Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Kesava, why do You want to engage me in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna has very elaborately described the constitution of the soul in the previous chapter, with a view to delivering His intimate friend Arjuna from the ocean of material grief. And the path of realization has been recommended: buddhi-yoga, or Krsna consciousness. Sometimes Krsna consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Krsna conscious by chanting the holy name of Lord Krsna. But without being trained in the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy name of Krsna in a secluded place, where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna also thought of Krsna consciousness or buddhi-yoga, or intelligence in spiritual advancement of knowledge, as something like retirement from active life and the practice of penance and austerity at a secluded place. In other words, he wanted to skillfully avoid the fighting by using Krsna consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his master and questioned Krsna as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Krsna elaborately explained karma-yoga, or work in Krsna consciousness, in this Third Chapter.
My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively which will be most beneficial for me.
In the previous chapter, as a prelude to the Bhagavad-gita, many different paths were explained, such as sankhya-yoga, buddhi-yoga, control of the senses by intelligence, work without fruitive desire, and the position of the neophyte. This was all presented unsystematically. A more organized outline of the path would be necessary for action and understanding. Arjuna, therefore, wanted to clear up these apparently confusing matters so that any common man could accept them without misinterpretation. Although Krsna had no intention of confusing Arjuna by any jugglery of words, Arjuna could not follow the process of Krsna consciousnesseither by inertia or by active service. In other words, by his questions he is clearing the path of Krsna consciousness for all students who seriously want to understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gita.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others by devotional service.
In the Second Chapter, verse 39, the Lord explained two kinds of proceduresnamely sankhya-yoga and karma-yoga, or buddhi-yoga. In this verse, the Lord explains the same more clearly. Sankhya-yoga, or the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter, is the subject matter for persons who are inclined to speculate and understand things by experimental knowledge and philosophy. The other class of men work in Krsna consciousness, as it is explained in the 61st verse of the Second Chapter. The Lord has explained, also in the 39th verse, that by working by the principles of buddhi-yoga, or Krsna consciousness, one can be relieved from the bonds of action; and, furthermore, there is no flaw in the process. The same principle is more clearly explained in the 61st versethat this buddhi-yoga is to depend entirely on the Supreme (or more specifically, on Krsna), and in this way all the senses can be brought under control very easily. Therefore, both the yogas are interdependent, as religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Krsna, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Krsna consciousness. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita. The whole process is to understand the real position of the self in relation to the Superself. The indirect process is philosophical speculation, by which, gradually, one may come to the point of Krsna consciousness; and the other process is directly connecting with everything in Krsna consciousness. Of these two, the path of Krsna consciousness is better because it does not depend on purifying the senses by a philosophical process. Krsna consciousness is itself the purifying process, and by the direct method of devotional service it is simultaneously easy and sublime.
Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.
The renounced order of life can be accepted when one has been purified by the discharge of the prescribed form of duties which are laid down just to purify the hearts of materialistic men. Without purification, one cannot attain success by abruptly adopting the fourth order of life (sannyasa). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by adopting sannyasa, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once becomes as good as Narayana. But Lord Krsna does not approve this principle. Without purification of heart, sannyasa is simply a disturbance to the social order. On the other hand, if someone takes to the transcendental service of the Lord, even without discharging his prescribed duties, whatever he may be able to advance in the cause is accepted by the Lord (buddhi-yoga). Sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Even a slight performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.
Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.
It is not a question of embodied life, but it is the nature of the soul to be always active. Without the presence of the spirit soul, the material body cannot move. The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, which is always active and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krsna consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy. In contact with material energy, the spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such affinities it is necessary to engage in the prescribed duties enjoined in the sastras. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Krsna consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) affirms this:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
"If someone takes to Krsna consciousness, even though he may not service properly, and even though he may fall down from the standard, there is no loss or evil for him. But if he carries out all the injunctions for purification in the sastras, what does it avail him if he is not Krsna conscious?" So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Krsna consciousness. Therefore, sannyasa, or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Krsna conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.
One who restrains the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.
There are many pretenders who refuse to work in Krsna consciousness but make a show of meditation, while actually dwelling within the mind upon sense enjoyment. Such pretenders may also speak on dry philosophy in order to bluff sophisticated followers, but according to this verse these are the greatest cheaters. For sense enjoyment one can act in any capacity of the social order, but if one follows the rules and regulations of his particular status, he can make gradual progress in purifying his existence. But he who makes a show of being a yogi while actually searching for the objects of sense gratification must be called the greatest cheater, even though he sometimes speaks of philosophy. His knowledge has no value, because the effects of such a sinful mans knowledge are taken away by the illusory energy of the Lord. Such a pretenders mind is always impure, and therefore his show of yogic meditation has no value whatsoever.
On the other hand, if a sincere person tries to control the active senses by the mind and begins karma-yoga [in Krsna consciousness] without attachment, he is by far superior.
