The Most Confidential Knowldge
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most confidential knowledge and realization, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.
As a devotee hears more and more about the Supreme Lord, he becomes enlightened. This hearing process is recommended in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: "The messages of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are full of potencies, and these potencies can be realized if topics regarding the Supreme Godhead are discussed amongst devotees. This cannot be achieved by the association of mental speculators or academic scholars, for it is realized knowledge."
The devotees are constantly engaged in the Supreme Lords service. The Lord understands the mentality and sincerity of a particular living entity who is engaged in Krsna consciousness and gives him the intelligence to understand the science of Krsna in the association of devotees. Discussion of Krsna is very potent, and if a fortunate person has such association and tries to assimilate the knowledge, then he will surely make advancement toward spiritual realization. Lord Krsna, in order to encourage Arjuna to higher and higher elevation in His potent service, describes in this Ninth Chapter matters more confidential than any He has already disclosed.
The very beginning of Bhagavad-gita, the First Chapter, is more or less an introduction to the rest of the book; and in the Second and Third chapters, the spiritual knowledge described is called confidential. Topics discussed in the Seventh and Eighth chapters are specifically related to devotional service, and because they bring enlightenment in Krsna consciousness, they are called more confidential. But the matters which are described in the Ninth Chapter deal with unalloyed, pure devotion. Therefore this is called the most confidential. One who is situated in the most confidential knowledge of Krsna is naturally transcendental; he therefore has no material pangs, although he is in the material world. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is said that although one who has a sincere desire to render loving service to the Supreme Lord is situated in the conditional state of material existence, he is to be considered liberated. Similarly, we shall find in the Bhagavad-gita, Tenth Chapter, that anyone who is engaged in that way is a liberated person.
Now this first verse has specific significance. The words idam jnanam ("this knowledge") refer to pure devotional service, which consists of nine different activities: hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping, praying, obeying, maintaining friendship and surrendering everything. By the practice of these nine elements of devotional service one is elevated to spiritual consciousness, Krsna consciousness. When ones heart is thus cleared of material contamination, one can understand this science of Krsna. Simply to understand that a living entity is not material is not sufficient. That may be the beginning of spiritual realization, but one should recognize the difference between activities of the body and the spiritual activities of one who understands that he is not the body.
In the Seventh Chapter we have already discussed the opulent potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His different energies, the inferior and superior natures, and all this material manifestation. Now in Chapter Nine the glories of the Lord will be delineated.
The Sanskrit word anasuyave in this verse is also very significant. Generally the commentators, even if they are highly scholarly, are all envious of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the most erudite scholars write on Bhagavad-gita very inaccurately. Because they are envious of Krsna, their commentaries are useless. The commentaries given by devotees of the Lord are bona fide. No one can explain Bhagavad-gita or give perfect knowledge of Krsna if he is envious. One who criticizes the character of Krsna without knowing Him is a fool. So such commentaries should be very carefully avoided. For one who understands that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the pure and transcendental Personality, these chapters will be very beneficial.
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
This chapter of Bhagavad-gita is called the king of education because it is the essence of all doctrines and philosophies explained before. Among the principal philosophers in India are Gautama, Kanada, Kapila, Yajnavalkya, Sandilya and Vaisvanara. And finally there is Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedanta-sutra. So there is no dearth of knowledge in the field of philosophy or transcendental knowledge. Now the Lord says that this Ninth Chapter is the king of all such knowledge, the essence of all knowledge that can be derived from the study of the Vedas and different kinds of philosophy. It is the most confidential because confidential or transcendental knowledge involves understanding the difference between the soul and the body. And the king of all confidential knowledge culminates in devotional service.
Generally, people are not educated in this confidential knowledge; they are educated in external knowledge. As far as ordinary education is concerned, people are involved with so many departments: politics, sociology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, etc. There are so many departments of knowledge all over the world and many huge universities, but there is, unfortunately, no university or educational institution where the science of the spirit soul is instructed. Yet the soul is the most important part of the body; without the presence of the soul, the body has no value. Still people are placing great stress on the bodily necessities of life, not caring for the vital soul.
The Bhagavad-gita, especially from the Second Chapter on, stresses the importance of the soul. In the very beginning, the Lord says that this body is perishable and that the soul is not perishable (antavanta ime deha nityasyoktah saririnah). That is a confidential part of knowledge: simply knowing that the spirit soul is different from this body and that its nature is immutable, indestructible and eternal. But that gives no positive information about the soul. Sometimes people are under the impression that the soul is different from the body and that when the body is finished, or one is liberated from the body, the soul remains in a void and becomes impersonal. But actually that is not the fact. How can the soul, which is so active within this body, be inactive after being liberated from the body? It is always active. If it is eternal, then it is eternally active, and its activities in the spiritual kingdom are the most confidential part of spiritual knowledge. These activities of the spirit soul are therefore indicated here as constituting the king of all knowledge, the most confidential part of all knowledge.
This knowledge is the purest form of all activities, as explained in Vedic literature. In the Padma Purana, mans sinful activities have been analyzed and are shown to be the results of sin after sin. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities are entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions. For instance, when the seed of a particular tree is sown, the tree does not appear immediately to grow; it takes some time. It is first a small, sprouting plant, then it assumes the form of a tree, then it flowers and bears fruit, and, when it is complete, the flowers and fruits are enjoyed by persons who have sown the seed of the tree. Similarly, a man performs a sinful act, and like a seed it takes time to fructify. There are different stages. The sinful action may have already stopped within the individual, but the results or the fruit of that sinful action are still to be enjoyed. There are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as distress and pain.
As explained in the twenty-eighth verse of the Seventh Chapter, a person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. In other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions. This statement is confirmed in the Padma Purana:
For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish. Therefore the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called pavitram uttamam, the purest. Uttama means transcendental. Tamas means this material world or darkness, and uttama means that which is transcendental to material activities. Devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service will know that they are not material activities. They are all spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature.
It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Krsna (Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) in course of chanting without offenses feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Krsna consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.
In the Vedanta-sutra (3.2.26) this is also described in the following words: prakasas ca karmany abhyasat. "Devotional service is so potent that simply by engaging in the activities of devotional service one becomes enlightened without a doubt." A practical example of this can be seen in the previous life of Narada, who in that life happened to be the son of a maidservant. He had no education, nor was he born into a high family. But when his mother was engaged in serving great devotees, Narada also became engaged, and sometimes, in the absence of his mother, he would serve the great devotees himself. Narada personally says,
ucchista-lepan anumodito dvijaih
In this verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.25) Narada describes his previous life to his disciple Vyasadeva. He says that while engaged as a boy servant for those purified devotees during the four months of their stay, he was intimately associating with them. Sometimes those sages left remnants of food on their dishes, and the boy, who would wash their dishes, wanted to taste the remnants. So he asked the great devotees for their permission, and when they gave it Narada ate those remnants and consequently became freed from all sinful reactions. As he went on eating, he gradually became as pure-hearted as the sages. The great devotees relished the taste of unceasing devotional service to the Lord by hearing and chanting, and Narada gradually developed the same taste. Narada says further,
tatranvaham krsna-kathah pragayatam
By associating with the sages, Narada got the taste for hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, and he developed a great desire for devotional service. Therefore, as described in the Vedanta-sutra, prakasas ca karmany abhyasat: if one is engaged simply in the acts of devotional service, everything is revealed to him automatically, and he can understand. This is called pratyaksa, directly perceived.
