sannyāsaṁ karmaṇāṁ kṛṣṇa
punar yogaṁ ca śaṁsasi
yac chreya etayor ekaṁ
tan me brūhi su-niścitam
arjunaḥ uvāca—Arjuna said; sannyāsam—renunciation; karmaṇām—of all activities; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; punaḥ—again; yogam—devotional service; ca—also; śaṁsasi—You are praising; yat—which; śreyaḥ—is beneficial; etayoḥ—of these two; ekam—one; tat—that; me—unto me; brūhi—please tell; suniścitam—definitely.
Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?
In this Fifth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord says that work in devotional service is better than dry mental speculation. Devotional service is easier than the latter because, being transcendental in nature, it frees one from reaction. In the Second Chapter, preliminary knowledge of the soul and its entanglement in the material body were explained. How to get out of this material encagement by buddhi-yoga, or devotional service, was also explained therein. In the Third Chapter, it was explained that a person who is situated on the platform of knowledge no longer has any duties to perform. And, in the Fourth Chapter, the Lord told Arjuna that all kinds of sacrificial work culminate in knowledge. However, at the end of the Fourth Chapter, the Lord advised Arjuna to wake up and fight, being situated in perfect knowledge. Therefore, by simultaneously stressing the importance of both work in devotion and inaction in knowledge, Kṛṣṇa has perplexed Arjuna and confused his determination. Arjuna understands that renunciation in knowledge involves cessation of all kinds of work performed as sense activities. But if one performs work in devotional service, then how is work stopped? In other words, he thinks that sannyāsam, or renunciation in knowledge, should be altogether free from all kinds of activity because work and renunciation appear to him to be incompatible. He appears not to have understood that work in full knowledge is nonreactive and is therefore the same as inaction. He inquires, therefore, whether he should cease work altogether, or work with full knowledge.
sannyāsaḥ karma-yogaś ca
tayos tu karma-sannyāsāt
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Personality of Godhead said; sannyāsaḥ—renunciation of work; karma-yogaḥ—work in devotion; ca—also; niḥśreyasa-karau—all leading to the path of liberation; ubhau—both; tayoḥ—of the two; tu—but; karma-sannyāsāt—in comparison to the renunciation of fruitive work; karma-yogaḥ—work in devotion; viśiṣyate—is better.
The Blessed Lord said: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of works.
Fruitive activities (seeking sense gratification) are cause for material bondage. As long as one is engaged in activities aimed at improving the standard of bodily comfort, one is sure to transmigrate to different types of bodies, thereby continuing material bondage perpetually. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam confirms this as follows:
nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma yad indriya-prītaya āpṛṇoti
na sādhu manye yata ātmano 'yam asann api kleśada āsa dehaḥ
parābhavas tāvad abodha-jāto yāvanna jijñāsata ātma-tattvam
yāvat kriyās tāvad idaṁ mano vai karmātmakaṁ yena śarīra-bandhaḥ
evaṁ manaḥ karma-vaśaṁ prayuṅkte avidyayātmany upadhīyamāne
prītir na yāvan mayi vāsudeve na mucyate deha-yogena tāvat
"People are mad after sense gratification, and they do not know that this present body, which is full of miseries, is a result of one's fruitive activities in the past. Although this body is temporary, it is always giving one trouble in many ways. Therefore, to act for sense gratification is not good. One is considered to be a failure in life as long as he makes no inquiry about the nature of work for fruitive results, for as long as one is engrossed in the consciousness of sense gratification, one has to transmigrate from one body to another. Although the mind may be engrossed in fruitive activities and influenced by ignorance, one must develop a love for devotional service to Vāsudeva. Only then can one have the opportunity to get out of the bondage of material existence." (Bhāg. 5.5.4-6)
Therefore, jñāna (or knowledge that one is not this material body but spirit soul) is not sufficient for liberation. One has to act in the status of spirit soul, otherwise there is no escape from material bondage. Action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not, however, action on the fruitive platform. Activities performed in full knowledge strengthen one's advancement in real knowledge. Without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, mere renunciation of fruitive activities does not actually purify the heart of a conditioned soul. As long as the heart is not purified, one has to work on the fruitive platform. But action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness automatically helps one escape the result of fruitive action so that one need not descend to the material platform. Therefore, action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always superior to renunciation, which always entails a risk of falling. Renunciation without Kṛṣṇa consciousness is incomplete, as is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
"Renunciation by persons eager to achieve liberation of things which are related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, though they are material, is called incomplete renunciation." Renunciation is compete when it is in the knowledge that everything in existence belongs to the Lord and that no one should claim proprietorship over anything. One should understand that, factually, nothing belongs to anyone. Then where is the question of renunciation? One who knows that everything is Kṛṣṇa's property is always situated in renunciation. Since everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, everything should be employed in the service of Kṛṣṇa. This perfect form of action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is far better than any amount of artificial renunciation by a sannyāsī of the Māyāvādī school.
jñeyaḥ sa nitya-sannyāsī
yo na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati
nirdvandvo hi mahā-bāho
sukhaṁ bandhāt pramucyate
jñeyaḥ—should be known; saḥ—he; nitya—always; sannyāsī—renouncer; yaḥ—who; na—never; dveṣṭi—abhors; na—nor; kāṅkṣati—desires; nirdvandvaḥ—free from all dualities; hi—certainly; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; sukham—happily; bandhāt—from bondage; pramucyate—completely liberated.
One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.