Instead of becoming a pseudo transcendentalist for the sake of wanton living and sense enjoyment, it is far better to remain in ones own business and execute the purpose of life, which is to get free from material bondage and enter into the kingdom of God. The prime svartha-gati, or goal of self-interest, is to reach Visnu. The whole institution of varna and asrama is designed to help us reach this goal of life. A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Krsna consciousness. For self-realization, one can live a controlled life, as prescribed in the sastras, and continue carrying out his business without attachment, and in that way make progress. A sincere person who follows this method is far better situated than the false pretender who adopts show-bottle spiritualism to cheat the innocent public. A sincere sweeper in the street is far better than the charlatan meditator who meditates only for the sake of making a living.
Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain ones physical body without work.
There are many pseudo meditators who misrepresent themselves as belonging to high parentage, and great professional men who falsely pose that they have sacrificed everything for the sake of advancement in spiritual life. Lord Krsna did not want Arjuna to become a pretender. Rather, the Lord desired that Arjuna perform his prescribed duties as set forth for ksatriyas. Arjuna was a householder and a military general, and therefore it was better for him to remain as such and perform his religious duties as prescribed for the householder ksatriya. Such activities gradually cleanse the heart of a mundane man and free him from material contamination. So-called renunciation for the purpose of maintenance is never approved by the Lord, nor by any religious scripture. After all, one has to maintain ones body and soul together by some work. Work should not be given up capriciously, without purification of materialistic propensities. Anyone who is in the material world is certainly possessed of the impure propensity for lording it over material nature, or, in other words, for sense gratification. Such polluted propensities have to be cleared. Without doing so, through prescribed duties, one should never attempt to become a so-called transcendentalist, renouncing work and living at the cost of others.
Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free from bondage.
Since one has to work even for the simple maintenance of the body, the prescribed duties for a particular social position and quality are so made that that purpose can be fulfilled. Yajna means Lord Visnu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu. The Vedas enjoin: yajno vai visnuh. In other words, the same purpose is served whether one performs prescribed yajnas or directly serves Lord Visnu. Krsna consciousness is therefore performance of yajna as it is prescribed in this verse. The varnasrama institution also aims at satisfying Lord Visnu. Varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman/ visnur aradhyate (Visnu Purana 3.8.8).
Therefore one has to work for the satisfaction of Visnu. Any other work done in this material world will be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer. Therefore, one has to work in Krsna consciousness to satisfy Krsna (or Visnu); and while performing such activities one is in a liberated stage. This is the great art of doing work, and in the beginning this process requires very expert guidance. One should therefore act very diligently, under the expert guidance of a devotee of Lord Krsna, or under the direct instruction of Lord Krsna Himself (under whom Arjuna had the opportunity to work). Nothing should be performed for sense gratification, but everything should be done for the satisfaction of Krsna. This practice will not only save one from the reaction of work, but also gradually elevate one to transcendental loving service of the Lord, which alone can raise one to the kingdom of God.
In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Visnu, and blessed them by saying, "Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation."
The material creation by the Lord of creatures (Visnu) is a chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back homeback to Godhead. All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to Visnu, or Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us understand this eternal relation, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. The Lord says that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said: patim visvasyatmesvaram. Therefore, the Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam also (2.4.20) Srila Sukadeva Gosvami describes the Lord as pati in so many ways:
sriyah patir yajna-patih praja-patir
The praja-pati is Lord Visnu, and He is the Lord of all living creatures, all worlds, and all beauties, and the protector of everyone. The Lord created this material world to enable the conditioned souls to learn how to perform yajnas (sacrifices) for the satisfaction of Visnu, so that while in the material world they can live very comfortably without anxiety and after finishing the present material body they can enter into the kingdom of God. That is the whole program for the conditioned soul. By performance of yajna, the conditioned souls gradually become Krsna conscious and become godly in all respects. In the Age of Kali, the sankirtana-yajna (the chanting of the names of God) is recommended by the Vedic scriptures, and this transcendental system was introduced by Lord Caitanya for the deliverance of all men in this age. Sankirtana-yajna and Krsna consciousness go well together. Lord Krsna in His devotional form (as Lord Caitanya) is mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32) as follows, with special reference to the sankirtana-yajna:
"In this Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of sankirtana-yajna." Other yajnas prescribed in the Vedic literatures are not easy to perform in this Age of Kali, but the sankirtana-yajna is easy and sublime for all purposes, as recommended in Bhagavad-gita also (9.14).
The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all.
The demigods are empowered administrators of material affairs. The supply of air, light, water and all other benedictions for maintaining the body and soul of every living entity is entrusted to the demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependent on the performance of yajnas by the human being. Some of the yajnas are meant to satisfy particular demigods; but even in so doing, Lord Visnu is worshiped in all yajnas as the chief beneficiary. It is stated also in the Bhagavad-gita that Krsna Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajnas: bhoktaram yajna-tapasam. Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the yajna-pati is the chief purpose of all yajnas. When these yajnas are perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the supply of natural products.