The word dharmyam means "the path of religion." Narada was actually a son of a maidservant. He had no opportunity to go to school. He was simply assisting his mother, and fortunately his mother rendered some service to the devotees. The child Narada also got the opportunity and simply by association achieved the highest goal of all religion. The highest goal of all religion is devotional service, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje). Religious people generally do not know that the highest perfection of religion is the attainment of devotional service. As we have already discussed in regard to the last verse of Chapter Eight (vedesu yajnesu tapahsu caiva), generally Vedic knowledge is required for self-realization. But here, although Narada never went to the school of the spiritual master and was not educated in the Vedic principles, he acquired the highest results of Vedic study. This process is so potent that even without performing the religious process regularly, one can be raised to the highest perfection. How is this possible? This is also confirmed in Vedic literature: acaryavan puruso veda. One who is in association with great acaryas, even if he is not educated or has never studied the Vedas, can become familiar with all the knowledge necessary for realization.
The process of devotional service is a very happy one (susukham). Why? Devotional service consists of sravanam kirtanam visnoh, so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorized acaryas. Simply by sitting, one can learn; then one can eat the remnants of the food offered to God, nice palatable dishes. In every state devotional service is joyful. One can execute devotional service even in the most poverty-stricken condition. The Lord says, patram puspam phalam toyam: He is ready to accept from the devotee any kind of offering, never mind what. Even a leaf, a flower, a bit of fruit, or a little water, which are all available in every part of the world, can be offered by any person, regardless of social position, and will be accepted if offered with love. There are many instances in history. Simply by tasting the tulasi leaves offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, great sages like Sanat-kumara became great devotees. Therefore the devotional process is very nice, and it can be executed in a happy mood. God accepts only the love with which things are offered to Him.
It is said here that this devotional service is eternally existing. It is not as the Mayavadi philosophers claim. Although they sometimes take to so-called devotional service, their idea is that as long as they are not liberated they will continue their devotional service, but at the end, when they become liberated, they will "become one with God." Such temporary time-serving devotional service is not accepted as pure devotional service. Actual devotional service continues even after liberation. When the devotee goes to the spiritual planet in the kingdom of God, he is also engaged there in serving the Supreme Lord. He does not try to become one with the Supreme Lord.
As will be seen in Bhagavad-gita, actual devotional service begins after liberation. After one is liberated, when one is situated in the Brahman position (brahma-bhuta), ones devotional service begins (samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param). No one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by executing karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, astanga-yoga or any other yoga independently. By these yogic methods one may make a little progress toward bhakti-yoga, but without coming to the stage of devotional service one cannot understand what is the Personality of Godhead. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is also confirmed that when one becomes purified by executing the process of devotional service, especially by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita from realized souls, then he can understand the science of Krsna, or the science of God. Evam prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti yogatah. When ones heart is cleared of all nonsense, then one can understand what God is. Thus the process of devotional service, of Krsna consciousness, is the king of all education and the king of all confidential knowledge. It is the purest form of religion, and it can be executed joyfully without difficulty. Therefore one should adopt it.
Those who are not faithful in this devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of enemies. Therefore they return to the path of birth and death in this material world.
The faithless cannot accomplish this process of devotional service; that is the purport of this verse. Faith is created by association with devotees. Unfortunate people, even after hearing all the evidence of Vedic literature from great personalities, still have no faith in God. They are hesitant and cannot stay fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus faith is a most important factor for progress in Krsna consciousness. In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is said that faith is the complete conviction that simply by serving the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, one can achieve all perfection. That is called real faith. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.31.14),
yatha taror mula-nisecanena
"By giving water to the root of a tree one satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies all the senses of the body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord one automatically satisfies all the demigods and all other living entities." Therefore, after reading Bhagavad-gita one should promptly come to the conclusion of Bhagavad-gita: one should give up all other engagements and adopt the service of the Supreme Lord, Krsna, the Personality of Godhead. If one is convinced of this philosophy of life, that is faith.
Now, the development of that faith is the process of Krsna consciousness. There are three divisions of Krsna conscious men. In the third class are those who have no faith. Even if they are officially engaged in devotional service, they cannot achieve the highest perfectional stage. Most probably they will slip, after some time. They may become engaged, but because they havent complete conviction and faith, it is very difficult for them to continue in Krsna consciousness. We have practical experience in discharging our missionary activity that some people come and apply themselves to Krsna consciousness with some hidden motive, and as soon as they are economically a little well situated they give up this process and take to their old ways again. It is only by faith that one can advance in Krsna consciousness. As far as the development of faith is concerned, one who is well versed in the literatures of devotional service and has attained the stage of firm faith is called a first-class person in Krsna consciousness. And in the second class are those who are not very advanced in understanding the devotional scriptures but who automatically have firm faith that krsna-bhakti, or service to Krsna, is the best course and so in good faith have taken it up. Thus they are superior to the third class, who have neither perfect knowledge of the scriptures nor good faith but by association and simplicity are trying to follow. The third-class person in Krsna consciousness may fall down, but when one is in the second class he does not fall down, and for the first-class person in Krsna consciousness there is no chance of falling down. One in the first class will surely make progress and achieve the result at the end. As far as the third-class person in Krsna consciousness is concerned, although he has faith in the conviction that devotional service to Krsna is very good, he has not yet gained adequate knowledge of Krsna through the scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Sometimes these third-class persons in Krsna consciousness have some tendency toward karma-yoga and jnana-yoga, and sometimes they are disturbed, but as soon as the infection of karma-yoga or jnana-yoga is vanquished, they become second-class or first-class persons in Krsna consciousness. Faith in Krsna is also divided into three stages and described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. First-class attachment, second-class attachment and third-class attachment are also explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam in the Eleventh Canto. Those who have no faith even after hearing about Krsna and the excellence of devotional service, who think that it is simply eulogy, find the path very difficult, even if they are supposedly engaged in devotional service. For them there is very little hope of gaining perfection. Thus faith is very important in the discharge of devotional service.
By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not perceivable through the gross material senses. It is said,
Lord Sri Krsnas name, fame, pastimes, etc., cannot be understood by material senses. Only to one who is engaged in pure devotional service under proper guidance is He revealed. In the Brahma-samhita (5.38) it is stated, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti: one can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, always within himself and outside himself if one has developed the transcendental loving attitude towards Him. Thus for people in general He is not visible. Here it is said that although He is all-pervading, everywhere present, He is not conceivable by the material senses. This is indicated here by the word avyakta-murtina. But actually, although we cannot see Him, everything is resting in Him. As we have discussed in the Seventh Chapter, the entire material cosmic manifestation is only a combination of His two different energiesthe superior, spiritual energy and the inferior, material energy. Just as the sunshine is spread all over the universe, the energy of the Lord is spread all over the creation, and everything is resting in that energy.
Yet one should not conclude that because He is spread all over He has lost His personal existence. To refute such an argument the Lord says, "I am everywhere, and everything is in Me, but still I am aloof." For example, a king heads a government which is but the manifestation of the kings energy; the different governmental departments are nothing but the energies of the king, and each department is resting on the kings power. But still one cannot expect the king to be present in every department personally. That is a crude example. Similarly, all the manifestations that we see and everything that exists, both in this material world and in the spiritual world, are resting on the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The creation takes place by the diffusion of His different energies, and, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, vistabhyaham idam krtsnam: He is everywhere present by His personal representation, the diffusion of His different energies.
And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.
The Lord says that everything is resting on Him (mat-sthani sarva-bhutani). This should not be misunderstood. The Lord is not directly concerned with the maintenance and sustenance of this material manifestation. Sometimes we see a picture of Atlas holding the globe on his shoulders; he seems to be very tired, holding this great earthly planet. Such an image should not be entertained in connection with Krsnas upholding this created universe. He says that although everything is resting on Him, He is aloof. The planetary systems are floating in space, and this space is the energy of the Supreme Lord. But He is different from space. He is differently situated. Therefore the Lord says, "Although they are situated on My inconceivable energy, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead I am aloof from them." This is the inconceivable opulence of the Lord.
