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Bhagavad-gītā As It Is

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Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra

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धृतराष्ट्र उवाच | धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः | मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ||१-१||

dhṛtarāṣṭra uvāca . dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ . māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāścaiva kimakurvata sañjaya ||1-1||

dhṛtarāṣṭraḥ uvāca — King Dhṛtarāṣṭra said; dharma-kṣetre — in the place of pilgrimage; kuru-kṣetre — in the place named Kurukṣetra; samavetāḥ — assembled; yuyutsavaḥ — desiring to fight; māmakāḥ — my party (sons); pāṇḍavāḥ — the sons of Pāṇḍu; ca — and; eva — certainly; kim — what; akurvata — did they do; sañjaya — O Sañjaya.


Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukṣetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?


Bhagavad-gītā is the widely read theistic science summarized in the Gītā-māhātmya (Glorification of the Gītā). There it says that one should read Bhagavad-gītā very scrutinizingly with the help of a person who is a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and try to understand it without personally motivated interpretations. The example of clear understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gītā itself, in the way the teaching is understood by Arjuna, who heard the Gītā directly from the Lord. If someone is fortunate enough to understand the Bhagavad-gītā in that line of disciplic succession, without motivated interpretation, then he surpasses all studies of Vedic wisdom, and all scriptures of the world. One will find in the Bhagavad-gītā all that is contained in other scriptures, but the reader will also find things which are not to be found elsewhere. That is the specific standard of the Gītā. It is the perfect theistic science because it is directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The topics discussed by Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Sañjaya, as described in the Mahābhārata, form the basic principle for this great philosophy. It is understood that this philosophy evolved on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, which is a sacred place of pilgrimage from the immemorial time of the Vedic age. It was spoken by the Lord when He was present personally on this planet for the guidance of mankind.
The word dharma-kṣetra (a place where religious rituals are performed) is significant because, on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was present on the side of Arjuna. Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the father of the Kurus, was highly doubtful about the possibility of his sons’ ultimate victory. In his doubt, he inquired from his secretary Sañjaya, “What did they do?” He was confident that both his sons and the sons of his younger brother Pāṇḍu were assembled in that Field of Kurukṣetra for a determined engagement of the war. Still, his inquiry is significant. He did not want a compromise between the cousins and brothers, and he wanted to be sure of the fate of his sons on the battlefield. Because the battle was arranged to be fought at Kurukṣetra, which is mentioned elsewhere in the Vedas as a place of worship – even for the denizens of heaven – Dhṛtarāṣṭra became very fearful about the influence of the holy place on the outcome of the battle. He knew very well that this would influence Arjuna and the sons of Pāṇḍu favorably, because by nature they were all virtuous. Sañjaya was a student of Vyāsa, and therefore, by the mercy of Vyāsa, Sañjaya was able to envision the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra even while he was in the room of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. And so, Dhṛtarāṣṭra asked him about the situation on the battlefield.
Both the Pāṇḍavas and the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra belong to the same family, but Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s mind is disclosed herein. He deliberately claimed only his sons as Kurus, and he separated the sons of Pāṇḍu from the family heritage. One can thus understand the specific position of Dhṛtarāṣṭra in his relationship with his nephews, the sons of Pāṇḍu. As in the paddy field the unnecessary plants are taken out, so it is expected from the very beginning of these topics that in the religious field of Kurukṣetra, where the father of religion, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, was present, the unwanted plants like Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s son Duryodhana and others would be wiped out and the thoroughly religious persons, headed by Yudhiṣṭhira, would be established by the Lord. This is the significance of the words dharma-kṣetre and kuru-kṣetre, apart from their historical and Vedic importance.

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सञ्जय उवाच | दृष्ट्वा तु पाण्डवानीकं व्यूढं दुर्योधनस्तदा | आचार्यमुपसंगम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत् ||१-२||

sañjaya uvāca . dṛṣṭvā tu pāṇḍavānīkaṃ vyūḍhaṃ duryodhanastadā . ācāryamupasaṃgamya rājā vacanamabravīt ||1-2||

sañjayaḥ uvāca — Sañjaya said; dṛṣṭvā — after seeing; tu — but; pāṇḍava-anīkam — the soldiers of the Pāṇḍavas; vyūḍham — arranged in a military phalanx; duryodhanaḥ — King Duryodhana; tadā — at that time; ācāryam — the teacher; upasaṅgamya — approaching; rājā — the king; vacanam — words; abravīt — spoke.


Sañjaya said: O King, after looking over the army arranged in military formation by the sons of Pāṇḍu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and spoke the following words.


Dhṛtarāṣṭra was blind from birth. Unfortunately, he was also bereft of spiritual vision. He knew very well that his sons were equally blind in the matter of religion, and he was sure that they could never reach an understanding with the Pāṇḍavas, who were all pious since birth. Still he was doubtful about the influence of the place of pilgrimage, and Sañjaya could understand his motive in asking about the situation on the battlefield. Sañjaya wanted, therefore, to encourage the despondent king and thus assured him that his sons were not going to make any sort of compromise under the influence of the holy place. Sañjaya therefore informed the king that his son, Duryodhana, after seeing the military force of the Pāṇḍavas, at once went to the commander in chief, Droṇācārya, to inform him of the real position. Although Duryodhana is mentioned as the king, he still had to go to the commander on account of the seriousness of the situation. He was therefore quite fit to be a politician. But Duryodhana’s diplomatic veneer could not disguise the fear he felt when he saw the military arrangement of the Pāṇḍavas.

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पश्यैतां पाण्डुपुत्राणामाचार्य महतीं चमूम् | व्यूढां द्रुपदपुत्रेण तव शिष्येण धीमता ||१-३||

paśyaitāṃ pāṇḍuputrāṇāmācārya mahatīṃ camūm . vyūḍhāṃ drupadaputreṇa tava śiṣyeṇa dhīmatā ||1-3||

paśya — behold; etām — this; pāṇḍu-putrānām — of the sons of Pāṇḍu; ācārya — O teacher; mahatīm — great; camūm — military force; vyūḍhām — arranged; drupada-putreṇa — by the son of Drupada; tava — your; śiṣyeṇa — disciple; dhī-matā — very intelligent.


O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pāṇḍu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple the son of Drupada.


Duryodhana, a great diplomat, wanted to point out the defects of Droṇācārya, the great brāhmaṇa commander in chief. Droṇācārya had some political quarrel with King Drupada, the father of Draupadī, who was Arjuna’s wife. As a result of this quarrel, Drupada performed a great sacrifice, by which he received the benediction of having a son who would be able to kill Droṇācārya. Droṇācārya knew this perfectly well, and yet as a liberal brāhmaṇa he did not hesitate to impart all his military secrets when the son of Drupada, Dhṛṣṭadyumna, was entrusted to him for military education. Now, on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, Dhṛṣṭadyumna took the side of the Pāṇḍavas, and it was he who arranged for their military phalanx, after having learned the art from Droṇācārya. Duryodhana pointed out this mistake of Droṇācārya’s so that he might be alert and uncompromising in the fighting. By this he wanted to point out also that he should not be similarly lenient in battle against the Pāṇḍavas, who were also Droṇācārya’s affectionate students. Arjuna, especially, was his most affectionate and brilliant student. Duryodhana also warned that such leniency in the fight would lead to defeat.

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अत्र शूरा महेष्वासा भीमार्जुनसमा युधि | युयुधानो विराटश्च द्रुपदश्च महारथः ||१-४||

atra śūrā maheṣvāsā bhīmārjunasamā yudhi . yuyudhāno virāṭaśca drupadaśca mahārathaḥ ||1-4||

atra — here; śūrāḥ — heroes; mahā-iṣu-āsāḥ — mighty bowmen; bhīma-arjuna — to Bhīma and Arjuna; samāḥ — equal; yudhi — in the fight; yuyudhānaḥ — Yuyudhāna; virāṭaḥ — Virāṭa; ca — also; drupadaḥ — Drupada; ca — also; mahā-rathaḥ — great fighter.


Here in this army are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhīma and Arjuna: great fighters like Yuyudhāna, Virāṭa and Drupada.


Even though Dhṛṣṭadyumna was not a very important obstacle in the face of Droṇācārya’s very great power in the military art, there were many others who were causes of fear. They are mentioned by Duryodhana as great stumbling blocks on the path of victory because each and every one of them was as formidable as Bhīma and Arjuna. He knew the strength of Bhīma and Arjuna, and thus he compared the others with them.

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धृष्टकेतुश्चेकितानः काशिराजश्च वीर्यवान् | पुरुजित्कुन्तिभोजश्च शैब्यश्च नरपुंगवः ||१-५||

dhṛṣṭaketuścekitānaḥ kāśirājaśca vīryavān . purujitkuntibhojaśca śaibyaśca narapuṃgavaḥ ||1-5||

dhṛṣṭaketuḥ — Dhṛṣṭaketu; cekitānaḥ — Cekitāna; kāśirājaḥ — Kāśirāja; ca — also; vīrya-vān — very powerful; purujit — Purujit; kuntibhojaḥ — Kuntibhoja; ca — and; śaibyaḥ — Śaibya; ca — and; nara-puṅgavaḥ — hero in human society.


There are also great heroic, powerful fighters like Dhṛṣṭaketu, Cekitāna, Kāśirāja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Śaibya.

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युधामन्युश्च विक्रान्त उत्तमौजाश्च वीर्यवान् | सौभद्रो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्व एव महारथाः ||१-६||

yudhāmanyuśca vikrānta uttamaujāśca vīryavān . saubhadro draupadeyāśca sarva eva mahārathāḥ ||1-6||

yudhāmanyuḥ — Yudhāmanyu; ca — and; vikrāntaḥ — mighty; uttamaujāḥ — Uttamaujā; ca — and; vīrya-vān — very powerful; saubhadraḥ — the son of Subhadrā; draupadeyāḥ — the sons of Draupadī; ca — and; sarve — all; eva — certainly; mahā-rathāḥ — great chariot fighters.


There are the mighty Yudhāmanyu, the very powerful Uttamaujā, the son of Subhadrā and the sons of Draupadī. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.

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अस्माकं तु विशिष्टा ये तान्निबोध द्विजोत्तम | नायका मम सैन्यस्य संज्ञार्थं तान्ब्रवीमि ते ||१-७||

asmākaṃ tu viśiṣṭā ye tānnibodha dvijottama . nāyakā mama sainyasya saṃjñārthaṃ tānbravīmi te ||1-7||

asmākam — our; tu — but; viśiṣṭāḥ — especially powerful; ye — who; tān — them; nibodha — just take note of, be informed; dvija-uttama — O best of the brāhmaṇas; nāyakāḥ — captains; mama — my; sainyasya — of the soldiers; saṁjñā-artham — for information; tān — them; bravīmi — I am speaking; te — to you.


But for your information, O best of the brāhmaṇas, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.

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भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिञ्जयः | अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव च ||१-८||

bhavānbhīṣmaśca karṇaśca kṛpaśca samitiñjayaḥ . aśvatthāmā vikarṇaśca saumadattistathaiva ca ||1-8||

bhavān — your good self; bhīṣmaḥ — Grandfather Bhīṣma; ca — also; karṇaḥ — Karṇa; ca — and; kṛpaḥ — Kṛpa; ca — and; samitim-jayaḥ — always victorious in battle; aśvatthāmā — Aśvatthāmā; vikarṇaḥ — Vikarṇa; ca — as well as; saumadattiḥ — the son of Somadatta; tathā — as well as; eva — certainly; ca — also.


There are personalities like you, Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Kṛpa, Aśvatthāmā, Vikarṇa and the son of Somadatta called Bhūriśravā, who are always victorious in battle.


Duryodhana mentions the exceptional heroes in the battle, all of whom are ever victorious. Vikarṇa is the brother of Duryodhana, Aśvatthāmā is the son of Droṇācārya, and Saumadatti, or Bhūriśravā, is the son of the King of the Bāhlīkas. Karṇa is the half brother of Arjuna, as he was born of Kuntī before her marriage with King Pāṇḍu. Kṛpācārya’s twin sister married Droṇācārya.

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अन्ये च बहवः शूरा मदर्थे त्यक्तजीविताः | नानाशस्त्रप्रहरणाः सर्वे युद्धविशारदाः ||१-९||

anye ca bahavaḥ śūrā madarthe tyaktajīvitāḥ . nānāśastrapraharaṇāḥ sarve yuddhaviśāradāḥ ||1-9||

anye — others; ca — also; bahavaḥ — in great numbers; śūrāḥ — heroes; mat-arthe — for my sake; tyakta-jīvitāḥ — prepared to risk life; nānā — many; śastra — weapons; praharaṇāḥ — equipped with; sarve — all of them; yuddha-viśāradāḥ — experienced in military science.


There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military science.


As far as the others are concerned – like Jayadratha, Kṛtavarmā and Śalya – all are determined to lay down their lives for Duryodhana’s sake. In other words, it is already concluded that all of them would die in the Battle of Kurukṣetra for joining the party of the sinful Duryodhana. Duryodhana was, of course, confident of his victory on account of the above-mentioned combined strength of his friends.

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अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं बलं भीष्माभिरक्षितम् | पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां बलं भीमाभिरक्षितम् ||१-१०||

aparyāptaṃ tadasmākaṃ balaṃ bhīṣmābhirakṣitam . paryāptaṃ tvidameteṣāṃ balaṃ bhīmābhirakṣitam ||1-10||

aparyāptam — immeasurable; tat — that; asmākam — of ours; balam — strength; bhīṣma — by Grandfather Bhīṣma; abhirakṣitam — perfectly protected; paryāptam — limited; tu — but; idam — all this; eteṣām — of the Pāṇḍavas; balam — strength; bhīma — by Bhīma; abhirakṣitam — carefully protected.


Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhīṣma, whereas the strength of the Pāṇḍavas, carefully protected by Bhīma, is limited.


Herein an estimation of comparative strength is made by Duryodhana. He thinks that the strength of his armed forces is immeasurable, being specifically protected by the most experienced general, Grandfather Bhīṣma. On the other hand, the forces of the Pāṇḍavas are limited, being protected by a less experienced general, Bhīma, who is like a fig in the presence of Bhīṣma. Duryodhana was always envious of Bhīma because he knew perfectly well that if he should die at all, he would only be killed by Bhīma. But at the same time, he was confident of his victory on account of the presence of Bhīṣma, who was a far superior general. His conclusion that he would come out of the battle victorious was well ascertained.

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अयनेषु च सर्वेषु यथाभागमवस्थिताः | भीष्ममेवाभिरक्षन्तु भवन्तः सर्व एव हि ||१-११||

ayaneṣu ca sarveṣu yathābhāgamavasthitāḥ . bhīṣmamevābhirakṣantu bhavantaḥ sarva eva hi ||1-11||

ayaneṣu — in the strategic points; ca — also; sarveṣu — everywhere; yathā-bhāgam — as differently arranged; avasthitāḥ — situated; bhīṣmam — unto Grandfather Bhīṣma; eva — certainly; abhirakṣantu — should give support; bhavantaḥ — you; sarve — all respectively; eva hi — certainly.


All of you must now give full support to Grandfather Bhīṣma, as you stand at your respective strategic points of entrance into the phalanx of the army.


Duryodhana, after praising the prowess of Bhīṣma, further considered that others might think that they had been considered less important, so in his usual diplomatic way, he tried to adjust the situation in the above words. He emphasized that Bhīṣmadeva was undoubtedly the greatest hero, but he was an old man, so everyone must especially think of his protection from all sides. He might become engaged in the fight, and the enemy might take advantage of his full engagement on one side. Therefore, it was important that other heroes not leave their strategic positions and allow the enemy to break the phalanx. Duryodhana clearly felt that the victory of the Kurus depended on the presence of Bhīṣmadeva. He was confident of the full support of Bhīṣmadeva and Droṇācārya in the battle because he well knew that they did not even speak a word when Arjuna’s wife Draupadī, in her helpless condition, had appealed to them for justice while she was being forced to appear naked in the presence of all the great generals in the assembly. Although he knew that the two generals had some sort of affection for the Pāṇḍavas, he hoped that these generals would now completely give it up, as they had done during the gambling performances.

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तस्य सञ्जनयन्हर्षं कुरुवृद्धः पितामहः | सिंहनादं विनद्योच्चैः शङ्खं दध्मौ प्रतापवान् ||१-१२||

tasya sañjanayanharṣaṃ kuruvṛddhaḥ pitāmahaḥ . siṃhanādaṃ vinadyoccaiḥ śaṅkhaṃ dadhmau pratāpavān ||1-12||

tasya — his; sañjanayan — increasing; harṣam — cheerfulness; kuru-vṛddhaḥ — the grandsire of the Kuru dynasty (Bhīṣma); pitāmahaḥ — the grandfather; siṁha-nādam — roaring sound, like that of a lion; vinadya — vibrating; uccaiḥ — very loudly; śaṅkham — conchshell; dadhmau — blew; pratāpa-vān — the valiant.


Then Bhīṣma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conchshell very loudly, making a sound like the roar of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.


The grandsire of the Kuru dynasty could understand the inner meaning of the heart of his grandson Duryodhana, and out of his natural compassion for him he tried to cheer him by blowing his conchshell very loudly, befitting his position as a lion. Indirectly, by the symbolism of the conchshell, he informed his depressed grandson Duryodhana that he had no chance of victory in the battle, because the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa was on the other side. But still, it was his duty to conduct the fight, and no pains would be spared in that connection.

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ततः शङ्खाश्च भेर्यश्च पणवानकगोमुखाः | सहसैवाभ्यहन्यन्त स शब्दस्तुमुलोऽभवत् ||१-१३||

tataḥ śaṅkhāśca bheryaśca paṇavānakagomukhāḥ . sahasaivābhyahanyanta sa śabdastumulo.abhavat ||1-13||

tataḥ — thereafter; śaṅkhāḥ — conchshells; ca — also; bheryaḥ — large drums; ca — and; paṇava-ānaka — small drums and kettledrums; go-mukhāḥ — horns; sahasā — all of a sudden; eva — certainly; abhyahanyanta — were simultaneously sounded; saḥ — that; śabdaḥ — combined sound; tumulaḥ — tumultuous; abhavat — became.


After that, the conchshells, drums, bugles, trumpets and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.

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ततः श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते महति स्यन्दने स्थितौ | माधवः पाण्डवश्चैव दिव्यौ शङ्खौ प्रदध्मतुः ||१-१४||

tataḥ śvetairhayairyukte mahati syandane sthitau . mādhavaḥ pāṇḍavaścaiva divyau śaṅkhau pradadhmatuḥ ||1-14||

tataḥ — thereafter; śvetaiḥ — with white; hayaiḥ — horses; yukte — being yoked; mahati — in a great; syandane — chariot; sthitau — situated; mādhavaḥ — Kṛṣṇa (the husband of the goddess of fortune); pāṇḍavaḥ — Arjuna (the son of Pāṇḍu); ca — also; eva — certainly; divyau — transcendental; śaṅkhau — conchshells; pradadhmatuḥ — sounded.


On the other side, both Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells.


In contrast with the conchshell blown by Bhīṣmadeva, the conchshells in the hands of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are described as transcendental. The sounding of the transcendental conchshells indicated that there was no hope of victory for the other side because Kṛṣṇa was on the side of the Pāṇḍavas. Jayas tu pāṇḍu-putrāṇāṁ yeṣāṁ pakṣe janārdanaḥ. Victory is always with persons like the sons of Pāṇḍu because Lord Kṛṣṇa is associated with them. And whenever and wherever the Lord is present, the goddess of fortune is also there because the goddess of fortune never lives alone without her husband. Therefore, victory and fortune were awaiting Arjuna, as indicated by the transcendental sound produced by the conchshell of Viṣṇu, or Lord Kṛṣṇa. Besides that, the chariot on which both the friends were seated had been donated by Agni (the fire-god) to Arjuna, and this indicated that this chariot was capable of conquering all sides, wherever it was drawn over the three worlds.

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पाञ्चजन्यं हृषीकेशो देवदत्तं धनञ्जयः | पौण्ड्रं दध्मौ महाशङ्खं भीमकर्मा वृकोदरः ||१-१५||

pāñcajanyaṃ hṛṣīkeśo devadattaṃ dhanañjayaḥ . pauṇḍraṃ dadhmau mahāśaṅkhaṃ bhīmakarmā vṛkodaraḥ ||1-15||

pāñcajanyam — the conchshell named Pāñcajanya; hṛṣīka-īśaḥ — Hṛṣīkeśa (Kṛṣṇa, the Lord who directs the senses of the devotees); devadattam — the conchshell named Devadatta; dhanam-jayaḥ — Dhanañjaya (Arjuna, the winner of wealth); pauṇḍram — the conch named Pauṇḍra; dadhmau — blew; mahā-śaṅkham — the terrific conchshell; bhīma-karmā — one who performs herculean tasks; vṛka-udaraḥ — the voracious eater (Bhīma).


Lord Kṛṣṇa blew His conchshell, called Pāñcajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhīma, the voracious eater and performer of herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell, called Pauṇḍra.


Lord Kṛṣṇa is referred to as Hṛṣīkeśa in this verse because He is the owner of all senses. The living entities are part and parcel of Him, and therefore the senses of the living entities are also part and parcel of His senses. The impersonalists cannot account for the senses of the living entities, and therefore they are always anxious to describe all living entities as senseless, or impersonal. The Lord, situated in the hearts of all living entities, directs their senses. But He directs in terms of the surrender of the living entity, and in the case of a pure devotee He directly controls the senses. Here on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra the Lord directly controls the transcendental senses of Arjuna, and thus His particular name of Hṛṣīkeśa. The Lord has different names according to His different activities. For example, His name is Madhusūdana because He killed the demon of the name Madhu; His name is Govinda because He gives pleasure to the cows and to the senses; His name is Vāsudeva because He appeared as the son of Vasudeva; His name is Devakī-nandana because He accepted Devakī as His mother; His name is Yaśodā-nandana because He awarded His childhood pastimes to Yaśodā at Vṛndāvana; His name is Pārtha-sārathi because He worked as charioteer of His friend Arjuna. Similarly, His name is Hṛṣīkeśa because He gave direction to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra.
Arjuna is referred to as Dhanañjaya in this verse because he helped his elder brother in fetching wealth when it was required by the king to make expenditures for different sacrifices. Similarly, Bhīma is known as Vṛkodara because he could eat as voraciously as he could perform herculean tasks, such as killing the demon Hiḍimba. So the particular types of conchshell blown by the different personalities on the side of the Pāṇḍavas, beginning with the Lord’s, were all very encouraging to the fighting soldiers. On the other side there were no such credits, nor the presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme director, nor that of the goddess of fortune. So they were predestined to lose the battle – and that was the message announced by the sounds of the conchshells.

||1-16||

अनन्तविजयं राजा कुन्तीपुत्रो युधिष्ठिरः | नकुलः सहदेवश्च सुघोषमणिपुष्पकौ ||१-१६||

anantavijayaṃ rājā kuntīputro yudhiṣṭhiraḥ . nakulaḥ sahadevaśca sughoṣamaṇipuṣpakau ||1-16||

ananta-vijayam — the conch named Ananta-vijaya; rājā — the king; kuntī-putraḥ — the son of Kuntī; yudhiṣṭhiraḥ — Yudhiṣṭhira; nakulaḥ — Nakula; sahadevaḥ — Sahadeva; ca — and; sughoṣa-maṇipuṣpakau — the conches named Sughoṣa and Maṇipuṣpaka; kāśyaḥ — the King of Kāśī (Vārāṇasī); ca — and; parama-iṣu-āsaḥ — the great archer; śikhaṇḍī — Śikhaṇḍī; ca — also; mahā-rathaḥ — one who can fight alone against thousands; dhṛṣṭadyumnaḥ — Dhṛṣṭadyumna (the son of King Drupada); virāṭaḥ — Virāṭa (the prince who gave shelter to the Pāṇḍavas while they were in disguise); ca — also; sātyakiḥ — Sātyaki (the same as Yuyudhāna, the charioteer of Lord Kṛṣṇa); ca — and; aparājitaḥ — who had never been vanquished; drupadaḥ — Drupada, the King of Pāñcāla; draupadeyāḥ — the sons of Draupadī; ca — also; sarvaśaḥ — all; pṛthivī-pate — O King; saubhadraḥ — Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadrā; ca — also; mahā-bāhuḥ — mighty-armed; śaṅkhān — conchshells; dadhmuḥ — blew; pṛthak pṛthak — each separately.


King Yudhiṣṭhira, the son of Kuntī, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughoṣa and Maṇipuṣpaka. That great archer the King of Kāśī, the great fighter Śikhaṇḍī, Dhṛṣṭadyumna, Virāṭa, the unconquerable Sātyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadī, and others, O King, such as the mighty-armed son of Subhadrā, all blew their respective conchshells.


Sañjaya informed King Dhṛtarāṣṭra very tactfully that his unwise policy of deceiving the sons of Pāṇḍu and endeavoring to enthrone his own sons on the seat of the kingdom was not very laudable. The signs already clearly indicated that the whole Kuru dynasty would be killed in that great battle. Beginning with the grandsire, Bhīṣma, down to the grandsons like Abhimanyu and others – including kings from many states of the world – all were present there, and all were doomed. The whole catastrophe was due to King Dhṛtarāṣṭra, because he encouraged the policy followed by his sons.

||1-17||

काश्यश्च परमेष्वासः शिखण्डी च महारथः | धृष्टद्युम्नो विराटश्च सात्यकिश्चापराजितः ||१-१७||

kāśyaśca parameṣvāsaḥ śikhaṇḍī ca mahārathaḥ . dhṛṣṭadyumno virāṭaśca sātyakiścāparājitaḥ ||1-17||

||1-18||

द्रुपदो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्वशः पृथिवीपते | सौभद्रश्च महाबाहुः शङ्खान्दध्मुः पृथक्पृथक् ||१-१८||

drupado draupadeyāśca sarvaśaḥ pṛthivīpate . saubhadraśca mahābāhuḥ śaṅkhāndadhmuḥ pṛthakpṛthak ||1-18||

||1-19||

स घोषो धार्तराष्ट्राणां हृदयानि व्यदारयत् | नभश्च पृथिवीं चैव तुमुलोऽभ्यनुनादयन् (or लोव्यनु) ||१-१९||

sa ghoṣo dhārtarāṣṭrāṇāṃ hṛdayāni vyadārayat . nabhaśca pṛthivīṃ caiva tumulo.abhyanunādayan (lo vyanu)||1-19||

saḥ — that; ghoṣaḥ — vibration; dhārtarāṣṭrāṇām — of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; hṛdayāni — hearts; vyadārayat — shattered; nabhaḥ — the sky; ca — also; pṛthivīm — the surface of the earth; ca — also; eva — certainly; tumulaḥ — uproarious; abhyanunādayan — resounding.


The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious. Vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.


When Bhīṣma and the others on the side of Duryodhana blew their respective conchshells, there was no heart-breaking on the part of the Pāṇḍavas. Such occurrences are not mentioned, but in this particular verse it is mentioned that the hearts of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra were shattered by the sounds vibrated by the Pāṇḍavas’ party. This is due to the Pāṇḍavas and their confidence in Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who takes shelter of the Supreme Lord has nothing to fear, even in the midst of the greatest calamity.

||1-20||

अथ व्यवस्थितान्दृष्ट्वा धार्तराष्ट्रान् कपिध्वजः | प्रवृत्ते शस्त्रसम्पाते धनुरुद्यम्य पाण्डवः | हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते ||१-२०||

atha vyavasthitāndṛṣṭvā dhārtarāṣṭrān kapidhvajaḥ . pravṛtte śastrasampāte dhanurudyamya pāṇḍavaḥ ||1-20||

atha — thereupon; vyavasthitān — situated; dṛṣṭvā — looking upon; dhārtarāṣṭrān — the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; kapi-dhvajaḥ — he whose flag was marked with Hanumān; pravṛtte — while about to engage; śastra-sampāte — in releasing his arrows; dhanuḥ — bow; udyamya — taking up; pāṇḍavaḥ — the son of Pāṇḍu (Arjuna); hṛṣīkeśam — unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; tadā — at that time; vākyam — words; idam — these; āha — said; mahī-pate — O King.


At that time Arjuna, the son of Pāṇḍu, seated in the chariot bearing the flag marked with Hanumān, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows. O King, after looking at the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra drawn in military array, Arjuna then spoke to Lord Kṛṣṇa these words.


The battle was just about to begin. It is understood from the above statement that the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra were more or less disheartened by the unexpected arrangement of military force by the Pāṇḍavas, who were guided by the direct instructions of Lord Kṛṣṇa on the battlefield. The emblem of Hanumān on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanumān cooperated with Lord Rāma in the battle between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, and Lord Rāma emerged victorious. Now both Rāma and Hanumān were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Kṛṣṇa is Rāma Himself, and wherever Lord Rāma is, His eternal servitor Hanumān and His eternal consort Sītā, the goddess of fortune, are present. Therefore, Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemies whatsoever. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Kṛṣṇa, was personally present to give him direction. Thus, all good counsel was available to Arjuna in the matter of executing the battle. In such auspicious conditions, arranged by the Lord for His eternal devotee, lay the signs of assured victory.

||1-21||

अर्जुन उवाच | सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत ||१-२१||

hṛṣīkeśaṃ tadā vākyamidamāha mahīpate . arjuna uvāca . senayorubhayormadhye rathaṃ sthāpaya me.acyuta ||1-21||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; senayoḥ — of the armies; ubhayoḥ — both; madhye — between; ratham — the chariot; sthāpaya — please keep; me — my; acyuta — O infallible one; yāvat — as long as; etān — all these; nirīkṣe — may look upon; aham — I; yoddhu-kāmān — desiring to fight; avasthitān — arrayed on the battlefield; kaiḥ — with whom; mayā — by me; saha — together; yoddhavyam — have to fight; asmin — in this; raṇa — strife; samudyame — in the attempt.


Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see those present here, who desire to fight, and with whom I must contend in this great trial of arms.


Although Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, out of His causeless mercy He was engaged in the service of His friend. He never fails in His affection for His devotees, and thus He is addressed herein as infallible. As charioteer, He had to carry out the orders of Arjuna, and since He did not hesitate to do so, He is addressed as infallible. Although He had accepted the position of a charioteer for His devotee, His supreme position was not challenged. In all circumstances, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hṛṣīkeśa, the Lord of the total senses. The relationship between the Lord and His servitor is very sweet and transcendental. The servitor is always ready to render service to the Lord, and, similarly, the Lord is always seeking an opportunity to render some service to the devotee. He takes greater pleasure in His pure devotee’s assuming the advantageous position of ordering Him than He does in being the giver of orders. Since He is master, everyone is under His orders, and no one is above Him to order Him. But when He finds that a pure devotee is ordering Him, He obtains transcendental pleasure, although He is the infallible master in all circumstances.
As a pure devotee of the Lord, Arjuna had no desire to fight with his cousins and brothers, but he was forced to come onto the battlefield by the obstinacy of Duryodhana, who was never agreeable to any peaceful negotiation. Therefore, he was very anxious to see who the leading persons present on the battlefield were. Although there was no question of a peacemaking endeavor on the battlefield, he wanted to see them again, and to see how much they were bent upon demanding an unwanted war.

||1-22||

यावदेतान्निरीक्षेऽहं योद्धुकामानवस्थितान् | कैर्मया सह योद्धव्यमस्मिन् रणसमुद्यमे ||१-२२||

yāvadetānnirikṣe.ahaṃ yoddhukāmānavasthitān . kairmayā saha yoddhavyamasmin raṇasamudyame ||1-22||

||1-23||

योत्स्यमानानवेक्षेऽहं य एतेऽत्र समागताः | धार्तराष्ट्रस्य दुर्बुद्धेर्युद्धे प्रियचिकीर्षवः ||१-२३||

yotsyamānānavekṣe.ahaṃ ya ete.atra samāgatāḥ . dhārtarāṣṭrasya durbuddheryuddhe priyacikīrṣavaḥ ||1-23||

yotsyamānān — those who will be fighting; avekṣe — let me see; aham — I; ye — who; ete — those; atra — here; samāgatāḥ — assembled; dhārtarāṣṭrasya — for the son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; durbuddheḥ — evil-minded; yuddhe — in the fight; priya — well; cikīrṣavaḥ — wishing.


Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.


It was an open secret that Duryodhana wanted to usurp the kingdom of the Pāṇḍavas by evil plans, in collaboration with his father, Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Therefore, all persons who had joined the side of Duryodhana must have been birds of the same feather. Arjuna wanted to see them on the battlefield before the fight was begun, just to learn who they were, but he had no intention of proposing peace negotiations with them. It was also a fact that he wanted to see them to make an estimate of the strength which he had to face, although he was quite confident of victory because Kṛṣṇa was sitting by his side.

||1-24||

सञ्जय उवाच | एवमुक्तो हृषीकेशो गुडाकेशेन भारत | सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये स्थापयित्वा रथोत्तमम् ||१-२४||

sañjaya uvāca . evamukto hṛṣīkeśo guḍākeśena bhārata . senayorubhayormadhye sthāpayitvā rathottamam ||1-24||

sañjayaḥ uvāca — Sañjaya said; evam — thus; uktaḥ — addressed; hṛṣīkeśaḥ — Lord Kṛṣṇa; guḍākeśena — by Arjuna; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata; senayoḥ — of the armies; ubhayoḥ — both; madhye — in the midst; sthāpayitvā — placing; ratha-uttamam — the finest chariot.


Sañjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, having thus been addressed by Arjuna, Lord Kṛṣṇa drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.


In this verse Arjuna is referred to as Guḍākeśa. Guḍākā means sleep, and one who conquers sleep is called guḍākeśa. Sleep also means ignorance. So Arjuna conquered both sleep and ignorance because of his friendship with Kṛṣṇa. As a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa, he could not forget Kṛṣṇa even for a moment, because that is the nature of a devotee. Either in waking or in sleep, a devotee of the Lord can never be free from thinking of Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities and pastimes. Thus a devotee of Kṛṣṇa can conquer both sleep and ignorance simply by thinking of Kṛṣṇa constantly. This is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or samādhi. As Hṛṣīkeśa, or the director of the senses and mind of every living entity, Kṛṣṇa could understand Arjuna’s purpose in placing the chariot in the midst of the armies. Thus He did so, and spoke as follows.

||1-25||

भीष्मद्रोणप्रमुखतः सर्वेषां च महीक्षिताम् | उवाच पार्थ पश्यैतान्समवेतान्कुरूनिति ||१-२५||

bhīṣmadroṇapramukhataḥ sarveṣāṃ ca mahīkṣitām . uvāca pārtha paśyaitānsamavetānkurūniti ||1-25||

bhīṣma — Grandfather Bhīṣma; droṇa — the teacher Droṇa; pramukhataḥ — in front of; sarveṣām — all; ca — also; mahī-kṣitām — chiefs of the world; uvāca — said; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; paśya — just behold; etān — all of them; samavetān — assembled; kurūn — the members of the Kuru dynasty; iti — thus.


In the presence of Bhīṣma, Droṇa and all the other chieftains of the world, the Lord said, “Just behold, Pārtha, all the Kurus assembled here.”


As the Supersoul of all living entities, Lord Kṛṣṇa could understand what was going on in the mind of Arjuna. The use of the word Hṛṣīkeśa in this connection indicates that He knew everything. And the word Pārtha, meaning “the son of Pṛthā, or Kuntī,” is also similarly significant in reference to Arjuna. As a friend, He wanted to inform Arjuna that because Arjuna was the son of Pṛthā, the sister of His own father Vasudeva, He had agreed to be the charioteer of Arjuna. Now what did Kṛṣṇa mean when He told Arjuna to “behold the Kurus”? Did Arjuna want to stop there and not fight? Kṛṣṇa never expected such things from the son of His aunt Pṛthā. The mind of Arjuna was thus predicted by the Lord in friendly joking.

||1-26||

तत्रापश्यत्स्थितान्पार्थः पितॄनथ पितामहान् | आचार्यान्मातुलान्भ्रातॄन्पुत्रान्पौत्रान्सखींस्तथा ||१-२६||

tatrāpaśyatsthitānpārthaḥ pitṝnatha pitāmahān . ācāryānmātulānbhrātṛnputrānpautrānsakhīṃstathā ||1-26||

tatra — there; apaśyat — he could see; sthitān — standing; pārthaḥ — Arjuna; pitṝn — fathers; atha — also; pitāmahān — grandfathers; ācāryān — teachers; mātulān — maternal uncles; bhrātṝn — brothers; putrān — sons; pautrān — grandsons; sakhīn — friends; tathā — too; śvaśurān — fathers-in-law; suhṛdaḥ — well-wishers; ca — also; eva — certainly; senayoḥ — of the armies; ubhayoḥ — of both parties; api — including.


There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his fathers-in-law and well-wishers.


On the battlefield Arjuna could see all kinds of relatives. He could see persons like Bhūriśravā, who were his father’s contemporaries, grandfathers Bhīṣma and Somadatta, teachers like Droṇācārya and Kṛpācārya, maternal uncles like Śalya and Śakuni, brothers like Duryodhana, sons like Lakṣmaṇa, friends like Aśvatthāmā, well-wishers like Kṛtavarmā, etc. He could see also the armies which contained many of his friends.

||1-27||

श्वशुरान्सुहृदश्चैव सेनयोरुभयोरपि | तान्समीक्ष्य स कौन्तेयः सर्वान्बन्धूनवस्थितान् ||१-२७||

śvaśurānsuhṛdaścaiva senayorubhayorapi . tānsamīkṣya sa kaunteyaḥ sarvānbandhūnavasthitān ||1-27||

tān — all of them; samīkṣya — after seeing; saḥ — he; kaunteyaḥ — the son of Kuntī; sarvān — all kinds of; bandhūn — relatives; avasthitān — situated; kṛpayā — by compassion; parayā — of a high grade; āviṣṭaḥ — overwhelmed; viṣīdan — while lamenting; idam — thus; abravīt — spoke.


When the son of Kuntī, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.

||1-28||

कृपया परयाविष्टो विषीदन्निदमब्रवीत् | अर्जुन उवाच | दृष्ट्वेमं स्वजनं कृष्ण युयुत्सुं समुपस्थितम् ||१-२८||

kṛpayā parayāviṣṭo viṣīdannidamabravīt . arjuna uvāca . dṛṣṭvemaṃ svajanaṃ kṛṣṇa yuyutsuṃ samupasthitam ||1-28||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; dṛṣṭvā — after seeing; imam — all these; sva-janam — kinsmen; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; yuyutsum — all in a fighting spirit; samupasthitam — present; sīdanti — are quivering; mama — my; gātrāṇi — limbs of the body; mukham — mouth; ca — also; pariśuṣyati — is drying up.


Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.


Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all the good qualities which are found in godly persons or in the demigods, whereas the nondevotee, however advanced he may be in material qualifications by education and culture, lacks in godly qualities. As such, Arjuna, just after seeing his kinsmen, friends and relatives on the battlefield, was at once overwhelmed by compassion for them who had so decided to fight amongst themselves. As far as his soldiers were concerned, he was sympathetic from the beginning, but he felt compassion even for the soldiers of the opposite party, foreseeing their imminent death. And while he was so thinking, the limbs of his body began to quiver, and his mouth became dry. He was more or less astonished to see their fighting spirit. Practically the whole community, all blood relatives of Arjuna, had come to fight with him. This overwhelmed a kind devotee like Arjuna. Although it is not mentioned here, still one can easily imagine that not only were Arjuna’s bodily limbs quivering and his mouth drying up, but he was also crying out of compassion. Such symptoms in Arjuna were not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord. It is said therefore:
yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā
mano-rathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ
“One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (Bhāg. 5.18.12)

||1-29||

सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं च परिशुष्यति | वेपथुश्च शरीरे मे रोमहर्षश्च जायते ||१-२९||

sīdanti mama gātrāṇi mukhaṃ ca pariśuṣyati . vepathuśca śarīre me romaharṣaśca jāyate ||1-29||

vepathuḥ — trembling of the body; ca — also; śarīre — on the body; me — my; roma-harṣaḥ — standing of hair on end; ca — also; jāyate — is taking place; gāṇḍīvam — the bow of Arjuna; sraṁsate — is slipping; hastāt — from the hand; tvak — skin; ca — also; eva — certainly; paridahyate — is burning.


My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.


There are two kinds of trembling of the body, and two kinds of standings of the hair on end. Such phenomena occur either in great spiritual ecstasy or out of great fear under material conditions. There is no fear in transcendental realization. Arjuna’s symptoms in this situation are out of material fear – namely, loss of life. This is evident from other symptoms also; he became so impatient that his famous bow Gāṇḍīva was slipping from his hands, and, because his heart was burning within him, he was feeling a burning sensation of the skin. All these are due to a material conception of life.

||1-30||

गाण्डीवं स्रंसते हस्तात्त्वक्चैव परिदह्यते | न च शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव च मे मनः ||१-३०||

gāṇḍīvaṃ sraṃsate hastāttvakcaiva paridahyate . na ca śaknomyavasthātuṃ bhramatīva ca me manaḥ ||1-30||

na — nor; ca — also; śaknomi — am I able; avasthātum — to stay; bhramati — forgetting; iva — as; ca — and; me — my; manaḥ — mind; nimittāni — causes; ca — also; paśyāmi — I see; viparītāni — just the opposite; keśava — O killer of the demon Keśī (Kṛṣṇa).


