavatam says: dharmaà hi säkñäd-bhagavat-praëétam—the path of religion is directly enunciated by the Lord. Therefore, mental speculation or dry arguments cannot help one progress in spiritual life. One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige. Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Inquiries and submission constitute the proper combination for spiritual understanding. Unless there is submission and service, inquiries from the learned spiritual master will not be effective. One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding. In this verse, both blind following and absurd inquiries are condemned. One should not only hear submissively from the spiritual master; but one must also get a clear understanding from him, in submission and service and inquiries. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind toward the disciple. Therefore when the student is submissive and is always ready to render service, the reciprocation of knowledge and inquiries becomes perfect.
PauNaMaaeRhMaev& YaaSYaiSa Paa<@v )
YaeNa >aUTaaNYaXaezai<a d]+YaSYaaTMaNYaQaae MaiYa )) 35 ))
yaj jïätvä na punar moham
evaà yäsyasi päëòava
yena bhütäny açeñäëi
drakñyasy ätmany atho mayi
yat—which; jïätvä—knowing; na—never; punaù—again; moham—illusion; evam—like this; yäsyasi—you shall go; päëòava—O son of Päëòu; yena—by which; bhütäni—all living entities; açesäëi—totally; drakñyasi—you will see; ätmani—in the Supreme Soul; atho—or in other words; mayi—in Me.
And when you have thus learned the truth, you will know that all living beings are but part of Me—and that they are in Me, and are Mine.
The result of receiving knowledge from a self-realized soul, or one who knows things as they are, is learning that all living beings are parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Çré Kåñëa. The sense of a separated existence from Kåñëa is called mäyä (mä—not, yä—this). Some think that we have nothing to do with Kåñëa, that Kåñëa is only a great historical personality and that the Absolute is the impersonal Brahman. Factually, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gétä, this impersonal Brahman is the personal effulgence of Kåñëa. Kåñëa, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the cause of everything. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is clearly stated that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes. Even the millions of incarnations are only His different expansions. Similarly, the living entities are also expansions of Kåñëa. The Mäyävädé philosophers wrongly think that Kåñëa loses His own separate existence in His many expansions. This thought is material in nature. We have experience in the material world that a thing, when fragmentally distributed, loses its own original identity. But the Mäyävädé philosophers fail to understand that Absolute means that one plus one is equal to one, and that one minus one is also equal to one. This is the case in the absolute world.
For want of sufficient knowledge in the absolute science, we are now covered with illusion, and therefore we think that we are separate from Kåñëa. Although we are separated parts of Kåñëa, we are nevertheless not different from Him. The bodily difference of the living entities is mäyä, or not actual fact. We are all meant to satisfy Kåñëa. By mäyä alone Arjuna thought that the temporary bodily relationship with his kinsmen was more important than his eternal spiritual relationship with Kåñëa. The whole teaching of the Gétä is targetted toward this end: that a living being, as His eternal servitor, cannot be separated from Kåñëa, and his sense of being an identity apart from Kåñëa is called mäyä. The living entities, as separate parts and parcels of the Supreme, have a purpose to fulfill. Having forgotten that purpose, since time immemorial they are situated in different bodies, as men, animals, demigods, etc. Such bodily differences arise from forgetfulness of the transcendental service of the Lord. But when one is engaged in transcendental service through Kåñëa consciousness, one becomes at once liberated from this illusion. One can acquire such pure knowledge only from the bona fide spiritual master and thereby avoid the delusion that the living entity is equal to Kåñëa. Perfect knowledge is that the Supreme Soul, Kåñëa, is the supreme shelter for all living entities, and giving up such shelter, the living entities are deluded by the material energy, imagining themselves to have a separate identity. Thus, under different standards of material identity, they become forgetful of Kåñëa. When, however, such deluded living entities become situated in Kåñëa consciousness, it is to be understood that they are on the path of liberation, as confirmed in the Bhägavatam: muktir hitvänyathä rüpaà svarüpeëa vyavasthitiù. Liberation means to be situated in one’s constitutional position as the eternal servitor of Kåñëa (Kåñëa consciousness).
PaaPae>Ya" SaveR>Ya" PaaPak*-taMa" )
Sav| jaNaâveNaEv v*iJaNa& SaNTairZYaiSa )) 36 ))
api ced asi päpebhyaù
api—even; cet—if; asi—you are; päpebhyaù—of sinners; sarvebhyaù—of all; päpa-kåttamaù—the greatest sinner; sarvam—all such sinful actions; jïäna-plavena—by the boat of transcendental knowledge; eva—certainly; våjinam—the ocean of miseries; santariñyasi—you will cross completely.
Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
Proper understanding of one’s constitutional position in relationship to Kåñëa is so nice that it can at once lift one from the struggle for existence which goes on in the ocean of nescience. This material world is sometimes regarded as an ocean of nescience and sometimes as a blazing forest. In the ocean, however expert a swimmer one may be, the struggle for existence is very severe. If someone comes forward and lifts the struggling swimmer from the ocean, he is the greatest savior. Perfect knowledge, received from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the path of liberation. The boat of Kåñëa consciousness is very simple, but at the same time the most sublime.
jaNaaiGan" SavRk-MaaRi<a >aSMaSaaTku-åTae TaQaa )) 37 ))
yathaidhäàsi samiddho ’gnir
bhasma-sät kurute ’rjuna
bhasma-sät kurute tathä
yathä—just as; edhäàsi—firewood; samiddhaù—blazing; agniù—fire; bhasmasät—turns into ashes; kurute—so does; arjuna—O Arjuna; jïäna-agniù—the fire of knowledge; sarva-karmäëi—all reactions to material activities; bhasmasät—to ashes; kurute—it so does; tathä—similarly.
As the blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.
Perfect knowledge of self and Superself and of their relationship is compared herein to fire. This fire not only burns up all reactions to impious activities, but also all reactions to pious activities, turning them to ashes. There are many stages of reaction: reaction in the making, reaction fructifying, reaction already achieved, and reaction a priori. But knowledge of the constitutional position of the living entity burns everything to ashes. When one is in complete knowledge, all reactious, both a priori and a posteriori, are consumed. In the Vedas it is stated: ubhe uhaivaiña ete taraty amåtaù sädhv-asädhüné: "One overcomes both the pious and impious interactions of work."
Na ih jaNaeNa
Sad*Xa& Paiv}aiMah ivÛTae )
TaTSvYa& YaaeGaSa&iSaÖ" k-ale/NaaTMaiNa ivNdiTa )) 38 ))
na hi jïänena sadåçaà
pavitram iha vidyate
tat svayaà yoga-saàsiddhaù
na—never; hi—certainly; jïänena—with knowledge; sadåçam—in comparison; pavitram—sanctified; iha—in this world; vidyate—exists; tat—that; svayam—itself; yoga—devotion; saàsiddhaù—matured; kälena—in course of time; ätmani—in himself; vindati—enjoys.
In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has achieved this enjoys the self within himself in due course of time.
When we speak of transcendental knowledge, we do so in terms of spiritual understanding. As such, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Ignorance is the cause of our bondage, and knowledge is the cause of our liberation. This knowledge is the mature fruit of devotional service, and when one is situated in transcendental knowledge, he need not search for peace elsewhere, for he enjoys peace within himself. In other words, this knowledge and peace are culminated in Kåñëa consciousness. That is the last word in the Bhagavad-gétä.
jaNa& TaTPar" Sa&YaTaeiNd]Ya" )
jaNa& l/Bßa Para& XaaiNTaMaicre<aaiDaGaC^iTa )) 39 ))
çraddhäväl labhate jïänaà
jïänaà labdhvä paräà çäntim
çraddhävän—a faithful man; labhate—achieves; jïänam—knowledge; tat-paraù—very much attached to it; saàyata—controlled; indriyaù—senses; jïanam—knowledge; labdhvä—having achieved; paräm—transcendental; çäntim—peace; acireëa—very soon; adhigacchati—attains.
A faithful man who is absorbed in transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.
Such knowledge in Kåñëa consciousness can be achieved by a faithful person who believes firmly in Kåñëa. One is called a faithful man who thinks that, simply by acting in Kåñëa consciousness, he can attain the highest perfection. This faith is attained by the discharge of devotional service, and by chanting "Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare," which cleanses one’s heart of all material dirt. Over and above this, one should control the senses. A person who is faithful to Kåñëa and who controls the senses can easily attain perfection in the knowledge of Kåñëa consciousness without delay.