In the Nirukti Vedic dictionary it is said, yujyate nena durghatesu karyesu: "The Supreme Lord is performing inconceivably wonderful pastimes, displaying His energy." His person is full of different potent energies, and His determination is itself actual fact. In this way the Personality of Godhead is to be understood. We may think of doing something, but there are so many impediments, and sometimes it is not possible to do as we like. But when Krsna wants to do something, simply by His willing, everything is performed so perfectly that one cannot imagine how it is being done. The Lord explains this fact: although He is the maintainer and sustainer of the entire material manifestation, He does not touch this material manifestation. Simply by His supreme will, everything is created, everything is sustained, everything is maintained, and everything is annihilated. There is no difference between His mind and Himself (as there is a difference between ourselves and our present material mind) because He is absolute spirit. Simultaneously the Lord is present in everything; yet the common man cannot understand how He is also present personally. He is different from this material manifestation, yet everything is resting on Him. This is explained here as yogam aisvaram, the mystic power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Understand that as the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, rests always in the sky, all created beings rest in Me.
For the ordinary person it is almost inconceivable how the huge material creation is resting in Him. But the Lord is giving an example which may help us to understand. The sky may be the biggest manifestation we can conceive. And in that sky the wind or air is the biggest manifestation in the cosmic world. The movement of the air influences the movements of everything. But although the wind is great, it is still situated within the sky; the wind is not beyond the sky. Similarly, all the wonderful cosmic manifestations are existing by the supreme will of God, and all of them are subordinate to that supreme will. As we generally say, not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus everything is moving under His will: by His will everything is being created, everything is being maintained, and everything is being annihilated. Still He is aloof from everything, as the sky is always aloof from the activities of the wind.
In the Upanisads it is stated, yad-bhisa vatah pavate: "It is out of the fear of the Supreme Lord that the wind is blowing." (Taittiriya Upanisad 2.8.1) In the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (3.8.9) it is stated, etasya va aksarasya prasasane gargi surya-candramasau vidhrtau tisthata etasya va aksarasya prasasane gargi dyav-aprthivyau vidhrtau tisthatah. "By the supreme order, under the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the moon, the sun, and the other great planets are moving." In the Brahma-samhita (5.52) also it is stated,
yac-caksur esa savita sakala-grahanam
This is a description of the movement of the sun. It is said that the sun is considered to be one of the eyes of the Supreme Lord and that it has immense potency to diffuse heat and light. Still it is moving in its prescribed orbit by the order and the supreme will of Govinda. So, from the Vedic literature we can find evidence that this material manifestation, which appears to us to be very wonderful and great, is under the complete control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This will be further explained in the later verses of this chapter.
O son of Kunti, at the end of the millennium all material manifestations enter into My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by My potency, I create them again.
The creation, maintenance and annihilation of this material cosmic manifestation are completely dependent on the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead. "At the end of the millennium" means at the death of Brahma. Brahma lives for one hundred years, and his one day is calculated at 4,300,000,000 of our earthly years. His night is of the same duration. His month consists of thirty such days and nights, and his year of twelve months. After one hundred such years, when Brahma dies, the devastation or annihilation takes place; this means that the energy manifested by the Supreme Lord is again wound up in Himself. Then again, when there is a need to manifest the cosmic world, it is done by His will. Bahu syam: "Although I am one, I shall become many." This is the Vedic aphorism (Chandogya Upanisad 6.2.3). He expands Himself in this material energy, and the whole cosmic manifestation again takes place.
The whole cosmic order is under Me. Under My will it is automatically manifested again and again, and under My will it is annihilated at the end.
This material world is the manifestation of the inferior energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This has already been explained several times. At the creation, the material energy is let loose as the mahat-tattva, into which the Lord as His first Purusa incarnation, Maha-Visnu, enters. He lies within the Causal Ocean and breathes out innumerable universes, and into each universe the Lord again enters as Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Each universe is in that way created. He still further manifests Himself as Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and that Visnu enters into everythingeven into the minute atom. This fact is explained here. He enters into everything.
Now, as far as the living entities are concerned, they are impregnated into this material nature, and as a result of their past deeds they take different positions. Thus the activities of this material world begin. The activities of the different species of living beings are begun from the very moment of the creation. It is not that all is evolved. The different species of life are created immediately along with the universe. Men, animals, beasts, birdseverything is simultaneously created, because whatever desires the living entities had at the last annihilation are again manifested. It is clearly indicated here by the word avasam that the living entities have nothing to do with this process. The state of being in their past life in the past creation is simply manifested again, and all this is done simply by His will. This is the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of God. And after creating different species of life, He has no connection with them. The creation takes place to accommodate the inclinations of the various living entities, and so the Lord does not become involved with it.
O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached from all these material activities, seated as though neutral.
One should not think, in this connection, that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no engagement. In His spiritual world He is always engaged. In the Brahma-samhita (5.6) it is stated, atmaramasya tasyasti prakrtya na samagamah: "He is always involved in His eternal, blissful, spiritual activities, but He has nothing to do with these material activities." Material activities are being carried on by His different potencies. The Lord is always neutral in the material activities of the created world. This neutrality is mentioned here with the word udasina-vat. Although He has control over every minute detail of material activities, He is sitting as if neutral. The example can be given of a high-court judge sitting on his bench. By his order so many things are happeningsomeone is being hanged, someone is being put into jail, someone is awarded a huge amount of wealthbut still he is neutral. He has nothing to do with all that gain and loss. Similarly, the Lord is always neutral, although He has His hand in every sphere of activity. In the Vedanta-sutra (2.1.34) it is stated, vaisamya-nairghrnye na: He is not situated in the dualities of this material world. He is transcendental to these dualities. Nor is He attached to the creation and annihilation of this material world. The living entities take their different forms in the various species of life according to their past deeds, and the Lord doesnt interfere with them.
This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
It is clearly stated here that the Supreme Lord, although aloof from all the activities of the material world, remains the supreme director. The Supreme Lord is the supreme will and the background of this material manifestation, but the management is being conducted by material nature. Krsna also states in Bhagavad-gita that of all of the living entities in different forms and species, "I am the father." The father gives seeds to the womb of the mother for the child, and similarly the Supreme Lord by His mere glance injects all the living entities into the womb of material nature, and they come out in their different forms and species, according to their last desires and activities. All these living entities, although born under the glance of the Supreme Lord, take their different bodies according to their past deeds and desires. So the Lord is not directly attached to this material creation. He simply glances over material nature; material nature is thus activated, and everything is created immediately. Because He glances over material nature, there is undoubtedly activity on the part of the Supreme Lord, but He has nothing to do with the manifestation of the material world directly. This example is given in the smrti: when there is a fragrant flower before someone, the fragrance is touched by the smelling power of the person, yet the smelling and the flower are detached from one another. There is a similar connection between the material world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead; actually He has nothing to do with this material world, but He creates by His glance and ordains. In summary, material nature, without the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot do anything. Yet the Supreme Personality is detached from all material activities.
Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.
From the other explanations of the previous verses in this chapter, it is clear that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although appearing like a human being, is not a common man. The Personality of Godhead, who conducts the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the complete cosmic manifestation, cannot be a human being. Yet there are many foolish men who consider Krsna to be merely a powerful man and nothing more. Actually, He is the original Supreme Personality, as is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita (isvarah paramah krsnah); He is the Supreme Lord.
