jyāyasī cet karmaṇas te
matā buddhir janārdana
tat kiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ
arjunaḥ—Arjuna; uvāca—said; jyāyasī—speaking very highly; cet—although; karmaṇaḥ—than fruitive action; te—your; matā—opinion; buddhiḥ—intelligence; janārdana—O Kṛṣṇa; tat—therefore; kim—why; karmaṇi—in action; ghore—ghastly; mām—me; niyojayasi—engaging me; keśava—O Kṛṣṇa.
Arjuna said: O Janārdana, O Keśava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa has very elaborately described the constitution of the soul in the previous chapter, with a view to deliver His intimate friend Arjuna from the ocean of material grief. And the path of realization has been recommended: buddhi-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious by chanting the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. But without being trained in the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in a secluded place where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna also thought of Kṛṣṇa consciousness or buddhi-yoga, or intelligence in spiritual advancement of knowledge, as something like retirement from active life and the practice of penance and austerity at a secluded place. In other words, he wanted to skillfully avoid the fighting by using Kṛṣṇa consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his master and questioned Kṛṣṇa as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborately explained karma-yoga, or work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in this Third Chapter.
buddhiṁ mohayasīva me
tad ekaṁ vada niścitya
yena śreyo 'ham āpnuyām
vyāmiśreṇa—by equivocal; iva—as; vākyena—words; buddhim—intelligence; mohayasi—bewildering; iva—as; me—my; tat—therefore; ekam—only one; vada—please tell; niścitya—ascertaining; yena—by which; śreyaḥ—real benefit; aham—I; āpnuyām—may have it.
My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most beneficial for me.
In the previous chapter, as a prelude to the Bhagavad-gītā, many different paths were explained, such as sāṅkhya-yoga, buddhi-yoga, control of the senses by intelligence, work without fruitive desire, and the position of the neophyte. This was all presented unsystematically. A more organized outline of the path would be necessary for action and understanding. Arjuna, therefore, wanted to clear up these apparently confusing matters so that any common man could accept them without misinterpretation. Although Kṛṣṇa had no intention of confusing Arjuna by any jugglery of words, Arjuna could not follow the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness—either by inertia or active service. In other words, by his questions he is clearing the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness for all students who seriously want to understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gītā.
loke 'smin dvi-vidhā niṣṭhā
purā proktā mayānagha
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; loke—in the world; asmin—this; dvi-vidhā—two kinds of; niṣṭhā—faith; purā—formerly; proktā—was said; mayā—by Me; anagha—O sinless one; jñāna-yogena—by the linking process of knowledge; sāṅkhyānām—of the empiric philosophers; karma-yogena—by the linking process of devotion; yoginām—of the devotees.
The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who realize the Self. Some are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional work.
In the Second Chapter, verse 39, the Lord explained two kinds of procedures—namely sāṅkhya-yoga and karma-yoga, or buddhi-yoga. In this verse, the Lord explains the same more clearly. Sāṅkhya-yoga, or the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter, is the subject matter for persons who are inclined to speculate and understand things by experimental knowledge and philosophy. The other class of men work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as it is explained in the 61st verse of the Second Chapter. The Lord has explained, also in the 39th verse, that by working by the principles of buddhi-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can be relieved from the bonds of action; and, furthermore, there is no flaw in the process. The same principle is more clearly explained in the 61st verse—that this buddhi-yoga is to depend entirely on the Supreme (or more specifically, on Kṛṣṇa), and in this way all the senses can be brought under control very easily. Therefore, both the yogas are interdependant, as religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Kṛṣṇa, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. The whole process is to understand the real position of the self in relation to the Superself. The indirect process is philosophical speculation, by which, gradually, one may come to the point of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and the other process is directly connecting with everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Of these two, the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is better because it does not depend on purifying the senses by a philosophical process. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is itself the purifying process, and by the direct method of devotional service it is simultaneously easy and sublime.
na karmaṇām anārambhān
naiṣkarmyaṁ puruṣo 'śnute
na ca sannyasanād eva
na—without; karmaṇām—of the prescribed duties; anārambhāt—non-performance; naiṣkarmyam—freedom from reaction; puruṣah—man; aśnute—achieve; na—nor; ca—also; sannyasanāt—by renunciation; eva—simply; siddhim—success; samadhigacchati—attain.
Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.
The renounced order of life can be accepted upon being purified by the discharge of the prescribed form of duties which are laid down just to purify the heart of materialistic men. Without purification, one cannot attain success by abruptly adopting the fourth order of life (sannyāsa). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by adopting sannyāsa, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once becomes as good as Nārāyaṇa. But Lord Kṛṣṇa does not approve this principle. Without purification of heart, sannyāsa is simply a disturbance to the social order. On the other hand, if someone takes to the transcendental service of the Lord, even without discharging his prescribed duties, whatever he may be able to advance in the cause is accepted by the Lord (buddhi-yoga). Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt. Even a slight performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.
na hi kaścit kṣaṇam api
jātu tiṣṭhaty akarma-kṛt
kāryate hy avaśaḥ karma
sarvaḥ prakṛti-jair guṇaiḥ
na—nor; hi—certainly; kaścit—anyone; kṣaṇam—even a moment; api—also; jātu—even; tiṣṭhati—stands; akarma-kṛt—without doing something; kāryate—is forced to do; hi—certainly; avaśaḥ—helplessly; karma—work; sarvaḥ—everything; prakṛti-jaiḥ—out of the modes of material nature; guṇaiḥ—by the qualities.
All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.
It is not a question of embodied life, but it is the nature of the soul to be always active. Without the presence of the spirit soul, the material body cannot move. The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, which is always active and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy. In contact with material energy, the spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such affinities it is necessary to engage in the prescribed duties enjoined in the śāstras. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam affirms this:
tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ.
"If someone takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, even though he may not follow the prescribed duties in the śāstras nor execute the devotional service properly, and even though he may fall down from the standard, there is no loss or evil for him. But if he carries out all the injunctions for purification in the śāstras, what does it avail him if he is not Kṛṣṇa conscious?" (Bhāg. 1.5.17) So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, sannyāsa, or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.
ya āste manasā smaran
mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate
karma-indriyāṇi—the five working sense organs; saṁyamya—controlling; yaḥ—anyone who; āste—remains; manasā—by mind; smaran—thinking; indriya-arthān—sense objects; vimūḍha—foolish; ātmā—soul; mithyā-ācāraḥ—pretender; saḥ—he; ucyate—is called.
One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.
There are many pretenders who refuse to work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness but make a show of meditation, while actually dwelling within the mind upon sense enjoyment. Such pretenders may also speak on dry philosophy in order to bluff sophisticated followers, but according to this verse these are the greatest cheaters. For sense enjoyment one can act in any capacity of the social order, but if one follows the rules and regulations of his particular status, he can make gradual progress in purifying his existence. But he who makes a show of being a yogī, while actually searching for the objects of sense gratification, must be called the greatest cheater, even though he sometimes speaks of philosophy. His knowledge has no value because the effects of such a sinful man's knowledge are taken away by the illusory energy of the Lord. Such a pretender's mind is always impure, and therefore his show of yogic meditation has no value whatsoever.
yas tv indriyāṇi manasā
asaktaḥ sa viśiṣyate
yaḥ—one who; tu—but; indriyāṇi—senses; manasā—by the mind; niyamya—regulating; ārabhate—begins; arjuna—O Arjuna; karma-indriyaiḥ—by the active sense organs; karma-yogam—devotion; asaktaḥ—without attachment; saḥ—he; viśiṣyate—by far the better.
