In life we are accustomed to thinking either of the material or the spiritual energy. There are so many literatures which fill our thoughts with the material energy - newspapers, novels, etc. Our thinking, which is now absorbed in these literatures, must be transferred to the Vedic literatures. The great sages, therefore, have written so many Vedic literatures such as the puranas, etc. The Puranas are not imaginative; they are historical records. In the Caitanya-caritamrita there is the following verse:
maya mugdha jiver nahi svatah krsna-jnan jivera krpaya kaila krsna veda-purana (Cc.Madhya 20. 122)The forgetful living entities or conditioned souls have forgotten their relationship with the Supreme Lord, and they are engrossed in thinking of material activities. Just to transfer their thinking power to the spiritual sky, Krsna has given a great number of Vedic literatures. First He divided the Vedas into four, then He explained them in the Puranas, and for less capable people He wrote the Mahabharata. In the Mahabharata there is given the Bhagavad-gita. Then all Vedic literature is summarized in the Vedantra-sutra, and for future guidance He gave a natural commentation on the Vedanta-sutra, called Srimad-Bhagavatam. We must always engage our minds in reading these Vedic literatures. Just as materialists engage their minds in reading newspapers, magazines and so many materialistic literatures, we must transfer our reading to these literatures which are given to us by Vyasadeva; in that way it will be possible for us to remember the Supreme Lord at the time of death. That is the only way suggested by the Lord, and He guarantees the result: "There is no doubt." (Bg. 8.7)
tasmat sarvesu kalesu mam anusmara yudhya ca mayy arpita-mano-buddhir mam evaisyasy asamsayah"Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me, and at the same time you should continue your prescribed duty and fight. With your mind and activities always fixed on Me, and everything engaged in Me, you will attain to Me without any doubt."
He does not advise Arjuna to simply remember Him and give up his occupation. No, the Lord never suggests anything impractical. In this material world, in order to maintain the body one has to work. Human society is divided, according to work, into four divisions of social order - brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. The brahamana class or intelligent class is working in one way, the ksatriya or administrative class is working in another way, and the mercantile class and the laborers are all tending to their specific duties. In the human society, whether one is a laborer, merchant, warrior, administrator, or farmer, or even if one belongs to the highest class and is a literary man, a scientist or a theologian, he has to work in order to maintain his existence. The Lord therefore tells Arjuna that he need not give up his occupation, but while he is engaged in his occupation he should remember Krsna. If he doesn't practice remembering Krsna while he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Krsna at the time of death. Lord Caitanya also advises this. He says that one should practice remembering the Lord by chanting the names of the Lord always. The names of the Lord and the Lord are nondifferent. So Lord Krsna's instruction to Arjuna to "remember Me" and Lord Caitanya's injunction to always "chant the names of Lord Krsna" are the same instruction. There is no difference, because Krsna and Krsna's name are nondifferent. In the absolute status there is no difference between reference and referent. Therefore we have to practice remembering the Lord always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and molding our life's activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.
How is this possible? The acaryas give the following example. If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a woman other than his wife, then the attachment is to be considered very strong. One with such an attachment is always thinking of the loved one. The wife who is thinking of her lover is always thinking of meeting him, even while she is carrying out her household chores. In fact, she carries out her household work even more carefully so her husband will not suspect her attachment. Similarly, we should always remember the supreme lover, Sri Krsna, and at the same time perform our material duties very nicely. A strong sense of love is required here. If we have a strong sense of love for the Supreme Lord, then we can discharge our duty and at the same time remember Him. But we have to develop that sense of love. Arjuna, for instance, was always thinking of Krsna; he was the constant companion of Krsna, and at the same time he was a warrior. Krsna did not advise him to give up fighting and go to the forest to meditate. When Lord Krsna delineates the yoga system to Arjuna, Arjuna says that the practice of this system is not possible for him.
arjuna uvaca yo 'yam yogas tvaya proktah samyena madhusudana etasyaham na pasyami cancalatvat sthitim sthiram"Arjuna said, O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which you have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady." (Bg. 6.33)
But the Lord says:
yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah"Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshipping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga, and is the highest of all." (Bg. 6.47) So one who thinks of the Supreme Lord always is the greatest yogi, the supermost jnani, and the greatest devotee at the same time. The Lord further tells Arjuna that as a ksatriya he cannot give up his fighting, but if Arjuna fights remembering Krsna, then he will be able to remember Him at the time of death. But one must be completely surrendered in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
We work not with our body, actually, but with our mind and intelligence. So if the intelligence and the mind are always engaged in the thought of the Supreme Lord, then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service. Superficially, at least, the activities of the senses remain the same, but the consciousness is changed. The Bhagavad- gita teaches one how to absorb the mind and intelligence in the thought of the Lord. Such absorption will enable one to transfer himself to the kingdom of the Lord. If the mind is engaged in Krsna's service, then the senses are automatically engaged in His service. This is the art, and this is also the secret of Bhagavad-gita: total absorption in the thought of Sri Krsna.