There are many isvaras, controllers, and one appears greater than another. In the ordinary management of affairs in the material world, we find some official or director, and above him there is a secretary, and above him a minister, and above him a president. Each of them is a controller, but one is controlled by another. In the Brahma-samhita it is said that Krsna is the supreme controller; there are many controllers undoubtedly, both in the material and spiritual world, but Krsna is the supreme controller (isvarah paramah krsnah). and His body is sac-cid-ananda, nonmaterial.
Material bodies cannot perform the wonderful acts described in previous verses. His body is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. Although He is not a common man, the foolish deride Him and consider Him to be a man. His body is called here manusim because He is acting just like a man, a friend of Arjunas, a politician involved in the Battle of Kuruksetra. In so many ways He is acting just like an ordinary man, but actually His body is sac-cid-ananda-vigrahaeternal bliss and knowledge absolute. This is confirmed in the Vedic language also. Sac-cid-ananda-rupaya krsnaya: "I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is the eternal blissful form of knowledge." (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.1) There are other descriptions in the Vedic language also. Tam ekam govindam: "You are Govinda, the pleasure of the senses and the cows." Sac-cid-ananda-vigraham: "And Your form is transcendental, full of knowledge, bliss and eternality." (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.35)
Despite the transcendental qualities of Lord Krsnas body, its full bliss and knowledge, there are many so-called scholars and commentators of Bhagavad-gita who deride Krsna as an ordinary man. The scholar may be born an extraordinary man due to his previous good work, but this conception of Sri Krsna is due to a poor fund of knowledge. Therefore he is called mudha. for only foolish persons consider Krsna to be an ordinary human being. The foolish consider Krsna an ordinary human being because they do not know the confidential activities of the Supreme Lord and His different energies. They do not know that Krsnas body is a symbol of complete knowledge and bliss, that He is the proprietor of everything that be and that He can award liberation to anyone. Because they do not know that Krsna has so many transcendental qualifications, they deride Him.
Nor do they know that the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this material world is a manifestation of His internal energy. He is the master of the material energy. As has been explained in several places (mama maya duratyaya), He claims that the material energy, although very powerful, is under His control, and whoever surrenders unto Him can get out of the control of this material energy. If a soul surrendered to Krsna can get out of the influence of material energy, then how can the Supreme Lord, who conducts the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the whole cosmic nature, have a material body like us? So this conception of Krsna is complete foolishness. Foolish persons, however, cannot conceive that the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, appearing just like an ordinary man, can be the controller of all the atoms and of the gigantic manifestation of the universal form. The biggest and the minutest are beyond their conception, so they cannot imagine that a form like that of a human being can simultaneously control the infinite and the minute. Actually although He is controlling the infinite and the finite, He is apart from all this manifestation. It is clearly stated concerning His yogam aisvaram, His inconceivable transcendental energy, that He can control the infinite and the finite simultaneously and that He can remain aloof from them. Although the foolish cannot imagine how Krsna, who appears just like a human being, can control the infinite and the finite, those who are pure devotees accept this, for they know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore they completely surrender unto Him and engage in Krsna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord.
There are many controversies between the impersonalists and the personalists about the Lords appearance as a human being. But if we consult Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, the authoritative texts for understanding the science of Krsna, then we can understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not an ordinary man, although He appeared on this earth as an ordinary human. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, First Chapter, when the sages headed by Saunaka inquired about the activities of Krsna, they said:
krtavan kila karmani
"Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with Balarama, played like a human being, and so masked He performed many superhuman acts." (Bhag. 1.1.20) The Lords appearance as a man bewilders the foolish. No human being could perform the wonderful acts that Krsna performed while He was present on this earth. When Krsna appeared before His father and mother, Vasudeva and Devaki, He appeared with four hands, but after the prayers of the parents He transformed Himself into an ordinary child. As stated in the Bhagavatam (10.3.46), babhuva prakrtah sisuh: He became just like an ordinary child, an ordinary human being. Now, here again it is indicated that the Lords appearance as an ordinary human being is one of the features of His transcendental body. In the Eleventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita also it is stated that Arjuna prayed to see Krsnas form of four hands (tenaiva rupena catur-bhujena). After revealing this form, Krsna, when petitioned by Arjuna, again assumed His original humanlike form (manusam rupam). These different features of the Supreme Lord are certainly not those of an ordinary human being.
Some of those who deride Krsna and who are infected with the Mayavadi philosophy quote the following verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.29.21) to prove that Krsna is just an ordinary man. Aham sarvesu bhutesu bhutatmavasthitah sada: "The Supreme is present in every living entity." We should better take note of this particular verse from the Vaisnava acaryas like Jiva Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura instead of following the interpretation of unauthorized persons who deride Krsna. Jiva Gosvami, commenting on this verse, says that Krsna, in His plenary expansion as Paramatma, is situated in the moving and the nonmoving entities as the Supersoul, so any neophyte devotee who simply gives his attention to the arca-murti, the form of the Supreme Lord in the temple, and does not respect other living entities is uselessly worshiping the form of the Lord in the temple. There are three kinds of devotees of the Lord, and the neophyte is in the lowest stage. The neophyte devotee gives more attention to the Deity in the temple than to other devotees, so Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura warns that this sort of mentality should be corrected. A devotee should see that because Krsna is present in everyones heart as Paramatma, every body is the embodiment or the temple of the Supreme Lord; so as one offers respect to the temple of the Lord, he should similarly properly respect each and every body in which the Paramatma dwells. Everyone should therefore be given proper respect and should not be neglected.
There are also many impersonalists who deride temple worship. They say that since God is everywhere, why should one restrict himself to temple worship? But if God is everywhere, is He not in the temple or in the Deity? Although the personalist and the impersonalist will fight with one another perpetually, a perfect devotee in Krsna consciousness knows that although Krsna is the Supreme Personality, He is all-pervading, as confirmed in the Brahma-samhita. Although His personal abode is Goloka Vrndavana and He is always staying there, by His different manifestations of energy and by His plenary expansion He is present everywhere in all parts of the material and spiritual creation.
Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.
There are many devotees who assume themselves to be in Krsna consciousness and devotional service but at heart do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, as the Absolute Truth. For them, the fruit of devotional servicegoing back to Godheadwill never be tasted. Similarly, those who are engaged in fruitive pious activities and who are ultimately hoping to be liberated from this material entanglement will never be successful either, because they deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. In other words, persons who mock Krsna are to be understood to be demonic or atheistic. As described in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, such demonic miscreants never surrender to Krsna. Therefore their mental speculations to arrive at the Absolute Truth bring them to the false conclusion that the ordinary living entity and Krsna are one and the same. With such a false conviction, they think that the body of any human being is now simply covered by material nature and that as soon as one is liberated from this material body there is no difference between God and himself. This attempt to become one with Krsna will be baffled because of delusion. Such atheistic and demoniac cultivation of spiritual knowledge is always futile. That is the indication of this verse. For such persons, cultivation of the knowledge in the Vedic literature, like the Vedanta-sutra and the Upanisads. is always baffled.
It is a great offense, therefore, to consider Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be an ordinary man. Those who do so are certainly deluded because they cannot understand the eternal form of Krsna. The Brhad-visnu-smrti clearly states:
yo vetti bhautikam deham
"One who considers the body of Krsna to be material should be driven out from all rituals and activities of the sruti and the smrti. And if one by chance sees his face, one should at once take bath in the Ganges to rid himself of infection. People jeer at Krsna because they are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their destiny is certainly to take birth after birth in the species of atheistic and demoniac life. Perpetually, their real knowledge will remain under delusion, and gradually they will regress to the darkest region of creation."
O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
In this verse the description of the mahatma is clearly given. The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivi prakrti, divine nature. So when one is promoted in that wayby surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godheadone attains to the stage of great soul, mahatma.
