When one scrutinizingly examines the Original Transcript document (OT), available here: https://bookchanges.com one will invariably come to the conclusion that strictly speaking, neither the Hayagriva version nor the Jayadvaita version qualifies to be called Bhagavad-gita As It Is by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. At the time Srila Prabhupada was not given an alternative but to approve the Hayagriva version and He hinted at the need for improvements when He ordered the replacement of “cattle raising” of BGAII 18.44 with the expression “cow protection.” An attempt is made herewith to produce a more faithful version of Srila Prabhupada’s glorious Bhagavad-gita As It is.
“As far as our Krsna consciousness movement is concerned, we are getting money naturally, by the grace of God, by selling our literature. This literature is not sold for our sense gratification; to spread the Krsna consciousness movement we need so many things, and Krsna is therefore supplying us the requisite money to advance this mission. The mission of Krsna is to spread Krsna consciousness all over the world, and for this purpose we naturally must have sufficient money. Therefore, according to the advice of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, we should not give up attachment to money that can spread the Krsna consciousness movement.” SB 7.13.32
Acknowledging and addressing the controversy, we are pleased to hear that Iskcon’s Governing Body Commission has recently appointed a special committee to investigate this most foundational matter.
We acknowledge our debt of gratitude to HG Madhudvisa Prabhu, who made the Original Transcript (OT) available to the world by establishing the bookchanges.com website. Openness wins.
The present editorial work is an integral part of the cultivation and development of my own Krishna conscious journey, and I reserve myself the right to make further improvements, as may be required from time to time. On February 18th 1967 Srila Prabhupada wrote to His disciple Brahmananda: “…when a man takes work in his own hand it is sure to be done.”
First of all, if some of those original typists or editors would have had more decency, respect, circumspection and professionalism, they would not have scribbled all over the transcript, thus making some of the passages completely unreadable. Judging by the thoroughness and great determination they crossed them out, leaving just one black mark on the white paper, it would appear that those typists or editors were extremely concerned and determined that some of Srila Prabhupada’s words would never be readable again and this is what’s happening in some cases. What a cheating affront to Srila Prabhupada and the world!
It is so extremely frustrating and time wasting to see that some uncouth ignoramus(es) has allowed himself to scribble, cross out, obscure, and delete passages of the Original Transcript (especially in chapter 11), whereas it should have been handled with archeological care, precision, and caution. The photocopists also did not exactly expect high standards either. Perhaps the photocopying can be redone with more attention, caution and respect. Perhaps it can be redone.
Bhagavad Gita As It Is is really divided into three parts because the original transcript (OT) is constituted of three distinct parts as follows:
The introduction plus the first five chapters have been typed by Srila Prabhupada Himself, the translator and commentator. For reviewing purposes, we shall, therefore, concentrate on the introduction to Bhagavad-gita and these initial five chapters at first.
Chapters six to eleven have been typed by another party or parties from Srila Prabhupada’s tape dictation. “Neal, the typist,” is one of them. His name is often mentioned in the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase.
Chapters twelve to eighteen have not only been typed by another party or parties from Srila Prabhupada’s tape dictation, as were chapters six to eleven, but have also undergone a first process of editing by HG Hayagriva Prabhu, who is mostly responsible for version one of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, also called the 1972 Macmillan edition, in my language BGAII V1.
In other words, there is here a progression of five, six and seven chapters, which form the complete Bhagavad-gita of eighteen chapters.
The most astounding feature is that the original audio dictation is lost. In His transcendental pastimes, Srila Prabhupada carefully erased the tapes in order to reuse them again and again.
This precious information has been provided by HG Dravida Prabhu of ISKCON San Diego, USA, and is considered reliable. We are indebted to him and thank him very much for his courtesy extending over many years.
In other words, in the first part, introduction and chapters 1 to 5, we are dealing with Srila Prabhupada Himself directly. For the second part, chapters 6 to 11, we are one brain away from Srila Prabhupada and in the third part, chapters 12 to 18, we are two brains away from Srila Prabhupada. The more brains which separate us from Srila Prabhupada, the more chances for deviations and (mis) interpretations to occur.
In many instances we also feel that Srila Prabhupada’s simplicity of expresion and more systematic and pointed language have been violated in the name of so-called more elaborate or snappy modern day English. Some of Srila Prabhupada’s well placed key-words in the text, such as engineer, logician (2.27) and subversive (6.10) etc, have unceremoniously been censored for no legitimate reason. Simplicity has got its own virtues and sometimes complexity is created irrespectively in order to create a monopoly or mischievously to confuse and discourage people from understanding the subject properly. This is to be avoided. Bhagavad-gita, the universal message of Lord Krishna, is for everyone, from the illiterate to the most learned and everyone in between. When I say illiterate, I am not exagerating. In Lord Caitanya’s times, in India, there was an illiterate brahmin who would feel love for Krishna and cry by simply looking at the pictures of Bhagavad-gita, especially the picture where Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, accepts the subordinate position of charioteer of His friend and devotee Arjuna as per Bhagavad-gita 4.3: “bhakto ‘si me sakha ceti.” He achieved the personal association of Krishna Himself in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Who came to visit him.
It is therefore essential that both the message and the style of writing it is conveyed in, appeals to the widest possible audience, and because out of millions and billions, Srila Prabhupada was especially deputed by Sri Krishna to deliver His message, we postulate that the most universally appealing style of writing for this purpose will be Srila Prabhupada’s own. Srila Prabhupada is a true mover and shaker and what has Jayadvaita Swami accomplished in comparison? Therefore we don’t care for Jayadvaita’s language. We care for Srila Prabhupada’s language. Here is a telling example. In BGAII 8.9, purport, Srila Prabhupada speaks “This is a very troublesome job.” This is a perfect Prabhupada sentence. But Jayadvaita with an offensive mentality felt the need to” better” the expression to “That is very difficult.” Two words only out of six have been conserved! We may therefore say that Jayadvaita’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is NOT has a 33.33 (thirty-three point thirty-three) percent accuracy when a hundred percent or very close can be achieved. In this way, Jayadvaita Swami has the audacity to usurp Srila Prabhupada’s position! We reject him!
Srila Prabhupada is a most towering and authorised Acharya or spiritual teacher and philosopher in the history of the world. He is in the league of Lord Buddha (563 BC-480 BC) Socrates (470BC – 399BC), Plato (428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 all BC), Aristotle (384 BC- 322BC), Lord Jesus Christ (4 BC- AD 30/33), Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdulla (570 CE-632 CE), Sankaracarya (788-820), Ramanujacarya (1017-1137), Madhvacarya (1239-1319), Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Jean-Paul Sartre( 1905-1980) to name a few only. So let us therefore stick to Him in all ways, especially in the rendition of His Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Let us therefore stick to the Prabhupada mood and Prabhupada Vani and be successful in our attempts. On Tat Sat.
INTRODUCTION TO GEETOPANISHAD
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
The Bhagavad-Gita is also known as Geetopanishad. It is the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upanishads in Vedic literature.
There are many commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita in English, and the necessity for another English edition should be explained on the following basis: an American lady asked me to recommend an English edition of the Bhagavad-gita which she could read. I was unable to do so in good conscience. Of course, there are many English editions of the Bhagavad-gita, but of those I have seen– not only in America, but also in India-none can be said to he authoritative, because in almost every one of them, the author has expressed his personal opinion through the commentaries without touching the spirit of Bhagavad-gita as it is.
The spirit of Bhagavad-gita is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita itself. It is like this: if we want to take a particular medicine, then we have to follow the directions written on the label of the bottle. We cannot take the medicine according to our own directions, or the directions of a friend not in knowledge of this medicine. We must follow the directions on the label or the directions of our physician. The Bhagavad-gita also should be accepted as it is directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker is Lord Sri Krishna. He is mentioned on every page as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Bhagavan.
Bhagavan sometimes means any powerful person or demi-god, but here it means Krishna. This is confirmed by all the great acharyas, including Shankara and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In India there are many authorities on Vedic knowledge, and they have virtually all accepted Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord, Himself, also says in Bhagavad-gita, that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
We should therefore accept Bhagavad-gita as it is directed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Himself.
Now, in the fourth chapter, the Lord tells Arjuna that this yoga system of the Bhagavad-gita was first spoken to the sun-god.
“Imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam
Vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave bravit.
Evam parampara praptam imam rajarsayo viduh
Sa kaleneha mahata yoga nastah parantapa.” (BG 4. I-2)
The Lord said, “My dear Arjuna, formerly I spoke this devotional service of bhakti yoga to the sun-god. The sun-god told it to Manu and Manu told it to king Iksvaku. Thus all the saintly kings learnt this process of transcendental science of linking with the Supreme by such disciplic succession called parampara, but at the present moment this chain of disciplic succession or teaching the science from authority to authority appears to be missing or lost.”
The clear direction is that the Bhagavad-gita has to be understood through the chain of disciplic succession and not by personal interpretation as it has been in this modern age. Sri Krishna is here to re-establish this line of disciplic succession. Arjuna was chosen because, “You are my devotee and My friend; therefore, only you can understand.” Therefore the Bhagavad-gita is especially meant for the devotee of the Lord.
“Sa evayam maya te ‘dya yoga proktah puratanah
bhakto ‘si me sakha ceiti rahasyam hy etad uttamam.”
(BG 4. 3)
“That oldest form of yoga system which was spoken to the sun-god some millions of years before is now spoken to you again because you are My devotee and friend. Therefore you can understand the great mystery of this science of bhakti yoga.”
Arjuna was neither a great scholar nor a Vedantist, but a great soldier. A soldier is not supposed to be scholarly, and yet Arjuna was selected to understand the Bhagavad-gita because of one qualification only: he was a devotee of the Lord. This indicates that the Bhagavad-Gita is especially meant for the devotee of the Lord.
There are three kinds of transcendentalists: the yogi, the impersonalist, and the bhakta, or devotee. Krishna says to Arjuna, “I am making you the first man of the disciplic succession. The old succession is broken. I wish to re-establish the line of teaching which was passed down from the sun-god. So you become the authority of the Bhagavad-gita” The Bhagavad-gita is directed to the devotee of the Lord, who is directly in touch with the Lord as a friend. To learn the Bhagavad-gita one should be like Arjuna: a devotee having a direct relationship with the Lord.
A devotee can be in relationship with the Lord in five different ways:
1. He may have a passive relationship;
2. He may have an active relationship;
3. He may be in friendship;
4. He may have the relationship of a parent;
5. He may have the relationship of a conjugal lover of the Lord.
Arjuna was a devotee in relationship with the Lord as a friend. This friendship is different from friendship in the mundane world. This kind of friendship is transcendental. Everyone has some relationship with the Lord. Unfortunately in our present status, we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Yet, each of the millions upon millions of living beings has a particular relationship with Him. By the process of service one can revive one‘s original relationship with the Lord.
Now, Arjuna was a devotee and he was in touch with the Supreme Lord in friendship. Thus, the Bhagavad-Gita was explained to him. How he accepted it should be noted. This is mentioned in the tenth chapter. After hearing the Bhagavad-gita from the Lord, Arjuna accepted Krishna as the Supreme Brahman. Every living being is Brahman, but the supreme living being is the Supreme Brahman. Arjuna accepted Krishna as pure– free from all material contamination; as the supreme enjoyer, as the foremost person; the Supreme Personality of Godhead; never born and greatest. Now, one may say that, because Krishna and Arjuna were friends, Arjuna was only saying these things to his friend. Therefore, Arjuna mentions that Krishna is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not only by himself, but by Narada, Vyasa, and numerous other great persons.
Therefore, Arjuna says, “Whatever You have spoken to me, I accept as perfect. Your personality is very difficult to understand. You cannot be known even by the demigods.” This means that even persons greater than human beings cannot know Krishna. How then, can a human being know Krishna, unless he is a devotee?
In studying Bhagavad-gita, one should not think that he is the equal of Krishna. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who wants to understand Bhagavad-Gita should accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise it is very hard to understand, and it becomes a great mystery.
This Bhagavad-gita is meant for delivering persons from the nescience of this material entanglement. Everyone is in difficulty, just as Arjuna was on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Not only Arjuna, but each of us is full of anxieties because of this material entanglement. Our existence is eternal, but somehow we are put into this position which is asat. Asat means unreal.
Unless one is inquiring as to why he is suffering, he is not a perfect human being. Humanity begins when this inquiry is awakened in the mind. Every activity of the human being is said to be a failure unless this inquiry is present in the mind. One should ask, “Where am I from? Where am I going? Why am I here?” When these inquiries are awakened in the mind of a sane human being, then he can understand Bhagavad-gita. He must also have respect for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna comes here just to establish the real work of life, which man forgets. Out of many, many human beings who awaken, the Bhagavad-gita is directed to the one who seeks to understand his position. The Lord has great mercy for human beings. Therefore, He spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna to enlighten him. Arjuna was actually above all such ignorance, but he was put into ignorance on the battlefield of Kurukshetra just to ask what life was all about, so that our mission of human life can be perfected.
It is the preliminary study of the science of God which is explained here. The first question is: What is the cause? Next what is the constitutional position of the living entities, or Jiva , in respect to the controller, or Iswara. Living entities are not Iswara. If I say, “I am not controlled, I am free,” I do not speak well for my sanity. In this conditioned state of life, at any rate, we are all controlled. Next we may consider prakriti, or nature. Then time– the duration of the existence or manifestation of this created universe. Then karma, or activity. The living beings are all engaged in different activities. All cosmic manifestation is engaged in activity. So, we have to learn from Bhagavad-gita what God is. What is the nature of Jiva, living entities? Their relationship with Iswara, the supreme controller? What is prakriti, the cosmic manifestation? What is the control of time, and what are the activities of the living entities?
In the Bhagavad-gita it is established that the Supreme Godhead, or Krishna, or Brahman or whatever you like– the supreme controller– is greatest of all. The living beings are controlled. The Lord has control over universal affairs — the material nature. Material nature is not independent. It is working under the direction of the Supreme Lord. When we see wonderful things happening, we should know that behind these manifestations, there is a controller. Matter belongs to the inferior prakriti; and the living entities are explained as superior prakriti. Prakriti means “who is controlled.”Prakriti is female. Like a husband controls the activities of his wife, prakriti is also subordinate, predominated. The Lord– the Supreme Personality of Godhead-is the predominator, and prakriti– the living entities and material nature-— is predominated. So, according to the Bhagavad-gita the living entities, although they are part and parcel of the Supreme, are taken as prakriti. It is clearly mentioned in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita that this material nature is prakriti and that the living entities are also prakriti. The constitution of the material, or inferior prakriti, is divided into three modes: the mode of goodness, the mode of passion, and the mode of ignorance. Above these modes is eternal time. By the combinations of these modes and the control of eternal time, the activities, called karma, come into being. These activities have been going on from time immemorial, and we are suffering from, or enjoying the fruits of these activities, just as in the present life we enjoy the fruits of our activities. It is as though I am a business man who has worked very hard and intelligently and have amassed a large bank balance. I am the enjoyer of the fruits of my activities. Again, if I open a business with a large amount of money and lose it all, I am the sufferer. Similarly, in the field of life, we enjoy the different fruits of our work, Now, these things– Iswara, the Supreme Lord, jiva the living entities, prakriti or nature, time, and karma are explained in the Bhagavad-Gita .