Sa&XaYaaTMaa ivNaXYaiTa )
NaaYa& l/aek-ae_iSTa Na Parae Na Sau%& Sa&XaYaaTMaNa" )) 40 ))
ajïaç cäçraddadhänaç ca
näyaà loko ’sti na paro
na sukhaà saàçayätmanaù
ajïaù—fools who have no knowledge in standard scriptures; ca—and; açraddadhänaù—without faith in revealed scriptures; ca—also; saàçaya—doubts; ätmä—person; vinaçyati—falls back; na—never; ayam—this; lokaù—world; asti—there is; na—neither; paraù—next life; na—not; sukham—happiness; saàçaya—doubtful; ätmanaù—of the person.
But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.
Out of many standard and authoritative revealed scriptures, the Bhagavad-gétä is the best. Persons who are almost like animals have no faith in, or knowledge of, the standard revealed scriptures; and some, even though they have knowledge of, or can cite passages from, the revealed scriptures, have actually no faith in these words. And even though others may have faith in scriptures like Bhagavad-gétä, they do not believe in or worship the Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa. Such persons cannot have any standing in Kåñëa consciousness. They fall down. Out of all the abovementioned persons, those who have no faith and are always doubtful make no progress at all. Men without faith in God and His revealed word find no good in this world, nor in the next. For them there is no happiness whatsoever. One should therefore follow the principles of revealed scriptures with faith and thereby be raised to the platform of knowledge. Only this knowledge will help one become promoted to the transcendental platform of spiritual understanding. In other words, doubtful persons have no status whatsoever in spiritual emancipation. One should therefore follow in the footsteps of great äcäryas who are in the disciplic succession and thereby attain success.
AaTMavNTa& Na k-MaaRi<a iNabDaniNTa DaNaÅYa )) 41 ))
ätmavantaà na karmäëi
yoga—devotional service in karma-yoga; sannyasta—renounced; karmäëam—of the performers; jïäna—knowledge; saïchinna—cut by the advancement of knowledge; saàçayam—doubts; ätma-vantam—situated in the self; na—never; karmäëi—work; nibadhnanti—do bind up; dhanaïjaya—O conquerer of riches.
Therefore, one who has renounced the fruits of his action, whose doubts are destroyed by transcendental knowledge, and who is situated firmly in the self, is not bound by works, O conqueror of riches.
One who follows the instruction of the Gétä, as it is imparted by the Lord, the Personality of Godhead Himself, becomes free from all doubts by the grace of transcendental knowledge. He, as a part and parcel of the Lord, in full Kåñëa consciousness, is already established in self-knowledge. As such, he is undoubtedly above bondage to action.
ôTSQa& jaNaaiSaNaaTMaNa" )
i^tvENa& Sa&XaYa& YaaeGaMaaiTaïaeitaï >aarTa )) 42 ))
chittvainaà saàçayaà yogam
tasmät—therefore; ajïäna-sambhütam—outcome of ignorance; håt-stham—situated in the heart; jïäna—knowledge; asinä—by the weapon of; ätmanaù—of the self; chittvä—cutting off; enam—this; saàçayam—doubt; yogam—in yoga; ätiñöha—be situated; uttiñöha—stand up to fight; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata.
Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bhärata, stand and fight.
The yoga system instructed in this chapter is called sanätana-yoga, or eternal activities performed by the living entity. This yoga has two divisions of sacrificial actions: one is called sacrifice of one’s material possessions, and the other is called knowledge of self, which is pure spiritual activity. If sacrifice of one’s material possessions is not dovetailed for spiritual realization, then such sacrifice becomes material. But one who performs such sacrifices with a spiritual objective, or in devotional service, makes a perfect sacrifice. When we come to spiritual activities, we find that these are also divided into two: namely, understanding of one’s own self (or one’s constitutional position), and the truth regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who follows the path of the Gétä as it is can very easily understand these two important divisions of spiritual knowledge. For him there is no difficulty in obtaining perfect knowledge of the self as part and parcel of the Lord. And such understanding is beneficial for such a person who easily understands the transcendental activities of the Lord. In the beginning of this chapter, the transcendental activities of the Lord were discussed by the Supreme Lord Himself. One who does not understand the instructions of the Gétä is faithless, and is to be considered to be misusing the fragmental independence awarded to him by the Lord. In spite of such instructions, one who does not understand the real nature of the Lord as the eternal, blissful, all-knowing Personality of Godhead, is certainly fool number one. Ignorance can be removed by gradual acceptance of the principles of Kåñëa consciousness. Kåñëa consciousness is awakened by different types of sacrifices to the demigods, sacrifice to Brahman, sacrifice in celibacy, in household life, in controlling the senses, in practicing mystic yoga, in penance, in foregoing material possessions, in studying the Vedas, and in partaking of the social institution called varëäçrama-dharma. All of these are known as sacrifice, and all of them are based on regulated action. But within all these activities, the important factor is self-realization. One who seeks that objective is the real student of Bhagavad-gétä, but one who doubts the authority of Kåñëa falls back. One is therefore advised to study Bhagavad-gétä, or any other scripture, under a bona fide spiritual master, with service and surrender. A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom the instructions of Bhagavad-gétä have come down to the earthly kingdom. One should, therefore, follow the path of Bhagavad-gétä as it is expressed in the Gétä itself and beware of self-interested people after personal aggrandizement who deviate others from the actual path. The Lord is definitely the supreme person, and His activities are transcendental. One who understands this is a liberated person from the very beginning of his study of the Gétä.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Fourth Chapter of the Çrémad-Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of Transcendental Knowledge.