The mahatma does not divert his attention to anything outside Krsna, because he knows perfectly well that Krsna is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahatma, or great soul, develops through association with other mahatmas, pure devotees. Pure devotees are not even attracted by Krsnas other features, such as the four-armed Maha-Visnu. They are simply attracted by the two-armed form of Krsna. They are not attracted to other features of Krsna, nor are they concerned with any form of a demigod or of a human being. They meditate only upon Krsna in Krsna consciousness. They are always engaged in the unswerving service of the Lord in Krsna consciousness.
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.
The mahatma cannot be manufactured by rubber-stamping an ordinary man. His symptoms are described here: a mahatma is always engaged in chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead. He has no other business. He is always engaged in the glorification of the Lord. In other words, he is not an impersonalist. When the question of glorification is there, one has to glorify the Supreme Lord, praising His holy name, His eternal form, His transcendental qualities and His uncommon pastimes. One has to glorify all these things; therefore a mahatma is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One who is attached to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord, the brahmajyoti, is not described as mahatma in the Bhagavad-gita. He is described in a different way in the next verse. The mahatma is always engaged in different activities of devotional service, as described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, hearing and chanting about Visnu, not a demigod or human being. That is devotion: sravanam kirtanam visnoh and smaranam, remembering Him. Such a mahatma has firm determination to achieve at the ultimate end the association of the Supreme Lord in any one of the five transcendental rasas. To achieve that success, he engages all activitiesmental, bodily and vocal, everythingin the service of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna. That is called full Krsna consciousness.
In devotional service there are certain activities which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekadasi, and on the appearance day of the Lord. All these rules and regulations are offered by the great acaryas for those who are actually interested in getting admission into the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental world. The mahatmas, great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations, and therefore they are sure to achieve the desired result.
As described in the second verse of this chapter, not only is this devotional service easy, but it can be performed in a happy mood. One does not need to undergo any severe penance and austerity. He can live this life in devotional service, guided by an expert spiritual master, and in any position, either as a householder or a sannyasi or a brahmacari; in any position and anywhere in the world, he can perform this devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become actually mahatma, a great soul.
Others, who engage in sacrifice by the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, as diverse in many, and in the universal form.
This verse is the summary of the previous verses. The Lord tells Arjuna that those who are purely in Krsna consciousness and do not know anything other than Krsna are called mahatma; yet there are other persons who are not exactly in the position of mahatma but who worship Krsna also, in different ways. Some of them have already been described as the distressed, the financially destitute, the inquisitive, and those who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. But there are others who are still lower, and these are divided into three: (1) he who worships himself as one with the Supreme Lord, (2) he who concocts some form of the Supreme Lord and worships that, and (3) he who accepts the universal form, the visvarupa of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and worships that. Out of the above three, the lowest, those who worship themselves as the Supreme Lord, thinking themselves to be monists, are most predominant. Such people think themselves to be the Supreme Lord, and in this mentality they worship themselves. This is also a type of God worship, for they can understand that they are not the material body but are actually spiritual soul; at least, such a sense is prominent. Generally the impersonalists worship the Supreme Lord in this way. The second class includes the worshipers of the demigods, those who by imagination consider any form to be the form of the Supreme Lord. And the third class includes those who cannot conceive of anything beyond the manifestation of this material universe. They consider the universe to be the supreme organism or entity and worship that. The universe is also a form of the Lord.
But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.
The Vedic sacrifice known as jyotistoma is also Krsna, and He is also the maha-yajna mentioned in the smrti. The oblations offered to the Pitrloka or the sacrifice performed to please the Pitrloka, considered as a kind of drug in the form of clarified butter, is also Krsna. The mantras chanted in this connection are also Krsna. And many other commodities made with milk products for offering in the sacrifices are also Krsna. The fire is also Krsna because fire is one of the five material elements and is therefore claimed as the separated energy of Krsna. In other words, the Vedic sacrifices recommended in the karma-kanda division of the Vedas are in total also Krsna. Or, in other words, those who are engaged in rendering devotional service unto Krsna are to be understood to have performed all the sacrifices recommended in the Vedas.
I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Rg, the Sama and the Yajur Vedas.
The entire cosmic manifestations, moving and nonmoving, are manifested by different activities of Krsnas energy. In the material existence we create different relationships with different living entities who are nothing but Krsnas marginal energy; under the creation of prakrti some of them appear as our father, mother, grandfather, creator, etc., but actually they are parts and parcels of Krsna. As such, these living entities who appear to be our father, mother, etc., are nothing but Krsna. In this verse the word dhata means "creator." Not only are our father and mother parts and parcels of Krsna, but the creator, grandmother and grandfather, etc., are also Krsna. Actually any living entity, being part and parcel of Krsna, is Krsna. All the Vedas, therefore, aim only toward Krsna. Whatever we want to know through the Vedas is but a progressive step toward understanding Krsna. That subject matter which helps us purify our constitutional position is especially Krsna. Similarly, the living entity who is inquisitive to understand all Vedic principles is also part and parcel of Krsna and as such is also Krsna. In all the Vedic mantras the word om, called pranava, is a transcendental sound vibration and is also Krsna. And because in all the hymns of the four VedasSama, Yajur, Rg and Atharvathe pranava, or omkara, is very prominent, it is understood to be Krsna.
I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.
Gati means the destination where we want to go. But the ultimate goal is Krsna, although people do not know it. One who does not know Krsna is misled, and his so-called progressive march is either partial or hallucinatory. There are many who make as their destination different demigods, and by rigid performance of the strict respective methods they reach different planets known as Candraloka, Suryaloka, Indraloka, Maharloka, etc. But all such lokas, or planets, being creations of Krsna, are simultaneously Krsna and not Krsna. Such planets, being manifestations of Krsnas energy, are also Krsna, but actually they serve only as a step forward for realization of Krsna. To approach the different energies of Krsna is to approach Krsna indirectly. One should directly approach Krsna, for that will save time and energy. For example, if there is a possibility of going to the top of a building by the help of an elevator, why should one go by the staircase, step by step? Everything is resting on Krsnas energy; therefore without Krsnas shelter nothing can exist. Krsna is the supreme ruler because everything belongs to Him and everything exists on His energy. Krsna, being situated in everyones heart, is the supreme witness. The residences, countries or planets on which we live are also Krsna. Krsna is the ultimate goal of shelter, and therefore one should take shelter of Krsna either for protection or for annihilation of his distress. And whenever we have to take protection, we should know that our protection must be a living force. Krsna is the supreme living entity. And since Krsna is the source of our generation, or the supreme father, no one can be a better friend than Krsna, nor can anyone be a better well-wisher. Krsna is the original source of creation and the ultimate rest after annihilation. Krsna is therefore the eternal cause of all causes.
O Arjuna, I give heat, and I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality, and I am also death personified. Both spirit and matter are in Me.
Krsna, by His different energies, diffuses heat and light through the agency of electricity and the sun. During summer season it is Krsna who checks rain from falling from the sky, and then during the rainy season He gives unceasing torrents of rain. The energy which sustains us by prolonging the duration of our life is Krsna, and Krsna meets us at the end as death. By analyzing all these different energies of Krsna, one can ascertain that for Krsna there is no distinction between matter and spirit, or, in other words, He is both matter and spirit. In the advanced stage of Krsna consciousness, one therefore makes no such distinctions. He sees only Krsna in everything.
Since Krsna is both matter and spirit, the gigantic universal form comprising all material manifestations is also Krsna, and His pastimes in Vrndavana as two-handed Syamasundara, playing on a flute, are those of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Those who study the Vedas and drink the soma juice, seeking the heavenly planets, worship Me indirectly. Purified of sinful reactions, they take birth on the pious, heavenly planet of Indra, where they enjoy godly delights.