Of these five, the Lord, time, and the living entity are permanent and eternal. The manifestations of Prakriti are temporary, but not false, as some philosophers say. According to the philosophy of the Vaishnavas, the manifestations are quite real, but temporary. They are like the clouds which appear during the rainy season, but disappear during the dry season. These manifestations occur at certain intervals and then they disappear and the vegetation dries up. Nevertheless, this process of Nature is working eternally.
Material nature is separated energy of the Supreme Lord. The living entities are also energy of the Lord, but they are not separated. They are eternally related with the Lord. So, the Lord, Nature, the entity and time are all eternal. Karma is not eternal. The effects of karma may be old, and we may be suffering from the results of activity performed from time immemorial, but we are able to change our activities. We simply do not know which activities will give us release from these material entanglements, but this is explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
The position of Iswara is that of supreme consciousness. The entities, being part and parcels, are also consciousness. The entity is explained as prakriti, or nature, and so also is material energy. But the living entities are conscious, and matter is not. Therefore, the jiva is called the higher energy. But the jiva is never supremely conscious at any stage. The supreme consciousness, explained in the Bhagavad-gita as the Lord, is conscious, and the living beings are conscious. The jiva is conscious of his limited body, but the Lord is infinitely conscious. The Lord lives in the heart of every being. Therefore, he has the consciousness of all living entities.
The paramatma is living in each heart as the controller. He is giving directions to act as He desires. The living entity, however, forgets what to do. He determines to act in one way, then becomes entangled in his own actions and reactions and achieves only frustration. When he gives up one body for another, as one changes a dress, the reactions of his past activities remain with him, determining his next birth. Actions can be changed when a living being is in goodness, and, in that state of sanity, he chooses to end his entanglement.
So, of the five items, all are eternal, except karma. Now, the entity’s consciousness and the Lord’s consciousness are both transcendental. They are not generated by association with matter. The theory that some material combination can generate consciousness is rejected in Bhagavad-gita. Just as a light may be reflected according to the colour of the glass, consciousness is reflected in the material world. But it does not depend upon matter for its existence.
The supreme consciousness, Iswara, is different from consciousness of the living entity in this way: the Supreme Lord says that when He descends into the material world, His consciousness is not materially affected. If He had been contaminated by contact with matter, He could not have spoken Bhagavad-gita. However, we living entities are contaminated by the material world. The Bhagavad-gita teaches that we must purify our activities in order to draw our consciousness back from material entanglement. This purification of activity is called bhakti. Bhakti means that, although one’s activities appear to be ordinary, they are actually purified. One may appear to work like an ordinary man, but the activities of a devotee of the Lord are not contaminated by the three gunas, or modes.
When our consciousness is contaminated by matter, this is called our conditioned state. The false ego is the belief that one is the product of this matter. One who is absorbed in this bodily conception, as Arjuna was, must get free from it. This is a preliminary for one who wants liberation. Freedom from this material consciousness is called mukti . In Srimad Bhagavatam, also, mukti is used to mean liberation from this material concept and to return to pure consciousness. The whole aim of Bhagavad-gita is to teach us to reach this state of pure consciousness. On the last page of Bhagavad-gita, Krishna asks Arjuna if he is now in purified consciousness. This implies action in accordance with the directions of the Lord.
So, consciousness is there, but because we are only parts, we tend to be affected by the modes of nature. That is the difference between the individual living entities and the Supreme Lord. In contamination, consciousness says, “I am the Lord. I am the enjoyer.” Every material being thinks this. Consciousness has two psychic divisions. One says, “I am the creator,” and the other says, “I am the enjoyer.” Actually, the Lord is the creator and the enjoyer. The entity co-operates like a part in a machine. In the body, for example, there are hands, legs, eyes, etc. . But these parts are not the enjoyers. The stomach is the enjoyer. All the parts of the body are engaged in satisfying the stomach. Everything should be given to the stomach. You can become healthy throughout your entire body when the parts of the body co-operate with the stomach. Similarly, the Lord is the enjoyer and we living beings have only to co-operate with Him. If the fingers try to enjoy the food, they are unable. They must give the food to the stomach in order to receive the benefit of it.
The central figure in existence is the Supreme Lord. The entities, by cooperation, can enjoy. If a master is satisfied, his servants are also satisfied, of course. The entities have this tendency to create and enjoy because the Lord has it, and the entities are His parts and parcels.
We find, in Bhagavad-gita, that the Lord, the entities, manifestation, time and action are completely explained. Taken together, this complete whole is called the absolute truth, Sri Krishna. The impersonal Brahman is also subordinate to the complete person. It is explicitly explained in the Brahma Sutra as being like the rays of the sun emanating from the sun disc. Brahman realization of the absolute truth is therefore incomplete. The Supreme Personality is above Brahman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is called sat-chit-ananda.
Brahman realization is realization of His sat, or eternity feature. Paramatman realization is realization of His sat-chit aspect– eternity and knowledge. But, realization of the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, is realization of all feature — sat-chit-ananda– in full vigraha, or form. The Lord has Form. He is a transcendental person. This is confirmed in all Vedic literature. Just as we are persons, so is the ultimate truth. Realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is realization of all the features of the absolute truth. The complete whole personality must have all that we see and all that we do not see.
This phenomenal world is also complete by itself. The twenty-four elements of which this manifestation is comprised are complete in this universe. No further outside energy is needed. When the time is complete, the universe will be annihilated by the complete arrangement of the complete. Small completes exist in the whole complete. Incomplete knowledge results from misunderstanding of the complete absolute truth.
Bhagavad-gita is complete. Vedic knowledge is infallible. Here is an example of how the Hindus accept Vedic knowledge as complete. Cow dung is sacred according to Vedic scripture. If one touches the dung of an animal, he must bathe his whole body, and yet cow dung can purify an impure place or person, according to Vedic scripture. This seems contradictory, but because it is a Vedic injunction, we accept it, and, by that acceptance, we make no mistake. It has been found by modern chemists that cow dung is a composition of all antiseptic properties.
Vedic knowledge is complete, as it is above all doubts or errors. And Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge comes down from higher sources. It is not like our material research work, which is imperfect. We must receive this knowledge from the spiritual master, through the disciplic succession, which began with the Lord Himself.
Just as Arjuna accepted Bhagavad-gita without any deletion, so we too must accept Bhagavad-gita without deletion, interpretation, or whimsy. We should accept it as perfect knowledge, spoken by the Lord Himself. Only the Lord could have given this infallible knowledge. A living entity would not be able to.
A living being in the mundane world has four defects:
1. He is sure to commit mistakes.
2. He is sure to be illusioned.
3. He has a tendency to cheat.
4. His senses are imperfect.
With these four defects, one cannot offer perfect information. Vedic knowledge was imparted by God in the heart of Brahma, the first living being in our universe, who passed it down through his sons.
Except for the Lord, no one is the proprietor of anything. The Lord is the original creator. He is the creator of Brahma, the original being in our universe. Therefore, we should accept things given to us by the Lord as our allotment. Arjuna had decided not to fight. He told the Lord that he could not enjoy the kingdom if he killed his relatives to obtain it. This was due to his bodily concept of himself, and thus his relationship with uncles, brothers, nephews, and so forth, all these relationships pertain to the body. But finally, Arjuna agreed to work for the Lord’s enjoyment. We should not act like ordinary animals. Human life is meant for something else. Vedic literature is meant for human beings, not for animals. An animal can kill without sin because he is bound by the modes of his nature. But, if a man kills, he is responsible. He has a choice in his actions.
In Bhagavad-gita, activities are explained as determined by the three modes of nature. Thus, there are actions performed in ignorance, in passion, and in goodness. There are also three kinds of eatables: food eaten in ignorance, in passion, and in goodness. These are all clearly described.
Therefore, if we properly follow the instructions in Bhagavad-gita, our lives will be purified and we will reach our ultimate destination. This destination is also explained in Bhagavad-gita.
Beyond this material sky there is a spiritual sky. This material sky is temporary, and at the end of this universe it will be annihilated. That is the law of material nature. But, there is another nature which is eternal. The jiva is eternal just as the Lord is eternal. We have an intimate relationship with the Lord, and we are qualitatively equal to the Lord. The transcendental abode is also eternal. The association of the Lord and the living entities in the transcendental abode is the ultimate aim of human life.
The Lord is so kind to the living entities because the living entities all have a claim to being sons of the Lord. The Lord says that, of every type of living entity, whatever its kind, He is the father. The Lord wishes to reclaim all these living souls, to have them back in the eternal sky. The entities can be restored to the eternal sky, once they are free of illusion. So, He comes Himself, in different incarnations, or else He sends His confidential servants as sons or as acharyas, to reclaim the conditioned souls. This reclaiming is no sectarian religious process. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Lord.
Sanatan-dharma means the eternal religion. This word is explained as something without a beginning and without any end. We must accept the word like this. The word religion is somewhat different from sanatan-dharma. It means faith and faith may change from one object to another. But sanatan-dharma means that which cannot be changed. Liquidity cannot be taken from water. Heat cannot be taken from fire. Similarly sanatan-dharma cannot be taken from the living entities. We must find out the eternal function of the eternal living entities, in order to know what sanatan-dharma is. Ramanucharya says this has no beginning and no end. Some may feel that this is somewhat sectarian concept, but if we look deeper, we will see that sanatan-dharma is the business of all the people of the world– nay, of all the living entities in the universe.
Now a particular religious faith may have some beginning in the history of human society, but sanatan-dharma lies outside of history, as it belongs to the living entities who have no birth and who never die. They continue to live after the destruction of the material body, just as they lived before its formation.
Let us try to understand this eternal religion from the Sanskrit root word for dharma. This word root, dhr, means to sustain. Therefore, dharma is that quality which remains always and which cannot be taken away. When we speak of fire, it is concluded that light and heat will be there. Otherwise we cannot call it fire. In a similar way, we must find the constant companion of the living being. That eternal part of quality is his religion.
When Sanatan Goswami asked Lord Chaitanya about swarup, or the real constitution of the living being, the Lord replied that the real constitution of the entity is to render service to the Lord. Extending this, we see that one being serves another living being in some capacity, and thus enjoys its life. An animal serves a man, a friend serves his friend, mother serves child, husband serves wife, Mr. A. serves Mr. B. Mr. B. serves Mr. C, and so on. There is no exception to service in the society of living beings. The politician convinces the voter of his capacity for service and thus gets his job. The artisan serves the merchant; the store owner serves his customer. In fact, no living being is exempted from rendering service to others. Service then, is a thing which is the constant companion of the living being, and it can be concluded that rendering service is the eternal religion of the eternal living being.
When a man claims allegiance to some designated faith or sect, such as Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem, or Christian, this is non-sanatan. Such faiths can be changed. The Moslem may become a Christian, or the Christian may become a Hindu. Such changeable faiths, therefore, is not religion. However if one be Hindu, Moslem or Christian, one is always a servant. So the particular faith is not the religion, but the service is the religion.
We are in a relationship of service to the Supreme Lord. He is the enjoyer and we are His servants. We are created for His enjoyment, and if we accept that position, it makes us happy. Going back to our earlier example, fingers cannot be independently happy without the cooperation of the stomach. Similarly, the living entity cannot be happy without rendering service to the Supreme Lord.
Worship of demigods is not approved in Bhagavad-gita because, in the seventh chapter, twenty-eighth verse, the Lord says, “Only those who are adrift by lust worship the demigods and not the Lord.”
Now, when we speak of Krishna, we should remember that this is not a sectarian name. Krishna means all pleasure.
krsir bhu-vacakah sabdo
nas ca nirvrti-vacakah
tayor aikyam param brahma
krsna ity abhidhiyat
This is a verse from the Mahabharata (Udyoga-parva 71.4).
‘The word “krs” is the attractive feature of the Lord’s existence, and “na” means spiritual pleasure. When the verb krs is added to na, it becomes Krsna, which indicates the Supreme Brahman Personality of Godhead, the reservoir of pleasure.” Our consciousness seeks happiness because we are part and parcel of the Lord. The Lord is always happy, and if we dovetail our activities with His, we will partake of His happiness.
The Lord incarnates in order to show us His joyous nature, and pastimes. When Krishna was at Vrindaban, His activities with his friends, the cowherd boys, his girl friends, and all His other pastimes were full of happiness. The whole population of Vrindaban was mad after Him. At this time, He even restricted his father from worshiping the demigods, to show us that no one need worship any god but Him.
The purpose of human life is to return to the abode of’ the Lord. This is described in Bhagavad-gita, the description of the eternal sky. This is in Chapter 8, verses I9 and 20:
bhuta-gramah sa evayam bhutva-bhutva praIiyate
ratry-agame ‘vasah partha prabhavaty ahar-agame.
paras tasmat tu bhavo ‘nyo vyakto ‘vyaktat sanatanah
yah sa sarvesu bhutesu nasyatsu na vinasyati.
We have a material concept of the sky, with the sun, stars, moon, etc. But the Lord says that in the eternal sky there is no need of sun or moon, nor of fire or electricity, because the spiritual sky is already illuminated by the brahmajyoti, the rays of the Supreme Lord; Brahmajyoti is in the spiritual sky and it is named Goloka. The Lord resides eternally in His supreme abode, but He can be approached from here also.
The Lord comes to manifest His real form, sat-chit ananda vigraha, so that we don’t have to imagine what He is like. However, although the Lord comes among us and plays with us like a human being, we should not think that He is one of us. It is because of his omnipotence that He can come among us and show us His pastimes.
There are innumerable planets in the brahmajyoti, just as there are in the material sky, but all these planets are spiritual, not material. The Lord says that anyone who can approach that spiritual sky needs not return to this material sky. In the material sky, even if we live on the highest planet, which is called Brahmaloka, we must still suffer the miseries of material existence. These miseries are four: birth, death, disease, and old age; no material being is free of them.
The Lord says that the living entities are travelling from one planet to another. We need not rely upon mechanical arrangements to go to other planets. For anyone who wants to go to another planet, such as the moon, the Bhagavad-Gita instructs that there is a simple formula– even to go to the highest planet. If we practice the process of worshipping the particular demigod of the particular planet, we can go to that planet.
yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya yanti mad-yajino ‘pi mam
Persons who worship demigods, mistaking them for God, can approach such planets where the demigods like Indra and Chandra are. They are authorized representatives of God, entrusted with administration of material affairs. Such persons do not know what God actually is. Those who worship their ancestors reach the planets that their ancestors have reached. Those who worship material things remain in the realm of matter, and those who worship Me (Krishna), they approach My abode.
