9. The Most Confidential Knowledge
idaṁ tu te guhyatamaṁ
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase 'śubhāt
śrī bhagavan uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; idam—this; tu—but; te—unto you; guhyatamam—most confidential; pravakṣyāmi—I am speaking; anasūyave—to the nonenvious; jñānam—knowledge; vijñāna—realized knowledge; sahitam—with; yat—which; jñātvā—knowing; mokṣyase—be released; aśubhāt—from this miserable material existence.
The Supreme Lord said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most secret wisdom, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.
As a devotee hears more and more about the Supreme Lord, he becomes enlightened. This hearing process is recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: "The messages of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are full of potencies, and these potencies can be realized if topics regarding the Supreme Godhead are discussed amongst devotees. This cannot be achieved by the association of mental speculators or academic scholars, for it is realized knowledge."
The devotees are constantly engaged in the Supreme Lord's service. The Lord understands the mentality and sincerity of a particular living entity who is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and gives him the intelligence to understand the science of Kṛṣṇa in the association of the devotees. Discussion of Kṛṣṇa is very potent, and if a fortunate person has such association and tries to assimilate the knowledge, then he will surely make advancement toward spiritual realization. Lord Kṛṣṇa, in order to encourage Arjuna to higher and higher elevation in His potent service, describes in this Ninth Chapter matters more confidential than any He has already disclosed.
The very beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, the First Chapter, is more or less an introduction to the rest of the book; and in the Second and Third Chapters, the spiritual knowledge described is called confidential. Topics discussed in the Seventh and Eighth Chapters are specifically related to devotional service, and because they bring enlightenment in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are called more confidential. But the matters which are described in the Ninth Chapter deal with unalloyed, pure devotion. Therefore this is called the most confidential. One who is situated in the most confidential knowledge of Kṛṣṇa is naturally transcendental; he therefore has no material pangs, although he is in the material world. In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu it is said that although one who has a sincere desire to render loving service to the Supreme Lord is situated in the conditional state of material existence, he is to be considered liberated. Similarly, we shall find in the Bhagavad-gītā, Tenth Chapter, that anyone who is engaged in that way is a liberated person.
Now this first verse has specific significance. Knowledge (idaṁ jñānam) refers to pure devotional service, which consists of nine different activities: hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping, praying, obeying, maintaining friendship and surrendering everything. By the practice of these nine elements of devotional service one is elevated to spiritual consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. At the time when one's heart is cleared of the material contamination, one can understand this science of Kṛṣṇa. Simply to understand that a living entity is not material is not sufficient. That may be the beginning of spiritual realization, but one should recognize the difference between activities of the body and spiritual activities by which one understands that he is not the body.
In the Seventh Chapter we have already discussed the opulent potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His different energies, the inferior and superior natures, and all this material manifestation. Now in Chapters Nine and Ten the glories of the Lord will be delineated.
The Sanskrit word anasūyave in this verse is also very significant. Generally the commentators, even if they are highly scholarly, are all envious of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the most erudite scholars write on Bhagavad-gītā very inaccurately. Because they are envious of Kṛṣṇa, their commentaries are useless. The commentaries given by devotees of the Lord are bona fide. No one can explain Bhagavad-gītā, or give perfect knowledge of Kṛṣṇa if he is envious. One who criticizes the character of Kṛṣṇa without knowing Him is a fool. So such commentaries should be very carefully avoided. For one who understands that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the pure and transcendental Personality, these chapters will be very beneficial.
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam
rāja-vidyā—the king of education; rāja-guhyam—the king of confidential knowledge; pavitram—the purest; idam—this; uttamam—transcendental; pratyakṣa—directly experienced; avagamam—understood; dharmyam—the principle of religion; susukham—very happy; kartum—to execute; avyayam—everlasting.
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
This chapter of Bhagavad-gītā is called the king of education because it is the essence of all doctrines and philosophies explained before. There are seven principal philosophers in India: Gautama, Kaṇāda, Kapila, Yājñavalkya, Śāṇḍilya, Vaiśvānara, and, finally, Vyāsadeva, the author of the Vedānta-sūtra. So there is no dearth of knowledge in the field of philosophy or transcendental knowledge. Now the Lord says that this Ninth Chapter is the king of all such knowledge, the essence of all knowledge that can be derived from the study of the Vedas and different kinds of philosophy. It is the most confidential because confidential or transcendental knowledge involves understanding the difference between the soul and the body. And the king of all confidential knowledge culminates in devotional service.
Generally, people are not educated in this confidential knowledge; they are educated in external knowledge. As far as ordinary education is concerned, people are involved with so many departments: politics, sociology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, etc. There are so many departments of knowledge all over the world and many huge universities, but there is, unfortunately, no university or educational institution where the science of the spirit soul is instructed. Yet the soul is the most important part of this body; without the presence of the soul, the body has no value. Still people are placing great stress on the bodily necessities of life, not caring for the vital soul.
The Bhagavad-gītā, especially from the Second Chapter on, stresses the importance of the soul. In the very beginning, the Lord says that this body is perishable and that the soul is not perishable. That is a confidential part of knowledge: simply knowing that spirit soul is different from this body and that its nature is immutable, indestructible and eternal. But that gives no positive information about the soul. Sometimes people are under the impression that the soul is different from the body and that when the body is finished, or one is liberated from the body, the soul remains in a void and becomes impersonal. But actually that is not the fact. How can the soul, which is so active within this body, be inactive after being liberated from the body? It is always active. If it is eternal, then it is eternally active, and its activities in the spiritual kingdom are the most confidential part of spiritual knowledge. These activities of the spirit soul are therefore indicated here as constituting the king of all knowledge, the most confidential part of all knowledge.
This knowledge is the purest form of all activities, as is explained in Vedic literature. In the Padma Purāṇa, man's sinful activities have been analyzed and are shown to be the results of sin after sin. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities are entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions. For instance, when the seed of a particular tree is sown, the tree does not appear immediately to grow; it takes some time. It is first a small, sprouting plant, then it assumes the form of a tree, then it flowers, bears fruit, and, when it is complete, the flowers and fruits are enjoyed by persons who have sown the seed of the tree. Similarly, a man performs a sinful act, and like a seed it takes time to fructify. There are different stages. The sinful action may have already stopped within the individual, but the results or the fruit of that sinful action are still enjoyed. There are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as distress and pain, as explained in the twentieth verse of the Seventh Chapter.
A person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. In other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions. For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish. Therefore the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called pavitram uttamam, the purest. Uttamam means transcendental. Tamas means this material world or darkness, and uttamam means that which is transcendental to material activities. Devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service, however, will know that they are not material activities. They are all spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature.
It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare) in course of time feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.
In the Vedānta-sūtra this is also described in the following words: prakāśaś ca karmaṇy abhyāsāt. "Devotional service is so potent that simply by engaging in the activities of devotional service, one becomes enlightened without a doubt." Nārada, who happened to be the son of a maidservant, had no education, nor was he born into a high family. But when his mother was engaged in serving great devotees, Nārada also became engaged, and sometimes, in the absence of his mother, he would serve the great devotees himself. Nārada personally says, "Once only, by their permission, I took the remnants of their food, and by so doing all my sins were at once eradicated. Thus being engaged, I became purified in heart, and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me." (Bhāg. 1.5.25) Nārada tells his disciple Vyāsadeva that in a previous life he was engaged as a boy servant of purified devotees during four months of their stay and that he was intimately associating with them. Sometimes those sages left remnants of food on their dishes, and the boy, who would wash their dishes, wanted to taste the remnants. So he asked the great devotees whether he could eat them, and they gave their permission. Nārada then ate those remnants and consequently became freed from all sinful reactions. As he went on eating, he gradually became as purehearted as the sages, and he gradually developed the same taste. The great devotees relished the taste of unceasing devotional service of the Lord, hearing, chanting, etc., and by developing the same taste, Nārada wanted also to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. Thus by associating with the sages, he developed a great desire for devotional service. Therefore he quotes from the Vedānta-sūtra (prakāśaś ca karmaṇy abhyāsāt): If one is engaged simply in the acts of devotional service, everything is revealed to him automatically, and he can understand. This is called prakāśaḥ, directly perceived.
Nārada was actually a son of a maidservant. He had no opportunity to go to school. He was simply assisting his mother, and fortunately his mother rendered some service to the devotees. The child Nārada also got the opportunity and simply by association achieved the highest goal of all religions, devotional service. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that religious people generally do not know that the highest perfection of religion is the attainment of the stage of devotional service. Generally Vedic knowledge is required for the understanding of the path of self-realization. But here, although he was not educated in the Vedic principle, Nārada acquired the highest results of Vedic study. This process is so potent that even without performing the religious process regularly, one can be raised to the highest perfection. How is this possible? This is also confirmed in Vedic literature: ācāryavān puruṣo veda. One who is in association with great ācāryas, even if he is not educated or has not studied the Vedas, can become familiar with all the knowledge necessary for realization.