I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Kṛṣṇa, killer of the Keśī demon.


Due to his impatience, Arjuna was unable to stay on the battlefield, and he was forgetting himself on account of this weakness of his mind. Excessive attachment for material things puts a man in such a bewildering condition of existence. Bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt (Bhāg. 11.2.37): such fearfulness and loss of mental equilibrium take place in persons who are too affected by material conditions. Arjuna envisioned only painful reverses in the battlefield – he would not be happy even by gaining victory over the foe. The words nimittāni viparītāni are significant. When a man sees only frustration in his expectations, he thinks, “Why am I here?” Everyone is interested in himself and his own welfare. No one is interested in the Supreme Self. Arjuna is showing ignorance of his real self-interest by Kṛṣṇa’s will. One’s real self-interest lies in Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. The conditioned soul forgets this, and therefore suffers material pains. Arjuna thought that his victory in the battle would only be a cause of lamentation for him.

||1-31||

निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव | न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे ||१-३१||

nimittāni ca paśyāmi viparītāni keśava . na ca śreyo.anupaśyāmi hatvā svajanamāhave ||1-31||

na — nor; ca — also; śreyaḥ — good; anupaśyāmi — do I foresee; hatvā — by killing; sva-janam — own kinsmen; āhave — in the fight; na — nor; kāṅkṣe — do I desire; vijayam — victory; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; na — nor; ca — also; rājyam — kingdom; sukhāni — happiness thereof; ca — also.


I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Kṛṣṇa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.


Without knowing that one’s self-interest is in Viṣṇu (or Kṛṣṇa), conditioned souls are attracted by bodily relationships, hoping to be happy in such situations. In such a blind conception of life, they forget even the causes of material happiness. Arjuna appears to have even forgotten the moral codes for a kṣatriya. It is said that two kinds of men, namely the kṣatriya who dies directly in front of the battlefield under Kṛṣṇa’s personal orders and the person in the renounced order of life who is absolutely devoted to spiritual culture, are eligible to enter into the sun globe, which is so powerful and dazzling. Arjuna is reluctant even to kill his enemies, let alone his relatives. He thinks that by killing his kinsmen there would be no happiness in his life, and therefore he is not willing to fight, just as a person who does not feel hunger is not inclined to cook. He has now decided to go into the forest and live a secluded life in frustration. But as a kṣatriya, he requires a kingdom for his subsistence, because the kṣatriyas cannot engage themselves in any other occupation. But Arjuna has no kingdom. Arjuna’s sole opportunity for gaining a kingdom lies in fighting with his cousins and brothers and reclaiming the kingdom inherited from his father, which he does not like to do. Therefore he considers himself fit to go to the forest to live a secluded life of frustration.

||1-32||

न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च | किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा ||१-३२||

na kāṅkṣe vijayaṃ kṛṣṇa na ca rājyaṃ sukhāni ca . kiṃ no rājyena govinda kiṃ bhogairjīvitena vā ||1-32||

kim — what use; naḥ — to us; rājyena — is the kingdom; govinda — O Kṛṣṇa; kim — what; bhogaiḥ — enjoyment; jīvitena — living; vā — either; yeṣām — of whom; arthe — for the sake; kāṅkṣitam — is desired; naḥ — by us; rājyam — kingdom; bhogāḥ — material enjoyment; sukhāni — all happiness; ca — also; te — all of them; ime — these; avasthitāḥ — situated; yuddhe — on this battlefield; prāṇān — lives; tyaktvā — giving up; dhanāni — riches; ca — also; ācāryāḥ — teachers; pitaraḥ — fathers; putrāḥ — sons; tathā — as well as; eva — certainly; ca — also; pitāmahāḥ — grandfathers; mātulāḥ — maternal uncles; śvaśurāḥ — fathers-in-law; pautrāḥ — grandsons; śyālāḥ — brothers-in-law; sambandhinaḥ — relatives; tathā — as well as; etān — all these; na — never; hantum — to kill; icchāmi — do I wish; ghnataḥ — being killed; api — even; madhusūdana — O killer of the demon Madhu (Kṛṣṇa); api — even if; trai-lokya — of the three worlds; rājyasya — for the kingdom; hetoḥ — in exchange; kim nu — what to speak of; mahī-kṛte — for the sake of the earth; nihatya — by killing; dhārtarāṣṭrān — the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; naḥ — our; kā — what; prītiḥ — pleasure; syāt — will there be; janārdana — O maintainer of all living entities.


O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusūdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra?


Arjuna has addressed Lord Kṛṣṇa as Govinda because Kṛṣṇa is the object of all pleasures for cows and the senses. By using this significant word, Arjuna indicates that Kṛṣṇa should understand what will satisfy Arjuna’s senses. But Govinda is not meant for satisfying our senses. If we try to satisfy the senses of Govinda, however, then automatically our own senses are satisfied. Materially, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. The Lord will satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may covet. But when one takes the opposite way – namely, when one tries to satisfy the senses of Govinda without desiring to satisfy one’s own senses – then by the grace of Govinda all desires of the living entity are satisfied. Arjuna’s deep affection for community and family members is exhibited here partly due to his natural compassion for them. He is therefore not prepared to fight. Everyone wants to show his opulence to friends and relatives, but Arjuna fears that all his relatives and friends will be killed on the battlefield and he will be unable to share his opulence after victory. This is a typical calculation of material life. The transcendental life, however, is different. Since a devotee wants to satisfy the desires of the Lord, he can, Lord willing, accept all kinds of opulence for the service of the Lord, and if the Lord is not willing, he should not accept a farthing. Arjuna did not want to kill his relatives, and if there were any need to kill them, he desired that Kṛṣṇa kill them personally. At this point he did not know that Kṛṣṇa had already killed them before their coming into the battlefield and that he was only to become an instrument for Kṛṣṇa. This fact is disclosed in following chapters. As a natural devotee of the Lord, Arjuna did not like to retaliate against his miscreant cousins and brothers, but it was the Lord’s plan that they should all be killed. The devotee of the Lord does not retaliate against the wrongdoer, but the Lord does not tolerate any mischief done to the devotee by the miscreants. The Lord can excuse a person on His own account, but He excuses no one who has done harm to His devotees. Therefore the Lord was determined to kill the miscreants, although Arjuna wanted to excuse them.

||1-33||

येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि च | त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च ||१-३३||

yeṣāmarthe kāṅkṣitaṃ no rājyaṃ bhogāḥ sukhāni ca . ta ime.avasthitā yuddhe prāṇāṃstyaktvā dhanāni ca ||1-33||

||1-34||

आचार्याः पितरः पुत्रास्तथैव च पितामहाः | मातुलाः श्वशुराः पौत्राः श्यालाः सम्बन्धिनस्तथा ||१-३४||

ācāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrāstathaiva ca pitāmahāḥ . mātulāḥ śvaśurāḥ pautrāḥ śyālāḥ sambandhinastathā ||1-34||

||1-35||

एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन | अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतोः किं नु महीकृते ||१-३५||

etānna hantumicchāmi ghnato.api madhusūdana . api trailokyarājyasya hetoḥ kiṃ nu mahīkṛte ||1-35||

||1-36||

निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याज्जनार्दन | पापमेवाश्रयेदस्मान्हत्वैतानाततायिनः ||१-३६||

nihatya dhārtarāṣṭrānnaḥ kā prītiḥ syājjanārdana . pāpamevāśrayedasmānhatvaitānātatāyinaḥ ||1-36||

pāpam — vices; eva — certainly; āśrayet — must come upon; asmān — us; hatvā — by killing; etān — all these; ātatāyinaḥ — aggressors; tasmāt — therefore; na — never; arhāḥ — deserving; vayam — we; hantum — to kill; dhārtarāṣṭrān — the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; sa-bāndhavān — along with friends; sva-janam — kinsmen; hi — certainly; katham — how; hatvā — by killing; sukhinaḥ — happy; syāma — will we become; mādhava — O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune.


Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?


According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors: (1) a poison giver, (2) one who sets fire to the house, (3) one who attacks with deadly weapons, (4) one who plunders riches, (5) one who occupies another’s land, and (6) one who kidnaps a wife. Such aggressors are at once to be killed, and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors. Such killing of aggressors is quite befitting any ordinary man, but Arjuna was not an ordinary person. He was saintly by character, and therefore he wanted to deal with them in saintliness. This kind of saintliness, however, is not for a kṣatriya. Although a responsible man in the administration of a state is required to be saintly, he should not be cowardly. For example, Lord Rāma was so saintly that people even now are anxious to live in the kingdom of Lord Rāma (rāma-rājya), but Lord Rāma never showed any cowardice. Rāvaṇa was an aggressor against Rāma because Rāvaṇa kidnapped Rāma’s wife, Sītā, but Lord Rāma gave him sufficient lessons, unparalleled in the history of the world. In Arjuna’s case, however, one should consider the special type of aggressors, namely his own grandfather, own teacher, friends, sons, grandsons, etc. Because of them, Arjuna thought that he should not take the severe steps necessary against ordinary aggressors. Besides that, saintly persons are advised to forgive. Such injunctions for saintly persons are more important than any political emergency. Arjuna considered that rather than kill his own kinsmen for political reasons, it would be better to forgive them on grounds of religion and saintly behavior. He did not, therefore, consider such killing profitable simply for the matter of temporary bodily happiness. After all, kingdoms and pleasures derived therefrom are not permanent, so why should he risk his life and eternal salvation by killing his own kinsmen? Arjuna’s addressing of Kṛṣṇa as “Mādhava,” or the husband of the goddess of fortune, is also significant in this connection. He wanted to point out to Kṛṣṇa that, as the husband of the goddess of fortune, He should not induce Arjuna to take up a matter which would ultimately bring about misfortune. Kṛṣṇa, however, never brings misfortune to anyone, to say nothing of His devotees.

||1-37||

तस्मान्नार्हा वयं हन्तुं धार्तराष्ट्रान्स्वबान्धवान् | स्वजनं हि कथं हत्वा सुखिनः स्याम माधव ||१-३७||

tasmānnārhā vayaṃ hantuṃ dhārtarāṣṭrānsvabāndhavān . svajanaṃ hi kathaṃ hatvā sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava ||1-37||

yadi — if; api — even; ete — they; na — do not; paśyanti — see; lobha — by greed; upahata — overpowered; cetasaḥ — their hearts; kula-kṣaya — in killing the family; kṛtam — done; doṣam — fault; mitra-drohe — in quarreling with friends; ca — also; pātakam — sinful reactions; katham — why; na — should not; jñeyam — be known; asmābhiḥ — by us; pāpāt — from sins; asmāt — these; nivartitum — to cease; kula-kṣaya — in the destruction of a dynasty; kṛtam — done; doṣam — crime; prapaśyadbhiḥ — by those who can see; janārdana — O Kṛṣṇa.


O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?


A kṣatriya is not supposed to refuse to battle or gamble when he is so invited by some rival party. Under such an obligation, Arjuna could not refuse to fight, because he had been challenged by the party of Duryodhana. In this connection, Arjuna considered that the other party might be blind to the effects of such a challenge. Arjuna, however, could see the evil consequences and could not accept the challenge. Obligation is actually binding when the effect is good, but when the effect is otherwise, then no one can be bound. Considering all these pros and cons, Arjuna decided not to fight.

||1-38||

यद्यप्येते न पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः | कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे च पातकम् ||१-३८||

yadyapyete na paśyanti lobhopahatacetasaḥ . kulakṣayakṛtaṃ doṣaṃ mitradrohe ca pātakam ||1-38||

||1-39||

कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम् | कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन ||१-३९||

kathaṃ na jñeyamasmābhiḥ pāpādasmānnivartitum . kulakṣayakṛtaṃ doṣaṃ prapaśyadbhirjanārdana ||1-39||

kula-kṣaye — in destroying the family; praṇaśyanti — become vanquished; kula-dharmāḥ — the family traditions; sanātanāḥ — eternal; dharme — religion; naṣṭe — being destroyed; kulam — family; kṛtsnam — whole; adharmaḥ — irreligion; abhibhavati — transforms; uta — it is said.


With the destruction of the dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.


In the system of the varṇāśrama institution there are many principles of religious traditions to help members of the family grow properly and attain spiritual values. The elder members are responsible for such purifying processes in the family, beginning from birth to death. But on the death of the elder members, such family traditions of purification may stop, and the remaining younger family members may develop irreligious habits and thereby lose their chance for spiritual salvation. Therefore, for no purpose should the elder members of the family be slain.

||1-40||

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः | धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत ||१-४०||

kulakṣaye praṇaśyanti kuladharmāḥ sanātanāḥ . dharme naṣṭe kulaṃ kṛtsnamadharmo.abhibhavatyuta ||1-40||

adharma — irreligion; abhibhavāt — having become predominant; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; praduṣyanti — become polluted; kula-striyaḥ — family ladies; strīṣu — by the womanhood; duṣṭāsu — being so polluted; vārṣṇeya — O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; jāyate — comes into being; varṇa-saṅkaraḥ — unwanted progeny.


When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kṛṣṇa, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, comes unwanted progeny.


Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and spiritual progress in life. The varṇāśrama religion’s principles were so designed that the good population would prevail in society for the general spiritual progress of state and community. Such population depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood. As children are very prone to be misled, women are similarly very prone to degradation. Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. By being engaged in various religious practices, women will not be misled into adultery. According to Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. So the different family traditions of religious activities should always engage them, and thus their chastity and devotion will give birth to a good population eligible for participating in the varṇāśrama system. On the failure of such varṇāśrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence.

||1-41||

अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः | स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः ||१-४१||

adharmābhibhavātkṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kulastriyaḥ . strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇasaṅkaraḥ ||1-41||

saṅkaraḥ — such unwanted children; narakāya — make for hellish life; eva — certainly; kula-ghnānām — for those who are killers of the family; kulasya — for the family; ca — also; patanti — fall down; pitaraḥ — forefathers; hi — certainly; eṣām — of them; lupta — stopped; piṇḍa — of offerings of food; udaka — and water; kriyāḥ — performances.


An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The ancestors of such corrupt families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely stopped.


According to the rules and regulations of fruitive activities, there is a need to offer periodical food and water to the forefathers of the family. This offering is performed by worship of Viṣṇu, because eating the remnants of food offered to Viṣṇu can deliver one from all kinds of sinful reactions. Sometimes the forefathers may be suffering from various types of sinful reactions, and sometimes some of them cannot even acquire a gross material body and are forced to remain in subtle bodies as ghosts. Thus, when remnants of prasādam food are offered to forefathers by descendants, the forefathers are released from ghostly or other kinds of miserable life. Such help rendered to forefathers is a family tradition, and those who are not in devotional life are required to perform such rituals. One who is engaged in the devotional life is not required to perform such actions. Simply by performing devotional service, one can deliver hundreds and thousands of forefathers from all kinds of misery. It is stated in the Bhāgavatam (11.5.41):
devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
“Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all kinds of obligation, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind or forefathers.” Such obligations are automatically fulfilled by performance of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

||1-42||

सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च | पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः ||१-४२||

saṅkaro narakāyaiva kulaghnānāṃ kulasya ca . patanti pitaro hyeṣāṃ luptapiṇḍodakakriyāḥ ||1-42||

doṣaiḥ — by such faults; etaiḥ — all these; kula-ghnānām — of the destroyers of the family; varṇa-saṅkara — of unwanted children; kārakaiḥ — which are causes; utsādyante — are devastated; jāti-dharmāḥ — community projects; kula-dharmāḥ — family traditions; ca — also; śāśvatāḥ — eternal.


By the evil deeds of those who destroy the family tradition and thus give rise to unwanted children, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.


Community projects for the four orders of human society, combined with family welfare activities, as they are set forth by the institution of sanātana-dharma, or varṇāśrama-dharma, are designed to enable the human being to attain his ultimate salvation. Therefore, the breaking of the sanātana-dharma tradition by irresponsible leaders of society brings about chaos in that society, and consequently people forget the aim of life – Viṣṇu. Such leaders are called blind, and persons who follow such leaders are sure to be led into chaos.

||1-43||

दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः | उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः ||१-४३||

doṣairetaiḥ kulaghnānāṃ varṇasaṅkarakārakaiḥ . utsādyante jātidharmāḥ kuladharmāśca śāśvatāḥ ||1-43||

utsanna — spoiled; kula-dharmāṇām — of those who have the family traditions; manuṣyāṇām — of such men; janārdana — O Kṛṣṇa; narake — in hell; niyatam — always; vāsaḥ — residence; bhavati — it so becomes; iti — thus; anuśuśruma — I have heard by disciplic succession.


O Kṛṣṇa, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those whose family traditions are destroyed dwell always in hell.


Arjuna bases his argument not on his own personal experience, but on what he has heard from the authorities. That is the way of receiving real knowledge. One cannot reach the real point of factual knowledge without being helped by the right person who is already established in that knowledge. There is a system in the varṇāśrama institution by which before death one has to undergo the process of atonement for his sinful activities. One who is always engaged in sinful activities must utilize the process of atonement, called prāyaścitta. Without doing so, one surely will be transferred to hellish planets to undergo miserable lives as the result of sinful activities.

||1-44||

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन | नरके नियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम (or नरकेऽनियतं) ||१-४४||

utsannakuladharmāṇāṃ manuṣyāṇāṃ janārdana . narake niyataṃ vāso bhavatītyanuśuśruma ||1-44||

aho — alas; bata — how strange it is; mahat — great; pāpam — sins; kartum — to perform; vyavasitāḥ — have decided; vayam — we; yat — because; rājya-sukha-lobhena — driven by greed for royal happiness; hantum — to kill; sva-janam — kinsmen; udyatāḥ — trying.


Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.


Driven by selfish motives, one may be inclined to such sinful acts as the killing of one’s own brother, father or mother. There are many such instances in the history of the world. But Arjuna, being a saintly devotee of the Lord, is always conscious of moral principles and therefore takes care to avoid such activities.

||1-45||

अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम् | यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः ||१-४५||

aho bata mahatpāpaṃ kartuṃ vyavasitā vayam . yadrājyasukhalobhena hantuṃ svajanamudyatāḥ ||1-45||

yadi — even if; mām — me; apratīkāram — without being resistant; aśastram — without being fully equipped; śastra-pāṇayaḥ — those with weapons in hand; dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ — the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; raṇe — on the battlefield; hanyuḥ — may kill; tat — that; me — for me; kṣema-taram — better; bhavet — would be.


Better for me if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.


It is the custom – according to kṣatriya fighting principles – that an unarmed and unwilling foe should not be attacked. Arjuna, however, decided that even if attacked by the enemy in such an awkward position, he would not fight. He did not consider how much the other party was bent upon fighting. All these symptoms are due to soft-heartedness resulting from his being a great devotee of the Lord.

||1-46||

यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः | धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्षेमतरं भवेत् ||१-४६||

yadi māmapratīkāramaśastraṃ śastrapāṇayaḥ . dhārtarāṣṭrā raṇe hanyustanme kṣemataraṃ bhavet ||1-46||

sañjayaḥ uvāca — Sañjaya said; evam — thus; uktvā — saying; arjunaḥ — Arjuna; saṅkhye — in the battlefield; ratha — of the chariot; upasthe — on the seat; upāviśat — sat down again; visṛjya — putting aside; sa-śaram — along with arrows; cāpam — the bow; śoka — by lamentation; saṁvigna — distressed; mānasaḥ — within the mind.


Sañjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.


While observing the situation of his enemy, Arjuna stood up on the chariot, but he was so afflicted with lamentation that he sat down again, setting aside his bow and arrows. Such a kind and soft-hearted person, in the devotional service of the Lord, is fit to receive self-knowledge.

||1-47||

सञ्जय उवाच | एवमुक्त्वार्जुनः सङ्ख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत् | विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः ||१-४७||

sañjaya uvāca . evamuktvārjunaḥ saṅkhye rathopastha upāviśat . visṛjya saśaraṃ cāpaṃ śokasaṃvignamānasaḥ ||1-47||

Глава 2

Contents of the Gītā Summarized

||2-1||

सञ्जय उवाच | तं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् | विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः ||२-१||

sañjaya uvāca . taṃ tathā kṛpayāviṣṭamaśrupūrṇākulekṣaṇam . viṣīdantamidaṃ vākyamuvāca madhusūdanaḥ ||2-1||

sañjayaḥ uvāca — Sañjaya said; tam — unto Arjuna; tathā — thus; kṛpayā — by compassion; āviṣṭam — overwhelmed; aśru-pūrṇa-ākula — full of tears; īkṣaṇam — eyes; viṣīdantam — lamenting; idam — these; vākyam — words; uvāca — said; madhu-sūdanaḥ — the killer of Madhu.


Sañjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind depressed, his eyes full of tears, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, spoke the following words.


Material compassion, lamentation and tears are all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is self-realization. The word “Madhusūdana” is significant in this verse. Lord Kṛṣṇa killed the demon Madhu, and now Arjuna wanted Kṛṣṇa to kill the demon of misunderstanding that had overtaken him in the discharge of his duty. No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress – the gross material body. One who does not know this and laments for the outward dress is called a śūdra, or one who laments unnecessarily. Arjuna was a kṣatriya, and this conduct was not expected from him. Lord Kṛṣṇa, however, can dissipate the lamentation of the ignorant man, and for this purpose the Bhagavad-gītā was sung by Him. This chapter instructs us in self-realization by an analytical study of the material body and the spirit soul, as explained by the supreme authority, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This realization is possible when one works without attachment to fruitive results and is situated in the fixed conception of the real self.

||2-2||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम् | अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन ||२-२||

śrībhagavānuvāca . kutastvā kaśmalamidaṃ viṣame samupasthitam . anāryajuṣṭamasvargyamakīrtikaramarjuna ||2-2||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; kutaḥ — wherefrom; tvā — unto you; kaśmalam — dirtiness; idam — this lamentation; viṣame — in this hour of crisis; samupasthitam — arrived; anārya — persons who do not know the value of life; juṣṭam — practiced by; asvargyam — which does not lead to higher planets; akīrti — infamy; karam — the cause of; arjuna — O Arjuna.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the value of life. They lead not to higher planets but to infamy.


Kṛṣṇa and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are identical. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is referred to as Bhagavān throughout the Gītā. Bhagavān is the ultimate in the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding, namely Brahman, or the impersonal all-pervasive spirit; Paramātmā, or the localized aspect of the Supreme within the heart of all living entities; and Bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.11) this conception of the Absolute Truth is explained thus:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate
“The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān.”
These three divine aspects can be explained by the example of the sun, which also has three different aspects, namely the sunshine, the sun’s surface and the sun planet itself. One who studies the sunshine only is the preliminary student. One who understands the sun’s surface is further advanced. And one who can enter into the sun planet is the highest. Ordinary students who are satisfied by simply understanding the sunshine – its universal pervasiveness and the glaring effulgence of its impersonal nature – may be compared to those who can realize only the Brahman feature of the Absolute Truth. The student who has advanced still further can know the sun disc, which is compared to knowledge of the Paramātmā feature of the Absolute Truth. And the student who can enter into the heart of the sun planet is compared to those who realize the personal features of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Therefore, the bhaktas, or the transcendentalists who have realized the Bhagavān feature of the Absolute Truth, are the topmost transcendentalists, although all students who are engaged in the study of the Absolute Truth are engaged in the same subject matter. The sunshine, the sun disc and the inner affairs of the sun planet cannot be separated from one another, and yet the students of the three different phases are not in the same category.
The Sanskrit word bhagavān is explained by the great authority Parāśara Muni, the father of Vyāsadeva. The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation is called Bhagavān. There are many persons who are very rich, very powerful, very beautiful, very famous, very learned and very much detached, but no one can claim that he possesses all riches, all strength, etc., entirely. Only Kṛṣṇa can claim this because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No living entity, including Brahmā, Lord Śiva or Nārāyaṇa, can possess opulences as fully as Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is concluded in the Brahma-saṁhitā by Lord Brahmā himself that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is equal to or above Him. He is the primeval Lord, or Bhagavān, known as Govinda, and He is the supreme cause of all causes:
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
“There are many personalities possessing the qualities of Bhagavān, but Kṛṣṇa is the supreme because none can excel Him. He is the Supreme Person, and His body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the primeval Lord Govinda and the cause of all causes.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.1)
In the Bhāgavatam also there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa is described as the original Personality of Godhead, from whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand:
ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ
kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
indrāri-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ
mṛḍayanti yuge yuge
“All the lists of the incarnations of Godhead submitted herewith are either plenary expansions or parts of the plenary expansions of the Supreme Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.” (Bhāg. 1.3.28)
Therefore, Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, the source of both the Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman.
In the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna’s lamentation for his kinsmen is certainly unbecoming, and therefore Kṛṣṇa expressed His surprise with the word kutaḥ, “wherefrom.” Such impurities were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Āryans. The word āryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Viṣṇu, or Bhagavān, and they are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Āryans. Although Arjuna was a kṣatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Āryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity to become famous in this world. Lord Kṛṣṇa did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.

||2-3||

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते | क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ||२-३||

klaibyaṃ mā sma gamaḥ pārtha naitattvayyupapadyate . kṣudraṃ hṛdayadaurbalyaṃ tyaktvottiṣṭha parantapa ||2-3||

klaibyam — impotence; mā sma — do not; gamaḥ — take to; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; na — never; etat — this; tvayi — unto you; upapadyate — is befitting; kṣudram — petty; hṛdaya — of the heart; daurbalyam — weakness; tyaktvā — giving up; uttiṣṭha — get up; param-tapa — O chastiser of the enemies.


O son of Pṛthā, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.


Arjuna was addressed as the son of Pṛthā, who happened to be the sister of Kṛṣṇa’s father Vasudeva. Therefore Arjuna had a blood relationship with Kṛṣṇa. If the son of a kṣatriya declines to fight, he is a kṣatriya in name only, and if the son of a brāhmaṇa acts impiously, he is a brāhmaṇa in name only. Such kṣatriyas and brāhmaṇas are unworthy sons of their fathers; therefore, Kṛṣṇa did not want Arjuna to become an unworthy son of a kṣatriya. Arjuna was the most intimate friend of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa was directly guiding him on the chariot; but in spite of all these credits, if Arjuna abandoned the battle he would be committing an infamous act. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said that such an attitude in Arjuna did not fit his personality. Arjuna might argue that he would give up the battle on the grounds of his magnanimous attitude for the most respectable Bhīṣma and his relatives, but Kṛṣṇa considered that sort of magnanimity mere weakness of heart. Such false magnanimity was not approved by any authority. Therefore, such magnanimity or so-called nonviolence should be given up by persons like Arjuna under the direct guidance of Kṛṣṇa.

||2-4||

अर्जुन उवाच | कथं भीष्ममहं सङ्ख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन | इषुभिः प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन ||२-४||

arjuna uvāca . kathaṃ bhīṣmamahaṃ saṅkhye droṇaṃ ca madhusūdana . iṣubhiḥ pratiyotsyāmi pūjārhāvarisūdana ||2-4||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; katham — how; bhīṣmam — Bhīṣma; aham — I; saṅkhye — in the fight; droṇam — Droṇa; ca — also; madhu-sūdana — O killer of Madhu; iṣubhiḥ — with arrows; pratiyotsyāmi — shall counterattack; pūjā-arhau — those who are worshipable; ari-sūdana — O killer of the enemies.


Arjuna said: O killer of enemies, O killer of Madhu, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who are worthy of my worship?


Respectable superiors like Bhīṣma the grandfather and Droṇācārya the teacher are always worshipable. Even if they attack, they should not be counterattacked. It is general etiquette that superiors are not to be offered even a verbal fight. Even if they are sometimes harsh in behavior, they should not be harshly treated. Then, how is it possible for Arjuna to counterattack them? Would Kṛṣṇa ever attack His own grandfather, Ugrasena, or His teacher, Sāndīpani Muni? These were some of the arguments offered by Arjuna to Kṛṣṇa.

||2-5||

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके | हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ||२-५||

gurūnahatvā hi mahānubhāvān śreyo bhoktuṃ bhaikṣyamapīha loke . hatvārthakāmāṃstu gurūnihaiva bhuñjīya bhogān rudhirapradigdhān ||2-5||

gurūn — the superiors; ahatvā — not killing; hi — certainly; mahā-anubhāvān — great souls; śreyaḥ — it is better; bhoktum — to enjoy life; bhaikṣyam — by begging; api — even; iha — in this life; loke — in this world; hatvā — killing; artha — gain; kāmān — desiring; tu — but; gurūn — superiors; iha — in this world; eva — certainly; bhuñjīya — one has to enjoy; bhogān — enjoyable things; rudhira — blood; pradigdhān — tainted with.


It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood.


According to scriptural codes, a teacher who engages in an abominable action and has lost his sense of discrimination is fit to be abandoned. Bhīṣma and Droṇa were obliged to take the side of Duryodhana because of his financial assistance, although they should not have accepted such a position simply on financial considerations. Under the circumstances, they have lost the respectability of teachers. But Arjuna thinks that nevertheless they remain his superiors, and therefore to enjoy material profits after killing them would mean to enjoy spoils tainted with blood.

||2-6||

न चैतद्विद्मः कतरन्नो गरीयो यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः | यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषामस्- तेऽवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः ||२-६||

na caitadvidmaḥ kataranno garīyo yadvā jayema yadi vā no jayeyuḥ . yāneva hatvā na jijīviṣāmaḥ te.avasthitāḥ pramukhe dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ ||2-6||

na — nor; ca — also; etat — this; vidmaḥ — do we know; katarat — which; naḥ — for us; garīyaḥ — better; yat vā — whether; jayema — we may conquer; yadi — if; vā — or; naḥ — us; jayeyuḥ — they conquer; yān — those who; eva — certainly; hatvā — by killing; na — never; jijīviṣāmaḥ — we would want to live; te — all of them; avasthitāḥ — are situated; pramukhe — in the front; dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ — the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.


Nor do we know which is better – conquering them or being conquered by them. If we killed the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, we should not care to live. Yet they are now standing before us on the battlefield.


Arjuna did not know whether he should fight and risk unnecessary violence, although fighting is the duty of the kṣatriyas, or whether he should refrain and live by begging. If he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be his only means of subsistence. Nor was there certainty of victory, because either side might emerge victorious. Even if victory awaited them (and their cause was justified), still, if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra died in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances, that would be another kind of defeat for them. All these considerations by Arjuna definitely proved that not only was he a great devotee of the Lord but he was also highly enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, is another sign of detachment. He was truly virtuous, as these qualities, combined with his faith in the words of instruction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa (his spiritual master), indicate. It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance of liberation. Arjuna was competent in all these attributes, over and above his enormous attributes in his material relationships.

||2-7||

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसम्मूढचेताः | यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् ||२-७||

kārpaṇyadoṣopahatasvabhāvaḥ pṛcchāmi tvāṃ dharmasammūḍhacetāḥ . yacchreyaḥ syānniścitaṃ brūhi tanme śiṣyaste.ahaṃ śādhi māṃ tvāṃ prapannam ||2-7||

kārpaṇya — of miserliness; doṣa — by the weakness; upahata — being afflicted; svabhāvaḥ — characteristics; pṛcchāmi — I am asking; tvām — unto You; dharma — religion; sammūḍha — bewildered; cetāḥ — in heart; yat — what; śreyaḥ — all-good; syāt — may be; niścitam — confidently; brūhi — tell; tat — that; me — unto me; śiṣyaḥ — disciple; te — Your; aham — I am; śādhi — just instruct; mām — me; tvām — unto You; prapannam — surrendered.


Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.


By nature’s own way the complete system of material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone. In every step there is perplexity, and therefore it behooves one to approach a bona fide spiritual master who can give one proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bona fide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life, which happen without our desire. They are like a forest fire that somehow blazes without being set by anyone. Similarly, the world situation is such that perplexities of life automatically appear, without our wanting such confusion. No one wants fire, and yet it takes place, and we become perplexed. The Vedic wisdom therefore advises that in order to solve the perplexities of life and to understand the science of the solution, one must approach a spiritual master who is in the disciplic succession. A person with a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything. One should not, therefore, remain in material perplexities but should approach a spiritual master. This is the purport of this verse.
Who is the man in material perplexities? It is he who does not understand the problems of life. In the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (3.8.10) the perplexed man is described as follows: yo vā etad akṣaraṁ gārgy aviditvāsmāḻ lokāt praiti sa kṛpaṇaḥ. “He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs, without understanding the science of self-realization.” This human form of life is a most valuable asset for the living entity, who can utilize it for solving the problems of life; therefore, one who does not utilize this opportunity properly is a miser. On the other hand, there is the brāhmaṇa, or he who is intelligent enough to utilize this body to solve all the problems of life. Ya etad akṣaraṁ gārgi viditvāsmāl lokāt praiti sa brāhmaṇaḥ.
The kṛpaṇas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, namely to wife, children and other members, on the basis of “skin disease.” The kṛpaṇa thinks that he is able to protect his family members from death; or the kṛpaṇa thinks that his family or society can save him from the verge of death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals, who take care of children also. Being intelligent, Arjuna could understand that his affection for family members and his wish to protect them from death were the causes of his perplexities. Although he could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still, on account of miserly weakness, he could not discharge the duties. He is therefore asking Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Kṛṣṇa as a disciple. He wants to stop friendly talks. Talks between the master and the disciple are serious, and now Arjuna wants to talk very seriously before the recognized spiritual master. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the original spiritual master of the science of Bhagavad-gītā, and Arjuna is the first disciple for understanding the Gītā. How Arjuna understands the Bhagavad-gītā is stated in the Gītā itself. And yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Kṛṣṇa as a person, but to “the unborn within Kṛṣṇa.” There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa’s within and without. And one who has no sense of this understanding is the greatest fool in trying to understand Bhagavad-gītā.

||2-8||

न हि प्रपश्यामि ममापनुद्याद् यच्छोकमुच्छोषणमिन्द्रियाणाम् | अवाप्य भूमावसपत्नमृद्धं राज्यं सुराणामपि चाधिपत्यम् ||२-८||

na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād yacchokamucchoṣaṇamindriyāṇām . avāpya bhūmāvasapatnamṛddhaṃ rājyaṃ surāṇāmapi cādhipatyam ||2-8||

na — do not; hi — certainly; prapaśyāmi — I see; mama — my; apanudyāt — can drive away; yat — that which; śokam — lamentation; ucchoṣaṇam — drying up; indriyāṇām — of the senses; avāpya — achieving; bhūmau — on the earth; asapatnam — without rival; ṛddham — prosperous; rājyam — kingdom; surāṇām — of the demigods; api — even; ca — also; ādhipatyam — supremacy.


I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.


Although Arjuna was putting forward so many arguments based on knowledge of the principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem without the help of the spiritual master, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He could understand that his so-called knowledge was useless in driving away his problems, which were drying up his whole existence; and it was impossible for him to solve such perplexities without the help of a spiritual master like Lord Kṛṣṇa. Academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, etc., are all useless in solving the problems of life; help can be given only by a spiritual master like Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one hundred percent Kṛṣṇa conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for he can solve the problems of life. Lord Caitanya said that one who is a master in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, regardless of his social position, is the real spiritual master.
kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei ‘guru’ haya
“It does not matter whether a person is a vipra [learned scholar in Vedic wisdom], or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life – if he is a master in the science of Kṛṣṇa, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 8.128) So without being a master in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no one is a bona fide spiritual master. It is also said in the Vedic literature:
ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro
mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ
avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād
vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ
“A scholarly brāhmaṇa, expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge, is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaiṣṇava, or expert in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But a person born in a family of a lower caste can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaiṣṇava, or Kṛṣṇa conscious.” (Padma Purāṇa)
The problems of material existence – birth, old age, disease and death – cannot be counteracted by accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world there are states which are replete with all facilities of life, which are full of wealth and economically developed, yet the problems of material existence are still present. They are seeking peace in different ways, but they can achieve real happiness only if they consult Kṛṣṇa, or the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam – which constitute the science of Kṛṣṇa – through the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, the man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
If economic development and material comforts could drive away one’s lamentations for family, social, national or international inebrieties, then Arjuna would not have said that even an unrivaled kingdom on earth or supremacy like that of the demigods in the heavenly planets would be unable to drive away his lamentations. He sought, therefore, refuge in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and that is the right path for peace and harmony. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment by the cataclysms of material nature. Even elevation into a higher planetary situation, as men are now seeking on the moon planet, can also be finished at one stroke. The Bhagavad-gītā confirms this: kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti. “When the results of pious activities are finished, one falls down again from the peak of happiness to the lowest status of life.” Many politicians of the world have fallen down in that way. Such downfalls only constitute more causes for lamentation.
Therefore, if we want to curb lamentation for good, then we have to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked Kṛṣṇa to solve his problem definitely, and that is the way of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||2-9||

सञ्जय उवाच | एवमुक्त्वा हृषीकेशं गुडाकेशः परन्तप | न योत्स्य इति गोविन्दमुक्त्वा तूष्णीं बभूव ह ||२-९||

sañjaya uvāca . evamuktvā hṛṣīkeśaṃ guḍākeśaḥ parantapaḥ . na yotsya iti govindamuktvā tūṣṇīṃ babhūva ha ||2-9||

sañjayaḥ uvāca — Sañjaya said; evam — thus; uktvā — speaking; hṛṣīkeśam — unto Kṛṣṇa, the master of the senses; guḍākeśaḥ — Arjuna, the master of curbing ignorance; param-tapaḥ — the chastiser of the enemies; na yotsye — I shall not fight; iti — thus; govindam — unto Kṛṣṇa, the giver of pleasure to the senses; uktvā — saying; tūṣṇīm — silent; babhūva — became; ha — certainly.


Sañjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kṛṣṇa, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.


Dhṛtarāṣṭra must have been very glad to understand that Arjuna was not going to fight and was instead leaving the battlefield for the begging profession. But Sañjaya disappointed him again in relating that Arjuna was competent to kill his enemies (paran-tapaḥ). Although Arjuna was, for the time being, overwhelmed with false grief due to family affection, he surrendered unto Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, as a disciple. This indicated that he would soon be free from the false lamentation resulting from family affection and would be enlightened with perfect knowledge of self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and would then surely fight. Thus Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s joy would be frustrated, since Arjuna would be enlightened by Kṛṣṇa and would fight to the end.

||2-10||

तमुवाच हृषीकेशः प्रहसन्निव भारत | सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये विषीदन्तमिदं वचः ||२-१०||

tamuvāca hṛṣīkeśaḥ prahasanniva bhārata . senayorubhayormadhye viṣīdantamidaṃ vacaḥ ||2-10||

tam — unto him; uvāca — said; hṛṣīkeśaḥ — the master of the senses, Kṛṣṇa; prahasan — smiling; iva — like that; bhārata — O Dhṛtarāṣṭra, descendant of Bharata; senayoḥ — of the armies; ubhayoḥ — of both parties; madhye — between; viṣīdantam — unto the lamenting one; idam — the following; vacaḥ — words.


O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kṛṣṇa, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.


The talk was going on between intimate friends, namely the Hṛṣīkeśa and the Guḍākeśa. As friends, both of them were on the same level, but one of them voluntarily became a student of the other. Kṛṣṇa was smiling because a friend had chosen to become a disciple. As Lord of all, He is always in the superior position as the master of everyone, and yet the Lord agrees to be a friend, a son or a lover for a devotee who wants Him in such a role. But when He was accepted as the master, He at once assumed the role and talked with the disciple like the master – with gravity, as it is required. It appears that the talk between the master and the disciple was openly exchanged in the presence of both armies so that all were benefited. So the talks of Bhagavad-gītā are not for any particular person, society, or community, but they are for all, and friends or enemies are equally entitled to hear them.

||2-11||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे | गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ||२-११||

śrībhagavānuvāca . aśocyānanvaśocastvaṃ prajñāvādāṃśca bhāṣase . gatāsūnagatāsūṃśca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ ||2-11||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; aśocyān — not worthy of lamentation; anvaśocaḥ — you are lamenting; tvam — you; prajñā-vādān — learned talks; ca — also; bhāṣase — speaking; gata — lost; asūn — life; agata — not passed; asūn — life; ca — also; na — never; anuśocanti — lament; paṇḍitāḥ — the learned.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.


The Lord at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. The Lord said, “You are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned – one who knows what is body and what is soul – does not lament for any stage of the body, neither in the living nor in the dead condition.” As explained in later chapters, it will be clear that knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the controller of both. Arjuna argued that religious principles should be given more importance than politics or sociology, but he did not know that knowledge of matter, soul and the Supreme is even more important than religious formularies. And because he was lacking in that knowledge, he should not have posed himself as a very learned man. As he did not happen to be a very learned man, he was consequently lamenting for something which was unworthy of lamentation. The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow; therefore the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the material body.

||2-12||

न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः | न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ||२-१२||

na tvevāhaṃ jātu nāsaṃ na tvaṃ neme janādhipāḥ . na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayamataḥ param ||2-12||

na — never; tu — but; eva — certainly; aham — I; jātu — at any time; na — did not; āsam — exist; na — not; tvam — you; na — not; ime — all these; jana-adhipāḥ — kings; na — never; ca — also; eva — certainly; na — not; bhaviṣyāmaḥ — shall exist; sarve vayam — all of us; ataḥ param — hereafter.


Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.


In the Vedas – in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad as well as in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad – it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations according to individual work and reaction of work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace.
nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān
tam ātma-sthaṁ ye ’nupaśyanti dhīrās
teṣāṁ śāntiḥ śāśvatī netareṣām
(Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13)
The same Vedic truth given to Arjuna is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna and all the kings who are assembled on the battlefield are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned and in their liberated situations. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and Arjuna, the Lord’s eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there are individual eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.
The Māyāvādī theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of māyā, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Kṛṣṇa clearly says herein that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is confirmed in the Upaniṣads, will continue eternally. This statement of Kṛṣṇa’s is authoritative because Kṛṣṇa cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality were not a fact, then Kṛṣṇa would not have stressed it so much – even for the future. The Māyāvādī may argue that the individuality spoken of by Kṛṣṇa is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Kṛṣṇa’s individuality? Kṛṣṇa affirms His individuality in the past and confirms His individuality in the future also. He has confirmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared to be subordinate to Him. Kṛṣṇa has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gītā has no value as authoritative scripture. A common man with all the four defects of human frailty is unable to teach that which is worth hearing. The Gītā is above such literature. No mundane book compares with the Bhagavad-gītā. When one accepts Kṛṣṇa as an ordinary man, the Gītā loses all importance. The Māyāvādī argues that the plurality mentioned in this verse is conventional and that it refers to the body. But previous to this verse such a bodily conception is already condemned. After condemning the bodily conception of the living entities, how was it possible for Kṛṣṇa to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, individuality is maintained on spiritual grounds and is thus confirmed by great ācāryas like Śrī Rāmānuja and others. It is clearly mentioned in many places in the Gītā that this spiritual individuality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord. Those who are envious of Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona fide access to the great literature. The nondevotee’s approach to the teachings of the Gītā is something like that of a bee licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of honey unless one opens the bottle. Similarly, the mysticism of the Bhagavad-gītā can be understood only by devotees, and no one else can taste it, as it is stated in the Fourth Chapter of the book. Nor can the Gītā be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord. Therefore, the Māyāvādī explanation of the Gītā is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Caitanya has forbidden us to read commentations made by the Māyāvādīs and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the Māyāvādī philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gītā. If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need of teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual soul and the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is confirmed by the Vedas as above mentioned.

||2-13||

देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा | तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति ||२-१३||

dehino.asminyathā dehe kaumāraṃ yauvanaṃ jarā . tathā dehāntaraprāptirdhīrastatra na muhyati ||2-13||

dehinaḥ — of the embodied; asmin — in this; yathā — as; dehe — in the body; kaumāram — boyhood; yauvanam — youth; jarā — old age; tathā — similarly; deha-antara — of transference of the body; prāptiḥ — achievement; dhīraḥ — the sober; tatra — thereupon; na — never; muhyati — is deluded.


As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.


Since every living entity is an individual soul, each is changing his body every moment, manifesting sometimes as a child, sometimes as a youth and sometimes as an old man. Yet the same spirit soul is there and does not undergo any change. This individual soul finally changes the body at death and transmigrates to another body; and since it is sure to have another body in the next birth – either material or spiritual – there was no cause for lamentation by Arjuna on account of death, neither for Bhīṣma nor for Droṇa, for whom he was so much concerned. Rather, he should rejoice for their changing bodies from old to new ones, thereby rejuvenating their energy. Such changes of body account for varieties of enjoyment or suffering, according to one’s work in life. So Bhīṣma and Droṇa, being noble souls, were surely going to have spiritual bodies in the next life, or at least life in heavenly bodies for superior enjoyment of material existence. So, in either case, there was no cause of lamentation.
Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and nature – both material and spiritual – is called a dhīra, or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies.
The Māyāvādī theory of oneness of the spirit soul cannot be entertained, on the ground that the spirit soul cannot be cut into pieces as a fragmental portion. Such cutting into different individual souls would make the Supreme cleavable or changeable, against the principle of the Supreme Soul’s being unchangeable. As confirmed in the Gītā, the fragmental portions of the Supreme exist eternally (sanātana) and are called kṣara; that is, they have a tendency to fall down into material nature. These fragmental portions are eternally so, and even after liberation the individual soul remains the same – fragmental. But once liberated, he lives an eternal life in bliss and knowledge with the Personality of Godhead. The theory of reflection can be applied to the Supersoul, who is present in each and every individual body and is known as the Paramātmā. He is different from the individual living entity. When the sky is reflected in water, the reflections represent both the sun and the moon and the stars also. The stars can be compared to the living entities and the sun or the moon to the Supreme Lord. The individual fragmental spirit soul is represented by Arjuna, and the Supreme Soul is the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They are not on the same level, as it will be apparent in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter. If Arjuna is on the same level with Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is not superior to Arjuna, then their relationship of instructor and instructed becomes meaningless. If both of them are deluded by the illusory energy (māyā), then there is no need of one being the instructor and the other the instructed. Such instruction would be useless because, in the clutches of māyā, no one can be an authoritative instructor. Under the circumstances, it is admitted that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord, superior in position to the living entity, Arjuna, who is a forgetful soul deluded by māyā.

||2-14||

मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः | आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत ||२-१४||

mātrāsparśāstu kaunteya śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkhadāḥ . āgamāpāyino.anityāstāṃstitikṣasva bhārata ||2-14||

mātrā-sparśāḥ — sensory perception; tu — only; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; śīta — winter; uṣṇa — summer; sukha — happiness; duḥkha — and pain; dāḥ — giving; āgama — appearing; apāyinaḥ — disappearing; anityāḥ — nonpermanent; tān — all of them; titikṣasva — just try to tolerate; bhārata — O descendant of the Bharata dynasty.


O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.


In the proper discharge of duty, one has to learn to tolerate nonpermanent appearances and disappearances of happiness and distress. According to Vedic injunction, one has to take his bath early in the morning even during the month of Māgha (January-February). It is very cold at that time, but in spite of that a man who abides by the religious principles does not hesitate to take his bath. Similarly, a woman does not hesitate to cook in the kitchen in the months of May and June, the hottest part of the summer season. One has to execute his duty in spite of climatic inconveniences. Similarly, to fight is the religious principle of the kṣatriyas, and although one has to fight with some friend or relative, one should not deviate from his prescribed duty. One has to follow the prescribed rules and regulations of religious principles in order to rise up to the platform of knowledge, because by knowledge and devotion only can one liberate himself from the clutches of māyā (illusion).
The two different names of address given to Arjuna are also significant. To address him as Kaunteya signifies his great blood relations from his mother’s side; and to address him as Bhārata signifies his greatness from his father’s side. From both sides he is supposed to have a great heritage. A great heritage brings responsibility in the matter of proper discharge of duties; therefore, he cannot avoid fighting.

||2-15||

यं हि न व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ | समदुःखसुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते ||२-१५||

yaṃ hi na vyathayantyete puruṣaṃ puruṣarṣabha . samaduḥkhasukhaṃ dhīraṃ so.amṛtatvāya kalpate ||2-15||

yam — one to whom; hi — certainly; na — never; vyathayanti — are distressing; ete — all these; puruṣam — to a person; puruṣa-ṛṣabha — O best among men; sama — unaltered; duḥkha — in distress; sukham — and happiness; dhīram — patient; saḥ — he; amṛtatvāya — for liberation; kalpate — is considered eligible.


O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.


Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation. In the varṇāśrama institution, the fourth stage of life, namely the renounced order (sannyāsa), is a painstaking situation. But one who is serious about making his life perfect surely adopts the sannyāsa order of life in spite of all difficulties. The difficulties usually arise from having to sever family relationships, to give up the connection of wife and children. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties, surely his path to spiritual realization is complete. Similarly, in Arjuna’s discharge of duties as a kṣatriya, he is advised to persevere, even if it is difficult to fight with his family members or similarly beloved persons. Lord Caitanya took sannyāsa at the age of twenty-four, and His dependents, young wife as well as old mother, had no one else to look after them. Yet for a higher cause He took sannyāsa and was steady in the discharge of higher duties. That is the way of achieving liberation from material bondage.

||2-16||

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः | उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ||२-१६||

nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ . ubhayorapi dṛṣṭo.antastvanayostattvadarśibhiḥ ||2-16||

na — never; asataḥ — of the nonexistent; vidyate — there is; bhāvaḥ — endurance; na — never; abhāvaḥ — changing quality; vidyate — there is; sataḥ — of the eternal; ubhayoḥ — of the two; api — verily; dṛṣṭaḥ — observed; antaḥ — conclusion; tu — indeed; anayoḥ — of them; tattva — of the truth; darśibhiḥ — by the seers.


Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.


There is no endurance of the changing body. That the body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of the different cells is admitted by modern medical science; and thus growth and old age are taking place in the body. But the spirit soul exists permanently, remaining the same despite all changes of the body and the mind. That is the difference between matter and spirit. By nature, the body is ever changing, and the soul is eternal. This conclusion is established by all classes of seers of the truth, both impersonalist and personalist. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (2.12.38) it is stated that Viṣṇu and His abodes all have self-illuminated spiritual existence (jyotīṁṣi viṣṇur bhuvanāni viṣṇuḥ). The words existent and nonexistent refer only to spirit and matter. That is the version of all seers of truth.
This is the beginning of the instruction by the Lord to the living entities who are bewildered by the influence of ignorance. Removal of ignorance involves the reestablishment of the eternal relationship between the worshiper and the worshipable and the consequent understanding of the difference between the part-and-parcel living entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can understand the nature of the Supreme by thorough study of oneself, the difference between oneself and the Supreme being understood as the relationship between the part and the whole. In the Vedānta-sūtras, as well as in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Supreme has been accepted as the origin of all emanations. Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The living entities belong to the superior nature, as it will be revealed in the Seventh Chapter. Although there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, the energetic is accepted as the Supreme, and the energy or nature is accepted as the subordinate. The living entities, therefore, are always subordinate to the Supreme Lord, as in the case of the master and the servant, or the teacher and the taught. Such clear knowledge is impossible to understand under the spell of ignorance, and to drive away such ignorance the Lord teaches the Bhagavad-gītā for the enlightenment of all living entities for all time.

||2-17||

अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् | विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति ||२-१७||

avināśi tu tadviddhi yena sarvamidaṃ tatam . vināśamavyayasyāsya na kaścitkartumarhati ||2-17||

avināśi — imperishable; tu — but; tat — that; viddhi — know it; yena — by whom; sarvam — all of the body; idam — this; tatam — pervaded; vināśam — destruction; avyayasya — of the imperishable; asya — of it; na kaścit — no one; kartum — to do; arhati — is able.


That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.


This verse more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body. Anyone can understand what is spread all over the body: it is consciousness. Everyone is conscious of the pains and pleasures of the body in part or as a whole. This spreading of consciousness is limited within one’s own body. The pains and pleasures of one body are unknown to another. Therefore, each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul’s presence is perceived as individual consciousness. This soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size. The Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (5.9) confirms this:
bālāgra-śata-bhāgasya
śatadhā kalpitasya ca
bhāgo jīvaḥ sa vijñeyaḥ
sa cānantyāya kalpate
“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.” Similarly the same version is stated:
keśāgra-śata-bhāgasya
śatāṁśaḥ sādṛśātmakaḥ
jīvaḥ sūkṣma-svarūpo ’yaṁ
saṅkhyātīto hi cit-kaṇaḥ
“There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms, which are measured as one ten-thousandth of the upper portion of the hair.”
Therefore, the individual particle of spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms, and such atoms are innumerable. This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a spiritual spark is spread all over the body as the influence of the active principle of some medicine spreads throughout the body. This current of the spirit soul is felt all over the body as consciousness, and that is the proof of the presence of the soul. Any layman can understand that the material body minus consciousness is a dead body, and this consciousness cannot be revived in the body by any means of material administration. Therefore, consciousness is not due to any amount of material combination, but to the spirit soul. In the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.1.9) the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further explained:
eṣo ’ṇur ātmā cetasā veditavyo
yasmin prāṇaḥ pañcadhā saṁviveśa
prāṇaiś cittaṁ sarvam otaṁ prajānāṁ
yasmin viśuddhe vibhavaty eṣa ātmā
“The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, samāna and udāna), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.”
The haṭha-yoga system is meant for controlling the five kinds of air encircling the pure soul by different kinds of sitting postures – not for any material profit, but for liberation of the minute soul from the entanglement of the material atmosphere.
So the constitution of the atomic soul is admitted in all Vedic literatures, and it is also actually felt in the practical experience of any sane man. Only the insane man can think of this atomic soul as all-pervading viṣṇu-tattva.
The influence of the atomic soul can be spread all over a particular body. According to the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, this atomic soul is situated in the heart of every living entity, and because the measurement of the atomic soul is beyond the power of appreciation of the material scientists, some of them assert foolishly that there is no soul. The individual atomic soul is definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The corpuscles which carry the oxygen from the lungs gather energy from the soul. When the soul passes away from this position, the activity of the blood, generating fusion, ceases. Medical science accepts the importance of the red corpuscles, but it cannot ascertain that the source of the energy is the soul. Medical science, however, does admit that the heart is the seat of all energies of the body.
Such atomic particles of the spirit whole are compared to the sunshine molecules. In the sunshine there are innumerable radiant molecules. Similarly, the fragmental parts of the Supreme Lord are atomic sparks of the rays of the Supreme Lord, called by the name prabhā, or superior energy. So whether one follows Vedic knowledge or modern science, one cannot deny the existence of the spirit soul in the body, and the science of the soul is explicitly described in the Bhagavad-gītā by the Personality of Godhead Himself.

||2-18||

अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः | अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत ||२-१८||

antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ . anāśino.aprameyasya tasmādyudhyasva bhārata ||2-18||

anta-vantaḥ — perishable; ime — all these; dehāḥ — material bodies; nityasya — eternal in existence; uktāḥ — are said; śarīriṇaḥ — of the embodied soul; anāśinaḥ — never to be destroyed; aprameyasya — immeasurable; tasmāt — therefore; yudhyasva — fight; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata.


The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.


The material body is perishable by nature. It may perish immediately, or it may do so after a hundred years. It is a question of time only. There is no chance of maintaining it indefinitely. But the spirit soul is so minute that it cannot even be seen by an enemy, to say nothing of being killed. As mentioned in the previous verse, it is so small that no one can have any idea how to measure its dimension. So from both viewpoints there is no cause of lamentation, because the living entity as he is cannot be killed nor can the material body be saved for any length of time or permanently protected. The minute particle of the whole spirit acquires this material body according to his work, and therefore observance of religious principles should be utilized. In the Vedānta-sūtras the living entity is qualified as light because he is part and parcel of the supreme light. As sunlight maintains the entire universe, so the light of the soul maintains this material body. As soon as the spirit soul is out of this material body, the body begins to decompose; therefore it is the spirit soul which maintains this body. The body itself is unimportant. Arjuna was advised to fight and not sacrifice the cause of religion for material, bodily considerations.

||2-19||

य एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम् | उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायं हन्ति न हन्यते ||२-१९||

ya enaṃ vetti hantāraṃ yaścainaṃ manyate hatam ubhau tau na vijānīto nāyaṃ hanti na hanyate ||2-19||

yaḥ — anyone who; enam — this; vetti — knows; hantāram — the killer; yaḥ — anyone who; ca — also; enam — this; manyate — thinks; hatam — killed; ubhau — both; tau — they; na — never; vijānītaḥ — are in knowledge; na — never; ayam — this; hanti — kills; na — nor; hanyate — is killed.


Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, for the self slays not nor is slain.


When an embodied living entity is hurt by fatal weapons, it is to be known that the living entity within the body is not killed. The spirit soul is so small that it is impossible to kill him by any material weapon, as will be evident from subsequent verses. Nor is the living entity killable, because of his spiritual constitution. What is killed, or is supposed to be killed, is the body only. This, however, does not at all encourage killing of the body. The Vedic injunction is mā hiṁsyāt sarvā bhūtāni: never commit violence to anyone. Nor does understanding that the living entity is not killed encourage animal slaughter. Killing the body of anyone without authority is abominable and is punishable by the law of the state as well as by the law of the Lord. Arjuna, however, is being engaged in killing for the principle of religion, and not whimsically.

||2-20||

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन् नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः | अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ||२-२०||

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin nāyaṃ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ . ajo nityaḥ śāśvato.ayaṃ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre ||2-20||

na — never; jāyate — takes birth; mriyate — dies; vā — either; kadācit — at any time (past, present or future); na — never; ayam — this; bhūtvā — having come into being; bhavitā — will come to be; vā — or; na — not; bhūyaḥ — or is again coming to be; ajaḥ — unborn; nityaḥ — eternal; śāśvataḥ — permanent; ayam — this; purāṇaḥ — the oldest; na — never; hanyate — is killed; hanyamāne — being killed; śarīre — the body.


For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.


Qualitatively, the small atomic fragmental part of the Supreme Spirit is one with the Supreme. He undergoes no changes like the body. Sometimes the soul is called the steady, or kūṭa-stha. The body is subject to six kinds of transformations. It takes its birth from the womb of the mother’s body, remains for some time, grows, produces some effects, gradually dwindles, and at last vanishes into oblivion. The soul, however, does not go through such changes. The soul is not born, but, because he takes on a material body, the body takes its birth. The soul does not take birth there, and the soul does not die. Anything which has birth also has death. And because the soul has no birth, he therefore has no past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing and primeval – that is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being. Under the impression of the body, we seek the history of birth, etc., of the soul. The soul does not at any time become old, as the body does. The so-called old man, therefore, feels himself to be in the same spirit as in his childhood or youth. The changes of the body do not affect the soul. The soul does not deteriorate like a tree, nor anything material. The soul has no by-product either. The by-products of the body, namely children, are also different individual souls; and, owing to the body, they appear as children of a particular man. The body develops because of the soul’s presence, but the soul has neither offshoots nor change. Therefore, the soul is free from the six changes of the body.
In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (1.2.18) we also find a similar passage, which reads:
na jāyate mriyate vā vipaścin
nāyaṁ kutaścin na babhūva kaścit
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
The meaning and purport of this verse is the same as in the Bhagavad-gītā, but here in this verse there is one special word, vipaścit, which means learned or with knowledge.
The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we do not find the sun in the sky owing to clouds, or for some other reason, but the light of the sun is always there, and we are convinced that it is therefore daytime. As soon as there is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies – whether man or animal – we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the supreme consciousness is all-knowledge – past, present and future. The consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the superior lessons of Kṛṣṇa. But Kṛṣṇa is not like the forgetful soul. If so, Kṛṣṇa’s teachings of Bhagavad-gītā would be useless.
There are two kinds of souls – namely the minute particle soul (aṇu-ātmā) and the Supersoul (vibhu-ātmā). This is also confirmed in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (1.2.20) in this way:
aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān
ātmāsya jantor nihito guhāyām
tam akratuḥ paśyati vīta-śoko
dhātuḥ prasādān mahimānam ātmanaḥ
“Both the Supersoul [Paramātmā] and the atomic soul [ jīvātmā] are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul.” Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of the Supersoul also, as it will be disclosed in the following chapters, and Arjuna is the atomic soul, forgetful of his real nature; therefore he requires to be enlightened by Kṛṣṇa, or by His bona fide representative (the spiritual master).

||2-21||

वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम् | कथं स पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम् ||२-२१||

vedāvināśinaṃ nityaṃ ya enamajamavyayam . kathaṃ sa puruṣaḥ pārtha kaṃ ghātayati hanti kam ||2-21||

veda — knows; avināśinam — indestructible; nityam — always existing; yaḥ — one who; enam — this (soul); ajam — unborn; avyayam — immutable; katham — how; saḥ — that; puruṣaḥ — person; pārtha — O Pārtha (Arjuna); kam — whom; ghātayati — causes to hurt; hanti — kills; kam — whom.


O Pārtha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?


Everything has its proper utility, and a man who is situated in complete knowledge knows how and where to apply a thing for its proper utility. Similarly, violence also has its utility, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge. Although the justice of the peace awards capital punishment to a person condemned for murder, the justice of the peace cannot be blamed, because he orders violence to another person according to the codes of justice. In Manu-saṁhitā, the lawbook for mankind, it is supported that a murderer should be condemned to death so that in his next life he will not have to suffer for the great sin he has committed. Therefore, the king’s punishment of hanging a murderer is actually beneficial. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa orders fighting, it must be concluded that violence is for supreme justice, and thus Arjuna should follow the instruction, knowing well that such violence, committed in the act of fighting for Kṛṣṇa, is not violence at all because, at any rate, the man, or rather the soul, cannot be killed; so for the administration of justice, so-called violence is permitted. A surgical operation is not meant to kill the patient, but to cure him. Therefore the fighting to be executed by Arjuna at the instruction of Kṛṣṇa is with full knowledge, so there is no possibility of sinful reaction.

||2-22||

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि | तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा- न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ||२-२२||

vāsāṃsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya navāni gṛhṇāti naro.aparāṇi . tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāni anyāni saṃyāti navāni dehī ||2-22||

vāsāṁsi — garments; jīrṇāni — old and worn out; yathā — just as; vihāya — giving up; navāni — new garments; gṛhṇāti — does accept; naraḥ — a man; aparāṇi — others; tathā — in the same way; śarīrāṇi — bodies; vihāya — giving up; jirṇāni — old and useless; anyāni — different; saṁyāti — verily accepts; navāni — new sets; dehī — the embodied.


As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.


Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul, but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age. From old age, the change is transferred to another body. This has already been explained in a previous verse (2.13).
Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is made possible by the grace of the Supersoul. The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the atomic soul as one friend fulfills the desire of another. The Vedas, like the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, as well as the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Kṛṣṇa) is simply watching His friend. Of these two birds – although they are the same in quality – one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend. Kṛṣṇa is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the cause of one’s changing his position from one tree to another, or from one body to another. The jīva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body, but as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the supreme spiritual master – as Arjuna agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Kṛṣṇa for instruction – the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.1.2) and Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (4.7) confirm this:
samāne vṛkṣe puruṣo nimagno
’nīśayā śocati muhyamānaḥ
juṣṭaṁ yadā paśyaty anyam īśam
asya mahimānam iti vīta-śokaḥ
“Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend the Lord and knows His glories – at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties.” Arjuna has now turned his face towards his eternal friend, Kṛṣṇa, and is understanding the Bhagavad-gītā from Him. And thus, hearing from Kṛṣṇa, he can understand the supreme glories of the Lord and be free from lamentation.
Arjuna is advised herewith by the Lord not to lament for the bodily change of his old grandfather and his teacher. He should rather be happy to kill their bodies in the righteous fight so that they may be cleansed at once of all reactions from various bodily activities. One who lays down his life on the sacrificial altar, or in the proper battlefield, is at once cleansed of bodily reactions and promoted to a higher status of life. So there was no cause for Arjuna’s lamentation.

||2-23||

नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः | न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ||२-२३||

nainaṃ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṃ dahati pāvakaḥ . na cainaṃ kledayantyāpo na śoṣayati mārutaḥ ||2-23||

na — never; enam — this soul; chindanti — can cut to pieces; śastrāṇi — weapons; na — never; enam — this soul; dahati — burns; pāvakaḥ — fire; na — never; ca — also; enam — this soul; kledayanti — moistens; āpaḥ — water; na — never; śoṣayati — dries; mārutaḥ — wind.


The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.


All kinds of weapons – swords, flame weapons, rain weapons, tornado weapons, etc. – are unable to kill the spirit soul. It appears that there were many kinds of weapons made of earth, water, air, ether, etc., in addition to the modern weapons of fire. Even the nuclear weapons of the modern age are classified as fire weapons, but formerly there were other weapons made of all different types of material elements. Fire weapons were counteracted by water weapons, which are now unknown to modern science. Nor do modern scientists have knowledge of tornado weapons. Nonetheless, the soul can never be cut into pieces, nor annihilated by any number of weapons, regardless of scientific devices.
The Māyāvādī cannot explain how the individual soul came into existence simply by ignorance and consequently became covered by the illusory energy. Nor was it ever possible to cut the individual souls from the original Supreme Soul; rather, the individual souls are eternally separated parts of the Supreme Soul. Because they are atomic individual souls eternally (sanātana), they are prone to be covered by the illusory energy, and thus they become separated from the association of the Supreme Lord, just as the sparks of a fire, although one in quality with the fire, are prone to be extinguished when out of the fire. In the Varāha Purāṇa, the living entities are described as separated parts and parcels of the Supreme. They are eternally so, according to the Bhagavad-gītā also. So, even after being liberated from illusion, the living entity remains a separate identity, as is evident from the teachings of the Lord to Arjuna. Arjuna became liberated by the knowledge received from Kṛṣṇa, but he never became one with Kṛṣṇa.

||2-24||

अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव च | नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातनः ||२-२४||

acchedyo.ayamadāhyo.ayamakledyo.aśoṣya eva ca . nityaḥ sarvagataḥ sthāṇuracalo.ayaṃ sanātanaḥ ||2-24||

acchedyaḥ — unbreakable; ayam — this soul; adāhyaḥ — unable to be burned; ayam — this soul; akledyaḥ — insoluble; aśoṣyaḥ — not able to be dried; eva — certainly; ca — and; nityaḥ — everlasting; sarva-gataḥ — all-pervading; sthāṇuḥ — unchangeable; acalaḥ — immovable; ayam — this soul; sanātanaḥ — eternally the same.


This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.


All these qualifications of the atomic soul definitely prove that the individual soul is eternally the atomic particle of the spirit whole, and he remains the same atom eternally, without change. The theory of monism is very difficult to apply in this case, because the individual soul is never expected to become one homogeneously. After liberation from material contamination, the atomic soul may prefer to remain as a spiritual spark in the effulgent rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the intelligent souls enter into the spiritual planets to associate with the Personality of Godhead.
The word sarva-gata (“all-pervading”) is significant because there is no doubt that living entities are all over God’s creation. They live on the land, in the water, in the air, within the earth and even within fire. The belief that they are sterilized in fire is not acceptable, because it is clearly stated here that the soul cannot be burned by fire. Therefore, there is no doubt that there are living entities also in the sun planet with suitable bodies to live there. If the sun globe is uninhabited, then the word sarva-gata – “living everywhere” – becomes meaningless.

||2-25||

अव्यक्तोऽयमचिन्त्योऽयमविकार्योऽयमुच्यते | तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि ||२-२५||

avyakto.ayamacintyo.ayamavikāryo.ayamucyate . tasmādevaṃ viditvainaṃ nānuśocitumarhasi ||2-25||

avyaktaḥ — invisible; ayam — this soul; acintyaḥ — inconceivable; ayam — this soul; avikāryaḥ — unchangeable; ayam — this soul; ucyate — is said; tasmāt — therefore; evam — like this; viditvā — knowing it well; enam — this soul; na — do not; anuśocitum — to lament; arhasi — you deserve.


It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.


As described previously, the magnitude of the soul is so small for our material calculation that he cannot be seen even by the most powerful microscope; therefore, he is invisible. As far as the soul’s existence is concerned, no one can establish his existence experimentally beyond the proof of śruti, or Vedic wisdom. We have to accept this truth, because there is no other source of understanding the existence of the soul, although it is a fact by perception. There are many things we have to accept solely on grounds of superior authority. No one can deny the existence of his father, based upon the authority of his mother. There is no source of understanding the identity of the father except by the authority of the mother. Similarly, there is no source of understanding the soul except by studying the Vedas. In other words, the soul is inconceivable by human experimental knowledge. The soul is consciousness and conscious – that also is the statement of the Vedas, and we have to accept that. Unlike the bodily changes, there is no change in the soul. As eternally unchangeable, the soul remains atomic in comparison to the infinite Supreme Soul. The Supreme Soul is infinite, and the atomic soul is infinitesimal. Therefore, the infinitesimal soul, being unchangeable, can never become equal to the infinite soul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This concept is repeated in the Vedas in different ways just to confirm the stability of the conception of the soul. Repetition of something is necessary in order that we understand the matter thoroughly, without error.

||2-26||

अथ चैनं नित्यजातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतम् | तथापि त्वं महाबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि ||२-२६||

atha cainaṃ nityajātaṃ nityaṃ vā manyase mṛtam . tathāpi tvaṃ mahābāho naivaṃ śocitumarhasi ||2-26||

atha — if, however; ca — also; enam — this soul; nitya-jātam — always born; nityam — forever; vā — either; manyase — you so think; mṛtam — dead; tathā api — still; tvam — you; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; na — never; enam — about the soul; śocitum — to lament; arhasi — deserve.


If, however, you think that the soul [or the symptoms of life] will always be born and die forever, you still have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed.


There is always a class of philosophers, almost akin to the Buddhists, who do not believe in the separate existence of the soul beyond the body. When Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke the Bhagavad-gītā, it appears that such philosophers existed, and they were known as the Lokāyatikas and Vaibhāṣikas. Such philosophers maintain that life symptoms take place at a certain mature condition of material combination. The modern material scientist and materialist philosophers also think similarly. According to them, the body is a combination of physical elements, and at a certain stage the life symptoms develop by interaction of the physical and chemical elements. The science of anthropology is based on this philosophy. Currently, many pseudo religions – now becoming fashionable in America – are also adhering to this philosophy, as are the nihilistic nondevotional Buddhist sects.
Even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul – as in the Vaibhāṣika philosophy – there would still have been no cause for lamentation. No one laments the loss of a certain bulk of chemicals and stops discharging his prescribed duty. On the other hand, in modern science and scientific warfare, so many tons of chemicals are wasted for achieving victory over the enemy. According to the Vaibhāṣika philosophy, the so-called soul or ātmā vanishes along with the deterioration of the body. So, in any case, whether Arjuna accepted the Vedic conclusion that there is an atomic soul or he did not believe in the existence of the soul, he had no reason to lament. According to this theory, since there are so many living entities generating out of matter every moment, and so many of them are being vanquished every moment, there is no need to grieve for such incidents. If there were no rebirth for the soul, Arjuna had no reason to be afraid of being affected by sinful reactions due to his killing his grandfather and teacher. But at the same time, Kṛṣṇa sarcastically addressed Arjuna as mahā-bāhu, mighty-armed, because He, at least, did not accept the theory of the Vaibhāṣikas, which leaves aside the Vedic wisdom. As a kṣatriya, Arjuna belonged to the Vedic culture, and it behooved him to continue to follow its principles.

||2-27||

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च | तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ||२-२७||

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyurdhruvaṃ janma mṛtasya ca . tasmādaparihārye.arthe na tvaṃ śocitumarhasi ||2-27||

jātasya — of one who has taken his birth; hi — certainly; dhruvaḥ — a fact; mṛtyuḥ — death; dhruvam — it is also a fact; janma — birth; mṛtasya — of the dead; ca — also; tasmāt — therefore; aparihārye — of that which is unavoidable; arthe — in the matter; na — do not; tvam — you; śocitum — to lament; arhasi — deserve.


One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.


One has to take birth according to one’s activities of life. And after finishing one term of activities, one has to die to take birth for the next. In this way one is going through one cycle of birth and death after another without liberation. This cycle of birth and death does not, however, support unnecessary murder, slaughter and war. But at the same time, violence and war are inevitable factors in human society for keeping law and order.
The Battle of Kurukṣetra, being the will of the Supreme, was an inevitable event, and to fight for the right cause is the duty of a kṣatriya. Why should he be afraid of or aggrieved at the death of his relatives since he was discharging his proper duty? He did not deserve to break the law, thereby becoming subjected to the reactions of sinful acts, of which he was so afraid. By avoiding the discharge of his proper duty, he would not be able to stop the death of his relatives, and he would be degraded due to his selection of the wrong path of action.

||2-28||

अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत | अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना ||२-२८||

avyaktādīni bhūtāni vyaktamadhyāni bhārata . avyaktanidhanānyeva tatra kā paridevanā ||2-28||

avyakta-ādīni — in the beginning unmanifested; bhūtāni — all that are created; vyakta — manifested; madhyāni — in the middle; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata; avyakta — nonmanifested; nidhanāni — when vanquished; eva — it is all like that; tatra — therefore; kā — what; paridevanā — lamentation.


All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation?


Accepting that there are two classes of philosophers, one believing in the existence of the soul and the other not believing in the existence of the soul, there is no cause for lamentation in either case. Nonbelievers in the existence of the soul are called atheists by followers of Vedic wisdom. Yet even if, for argument’s sake, we accept this atheistic theory, there is still no cause for lamentation. Apart from the separate existence of the soul, the material elements remain unmanifested before creation. From this subtle state of nonmanifestation comes manifestation, just as from ether, air is generated; from air, fire is generated; from fire, water is generated; and from water, earth becomes manifested. From the earth, many varieties of manifestations take place. Take, for example, a big skyscraper manifested from the earth. When it is dismantled, the manifestation becomes again unmanifested and remains as atoms in the ultimate stage. The law of conservation of energy remains, but in course of time things are manifested and unmanifested – that is the difference. Then what cause is there for lamentation either in the stage of manifestation or in unmanifestation? Somehow or other, even in the unmanifested stage, things are not lost. Both at the beginning and at the end, all elements remain unmanifested, and only in the middle are they manifested, and this does not make any real material difference.
And if we accept the Vedic conclusion as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that these material bodies are perishable in due course of time (antavanta ime dehāḥ) but that the soul is eternal (nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ), then we must remember always that the body is like a dress; therefore why lament the changing of a dress? The material body has no factual existence in relation to the eternal soul. It is something like a dream. In a dream we may think of flying in the sky, or sitting on a chariot as a king, but when we wake up we can see that we are neither in the sky nor seated on the chariot. The Vedic wisdom encourages self-realization on the basis of the nonexistence of the material body. Therefore, in either case, whether one believes in the existence of the soul or one does not believe in the existence of the soul, there is no cause for lamentation for loss of the body.

||2-29||

आश्चर्यवत्पश्यति कश्चिदेन- माश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्यः | आश्चर्यवच्चैनमन्यः शृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित् ||२-२९||

āścaryavatpaśyati kaścidenam āścaryavadvadati tathaiva cānyaḥ . āścaryavaccainamanyaḥ śṛṇoti śrutvāpyenaṃ veda na caiva kaścit ||2-29||

āścarya-vat — as amazing; paśyati — sees; kaścit — someone; enam — this soul; āścarya-vat — as amazing; vadati — speaks of; tathā — thus; eva — certainly; ca — also; anyaḥ — another; āścarya-vat — similarly amazing; ca — also; enam — this soul; anyaḥ — another; śṛṇoti — hears of; śrutvā — having heard; api — even; enam — this soul; veda — knows; na — never; ca — and; eva — certainly; kaścit — someone.


Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.


Since Gītopaniṣad is largely based on the principles of the Upaniṣads, it is not surprising to also find this passage in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (1.2.7):
śravaṇayāpi bahubhir yo na labhyaḥ
śṛṇvanto ’pi bahavo yaṁ na vidyuḥ
āścaryo vaktā kuśalo ’sya labdhā
āścaryo ’sya jñātā kuśalānuśiṣṭaḥ
The fact that the atomic soul is within the body of a gigantic animal, in the body of a gigantic banyan tree, and also in the microbic germs, millions and billions of which occupy only an inch of space, is certainly very amazing. Men with a poor fund of knowledge and men who are not austere cannot understand the wonders of the individual atomic spark of spirit, even though it is explained by the greatest authority of knowledge, who imparted lessons even to Brahmā, the first living being in the universe. Owing to a gross material conception of things, most men in this age cannot imagine how such a small particle can become both so great and so small. So men look at the soul proper as wonderful either by constitution or by description. Illusioned by the material energy, people are so engrossed in subject matters for sense gratification that they have very little time to understand the question of self-understanding, even though it is a fact that without this self-understanding all activities result in ultimate defeat in the struggle for existence. Perhaps they have no idea that one must think of the soul, and thus make a solution to the material miseries.
Some people who are inclined to hear about the soul may be attending lectures, in good association, but sometimes, owing to ignorance, they are misguided by acceptance of the Supersoul and the atomic soul as one without distinction of magnitude. It is very difficult to find a man who perfectly understands the position of the Supersoul, the atomic soul, their respective functions and relationships and all other major and minor details. And it is still more difficult to find a man who has actually derived full benefit from knowledge of the soul, and who is able to describe the position of the soul in different aspects. But if, somehow or other, one is able to understand the subject matter of the soul, then one’s life is successful.
The easiest process for understanding the subject matter of self, however, is to accept the statements of the Bhagavad-gītā spoken by the greatest authority, Lord Kṛṣṇa, without being deviated by other theories. But it also requires a great deal of penance and sacrifice, either in this life or in the previous ones, before one is able to accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the pure devotee and by no other way.

||2-30||

देही नित्यमवध्योऽयं देहे सर्वस्य भारत | तस्मात्सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ||२-३०||

dehī nityamavadhyo.ayaṃ dehe sarvasya bhārata . tasmātsarvāṇi bhūtāni na tvaṃ śocitumarhasi ||2-30||

dehī — the owner of the material body; nityam — eternally; avadhyaḥ — cannot be killed; ayam — this soul; dehe — in the body; sarvasya — of everyone; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata; tasmāt — therefore; sarvāṇi — all; bhūtāni — living entities (that are born); na — never; tvam — you; śocitum — to lament; arhasi — deserve.


O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any living being.


The Lord now concludes the chapter of instruction on the immutable spirit soul. In describing the immortal soul in various ways, Lord Kṛṣṇa establishes that the soul is immortal and the body is temporary. Therefore Arjuna as a kṣatriya should not abandon his duty out of fear that his grandfather and teacher – Bhīṣma and Droṇa – will die in the battle. On the authority of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one has to believe that there is a soul different from the material body, not that there is no such thing as soul, or that living symptoms develop at a certain stage of material maturity resulting from the interaction of chemicals. Though the soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it is not discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified in terms of the sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.

||2-31||

स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि | धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोऽन्यत्क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते ||२-३१||

svadharmamapi cāvekṣya na vikampitumarhasi . dharmyāddhi yuddhācchreyo.anyatkṣatriyasya na vidyate ||2-31||

sva-dharmam — one’s own religious principles; api — also; ca — indeed; avekṣya — considering; na — never; vikampitum — to hesitate; arhasi — you deserve; dharmyāt — for religious principles; hi — indeed; yuddhāt — than fighting; śreyaḥ — better engagement; anyat — any other; kṣatriyasya — of the kṣatriya; na — does not; vidyate — exist.


Considering your specific duty as a kṣatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.


Out of the four orders of social administration, the second order, for the matter of good administration, is called kṣatriya. Kṣat means hurt. One who gives protection from harm is called kṣatriya (trāyate – to give protection). The kṣatriyas are trained for killing in the forest. A kṣatriya would go into the forest and challenge a tiger face to face and fight with the tiger with his sword. When the tiger was killed, it would be offered the royal order of cremation. This system has been followed even up to the present day by the kṣatriya kings of Jaipur state. The kṣatriyas are specially trained for challenging and killing because religious violence is sometimes a necessary factor. Therefore, kṣatriyas are never meant for accepting directly the order of sannyāsa, or renunciation. Nonviolence in politics may be a diplomacy, but it is never a factor or principle. In the religious law books it is stated:
āhaveṣu mitho ’nyonyaṁ
jighāṁsanto mahī-kṣitaḥ
yuddhamānāḥ paraṁ śaktyā
svargaṁ yānty aparāṅ-mukhāḥ
yajñeṣu paśavo brahman
hanyante satataṁ dvijaiḥ
saṁskṛtāḥ kila mantraiś ca
te ’pi svargam avāpnuvan
“In the battlefield, a king or kṣatriya, while fighting another king envious of him, is eligible for achieving the heavenly planets after death, as the brāhmaṇas also attain the heavenly planets by sacrificing animals in the sacrificial fire.” Therefore, killing on the battlefield on religious principles and killing animals in the sacrificial fire are not at all considered to be acts of violence, because everyone is benefited by the religious principles involved. The animal sacrificed gets a human life immediately without undergoing the gradual evolutionary process from one form to another, and the kṣatriyas killed on the battlefield also attain the heavenly planets, as do the brāhmaṇas who attain them by offering sacrifice.
There are two kinds of sva-dharmas, specific duties. As long as one is not liberated, one has to perform the duties of his particular body in accordance with religious principles in order to achieve liberation. When one is liberated, one’s sva-dharma – specific duty – becomes spiritual and is not in the material bodily concept. In the bodily conception of life there are specific duties for the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas respectively, and such duties are unavoidable. Sva-dharma is ordained by the Lord, and this will be clarified in the Fourth Chapter. On the bodily plane sva-dharma is called varṇāśrama-dharma, or man’s steppingstone for spiritual understanding. Human civilization begins from the stage of varṇāśrama-dharma, or specific duties in terms of the specific modes of nature of the body obtained. Discharging one’s specific duty in any field of action in accordance with the orders of higher authorities serves to elevate one to a higher status of life.

||2-32||

यदृच्छया चोपपन्नं स्वर्गद्वारमपावृतम् | सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धमीदृशम् ||२-३२||

yadṛcchayā copapannaṃ svargadvāramapāvṛtam . sukhinaḥ kṣatriyāḥ pārtha labhante yuddhamīdṛśam ||2-32||

yadṛcchayā — by its own accord; ca — also; upapannam — arrived at; svarga — of the heavenly planets; dvāram — door; apāvṛtam — wide open; sukhinaḥ — very happy; kṣatriyāḥ — the members of the royal order; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; labhante — do achieve; yuddham — war; īdṛśam — like this.