In this way, we can go to the sun, the moon or any other planets. However, Bhagavad-gita advises us not to go to any of these material planets. Not even the Brahmaloka, which can only be reached by mechanical means in forty thousand years. In the spiritual sky there are innumerable planets which are never annihilated, but there is one called Krishnaloka Vrindaban, the Supreme Planet.
Bhagavad-gita gives us the opportunity to leave this material world and to go to that eternal existence in the eternal. And, as long as we want to lord it over material nature, there is no chance of going back to the spiritual Kingdom of God. That eternal kingdom, which is not destructible like this material world, can be approached only by one who is not bewildered or attracted by this material nature. One who is attracted by devotional service to the Lord can go to that eternal kingdom.
Our senses are so imperfect that we cannot even see all the planets that exist in the material sky. Vedic literature gives us information of many worlds that exist here. But one should hanker after the spiritual sky and the supreme kingdom. When one reaches the supreme kingdom, he doesn’t have to return to the material world.
Now, a question may be raised: how do we approach the abode of the Supreme Lord? In Chapter 8, verses 5-8, the means for approaching the Lord’s supreme abode are given: at the time of death, if one thinks of Krishna and remembers the form of Krishna, and then quits the present body, then he surely approaches the spiritual kingdom. Just as the transcendental nature of the Lord is sat-chit-ananda vigraha, so the Lord has His form, but this form is eternal. This present body of ours is not sat-chit-ananda. This body is asat, or perishable, full of ignorance, and nirananda– not happy.
The Lord says that when one quits this material body remembering the form of Sri Krishna, he at once achieves his sat-chi-ananda vigraha– the spiritual existence. This also applies to rebirth in this world. A man dies when his next birth has been decided by higher authorities. The acts of this life are a preparation ground for the next life. We are preparing for the next life by the activities of this life. So, if we make preparations to go to the abode of the Lord, we get a spiritual body, or spiritual nature, like the Lord has.
Now, there are different kinds of transcendentalists, as we have already explained. There is the brahma-vadi, the paramatma-vadi, and the devotee. In the spiritual sky, or brahma-jyoti, there are innumerable spiritual planets. The number of these planets is far greater than all the universes of the material world. The spiritual world represents three fourths of the creation. One fourth of the creation consists of innumerable universes like this one. Each universe has millions and millions of planets, but all of these universes together comprise only one fourth of the whole creation.
Now, one who wishes to go to the spiritual abode, and wishes to enjoy the association of the Supreme Lord, enters into a planet of the spiritual sky. There are many names for these planets. Any transcendentalist who, at the time of death, thinks of the brahm-jyoti, or paramatma, or Sri Krishna, enters the spiritual sky, but only the devotees may go to the Lord. The Lord further says that there is no doubt of this. One should not disbelieve. When the Lord speaks, we should not reject any part of what He says. Arjuna, whom we should emulate, says, “I believe everything that You have said.” The Lord says that at the time of death, whoever thinks of Him will certainly enter into the spiritual sky. There should be no doubt of this.
Bhagavad-gita also describes how one should act in order to enter into the spiritual kingdom. Material nature is a display of one of the energies of the Supreme Lord. In the Vishnu Purana (6.7.61), the energies of the Supreme Lord have been summarized. The Lord has diverse, innumerable energies, of which we cannot conceive. But great learned souls have summarized all of these energies into three categories. The first is that all these energies are different potencies of the Lord. Vishnu-shakti is transcendental. Next is the marginal energy, which lies between the spiritual and the material. All the living entities belong to the eternal superior energy. Material energy is in the mode of ignorance. Material energy is also from Bhagavan. We can, at death, either leave this material world or remain here.
We are accustomed to think in terms of material energy. How can we transfer our thinking of material energy into thinking of spiritual energy? There is so much literature of the material world, like novels, newspapers, etc. We must transfer our reading from these to the spiritual Vedic literature. The learned sages wrote a great deal of literature, like the Puranas. In Chaitanya Charitamrita (Madhya 20.122) there is a verse which reads: “The conditioned souls have forgotten their eternal relationship with the Lord, and are engrossed in thinking of material things. They should just transfer their thinking to the Lord. He has created so many Vedas for this purpose.”
At first, there were four Vedas. Then, Krshna-dvaipayana Vyasa explained them by the Puranas. Then, for those incapable of understanding these, He gave the Mahabharata, in which there is the Bhagavad-Gita. Then the Vedanta Sutra, which summarizes all Vedic knowledge. At last, the Vedanta-sutra was explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Just as the materialist is always engaged in reading materialist literature, the devotee centers his reading capacity onto this literature, so kindly presented by Vyasadeva, so that at the time of death the devotee may think of the Lord and go to Him.
Krishna advises Arjuna not simply to go on remembering Him and give up his material duty. The Lord never suggests anything impractical. To maintain the material body, one has to work. The working world is divided into four parts: brahmin, khatriya, vaisya, and sudra. Each one works in a different way, as learned man, administrator, merchant, or laborer. The Lord advises us not to give up work, but to remember Him always, along with the struggle for existence. This is Krishna consciousness. Unless one does this, it is not possible to go to the Lord.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu practiced kirtan or chanting. One should always chant the name of the Lord, because the name of the Lord and the Lord are not different. Lord Chaitanya’s instructions to always chant the name of Krishna, and Krishna’s injunction to remember Him always, are not different. The Lord and His name are not different from each other. In the absolute status, there is no difference between one thing and another. Since the Lord is absolute, there is no difference between His name and Himself: He is omnipresent. We should know Him always, twenty-four hours a day. How is this possible?
A very crude example is given by the acharyas; it is like a married woman who is in love with another man. Such an attachment is necessarily very strong. Now, the woman always wants to show her husband that she is busy in family affairs so that he won’t suspect her having a lover. However, she is always thinking of her lover, although she carries on her household duties well– in fact, with greater care than she might if she had no lover. In the same way, we must establish our love for the Lord, and carry out our duties well.
Krishna did not advise Arjuna to go off to the Himalayas to practice yoga. When the Lord described the system of yoga to him, Arjuna declined, saying that it was too difficult for him. But then the Lord said that one who thinks always of Him is the greatest yogi, the supermost jnani, and the best devotee. The Lord said, “As a Khatriya, you cannot give up your fighting; but devote all your actions to Me.” He also says that if one is completely surrendered to Him, there is no doubting.
One has to learn this process of Krishna Consciousness. To do so, one should approach a person who is fixed firmly in this consciousness. The mind is always flying from this thing to that, serving no real benefit. One must learn to fix the mind always on the Supreme Lord. The mind is very restless, and difficult to manage, but one can concentrate the ear on the sound of Krishna. The Supreme Personality of Godhead can be approached by one who is constantly thinking of Him in this way.
These processes are given in Bhagavad-gita. No one is barred from them. Hearing of Lord Krishna is possible for everyone, even a human being in the lowest status of life. Laborer, tradesmen, or woman– these are counted in the category of less fully developed intelligence-— the Lord says that even those lower than this– anyone, in fact, who accepts this principle of bhakti yoga and accepts the Supreme Lord as the highest goal of life, can approach the perfection of human life. This is the one permanent solution of life. This is the sum and substance of Bhagavad-gita.
The conclusion is that Bhagavad-gita is a transcendental literature that should be read very carefully. If one follows the instructions, he can be freed of all fears and sufferings in this life and attain a spiritual birth in the next life.
Another result is that if one reads Bhagavad-gita seriously and reverently, then the reactions of his past deeds will no longer effect him. The Lord says, in the end, that He Himself takes the responsibility to indemnify all the reactions of sins for one who comes to Him. One cleanses himself daily by bathing in water, but for one who once bathes in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-gita, the dirt of past sins is washed away for all time. If one reads Bhagavad-gita regularly and attentively, no other literature is needed.
In the present age, people are engaged by so many things that they have no time to devote their energy to other topics. However, one who simply reads Bhagavad-gita need not read any other Vedic literature. Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic knowledge. It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges will be freed from sin. Similarly, one who studies Bhagavad-gita has no need of any other literature whatever. Lord Krishna is the original Vishnu, the ultimate end of all knowledge and of all seeking after knowledge.
The topics of Dritharashtra and Sanjaya, as described in the Mahabharata are the basic principle of this great philosophy. It is understood that this great philisophy evolved on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, which is a sacred place of pilgrimage from time immemorial of the Vedic age. It was spoken by the Lord when He was present personally on this planet for guidance of mankind. Mankind is now advanced in material science but has failed to find at the present moment oneness of the entire human race on the surface of the earth. Bhagavad-gita will solve this problem and the intelligent class of man will find in this great theistic literature oneness of the entire human society. By thorough study of the Bhagavad-gita there is cent per cent posibility that throughout the whole world there can be only one scripture, namely the Bhagavad-gita, there can be one God only i.e. Lord Sri Krishna the son of Devaki and there can be one hymn for chanting by the human race which is glorification of Lord Krishna’s holy name. Such chanting of the holy name of the Lord was highly recommended by Lord Krishna, and people are having practical effects by chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. In the western world, (in New York) the chanting of this glorious holy name has been introduced by The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and gradually it is spreading all over the world so that the human race can have only one religion, one God, one hymn and one engagement in the service of the Lord. That will bring us the so much anxiously desired peace in the world.
Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukshetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?
Bhagavad-gita, the widely read theistic science, is summarized in the Gita-mahatmya (Glorification of the Gita) that one should read Bhagavad-gita very scrutinizingly with the help of a person who is a devotee of Krishna and try to understand it without any motivated misinterpretations. The clear understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gita itself as it is understood by Arjuna, who heard Bhagavad-gita directly from the Lord. If somebody is fortunate enough to understand Bhagavad-gita in that line of disciplic succession, without any motivated interpretation, then he surpasses all studies of Vedic wisdom and all scriptures of the world. One will find in Bhagavad-gita all that is contained in other scriptures, and the reader will still find more things which are not to be found in other scriptures. That is the specific standard of Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita is the perfect theistic science because it is directly spoken by the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna.
The word dharma-ksetra is significant because, on the battlefield of Kurukhestra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was personally present on the side of Arjuna. Dhritarashtra, the father of the Kurus, was highly doubtful about the ultimate victory of his sons. In his doubt, he enquired from his secretary Sanjaya, “What did they do?” He was confident that both his sons and the sons of his younger brother Pandu were assembled in that field of Kurukshetra for definite determination of engagement of war. Still, his doubtful inquiry is very significant. He did not want any compromise between the cousin brothers and he wanted that the fate of his sons be decided on the battlefield. Because it was arranged to be fought on the place of pilgrimage, Kurukshetra, which is mentioned in the Vedas as a place of worship even for the denizens of heaven, Dritharashtra became very much doubtful about the influence of the place. The influence of the place was however manifested in the person of Arjuna, but there was no influence on the other party. Dhritarashtra knew it very well that it would influence the sons of Pandu because by nature they were all virtuous. Sanjaya was a student of Vyasa and therefore by the mercy of Vyasa, Sanjaya was able to visualize the battlefield of Kurukshetra even while in the room of Dhritarashtra. Dhritarashtra, therefore, asked about the situation on the battlefield. Both the Pandavas and the sons of Dhritarashtra belong to the same family but Dhritarashtra’s mind is disclosed herein because he deliberately claimed only his sons as heirs and he separated the sons of Pandu from the family heritage. One can thus understand the specific position of Dhritarashtra in his relationship with his nephews, the sons of Pandu. As in the paddy field, the unecessary plants are wiped out and real paddy plants are sowed, similarly it is expected from the very beginning of the topics that in the religious field of Kurukshetra, where the father of religion Sri Krishna was present, the unwanted plants like Duryodhana and others would be wiped out and the thoroughly religious persons headed by Yudhishtira would be established by the Lord. This is the significance of the words Dharmakshetra and Kurukshetra, apart from their historical and Vedic importance.
Sanjaya said: O King, after looking over the military phalanx arranged by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and began to speak the following words.
Dhritarashtra was blind from his very birth. Unfortunately, he was also bereft of spiritual vision. He knew it very well that his sons were equally blind in the matter of religion and he was sure that they could never come to an understanding with the Pandavas, who were all pious by birth. Still he was doubtful about the influence of the place of pilgrimage and Sanjaya could understand the motive of his asking from him about the situation on the battlefield. He wanted therefore to encourage the king in his despondency and thus assured him that his sons were not going to make any sort of compromise under the influence of the holy place. He therefore informed the king that his son, after seeing the military force of the Pandavas at once went to the commander in chief, Dronacharya to inform him of the real position. Although he is mentioned as the king, still he had to go to the commander on account of the seriousness of the condition. He was never quite fit to be a politician and his diplomatic veneer could not cover him and his fearful mind after seeing the military arrangements of the Pandavas.
O my teacher, please hehold how your disciple, the son of Drupada, very intelligently arranged the military phalanx of the sons of Pandu.
Duryodhana, as a great diplomat, wanted to point out the defects on the part of Dronacharya, the great Brahmin commander in chief. He had some political quarrel with king Drupada, the father of Draupadi. As such, king Drupada performed a great sacrifice in which he got the benediction of having a son who would be able to kill Dronacharya. Dronacharya knew it perfectly well and yet as a liberal Brahmin he did not hesitate to give all the military secrets when the son of Drupada, Dhrishtadyumna was entrusted to him for military education. Now, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Dhrishtadyumna took the side of the Pandavas and it is he who arranged the military phalanx after learning the art from Dronacharya as student. Duryodhana pointed out this mistake of Dronacharya so that he might be alert in the fighting. By this he wanted also to point out that he might not be similarly lenient in the matter of fighting with the Pandavas, who were also his affectionate students. Especially Arjuna was his most affectionate and brilliant student. He warned also in that way that his leniency in the matter of fighting with the other party would bring havoc to them so that he may remedy to his personal deficiencies.
Here in this military arrangement are many heroic bowmen equally strong in fight like Bhima and Arjuna. There are also great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada.
Even though Dhristadyumna was not a very important factor in the face of Dronacarya’s very great power in the military art, there were many others who were also a cause for fear. They are mentioned by Duryodhana as most strong stumbling blocks on the path of victory, because each and everyone of them were as much a hard nut to break as Bhima and Arjuna. He knew the strength of Bhima and Arjuna and thus he compared others with them.
There are also very powerful heroes of human society like Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, Kashiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Shaibya.
There are the mighty Yudhamanyu, the very powerful Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra and the sons of Draupadi. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.
For your information, O best among the Brahmins, let me speak about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.
There are personalities like you, Bhisma, Karna, Kripa, Ashvatthama, Vikarna and the son of Somadatta called Bhurishrava, who are always victorious in battle.
Duryodhana mentions herewith the exceptional heroes in the battle.All of them are ever victorious in battles. Vikarna is the brother of Duryodhana, Ashvatthama is the son of Dronacharya, and Saumadatti, or Bhurishrava is the son of the king of the Bahlikas. Karna is the half brother of Arjuna as he was born of Kunti before her marriage to King Pandu. Kripacharya’s twin sister married Dronacharya.