Performance of yajnas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation from material bondage. By performance of yajnas, all activities become purified, as it is stated in the Vedas: ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih sattva-suddhau dhruva smrtih smrti-lambhe sarvagranthinam vipramoksah. By performance of yajna ones eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs ones very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence finer tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is sanctified one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Krsna consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.
In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], will supply all necessities to you. But he who enjoys such gifts without offering them to the demigods in return is certainly a thief.
The demigods are authorized supplying agents on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. Therefore, they must be satisfied by the performance of prescribed yajnas. In the Vedas, there are different kinds of yajnas prescribed for different kinds of demigods, but all are ultimately offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For one who cannot understand what the Personality of Godhead is, sacrifice to the demigods is recommended. According to the different material qualities of the persons concerned, different types of yajnas are recommended in the Vedas. Worship of different demigods is also on the same basisnamely, according to different qualities. For example, the meat-eaters are recommended to worship the goddess Kali, the ghastly form of material nature, and before the goddess the sacrifice of animals is recommended. But for those who are in the mode of goodness, the transcendental worship of Visnu is recommended. But ultimately all yajnas are meant for gradual promotion to the transcendental position. For ordinary men, at least five yajnas, known as panca-maha-yajna, are necessary.
One should know, however, that all the necessities of life that the human society requires are supplied by the demigod agents of the Lord. No one can manufacture anything. Take, for example, all the eatables of human society. These eatables include grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, etc., for the persons in the mode of goodness, and also eatables for the nonvegetarians, like meats, none of which can be manufactured by men. Then again, take for example heat, light, water, air, etc., which are also necessities of lifenone of them can be manufactured by the human society. Without the Supreme Lord, there can be no profuse sunlight, moonlight, rainfall, breeze, etc., without which no one can live. Obviously, our life is dependent on supplies from the Lord. Even for our manufacturing enterprises, we require so many raw materials like metal, sulphur, mercury, manganese, and so many essentialsall of which are supplied by the agents of the Lord, with the purpose that we should make proper use of them to keep ourselves fit and healthy for the purpose of self-realization, leading to the ultimate goal of life, namely, liberation from the material struggle for existence. This aim of fife is attained by performance of yajnas. If we forget the purpose of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord for sense gratification and become more and more entangled in material existence, which is not the purpose of creation, certainly we become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of material nature. A society of thieves can never be happy, because they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no ultimate goal of life. They are simply directed to sense gratification; nor do they have knowledge of how to perform yajnas. Lord Caitanya, however, inaugurated the easiest performance of yajna, namely the sankirtana-yajna, which can be performed by anyone in the world who accepts the principles of Krsna consciousness.
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.
The devotees of the Supreme Lord, or the persons who are in Krsna consciousness, are called santas, and they are always in love with the Lord as it is described in the Brahma-samhita (5.38): premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. The santas, being always in a compact of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda (the giver of all pleasures), or Mukunda (the giver of liberation), or Krsna (the all-attractive person), cannot accept anything without first offering it to the Supreme Person. Therefore, such devotees always perform yajnas in different modes of devotional service, such as sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, arcanam, etc., and these performances of yajnas keep them always aloof from all kinds of contamination of sinful association in the material world. Others, who prepare food for self or sense gratification, are not only thieves but also the eaters of all kinds of sins. How can a person be happy if he is both a thief and sinful? It is not possible. Therefore, in order for people to become happy in all respects, they must be taught to perform the easy process of sankirtana-yajna, in full Krsna consciousness. Otherwise, there can be no peace or happiness in the world.
All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.
Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a great commentator on the Bhagavad-gita, writes as follows: ye indrady-angatayavasthitam yajnam sarvesvaram visnum abhyarcya tac-chesam asnanti tena tad deha-yatram sampadayanti, te santah sarvesvarasya yajna-purusasya bhaktah sarva-kilbisair anadi-kala-vivrddhair atmanubhava-prati bandhakair nikhilaih papair vimucyante. The Supreme Lord, who is known as the yajna-purusa, or the personal beneficiary of all sacrifices, is the master of all the demigods, who serve Him as the different limbs of the body serve the whole. Demigods like Indra, Candra and Varuna are appointed officers who manage material affairs, and the Vedas direct sacrifices to satisfy these demigods so that they may be pleased to supply air, light and water sufficiently to produce food grains. When Lord Krsna is worshiped, the demigods, who are different limbs of the Lord, are also automatically worshiped; therefore there is no separate need to worship the demigods. For this reason, the devotees of the Lord, who are in Krsna consciousness, offer food to Krsna and then eata process which nourishes the body spiritually. By such action not only are past sinful reactions in the body vanquished, but the body becomes immunized to all contamination of material nature. When there is an epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine protects a person from the attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered to Lord Visnu and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material affection, and one who is accustomed to this practice is called a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Krsna consciousness, who eats only food offered to Krsna, can counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material world is full of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasadam of the Lord (food offered to Visnu) is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not do so becomes subjected to contamination.
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcitythat is the law of nature. Yajna, specifically the sankirtana-yajna prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.
Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.