O Pārtha, happy are the kṣatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.


As supreme teacher of the world, Lord Kṛṣṇa condemns the attitude of Arjuna, who said, “I do not find any good in this fighting. It will cause perpetual habitation in hell.” Such statements by Arjuna were due to ignorance only. He wanted to become nonviolent in the discharge of his specific duty. For a kṣatriya to be on the battlefield and to become nonviolent is the philosophy of fools. In the Parāśara-smṛti, or religious codes made by Parāśara, the great sage and father of Vyāsadeva, it is stated:
kṣatriyo hi prajā rakṣan
śastra-pāṇiḥ pradaṇḍayan
nirjitya para-sainyādi
kṣitiṁ dharmeṇa pālayet
“The kṣatriya’s duty is to protect the citizens from all kinds of difficulties, and for that reason he has to apply violence in suitable cases for law and order. Therefore he has to conquer the soldiers of inimical kings, and thus, with religious principles, he should rule over the world.”
Considering all aspects, Arjuna had no reason to refrain from fighting. If he should conquer his enemies, he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in the battle, he would be elevated to the heavenly planets, whose doors were wide open to him. Fighting would be for his benefit in either case.

||2-33||

अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं न करिष्यसि | ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि ||२-३३||

atha cettvamimaṃ dharmyaṃ saṃgrāmaṃ na kariṣyasi . tataḥ svadharmaṃ kīrtiṃ ca hitvā pāpamavāpsyasi ||2-33||

atha — therefore; cet — if; tvam — you; imam — this; dharmyam — as a religious duty; saṅgrāmam — fighting; na — do not; kariṣyasi — perform; tataḥ — then; sva-dharmam — your religious duty; kīrtim — reputation; ca — also; hitvā — losing; pāpam — sinful reaction; avāpsyasi — will gain.


If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.


Arjuna was a famous fighter, and he attained fame by fighting many great demigods, including even Lord Śiva. After fighting and defeating Lord Śiva in the dress of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the lord and received as a reward a weapon called pāśupata-astra. Everyone knew that he was a great warrior. Even Droṇācārya gave him benedictions and awarded him the special weapon by which he could kill even his teacher. So he was credited with so many military certificates from many authorities, including his adoptive father Indra, the heavenly king. But if he abandoned the battle, not only would he neglect his specific duty as a kṣatriya, but he would lose all his fame and good name and thus prepare his royal road to hell. In other words, he would go to hell not by fighting but by withdrawing from battle.

||2-34||

अकीर्तिं चापि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम् | सम्भावितस्य चाकीर्तिर्मरणादतिरिच्यते ||२-३४||

akīrtiṃ cāpi bhūtāni kathayiṣyanti te.avyayām . sambhāvitasya cākīrtirmaraṇādatiricyate ||2-34||

akīrtim — infamy; ca — also; api — over and above; bhūtāni — all people; kathayiṣyanti — will speak; te — of you; avyayām — forever; sambhāvitasya — for a respectable man; ca — also; akīrtiḥ — ill fame; maraṇāt — than death; atiricyate — becomes more.


People will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person, dishonor is worse than death.


Both as friend and philosopher to Arjuna, Lord Kṛṣṇa now gives His final judgment regarding Arjuna’s refusal to fight. The Lord says, “Arjuna, if you leave the battlefield before the battle even begins, people will call you a coward. And if you think that people may call you bad names but that you will save your life by fleeing the battlefield, then My advice is that you’d do better to die in the battle. For a respectable man like you, ill fame is worse than death. So, you should not flee for fear of your life; better to die in the battle. That will save you from the ill fame of misusing My friendship and from losing your prestige in society.”
So, the final judgment of the Lord was for Arjuna to die in the battle and not withdraw.

||2-35||

भयाद्रणादुपरतं मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथाः | येषां च त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम् ||२-३५||

bhayādraṇāduparataṃ maṃsyante tvāṃ mahārathāḥ . yeṣāṃ ca tvaṃ bahumato bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam ||2-35||

bhayāt — out of fear; raṇāt — from the battlefield; uparatam — ceased; maṁsyante — they will consider; tvām — you; mahā-rathāḥ — the great generals; yeṣām — for whom; ca — also; tvam — you; bahu-mataḥ — in great estimation; bhūtvā — having been; yāsyasi — you will go; lāghavam — decreased in value.


The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you insignificant.


Lord Kṛṣṇa continued to give His verdict to Arjuna: “Do not think that the great generals like Duryodhana, Karṇa and other contemporaries will think that you have left the battlefield out of compassion for your brothers and grandfather. They will think that you have left out of fear for your life. And thus their high estimation of your personality will go to hell.”

||2-36||

अवाच्यवादांश्च बहून्वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिताः | निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दुःखतरं नु किम् ||२-३६||

avācyavādāṃśca bahūnvadiṣyanti tavāhitāḥ . nindantastava sāmarthyaṃ tato duḥkhataraṃ nu kim ||2-36||

avācya — unkind; vādān — fabricated words; ca — also; bahūn — many; vadiṣyanti — will say; tava — your; ahitāḥ — enemies; nindantaḥ — while vilifying; tava — your; sāmarthyam — ability; tataḥ — than that; duḥkha-taram — more painful; nu — of course; kim — what is there.


Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you?


Lord Kṛṣṇa was astonished in the beginning at Arjuna’s uncalled-for plea for compassion, and He described his compassion as befitting the non-Āryans. Now in so many words, He has proved His statements against Arjuna’s so-called compassion.

||2-37||

हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम् | तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः ||२-३७||

hato vā prāpsyasi svargaṃ jitvā vā bhokṣyase mahīm . tasmāduttiṣṭha kaunteya yuddhāya kṛtaniścayaḥ ||2-37||

hataḥ — being killed; vā — either; prāpsyasi — you gain; svargam — the heavenly kingdom; jitvā — by conquering; vā — or; bhokṣyase — you enjoy; mahīm — the world; tasmāt — therefore; uttiṣṭha — get up; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; yuddhāya — to fight; kṛta — determined; niścayaḥ — in certainty.


O son of Kuntī, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up with determination and fight.


Even though there was no certainty of victory for Arjuna’s side, he still had to fight; for, even being killed there, he could be elevated into the heavenly planets.

||2-38||

सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ | ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ||२-३८||

sukhaduḥkhe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau . tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṃ pāpamavāpsyasi ||2-38||

sukha — happiness; duḥkhe — and distress; same — in equanimity; kṛtvā — doing so; lābha-alābhau — both profit and loss; jaya-ajayau — both victory and defeat; tataḥ — thereafter; yuddhāya — for the sake of fighting; yujyasva — engage (fight); na — never; evam — in this way; pāpam — sinful reaction; avāpsyasi — you will gain.


Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat – and by so doing you shall never incur sin.


Lord Kṛṣṇa now directly says that Arjuna should fight for the sake of fighting because He desires the battle. There is no consideration of happiness or distress, profit or loss, victory or defeat in the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That everything should be performed for the sake of Kṛṣṇa is transcendental consciousness; so there is no reaction to material activities. He who acts for his own sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is subject to the reaction, good or bad. But he who has completely surrendered himself in the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is no longer obliged to anyone, nor is he a debtor to anyone, as one is in the ordinary course of activities. It is said:
devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
“Anyone who has completely surrendered unto Kṛṣṇa, Mukunda, giving up all other duties, is no longer a debtor, nor is he obliged to anyone – not the demigods, nor the sages, nor the people in general, nor kinsmen, nor humanity, nor forefathers.” (Bhāg. 11.5.41) That is the indirect hint given by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna in this verse, and the matter will be more clearly explained in the following verses.

||2-39||

एषा तेऽभिहिता साङ्ख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां शृणु | बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि ||२-३९||

eṣā te.abhihitā sāṅkhye buddhiryoge tvimāṃ śṛṇu . buddhyā yukto yayā pārtha karmabandhaṃ prahāsyasi ||2-39||

eṣā — all this; te — unto you; abhihitā — described; sāṅkhye — in analytical study; buddhiḥ — intelligence; yoge — in work without fruitive result; tu — but; imām — this; śṛṇu — just hear; buddhyā — by intelligence; yuktaḥ — dovetailed; yayā — by which; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; karma-bandham — bondage of reaction; prahāsyasi — you can be released from.


Thus far I have described this knowledge to you through analytical study. Now listen as I explain it in terms of working without fruitive results. O son of Pṛthā, when you act in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works.


According to the Nirukti, or the Vedic dictionary, saṅkhyā means that which describes things in detail, and sāṅkhya refers to that philosophy which describes the real nature of the soul. And yoga involves controlling the senses. Arjuna’s proposal not to fight was based on sense gratification. Forgetting his prime duty, he wanted to cease fighting, because he thought that by not killing his relatives and kinsmen he would be happier than by enjoying the kingdom after conquering his cousins and brothers, the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. In both ways, the basic principles were for sense gratification. Happiness derived from conquering them and happiness derived by seeing kinsmen alive are both on the basis of personal sense gratification, even at a sacrifice of wisdom and duty. Kṛṣṇa, therefore, wanted to explain to Arjuna that by killing the body of his grandfather he would not be killing the soul proper, and He explained that all individual persons, including the Lord Himself, are eternal individuals; they were individuals in the past, they are individuals in the present, and they will continue to remain individuals in the future, because all of us are individual souls eternally. We simply change our bodily dress in different manners, but actually we keep our individuality even after liberation from the bondage of material dress. An analytical study of the soul and the body has been very graphically explained by Lord Kṛṣṇa. And this descriptive knowledge of the soul and the body from different angles of vision has been described here as Sāṅkhya, in terms of the Nirukti dictionary. This Sāṅkhya has nothing to do with the Sāṅkhya philosophy of the atheist Kapila. Long before the imposter Kapila’s Sāṅkhya, the Sāṅkhya philosophy was expounded in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by the true Lord Kapila, the incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who explained it to His mother, Devahūti. It is clearly explained by Him that the puruṣa, or the Supreme Lord, is active and that He creates by looking over the prakṛti. This is accepted in the Vedas and in the Gītā. The description in the Vedas indicates that the Lord glanced over the prakṛti, or nature, and impregnated it with atomic individual souls. All these individuals are working in the material world for sense gratification, and under the spell of material energy they are thinking of being enjoyers. This mentality is dragged to the last point of liberation when the living entity wants to become one with the Lord. This is the last snare of māyā, or sense gratificatory illusion, and it is only after many, many births of such sense gratificatory activities that a great soul surrenders unto Vāsudeva, Lord Kṛṣṇa, thereby fulfilling the search after the ultimate truth.
Arjuna has already accepted Kṛṣṇa as his spiritual master by surrendering himself unto Him: śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam. Consequently, Kṛṣṇa will now tell him about the working process in buddhi-yoga, or karma-yoga, or in other words, the practice of devotional service only for the sense gratification of the Lord. This buddhi-yoga is clearly explained in Chapter Ten, verse ten, as being direct communion with the Lord, who is sitting as Paramātmā in everyone’s heart. But such communion does not take place without devotional service. One who is therefore situated in devotional or transcendental loving service to the Lord, or, in other words, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, attains to this stage of buddhi-yoga by the special grace of the Lord. The Lord says, therefore, that only to those who are always engaged in devotional service out of transcendental love does He award the pure knowledge of devotion in love. In that way the devotee can reach Him easily in the ever-blissful kingdom of God.
Thus the buddhi-yoga mentioned in this verse is the devotional service of the Lord, and the word Sāṅkhya mentioned herein has nothing to do with the atheistic sāṅkhya-yoga enunciated by the imposter Kapila. One should not, therefore, misunderstand that the sāṅkhya-yoga mentioned herein has any connection with the atheistic Sāṅkhya. Nor did that philosophy have any influence during that time; nor would Lord Kṛṣṇa care to mention such godless philosophical speculations. Real Sāṅkhya philosophy is described by Lord Kapila in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but even that Sāṅkhya has nothing to do with the current topics. Here, Sāṅkhya means analytical description of the body and the soul. Lord Kṛṣṇa made an analytical description of the soul just to bring Arjuna to the point of buddhi-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. Therefore, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Sāṅkhya and Lord Kapila’s Sāṅkhya, as described in the Bhāgavatam, are one and the same. They are all bhakti-yoga. Lord Kṛṣṇa said, therefore, that only the less intelligent class of men make a distinction between sāṅkhya-yoga and bhakti-yoga (sāṅkhya-yogau pṛthag bālāḥ pravadanti na paṇḍitāḥ).
Of course, atheistic sāṅkhya-yoga has nothing to do with bhakti-yoga, yet the unintelligent claim that the atheistic sāṅkhya-yoga is referred to in the Bhagavad-gītā.
One should therefore understand that buddhi-yoga means to work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in the full bliss and knowledge of devotional service. One who works for the satisfaction of the Lord only, however difficult such work may be, is working under the principles of buddhi-yoga and finds himself always in transcendental bliss. By such transcendental engagement, one achieves all transcendental understanding automatically, by the grace of the Lord, and thus his liberation is complete in itself, without his making extraneous endeavors to acquire knowledge. There is much difference between work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and work for fruitive results, especially in the matter of sense gratification for achieving results in terms of family or material happiness. Buddhi-yoga is therefore the transcendental quality of the work that we perform.

||2-40||

नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते | स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ||२-४०||

nehābhikramanāśo.asti pratyavāyo na vidyate . svalpamapyasya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt ||2-40||

na — there is not; iha — in this yoga; abhikrama — in endeavoring; nāśaḥ — loss; asti — there is; pratyavāyaḥ — diminution; na — never; vidyate — there is; su-alpam — a little; api — although; asya — of this; dharmasya — occupation; trāyate — releases; mahataḥ — from very great; bhayāt — danger.


In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.


Activity in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Kṛṣṇa without expectation of sense gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work. Even a small beginning of such activity finds no impediment, nor can that small beginning be lost at any stage. Any work begun on the material plane has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure. But any work begun in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has a permanent effect, even though not finished. The performer of such work is therefore not at a loss even if his work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is incomplete. One percent done in Kṛṣṇa consciousness bears permanent results, so that the next beginning is from the point of two percent, whereas in material activity without a hundred percent success there is no profit. Ajāmila performed his duty in some percentage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but the result he enjoyed at the end was a hundred percent, by the grace of the Lord. There is a nice verse in this connection in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.17):
tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
ko vārtha āpto ’bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ
“If someone gives up his occupational duties and works in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then falls down on account of not completing his work, what loss is there on his part? And what can one gain if one performs his material activities perfectly?” Or, as the Christians say, “What profiteth a man if he gain the whole world yet suffer the loss of his eternal soul?”
Material activities and their results end with the body. But work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness carries a person again to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, even after the loss of the body. At least one is sure to have a chance in the next life of being born again as a human being, either in the family of a great cultured brāhmaṇa or in a rich aristocratic family that will give one a further chance for elevation. That is the unique quality of work done in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||2-41||

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन | बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् ||२-४१||

vyavasāyātmikā buddhirekeha kurunandana . bahuśākhā hyanantāśca buddhayo.avyavasāyinām ||2-41||

vyavasāya-ātmikā — resolute in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; buddhiḥ — intelligence; ekā — only one; iha — in this world; kuru-nandana — O beloved child of the Kurus; bahu-śākhāḥ — having various branches; hi — indeed; anantāḥ — unlimited; ca — also; buddhayaḥ — intelligence; avyavasāyinām — of those who are not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.


Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.


A strong faith that by Kṛṣṇa consciousness one will be elevated to the highest perfection of life is called vyavasāyātmikā intelligence. The Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.62) states:
‘śraddhā’-śabde – viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one is engaged in the duties of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he need not act in relationship to the material world with obligations to family traditions, humanity or nationality. Fruitive activities are the engagements of one’s reactions from past good or bad deeds. When one is awake in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are no longer subject to dualities like good and bad. The highest perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is renunciation of the material conception of life. This state is automatically achieved by progressive Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The resolute purpose of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is based on knowledge. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ: a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the rare good soul who knows perfectly that Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is the root of all manifested causes. As by watering the root of a tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone – namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Kṛṣṇa is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.
Service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As such, to be well versed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Kṛṣṇa, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one’s mission in life. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura instructs us, in his famous prayers for the spiritual master, as follows:
yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ’pi
dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
“By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I should, therefore, meditate and pray for his mercy three times a day, and offer my respectful obeisances unto him, my spiritual master.”
The whole process, however, depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body – not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer a chance for sense gratification manifested in fruitive activities. One who is not firmly fixed in mind is diverted by various types of fruitive acts.

||2-42||

यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः | वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः ||२-४२||

yāmimāṃ puṣpitāṃ vācaṃ pravadantyavipaścitaḥ . vedavādaratāḥ pārtha nānyadastīti vādinaḥ ||2-42||

yām imām — all these; puṣpitām — flowery; vācam — words; pravadanti — say; avipaścitaḥ — men with a poor fund of knowledge; veda-vāda-ratāḥ — supposed followers of the Vedas; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; na — never; anyat — anything else; asti — there is; iti — thus; vādinaḥ — the advocates; kāma-ātmānaḥ — desirous of sense gratification; svarga-parāḥ — aiming to achieve heavenly planets; janma-karma-phala-pradām — resulting in good birth and other fruitive reactions; kriyā-viśeṣa — pompous ceremonies; bahulām — various; bhoga — in sense enjoyment; aiśvarya — and opulence; gatim — progress; prati — towards.


Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.


People in general are not very intelligent, and due to their ignorance they are most attached to the fruitive activities recommended in the karma-kāṇḍa portions of the Vedas. They do not want anything more than sense gratificatory proposals for enjoying life in heaven, where wine and women are available and material opulence is very common. In the Vedas many sacrifices are recommended for elevation to the heavenly planets, especially the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifices. In fact, it is stated that anyone desiring elevation to heavenly planets must perform these sacrifices, and men with a poor fund of knowledge think that this is the whole purpose of Vedic wisdom. It is very difficult for such inexperienced persons to be situated in the determined action of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As fools are attached to the flowers of poisonous trees without knowing the results of such attractions, unenlightened men are similarly attracted by such heavenly opulence and the sense enjoyment thereof.
In the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas it is said, apāma somam amṛtā abhūma and akṣayyaṁ ha vai cāturmāsya-yājinaḥ sukṛtaṁ bhavati. In other words, those who perform the four-month penances become eligible to drink the soma-rasa beverages to become immortal and happy forever. Even on this earth some are very eager to have soma-rasa to become strong and fit to enjoy sense gratifications. Such persons have no faith in liberation from material bondage, and they are very much attached to the pompous ceremonies of Vedic sacrifices. They are generally sensual, and they do not want anything other than the heavenly pleasures of life. It is understood that there are gardens called Nandana-kānana in which there is good opportunity for association with angelic, beautiful women and having a profuse supply of soma-rasa wine. Such bodily happiness is certainly sensual; therefore there are those who are purely attached to such material, temporary happiness, as lords of the material world.

||2-43||

कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् | क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति ||२-४३||

kāmātmānaḥ svargaparā janmakarmaphalapradām . kriyāviśeṣabahulāṃ bhogaiśvaryagatiṃ prati ||2-43||

||2-44||

भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम् | व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते ||२-४४||

bhogaiśvaryaprasaktānāṃ tayāpahṛtacetasām . vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ samādhau na vidhīyate ||2-44||

bhoga — to material enjoyment; aiśvarya — and opulence; prasaktānām — for those who are attached; tayā — by such things; apahṛta-cetasām — bewildered in mind; vyavasāya-ātmikā — fixed in determination; buddhiḥ — devotional service to the Lord; samādhau — in the controlled mind; na — never; vidhīyate — does take place.


In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.


Samādhi means “fixed mind.” The Vedic dictionary, the Nirukti, says, samyag ādhīyate ’sminn ātma-tattva-yāthātmyam: “When the mind is fixed for understanding the self, it is said to be in samādhi.” Samādhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment and bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.

||2-45||

त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन | निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ||२-४५||

traiguṇyaviṣayā vedā nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna . nirdvandvo nityasattvastho niryogakṣema ātmavān ||2-45||

trai-guṇya — pertaining to the three modes of material nature; viṣayāḥ — on the subject matter; vedāḥ — Vedic literatures; nistrai-guṇyaḥ — transcendental to the three modes of material nature; bhava — be; arjuna — O Arjuna; nirdvandvaḥ — without duality; nitya-sattva-sthaḥ — in a pure state of spiritual existence; niryoga-kṣemaḥ — free from ideas of gain and protection; ātma-vān — established in the self.


The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.


All material activities involve actions and reactions in the three modes of material nature. They are meant for fruitive results, which cause bondage in the material world. The Vedas deal mostly with fruitive activities to gradually elevate the general public from the field of sense gratification to a position on the transcendental plane. Arjuna, as a student and friend of Lord Kṛṣṇa, is advised to raise himself to the transcendental position of Vedānta philosophy where, in the beginning, there is brahma-jijñāsā, or questions on the supreme transcendence. All the living entities who are in the material world are struggling very hard for existence. For them the Lord, after creation of the material world, gave the Vedic wisdom advising how to live and get rid of the material entanglement. When the activities for sense gratification, namely the karma-kāṇḍa chapter, are finished, then the chance for spiritual realization is offered in the form of the Upaniṣads, which are part of different Vedas, as the Bhagavad-gītā is a part of the fifth Veda, namely the Mahābhārata. The Upaniṣads mark the beginning of transcendental life.
As long as the material body exists, there are actions and reactions in the material modes. One has to learn tolerance in the face of dualities such as happiness and distress, or cold and warmth, and by tolerating such dualities become free from anxieties regarding gain and loss. This transcendental position is achieved in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness when one is fully dependent on the good will of Kṛṣṇa.

||2-46||

यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः सम्प्लुतोदके | तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः ||२-४६||

yāvānartha udapāne sarvataḥ samplutodake . tāvānsarveṣu vedeṣu brāhmaṇasya vijānataḥ ||2-46||

yāvān — all that; arthaḥ — is meant; uda-pāne — in a well of water; sarvataḥ — in all respects; sampluta-udake — in a great reservoir of water; tāvān — similarly; sarveṣu — in all; vedeṣu — Vedic literatures; brāhmaṇasya — of the man who knows the Supreme Brahman; vijānataḥ — who is in complete knowledge.


All purposes served by a small well can at once be served by a great reservoir of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.


The rituals and sacrifices mentioned in the karma-kāṇḍa division of the Vedic literature are meant to encourage gradual development of self-realization. And the purpose of self-realization is clearly stated in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15): the purpose of studying the Vedas is to know Lord Kṛṣṇa, the primeval cause of everything. So, self-realization means understanding Kṛṣṇa and one’s eternal relationship with Him. The relationship of the living entities with Kṛṣṇa is also mentioned in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (15.7). The living entities are parts and parcels of Kṛṣṇa; therefore, revival of Kṛṣṇa consciousness by the individual living entity is the highest perfectional stage of Vedic knowledge. This is confirmed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.33.7) as follows:
aho bata śva-paco ’to garīyān
yaj-jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā
brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te
“O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a caṇḍāla [dog-eater], is situated on the highest platform of self-realization. Such a person must have performed all kinds of penances and sacrifices according to Vedic rituals and studied the Vedic literatures many, many times after taking his bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Such a person is considered to be the best of the Āryan family.”
So one must be intelligent enough to understand the purpose of the Vedas, without being attached to the rituals only, and must not desire to be elevated to the heavenly kingdoms for a better quality of sense gratification. It is not possible for the common man in this age to follow all the rules and regulations of the Vedic rituals, nor is it possible to study all of the Vedānta and the Upaniṣads thoroughly. It requires much time, energy, knowledge and resources to execute the purposes of the Vedas. This is hardly possible in this age. The best purpose of Vedic culture is served, however, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, as recommended by Lord Caitanya, the deliverer of all fallen souls. When Lord Caitanya was asked by a great Vedic scholar, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, why He, the Lord, was chanting the holy name of the Lord like a sentimentalist instead of studying Vedānta philosophy, the Lord replied that His spiritual master had found Him to be a great fool and thus asked Him to chant the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He did so, and became ecstatic like a madman. In this Age of Kali, most of the population is foolish and not adequately educated to understand Vedānta philosophy; the best purpose of Vedānta philosophy is served by inoffensively chanting the holy name of the Lord. Vedānta is the last word in Vedic wisdom, and the author and knower of the Vedānta philosophy is Lord Kṛṣṇa; and the highest Vedāntist is the great soul who takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord. That is the ultimate purpose of all Vedic mysticism.

||2-47||

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन | मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||२-४७||

karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana . mā karmaphalaheturbhūrmā te saṅgo.astvakarmaṇi ||2-47||

karmaṇi — in prescribed duties; eva — certainly; adhikāraḥ — right; te — of you; mā — never; phaleṣu — in the fruits; kadācana — at any time; mā — never; karma-phala — in the result of the work; hetuḥ — cause; bhūḥ — become; mā — never; te — of you; saṅgaḥ — attachment; astu — there should be; akarmaṇi — in not doing prescribed duties.


You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.


There are three considerations here: prescribed duties, capricious work, and inaction. Prescribed duties are activities enjoined in terms of one’s acquired modes of material nature. Capricious work means actions without the sanction of authority, and inaction means not performing one’s prescribed duties. The Lord advised that Arjuna not be inactive, but that he perform his prescribed duty without being attached to the result. One who is attached to the result of his work is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of the result of such actions.
As far as prescribed duties are concerned, they can be fitted into three subdivisions, namely routine work, emergency work and desired activities. Routine work performed as an obligation in terms of the scriptural injunctions, without desire for results, is action in the mode of goodness. Work with results becomes the cause of bondage; therefore such work is not auspicious. Everyone has his proprietary right in regard to prescribed duties, but should act without attachment to the result; such disinterested obligatory duties doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation.
Arjuna was therefore advised by the Lord to fight as a matter of duty without attachment to the result. His nonparticipation in the battle is another side of attachment. Such attachment never leads one to the path of salvation. Any attachment, positive or negative, is cause for bondage. Inaction is sinful. Therefore, fighting as a matter of duty was the only auspicious path of salvation for Arjuna.

||2-48||

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय | सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ||२-४८||

yogasthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṃ tyaktvā dhanañjaya . siddhyasiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṃ yoga ucyate ||2-48||

yoga-sthaḥ — equipoised; kuru — perform; karmāṇi — your duties; saṅgam — attachment; tyaktvā — giving up; dhanam-jaya — O Arjuna; siddhi-asiddhyoḥ — in success and failure; samaḥ — equipoised; bhūtvā — becoming; samatvam — equanimity; yogaḥ — yoga; ucyate — is called.


Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.


Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna that he should act in yoga. And what is that yoga? Yoga means to concentrate the mind upon the Supreme by controlling the ever-disturbing senses. And who is the Supreme? The Supreme is the Lord. And because He Himself is telling Arjuna to fight, Arjuna has nothing to do with the results of the fight. Gain or victory are Kṛṣṇa’s concern; Arjuna is simply advised to act according to the dictation of Kṛṣṇa. The following of Kṛṣṇa’s dictation is real yoga, and this is practiced in the process called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. By Kṛṣṇa consciousness only can one give up the sense of proprietorship. One has to become the servant of Kṛṣṇa, or the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa. That is the right way to discharge duty in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which alone can help one to act in yoga.
Arjuna is a kṣatriya, and as such he is participating in the varṇāśrama-dharma institution. It is said in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa that in the varṇāśrama-dharma, the whole aim is to satisfy Viṣṇu. No one should satisfy himself, as is the rule in the material world, but one should satisfy Kṛṣṇa. So unless one satisfies Kṛṣṇa, one cannot correctly observe the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma. Indirectly, Arjuna was advised to act as Kṛṣṇa told him.

||2-49||

दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय | बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फलहेतवः ||२-४९||

dūreṇa hyavaraṃ karma buddhiyogāddhanañjaya . buddhau śaraṇamanviccha kṛpaṇāḥ phalahetavaḥ ||2-49||

dūreṇa — discard it at a long distance; hi — certainly; avaram — abominable; karma — activity; buddhi-yogāt — on the strength of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; dhanam-jaya — O conqueror of wealth; buddhau — in such consciousness; śaraṇam — full surrender; anviccha — try for; kṛpaṇāḥ — misers; phala-hetavaḥ — those desiring fruitive results.


O Dhanañjaya, keep all abominable activities far distant by devotional service, and in that consciousness surrender unto the Lord. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.


One who has actually come to understand one’s constitutional position as an eternal servitor of the Lord gives up all engagements save working in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As already explained, buddhi-yoga means transcendental loving service to the Lord. Such devotional service is the right course of action for the living entity. Only misers desire to enjoy the fruit of their own work just to be further entangled in material bondage. Except for work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all activities are abominable because they continually bind the worker to the cycle of birth and death. One should therefore never desire to be the cause of work. Everything should be done in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. Misers do not know how to utilize the assets of riches which they acquire by good fortune or by hard labor. One should spend all energies working in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and that will make one’s life successful. Like misers, unfortunate persons do not employ their human energy in the service of the Lord.

||2-50||

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते | तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् ||२-५०||

buddhiyukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛtaduṣkṛte . tasmādyogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam ||2-50||

buddhi-yuktaḥ — one who is engaged in devotional service; jahāti — can get rid of; iha — in this life; ubhe — both; sukṛta-duṣkṛte — good and bad results; tasmāt — therefore; yogāya — for the sake of devotional service; yujyasva — be so engaged; yogaḥ — Kṛṣṇa consciousness; karmasu — in all activities; kauśalam — art.


A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad reactions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, which is the art of all work.


Since time immemorial each living entity has accumulated the various reactions of his good and bad work. As such, he is continuously ignorant of his real constitutional position. One’s ignorance can be removed by the instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā, which teaches one to surrender unto Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa in all respects and become liberated from the chained victimization of action and reaction, birth after birth. Arjuna is therefore advised to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the purifying process of resultant action.

||2-51||

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः | जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् ||२-५१||

karmajaṃ buddhiyuktā hi phalaṃ tyaktvā manīṣiṇaḥ . janmabandhavinirmuktāḥ padaṃ gacchantyanāmayam ||2-51||

karma-jam — due to fruitive activities; buddhi-yuktāḥ — being engaged in devotional service; hi — certainly; phalam — results; tyaktvā — giving up; manīṣiṇaḥ — great sages or devotees; janma-bandha — from the bondage of birth and death; vinirmuktāḥ — liberated; padam — position; gacchanti — they reach; anāmayam — without miseries.


By thus engaging in devotional service to the Lord, great sages or devotees free themselves from the results of work in the material world. In this way they become free from the cycle of birth and death and attain the state beyond all miseries [by going back to Godhead].


The liberated living entities belong to that place where there are no material miseries. The Bhāgavatam (10.14.58) says:
samāṣritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda, or the giver of mukti, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s footprint. Paraṁ padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuṇṭha, is his goal, not the place where there is danger in every step of life.”
Owing to ignorance, one does not know that this material world is a miserable place where there are dangers at every step. Out of ignorance only, less intelligent persons try to adjust to the situation by fruitive activities, thinking that the resultant actions will make them happy. They do not know that no kind of material body anywhere within the universe can give life without miseries. The miseries of life, namely birth, death, old age and diseases, are present everywhere within the material world. But one who understands his real constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Lord, and thus knows the position of the Personality of Godhead, engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Consequently he becomes qualified to enter into the Vaikuṇṭha planets, where there is neither material, miserable life nor the influence of time and death. To know one’s constitutional position means to know also the sublime position of the Lord. One who wrongly thinks that the living entity’s position and the Lord’s position are on the same level is to be understood to be in darkness and therefore unable to engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. He becomes a lord himself and thus paves the way for the repetition of birth and death. But one who, understanding that his position is to serve, transfers himself to the service of the Lord, at once becomes eligible for Vaikuṇṭha-loka. Service for the cause of the Lord is called karma-yoga or buddhi-yoga, or in plain words, devotional service to the Lord.

||2-52||

यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति | तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च ||२-५२||

yadā te mohakalilaṃ buddhirvyatitariṣyati . tadā gantāsi nirvedaṃ śrotavyasya śrutasya ca ||2-52||

yadā — when; te — your; moha — of illusion; kalilam — dense forest; buddhiḥ — transcendental service with intelligence; vyatitariṣyati — surpasses; tadā — at that time; gantā asi — you shall go; nirvedam — callousness; śrotavyasya — toward all that is to be heard; śrutasya — all that is already heard; ca — also.


When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.


There are many good examples in the lives of the great devotees of the Lord of those who became indifferent to the rituals of the Vedas simply by devotional service to the Lord. When a person factually understands Kṛṣṇa and his relationship with Kṛṣṇa, he naturally becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities, even though an experienced brāhmaṇa. Śrī Mādhavendra Purī, a great devotee and ācārya in the line of the devotees, says:
sandhyā-vandana bhadram astu bhavato bhoḥ snāna tubhyaṁ namo
bho devāḥ pitaraś ca tarpaṇa-vidhau nāhaṁ kṣamaḥ kṣamyatām
yatra kvāpi niṣadya yādava-kulottaṁsasya kaṁsa-dviṣaḥ
smāraṁ smāram aghaṁ harāmi tad alaṁ manye kim anyena me
“O my prayers three times a day, all glory to you. O bathing, I offer my obeisances unto you. O demigods! O forefathers! Please excuse me for my inability to offer you my respects. Now wherever I sit, I can remember the great descendant of the Yadu dynasty [Kṛṣṇa], the enemy of Kaṁsa, and thereby I can free myself from all sinful bondage. I think this is sufficient for me.”
The Vedic rites and rituals are imperative for neophytes: comprehending all kinds of prayer three times a day, taking a bath early in the morning, offering respects to the forefathers, etc. But when one is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and is engaged in His transcendental loving service, one becomes indifferent to all these regulative principles because he has already attained perfection. If one can reach the platform of understanding by service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, he has no longer to execute different types of penances and sacrifices as recommended in revealed scriptures. And, similarly, if one has not understood that the purpose of the Vedas is to reach Kṛṣṇa and simply engages in the rituals, etc., then he is uselessly wasting time in such engagements. Persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness transcend the limit of śabda-brahma, or the range of the Vedas and Upaniṣads.

||2-53||

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला | समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि ||२-५३||

śrutivipratipannā te yadā sthāsyati niścalā . samādhāvacalā buddhistadā yogamavāpsyasi ||2-53||

śruti — of Vedic revelation; vipratipannā — without being influenced by the fruitive results; te — your; yadā — when; sthāsyati — remains; niścalā — unmoved; samādhau — in transcendental consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness; acalā — unflinching; buddhiḥ — intelligence; tadā — at that time; yogam — self-realization; avāpsyasi — you will achieve.


When your mind is no longer disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realization, then you will have attained the divine consciousness.


To say that one is in samādhi is to say that one has fully realized Kṛṣṇa consciousness; that is, one in full samādhi has realized Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. The highest perfection of self-realization is to understand that one is eternally the servitor of Kṛṣṇa and that one’s only business is to discharge one’s duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, or unflinching devotee of the Lord, should not be disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas nor be engaged in fruitive activities for promotion to the heavenly kingdom. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one comes directly into communion with Kṛṣṇa, and thus all directions from Kṛṣṇa may be understood in that transcendental state. One is sure to achieve results by such activities and attain conclusive knowledge. One has only to carry out the orders of Kṛṣṇa or His representative, the spiritual master.

||2-54||

अर्जुन उवाच | स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव | स्थितधीः किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम् ||२-५४||

arjuna uvāca . sthitaprajñasya kā bhāṣā samādhisthasya keśava . sthitadhīḥ kiṃ prabhāṣeta kimāsīta vrajeta kim ||2-54||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; sthita-prajñasya — of one who is situated in fixed Kṛṣṇa consciousness; kā — what; bhāṣā — language; samādhi-sthasya — of one situated in trance; keśava — O Kṛṣṇa; sthita-dhīḥ — one fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; kim — what; prabhāṣeta — speaks; kim — how; āsīta — does remain still; vrajeta — walks; kim — how.


Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?


As there are symptoms for each and every man, in terms of his particular situation, similarly one who is Kṛṣṇa conscious has his particular nature – talking, walking, thinking, feeling, etc. As a rich man has his symptoms by which he is known as a rich man, as a diseased man has his symptoms by which he is known as diseased, or as a learned man has his symptoms, so a man in transcendental consciousness of Kṛṣṇa has specific symptoms in various dealings. One can know his specific symptoms from the Bhagavad-gītā. Most important is how the man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness speaks; for speech is the most important quality of any man. It is said that a fool is undiscovered as long as he does not speak, and certainly a well-dressed fool cannot be identified unless he speaks, but as soon as he speaks, he reveals himself at once. The immediate symptom of a Kṛṣṇa conscious man is that he speaks only of Kṛṣṇa and of matters relating to Him. Other symptoms then automatically follow, as stated below.

||2-55||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान् | आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्टः स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ||२-५५||

śrībhagavānuvāca . prajahāti yadā kāmānsarvānpārtha manogatān . ātmanyevātmanā tuṣṭaḥ sthitaprajñastadocyate ||2-55||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prajahāti — gives up; yadā — when; kāmān — desires for sense gratification; sarvān — of all varieties; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; manaḥ-gatān — of mental concoction; ātmani — in the pure state of the soul; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the purified mind; tuṣṭaḥ — satisfied; sthita-prajñaḥ — transcendentally situated; tadā — at that time; ucyate — is said.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Pārtha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.


The Bhāgavatam affirms that any person who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or devotional service of the Lord, has all the good qualities of the great sages, whereas a person who is not so transcendentally situated has no good qualifications, because he is sure to be taking refuge in his own mental concoctions. Consequently, it is rightly said herein that one has to give up all kinds of sense desire manufactured by mental concoction. Artificially, such sense desires cannot be stopped. But if one is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then, automatically, sense desires subside without extraneous efforts. Therefore, one has to engage himself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness without hesitation, for this devotional service will instantly help one onto the platform of transcendental consciousness. The highly developed soul always remains satisfied in himself by realizing himself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord. Such a transcendentally situated person has no sense desires resulting from petty materialism; rather, he remains always happy in his natural position of eternally serving the Supreme Lord.

||2-56||

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः | वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते ||२-५६||

duḥkheṣvanudvignamanāḥ sukheṣu vigataspṛhaḥ . vītarāgabhayakrodhaḥ sthitadhīrmunirucyate ||2-56||

duḥkheṣu — in the threefold miseries; anudvigna-manāḥ — without being agitated in mind; sukheṣu — in happiness; vigata-spṛhaḥ — without being interested; vīta — free from; rāga — attachment; bhaya — fear; krodhaḥ — and anger; sthita-dhīḥ — whose mind is steady; muniḥ — a sage; ucyate — is called.


One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.


The word muni means one who can agitate his mind in various ways for mental speculation without coming to a factual conclusion. It is said that every muni has a different angle of vision, and unless a muni differs from other munis, he cannot be called a muni in the strict sense of the term. Nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.117). But a sthita-dhīr muni, as mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni. The sthita-dhīr muni is always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for he has exhausted all his business of creative speculation. He is called praśānta-niḥśeṣa-mano-rathāntara (Stotra-ratna 43), or one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or Vāsudeva, is everything (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ). He is called a muni fixed in mind. Such a fully Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord’s grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord. And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not influenced by attachment or aversion. Attachment means accepting things for one’s own sense gratification, and detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has neither attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of the Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful. Success or no success, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always steady in his determination.

||2-57||

यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् | नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||२-५७||

yaḥ sarvatrānabhisnehastattatprāpya śubhāśubham . nābhinandati na dveṣṭi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2-57||

yaḥ — one who; sarvatra — everywhere; anabhisnehaḥ — without affection; tat — that; tat — that; prāpya — achieving; śubha — good; aśubham — evil; na — never; abhinandati — praises; na — never; dveṣṭi — envies; tasya — his; prajñā — perfect knowledge; pratiṣṭhitā — fixed.


In the material world, one who is unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.


There is always some upheaval in the material world which may be good or evil. One who is not agitated by such material upheavals, who is unaffected by good and evil, is to be understood to be fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As long as one is in the material world there is always the possibility of good and evil because this world is full of duality. But one who is fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not affected by good and evil, because he is simply concerned with Kṛṣṇa, who is all-good absolute. Such consciousness in Kṛṣṇa situates one in a perfect transcendental position called, technically, samādhi.

||2-58||

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः | इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||२-५८||

yadā saṃharate cāyaṃ kūrmo.aṅgānīva sarvaśaḥ . indriyāṇīndriyārthebhyastasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2-58||

yadā — when; saṁharate — winds up; ca — also; ayam — he; kūrmaḥ — tortoise; aṅgāni — limbs; iva — like; sarvaśaḥ — altogether; indriyāṇi — senses; indriya-arthebhyaḥ — from the sense objects; tasya — his; prajñā — consciousness; pratiṣṭhitā — fixed.


One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell, is firmly fixed in perfect consciousness.