The process of devotional service is a very happy one. Why? Devotional service consists of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorized ācāryas. Simply by sitting, one can learn; then one can eat the remnants of the food offered to God, nice palatable dishes. In every state devotional service is joyful. One can execute devotional service even in the most poverty-stricken condition. The Lord says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalam: He is ready to accept from the devotee any kind of offering, never mind what. Even a leaf, a flower, a bit of fruit, or a little water, which are all available in every part of the world, can be offered by any person, regardless of social position, and will be accepted if offered with love. There are many instances in history. Simply by tasting the tulasī leaves offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, great sages like Sanatkumāra became great devotees. Therefore the devotional process is very nice, and it can be executed in a happy mood. God accepts only the love with which things are offered to Him.
It is said here that this devotional service is eternally existing. It is not as the Māyāvādī philosophers claim. They sometimes take to so-called devotional service, and as long as they are not liberated they continue their devotional service, but at the end, when they become liberated, they "become one with God." Such temporary time-serving devotional service is not accepted as pure devotional service. Actual devotional service continues even after liberation. When the devotee goes to the spiritual planet in the kingdom of God, he is also engaged there in serving the Supreme Lord. He does not try to become one with the Supreme Lord.
As it will be seen, actual devotional service begins after liberation. So in Bhagavad-gītā it is said, brahma-bhūta. After being liberated, or being situated in the Brahman position, one's devotional service begins. By executing devotional service, one can understand the Supreme Lord. No one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by executing karma-yoga, jñāna, or aṣṭāṅga-yoga or any other yoga independantly. Without coming to the stage of devotional service, one cannot understand what is the Personality of Godhead. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is also confirmed that when one becomes purified by executing the process of devotional service, especially by hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhagavad-gītā from realized souls, then he can understand the science of Kṛṣṇa or the science of God. Evaṁ prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ. When one's heart is cleared of all nonsense, then one can understand what God is. Thus the process of devotional service, of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is the king of all education and the king of all confidential knowledge. It is the purest form of religion, and it can be executed joyfully without difficulty. Therefore one should adopt it.
aprāpya māṁ nivartante
aśraddadhānāḥ—those who are faithless; puruṣāḥ—such persons; dharmasya—of this process of religion; asya—of it; parantapa—O killer of the enemies; aprāpya—without obtaining; mām—Me; nivartante—come back; mṛtyu—death; saṁsāra—material existence; vartmani—on the path of.
Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material world.
The faithless cannot accomplish this process of devotional service; that is the purport of this verse. Faith is created by association with devotees. Unfortunate people, even after hearing all the evidence of Vedic literature from great personalities, still have no faith in God. They are hesitant and cannot stay fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus faith is a most important factor for progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said that one should have complete conviction that simply by serving the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa he can achieve all perfection. That is called real faith. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.4.12) it is stated that by giving water to the root of a tree, its branches, twigs and leaves become satisfied, and by supplying food to the stomach all the senses of the body become satisfied, and, similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord, all the demigods and all the living entities automatically become satisfied.
After reading Bhagavad-gītā one should promptly come to the conclusion of Bhagavad-gītā: one should give up all other engagements and adopt the service of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. If one is convinced of this philosophy of life, that is faith. Now the development of that faith is the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
There are three divisions of Kṛṣṇa conscious men. In the third class are those who have no faith. If they are engaged in devotional service officially, for some ulterior purpose, they cannot achieve the highest perfectional stage. Most probably they will slip, after some time. They may become engaged, but because they haven't complete conviction and faith, it is very difficult for them to continue in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We have practical experience in discharging our missionary activity that some people come and apply themselves to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness with some hidden motive, and as soon as they are economically a little well-situated, they give up this process and take to their old ways again. It is only by faith that one can advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As far as the development of faith is concerned, one who is well versed in the literatures of devotional service and has attained the stage of firm faith is called a first-class person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And in the second class are those who are not very advanced in understanding the devotional scriptures but who automatically have firm faith that Kṛṣṇa bhakti or service to Kṛṣṇa is the best course and so in good faith have taken it up. Thus they are superior to the third class who have neither perfect knowledge of the scriptures nor good faith but by association and simplicity are trying to follow. The third-class person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness may fall down, but when one is in the second class or first class, he does not fall down. One in the first class will surely make progress and achieve the result at the end. As far as the third-class person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is concerned, although he has faith in the conviction that devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is very good, he has no knowledge of Kṛṣṇa through the scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā. Sometimes these third-class persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness have some tendency toward karma-yoga and jñāna-yoga, and sometimes they are disturbed, but as soon as the infection of karma-yoga or jñāna-yoga is vanquished, they become second-class or first-class persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Faith in Kṛṣṇa is also divided into three stages and described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. First-class attachment, second-class attachment, and third-class attachment are also explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the Eleventh Canto. Those who have no faith even after hearing about Kṛṣṇa and the excellence of devotional service, who think that it is simply eulogy, find the path very difficult, even if they are supposedly engaged in devotional service. For them there is very little hope in gaining perfection. Thus faith is very important in the discharge of devotional service.
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
mayā—by Me; tatam—spread; idam—all these manifestations; sarvam—all; jagat—cosmic manifestation; avyakta-mūrtinā—unmanifested form; mat-sthāni—unto Me; sarva-bhūtāni—all living entities; na—not; ca—also; aham—I; teṣu—in them; avasthitaḥ—situated.
By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not perceivable through the gross material senses. It is said that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa's name, fame, pastimes, etc., cannot be understood by material senses. Only to one who is engaged in pure devotional service under proper guidance is He revealed. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated, premāñjanacchurita.... One can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, always within himself and outside himself if he has developed the transcendental loving attitude towards Him. Thus for people in general He is not visible. Here it is said that although He is all-pervading, everywhere present, He is yet not conceivable by the material senses. But actually, although we cannot see Him, everything is resting in Him. As we have discussed in the Seventh Chapter, the entire material cosmic manifestation is only a combination of His two different energies, the superior spiritual energy and the inferior material energy. Just as the sunshine is spread all over the universe, the energy of the Lord is spread all over the creation, and everything is resting in that energy.
Yet one should not conclude that because He is spread all over He has lost His personal existence. To refute such argument the Lord says, "I am everywhere, and everything is in Me, but still I am aloof." For example, a king heads a government which is but the manifestation of the king's energy; the different governmental departments are nothing but the energies of the king, and each department is resting on the king's power. But still one cannot expect the king to be present in every department personally. That is a crude example. Similarly, all the manifestations that we see, and everything that exists both in this material world and in the spiritual world, are resting on the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The creation takes place by the diffusion of His different energies, and, as is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, He is everywhere present by His personal representation, the diffusion of His different energies.
na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni
paśya me yogam aiśvaram
bhūta-bhṛn na ca bhūta-stho
na—never; ca—also; mat-sthāni—situated in Me; bhūtāni—all creation; paśya—just see; me—My; yogam aiśvaram—inconceivable mystic power; bhūta-bhṛt—maintainer of all living entities; na—never; ca—also; bhūta-sthaḥ—in the cosmic manifestation; mama—My; ātmā—Self; bhūta-bhāvanaḥ—is the source of all manifestations.
And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities, and although I am everywhere, still My Self is the very source of creation.
The Lord says that everything is resting on Him. This should not be misunderstood. The Lord is not directly concerned with the maintenance and sustenance of this material manifestation. Sometimes we see a picture of Atlas holding the globe on his shoulders; he seems to be very tired, holding this great earthly planet. Such an image should not be entertained in connection with Kṛṣṇa's upholding this created universe. He says that although everything is resting on Him, still He is aloof. The planetary systems are floating in space, and this space is the energy of the Supreme Lord. But He is different from space. He is differently situated. Therefore the Lord says, "Although they are situated on My inconceivable energy, still, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I am aloof from them." This is the inconceivable opulence of the Lord.
In the Vedic dictionary it is said, "The Supreme Lord is performing inconceivably wonderful pastimes, displaying His energy. His person is full of different potent energies, and His determination is itself actual fact. In this way the Personality of Godhead is to be understood." We may think to do something, but there are so many impediments, and sometimes it is not possible to do as we like. But when Kṛṣṇa wants to do something, simply by His willing, everything is performed so perfectly that one cannot imagine how it is being done. The Lord explains this fact: although He is the maintainer and sustainer of all material manifestation, He does not touch this material manifestation. Simply by His supreme will everything is created, everything is sustained, everything is maintained, and everything is annihilated. There is no difference between His mind and Himself (as there is a difference between ourselves and our present material mind) because He is absolute spirit. Simultaneously the Lord is present in everything; yet the common man cannot understand how He is also present personally. He is different from this material manifestation, yet everything is resting on Him. This is explained here as yogam aiśvaram, the mystic power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
vāyuḥ sarvatra-go mahān
tathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni
yathā—as much as; ākāśa-sthitaḥ—situated in space; nityam—always; vāyuḥ—wind; sarvatra-gaḥ—blowing everywhere; mahān—great; tathā—similarly; sarvāṇi—everything, bhūtāni—created beings; mat-sthāni—situated in Me; iti—thus; upadhāraya—try to understand.
