The Opulence of the Absolute
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Listen again, O mighty-armed Arjuna. Because you are My dear friend, for your benefit I shall speak to you further, giving knowledge that is better than what I have already explained.
The word bhagavan is explained thus by Parasara Muni: one who is full in six opulences, who has full strength, full fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation, is Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. While Krsna was present on this earth, He displayed all six opulences. Therefore great sages like Parasara Muni have all accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now Krsna is instructing Arjuna in more confidential knowledge of His opulences and His work. Previously, beginning with the Seventh Chapter, the Lord has already explained His different energies and how they are acting. Now in this chapter He explains His specific opulences to Arjuna. In the previous chapter He has clearly explained His different energies to establish devotion in firm conviction. Again in this chapter He tells Arjuna about His manifestations and various opulences.
The more one hears about the Supreme God, the more one becomes fixed in devotional service. One should always hear about the Lord in the association of devotees; that will enhance ones devotional service. Discourses in the society of devotees can take place only among those who are really anxious to be in Krsna consciousness. Others cannot take part in such discourses. The Lord clearly tells Arjuna that because Arjuna is very dear to Him, for his benefit such discourses are taking place.
Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages.
As stated in the Brahma-samhita, Lord Krsna is the Supreme Lord. No one is greater than Him; He is the cause of all causes. Here it is also stated by the Lord personally that He is the cause of all the demigods and sages. Even the demigods and great sages cannot understand Krsna; they can understand neither His name nor His personality, so what is the position of the so-called scholars of this tiny planet? No one can understand why this Supreme God comes to earth as an ordinary human being and executes such wonderful, uncommon activities. One should know, then, that scholarship is not the qualification necessary to understand Krsna. Even the demigods and the great sages have tried to understand Krsna by their mental speculation, and they have failed to do so. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam also it is clearly said that even the great demigods are not able to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They can speculate to the limits of their imperfect senses and can reach the opposite conclusion of impersonalism, of something not manifested by the three qualities of material nature, or they can imagine something by mental speculation, but it is not possible to understand Krsna by such foolish speculation.
Here the Lord indirectly says that if anyone wants to know the Absolute Truth, "Here I am present as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am the Supreme." One should know this. Although one cannot understand the inconceivable Lord who is personally present, He nonetheless exists. We can actually understand Krsna, who is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, simply by studying His words in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. The conception of God as some ruling power or as the impersonal Brahman can be reached by persons who are in the inferior energy of the Lord, but the Personality of Godhead cannot be conceived unless one is in the transcendental position.
Because most men cannot understand Krsna in His actual situation, out of His causeless mercy He descends to show favor to such speculators. Yet despite the Supreme Lords uncommon activities, these speculators, due to contamination in the material energy, still think that the impersonal Brahman is the Supreme. Only the devotees who are fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord can understand, by the grace of the Supreme Personality, that He is Krsna. The devotees of the Lord do not bother about the impersonal Brahman conception of God; their faith and devotion bring them to surrender immediately unto the Supreme Lord, and out of the causeless mercy of Krsna they can understand Krsna. No one else can understand Him. So even great sages agree: What is atma, what is the Supreme? It is He whom we have to worship.
He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worldshe only, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.
As stated in the Seventh Chapter (7.3), manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye: those who are trying to elevate themselves to the platform of spiritual realization are not ordinary men; they are superior to millions and millions of ordinary men who have no knowledge of spiritual realization. But out of those actually trying to understand their spiritual situation, one who can come to the understanding that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the proprietor of everything, the unborn, is the most successful spiritually realized person. In that stage only, when one has fully understood Krsnas supreme position, can one be free completely from all sinful reactions.
Here the Lord is described by the word aja, meaning "unborn," but He is distinct from the living entities who are described in the Second Chapter as aja. The Lord is different from the living entities who are taking birth and dying due to material attachment. The conditioned souls are changing their bodies, but His body is not changeable. Even when He comes to this material world, He comes as the same unborn; therefore in the Fourth Chapter it is said that the Lord, by His internal potency, is not under the inferior, material energy, but is always in the superior energy.
In this verse the words vetti loka-mahesvaram indicate that one should know that Lord Krsna is the supreme proprietor of the planetary systems of the universe. He was existing before the creation, and He is different from His creation. All the demigods were created within this material world, but as far as Krsna is concerned, it is said that He is not created; therefore Krsna is different even from the great demigods like Brahma and Siva. And because He is the creator of Brahma, Siva and all the other demigods, He is the Supreme Person of all planets.
Sri Krsna is therefore different from everything that is created, and anyone who knows Him as such immediately becomes liberated from all sinful reactions. One must be liberated from all sinful activities to be in the knowledge of the Supreme Lord. Only by devotional service can He be known and not by any other means, as stated in Bhagavad-gita.
One should not try to understand Krsna as a human being. As stated previously, only a foolish person thinks Him to be a human being. This is again expressed here in a different way. A man who is not foolish, who is intelligent enough to understand the constitutional position of the Godhead, is always free from all sinful reactions.
If Krsna is known as the son of Devaki, then how can He be unborn? That is also explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam: When He appeared before Devaki and Vasudeva, He was not born as an ordinary child; He appeared in His original form, and then He transformed Himself into an ordinary child.
Anything done under the direction of Krsna is transcendental. It cannot be contaminated by material reactions, which may be auspicious or inauspicious. The conception that there are things auspicious and inauspicious in the material world is more or less a mental concoction because there is nothing auspicious in the material world. Everything is inauspicious because the very material nature is inauspicious. We simply imagine it to be auspicious. Real auspiciousness depends on activities in Krsna consciousness in full devotion and service. Therefore if we at all want our activities to be auspicious, then we should work under the directions of the Supreme Lord. Such directions are given in authoritative scriptures such as Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, or from a bona fide spiritual master. Because the spiritual master is the representative of the Supreme Lord, his direction is directly the direction of the Supreme Lord. The spiritual master, saintly persons and scriptures direct in the same way. There is no contradiction in these three sources. All actions done under such direction are free from the reactions of pious or impious activities of this material world. The transcendental attitude of the devotee in the performance of activities is actually that of renunciation, and this is called sannyasa. As stated in the first verse of the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, one who acts as a matter of duty because he has been ordered to do so by the Supreme Lord, and who does not seek shelter in the fruits of his activities (anasritah karma-phalam), is a true renouncer. Anyone acting under the direction of the Supreme Lord is actually a sannyasi and a yogi, and not the man who has simply taken the dress of the sannyasi, or a pseudo yogi.
Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the senses, control of the mind, happiness and distress, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamyall these various qualities of living beings are created by Me alone.
The different qualities of living entities, be they good or bad, are all created by Krsna, and they are described here.
Intelligence refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective, and knowledge refers to understanding what is spirit and what is matter. Ordinary knowledge obtained by a university education pertains only to matter, and it is not accepted here as knowledge. Knowledge means knowing the distinction between spirit and matter. In modern education there is no knowledge about spirit; they are simply taking care of the material elements and bodily needs. Therefore academic knowledge is not complete.
Asammoha, freedom from doubt and delusion, can be achieved when one is not hesitant and when he understands the transcendental philosophy. Slowly but surely he becomes free from bewilderment. Nothing should be accepted blindly; everything should be accepted with care and with caution. Ksama, tolerance and forgiveness, should be practiced; one should be tolerant and excuse the minor offenses of others. Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.
Control of the senses means that the senses should not be used for unnecessary personal enjoyment. There is no prohibition against meeting the proper needs of the senses, but unnecessary sense enjoyment is detrimental for spiritual advancement. Therefore the senses should be restrained from unnecessary use. Similarly, one should restrain the mind from unnecessary thoughts; that is called sama. One should not spend ones time pondering over earning money. That is a misuse of the thinking power. The mind should be used to understand the prime necessity of human beings, and that should be presented authoritatively. The power of thought should be developed in association with persons who are authorities in the scriptures, saintly persons and spiritual masters and those whose thinking is highly developed. Sukham, pleasure or happiness, should always be in that which is favorable for the cultivation of the spiritual knowledge of Krsna consciousness. And similarly, that which is painful or which causes distress is that which is unfavorable for the cultivation of Krsna consciousness. Anything favorable for the development of Krsna consciousness should be accepted, and anything unfavorable should be rejected.
Bhava, birth, should be understood to refer to the body. As far as the soul is concerned, there is neither birth nor death; that we have discussed in the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. Birth and death apply to ones embodiment in the material world. Fear is due to worrying about the future. A person in Krsna consciousness has no fear because by his activities he is sure to go back to the spiritual sky, back home, back to Godhead. Therefore his future is very bright. Others, however, do not know what their future holds; they have no knowledge of what the next life holds. So they are therefore in constant anxiety. If we want to get free from anxiety, then the best course is to understand Krsna and be situated always in Krsna consciousness. In that way we will be free from all fear. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37) it is stated, bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat: fear is caused by our absorption in the illusory energy. But those who are free from the illusory energy, those who are confident that they are not the material body, that they are spiritual parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who are therefore engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Godhead, have nothing to fear. Their future is very bright. This fear is a condition of persons who are not in Krsna consciousness. Abhayam, fearlessness, is possible only for one in Krsna consciousness.
Ahimsa, nonviolence, means that one should not do anything which will put others into misery or confusion. Material activities that are promised by so many politicians, sociologists, philanthropists, etc., do not produce very good results because the politicians and philanthropists have no transcendental vision; they do not know what is actually beneficial for human society. Ahimsa means that people should be trained in such a way that the full utilization of the human body can be achieved. The human body is meant for spiritual realization, so any movement or any commissions which do not further that end commit violence on the human body. That which furthers the future spiritual happiness of the people in general is called nonviolence.
Samata, equanimity, refers to freedom from attachment and aversion. To be very much attached or to be very much detached is not the best. This material world should be accepted without attachment or aversion. That which is favorable for prosecuting Krsna consciousness should be accepted; that which is unfavorable should be rejected. That is called samata, equanimity. A person in Krsna consciousness has nothing to reject and nothing to accept save in terms of its usefulness in the prosecution of Krsna consciousness.
Tusti, satisfaction, means that one should not be eager to gather more and more material goods by unnecessary activity. One should be satisfied with whatever is obtained by the grace of the Supreme Lord; that is called satisfaction. Tapas means austerity or penance. There are many rules and regulations in the Vedas which apply here, like rising early in the morning and taking a bath. Sometimes it is very troublesome to rise early in the morning, but whatever voluntary trouble one may suffer in this way is called penance. Similarly, there are prescriptions for fasting on certain days of the month. One may not be inclined to practice such fasting, but because of his determination to make advancement in the science of Krsna consciousness, he should accept such bodily troubles when they are recommended. However, one should not fast unnecessarily or against Vedic injunctions. One should not fast for some political purpose; that is described in Bhagavad-gita as fasting in ignorance, and anything done in ignorance or passion does not lead to spiritual advancement. Everything done in the mode of goodness does advance one, however, and fasting done in terms of the Vedic injunctions enriches one in spiritual knowledge.
As far as charity is concerned, one should give fifty percent of his earnings to some good cause. And what is a good cause? It is that which is conducted in terms of Krsna consciousness. That is not only a good cause, but the best cause. Because Krsna is good, His cause is also good. Thus charity should be given to a person who is engaged in Krsna consciousness. According to Vedic literature, it is enjoined that charity should be given to the brahmanas. This practice is still followed, although not very nicely in terms of the Vedic injunction. But still the injunction is that charity should be given to the brahmanas. Why? Because they are engaged in higher cultivation of spiritual knowledge. A brahmana is supposed to devote his whole life to understanding Brahman. Brahma janatiti brahmanah: one who knows Brahman is called a brahmana. Thus charity is offered to the brahmanas because they are always engaged in higher spiritual service and have no time to earn their livelihood. In the Vedic literature, charity is also to be awarded to one in the renounced order of life, the sannyasi. The sannyasis beg from door to door, not for money but for missionary purposes. The system is that they go from door to door to awaken the householders from the slumber of ignorance. Because the householders are engaged in family affairs and have forgotten their actual purpose in lifeawakening their Krsna consciousnessit is the business of the sannyasis to go as beggars to the householders and encourage them to be Krsna conscious. As it is said in the Vedas, one should awake and achieve what is due him in this human form of life. This knowledge and method is distributed by the sannyasis; hence charity is to be given to the renouncer of life, to the brahmanas, and similar good causes, not to any whimsical cause.
Yasas, fame, should be according to Lord Caitanya, who said that a man is famous when he is known as a great devotee. That is real fame. If one has become a great man in Krsna consciousness and it is known, then he is truly famous. One who does not have such fame is infamous.