The test of a yogī, devotee or self-realized soul is that he is able to control the senses according to his plan. Most people, however, are servants of the senses and are thus directed by the dictation of the senses. That is the answer to the question as to how the yogī is situated. The senses are compared to venomous serpents. They want to act very loosely and without restriction. The yogī, or the devotee, must be very strong to control the serpents – like a snake charmer. He never allows them to act independently. There are many injunctions in the revealed scriptures; some of them are do-not’s, and some of them are do’s. Unless one is able to follow the do’s and the do-not’s, restricting oneself from sense enjoyment, it is not possible to be firmly fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The best example, set herein, is the tortoise. The tortoise can at any moment wind up its senses and exhibit them again at any time for particular purposes. Similarly, the senses of the Kṛṣṇa conscious persons are used only for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are withdrawn otherwise. Arjuna is being taught here to use his senses for the service of the Lord, instead of for his own satisfaction. Keeping the senses always in the service of the Lord is the example set by the analogy of the tortoise, who keeps the senses within.

||2-59||

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः | रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ||२-५९||

viṣayā vinivartante nirāhārasya dehinaḥ . rasavarjaṃ raso.apyasya paraṃ dṛṣṭvā nivartate ||2-59||

viṣayāḥ — objects for sense enjoyment; vinivartante — are practiced to be refrained from; nirāhārasya — by negative restrictions; dehinaḥ — for the embodied; rasa-varjam — giving up the taste; rasaḥ — sense of enjoyment; api — although there is; asya — his; param — far superior things; dṛṣṭvā — by experiencing; nivartate — he ceases from.


Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.


Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of eatables. The patient, however, neither likes such restrictions nor loses his taste for eatables. Similarly, sense restriction by some spiritual process like aṣṭāṅga-yoga, in the matter of yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, etc., is recommended for less intelligent persons who have no better knowledge. But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, in the course of his advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no longer has a taste for dead, material things. Therefore, restrictions are there for the less intelligent neophytes in the spiritual advancement of life, but such restrictions are only good until one actually has a taste for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. When one is actually Kṛṣṇa conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.

||2-60||

यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चितः | इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः ||२-६०||

yatato hyapi kaunteya puruṣasya vipaścitaḥ . indriyāṇi pramāthīni haranti prasabhaṃ manaḥ ||2-60||

yatataḥ — while endeavoring; hi — certainly; api — in spite of; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; puruṣasya — of a man; vipaścitaḥ — full of discriminating knowledge; indriyāṇi — the senses; pramāthīni — agitating; haranti — throw; prasabham — by force; manaḥ — the mind.


The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.


There are many learned sages, philosophers and transcendentalists who try to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavors, even the greatest of them sometimes fall victim to material sense enjoyment due to the agitated mind. Even Viśvāmitra, a great sage and perfect yogī, was misled by Menakā into sex enjoyment, although the yogī was endeavoring for sense control with severe types of penance and yoga practice. And, of course, there are so many similar instances in the history of the world. Therefore, it is very difficult to control the mind and senses without being fully Kṛṣṇa conscious. Without engaging the mind in Kṛṣṇa, one cannot cease such material engagements. A practical example is given by Śrī Yāmunācārya, a great saint and devotee, who says:
yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-pādāravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt
tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne
bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭhu niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca
“Since my mind has been engaged in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and I have been enjoying an ever new transcendental humor, whenever I think of sex life with a woman, my face at once turns from it, and I spit at the thought.”
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is such a transcendentally nice thing that automatically material enjoyment becomes distasteful. It is as if a hungry man had satisfied his hunger by a sufficient quantity of nutritious eatables. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa also conquered a great yogī, Durvāsā Muni, simply because his mind was engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane).

||2-61||

तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः | वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||२-६१||

tāni sarvāṇi saṃyamya yukta āsīta matparaḥ . vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2-61||

tāni — those senses; sarvāṇi — all; saṁyamya — keeping under control; yuktaḥ — engaged; āsīta — should be situated; mat-paraḥ — in relationship with Me; vaśe — in full subjugation; hi — certainly; yasya — one whose; indriyāṇi — senses; tasya — his; prajñā — consciousness; pratiṣṭhitā — fixed.


One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence.


That the highest conception of yoga perfection is Kṛṣṇa consciousness is clearly explained in this verse. And unless one is Kṛṣṇa conscious it is not at all possible to control the senses. As cited above, the great sage Durvāsā Muni picked a quarrel with Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, and Durvāsā Muni unnecessarily became angry out of pride and therefore could not check his senses. On the other hand, the king, although not as powerful a yogī as the sage, but a devotee of the Lord, silently tolerated all the sage’s injustices and thereby emerged victorious. The king was able to control his senses because of the following qualifications, as mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.4.18–20):
sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor
vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane
karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu
śrutiṁ cakārācyuta-sat-kathodaye
mukunda-liṅgālaya-darśane dṛśau
tad-bhṛtya-gātra-sparśe ’ṅga-saṅgamam
ghrāṇaṁ ca tat-pāda-saroja-saurabhe
śrīmat-tulasyā rasanāṁ tad-arpite
pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe
śiro hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane
kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāma-kāmyayā
yathottama-śloka-janāśrayā ratiḥ
“King Ambarīṣa fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, engaged his words in describing the abode of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the temple of the Lord, his ears in hearing the pastimes of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the form of the Lord, his body in touching the body of the devotee, his nostrils in smelling the flavor of the flowers offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasī leaves offered to Him, his legs in traveling to the holy place where His temple is situated, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, and his desires in fulfilling the desires of the Lord … and all these qualifications made him fit to become a mat-para devotee of the Lord.”
The word mat-para is most significant in this connection. How one can become mat-para is described in the life of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a great scholar and ācārya in the line of the mat-para, remarks, mad-bhakti-prabhāvena sarvendriya-vijaya-pūrvikā svātma-dṛṣṭiḥ su-labheti bhāvaḥ. “The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.” Also, the example of fire is sometimes given: “As a blazing fire burns everything within a room, Lord Viṣṇu, situated in the heart of the yogī, burns up all kinds of impurities.” The Yoga-sūtra also prescribes meditation on Viṣṇu, and not meditation on the void. The so-called yogīs who meditate on something other than the Viṣṇu form simply waste their time in a vain search after some phantasmagoria. We have to be Kṛṣṇa conscious – devoted to the Personality of Godhead. This is the aim of the real yoga.

||2-62||

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते | सङ्गात्सञ्जायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ||२-६२||

dhyāyato viṣayānpuṃsaḥ saṅgasteṣūpajāyate . saṅgātsañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmātkrodho.abhijāyate ||2-62||

dhyāyataḥ — while contemplating; viṣayān — sense objects; puṁsaḥ — of a person; saṅgaḥ — attachment; teṣu — in the sense objects; upajāyate — develops; saṅgāt — from attachment; sañjāyate — develops; kāmaḥ — desire; kāmāt — from desire; krodhaḥ — anger; abhijāyate — becomes manifest.


While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.


One who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious is subjected to material desires while contemplating the objects of the senses. The senses require real engagements, and if they are not engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, they will certainly seek engagement in the service of materialism. In the material world everyone, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā – to say nothing of other demigods in the heavenly planets – is subjected to the influence of sense objects, and the only method to get out of this puzzle of material existence is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Lord Śiva was deep in meditation, but when Pārvatī agitated him for sense pleasure, he agreed to the proposal, and as a result Kārtikeya was born. When Haridāsa Ṭhākura was a young devotee of the Lord, he was similarly allured by the incarnation of Māyā-devī, but Haridāsa easily passed the test because of his unalloyed devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa. As illustrated in the above-mentioned verse of Śrī Yāmunācārya, a sincere devotee of the Lord shuns all material sense enjoyment due to his higher taste for spiritual enjoyment in the association of the Lord. That is the secret of success. One who is not, therefore, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however powerful he may be in controlling the senses by artificial repression, is sure ultimately to fail, for the slightest thought of sense pleasure will agitate him to gratify his desires.

||2-63||

क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोहः सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः | स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ||२-६३||

krodhādbhavati sammohaḥ sammohātsmṛtivibhramaḥ . smṛtibhraṃśād buddhināśo buddhināśātpraṇaśyati ||2-63||

krodhāt — from anger; bhavati — takes place; sammohaḥ — perfect illusion; sammohāt — from illusion; smṛti — of memory; vibhramaḥ — bewilderment; smṛti-bhraṁśāt — after bewilderment of memory; buddhi-nāśaḥ — loss of intelligence; buddhi-nāśāt — and from loss of intelligence; praṇaśyati — one falls down.


From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.


Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has given us this direction:
prāpañcikatayā buddhyā
hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo
vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate
(Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.258)
By development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can know that everything has its use in the service of the Lord. Those who are without knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness artificially try to avoid material objects, and as a result, although they desire liberation from material bondage, they do not attain to the perfect stage of renunciation. Their so-called renunciation is called phalgu, or less important. On the other hand, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows how to use everything in the service of the Lord; therefore he does not become a victim of material consciousness. For example, for an impersonalist, the Lord, or the Absolute, being impersonal, cannot eat. Whereas an impersonalist tries to avoid good eatables, a devotee knows that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme enjoyer and that He eats all that is offered to Him in devotion. So, after offering good eatables to the Lord, the devotee takes the remnants, called prasādam. Thus everything becomes spiritualized, and there is no danger of a downfall. The devotee takes prasādam in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, whereas the nondevotee rejects it as material. The impersonalist, therefore, cannot enjoy life, due to his artificial renunciation; and for this reason, a slight agitation of the mind pulls him down again into the pool of material existence. It is said that such a soul, even though rising up to the point of liberation, falls down again due to his not having support in devotional service.

||2-64||

रागद्वेषविमुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् | (or वियुक्तैस्तु) आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ||२-६४||

rāgadveṣavimuktaistu viṣayānindriyaiścaran . orviyuktaistu ātmavaśyairvidheyātmā prasādamadhigacchati ||2-64||

rāga — attachment; dveṣa — and detachment; vimuktaiḥ — by one who has become free from; tu — but; viṣayān — sense objects; indriyaiḥ — by the senses; caran — acting upon; ātma-vaśyaiḥ — under one’s control; vidheya-ātmā — one who follows regulated freedom; prasādam — the mercy of the Lord; adhigacchati — attains.


But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.


It is already explained that one may externally control the senses by some artificial process, but unless the senses are engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is every chance of a fall. Although the person in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness may apparently be on the sensual plane, because of his being Kṛṣṇa conscious he has no attachment to sensual activities. The Kṛṣṇa conscious person is concerned only with the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, and nothing else. Therefore he is transcendental to all attachment and detachment. If Kṛṣṇa wants, the devotee can do anything which is ordinarily undesirable; and if Kṛṣṇa does not want, he shall not do that which he would have ordinarily done for his own satisfaction. Therefore to act or not to act is within his control because he acts only under the direction of Kṛṣṇa. This consciousness is the causeless mercy of the Lord, which the devotee can achieve in spite of his being attached to the sensual platform.

||2-65||

प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते | प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते ||२-६५||

prasāde sarvaduḥkhānāṃ hānirasyopajāyate . prasannacetaso hyāśu buddhiḥ paryavatiṣṭhate ||2-65||

prasāde — on achievement of the causeless mercy of the Lord; sarva — of all; duḥkhānām — material miseries; hāniḥ — destruction; asya — his; upajāyate — takes place; prasanna-cetasaḥ — of the happy-minded; hi — certainly; āśu — very soon; buddhiḥ — intelligence; pari — sufficiently; avatiṣṭhate — becomes established.


For one thus satisfied [in Kṛṣṇa consciousness], the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such satisfied consciousness, one’s intelligence is soon well established.

||2-66||

नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य न चायुक्तस्य भावना | न चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम् ||२-६६||

nāsti buddhirayuktasya na cāyuktasya bhāvanā . na cābhāvayataḥ śāntiraśāntasya kutaḥ sukham ||2-66||

na asti — there cannot be; buddhiḥ — transcendental intelligence; ayuktasya — of one who is not connected (with Kṛṣṇa consciousness); na — not; ca — and; ayuktasya — of one devoid of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; bhāvanā — fixed mind (in happiness); na — not; ca — and; abhāvayataḥ — of one who is not fixed; śāntiḥ — peace; aśāntasya — of the unpeaceful; kutaḥ — where is; sukham — happiness.


One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Kṛṣṇa consciousness] can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?


Unless one is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no possibility of peace. So it is confirmed in the Fifth Chapter (5.29) that when one understands that Kṛṣṇa is the only enjoyer of all the good results of sacrifice and penance, that He is the proprietor of all universal manifestations, and that He is the real friend of all living entities, then only can one have real peace. Therefore, if one is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there cannot be a final goal for the mind. Disturbance is due to want of an ultimate goal, and when one is certain that Kṛṣṇa is the enjoyer, proprietor and friend of everyone and everything, then one can, with a steady mind, bring about peace. Therefore, one who is engaged without a relationship with Kṛṣṇa is certainly always in distress and is without peace, however much he may make a show of peace and spiritual advancement in life. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a self-manifested peaceful condition which can be achieved only in relationship with Kṛṣṇa.

||2-67||

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते | तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि ||२-६७||

indriyāṇāṃ hi caratāṃ yanmano.anuvidhīyate . tadasya harati prajñāṃ vāyurnāvamivāmbhasi ||2-67||

indriyāṇām — of the senses; hi — certainly; caratām — while roaming; yat — with which; manaḥ — the mind; anuvidhīyate — becomes constantly engaged; tat — that; asya — his; harati — takes away; prajñām — intelligence; vāyuḥ — wind; nāvam — a boat; iva — like; ambhasi — on the water.


As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.


Unless all of the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them engaged in sense gratification can deviate the devotee from the path of transcendental advancement. As mentioned in the life of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, all of the senses must be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for that is the correct technique for controlling the mind.

||2-68||

तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः | इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||२-६८||

tasmādyasya mahābāho nigṛhītāni sarvaśaḥ . indriyāṇīndriyārthebhyastasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2-68||

tasmāt — therefore; yasya — whose; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; nigṛhītāni — so curbed down; sarvaśaḥ — all around; indriyāṇi — the senses; indriya-arthebhyaḥ — from sense objects; tasya — his; prajñā — intelligence; pratiṣṭhitā — fixed.


Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.


One can curb the forces of sense gratification only by means of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or engaging all the senses in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. As enemies are curbed by superior force, the senses can similarly be curbed, not by any human endeavor, but only by keeping them engaged in the service of the Lord. One who has understood this – that only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness is one really established in intelligence and that one should practice this art under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master – is called a sādhaka, or a suitable candidate for liberation.

||2-69||

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी | यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः ||२-६९||

yā niśā sarvabhūtānāṃ tasyāṃ jāgarti saṃyamī . yasyāṃ jāgrati bhūtāni sā niśā paśyato muneḥ ||2-69||

yā — what; niśā — is night; sarva — all; bhūtānām — of living entities; tasyām — in that; jāgarti — is wakeful; saṁyamī — the self-controlled; yasyām — in which; jāgrati — are awake; bhūtāni — all beings; sā — that is; niśā — night; paśyataḥ — for the introspective; muneḥ — sage.


What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.


There are two classes of intelligent men. One is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep in such a night due to their ignorance of self-realization. The introspective sage remains alert in the “night” of the materialistic men. The sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual culture, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his sleeping condition. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reactions.

||2-70||

आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् | तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी ||२-७०||

āpūryamāṇamacalapratiṣṭhaṃ samudramāpaḥ praviśanti yadvat . tadvatkāmā yaṃ praviśanti sarve sa śāntimāpnoti na kāmakāmī ||2-70||

āpūryamāṇam — always being filled; acala-pratiṣṭham — steadily situated; samudram — the ocean; āpaḥ — waters; praviśanti — enter; yadvat — as; tadvat — so; kāmāḥ — desires; yam — unto whom; praviśanti — enter; sarve — all; saḥ — that person; śāntim — peace; āpnoti — achieves; na — not; kāma-kāmī — one who desires to fulfill desires.


A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still – can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.


Although the vast ocean is always filled with water, it is always, especially during the rainy season, being filled with much more water. But the ocean remains the same – steady; it is not agitated, nor does it cross beyond the limit of its brink. That is also true of a person fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As long as one has the material body, the demands of the body for sense gratification will continue. The devotee, however, is not disturbed by such desires, because of his fullness. A Kṛṣṇa conscious man is not in need of anything, because the Lord fulfills all his material necessities. Therefore he is like the ocean – always full in himself. Desires may come to him like the waters of the rivers that flow into the ocean, but he is steady in his activities, and he is not even slightly disturbed by desires for sense gratification. That is the proof of a Kṛṣṇa conscious man – one who has lost all inclinations for material sense gratification, although the desires are present. Because he remains satisfied in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he can remain steady, like the ocean, and therefore enjoy full peace. Others, however, who want to fulfill desires even up to the limit of liberation, what to speak of material success, never attain peace. The fruitive workers, the salvationists, and also the yogīs who are after mystic powers are all unhappy because of unfulfilled desires. But the person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is happy in the service of the Lord, and he has no desires to be fulfilled. In fact, he does not even desire liberation from the so-called material bondage. The devotees of Kṛṣṇa have no material desires, and therefore they are in perfect peace.

||2-71||

विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः | निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः स शान्तिमधिगच्छति ||२-७१||

vihāya kāmānyaḥ sarvānpumāṃścarati niḥspṛhaḥ . nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ sa śāntimadhigacchati ||2-71||

vihāya — giving up; kāmān — material desires for sense gratification; yaḥ — who; sarvān — all; pumān — a person; carati — lives; niḥspṛhaḥ — desireless; nirmamaḥ — without a sense of proprietorship; nirahaṅkāraḥ — without false ego; saḥ — he; śāntim — perfect peace; adhigacchati — attains.


A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego – he alone can attain real peace.


To become desireless means not to desire anything for sense gratification. In other words, desire for becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious is actually desirelessness. To understand one’s actual position as the eternal servitor of Kṛṣṇa, without falsely claiming this material body to be oneself and without falsely claiming proprietorship over anything in the world, is the perfect stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One who is situated in this perfect stage knows that because Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of everything, everything must be used for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna did not want to fight for his own sense satisfaction, but when he became fully Kṛṣṇa conscious he fought because Kṛṣṇa wanted him to fight. For himself there was no desire to fight, but for Kṛṣṇa the same Arjuna fought to his best ability. Real desirelessness is desire for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, not an artificial attempt to abolish desires. The living entity cannot be desireless or senseless, but he does have to change the quality of the desires. A materially desireless person certainly knows that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa (īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam), and therefore he does not falsely claim proprietorship over anything. This transcendental knowledge is based on self-realization – namely, knowing perfectly well that every living entity is an eternal part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa in spiritual identity, and that the eternal position of the living entity is therefore never on the level of Kṛṣṇa or greater than Him. This understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the basic principle of real peace.

||2-72||

एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति | स्थित्वास्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति ||२-७२||

eṣā brāhmī sthitiḥ pārtha naināṃ prāpya vimuhyati . sthitvāsyāmantakāle.api brahmanirvāṇamṛcchati ||2-72||

eṣā — this; brāhmī — spiritual; sthitiḥ — situation; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; na — never; enām — this; prāpya — achieving; vimuhyati — one is bewildered; sthitvā — being situated; asyām — in this; anta-kāle — at the end of life; api — also; brahma-nirvāṇam — the spiritual kingdom of God; ṛcchati — one attains.


That is the way of the spiritual and godly life, after attaining which a man is not bewildered. If one is thus situated even at the hour of death, one can enter into the kingdom of God.


One can attain Kṛṣṇa consciousness or divine life at once, within a second – or one may not attain such a state of life even after millions of births. It is only a matter of understanding and accepting the fact. Khaṭvāṅga Mahārāja attained this state of life just a few minutes before his death, by surrendering unto Kṛṣṇa. Nirvāṇa means ending the process of materialistic life. According to Buddhist philosophy, there is only void after the completion of this material life, but Bhagavad-gītā teaches differently. Actual life begins after the completion of this material life. For the gross materialist it is sufficient to know that one has to end this materialistic way of life, but for persons who are spiritually advanced, there is another life after this materialistic life. Before ending this life, if one fortunately becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he at once attains the stage of brahma-nirvāṇa. There is no difference between the kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord. Since both of them are on the absolute plane, to be engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord is to have attained the spiritual kingdom. In the material world there are activities of sense gratification, whereas in the spiritual world there are activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Attainment of Kṛṣṇa consciousness even during this life is immediate attainment of Brahman, and one who is situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has certainly already entered into the kingdom of God.

Глава 3

Karma-yoga

||3-1||

अर्जुन उवाच | ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन | तत्किं कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव ||३-१||

arjuna uvāca . jyāyasī cetkarmaṇaste matā buddhirjanārdana . tatkiṃ karmaṇi ghore māṃ niyojayasi keśava ||3-1||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; jyāyasī — better; cet — if; karmaṇaḥ — than fruitive action; te — by You; matā — is considered; buddhiḥ — intelligence; janārdana — O Kṛṣṇa; tat — therefore; kim — why; karmaṇi — in action; ghore — ghastly; mām — me; niyojayasi — You are engaging; keśava — O Kṛṣṇa.


Arjuna said: O Janārdana, O Keśava, 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 Śrī Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious by chanting the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. But without being trained in the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in a secluded place, where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna also thought of Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his master and questioned Kṛṣṇa as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborately explained karma-yoga, or work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in this Third Chapter.

||3-2||

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे | तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् ||३-२||

vyāmiśreṇeva vākyena buddhiṃ mohayasīva me . tadekaṃ vada niścitya yena śreyo.ahamāpnuyām ||3-2||

vyāmiśreṇa — by equivocal; iva — certainly; vākyena — words; buddhim — intelligence; mohayasi — You are bewildering; iva — certainly; me — my; tat — therefore; ekam — only one; vada — please tell; niścitya — ascertaining; yena — by which; śreyaḥ — real benefit; aham — I; āpnuyām — may have.


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-gītā, many different paths were explained, such as sāṅkhya-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 Kṛṣṇa had no intention of confusing Arjuna by any jugglery of words, Arjuna could not follow the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness – either by inertia or by active service. In other words, by his questions he is clearing the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness for all students who seriously want to understand the mystery of the Bhagavad-gītā.

||3-3||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | लोकेऽस्मिन् द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ | ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ||३-३||

śrībhagavānuvāca . loke.asmina dvividhā niṣṭhā purā proktā mayānagha . jñānayogena sāṅkhyānāṃ karmayogena yoginām ||3-3||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; loke — in the world; asmin — this; dvi-vidhā — two kinds of; niṣṭhā — faith; purā — formerly; proktā — were said; mayā — by Me; anagha — O sinless one; jñāna-yogena — by the linking process of knowledge; sāṅkhyānām — of the empiric philosophers; karma-yogena — by the linking process of devotion; yoginām — of the devotees.


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 procedures – namely sāṅkhya-yoga and karma-yoga, or buddhi-yoga. In this verse, the Lord explains the same more clearly. Sāṅkhya-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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as it is explained in the sixty-first verse of the Second Chapter. The Lord has explained, also in the thirty-ninth verse, that by working by the principles of buddhi-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa 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 sixty-first verse – that this buddhi-yoga is to depend entirely on the Supreme (or more specifically, on Kṛṣṇa), 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 Kṛṣṇa, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and the other process is directly connecting everything with Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Of these two, the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is better because it does not depend on purifying the senses by a philosophical process. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is itself the purifying process, and by the direct method of devotional service it is simultaneously easy and sublime.

||3-4||

न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते | न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ||३-४||

na karmaṇāmanārambhānnaiṣkarmyaṃ puruṣo.aśnute . na ca saṃnyasanādeva siddhiṃ samadhigacchati ||3-4||

na — not; karmaṇām — of prescribed duties; anārambhāt — by nonperformance; naiṣkarmyam — freedom from reaction; puruṣaḥ — a man; aśnute — achieves; na — nor; ca — also; sannyasanāt — by renunciation; eva — simply; siddhim — success; samadhigacchati — attains.


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 (sannyāsa). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by adopting sannyāsa, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once becomes as good as Nārāyaṇa. But Lord Kṛṣṇa does not approve this principle. Without purification of heart, sannyāsa 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 trāyate mahato bhayāt. Even a slight performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.

||3-5||

न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् | कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः ||३-५||

na hi kaścitkṣaṇamapi jātu tiṣṭhatyakarmakṛt . kāryate hyavaśaḥ karma sarvaḥ prakṛtijairguṇaiḥ ||3-5||

na — nor; hi — certainly; kaścit — anyone; kṣaṇam — a moment; api — also; jātu — at any time; tiṣṭhati — remains; akarma-kṛt — without doing something; kāryate — is forced to do; hi — certainly; avaśaḥ — helplessly; karma — work; sarvaḥ — all; prakṛti-jaiḥ — born of the modes of material nature; guṇaiḥ — by the qualities.


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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by the 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 śāstras. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.17) affirms this:
tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
ko vārtha āpto ’bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ
“If someone takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, even though he may not follow the prescribed duties in the śāstras or execute the devotional 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 śāstras, what does it avail him if he is not Kṛṣṇa conscious?” So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, sannyāsa, or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.

||3-6||

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन् | इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते ||३-६||

karmendriyāṇi saṃyamya ya āste manasā smaran . indriyārthānvimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate ||3-6||

karma-indriyāṇi — the five working sense organs; saṁyamya — controlling; yaḥ — anyone who; āste — remains; manasā — by the mind; smaran — thinking of; indriya-arthān — sense objects; vimūḍha — foolish; ātmā — soul; mithyā-ācāraḥ — pretender; saḥ — he; ucyate — is called.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 yogī 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 man’s knowledge are taken away by the illusory energy of the Lord. Such a pretender’s mind is always impure, and therefore his show of yogic meditation has no value whatsoever.

||3-7||

यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन | कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः स विशिष्यते ||३-७||

yastvindriyāṇi manasā niyamyārabhate.arjuna . karmendriyaiḥ karmayogamasaktaḥ sa viśiṣyate ||3-7||

yaḥ — one who; tu — but; indriyāṇi — the senses; manasā — by the mind; niyamya — regulating; ārabhate — begins; arjuna — O Arjuna; karma-indriyaiḥ — by the active sense organs; karma-yogam — devotion; asaktaḥ — without attachment; saḥ — he; viśiṣyate — is by far the better.


On the other hand, if a sincere person tries to control the active senses by the mind and begins karma-yoga [in Kṛṣṇa 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 one’s 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 svārtha-gati, or goal of self-interest, is to reach Viṣṇu. The whole institution of varṇa and āśrama is designed to help us reach this goal of life. A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. For self-realization, one can live a controlled life, as prescribed in the śāstras, 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.

||3-8||

नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः | शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः ||३-८||

niyataṃ kuru karma tvaṃ karma jyāyo hyakarmaṇaḥ . śarīrayātrāpi ca te na prasiddhyedakarmaṇaḥ ||3-8||

niyatam — prescribed; kuru — do; karma — duties; tvam — you; karma — work; jyāyaḥ — better; hi — certainly; akarmaṇaḥ — than no work; śarīra — bodily; yātrā — maintenance; api — even; ca — also; te — your; na — never; prasidhyet — is effected; akarmaṇaḥ — without work.


Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain one’s 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 Kṛṣṇa did not want Arjuna to become a pretender. Rather, the Lord desired that Arjuna perform his prescribed duties as set forth for kṣatriyas. 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 kṣatriya. 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 one’s 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.

||3-9||

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः | तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्गः समाचर ||३-९||

yajñārthātkarmaṇo.anyatra loko.ayaṃ karmabandhanaḥ . tadarthaṃ karma kaunteya muktasaṅgaḥ samācara ||3-9||

yajña-arthāt — done only for the sake of Yajña, or Viṣṇu; karmaṇaḥ — than work; anyatra — otherwise; lokaḥ — world; ayam — this; karma-bandhanaḥ — bondage by work; tat — of Him; artham — for the sake; karma — work; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; mukta-saṅgaḥ — liberated from association; samācara — do perfectly.


Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed; otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, 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. Yajña means Lord Viṣṇu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Viṣṇu. The Vedas enjoin: yajño vai viṣṇuḥ. In other words, the same purpose is served whether one performs prescribed yajñas or directly serves Lord Viṣṇu. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is therefore performance of yajña as it is prescribed in this verse. The varṇāśrama institution also aims at satisfying Lord Viṣṇu. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān/ viṣṇur ārādhyate (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 3.8.8).
Therefore one has to work for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu. 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness to satisfy Kṛṣṇa (or Viṣṇu); 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 Kṛṣṇa, or under the direct instruction of Lord Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa. 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.

||3-10||

सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः | अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक् ||३-१०||

sahayajñāḥ prajāḥ sṛṣṭvā purovāca prajāpatiḥ . anena prasaviṣyadhvameṣa vo.astviṣṭakāmadhuk ||3-10||

saha — along with; yajñāḥ — sacrifices; prajāḥ — generations; sṛṣṭvā — creating; purā — anciently; uvāca — said; prajā-patiḥ — the Lord of creatures; anena — by this; prasaviṣyadhvam — be more and more prosperous; eṣaḥ — this; vaḥ — your; astu — let it be; iṣṭa — of all desirable things; kāma-dhuk — bestower.


In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Viṣṇu, and blessed them by saying, “Be thou happy by this yajña [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.”


The material creation by the Lord of creatures (Viṣṇu) is a chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back home – back to Godhead. All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us understand this eternal relation, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ. The Lord says that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said: patiṁ viśvasyātmeśvaram. Therefore, the Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also (2.4.20) Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes the Lord as pati in so many ways:
śriyaḥ patir yajña-patiḥ prajā-patir
dhiyāṁ patir loka-patir dharā-patiḥ
patir gatiś cāndhaka-vṛṣṇi-sātvatāṁ
prasīdatāṁ me bhagavān satāṁ patiḥ
The prajā-pati is Lord Viṣṇu, 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 yajñas (sacrifices) for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu, 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 yajña, the conditioned souls gradually become Kṛṣṇa conscious and become godly in all respects. In the Age of Kali, the saṅkīrtana-yajña (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. Saṅkīrtana-yajña and Kṛṣṇa consciousness go well together. Lord Kṛṣṇa in His devotional form (as Lord Caitanya) is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32) as follows, with special reference to the saṅkīrtana-yajña:
kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ
sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
“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 saṅkīrtana-yajña.” Other yajñas prescribed in the Vedic literatures are not easy to perform in this Age of Kali, but the saṅkīrtana-yajña is easy and sublime for all purposes, as recommended in Bhagavad-gītā also (9.14).

||3-11||

देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः | परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ ||३-११||

devānbhāvayatānena te devā bhāvayantu vaḥ . parasparaṃ bhāvayantaḥ śreyaḥ paramavāpsyatha ||3-11||

devān — demigods; bhāvayatā — having pleased; anena — by this sacrifice; te — those; devāḥ — demigods; bhāvayantu — will please; vaḥ — you; parasparam — mutually; bhāvayantaḥ — pleasing one another; śreyaḥ — benediction; param — the supreme; avāpsyatha — you will achieve.


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 yajñas by the human being. Some of the yajñas are meant to satisfy particular demigods; but even in so doing, Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped in all yajñas as the chief beneficiary. It is stated also in the Bhagavad-gītā that Kṛṣṇa Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajñas: bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasām. Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the yajña-pati is the chief purpose of all yajñas. When these yajñas 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 yajñas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation from material bondage. By performance of yajñas, all activities become purified, as it is stated in the Vedas: āhāra-śuddhau sattva-śuddhiḥ sattva-śuddhau dhruvā smṛtiḥ smṛti-lambhe sarva-granthīnāṁ vipramokṣaḥ. By performance of yajña one’s eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs one’s 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.

||3-12||

इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः | तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः ||३-१२||

iṣṭānbhogānhi vo devā dāsyante yajñabhāvitāḥ . tairdattānapradāyaibhyo yo bhuṅkte stena eva saḥ ||3-12||

iṣṭān — desired; bhogān — necessities of life; hi — certainly; vaḥ — unto you; devāḥ — the demigods; dāsyante — will award; yajña-bhāvitāḥ — being satisfied by the performance of sacrifices; taiḥ — by them; dattān — things given; apradāya — without offering; ebhyaḥ — to these demigods; yaḥ — he who; bhuṅkte — enjoys; stenaḥ — thief; eva — certainly; saḥ — he.


In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajña [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, Viṣṇu. Therefore, they must be satisfied by the performance of prescribed yajñas. In the Vedas, there are different kinds of yajñas 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 yajñas are recommended in the Vedas. Worship of different demigods is also on the same basis – namely, according to different qualities. For example, the meat-eaters are recommended to worship the goddess Kālī, 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 Viṣṇu is recommended. But ultimately all yajñas are meant for gradual promotion to the transcendental position. For ordinary men, at least five yajñas, known as pañca-mahā-yajña, 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 life – none 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 essentials – all 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 life is attained by performance of yajñas. 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 yajñas. Lord Caitanya, however, inaugurated the easiest performance of yajña, namely the saṅkīrtana-yajña, which can be performed by anyone in the world who accepts the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||3-13||

यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः | भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात् ||३-१३||

yajñaśiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarvakilbiṣaiḥ . bhuñjate te tvaghaṃ pāpā ye pacantyātmakāraṇāt ||3-13||

yajña-śiṣṭa — of food taken after performance of yajña; aśinaḥ — eaters; santaḥ — the devotees; mucyante — get relief; sarva — all kinds of; kilbiṣaiḥ — from sins; bhuñjate — enjoy; te — they; tu — but; agham — grievous sins; pāpāḥ — sinners; ye — who; pacanti — prepare food; ātma-kāraṇāt — for sense enjoyment.


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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are called santas, and they are always in love with the Lord as it is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.38): premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu 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 Kṛṣṇa (the all-attractive person), cannot accept anything without first offering it to the Supreme Person. Therefore, such devotees always perform yajñas in different modes of devotional service, such as śravaṇam, kīrtanam, smaraṇam, arcanam, etc., and these performances of yajñas 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 saṅkīrtana-yajña, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise, there can be no peace or happiness in the world.

||3-14||

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः | यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः ||३-१४||

annādbhavanti bhūtāni parjanyādannasambhavaḥ . yajñādbhavati parjanyo yajñaḥ karmasamudbhavaḥ ||3-14||

annāt — from grains; bhavanti — grow; bhūtāni — the material bodies; parjanyāt — from rains; anna — of food grains; sambhavaḥ — production; yajñāt — from the performance of sacrifice; bhavati — becomes possible; parjanyaḥ — rain; yajñaḥ — performance of yajña; karma — prescribed duties; samudbhavaḥ — born of.


All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajña [sacrifice], and yajña is born of prescribed duties.


Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a great commentator on the Bhagavad-gītā, writes as follows: ye indrādy-aṅgatayāvasthitaṁ yajñaṁ sarveśvaraṁ viṣṇum abhyarcya tac-cheṣam aśnanti tena tad deha-yātrāṁ sampādayanti, te santaḥ sarveśvarasya yajña-puruṣasya bhaktāḥ sarva-kilbiṣair anādi-kāla-vivṛddhair ātmānubhava-pratibandhakair nikhilaiḥ pāpair vimucyante. The Supreme Lord, who is known as the yajña-puruṣa, 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 Varuṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, offer food to Kṛṣṇa and then eat – a 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 Viṣṇu 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, who eats only food offered to Kṛṣṇa, 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 prasādam of the Lord (food offered to Viṣṇu) 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 scarcity – that is the law of nature. Yajña, specifically the saṅkīrtana-yajña prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.

||3-15||

कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम् | तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम् ||३-१५||

karma brahmodbhavaṃ viddhi brahmākṣarasamudbhavam . tasmātsarvagataṃ brahma nityaṃ yajñe pratiṣṭhitam ||3-15||

karma — work; brahma — from the Vedas; udbhavam — produced; viddhi — you should know; brahma — the Vedas; akṣara — from the Supreme Brahman (Personality of Godhead); samudbhavam — directly manifested; tasmāt — therefore; sarva-gatam — all-pervading; brahma — transcendence; nityam — eternally; yajñe — in sacrifice; pratiṣṭhitam — situated.


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.


Yajñārtha-karma, or the necessity of work for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the yajña-puruṣa, Viṣṇu, 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 bhūtasya niśvasitam etad yad ṛg-vedo yajur-vedaḥ sāma-vedo ’tharvāṅgirasaḥ. “The four Vedas – namely the Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda and Atharva Veda – are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead.” (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.5.11) The Lord, being omnipotent, can speak by breathing air, for as it is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā, 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 one’s 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 yajña by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious. Even those who have not followed the Vedic injunctions may adopt the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic yajñas, or karmas.

||3-16||

एवं प्रवर्तितं चक्रं नानुवर्तयतीह यः | अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ स जीवति ||३-१६||

evaṃ pravartitaṃ cakraṃ nānuvartayatīha yaḥ . aghāyurindriyārāmo moghaṃ pārtha sa jīvati ||3-16||

evam — thus; pravartitam — established by the Vedas; cakram — cycle; na — does not; anuvartayati — adopt; iha — in this life; yaḥ — one who; agha-āyuḥ — whose life is full of sins; indriya-ārāmaḥ — satisfied in sense gratification; mogham — uselessly; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā (Arjuna); saḥ — he; jīvati — lives.


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 yajñas is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more and more. By nature’s law, this human form of life is specifically meant for self-realization, in either of the three ways – namely karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga or bhakti-yoga. There is no necessity of rigidly following the performances of the prescribed yajñas for the transcendentalists who are above vice and virtue; but those who are engaged in sense gratification require purification by the above-mentioned cycle of yajña performances. There are different kinds of activities. Those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious are certainly engaged in sensory consciousness; therefore they need to execute pious work. The yajña 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 yajñas are directly aimed at the particular demigods mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because when one masters the performance of yajñas one is sure to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. But if by performing yajñas one does not become Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||3-17||

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः | आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ||३-१७||

yastvātmaratireva syādātmatṛptaśca mānavaḥ . ātmanyeva ca santuṣṭastasya kāryaṃ na vidyate ||3-17||

yaḥ — one who; tu — but; ātma-ratiḥ — taking pleasure in the Self; eva — certainly; syāt — remains; ātma-tṛptaḥ — self-illuminated; ca — and; mānavaḥ — a man; ātmani — in himself; eva — only; ca — and; santuṣṭaḥ — perfectly satiated; tasya — his; kāryam — duty; na — does not; vidyate — exist.


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 satiated – for him there is no duty.


A person who is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, and is fully satisfied by his acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform. Due to his being Kṛṣṇa conscious, all impiety within is instantly cleansed, an effect of many, many thousands of yajña 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 Kṛṣṇa conscious person is no longer interested in material activities and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women and similar infatuations.

||3-18||

नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृतेनेह कश्चन | न चास्य सर्वभूतेषु कश्चिदर्थव्यपाश्रयः ||३-१८||

naiva tasya kṛtenārtho nākṛteneha kaścana . na cāsya sarvabhūteṣu kaścidarthavyapāśrayaḥ ||3-18||

na — never; eva — certainly; tasya — his; kṛtena — by discharge of duty; arthaḥ — purpose; na — nor; akṛtena — without discharge of duty; iha — in this world; kaścana — whatever; na — never; ca — and; asya — of him; sarva-bhūteṣu — among all living beings; kaścit — any; artha — purpose; vyapāśrayaḥ — taking shelter of.


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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not inactivity either, as will be explained in the following verses. A Kṛṣṇa conscious man does not take shelter of any person – man or demigod. Whatever he does in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is sufficient in the discharge of his obligation.

||3-19||

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर | असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः ||३-१९||

tasmādasaktaḥ satataṃ kāryaṃ karma samācara . asakto hyācarankarma paramāpnoti pūruṣaḥ ||3-19||

tasmāt — therefore; asaktaḥ — without attachment; satatam — constantly; kāryam — as duty; karma — work; samācara — perform; asaktaḥ — unattached; hi — certainly; ācaran — performing; karma — work; param — the Supreme; āpnoti — achieves; pūruṣaḥ — a man.


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 Kṛṣṇa, or in Kṛṣṇa 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 Kurukṣetra for the interest of Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa 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, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is transcendental to the reactions of good or evil work. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Kṛṣṇa alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely nonattached.

||3-20||

कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः | लोकसंग्रहमेवापि सम्पश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि ||३-२०||

karmaṇaiva hi saṃsiddhimāsthitā janakādayaḥ . lokasaṃgrahamevāpi sampaśyankartumarhasi ||3-20||

karmaṇā — by work; eva — even; hi — certainly; saṁsiddhim — in perfection; āsthitāḥ — situated; janaka-ādayaḥ — Janaka and other kings; loka-saṅgraham — the people in general; eva api — also; sampaśyan — considering; kartum — to act; arhasi — you deserve.