There are many other heroes also 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 the military science.
So far others are concerned like Jayadratha, Kritavarma, Salya 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 Kurukshetra only for joining the party of Duryodhana, the sinful. Duryodhana was of course confident of his victory on account of the combined strength of his friends as above mentioned.
Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by grand-father Bhishma, while the strength of the Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima, is limited.
Herein an estimation of comparative strength is made by Duryodhana and he thinks that the strength of his armed forces is immeasurable and is specifically protected by the most experienced general, grandfather Bhisma. On the other hand, the forces of the Pandavas are limited and they are protected by the less experienced general Bhima, who is compared to a fig in the presence of Bhisma. Duryodhana was always envious of Bhima because he knew it perfectly well that if he were to die at all, he would be killed by Bhima only. But he was at the same time confident of his victory on account of the presence of Bhisma who was a far superior general than Bhima. His conclusion that he would come out victorious in the battle was well fixed.
Now all of you may give full support to grandfather Bhisma, as you stand in your respective strategic points of entrance into the phalanx of the army.
Duryodhana, after giving more importance to Bhisma, further considered that others might think that they have been considered less important. So in his usual diplomatic way he tried to adjust the situation in the above words. He emphasized that Bhisma was the greatest hero undoubtedly, but after all he was an old man, so everyone must take special care for his protection from all sides. He might be engaged in the fight and the enemies make take advantage of his full engagement on one side. Therefore it is important that other heroes may not leave their strategic position and allow the enemies to enter into the phalanx from so many points. Because after all the victory of the Kurus depended on the existence of Bhisma. He was confident of the full support of Bhismadeva and Dronacharya in the battle because he knew it very well that they did not speak a word when Draupadi in her helpless condition appealed to them for justice while she was forced to become naked in the presence of all great generals in the assembly. He also knew that these two generals had some sort of affection for the Pandavas and that it may now be completely given up by them, as they had done during the gambling performances.
Thereafter the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conchshell very loudly like the sound of the roar of a lion, just increasing the cheerfulness of Duryodhana.
The grandsire of the Kuru dynasty could however understand the inner meaning of the heart of his grandson Duryodhana and out of his natural compassion for the little grandchild tried to increase his cheerfulness by blowing his conchshell very loudly just befitting his position as a lion. Indirectly he informed his depressed grandson, Duryodhana, that he had no chance of victory in the battle because the Supreme Lord Krishna was on the other side. But still it would be his duty to conduct the fight in his befitting position and no pains would be spared in that connection.
After that, the conchshells, drums, bugles, trumpets and horns all together vibrated all of a sudden and the combined sound become very tumultuous.
On the other side, both Lord Krishna and Arjuna, situated on a chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their respective transcendental conchshells.
In contrast with the conchshells blown by Bhishmadeva, the conchshells in the hands of Krishna and Arjuna are described herein as transcendental. Such sounding of transcendental conchshells indicated that there was no hope of victory on the otherside because Krishna was on the side of the Pandavas. Jayas tu pandu-putranam yesam pakse janardanah. Victory is always with persons like the sons of Pandu because Krishna is associated with them. And whenever and wherever the Lord is present the Goddess of Fortune is also present because the Goddess of Fortune never lives alone without her husband. Therefore victory and fortune were awaiting Arjuna and that was the meaning of the transcendental sound produced by the conchshell of Vishnu or Lord Krishna. Besides that the chariot on which both friends were seated was donated by Agni to Arjuna and this indicated that this chariot was meant for conquering all sides wherever it would be drawn. The chariot was meant for conquering over all the three worlds by all means.
Thereafter Lord Krishna blew His conchshell of the name Pancajanya, Arjuna blew his Devadatta and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell of the name Paundram.
Hrisikesa is the name of Lord Krishna because He is the owner of all senses. The living entities are His parts and parcels, and therefore the senses of the living entities are also the parts and parcels of His senses. The impersonalists cannot account for the senses of the living entities and therefore they are always busy to describe all living entities as senseless or impersonal. Being situated in the hearts of all living entities, the Lord directs the senses of the living entities. But He directs in terms of the surrender of the living entities and in the case of a pure devotee he directs directly the senses of such devotee. Here on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the Lord directly directs the transcendental senses of Arjuna and thus His particular name is that connection is Hrishikesha. The Lord has different names in terms of His activities. Just like His name is Madhusudana because He killed the demon of the name Madhu, His name is Govinda because He gives pleasure to the cows and the senses, His name is Vaasudeva because He appeared as the son of Vasudeva, His name is Devakinandana because He accepted Devaki as His mother. His name is Yasodanandan because He awarded His childhood pastimes to Yasoda in Vrindavan, His name is Patha-sarathi because He worked as charioteer of His friend Arjuna. Similarly His name is Hrishikesha because He gave direction to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Dhananjaya is the name of Arjuna because he helped his elder brother in fetching wealth when it was required by the king for expending in different sacrifices. Similarly, Bhima is known as Vrikodara because he could also eat voraciously as much as he could perform many herculean tasks like killing the demon Hidimba. So the particular types of conchshells blown by the different personalities on the side of the Pandavas beginning from the Lord were all very much encouraging for the fighting soldiers. On the other side there were no such credits of activities, neither was there the presence of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Director, nor that of the Goddess of Fortune. So they were predestined to loose the battle and that was the message announced by such sounds of conchshells.
King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. The great archer King of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, Virata, the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and all others, O King, such as the mighty-armed son of Subhadra, all blew their respective conchshells.
Sanjaya informed King Dhritarastra very tactfully that his unwise policy to deceive the sons of Pandu and endeavor to enthrone his sons on the seat of the kingdom was not very laudable. The signs were already there that the whole Kuru dynasty would be killed in that great battle because beginning from the grandsire Bhisma, down to the grand sons like Abhimanyu and others, including many other kings from many states of the world were all present there to be killed in the battle. The whole catastrophe was due to him only because he encouraged the policy followed by his sons.
The blowing of all these different conschells became very uproarious and thus vibrating both in the sky and on the surface of the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra respectively.
When Bhisma and others on the other side of the battlefront blew their respective conchshells, there was no heart-breaking on the part of the Pandavas. Such occurrences are not mentioned. But here in this particular verse, it is mentioned that the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra were shattered by the sounds vibrated by the Pandava’s party. This is due to the Pandavas and their confidence in Lord Krishna. One who takes the shelter of the Supreme Lord has nothing to be afraid of, even in the midst of the greatest calamity.
O King, after looking at the sons of Dhritarashtra drawn in military array, Arjuna, the son of Pandu, at that time seated on the chariot bearing the flag marked with Hanuman, taking up his bow and just about to release his arrows, spoke to Lord Krishna as follows.
The battle was just about to begin and from the above statements it is understood that the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra were more or less shattered by the Pandavas’ unexpected arrangement of military force, endowed with the cooperation and direct instruction of Lord Krishna on the battlefield. As mentioned here, the emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana and Lord Rama came out victorious. Now both Rama and Hanuman were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Krishna is Rama Himself and wherever Lord Rama is, His eternal servitor Hanuman and His eternal consort Sita, the Goddess of Fortune, are also present. Therefore Arjuna had no cause of fear whatsoever from the enemies. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Krishna, was personally present to give him direction and as such all good counsel was available for him in the matter of executing the battle. In such conditions of auspicious arrangements by the Lord for His eternal devotee lay certainly the signs of his assured victory in the fight.
Arjuna said: O infallible One, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see those who are present here with a desire to fight and with whom I have to contend in this great battle attempt.
Although Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, still out of His causeless mercy He had been engaged in the service of His friend. He never therefore fails in His affection for His devotees and thus He is addressed herein as the infallible. As charioteer, He had to carry out the orders of Arjuna, and He had no hesitation to do that and as such He is addressed as the infallible. And it is not because He had accepted the position of charioteer of His devotee that His position had been lowered at any rate. In all circumstances He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hrishikesha, the Lord of the total senses. The relationship between the Lord and His servitor is very sweet and transcendental. The servitor is ever-ready to render service to the Lord and similarly the Lord is always seeking an opportunity to render some service to the devotee. He takes more pleasure when His pure devotee takes the advantageous position of ordering Him than He does in being the giver of orders and thus enjoys such orders from the devotee. As master everyone is under His orders. Nobody is above Him to order Him. But when He finds out some pure devotee ordering Him, He enjoys transcendental pleasure, although He is the infallible master in all circumstances.
As a pure devotee of the Lord, Arjuna had no desire to fight with his cousin-brothers but he was forced to come to the battlefield by the obstinacy of Duryodana, who was never agreeable to any terms of peaceful negotiation. Therefore he was very anxious to see who were the leading persons present on the battlefield. Although there was no question of peacemaking endeavor on the battlefield, still he wanted to see them again to estimate how much they were bent upon calling for an unwanted war.
Let me see those who have come here to fight for the matter of satisfying the senses of the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.
It was an open secret that Duryodana wanted to usurp the kingdom of the Pandavas by evil plans, in collaboration with his father Dhrtarashtra. Therefore all persons who had joined the side of Duryodana must have been birds of the same feather. Arjuna wanted to identify them on the battlefied, before the battle began. But he had no intention to propose a peace negotiation. It was also a fact that he wanted to see them just to make an estimate of the strength which he had to face, although he was quite confident of victory because Krishna was sitting by his side.
Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, being thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krishna drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.
Gudaka means sleep and one who conquers sleep is called Gudakesa. Sleep also means ignorance. So Arjuna conquered both sleep and ignorance on account of his friendship with Krishna. As a great devotee of Krishna he could not forget Krishna even for a moment because that is the nature of a devotee. Either awake or in sleep, a devotee of the Lord can never be free from thinking of Krishna’s name, form, qualities, pastimes and thus a devotee of Krishna can conquer both sleep and ignorance simply by thinking of Krishna constantly. This is called Krishna consciousness or samadhi. As Hrishikesha or the director of the senses and mind of every living entity, Krishna could understand Arjuna’s purpose in placing the chariot in the midst of the armies. Thus He did so and spoke as follows.
In the presence of Bhisma, Drona and all other chieftains of the world the Lord said: “O Partha, just behold all the Kurus assembled here.”
As the Supersoul of all living entities, Lord Krishna could understand what was going on in the mind of Arjuna. The purpose of using the word Hrishikesha is this connection is to indicate that He knew everything. And the word Partha, or the son of Kunti, or Pritha is also similarly significant. As a friend, He wanted to inform Arjuna that because Arjuna was the son of Pritha, the sister of His father Vasudeva, therefore He had agreed to accept the charioteership of Arjuna. Now what did Krishna mean by the exhortation” just behold the Kurus.” Did He want Arjuna to stop there and not fight or what did He mean by that? He never expected such things from the son of His aunt Pritha. The mind of Arjuna was thus predicted by the Lord by friendly joking.
There Arjuna could see within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, as also his fathers-in-law and well-wishers, all present there.
On the battlefield Arjuna could see all grades of relatives. There he could see persons like Bhurishrava, who were his father’s contemporaries, grandfathers like Bhisma, Somadatta, teachers like Dronacharya and Kripacharya, maternal uncles like Salya and Sakuni, brothers like Duryodhana, sons like Laksmana and others, friends like Ashvattama, well wishers like Kritavarma etc, etc. He could also see the armies which contained many of his friends.
After seing all different grades of friends and relatives, the son of Kunti, Arjuna, became much overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.
Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth is drying up considerably.
Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all the good qualities which are found in the godly persons or in the demigods. Whereas the nondevotee however advanced he may be by material qualification of education and culture, will lack 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 as to how they had so decided to fight amongst themselves. So far his own soldiers were concerned, they had his sympathy from the beginning. But he even became compassionate for the soldiers of the other party, foreseeing their imminent death. And thinking like that the different limbs of his body began to quiver and his mouth became dry. He became more or less astonished to see their fighting spirit. Practically the whole community in relationship with Arjuna came there to fight with him and this was too much for a devotee like Arjuna. Although it is not mentioned herein, still it can be easily imagined that his bodily limbs were not only quivering and his mouth drying up but he might be crying as well out of compassion. Such symptoms in Arjuna were not a sign of weakness, but it was due to his softheartedness on account of becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. It is said therefore:
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
mano-rathenasati dhavato bahih
“One who has inflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead, has all the good qualities of the demigods. But for one who is not a devotee of the Lord, his material qualifications have no value because he is hovering on the mental plane and thus is sure to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (Bhagavatam 5.18.12)
My whole body is trembling and my hair is standing on end, my bow Gandiva 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 ecstasy of spiritual sensation and the other is out of great fear under material conditions. There is no fear in transcendental realisation. Therefore, under the circumstances, Arjuna’s trembling of the body and standing of hair on end are out of material fear, namely loss of life. It is evident from other symptoms also, namely that he became impatient so much so that his famous bow Gandiva was slipping from his hands. And because his heart was burning within himself, therefore he was feeling a burning sensation of the outward skin. And all these are due to a material conception of life.
I am now unable to stand here any longer and I am forgetting myself because my mind is not working. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krishna, killer of the Kesi 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 such bewildering condition of existence. Bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat, (Bhagavatam 11.2.37): such fearfulness and loss of mental equilibrium take place in persons who are too much affected by material conditions and therefore Arjuna envisioned only painful reverses in the battlefield, namely he was not going to be happy even by gaining victory over the enemy. The words “nimittani viparitani” are significant. When a man sees frustration in some expectation he thinks, “Why I am here?” Everyone’s selfishness is self-centred. No one is interested in the supreme selfishness of Krishna. Arjuna is supposed to show such ignorance of personal selfishness by the will of Krishna. The real selfishness is Vishnu. The conditioned soul forgets it and therefore suffers the symptoms of bodily derelictions. Arjuna thought that his victory in the battle would be cause of lamentation for him.
I do not find any goodness in the matter of killing my own kinsmen in the battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.
Without knowing that one’s self interest lies in Vishnu, conditioned souls are attracted by bodily relationships, hoping to be happy in such situations. In such blind conception of life, one forgets even the causes of material happiness. Arjuna appears to have forgotten even the moral codes for a ksatriya. It is said that two kinds of men namely the ksatriya who dies directly on the battlefield and the person in the renounced order of life absolutely devoted to spiritual culture are eligible to enter the sun globe, which is so powerful and dazzling. Arjuna is reluctant even to kill his enemies and what to speak of 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, as much as a person who does not feel any hunger is also not inclined to cook. He has now decided to go into the forest and live a secluded life in frustration. As a ksatriya, he required a kingdom for his subsistence because the ksatriyas can not engage themselves in any other occupation. But Arjuna has no kingdom. His chance for a kingdom is to fight with his cousin-brothers and reclaim his kingdom inherited from his father, which he does not like to do. Therefore he is fit to go to the forest and live a secluded life of frustration.
Texts 1. 32-35
O Govinda, of what use is a kingdom to us? And of what use are enjoyment and happiness, or even life itself? Because all those for whom we may desire kingdom and happiness are now arrayed on this battlefield. O Madhusudana, when all of them, such as teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives, everyone of them, are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, then why shall I wish to kill them, even tough they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I may inform You that I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.