The word trai-vidyah refers to the three VedasSama, Yajur and Rg. A brahmana who has studied these three Vedas is called a tri-vedi. Anyone who is very much attached to knowledge derived from these three Vedas is respected in society. Unfortunately, there are many great scholars of the Vedas who do not know the ultimate purport of studying them. Therefore Krsna herein declares Himself to be the ultimate goal for the tri-vedis. Actual tri-vedis take shelter under the lotus feet of Krsna and engage in pure devotional service to satisfy the Lord. Devotional service begins with the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra and side by side trying to understand Krsna in truth. Unfortunately those who are simply official students of the Vedas become more interested in offering sacrifices to the different demigods like Indra and Candra. By such endeavor, the worshipers of different demigods are certainly purified of the contamination of the lower qualities of nature and are thereby elevated to the higher planetary systems or heavenly planets known as Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka, etc. Once situated on those higher planetary systems, one can satisfy his senses hundreds of thousands of times better than on this planet.
When they have thus enjoyed vast heavenly sense pleasure and the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus those who seek sense enjoyment by adhering to the principles of the three Vedas achieve only repeated birth and death.
One who is promoted to the higher planetary systems enjoys a longer duration of life and better facilities for sense enjoyment, yet one is not allowed to stay there forever. One is again sent back to this earth upon finishing the resultant fruits of pious activities. He who has not attained perfection of knowledge, as indicated in the Vedanta-sutra (janmady asya yatah), or, in other words, he who fails to understand Krsna, the cause of all causes, becomes baffled about achieving the ultimate goal of life and is thus subjected to the routine of being promoted to the higher planets and then again coming down, as if situated on a Ferris wheel which sometimes goes up and sometimes comes down. The purport is that instead of being elevated to the spiritual world, from which there is no longer any possibility of coming down, one simply revolves in the cycle of birth and death on higher and lower planetary systems. One should better take to the spiritual world to enjoy an eternal life full of bliss and knowledge and never return to this miserable material existence.
But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental formto them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.
One who is unable to live for a moment without Krsna consciousness cannot but think of Krsna twenty-four hours a day, being engaged in devotional service by hearing, chanting, remembering, offering prayers, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, rendering other services, cultivating friendship and surrendering fully to the Lord. Such activities are all auspicious and full of spiritual potencies, which make the devotee perfect in self-realization, so that his only desire is to achieve the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devotee undoubtedly approaches the Lord without difficulty. This is called yoga. By the mercy of the Lord, such a devotee never comes back to this material condition of life. Ksema refers to the merciful protection of the Lord. The Lord helps the devotee to achieve Krsna consciousness by yoga, and when he becomes fully Krsna conscious the Lord protects him from falling down to a miserable conditioned life.
Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kunti, but they do so in a wrong way.
"Persons who are engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is offered to Me indirectly," Krsna says. For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different officers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the officers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different officers and directors of the Lord. The officers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the officers and directors is illegal. This is stated here as avidhi-purvakam. In other words, Krsna does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods.
I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.
Here it is clearly stated that there are many types of yajna performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajna means Visnu. In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that one should only work for satisfying Yajna, or Visnu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varnasrama-dharma, is specifically meant for satisfying Visnu. Therefore, Krsna says in this verse, "I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices because I am the supreme master." Less intelligent persons, however, without knowing this fact, worship demigods for temporary benefit. Therefore they fall down to material existence and do not achieve the desired goal of life. If, however, anyone has any material desire to be fulfilled, he had better pray for it to the Supreme Lord (although that is not pure devotion), and he will thus achieve the desired result.
Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.
If one has any desire to go to the moon, the sun or any other planet, one can attain the desired destination by following specific Vedic principles recommended for that purpose, such as the process technically known as darsa-paurnamasi. These are vividly described in the fruitive activities portion of the Vedas, which recommends a specific worship of demigods situated on different heavenly planets. Similarly, one can attain the Pita planets by performing a specific yajna. Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a Yaksa, Raksa or Pisaca. Pisaca worship is called "black arts" or "black magic." There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. Similarly, a pure devotee, who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead only, achieves the planets of Vaikuntha and Krsnaloka without a doubt. It is very easy to understand through this important verse that if by simply worshiping the demigods one can achieve the heavenly planets, or by worshiping the Pitas achieve the Pita planets, or by practicing the black arts achieve the ghostly planets, why can the pure devotee not achieve the planet of Krsna or Visnu? Unfortunately many people have no information of these sublime planets where Krsna and Visnu live, and because they do not know of them they fall down. Even the impersonalists fall down from the brahmajyoti. The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore distributing sublime information to the entire human society to the effect that by simply chanting the Hare Krsna mantra one can become perfect in this life and go back home, back to Godhead.
If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.
For the intelligent person, it is essential to be in Krsna consciousness, engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, in order to achieve a permanent, blissful abode for eternal happiness. The process of achieving such a marvelous result is very easy and can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualification. The only qualification required in this connection is to be a pure devotee of the Lord. It does not matter what one is or where one is situated. The process is so easy that even a leaf or a little water or fruit can be offered to the Supreme Lord in genuine love and the Lord will be pleased to accept it. No one, therefore, can be barred from Krsna consciousness, because it is so easy and universal. Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Krsna conscious by this simple method and thus attain the highest perfectional life of eternity, bliss and knowledge? Krsna wants only loving service and nothing more. Krsna accepts even a little flower from His pure devotee. He does not want any kind of offering from a nondevotee. He is not in need of anything from anyone, because He is self-sufficient, and yet He accepts the offering of His devotee in an exchange of love and affection. To develop Krsna consciousness is the highest perfection of life. Bhakti is mentioned twice in this verse in order to declare more emphatically that bhakti, or devotional service, is the only means to approach Krsna. No other condition, such as becoming a brahmana. a learned scholar, a very rich man or a great philosopher, can induce Krsna to accept some offering. Without the basic principle of bhakti, nothing can induce the Lord to agree to accept anything from anyone. Bhakti is never causal. The process is eternal. It is direct action in service to the absolute whole.
Here Lord Krsna, having established that He is the only enjoyer, the primeval Lord and the real object of all sacrificial offerings, reveals what types of sacrifices He desires to be offered. If one wishes to engage in devotional service to the Supreme in order to be purified and to reach the goal of lifethe transcendental loving service of Godthen one should find out what the Lord desires of him. One who loves Krsna will give Him whatever He wants, and he avoids offering anything which is undesirable or unasked. Thus meat, fish and eggs should not be offered to Krsna. If He desired such things as offerings, He would have said so. Instead He clearly requests that a leaf, fruit, flowers and water be given to Him, and He says of this offering, "I will accept it." Therefore, we should understand that He will not accept meat, fish and eggs. Vegetables, grains, fruits, milk and water are the proper foods for human beings and are prescribed by Lord Krsna Himself. Whatever else we eat cannot be offered to Him, since He will not accept it. Thus we cannot be acting on the level of loving devotion if we offer such foods.
In the Third Chapter, verse thirteen, Sri Krsna explains that only the remains of sacrifice are purified and fit for consumption by those who are seeking advancement in life and release from the clutches of the material entanglement. Those who do not make an offering of their food, He says in the same verse, are eating only sin. In other words, their every mouthful is simply deepening their involvement in the complexities of material nature. But preparing nice, simple vegetable dishes, offering them before the picture or Deity of Lord Krsna and bowing down and praying for Him to accept such a humble offering enables one to advance steadily in life, to purify the body, and to create fine brain tissues which will lead to clear thinking. Above all, the offering should be made with an attitude of love. Krsna has no need of food, since He already possesses everything that be, yet He will accept the offering of one who desires to please Him in that way. The important element, in preparation, in serving and in offering, is to act with love for Krsna.