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 Sītā and father-in-law of Lord Śrī Rāma. Being a great devotee of the Lord, he was transcendentally situated, but because he was the king of Mithilā (a subdivision of Bihar province in India), he had to teach his subjects how to perform prescribed duties. Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, the Lord’s eternal friend, had no need to fight in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, but they fought to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the Battle of Kurukṣetra, 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is explained in the following verse.

||3-21||

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः | स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ||३-२१||

yadyadācarati śreṣṭhastattadevetaro janaḥ . sa yatpramāṇaṃ kurute lokastadanuvartate ||3-21||

yat yat — whatever; ācarati — he does; śreṣṭhaḥ — a respectable leader; tat — that; tat — and that alone; eva — certainly; itaraḥ — common; janaḥ — person; saḥ — he; yat — whichever; pramāṇam — example; kurute — does perform; lokaḥ — all the world; tat — that; anuvartate — follows in the footsteps.


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 ācārya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the principles of śāstra (scripture) to teach the common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-saṁhitā and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leader’s teaching should be based on the principles of such standard śāstras. One who desires to improve himself must follow the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 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 schoolteacher 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.

||3-22||

न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन | नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि ||३-२२||

na me pārthāsti kartavyaṃ triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana . nānavāptamavāptavyaṃ varta eva ca karmaṇi ||3-22||

na — not; me — Mine; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; asti — there is; kartavyam — prescribed duty; triṣu — in the three; lokeṣu — planetary systems; kiñcana — any; na — nothing; anavāptam — wanted; avāptavyam — to be gained; varte — I am engaged; eva — certainly; ca — also; karmaṇi — in prescribed duty.


O son of Pṛthā, 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 anything – and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures as follows:
tam īśvarāṇāṁ paramaṁ maheśvaraṁ
taṁ devatānāṁ paramaṁ ca daivatam
patiṁ patīnāṁ paramaṁ parastād
vidāma devaṁ bhuvaneśam īḍyam
na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate
na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate
parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca
“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 a 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.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.7–8)
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 Kṛṣṇa is engaged on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra as the leader of the kṣatriyas because the kṣatriyas 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.

||3-23||

यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः | मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ||३-२३||

yadi hyahaṃ na varteyaṃ jātu karmaṇyatandritaḥ . mama vartmānuvartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ ||3-23||

yadi — if; hi — certainly; aham — I; na — do not; varteyam — thus engage; jātu — ever; karmaṇi — in the performance of prescribed duties; atandritaḥ — with great care; mama — My; vartma — path; anuvartante — would follow; manuṣyāḥ — all men; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; sarvaśaḥ — in all respects.


For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Pārtha, 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 Kṛṣṇa, 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa was performing all the religious duties at home and out of home, as required of a householder.

||3-24||

उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका न कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम् | सङ्करस्य च कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः ||३-२४||

utsīdeyurime lokā na kuryāṃ karma cedaham . saṅkarasya ca kartā syāmupahanyāmimāḥ prajāḥ ||3-24||

utsīdeyuḥ — would be put into ruin; ime — all these; lokāḥ — worlds; na — not; kuryām — I perform; karma — prescribed duties; cet — if; aham — I; saṅkarasya — of unwanted population; ca — and; kartā — creator; syām — would be; upahanyām — would destroy; imāḥ — all these; prajāḥ — living entities.


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.


Varṇa-saṅkara 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.30–31) affirms:
naitat samācarej jātu
manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ
vinaśyaty ācaran mauḍhyād
yathārudro ’bdhi-jaṁ viṣam
īśvarāṇāṁ vacaḥ satyaṁ
tathaivācaritaṁ kvacit
teṣāṁ yat sva-vaco-yuktaṁ
buddhimāṁs tat samācaret
“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 Śiva.”
We should always consider the position of the īśvaras, or those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon, as superior. Without such power, one cannot imitate the īśvaras, who are superpowerful. Lord Śiva 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 Śiva who want to indulge in smoking gañjā (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Śiva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some pseudo devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa who prefer to imitate the Lord in His rāsa-līlā, 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.

||3-25||

सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत | कुर्याद्विद्वांस्तथासक्तश्चिकीर्षुर्लोकसंग्रहम् ||३-२५||

saktāḥ karmaṇyavidvāṃso yathā kurvanti bhārata . kuryādvidvāṃstathāsaktaścikīrṣurlokasaṃgraham ||3-25||

saktāḥ — being attached; karmaṇi — in prescribed duties; avidvāṁsaḥ — the ignorant; yathā — as much as; kurvanti — they do; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata; kuryāt — must do; vidvān — the learned; tathā — thus; asaktaḥ — without attachment; cikīrṣuḥ — desiring to lead; loka-saṅgraham — the people in general.


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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness and a person not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are differentiated by different desires. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not do anything which is not conducive to development of Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the Kṛṣṇa conscious person is required to show the people how to act and how to engage the results of action for the purpose of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||3-26||

न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम् | जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान्युक्तः समाचरन् ||३-२६||

na buddhibhedaṃ janayedajñānāṃ karmasaṅginām . joṣayetsarvakarmāṇi vidvānyuktaḥ samācaran ||3-26||

na — not; buddhi-bhedam — disruption of intelligence; janayet — he should cause; ajñānām — of the foolish; karma-saṅginām — who are attached to fruitive work; joṣayet — he should dovetail; sarva — all; karmāṇi — work; vidvān — a learned person; yuktaḥ — engaged; samācaran — practicing.


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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness].


Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ. 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 Kṛṣṇa, 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore a realized soul in Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa. The learned Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can have all the results one would otherwise derive from following one’s prescribed duties.

||3-27||

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः | अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ||३-२७||

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ . ahaṅkāravimūḍhātmā kartāhamiti manyate ||3-27||

prakṛteḥ — of material nature; kriyamāṇāni — being done; guṇaiḥ — by the modes; karmāṇi — activities; sarvaśaḥ — all kinds of; ahaṅkāra-vimūḍha — bewildered by false ego; ātmā — the spirit soul; kartā — doer; aham — I; iti — thus; manyate — he thinks.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa. 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 Kṛṣṇa, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The ignorant man forgets that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hṛṣīkeśa, 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 Kṛṣṇa.

||3-28||

तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः | गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा न सज्जते ||३-२८||

tattvavittu mahābāho guṇakarmavibhāgayoḥ . guṇā guṇeṣu vartanta iti matvā na sajjate ||3-28||

tattva-vit — the knower of the Absolute Truth; tu — but; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; guṇa-karma — of works under material influence; vibhāgayoḥ — differences; guṇāḥ — senses; guṇeṣu — in sense gratification; vartante — are being engaged; iti — thus; matvā — thinking; na — never; sajjate — becomes attached.


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, Kṛṣṇa, 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, Kṛṣṇa. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Kṛṣṇa 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one who knows the Absolute Truth in three different features – namely Brahman, Paramātmā and the Supreme Personality of Godhead – is called tattva-vit, for he knows also his own factual position in relationship with the Supreme.

||3-29||

प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढाः सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु | तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत् ||३-२९||

prakṛterguṇasammūḍhāḥ sajjante guṇakarmasu . tānakṛtsnavido mandānkṛtsnavinna vicālayet ||3-29||

prakṛteḥ — of material nature; guṇa — by the modes; sammūḍhāḥ — befooled by material identification; sajjante — they become engaged; guṇa-karmasu — in material activities; tān — those; akṛtsna-vidaḥ — persons with a poor fund of knowledge; mandān — lazy to understand self-realization; kṛtsna-vit — one who is in factual knowledge; na — not; vicālayet — should try to agitate.


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 one’s 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.

||3-30||

मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा | निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ||३-३०||

mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi saṃnyasyādhyātmacetasā . nirāśīrnirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigatajvaraḥ ||3-30||

mayi — unto Me; sarvāṇi — all sorts of; karmāṇi — activities; sannyasya — giving up completely; adhyātma — with full knowledge of the self; cetasā — by consciousness; nirāśīḥ — without desire for profit; nirmamaḥ — without ownership; bhūtvā — so being; yudhyasva — fight; vigata-jvaraḥ — without being lethargic.


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-gītā. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa, 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 Śrī Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa conscious, is called adhyātma-cetās. Nirāśīḥ 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.

||3-31||

ये मे मतमिदं नित्यमनुतिष्ठन्ति मानवाः | श्रद्धावन्तोऽनसूयन्तो मुच्यन्ते तेऽपि कर्मभिः ||३-३१||

ye me matamidaṃ nityamanutiṣṭhanti mānavāḥ . śraddhāvanto.anasūyanto mucyante te.api karmabhiḥ ||3-31||

ye — those who; me — My; matam — injunctions; idam — these; nityam — as an eternal function; anutiṣṭhanti — execute regularly; mānavāḥ — human beings; śraddhā-vantaḥ — with faith and devotion; anasūyantaḥ — without envy; mucyante — become free; te — all of them; api — even; karmabhiḥ — from the bondage of the law of fruitive actions.


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, Kṛṣṇa, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Kṛṣṇa 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-gītā but have no faith in Kṛṣṇa. 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||3-32||

ये त्वेतदभ्यसूयन्तो नानुतिष्ठन्ति मे मतम् | सर्वज्ञानविमूढांस्तान्विद्धि नष्टानचेतसः ||३-३२||

ye tvetadabhyasūyanto nānutiṣṭhanti me matam . sarvajñānavimūḍhāṃstānviddhi naṣṭānacetasaḥ ||3-32||

ye — those; tu — however; etat — this; abhyasūyantaḥ — out of envy; na — do not; anutiṣṭhanti — regularly perform; me — My; matam — injunction; sarva-jñāna — in all sorts of knowledge; vimūḍhān — perfectly befooled; tān — they are; viddhi — know it well; naṣṭān — all ruined; acetasaḥ — without Kṛṣṇa consciousness.


But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them regularly are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their endeavors for perfection.


The flaw of not being Kṛṣṇa 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, Paramātmā and the Personality of Godhead, due to a vacant heart. Therefore there is no hope of perfection of life for him.

||3-33||

सदृशं चेष्टते स्वस्याः प्रकृतेर्ज्ञानवानपि | प्रकृतिं यान्ति भूतानि निग्रहः किं करिष्यति ||३-३३||

sadṛśaṃ ceṣṭate svasyāḥ prakṛterjñānavānapi . prakṛtiṃ yānti bhūtāni nigrahaḥ kiṃ kariṣyati ||3-33||

sadṛśam — accordingly; ceṣṭate — tries; svasyāḥ — by his own; prakṛteḥ — modes of nature; jñāna-vān — learned; api — although; prakṛtim — nature; yānti — undergo; bhūtāni — all living entities; nigrahaḥ — repression; kim — what; kariṣyati — can do.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 māyā 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. Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one should not give up his occupational duties. No one should suddenly give up his prescribed duties and become a so-called yogī or transcendentalist artificially. It is better to be situated in one’s position and to try to attain Kṛṣṇa consciousness under superior training. Thus one may be freed from the clutches of Kṛṣṇa’s māyā.

||3-34||

इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ | तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ ||३-३४||

indriyasyendriyasyārthe rāgadveṣau vyavasthitau . tayorna vaśamāgacchettau hyasya paripanthinau ||3-34||

indriyasya — of the senses; indriyasya arthe — in the sense objects; rāga — attachment; dveṣau — also detachment; vyavasthitau — put under regulations; tayoḥ — of them; na — never; vaśam — control; āgacchet — one should come; tau — those; hi — certainly; asya — his; paripanthinau — stumbling blocks.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 one’s wife. All other women are to be considered as one’s 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 astray – as 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or acting always in the loving service of Kṛṣṇa, detaches one from all kinds of sensory activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||3-35||

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् | स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः ||३-३५||

śreyānsvadharmo viguṇaḥ paradharmātsvanuṣṭhitāt . svadharme nidhanaṃ śreyaḥ paradharmo bhayāvahaḥ ||3-35||

śreyān — far better; sva-dharmaḥ — one’s prescribed duties; viguṇaḥ — even faulty; para-dharmāt — than duties mentioned for others; su-anuṣṭhitāt — perfectly done; sva-dharme — in one’s prescribed duties; nidhanam — destruction; śreyaḥ — better; para-dharmaḥ — duties prescribed for others; bhaya-āvahaḥ — dangerous.


It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.


One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Materially, prescribed duties are duties enjoined according to one’s 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 Kṛṣṇa. But whether material or spiritual, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate another’s 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 brāhmaṇa, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a kṣatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a kṣatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brāhmaṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the kṣatriya may act as a brāhmaṇa, or a brāhmaṇa may act as a kṣatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Viśvāmitra was originally a kṣatriya, but later on he acted as a brāhmaṇa, whereas Paraśurāma was a brāhmaṇa but later on he acted as a kṣatriya. 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||3-36||

अर्जुन उवाच | अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुषः | अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजितः ||३-३६||

arjuna uvāca . atha kena prayukto.ayaṃ pāpaṃ carati pūruṣaḥ . anicchannapi vārṣṇeya balādiva niyojitaḥ ||3-36||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; atha — then; kena — by what; prayuktaḥ — impelled; ayam — one; pāpam — sins; carati — does; pūruṣaḥ — a man; anicchan — without desiring; api — although; vārṣṇeya — O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; balāt — by force; iva — as if; niyojitaḥ — engaged.


Arjuna said: O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, 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, Arjuna’s question to Kṛṣṇa 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.

||3-37||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः | महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ||३-३७||

śrībhagavānuvāca . kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajoguṇasamudbhavaḥ . mahāśano mahāpāpmā viddhyenamiha vairiṇam ||3-37||

śri-bhagavān uvāca — the Personality of Godhead said; kāmaḥ — lust; eṣaḥ — this; krodhaḥ — wrath; eṣaḥ — this; rajaḥ-guṇa — the mode of passion; samudbhavaḥ — born of; mahā-aśanaḥ — all-devouring; mahā-pāpmā — greatly sinful; viddhi — know; enam — this; iha — in the material world; vairiṇam — greatest enemy.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Vedānta-sūtras, wherein it is said, athāto brahma-jijñāsā: one should inquire into the Supreme. And the Supreme is defined in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness – or, in other words, desiring everything for Kṛṣṇa – then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized. Hanumān, the great servitor of Lord Rāma, exhibited his wrath by burning the golden city of Rāvaṇa, but by doing so he became the greatest devotee of the Lord. Here also, in Bhagavad-gītā, 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, become our friends instead of our enemies.

||3-38||

धूमेनाव्रियते वह्निर्यथादर्शो मलेन च | यथोल्बेनावृतो गर्भस्तथा तेनेदमावृतम् ||३-३८||

dhūmenāvriyate vahniryathādarśo malena ca . yatholbenāvṛto garbhastathā tenedamāvṛtam ||3-38||

dhūmena — by smoke; āvriyate — is covered; vahniḥ — fire; yathā — just as; ādarśaḥ — mirror; malena — by dust; ca — also; yathā — just as; ulbena — by the womb; āvṛtaḥ — is covered; garbhaḥ — embryo; tathā — so; tena — by that lust; idam — this; āvṛtam — is covered.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness under able guidance.

||3-39||

आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा | कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन च ||३-३९||

āvṛtaṃ jñānametena jñānino nityavairiṇā . kāmarūpeṇa kaunteya duṣpūreṇānalena ca ||3-39||

āvṛtam — covered; jñānam — pure consciousness; etena — by this; jñāninaḥ — of the knower; nitya-vairiṇā — by the eternal enemy; kāma-rūpeṇa — in the form of lust; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; duṣpūreṇa — never to be satisfied; analena — by the fire; ca — also.


Thus the wise living entity’s 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-smṛti 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-āgāra, 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.

||3-40||

इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते | एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् ||३-४०||

indriyāṇi mano buddhirasyādhiṣṭhānamucyate . etairvimohayatyeṣa jñānamāvṛtya dehinam ||3-40||

indriyāṇi — the senses; manaḥ — the mind; buddhiḥ — the intelligence; asya — of this lust; adhiṣṭhānam — sitting place; ucyate — is called; etaiḥ — by all these; vimohayati — bewilders; eṣaḥ — this lust; jñānam — knowledge; āvṛtya — covering; dehinam — of the embodied.


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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.84.13):
yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
“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.”

||3-41||

तस्मात्त्वमिन्द्रियाण्यादौ नियम्य भरतर्षभ | पाप्मानं प्रजहि ह्येनं ज्ञानविज्ञाननाशनम् ||३-४१||

tasmāttvamindriyāṇyādau niyamya bharatarṣabha . pāpmānaṃ prajahi hyenaṃ jñānavijñānanāśanam ||3-41||

tasmāt — therefore; tvam — you; indriyāṇi — senses; ādau — in the beginning; niyamya — by regulating; bharata-ṛṣabha — O chief amongst the descendants of Bharata; pāpmānam — the great symbol of sin; prajahi — curb; hi — certainly; enam — this; jñāna — of knowledge; vijñāna — and scientific knowledge of the pure soul; nāśanam — the destroyer.


Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhāratas, 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. Jñāna refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or in other words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vijñāna refers to specific knowledge of the spirit soul’s constitutional position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is explained thus in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.31):
jñānaṁ parama-guhyaṁ me
yad vijñāna-samanvitam
sa-rahasyaṁ tad-aṅgaṁ ca
gṛhāṇa gaditaṁ mayā
“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-gītā 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thereby one may become fully Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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, Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the lust into love of Godhead – the highest perfectional stage of human life.

||3-42||

इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः | मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धेः परतस्तु सः ||३-४२||

indriyāṇi parāṇyāhurindriyebhyaḥ paraṃ manaḥ . manasastu parā buddhiryo buddheḥ paratastu saḥ ||3-42||

indriyāṇi — senses; parāṇi — superior; āhuḥ — are said; indriyebhyaḥ — more than the senses; param — superior; manaḥ — the mind; manasaḥ — more than the mind; tu — also; parā — superior; buddhiḥ — intelligence; yaḥ — who; buddheḥ — more than the intelligence; parataḥ — superior; tu — but; saḥ — he.


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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In Kṛṣṇa 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 act – as 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 Kaṭha Upaniṣad 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. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā 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 Kaṭha Upaniṣad the soul has been described as mahān, the great. Therefore the soul is above all – namely, 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 one’s mind in Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind.

||3-43||

एवं बुद्धेः परं बुद्ध्वा संस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना | जहि शत्रुं महाबाहो कामरूपं दुरासदम् ||३-४३||

evaṃ buddheḥ paraṃ buddhvā saṃstabhyātmānamātmanā . jahi śatruṃ mahābāho kāmarūpaṃ durāsadam ||3-43||

evam — thus; buddheḥ — to intelligence; param — superior; buddhvā — knowing; saṁstabhya — by steadying; ātmānam — the mind; ātmanā — by deliberate intelligence; jahi — conquer; śatrum — the enemy; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; kāma-rūpam — in the form of lust; durāsadam — formidable.


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 [Kṛṣṇa consciousness] and thus – by spiritual strength – conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.


This Third Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā is conclusively directive to Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can be situated in a transcendental position without being influenced by the material senses and the mind – by steady intelligence directed toward one’s 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness by higher intelligence.

Глава 4

Transcendental Knowledge

||4-1||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम् | विवस्वान्मनवे प्राह मनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत् ||४-१||

śrībhagavānuvāca . imaṃ vivasvate yogaṃ proktavānahamavyayam . vivasvānmanave prāha manurikṣvākave.abravīt ||4-1||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; imam — this; vivasvate — unto the sun-god; yogam — the science of one’s relationship to the Supreme; proktavān — instructed; aham — I; avyayam — imperishable; vivasvān — Vivasvān (the sun-god’s name); manave — unto the father of mankind (of the name Vaivasvata); prāha — told; manuḥ — the father of mankind; ikṣvākave — unto King Ikṣvāku; abravīt — said.


The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.


Herein we find the history of the Bhagavad-gītā traced from a remote time when it was delivered to the royal order of all planets, beginning from the sun planet. The kings of all planets are especially meant for the protection of the inhabitants, and therefore the royal order should understand the science of Bhagavad-gītā in order to be able to rule the citizens and protect them from material bondage to lust. Human life is meant for cultivation of spiritual knowledge, in eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the executive heads of all states and all planets are obliged to impart this lesson to the citizens by education, culture and devotion. In other words, the executive heads of all states are intended to spread the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that the people may take advantage of this great science and pursue a successful path, utilizing the opportunity of the human form of life.
In this millennium, the sun-god is known as Vivasvān, the king of the sun, which is the origin of all planets within the solar system. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.52) it is stated:
yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇāṁ
rājā samasta-sura-mūrtir aśeṣa-tejāḥ
yasyājñayā bhramati sambhṛta-kāla-cakro
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“Let me worship,” Lord Brahmā said, “the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Kṛṣṇa], who is the original person and under whose order the sun, which is the king of all planets, is assuming immense power and heat. The sun represents the eye of the Lord and traverses its orbit in obedience to His order.”
The sun is the king of the planets, and the sun-god (at present of the name Vivasvān) rules the sun planet, which is controlling all other planets by supplying heat and light. He is rotating under the order of Kṛṣṇa, and Lord Kṛṣṇa originally made Vivasvān His first disciple to understand the science of Bhagavad-gītā. The Gītā is not, therefore, a speculative treatise for the insignificant mundane scholar but is a standard book of knowledge coming down from time immemorial.
In the Mahābhārata (Śānti-parva 348.51–52) we can trace out the history of the Gītā as follows:
tretā-yugādau ca tato
vivasvān manave dadau
manuś ca loka-bhṛty-arthaṁ
sutāyekṣvākave dadau
ikṣvākuṇā ca kathito
vyāpya lokān avasthitaḥ
“In the beginning of the millennium known as Tretā-yuga this science of the relationship with the Supreme was delivered by Vivasvān to Manu. Manu, being the father of mankind, gave it to his son Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, the king of this earth planet and forefather of the Raghu dynasty, in which Lord Rāmacandra appeared.” Therefore, Bhagavad-gītā existed in human society from the time of Mahārāja Ikṣvāku.
At the present moment we have just passed through five thousand years of the Kali-yuga, which lasts 432,000 years. Before this there was Dvāpara-yuga (800,000 years), and before that there was Tretā-yuga (1,200,000 years). Thus, some 2,005,000 years ago, Manu spoke the Bhagavad-gītā to his disciple and son Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, the king of this planet earth. The age of the current Manu is calculated to last some 305,300,000 years, of which 120,400,000 have passed. Accepting that before the birth of Manu the Gītā was spoken by the Lord to His disciple the sun-god Vivasvān, a rough estimate is that the Gītā was spoken at least 120,400,000 years ago; and in human society it has been extant for two million years. It was respoken by the Lord again to Arjuna about five thousand years ago. That is the rough estimate of the history of the Gītā, according to the Gītā itself and according to the version of the speaker, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It was spoken to the sun-god Vivasvān because he is also a kṣatriya and is the father of all kṣatriyas who are descendants of the sun-god, or the sūrya-vaṁśa kṣatriyas. Because Bhagavad-gītā is as good as the Vedas, being spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this knowledge is apauruṣeya, superhuman. Since the Vedic instructions are accepted as they are, without human interpretation, the Gītā must therefore be accepted without mundane interpretation. The mundane wranglers may speculate on the Gītā in their own ways, but that is not Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Therefore, Bhagavad-gītā has to be accepted as it is, from the disciplic succession, and it is described herein that the Lord spoke to the sun-god, the sun-god spoke to his son Manu, and Manu spoke to his son Ikṣvāku.

||4-2||

एवं परम्पराप्राप्तमिमं राजर्षयो विदुः | स कालेनेह महता योगो नष्टः परन्तप ||४-२||

evaṃ paramparāprāptamimaṃ rājarṣayo viduḥ . sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa ||4-2||

evam — thus; paramparā — by disciplic succession; prāptam — received; imam — this science; rāja-ṛṣayaḥ — the saintly kings; viduḥ — understood; saḥ — that knowledge; kālena — in the course of time; iha — in this world; mahatā — great; yogaḥ — the science of one’s relationship with the Supreme; naṣṭaḥ — scattered; param-tapa — O Arjuna, subduer of the enemies.


This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.


It is clearly stated that the Gītā was especially meant for the saintly kings because they were to execute its purpose in ruling over the citizens. Certainly Bhagavad-gītā was never meant for the demonic persons, who would dissipate its value for no one’s benefit and would devise all types of interpretations according to personal whims. As soon as the original purpose was scattered by the motives of the unscrupulous commentators, there arose the need to reestablish the disciplic succession. Five thousand years ago it was detected by the Lord Himself that the disciplic succession was broken, and therefore He declared that the purpose of the Gītā appeared to be lost. In the same way, at the present moment also there are so many editions of the Gītā (especially in English), but almost all of them are not according to authorized disciplic succession. There are innumerable interpretations rendered by different mundane scholars, but almost all of them do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, although they make a good business on the words of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This spirit is demonic, because demons do not believe in God but simply enjoy the property of the Supreme. Since there is a great need of an edition of the Gītā in English, as it is received by the paramparā (disciplic succession) system, an attempt is made herewith to fulfill this great want. Bhagavad-gītā – accepted as it is – is a great boon to humanity; but if it is accepted as a treatise of philosophical speculations, it is simply a waste of time.

||4-3||

स एवायं मया तेऽद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः | भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ||४-३||

sa evāyaṃ mayā te.adya yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ . bhakto.asi me sakhā ceti rahasyaṃ hyetaduttamam ||4-3||

saḥ — the same; eva — certainly; ayam — this; mayā — by Me; te — unto you; adya — today; yogaḥ — the science of yoga; proktaḥ — spoken; purātanaḥ — very old; bhaktaḥ — devotee; asi — you are; me — My; sakhā — friend; ca — also; iti — therefore; rahasyam — mystery; hi — certainly; etat — this; uttamam — transcendental.


That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science.


There are two classes of men, namely the devotee and the demon. The Lord selected Arjuna as the recipient of this great science owing to his being a devotee of the Lord, but for the demon it is not possible to understand this great mysterious science. There are a number of editions of this great book of knowledge. Some of them have commentaries by the devotees, and some of them have commentaries by the demons. Commentation by the devotees is real, whereas that of the demons is useless. Arjuna accepts Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and any commentary on the Gītā following in the footsteps of Arjuna is real devotional service to the cause of this great science. The demonic, however, do not accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as He is. Instead they concoct something about Kṛṣṇa and mislead general readers from the path of Kṛṣṇa’s instructions. Here is a warning about such misleading paths. One should try to follow the disciplic succession from Arjuna, and thus be benefited by this great science of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

||4-4||

अर्जुन उवाच | अपरं भवतो जन्म परं जन्म विवस्वतः | कथमेतद्विजानीयां त्वमादौ प्रोक्तवानिति ||४-४||

arjuna uvāca . aparaṃ bhavato janma paraṃ janma vivasvataḥ . kathametadvijānīyāṃ tvamādau proktavāniti ||4-4||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; aparam — junior; bhavataḥ — Your; janma — birth; param — superior; janma — birth; vivasvataḥ — of the sun-god; katham — how; etat — this; vijānīyām — shall I understand; tvam — You; ādau — in the beginning; proktavān — instructed; iti — thus.


Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvān is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?


Arjuna is an accepted devotee of the Lord, so how could he not believe Kṛṣṇa’s words? The fact is that Arjuna is not inquiring for himself but for those who do not believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead or for the demons who do not like the idea that Kṛṣṇa should be accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead; for them only Arjuna inquires on this point, as if he were himself not aware of the Personality of Godhead, or Kṛṣṇa. As it will be evident from the Tenth Chapter, Arjuna knew perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the fountainhead of everything and the last word in transcendence. Of course, Kṛṣṇa also appeared as the son of Devakī on this earth. How Kṛṣṇa remained the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, the eternal original person, is very difficult for an ordinary man to understand. Therefore, to clarify this point, Arjuna put this question before Kṛṣṇa so that He Himself could speak authoritatively. That Kṛṣṇa is the supreme authority is accepted by the whole world, not only at present but from time immemorial, and the demons alone reject Him. Anyway, since Kṛṣṇa is the authority accepted by all, Arjuna put this question before Him in order that Kṛṣṇa would describe Himself without being depicted by the demons, who always try to distort Him in a way understandable to the demons and their followers. It is necessary that everyone, for his own interest, know the science of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, when Kṛṣṇa Himself speaks about Himself, it is auspicious for all the worlds. To the demons, such explanations by Kṛṣṇa Himself may appear to be strange because the demons always study Kṛṣṇa from their own standpoint, but those who are devotees heartily welcome the statements of Kṛṣṇa when they are spoken by Kṛṣṇa Himself. The devotees will always worship such authoritative statements of Kṛṣṇa because they are always eager to know more and more about Him. The atheists, who consider Kṛṣṇa an ordinary man, may in this way come to know that Kṛṣṇa is superhuman, that He is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha – the eternal form of bliss and knowledge – that He is transcendental, and that He is above the domination of the modes of material nature and above the influence of time and space. A devotee of Kṛṣṇa, like Arjuna, is undoubtedly above any misunderstanding of the transcendental position of Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna’s putting this question before the Lord is simply an attempt by the devotee to defy the atheistic attitude of persons who consider Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary human being, subject to the modes of material nature.

||4-5||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन | तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ||४-५||

śrībhagavānuvāca . bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna . tānyahaṃ veda sarvāṇi na tvaṃ vettha parantapa ||4-5||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Personality of Godhead said; bahūni — many; me — of Mine; vyatītāni — have passed; janmāni — births; tava — of yours; ca — and also; arjuna — O Arjuna; tāni — those; aham — I; veda — do know; sarvāṇi — all; na — not; tvam — you; vettha — know; param-tapa — O subduer of the enemy.


The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!


In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.33) we have information of many, many incarnations of the Lord. It is stated there:
advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam
ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca
vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Kṛṣṇa], who is the original person – absolute, infallible, without beginning. Although expanded into unlimited forms, He is still the same original, the oldest, and the person always appearing as a fresh youth. Such eternal, blissful, all-knowing forms of the Lord are usually not understood by even the best Vedic scholars, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees.”
It is also stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.39):
rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan
nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Kṛṣṇa], who is always situated in various incarnations such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha and many subincarnations as well, but who is the original Personality of Godhead known as Kṛṣṇa, and who incarnates personally also.”
In the Vedas also it is said that the Lord, although one without a second, manifests Himself in innumerable forms. He is like the vaidūrya stone, which changes color yet still remains one. All those multiforms are understood by the pure, unalloyed devotees, but not by a simple study of the Vedas (vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau). Devotees like Arjuna are constant companions of the Lord, and whenever the Lord incarnates, the associate devotees also incarnate in order to serve the Lord in different capacities. Arjuna is one of these devotees, and in this verse it is understood that some millions of years ago when Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke the Bhagavad-gītā to the sun-god Vivasvān, Arjuna, in a different capacity, was also present. But the difference between the Lord and Arjuna is that the Lord remembered the incident whereas Arjuna could not remember. That is the difference between the part-and-parcel living entity and the Supreme Lord. Although Arjuna is addressed herein as the mighty hero who could subdue the enemies, he is unable to recall what had happened in his various past births. Therefore, a living entity, however great he may be in the material estimation, can never equal the Supreme Lord. Anyone who is a constant companion of the Lord is certainly a liberated person, but he cannot be equal to the Lord. The Lord is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā as infallible (acyuta), which means that He never forgets Himself, even though He is in material contact. Therefore, the Lord and the living entity can never be equal in all respects, even if the living entity is as liberated as Arjuna. Although Arjuna is a devotee of the Lord, he sometimes forgets the nature of the Lord, but by the divine grace a devotee can at once understand the infallible condition of the Lord, whereas a nondevotee or a demon cannot understand this transcendental nature. Consequently these descriptions in the Gītā cannot be understood by demonic brains. Kṛṣṇa remembered acts which were performed by Him millions of years before, but Arjuna could not, despite the fact that both Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are eternal in nature. We may also note herein that a living entity forgets everything due to his change of body, but the Lord remembers because He does not change His sac-cid-ānanda body. He is advaita, which means there is no distinction between His body and Himself. Everything in relation to Him is spirit – whereas the conditioned soul is different from his material body. And because the Lord’s body and self are identical, His position is always different from that of the ordinary living entity, even when He descends to the material platform. The demons cannot adjust themselves to this transcendental nature of the Lord, which the Lord Himself explains in the following verse.

||4-6||

अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भूतानामीश्वरोऽपि सन् | प्रकृतिं स्वामधिष्ठाय सम्भवाम्यात्ममायया ||४-६||

ajo.api sannavyayātmā bhūtānāmīśvaro.api san . prakṛtiṃ svāmadhiṣṭhāya sambhavāmyātmamāyayā ||4-6||

ajaḥ — unborn; api — although; san — being so; avyaya — without deterioration; ātmā — body; bhūtānām — of all those who are born; īśvaraḥ — the Supreme Lord; api — although; san — being so; prakṛtim — in the transcendental form; svām — of Myself; adhiṣṭhāya — being so situated; sambhavāmi — I do incarnate; ātma-māyayā — by My internal energy.


Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.


The Lord has spoken about the peculiarity of His birth: although He may appear like an ordinary person, He remembers everything of His many, many past “births,” whereas a common man cannot remember what he has done even a few hours before. If someone is asked what he did exactly at the same time one day earlier, it would be very difficult for a common man to answer immediately. He would surely have to dredge his memory to recall what he was doing exactly at the same time one day before. And yet, men often dare claim to be God, or Kṛṣṇa. One should not be misled by such meaningless claims. Then again, the Lord explains His prakṛti, or His form. Prakṛti means “nature,” as well as svarūpa, or “one’s own form.” The Lord says that He appears in His own body. He does not change His body, as the common living entity changes from one body to another. The conditioned soul may have one kind of body in the present birth, but he has a different body in the next birth. In the material world, the living entity has no fixed body but transmigrates from one body to another. The Lord, however, does not do so. Whenever He appears, He does so in the same original body, by His internal potency. In other words, Kṛṣṇa appears in this material world in His original eternal form, with two hands, holding a flute. He appears exactly in His eternal body, uncontaminated by this material world. Although He appears in the same transcendental body and is Lord of the universe, it still appears that He takes His birth like an ordinary living entity. And although His body does not deteriorate like a material body, it still appears that Lord Kṛṣṇa grows from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth. But astonishingly enough He never ages beyond youth. At the time of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, He had many grandchildren at home; or, in other words, He had sufficiently aged by material calculations. Still He looked just like a young man twenty or twenty-five years old. We never see a picture of Kṛṣṇa in old age because He never grows old like us, although He is the oldest person in the whole creation – past, present and future. Neither His body nor His intelligence ever deteriorates or changes. Therefore, it is clear that in spite of His being in the material world, He is the same unborn, eternal form of bliss and knowledge, changeless in His transcendental body and intelligence. Factually, His appearance and disappearance are like the sun’s rising, moving before us and then disappearing from our eyesight. When the sun is out of sight, we think that the sun has set, and when the sun is before our eyes, we think that the sun is on the horizon. Actually, the sun is always in its fixed position, but owing to our defective, insufficient senses, we calculate the appearance and disappearance of the sun in the sky. And because Lord Kṛṣṇa’s appearance and disappearance are completely different from that of any ordinary, common living entity, it is evident that He is eternal, blissful knowledge by His internal potency – and He is never contaminated by material nature. The Vedas also confirm that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unborn yet He still appears to take His birth in multimanifestations. The Vedic supplementary literatures also confirm that even though the Lord appears to be taking His birth, He is still without change of body. In the Bhāgavatam, He appears before His mother as Nārāyaṇa, with four hands and the decorations of the six kinds of full opulences. His appearance in His original eternal form is His causeless mercy, bestowed upon the living entities so that they can concentrate on the Supreme Lord as He is, and not on mental concoctions or imaginations, which the impersonalist wrongly thinks the Lord’s forms to be. The word māyā, or ātma-māyā, refers to the Lord’s causeless mercy, according to the Viśva-kośa dictionary. The Lord is conscious of all of His previous appearances and disappearances, but a common living entity forgets everything about his past body as soon as he gets another body. He is the Lord of all living entities because He performs wonderful and superhuman activities while He is on this earth. Therefore, the Lord is always the same Absolute Truth and is without differentiation between His form and self, or between His quality and body. A question may now be raised as to why the Lord appears and disappears in this world. This is explained in the next verse.

||4-7||

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत | अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ||४-७||

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānirbhavati bhārata . abhyutthānamadharmasya tadātmānaṃ sṛjāmyaham ||4-7||

yadā yadā — whenever and wherever; hi — certainly; dharmasya — of religion; glāniḥ — discrepancies; bhavati — become manifested; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata; abhyutthānam — predominance; adharmasya — of irreligion; tadā — at that time; ātmānam — self; sṛjāmi — manifest; aham — I.


Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.


The word sṛjāmi is significant herein. Sṛjāmi cannot be used in the sense of creation, because, according to the previous verse, there is no creation of the Lord’s form or body, since all of the forms are eternally existent. Therefore, sṛjāmi means that the Lord manifests Himself as He is. Although the Lord appears on schedule, namely at the end of the Dvāpara-yuga of the twenty-eighth millennium of the seventh Manu in one day of Brahmā, He has no obligation to adhere to such rules and regulations, because He is completely free to act in many ways at His will. He therefore appears by His own will whenever there is a predominance of irreligiosity and a disappearance of true religion. Principles of religion are laid down in the Vedas, and any discrepancy in the matter of properly executing the rules of the Vedas makes one irreligious. In the Bhāgavatam it is stated that such principles are the laws of the Lord. Only the Lord can manufacture a system of religion. The Vedas are also accepted as originally spoken by the Lord Himself to Brahmā, from within his heart. Therefore, the principles of dharma, or religion, are the direct orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam). These principles are clearly indicated throughout the Bhagavad-gītā. The purpose of the Vedas is to establish such principles under the order of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord directly orders, at the end of the Gītā, that the highest principle of religion is to surrender unto Him only, and nothing more. The Vedic principles push one towards complete surrender unto Him; and whenever such principles are disturbed by the demoniac, the Lord appears. From the Bhāgavatam we understand that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa who appeared when materialism was rampant and materialists were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas. Although there are certain restrictive rules and regulations regarding animal sacrifice for particular purposes in the Vedas, people of demonic tendency still took to animal sacrifice without reference to the Vedic principles. Lord Buddha appeared in order to stop this nonsense and to establish the Vedic principles of nonviolence. Therefore each and every avatāra, or incarnation of the Lord, has a particular mission, and they are all described in the revealed scriptures. No one should be accepted as an avatāra unless he is referred to by scriptures. It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same – to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant, or Himself in some disguised form.
The principles of the Bhagavad-gītā were spoken to Arjuna, and, for that matter, to other highly elevated persons, because he was highly advanced compared to ordinary persons in other parts of the world. Two plus two equals four is a mathematical principle that is true in the beginner’s arithmetic class and in the advanced class as well. Still, there are higher and lower mathematics. In all incarnations of the Lord, therefore, the same principles are taught, but they appear to be higher and lower in varied circumstances. The higher principles of religion begin with the acceptance of the four orders and the four statuses of social life, as will be explained later. The whole purpose of the mission of incarnations is to arouse Kṛṣṇa consciousness everywhere. Such consciousness is manifest and nonmanifest only under different circumstances.

||4-8||

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् | धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ||४-८||

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṃ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām . dharmasaṃsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge ||4-8||

paritrāṇāya — for the deliverance; sādhūnām — of the devotees; vināśāya — for the annihilation; ca — and; duṣkṛtām — of the miscreants; dharma — principles of religion; saṁsthāpana-arthāya — to reestablish; sambhavāmi — I do appear; yuge — millennium; yuge — after millennium.


To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.


According to Bhagavad-gītā, a sādhu (holy man) is a man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person may appear to be irreligious, but if he has the qualifications of Kṛṣṇa consciousness wholly and fully, he is to be understood to be a sādhu. And duṣkṛtām applies to those who do not care for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such miscreants, or duṣkṛtām, are described as foolish and the lowest of mankind, even though they may be decorated with mundane education, whereas a person who is one hundred percent engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is accepted as a sādhu, even though such a person may be neither learned nor well cultured. As far as the atheistic are concerned, it is not necessary for the Supreme Lord to appear as He is to destroy them, as He did with the demons Rāvaṇa and Kaṁsa. The Lord has many agents who are quite competent to vanquish demons. But the Lord especially descends to appease His unalloyed devotees, who are always harassed by the demoniac. The demon harasses the devotee, even though the latter may happen to be his kin. Although Prahlāda Mahārāja was the son of Hiraṇyakaśipu, he was nonetheless persecuted by his father; although Devakī, the mother of Kṛṣṇa, was the sister of Kaṁsa, she and her husband Vasudeva were persecuted only because Kṛṣṇa was to be born of them. So Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared primarily to deliver Devakī rather than kill Kaṁsa, but both were performed simultaneously. Therefore it is said here that to deliver the devotee and vanquish the demon miscreants, the Lord appears in different incarnations.
In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, the following verses (Madhya 20.263–264) summarize these principles of incarnation:
sṛṣṭi-hetu yei mūrti prapañce avatare
sei īśvara-mūrti ‘avatāra’ nāma dhare
māyātīta paravyome sabāra avasthāna
viśve avatari’ dhare ‘avatāra’ nāma
“The avatāra, or incarnation of Godhead, descends from the kingdom of God for material manifestation. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatāra. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When they descend to the material creation, they assume the name avatāra.”
There are various kinds of avatāras, such as puruṣāvatāras, guṇāvatāras, līlāvatāras, śakty-āveśa avatāras, manvantara-avatāras and yugāvatāras – all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Kṛṣṇa is the primeval Lord, the fountainhead of all avatāras. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descends for the specific purpose of mitigating the anxieties of the pure devotees, who are very anxious to see Him in His original Vṛndāvana pastimes. Therefore, the prime purpose of the Kṛṣṇa avatāra is to satisfy His unalloyed devotees.
The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the Age of Kali. As stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who spread the worship of Kṛṣṇa by the saṅkīrtana movement (congregational chanting of the holy names) and spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of saṅkīrtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya as the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is described secretly but not directly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures, such as the Upaniṣads, Mahābhārata and Bhāgavatam. The devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa are very much attracted by the saṅkīrtana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatāra of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers them by His causeless mercy.

||4-9||

जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः | त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन ||४-९||

janma karma ca me divyamevaṃ yo vetti tattvataḥ . tyaktvā dehaṃ punarjanma naiti māmeti so.arjuna ||4-9||

janma — birth; karma — work; ca — also; me — of Mine; divyam — transcendental; evam — like this; yaḥ — anyone who; vetti — knows; tattvataḥ — in reality; tyaktvā — leaving aside; deham — this body; punaḥ — again; janma — birth; na — never; eti — does attain; mām — unto Me; eti — does attain; saḥ — he; arjuna — O Arjuna.