Yajnartha-karma, or the necessity of work for the satisfaction of Krsna only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the yajna-purusa, Visnu, then we must find out the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The Vedas are therefore codes of working directions. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma, or unauthorized or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take direction from the Vedas to be saved from the reaction of work. As one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state, one similarly has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such directions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said, asya mahato bhutasya nisvasitam etad yad rg-vedo yajur-vedah samavedo tharvangirasah. "The four Vedasnamely the Rg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Vedaare all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead." (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.5.11) The Lord, being omnipotent, can speak by breathing air, for as it is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita, the Lord has the omnipotence to perform through each of His senses the actions of all other senses. In other words, the Lord can speak through His breathing, and He can impregnate by His eyes. In fact, it is said that He glanced over material nature and thus fathered all living entities. After creating or impregnating the conditioned souls into the womb of material nature, He gave His directions in the Vedic wisdom as to how such conditioned souls can return home, back to Godhead. We should always remember that the conditioned souls in material nature are all eager for material enjoyment. But the Vedic directions are so made that one can satisfy ones perverted desires, then return to Godhead, having finished his so-called enjoyment. It is a chance for the conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore the conditioned souls must try to follow the process of yajna by becoming Krsna conscious. Even those who have not followed the Vedic injunctions may adopt the principles of Krsna consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic yajnas, or karmas.
My dear Arjuna, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus established by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin. Living only for the satisfaction of the senses, such a person lives in vain.
The mammonist philosophy of "work very hard and enjoy sense gratification" is condemned herein by the Lord. Therefore, for those who want to enjoy this material world, the above-mentioned cycle of performing yajnas is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more and more. By natures law, this human form of life is specifically meant for self-realization, in either of the three waysnamely karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. There is no necessity of rigidly following the performances of the prescribed yajnas for the transcendentalists who are above vice and virtue; but those who are engaged in sense gratification require purification by the abovementioned cycle of yajna performances. There are different kinds of activities. Those who are not Krsna conscious are certainly engaged in sensory consciousness; therefore they need to execute pious work. The yajna system is planned in such a way that sensory conscious persons may satisfy their desires without becoming entangled in the reaction of sense-gratificatory work. The prosperity of the world depends not on our own efforts but on the background arrangement of the Supreme Lord, directly carried out by the demigods. Therefore, the yajnas are directly aimed at the particular demigods mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Krsna consciousness, because when one masters the performance of yajnas one is sure to become Krsna conscious. But if by performing yajnas one does not become Krsna conscious, such principles are counted as only moral codes. One should not, therefore, limit his progress only to the point of moral codes, but should transcend them, to attain Krsna consciousness.
But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiatedfor him there is no duty.
A person who is fully Krsna conscious, and is fully satisfied by his acts in Krsna consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform. Due to his being Krsna conscious, all impiety within is instantly cleansed, an effect of many, many thousands of yajna performances. By such clearing of consciousness, one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer has any obligations to the Vedic injunctions. Such a Krsna conscious person is no longer interested in material activities and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women and similar infatuations.
A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.
A self-realized man is no longer obliged to perform any prescribed duty, save and except activities in Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is not inactivity either, as will be explained in the following verses. A Krsna conscious man does not take shelter of any personman or demigod. Whatever he does in Krsna consciousness is sufficient in the discharge of his obligation.
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.
The Supreme is the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and liberation for the impersonalist. A person, therefore, acting for Krsna, or in Krsna consciousness, under proper guidance and without attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Arjuna is told that he should fight in the Battle of Kuruksetra for the interest of Krsna because Krsna wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a nonviolent man is a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme is to act without attachment for the result. That is perfect action of the highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.
Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But action in Krsna consciousness is transcendental to the reactions of good or evil work. A Krsna conscious person has no attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Krsna alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely nonattached.
Kings such as Janaka attained perfection solely by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.
Kings like Janaka were all self-realized souls; consequently they had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties in the Vedas. Nonetheless they performed all prescribed activities just to set examples for the people in general. Janaka was the father of Sita and father-in-law of Lord Sri Rama. Being a great devotee of the Lord, he was transcendentally situated, but because he was the king of Mithila (a subdivision of Bihar province in India), he had to teach his subjects how to perform prescribed duties. Lord Krsna and Arjuna, the Lords eternal friend, had no need to fight in the Battle of Kuruksetra, but they fought to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the Battle of Kuruksetra, every effort was made to avoid the war, even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the other party was determined to fight. So for such a right cause, there is a necessity for fighting. Although one who is situated in Krsna consciousness may not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public how to live and how to act. Experienced persons in Krsna consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is explained in the following verse.
Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
People in general always require a leader who can teach the public by practical behavior. A leader cannot teach the public to stop smoking if he himself smokes. Lord Caitanya said that a teacher should behave properly before he begins teaching. One who teaches in that way is called acarya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the principles of sastra (scripture) to teach the common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-samhita and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leaders teaching should be based on the principles of such standard sastras. One who desires to improve himself must follow the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Srimad-Bhagavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees, and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization. The king or the executive head of a state, the father and the school teacher are all considered to be natural leaders of the innocent people in general. All such natural leaders have a great responsibility to their dependents; therefore they must be conversant with standard books of moral and spiritual codes.