One who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always a renouncer because he feels neither hatred nor desire for the results of his actions. Such a renouncer, dedicated to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, is fully qualified in knowledge because he knows his constitutional position in his relationship with Kṛṣṇa. He knows fully well that Kṛṣṇa is the whole and that he is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Such knowledge is perfect because it is qualitatively and quantitatively correct. The concept of oneness with Kṛṣṇa is incorrect because the part cannot be equal to the whole. Knowledge that one is one in quality yet different in quantity is correct transcendental knowledge leading one to become full in himself, having nothing to aspire to nor lament over. There is no duality in his mind because whatever he does, he does for Kṛṣṇa. Being thus freed from the platform of dualities, he is liberated—even in this material world.
sāṅkhya-yogau pṛthag bālāḥ
pravadanti na paṇḍitāḥ
ekam apy āsthitaḥ samyag
ubhayor vindate phalam
sāṅkhya—analytical study of the material world; yogau—work in devotional service; pṛthak—different; bālāḥ—less intelligent; pravadanti—do talk; na—never; paṇḍitāḥ—the learned; ekam—in one; api—even though; āsthitaḥ—being situated; samyak—complete; ubhayoḥ—of both; vindate—enjoys; phalam—result.
Only the ignorant speak of karma-yoga and devotional service as being different from the analytical study of the material world [sāṅkhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.
The aim of the analytical study of the material world is to find the soul of existence. The soul of the material world is Viṣṇu, or the Supersoul. Devotional service to the Lord entails service to the Supersoul. One process is to find the root of the tree, and next to water the root. The real student of sāṅkhya philosophy finds the root of the material world, Viṣṇu, and then, in perfect knowledge, engages himself in the service of the Lord. Therefore, in essence, there is no difference between the two because the aim of both is Viṣṇu. Those who do not know the ultimate end say that the purposes of sāṅkhya and karma-yoga are not the same, but one who is learned knows the unifying aim in these different processes.
yat sāṅkhyaiḥ prāpyate sthānaṁ
tad yogair api gamyate
ekaṁ sāṅkhyaṁ ca yogaṁ ca
yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati
yat—what; sāṅkhyaiḥ—by means of sāṅkhya philosophy; prāpyate—is achieved; sthānam—place; tat—that; yogaiḥ—by devotional service; api—also; gamyate—one can attain; ekam—one; sāṅkhyam—analytical study; ca—and; yogam—action in devotion; ca—and; yaḥ—one who; paśyati—sees; saḥ—he; paśyati—actually sees.
One who knows that the position reached by means of renunciation can also be attained by works in devotional service and who therefore sees that the path of works and the path of renunciation are one, sees things as they are.
The real purpose of philosophical research is to find the ultimate goal of life. Since the ultimate goal of life is self-realization, there is no difference between the conclusions reached by the two processes. By sāṅkhya philosophical research one comes to the conclusion that a living entity is not a part and parcel of the material world, but of the supreme spirit whole. Consequently, the spirit soul has nothing to do with the material world; his actions must be in some relation with the Supreme. When he acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is actually in his constitutional position. In the first process of sāṅkhya, one has to become detached from matter, and in the devotional yoga process one has to attach himself to the work of Kṛṣṇa. Factually, both processes are the same, although superficially one process appears to involve detachment and the other process appears to involve attachment. However, detachment from matter and attachment to Kṛṣṇa are one and the same. One who can see this sees things as they are.
sannyāsas tu mahā-bāho
duḥkham āptum ayogataḥ
yoga-yukto munir brahma
sannyāsaḥ—the renounced order of life; tu—but; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; duḥkham—distress; āptum—to be afflicted with; ayogataḥ—without devotional service; yoga-yuktaḥ—one engaged in devotional service; muniḥ—thinker; brahma—Supreme; na—without; cireṇa—delay; adhigacchati—attains.
Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy. The sages, purified by works of devotion, achieve the Supreme without delay.
There are two classes of sannyāsīs, or persons in the renounced order of life. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are engaged in the study of sāṅkhya philosophy, whereas the Vaisnava sannyāsīs are engaged in the study of Bhāgavatam philosophy, which affords the proper commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs also study the Vedānta-sūtras, but use their own commentary, called Śārīraka-bhāṣya, written by Śaṅkarācārya. The students of the Bhāgavata school are engaged in devotional service of the Lord, according to pāñcarātrikī regulations, and therefore the Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs have multiple engagements in the transcendental service of the Lord. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs have nothing to do with material activities, and yet they perform various activities in their devotional service to the Lord. But the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, engaged in the studies of sāṅkhya and Vedānta and speculation, cannot relish transcendental service of the Lord. Because their studies become very tedious, they sometimes become tired of Brahman speculation, and thus they take shelter of the Bhāgavatam without proper understanding. Consequently their study of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam becomes troublesome. Dry speculations and impersonal interpretations by artificial means are all useless for the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, who are engaged in devotional service, are happy in the discharge of their transcendental duties, and they have the guarantee of ultimate entrance into the kingdom of God. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs sometimes fall down from the path of self-realization and again enter into material activities of a philanthropic and altruistic nature, which are nothing but material engagements. Therefore, the conclusion is that those who are engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are better situated than the sannyāsīs engaged in simple Brahman speculation, although they too come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, after many births.
kurvann api na lipyate
yoga-yuktaḥ—engaged in devotional service; viśuddha-ātmā—a purified soul; vijita-ātmā—self-controlled; jita-indriyaḥ—having conquered the senses; sarvabhuta-ātmabhūta-ātmā—compassionate to all living entities; kurvan api—although engaged in work; na—never; lipyate—is entangled.