One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.


The Lord’s descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the sixth verse. One who can understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead is already liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting this present material body. Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy. The impersonalists and the yogīs attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then, the liberation they achieve – merging into the impersonal brahma-jyotir of the Lord – is only partial, and there is the risk of returning to this material world. But the devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning to this material world. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.33) it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam. Although there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas (Puruṣa-bodhinī Upaniṣad):
eko devo nitya-līlānurakto
bhakta-vyāpī hṛdy antar-ātmā
“The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees.” This Vedic version is confirmed in this verse of the Gītā personally by the Lord. He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord, “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection, and this is confirmed by the following Vedic assertion:
tam eva viditvāti mṛtyum eti
nānyaḥ panthā vidyate ’yanāya
“One can attain the perfect stage of liberation from birth and death simply by knowing the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and there is no other way to achieve this perfection.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.8) That there is no alternative means that anyone who does not understand Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is surely in the mode of ignorance and consequently he will not attain salvation simply, so to speak, by licking the outer surface of the bottle of honey, or by interpreting the Bhagavad-gītā according to mundane scholarship. Such empiric philosophers may assume very important roles in the material world, but they are not necessarily eligible for liberation. Such puffed-up mundane scholars have to wait for the causeless mercy of the devotee of the Lord. One should therefore cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in this way attain perfection.

||4-10||

वीतरागभयक्रोधा मन्मया मामुपाश्रिताः | बहवो ज्ञानतपसा पूता मद्भावमागताः ||४-१०||

vītarāgabhayakrodhā manmayā māmupāśritāḥ . bahavo jñānatapasā pūtā madbhāvamāgatāḥ ||4-10||

vīta — freed from; rāga — attachment; bhaya — fear; krodhāḥ — and anger; mat-mayāḥ — fully in Me; mām — in Me; upāśritāḥ — being fully situated; bahavaḥ — many; jñāna — of knowledge; tapasā — by the penance; pūtāḥ — being purified; mat-bhāvam — transcendental love for Me; āgatāḥ — attained.


Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me – and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.


As described above, it is very difficult for a person who is too materially affected to understand the personal nature of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Generally, people who are attached to the bodily conception of life are so absorbed in materialism that it is almost impossible for them to understand how the Supreme can be a person. Such materialists cannot even imagine that there is a transcendental body which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful. In the materialistic concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance and completely miserable. Therefore, people in general keep this same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord. For such materialistic men, the form of the gigantic material manifestation is supreme. Consequently they consider the Supreme to be impersonal. And because they are too materially absorbed, the conception of retaining the personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When they are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they become afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void. Generally, they compare the living entities to the bubbles of the ocean, which merge into the ocean. That is the highest perfection of spiritual existence attainable without individual personality. This is a kind of fearful stage of life, devoid of perfect knowledge of spiritual existence. Furthermore there are many persons who cannot understand spiritual existence at all. Being embarrassed by so many theories and by contradictions of various types of philosophical speculation, they become disgusted or angry and foolishly conclude that there is no supreme cause and that everything is ultimately void. Such people are in a diseased condition of life. Some people are too materially attached and therefore do not give attention to spiritual life, some of them want to merge into the supreme spiritual cause, and some of them disbelieve in everything, being angry at all sorts of spiritual speculation out of hopelessness. This last class of men take to the shelter of some kind of intoxication, and their affective hallucinations are sometimes accepted as spiritual vision. One has to get rid of all three stages of material consciousness: attachment to material life, fear of a spiritual personal identity, and the conception of void that arises from frustration in life. To get free from these three stages of the material concept of life, one has to take complete shelter of the Lord, guided by the bona fide spiritual master, and follow the disciplines and regulative principles of devotional life. The last stage of the devotional life is called bhāva, or transcendental love of Godhead.
According to Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.4.15–16), the science of devotional service:
ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-
saṅgo ’tha bhajana-kriyā
tato ’nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt
tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
tataḥ premābhyudañcati
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
“In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is matured in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life.” In the prema stage there is constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. So, by the slow process of devotional service, under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, one can attain the highest stage, being freed from all material attachment, from the fearfulness of one’s individual spiritual personality, and from the frustrations that result in void philosophy. Then one can ultimately attain to the abode of the Supreme Lord.

||4-11||

ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् | मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ||४-११||

ye yathā māṃ prapadyante tāṃstathaiva bhajāmyaham . mama vartmānuvartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ ||4-11||

ye — all who; yathā — as; mām — unto Me; prapadyante — surrender; tān — them; tathā — so; eva — certainly; bhajāmi — reward; aham — I; mama — My; vartma — path; anuvartante — follow; manuṣyāḥ — all men; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; sarvaśaḥ — in all respects.


As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.


Everyone is searching for Kṛṣṇa in the different aspects of His manifestations. Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is partially realized in His impersonal brahma-jyotir effulgence and as the all-pervading Supersoul dwelling within everything, including the particles of atoms. But Kṛṣṇa is fully realized only by His pure devotees. Consequently, Kṛṣṇa is the object of everyone’s realization, and thus anyone and everyone is satisfied according to one’s desire to have Him. In the transcendental world also, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates with His pure devotees in the transcendental attitude, just as the devotee wants Him. One devotee may want Kṛṣṇa as supreme master, another as his personal friend, another as his son and still another as his lover. Kṛṣṇa rewards all the devotees equally, according to their different intensities of love for Him. In the material world, the same reciprocations of feelings are there, and they are equally exchanged by the Lord with the different types of worshipers. The pure devotees both here and in the transcendental abode associate with Him in person and are able to render personal service to the Lord and thus derive transcendental bliss in His loving service. As for those who are impersonalists and who want to commit spiritual suicide by annihilating the individual existence of the living entity, Kṛṣṇa helps also by absorbing them into His effulgence. Such impersonalists do not agree to accept the eternal, blissful Personality of Godhead; consequently they cannot relish the bliss of transcendental personal service to the Lord, having extinguished their individuality. Some of them, who are not firmly situated even in the impersonal existence, return to this material field to exhibit their dormant desires for activities. They are not admitted into the spiritual planets, but they are again given a chance to act on the material planets. For those who are fruitive workers, the Lord awards the desired results of their prescribed duties, as the yajñeśvara; and those who are yogīs seeking mystic powers are awarded such powers. In other words, everyone is dependent for success upon His mercy alone, and all kinds of spiritual processes are but different degrees of success on the same path. Unless, therefore, one comes to the highest perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all attempts remain imperfect, as is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.10):
akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ
tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena
yajeta puruṣaṁ param
“Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], or is desirous of all fruitive results or is after liberation, one should with all efforts try to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead for complete perfection, culminating in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”

||4-12||

काङ्क्षन्तः कर्मणां सिद्धिं यजन्त इह देवताः | क्षिप्रं हि मानुषे लोके सिद्धिर्भवति कर्मजा ||४-१२||

kāṅkṣantaḥ karmaṇāṃ siddhiṃ yajanta iha devatāḥ . kṣipraṃ hi mānuṣe loke siddhirbhavati karmajā ||4-12||

kāṅkṣantaḥ — desiring; karmaṇām — of fruitive activities; siddhim — perfection; yajante — they worship by sacrifices; iha — in the material world; devatāḥ — the demigods; kṣipram — very quickly; hi — certainly; mānuṣe — in human society; loke — within this world; siddhiḥ — success; bhavati — comes; karma-jā — from fruitive work.


Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world.


There is a great misconception about the gods or demigods of this material world, and men of less intelligence, although passing as great scholars, take these demigods to be various forms of the Supreme Lord. Actually, the demigods are not different forms of God, but they are God’s different parts and parcels. God is one, and the parts and parcels are many. The Vedas say, nityo nityānām: God is one. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ. The Supreme God is one – Kṛṣṇa – and the demigods are delegated with powers to manage this material world. These demigods are all living entities (nityānām) with different grades of material power. They cannot be equal to the Supreme God – Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. Anyone who thinks that God and the demigods are on the same level is called an atheist, or pāṣaṇḍī. Even the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva cannot be compared to the Supreme Lord. In fact, the Lord is worshiped by demigods such as Brahmā and Śiva (śiva-viriñci-nutam). Yet curiously enough there are many human leaders who are worshiped by foolish men under the misunderstanding of anthropomorphism or zoomorphism. Iha devatāḥ denotes a powerful man or demigod of this material world. But Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not belong to this world. He is above, or transcendental to, material creation. Even Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, the leader of the impersonalists, maintains that Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa, is beyond this material creation. However, foolish people (hṛta-jñāna) worship the demigods because they want immediate results. They get the results, but do not know that results so obtained are temporary and are meant for less intelligent persons. The intelligent person is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and he has no need to worship the paltry demigods for some immediate, temporary benefit. The demigods of this material world, as well as their worshipers, will vanish with the annihilation of this material world. The boons of the demigods are material and temporary. Both the material worlds and their inhabitants, including the demigods and their worshipers, are bubbles in the cosmic ocean. In this world, however, human society is mad after temporary things such as the material opulence of possessing land, family and enjoyable paraphernalia. To achieve such temporary things, people worship the demigods or powerful men in human society. If a man gets some ministership in the government by worshiping a political leader, he considers that he has achieved a great boon. All of them are therefore kowtowing to the so-called leaders or “big guns” in order to achieve temporary boons, and they indeed achieve such things. Such foolish men are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for the permanent solution to the hardships of material existence. They are all after sense enjoyment, and to get a little facility for sense enjoyment they are attracted to worshiping empowered living entities known as demigods. This verse indicates that people are rarely interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are mostly interested in material enjoyment, and therefore they worship some powerful living entity.

||4-13||

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः | तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् ||४-१३||

cāturvarṇyaṃ mayā sṛṣṭaṃ guṇakarmavibhāgaśaḥ . tasya kartāramapi māṃ viddhyakartāramavyayam ||4-13||

cātuḥ-varṇyam — the four divisions of human society; mayā — by Me; sṛṣṭam — created; guṇa — of quality; karma — and work; vibhāgaśaḥ — in terms of division; tasya — of that; kartāram — the father; api — although; mām — Me; viddhi — you may know; akartāram — as the nondoer; avyayam — unchangeable.


According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.


The Lord is the creator of everything. Everything is born of Him, everything is sustained by Him, and everything, after annihilation, rests in Him. He is therefore the creator of the four divisions of the social order, beginning with the intelligent class of men, technically called brāhmaṇas due to their being situated in the mode of goodness. Next is the administrative class, technically called the kṣatriyas due to their being situated in the mode of passion. The mercantile men, called the vaiśyas, are situated in the mixed modes of passion and ignorance, and the śūdras, or laborer class, are situated in the ignorant mode of material nature. In spite of His creating the four divisions of human society, Lord Kṛṣṇa does not belong to any of these divisions, because He is not one of the conditioned souls, a section of whom form human society. Human society is similar to any other animal society, but to elevate men from the animal status, the above-mentioned divisions are created by the Lord for the systematic development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The tendency of a particular man toward work is determined by the modes of material nature which he has acquired. Such symptoms of life, according to the different modes of material nature, are described in the Eighteenth Chapter of this book. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, is above even the brāhmaṇas. Although brāhmaṇas by quality are supposed to know about Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth, most of them approach only the impersonal Brahman manifestation of Lord Kṛṣṇa. But a man who transcends the limited knowledge of a brāhmaṇa and reaches the knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, becomes a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness – or, in other words, a Vaiṣṇava. Kṛṣṇa consciousness includes knowledge of all different plenary expansions of Kṛṣṇa, namely Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, etc. And as Kṛṣṇa is transcendental to this system of the four divisions of human society, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is also transcendental to all divisions of human society, whether we consider the divisions of community, nation or species.

||4-14||

न मां कर्माणि लिम्पन्ति न मे कर्मफले स्पृहा | इति मां योऽभिजानाति कर्मभिर्न स बध्यते ||४-१४||

na māṃ karmāṇi limpanti na me karmaphale spṛhā . iti māṃ yo.abhijānāti karmabhirna sa badhyate ||4-14||

na — never; mām — Me; karmāṇi — all kinds of work; limpanti — do affect; na — nor; me — My; karma-phale — in fruitive action; spṛhā — aspiration; iti — thus; mām — Me; yaḥ — one who; abhijānāti — does know; karmabhiḥ — by the reaction of such work; na — never; saḥ — he; badhyate — becomes entangled.


There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.


As there are constitutional laws in the material world stating that the king can do no wrong, or that the king is not subject to the state laws, similarly the Lord, although He is the creator of this material world, is not affected by the activities of the material world. He creates and remains aloof from the creation, whereas the living entities are entangled in the fruitive results of material activities because of their propensity for lording it over material resources. The proprietor of an establishment is not responsible for the right and wrong activities of the workers, but the workers are themselves responsible. The living entities are engaged in their respective activities of sense gratification, and these activities are not ordained by the Lord. For advancement of sense gratification, the living entities are engaged in the work of this world, and they aspire to heavenly happiness after death. The Lord, being full in Himself, has no attraction for so-called heavenly happiness. The heavenly demigods are only His engaged servants. The proprietor never desires the low-grade happiness such as the workers may desire. He is aloof from the material actions and reactions. For example, the rains are not responsible for different types of vegetation that appear on the earth, although without such rains there is no possibility of vegetative growth. Vedic smṛti confirms this fact as follows:
nimitta-mātram evāsau
sṛjyānāṁ sarga-karmaṇi
pradhāna-kāraṇī-bhūtā
yato vai sṛjya-śaktayaḥ
“In the material creations, the Lord is only the supreme cause. The immediate cause is material nature, by which the cosmic manifestation is made visible.” The created beings are of many varieties, such as the demigods, human beings and lower animals, and all of them are subject to the reactions of their past good or bad activities. The Lord only gives them the proper facilities for such activities and the regulations of the modes of nature, but He is never responsible for their past and present activities. In the Vedānta-sūtra (2.1.34) it is confirmed, vaiṣamya-nairghṛṇye na sāpekṣatvāt: the Lord is never partial to any living entity. The living entity is responsible for his own acts. The Lord only gives him facilities, through the agency of material nature, the external energy. Anyone who is fully conversant with all the intricacies of this law of karma, or fruitive activities, does not become affected by the results of his activities. In other words, the person who understands this transcendental nature of the Lord is an experienced man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thus he is never subjected to the laws of karma. One who does not know the transcendental nature of the Lord and who thinks that the activities of the Lord are aimed at fruitive results, as are the activities of the ordinary living entities, certainly becomes entangled himself in fruitive reactions. But one who knows the Supreme Truth is a liberated soul fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||4-15||

एवं ज्ञात्वा कृतं कर्म पूर्वैरपि मुमुक्षुभिः | कुरु कर्मैव तस्मात्त्वं पूर्वैः पूर्वतरं कृतम् ||४-१५||

evaṃ jñātvā kṛtaṃ karma pūrvairapi mumukṣubhiḥ . kuru karmaiva tasmāttvaṃ pūrvaiḥ pūrvataraṃ kṛtam ||4-15||

evam — thus; jñātvā — knowing well; kṛtam — was performed; karma — work; pūrvaiḥ — by past authorities; api — indeed; mumukṣubhiḥ — who attained liberation; kuru — just perform; karma — prescribed duty; eva — certainly; tasmāt — therefore; tvam — you; pūrvaiḥ — by the predecessors; pūrva-taram — in ancient times; kṛtam — as performed.


All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding of My transcendental nature. Therefore you should perform your duty, following in their footsteps.


There are two classes of men. Some of them are full of polluted material things within their hearts, and some of them are materially free. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is equally beneficial for both of these persons. Those who are full of dirty things can take to the line of Kṛṣṇa consciousness for a gradual cleansing process, following the regulative principles of devotional service. Those who are already cleansed of the impurities may continue to act in the same Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that others may follow their exemplary activities and thereby be benefited. Foolish persons or neophytes in Kṛṣṇa consciousness often want to retire from activities without having knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Arjuna’s desire to retire from activities on the battlefield was not approved by the Lord. One need only know how to act. To retire from the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and to sit aloof making a show of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is less important than actually engaging in the field of activities for the sake of Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna is here advised to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, following in the footsteps of the Lord’s previous disciples, such as the sun-god Vivasvān, as mentioned hereinbefore. The Supreme Lord knows all His past activities, as well as those of persons who acted in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the past. Therefore He recommends the acts of the sun-god, who learned this art from the Lord some millions of years before. All such students of Lord Kṛṣṇa are mentioned here as past liberated persons, engaged in the discharge of duties allotted by Kṛṣṇa.

||4-16||

किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः | तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् ||४-१६||

kiṃ karma kimakarmeti kavayo.apyatra mohitāḥ . tatte karma pravakṣyāmi yajjñātvā mokṣyase.aśubhāt ||4-16||

kim — what is; karma — action; kim — what is; akarma — inaction; iti — thus; kavayaḥ — the intelligent; api — also; atra — in this matter; mohitāḥ — are bewildered; tat — that; te — unto you; karma — work; pravakṣyāmi — I shall explain; yat — which; jñātvā — knowing; mokṣyase — you will be liberated; aśubhāt — from ill fortune.


Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all misfortune.


Action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has to be executed in accord with the examples of previous bona fide devotees. This is recommended in the fifteenth verse. Why such action should not be independent will be explained in the text to follow.
To act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one has to follow the leadership of authorized persons who are in a line of disciplic succession as explained in the beginning of this chapter. The system of Kṛṣṇa consciousness was first narrated to the sun-god, the sun-god explained it to his son Manu, Manu explained it to his son Ikṣvāku, and the system is current on this earth from that very remote time. Therefore, one has to follow in the footsteps of previous authorities in the line of disciplic succession. Otherwise even the most intelligent men will be bewildered regarding the standard actions of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. For this reason, the Lord decided to instruct Arjuna in Kṛṣṇa consciousness directly. Because of the direct instruction of the Lord to Arjuna, anyone who follows in the footsteps of Arjuna is certainly not bewildered.
It is said that one cannot ascertain the ways of religion simply by imperfect experimental knowledge. Actually, the principles of religion can only be laid down by the Lord Himself. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (Bhāg. 6.3.19). No one can manufacture a religious principle by imperfect speculation. One must follow in the footsteps of great authorities like Brahmā, Śiva, Nārada, Manu, the Kumāras, Kapila, Prahlāda, Bhīṣma, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Yamarāja, Janaka and Bali Mahārāja. By mental speculation one cannot ascertain what is religion or self-realization. Therefore, out of causeless mercy to His devotees, the Lord explains directly to Arjuna what action is and what inaction is. Only action performed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can deliver a person from the entanglement of material existence.

||4-17||

कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः | अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ||४-१७||

karmaṇo hyapi boddhavyaṃ boddhavyaṃ ca vikarmaṇaḥ . akarmaṇaśca boddhavyaṃ gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ ||4-17||

karmaṇaḥ — of work; hi — certainly; api — also; boddhavyam — should be understood; boddhavyam — should be understood; ca — also; vikarmaṇaḥ — of forbidden work; akarmaṇaḥ — of inaction; ca — also; boddhavyam — should be understood; gahanā — very difficult; karmaṇaḥ — of work; gatiḥ — entrance.


The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.


If one is serious about liberation from material bondage, one has to understand the distinctions between action, inaction and unauthorized actions. One has to apply oneself to such an analysis of action, reaction and perverted actions because it is a very difficult subject matter. To understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness and action according to its modes, one has to learn one’s relationship with the Supreme; i.e., one who has learned perfectly knows that every living entity is an eternal servitor of the Lord and that consequently one has to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The entire Bhagavad-gītā is directed toward this conclusion. Any other conclusions against this consciousness and its attendant actions are vikarmas, or prohibited actions. To understand all this one has to associate with authorities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and learn the secret from them; this is as good as learning from the Lord directly. Otherwise, even the most intelligent persons will be bewildered.

||4-18||

कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि च कर्म यः | स बुद्धिमान्मनुष्येषु स युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् ||४-१८||

karmaṇyakarma yaḥ paśyedakarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ . sa buddhimānmanuṣyeṣu sa yuktaḥ kṛtsnakarmakṛt ||4-18||

karmaṇi — in action; akarma — inaction; yaḥ — one who; paśyet — observes; akarmaṇi — in inaction; ca — also; karma — fruitive action; yaḥ — one who; saḥ — he; buddhi-mān — is intelligent; manuṣyeṣu — in human society; saḥ — he; yuktaḥ — is in the transcendental position; kṛtsna-karma-kṛt — although engaged in all activities.


One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.


A person acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is naturally free from the bonds of karma. His activities are all performed for Kṛṣṇa; therefore he does not enjoy or suffer any of the effects of work. Consequently he is intelligent in human society, even though he is engaged in all sorts of activities for Kṛṣṇa. Akarma means without reaction to work. The impersonalist ceases fruitive activities out of fear, so that the resultant action may not be a stumbling block on the path of self-realization, but the personalist knows rightly his position as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore he engages himself in the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Because everything is done for Kṛṣṇa, he enjoys only transcendental happiness in the discharge of this service. Those who are engaged in this process are known to be without desire for personal sense gratification. The sense of eternal servitorship to Kṛṣṇa makes one immune to all sorts of reactionary elements of work.

||4-19||

यस्य सर्वे समारम्भाः कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिताः | ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं तमाहुः पण्डितं बुधाः ||४-१९||

yasya sarve samārambhāḥ kāmasaṅkalpavarjitāḥ . jñānāgnidagdhakarmāṇaṃ tamāhuḥ paṇḍitaṃ budhāḥ ||4-19||

yasya — one whose; sarve — all sorts of; samārambhāḥ — attempts; kāma — based on desire for sense gratification; saṅkalpa — determination; varjitāḥ — are devoid of; jñāna — of perfect knowledge; agni — by the fire; dagdha — burned; karmāṇam — whose work; tam — him; āhuḥ — declare; paṇḍitam — learned; budhāḥ — those who know.


One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.


Only a person in full knowledge can understand the activities of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Because the person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is devoid of all kinds of sense-gratificatory propensities, it is to be understood that he has burned up the reactions of his work by perfect knowledge of his constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is actually learned who has attained to such perfection of knowledge. Development of this knowledge of eternal servitorship to the Lord is compared to fire. Such a fire, once kindled, can burn up all kinds of reactions to work.

||4-20||

त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासङ्गं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रयः | कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किञ्चित्करोति सः ||४-२०||

tyaktvā karmaphalāsaṅgaṃ nityatṛpto nirāśrayaḥ . karmaṇyabhipravṛtto.api naiva kiñcitkaroti saḥ ||4-20||

tyaktvā — having given up; karma-phala-āsaṅgam — attachment for fruitive results; nitya — always; tṛptaḥ — being satisfied; nirāśrayaḥ — without any shelter; karmaṇi — in activity; abhipravṛttaḥ — being fully engaged; api — in spite of; na — does not; eva — certainly; kiñcit — anything; karoti — do; saḥ — he.


Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.


This freedom from the bondage of actions is possible only in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, when one is doing everything for Kṛṣṇa. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person acts out of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore he has no attraction for the results of the action. He is not even attached to his personal maintenance, for everything is left to Kṛṣṇa. Nor is he anxious to secure things, nor to protect things already in his possession. He does his duty to the best of his ability and leaves everything to Kṛṣṇa. Such an unattached person is always free from the resultant reactions of good and bad; it is as though he were not doing anything. This is the sign of akarma, or actions without fruitive reactions. Any other action, therefore, devoid of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is binding upon the worker, and that is the real aspect of vikarma, as explained hereinbefore.

||4-21||

निराशीर्यतचित्तात्मा त्यक्तसर्वपरिग्रहः | शारीरं केवलं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम् ||४-२१||

nirāśīryatacittātmā tyaktasarvaparigrahaḥ . śārīraṃ kevalaṃ karma kurvannāpnoti kilbiṣam ||4-21||

nirāśīḥ — without desire for the result; yata — controlled; citta-ātmā — mind and intelligence; tyakta — giving up; sarva — all; parigrahaḥ — sense of proprietorship over possessions; śārīram — in keeping body and soul together; kevalam — only; karma — work; kurvan — doing; na — never; āpnoti — does acquire; kilbiṣam — sinful reactions.


Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions.


A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not expect good or bad results in his activities. His mind and intelligence are fully controlled. He knows that because he is part and parcel of the Supreme, the part played by him, as a part and parcel of the whole, is not his own activity but is only being done through him by the Supreme. When the hand moves, it does not move out of its own accord, but by the endeavor of the whole body. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always dovetailed with the supreme desire, for he has no desire for personal sense gratification. He moves exactly like a part of a machine. As a machine part requires oiling and cleaning for maintenance, so a Kṛṣṇa conscious man maintains himself by his work just to remain fit for action in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. He is therefore immune to all the reactions of his endeavors. Like an animal, he has no proprietorship even over his own body. A cruel proprietor of an animal sometimes kills the animal in his possession, yet the animal does not protest. Nor does it have any real independence. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, fully engaged in self-realization, has very little time to falsely possess any material object. For maintaining body and soul, he does not require unfair means of accumulating money. He does not, therefore, become contaminated by such material sins. He is free from all reactions to his actions.

||4-22||

यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सरः | समः सिद्धावसिद्धौ च कृत्वापि न निबध्यते ||४-२२||

yadṛcchālābhasantuṣṭo dvandvātīto vimatsaraḥ . samaḥ siddhāvasiddhau ca kṛtvāpi na nibadhyate ||4-22||

yadṛcchā — out of its own accord; lābha — with gain; santuṣṭaḥ — satisfied; dvandva — duality; atītaḥ — surpassed; vimatsaraḥ — free from envy; samaḥ — steady; siddhau — in success; asiddhau — failure; ca — also; kṛtvā — doing; api — although; na — never; nibadhyate — becomes affected.


He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions.


A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not make much endeavor even to maintain his body. He is satisfied with gains which are obtained of their own accord. He neither begs nor borrows, but he labors honestly as far as is in his power, and is satisfied with whatever is obtained by his own honest labor. He is therefore independent in his livelihood. He does not allow anyone’s service to hamper his own service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. However, for the service of the Lord he can participate in any kind of action without being disturbed by the duality of the material world. The duality of the material world is felt in terms of heat and cold, or misery and happiness. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is above duality because he does not hesitate to act in any way for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore he is steady both in success and in failure. These signs are visible when one is fully in transcendental knowledge.

||4-23||

गतसङ्गस्य मुक्तस्य ज्ञानावस्थितचेतसः | यज्ञायाचरतः कर्म समग्रं प्रविलीयते ||४-२३||

gatasaṅgasya muktasya jñānāvasthitacetasaḥ . yajñāyācarataḥ karma samagraṃ pravilīyate ||4-23||

gata-saṅgasya — of one unattached to the modes of material nature; muktasya — of the liberated; jñāna-avasthita — situated in transcendence; cetasaḥ — whose wisdom; yajñāya — for the sake of Yajña (Kṛṣṇa); ācarataḥ — acting; karma — work; samagram — in total; pravilīyate — merges entirely.


The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.


Becoming fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, one is freed from all dualities and thus is free from the contaminations of the material modes. He can become liberated because he knows his constitutional position in relationship with Kṛṣṇa, and thus his mind cannot be drawn from Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Consequently, whatever he does, he does for Kṛṣṇa, who is the primeval Viṣṇu. Therefore, all his works are technically sacrifices because sacrifice aims at satisfying the Supreme Person, Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa. The resultant reactions to all such work certainly merge into transcendence, and one does not suffer material effects.

||4-24||

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् | ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ||४-२४||

brahmārpaṇaṃ brahma havirbrahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam . brahmaiva tena gantavyaṃ brahmakarmasamādhinā ||4-24||

brahma — spiritual in nature; arpaṇam — contribution; brahma — the Supreme; haviḥ — butter; brahma — spiritual; agnau — in the fire of consummation; brahmaṇā — by the spirit soul; hutam — offered; brahma — spiritual kingdom; eva — certainly; tena — by him; gantavyam — to be reached; brahma — spiritual; karma — in activities; samādhinā — by complete absorption.


A person who is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature.


How activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can lead one ultimately to the spiritual goal is described here. There are various activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and all of them will be described in the following verses. But, for the present, just the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is described. A conditioned soul, entangled in material contamination, is sure to act in the material atmosphere, and yet he has to get out of such an environment. The process by which the conditioned soul can get out of the material atmosphere is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. For example, a patient who is suffering from a disorder of the bowels due to overindulgence in milk products is cured by another milk product, namely curds. The materially absorbed conditioned soul can be cured by Kṛṣṇa consciousness as set forth here in the Gītā. This process is generally known as yajña, or activities (sacrifices) simply meant for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. The more the activities of the material world are performed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or for Viṣṇu only, the more the atmosphere becomes spiritualized by complete absorption. The word brahma (Brahman) means “spiritual.” The Lord is spiritual, and the rays of His transcendental body are called brahma-jyotir, His spiritual effulgence. Everything that exists is situated in that brahma-jyotir, but when the jyotir is covered by illusion (māyā) or sense gratification, it is called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Kṛṣṇa consciousness; thus the offering for the sake of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the consuming agent of such an offering or contribution, the process of consumption, the contributor and the result are – all combined together – Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth covered by māyā is called matter. Matter dovetailed for the cause of the Absolute Truth regains its spiritual quality. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the process of converting the illusory consciousness into Brahman, or the Supreme. When the mind is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is said to be in samādhi, or trance. Anything done in such transcendental consciousness is called yajña, or sacrifice for the Absolute. In that condition of spiritual consciousness, the contributor, the contribution, the consumption, the performer or leader of the performance and the result or ultimate gain – everything – becomes one in the Absolute, the Supreme Brahman. That is the method of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||4-25||

दैवमेवापरे यज्ञं योगिनः पर्युपासते | ब्रह्माग्नावपरे यज्ञं यज्ञेनैवोपजुह्वति ||४-२५||

daivamevāpare yajñaṃ yoginaḥ paryupāsate . brahmāgnāvapare yajñaṃ yajñenaivopajuhvati ||4-25||

daivam — in worshiping the demigods; eva — like this; apare — some others; yajñam — sacrifices; yoginaḥ — mystics; paryupāsate — worship perfectly; brahma — of the Absolute Truth; agnau — in the fire; apare — others; yajñam — sacrifice; yajñena — by sacrifice; eva — thus; upajuhvati — offer.


Some yogīs perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.


As described above, a person engaged in discharging duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is also called a perfect yogī or a first-class mystic. But there are others also, who perform similar sacrifices in the worship of demigods, and still others who sacrifice to the Supreme Brahman, or the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord. So there are different kinds of sacrifices in terms of different categories. Such different categories of sacrifice by different types of performers only superficially demark varieties of sacrifice. Factually sacrifice means to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu, who is also known as Yajña. All the different varieties of sacrifice can be placed within two primary divisions: namely, sacrifice of worldly possessions and sacrifice in pursuit of transcendental knowledge. Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness sacrifice all material possessions for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, while others, who want some temporary material happiness, sacrifice their material possessions to satisfy demigods such as Indra, the sun-god, etc. And others, who are impersonalists, sacrifice their identity by merging into the existence of impersonal Brahman. The demigods are powerful living entities appointed by the Supreme Lord for the maintenance and supervision of all material functions like the heating, watering and lighting of the universe. Those who are interested in material benefits worship the demigods by various sacrifices according to the Vedic rituals. They are called bahv-īśvara-vādī, or believers in many gods. But others, who worship the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth and regard the forms of the demigods as temporary, sacrifice their individual selves in the supreme fire and thus end their individual existences by merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such impersonalists sacrifice their time in philosophical speculation to understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme. In other words, the fruitive workers sacrifice their material possessions for material enjoyment, whereas the impersonalist sacrifices his material designations with a view to merging into the existence of the Supreme. For the impersonalist, the fire altar of sacrifice is the Supreme Brahman, and the offering is the self being consumed by the fire of Brahman. The Kṛṣṇa conscious person, like Arjuna, however, sacrifices everything for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, and thus all his material possessions as well as his own self – everything – is sacrificed for Kṛṣṇa. Thus, he is the first-class yogī; but he does not lose his individual existence.

||4-26||

श्रोत्रादीनीन्द्रियाण्यन्ये संयमाग्निषु जुह्वति | शब्दादीन्विषयानन्य इन्द्रियाग्निषु जुह्वति ||४-२६||

śrotrādīnīndriyāṇyanye saṃyamāgniṣu juhvati . śabdādīnviṣayānanya indriyāgniṣu juhvati ||4-26||

śrotra-ādīni — such as the hearing process; indriyāṇi — senses; anye — others; saṁyama — of restraint; agniṣu — in the fires; juhvati — offer; śabda-ādīn — sound vibration, etc.; viṣayān — objects of sense gratification; anye — others; indriya — of the sense organs; agniṣu — in the fires; juhvati — they sacrifice.


Some [the unadulterated brahmacārīs] sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of mental control, and others [the regulated householders] sacrifice the objects of the senses in the fire of the senses.


The members of the four divisions of human life, namely the brahmacārī, the gṛhastha, the vānaprastha and the sannyāsī, are all meant to become perfect yogīs or transcendentalists. Since human life is not meant for our enjoying sense gratification like the animals, the four orders of human life are so arranged that one may become perfect in spiritual life. The brahmacārīs, or students under the care of a bona fide spiritual master, control the mind by abstaining from sense gratification. A brahmacārī hears only words concerning Kṛṣṇa consciousness; hearing is the basic principle for understanding, and therefore the pure brahmacārī engages fully in harer nāmānukīrtanam – chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. He restrains himself from the vibrations of material sounds, and his hearing is engaged in the transcendental sound vibration of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, the householders, who have some license for sense gratification, perform such acts with great restraint. Sex life, intoxication and meat-eating are general tendencies of human society, but a regulated householder does not indulge in unrestricted sex life and other sense gratification. Marriage on the principles of religious life is therefore current in all civilized human society because that is the way for restricted sex life. This restricted, unattached sex life is also a kind of yajña because the restricted householder sacrifices his general tendency toward sense gratification for higher, transcendental life.

||4-27||

सर्वाणीन्द्रियकर्माणि प्राणकर्माणि चापरे | आत्मसंयमयोगाग्नौ जुह्वति ज्ञानदीपिते ||४-२७||

sarvāṇīndriyakarmāṇi prāṇakarmāṇi cāpare . ātmasaṃyamayogāgnau juhvati jñānadīpite ||4-27||

sarvāṇi — of all; indriya — the senses; karmāṇi — functions; prāṇa-karmāṇi — functions of the life breath; ca — also; apare — others; ātma-saṁyama — of controlling the mind; yoga — the linking process; agnau — in the fire of; juhvati — offer; jñāna-dīpite — because of the urge for self-realization.


Others, who are interested in achieving self-realization through control of the mind and senses, offer the functions of all the senses, and of the life breath, as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.


The yoga system conceived by Patañjali is referred to herein. In the Yoga-sūtra of Patañjali, the soul is called pratyag-ātmā and parāg-ātmā. As long as the soul is attached to sense enjoyment it is called parāg-ātmā, but as soon as the same soul becomes detached from such sense enjoyment it is called pratyag-ātmā. The soul is subjected to the functions of ten kinds of air at work within the body, and this is perceived through the breathing system. The Patañjali system of yoga instructs one on how to control the functions of the body’s air in a technical manner so that ultimately all the functions of the air within become favorable for purifying the soul of material attachment. According to this yoga system, pratyag-ātmā is the ultimate goal. This pratyag-ātmā is withdrawn from activities in matter. The senses interact with the sense objects, like the ear for hearing, eyes for seeing, nose for smelling, tongue for tasting, and hand for touching, and all of them are thus engaged in activities outside the self. They are called the functions of the prāṇa-vāyu. The apāna-vāyu goes downwards, vyāna-vāyu acts to shrink and expand, samāna-vāyu adjusts equilibrium, udāna-vāyu goes upwards – and when one is enlightened, one engages all these in searching for self-realization.

||4-28||

द्रव्ययज्ञास्तपोयज्ञा योगयज्ञास्तथापरे | स्वाध्यायज्ञानयज्ञाश्च यतयः संशितव्रताः ||४-२८||

dravyayajñāstapoyajñā yogayajñāstathāpare . svādhyāyajñānayajñāśca yatayaḥ saṃśitavratāḥ ||4-28||

dravya-yajñāḥ — sacrificing one’s possessions; tapaḥ-yajñāḥ — sacrifice in austerities; yoga-yajñāḥ — sacrifice in eightfold mysticism; tathā — thus; apare — others; svādhyāya — sacrifice in the study of the Vedas; jñāna-yajñāḥ — sacrifice in advancement of transcendental knowledge; ca — also; yatayaḥ — enlightened persons; saṁśita-vratāḥ — taken to strict vows.


Having accepted strict vows, some become enlightened by sacrificing their possessions, and others by performing severe austerities, by practicing the yoga of eightfold mysticism, or by studying the Vedas to advance in transcendental knowledge.


These sacrifices may be fitted into various divisions. There are persons who are sacrificing their possessions in the form of various kinds of charities. In India, the rich mercantile community or princely orders open various kinds of charitable institutions like dharma-śālā, anna-kṣetra, atithi-śālā, anāthālaya and vidyā-pīṭha. In other countries, too, there are many hospitals, old age homes and similar charitable foundations meant for distributing food, education and medical treatment free to the poor. All these charitable activities are called dravyamaya-yajña. There are others who, for higher elevation in life or for promotion to higher planets within the universe, voluntarily accept many kinds of austerities such as candrāyaṇa and cāturmāsya. These processes entail severe vows for conducting life under certain rigid rules. For example, under the cāturmāsya vow the candidate does not shave for four months during the year (July to October), he does not eat certain foods, does not eat twice in a day or does not leave home. Such sacrifice of the comforts of life is called tapomaya-yajña. There are still others who engage themselves in different kinds of mystic yogas like the Patañjali system (for merging into the existence of the Absolute), or haṭha-yoga or aṣṭāṅga-yoga (for particular perfections). And some travel to all the sanctified places of pilgrimage. All these practices are called yoga-yajña, sacrifice for a certain type of perfection in the material world. There are others who engage themselves in the studies of different Vedic literatures, specifically the Upaniṣads and Vedānta-sūtras, or the Sāṅkhya philosophy. All of these are called svādhyāya-yajña, or engagement in the sacrifice of studies. All these yogīs are faithfully engaged in different types of sacrifice and are seeking a higher status of life. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, is different from these because it is the direct service of the Supreme Lord. Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be attained by any one of the above-mentioned types of sacrifice but can be attained only by the mercy of the Lord and His bona fide devotees. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is transcendental.

||4-29||

अपाने जुह्वति प्राणं प्राणेऽपानं तथापरे | प्राणापानगती रुद्ध्वा प्राणायामपरायणाः ||४-२९||

apāne juhvati prāṇaṃ prāṇe.apānaṃ tathāpare . prāṇāpānagatī ruddhvā prāṇāyāmaparāyaṇāḥ ||4-29||

apāne — in the air which acts downward; juhvati — offer; prāṇam — the air which acts outward; prāṇe — in the air going outward; apānam — the air going downward; tathā — as also; apare — others; prāṇa — of the air going outward; apāna — and the air going downward; gatī — the movement; ruddhvā — checking; prāṇa-āyāma — trance induced by stopping all breathing; parāyaṇāḥ — so inclined; apare — others; niyata — having controlled; āhārāḥ — eating; prāṇān — the outgoing air; prāṇeṣu — in the outgoing air; juhvati — sacrifice.


Still others, who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, practice by offering the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and the incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Others, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself as a sacrifice.