O son of Prtha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anythingand yet I am engaged in prescribed duties.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures as follows:
tam isvaranam paramam mahesvaram
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
"The Supreme Lord is the controller of all other controllers, and He is the greatest of all the diverse planetary leaders. Everyone is under His control. All entities are delegated with particular power only by the Supreme Lord; they are not supreme themselves. He is also worshipable by all demigods and is the supreme director of all directors. Therefore, He is transcendental to all kinds of material leaders and controllers and is worshipable by all. There is no one greater than Him, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.
"He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.78)
Since everything is in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead and is existing in full truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Krsna is engaged on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra as the leader of the ksatriyas because the ksatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of the revealed scriptures, He does not do anything that violates the revealed scriptures.
For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path.
In order to keep the balance of social tranquillity for progress in spiritual life, there are traditional family usages meant for every civilized man. Although such rules and regulations are for the conditioned souls and not Lord Krsna, because He descended to establish the principles of religion He followed the prescribed rules. Otherwise, common men would follow in His footsteps, because He is the greatest authority. From the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is understood that Lord Krsna was performing all the religious duties at home and out of home, as required of a householder.
If I did not perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all living beings.
Varna-sankara is unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and regulations by which the population can automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life. When Lord Krsna descends, naturally He deals with such rules and regulations in order to maintain the prestige and necessity of such important performances. The Lord is the father of all living entities, and if the living entities are misguided, indirectly the responsibility goes to the Lord. Therefore, whenever there is general disregard of regulative principles, the Lord Himself descends and corrects the society. We should, however, note carefully that although we have to follow in the footsteps of the Lord, we still have to remember that we cannot imitate Him. Following and imitating are not on the same level. We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhana Hill, as the Lord did in His childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any time. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.3031) affirms:
naitat samacarej jatu
isvaranam vacah satyam
"One should simply follow the instructions of the Lord and His empowered servants. Their instructions are all good for us, and any intelligent person will perform them as instructed. However, one should guard against trying to imitate their actions. One should not try to drink the ocean of poison in imitation of Lord Siva."
We should always consider the position of the isvaras, or those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon, as superior. Without such power, one cannot imitate the isvaras, who are superpowerful. Lord Siva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean, but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such poison, he will be killed. There are many pseudo devotees of Lord Siva who want to indulge in smoking ganja (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Siva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some pseudo devotees of Lord Krsna who prefer to imitate the Lord in His rasa-lila, or dance of love, forgetting their inability to lift Govardhana Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy their posts without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the power of the Supreme Godhead.
As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.
A person in Krsna consciousness and a person not in Krsna consciousness are differentiated by different desires. A Krsna conscious person does not do anything which is not conducive to development of Krsna consciousness. He may even act exactly like the ignorant person, who is too much attached to material activities, but one is engaged in such activities for the satisfaction of his sense gratification, whereas the other is engaged for the satisfaction of Krsna. Therefore, the Krsna conscious person is required to show the people how to act and how to engage the results of action for the purpose of Krsna consciousness.
So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work. Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krsna consciousness].
Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. That is the end of all Vedic rituals. All rituals, all performances of sacrifices, and everything that is put into the Vedas, including all direction for material activities, are meant for understanding Krsna, who is the ultimate goal of life. But because the conditioned souls do not know anything beyond sense gratification, they study the Vedas to that end. But through fruitive activities and sense gratification regulated by the Vedic rituals one is gradually elevated to Krsna consciousness. Therefore a realized soul in Krsna consciousness should not disturb others in their activities or understanding, but he should act by showing how the results of all work can be dedicated to the service of Krsna. The learned Krsna conscious person may act in such a way that the ignorant person working for sense gratification may learn how to act and how to behave. Although the ignorant man is not to be disturbed in his activities, a slightly developed Krsna conscious person may directly be engaged in the service of the Lord without waiting for other Vedic formulas. For this fortunate man there is no need to follow the Vedic rituals, because by direct Krsna consciousness one can have all the results one would otherwise derive from following ones prescribed duties.
The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.
Two persons, one in Krsna consciousness and the other in material consciousness, working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature, which works under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Krsna. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently, and that is the symptom of his nescience. He does not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Krsna, in Krsna consciousness. The ignorant man forgets that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hrsikesa, or the master of the senses of the material body, for due to his long misuse of the senses in sense gratification, he is factually bewildered by the false ego, which makes him forget his eternal relationship with Krsna.
One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.