The impersonalist philosophers, who wish to maintain that the Absolute Truth is without senses, cannot comprehend this verse of Bhagavad-gita. To them, it is either a metaphor or proof of the mundane character of Krsna, the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita. But, in actuality, Krsna, the Supreme Godhead, has senses, and it is stated that His senses are interchangeable; in other words, one sense can perform the function of any other. This is what it means to say that Krsna is absolute. Lacking senses, He could hardly be considered full in all opulences. In the Seventh Chapter, Krsna has explained that He impregnates the living entities into material nature. This is done by His looking upon material nature. And so in this instance, Krsnas hearing the devotees words of love in offering foodstuffs is wholly identical with His eating and actually tasting. This point should be emphasized: because of His absolute position, His hearing is wholly identical with His eating and tasting. Only the devotee, who accepts Krsna as He describes Himself, without interpretation, can understand that the Supreme Absolute Truth can eat food and enjoy it.
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you performdo that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.
Thus, it is the duty of everyone to mold his life in such a way that he will not forget Krsna in any circumstance. Everyone has to work for maintenance of his body and soul together, and Krsna recommends herein that one should work for Him. Everyone has to eat something to live; therefore he should accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krsna. Any civilized man has to perform some religious ritualistic ceremonies; therefore Krsna recommends, "Do it for Me," and this is called arcana. Everyone has a tendency to give something in charity; Krsna says, "Give it to Me," and this means that all surplus money accumulated should be utilized in furthering the Krsna consciousness movement. Nowadays people are very much inclined to the meditational process, which is not practical in this age, but if anyone practices meditating on Krsna twenty-four hours a day by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra round his beads, he is surely the greatest meditator and the greatest yogi. as substantiated by the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita.
In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind fixed on Me in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come to Me.
One who acts in Krsna consciousness under superior direction is called yukta. The technical term is yukta-vairagya. This is further explained by Rupa Gosvami as follows:
Rupa Gosvami says that as long as we are in this material world we have to act; we cannot cease acting. Therefore if actions are performed and the fruits are given to Krsna, then that is called yukta-vairagya. Actually situated in renunciation, such activities clear the mirror of the mind, and as the actor gradually makes progress in spiritual realization he becomes completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore at the end he becomes liberated, and this liberation is also specified. By this liberation he does not become one with the brahmajyoti, but rather enters into the planet of the Supreme Lord. It is clearly mentioned here: mam upaisyasi, "he comes to Me," back home, back to Godhead. There are five different stages of liberation, and here it is specified that the devotee who has always lived his lifetime here under the direction of the Supreme Lord, as stated, has evolved to the point where he can, after quitting this body, go back to Godhead and engage directly in the association of the Supreme Lord.
Anyone who has no interest but to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord is actually a sannyasi. Such a person always thinks of himself as an eternal servant, dependent on the supreme will of the Lord. As such, whatever he does, he does it for the benefit of the Lord. Whatever action he performs, he performs it as service to the Lord. He does not give serious attention to the fruitive activities or prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas. For ordinary persons it is obligatory to execute the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas, but although a pure devotee who is completely engaged in the service of the Lord may sometimes appear to go against the prescribed Vedic duties, actually it is not so.
It is said, therefore, by Vaisnava authorities that even the most intelligent person cannot understand the plans and activities of a pure devotee. The exact words are tanra vakya, kriya, mudra vijneha na bujhaya (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 23.39). A person who is thus always engaged in the service of the Lord or is always thinking and planning how to serve the Lord is to be considered completely liberated at present, and in the future his going back home, back to Godhead, is guaranteed. He is above all materialistic criticism, just as Krsna is above all criticism.
I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.
One may question here that if Krsna is equal to everyone and no one is His special friend, then why does He take a special interest in the devotees who are always engaged in His transcendental service? But this is not discrimination; it is natural. Any man in this material world may be very charitably disposed, yet he has a special interest in his own children. The Lord claims that every living entityin whatever formis His son, and so He provides everyone with a generous supply of the necessities of life. He is just like a cloud which pours rain all over, regardless of whether it falls on rock or land or water. But for His devotees, He gives specific attention. Such devotees are mentioned here: they are always in Krsna consciousness, and therefore they are always transcendentally situated in Krsna. The very phrase "Krsna consciousness" suggests that those who are in such consciousness are living transcendentalists, situated in Him. The Lord says here distinctly, mayi te: "They are in Me." Naturally, as a result, the Lord is also in them. This is reciprocal. This also explains the words ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham: "Whoever surrenders unto Me, proportionately I take care of him." This transcendental reciprocation exists because both the Lord and the devotee are conscious. When a diamond is set in a golden ring, it looks very nice. The gold is glorified, and at the same time the diamond is glorified. The Lord and the living entity eternally glitter, and when a living entity becomes inclined to the service of the Supreme Lord he looks like gold. The Lord is a diamond, and so this combination is very nice. Living entities in a pure state are called devotees. The Supreme Lord becomes the devotee of His devotees. If a reciprocal relationship is not present between the devotee and the Lord, then there is no personalist philosophy. In the impersonal philosophy there is no reciprocation between the Supreme and the living entity, but in the personalist philosophy there is.
The example is often given that the Lord is like a desire tree, and whatever one wants from this desire tree, the Lord supplies. But here the explanation is more complete. The Lord is here stated to be partial to the devotees. This is the manifestation of the Lords special mercy to the devotees. The Lords reciprocation should not be considered to be under the law of karma. It belongs to the transcendental situation in which the Lord and His devotees function. Devotional service to the Lord is not an activity of this material world; it is part of the spiritual world, where eternity, bliss and knowledge predominate.
Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.
The word su-duracarah used in this verse is very significant, and we should understand it properly. When a living entity is conditioned, he has two kinds of activities: one is conditional, and the other is constitutional. As for protecting the body or abiding by the rules of society and state, certainly there are different activities, even for the devotees, in connection with the conditional life, and such activities are called conditional. Besides these, the living entity who is fully conscious of his spiritual nature and is engaged in Krsna consciousness, or the devotional service of the Lord, has activities which are called transcendental. Such activities are performed in his constitutional position, and they are technically called devotional service. Now, in the conditioned state, sometimes devotional service and the conditional service in relation to the body will parallel one another. But then again, sometimes these activities become opposed to one another. As far as possible, a devotee is very cautious so that he does not do anything that could disrupt his wholesome condition. He knows that perfection in his activities depends on his progressive realization of Krsna consciousness. Sometimes, however, it may be seen that a person in Krsna consciousness commits some act which may be taken as most abominable socially or politically. But such a temporary falldown does not disqualify him. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that if a person falls down but is wholeheartedly engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord, the Lord, being situated within his heart, purifies him and excuses him from that abomination. The material contamination is so strong that even a yogi fully engaged in the service of the Lord sometimes becomes ensnared; but Krsna consciousness is so strong that such an occasional falldown is at once rectified. Therefore the process of devotional service is always a success. No one should deride a devotee for some accidental falldown from the ideal path, for, as explained in the next verse, such occasional falldowns will be stopped in due course, as soon as a devotee is completely situated in Krsna consciousness.