One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
One who is on the path of liberation by Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very dear to every living being, and every living being is dear to him. This is due to his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a person cannot think of any living being as separate from Kṛṣṇa, just as the leaves and branches of a tree are not separate from the tree. He knows very well that by pouring water on the root of the tree, the water will be distributed to all the leaves and branches, or by supplying food to the stomach, the energy is automatically distributed throughout the body. Because one who works in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is servant to all, he is very dear to everyone. And, because everyone is satisfied by his work, he is pure in consciousness. Because he is pure in consciousness, his mind is completely controlled. And, because his mind is controlled, his senses are also controlled. Because his mind is always fixed on Kṛṣṇa, there is no chance of his being deviated from Kṛṣṇa. Nor is there a chance that he will engage his senses in matters other than the service of the Lord. He does not like to hear anything except topics relating to Kṛṣṇa; he does not like to eat anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa; and he does not wish to go anywhere if Kṛṣṇa is not involved. Therefore, his senses are controlled. A man of controlled senses cannot be offensive to anyone. One may ask, "Why then was Arjuna offensive (in battle) to others? Wasn't he in Kṛṣṇa consciousness?" Arjuna was only superficially offensive because (as has already been explained in the Second Chapter) all the assembled persons on the battlefield would continue to live individually, as the soul cannot be slain. So, spiritually, no one was killed on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Only their dresses were changed by the order of Kṛṣṇa, who was personally present. Therefore Arjuna, while fighting on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, was not really fighting at all; he was simply carrying out the orders of Kṛṣṇa in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a person is never entangled in the reactions of work.
naiva kiñcit karomīti
yukto manyeta tattva-vit
paśyañ śṛṇvan spṛśañ jighrann
aśnan gacchan svapan śvasan
pralapan visṛjan gṛhṇann
unmiṣan nimiṣann api
vartanta iti dhārayan
na—never; eva—certainly; kiñcit—anything; karomi—do I do; iti—thus; yuktaḥ—engaged in the divine consciousness; manyeta—thinks; tattvavit—one who knows the truth; paśyan—by seeing; śṛṇvan—by hearing; spṛśan—by touching; jighran—by smelling; aśnan—by eating; gacchan—by going; svapan—by dreaming; śvasan—by breathing; pralapan—by talking; visṛjan—by giving up; gṛhṇan—by accepting; unmiṣan—opening; nimiṣan—closing; api—in spite of; indriyāṇi—the senses; indriya-artheṣu—in sense gratification; vartante—let them be so engaged; iti—thus; dhārayan—considering.
A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping, and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.
A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is pure in his existence, and consequently he has nothing to do with any work which depends upon five immediate and remote causes: the doer, the work, the situation, the endeavor and fortune. This is because he is engaged in the loving transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. Although he appears to be acting with his body and senses, he is always conscious of his actual position, which is spiritual engagement. In material consciousness, the senses are engaged in sense gratification, but in Kṛṣṇa consciousness the senses are engaged in the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa's senses. Therefore, the Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always free, even though he appears to be engaged in things of the senses. Activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, evacuating, etc., are actions of the senses meant for work. A Kṛṣṇa consciousness person is never affected by the actions of the senses. He cannot perform any act except in the service of the Lord because he knows that he is the eternal servitor of the Lord.
brahmaṇy ādhāya karmāṇi
saṅgaṁ tyaktvā karoti yaḥ
lipyate na sa pāpena
brahmaṇi—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ādhāya—resigning unto; karmāṇi—all works; saṅgam—attachment; tyaktvā—giving up; karoti—performs; yaḥ—who; lipyate—is affected; na—never; saḥ—he; pāpena—by sin; padma-patram—lotus leaf; iva—like; ambhasā—in the water.
One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme God, is not affected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
Here brahmaṇi means in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The material world is a sum total manifestation of the three modes of material nature, technically called the pradhāna. The Vedic hymns, sarvam etad brahma, tasmād etad brahma nāma-rūpam annaṁ ca jāyate, and, in the Bhagavad-gītā, mama yonir mahad brahma, indicate that everything in the material world is the manifestation of Brahman; and, although the effects are differently manifested, they are nondifferent from the cause. In the Īśopaniṣad it is said that everything is related to the Supreme Brahman or Kṛṣṇa, and thus everything belongs to Him only. One who knows perfectly well that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, that He is the proprietor of everything and that, therefore, everything is engaged in the service of the Lord, naturally has nothing to do with the results of his activities, whether virtuous or sinful. Even one's material body, being a gift of the Lord for carrying out a particular type of action, can be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is beyond contamination by sinful reactions, exactly as the lotus leaf, though remaining in the water, is not wet. The Lord also says in the Gītā: mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasya: "Resign all works unto Me [Kṛṣṇa]." The conclusion is that a person without Kṛṣṇa consciousness acts according to the concept of the material body and senses, but a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness acts according to the knowledge that the body is the property of Kṛṣṇa and should therefore be engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa.
kāyena manasā buddhyā
kevalair indriyair api
yoginaḥ karma kurvanti
kāyena—with the body; manasā—with the mind; buddhyā—with the intelligence; kevalaiḥ—purified; indriyaiḥ—with the senses; api—even with; yoginaḥ—the Kṛṣṇa conscious persons; karma—actions; kurvanti—they act; saṅgam—attachment; tyaktvā—giving up; ātma—self; śuddhaye—for the purpose of purification.
The yogīs, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence, and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.
By acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for the satisfaction of the senses of Kṛṣṇa, any action, whether of the body, mind, intelligence or even of the senses, is purified of material contamination. There are no material reactions resulting from the activities of a Kṛṣṇa conscious person. Therefore, purified activities, which are generally called sadācāra, can be easily performed by acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu describes this as follows:
A person acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (or, in other words, in the service of Kṛṣṇa) with his body, mind, intelligence and words is a liberated person even within the material world, although he may be engaged in many so-called material activities. He has no false ego, nor does he believe that he is this material body, nor that he possesses the body. He knows that he is not this body and that this body does not belong to him. He himself belongs to Kṛṣṇa, and the body too belongs to Kṛṣṇa. When he applies everything produced of the body, mind, intelligence, words, life, wealth, etc.—whatever he may have within his possession—to Kṛṣṇa's service, he is at once dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa. He is one with Kṛṣṇa and is devoid of the false ego that leads one to believe that he is the body, etc. This is the perfect stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
yuktaḥ karma-phalaṁ tyaktvā
śāntim āpnoti naiṣṭhikīm
phale sakto nibadhyate
yuktaḥ—one who is engaged in devotional service; karma-phalam—the results of all activities; tyaktvā—giving up; śāntim—perfect peace; āpnoti—achieves; naiṣṭhikīm—unflinching; ayuktaḥ—one who is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; kāma-kāreṇa—for enjoying the result of work; phale—in the result; saktaḥ—attached; nibadhyate—becomes entangled.
The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.
The difference between a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and a person in bodily consciousness is that the former is attached to Kṛṣṇa, whereas the latter is attached to the results of his activities. The person who is attached to Kṛṣṇa and works for Him only is certainly a liberated person, and he is not anxious for fruitive rewards. In the Bhāgavatam, the cause of anxiety over the result of an activity is explained as being due to one's functioning in the conception of duality, that is, without knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no duality. All that exists is a product of Kṛṣṇa's energy, and Kṛṣṇa is all good. Therefore, activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are on the absolute plane; they are transcendental and have no material effect. One is, therefore, filled with peace in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One who is, however, entangled in profit calculation for sense gratification cannot have that peace. This is the secret of Kṛṣṇa consciousness—realization that there is no existence besides Kṛṣṇa is the platform of peace and fearlessness.
sannyasyāste sukhaṁ vaśī
nava-dvāre pure dehī
naiva kurvan na kārayan
sarva—all; karmāṇi—activities; manasā—by the mind; sannyasya—giving up; āste—remains; sukham—in happiness; vaśī—one who is controlled; nava-dvāre—in the place where there are nine gates; pure—in the city; dehī—the embodied soul; na—never; eva—certainly; kurvan—doing anything; na—not; kārayan—causing to be done.
When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates [the material body], neither working nor causing work to be done.
The embodied soul lives in the city of nine gates. The activities of the body, or the figurative city of body, are conducted automatically by the particular modes of nature. The soul, although subjecting himself to the conditions of the body, can be beyond those conditions, if he so desires. Owing only to forgetfulness of his superior nature, he identifies with the material body, and therefore suffers. By Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can revive his real position and thus come out of his embodiment. Therefore, when one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one at once becomes completely aloof from bodily activities. In such a controlled life, in which his deliberations are changed, he lives happily within the city of nine gates. The nine gates are described as follows:
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is living within the body of a living entity, is the controller of all living entities all over the universe. The body consists of nine gates: two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth, the anus and the genital. The living entity in his conditioned stage identifies himself with the body, but when he identifies himself with the Lord within himself, he becomes just as free as the Lord, even while in the body." (Śvet. 3.18)
Therefore, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is free from both the outer and inner activities of the material body.
na kartṛtvaṁ na karmāṇi
lokasya sṛjati prabhuḥ
svabhāvas tu pravartate
na—never; kartṛtvam—proprietorship; na—nor; karmāṇi—activities; lokasya—of the people; sṛjati—creates; prabhuḥ—the master of the city of the body; na—nor; karma-phala—results of activities; saṁyogam—connection; svabhāvaḥ—modes of material nature; tu—but; pravartate—acts.
The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.
The living entity, as will be explained in the Seventh Chapter, is one in nature with the Supreme Lord, distinguished from matter, which is another nature—called inferior—of the Lord. Somehow, the superior nature, the living entity, has been in contact with material nature since time immemorial. The temporary body or material dwelling place which he obtains is the cause of varieties of activities and their resultant reactions. Living in such a conditional atmosphere, one suffers the results of the activities of the body by identifying himself (in ignorance) with the body. It is ignorance acquired from time immemorial that is the cause of bodily suffering and distress. As soon as the living entity becomes aloof from the activities of the body, he becomes free from the reactions as well. As long as he is in the city of body, he appears to be the master of it, but actually he is neither its proprietor nor controller of its actions and reactions. He is simply in the midst of the material ocean, struggling for existence. The waves of the ocean are tossing him, and he has no control over them. His best solution is to get out of the water by transcendental Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That alone will save him from all turmoil.
nādatte kasyacit pāpaṁ
na caiva sukṛtaṁ vibhuḥ
tena muhyanti jantavaḥ
na—never; ādatte—accepts; kasyacit—anyone's; pāpam—sin; na—nor; ca—also; eva—certainly; sukṛtam—pious activities; vibhuḥ—the Supreme Lord; ajñānena—by ignorance; āvṛtam—covered; jñānam—knowledge; tena—by that; muhyanti—bewildered; jantavaḥ—the living entities.
Nor does the Supreme Spirit assume anyone's sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.