The knower of the Absolute Truth is convinced of his awkward position in material association. He knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and that his position should not be in the material creation. He knows his real identity as part and parcel of the Supreme, who is eternal bliss and knowledge, and he realizes that somehow or other he is entrapped in the material conception of life. In his pure state of existence he is meant to dovetail his activities in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Krsna consciousness and becomes naturally unattached to the activities of the material senses, which are all circumstantial and temporary. He knows that his material condition of life is under the supreme control of the Lord; consequently he is not disturbed by all kinds of material reactions, which he considers to be the mercy of the Lord. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, one who knows the Absolute Truth in three different featuresnamely Brahman, Paramatma, and the Supreme Personality of Godheadis called tattva-vit, for he knows also his own factual position in relationship with the Supreme.
Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers lack of knowledge.
Persons who are unknowledgeable falsely identify with gross material consciousness and are full of material designations. This body is a gift of the material nature, and one who is too much attached to the bodily consciousness is called manda, or a lazy person without understanding of spirit soul. Ignorant men think of the body as the self; they accept bodily connections with others as kinsmanship, the land in which the body is obtained is their object of worship, and they consider the formalities of religious rituals to be ends in themselves. Social work, nationalism and altruism are some of the activities for such materially designated persons. Under the spell of such designations, they are always busy in the material field; for them spiritual realization is a myth, and so they are not interested. Those who are enlightened in spiritual life, however, should not try to agitate such materially engrossed persons. Better to prosecute ones own spiritual activities silently. Such bewildered persons may be engaged in such primary moral principles of life as nonviolence and similar materially benevolent work.
Men who are ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Krsna consciousness, and therefore Lord Krsna advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Krsna consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight.
This verse clearly indicates the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Krsna conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult; nevertheless duties must be carried out, with dependence on Krsna, because that is the constitutional position of the living entity. The living entity cannot be happy independent of the cooperation of the Supreme Lord, because the eternal constitutional position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord. Arjuna was therefore ordered by Sri Krsna to fight as if the Lord were his military commander. One has to sacrifice everything for the good will of the Supreme Lord, and at the same time discharge prescribed duties without claiming proprietorship. Arjuna did not have to consider the order of the Lord; he had only to execute His order. The Supreme Lord is the soul of all souls; therefore, one who depends solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words, one who is fully Krsna conscious, is called adhyatma-cetas. Nirasih means that one has to act on the order of the master but should not expect fruitive results. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent for himself. Similarly, one has to realize that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but that everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. That is the real purport of mayi, or "unto Me." And when one acts in such Krsna consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything. This consciousness is called nirmama, or "nothing is mine." And if there is any reluctance to execute such a stern order, which is without consideration of so-called kinsmen in the bodily relationship, that reluctance should be thrown off; in this way one may become vigata-jvara, or without feverish mentality or lethargy. Everyone, according to his quality and position, has a particular type of work to discharge, and all such duties may be discharged in Krsna consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.
Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive actions.
The injunction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Krsna consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many philosophers who write comments on the Bhagavad-gita but have no faith in Krsna. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Krsna consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krsna consciousness.
But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their endeavors for perfection.
The flaw of not being Krsna conscious is clearly stated herein. As there is punishment for disobedience to the order of the supreme executive head, so there is certainly punishment for disobedience to the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A disobedient person, however great he may be, is ignorant of his own self, and of the Supreme Brahman, Paramatma and the Personality of Godhead, due to a vacant heart. Therefore there is no hope of perfection of life for him.
Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish?
Unless one is situated on the transcendental platform of Krsna consciousness, he cannot get free from the influence of the modes of material nature, as it is confirmed by the Lord in the Seventh Chapter (7.14). Therefore, even for the most highly educated person on the mundane plane, it is impossible to get out of the entanglement of maya simply by theoretical knowledge, or by separating the soul from the body. There are many so-called spiritualists who outwardly pose as advanced in the science but inwardly or privately are completely under particular modes of nature which they are unable to surpass. Academically, one may be very learned, but because of his long association with material nature, he is in bondage. Krsna consciousness helps one to get out of the material entanglement, even though one may be engaged in his prescribed duties in terms of material existence. Therefore, without being fully in Krsna consciousness, one should not give up his occupational duties. No one should suddenly give up his prescribed duties and become a so-called yogi or transcendentalist artificially. It is better to be situated in ones position and to try to attain Krsna consciousness under superior training. Thus one may be freed from the clutches of Krsnas maya.
There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.
Those who are in Krsna consciousness are naturally reluctant to engage in material sense gratification. But those who are not in such consciousness should follow the rules and regulations of the revealed scriptures. Unrestricted sense enjoyment is the cause of material encagement, but one who follows the rules and regulations of the revealed scriptures does not become entangled by the sense objects. For example, sex enjoyment is a necessity for the conditioned soul, and sex enjoyment is allowed under the license of marriage ties. According to scriptural injunctions, one is forbidden to engage in sex relationships with any women other than ones wife. All other women are to be considered as ones mother. But in spite of such injunctions, a man is still inclined to have sex relationships with other women. These propensities are to be curbed; otherwise they will be stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. As long as the material body is there, the necessities of the material body are allowed, but under rules and regulations. And yet, we should not rely upon the control of such allowances. One has to follow those rules and regulations, unattached to them, because practice of sense gratification under regulations may also lead one to go astrayas much as there is always the chance of an accident, even on the royal roads. Although they may be very carefully maintained, no one can guarantee that there will be no danger even on the safest road. The sense enjoyment spirit has been current a very long, long time, owing to material association. Therefore, in spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there is every chance of falling down; therefore any attachment for regulated sense enjoyment must also be avoided by all means. But attachment to Krsna consciousness, or acting always in the loving service of Krsna, detaches one from all kinds of sensory activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Krsna consciousness at any stage of life. The whole purpose of detachment from all kinds of sense attachment is ultimately to become situated on the platform of Krsna consciousness.