Bg 5. Karma-yoga—Action in Kåñëa Consciousness
SaNNYaaSa& k-MaR<aa& k*-Z<a PauNaYaaeRGa& c Xa&SaiSa )
YaC^\eYa WTaYaaerek&- TaNMae b]Uih SauiNaiêTaMa( )) 1 ))
sannyäsaà karmaëäà kåñëa
punar yogaà ca çaàsasi
yac chreya etayor ekaà
tan me brühi su-niçcitam
arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; sannyäsam—renunciation; karmaëäm—of all activities; kåñëa—O Kåñëa; punaù—again; yogam—devotional service; ca—also; çaàsasi—You are praising; yat—which; çreyaù—is beneficial; etayoù—of these two; ekam—one; tat—that; me—unto me; brühi—please tell; suniçcitam—definitely.
Arjuna said: O Kåñëa, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?
In this Fifth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gétä, the Lord says that work in devotional service is better than dry mental speculation. Devotional service is easier than the latter because, being transcendental in nature, it frees one from reaction. In the Second Chapter, preliminary knowledge of the soul and its entanglement in the material body were explained. How to get out of this material encagement by buddhi-yoga, or devotional service, was also explained therein. In the Third Chapter, it was explained that a person who is situated on the platform of knowledge no longer has any duties to perform. And, in the Fourth Chapter, the Lord told Arjuna that all kinds of sacrificial work culminate in knowledge. However, at the end of the Fourth Chapter, the Lord advised Arjuna to wake up and fight, being situated in perfect knowledge. Therefore, by simultaneously stressing the importance of both work in devotion and inaction in knowledge, Kåñëa has perplexed Arjuna and confused his determination. Arjuna understands that renunciation in knowledge involves cessation of all kinds of work performed as sense activities. But if one performs work in devotional service, then how is work stopped? In other words, he thinks that sannyäsam, or renunciation in knowledge, should be altogether free from all kinds of activity because work and renunciation appear to him to be incompatible. He appears not to have understood that work in full knowledge is nonreactive and is therefore the same as inaction. He inquires, therefore, whether he should cease work altogether, or work with full knowledge.
SaNNYaaSa" k-MaRYaaeGaê iNa"é[eYaSak-ravu>aaE )
TaYaaeSTau k-MaRSaNNYaaSaaTk-MaRYaaeGaae iviXaZYaTae )) 2 ))
sannyäsaù karma-yogaç ca
tayos tu karma-sannyäsät
çré bhagavän uväca—the Personality of Godhead said; sannyäsaù—renunciation of work; karma-yogaù—work in devotion; ca—also; niùçreyasa-karau—all leading to the path of liberation; ubhau—both; tayoù—of the two; tu—but; karma-sannyäsät—in comparison to the renunciation of fruitive work; karma-yogaù—work in devotion; viçiñyate—is better.
The Blessed Lord said: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of works.