As the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, always rests in ethereal space know that in the same manner all beings rest in Me.
For the ordinary person it is almost inconceivable how the huge material creation is resting in Him. But the Lord is giving an example which may help us to understand. Space is the biggest manifestation we can conceive. The cosmic manifestation rests in space. Space permits the movement of even the atoms and on up to the greatest planets, the sun and the moon. Although the sky (or wind or air) is great, still it is situated within space. Space is not beyond the sky.
Similarly, all the wonderful cosmic manifestations are existing by the supreme will of God, and all of them are subordinate to that supreme will. As we generally say, not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus everything is moving under His will: by His will everything is being created, everything is being maintained, and everything is being annihilated. Still He is aloof from everything, as space is always aloof from the activities of the atmosphere. In the Upaniṣads, it is stated, "It is out of the fear of the Supreme Lord that the wind is blowing." In the Garga Upaniṣad also it is stated, "By the supreme order, under the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the moon, the sun and the great planets are moving." In the Brahma-saṁhitā this is also stated. There is also a description of the movement of the sun, and it is said that the sun is considered to be one of the eyes of the Supreme Lord and that it has immense potency to diffuse heat and light. Still it is moving in its prescribed orbit by the order and the supreme will of Govinda. So, from the Vedic literature we can find evidence that this material manifestation, which appears to us to be very wonderful and great, is under the complete control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This will be further explained in the later verses of this chapter.
prakṛtiṁ yānti māmikām
kalpa-kṣaye punas tāni
kalpādau visṛjāmy aham
sarva-bhūtāni—all created entities; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; prakṛtim—nature; yānti—enter; māmikām—unto Me; kalpa-kṣaye—at the end of the millennium; punaḥ—again; tāni—all those; kalpa-ādau—in the beginning of the millennium; visṛjāmi—I create; aham—I.
O son of Kuntī, at the end of the millennium every material manifestation enters into My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by My potency I again create.
The creation, maintenance and annihilation of this material cosmic manifestation is completely dependant on the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead. "At the end of the millennium" means at the death of Brahmā. Brahmā lives for one hundred years, and his one day is calculated at 4,300,000,000 of our earthly years. His night is of the same duration. His month consists of thirty such days and nights, and his year of twelve months. After one hundred such years, when Brahmā dies, the devastation or annihilation takes place; this means that the energy manifested by the Supreme Lord is again wound up in Himself. Then again, when there is need to manifest the cosmic world, it is done by His will: "Although I am one, I shall become many." This is the Vedic aphorism. He expands Himself in this material energy, and the whole cosmic manifestation again takes place.
prakṛtiṁ svām avaṣṭabhya
visṛjāmi punaḥ punaḥ
bhūta-grāmam imaṁ kṛtsnam
avaśaṁ prakṛter vaśāt
prakṛtim—material nature; svām—of My personal self; avaṣṭabhya—enter in; visṛjāmi—create; punaḥ punaḥ—again, again; bhūta-grāmam—all these cosmic manifestations; imam—this; kṛtsnam—total; avaśam—automatically; prakṛteḥ—by the force of nature; vaśāt—under obligation.
The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My will it is manifested again and again, and by My will it is annihilated at the end.
This matter is the manifestation of the inferior energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This has already been explained several times. At the creation, the material energy is let loose as mahat-tattva, into which the Lord as His first Puruṣa incarnation, Mahā-Viṣṇu, enters. He lies within the Causal Ocean and breathes out innumerable universes, and into each universe the Lord again enters as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Each universe is in that way created. He still further manifests Himself as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and that Viṣṇu enters into everything-even into the minute atom. This fact is explained here. He enters into everything.
Now, as far as the living entities are concerned, they are impregnated into this material nature, and as a result of their past deeds they take different positions. Thus the activities of this material world begin. The activities of the different species of living beings are begun from the very moment of the creation. It is not that all is evolved. The different species of life are created immediately along with the universe. Men, animals, beasts, birds-everything is simultaneously created, because whatever desires the living entities had at the last annihilation are again manifested. It is clearly stated here that the living entities have nothing to do with this process. The state of being in their past life in the past creation is simply manifested again, and all this is done simply by His will. This is the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of God. And after creating different species of life, He has no connection with them. The creation takes place to accommodate the inclinations of the various living entities, and so the Lord does not become involved with it.
na ca māṁ tāni karmāṇi
asaktaṁ teṣu karmasu
na—never; ca—also; mām—Me; tāni—all those; karmāṇi—activities; nibadhnanti—bind; dhanañjaya—O conquerer of riches; udāsīnavat—as neutral; āsīnam—situated; asaktam—without attraction; teṣu—in them; karmasu—in activities.
O Dhanañjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached, seated as though neutral.
One should not think, in this connection, that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no engagement. In His spiritual world He is always engaged. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated: "He is always involved in His eternal, blissful, spiritual activities, but He has nothing to do with these material activities." Material activities are being carried on by His different potencies. The Lord is always neutral in the material activities of the created world. This neutrality is explained here. Although He has control over every minute detail of matter, He is sitting as if neutral. The example can be given of a high court judge sitting on his bench. By his order so many things are happening: someone is being hanged, someone is being put into jail, someone is awarded a huge amount of wealth-but still he is neutral. He has nothing to do with all that gain and loss. Similarly, the Lord is always neutral, although He has His hand in every sphere of activity. In the Vedānta-sūtra it is stated that He is not situated in the dualities of this material world. He is transcendental to these dualities. Nor is He attached to the creation and annihilation of this material world. The living entities take their different forms in the various species of life according to their past deeds, and the Lord doesn't interfere with them.
mayā—by Me; adhyakṣeṇa—by superintendence; prakṛtiḥ—material nature; sūyate—manifest; sa—with; carācaram—moving and nonmoving; hetunā—for this reason; anena—this; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; jagat—the cosmic manifestation; viparivartate—is working.
This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
It is clearly stated here that the Supreme Lord, although aloof from all the activities of the material world, remains the supreme director. The Supreme Lord is the supreme will and the background of this material manifestation, but the management is being conducted by material nature. Kṛṣṇa also states in Bhagavad-gītā that of all the living entities in different forms and species, "I am the Father." The father gives seeds to the womb of the mother for the child, and similarly the Supreme Lord by His mere glance injects all the living entities into the womb of material nature, and they come out in their different forms and species, according to their last desires and activities. All these living entities, although born under the glance of the Supreme Lord, still take their different bodies according to their past deeds and desires. So the Lord is not directly attached to this material creation. He simply glances over material nature; material nature is thus activated, and everything is created immediately. Because He glances over material nature, there is undoubtedly activity on the part of the Supreme Lord, but He has nothing to do with the manifestation of the material world directly. This example is given in the smṛti: when there is a fragrant flower before someone, the fragrance is touched by the smelling power of the person, yet the smelling and the flower are detached from one another. There is a similar connection between the material world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead; actually He has nothing to do with this material world, but He creates by His glance and ordains. In summary, material nature, without the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot do anything. Yet the Supreme Personality is detached from all material activities.
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
avajānanti—deride; mām—Me; mūḍhāḥ—foolish men; mānuṣīm—in a human form; tanum—body; āśritam—assuming; param—transcendental; bhāvam—nature; ajānantaḥ—not knowing; mama—Mine; bhūta—everything that be; maheśvaram—supreme proprietor.
Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.
From the other explanations of the previous verses in this chapter, it is clear that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although appearing like a human being, is not a common man. The Personality of Godhead, who conducts the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the complete cosmic manifestation, cannot be a human being. Yet there are many foolish men who consider Kṛṣṇa to be merely a powerful man and nothing more. Actually, He is the original Supreme Personality, as is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (iśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛsṇaḥ); He is the Supreme Lord.
There are many īśvaras, controllers, and one appears greater than another. In the ordinary management of affairs in the material world, we find some official or director, and above him there is a secretary, and above him a minister, and above him a president. Each of them is a controller, but one is controlled by another. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme controller; there are many controllers undoubtedly both in the material and spiritual world, but Kṛṣṇa is the supreme controller (īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ), and His body is sac-cid-ānanda, non-material.
Material bodies cannot perform the wonderful acts described in previous verses. His body is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. Although He is not a common man, the foolish deride Him and consider Him to be a man. His body is called here mānuṣīm because He is acting just like a man, a friend of Arjuna's, a politician involved in the Battle of Kurukṣetra. In so many ways He is acting just like an ordinary man, but actually His body is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha-eternal bliss and knowledge absolute. This is confirmed in the Vedic language also (sac-cid-ānanda-rūpāya kṛṣṇāya): "I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is the eternal blissful form of knowledge." There are other descriptions in the Vedic language also. Tam ekaṁ govindam: "You are Govinda, the pleasure of the senses and the cows." Sac-cid-ānanda-vigraham: "And Your form is transcendental, full of knowledge, bliss and eternality."