The Sanskrit word vibhuḥ means the Supreme Lord who is full of unlimited knowledge, riches, strength, fame, beauty and renunciation. He is always satisfied in Himself, undisturbed by sinful or pious activities. He does not create a particular situation for any living entity, but the living entity, bewildered by ignorance, desires to be put into certain conditions of life, and thereby his chain of action and reaction begins. A living entity is, by superior nature, full of knowledge. Nevertheless, he is prone to be influenced by ignorance due to his limited power. The Lord is omnipotent, but the living entity is not. The Lord is vibhu, or omniscient, but the living entity is aṇu, or atomic. Because he is a living soul, he has the capacity to desire by his free will. Such desire is fulfilled only by the omnipotent Lord. And so, when the living entity is bewildered in his desires, the Lord allows him to fulfill those desires, but the Lord is never responsible for the actions and reactions of the particular situation which may be desired. Being in a bewildered condition, therefore, the embodied soul identifies himself with the circumstantial material body and becomes subjected to the temporary misery and happiness of life. The Lord is the constant companion of the living entity as Paramātmā, or the Supersoul, and therefore He can understand the desires of the individual soul, as one can smell the flavor of a flower by being near it. Desire is a subtle form of conditioning of the living entity. The Lord fulfills his desire as he deserves: Man proposes and God disposes. The individual is not, therefore, omnipotent in fulfilling his desires. The Lord, however, can fulfill all desires, and the Lord, being neutral to everyone, does not interfere with the desires of the minute independant living entities. However, when one desires Kṛṣṇa, the Lord takes special care and encourages one to desire in such a way that one can attain to Him and be eternally happy. The Vedic hymn therefore declares:
eṣa u hy eva sādhu karma kārayati taṁ yamebhyo lokebhya unninīṣate
eṣa u evāsādhu karma kārayati yamadho ninīṣate.
"The Lord engages the living entity in pious activities so he may be elevated. The Lord engages him in impious activities so he may go to hell. The living entity is completely dependant in his distress and happiness. By the will of the Supreme he can go to heaven or hell, as a cloud is driven by the air."
Therefore the embodied soul, by his immemorial desire to avoid Kṛṣṇa consciousness, causes his own bewilderment. Consequently, although he is constitutionally eternal, blissful and cognizant, due to the littleness of his existence he forgets his constitutional position of service to the Lord and is thus entrapped by nescience. And, under the spell of ignorance, the living entity claims that the Lord is responsible for his conditional existence. The Vedānta-sūtras also confirm this:
"The Lord neither hates nor likes anyone, though He appears to."
jñānena tu tad ajñānaṁ
yeṣāṁ nāśitam ātmanaḥ
teṣām āditya-vaj jñānaṁ
prakāśayati tat param
jñānena—by knowledge; tu—but; tat—that; ajñānam—nescience; yeṣām—of those; nāśitam—is destroyed; ātmanaḥ—of the living entity; teṣām—of their; ādityavat—like the rising sun; jñānam—knowledge; prakāśayati—discloses; tat param—in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.
Those who have forgotten Kṛṣṇa must certainly be bewildered, but those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are not bewildered at all. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, "sarvaṁ jñāna-plavena," "jñānāgniḥ sarva-karmāṇi" and "na hi jñānena sadṛśam." Knowledge is always highly esteemed. And what is that knowledge? Perfect knowledge is achieved when one surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, as is said in the Seventh Chapter, 19th verse: bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate. After passing through many, many births, when one perfect in knowledge surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, or when one attains Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then everything is revealed to him, as the sun reveals everything in the daytime. The living entity is bewildered in so many ways. For instance, when he thinks himself God, unceremoniously, he actually falls into the last snare of nescience. If a living entity is God, then how can he become bewildered by nescience? Does God become bewildered by nescience? If so, then nescience, or Satan, is greater than God. Real knowledge can be obtained from a person who is in perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, one has to seek out such a bona fide spiritual master and, under him, learn what Kṛṣṇa consciousness is. The spiritual master can drive away all nescience, as the sun drives away darkness. Even though a person may be in full knowledge that he is not this body but is transcendental to the body, he still may not be able to discriminate between the soul and the Supersoul. However, he can know everything well if he cares to take shelter of the perfect, bona fide Kṛṣṇa conscious spiritual master. One can know God and one's relationship with God only when one actually meets a representative of God. A representative of God never claims that he is God, although he is paid all the respect ordinarily paid to God because he has knowledge of God. One has to learn the distinction between God and the living entity. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa therefore stated in the Second Chapter (2.12) that every living being is individual and that the Lord also is individual. They were all individuals in the past, they are individuals at present, and they will continue to be individuals in the future, even after liberation. At night we see everything as one in the darkness, but in day when the sun is up, we see everything in its real identity. Identity with individuality in spiritual life is real knowledge.
tad-buddhayaḥ—one whose intelligence is always in the Supreme; tad-ātmānaḥ—one whose mind is always in the Supreme; tat-niṣṭhāḥ—whose mind is only meant for the Supreme; tat-parāyaṇāḥ—who has completely taken shelter of Him; gacchanti—goes; apunaḥ-āvṛttim—liberation; jñāna—knowledge; nirdhūta—cleanses; kalmaṣāḥ—misgivings.
When one's intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.
The Supreme Transcendental Truth is Lord Kṛṣṇa. The whole Bhagavad-gītā centers around the declaration of Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the version of all Vedic literature. Paratattva means the Supreme Reality, who is understood by the knowers of the Supreme as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the last word in the Absolute. There is nothing more than that. The Lord says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcit asti dhanañjaya. Impersonal Brahman is also supported by Kṛṣṇa: brahmaṇo pratiṣṭhāham. Therefore in all ways Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Reality. One whose mind, intelligence, faith and refuge are always in Kṛṣṇa, or, in other words, one who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is undoubtedly washed clean of all misgivings and is in perfect knowledge in everything concerning transcendence. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person can thoroughly understand that there is duality (simultaneous identity and individuality) in Kṛṣṇa, and, equipped with such transcendental knowledge, one can make steady progress on the path of liberation.
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
vidyā—education; vinaya—gentleness; sampanne—fully equipped; brāhmaṇe—in the brāhmaṇa; gavi—in the cow; hastini—in the elephant; śuni—in the dog; ca—and; eva—certainly; śvapāke—in the dog-eater (the outcaste); ca—respectively; paṇḍitāḥ-those who are so wise; sama-darśinaḥ—do see with equal vision.