Therefore a person who is situated in Krsna consciousness and is engaged with determination in the process of chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare should be considered to be in the transcendental position, even if by chance or accident he is found to have fallen. The words sadhur eva, "he is saintly," are very emphatic. They are a warning to the nondevotees that because of an accidental falldown a devotee should not be derided; he should still be considered saintly even if he has accidentally fallen down. And the word mantavyah is still more emphatic. If one does not follow this rule, and derides a devotee for his accidental falldown, then one is disobeying the order of the Supreme Lord. The only qualification of a devotee is to be unflinchingly and exclusively engaged in devotional service.
In the Nrsimha purana the following statement is given:
bhagavati ca harav ananya-ceta
The meaning is that even if one fully engaged in the devotional service of the Lord is sometimes found engaged in abominable activities, these activities should be considered to be like the spots that resemble the mark of a rabbit on the moon. Such spots do not become an impediment to the diffusion of moonlight. Similarly, the accidental falldown of a devotee from the path of saintly character does not make him abominable.
On the other hand, one should not misunderstand that a devotee in transcendental devotional service can act in all kinds of abominable ways; this verse only refers to an accident due to the strong power of material connections. Devotional service is more or less a declaration of war against the illusory energy. As long as one is not strong enough to fight the illusory energy, there may be accidental falldowns. But when one is strong enough, he is no longer subjected to such falldowns, as previously explained. No one should take advantage of this verse and commit nonsense and think that he is still a devotee. If he does not improve in his character by devotional service, then it is to be understood that he is not a high devotee.
He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.
This should not be misunderstood. In the Seventh Chapter the Lord says that one who is engaged in mischievous activities cannot become a devotee of the Lord. One who is not a devotee of the Lord has no good qualifications whatsoever. The question remains, then, How can a person engaged in abominable activitieseither by accident or by intentionbe a pure devotee? This question may justly be raised. The miscreants, as stated in the Seventh Chapter, who never come to the devotional service of the Lord, have no good qualifications, as is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Generally, a devotee who is engaged in the nine kinds of devotional activities is engaged in the process of cleansing all material contamination from the heart. He puts the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, and all sinful contaminations are naturally washed away. Continuous thinking of the Supreme Lord makes him pure by nature. According to the Vedas, there is a certain regulation that if one falls down from his exalted position he has to undergo certain ritualistic processes to purify himself. But here there is no such condition, because the purifying process is already there in the heart of the devotee, due to his remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly. Therefore, the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare should be continued without stoppage. This will protect a devotee from all accidental falldowns. He will thus remain perpetually free from all material contaminations.
O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birthwomen, vaisyas [merchants] and sudras [workers]can attain the supreme destination.
It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower and higher classes of people. In the material conception of life there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18) it is stated that even the lowest, who are called candalas (dog-eaters), can be purified by association with a pure devotee. Therefore devotional service and the guidance of a pure devotee are so strong that there is no discrimination between the lower and higher classes of men; anyone can take to it. The most simple man taking shelter of the pure devotee can be purified by proper guidance. According to the different modes of material nature, men are classified in the mode of goodness (brahmanas), the mode of passion (ksatriyas, or administrators), the mixed modes of passion and ignorance (vaisyas, or merchants), and the mode of ignorance (sudras, or workers). Those lower than them are called candalas, and they are born in sinful families. Generally, the association of those born in sinful families is not accepted by the higher classes. But the process of devotional service is so strong that the pure devotee of the Supreme Lord can enable people of all the lower classes to attain the highest perfection of life. This is possible only when one takes shelter of Krsna. As indicated here by the word vyapasritya, one has to take shelter completely of Krsna. Then one can become much greater than great jnanis and yogis.
How much more this is so of the righteous brahmanas, the devotees and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service unto Me.
In this material world there are classifications of people, but, after all, this world is not a happy place for anyone. It is clearly stated here, anityam asukham lokam: this world is temporary and full of miseries, not habitable for any sane gentleman. This world is declared by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be temporary and full of miseries. Some philosophers, especially Mayavadi philosophers, say that this world is false, but we can understand from Bhagavad-gita that the world is not false; it is temporary. There is a difference between temporary and false. This world is temporary, but there is another world, which is eternal. This world is miserable, but the other world is eternal and blissful.
Arjuna was born in a saintly royal family. To him also the Lord says, "Take to My devotional service and come quickly back to Godhead, back home." No one should remain in this temporary world, full as it is with miseries. Everyone should attach himself to the bosom of the Supreme Personality of Godhead so that he can be eternally happy. The devotional service of the Supreme Lord is the only process by which all problems of all classes of men can be solved. Everyone should therefore take to Krsna consciousness and make his life perfect.
Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that Krsna consciousness is the only means of being delivered from the clutches of this contaminated material world. Sometimes unscrupulous commentators distort the meaning of what is clearly stated here: that all devotional service should be offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Unfortunately, unscrupulous commentators divert the mind of the reader to that which is not at all feasible. Such commentators do not know that there is no difference between Krsnas mind and Krsna. Krsna is not an ordinary human being; He is Absolute Truth. His body, His mind and He Himself are one and absolute. It is stated in the Kurma Purana. as it is quoted by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami in his Anubhasya comments on Caitanya-caritamrta (Fifth Chapter, Adi-lila, verses 4148), deha-dehi-vibhedo yam nesvare vidyate kvacit. This means that there is no difference in Krsna, the Supreme Lord, between Himself and His body. But because the commentators do not know this science of Krsna, they hide Krsna and divide His personality from His mind or from His body. Although this is sheer ignorance of the science of Krsna, some men make profit out of misleading people.
There are some who are demonic; they also think of Krsna, but enviously, just like King Kamsa, Krsnas uncle. He was also thinking of Krsna always, but he thought of Krsna as his enemy. He was always in anxiety, wondering when Krsna would come to kill him. That kind of thinking will not help us. One should be thinking of Krsna in devotional love. That is bhakti. One should cultivate the knowledge of Krsna continuously. What is that favorable cultivation? It is to learn from a bona fide teacher. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we have several times explained that His body is not material, but is eternal, blissful knowledge. This kind of talk about Krsna will help one become a devotee. Understanding Krsna otherwise, from the wrong source, will prove fruitless.
One should therefore engage his mind in the eternal form, the primal form of Krsna; with conviction in his heart that Krsna is the Supreme, he should engage himself in worship. There are hundreds of thousands of temples in India for the worship of Krsna, and devotional service is practiced there. When such practice is made, one has to offer obeisances to Krsna. One should lower his head before the Deity and engage his mind, his body, his activitieseverything. That will make one fully absorbed in Krsna without deviation. This will help one transfer to the Krsnaloka. One should not be deviated by unscrupulous commentators. One must engage in the nine different processes of devotional service, beginning with hearing and chanting about Krsna. Pure devotional service is the highest achievement of human society.
The Seventh and Eighth chapters of Bhagavad-gita have explained pure devotional service to the Lord that is free from speculative knowledge, mystic yoga and fruitive activities. Those who are not purely sanctified may be attracted by different features of the Lord like the impersonal brahmajyoti and localized Paramatma, but a pure devotee directly takes to the service of the Supreme Lord.
There is a beautiful poem about Krsna in which it is clearly stated that any person who is engaged in the worship of demigods is most unintelligent and cannot achieve at any time the supreme award of Krsna. The devotee, in the beginning, may sometimes fall from the standard, but still he should be considered superior to all other philosophers and yogis. One who always engages in Krsna consciousness should be understood to be a perfectly saintly person. His accidental nondevotional activities will diminish, and he will soon be situated without any doubt in complete perfection. The pure devotee has no actual chance to fall down, because the Supreme Godhead personally takes care of His pure devotees. Therefore, the intelligent person should take directly to the process of Krsna consciousness and happily live in this material world. He will eventually receive the supreme award of Krsna.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Ninth Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of the Most Confidential Knowledge.