All these qualities are manifest throughout the universe in human society and in the society of the demigods. There are many forms of humanity on other planets, and these qualities are there. Now, for one who wants to advance in Krsna consciousness, Krsna creates all these qualities, but the person develops them himself from within. One who engages in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord develops all the good qualities, as arranged by the Supreme Lord.
Of whatever we find, good or bad, the origin is Krsna. Nothing can manifest itself in this material world which is not in Krsna. That is knowledge; although we know that things are differently situated, we should realize that everything flows from Krsna.
The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the Manus [progenitors of mankind] come from Me, born from My mind, and all the living beings populating the various planets descend from them.
The Lord is giving a genealogical synopsis of the universal population. Brahma is the original creature born out of the energy of the Supreme Lord, who is known as Hiranyagarbha. And from Brahma all the seven great sages, and before them four other great sages, named Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara, and the Manus, are manifested. All these twenty-five great sages are known as the patriarchs of the living entities all over the universe. There are innumerable universes and innumerable planets within each universe, and each planet is full of population of different varieties. All of them are born of these twenty-five patriarchs. Brahma underwent penance for one thousand years of the demigods before he realized by the grace of Krsna how to create. Then from Brahma came Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara, then Rudra, and then the seven sages, and in this way all the brahmanas and ksatriyas are born out of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahma is known as Pitamaha, the grandfather, and Krsna is known as Prapitamaha, the father of the grandfather. That is stated in the Eleventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita (11.39).
One who is factually convinced of this opulence and mystic power of Mine engages in unalloyed devotional service; of this there is no doubt.
The highest summit of spiritual perfection is knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unless one is firmly convinced of the different opulences of the Supreme Lord, he cannot engage in devotional service. Generally people know that God is great, but they do not know in detail how God is great. Here are the details. If one knows factually how God is great, then naturally he becomes a surrendered soul and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord. When one factually knows the opulences of the Supreme, there is no alternative but to surrender to Him. This factual knowledge can be known from the descriptions in Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita and similar literatures.
In the administration of this universe there are many demigods distributed throughout the planetary system, and the chief of them are Brahma, Lord Siva and the four great Kumaras and the other patriarchs. There are many forefathers of the population of the universe, and all of them are born of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the original forefather of all forefathers.
These are some of the opulences of the Supreme Lord. When one is firmly convinced of them, he accepts Krsna with great faith and without any doubt, and he engages in devotional service. All this particular knowledge is required in order to increase ones interest in the loving devotional service of the Lord. One should not neglect to understand fully how great Krsna is, for by knowing the greatness of Krsna one will be able to be fixed in sincere devotional service.
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
A learned scholar who has studied the Vedas perfectly and has information from authorities like Lord Caitanya and who knows how to apply these teachings can understand that Krsna is the origin of everything in both the material and spiritual worlds, and because he knows this perfectly he becomes firmly fixed in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord. He can never be deviated by any amount of nonsensical commentaries or by fools. All Vedic literature agrees that Krsna is the source of Brahma, Siva and all other demigods. In the Atharva Veda (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.24) it is said, yo brahmanam vidadhati purvam yo vai vedams ca gapayati sma krsnah: "It was Krsna who in the beginning instructed Brahma in Vedic knowledge and who disseminated Vedic knowledge in the past." Then again the Narayana Upanisad (1) says, atha puruso ha vai narayano kamayata prajah srjeyeti: "Then the Supreme Personality Narayana desired to create living entities." The Upanisad continues, narayanad brahma jayate, narayanad prajapatih prajayate, narayanad indro jayate, narayanad astau vasavo jayante, narayanad ekadasa rudra jayante, narayanad dvadasadityah: "From Narayana, Brahma is born, and from Narayana the patriarchs are also born. From Narayana, Indra is born, from Narayana the eight Vasus are born, from Narayana the eleven Rudras are born, from Narayana the twelve Adityas are born." This Narayana is an expansion of Krsna.
It is said in the same Vedas, brahmanyo devaki-putrah: "The son of Devaki, Krsna, is the Supreme Personality." (Narayana Upanisad 4) Then it is said, eko vai narayana asin na brahma na isano napo nagni-samau neme dyav-aprthivi na naksatrani na suryah: "In the beginning of the creation there was only the Supreme Personality Narayana. There was no Brahma, no Siva, no water, no fire, no moon, no stars in the sky, no sun." (Maha Upanisad 1) In the Maha Upanisad it is also said that Lord Siva was born from the forehead of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Vedas say that it is the Supreme Lord, the creator of Brahma and Siva, who is to be worshiped.
In the Moksa-dharma Krsna also says,
prajapatim ca rudram capy
"The patriarchs, Siva and others are created by Me, though they do not know that they are created by Me because they are deluded by My illusory energy." In the Varaha Purana it is also said,
narayanah paro devas
"Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and from Him Brahma was born, from whom Siva was born."
Lord Krsna is the source of all generations, and He is called the most efficient cause of everything. He says, "Because everything is born of Me, I am the original source of all. Everything is under Me; no one is above Me." There is no supreme controller other than Krsna. One who understands Krsna in such a way from a bona fide spiritual master, with references from Vedic literature, engages all his energy in Krsna consciousness and becomes a truly learned man. In comparison to him, all others, who do not know Krsna properly, are but fools. Only a fool would consider Krsna to be an ordinary man. A Krsna conscious person should not be bewildered by fools; he should avoid all unauthorized commentaries and interpretations on Bhagavad-gita and proceed in Krsna consciousness with determination and firmness.
The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
Pure devotees, whose characteristics are mentioned here, engage themselves fully in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Their minds cannot be diverted from the lotus feet of Krsna. Their talks are solely on the transcendental subjects. The symptoms of the pure devotees are described in this verse specifically. Devotees of the Supreme Lord are twenty-four hours daily engaged in glorifying the qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Their hearts and souls are constantly submerged in Krsna, and they take pleasure in discussing Him with other devotees.