The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste] .
A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not make any distinction between species or castes. The brāhmaṇa and the outcaste may be different from the social point of view, or a dog, a cow, or an elephant may be different from the point of view of species, but these differences of body are meaningless from the viewpoint of a learned transcendentalist. This is due to their relationship to the Supreme, for the Supreme Lord, by His plenary portion as Paramātmā, is present in everyone's heart. Such an understanding of the Supreme is real knowledge. As far as the bodies are concerned in different castes or different species of life, the Lord is equally kind to everyone because He treats every living being as a friend yet maintains Himself as Paramātmā regardless of the circumstances of the living entities. The Lord as Paramātmā is present both in the outcaste and in the brāhmaṇa, although the body of a brāhmaṇa and that of an outcaste are not the same. The bodies are material productions of different modes of material nature, but the soul and the Supersoul within the body are of the same spiritual quality. The similarity in the quality of the soul and the Supersoul, however, does not make them equal in quantity, for the individual soul is present only in that particular body, whereas the Paramātmā is present in each and every body. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has full knowledge of this, and therefore he is truly learned and has equal vision. The similar characteristics of the soul and Supersoul are that they are both conscious, eternal and blissful. But the difference is that the individual soul is conscious within the limited jurisdiction of the body, whereas the Supersoul is conscious of all bodies. The Supersoul is present in all bodies without distinction.
ihaiva tair jitaḥ sargo
yeṣāṁ sāmye sthitaṁ manaḥ
nirdoṣaṁ hi samaṁ brahma
tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ
iha—in this life; eva—certainly; taiḥ—by them; jitaḥ—conquered; sargaḥ—birth and death; yeṣām—of those; sāmye—in equanimity; sthitam—so situated; manaḥ—mind; nirdoṣam—flawless; hi—certainly; samam—in equanimity; brahma—the Supreme; tasmāt—therefore; brahmaṇi—in the Supreme; te—they; sthitāḥ—are situated.
Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.
Equanimity of mind, as mentioned above, is the sign of self-realization. Those who have actually attained to such a stage should be considered to have conquered material conditions, specifically birth and death. As long as one identifies with this body, he is considered a conditioned soul, but as soon as he is elevated to the stage of equanimity through realization of self, he is liberated from conditional life. In other words, he is no longer subject to take birth in the material world but can enter into the spiritual sky after his death. The Lord is flawless because He is without attraction or hatred. Similarly, when a living entity is without attraction or hatred, he also becomes flawless and eligible to enter into the spiritual sky. Such persons are to be considered already liberated, and their symptoms are described below.
na prahṛṣyet priyaṁ prāpya
nodvijet prāpya cāpriyam
brahma-vid brahmaṇi sthitaḥ
na—never; prahṛṣyet—rejoice; priyam—pleasant; prāpya—achieving; na—does not; udvijet—agitated; prāpya—obtaining; ca—also; apriyam—unpleasant; sthira-buddhiḥ—self-intelligent; asammūḍhaḥ—unbewildered; brahmavit—one who knows the Supreme perfectly; brahmaṇi—in the Transcendence; sthitaḥ—situated.
A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, unbewildered, and who knows the science of God, is to be understood as already situated in Transcendence.
The symptoms of the self-realized person are given herein. The first symptom is that he is not illusioned by the false identification of the body with his true self. He knows perfectly well that he is not this body, but is the fragmental portion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is therefore not joyful in achieving something, nor does he lament in losing anything which is related to his body. This steadiness of mind is called sthira-buddhi, or self-intelligence. He is therefore never bewildered by mistaking the gross body for the soul, nor does he accept the body as permanent and disregard the existence of the soul. This knowledge elevates him to the station of knowing the complete science of the Absolute Truth, namely Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. He thus knows his constitutional position perfectly well, without falsely trying to become one with the Supreme in all respects. This is called Brahman realization, or self-realization. Such steady consciousness is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
vindaty ātmani yat sukham
sukham akṣayam aśnute
bāhya-sparśeṣu—in external sense pleasure; asakta-ātmā—one who is not so attached; vindati—enjoys; ātmani—in the self; yat—that which; sukham—happiness; saḥ—that; brahma-yoga—concentrated in Brahman; yukta-ātmā—self-connected; sukham—happiness; akṣayam—unlimited; aśnute—enjoys.
Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure or external objects but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.
Śrī Yāmunācārya, a great devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, said:
yadāvadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhāmanudyata rantum āsīt
tadāvadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne
bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭu niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca
"Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste." A person in brahma-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is so absorbed in the loving service of the Lord that he loses his taste for material sense pleasure altogether. The highest pleasure in terms of matter is sex pleasure. The whole world is moving under its spell, and a materialist cannot work at all without this motivation. But a person engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can work with greater vigor without sex pleasure, which he avoids. That is the test in spiritual realization. Spiritual realization and sex pleasure go ill together. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not attracted to any kind of sense pleasure due to his being a liberated soul.
ye hi saṁsparśa-jā bhogā
duḥkha-yonaya eva te
na teṣu ramate budhaḥ
ye—those; hi—certainly; saṁsparśajāḥ—by contact with the material senses; bhogāḥ—enjoyment; duḥkha—distress; yonayaḥ—sources of; eva—certainly; te—they are; ādi—in the beginning; antavantaḥ—subject to; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; na—never; teṣu—in those; ramate—take delight; budhaḥ—the intelligent.
An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kuntī, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.