It is far better to discharge ones prescribed duties, even though faultily, than anothers duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing ones own duty is better than engaging in anothers duties, for to follow anothers path is dangerous.
One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Krsna consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Materially, prescribed duties are duties enjoined according to ones psychophysical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature. Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master for the transcendental service of Krsna. But whether material or spiritual, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate anothers prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the performer. When one is under the spell of the modes of material nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for his particular situation and should not imitate others. For example, a brahmana, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a ksatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a ksatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brahmana who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Krsna consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Krsna consciousness, the ksatriya may act as a brahmana, or a brahmana may act as a ksatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Visvamitra was originally a ksatriya, but later on he acted as a brahmana, whereas Parasurama was a brahmana but later on he acted as a ksatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Krsna consciousness.
Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?
A living entity, as part and parcel of the Supreme, is originally spiritual, pure, and free from all material contaminations. Therefore, by nature he is not subject to the sins of the material world. But when he is in contact with the material nature, he acts in many sinful ways without hesitation, and sometimes even against his will. As such, Arjunas question to Krsna is very sanguine, as to the perverted nature of the living entities. Although the living entity sometimes does not want to act in sin, he is still forced to act. Sinful actions are not, however, impelled by the Supersoul within, but are due to another cause, as the Lord explains in the next verse.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.
When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Krsna is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yogurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied, it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in the material world. Wrath is the manifestation of the mode of ignorance; these modes exhibit themselves as wrath and other corollaries. If, therefore, the mode of passion, instead of being degraded into the mode of ignorance, is elevated to the mode of goodness by the prescribed method of living and acting, then one can be saved from the degradation of wrath by spiritual attachment.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead expanded Himself into many for His ever-increasing spiritual bliss, and the living entities are parts and parcels of this spiritual bliss. They also have partial independence, but by misuse of their independence, when the service attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment, they come under the sway of lust. This material creation is created by the Lord to give facility to the conditioned souls to fulfill these lustful propensities, and when completely baffled by prolonged lustful activities, the living entities begin to inquire about their real position.
This inquiry is the beginning of the Vedanta-sutras, wherein it is said, athato brahma-jijnasa: one should inquire into the Supreme. And the Supreme is defined in Srimad-Bhagavatam as janmady asya yato nvayad itaratas ca, or, "The origin of everything is the Supreme Brahman." Therefore the origin of lust is also in the Supreme. If, therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or transformed into Krsna consciousnessor, in other words, desiring everything for Krsnathen both lust and wrath can be spiritualized. Hanuman, the great servitor of Lord Rama, exhibited his wrath by burning the golden city of Ravana, but by doing so he became the greatest devotee of the Lord. Here also, in Bhagavad-gita, the Lord induces Arjuna to engage his wrath upon his enemies for the satisfaction of the Lord. Therefore, lust and wrath, when they are employed in Krsna consciousness, become our friends instead of our enemies.
As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust.
There are three degrees of covering of the living entity by which his pure consciousness is obscured. This covering is but lust under different manifestations like smoke in the fire, dust on the mirror, and the womb about the embryo. When lust is compared to smoke, it is understood that the fire of the living spark can be a little perceived. In other words, when the living entity exhibits his Krsna consciousness slightly, he may be likened to the fire covered by smoke. Although fire is necessary where there is smoke, there is no overt manifestation of fire in the early stage. This stage is like the beginning of Krsna consciousness. The dust on the mirror refers to a cleansing process of the mirror of the mind by so many spiritual methods. The best process is to chant the holy names of the Lord. The embryo covered by the womb is an analogy illustrating a helpless position, for the child in the womb is so helpless that he cannot even move. This stage of living condition can be compared to that of the trees. The trees are also living entities, but they have been put in such a condition of life by such a great exhibition of lust that they are almost void of all consciousness. The covered mirror is compared to the birds and beasts, and the smoke-covered fire is compared to the human being. In the form of a human being, the living entity may revive a little Krsna consciousness, and, if he makes further development, the fire of spiritual life can be kindled in the human form of life. By careful handling of the smoke in the fire, fire can be made to blaze. Therefore the human form of life is a chance for the living entity to escape the entanglement of material existence. In the human form of life, one can conquer the enemy, lust, by cultivation of Krsna consciousness under able guidance.
Thus the wise living entitys pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.