In the preliminary stage of devotional service they relish the transcendental pleasure from the service itself, and in the mature stage they are actually situated in love of God. Once situated in that transcendental position, they can relish the highest perfection which is exhibited by the Lord in His abode. Lord Caitanya likens transcendental devotional service to the sowing of a seed in the heart of the living entity. There are innumerable living entities traveling throughout the different planets of the universe, and out of them there are a few who are fortunate enough to meet a pure devotee and get the chance to understand devotional service. This devotional service is just like a seed, and if it is sown in the heart of a living entity, and if he goes on hearing and chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, that seed fructifies, just as the seed of a tree fructifies with regular watering. The spiritual plant of devotional service gradually grows and grows until it penetrates the covering of the material universe and enters into the brahmajyoti effulgence in the spiritual sky. In the spiritual sky also that plant grows more and more until it reaches the highest planet, which is called Goloka Vrndavana, the supreme planet of Krsna. Ultimately, the plant takes shelter under the lotus feet of Krsna and rests there. Gradually, as a plant grows fruits and flowers, that plant of devotional service also produces fruits, and the watering process in the form of chanting and hearing goes on. This plant of devotional service is fully described in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, Chapter Nineteen). It is explained there that when the complete plant takes shelter under the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, one becomes fully absorbed in love of God; then he cannot live even for a moment without being in contact with the Supreme Lord, just as a fish cannot live without water. In such a state, the devotee actually attains the transcendental qualities in contact with the Supreme Lord.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam is also full of such narrations about the relationship between the Supreme Lord and His devotees; therefore the Srimad-Bhagavatam is very dear to the devotees, as stated in the Bhagavatam itself (12.13.18). Srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam yad vaisnavanam priyam. In this narration there is nothing about material activities, economic development, sense gratification or liberation. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the only narration in which the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord and His devotees is fully described. Thus the realized souls in Krsna consciousness take continual pleasure in hearing such transcendental literatures, just as a young boy and girl take pleasure in association.
To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
In this verse the word buddhi-yogam is very significant. We may remember that in the Second Chapter the Lord, instructing Arjuna, said that He had spoken to him of many things and that He would instruct him in the way of buddhi-yoga. Now buddhi-yoga is explained. Buddhi-yoga itself is action in Krsna consciousness; that is the highest intelligence. Buddhi means intelligence, and yoga means mystic activities or mystic elevation. When one tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and takes fully to Krsna consciousness in devotional service, his action is called buddhi yoga. In other words, buddhi-yoga is the process by which one gets out of the entanglement of this material world. The ultimate goal of progress is Krsna. People do not know this; therefore the association of devotees and a bona fide spiritual master are important. One should know that the goal is Krsna, and when the goal is assigned, then the path is slowly but progressively traversed, and the ultimate goal is achieved.
When a person knows the goal of life but is addicted to the fruits of activities, he is acting in karma-yoga. When he knows that the goal is Krsna but he takes pleasure in mental speculations to understand Krsna, he is acting in jnana-yoga. And when he knows the goal and seeks Krsna completely in Krsna consciousness and devotional service, he is acting in bhakti-yoga, or buddhi-yoga, which is the complete yoga. This complete yoga is the highest perfectional stage of life.
A person may have a bona fide spiritual master and may be attached to a spiritual organization, but still, if he is not intelligent enough to make progress, then Krsna from within gives him instructions so that he may ultimately come to Him without difficulty. The qualification is that a person always engage himself in Krsna consciousness and with love and devotion render all kinds of services. He should perform some sort of work for Krsna, and that work should be with love. If a devotee is not intelligent enough to make progress on the path of self-realization but is sincere and devoted to the activities of devotional service, the Lord gives him a chance to make progress and ultimately attain to Him.
To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
When Lord Caitanya was in Benares promulgating the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, thousands of people were following Him. Prakasananda Sarasvati, a very influential and learned scholar in Benares at that time, derided Lord Caitanya for being a sentimentalist. Sometimes philosophers criticize the devotees because they think that most of the devotees are in the darkness of ignorance and are philosophically naive sentimentalists. Actually that is not the fact. There are very, very learned scholars who have put forward the philosophy of devotion. But even if a devotee does not take advantage of their literatures or of his spiritual master, if he is sincere in his devotional service he is helped by Krsna Himself within his heart. So the sincere devotee engaged in Krsna consciousness cannot be without knowledge. The only qualification is that one carry out devotional service in full Krsna consciousness.
The modern philosophers think that without discriminating one cannot have pure knowledge. For them this answer is given by the Supreme Lord: those who are engaged in pure devotional service, even though they be without sufficient education and even without sufficient knowledge of the Vedic principles, are still helped by the Supreme God, as stated in this verse.
The Lord tells Arjuna that basically there is no possibility of understanding the Supreme Truth, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, simply by speculating, for the Supreme Truth is so great that it is not possible to understand Him or to achieve Him simply by making a mental effort. Man can go on speculating for several millions of years, and if he is not devoted, if he is not a lover of the Supreme Truth, he will never understand Krsna, or the Supreme Truth. Only by devotional service is the Supreme Truth, Krsna, pleased, and by His inconceivable energy He can reveal Himself to the heart of the pure devotee. The pure devotee always has Krsna within his heart; and with the presence of Krsna, who is just like the sun, the darkness of ignorance is at once dissipated. This is the special mercy rendered to the pure devotee by Krsna.
Due to the contamination of material association, through many, many millions of births, ones heart is always covered with the dust of materialism, but when one engages in devotional service and constantly chants Hare Krsna, the dust quickly clears, and one is elevated to the platform of pure knowledge. The ultimate goal, Visnu, can be attained only by this chant and by devotional service, and not by mental speculation or argument. The pure devotee does not have to worry about the material necessities of life; he need not be anxious, because when he removes the darkness from his heart, everything is provided automatically by the Supreme Lord, who is pleased by the loving devotional service of the devotee. This is the essence of the teachings of Bhagavad-gita. By studying Bhagavad-gita, one can become a soul completely surrendered to the Supreme Lord and engage himself in pure devotional service. As the Lord takes charge, one becomes completely free from all kinds of materialistic endeavors.
Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.
In these two verses the Supreme Lord gives a chance to the modern philosopher, for here it is clear that the Supreme is different from the individual soul. Arjuna, after hearing the essential four verses of Bhagavad-gita in this chapter, became completely free from all doubts and accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He at once boldly declares, "You are param brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." And previously Krsna stated that He is the originator of everything and everyone. Every demigod and every human being is dependent on Him. Men and demigods, out of ignorance, think that they are absolute and independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That ignorance is removed perfectly by the discharge of devotional service. This has already been explained in the previous verse by the Lord. Now, by His grace, Arjuna is accepting Him as the Supreme Truth, in concordance with the Vedic injunction. It is not that because Krsna is Arjunas intimate friend Arjuna is flattering Him by calling Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. Whatever Arjuna says in these two verses is confirmed by Vedic truth. Vedic injunctions affirm that only one who takes to devotional service to the Supreme Lord can understand Him, whereas others cannot. Each and every word of this verse spoken by Arjuna is confirmed by Vedic injunction.