Modern man has struggled very hard to reach the moon, but he has not tried very hard to elevate himself spiritually. If one has fifty years of life ahead of him, he should engage that brief time in cultivating this practice of remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This practice is the devotional process of:
sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanamThese nine processes, of which the easiest is sravanam, hearing Bhagavad- gita from the realized person, will turn one to the thought of the Supreme Being. This will lead to niscala, remembering the Supreme Lord, and will enable one, upon leaving the body, to attain a spiritual body which is just fit for association with the Supreme Lord.
The Lord further says:
abhyasa-yoga-yuktena cetasa nanya-gamina paramam purusam divyam yati parthanucintayam"By practicing this remembering, without being deviated, thinking ever of the Supreme Godhead, one is sure to achieve the planet of the Divine, the Supreme Personality, O son of Kunti," (Bg. 8.8)
This is not a very difficult process. However, one must learn it from an experienced person, from one who is already in the practice. The mind is always flying to this and that, but one must always practice concentrating the mind on the form of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna or on the sound of His name. The mind is naturally restless, going hither and thither, but it can rest in the sound vibration of Krsna. One must thus meditate on paramam purusam, the Supreme Person, and this attain Him. The ways and the means for ultimate realization, ultimate attainment, are stated in the Bhagavad- gita, and the doors of this knowledge are open for everyone. No one is barred out. All classes of men can approach the Lord by thinking of Him, for hearing and thinking of Him is possible for everyone.
The Lord further says:
mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim kim punar brahmanah punya bhakta rajarsayas tatha anityam asukham lokam imam prapya bhajasva mam"O son of Prtha, anyone who will take shelter in Me, whether a woman, or a merchant, or one born in a low family, can yet approach the supreme destination. How much greater then are the brahmanas, the righteous, the devotees, and saintly kings! In this miserable world, these are fixed in devotional service to the Lord." (Bg. 9.32-33)
Human beings even in the lower statusís of life (a merchant, a woman or a laborer) can attain the Supreme. One does not need highly developed intelligence. The point is that anyone who accepts the principle of bhakti-yoga and accepts the Supreme Lord as the summum bonum of life, as the highest target, the ultimate goal, can approach the Lord in the spiritual sky. If one adopts the principles enunciated in Bhagavad-gita, he can make his life perfect and make a perfect solution to all the problems of life which arise out of the transient nature of material existence. This is the sum and substance of the entire Bhagavad-gita.
In conclusion, Bhagavad-gita is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. it is capable of saving one from all fear.
nehabhikrama-naso 'sti pratyavayo na vidyate svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat"In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear." (Bg. 2.40) If one reads Bhagavad- gita sincerely and seriously, then all of the reactions of his past misdeeds will not react upon him. In the last portion of Bhagavad-gita, Lord Sri Krsna proclaims:
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah"Give up all varieties of religiousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear." (Bg. 18.66) Thus the Lord takes all responsibility for one who surrenders unto Him, and He indemnifies all the reactions of sin.
One cleanses himself daily by taking a bath in water, but one who takes his bath only once in the sacred Ganges water on the Bhagavad-gita cleanses away all the dirt of material life. Because Bhagavad-gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-gita. In the present age, mankind is so absorbed with mundane activities that it is not possible to read all of the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-gita, will suffice because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges certainly gets salvation, but what to speak of one who drinks the waters of Bhagavad-gita? Gita is the very nectar of the Mahabharata spoken by Visnu Himself, for Lord Krsna is the original Visnu. It is nectar emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Ganges is said to be emanating from the lotus feet of the Lord. Of course there is no difference between the mouth and the feet of the Supreme Lord, but in our position we can appreciate that the Bhagavad-gita is even more important than the Ganges.
The Bhagavad-gita is just like a cow, and Lord Krsna, who is a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. The milk is the essence of the Vedas, and Arjuna is just like a calf. The wise men, the great sages and pure devotees, are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-gita.
In this present day, man is very eager to have one scripture, one God, one religion, and one occupation. So let there be one common scripture for the whole world - Bhagavad-gita. And let there be one God only for the whole world - Sri Krsna. And one mantra only - Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And let there be one work only - the service of the Supreme personality of Godhead.
This Bhagavad-gita As It Is is received through this disciplic succession:
1)Krsna, 2)Brahma, 3)Narada, 4)Vyasa, 5)Madhva, 6)Padmanabha, 7)Nrhari, 8)Madhava, 9)Aksobhya, 10)Jayatirtha, 11)Jnanasindhu, 12)Dayanidhi, 13)Vidyanidhi, 14)Rajendra, 15)Jayadharma, 16)Purusottama, 17)Brahmanyatirtha, 18)Vyasatirtha, 19)Laksmipati, 20)Madhavendra Puri, 21)Isvara Puri, (Nityananda, Advaita), 22)Lord Caitanya, 23)Rupa (Svarupa, Sanatana), 24)Raghunatha, Jiva, 25)Krsnadasa, 26)Narottama, 27)Visvanatha, 28)(Baladeva) Jagannatha, 29)Bhaktivinoda, 30)Gaurakisora, 31)Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, 32)His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.