Despite the transcendental qualities of Lord Kṛṣṇa's body, its full bliss and knowledge, there are many so-called scholars and commentators of Bhagavad-gītā who deride Kṛṣṇa as an ordinary man. The scholar may be born an extraordinary man due to his previous good work, but this conception of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is due to a poor fund of knowledge. Therefore he is called mūḍha, for only foolish persons consider Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary human being because they do not know the confidential activities of the Supreme Lord and His different energies. They do not know that Kṛṣṇa's body is a symbol of complete knowledge and bliss, that He is the proprietor of everything that be and that He can award liberation to anyone. Because they do not know that Kṛṣṇa has so many transcendental qualifications, they deride Him.
Nor do they know that the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this material world is a manifestation of His internal energy. He is the master of the material energy. As has been explained in several places (mama māyā duratyayā), He claims that the material energy, although very powerful, is under His control, and whoever surrenders unto Him can get out of the control of this material energy. If a soul surrendered to Kṛṣṇa can get out of the influence of material energy, then how can the Supreme Lord, who conducts the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the whole cosmic nature, have a material body like us? So this conception of Kṛṣṇa is complete foolishness. Foolish persons, however, cannot conceive that the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, appearing just like an ordinary man, can be the controller of all the atoms and of the gigantic manifestation of the universal form. The biggest and the minutest are beyond their conception, so they cannot imagine that a form like that of a human being can simultaneously control the infinite and the minute. Actually although He is controlling the infinite and the finite, He is apart from all this manifestation. It is clearly stated concerning His yogam aiśvaram, His inconceivable transcendental energy, that He can control the infinite and the finite simultaneously and that He can remain aloof from them. Although the foolish cannot imagine how Kṛṣṇa, who appears just like a human being, can control the infinite and the finite, those who are pure devotees accept this, for they know that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore they completely surrender unto Him and engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service of the Lord.
There are many controversies amongst the impersonalists and the personalists about the Lord's appearance as a human being. But if we consult Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the authoritative texts for understanding the science of Kṛṣṇa, then we can understand that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not an ordinary man, although He appeared on this earth as an ordinary human. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, First Chapter, when the sages inquire about the activities of Kṛṣṇa, it is stated that His appearance as a man bewilders the foolish. No human being could perform the wonderful acts that Kṛṣṇa performed while He was present on this earth. When Kṛṣṇa appeared before His father and mother, Vasudeva and Devakī, He appeared with four hands, but after the prayers of the parents, He transformed Himself into an ordinary child. His appearance as an ordinary human being is one of the features of His transcendental body. In the Eleventh Chapter of the Gītā also it is stated, tenaiva rūpeṇa etc. Arjuna prayed to see again that form of four hands, and when Kṛṣṇa was thus petitioned by Arjuna, He again assumed His original form. All these different features of the Supreme Lord are certainly not those of an ordinary human being.
Some of those who deride Kṛṣṇa, who are infected with the Māyāvādī philosophy, quote the following verse from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to prove that Kṛṣṇa is just an ordinary man: ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmāvasthitaḥ sadā: "The Supreme is present in every living entity." (Bhāg. 3.29.21) We should better take note of this particular verse from the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas like Jīva Gosvāmī instead of following the interpretation of unauthorized persons who deride Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Gosvāmī, commenting on this verse, says that Kṛṣṇa, in His plenary expansion as Paramātmā, is situated in the moving and the nonmoving entities as the Supersoul, so any neophyte devotee who simply gives his attention to the arca-mūrti, the form of the Supreme Lord in the temple, and does not respect other living entities is uselessly worshiping the form of the Lord in the temple. There are three kinds of devotees of the Lord, and the neophyte is in the lowest stage. The neophyte devotee gives more attention to the Deity in the temple than to other devotees, so Jīva Gosvāmī warns that this sort of mentality should be corrected. A devotee should see that Kṛṣṇa is present in everyone's heart as Paramātmā; therefore every body is the embodiment or the temple of the Supreme Lord, and as such, as one offers respect to the temple of the Lord, he should similarly properly respect each and every body in whom the Paramātmā dwells. Everyone should therefore be given proper respect and should not be neglected.
There are also many impersonalists who deride temple worship. They say that since God is everywhere, why should one restrict himself to temple worship? But if God is everywhere, is He not in the temple or in the Deity? Although the personalist and the impersonalist will fight with one another perpetually, a perfect devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows that although Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality, He is all-pervading, as is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā. Although His personal abode is Goloka Vṛndāvana and He is always staying there, still, by His different manifestations of energy and by His plenary expansion, He is present everywhere in all parts of the material and spiritual creation.
rākṣasīm āsurīṁ caiva
prakṛtiṁ mohinīṁ śritāḥ
moghāśāḥ—baffled hope; mogha-karmāṇaḥ—baffled in fruitive activities; mogha-jñānāḥ—baffled in knowledge; vicetasaḥ—bewildered; rākṣasīm—demonic; āsurīm—atheistic; ca—and; eva—certainly; prakṛtim—nature; mohinīm—bewildering; śritāḥ—taking shelter of.
Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.
There are many devotees who assume themselves to be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service but at heart do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, as the Absolute Truth. For them, the fruit of devotional service-going back to Godhead-will never be tasted. Similarly, those who are engaged in fruitive, pious activities and who are ultimately hoping to be liberated from this material entanglement will never be successful either because they deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. In other words, persons who mock Kṛṣṇa are to be understood to be demonic or atheistic. As described in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, such demonic miscreants never surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore their mental speculations to arrive at the Absolute Truth bring them to the false conclusion that the ordinary living entity and Kṛṣṇa are one and the same. With such a false conviction, they think that the body of any human being is now simply covered by material nature and that as soon as one is liberated from this material body there is no difference between God and himself. This attempt to become one with Kṛṣṇa will be baffled because of delusion. Such atheistic and demoniac cultivation of spiritual knowledge is always futile. That is the indication of this verse. For such persons, cultivation of the knowledge in the Vedic literature, like the Vedānta-sūtra and the Upaniṣads, is always baffled.
It is a great offense, therefore, to consider Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be an ordinary man. Those who do so are certainly deluded because they cannot understand the eternal form of Kṛṣṇa. In the Bṛhad-vaiṣṇava mantra it is clearly stated that one who considers the body of Kṛṣṇa to be material should be driven out from all rituals and activities of the śruti. And if one by chance sees his face, he should at once take bath in the Ganges to rid himself of infection. People jeer at Kṛṣṇa because they are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their destiny is certainly to take birth after birth in the species of atheistic and demoniac life. Perpetually, their real knowledge will remain under delusion, and gradually they will regress to the darkest region of creation.
mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha
daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam
mahātmānaḥ—the great souls; tu—but; mām—unto Me; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; daivīm—divine; prakṛtim—nature; āśritāḥ—taken shelter of; bhajanti—render service; ananya-manasaḥ—without deviation of the mind; jñātvā—knowing; bhūta—creation; ādim—original; avyayam—inexhaustible.
O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
In this verse the description of mahātmā is clearly given. The first sign of the mahātmā is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivīṁ prakṛtim, divine nature. So, when one is promoted in that way-by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead-one attains to the stage of great soul, mahātmā.
The mahātmā does not divert his attention to anything outside Kṛṣṇa because he knows perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahātmā, or great soul, develops through association with other mahātmās, pure devotees. Pure devotees are not even attracted by Kṛṣṇa's other features, such as the four-armed Mahā-Viṣṇu. They are simply attracted by the two-armed form of Kṛṣṇa. Since they are not attracted to other features of Kṛṣṇa (what to speak of the demigods), they are not concerned with any form of a demigod or of a human being. They only meditate upon Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are always engaged in the unswerving service of the Lord in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
satatam—always; kīrtayantaḥ—chanting; mām—Me; yatantaḥ ca—fully endeavoring also; dṛḍha-vratāḥ—with determination; namasyantaḥ ca—offering obeisances; mām—unto Me; bhaktyā—in devotion; nitya-yuktāḥ—perpetually engaged; upāsate—worship.
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.
The mahātmā cannot be manufactured by rubber-stamping an ordinary man. His symptoms are described here: a mahātmā is always engaged in chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. He has no other business. He is always engaged in the glorification of the Lord. In other words, he is not an impersonalist. When the question of glorification is there, one has to glorify the Supreme Lord, praising His holy name, His eternal form, His transcendental qualities and His uncommon pastimes. One has to glorify all these things; therefore a mahātmā is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One who is attached to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord, the brahmajyoti, is not described as mahātmā in the Bhagavad-gītā. He is described in a different way in the next verse. The mahātmā is always engaged in different activities of devotional service, as described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, hearing and chanting about Viṣṇu, not a demigod or human being. That is devotion: śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, smaraṇam, and remembering Him. Such a mahātmā has firm determination to achieve at the ultimate end the association of the Supreme Lord in any one of the five transcendental rasas. To achieve that success, he engages all activities-mental, bodily and vocal, everything-in the service of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. That is called full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
In devotional service there are certain activities which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekādaśī, and on the appearance day of the Lord, etc. All these rules and regulations are offered by the great ācāryas for those who are actually interested in getting admission into the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental world. The mahātmās, great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations, and therefore they are sure to achieve the desired result.