In the Kena Upanisad it is stated that the Supreme Brahman is the rest for everything, and Krsna has already explained that everything is resting on Him. The Mundaka Upanisad confirms that the Supreme Lord, in whom everything is resting, can be realized only by those who engage constantly in thinking of Him. This constant thinking of Krsna is smaranam, one of the methods of devotional service. It is only by devotional service to Krsna that one can understand his position and get rid of this material body.
In the Vedas the Supreme Lord is accepted as the purest of the pure. One who understands that Krsna is the purest of the pure can become purified from all sinful activities. One cannot be disinfected from sinful activities unless he surrenders unto the Supreme Lord. Arjunas acceptance of Krsna as the supreme pure complies with the injunctions of Vedic literature. This is also confirmed by great personalities, of whom Narada is the chief.
Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should always meditate upon Him and enjoy ones transcendental relationship with Him. He is the supreme existence. He is free from bodily needs, birth and death. Not only does Arjuna confirm this, but all the Vedic literatures, the Puranas and histories. In all Vedic literatures Krsna is thus described, and the Supreme Lord Himself also says in the Fourth Chapter, "Although I am unborn, I appear on this earth to establish religious principles." He is the supreme origin; He has no cause, for He is the cause of all causes, and everything is emanating from Him. This perfect knowledge can be had by the grace of the Supreme Lord.
Here Arjuna expresses himself through the grace of Krsna. If we want to understand Bhagavad-gita, we should accept the statements in these two verses. This is called the parampara system, acceptance of the disciplic succession. Unless one is in the disciplic succession, he cannot understand Bhagavad-gita. It is not possible by so-called academic education. Unfortunately those proud of their academic education, despite so much evidence in Vedic literatures, stick to their obstinate conviction that Krsna is an ordinary person.
O Krsna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality.
Arjuna herein confirms that persons of faithless and demonic nature cannot understand Krsna. He is not known even by the demigods, so what to speak of the so-called scholars of this modern world? By the grace of the Supreme Lord, Arjuna has understood that the Supreme Truth is Krsna and that He is the perfect one. One should therefore follow the path of Arjuna. He received the authority of Bhagavad-gita. As described in the Fourth Chapter, the parampara system of disciplic succession for the understanding of Bhagavad-gita was lost, and therefore Krsna reestablished that disciplic succession with Arjuna because He considered Arjuna His intimate friend and a great devotee. Therefore, as stated in our Introduction to Gitopanisad, Bhagavad-gita should be understood in the parampara system. When the parampara system was lost, Arjuna was selected to rejuvenate it. The acceptance by Arjuna of all that Krsna says should be emulated; then we can understand the essence of Bhagavad-gita, and then only can we understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Your own internal potency, O Supreme Person, origin of all, Lord of all beings, God of gods, Lord of the universe!
The Supreme Lord, Krsna, can be known by persons who are in a relationship with Him through the discharge of devotional service, like Arjuna and his followers. Persons of demonic or atheistic mentality cannot know Krsna. Mental speculation that leads one away from the Supreme Lord is a serious sin, and one who does not know Krsna should not try to comment on Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita is the statement of Krsna, and since it is the science of Krsna, it should be understood from Krsna as Arjuna understood it. It should not be received from atheistic persons.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.11):
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
The Supreme Truth is realized in three aspects: as impersonal Brahman, localized Paramatma and at last as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So at the last stage of understanding the Absolute Truth, one comes to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A common man or even a liberated man who has realized impersonal Brahman or localized Paramatma may not understand Gods personality. Such men, therefore, may endeavor to understand the Supreme Person from the verses of Bhagavad-gita, which are being spoken by this person, Krsna. Sometimes the impersonalists accept Krsna as Bhagavan, or they accept His authority. Yet many liberated persons cannot understand Krsna as Purusottama, the Supreme Person. Therefore Arjuna addresses Him as Purusottama. Yet one still may not understand that Krsna is the father of all living entities. Therefore Arjuna addresses Him as Bhuta-bhavana. And if one comes to know Him as the father of all the living entities, still one may not know Him as the supreme controller; therefore He is addressed here as Bhutesa, the supreme controller of everyone. And even if one knows Krsna as the supreme controller of all living entities, still one may not know that He is the origin of all the demigods; therefore He is addressed herein as Devadeva, the worshipful God of all demigods. And even if one knows Him as the worshipful God of all demigods, one may not know that He is the supreme proprietor of everything; therefore He is addressed as Jagatpati. Thus the truth about Krsna is established in this verse by the realization of Arjuna, and we should follow in the footsteps of Arjuna to understand Krsna as He is.
Please tell me in detail of Your divine opulences by which You pervade all these worlds.
In this verse it appears that Arjuna is already satisfied with his understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. By Krsnas grace, Arjuna has personal experience, intelligence and knowledge and whatever else a person may have through all these agencies, and he has understood Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For him there is no doubt, yet he is asking Krsna to explain His all-pervading nature. People in general and the impersonalists in particular concern themselves mainly with the all-pervading nature of the Supreme. So Arjuna is asking Krsna how He exists in His all-pervading aspect through His different energies. One should know that this is being asked by Arjuna on behalf of the common people.
O Krsna, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?
As it is stated in the previous chapter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is covered by His yoga-maya. Only surrendered souls and devotees can see Him. Now Arjuna is convinced that His friend, Krsna, is the Supreme Godhead, but he wants to know the general process by which the all-pervading Lord can be understood by the common man. Common men, including the demons and atheists, cannot know Krsna, because He is guarded by His yoga-maya energy. Again, these questions are asked by Arjuna for their benefit. The superior devotee is concerned not only for his own understanding but for the understanding of all mankind. So Arjuna, out of his mercy, because he is a Vaisnava, a devotee, is opening for the common man the understanding of the all-pervasiveness of the Supreme Lord. He addresses Krsna specifically as yogin because Sri Krsna is the master of the yoga-maya energy, by which He is covered and uncovered to the common man. The common man who has no love for Krsna cannot always think of Krsna; therefore he has to think materially. Arjuna is considering the mode of thinking of the materialistic persons of this world. The words kesu kesu ca bhavesu refer to material nature (the word bhava means "physical things"). Because materialists cannot understand Krsna spiritually, they are advised to concentrate the mind on physical things and try to see how Krsna is manifested by physical representations.
O Janardana, again please describe in detail the mystic power of Your opulences. I am never satiated in hearing about You, for the more I hear the more I want to taste the nectar of Your words.