On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.
Instead of becoming a pseudo-transcendentalist for the sake of wanton living and sense enjoyment, it is far better to remain in one's own business and execute the purpose of life, which is to get free from material bondage and enter into the kingdom of God. The prime svārtha-gati, or goal of self-interest, is to reach Viṣṇu. The whole institution of varṇa and āśrama is designed to help us reach this goal of life. A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. For self-realization, one can live a controlled life, as prescribed in the śāstras, and continue carrying out his business without attachment, and in that way make progress. Such a sincere person who follows this method is far better situated than the false pretender who adopts show-bottle spiritualism to cheat the innocent public. A sincere sweeper in the street is far better than the charlatan meditator who meditates only for the sake of making a living.
niyataṁ kuru karma tvaṁ
karma jyāyo hy akarmaṇaḥ
śarīra-yātrāpi ca te
na prasiddhyed akarmaṇaḥ
niyatam—prescribed; kuru—do; karma—duties; tvam—you; karma—work; jyāyaḥ—better; hi—than; akarmaṇaḥ—without work; śarīra—bodily; yātrā—maintenance; api—even; ca—also; te—your; na—never; prasiddhyet—effected; akarmaṇaḥ—without work.
Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.
There are many pseudo-meditators who misrepresent themselves as belonging to high parentage, and great professional men who falsely pose that they have sacrificed everything for the sake of advancement in spiritual life. Lord Kṛṣṇa did not want Arjuna to become a pretender, but that he perform his prescribed duties as set forth for kṣatriyas. Arjuna was a householder and a military general, and therefore it was better for him to remain as such and perform his religious duties as prescribed for the householder kṣatriya. Such activities gradually cleanse the heart of a mundane man and free him from material contamination. So-called renunciation for the purpose of maintenance is never approved by the Lord, nor by any religious scripture. After all, one has to maintain one's body and soul together by some work. Work should not be given up capriciously, without purification of materialistic propensities. Anyone who is in the material world is certainly possessed of the impure propensity for lording it over material nature, or, in other words, for sense gratification. Such polluted propensities have to be cleared. Without doing so, through prescribed duties, one should never attempt to become a so-called transcendentalist, renouncing work and living at the cost of others.
yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra
loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya
yajña-arthāt—only for the sake of Yajña, or Viṣṇu; karmaṇaḥ—work done; anyatra—otherwise; lokaḥ—this world; ayam—this; karma-bandhanaḥ—bondage by work; tat—Him; artham—for the sake of; karma—work; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; mukta-saṅgaḥ—liberated from association; samācara—do it perfectly.
Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.
Since one has to work even for the simple maintenance of the body, the prescribed duties for a particular social position and quality are so made that that purpose can be fulfilled. Yajña means Lord Viṣṇu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Viṣṇu. The Vedas enjoin: yajño vai viṣṇuḥ. In other words, the same purpose is served whether one performs prescribed yajñas or directly serves Lord Viṣṇu. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is therefore performance of yajña as it is prescribed in this verse. The varṇāśrama institution also aims at this for satisfying Lord Viṣṇu. "Varṇāśramācāra-vatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān/viṣṇur ārādhyate..." (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 3.8.8) Therefore one has to work for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu. Any other work done in this material world will be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer. Therefore, one has to work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness to satisfy Kṛṣṇa (or Viṣṇu); and while performing such activities one is in a liberated stage. This is the great art of doing work, and in the beginning this process requires very expert guidance. One should therefore act very diligently, under the expert guidance of a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, or under the direct instruction of Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself (under whom Arjuna had the opportunity to work). Nothing should be performed for sense gratification, but everything should be done for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. This practice will not only save one from the reaction of work, but will also gradually elevate one to transcendental loving service of the Lord, which alone can raise one to the kingdom of God.
saha-yajñāḥ prajāḥ sṛṣṭvā
eṣa vo 'stv iṣṭa-kāma-dhuk
saha—along with; yajñāḥ—sacrifices; prajāḥ—generations; sṛṣṭvā—by creating; purā—anciently; uvāca—said; prajā-patiḥ—the Lord of creatures; anena—by this; prasaviṣyadhvam—be more and more prosperous; eṣaḥ—certainly; vaḥ—your; astu—let it be; iṣṭa—all desirable; kāma-dhuk—bestower.
In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Viṣṇu, and blessed them by saying, "Be thou happy by this yajña [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things."
The material creation by the Lord of creatures (Viṣṇu) is a chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back home—back to Godhead. All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us understand this eternal relation as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ. The Lord says that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said: patiṁ viśvasyātmeśvaram. Therefore, the Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes the Lord as pati in so many ways:
śriyaḥ-patir yajña-patiḥ prajā-patir
dhiyāṁ patir loka-patir dharā-patiḥ
patir gatiś cāndhaka-vṛṣṇi-sātvatāṁ
prasīdatāṁ me bhagavān satāṁ patiḥ
The prajā-pati is Lord Viṣṇu, and He is the Lord of all living creatures, all worlds, and all beauties, and the protector of everyone. The Lord created this material world for the conditioned souls to learn how to perform yajñas (sacrifice) for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu, so that while in the material world they can live very comfortably without anxiety. Then after finishing the present material body, they can enter into the kingdom of God. That is the whole program for the conditioned soul. By performance of yajña, the conditioned souls gradually become Kṛṣṇa conscious and become godly in all respects. In this age of Kali, the saṅkīrtana-yajña (the chanting of the names of God) is recommended by the Vedic scriptures, and this transcendental system was introduced by Lord Caitanya for the deliverance of all men in this age. Saṅkīrtana-yajña and Kṛṣṇa consciousness go well together. Lord Kṛṣṇa in His devotional form (as Lord Caitanya) is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as follows, with special reference to the saṅkīrtana-yajña:
"In this age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña." (Bhāg. 11.5.29) Other yajñas prescribed in the Vedic literatures are not easy to perform in this age of Kali, but the saṅkīrtana-yajña is easy and sublime for all purposes.
te devā bhāvayantu vaḥ
śreyaḥ param avāpsyatha
devān—demigods; bhāvayata—having been pleased; anena—by this sacrifice; te—those; devāḥ—the demigods; bhāvayantu—will please; vaḥ—you; parasparam—mutual; bhāvayantaḥ—pleasing one another; sreyaḥ—benediction; param—the supreme; avāpsyatha—do you achieve.
The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.