As described in the second verse of this chapter, this devotional service is not only easy, but it can be performed in a happy mood. One does not need to undergo any severe penance and austerity. He can live this life in devotional service, guided by an expert spiritual master, and in any position, either as a householder or a sannyāsī, or a brahmacārī; in any position and anywhere in the world, he can perform this devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become actually mahātmā, a great soul.
jñāna-yajñena cāpy anye
yajanto mām upāsate
jñāna-yajñena—by cultivation of knowledge; ca—also; api—certainly; anye—others; yajantaḥ—worshiping; mām—Me; upāsate—worship; ekatvena—in oneness; pṛthaktvena—in duality; bahudhā—diversity; viśvataḥ-mukham—in the universal form.
Others, who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, diverse in many, and in the universal form.
This verse is the summary of the previous verses. The Lord tells Arjuna that those who are purely in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and do not know anything other than Kṛṣṇa are called mahātmā; yet there are other persons who are not exactly in the position of mahātmā but who worship Kṛṣṇa also, in different ways. Some of them are already described as the distressed, the financially destitute, the inquisitive, and those who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. But there are others who are still lower, and these are divided into three: 1) He who worships himself as one with the Supreme Lord, 2) He who concocts some form of the Supreme Lord and worships that, and 3) He who accepts the universal form, the viśvarūpa of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and worships that. Out of the above three, the lowest, those who worship themselves as the Supreme Lord, thinking themselves to be monists, are most predominant. Such people think themselves to be the Supreme Lord, and in this mentality they worship themselves. This is also a type of God worship, for they can understand that they are not the material body but are actually spiritual soul; at least, such a sense is prominent. Generally the impersonalists worship the Supreme Lord in this way. The second class includes the worshipers of the demigods, those who by imagination consider any form to be the form of the Supreme Lord. And the third class includes those who cannot conceive of anything beyond the manifestation of this material universe. They consider the universe to be the supreme organism or entity and worship that. The universe is also a form of the Lord.
ahaṁ kratur ahaṁ yajñaḥ
svadhāham aham auṣadham
mantro 'ham aham evājyam
aham agnir ahaṁ hutam
aham—I; kratuḥ—ritual; aham—I; yajñaḥ—sacrifice; svadhā—oblation; aham—I ; aham—I; auṣadham—healing herb ; mantraḥ—transcendental chant; aham—I; aham—I; eva—certainly; ajyam—melted butter; aham—I; agniḥ—fire; aham—I; hutam—offering.
But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.
The sacrifice known as jyotiṣṭoma is also Kṛṣṇa, and He is also the mahā-yajña The oblations offered to the Pitṛloka or the sacrifice performed to please the Pitṛloka, considered as a kind of drug in the form of clarified butter, is also Kṛṣṇa. The mantras chanted in this connection are also Kṛṣṇa. And many other commodities made with milk products for offering in the sacrifices are also Kṛṣṇa. The fire is also Kṛṣṇa because fire is one of the five material elements and is therefore claimed as the separated energy of Kṛṣṇa. In other words, the Vedic sacrifices recommended in the karma-kāṇḍa division of the Vedas are in total also Kṛṣṇa. Or, in other words, those who are engaged in rendering devotional service unto Kṛṣṇa are to be understood to have performed all the sacrifices recommended in the Vedas.
pitāham asya jagato
mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra
ṛk sāma yajur eva ca
pitā—father; aham—I; asya—of this; jagataḥ—of the universe; mātā—mother; dhātā—supporter; pitāmahaḥ—grandfather; vedyam—what is to be known; pavitram—that which purifies; omkāraḥ—the syllable om; ṛk—the Ṛg-veda; sāma—the Sāma-veda; yajuḥ—the Yajur-veda; eva—certainly; ca—and.
I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support, and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Ṛk, the Sāma, and the Yajur [Vedas].
The entire cosmic manifestations, moving and nonmoving, are manifested by different activities of Kṛṣṇa's energy. In the material existence we create different relationships with different living entities who are nothing but Kṛṣṇa's marginal energy, but under the creation of prakṛti some of them appear as our father, mother, grandfather, creator, etc., but actually they are parts and parcels of Kṛṣṇa. As such, these living entities who appear to be our father, mother, etc., are nothing but Kṛṣṇa. In this verse the word dhātā means creator. Not only are our father and mother parts and parcels of Kṛṣṇa, but their creator, grandmother, and grandfather, etc., are also Kṛṣṇa. Actually any living entity, being part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, is Kṛṣṇa. All the Vedas, therefore, aim only toward Kṛṣṇa. Whatever we want to know through the Vedas is but a progressive step to understand Kṛṣṇa. That subject matter which helps us purify our constitutional position is especially Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, the living entity who is inquisitive to understand all Vedic principles is also part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa and as such is also Kṛṣṇa. In all the Vedic mantras the word om, called praṇava, is a transcendental sound vibration and is also Kṛṣṇa. And because in all the hymns of the four Vedas, Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva, the praṇava or omkāra is very prominent, it is understood to be Kṛṣṇa.
gatir bhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī
nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṁ suhṛt
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṁ
nidhānaṁ bījam avyayam
gatiḥ—goal; bhartā—sustainer; prabhuḥ—Lord; sākṣī—witness; nivāsaḥ—abode; śaraṇam—refuge; suhṛt—most intimate friend; prabhavaḥ—creation; pralayaḥ—dissolution; sthānam—ground; nidhānam—resting place; bījam—seed; avyayam—imperishable.
I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.
Gati means the destination where we want to go. But the ultimate goal is Kṛṣṇa, although people do not know it. One who does not know Kṛṣṇa is misled, and his so-called progressive march is either partial or hallucinatory. There are many who make as their destination different demigods, and by rigid performance of the strict respective methods they reach different planets known as Candraloka, Sūryaloka, Indraloka, Maharloka, etc. But all such lokas or planets, being creations of Kṛṣṇa, are simultaneously Kṛṣṇa and not Kṛṣṇa. Actually such planets, being the manifestations of Kṛṣṇa's energy, are also Kṛṣṇa, but actually they only serve as a step forward for realization of Kṛṣṇa. To approach the different energies of Kṛṣṇa is to approach Kṛṣṇa indirectly. One should directly approach Kṛṣṇa, for that will save time and energy. For example, if there is a possibility of going to the top of a building by the help of an elevator, why should one go by the staircase, step by step? Everything is resting on Kṛṣṇa's energy; therefore without Kṛṣṇa's shelter nothing can exist. Kṛṣṇa is the supreme ruler because everything belongs to Him and everything exists on His energy. Kṛṣṇa, being situated in everyone's heart, is the supreme witness. The residences, countries or planets on which we live are also Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of shelter, and as such one should take shelter of Kṛṣṇa either for protection or for annihilation of his distressed condition. And whenever we have to take protection, we should know that our protection must be a living force. Thus Kṛṣṇa is the supreme living entity. Since Kṛṣṇa is the source of our generation, or the supreme father, no one can be a better friend than Kṛṣṇa, nor can anyone be a better well-wisher. Kṛṣṇa is the original source of creation and the ultimate rest after annihilation. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the eternal cause of all causes.
tapāmy aham ahaṁ varṣaṁ
nigṛhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca
amṛtaṁ caiva mṛtyuś ca
sad asac cāham arjuna
tapāmi—give heat; aham—I; aham—I; varṣam—rain; nigṛhṇāmi—withold; utsṛjāmi—send forth; ca—and; amṛtam—immortality; ca—and; eva—certainly; mṛtyuḥ—death; ca—and; sat—being; asat—nonbeing; ca—and; aham—I; arjuna—O Arjuna.
O Arjuna, I control heat, the rain and the drought. I am immortality, and I am also death personified. Both being and nonbeing are in Me.
Kṛṣṇa, by His different energies, diffuses heat and light through the agency of electricity and the sun. During summer season it is Kṛṣṇa who checks rain from falling from the sky, and then, during the rainy season, He gives unceasing torrents of rain. The energy which sustains us by prolonging the duration of our life is Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa meets us at the end as death. By analyzing all these different energies of Kṛṣṇa, one can acertain that for Kṛṣṇa there is no distinction between matter and spirit, or, in other words, He is both matter and spirit. In the advanced stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one does not therefore make such distinctions. He sees Kṛṣṇa only in everything.
Since Kṛṣṇa is both matter and spirit, the gigantic universal form comprising all material manifestations is also Kṛṣṇa, and His pastimes in Vṛndāvana as two-handed Śyāmasundara, playing on a flute, are those of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
trai-vidyā māṁ soma-pāḥ pūta-pāpā
yajñair iṣṭvā svar-gatiṁ prārthayante
te puṇyam āsādya surendra-lokam
aśnanti divyān divi deva-bhogān
trai-vidyāḥ—the knowers of the three Vedas; mām—unto Me; soma-pāḥ—drinkers of soma juice; pūta—purified; pāpāḥ—sins; yajñaiḥ—with sacrifices; iṣṭvā—after worshiping; svargatim—passage to heaven; prārthayante—pray; te—they; puṇyam—virtue; āsādya—enjoying; surendra—of Indra; lokam—world; aśnanti—enjoy; divyān—celestial; divi—in heaven; deva-bhogān—pleasures of the gods.