Arjuna has addressed Lord Krishna as Govinda because Krishna is the object of all pleasures for the cows and the senses. By using this significant word, Arjuna indicates that Krishna should understand what will satisfy his own senses. But Govinda is not meant for satisfying our senses. If however we try to satisfy the senses of Govinda, then automatically our senses are satisfied. Materially everyone wants to satisfy his senses and he wants God to be the order supplier for the satisfaction of everyone’s senses. The Lord can satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they may deserve but not to the extent that one may covet. But when one takes the opposite way, namely when one wants to satisfy the senses of Govinda, without desire for satisfying 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 herewith partly due to his natural compassion for them. He is therefore not prepared to fight with them. Everyone wants to show his opulence to friends and relatives, but Arjuna thinks that all his relatives and friends will be killed in the battle and unable to see his opulence after victory. This the calculation of material life. Transcendental life is however different from such calculation. A devotee wants to satisfy the desires of the Lord and as such if the Lord wants it, the devotee can accept all kinds of opulence for the service of the Lord. And if the Lord does not want it, the devotee will not accept a farthing for his personal self-interest or for any extended self-interest. Arjuna did not want to kill his relatives and if there was at all a need for killing them, he desired that Krishna may kill them personally, without knowing that Krishna had already killed them before their coming into the battlefield and Arjuna was to become the direct cause for it. This fact will be disclosed in the following chapters of the Bhagavad-gita.
As a natural devotee of the Lord, Arjuna did not like to retaliate against his miscreant cousin-brothers, but it was the plan of the Lord that they should all be killed. The devotee of the Lord does not take any retaliation 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 determined to kill those miscreants, although Arjuna wanted to excuse them.
Sin will overcome us by slaying such aggressors.Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhritarshtra along with their friends. What should we gain, O Krishna, 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 as follows: (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 there is no sin incurred by killing such aggressors. Such dealings with aggressors are 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 ksatriya. Although a responsible man in the administration of a state is required to be saintly, he should not be cowardly. For example, Lord Rama was so saintly that people even now are anxious to live in the kingdom of Lord Rama (rama-rajya), but Lord Rama never showed any cowardice. Ravana was an aggressor against Rama because Ravana kidnapped Lord Rama’s wife Sita. And Lord Rama gave him sufficient lessons, unparalleled in the history of the world. But Arjuna was considering the special type of aggressors he was dealing with, namely his own grandfather, own teacher, friends, sons, grandsons, etc., and therefore he thought that he should not take such severe steps as it is necessary for the ordinary aggressors. Besides that saintly persons are advised to forgive. Such injunctions for the saintly persons are more specific than any political emergency. Arjuna considered that rather than kill his own kinsmen for political reasons, it will 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 kingdom and the pleasures thereof are not permanent and thus why should he risk his life and glide to hell by killing his own kinsmen? In this connection, Arjuna’s addressing Krishna as Madhava, or the husband of the Goddess of Fortune, is also significant. He wanted to point out to Krishna that He, as the husband of the Goddess of Fortune, should not induce him in a way which will ultimately bring about misfortune. Krishna, however, never brings misfortune to anyone, to say nothing of His devotees.
O Janardan, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, find not fault in killing the family, quarreling with friends and similar acts, why should we engage ourselves in these acts of sin in spite of our knowledge of the crime that constitute the destruction of the family?
A ksatriya is not supposed to deny a battle or gambling when he is so invited by some rival party. Under such obligation, Arjuna could not deny to fight because he was so invited by the party of Duryodana. In reply, Arjuna considered that the other party may be blind to the effects of such a fratricidal fight. But since he could see the consequences of such a fight, how could he accept such a false challenge? Obligation is actually binding when the effect is good. But when the effect is otherwise, nobody can be bound by such a false obligation. Considering all these pros and cons of the challenge, Arjuna decided not to fight with them.
With the destruction of the dynasty, the eternal family tradition becomes vanquished and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.
In the system of the varnashrama institution there are many principles of religious traditions to help the members of the family grow nicely in spiritual values. The elder members of the family are responsible for such purificatory processes of the family, beginning from birth to death. Therefore on the death of the elder members such family traditions of purification would stop acting and the remaining younger family members may develop irreligious habits without any chance for spiritual salvation. Therefore, for no purpose should the elder members of the family be slain.
When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krishna, the ladies of the family become polluted and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrishni, comes unwanted progeny.
Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and peaceful spiritual progress of life. The principles of the Varnashrama religion were so designed that good population may prevail in the society for the all round spiritual progress of the state and community. Such good population of the society depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood. As children are very easily prone to be mislead, similarly women are also very easily prone to degradation. Therefore both the children and the womenfolk are required to be protected not only by the elder members of the family but also by engaging the womenfolk in various religious practices so that they might not be mislead into adultery. According to Canakya Pandit the women class are (is) not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. Therefore different family traditions of religious activities could always engage them and thus their chastity and devotion would give birth to good population eligible for conducting the system of the Varnashrama institution. On the failure of such Varnashram Dharma naturally women become free to act and free to mix with other men and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men accentuate adultery in the society and thus the human race is flooded with unwanted children at the risk of war and pestilence.
An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The forefathers of such ruined families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and water are stopped altogether.
According to the rules and regulations of fruitive activities, there is a need of periodical offerings of food and water to the past forefathers of the family. The offering of food and water to the diseased forefathers is performed by worship of Vishnu, because eating the remnants of foodstuff offered to Vishnu can deliver one from all kinds of sinful actions. Sometimes the forefathers might be suffering from various types of sinful reactions, and sometimes some of them cannot even acquire a gross material body and in a subtle body they remain as ghosts. And thus when remnants of foodstuff are offered to the forefathers by the descendants, the forefathers are released from such miserable ghostly and other kind of miserable life, whatever their location. This sort of help by the descendants to the forefathers are some of the family traditions and those who are not in devotional life are required to perform such rituals. But one who is devotional life is not under such obligation. Simply by performing devotional service, one can deliver hundreds and thousands of forefathers from all kinds of miserable lives. In Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.41, we find the following statement:
no kinkaro nayam rini ca rajam
sarvatmana yah sharanam sharanyam
gato mukundam parihritya 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, such person has no duty nor obligation to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, human kind or to the forefathers.” Such obligations are automatically fulfilled by performances of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
By the faults of the destroyers of the family tradition, causing thus an emergence of unwanted children, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.
Community projects of the four orders of human society, combined with family welfare activities as they are designed by the institution of Sanatan Dharma or Varnashrama Dharma, all have a great aim of ultimate salvation of the human being. Therefore, forgetting the aim of life, Vishnu and breaking off the link by irresponsible leaders of society or community bring about chaos in the human society. Such leaders are called blind and persons who are led by such leaders are sure to be in chaos of great magnitude.
O Krishna, maintainer of the people in general, I have heard it by disciplic succession that persons who destroy the family traditions domicile always in hell.
Arjuna places his argument not on the basis of his own experience of personal research, but he says that he has heard it from the authorities. That is the way of receiving real knowledge. One cannot reach the real point of factual knowledge without the help of the right person who is already in knowledge. In the Varnashrama institution, there is the procedure that, before death, one has to undergo the process of atonement for his sinful activities. A person who is always engaged in uninterrupted sinful activities must take to the process of atonement called “prayascitta.” Failing which, one surely has to be tranferred to the hellish planets to undergo different terms of miserable life as a result of his sinful actiivities.
Alas, how ominous it is that we are preparing ourselves to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intend on killing our own kinsmen.
Driven by selfish motives, one may be inclined to such sinful acts as to kill 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 the folly of such activities and therefore takes care to avoid them.
Rather than to fight with them, I shall consider it better for the sons of Dhritharastra to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.
While fighting is in progress between two ksatriyas and according to ksatriya fighting principles, it is the custom that an unwilling or unarmed enemy cannot be attacked. Arjuna, however, decided that he would not even fight if he is attacked by the enemy is such awkward condition. He did not consider how much the other party was bent upon fighting. All these symptoms are due to his soft-heartedness on account of being a great devotee of the Lord.
Sanjaya said: Having thus spoken on the battlefield, Arjuna cast aside his bow along with the arrows and sat down again on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with lamentation.
While observing the situation of the enemy, Arjuna stood up on the chariot, but when he was too much afflicted with lamentation within his mind he sat down again, setting aside his bow and arrows. Such a kind and soft-hearted person in the devotional service of the Lord is fit to receive knowledge of the self.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports of the first chapter of the Gitopanishad in the matter of Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work, but who works just as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.
In this chapter the Lord explains the process of the eightfold yoga system as the means to control the mind and senses. This is very difficult for people in general to perform, especially in the age of Kali. Although the eightfold yoga system is recommended in this chapter, still the Lord emphasizes that the process of karma-yoga, or acting in Krishna consciousness is better. Everyone acts in this world to maintain his family and their paraphernalia but no one is working without some self-interest, some personal gratification be it concentrated or extended. The criterion of perfection is to act in Krishna consciousness, and not to act with a view to enjoying the fruits of work. To act in Krishna consciousness is the duty or every living entity because we are constitutionally parts and parcels of the Supreme. The parts of the body work for the satisfaction of the whole body. The limbs of the body do not act for self-satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the complete whole. Similarly, the living entity who acts for the satisfaction of the Supreme Whole and not for personal satisfaction is the perfect Sannyasi, or the perfect yogi.
The Sannyasis sometimes artificially think that they have become liberated from all material duties, and therefore they cease to perform Agnihotra Yajnas (fire sacrifices), but actually they are self-interested because they think of becoming one with the impersonal Brahman. Such a desire is greater than any material desire, but it is not without self-interest. Similarly, the mystic yogi who practices the yoga system with half-open eyes, ceasing all material activities, desires some satisfaction for his personal self. But a person acting in Krishna consciousness works for the satisfaction of the Whole, without any self-interest. A Krishna conscious person has no desire for self-satisfaction. His criterion of succes is the satisfaction of Krishna, and thus he is the perfect Sannyasi, or perfect yogi. Lord Caitanya, the highest perfectional symbol in Krishna consciousness, prays in this way:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
(Cc. Antya 20.29, Siksastaka 4)
” O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor have I any desire to enjoy beautiful women. Nor do I want any number of followers. What I want only is that I may have the causeless mercy of your devotional service in my life, birth after birth.”
O son of Pandu, what is called renunciation you should know to be the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme, for without giving up the desire for sense gratification, no one becomes a yogi.
Real Sannyasa-yoga or Bhakti means that one should know his constitutional position as a living entity and act accordingly. The living entity has no separate independent identity. He is the marginal energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by the material energy, he is conditioned, and when he is Krishna conscious, or in awareness of the spiritual energy, then he is in his real and natural state of life. When one is in complete knowledge, therefore, one ceases all material senses gratification, or renounces all kinds of sense gratificatory business.This same thing is practiced by the yogis who restrain the senses from material attachment. But a person in Krishna consciousness has no opportunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the purpose of Krishna. Therefore, a Krishna conscious person is simultaneously a Sannyasi and a yogi. The purpose of knowledge and of restraining the senses, as prescribed in the Jnana and yoga processes, is automatically served in Krishna consciousness. If one is unable to give up the activities of his selfish nature, then there is no meaning either to Jnana or yoga. The real aim is for a living entity to give up all selfish satisfaction and to be prepared to satisfy the Supreme. A Krishna conscious person has no desire for any kind of self-enjoyment. He is always engaged for the enjoyment of the Supreme. One who has no information of the Supreme must therefore be engaged in self-satisfaction, because nobody can stand on the platform of voidness. All these purposes are perfectly served by the practice of Krishna consciousness.
For one who is a neophyte in the eighfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means.
The process of linking oneself with the Supreme is called yoga, which is just like a ladder for attaining the topmost spiritual realization. This ladder begins from the lowest material condition of the living entity, rising up to perfect self-realization in pure spiritual life. According to various elevations, different parts of the ladder are known by different names. But all in all, the complete ladder is called yoga, and is divided into three parts, namely Jnana-yoga, Dhyana-yoga and Bhakti-yoga. When one tries to get on the ladder in the beginning, it is called the Yogaruruksa stage, and when he has attained to the highest rung, it is called Yogarudha.
So far as the eighfold yoga system is concerned, attempts in the beginning to enter into meditation through regulative principles of life and by practicing different sitting postures (which are more less or less bodily exercises) are called work, or fruitive material activities. All such activities are aimed at achieving perfect equilibrium of the mind to control the senses. When one is accomplished in the practice of meditation, he ceases all disturbing mental activities.
A Krishna conscious person, however, is situated from the beginning on the platform of meditation on account of thinking always of Krishna. And, being constantly engaged in the service of Krishna, he is considered to have ceased all material activities.
A person is said to be elevated to the top of the ladder of yoga , when–through renunciation of all material desires– he neither acts for sense gratification, nor engages in fruitive activities.
When a person is fully engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he is pleased in himself, and thus he no longer has any scope for being engaged in sense gratification or in fruitive activites. Those who are not so engaged must be engaged in sense gratificatory business, because one cannot be without any engagment. Without Krishna consciousness, one must be always seeking self-centered or extended selfish activities. But a Krishna conscious person can do anything and everything for the satisfaction of Krishna, and thus he can be perfectly detached from senses gratification. One who has no such realization of Krishna consciousness must try mechanically to be freed from material desires, and then he can be elevated to the top rung of the yoga ladder.
One must deliver oneself with the help of the mind. One should never put himself into degradation. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and the mind is the enemy of the conditioned soul as well.
Depending upon different circumstances, the word Atma refers to this body, to the mind, as well as to the soul. In the yoga system, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially of concern. Because the mind is the central point of yoga practice, “Atma” here refers to the mind. The whole yoga system is meant to control the mind and to draw it away from attachment to sense objects. It is stressed herewith that the mind must be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of nescience. Material existence means the influence of the mind and the senses. Therefore the authorized verdict is that the pure soul is entangled in the material world on account of false ego in the mind, which desires to lord it over material nature. Therefore the mind should be so trained that it may not be attracted by the glitter of material nature, and thus the conditioned soul may be saved. One should not degrade oneself, being attracted by sense objects. The more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes entangled in material existence. The best way to disentangle oneself is to always engage the mind in Krishna consciousness. The word “hi” is used for emphasizing this point, i.e. that one MUST do this. It is also said that:
mana eva manusyanam karanam bandha-moksayoh
bandhaya visayasango muktyai nirvisayam manah
“For man, the mind is the cause of bondage and the mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the senses objects is the cause of liberation.” (Amrita-bindu Upanishad 2.) Therefore the mind which is always engaged in Krishna consciousness is the cause of supreme liberation.
For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.