The demigods are empowered administrators of material affairs. The supply of air, light, water and all other benedictions for maintaining the body and soul of every living entity are entrusted to the demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependant on the performance of yajñas by the human being. Some of the yajñas are meant to satisfy particular demigods; but even in so doing, Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped in all yajñas as the chief beneficiary. It is stated also in the Bhagavad-gītā that Kṛṣṇa Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajñas: bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasām. Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the yajñapati is the chief purpose of all yajñas. When these yajñas are perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the supply of natural products.
Performance of yajñas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation from the material bondage. By performance of yajñas, all activities become purified, as it is stated in the Vedas:
As it will be explained in the following verse, by performance of yajña, one's eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs, one's very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence, finer tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is sanctified, one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.
iṣṭān bhogān hi vo devā
tair dattān apradāyaibhyo
yo bhuṅkte stena eva saḥ
iṣṭān—desired; bhogān—necessities of life; hi—certainly; vaḥ—unto you; devāḥ—the demigods; dāsyante—award; yajña-bhāvitāḥ—being satisfied by the performance of sacrifices; taiḥ—by them; dattān—things given; apradāya—without offering; ebhyaḥ—to the demigods; yaḥ—he who; bhuṅkte—enjoys; stenaḥ—thief; eva—certainly; saḥ—is he.
In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajña [sacrifice], supply all necessities to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering them to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.
The demigods are authorized supplying agents on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. Therefore, they must be satisfied by the performance of prescribed yajñas. In the Vedas, there are different kinds of yajñas prescribed for different kinds of demigods, but all are ultimately offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For one who cannot understand what the Personality of Godhead is, sacrifice to the demigods is recommended. According to the different material qualities of the persons concerned, different types of yajñas are recommended in the Vedas. Worship of different demigods is also on the same basis—namely, according to different qualities. For example, the meat-eaters are recommended to worship the goddess Kālī, the ghastly form of material nature, and before the goddess the sacrifice of animals is recommended. But for those who are in the mode of goodness, the transcendental worship of Viṣṇu is recommended. But ultimately, all yajñas are meant for gradual promotion to the transcendental position. For ordinary men, at least five yajñas, known as pañca-mahāyajña, are necessary.
One should know, however, that all the necessities of life that the human society requires are supplied by the demigod agents of the Lord. No one can manufacture anything. Take, for example, all the eatables of human society. These eatables include grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, etc., for the persons in the mode of goodness, and also eatables for the nonvegetarians, like meats, etc., none of which can be manufactured by men. Then again, take for example heat, light, water, air, etc., which are also necessities of life—none of them can be manufactured by the human society. Without the Supreme Lord, there can be no profuse sunlight, moonlight, rainfall, breeze, etc., without which no one can live. Obviously, our life is dependant on supplies from the Lord. Even for our manufacturing enterprises, we require so many raw materials like metal, sulphur, mercury, manganese, and so many essentials—all of which are supplied by the agents of the Lord, with the purpose that we should make proper use of them to keep ourselves fit and healthy for the purpose of self-realization, leading to the ultimate goal of life, namely, liberation from the material struggle for existence. This aim of life is attained by performance of yajñas. If we forget the purpose of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord for sense gratification and become more and more entangled in material existence, which is not the purpose of creation, certainly we become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of material nature. A society of thieves can never be happy because they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no ultimate goal of life. They are simply directed to sense gratification; nor do they have knowledge of how to perform yajñas. Lord Caitanya, however, inaugurated the easiest performance of yajña, namely the saṅkīrtana-yajña, which can be performed by anyone in the world who accepts the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā
ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt
yajña-śiṣṭa—food taken after performance of yajña; aśinaḥ—eaters; santaḥ—the devotees; mucyante—get relief from; sarva—all kinds of; kilbiṣaiḥ—sins; bhuñjate—enjoy; te—they; tu—but; agham—grievous sins; pāpāḥ—sinners; ye—those; pacanti—prepare food; ātma-kāraṇāt—for sense enjoyment.
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.
The devotees of the Supreme Lord, or the persons who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are called santas, and they are always in love with the Lord as it is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā: premāñjana- cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti. The santas, being always in a compact of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda (the giver of all pleasures), or Mukunda (the giver of liberation), or Kṛṣṇa (the all-attractive person), cannot accept anything without first offering it to the Supreme Person. Therefore, such devotees always perform yajñas in different modes of devotional service, such as śravaṇam, kīrtanam, smaraṇam, arcanam, etc., and these performances of yajñas keep them always aloof from all kinds of contamination of sinful association in the material world. Others, who prepare food for self or sense gratification, are not only thieves, but are also the eaters of all kinds of sins. How can a person be happy if he is both a thief and sinful? It is not possible. Therefore, in order for people to become happy in all respects, they must be taught to perform the easy process of saṅkīrtana-yajña, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise, there can be no peace or happiness in the world.
annād bhavanti bhūtāni
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
annāt—from grains; bhavanti—grow; bhūtāni—the material bodies; parjanyāt—from rains; anna—food grains; sambhavaḥ—are made possible; yajñāt—from the performance of sacrifice; bhavati—becomes possible; parjanyaḥ—rains; yajñaḥ—performance of yajña; karma—prescribed duties; samudbhavaḥ—born of.
All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajña [sacrifice], and yajña is born of prescribed duties.
Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a great commentator on the Bhagavad-gītā, writes as follows: ye indrādy-aṅga-tayāvasthitaṁ yajñaṁ sarveśvaraṁ viṣṇum abhyarccya taccheṣam aśnanti tena taddeha-yāntrāṁ sampādayanti te santaḥ sarveśvarasya bhaktāḥ sarva-kilviṣair anādi-kāla-vivṛddhair ātmānubhava- pratibandhakair nikhilaiḥ pāpair vimucyante. The Supreme Lord, who is known as the yajña-puruṣaḥ, or the personal beneficiary of all sacrifices, is the master of all demigods who serve Him as the different limbs of the body serve the whole. Demigods like Indra, Candra, Varuṇa, etc., are appointed officers who manage material affairs, and the Vedas direct sacrifices to satisfy these demigods so that they may be pleased to supply air, light and water sufficiently to produce food grains. When Lord Kṛṣṇa is worshiped, the demigods, who are different limbs of the Lord, are also automatically worshiped; therefore there is no separate need to worship the demigods. For this reason, the devotees of the Lord, who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, offer food to Kṛṣṇa and then eat—a process which nourishes the body spiritually. By such action not only are past sinful reactions in the body vanquished, but the body becomes immunized to all contamination of material nature. When there is an epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine protects a person from the attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered to Lord Viṣṇu and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material affection, and one who is accustomed to this practice is called a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, who eats only food offered to Kṛṣṇa, can counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material world is full of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasādam of the Lord (food offered to Viṣṇu) is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not do so becomes subjected to contamination.
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity—that is the law of nature. Yajña, specifically the saṅkīrtana-yajña prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.
karma brahmodbhavaṁ viddhi
tasmāt sarva-gataṁ brahma
nityaṁ yajñe pratiṣṭhitam
karma—work; brahma-Vedas; udbhavam—produced from; viddhi—one should know; brahma—the Vedas; akṣara—the Supreme Brahman (Personality of Godhead); samudbhavam—directly manifested; tasmāt—therefore; sarva-gatam—all-pervading; brahma—Transcendence; nityam—eternally; yajñe—in sacrifice; pratiṣṭhitam—situated.
Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.
Yajñārtha karma, or the necessity of work for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the yajña-puruṣa, Viṣṇu, then we must find out the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The Vedas are therefore codes of working directions. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma, or unauthorized or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take direction from the Vedas to be saved from the reaction of work. As one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state, similarly, one has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such directions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said: asya mahato bhūtasya naśvasitam etad yad ṛg-vedo yajur-vedaḥ sāma-vedo 'tharvāṅ girasaḥ. "The four Vedas—namely the Ṛg-veda, Yajur-veda, Sāma-veda and Atharva-veda—are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead." The Lord, being omnipotent, can speak by breathing air, as it is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā, for the Lord has the omnipotence to perform through each of His senses the actions of all other senses. In other words, the Lord can speak through His breathing, and He can impregnate by His eyes. In fact, it is said that He glanced over material nature and thus fathered all living entities. After creating or impregnating the conditioned souls into the womb of material nature, He gave His directions in the Vedic wisdom as to how such conditioned souls can return home, back to Godhead. We should always remember that the conditioned souls in material nature are all eager for material enjoyment. But the Vedic directions are so made that one can satisfy one's perverted desires, then return to Godhead, having finished his so-called enjoyment. It is a chance for the conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore the conditioned souls must try to follow the process of yajña by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious. Even those who cannot follow the Vedic injunctions may adopt the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic yajñas, or karmas.
evaṁ pravartitaṁ cakraṁ
moghaṁ pārtha sa jīvati
evam—thus prescribed; pravartitam—established by the Vedas; cakram—cycle; na—does not; anuvartayati—adopt; iha—in this life; yaḥ—one who; aghāyuḥ—life full of sins; indriya-ārāmaḥ—satisfied in sense gratification; mogham—useless; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā (Arjuna); saḥ—one who does so; jīvati—lives.
My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.
The mammonist philosophy of work very hard and enjoy sense gratification is condemned herein by the Lord. Therefore, for those who want to enjoy this material world, the above-mentioned cycle of performing yajñas is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more and more. By nature's law, this human form of life is specifically meant for self-realization, in either of the three ways—namely karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. There is no necessity of rigidly following the performances of the prescribed yajñas for the transcendentalists who are above vice and virtue; but those who are engaged in sense gratification require purification by the above-mentioned cycle of yajña performances. There are different kinds of activities. Those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious are certainly engaged in sensory consciousness; therefore they need to execute pious work. The yajña system is planned in such a way that sensory conscious persons may satisfy their desires without becoming entangled in the reaction of sense-gratificatory work. The prosperity of the world depends not on our own efforts but on the background arrangement of the Supreme Lord, directly carried out by the demigods. Therefore, the yajñas are directly aimed at the particular demigod mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because when one masters the performance of yajñas, one is sure to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. But if by performing yajñas one does not become Kṛṣṇa conscious, such principles are counted as only moral codes. One should not, therefore, limit his progress only to the point of moral codes, but should transcend them, to attain Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
yas tv ātma-ratir eva syād
ātma-tṛptaś ca mānavaḥ
ātmany eva ca santuṣṭas
tasya kāryaṁ na vidyate
yaḥ—one who; tu—but; ātma-ratiḥ—takes pleasure; eva—certainly; syāt—remains; ātma-tṛptaḥ—self-illuminated; ca—and; mānavaḥ—a man; ātmani—in himself; eva—only; ca—and; santuṣṭaḥ—perfectly satiated; tasya—his; kāryam—duty; na—does not; vidyate—exist.
One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.
A person who is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, and is fully satisfied by his acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform. Due to his being Kṛṣṇa conscious, all impiety within is instantly cleansed, an effect of many, many thousands of yajña performances. By such clearing of consciousness, one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer has any obligations to the Vedic injunctions. Such a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is no longer interested in material activities and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women and similar infatuations.
naiva tasya kṛtenārtho
na cāsya sarva-bhūteṣu
na—never; eva—certainly; tasya—his; kṛtena—by discharge of duty; arthaḥ—purpose; na—nor; akṛtena—without discharge of duty; iha—in this world; kaścana—whatever; na—never; ca—and; asya—of him; sarva-bhūteṣu —in all living beings; kaścit—any; artha—purpose; vyapa-āśrayaḥ—taking shelter of.
A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.
A self-realized man is no longer obliged to perform any prescribed duty, save and except activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not inactivity either, as will be explained in the following verses. A Kṛṣṇa conscious man does not take shelter of any person—man or demigod. Whatever he does in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is sufficient in the discharge of his obligation.
tasmād asaktaḥ satataṁ
kāryaṁ karma samācara
asakto hy ācaran karma
param āpnoti pūruṣaḥ
tasmāt—therefore; asaktaḥ—without attachment; satatam—constantly; kāryam—as duty; karma—work; samācara—perform; asaktaḥ—nonattachment; hi—certainly; ācaran—performing; karma—work; param—the Supreme; āpnoti—achieves; pūruṣaḥ—a man.
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.
The Supreme is the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and liberation for the impersonalist. A person, therefore, acting for Kṛṣṇa, or in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, under proper guidance and without attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Arjuna is told that he should fight in the Battle of Kurukṣetra for the interest of Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a nonviolent man is a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme is to act without attachment for the result. That is perfect action of the highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is transcendental to the reactions of good or evil work. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Kṛṣṇa alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely nonattached.
karmaṇaiva hi saṁsiddhim
sampaśyan kartum arhasi
karmaṇā—by work; eva—even; hi—certainly; saṁsiddhim—perfection; āsthitāḥ—situated; janaka-ādayaḥ—kings like Janaka and others; loka-saṅgraham—educating the people in general; eva—also; api—for the sake of; sampaśyan—by considering; kartum—to act; arhasi—deserve.
Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.
Kings like Janaka and others were all self-realized souls; consequently they had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties in the Vedas. Nonetheless they performed all prescribed activities just to set examples for the people in general. Janaka was the father of Sītā, and father-in-law of Lord Śrī Rāma. Being a great devotee of the Lord, he was transcendentally situated, but because he was the King of Mithila (a subdivision of Behar province in India), he had to teach his subjects how to fight righteously in battle. He and his subjects fought to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the Battle of Kurukṣetra, every effort was made to avoid the war, even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the other party was determined to fight. So for such a right cause, there is a necessity for fighting. Although one who is situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness may not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public how to live and how to act. Experienced persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is explained in the following verse.
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
yat—whatever; yat—and whichever; ācarati—does he act; śreṣṭhaḥ—respectable leader; tat—that; tat—and that alone; eva—certainly; itaraḥ—common; janaḥ—person; saḥ—he; yat—whichever; pramāṇam—evidence; kurute—does perform; lokaḥ—all the world; tat—that; anuvartate—follow in the footsteps.
Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
People in general always require a leader who can teach the public by practical behavior. A leader cannot teach the public to stop smoking if he himself smokes. Lord Caitanya said that a teacher should behave properly even before he begins teaching. One who teaches in that way is called ācārya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the principles of śāśtra (scripture) to reach the common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-saṁhitā and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leader's teaching should be based on the principles of the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees, and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization. The king or the executive head of a state, the father and the school teacher are all considered to be natural leaders of the innocent people in general. All such natural leaders have a great responsibility to their dependants; therefore they must be conversant with standard books of moral and spiritual codes.
na me pārthāsti kartavyaṁ
triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana
varta eva ca karmaṇi
na—none; me—Mine; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; asti—there is; kartavyam—any prescribed duty; triṣu—in the three; lokeṣu—planetary systems; kiñcana—anything; na—no; anavāptam—in want; avāptavyam—to be gained; varte—engaged; eva—certainly; ca—also; karmaṇi—in one's prescribed duty.
O son of Pṛthā, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures as follows:
tam īśvarāṇāṁ paramaṁ maheśvaraṁ
taṁ devatānāṁ paramaṁ ca daivatam
patiṁ patīnāṁ paramaṁ parastād
vidāma devaṁ bhuvaneśam īḍyam
na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate
na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate
parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svā-bhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca.
"The Supreme Lord is the controller of all other controllers, and He is the greatest of all the diverse planetary leaders. Everyone is under His control. All entities are delegated with particular power only by the Supreme Lord; they are not supreme themselves. He is also worshipable by all demigods and is the supreme director of all directors. Therefore, He is transcendental to all kinds of material leaders and controllers and is worshipable by all. There is no one greater than Him, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.
"He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.7-8)
Since everything is in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead and is existing in full truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Kṛṣṇa is engaged on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra as the leader of the kṣatriyas because the kṣatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of the revealed scriptures, He does not do anything that violates the revealed scriptures.
yadi hy ahaṁ na varteyaṁ
jātu karmaṇy atandritaḥ
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
yadi—if; hi—certainly; aham—I; na—do not; varteyam—thus engage; jātu—ever; karmaṇi—in the performance of prescribed duties; atandritaḥ—with great care; mama—My; vartma—path; anuvartante—would follow; manuṣyāḥ—all men; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; sarvaśaḥ—in all respects.
For, if I did not engage in work, O Pārtha, certainly all men would follow My path.
In order to keep the balance of social tranquility for progress in spiritual life, there are traditional family usages meant for every civilized man. Although such rules and regulations are for the conditioned souls and not Lord Kṛṣṇa, because He descended to establish the principles of religion, He followed the prescribed rules. Otherwise, common men would follow in His footsteps because He is the greatest authority. From the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa was performing all the religious duties at home and out of home, as required of a householder.
utsīdeyur ime lokā
na kuryāṁ karma ced aham
saṅkarasya ca kartā syām
upahanyām imāḥ prajāḥ
utsīdeyuḥ—put into ruin; ime—all these; lokāḥ—worlds; na—do not; kuryām—perform; karma—prescribed duties; cet—if; aham—I; saṅkarasya—of unwanted population; ca—and; kartā—creator; syām—shall be; upahanyām—destroy; imāḥ—all these; prajāḥ—living entities.
If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.
Varṇa-saṅkara is unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and regulations by which the population can automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life. When Lord Kṛṣṇa descends, naturally He deals with such rules and regulations in order to maintain the prestige and necessity of such important performances. The Lord is the father of all living entities, and if the living entities are misguided, indirectly the responsibility goes to the Lord. Therefore, whenever there is general disregard of regulative principles, the Lord Himself descends and corrects the society. We should, however, note carefully that although we have to follow in the footsteps of the Lord, we still have to remember that we cannot imitate Him. Following and imitating are not on the same level. We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhana Hill, as the Lord did in His childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any time. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam affirms:
"One should simply follow the instructions of the Lord and His empowered servants. Their instructions are all good for us, and any intelligent person will perform them as instructed. However, one should guard against trying to imitate their actions. One should not try to drink the ocean of poison in imitation of Lord Śiva." (Bhāg. 10.33.30)
We should always consider the position of the īśvaras, or those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon, as superior. Without such power, one cannot imitate the īśvaras, who are superpowerful. Lord Śiva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean, but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such poison, he will be killed. There are many psuedo-devotees of Lord Śiva who want to indulge in smoking gāñjā (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Śiva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some psuedo-devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa who prefer to imitate the Lord in His rāsa-līlā, or dance of love, forgetting their inability to lift Govardhana Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy their posts without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the power of the Supreme Godhead.
saktāḥ karmaṇy avidvāṁso
yathā kurvanti bhārata
kuryād vidvāṁs tathāsaktaś
saktāḥ—being attached; karmaṇi—prescribed duties; avidvāṁsaḥ—the ignorant; yathā—as much as; kurvanti—do it; bhārata—O descendant of Bharata; kuryāt—must do; vidvān—the learned; tathā—thus; asaktaḥ—without attachment; cikīrṣuḥ—desiring to; loka-saṅgraham—leading the people in general.
As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.
A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and a person not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are differentiated by different desires. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not do anything which is not conducive to development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He may even act exactly like the ignorant person, who is too much attached to material activities, but one is engaged in such activities for the satisfaction of his sense gratification, whereas the other is engaged for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the Kṛṣṇa conscious person is required to show the people how to act and how to engage the results of action for the purpose of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
na buddhi-bhedaṁ janayed
vidvān yuktaḥ samācaran
na—do not; buddhi-bhedam—disrupt the intelligence; janayet—do; ajñānām—of the foolish; karma-saṅginām—attached to fruitive work; joṣayet—dovetailed; sarva—all; karmāṇi—work; vidvān—learned; yuktaḥ—all engaged; samācaran—practicing.
Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.
Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: that is the end of all Vedic rituals. All rituals, all performances of sacrifices, and everything that is put into the Vedas, including all directions for material activities, are meant for understanding Kṛṣṇa, who is the ultimate goal of life. But because the conditioned souls do not know anything beyond sense gratification, they study the Vedas to that end. Through sense regulations, however, one is gradually elevated to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore a realized soul in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should not disturb others in their activities or understanding, but he should act by showing how the results of all work can be dedicated to the service of Kṛṣṇa. The learned Kṛṣṇa conscious person may act in such a way that the ignorant person working for sense gratification may learn how to act and how to behave. Although the ignorant man is not to be disturbed in his activities, still, a slightly developed Kṛṣṇa conscious person may directly be engaged in the service of the Lord without waiting for other Vedic formulas. For this fortunate man there is no need to follow the Vedic rituals, because in direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can have all the results simply by following the prescribed duties of a particular person.
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
prakṛteḥ—of material nature; kriyamāṇāni—all being done; guṇaiḥ—by the modes; karmāṇi—activities; sarvaśaḥ—all kinds of; ahaṅkāra-vimūḍha—bewildered by false ego; ātmā—the spirit soul; kartā—doer; aham—I; iti—thus; manyate—thinks.
The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.