Those who study the Vedas and drink the soma juice, seeking the heavenly planets, worship Me indirectly. They take birth on the planet of Indra, where they enjoy godly delights.
The word trai-vidyāḥ refers to the three Vedas, Sāma, Yajur and Ṛg. A brāhmaṇa who has studied these three Vedas is called a tri-vedī. Anyone who is very much attached to knowledge derived from these three Vedas is respected in society. Unfortunately, there are many great scholars of the Vedas who do not know the ultimate purport of studying them. Therefore Kṛṣṇa herein declares Himself to be the ultimate goal for the tri-vedīs. Actual tri-vedīs take shelter under the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and engage in pure devotional service to satisfy the Lord. Devotional service begins with the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and side by side trying to understand Kṛṣṇa in truth. Unfortunately those who are simply official students of the Vedas become more interested in offering sacrifices to the different demigods like Indra, Candra, etc. By such endeavor, the worshipers of different demigods are certainly purified of the contamination of the lower qualities of nature and are thereby elevated to the higher planetary system or heavenly planets known as Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, etc. Once situated on those higher planetary systems, one can satisfy his senses hundreds of thousands of times better than on this planet.
te taṁ bhuktvā svarga-lokaṁ viśālaṁ
kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti
evaṁ trayī-dharmam anuprapannā
gatāgataṁ kāma-kāmā labhante
te—they; tam—that; bhuktvā—enjoying; svarga-lokam—heaven; viśālam—vast; kṣīṇe—being exhausted; puṇye—merits; martya-lokam—mortal earth; viśanti—fall down; evam—thus; trayī—three Vedas; dharmam—doctrines; anuprapannāḥ—following; gata-agatam—death and birth; kāma-kāmāḥ—desiring sense enjoyments; labhante—attain.
When they have thus enjoyed heavenly sense pleasure, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus, through the Vedic principles, they achieve only flickering happiness.
One who is promoted to those higher planetary systems enjoys a longer duration of life and better facilities for sense enjoyment, yet one is not allowed to stay there forever. One is again sent back to this earthly planet upon finishing the resultant fruits of pious activities. He who has not attained perfection of knowledge, as indicated in the Vedānta-sūtra (janmādy asya yataḥ), or, in other words, he who fails to understand Kṛṣṇa, the cause of all causes, becomes baffled in achieving the ultimate goal of life and is thus subjected to the routine of being promoted to the higher planets and then again coming down, as if situated on a ferris wheel which sometimes goes up and sometimes comes down. The purport is that instead of being elevated to the spiritual world where there is no longer any possibility of coming down, one simply revolves in the cycle of birth and death on higher and lower planetary systems. One should better take to the spiritual world to enjoy eternal life full of bliss and knowledge and never return to this miserable material existence.
ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
ananyāḥ—no other; cintayantaḥ—concentrating; mām—unto Me; ye—who; janāḥ—persons; paryupāsate—properly worship; teṣām—their; nitya—always abhiyuktānām—fixed in devotion; yoga-kṣemam—requirements; vahāmi—carry; aham—I.
But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.
One who is unable to live for a moment without Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot but think of Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours, being engaged in devotional service by hearing, chanting, remembering, offering prayers, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, rendering other services, cultivating friendship and surrendering fully to the Lord. Such activities are all auspicious and full of spiritual potencies; indeed, they make the devotee perfect in self-realization. Then his only desire is to achieve the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called yoga. By the mercy of the Lord, such a devotee never comes back to this material condition of life. Kṣema refers to the merciful protection of the Lord. The Lord helps the devotee to achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness by yoga, and when he becomes fully Kṛṣṇa conscious the Lord protects him from falling down to a miserable conditioned life.
ye 'py anya-devatā-bhaktā
te 'pi mām eva kaunteya
ye—those; api—also; anya—other; devatā—demigods; bhaktāḥ—devotees; yajante—worship; śraddhaya-anvitāḥ—with faith; te—they; api—also; mām—Me; eva—even; kaunteya-O son of Kuntī; yajanti—sacrifice; avidhi-pūrvakam—in a wrong way.
Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods, O son of Kuntī, is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding.
"Persons who are engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is done to Me indirectly," Kṛṣṇa says. For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different officers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the officers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different officers and directors of the Lord. The officers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the officers and directors is illegal. This is stated here as avidhi-pūrvakam. In other words, Kṛṣṇa does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods.
ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ
bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mām abhijānanti
tattvenātaś cyavanti te
aham—I; hi—surely; sarva—of all; yajñānām—sacrifices; bhoktā—enjoyer; ca—and; prabhuḥ—Lord; eva—also; ca—and; na—not; tu—but; mām—Me; abhijānanti—know; tattvena—in reality; ataḥ—therefore; cyavanti—fall down; te—they.
I am the only enjoyer and the only object of sacrifice. Those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.
Here it is clearly stated that there are many types of yajña performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajña means Viṣṇu. In the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that one should only work for satisfying Yajña or Viṣṇu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varṇāśrama-dharma, is specifically meant for satisfying Viṣṇu. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa says in this verse, "I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices because I am the supreme master." However, less intelligent persons, without knowing this fact, worship demigods for temporary benefit. Therefore they fall down to material existence and do not achieve the desired goal of life. If, however, anyone has any material desire to be fulfilled, he had better pray for it to the Supreme Lord (although that is not pure devotion), and he will thus achieve the desired result.
yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām
yānti—achieve; deva-vratāḥ—worshipers of demigods; devān—to demigods; pitṝn—to ancestors; yānti—go; pitṛ-vratāḥ—worshipers of ancestors; bhūtāni—to ghosts and spirits; yānti—go; bhūtejyāḥ—worshipers of ghosts and spirits; yānti—go; mat—My; yājinaḥ—devotees; api—also; mām—unto Me.
Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.
If anyone has any desire to go to the moon, the sun, or any other planet, one can attain the desired destination by following specific Vedic principles recommended for that purpose. These are vividly described in the fruitive activities portion of the Vedas, technically known as darśa-paurṇamāsī, which recommends a specific worship of demigods situated on different heavenly planets. Similarly, one can attain the pitā planets by performing a specific yajña. Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a yakṣa, rakṣa or piśāca. Piśāca worship is called "black arts" or "black magic." There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. Similarly, a pure devotee, who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead only, achieves the planets of Vaikuṇṭha and Kṛṣṇaloka without a doubt. It is very easy to understand through this important verse that if by simply worshiping the demigods one can achieve the heavenly planets, or by worshiping the pitā achieve the pitā planets, or by practicing the black arts achieve the ghostly planets, why can the pure devotee not achieve the planet of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu? Unfortunately many people have no information of these sublime planets where Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu live, and because they do not know of them they fall down. Even the impersonalists fall down from the brahmajyoti. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore distributing sublime information to the entire human society to the effect that by simply chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can become perfect in this life and go back home, back to Godhead.
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
patram—a leaf; puṣpam—a flower; phalam—a fruit; toyam—water; yaḥ—whoever; me—unto Me; bhaktyā—with devotion; prayacchati—offers; tat—that; aham—I; bhakti-upahṛtam—offered in devotion; aśnāmi—accept; prayata-ātmanaḥ—of one in pure consciousness.
If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit a water, I will accept it.
Here Lord Kṛṣṇa, having established that He is the only enjoyer, the primeval Lord, and the real object of all sacrificial offerings, reveals what types of sacrifices He desires to be offered. If one wishes to engage in devotional service to the Supreme in order to be purified and to reach the goal of life-the transcendental loving service of God-then he should find out what the Lord desires of him. One who loves Kṛṣṇa will give Him whatever He wants, and he avoids offering anything which is undesirable or unasked for. Thus, meat, fish and eggs should not be offered to Kṛṣṇa. If He desired such things as offerings, He would have said so. Instead He clearly requests that a leaf, fruit, flowers and water be given to Him, and He says of this offering, "I will accept it." Therefore, we should understand that He will not accept meat, fish and eggs. Vegetables, grains, fruits, milk and water are the proper foods for human beings and are prescribed by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Whatever else we eat cannot be offered to Him, since He will not accept it. Thus we cannot be acting on the level of loving devotion if we offer such foods.
In the Third Chapter, verse thirteen, Śrī Kṛṣṇa explains that only the remains of sacrifice are purified and fit for consumption by those who are seeking advancement in life and release from the clutches of the material entanglement. Those who do not make an offering of their food, He says in the same verse, are said to be eating only sin. In other words, their every mouthful is simply deepening their involvement in the complexities of material nature. But preparing nice, simple vegetable dishes, offering them before the picture or Deity of Lord Kṛṣṇa and bowing down and praying for Him to accept such a humble offering, enable one to advance steadily in life, to purify the body, and to create fine brain tissues which will lead to clear thinking. Above all, the offering should be made with an attitude of love. Kṛṣṇa has no need of food, since He already possesses everything that be, yet He will accept the offering of one who desires to please Him in that way. The important element, in preparation, in serving and in offering, is to act with love for Kṛṣṇa.