A similar statement was made to Suta Gosvami by the rsis of Naimisaranya, headed by Saunaka. That statement is:
vayam tu na vitrpyama
"One can never be satiated even though one continuously hears the transcendental pastimes of Krsna, who is glorified by excellent prayers. Those who have entered into a transcendental relationship with Krsna relish at every step the descriptions of the pastimes of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.19) Thus Arjuna is interested in hearing about Krsna, and specifically how He remains as the all-pervading Supreme Lord.
Now as far as amrtam, nectar, is concerned, any narration or statement concerning Krsna is just like nectar. And this nectar can be perceived by practical experience. Modern stories, fiction and histories are different from the transcendental pastimes of the Lord in that one will tire of hearing mundane stories but one never tires of hearing about Krsna. It is for this reason only that the history of the whole universe is replete with references to the pastimes of the incarnations of Godhead. The Puranas are histories of bygone ages that relate the pastimes of the various incarnations of the Lord. In this way the reading matter remains forever fresh, despite repeated readings.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I will tell you of My splendorous manifestations, but only of those which are prominent, O Arjuna, for My opulence is limitless.
It is not possible to comprehend the greatness of Krsna and His opulences. The senses of the individual soul are limited and do not permit him to understand the totality of Krsnas affairs. Still the devotees try to understand Krsna, but not on the principle that they will be able to understand Krsna fully at any specific time or in any state of life. Rather, the very topics of Krsna are so relishable that they appear to the devotees as nectar. Thus the devotees enjoy them. In discussing Krsnas opulences and His diverse energies, the pure devotees take transcendental pleasure. Therefore they want to hear and discuss them. Krsna knows that living entities do not understand the extent of His opulences; He therefore agrees to state only the principal manifestations of His different energies. The word pradhanyatah ("principal") is very important because we can understand only a few of the principal details of the Supreme Lord, for His features are unlimited. It is not possible to understand them all. And vibhuti, as used in this verse, refers to the opulences by which He controls the whole manifestation. In the Amara-kosa dictionary it is stated that vibhuti indicates an exceptional opulence.
The impersonalist or pantheist cannot understand the exceptional opulences of the Supreme Lord nor the manifestations of His divine energies. Both in the material world and in the spiritual world His energies are distributed in every variety of manifestation. Now Krsna is describing what can be directly perceived by the common man; thus part of His variegated energy is described in this way.
I am the Supersoul, O Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all living entities. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
In this verse Arjuna is addressed as Gudakesa, which means "one who has conquered the darkness of sleep." For those who are sleeping in the darkness of ignorance, it is not possible to understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself in various ways in the material and spiritual worlds. Thus this address by Krsna to Arjuna is significant. Because Arjuna is above such darkness, the Personality of Godhead agrees to describe His various opulences.
Krsna first informs Arjuna that He is the soul of the entire cosmic manifestation by dint of His primary expansion. Before the material creation, the Supreme Lord, by His plenary expansion, accepts the purusa incarnations, and from Him everything begins. Therefore He is atma, the soul of the mahat-tattva, the universal elements. The total material energy is not the cause of the creation; actually the Maha-Visnu enters into the mahat-tattva, the total material energy. He is the soul. When Maha-Visnu enters into the manifested universes, He again manifests Himself as the Supersoul in each and every entity. We have experience that the personal body of the living entity exists due to the presence of the spiritual spark. Without the existence of the spiritual spark, the body cannot develop. Similarly, the material manifestation cannot develop unless the Supreme Soul, Krsna, enters. As stated in the Subala Upanisad, prakrty-adi-sarva-bhutantar-yami sarva-sesi ca narayanah: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is existing as the Supersoul in all manifested universes."
The three purusa-avataras are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. They are also described in the Satvata-tantra. Visnos tu trini rupani purusakhyany atho viduh: the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests three featuresas Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnuin this material manifestation. The Maha-Visnu, or Karanodakasayi Visnu, is described in the Brahma-samhita (5.47). Yah karanarnava-jale bhajati sma yoga-nidram: the Supreme Lord, Krsna, the cause of all causes, lies down in the cosmic ocean as Maha-Visnu. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the beginning of this universe, the maintainer of the universal manifestations, and the end of all energy.
Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon.
There are twelve Adityas, of which Krsna is the principal. Among all the luminaries twinkling in the sky, the sun is the chief, and in the Brahma-samhita the sun is accepted as the glowing eye of the Supreme Lord. There are fifty varieties of wind blowing in space, and of these winds the controlling deity, Marici, represents Krsna.
Among the stars, the moon is the most prominent at night, and thus the moon represents Krsna. It appears from this verse that the moon is one of the stars; therefore the stars that twinkle in the sky also reflect the light of the sun. The theory that there are many suns within the universe is not accepted by Vedic literature. The sun is one, and as by the reflection of the sun the moon illuminates, so also do the stars. Since Bhagavad-gita indicates herein that the moon is one of the stars, the twinkling stars are not suns but are similar to the moon.
Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness].
The difference between matter and spirit is that matter has no consciousness like the living entity; therefore this consciousness is supreme and eternal. Consciousness cannot be produced by a combination of matter.
Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva, of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the Lord of wealth [Kuvera], of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of mountains I am Meru.
There are eleven Rudras, of whom Sankara, Lord Siva, is predominant. He is the incarnation of the Supreme Lord in charge of the mode of ignorance in the universe. The leader of the Yaksas and Raksasas is Kuvera, the master treasurer of the demigods, and he is a representation of the Supreme Lord. Meru is a mountain famed for its rich natural resources.
Of priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati. Of generals I am Kartikeya, and of bodies of water I am the ocean.
Indra is the chief demigod of the heavenly planets and is known as the king of the heavens. The planet on which he reigns is called Indraloka. Brhaspati is Indras priest, and since Indra is the chief of all kings, Brhaspati is the chief of all priests. And as Indra is the chief of all kings, similarly Skanda, or Kartikeya, the son of Parvati and Lord Siva, is the chief of all military commanders. And of all bodies of water, the ocean is the greatest. These representations of Krsna only give hints of His greatness.
Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa], and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.