Fruitive activities (seeking sense gratification) are cause for material bondage. As long as one is engaged in activities aimed at improving the standard of bodily comfort, one is sure to transmigrate to different types of bodies, thereby continuing material bondage perpetually. Çrémad-Bhägavatam confirms this as follows:
nünaà pramattaù kurute vikarma yad indriya-prétaya äpåëoti
na sädhu manye yata ätmano ’yam asann api kleçada äsa dehaù
paräbhavas tävad abodha-jäto yävanna jijïäsata ätma-tattvam
yävat kriyäs tävad idaà mano vai karmätmakaà yena çaréra-bandhaù
evaà manaù karma-vaçaà prayuìkte avidyayätmany upadhéyamäne
prétir na yävan mayi väsudeve na mucyate deha-yogena tävat
"People are mad after sense gratification, and they do not know that this present body, which is full of miseries, is a result of one’s fruitive activities in the past. Although this body is temporary, it is always giving one trouble in many ways. Therefore, to act for sense gratification is not good. One is considered to be a failure in life as long as he makes no inquiry about the nature of work for fruitive results, for as long as one is engrossed in the consciousness of sense gratification, one has to transmigrate from one body to another. Although the mind may be engrossed in fruitive activities and influenced by ignorance, one must develop a love for devotional service to Väsudeva. Only then can one have the opportunity to get out of the bondage of material existence." (Bhäg. 5.5.4-6)
Therefore, jïäna (or knowledge that one is not this material body but spirit soul) is not sufficient for liberation. One has to act in the status of spirit soul, otherwise there is no escape from material bondage. Action in Kåñëa consciousness is not, however, action on the fruitive platform. Activities performed in full knowledge strengthen one’s advancement in real knowledge. Without Kåñëa consciousness, mere renunciation of fruitive activities does not actually purify the heart of a conditioned soul. As long as the heart is not purified, one has to work on the fruitive platform. But action in Kåñëa consciousness automatically helps one escape the result of fruitive action so that one need not descend to the material platform. Therefore, action in Kåñëa consciousness is always superior to renunciation, which always entails a risk of falling. Renunciation without Kåñëa consciousness is incomplete, as is confirmed by Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé in his Bhak ti-rasämåta-sindbu.
präpaïcikatayä buddhyä hari-sambandhi-vastunaù
mumukñubhiù parityägo vairägyaà phalgu kathyate.
"Renunciation by persons eager to achieve liberation of things which are related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, though they are material, is called incomplete renunciation." Renunciation is compete when it is in the knowledge that everything in existence belongs to the Lord and that no one should claim proprietorship over anything. One should understand that, factually, nothing belongs to anyone. Then where is the question of renunciation? One who knows that everything is Kåñëa’s property is always situated in renunciation. Since everything belongs to Kåñëa, everything should be employed in the service of Kåñëa. This perfect form of action in Kåñëa consciousness is far better than any amount of artificial renunciation by a sannyäsé of the Mäyävädé school.
iNaTYaSaNNYaaSaq Yaae Na Üeií Na k-ax(+aiTa )
iNaÜRNÜae ih Mahabahae Sau%& bNDaaTPa[MauCYaTae )) 3 ))
jïeyaù sa nitya-sannyäsé
yo na dveñöi na käìkñati
nirdvandvo hi mahä-bäho
sukhaà bandhät pramucyate
jïeyaù—should be known; saù—he; nitya—always; sannyäsé—renouncer; yaù—who; na—never; dveñöi—abhors; na—nor; käìkñati—desires; nirdvandvaù—free from all dualities; hi—certainly; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; sukham—happily; bandhät—from bondage; pramucyate—completely liberated.
One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.
One who is fully in Kåñëa consciousness is always a renouncer because he feels neither hatred nor desire for the results of his actions. Such a renouncer, dedicated to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, is fully qualified in knowledge because he knows his constitutional position in his relationship with Kåñëa. He knows fully well that Kåñëa is the whole and that he is part and parcel of Kåñëa. Such knowledge is perfect because it is qualitatively and quantitatively correct. The concept of oneness with Kåñëa is incorrect because the part cannot be equal to the whole. Knowledge that one is one in quality yet different in quantity is correct transcendental knowledge leading one to become full in himself, having nothing to aspire to nor lament over. There is no duality in his mind because whatever he does, he does for Kåñëa. Being thus freed from the platform of dualities, he is liberated—even in this material world.
Pa*QaGbal/a" Pa[vdiNTa Na Pai<@Taa" )
Wk-MaPYaaiSQaTa" SaMYaGau>aYaaeivRNdTae f-l/Ma( )) 4 ))
säìkhya-yogau påthag bäläù
pravadanti na paëòitäù
ekam apy ästhitaù samyag
ubhayor vindate phalam
säìkhya—analytical study of the material world; yogau—work in devotional service; påthak—different; bäläù—less intelligent; pravadanti—do talk; na—never; paëòitäù—the learned; ekam—in one; api—even though; ästhitaù—being situated; samyak—complete; ubhayoù—of both; vindate—enjoys; phalam—result.