The impersonalist philosophers, who wish to maintain that the Absolute Truth is without senses, cannot comprehend this verse of Bhagavad-gītā. To them, it is either a metaphor or proof of the mundane character of Kṛṣṇa, the speaker of the Gītā. But, in actuality, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Godhead, has senses, and it is stated that His senses are interchangeable; in other words, one sense can perform the function of any other. This is what it means to say that Kṛṣṇa is absolute. Lacking senses, He could hardly be considered full in all opulences. In the Seventh Chapter, Kṛṣṇa has explained that He impregnates the living entities into material nature. This is done by His looking upon material nature. And so in this instance, Kṛṣṇa's hearing the devotee's words of love in offering foodstuffs is wholly identical with His eating and actually tasting. This point should be emphasized: because of His absolute position, His hearing is wholly identical with His eating and tasting. Only the devotee, who accepts Kṛṣṇa as He describes Himself, without interpretation, can understand that the Supreme Absolute Truth can eat food and enjoy it.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
yat—what; karoṣi—you do; yat—whatever; aśnāsi—you eat; yat—whatever; juhoṣi—you offer; dadāsi—you give away; yat—whatever; yat—whatever; tapasyasi—austerities you perform; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; tat—that; kuruṣva—make; mat—unto Me; arpaṇam—offering.
O son of Kuntī, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.
Thus, it is the duty of everyone to mold his life in such a way that he will not forget Kṛṣṇa in any circumstance. Everyone has to work for maintenance of his body and soul together, and Kṛṣṇa recommends herein that one should work for Him. Everyone has to eat something to live; therefore he should accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa. Any civilized man has to perform some religious ritualistic ceremonies; therefore Kṛṣṇa recommends, "Do it for Me," and this is called arcanā. Everyone has a tendency to give something in charity; Kṛṣṇa says, "Give it to Me," and this means that all surplus money accummulated should be utilized in furthering the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Nowadays people are very much inclined to the meditational process, which is not practical in this age, but if anyone practices meditating on Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra round his beads, he is surely the greatest yogī, as substantiated by the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā.
vimukto mām upaiṣyasi
śubha—good; aśubha—evil; phalaiḥ—results; evam—thus; mokṣyase—free; karma—action; bandhanaiḥ—bondage; sannyāsa—of renunciation; yoga—the yoga; yukta-ātmā—having the mind firmly set on; vimuktaḥ—liberated; mām—to Me; upaiṣyasi—you will attain.
In this way you will be freed from all reactions to good and evil deeds, and by this principle of renunciation you will be liberated and come to Me.
One who acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness under superior direction is called yukta. The technical term is yukta-vairāgya. This is further explained by Rūpa Gosvāmī as follows.
Rūpa Gosvāmī says that as long as we are in this material world we have to act; we cannot cease acting. Therefore if actions are performed and the fruits are given to Kṛṣṇa, then that is called yukta-vairāgya. Actually situated in renunciation, such activities clear the mirror of the mind, and as the actor gradually makes progress in spiritual realization he becomes completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore at the end he becomes liberated, and this liberation is also specified. By this liberation he does not become one with the brahmajyoti but rather enters into the planet of the Supreme Lord. It is clearly mentioned here: mām upaiṣyasi, "he comes to Me," back home, back to Godhead. There are five different stages of liberation, and here it is specified that the devotee who has always lived his lifetime here under the direction of the Supreme Lord, as stated, has evolved to the point where he can, after quitting this body, go back to Godhead and engage directly in the association of the Supreme Lord.
Anyone who has no other interest but to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord is actually a sannyāsī Such a person always thinks of himself as an eternal servant, dependant on the supreme will of the Lord. As such, whatever he does, he does it for the benefit of the Lord. Whatever action he performs, he performs it as service to the Lord. He does not give serious attention to the fruitive activities or prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas. For ordinary persons it is obligatory to execute the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas, but although a pure devotee who is completely engaged in the service of the Lord may sometimes appear to go against the prescribed Vedic duties, actually it is not so.
It is said, therefore, by Vaiṣṇava authorities that even the most intelligent person cannot understand the plans and activities of a pure devotee. The exact words are vaiṣṇavera kriyā mudrā vijñe nā bujhayā. A person who is thus always engaged in the service of the Lord or is always thinking and planning how to serve the Lord is to be considered completely liberated at present and in the future. His going home, back to Godhead, is guaranteed. He is above all materialistic criticism, just as Kṛṣṇa is above all criticism.
samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
samaḥ—equally disposed; aham—I; sarva-bhūteṣu—to all living entities; na—no one; me—Mine; dveṣyaḥ—hateful; asti—is; na—nor; priyaḥ—dear; ye—those; bhajanti—render transcendental service; tu—yet; mām—unto Me; bhaktyā—in devotion; mayi—unto Me; te—such persons; teṣu—in them; ca—also; api—certainly; aham—I.
I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.
One may question here that if Kṛṣṇa is equal to everyone and no one is His special friend, then why does He take a special interest in the devotees who are always engaged in His transcendental service? But this is not discrimination; it is natural. Any man in this material world may be very charitably disposed, yet he has a special interest in his own children. The Lord claims that every living entity-in whatever form-is His son, and as such He provides everyone with a generous supply of the necessities of life. He is just like a cloud which pours rain all over, regardless whether it falls on rock or land or water. But for His devotees, He gives specific attention. Such devotees are mentioned here: they are always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and therefore they are always transcendentally situated in Kṛṣṇa. The very phrase Kṛṣṇa consciousness suggests that those who are in such consciousness are living transcendentalists, situated in Him. The Lord says here distinctly, "mayi te," "in Me." Naturally, as a result, the Lord is also in them. This is reciprocal. This also explains the words: asti na priyaḥ/ye bhajanti: "Whoever surrenders unto Me, proportionately I take care of him." This transcendental reciprocation exists because both the Lord and the devotee are conscious. When a diamond is set in a golden ring, it looks very nice. The gold is glorified, and at the same time the diamond is glorified. The Lord and the living entity eternally glitter, and when a living entity becomes inclined to the service of the Supreme Lord, he looks like gold. The Lord is a diamond, and so this combination is very nice. Living entities in a pure state are called devotees. The Supreme Lord becomes the devotee of His devotees. If a reciprocal relationship is not present between the devotee and the Lord, then there is no personalist philosophy. In the impersonal philosophy there is no reciprocation between the Supreme and the living entity, but in the personalist philosophy there is.
The example is often given that the Lord is like a desire tree, and whatever one wants from this desire tree, the Lord supplies. But here the explanation is more complete. The Lord is here stated to be partial to the devotees. This is the manifestation of the Lord's special mercy to the devotees. The Lord's reciprocation should not be considered to be under the law of karma. It belongs to the transcendental situation in which the Lord and His devotees function. Devotional service of the Lord is not an activity of this material world; it is part of the spiritual world where eternity, bliss and knowledge predominate.
api cet su-durācāro
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
api—in spite of; cet—although; sudurācāraḥ—one committing the most abominable actions; bhajate—engaged in devotional service; mām—unto Me; ananya-bhāk—without deviation; sādhuḥ—saint; eva—certainly; saḥ—he; mantavyaḥ—to be considered; samyak—completely; vyavasitaḥ—situated; hi—certainly; saḥ—he.
Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.
The word sudurācāro used in this verse is very significant, and we should understand it properly. When a living entity is conditioned, he has two kinds of activities: one is conditional, and the other is constitutional. As for protecting the body or abiding by the rules of society and state, certainly there are different activities, even for the devotees, in connection with the conditional life, and such activities are called conditional. Besides these, the living entity who is fully conscious of his spiritual nature and is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or the devotional service of the Lord, has activities which are called transcendental. Such activities are performed in his constitutional position, and they are technically called devotional service. Now, in the conditioned state, sometimes devotional service and the conditional service in relation to the body will parallel one another. But then again, sometimes these activities become opposed to one another. As far as possible, a devotee is very cautious so that he does not do anything that could disrupt his wholesome condition. He knows that perfection in his activities depends on his progressive realization of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sometimes, however, it may be seen that a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness commits some act which may be taken as most abominable socially or politically. But such a temporary falldown does not disqualify him. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that if a person falls down, but is wholeheartedly engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord, the Lord, being situated within his heart, beautifies him and excuses him from that abomination. The material contamination is so strong that even a yogī fully engaged in the service of the Lord sometimes becomes ensnared; but Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so strong that such an occasional falldown is at once rectified. Therefore the process of devotional service is always a success. No one should deride a devotee for some accidental falldown from the ideal path, for, as is explained in the next verse, such occasional falldowns will be stopped in due course, as soon as a devotee is completely situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Therefore a person who is situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and is engaged with determination in the process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare should be considered to be in the transcendental position, even if by chance or accident he is found to have fallen. The words sādhur eva, "he is saintly," are very emphatic. They are a warning to the nondevotees that because of an accidental falldown a devotee should not be derided; he should still be considered saintly even if he has fallen down accidentally. And the word mantavyaḥ is still more emphatic. If one does not follow this rule, and derides a devotee for his accidental falldown, then he is disobeying the order of the Supreme Lord. The only qualification of a devotee is to be unflinchingly and exclusively engaged in devotional service.