Brahma, the first living creature within the universe, created several sons for the propagation of various kinds of species. Among these sons, Bhrgu is the most powerful sage. Of all the transcendental vibrations, the om (omkara) represents Krsna. Of all sacrifices, the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the purest representation of Krsna. Sometimes animal sacrifices are recommended, but in the sacrifice of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, there is no question of violence. It is the simplest and the purest. Whatever is sublime in the worlds is a representation of Krsna. Therefore the Himalayas, the greatest mountains in the world, also represent Him. The mountain named Meru was mentioned in a previous verse, but Meru is sometimes movable, whereas the Himalayas are never movable. Thus the Himalayas are greater than Meru.
Of all trees I am the banyan tree, and of the sages among the demigods I am Narada. Of the Gandharvas I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.
The banyan tree (asvattha) is one of the highest and most beautiful trees, and people in India often worship it as one of their daily morning rituals. Amongst the demigods they also worship Narada, who is considered the greatest devotee in the universe. Thus he is the representation of Krsna as a devotee. The Gandharva planet is filled with entities who sing beautifully, and among them the best singer is Citraratha. Amongst the perfect living entities, Kapila, the son of Devahuti, is a representative of Krsna. He is considered an incarnation of Krsna, and His philosophy is mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Later on another Kapila became famous, but his philosophy was atheistic. Thus there is a gulf of difference between them.
Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, produced during the churning of the ocean for nectar. Of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.
The devotee demigods and the demons (asuras) once took part in churning the sea. From this churning, nectar and poison were produced, and Lord Siva drank the poison. From the nectar were produced many entities, of which there was a horse named Uccaihsrava. Another animal produced from the nectar was an elephant named Airavata. Because these two animals were produced from nectar, they have special significance, and they are representatives of Krsna.
Amongst the human beings, the king is the representative of Krsna because Krsna is the maintainer of the universe, and the kings, who are appointed on account of their godly qualifications, are maintainers of their kingdoms. Kings like Maharaja Yudhisthira, Maharaja Pariksit and Lord Rama were all highly righteous kings who always thought of the citizens welfare. In Vedic literature, the king is considered to be the representative of God. In this age, however, with the corruption of the principles of religion, monarchy decayed and is now finally abolished. It is to be understood that in the past, however, people were more happy under righteous kings.
Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki.
The thunderbolt, indeed a mighty weapon, represents Krsnas power. In Krsnaloka in the spiritual sky there are cows which can be milked at any time, and they give as much milk as one likes. Of course such cows do not exist in this material world, but there is mention of them in Krsnaloka. The Lord keeps many such cows, which are called surabhi. It is stated that the Lord is engaged in herding the surabhi cows. Kandarpa is the sex desire for presenting good sons; therefore Kandarpa is the representative of Krsna. Sometimes sex is engaged in only for sense gratification; such sex does not represent Krsna. But sex for the generation of good children is called Kandarpa and represents Krsna.
Of the many-hooded Nagas I am Ananta, and among the aquatics I am the demigod Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, the lord of death.
Among the many-hooded Naga serpents, Ananta is the greatest, as is the demigod Varuna among the aquatics. They both represent Krsna. There is also a planet of Pitas, ancestors, presided over by Aryama, who represents Krsna. There are many living entities who give punishment to the miscreants, and among them Yama is the chief. Yama is situated in a planet near this earthly planet. After death those who are very sinful are taken there, and Yama arranges different kinds of punishments for them.
Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda.
Diti and Aditi are two sisters. The sons of Aditi are called Adityas, and the sons of Diti are called Daityas. All the Adityas are devotees of the Lord, and all the Daityas are atheistic. Although Prahlada was born in the family of the Daityas, he was a great devotee from his childhood. Because of his devotional service and godly nature, he is considered to be a representative of Krsna.
There are many subduing principles, but time wears down all things in the material universe and so represents Krsna. Of the many animals, the lion is the most powerful and ferocious, and of the million varieties of birds, Garuda, the bearer of Lord Visnu, is the greatest.
Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rama, of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
Of all the aquatics the shark is one of the biggest and is certainly the most dangerous to man. Thus the shark represents Krsna.
Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
Among the created manifestations, the first is the creation of the total material elements. As explained before, the cosmic manifestation is created and conducted by Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and then again it is annihilated by Lord Siva. Brahma is a secondary creator. All these agents of creation, maintenance and annihilation are incarnations of the material qualities of the Supreme Lord. Therefore He is the beginning, the middle and the end of all creation.
For advanced education there are various kinds of books of knowledge, such as the four Vedas, their six supplements, the Vedanta-sutra, books of logic, books of religiosity and the Puranas. So all together there are fourteen divisions of books of education. Of these, the book which presents adhyatma-vidya, spiritual knowledgein particular, the Vedanta-sutrarepresents Krsna.
Among logicians there are different kinds of argument. Supporting ones argument with evidence that also supports the opposing side is called jalpa. Merely trying to defeat ones opponent is called vitanda. But the actual conclusion is called vada. This conclusive truth is a representation of Krsna.
Of letters I am the letter A, and among compound words I am the dual compound. I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahma.
A-kara, the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, is the beginning of the Vedic literature. Without a-kara, nothing can be sounded; therefore it is the beginning of sound. In Sanskrit there are also many compound words, of which the dual word, like rama-krsna, is called dvandva. In this compound, the words rama and krsna have the same form, and therefore the compound is called dual.
Among all kinds of killers, time is the ultimate because time kills everything. Time is the representative of Krsna because in due course of time there will be a great fire and everything will be annihilated.
Among the living entities who are creators, Brahma, who has four heads, is the chief. Therefore he is a representative of the Supreme Lord, Krsna.
I am all-devouring death, and I am the generating principle of all that is yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience.
As soon as a man is born, he dies at every moment. Thus death is devouring every living entity at every moment, but the last stroke is called death itself. That death is Krsna. As for future development, all living entities undergo six basic changes. They are born, they grow, they remain for some time, they reproduce, they dwindle, and finally they vanish. Of these changes, the first is deliverance from the womb, and that is Krsna. The first generation is the beginning of all future activities.
The seven opulences listedfame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patienceare considered feminine. If a person possesses all of them or some of them he becomes glorious. If a man is famous as a righteous man, that makes him glorious. Sanskrit is a perfect language and is therefore very glorious. If after studying one can remember a subject matter, he is gifted with a good memory, or smrti. And the ability not only to read many books on different subject matters but to understand them and apply them when necessary is intelligence (medha), another opulence. The ability to overcome unsteadiness is called firmness or steadfastness (dhrti). And when one is fully qualified yet is humble and gentle, and when one is able to keep his balance both in sorrow and in the ecstasy of joy, he has the opulence called patience (ksama).