Only the ignorant speak of karma-yoga and devotional service as being different from the analytical study of the material world [säìkhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.
The aim of the analytical study of the material world is to find the soul of existence. The soul of the material world is Viñëu, or the Supersoul. Devotional service to the Lord entails service to the Supersoul. One process is to find the root of the tree, and next to water the root. The real student of säìkhya philosophy finds the root of the material world, Viñëu, and then, in perfect knowledge, engages himself in the service of the Lord. Therefore, in essence, there is no difference between the two because the aim of both is Viñëu. Those who do not know the ultimate end say that the purposes of säìkhya and karma-yoga are not the same, but one who is learned knows the unifying aim in these different processes.
Pa[aPYaTae SQaaNa& TaÛaeGaEriPa GaMYaTae )
Wk&- Saa&:Ya& c YaaeGa& c Ya" PaXYaiTa Sa PaXYaiTa )) 5 ))
yat säìkhyaiù präpyate sthänaà
tad yogair api gamyate
ekaà säìkhyaà ca yogaà ca
yaù paçyati sa paçyati
yat—what; säìkhyaiù—by means of säìkhya philosophy; präpyate—is achieved; sthänam—place; tat—that; yogaiù—by devotional service; api—also; gamyate—one can attain; ekam—one; säìkhyam—analytical study; ca—and; yogam—action in devotion; ca—and; yaù—one who; paçyati—sees; saù—he; paçyati—actually sees.
One who knows that the position reached by means of renunciation can also be attained by works in devotional service and who therefore sees that the path of works and the path of renunciation are one, sees things as they are.
The real purpose of philosophical research is to find the ultimate goal of life. Since the ultimate goal of life is self-realization, there is no difference between the conclusions reached by the two processes. By säìkhya philosophical research one comes to the conclusion that a living entity is not a part and parcel of the material world, but of the supreme spirit whole. Consequently, the spirit soul has nothing to do with the material world; his actions must be in some relation with the Supreme. When he acts in Kåñëa consciousness, he is actually in his constitutional position. In the first process of säìkhya, one has to become detached from matter, and in the devotional yoga process one has to attach himself to the work of Kåñëa. Factually, both processes are the same, although superficially one process appears to involve detachment and the other process appears to involve attachment. However, detachment from matter and attachment to Kåñëa are one and the same. One who can see this sees things as they are.
Mahabahae du"%MaaáuMaYaaeGaTa" )
YaaeGaYau¢-ae MauiNab]Rø Naicre<aaiDaGaC^iTa )) 6 ))
sannyäsas tu mahä-bäho
duùkham äptum ayogataù
yoga-yukto munir brahma
sannyäsaù—the renounced order of life; tu—but; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; duùkham—distress; äptum—to be afflicted with; ayogataù—without devotional service; yoga-yuktaù—one engaged in devotional service; muniù—thinker; brahma—Supreme; na—without; cireëa—delay; adhigacchati—attains.
Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy. The sages, purified by works of devotion, achieve the Supreme without delay.
There are two classes of sannyäsés, or persons in the renounced order of life. The Mäyävädé sannyäsés are engaged in the study of säìkhya philosophy, whereas the Vaisnava sannyäsés are engaged in the study of Bhägavatam philosophy, which affords the proper commentary on the Vedänta-sütras. The Mäyävädé sannyäsés also study the Vedänta-sütras, but use their own commentary, called Çäréraka-bhäñya, written by Çaìkaräcärya. The students of the Bhägavata school are engaged in devotional service of the Lord, according to päïcarätriké regulations, and therefore the Vaiñëava sannyäsés have multiple engagements in the transcendental service of the Lord. The Vaiñëava sannyäsés have nothing to do with material activities, and yet they perform various activities in their devotional service to the Lord. But the Mäyävädé sannyäsés, engaged in the studies of säìkhya and Vedänta and speculation, cannot relish transcendental service of the Lord. Because their studies become very tedious, they sometimes become tired of Brahman speculation, and thus they take shelter of the Bhägavatam without proper understanding. Consequently their study of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam becomes troublesome. Dry speculations and impersonal interpretations by artificial means are all useless for the Mäyävädé sannyäsés. The Vaiñëava sannyäsés, who are engaged in devotional service, are happy in the discharge of their transcendental duties, and they have the guarantee of ultimate entrance into the kingdom of God. The Mäyävädé sannyäsés sometimes fall down from the path of self-realization and again enter into material activities of a philanthropic and altruistic nature, which are nothing but material engagements. Therefore, the conclusion is that those who are engaged in Kåñëa consciousness are better situated than the sannyäsés engaged in simple Brahman speculation, although they too come to Kåñëa consciousness, after many births.