Two persons, one in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and the other in material consciousness, working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature, which works under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Kṛṣṇa. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independantly, and that is the symptom of his nescience. He does not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The ignorant man forgets that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hṛṣīkeśa, or the master of the senses of the material body, for due to his long misuse of the senses in sense gratification, he is factually bewildered by the false ego, which makes him forget his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
tattva-vit tu mahā-bāho
guṇā guṇeṣu vartanta
iti matvā na sajjate
tattvavit—the knower of the Absolute Truth; tu—but; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; guṇa-karma—works under material influence; vibhāgayoḥ—differences; guṇāḥ—senses; guṇeṣu—in sense gratification; vartante—being engaged; iti—thus; matvā—thinking; na—never; sajjate—becomes attached.
One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.
The knower of the Absolute Truth is convinced of his awkward position in material association. He knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and that his position should not be in the material creation. He knows his real identity as part and parcel of the Supreme, who is eternal bliss and knowledge, and he realizes that somehow or other he is entrapped in the material conception of life. In his pure state of existence he is meant to dovetail his activities in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and becomes naturally unattached to the activities of the material senses, which are all circumstantial and temporary. He knows that his material condition of life is under the supreme control of the Lord; consequently he is not disturbed by all kinds of material reactions, which he considers to be the mercy of the Lord. According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one who knows the Absolute Truth in three different features—namely Brahman, Paramātmā, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead—is called tattvavit, for he knows also his own factual position in relationship with the Supreme.
tān akṛtsna-vido mandān
kṛtsna-vin na vicālayet
prakṛteḥ—impelled by the material modes; guṇa-saṁmūḍhāḥ—befooled by material identification; sajjante—become engaged; guṇa-karmasu—in material activities; tān—all those; akṛtsna-vidaḥ—persons with a poor fund of knowledge; mandān—lazy to understand self-realization; kṛtsna-vit—one who is in factual knowledge; na—may not; vicālayet—try to agitate.
Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers' lack of knowledge.
Persons who are unknowledgeable falsely identify with gross material consciousness and are full of material designations. This body is a gift of the material nature, and one who is too much attached to the bodily consciousness is called mandān, or a lazy person without understanding of spirit soul. Ignorant men think of the body as the self; bodily connections with others are accepted as kinsmanship; the land in which the body is obtained is the object of worship; and the formalities of religious rituals are considered ends in themselves. Social work, nationalism, and altruism are some of the activities for such materially designated persons. Under the spell of such designations, they are always busy in the material field; for them spiritual realization is a myth, and so they are not interested. Such bewildered persons may even be engaged in such primary moral principles of life as nonviolence and similar materially benevolent work. Those who are, however, enlightened in spiritual life, should not try to agitate such materially engrossed persons. Better to prosecute one's own spiritual activities silently.
Men who are ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.
mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi
nirāśīr nirmamo bhūtvā
mayi—unto Me; sarvāṇi—all sorts of; karmāṇi—activities; sannyasya—giving up completely; adhyātma—with full knowledge of the self; cetasā—consciousness; nirāśīḥ—without desire for profit; nirmamaḥ—without ownership; bhūtvā—so being; yudhyasva—fight; vigata-jvaraḥ—without being lethargic.
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight.
This verse clearly indicates the purpose of the Bhagavad-gītā. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult; nevertheless duties must be carried out, with dependence on Kṛṣṇa, because that is the constitutional position of the living entity. The living entity cannot be happy independant of the cooperation of the Supreme Lord because the eternal constitutional position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord. Arjuna was, therefore, ordered by Śrī Kṛṣṇa to fight as if the Lord were his military commander. One has to sacrifice everything for the good will of the Supreme Lord, and at the same time discharge prescribed duties without claiming proprietorship. Arjuna did not have to consider the order of the Lord; he had only to execute His order. The Supreme Lord is the Soul of all souls; therefore, one who depends solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words, one who is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, is called adhyātma-cetasā. Nirāśīḥ means that one has to act on the order of the master. Nor should one ever expect fruitive results. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent for himself. Similarly, one has to realize that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but that everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. That is the real purport of mayi, or unto Me. And when one acts in such Kṛṣṇa consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything. This consciousness is called nirmama, or nothing is mine. And, if there is any reluctance to execute such a stern order which is without consideration of so-called kinsmen in the bodily relationship, that reluctance should be thrown off; in this way one may become vigata-jvara, or without feverish mentality or lethargy. Everyone, according to his quality and position, has a particular type of work to discharge, and all such duties may be discharged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.
ye me matam idaṁ nityam
mucyante te 'pi karmabhiḥ
ye—those; me—My; matam—injunctions; idam—this; nityam—eternal function; anutiṣṭhanti—execute regularly; mānavāḥ—humankind; śraddhāvantaḥ—with faith and devotion; anasūyantaḥ—without envy; mucyante—become free; te—all of them; api—even; karmabhiḥ—from the bondage of the law of fruitive action.
One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and who follows this teaching faithfully, without envy, becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.
The injunction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom, and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many philosophers who write comments on the Bhagavad-gītā but have no faith in Kṛṣṇa. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
ye tv etad abhyasūyanto
nānutiṣṭhanti me matam
viddhi naṣṭān acetasaḥ
ye—those; tu—however; etat—this; abhyasūyantaḥ—out of envy; na—do not; anutiṣṭhanti—regularly perform; me—My; matam—injunction; sarva-jñāna—all sorts of knowledge; vimūḍhān—perfectly befooled; tān—they are; viddhi—know it well; naṣṭān—all ruined; acetasaḥ—without Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.
The flaw of not being Kṛṣṇa conscious is clearly stated herein. As there is punishment for disobedience to the order of the supreme executive head, so there is certainly punishment for the disobedience of the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A disobedient person, however great he may be, is ignorant of his own self, of the Supreme Brahman, and Paramātmā and the Personality of Godhead, due to a vacant heart. Therefore there is no hope of perfection of life for him.
sadṛśaṁ ceṣṭate svasyāḥ
prakṛter jñānavān api
prakṛtiṁ yānti bhūtāni
nigrahaḥ kiṁ kariṣyati
sadṛśam—accordingly; ceṣṭate—tries; svasyāḥ—in one's own nature; prakṛteḥ—modes; jñānavān—the learned; api—although; prakṛtim—nature; yānti—undergo; bhūtāni—all living entities; nigrahaḥ—suppression; kim—what; kariṣyati—can do.
Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?
Unless one is situated on the transcendental platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he cannot get free from the influence of the modes of material nature, as it is confirmed by the Lord in the Seventh Chapter (7.14). Therefore, even for the most highly educated person on the mundane plane, it is impossible to get out of the entanglement of māyā simply by theoretical knowledge, or by separating the soul from the body. There are many so-called spiritualists who outwardly pose to be advanced in the science, but inwardly or privately are completely under the particular modes of nature which they are unable to surpass. Academically, one may be very learned, but because of his long association with material nature, he is in bondage. Kṛṣṇa consciousness helps one to get out of the material entanglement, even though one may be engaged in his prescribed duties. Therefore, without being fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no one should suddenly give up his prescribed duties and become a so-called yogī or transcendentalist artificially. It is better to be situated in one's position and to try to attain Kṛṣṇa consciousness under superior training. Thus one may be freed from the clutches of māyā.
tayor na vaśam āgacchet
tau hy asya paripanthinau
indriyasya—of the senses; indriyasya arthe—in the sense objects; rāga—attachment; dveṣau—also in detachment; vyavasthitau—put under regulations; tayoḥ—of them; na—never; vaśam—control; āgacchet—one should come; tau—those; hi—certainly are; asya—his; paripanthinau—stumbling blocks.
Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.
Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are naturally reluctant to engage in material sense gratifications. But those who are not in such consciousness should follow the rules and regulations of the revealed scriptures. Unrestricted sense enjoyment is the cause of material encagement, but one who follows the rules and regulations of the revealed scriptures does not become entangled by the sense objects. For example, sex enjoyment is a necessity for the conditioned soul, and sex enjoyment is allowed under the license of marriage ties. For example, according to scriptural injunctions, one is forbidden to engage in sex relationships with any women other than one's wife. All other women are to be considered as one's mother. But, in spite of such injunctions, a man is still inclined to have sex relationships with other women. These propensities are to be curbed; otherwise they will be stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. As long as the material body is there, the necessities of the material body are allowed, but under rules and regulations. And yet, we should not rely upon the control of such allowances. One has to follow those rules and regulations, unattached to them, because practice of sense gratifications under regulations may also lead one to go astray-as much as there is always the chance of an accident, even on the royal roads. Although they may be very carefully maintained, no one can guarantee that there will be no danger even on the safest road. The sense enjoyment spirit has been current a very long, long time, owing to material association. Therefore, in spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there is every chance of falling down; therefore any attachment for regulated sense enjoyment must also be avoided by all means. But action in the loving service of Kṛṣṇa detaches one from all kinds of sensory activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Kṛṣṇa consciousness at any stage of life. The whole purpose of detachment from all kinds of sense attachment is ultimately to become situated on the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ
sva-dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ
śreyān—far better; sva-dharmaḥ—one's prescribed duties; viguṇaḥ—even faulty; para-dharmāt—from duties mentioned for others; svanuṣthitāt—than perfectly done; sva-dharme—in one's prescribed duties; nidhanam—destruction; śreyaḥ—better; para-dharmaḥ—duties prescribed for others; bhaya-āvahaḥ—dangerous.
It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another's duties. Destruction in the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous.
One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Prescribed duties complement one's psychophysical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature. Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master, for the transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. But both materially or spiritually, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate another's prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the performer. When one is under the spell of the modes of material nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for particular situations and should not imitate others. For example, a brāhmaṇa, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a kṣatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a kṣatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brāhmaṇa who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the kṣatriya may act as a brāhmaṇa, or a brāhmaṇa may act as a kṣatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Viśvāmitra was originally a kṣatriya, but later on he acted as a brāhmaṇa, whereas Paraśurāma was a brāhmaṇa, but later on he acted as a kṣatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
atha kena prayukto 'yaṁ
pāpaṁ carati pūruṣaḥ
anicchann api vārṣṇeya
balād iva niyojitaḥ
arjunaḥ uvāca—Arjuna said; atha—hereafter; kena—by what; prayuktaḥ—impelled; ayam—one; pāpam—sins; carati—acts; pūruṣaḥ—a man; anicchan—without desiring; api—although; vārṣṇeya—O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; balāt—by force; iva—as if; niyojitaḥ—engaged.
Arjuna said: O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?
A living entity, as part and parcel of the Supreme, is originally spiritual, pure, and free from all material contaminations. Therefore, by nature he is not subjected to the sins of the material world. But when he is in contact with the material nature, he acts in many sinful ways without hesitation, and sometimes even against his will. As such, Arjuna's question to Kṛṣṇa is very sanguine, as to the perverted nature of the living entities. Although the living entity sometimes does not want to act in sin, he is still forced to act. Sinful actions are not, however, impelled by the Supersoul within, but are due to another cause, as the Lord explains in the next verse.
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Personality of Godhead said; kāmaḥ—lust; eṣaḥ—all these; krodhaḥ—wrath; eṣaḥ—all these; rajo-guṇa—the mode of passion; samudbhavaḥ—born of; mahā-śanaḥ—all-devouring; mahā-pāpmā—greatly sinful; viddhi—know; enam—this; iha—in the material world; vairiṇam—greatest enemy.
The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.
When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Kṛṣṇa is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yogurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied, it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in the material world. Wrath is the manifestation of the mode of ignorance; these modes exhibit themselves as wrath and other corollaries. If, therefore, the modes of passion, instead of being degraded into the modes of ignorance, are elevated to the modes of goodness by the prescribed method of living and acting, then one can be saved from the degradation of wrath by spiritual attachment.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead expanded Himself into many for His ever-increasing spiritual bliss, and the living entities are parts and parcels of this spiritual bliss. They also have partial independence, but by misuse of their independence, when the service attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment, they come under the sway of lust. This material creation is created by the Lord to give a facility to the conditioned souls to fulfill these lustful propensities, and when they are completely baffled by prolonged lustful activities, the living entities begin to inquire about their real position.
This inquiry is the beginning of the Vedānta-sūtras, wherein it is said, athāto brahma-jijñāsā: one should inquire into the Supreme. And the Supreme is defined in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as janmādyasya yato 'nvayād itarataś ca, or, "The origin of everything is the Supreme Brahman." Therefore, the origin of lust is also in the Supreme. If, therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or transformed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness—or, in other words, desiring everything for Kṛṣṇa—then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized. Hanumān, the great servitor of Lord Rama, engaged his wrath upon his enemies for the satisfaction of the Lord. Therefore, lust and wrath, when they are employed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, become our friends instead of our enemies.
yathādarśo malena ca
tathā tenedam āvṛtam
dhūmena—by smoke; āvriyate—covered; vahniḥ—fire; yathā—just as; ādarśaḥ—mirror; malena—by dust; ca—also; yathā—just as; ulbena—by the womb; āvṛtaḥ—is covered; garbhaḥ—embryo; tathā-so; tena—by that lust; idam—this; āvṛtam—is covered.
As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.
There are three degrees of covering of the living entity by which his pure consciousness is obscured. This covering is but lust under different manifestations like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror, and the womb about the embryo. When lust is compared to smoke, it is understood that the fire of the living spark can be a little perceived. In other words, when the living entity exhibits his Kṛṣṇa consciousness slightly, he may be likened to the fire covered by smoke. Although fire is necessary where there is smoke, there is no overt manifestation of fire in the early stage. This stage is like the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The dust on the mirror refers to a cleansing process of the mirror of the mind by so many spiritual methods. The best process is to chant the holy names of the Lord. The embryo covered by the womb is an analogy illustrating a helpless position, for the child in the womb is so helpless that he cannot even move. This stage of living condition can be compared to that of the trees. The trees are also living entities, but they have been put in such a condition of life by such a great exhibition of lust that they are almost void of all consciousness. The covered mirror is compared to the birds and beasts, and the smoke covered fire is compared to the human being. In the form of a human being, the living entity may revive a little Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and, if he makes further development, the fire of spiritual life can be kindled in the human form of life. By careful handling of the smoke in the fire, the fire can be made to blaze. Therefore the human form of life is a chance for the living entity to escape the entanglement of material existence. In the human form of life, one can conquer the enemy, lust, by cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness under able guidance.