Of the hymns in the Sama Veda I am the Brhat-sama, and of poetry I am the Gayatri. Of months I am Margasirsa [November-December], and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.
It has already been explained by the Lord that amongst all the Vedas, He is the Sama Veda. The Sama Veda is rich with beautiful songs played by the various demigods. One of these songs is the Brhat-sama, which has an exquisite melody and is sung at midnight.
In Sanskrit, there are definite rules that regulate poetry; rhyme and meter are not written whimsically, as in much modern poetry. Amongst the regulated poetry, the Gayatri mantra, which is chanted by the duly qualified brahmanas, is the most prominent. The Gayatri mantra is mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Because the Gayatri mantra is especially meant for God realization, it represents the Supreme Lord. This mantra is meant for spiritually advanced people, and when one attains success in chanting it, he can enter into the transcendental position of the Lord. One must first acquire the qualities of the perfectly situated person, the qualities of goodness according to the laws of material nature, in order to chant the Gayatri mantra. The Gayatri mantra is very important in Vedic civilization and is considered to be the sound incarnation of Brahman. Brahma is its initiator, and it is passed down from him in disciplic succession.
The month of November-December is considered the best of all months because in India grains are collected from the fields at this time and the people become very happy. Of course spring is a season universally liked because it is neither too hot nor too cold and the flowers and trees blossom and flourish. In spring there are also many ceremonies commemorating Krsnas pastimes; therefore this is considered to be the most joyful of all seasons, and it is the representative of the Supreme Lord, Krsna.
I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.
There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Krsna. As the Supreme, Krsna can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Krsna chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sidedit is all-sided.
Among the victorious, He is victory. He is the splendor of the splendid. Among the enterprising and industrious, He is the most enterprising, the most industrious. Among adventurers He is the most adventurous, and among the strong He is the strongest. When Krsna was present on earth, no one could surpass Him in strength. Even in His childhood He lifted Govardhana Hill. No one can surpass Him in cheating, no one can surpass Him in splendor, no one can surpass Him in victory, no one can surpass Him in enterprise, and no one can surpass Him in strength.
Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.
Krsna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Baladeva is Krsnas immediate expansion. Both Lord Krsna and Baladeva appeared as sons of Vasudeva, so both of Them may be called Vasudeva. From another point of view, because Krsna never leaves Vrndavana, all the forms of Krsna that appear elsewhere are His expansions. Vasudeva is Krsnas immediate expansion, so Vasudeva is not different from Krsna. It is to be understood that the Vasudeva referred to in this verse of Bhagavad-gita is Baladeva, or Balarama, because He is the original source of all incarnations and thus He is the sole source of Vasudeva. The immediate expansions of the Lord are called svamsa (personal expansions), and there are also expansions called vibhinnamsa (separated expansions).
Amongst the sons of Pandu, Arjuna is famous as Dhananjaya. He is the best of men and therefore represents Krsna. Among the munis, or learned men conversant in Vedic knowledge, Vyasa is the greatest because he explained Vedic knowledge in many different ways for the understanding of the common mass of people in this Age of Kali. And Vyasa is also known as an incarnation of Krsna; therefore Vyasa also represents Krsna. Kavis are those who are capable of thinking thoroughly on any subject matter. Among the kavis, Usana, Sukracarya, was the spiritual master of the demons; he was an extremely intelligent and far-seeing politician. Thus Sukracarya is another representative of the opulence of Krsna.
Among all means of suppressing lawlessness I am punishment, and of those who seek victory I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am the wisdom.
There are many suppressing agents, of which the most important are those that cut down miscreants. When miscreants are punished, the agency of chastisement represents Krsna. Among those who are trying to be victorious in some field of activity, the most victorious element is morality. Among the confidential activities of hearing, thinking and meditating, silence is most important because by silence one can make progress very quickly. The wise man is he who can discriminate between matter and spirit, between Gods superior and inferior natures. Such knowledge is Krsna Himself.
Furthermore, O Arjuna, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no beingmoving or nonmovingthat can exist without Me.
Everything has a cause, and that cause or seed of manifestation is Krsna. Without Krsnas energy, nothing can exist; therefore He is called omnipotent. Without His potency, neither the movable nor the immovable can exist. Whatever existence is not founded on the energy of Krsna is called maya, "that which is not."
O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulences.
As stated in the Vedic literature, although the opulences and energies of the Supreme are understood in various ways, there is no limit to such opulences; therefore not all the opulences and energies can be explained. Simply a few examples are being described to Arjuna to pacify his inquisitiveness.
Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.
Any glorious or beautiful existence should be understood to be but a fragmental manifestation of Krsnas opulence, whether it be in the spiritual or material world. Anything extraordinarily opulent should be considered to represent Krsnas opulence.
But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.
The Supreme Lord is represented throughout the entire material universes by His entering into all things as the Supersoul. The Lord here tells Arjuna that there is no point in understanding how things exist in their separate opulence and grandeur. He should know that all things are existing due to Krsnas entering them as Supersoul. From Brahma, the most gigantic entity, on down to the smallest ant, all are existing because the Lord has entered each and all and is sustaining them.
There is a Mission that regularly propounds that worship of any demigod will lead one to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or the supreme goal. But worship of demigods is thoroughly discouraged herein because even the greatest demigods like Brahma and Siva represent only part of the opulence of the Supreme Lord. He is the origin of everyone born, and no one is greater than Him. He is asamaurdhva, which means that no one is superior to Him and that no one is equal to Him. In the Padma Purana it is said that one who considers the Supreme Lord Krsna in the same category with demigodsbe they even Brahma or Sivabecomes at once an atheist. If, however, one thoroughly studies the different descriptions of the opulences and expansions of Krsnas energy, then one can understand without any doubt the position of Lord Sri Krsna and can fix his mind in the worship of Krsna without deviation. The Lord is all-pervading by the expansion of His partial representation, the Supersoul, who enters into everything that is. Pure devotees, therefore, concentrate their minds in Krsna consciousness in full devotional service; therefore they are always situated in the transcendental position. Devotional service and worship of Krsna are very clearly indicated in this chapter in verses eight through eleven. That is the way of pure devotional service. How one can attain the highest devotional perfection of association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been thoroughly explained in this chapter. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a great acarya in disciplic succession from Krsna, concludes his commentary on this chapter by saying,
From Lord Krsnas potent energy even the powerful sun gets its power, and by Krsnas partial expansion the whole world is maintained. Therefore Lord Sri Krsna is worshipable.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Tenth Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of the Opulence of the Absolute.