It is said in the Manu-smrti that lust cannot be satisfied by any amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire is never extinguished by a constant supply of fuel. In the material world, the center of all activities is sex, and thus this material world is called maithunya-agara, or the shackles of sex life. In the ordinary prison house, criminals are kept within bars; similarly, the criminals who are disobedient to the laws of the Lord are shackled by sex life. Advancement of material civilization on the basis of sense gratification means increasing the duration of the material existence of a living entity. Therefore, this lust is the symbol of ignorance by which the living entity is kept within the material world. While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoyer.
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
The enemy has captured different strategic positions in the body of the conditioned soul, and therefore Lord Krsna is giving hints of those places, so that one who wants to conquer the enemy may know where he can be found. Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus when we hear about sense objects the mind generally becomes a reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a result, the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust. Next, the intelligence department becomes the capital of such lustful propensities. Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness. This false identification of the spirit soul is very nicely explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.84.13):
yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
"A human being who identifies this body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of birth worshipable, and who goes to the place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered like an ass or a cow.
Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.
The Lord advised Arjuna to regulate the senses from the very beginning so that he could curb the greatest sinful enemy, lust, which destroys the urge for self-realization and specific knowledge of the self. Jnana refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or in other words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vijnana refers to specific knowledge of the spirit souls constitutional position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is explained thus in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.31):
jnanam parama-guhyam me
"The knowledge of the self and Supreme Self is very confidential and mysterious, but such knowledge and specific realization can be understood if explained with their various aspects by the Lord Himself." Bhagavad-gita gives us that general and specific knowledge of the self. The living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord, and therefore they are simply meant to serve the Lord. This consciousness is called Krsna consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this Krsna consciousness, and thereby one may become fully Krsna conscious and act accordingly.
Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is natural for every living entity. But if one is educated in Krsna consciousness from the very beginning, that natural love of God cannot deteriorate into lust. When love of God deteriorates into lust, it is very difficult to return to the normal condition. Nonetheless, Krsna consciousness is so powerful that even a late beginner can become a lover of God by following the regulative principles of devotional service. So, from any stage of life, or from the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in Krsna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the lust into love of Godheadthe highest perfectional stage of human life.
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
The senses are different outlets for the activities of lust. Lust is reserved within the body, but it is given vent through the senses. Therefore, the senses are superior to the body as a whole. These outlets are not in use when there is superior consciousness, or Krsna consciousness. In Krsna consciousness the soul makes direct connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the hierarchy of bodily functions, as described here, ultimately ends in the Supreme Soul. Bodily action means the functions of the senses, and stopping the senses means stopping all bodily actions. But since the mind is active, then even though the body may be silent and at rest, the mind will actas it does during dreaming. But above the mind is the determination of the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the soul proper. If, therefore, the soul is directly engaged with the Supreme, naturally all other subordinates, namely, the intelligence, mind and senses, will be automatically engaged. In the Katha Upanisad there is a similar passage, in which it is said that the objects of sense gratification are superior to the senses, and mind is superior to the sense objects. If, therefore, the mind is directly engaged in the service of the Lord constantly, then there is no chance that the senses will become engaged in other ways. This mental attitude has already been explained. param drstva nivartate. If the mind is engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is no chance of its being engaged in the lower propensities. In the Katha Upanisad the soul has been described as mahan, the great. Therefore the soul is above allnamely, the sense objects, the senses, the mind and the intelligence. Therefore, directly understanding the constitutional position of the soul is the solution of the whole problem.
With intelligence one has to seek out the constitutional position of the soul and then engage the mind always in Krsna consciousness. That solves the whole problem. A neophyte spiritualist is generally advised to keep aloof from the objects of the senses. But aside from that, one has to strengthen the mind by use of intelligence. If by intelligence one engages ones mind in Krsna consciousness, by complete surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then, automatically, the mind becomes stronger, and even though the senses are very strong, like serpents, they will be no more effective than serpents with broken fangs. But even though the soul is the master of intelligence and mind, and the senses also, still, unless it is strengthened by association with Krsna in Krsna consciousness, there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Krsna consciousness] and thusby spiritual strengthconquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.
This Third Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita is conclusively directive to Krsna consciousness by knowing oneself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without considering impersonal voidness the ultimate end. In the material existence of life, one is certainly influenced by propensities for lust and desire for dominating the resources of material nature. Desire for overlording and for sense gratification is the greatest enemy of the conditioned soul; but by the strength of Krsna consciousness, one can control the material senses, the mind and the intelligence. One may not give up work and prescribed duties all of a sudden; but by gradually developing Krsna consciousness, one can be situated in a transcendental position without being influenced by the material senses and the mindby steady intelligence directed toward ones pure identity. This is the sum total of this chapter. In the immature stage of material existence, philosophical speculations and artificial attempts to control the senses by the so-called practice of yogic postures can never help a man toward spiritual life. He must be trained in Krsna consciousness by higher intelligence.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Third Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of Karma-yoga, or the Discharge of Ones Prescribed Duty in Krsna Consciousness.