The purpose of practicing eightfold yoga is to control the mind in order to make it a friend in discharging the human mission. Unless the mind is controlled, the practice of yoga (for show) is simply a waste of time. One who cannot control his mind lives always with the greatest enemy, and thus his life and its mission are spoiled. The constitutional position of the living entity is to carry out the order of the superior. As long as one’s mind remains an unconquered enemy, one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, avarice, illusion, etc. But when the mind is conquered, one voluntarily agrees to abide by the dictation of the Personality of Godhead, who is situated within the heart of everyone as Paramatma. Real yoga practice entails meeting the Paramatma within the heart and then following His dictation. For one who takes to Krsna consciousness directly, perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord follows automatically.
For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man heat and cold, happiness and distress, honor and dishonor are all the same.
Actually, every living entity is intended to abide by the dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is seated in everyone’s heart as Paramatma. When the mind is mislead by the external illusory energy, one becomes entangled in material activities. Therefore, as soon as one’s mind becomes controlled through one of yoga systems, he is to be considered as having already reached the destination. One has to abide by superior dictation. Therefore, when one’s mind is fixed on the superior nature, he has no other alternative but to follow the dictation of the Supreme. The mind must have some superior dictation and follow it. The effect of controlling the mind is that one automatically follows the dictation of the Paramatma or Supersoul. This transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Krishna consciousness and thus such a devotee of the Lord has no longer any concern with the dualities of material existence, namely distress and happiness, cold and heat etc. This state is practical Samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme.
A person is said to be competent in self-realization and is called a yogi (or mystic) when he is satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge as well as realized knowledge. The symptoms of such a person are that he is situated in transcendence, that he is self-controlled and that he sees everything material as equal–whether it be pebbles, stone or gold.
Book knowledge without any realization of the Supreme Truth is useless. It is said as follows (Padmapurana inc. in Bhakti-rasamrita -sindhu 1.2.234):
atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah
“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krishna through his materially contaminated senses. When one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendendal service to the Lord, then only do the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord become revealed to him.”
This Bhagavad-gita is the science of Krishna consciousness. Nobody can become Krishna conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One must be fortunate enough to have the opportunity of associating with a person who is in pure consciousness. A Krishna conscious person has realized knowledge, the grace of Krishna, because he is satisfied with pure devotional service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By such perfect knowledge, one can remain steady in his convictions, whereas by academic knowledge one is easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions. Such a realized soul is actually self-controlled, because he is surrendered to Krishna. He is transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship. For him mundane scholarship and aimless mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others is of no greater value than pebbles or stones.
A person is supposed to be still more advanced when he regards the honest well-wisher, the affectionate benefactor, the neutral, the mediator, the envious, the friend, the pious and the sinner all with an equal mind.
A transcendentalist should always be in Krishna consciousness with body, mind and self, live alone in a secluded place, always be careful in mind, without being attracted by subversive things like feelings of possessiveness.
Krishna is realized in different degrees as Brahman, Paramatma and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna consciousness means concisely, to be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. But those who are attached to the impersonal Brahman or the localised Supersoul are also partially Krishna conscious, because the impersonal Brahman is the spiritual ray of Krishna and the Supersoul is the all-pervading partial expansion of Krishna. As such, the impersonalist and the meditator are also indirectly Krishna conscious. A directly Krishna conscious person is the topmost transcendentalist because such a devotee well knows what is meant by Brahman or Paramatma. His knowledge about the Absolute Truth is perfect, whereas the impersonalist and the meditating yogi are imperfectly Krishna conscious.
Nevertheless, all of these are instructed herewith to be constantly engaged in their particular pursuits, so that they may come to the highest perfection sooner or later. The first business of such a transcendentalist is to keep the mind always on Krishna. It is said that one should always think of Vishnu and one should not forget Vishnu (or Krishna) even for a moment. This concentration of the mind on the Supreme is called Samadhi or trance.To have this concentration of mind one should always remain in seclusion, without being disturbed by external objects. He should be vey careful to accept favourable and reject unfavourable conditions in relation to Krishna consciousness. And in perfect determination, he sould not be hankering after unnecessary material things so that he can become free from the feeling of possessiness.
All these perfections and precautions are perfectly executed when one is directly in Krishna consciousness. Because direct Krishna consciousness means self-abnegation, wherein there is very little chance for material possessiveness. Srila Rupa Goswami distinguishes this consciouness from others as follows:
anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate
prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah
mumuksubhih parityago vairagyam phalgu kathyate
“When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krishna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness, On the other hand, one who rejects everything without any knowledge of its relationsip to Krishna is not as complete in his renunciation.”(Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.255-256)
A Krishna conscious person well knows that everything belongs to Krishna, and thus he is always free from feelings of personal possession. As such, he has no hankering for anything on his own personal account. He knows how to accept things in favor of Krishna consciousness, and how to reject things unfavorable to Krishna consciousness. He is always aloof from the material platform because he is always transcendental, and he is always alone, having nothing to do with persons not in Krishna consciousness. Therefore a person in Krishna consciousness is the perfect yogi.
Texts 6.11 & 12
One should practice yoga in a secluded place as follows: Place kusa grass on the ground, upon which place deerskin and then a soft cloth. The seat should not be too high nor too low and should be situated in sacred land. (The yogi then sits on it very firmly.) Sitting in such a place, one should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart and fixing the mind on one point.
Sacred land means a place of pilgrimage. In India the yogis, the transcendentalists or the devotees all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayag, Mathura, Vrindavan, Hrishikesa, Hardwar, etc., and practice yoga there. A sacred place is where the sacred rivers like the Yamuna and the Ganges flow. Any bank of the rivers Ganges or Yamuna is naturally sacred. One should select a place which is secluded and undisturbed. The so-called yoga societies in big cities may do a nice business in earning material benefit, but they are not at all suitable for the actual practice of yoga. One who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation. Therefore, in the Brihad-Naradiya Purana it is said that in the Kali-Yuga (the present Yuga, or age), when people in general are short-lived, slow in spiritual realization and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is to chant the holy name of the Lord.
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is to chant the holy name of the Lord. And there is no other means of success.”
Texts 6.13 & 14
One should practice yoga by holding one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and looking upon the tip of the nose. Thus with an unagitated and subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex-life, one should see Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.
The goal of life is to know Krishna, Who is situated within the heart of every living being as Paramatma, or the four-handed Vishnu form. The yoga procces is practiced in order to discover and see this localized form of Vishnu, and not for any other purpose. The localized Vishnu-murti is the plenary representation of Krishna, dwelling within one’s heart. One who has no program to realize this Vishnu -murti is uselessly engaged in mock yoga practice, and is certainly wasting his time, without any aim in life. Krishna is the ultimate goal of life, and the Vishnu-murti situated in one’s heart is the object of yoga practice. To realize this Vishnu-murti within the heart one has to observe complete abstinence from sex life, and therefore one requires to go out of home and live alone in a secluded place, remaining seated as mentioned above. One cannot enjoy sex life daily at home or elsewhere and attend a so-called yoga class and thus become a false yogi. One has to practice controlling the mind, keeping apart from all kinds of sense gratification of which sex life is the chief. In the Yajnavalkya rules of celibacy it is said:
karmana manasa vaca sarvavasthasu sarvada
sarvatra maithuna-tyago brahmacaryam pracaksate
“The vow of Brahmacarya is meant to help one become completely abstinent from sex indulgence in work, words, and mind– at all times, under all circumstances, and in all places.” No one can perform any kind of yoga practice through sex infulgence. Brahmacarya is taught, therefore, from childhood when one has no knowledge of sex life. Children at the age of five are sent to Gurukula, or the place of the spiritual master, who trains the young boys in the strict discipline of becoming a Brahmacari. Without such practice of Brahmacarya, nobody can make any advancement in any kind of yoga, whether it be Dhyana, Jnana or Bhakti. One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having no sexual relationship with any woman except his wife ( and that also under regulation) is also called a Brahmacari. Such a restrained householder Brahmacari may be accepted in the Bhakti school, but the Jnana and Dhyana schools do not allow for even a householder Brahmacari. They require complete abstinence without any compromise. In the Bhakti school, a householder Brahmacari is allowed because the cult of Bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses any sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.59) it is said:
visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya param drstva nivartate
While others are forced to restrain themselves from sense gratification, a devotee of the Lord automatically refrains from sense gratification on account of a superior taste. Except for the devotee, no one has any information of that superior taste.
Vigata-bhi. One cannot be fearless unless one is fully in Krishna consciousness. A conditioned soul is fearful on account of his perverted memory, his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krishna. The Bhagavatam ( 11.2.37) says: “bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo ‘smrtih.” Krishna consciousness is the only basis for being fearless. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Krishna conscious. And the ultimate goal of yoga practice being to see the Lord within, a Krishna conscious person is already the best of all yogis. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.
Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist attains the Kingdom of God (or the abode of Krishna), by cessation of material existence.
The ultimate goal in practicing yoga is now clearly explained. Yoga practice is not meant for attaining any kind of material facility. Yoga practice means the cessation of all material existence. One who seeks an improvement in health or aspires after material perfection is not a yogi according to Bhagavad-gita. Cessation of material existence does not mean to enter into an existence of void, which is only a myth. There is nothing like void anywhere within the creation of the Lord . The cessation of material existence means to enter into the spiritual sky, the abode of the Lord. The abode of the Lord is also clearly described in the Bhagavad-gita, as that place where there is no need of sun, no need of moon, nor electricity. All the planets in the spiritual kingdom are self-illuminated like the sun in the material sky. The Kingdom of God is everywhere, but the spiritual sky and the planets thereof are called “param dhama”, or superior abodes.
As is clearly stated herein (mat-cittah, mat-parah, mat-sthanam) by the Lord Himself, a consumate yogi who has reached perfection in understanding Lord Krishna, can attain real peace and can ultimately reach His supreme abode, the Krishnaloka known as Goloka Vrindavan. In the Brahma-samhita (5.37) it is clearly stated, “goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutha,” that the Lord, although residing always in His abode called Goloka and through His superior spiritual energies is the all-pervading Brahman and localized Paramatma as well. Nobody can reach the spiritual sky or enter into the eternal abode (Vaikuntha Goloka Vrindavan) of the Lord without the proper understanding of Krishna and His plenary expansion Vishnu. Therefore a person working in Krishna consciousness is the perfect yogi, because his mind is always absorbed in Krishna’s activities, “sa vai manah krishna-padaravindayoh.” In the Vedas also (Svetasvaratara Upanishad 3.8) we can learn,”tvam eva viditvati mrityum eti”: One can overcome the path of birth and death only by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.” In other words, the perfection of the yoga system is the attainment of freedom from material existence, and not some magical jugglery or gymnstic feats to befool innocent people.
There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep as it is required.
Regulation of diet and sleep is recommended herein for the yogis. Too much eating means eating more than one may require to keep the body and soul together. For the human being there is no need of eating animal food , because there is ample food arrangement in the supply of grains, vegetables, fruits and milk. According to the Bhagavad-gita, such simple foodstuff is considered to be in the mode of goodness. Animal food is for persons in the mode of ignorance. Therefore, those who indulge in animal food, drinking, smoking and eating food which not first offered to Krishna, are eating only polluted things, which will involve suffering sinful reactions. “Bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pacanty atma-karanat.” Anyone who eats for the matter of sense pleasure, or cooks for himself but not as an offering to Krishna, eats only sin. One who eats sin and eats more than is alloted to him, cannot execute perfect yoga. It is best that one eat only the remnants of foodstuff offered to Krishna. A person in Krishna consciousness does not eat anything which is not offered to Krishna. Therefore, only the Krishna conscious person can attain perfection in the yoga practice. Correlatively, one who artificially abstains from eating, manufactturing his own personal process of fasting, cannot practice yoga. The Krishna conscious person observes fasting as it is recommended in the scriptures. He does not fast or eat more than is required, and he is thus competent to practice yoga. One who eats more than required will dream very much while sleeping, and he must consequently sleep more than is required. One should sleep no more than six hours. One who sleeps more than six hours out of twenty four is certainly influenced by the mode of ignorance. A person in the mode of ignorance is lazy and prone to sleep a great deal. Such a person cannot practice yoga.
Persons who are regulated in their habits of eating, sleeping and recreation, as well as in working for existence, can mitigate all material pains by the practice of the yoga system.
Extravagance in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and mating– which are demands of the body–can block any advancement in the practice of yoga. As far as eating is concerned, it can be regulated only when one is practiced to take and accept Prasadam, sanctified foodstuff. According the Bhagavad-gita (9.26), Lord Krishna is offered vegetables, flowers, fruits, as well a grains and milk, etc. In this way, a person in Krishna consciousness becomes automatically trained not to accept any food which is not meant for human consumption, or which is not in the category of goodness. As far as sleeping is concerned, a Krishna conscious person is always alert in the discharge of his duties in Krishna consciousness and therefore any unnecessary time spent sleeping is considered a great loss. His program is ” avyartha-kalatvam.” A Krishna conscious person cannot bear to pass a minute of his life without being engaged in the service of the Lord. Therefore, his sleeping is kept to a minimum. The ideal Krishna conscious personality is Srila Rupa Gosvami, who was always engaged in the service of Krishna. He could not sleep more than two hours a day, and sometimes he could not sleep even that much. Thakur Haridas would not even accept Prasadam, and would not even sleep for a moment without finishing his daily routine work of chanting with his beads three hundred thousand names. As far as work is concerned, a Krishna conscious person does not do anything which is not connected with Krishna’s interest, and as such his work is always regulated, without any tinge of sense gratification. As there is no question of sense gratification, there is no material relaxation for a person in Krishna consciousness. And because he is regulated in all his work, speech, sleep, wakefulness and in all bodily activities, there is no material misery for a person in Krishna consciousness.
When the yogi, by practice of yoga, becomes well disciplined in the activities of the mind, and becomes situated in transcendence–devoid of all material desires– at that time he is said to be well established.
The symptoms of the yogi are distinguished from the activities of an ordinary person by his characteristic cessation from all kinds of material desires–of which sex is the centre. A perfect yogi is so well disciplined in the activities of the mind that he can no longer be disturbed by any kind of material desire. This perfectional stage can automatically be attained by persons in Krishna conciousness, as it is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.4.18-20):
sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayor
karau harer mandira-marjanadisu
ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe
srimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite
padau hareh ksetra-padanusarpane
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya
“King Ambarisa first of all engaged his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, then, one after another, he engaged his words in describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord, his hands in mopping the temple of the Lord, his ears in hearing of the activities of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the transcendental form of the Lord, his body in touching the body of the devotees, his sense of smell in the fragrance of the lotus flowers offered to the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasi leaf offered at the lotus feet of the Lord, his legs in going to places of pilgrimage where the temple of the Lord is situated, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, all his desires in executing the mission of the Lord, and all these transcendental activities are quite fitting for becoming a pure devotee.”
OT page 367 is missing.
A Krishna conscious person, always absorbed in transcendence, is supposed to be in constant meditation on his worshipable Lord, without any disturbances, as a lamp in a windless place does not waver.