ivéuÖaTMaa iviJaTaaTMaa iJaTaeiNd]Ya" )
SavR>aUTaaTMa>aUTaaTMaa ku-vRàiPa Na il/PYaTae )) 7 ))
kurvann api na lipyate
yoga-yuktaù—engaged in devotional service; viçuddha-ätmä—a purified soul; vijita-ätmä—self-controlled; jita-indriyaù—having conquered the senses; sarvabhuta-ätmabhüta-ätmä—compassionate to all living entities; kurvan api—although engaged in work; na—never; lipyate—is entangled.
One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
One who is on the path of liberation by Kåñëa consciousness is very dear to every living being, and every living being is dear to him. This is due to his Kåñëa consciousness. Such a person cannot think of any living being as separate from Kåñëa, just as the leaves and branches of a tree are not separate from the tree. He knows very well that by pouring water on the root of the tree, the water will be distributed to all the leaves and branches, or by supplying food to the stomach, the energy is automatically distributed throughout the body. Because one who works in Kåñëa consciousness is servant to all, he is very dear to everyone. And, because everyone is satisfied by his work, he is pure in consciousness. Because he is pure in consciousness, his mind is completely controlled. And, because his mind is controlled, his senses are also controlled. Because his mind is always fixed on Kåñëa, there is no chance of his being deviated from Kåñëa. Nor is there a chance that he will engage his senses in matters other than the service of the Lord. He does not like to hear anything except topics relating to Kåñëa; he does not like to eat anything which is not offered to Kåñëa; and he does not wish to go anywhere if Kåñëa is not involved. Therefore, his senses are controlled. A man of controlled senses cannot be offensive to anyone. One may ask, "Why then was Arjuna offensive (in battle) to others? Wasn't he in Kåñëa consciousness?" Arjuna was only superficially offensive because (as has already been explained in the Second Chapter) all the assembled persons on the battlefield would continue to live individually, as the soul cannot be slain. So, spiritually, no one was killed on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra. Only their dresses were changed by the order of Kåñëa, who was personally present. Therefore Arjuna, while fighting on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra, was not really fighting at all; he was simply carrying out the orders of Kåñëa in full Kåñëa consciousness. Such a person is never entangled in the reactions of work.
Bg 5.8, Bg 5.9, Bg 5.8-9
ik-iÄTk-raeMaqiTa Yau¢-ae MaNYaeTa TatvivTa( )
PaXYaHXa*<vNSPa*XaiÅga]àénNGaC^NSvPaNìSaNa( )) 8 ))
wiNd]Yaa<aqiNd]YaaQaeRzu vTaRNTa wiTa DaarYaNa( )) 9 ))
naiva kiïcit karométi
yukto manyeta tattva-vit
paçyaï çåëvan spåçaï jighrann
açnan gacchan svapan çvasan
pralapan visåjan gåhëann
unmiñan nimiñann api
vartanta iti dhärayan
na—never; eva—certainly; kiïcit—anything; karomi—do I do; iti—thus; yuktaù—engaged in the divine consciousness; manyeta—thinks; tattvavit—one who knows the truth; paçyan—by seeing; çåëvan—by hearing; spåçan—by touching; jighran—by smelling; açnan—by eating; gacchan—by going; svapan—by dreaming; çvasan—by breathing; pralapan—by talking; visåjan—by giving up; gåhëan—by accepting; unmiñan—opening; nimiñan—closing; api—in spite of; indriyäëi—the senses; indriya-artheñu—in sense gratification; vartante—let them be so engaged; iti—thus; dhärayan—considering.
A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping, and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.