The mark of a spot which may be seen on the moon does not become an impediment to the moonlight. Similarly, the accidental falldown of a devotee from the path of a saintly character does not make him abominable. On the other hand, one should not misunderstand that a devotee in transcendental devotional service can act in all kinds of abominable ways; this verse only refers to an accident due to the strong power of material connections. Devotional service is more or less a declaration of war against the illusory energy. As long as one is not strong enough to fight the illusory energy, there may be accidental falldowns. But when one is strong enough, he is no longer subjected to such falldowns, as previously explained. No one should take advantage of this verse and commit nonsense and think that he is still a devotee. If he does not improve in his character by devotional service, then it is to be understood that he is not a high devotee.
kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā
na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati
kṣipram—very soon; bhavati—becomes; dharma-ātmā—righteous; śaśvat-śāntim—lasting peace; nigacchati—attains; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; pratijānīhi—justly declare; na—never; me—Mine; bhaktaḥ—devotee; praṇaśyati—perishes.
He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.
This should not be misunderstood. In the Seventh Chapter the Lord says that one who is engaged in mischievous activities cannot become a devotee of the Lord. One who is not a devotee of the Lord has no good qualifications whatsoever. The question remains, then, how can a person engaged in abominable activities-either by accident or intention-be a pure devotee? This question may justly be raised. The miscreants, as stated in the Seventh Chapter, who never come to the devotional service of the Lord, have no good qualifications, as is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Generally, a devotee who is engaged in the nine kinds of devotional activities is engaged in the process of cleansing all material contamination from the heart. He puts the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, and all sinful contaminations are naturally washed away. Continuous thinking of the Supreme Lord makes him pure by nature. According to the Vedas, there is a certain regulation that if one falls down from his exalted position, he has to undergo certain ritualistic processes to purify himself. But here there is no such condition because the purifying process is already there in the heart of the devotee, due to his remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly. Therefore, the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare should be continued without stoppage. This will protect a devotee from all accidental falldowns. He will thus remain perpetually free from all material contaminations.
māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya
ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim
mām-unto Me; hi-certainly; pārtha-O son of Pṛthā; vyapāśrītya-particularly taking shelter; ye-anyone; api-also; syuḥ-becomes; pāpa-yonayaḥ—born of a lower family; striyaḥ—women; vaiśyāḥ—mercantile people; tathā—also; śūdrāḥ—lower class men; te api—even they; yānti—go; parām—supreme; gatim—destination.
O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth-women, vaiśyas [merchants], as well as śūdras [workers]-can approach the supreme destination.
It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower or higher classes of people. In the material conception of life, there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord, there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that even the lowest, who are called caṇḍālas (dog-eaters), can be elevated by association with a pure devotee. Therefore devotional service and guidance of a pure devotee are so strong that there is no discrimination between the lower and higher classes of men; anyone can take to it. The most simple man taking center of the pure devotee can be purified by proper guidance. According to the different modes of material nature, men are classified in the mode of goodness (brāhmaṇas), the mode of passion (kṣatriyas, or administrators), the mixed modes of passion and ignorance (vaiśyas, or merchants), and the mode of ignorance (śūdras, or workers). Those lower than them are called caṇḍālas, and they are born in sinful families. Generally, those who are born in sinful families are not accepted by the higher classes. But the process of devotional service and the pure devotee of the Supreme God are so strong that all the lower classes can attain the highest perfection of life. This is possible only when one takes center of Kṛṣṇa. One has to take center completely of Kṛṣṇa. Then one can become much greater than great jñānīs and yogīs.
kiṁ punar brāhmaṇāḥ puṇyā
bhaktā rājarṣayas tathā
anityam asukhaṁ lokam
imaṁ prāpya bhajasva mām
kim—how much; punaḥ—again; brāhmaṇāḥ-brāhmaṇas; puṇyāḥ—righteous; bhaktāḥ—devotees; rājarṣayaḥ—saintly kings; tathā—also; anityam—temporary; asukham—sorrowful; lokam—planets; imam—this; prāpya—gaining; bhajasva—are engaged in loving service; mām—unto Me.
How much greater then are the brāhmaṇas, the righteous, the devotees and saintly kings who in this temporary miserable world engage in loving service unto Me.
In this material world there are classifications of people, but, after all, this world is not a happy place for anyone. It is clearly stated here, anityam asukhaṁ lokam: this world is temporary and full of miseries, not habitable for any sane gentleman. This world is declared by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be temporary and full of miseries. Some of the philosophers, especially the minor philosophers, say that this world is false, but we can understand from Bhagavad-gītā that the world is not false; it is temporary. There is a difference between temporary and false. This world is temporary, but there is another world which is eternal. This world is miserable, but the other world is eternal and blissful.
Arjuna was born in a saintly royal family. To him also the Lord says, "Take to My devotional service and come quickly back to Godhead, back home." No one should remain in this temporary world, full as it is with miseries. Everyone should attach himself to the bosom of the Supreme Personality of Godhead so that he can be eternally happy. The devotional service of the Supreme Lord is the only process by which all problems of all classes of men can be solved. Everyone should therefore take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and make his life perfect.
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
mat-manāḥ—always thinking of Me; bhava—become; mat—My; bhaktaḥ—devotee; mat—My; yājī—worshiper; mām—unto Me; namaskuru—offer obeisances; mām—unto Me; eva—completely; eṣyasi—come; yuktvā evam—being absorbed; ātmānam—your soul; mat-parāyaṇaḥ—devoted to Me.
Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only means of being delivered from the clutches of this contaminated material world. Sometimes unscrupulous commentators distort the meaning of what is clearly stated here: that all devotional service should be offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Unfortunately, unscrupulous commentators divert the mind of the reader to that which is not at all feasible. Such commentators do not know that there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa's mind and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is not an ordinary human being; He is Absolute Truth. His body, mind and He Himself are one and absolute. It is stated in the Kūrma Purāṇa. As it is quoted by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī in his Anubhāṣya comments on Caitanya-caritāmrta, Fifth Chapter, Ādi-līlā, verses 41-48, "deha-dehi-vibhedo 'yaṁ neśvare vidyate kvacit," which means that there is no difference in Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, between Himself and His body. But, because they do not know this science of Kṛṣṇa, the commentators hide Kṛṣṇa and divide His personality from His mind or from His body. Although this is sheer ignorance of the science of Kṛṣṇa, some men make profit out of misleading the people.
There are some who are demonic; they also think of Kṛṣṇa, but enviously, just like King Kaṁsa, Kṛṣṇa's uncle. He was also thinking of Kṛṣṇa always, but he thought of Kṛṣṇa as his enemy. He was always in anxiety, wondering when Kṛṣṇa would come to kill him. That kind of thinking will not help us. One should be thinking of Kṛṣṇa in devotional love. That is bhakti. One should cultivate the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa continually. What is that favorable cultivation? It is to learn from a bona fide teacher. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we have several times explained that His body is not material, but is eternal, blissful knowledge. This kind of talk about Kṛṣṇa will help one become a devotee. Otherwise, understanding Kṛṣṇa from the wrong source will prove fruitless.
One should therefore engage his mind in the eternal form, the primal form of Kṛṣṇa; with conviction in his heart that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme, he should engage himself in worship. There are hundreds of thousands of temples in India for the worship of Kṛṣṇa, and devotional service is practiced there. When such practice is made, one has to offer obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. One should lower his head before the Deity and engage his mind, his body, his activities-everything. That will make one fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa without deviation. This will help one transfer into the Kṛṣṇaloka. One should not be deviated by unscrupulous commentators. One must engage in the nine different processes of devotional service, beginning with hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa. Pure devotional service is the highest achievement of human society.
In the Seventh and Eighth Chapters of Bhagavad-gītā, pure devotional service to the Lord has been explained, apart from the yoga of knowledge and mystic yoga or fruitive activities. Those who are not purely sanctified may be attracted by different features of the Lord, like the impersonal brahmajyoti and localized Paramātmā, but a pure devotee directly takes to the service of the Supreme Lord.
There is a beautiful poem about Kṛṣṇa in which it is clearly stated that any person who is engaged in the worship of demigods is most unintelligent and cannot achieve at any time the supreme award of Kṛṣṇa. The devotee, in the beginning, may sometimes fall from the standard, but still he should be considered superior to all other philosophers and yogīs. One who always engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be understood to be the perfect saintly person. His accidental nondevotional activities will diminish, and he will soon be situated without any doubt in complete perfection. The pure devotee has no actual chance to fall down because the Supreme Godhead personally takes care of His pure devotees. Therefore, the intelligent person should take directly to this process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and happily live in this material world. He will eventually receive the supreme award of Kṛṣṇa.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Ninth Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of the Most Confidential Knowledge.
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