Material sense pleasures are due to the contact of the material senses, which are all temporary because the body itself is temporary. A liberated soul is not interested in anything which is temporary. Knowing well the joys of transcendental pleasures, how can a liberated soul agree to enjoy false pleasure? In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:
"The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Rāma."
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also it is said:
nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛ-loke
kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhajāṁ ye
tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ
śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ tv anantam.
"My dear sons, there is no reason to labor very hard for sense pleasure while in this human form of life; such pleasures are available to the stool-eaters [hogs]. Rather, you should undergo penances in this life by which your existence will be purified, and, as a result, you will be able to enjoy unlimited transcendental bliss." (Bhāg. 5.5.1)
Therefore, those who are true yogīs or learned transcendentalists are not attracted by sense pleasures, which are the causes of continuous material existence. The more one is addicted to material pleasures, the more he is entrapped by material miseries.
śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ
sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ
śaknoti—able to do; iha eva—in the present body; yaḥ—one who; soḍhum—to tolerate; prāk—before; śarīra—body; vimokṣaṇāt—giving up; kāma—desire; krodha—anger; udbhavam—generated from; vegam—urge; saḥ—he; yuktaḥ—in trance; saḥ—he; sukhī—happy; naraḥ—human being.
Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is a yogī and is happy in this world.
lf one wants to make steady progress on the path of self-realization, he must try to control the forces of the material senses. There are the forces of talk, forces of anger, forces of mind, forces of the stomach, forces of the genitals, and forces of the tongue. One who is able to control the forces of all these different senses, and the mind, is called gosvāmī, or svāmī. Such gosvāmīs live strictly controlled lives, and forego altogether the forces of the senses. Material desires, when unsatiated, generate anger, and thus the mind, eyes and chest become agitated. Therefore, one must practice to control them before one gives up this material body. One who can do this is understood to be self-realized and is thus happy in the state of self-realization. It is the duty of the transcendentalist to try strenuously to control desire and anger.
yo 'ntaḥ-sukho 'ntar-ārāmas
tathāntar-jyotir eva yaḥ
sa yogī brahma-nirvāṇaṁ
yaḥ—one who; antaḥ-sukhaḥ—happy from within; antaḥ-ārāmah—active within; tathā—as well as; antaḥ-jyotiḥ—aiming within; eva—certainly; yaḥ—anyone; saḥ—he; yogī—mystic; brahma-nirvāṇam—liberated in the Supreme; brahma-bhūtaḥ—self-realized; adhigacchati—attains.
One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.
Unless one is able to relish happiness from within, how can one retire from the external engagements meant for deriving superficial happiness? A liberated person enjoys happiness by factual experience. He can, therefore, sit silently at any place and enjoy the activities of life from within. Such a liberated person no longer desires external material happiness. This state is called brahma-bhūta, attaining which one is assured of going back to Godhead, back to home.
labhante—achieve; brahma-nirvāṇam—liberation in the Supreme; ṛṣayaḥ—those who are active within; kṣīṇa-kalmaṣāḥ—who are devoid of all sins; chinna—torn off; dvaidhāḥ—duality; yata-ātmānaḥ—engaged in self-realization; sarva-bhūta—in all living entities; hite—in welfare work; ratāḥ—engaged.
One who is beyond duality and doubt, whose mind is engaged within, who is always busy working for the welfare of all sentient beings, and who is free from all sins, achieves liberation in the Supreme.
Only a person who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be said to be engaged in welfare work for all living entities. When a person is actually in the knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of everything, then when he acts in that spirit he acts for everyone. The sufferings of humanity are due to forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor, and the supreme friend. Therefore, to act to revive this consciousness within the entire human society is the highest welfare work. One cannot be engaged in first-class welfare work without being liberated in the Supreme. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no doubt about the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa. He has no doubt because he is completely freed from all sins. This is the state of divine love.
A person engaged only in ministering to the physical welfare of human society cannot factually help anyone. Temporary relief of the external body and the mind is not satisfactory. The real cause of one's difficulties in the hard struggle for life may be found in one's forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Lord. When a man is fully conscious of his relationship with Kṛṣṇa, he is actually a liberated soul, although he may be in the material tabernacle.
kāma—desires; krodha—anger; vimuktānām—of those who are so liberated; yatīnām—of the saintly persons; yata-cetasām—of persons who have full control over the mind; abhitaḥ—assured in the near future; brahma-nirvāṇam—liberation in the Supreme; vartate—is there; vidita-ātmanām—of those who are self-realized.
Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.
Of the saintly persons who are constantly engaged in striving toward salvation, one who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the best of all. The Bhāgavatam confirms this fact as follows:
karmāśayaṁ grathitam udgrathayanti santaḥ
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo 'pi ruddha-
srotogaṇās tam araṇaṁ bhaja vāsudevam.
"Just try to worship, in devotional service, Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even great sages are not able to control the forces of the senses as effectively as those who are engaged in transcendental bliss by serving the lotus feet of the Lord, uprooting the deep grown desire for fruitive activities." (Bhāg. 4.22.39)
In the conditioned soul the desire to enjoy the fruitive results of work is so deep-rooted that it is very difficult even for the great sages to control such desires, despite great endeavors. A devotee of the Lord, constantly engaged in devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, perfect in self-realization, very quickly attains liberation in the Supreme. Owing to his complete knowledge in self-realization, he always remains in trance. To cite an analagous example of this:
"By vision, by meditation and by touch only do the fish, the tortoise and the birds maintain their offspring. Similarly do I also, O Padmaja!"