āvṛtaṁ jñānam etena
āvṛtam—covered; jñānam—pure consciousness; etena—by this; jñāninaḥ—of the knower; nitya-vairiṇā—eternal enemy; kāma-rūpeṇa—in the form of lust; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; duṣpūreṇa—never to be satisfied; analena—by the fire; ca—also.
Thus, a man's pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.
It is said in the Manu-smṛti that lust cannot be satisfied by any amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire is never extinguished by a constant supply of fuel. In the material world, the center of all activities is sex, and thus this material world is called maithuṇya-āgāra, or the shackles of sex life. In the ordinary prison house, criminals are kept within bars; similarly, the criminals who are disobedient to the laws of the Lord are shackled by sex life. Advancement of material civilization on the basis of sense gratification means increasing the duration of the material existence of a living entity. Therefore, this lust is the symbol of ignorance by which the living entity is kept within the material world. While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoyer.
indriyāṇi mano buddhir
etair vimohayaty eṣa
jñānam āvṛtya dehinam
indriyāṇi—the senses; manaḥ—the mind; buddhiḥ—the intelligence; asya—of the lust; adhiṣṭhānam—sitting place; ucyate—called; etaiḥ—by all these; vimohayati—bewilders; eṣaḥ—of this; jñānam—knowledge; āvṛtya—covering; dehinam—the embodied.
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
The enemy has captured different strategic positions in the body of the conditioned soul, and therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is giving hints of those places, so that one who wants to conquer the enemy may know where he can be found. Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus the mind is the reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a result, the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust. Next, the intelligence department becomes the capital of such lustful propensities. Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness. This false identification of the spirit soul is very nicely explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇāpe tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma idyadhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salite na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva gokharaḥ.
"A human being who identifies this body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of birth as worshipable, and who goes to the place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered as an ass or a cow."
tasmāt tvam indriyāṇy ādau
pāpmānaṁ prajahi hy enaṁ
tasmāt—therefore; tvam-you; indriyāṇi—senses; ādau—in the beginning; niyamya—by regulating; bharatarṣabha—O chief amongst the descendants of Bharata; pāpmānam—the great symbol of sin; prajahi—curb; hi—certainly; enam—this; jñāna—knowledge; vijñāna—scientific knowledge of the pure soul; nāśanam—destroyer.
Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhāratas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.
The Lord advised Arjuna to regulate the senses from the very beginning so that he could curb the greatest sinful enemy, lust, which destroys the urge for self-realization, and specifically, knowledge of the self. Jñānam refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or, in other words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vijñānam refers to specific knowledge of the spirit soul and knowledge of one's constitutional position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is explained thus in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: jñānaṁ parama-guhyaṁ me yad-vijñāna-samanvitam / sarahasyaṁ tad-aṅgaṁ ca gṛhāna gaditaṁ mayā: "The knowledge of the self and the Supreme Self is very confidential and mysterious, being veiled by māyā, but such knowledge and specific realization can be understood if it is explained by the Lord Himself." Bhagavad-gītā gives us that knowledge, specifically knowledge of the self. The living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord, and therefore they are simply meant to serve the Lord. This consciousness is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thereby one may become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious and act accordingly.
Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is natural for every living entity. But if one is educated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness from the very beginning, that natural love of God cannot deteriorate into lust. When love of God deteriorates into lust, it is very difficult to return to the normal condition. Nonetheless, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so powerful that even a late beginner can become a lover of God by following the regulative principles of devotional service. So, from any stage of life, or from the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the lust into love of Godhead—the highest perfectional stage of human life.
indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
indriyāṇī—senses; parāṇi—superior; āhuḥ—is said; indriyebhyaḥ—more than the senses; param—superior; manaḥ—the mind; manasaḥ—more than the mind; tu—also; parā—superior; buddhiḥ—intelligence; yaḥ—one which; buddheḥ—more than the intelligence; parataḥ—superior; tu—but; saḥ—he.
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
The senses are different outlets for the activities of lust. Lust is reserved within the body, but it is given vent through the senses. Therefore, the senses are superior to the body as a whole. These outlets are not in use when there is superior consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness the soul makes direct connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the bodily functions, as described here, ultimately end in the Supreme Soul. Bodily action means the functions of the senses, and stopping the senses means stopping all bodily actions. But since the mind is active, then, even though the body may be silent and at rest, the mind will act—as it does during dreaming. But, above the mind there is the determination of the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the soul proper. If, therefore, the soul is directly engaged with the Supreme, naturally all other subordinates, namely, the intelligence, mind and the senses, will be automatically engaged. In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad there is a passage in which it is said that the objects of sense gratification are superior to the senses, and mind is superior to the sense objects. If, therefore, the mind is directly engaged in the service of the Lord constantly, then there is no chance of the senses becoming engaged in other ways. This mental attitude has already been explained. If the mind is engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is no chance of its being engaged in the lower propensities. In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad the soul has been described as mahān, the great. Therefore the soul is above all—namely, the sense objects, the senses, the mind and the intelligence. Therefore, directly understanding the constitutional position of the soul is the solution of the whole problem.
With intelligence one has to seek out the constitutional position of the soul and then engage the mind always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That solves the whole problem. A neophyte spiritualist is generally advised to keep aloof from the objects of senses. One has to strengthen the mind by use of intelligence. If by intelligence one engages one's mind in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, by complete surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then, automatically, the mind becomes stronger, and even though the senses are very strong, like serpents, they will be no more effective than serpents with broken fangs. But even though the soul is the master of intelligence and mind, and the senses also, still, unless it is strengthened by association with Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind.
evaṁ buddheḥ paraṁ buddhvā
jahi śatruṁ mahā-bāho
evam—thus; buddheḥ—of intelligence; param—superior; buddhvā—so knowing; saṁstabhya—by steadying; ātmānam—the mind; ātmanā—by deliberate intelligence; jahi—conquer; śatrum—the enemy; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; kāma-rūpam—the form of lust; durāsadam—formidable.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus—by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.
This Third Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā is conclusively directive to Kṛṣṇa consciousness by knowing oneself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without considering impersonal voidness as the ultimate end. In the material existence of life, one is certainly influenced by propensities for lust and desire for dominating the resources of material nature. Desire for overlording and sense gratification are the greatest enemies of the conditioned soul; but by the strength of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can control the material senses, the mind and the intelligence. One may not give up work and prescribed duties all of a sudden; but by gradually developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can be situated in a transcendental position without being influenced by the material senses and the mind—by steady intelligence directed toward one's pure identity. This is the sum total of this chapter. In the immature stage of material existence, philosophical speculations and artificial attempts to control the senses by the so-called practice of yogic postures can never help a man toward spiritual life. He must be trained in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by higher intelligence.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Third Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of Karma-yoga, or the Discharge of One's Prescribed Duty in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
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