According to the yoga principle, that state of perfection is called trance, or Samadhi when it is seen that, by practice of yoga, one’s mind is completely restrained from mental activities in connection with matter. This is characterized by one’s ability to see himself by his pure mind and by his satisfaction in himself. In that state, one is situated in transcendental happiness, ascertained through transcendental senses. No one is shaken from this transcendental position. When that state is achieved, no one cares for profit in the material world and being situated in that position, no one is shaken, even in the midst of the greatest difficulty. This is factual freedom from the miseries arising from material contact.
By practice of yoga one becomes gradually detached from material concepts. This is the primary characteristic of the yoga principle. And after this, one becomes situated in trance, or Samadhi. This Samadhi state means that the yogi realises the Supersoul through transcendental mind and intelligence, without any of the misgivings of identifying himself with the Superself. Yoga practice is more or less based on the principles of the Patanjali system. Unauthorised commentators on the system try to identify the individual soul and the Supersoul as one and the same. The monist thinks this to be liberation, without understanding the real purpose of Patanjali. There is an acceptance of transcendental pleasure in the Patanjali system, but the monist do not accept this transcendental pleasure out of fear that the theory of oneness will become jeopardised. Knowledge and knower are not accepted by the nondualist but here in this verse transcendental pleasure– realized through transcendental senses–is accepted and this is corroborated by Patanjali Muni, the famous exponent of the yoga system. The great sage declares in his Yoga-sutras (4.34): purusartha-sunyanam gunanam pratiprasavah kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir iti.
This citi-shakti, or internal potency, is transcendental. Purusartha means material religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and at the end, to become one with the Supreme. This oneness with the Supreme is called “kaivalyam” by the monist. But according to Patanjali this “kaivalyam” is an internal, or transcendental potency. By this transcendental potency the living entity becomes aware of his constittutional position. In the words of Lord Caitanya, this state of affairs is called “ceta-darpana-marjanam, or clearance of the dirty mirror of the mind. This clearance of the dirty mirror of the mind is actually liberation or “bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam.” The therory of nirvana–also preliminary–corresponds with this principle. In the Bhagavatam (2.10.6) this is called “svarupena vyavasthitih.” In this verse, the Bhagavad-gita also confirms this situation . Therefore, when we think deeply in this connection we can understand that after Nirvana or material cessation, there is the manifestation of spiritual activities, or the devotional service of the Lord, know as Krishna consciousness. This situation–in the words of Bhagavatam “svarupena vyavasthitih”– is the real life of the living entity. Maya or illusion is the condition of spiritual life contaminated by material affection. Liberation from this infection of material disease does not mean destruction of the original, eternal position of the living entity. Patanjali also accepts this by his words “kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir iti.” This “citi-sakti” or transcendental pleasure, is real life. This is confirmed in the Vedanta-sutras (1.1.12) as “ananda-mayo’bhyasat.” This natural transcendental pleasure is the ultimate goal of yoga, and is easily achieved by execution of devotional service, or Bhakti-yoga. This Bhakti-yoga will be vividly described beginning in the seventh chapter of Bhagavad-gita.
In the yoga system as described in this chapter, there are two kinds of Samadhi, called Samprajnata Samadhi and Asamprajnata Samadhi. When one becomes situated in the transcendental position by various philosophical researches, it is called Samprajnata Samadhi. In the Asamprajnata Samadhi there is no longer any connection with mundane pleasure, one being transcendental to all sorts of happiness derived from the senses. Once the yogi is situated in that transcendental position, he is never shaken from it. Unless one is able to reach this ranscendental position, there is no success in the practice of yoga. Today’s so called yoga practice, while taking pleasure in the senses, is contradictory. A yogi indulging in sex and intoxication is an impossibility. Even those yogis who are attracted by the siddhis (perfections) in the process of yoga are not perfectly situated. If the yogis are attracted by the by-products of yoga, then they cannot attain the stage of perfection, as it is stated in this verse of the Bhagavad-gita. Persons, therefore, indulging in the make-show practice of gymnastics feats or siddhis should know that they have lost sight of the aim of yoga in that way.
The best practice of yoga in this age is, therefore, Krishna consciousness, which is not baffling. A Krishna conscious person is so happy in his occupation that he does not aspire after any other happiness. There are many impediments, especially in this age of hypocrisy, to practicing Hatha-yoga, Dhyana-yoga and Jnana-yoga, but there is no such problem in executing Karma-yoga or Bhakti-yoga.
As long as the material body exists, one has to meet the demands of the body, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating. But a person who is in pure Bhakti-yoga or in Krishna consciousness does not arouse the senses while meeting the demands of the body. A Krishna conscious person accepts the bare necessities of life, making the best use of a bad bargain, and enjoys transcendental happiness in Krishna consciousness. He is callous toward incidental occurences such as accidents, disease, scarcity and even the death of a most dear relative, but he is always alert in the matter of executing his duties in Krishna consciousness or Bhakti-yoga. He never deviates from the duty of Krishna consciousness on account of being agitated by incidental occurences. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (2.14) “agamapayino ‘nityas tams titiksasva bharata.” He bears all such incidental occurences because he knows that they may come and go, and have nothing to do with discharging his duties in Krishna consciousness. That is the way of achieving the highest perfection in yoga practice.
One should engage himself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith, without being deviated from the path. One should give up all mental speculation regarding material desires without any exception, and thus regulate the whole set of senses by the mind, controlled from all sides.
The yoga practitioner should be determined and should patiently prosecute the practice without being deviated from the path. One should be sure of success at the end, and pursue this course with great perseverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success. Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. On the practice of bhakti-yoga, Srila Rupa Gosvami says as follows:
utsahan niscayad dhairyat tat-tat-karma-pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
“The process of bhakti-yoga can be executed successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance, determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness.” (Upadesamrta 3)
As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very sorry and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not care for her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity was spread all over, and at last Garuda, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Vishnu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, so he came to see the sparrow. Garuda was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuda at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself would take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean became frightened at this and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuda.
Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially Bhakti-yoga in Krishna consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help such a devotee, for God helps those who help themselves.
Text 6.25 (info missing)
Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence, and the mind should not be engaged otherwise besides being fixed on the self alone.
Purport (info missing)
By proper conviction and intelligence one should gradually cease from sense activities. This is called pratyahara. The mind, being controlled by conviction, meditation, and cessation from the senses, should be situated in trance, or samadhi. At that time there will no longer be any chance to be engaged in the material concept of life. In other words, although one is involved with matter as long as the material body exists, one should not think about sense gratification. One should not thing of pleasure at all, save and except for the pleasure of the Supreme Self. This state of affairs is easily obtained by directly practicing Krishna consciousness.
However the mind becomes agitated on account of its flickering and unsteady nature, one certainly has to withdraw it from such engagements and bring it back under the control of the self.
The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogi has to become the controller of the mind, and not be controlled by the mind. One who is controller of the mind (and therefore controller of the senses as well) is called Goswami, or Swami and one who is controlled by the mind is called go-dasa, or the servant of the senses. A Gosvami knows the standard of sense happiness. Transcendental sense happiness is to engage the senses in the service of Hrisikesa or the supreme owner of the senses, Krishna. Serving Krishna with purified senses is called Krishna consciousness, and that is the way of bringing the senses under full control. What’s more, that is the highest perfection of yoga practice.
Brahma-bhuta is the state of being free from material contamination and situated in the transcendental service of the Lord. “mad-bhaktim labhate param” (Bg 18.54) One cannot remain in the quality of Brahman, the Absolute, until one is fixed by one’s mind ‘s on the lotus feet of the Lord. “Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh.” (SB 9.4.18) To be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, or to remain in Krishna consciousness, means factual liberation from all material contamination, including the mode of passion.
Thus the self-controlled yogi, after becoming freed from all material contamination, achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in Krishna consciousness, and being situated in transcendental loving service enjoys transcendental pleasure. This is the stage of devotional life,
Self-realization means to know one’s constitutional position in relationship to the Supreme. The individual soul is part and parcel of the Supreme, and he is meant for rendering transcendental service to the Lord. This transcendental contact with the Supreme is called Brahma-samsparsha.
A Krishna conscious yogi observes Krishna in every being, and also every being in Krishna (or the Supreme). Such a Krishna conscious person sees the same Krishna (or the Supreme Personality of Godhead) everywhere.
A Krishna conscious yogi is the perfect seer because he sees Krishna, the Supreme, situated in everyone’s heart as Supersoul (Paramatma) without any distinction. “Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ‘rjuna tisthati.” The Lord in His Paramatma feature is situated within both the heart of the dog and that of a Brahmin without any discrimination. He knows that the Lord is transcendental eternally, without being materially affected either in a dog or a Brahmin. That is the supreme neutrality of the Lord. The individual soul is also situated in the same heart, but he is not present in any other’s heart. That is the distinction between the individual soul and the Supersoul. One who is not factually in the practice of yoga cannot see so distincly. A Krishna conscious person can see Krishna in the heart of both the believer and nonbeliever. In the Smriti (Satvata-tantra 3.49) this is confirmed as follows: “atatatvac ca matritvad atma hi paramo harih.”
The Lord, being the source of all beings, is like the mother and the maintainer. As the mother is neutral to all different kinds of children so also is the Supreme Father (or Mother). As such, the Supersoul is always in every living being. Outwardly also, every living being is situated in the energy of the Lord. As will be explained in the seventh chapter, the Lord has primarily two energies, the spiritual (or superior) and the material (or inferior) energies. The living entity, although belonging to the superior energy, is conditioned by the inferior energy. But whether in the superior energy or the inferior energy, the living entity is always in the Lord’s energy. Every living entity is situated in Him in one way or the other. So the yogi sees equally because he sees that all living entities, although in different situations according to the results of fruitive work, in all circumstances remain the servants of God. While in the material energy the living entity is serving the material senses, and while in the spiritual energy he is serving the Supreme Lord directly. In either case the living entity is the servant of God. This vision of equality is perfect in a person in Krishna consciousness.
For one who sees Me everywhere, and sees everthing in Me, I shall never be lost, nor shall he ever be lost to Me.
A person in Krishna consciousness certainly sees Lord Krishna everywhere and he sees everthing in Krishna. Such a person may appear to see all the different manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he has a consciousness of Krishna, knowing that everything is the manifestation of Krishna’s energy. Nothing can exist without Krishna, and Krishna is the Lord of everything–this is the basic principle of Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is the development of love of Krishna, a position transcendental even to material liberation. This point of Krishna consciousness is the stage after self-realization. At this stage the devotee becomes one with Krishna in the sense that Krishna becomes everything for the devotee, and the devotee becomes full in loving Krishna and an intimate relationship between the Lord and the devotee exists. In that stage, there is no chance of the annihilation of the living entity, neither is the Personality of Godhead ever out of sight of the devotee. To merge in Krishna is spiritual annihilation. A devotee has no such risk. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.38):
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, Who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love, in His eternal form of Syamasundara situated within the heart of the devotee.”
At this stage Lord Krishna never disappears from the sight of the devotee nor does the devotee ever lose sight of the Lord. In the case of a yogi who sees the Lord as Paramatma within the heart, the same applies. Such a yogi turns into a pure devotee and cannot bear to live for a moment without seing the Lord within himself.
Such a yogi, engaged in the worshipful service of the Supersoul, who knows that I and the Supersoul are one, remains always in Me, despite all situations.
A yogi who is practising meditation on the Supersoul within himself sees this plenary portion of Krishna as Vishnu–with four hands, holding conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. The yogi should know that Vishnu is not different from Krishna. Krishna in the form of the Supersoul is situated in everyone’s heart. Furthermore, there is no difference between all the innumerable Supersouls present in the innumerable hearts of living entities. There is no difference between a Krishna conscious person always engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krishna and a perfect yogi engaged in meditation on the Supersoul. On the other hand, the yogi in Krishna consciousness — even though he may be engaged in various activities while in material existence — remains alway situated in Krishna. This is confirmed in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.187) of Srila Rupa Gosvami:”nikhilasv apy avasthasu jivan-muktah sa ucyate.” A devotee of the Lord, always acting in Krishna consciousness, is automatically liberated. In the Narada Pancharatna this is confirmed as follows:
dik-kalady-anavacchinne krsne ceto vidhaya ca
tan-mayo bhavati ksipram jivo brahmani yojayet
“By concentrating one’s attention on the transcendental form of Krishna, Who is all pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in thinking of Krishna, and then attains the state of the transcendental association of Krishna along with the associated happiness.”
Krishna consciousness is the highest stage of trance in yoga practice. This very understanding — that Krishna is present as Paramatma in everyone’s heart — make the yogi faultless. The Vedas (Gopal-tapani Upanishad 1. 21) confirm this inconceivable potency of the Lord as follows:eko ‘pi san bahudha yo ‘vabhati. “Although the Lord is one, He is present in innumerable hearts as many.” Similarly, in the smriti-shastra (Matsya Purana) it is said:
eka eva paro visnuh sarva-vyapi na samsayah
aisvaryad rupam ekam ca surya-vat bahudheyate
“Visnu is one, and yet He is certainly all-pervading. By His inconceivable potency, in spite of His one form, He is present everywhere, as the sun appears in many places at once.”
He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all living entities, both in happiness and distress, O Arjuna!
One who is in Krishna consciousness is a perfect yogi, because he knows everyone’s happiness and distress by dint of his own personal experience. The cause of the distress of a living entity is forgetfulness of its relationship with God. And the cause of happiness is to know that Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer of all activities of the human being, that He is the proprietor of all lands and planets and that He is the sincerest friend of all living entites. The perfect yogi knows that every living being which is conditioned by the modes of material nature is subjected to the threefold material miseries, on account of its forgetfulness of its relationship with Krishna. And because one in Krishna consciousness is happy, he tries to distribute the knowledge of Krishna everywhere. As he tries to broadcast the importance of becoming Krishna conscious, such a preacher is the best philanthropist in the world and he is the dearest servitor of the Lord. “Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah” (Bg. 18.69). In other words, a devotee of the Lord always looks to the welfare of all living entities, and in this way he is factually equal toward everyone. He is the best yogi because he does not desire perfection in yoga for his personal benefit, but tries for others also. He is not envious of any of his fellow living entities. Here is a contrast between a pure devotee of the Lord in Krishna consciousness and a yogi interested in his personal elevation, keeping himself in a secluded place. The yogi who has withdrawn to a secluded place in order to meditate perfectly may not be as perfect as a devotee of the Lord, who is trying his best to turn every person toward Krishna consciousness in various ways.
Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.