The fish brings up its offspring simply by looking at them. The tortoise brings up its offspring simply by meditation. The eggs of the tortoise are laid on land, and the tortoise meditates on the eggs while in the water. Similarly, a devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, although far away from the Lord's abode, can elevate himself to that abode simply by thinking of Him constantly—by engagement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He does not feel the pangs of material miseries; this state of life is called brahma-nirvāṇa, or the absence of material miseries due to being constantly immersed in the Supreme.
sparśān kṛtvā bahir bāhyāṁś
cakṣuś caivāntare bhruvoḥ
prāṇāpānau samau kṛtvā
yaḥ sadā mukta eva saḥ
sparśān—external sense objects, such as sound, etc.; kṛtvā—doing so; bahiḥ—external; bāhyān—unnecessary; cakṣuḥ—eyes; ca—also; eva—certainly; antare—within; bhruvoḥ—of the eyebrows; prāṇa-apānau—up-and down-moving air; samau—in suspension; kṛtvā—doing so; nāsā-abhyantara—within the nostrils; cāriṇau—blowing; yata—controlled; indriya—senses; manaḥ—mind; buddhih—intelligence; muniḥ—the transcendentalist; mokṣa—liberation; parāyaṇaḥ—being so destined; vigata—discarded; icchā—wishes; bhaya—fear; krodhaḥ—anger; yaḥ—one who; sadā—always; muktaḥ—liberated; eva—certainly; saḥ—he is.
Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils—thus controlling the mind, senses and intelligence, the tranecendentalist becomes free from desire, fear and anger. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated.
Being engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can immediately understand one's spiritual identity, and then one can understand the Supreme Lord by means of devotional service. When he is well situated in devotional service, one comes to the transcendental position, qualified to feel the presence of the Lord in the sphere of one's activity. This particular position is called liberation in the Supreme.
After explaining the above principles of liberation in the Supreme, the Lord gives instruction to Arjuna as to how one can come to that position by the practice of mysticism or yoga, known as aṣṭāṅga-yoga, which is divisible into an eightfold procedure called yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, and samādhi. In the Sixth Chapter the subject of yoga is explicitly detailed, and at the end of the Fifth it is only preliminarily explained. One has to drive out the sense objects such as sound, touch, form, taste and smell by the pratyāhāra (breathing) process in yoga, and then keep the vision of the eyes between the two eyebrows and concentrate on the tip of the nose with half closed lids. There is no benefit in closing the eyes altogether, because then there is every chance of falling asleep. Nor is there benefit in opening the eyes completely, because then there is the hazard of being attracted by sense objects. The breathing movement is restrained within the nostrils by neutralizing the up- and down-moving air within the body. By practice of such yoga one is able to gain control over the senses, refrain from outward sense objects, and thus prepare oneself for liberation in the Supreme.
This yoga process helps one become free from all kinds of fear and anger and thus feel the presence of the Supersoul in the transcendental situation. In other words, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the easiest process of executing yoga principles. This will be thoroughly explained in the next chapter. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, however, being always engaged in devotional service, does not risk losing his senses to some other engagement. This is a better way of controlling the senses than by the aṣṭāṅga-yoga.
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
bhoktāram—beneficiary; yajña—sacrifices; tapasām—of penances and austerities; sarva-loka—all planets and the demigods thereof; maheśvaram—the Supreme Lord; suhṛdam—benefactor; sarva—all; bhūtānām—of the living entities; jñātvā—thus knowing; mām—Me (Lord Kṛṣṇa); śāntim—relief from material pangs; ṛcchati—achieves.
The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.
The conditioned souls within the clutches of illusory energy are all anxious to attain peace in the material world. But they do not know the formula for peace, which is explained in this part of the Bhagavad-gītā. The greatest peace formula is simply this: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the beneficiary in all human activities. Men should offer everything to the transcendental service of the Lord because He is the proprietor of all planets and the demigods thereon. No one is greater than He. He is greater than the greatest of the demigods, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. In the Vedas the Supreme Lord is described as tam īśvarāṇāṁ paramaṁ maheśvaram. Under the spell of illusion, living entities are trying to be lords of all they survey, but actually they are dominated by the material energy of the Lord. The Lord is the master of material nature, and the conditioned souls are under the stringent rules of material nature. Unless one understands these bare facts, it is not possible to achieve peace in the world either individually or collectively. This is the sense of Kssna consciousness: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme predominator, and all living entities, including the great demigods, are His subordinates. One can attain perfect peace only in complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
This Fifth Chapter is a practical explanation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, generally known as karma-yoga. The question of mental speculation as to how karma-yoga can give liberation is answered herewith. To work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to work with the complete knowledge of the Lord as the predominator. Such work is not different from transcendental knowledge. Direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness is bhakti-yoga, and jñāna-yoga is a path leading to bhakti-yoga. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to work in full knowledge of one's relationship with the Supreme Absolute, and the perfection of this consciousness is full knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A pure soul is the eternal servant of God as His fragmental part and parcel. He comes into contact with māyā (illusion) due to the desire to lord it over māyā, and that is the cause of his many sufferings. As long as he is in contact with matter, he has to execute work in terms of material necessities. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, brings one into spiritual life even while one is within the jurisdiction of matter, for it is an arousing of spiritual existence by practice in the material world. The more one is advanced, the more he is freed from the clutches of matter. The Lord is not partial toward anyone. Everything depends on one's practical performance of duties in an effort to control the senses and conquer the influence of desire and anger. And, attaining Kṛṣṇa consciousness by controlling the above-mentioned passions, one remains factually in the transcendental stage, or brahman-nirvāṇa. The eightfold yoga mysticism is automatically practiced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because the ultimate purpose is served. There is gradual process of elevation in the practice of yama, niyama, āsana, pratyāhāra, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, prāṇāyāma, and samādhi. But these only preface perfection by devotional service, which alone can award peace to the human being. It is the highest perfection of life.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Fifth Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of Karma-yoga, or Action in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
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