A person in Kåñëa consciousness is pure in his existence, and consequently he has nothing to do with any work which depends upon five immediate and remote causes: the doer, the work, the situation, the endeavor and fortune. This is because he is engaged in the loving transcendental service of Kåñëa. Although he appears to be acting with his body and senses, he is always conscious of his actual position, which is spiritual engagement. In material consciousness, the senses are engaged in sense gratification, but in Kåñëa consciousness the senses are engaged in the satisfaction of Kåñëa’s senses. Therefore, the Kåñëa conscious person is always free, even though he appears to be engaged in things of the senses. Activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, evacuating, etc., are actions of the senses meant for work. A Kåñëa consciousness person is never affected by the actions of the senses. He cannot perform any act except in the service of the Lord because he knows that he is the eternal servitor of the Lord.
k-MaaRi<a Sa®& TYa¤-a k-raeiTa Ya" )
il/PYaTae Na Sa PaaPaeNa PaÚPa}aiMavaM>aSaa )) 10 ))
brahmaëy ädhäya karmäëi
saìgaà tyaktvä karoti yaù
lipyate na sa päpena
brahmaëi—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ädhäya—resigning unto; karmäëi—all works; saìgam—attachment; tyaktvä—giving up; karoti—performs; yaù—who; lipyate—is affected; na—never; saù—he; päpena—by sin; padma-patram—lotus leaf; iva—like; ambhasä—in the water.
One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme God, is not affected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
Here brahmaëi means in Kåñëa consciousness. The material world is a sum total manifestation of the three modes of material nature, technically called the pradhäna. The Vedic hymns, sarvam etad brahma, tasmäd etad brahma näma-rüpam annaà ca jäyate, and, in the Bhagavad-gétä, mama yonir mahad brahma, indicate that everything in the material world is the manifestation of Brahman; and, although the effects are differently manifested, they are nondifferent from the cause. In the Éçopaniñad it is said that everything is related to the Supreme Brahman or Kåñëa, and thus everything belongs to Him only. One who knows perfectly well that everything belongs to Kåñëa, that He is the proprietor of everything and that, therefore, everything is engaged in the service of the Lord, naturally has nothing to do with the results of his activities, whether virtuous or sinful. Even one’s material body, being a gift of the Lord for carrying out a particular type of action, can be engaged in Kåñëa consciousness. It is beyond contamination by sinful reactions, exactly as the lotus leaf, though remaining in the water, is not wet. The Lord also says in the Gétä: mayi sarväëi karmäëi sannyasya: "Resign all works unto Me [Kåñëa]." The conclusion is that a person without Kåñëa consciousness acts according to the concept of the material body and senses, but a person in Kåñëa consciousness acts according to the knowledge that the body is the property of Kåñëa and should therefore be engaged in the service of Kåñëa.
buÖya ke-vlE/iriNd]YaEriPa )
YaaeiGaNa" k-MaR ku-vRiNTa Sa®& TYa¤-aTMaéuÖYae )) 11 ))
käyena manasä buddhyä
kevalair indriyair api
yoginaù karma kurvanti
käyena—with the body; manasä—with the mind; buddhyä—with the intelligence; kevalaiù—purified; indriyaiù—with the senses; api—even with; yoginaù—the Kåñëa conscious persons; karma—actions; kurvanti—they act; saìgam—attachment; tyaktvä—giving up; ätma—self; çuddhaye—for the purpose of purification.
The yogés, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence, and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.
By acting in Kåñëa consciousness for the satisfaction of the senses of Kåñëa, any action, whether of the body, mind, intelligence or even of the senses, is purified of material contamination. There are no material reactions resulting from the activities of a Kåñëa conscious person. Therefore, purified activities, which are generally called sadäcära, can be easily performed by acting in Kåñëa consciousness. Çré Rüpa Gosvämé in his Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu describes this as follows:
éhä yasya harer däsye karmaëä manasä girä
nikhiläsv apy avasthäsu jévanmuktaù sa ucyate
A person acting in Kåñëa consciousness (or, in other words, in the service of Kåñëa) with his body, mind, intelligence and words is a liberated person even within the material world, although he may be engaged in many so-called material activities. He has no false ego, nor does he believe that he is this material body, nor that he possesses the body. He knows that he is not this body and that this body does not belong to him. He himself belongs to Kåñëa, and the body too belongs to Kåñëa. When he applies everything produced of the body, mind, intelligence, words, life, wealth, etc.—whatever he may have within his possession—to Kåñëa’s service, he is at once dovetailed with Kåñëa. He is one with Kåñëa and is devoid of the false ego that leads one to believe that he is the body, etc. This is the perfect stage of Kåñëa consciousness.
k-MaRf-l&/ TYa¤-a XaaiNTaMaaPanaeiTa NaEiïk-IMa( )
AYau¢-" k-aMak-are<a f-le/ Sa¢-a