The system of mysticism described by Lord Krishna to Arjuna, beginning with the words “sucau dese” and ending with “yoga parama” is here being rejected by Arjuna out of a feeling of inability. It is not possible for an odinary man to leave home and go to a secluded place in the mountains or jungles to practice yoga in this age Age of Kali. The present age is characterised by a bitter struggle for a life of short duration. People are not serious about self-realization even by simple practical means. What then to speak of this difficult yoga system, which regulates the mode of living, the manner of sitting, selection of place and detachment of the mind from material engagements. As a practical man, Arjuna thought it was impossible to follow this system of yoga, even though he was favourably endowed in many ways. He belonged to the royal family, and was highly elevated in terms of numerous qualities, he was a great warrior, he had great longevity and above all he was the most intimate friend of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Five thousand years ago, Arjuna had all better facilities of life, and yet he refused to accept this system of yoga, nor do we find any record in history of his practising it at any time. Therefore it must be considered impossible to control the mind by this system of yoga, especially in this Age of Kali. It may be possible for some very few, rare men, but for the people in general it is an impossible proposal. If this was so five thousand years ago then what to speak of the present day? Those who are imitating this yoga system in different so-called schools and societies, although complacent are certainly wasting their time, or more clearly, they are completely in ignorance of the desired goal.
O Krishna, the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, and to subdue it ( by the yoga practice you describe), I think is more difficult that controlling the wind.
The mind is so strong and obstinate that sometimes it overcomes the intelligence, although the mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, certainly it is very difficult to control the turbulent mind. Artificially, one may establish an equilibrium of the mind toward both friend and enemy, but in the ultimate issue no worldly man can do so, as this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literature ( Katha Upanishad 1.3.3-4) it is said:
atmanam rathinam viddhi sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi manah pragraham eva ca
indriyani hayan ahur visayams tesu gocaran
atmendriya-mano-yuktambhoktety ahur manisinah
“The individual is supposed to be the passenger in the car of the material body, and the intelligence is the driver. The mind is the driving instrument and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers.” Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind. But the mind is so strong and obstinate that it surpasses even one’s intelligence, as an acute infection may surpass the efficacy of medicine. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga. Such practice is therefore never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of the modern man? The difficulty is neatly expressed here. As one cannot capture the blowing wind, so it is more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. As prescribed, the best way to control the mind is “sa vai manah krishna-padaravindayo.” One has to engage one’s mind fully in Krishna consciousness, and then there will remain no other engagement to agitate the mind.
end of purport 6.38
….Supreme Lord, Who is manifested as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Lord Sri Krishna is the fullest manifestation of the Supreme Absolute Truth, and therefore one who is a surrendered soul to the Supreme Person is the successful transcendentalist. To reach this goal of life through Brahman and Paramatma realization takes many, many births: “bahunam janmanam ante” and therefore the supermost path of transcendental realization is bhakti-yoga or Krishna consciousness, the direct method without any fear of fall down.
This is my doubt, O Krishna, and I ask You to dispel it completely. Except for Yourself, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.
Krishna is the perfect knower of past, present and future. In the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita the Lord said that all living entities were existing individualy in the past, that they exist now in the present and that they continue to retain such individual identity in the future, even after liberation from the material entanglement. So once already He has cleared up the question of the future of the individual living entity. Now Arjuna wants to know of the future of the unsuccessful transcendentalist. No one is equal to or above Krishna. What to speak of these great sages, those so-called philosophers who are at the mercy of material nature? Therefore the verdict of Krishna is the final and complete answer to any kind of doubt in the matter, bacause He knows past, present and future perfectly, but nobody knows Him. Krishna and Krishna conscious devotees alone can know what is what.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Son of Pritha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities has no place on the path of destruction, either in this material world or in the spiritual world.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) Sri Narada Muni instructs Vyasadeva as follows:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakvo ‘tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah
” If someone gives up all material prospects and takes complete shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no loss or degradation in any respect. On the other hand, a nondevotee, though fully engaged in occupational duties, does not gain anything.” For material prospects there are many activities both scriptural and customary. A transcendentalist is supposed to give up all such material activities for the sake of spiritual advancement in life, or Krishna consciousness. One may argue that by Krishna consciousness one may attain the highest perfection if it is completed, but if one does not attain such a perfectional stage, then he loses both ways, the material and the spiritual as well. It is enjoined in the scriptures that one has to suffer the reaction of not executing prescribed duties; therefore one who fails to discharge transcendental activities properly becomes subjected to these reactions. The Bhagavatam assures such unsuccessful transcendentalists that there need be no such worries. Even though the unsuccessful transcendentalist is subjected to the reaction of not executing prescribed duties, still he not a loser, because auspicious Krishna consciousness will never be forgotten and one engaged in such Krishna consciousness will continue to be so even if he is lowborn in the next life. On the other hand, one who may follow strictly the prescribed duties need not necessarily attain any auspicious result for want of Krishna consciousness.
The purport may be understood as follows. Humankind may be divided into two sections, namely the regulated and the unregulated. Those who are engaged simply in the matter of sense gratification like the animals, without any knowledge of their next life or spirirual salvation, are called the nonregulated section of humankind. And those who follow the principles of prescribed duties in the scriptures are classified amongst the regulated section. The nonregulated section, both civilized and noncivilized, educated and noneducated , strong and weak are classified as full of animal propensities. Such people and their activities are never auspicious, because enjoying the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, defending and mating, they will perpetually remain in material existence, which is always miserable and therefore inauspicious. On the other hand, those who are regulated by the scriptural injunctions and are thus gradually rising to Krishna consciousness are certainly auspicious in the progress of life.
Those who are then following the path of auspiciousness can be divided into three sections, namely 1) the followers of scriptural rules and regulations who are enjoying material prosperity, 2) those who are trying to find out the ultimate liberation from material existence and 3) those who are devotees in Krishna consciousness. Those who are following the rules and regulations of the scriptures for material happiness may be further divided into two classes: 1) those who are fruitive workers and 2) those who desire no fruit for sense gratification. Those who are after fruitive results for sense gratification may be elevated to a higher standard of life, even to the higher planets, but still because they are not free from material existence, they are not following the path of true auspiciousness. The only auspicious activities are those which are meant for material liberation. Any activity which is not aimed at ultimate self-realization or liberation from the material, bodily concept of life, is not at all auspicious. Activity in Krishna consciousness is the only auspicious activity, and for anyone who voluntarily accepts all bodily discomtorts for for the sake of making progress on the path of Krishna consciousness can be called a perfect transcendentalist under severe austerity. And because the eightfold yoga system is aimed at the ultimate realization of Krishna consciousness, such practice is also auspicious, and nobody who is trying his best in that matter has any fear of degradation.
The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people or into a family of some rich aristocracy.
The unsuccessful yogis are divided into two classes: one is fallen after very little progress, and one is fallen after long practice of yoga. Those who are fallen after a short period of practice go to the higher planets, where pious living entities are allowed to enter. After prolonged life there, one is sent back again on this planet, to take birth in the family of righteous Brahmin Vaishnava or that of aristocratic merchants.
The real purpose of yoga practice is to achieve the highest perfection of Krishna consciousness, as will be explained in the last verse of this chapter. But those who do not go on to such an extend, and fail to do so on account of material allurements, by the grace of the Lord, they are allowed to make full utilization of their material propensities and after that, the chance is offered to have prosperous life in a righteous or aristocratic family. Those who are born in such families may take advantage of the facilities and try to elevate themselves to full Krishna consciousness. That is the perfection of the special opportunity.
Or, those who have been unsuccessful after prolonged practice of yoga, do take their births in the families of transcendentalists, who are surely great great in wisdom. Such a birth is very rare in this world.
To get birth in the family of yogis or transcendentalists — those with great wisdom — is eulogized herein, because the child born in such family gets impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially meant for the Acharya or Goswami families. Such Goswami or Acharya families are supposed to become very learned and devoted by family tradition and training, and thus become spiritual masters for others. In India there are many such Acharya families, but they have now been degraded for want of sufficient education and training. But that does not mean that there are no such families. By the grace of the Lord, there are families who may not be the traditional Acharyas or spiritual masters, but which are factually transcendentalist generation after genaration, and it is certainly very fortunate to take birth in such families. Fortunately, both our spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and our humble self, had the opportunity to take birth in such families, by the grace of the Lord, and both of us were trained in the devotional service of the Lord from the very beginning of our lives. Later on we met by the order of the transcendental system.
On taking such a birth, those transcendentalists do again revive the consciousness of their previous lives, and thereupon they try to make further progress in the line, in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
King Bharata, who took his third birth in the family of a good Brahmin, is a tangible example of this good birth and revival of previous consciousness in the matter of transcendental realization or yoga perfection. King Bharata was the Emperor of the world, and since his time the earthly planet is known among the demigods as Bharata-varsa. Formerly it was known as Ilavrita-varsa. The Emperor at an early age retired for spiritual perfection, but failed to achieve success. In his next life he took birth in the family of a good Brahmin and was known as Jada Bharata because he always remained secluded and without talking to anyone. And later on he was discovered as the greatest transcendentalist by King Rahugana. From his life it is understood that transcendental endeavor , or the practice of yoga, never goes in vain. By the grace of the Lord such a transcendentalist gets repeated opportunities for complete perfection in Krishna consciousness.
By revival of the consciousness of his previous birth, such a yogi automatically becomes attracted to the yoga principles, even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
Such advanced yogis are not much attracted to the rituals of the scriptures, but they automatically become attracted to the yoga principles, which can elevate them to complete Krishna consciousness, the highest yoga perfection. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7), such reluctance toward the Vedic rituals by the advanced transcendentalists is explained as follows:
aho bata sva-paco ‘to gariyan
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
” O my Lord, persons who chant the Holy Names of Your Lorship are far, far advanced in spiritual life, even if born in a family of dog-eaters. Such chanters are supposed to have performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices, to have bathed in all sacred places and must have finished all scriptural studies.”
The vivid example of this was presented by Lord Caitanya, who accepted Thakur Haridas as one of His most important disciples, although Thakur Haridas happened to take his birth in a Muslim family. Thakur Haridas was elevated to the post of Namacharya by Lord Caitanya on account of his rigidly attended principle of chanting three hundred thousand Holy Names of the Lord daily. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. And because he chanted the holy name of the Lord so strictly, it is understood that in his previous life he must have passed through all the ritualistic methods of the Vedas, known as “shabda-brahma.” Unless, therefore, one is purified, one cannot take to the principles of Krishna consciousness, and thus become engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krishna.
When the yogi thus engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.
A person born in a particular righteous, aristocratic or sacred family becomes conscious of the peculiarly favorable condition for executing yoga practice. With determination, therefore, he begins his unfinished task, and thus he becomes further and further cleansed of all material contaminations. When he is finally free from all contamination he attains the supreme perfection–Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is the perfect stage of being freed of all contaminations. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (7.28):
yesam tv anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam
te dvandva-moha-nirmukta bhajante mam drdha-vratah
“After many, many births of executing pious actvities, when one is completely freed from all contaminations, and from all illusory dualities, one then becomes engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.”
A yogi ( or one who is trying to link up with the Supreme) is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, become a yogi.
When we speak of yoga we mean linking up our consciousness with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Such linking up processes are differently named by different practitioners, in terms of the particular process adopted. When the linking up process is predominently in fruitve activities it is called Karma-yoga, When it is predominently in empiricism it is called Jnana-yoga and when it is predominently in direct relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead it is called Bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga or Krishna consciousness is the ultimate perfection of all yogas, as will be explained in the next verse. The Lord has confirmed herein the excellence of yoga over everything, but He has not mentioned that it is better than Bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is full spiritual knowledge and as such nothing can excel it. Ascetism without knowledge of the self is imperfect. Empiric knowledge without any surrender to the Supreme Lord is still imperfect. And to be a fruitive worker, without any Krishna consciousness, is a waste of time. Therefore, the most eulogized form of yoga performance mentioned here is Bhakti-yoga, and this is still more clearly explained in the next verse.
“Of all yoga practitioners, he who always abides by Me within himself with great faith and renders transcendental loving service unto Me, he is the highest of all yogis.”
The word “bhajate” is significant here. “Bhajate” has its root in the verb “bhaj”, which is used when there is need of service. The English word “worship” cannot be used in the same sense as “bhaja”. Worship means to adore, or to show respect and honor to the worthy one. But service with love and faith is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can avoid worshipping a respectable man or a demigod, annd may be called discourteous, but one cannot avoid serving the Supreme Lord without being thoroughly condemned. Every living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such every living entity is meant to serve the Supreme Lord by its own constitution. Failing to do this he falls down. The Bhagavatam (11.5.3) confirms this as folows:
ya esam purusam saksad atma-prabhavam isvaram
na bhajanty avajananti sthanad bhrastah patanty adhah
“Anyone who does not render service, and neglects his duty unto the Primeval Lord, Who is the source of all living entities, will certainly fall down from his constitutional position.”
In this verse also the word “bhajanti” is used. Therefore the word “bhajanti” is applicable to the Supreme Lord only, and nobody else. The word worship can be applied to demigods, or to any other common living entity. The word “avajananti” used in this verse of Srimad Bhagavatam is also found in the Bhagavad-gita: “avajananti mam mudhah”, “only the fools and rascals deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna.” Such fools take it upon themselves to write commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita without any attitude of service to the Lord. As such, they cannot properly distinguish between the word “bhajanti” and the word “worship.”
So the culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in Bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of Bhakti in Bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means Bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are progression toward the destination of Bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of Karma-yoga to the end of Bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without any fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When such Karma-yoga becomes increased with knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called Jnana-yoga. When such Jnana-yoga is increased with thinking of the Supersoul by different physical processes, concentrating the mind on Him, it is called astanga-yoga. And when one surpasses the Astanga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, it is called Bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, Bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyse Bhakti-yoga minutely, one has to understand these other minor yogas. The yogi who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: Karma-yogi, Jnana-yogi, or Dhyana-yogi, Raja-yogi, Hatha-yogi. But if one is fortunate enough to come to the point of Bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all the different yogas. Therefore, to become Krishna conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as when we speak of Himalayan, we mean the various types of peaks in the range and the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.
If by great fortune one comes to Krishna consciousness on the path of Bhakti-yoga, and is well situated according to the Vedic direction, and concentrates his attention on Krishna, Who is called Syamasundara, beautifully colored as a cloud, His lotuslike face as effulgent as the sun and His brilliant dress, with earings and flower garlanded, illuminating all sides by His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti, incarnating in different forms such as Rama, Narasimha, Varaha and Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, descending like a human being as the son of mother Yasoda and known as Krishna, Govinda and Vasudeva, the perfect child, husband, friend, master, full with all opulences and transcendental qualities, if one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogi.
This stage of highest perfection in yoga can be attained only by Bhakti-yoga, as is confirmed in all Vedic literature:
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23)
Bhaktir asya bhajanam tad ihamutropadhi-nairasyenamusmin manah-kalpanam, etad eva naiskarmyam. “Bhakti means devotional service to the Lord which is free from desire for material profit, either in this life or in the next. Devoid of such inclinations, one should fully absorb the mind in the Supreme. That is the purpose of naiskarmya.” ( Goplala-tapani Upanishad 1.15)
These are some of the means for performance of Bhakti, or Krishna consciousness, the highest perfectional stage of the yoga system.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta Purports for the Sixth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of Astanga-yoga.