This system of yoga for controlling the breathing process is called prāṇāyāma, and in the beginning it is practiced in the haṭha-yoga system through different sitting postures. All of these processes are recommended for controlling the senses and for advancement in spiritual realization. This practice involves controlling the airs within the body so as to reverse the directions of their passage. The apāna air goes downward, and the prāṇa air goes up. The prāṇāyāma-yogī practices breathing the opposite way until the currents are neutralized into pūraka, equilibrium. Offering the exhaled breath into the inhaled breath is called recaka. When both air currents are completely stopped, one is said to be in kumbhaka-yoga. By practice of kumbhaka-yoga, one can increase the duration of life for perfection in spiritual realization. The intelligent yogī is interested in attaining perfection in one life, without waiting for the next. For by practicing kumbhaka-yoga, the yogīs increase the duration of life by many, many years. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, however, being always situated in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, automatically becomes the controller of the senses. His senses, being always engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, have no chance of becoming otherwise engaged. So at the end of life, he is naturally transferred to the transcendental plane of Lord Kṛṣṇa; consequently he makes no attempt to increase his longevity. He is at once raised to the platform of liberation, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
“One who engages in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord transcends the modes of material nature and is immediately elevated to the spiritual platform.” A Kṛṣṇa conscious person begins from the transcendental stage, and he is constantly in that consciousness. Therefore, there is no falling down, and ultimately he enters into the abode of the Lord without delay. The practice of reduced eating is automatically done when one eats only kṛṣṇa-prasādam, or food which is offered first to the Lord. Reducing the eating process is very helpful in the matter of sense control. And without sense control there is no possibility of getting out of the material entanglement.

||4-30||

अपरे नियताहाराः प्राणान्प्राणेषु जुह्वति | सर्वेऽप्येते यज्ञविदो यज्ञक्षपितकल्मषाः ||४-३०||

apare niyatāhārāḥ prāṇānprāṇeṣu juhvati . sarve.apyete yajñavido yajñakṣapitakalmaṣāḥ ||4-30||

sarve — all; api — although apparently different; ete — these; yajña-vidaḥ — conversant with the purpose of performing sacrifices; yajña-kṣapita — being cleansed as the result of such performances; kalmaṣāḥ — of sinful reactions; yajña-śiṣṭa — of the result of such performances of yajña; amṛta-bhujaḥ — those who have tasted such nectar; yānti — do approach; brahma — the supreme; sanātanam — eternal atmosphere.


All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reactions, and, having tasted the nectar of the results of sacrifices, they advance toward the supreme eternal atmosphere.


From the foregoing explanation of different types of sacrifice (namely sacrifice of one’s possessions, study of the Vedas or philosophical doctrines, and performance of the yoga system), it is found that the common aim of all is to control the senses. Sense gratification is the root cause of material existence; therefore, unless and until one is situated on a platform apart from sense gratification, there is no chance of being elevated to the eternal platform of full knowledge, full bliss and full life. This platform is in the eternal atmosphere, or Brahman atmosphere. All the above-mentioned sacrifices help one to become cleansed of the sinful reactions of material existence. By this advancement in life, not only does one become happy and opulent in this life, but also, at the end, he enters into the eternal kingdom of God, either merging into the impersonal Brahman or associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.

||4-31||

यज्ञशिष्टामृतभुजो यान्ति ब्रह्म सनातनम् | नायं लोकोऽस्त्ययज्ञस्य कुतोऽन्यः कुरुसत्तम ||४-३१||

yajñaśiṣṭāmṛtabhujo yānti brahma sanātanam . nāyaṃ loko.astyayajñasya kuto.anyaḥ kurusattama ||4-31||

na — never; ayam — this; lokaḥ — planet; asti — there is; ayajñasya — for one who performs no sacrifice; kutaḥ — where is; anyaḥ — the other; kuru-sat-tama — O best amongst the Kurus.


O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?


Whatever form of material existence one is in, one is invariably ignorant of his real situation. In other words, existence in the material world is due to the multiple reactions to our sinful lives. Ignorance is the cause of sinful life, and sinful life is the cause of one’s dragging on in material existence. The human form of life is the only loophole by which one may get out of this entanglement. The Vedas, therefore, give us a chance for escape by pointing out the paths of religion, economic comfort, regulated sense gratification and, at last, the means to get out of the miserable condition entirely. The path of religion, or the different kinds of sacrifice recommended above, automatically solves our economic problems. By performance of yajña we can have enough food, enough milk, etc. – even if there is a so-called increase of population. When the body is fully supplied, naturally the next stage is to satisfy the senses. The Vedas prescribe, therefore, sacred marriage for regulated sense gratification. Thereby one is gradually elevated to the platform of release from material bondage, and the highest perfection of liberated life is to associate with the Supreme Lord. Perfection is achieved by performance of yajña (sacrifice), as described above. Now, if a person is not inclined to perform yajña according to the Vedas, how can he expect a happy life even in this body, and what to speak of another body on another planet? There are different grades of material comforts in different heavenly planets, and in all cases there is immense happiness for persons engaged in different kinds of yajña. But the highest kind of happiness that a man can achieve is to be promoted to the spiritual planets by practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is therefore the solution to all the problems of material existence.

||4-32||

एवं बहुविधा यज्ञा वितता ब्रह्मणो मुखे | कर्मजान्विद्धि तान्सर्वानेवं ज्ञात्वा विमोक्ष्यसे ||४-३२||

evaṃ bahuvidhā yajñā vitatā brahmaṇo mukhe . karmajānviddhi tānsarvānevaṃ jñātvā vimokṣyase ||4-32||

evam — thus; bahu-vidhāḥ — various kinds of; yajñāḥ — sacrifices; vitatāḥ — are spread; brahmaṇaḥ — of the Vedas; mukhe — through the mouth; karma-jān — born of work; viddhi — you should know; tān — them; sarvān — all; evam — thus; jñātvā — knowing; vimokṣyase — you will be liberated.


All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas, and all of them are born of different types of work. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.


Different types of sacrifice, as discussed above, are mentioned in the Vedas to suit the different types of worker. Because men are so deeply absorbed in the bodily concept, these sacrifices are so arranged that one can work either with the body, with the mind or with the intelligence. But all of them are recommended for ultimately bringing about liberation from the body. This is confirmed by the Lord herewith from His own mouth.

||4-33||

श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञः परन्तप | सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते ||४-३३||

śreyāndravyamayādyajñājjñānayajñaḥ parantapa . sarvaṃ karmākhilaṃ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate ||4-33||

śreyān — greater; dravya-mayāt — of material possessions; yajñāt — than the sacrifice; jñāna-yajñaḥ — sacrifice in knowledge; param-tapa — O chastiser of the enemy; sarvam — all; karma — activities; akhilam — in totality; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; jñāne — in knowledge; parisamāpyate — end.


O chastiser of the enemy, the sacrifice performed in knowledge is better than the mere sacrifice of material possessions. After all, O son of Pṛthā, all sacrifices of work culminate in transcendental knowledge.


The purpose of all sacrifices is to arrive at the status of complete knowledge, then to gain release from material miseries and, ultimately, to engage in loving transcendental service to the Supreme Lord (Kṛṣṇa consciousness). Nonetheless, there is a mystery about all these different activities of sacrifice, and one should know this mystery. Sacrifices sometimes take different forms according to the particular faith of the performer. When one’s faith reaches the stage of transcendental knowledge, the performer of sacrifices should be considered more advanced than those who simply sacrifice material possessions without such knowledge, for without attainment of knowledge, sacrifices remain on the material platform and bestow no spiritual benefit. Real knowledge culminates in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the highest stage of transcendental knowledge. Without the elevation of knowledge, sacrifices are simply material activities. When, however, they are elevated to the level of transcendental knowledge, all such activities enter onto the spiritual platform. Depending on differences in consciousness, sacrificial activities are sometimes called karma-kāṇḍa (fruitive activities) and sometimes jñāna-kāṇḍa (knowledge in the pursuit of truth). It is better when the end is knowledge.

||4-34||

तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया | उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः ||४-३४||

tadviddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā . upadekṣyanti te jñānaṃ jñāninastattvadarśinaḥ ||4-34||

tat — that knowledge of different sacrifices; viddhi — try to understand; praṇipātena — by approaching a spiritual master; paripraśnena — by submissive inquiries; sevayā — by the rendering of service; upadekṣyanti — they will initiate; te — you; jñānam — into knowledge; jñāninaḥ — the self-realized; tattva — of the truth; darśinaḥ — seers.


Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.


The path of spiritual realization is undoubtedly difficult. The Lord therefore advises us to approach a bona fide spiritual master in the line of disciplic succession from the Lord Himself. No one can be a bona fide spiritual master without following this principle of disciplic succession. The Lord is the original spiritual master, and a person in the disciplic succession can convey the message of the Lord as it is to his disciple. No one can be spiritually realized by manufacturing his own process, as is the fashion of the foolish pretenders. The Bhāgavatam (6.3.19) says, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam: the path of religion is directly enunciated by the Lord. Therefore, mental speculation or dry arguments cannot help lead one to the right path. Nor by independent study of books of knowledge can one progress in spiritual life. One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige. Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Inquiries and submission constitute the proper combination for spiritual understanding. Unless there is submission and service, inquiries from the learned spiritual master will not be effective. One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding. In this verse, both blind following and absurd inquiries are condemned. Not only should one hear submissively from the spiritual master, but one must also get a clear understanding from him, in submission and service and inquiries. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind toward the disciple. Therefore when the student is submissive and is always ready to render service, the reciprocation of knowledge and inquiries becomes perfect.

||4-35||

यज्ज्ञात्वा न पुनर्मोहमेवं यास्यसि पाण्डव | येन भूतान्यशेषेण द्रक्ष्यस्यात्मन्यथो मयि (var अशेषाणि) ||४-३५||

yajjñātvā na punarmohamevaṃ yāsyasi pāṇḍava . yena bhūtānyaśeṣāṇi drakṣyasyātmanyatho mayi ||4-35||

yat — which; jñātvā — knowing; na — never; punaḥ — again; moham — to illusion; evam — like this; yāsyasi — you shall go; pāṇḍava — O son of Pāṇḍu; yena — by which; bhūtāni — living entities; aśeṣāṇi — all; drakṣyasi — you will see; ātmani — in the Supreme Soul; atha u — or in other words; mayi — in Me.


Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine.


The result of receiving knowledge from a self-realized soul, or one who knows things as they are, is learning that all living beings are parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The sense of an existence separate from Kṛṣṇa is called māyā (mā – not, yā – this). Some think that we have nothing to do with Kṛṣṇa, that Kṛṣṇa is only a great historical personality and that the Absolute is the impersonal Brahman. Factually, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, this impersonal Brahman is the personal effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the cause of everything. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is clearly stated that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes. Even the millions of incarnations are only His different expansions. Similarly, the living entities are also expansions of Kṛṣṇa. The Māyāvādī philosophers wrongly think that Kṛṣṇa loses His own separate existence in His many expansions. This thought is material in nature. We have experience in the material world that a thing, when fragmentally distributed, loses its own original identity. But the Māyāvādī philosophers fail to understand that absolute means that one plus one is equal to one, and that one minus one is also equal to one. This is the case in the absolute world.
For want of sufficient knowledge in the absolute science, we are now covered with illusion, and therefore we think that we are separate from Kṛṣṇa. Although we are separated parts of Kṛṣṇa, we are nevertheless not different from Him. The bodily difference of the living entities is māyā, or not actual fact. We are all meant to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. By māyā alone Arjuna thought that the temporary bodily relationship with his kinsmen was more important than his eternal spiritual relationship with Kṛṣṇa. The whole teaching of the Gītā is targeted toward this end: that a living being, as Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servitor, cannot be separated from Kṛṣṇa, and his sense of being an identity apart from Kṛṣṇa is called māyā. The living entities, as separate parts and parcels of the Supreme, have a purpose to fulfill. Having forgotten that purpose since time immemorial, they are situated in different bodies, as men, animals, demigods, etc. Such bodily differences arise from forgetfulness of the transcendental service of the Lord. But when one is engaged in transcendental service through Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one becomes at once liberated from this illusion. One can acquire such pure knowledge only from the bona fide spiritual master and thereby avoid the delusion that the living entity is equal to Kṛṣṇa. Perfect knowledge is that the Supreme Soul, Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme shelter for all living entities, and giving up such shelter, the living entities are deluded by the material energy, imagining themselves to have a separate identity. Thus, under different standards of material identity, they become forgetful of Kṛṣṇa. When, however, such deluded living entities become situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is to be understood that they are on the path of liberation, as confirmed in the Bhāgavatam (2.10.6): muktir hitvānyathā-rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ. Liberation means to be situated in one’s constitutional position as an eternal servitor of Kṛṣṇa (Kṛṣṇa consciousness).

||4-36||

अपि चेदसि पापेभ्यः सर्वेभ्यः पापकृत्तमः | सर्वं ज्ञानप्लवेनैव वृजिनं सन्तरिष्यसि ||४-३६||

api cedasi pāpebhyaḥ sarvebhyaḥ pāpakṛttamaḥ . sarvaṃ jñānaplavenaiva vṛjinaṃ santariṣyasi ||4-36||

api — even; cet — if; asi — you are; pāpebhyaḥ — of sinners; sarvebhyaḥ — of all; pāpa-kṛt-tamaḥ — the greatest sinner; sarvam — all such sinful reactions; jñāna-plavena — by the boat of transcendental knowledge; eva — certainly; vṛjinam — the ocean of miseries; santariṣyasi — you will cross completely.


Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.


Proper understanding of one’s constitutional position in relationship to Kṛṣṇa is so nice that it can at once lift one from the struggle for existence which goes on in the ocean of nescience. This material world is sometimes regarded as an ocean of nescience and sometimes as a blazing forest. In the ocean, however expert a swimmer one may be, the struggle for existence is very severe. If someone comes forward and lifts the struggling swimmer from the ocean, he is the greatest savior. Perfect knowledge, received from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the path of liberation. The boat of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very simple, but at the same time the most sublime.

||4-37||

यथैधांसि समिद्धोऽग्निर्भस्मसात्कुरुतेऽर्जुन | ज्ञानाग्निः सर्वकर्माणि भस्मसात्कुरुते तथा ||४-३७||

yathaidhāṃsi samiddho.agnirbhasmasātkurute.arjuna . jñānāgniḥ sarvakarmāṇi bhasmasātkurute tathā ||4-37||

yathā — just as; edhāṁsi — firewood; samiddhaḥ — blazing; agniḥ — fire; bhasma-sāt — ashes; kurute — turns; arjuna — O Arjuna; jñāna-agniḥ — the fire of knowledge; sarva-karmāṇi — all reactions to material activities; bhasma-sāt — to ashes; kurute — it turns; tathā — similarly.


As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.


Perfect knowledge of self and Superself and of their relationship is compared herein to fire. This fire not only burns up all reactions to impious activities, but also all reactions to pious activities, turning them to ashes. There are many stages of reaction: reaction in the making, reaction fructifying, reaction already achieved, and reaction a priori. But knowledge of the constitutional position of the living entity burns everything to ashes. When one is in complete knowledge, all reactions, both a priori and a posteriori, are consumed. In the Vedas (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.22) it is stated, ubhe uhaivaiṣa ete taraty amṛtaḥ sādhv-asādhūnī: “One overcomes both the pious and impious reactions of work.”

||4-38||

न हि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते | तत्स्वयं योगसंसिद्धः कालेनात्मनि विन्दति ||४-३८||

na hi jñānena sadṛśaṃ pavitramiha vidyate . tatsvayaṃ yogasaṃsiddhaḥ kālenātmani vindati ||4-38||

na — nothing; hi — certainly; jñānena — with knowledge; sadṛśam — in comparison; pavitram — sanctified; iha — in this world; vidyate — exists; tat — that; svayam — himself; yoga — in devotion; saṁsiddhaḥ — he who is mature; kālena — in course of time; ātmani — in himself; vindati — enjoys.


In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.


When we speak of transcendental knowledge, we do so in terms of spiritual understanding. As such, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Ignorance is the cause of our bondage, and knowledge is the cause of our liberation. This knowledge is the mature fruit of devotional service, and when one is situated in transcendental knowledge, he need not search for peace elsewhere, for he enjoys peace within himself. In other words, this knowledge and peace culminate in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the last word in the Bhagavad-gītā.

||4-39||

श्रद्धावाँल्लभते ज्ञानं तत्परः संयतेन्द्रियः | ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति ||४-३९||

śraddhāvā.Nllabhate jñānaṃ tatparaḥ saṃyatendriyaḥ . jñānaṃ labdhvā parāṃ śāntimacireṇādhigacchati ||4-39||

śraddhā-vān — a faithful man; labhate — achieves; jñānam — knowledge; tat-paraḥ — very much attached to it; saṁyata — controlled; indriyaḥ — senses; jñānam — knowledge; labdhvā — having achieved; parām — transcendental; śāntim — peace; acireṇa — very soon; adhigacchati — attains.


A faithful man who is dedicated to transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses is eligible to achieve such knowledge, and having achieved it he quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.


Such knowledge in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be achieved by a faithful person who believes firmly in Kṛṣṇa. One is called a faithful man who thinks that simply by acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness he can attain the highest perfection. This faith is attained by the discharge of devotional service and by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, which cleanses one’s heart of all material dirt. Over and above this, one should control the senses. A person who is faithful to Kṛṣṇa and who controls the senses can easily attain perfection in the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness without delay.

||4-40||

अज्ञश्चाश्रद्दधानश्च संशयात्मा विनश्यति | नायं लोकोऽस्ति न परो न सुखं संशयात्मनः ||४-४०||

ajñaścāśraddadhānaśca saṃśayātmā vinaśyati . nāyaṃ loko.asti na paro na sukhaṃ saṃśayātmanaḥ ||4-40||

ajñaḥ — a fool who has no knowledge in standard scriptures; ca — and; aśraddadhānaḥ — without faith in revealed scriptures; ca — also; saṁśaya — of doubts; ātmā — a person; vinaśyati — falls back; na — never; ayam — in this; lokaḥ — world; asti — there is; na — nor; paraḥ — in the next life; na — not; sukham — happiness; saṁśaya — doubtful; ātmanaḥ — of the person.


But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.


Out of many standard and authoritative revealed scriptures, the Bhagavad-gītā is the best. Persons who are almost like animals have no faith in, or knowledge of, the standard revealed scriptures; and some, even though they have knowledge of, or can cite passages from, the revealed scriptures, have actually no faith in these words. And even though others may have faith in scriptures like Bhagavad-gītā, they do not believe in or worship the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such persons cannot have any standing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They fall down. Out of all the above-mentioned persons, those who have no faith and are always doubtful make no progress at all. Men without faith in God and His revealed word find no good in this world, nor in the next. For them there is no happiness whatsoever. One should therefore follow the principles of revealed scriptures with faith and thereby be raised to the platform of knowledge. Only this knowledge will help one become promoted to the transcendental platform of spiritual understanding. In other words, doubtful persons have no status whatsoever in spiritual emancipation. One should therefore follow in the footsteps of great ācāryas who are in the disciplic succession and thereby attain success.

||4-41||

योगसंन्यस्तकर्माणं ज्ञानसञ्छिन्नसंशयम् | आत्मवन्तं न कर्माणि निबध्नन्ति धनञ्जय ||४-४१||

yogasaṃnyastakarmāṇaṃ jñānasañchinnasaṃśayam . ātmavantaṃ na karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanañjaya ||4-41||

yoga — by devotional service in karma-yoga; sannyasta — one who has renounced; karmāṇam — the fruits of actions; jñāna — by knowledge; sañchinna — cut; saṁśayam — doubts; ātma-vantam — situated in the self; na — never; karmāṇi — works; nibadhnanti — do bind; dhanam-jaya — O conqueror of riches.


One who acts in devotional service, renouncing the fruits of his actions, and whose doubts have been destroyed by transcendental knowledge, is situated factually in the self. Thus he is not bound by the reactions of work, O conqueror of riches.


One who follows the instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā, as it is imparted by the Lord, the Personality of Godhead Himself, becomes free from all doubts by the grace of transcendental knowledge. He, as a part and parcel of the Lord, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is already established in self-knowledge. As such, he is undoubtedly above bondage to action.

||4-42||

तस्मादज्ञानसम्भूतं हृत्स्थं ज्ञानासिनात्मनः | छित्त्वैनं संशयं योगमातिष्ठोत्तिष्ठ भारत ||४-४२||

tasmādajñānasambhūtaṃ hṛtsthaṃ jñānāsinātmanaḥ . chittvainaṃ saṃśayaṃ yogamātiṣṭhottiṣṭha bhārata ||4-42||

tasmāt — therefore; ajñāna-sambhūtam — born of ignorance; hṛt-stham — situated in the heart; jñāna — of knowledge; asinā — by the weapon; ātmanaḥ — of the self; chittvā — cutting off; enam — this; saṁśayam — doubt; yogam — in yoga; ātiṣṭha — be situated; uttiṣṭha — stand up to fight; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata.


Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bhārata, stand and fight.


The yoga system instructed in this chapter is called sanātana-yoga, or eternal activities performed by the living entity. This yoga has two divisions of sacrificial actions: one is called sacrifice of one’s material possessions, and the other is called knowledge of self, which is pure spiritual activity. If sacrifice of one’s material possessions is not dovetailed for spiritual realization, then such sacrifice becomes material. But one who performs such sacrifices with a spiritual objective, or in devotional service, makes a perfect sacrifice. When we come to spiritual activities, we find that these are also divided into two: namely, understanding of one’s own self (or one’s constitutional position), and the truth regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who follows the path of Bhagavad-gītā as it is can very easily understand these two important divisions of spiritual knowledge. For him there is no difficulty in obtaining perfect knowledge of the self as part and parcel of the Lord. And such understanding is beneficial, for such a person can easily understand the transcendental activities of the Lord. In the beginning of this chapter, the transcendental activities of the Lord were discussed by the Supreme Lord Himself. One who does not understand the instructions of the Gītā is faithless, and is to be considered to be misusing the fragmental independence awarded to him by the Lord. In spite of such instructions, one who does not understand the real nature of the Lord as the eternal, blissful, all-knowing Personality of Godhead is certainly fool number one. Ignorance can be removed by gradual acceptance of the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is awakened by different types of sacrifices to the demigods, sacrifice to Brahman, sacrifice in celibacy, in household life, in controlling the senses, in practicing mystic yoga, in penance, in forgoing material possessions, in studying the Vedas and in partaking of the social institution called varṇāśrama-dharma. All of these are known as sacrifice, and all of them are based on regulated action. But within all these activities, the important factor is self-realization. One who seeks that objective is the real student of Bhagavad-gītā, but one who doubts the authority of Kṛṣṇa falls back. One is therefore advised to study Bhagavad-gītā, or any other scripture, under a bona fide spiritual master, with service and surrender. A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom the instructions of Bhagavad-gītā have come down to the earthly kingdom. One should, therefore, follow the path of Bhagavad-gītā as it is expressed in the Gītā itself and beware of self-interested people after personal aggrandizement who deviate others from the actual path. The Lord is definitely the supreme person, and His activities are transcendental. One who understands this is a liberated person from the very beginning of his study of Bhagavad-gītā.

Глава 5

Karma-yoga – Action in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness

||5-1||

अर्जुन उवाच | संन्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर्योगं च शंससि | यच्छ्रेय एतयोरेकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम् ||५-१||

arjuna uvāca . saṃnyāsaṃ karmaṇāṃ kṛṣṇa punaryogaṃ ca śaṃsasi . yacchreya etayorekaṃ tanme brūhi suniścitam ||5-1||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; sannyāsam — renunciation; karmaṇām — of all activities; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; punaḥ — again; yogam — devotional service; ca — also; śaṁsasi — You are praising; yat — which; śreyaḥ — is more beneficial; etayoḥ — of these two; ekam — one; tat — that; me — unto me; brūhi — please tell; su-niścitam — definitely.


Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?


In this Fifth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord says that work in devotional service is better than dry mental speculation. Devotional service is easier than the latter because, being transcendental in nature, it frees one from reaction. In the Second Chapter, preliminary knowledge of the soul and its entanglement in the material body were explained. How to get out of this material encagement by buddhi-yoga, or devotional service, was also explained therein. In the Third Chapter, it was explained that a person who is situated on the platform of knowledge no longer has any duties to perform. And in the Fourth Chapter the Lord told Arjuna that all kinds of sacrificial work culminate in knowledge. However, at the end of the Fourth Chapter, the Lord advised Arjuna to wake up and fight, being situated in perfect knowledge. Therefore, by simultaneously stressing the importance of both work in devotion and inaction in knowledge, Kṛṣṇa has perplexed Arjuna and confused his determination. Arjuna understands that renunciation in knowledge involves cessation of all kinds of work performed as sense activities. But if one performs work in devotional service, then how is work stopped? In other words, he thinks that sannyāsa, or renunciation in knowledge, should be altogether free from all kinds of activity, because work and renunciation appear to him to be incompatible. He appears not to have understood that work in full knowledge is nonreactive and is therefore the same as inaction. He inquires, therefore, whether he should cease work altogether or work with full knowledge.

||5-2||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | संन्यासः कर्मयोगश्च निःश्रेयसकरावुभौ | तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते ||५-२||

śrībhagavānuvāca . saṃnyāsaḥ karmayogaśca niḥśreyasakarāvubhau . tayostu karmasaṃnyāsātkarmayogo viśiṣyate ||5-2||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Personality of Godhead said; sannyāsaḥ — renunciation of work; karma-yogaḥ — work in devotion; ca — also; niḥśreyasa-karau — leading to the path of liberation; ubhau — both; tayoḥ — of the two; tu — but; karma-sannyāsāt — in comparison to the renunciation of fruitive work; karma-yogaḥ — work in devotion; viśiṣyate — is better.


The Personality of Godhead replied: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work.


Fruitive activities (seeking sense gratification) are cause for material bondage. As long as one is engaged in activities aimed at improving the standard of bodily comfort, one is sure to transmigrate to different types of bodies, thereby continuing material bondage perpetually. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.4–6) confirms this as follows:
nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma
yad indriya-prītaya āpṛṇoti
na sādhu manye yata ātmano ’yam
asann api kleśa-da āsa dehaḥ
parābhavas tāvad abodha-jāto
yāvan na jijñāsata ātma-tattvam
yāvat kriyās tāvad idaṁ mano vai
karmātmakaṁ yena śarīra-bandhaḥ
evaṁ manaḥ karma-vaśaṁ prayuṅkte
avidyayātmany upadhīyamāne
prītir na yāvan mayi vāsudeve
na mucyate deha-yogena tāvat
“People are mad after sense gratification, and they do not know that this present body, which is full of miseries, is a result of one’s fruitive activities in the past. Although this body is temporary, it is always giving one trouble in many ways. Therefore, to act for sense gratification is not good. One is considered to be a failure in life as long as he makes no inquiry about his real identity. As long as he does not know his real identity, he has to work for fruitive results for sense gratification, and as long as one is engrossed in the consciousness of sense gratification one has to transmigrate from one body to another. Although the mind may be engrossed in fruitive activities and influenced by ignorance, one must develop a love for devotional service to Vāsudeva. Only then can one have the opportunity to get out of the bondage of material existence.”
Therefore, jñāna (or knowledge that one is not this material body but spirit soul) is not sufficient for liberation. One has to act in the status of spirit soul, otherwise there is no escape from material bondage. Action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not, however, action on the fruitive platform. Activities performed in full knowledge strengthen one’s advancement in real knowledge. Without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, mere renunciation of fruitive activities does not actually purify the heart of a conditioned soul. As long as the heart is not purified, one has to work on the fruitive platform. But action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness automatically helps one escape the result of fruitive action so that one need not descend to the material platform. Therefore action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always superior to renunciation, which always entails a risk of falling. Renunciation without Kṛṣṇa consciousness is incomplete, as is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.258):
prāpañcikatayā buddhyā
hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo
vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate
“When persons eager to achieve liberation renounce things related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking them to be material, their renunciation is called incomplete.” Renunciation is complete when it is in the knowledge that everything in existence belongs to the Lord and that no one should claim proprietorship over anything. One should understand that, factually, nothing belongs to anyone. Then where is the question of renunciation? One who knows that everything is Kṛṣṇa’s property is always situated in renunciation. Since everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, everything should be employed in the service of Kṛṣṇa. This perfect form of action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is far better than any amount of artificial renunciation by a sannyāsī of the Māyāvādī school.

||5-3||

ज्ञेयः स नित्यसंन्यासी यो न द्वेष्टि न काङ्क्षति | निर्द्वन्द्वो हि महाबाहो सुखं बन्धात्प्रमुच्यते ||५-३||

jñeyaḥ sa nityasaṃnyāsī yo na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati . nirdvandvo hi mahābāho sukhaṃ bandhātpramucyate ||5-3||

jñeyaḥ — should be known; saḥ — he; nitya — always; sannyāsī — renouncer; yaḥ — who; na — never; dveṣṭi — abhors; na — nor; kāṅkṣati — desires; nirdvandvaḥ — free from all dualities; hi — certainly; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; sukham — happily; bandhāt — from bondage; pramucyate — is completely liberated.


One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.


One who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always a renouncer because he feels neither hatred nor desire for the results of his actions. Such a renouncer, dedicated to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, is fully qualified in knowledge because he knows his constitutional position in his relationship with Kṛṣṇa. He knows fully well that Kṛṣṇa is the whole and that he is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Such knowledge is perfect because it is qualitatively and quantitatively correct. The concept of oneness with Kṛṣṇa is incorrect because the part cannot be equal to the whole. Knowledge that one is one in quality yet different in quantity is correct transcendental knowledge leading one to become full in himself, having nothing to aspire to or lament over. There is no duality in his mind because whatever he does, he does for Kṛṣṇa. Being thus freed from the platform of dualities, he is liberated – even in this material world.

||5-4||

साङ्ख्ययोगौ पृथग्बालाः प्रवदन्ति न पण्डिताः | एकमप्यास्थितः सम्यगुभयोर्विन्दते फलम् ||५-४||

sāṅkhyayogau pṛthagbālāḥ pravadanti na paṇḍitāḥ . ekamapyāsthitaḥ samyagubhayorvindate phalam ||5-4||

sāṅkhya — analytical study of the material world; yogau — work in devotional service; pṛthak — different; bālāḥ — the less intelligent; pravadanti — say; na — never; paṇḍitāḥ — the learned; ekam — in one; api — even; āsthitaḥ — being situated; samyak — complete; ubhayoḥ — of both; vindate — enjoys; phalam — the result.


Only the ignorant speak of devotional service [karma-yoga] as being different from the analytical study of the material world [Sāṅkhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.


The aim of the analytical study of the material world is to find the soul of existence. The soul of the material world is Viṣṇu, or the Supersoul. Devotional service to the Lord entails service to the Supersoul. One process is to find the root of the tree, and the other is to water the root. The real student of Sāṅkhya philosophy finds the root of the material world, Viṣṇu, and then, in perfect knowledge, engages himself in the service of the Lord. Therefore, in essence, there is no difference between the two because the aim of both is Viṣṇu. Those who do not know the ultimate end say that the purposes of Sāṅkhya and karma-yoga are not the same, but one who is learned knows the unifying aim in these different processes.

||5-5||

यत्साङ्ख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते | एकं साङ्ख्यं च योगं च यः पश्यति स पश्यति ||५-५||

yatsāṅkhyaiḥ prāpyate sthānaṃ tadyogairapi gamyate . ekaṃ sāṅkhyaṃ ca yogaṃ ca yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ||5-5||

yat — what; sāṅkhyaiḥ — by means of Sāṅkhya philosophy; prāpyate — is achieved; sthānam — place; tat — that; yogaiḥ — by devotional service; api — also; gamyate — one can attain; ekam — one; sāṅkhyam — analytical study; ca — and; yogam — action in devotion; ca — and; yaḥ — one who; paśyati — sees; saḥ — he; paśyati — actually sees.


One who knows that the position reached by means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefore sees analytical study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are.


The real purpose of philosophical research is to find the ultimate goal of life. Since the ultimate goal of life is self-realization, there is no difference between the conclusions reached by the two processes. By Sāṅkhya philosophical research one comes to the conclusion that a living entity is not a part and parcel of the material world but of the supreme spirit whole. Consequently, the spirit soul has nothing to do with the material world; his actions must be in some relation with the Supreme. When he acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is actually in his constitutional position. In the first process, Sāṅkhya, one has to become detached from matter, and in the devotional yoga process one has to attach himself to the work of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Factually, both processes are the same, although superficially one process appears to involve detachment and the other process appears to involve attachment. Detachment from matter and attachment to Kṛṣṇa are one and the same. One who can see this sees things as they are.

||5-6||

संन्यासस्तु महाबाहो दुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः | योगयुक्तो मुनिर्ब्रह्म नचिरेणाधिगच्छति ||५-६||

saṃnyāsastu mahābāho duḥkhamāptumayogataḥ . yogayukto munirbrahma nacireṇādhigacchati ||5-6||

sannyāsaḥ — the renounced order of life; tu — but; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; duḥkham — distress; āptum — afflicts one with; ayogataḥ — without devotional service; yoga-yuktaḥ — one engaged in devotional service; muniḥ — a thinker; brahma — the Supreme; na cireṇa — without delay; adhigacchati — attains.


Merely renouncing all activities yet not engaging in the devotional service of the Lord cannot make one happy. But a thoughtful person engaged in devotional service can achieve the Supreme without delay.


There are two classes of sannyāsīs, or persons in the renounced order of life. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are engaged in the study of Sāṅkhya philosophy, whereas the Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs are engaged in the study of Bhāgavatam philosophy, which affords the proper commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs also study the Vedānta-sūtras, but use their own commentary, called Śārīraka-bhāṣya, written by Śaṅkarācārya. The students of the Bhāgavata school are engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, according to pāñcarātrikī regulations, and therefore the Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs have multiple engagements in the transcendental service of the Lord. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs have nothing to do with material activities, and yet they perform various activities in their devotional service to the Lord. But the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, engaged in the studies of Sāṅkhya and Vedānta and speculation, cannot relish the transcendental service of the Lord. Because their studies become very tedious, they sometimes become tired of Brahman speculation, and thus they take shelter of the Bhāgavatam without proper understanding. Consequently their study of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam becomes troublesome. Dry speculations and impersonal interpretations by artificial means are all useless for the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, who are engaged in devotional service, are happy in the discharge of their transcendental duties, and they have the guarantee of ultimate entrance into the kingdom of God. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs sometimes fall down from the path of self-realization and again enter into material activities of a philanthropic and altruistic nature, which are nothing but material engagements. Therefore, the conclusion is that those who are engaged in Kṛṣṇa conscious activities are better situated than the sannyāsīs engaged in simple speculation about what is Brahman and what is not Brahman, although they too come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, after many births.

||5-7||

योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः | सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते ||५-७||

yogayukto viśuddhātmā vijitātmā jitendriyaḥ . sarvabhūtātmabhūtātmā kurvannapi na lipyate ||5-7||

yoga-yuktaḥ — engaged in devotional service; viśuddha-ātmā — a purified soul; vijita-ātmā — self-controlled; jita-indriyaḥ — having conquered the senses; sarva-bhūta — to all living entities; ātma-bhūta-ātmā — compassionate; kurvan api — although engaged in work; na — never; lipyate — is entangled.


One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.


One who is on the path of liberation by Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very dear to every living being, and every living being is dear to him. This is due to his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a person cannot think of any living being as separate from Kṛṣṇa, just as the leaves and branches of a tree are not separate from the tree. He knows very well that by pouring water on the root of the tree, the water will be distributed to all the leaves and branches, or by supplying food to the stomach, the energy is automatically distributed throughout the body. Because one who works in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is servant to all, he is very dear to everyone. And because everyone is satisfied by his work, he is pure in consciousness. Because he is pure in consciousness, his mind is completely controlled. And because his mind is controlled, his senses are also controlled. Because his mind is always fixed on Kṛṣṇa, there is no chance of his being deviated from Kṛṣṇa. Nor is there a chance that he will engage his senses in matters other than the service of the Lord. He does not like to hear anything except topics relating to Kṛṣṇa; he does not like to eat anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa; and he does not wish to go anywhere if Kṛṣṇa is not involved. Therefore, his senses are controlled. A man of controlled senses cannot be offensive to anyone. One may ask, “Why then was Arjuna offensive (in battle) to others? Wasn’t he in Kṛṣṇa consciousness?” Arjuna was only superficially offensive because (as has already been explained in the Second Chapter) all the assembled persons on the battlefield would continue to live individually, as the soul cannot be slain. So, spiritually, no one was killed on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Only their dresses were changed by the order of Kṛṣṇa, who was personally present. Therefore Arjuna, while fighting on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, was not really fighting at all; he was simply carrying out the orders of Kṛṣṇa in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a person is never entangled in the reactions of work.

||5-8||

नैव किञ्चित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् | पश्यञ्शृण्वन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपञ्श्वसन् ||५-८||

naiva kiñcitkaromīti yukto manyeta tattvavit . paśyañśruṇvanspṛśañjighrannaśnangacchansvapañśvasan ||5-8||

na — never; eva — certainly; kiñcit — anything; karomi — I do; iti — thus; yuktaḥ — engaged in the divine consciousness; manyeta — thinks; tattva-vit — one who knows the truth; paśyan — seeing; śṛṇvan — hearing; spṛśan — touching; jighran — smelling; aśnan — eating; gacchan — going; svapan — dreaming; śvasan — breathing; pralapan — talking; visṛjan — giving up; gṛhṇan — accepting; unmiṣan — opening; nimiṣan — closing; api — in spite of; indriyāṇi — the senses; indriya-artheṣu — in sense gratification; vartante — let them be so engaged; iti — thus; dhārayan — considering.


A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, or opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.


A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is pure in his existence, and consequently he has nothing to do with any work which depends upon five immediate and remote causes: the doer, the work, the situation, the endeavor and fortune. This is because he is engaged in the loving transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. Although he appears to be acting with his body and senses, he is always conscious of his actual position, which is spiritual engagement. In material consciousness, the senses are engaged in sense gratification, but in Kṛṣṇa consciousness the senses are engaged in the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa’s senses. Therefore, the Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always free, even though he appears to be engaged in affairs of the senses. Activities such as seeing and hearing are actions of the senses meant for receiving knowledge, whereas moving, speaking, evacuating, etc., are actions of the senses meant for work. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is never affected by the actions of the senses. He cannot perform any act except in the service of the Lord because he knows that he is the eternal servitor of the Lord.

||5-9||

प्रलपन्विसृजन्गृह्णन्नुन्मिषन्निमिषन्नपि | इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ||५-९||

pralapanvisṛjangṛhṇannunmiṣannimiṣannapi . indriyāṇīndriyārtheṣu vartanta iti dhārayan ||5-9||

||5-10||

ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः | लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा ||५-१०||

brahmaṇyādhāya karmāṇi saṅgaṃ tyaktvā karoti yaḥ . lipyate na sa pāpena padmapatramivāmbhasā ||5-10||

brahmaṇi — unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ādhāya — resigning; karmāṇi — all works; saṅgam — attachment; tyaktvā — giving up; karoti — performs; yaḥ — who; lipyate — is affected; na — never; saḥ — he; pāpena — by sin; padma-patram — a lotus leaf; iva — like; ambhasā — by the water.


One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.


Here brahmaṇi means in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The material world is a sum total manifestation of the three modes of material nature, technically called the pradhāna. The Vedic hymns sarvaṁ hy etad brahma (Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad 2), tasmād etad brahma nāma rūpam annaṁ ca jāyate (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.1.9), and, in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.3), mama yonir mahad brahma indicate that everything in the material world is a manifestation of Brahman; and although the effects are differently manifested, they are nondifferent from the cause. In the Īśopaniṣad it is said that everything is related to the Supreme Brahman, or Kṛṣṇa, and thus everything belongs to Him only. One who knows perfectly well that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, that He is the proprietor of everything and that, therefore, everything is engaged in the service of the Lord, naturally has nothing to do with the results of his activities, whether virtuous or sinful. Even one’s material body, being a gift of the Lord for carrying out a particular type of action, can be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is then beyond contamination by sinful reactions, exactly as the lotus leaf, though remaining in the water, is not wet. The Lord also says in the Gītā (3.30), mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasya: “Resign all works unto Me [Kṛṣṇa].” The conclusion is that a person without Kṛṣṇa consciousness acts according to the concept of the material body and senses, but a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness acts according to the knowledge that the body is the property of Kṛṣṇa and should therefore be engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa.

||5-11||

कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि | योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वात्मशुद्धये ||५-११||

kāyena manasā buddhyā kevalairindriyairapi . yoginaḥ karma kurvanti saṅgaṃ tyaktvātmaśuddhaye ||5-11||

kāyena — with the body; manasā — with the mind; buddhyā — with the intelligence; kevalaiḥ — purified; indriyaiḥ — with the senses; api — even; yoginaḥ — Kṛṣṇa conscious persons; karma — actions; kurvanti — they perform; saṅgam — attachment; tyaktvā — giving up; ātma — of the self; śuddhaye — for the purpose of purification.


The yogīs, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.


When one acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for the satisfaction of the senses of Kṛṣṇa, any action, whether of the body, mind, intelligence or even the senses, is purified of material contamination. There are no material reactions resulting from the activities of a Kṛṣṇa conscious person. Therefore purified activities, which are generally called sad-ācāra, can be easily performed by acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.187) describes this as follows:
īhā yasya harer dāsye
karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu
jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate
“A person acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (or, in other words, in the service of Kṛṣṇa) with his body, mind, intelligence and words is a liberated person even within the material world, although he may be engaged in many so-called material activities.” He has no false ego, for he does not believe that he is this material body, or that he possesses the body. He knows that he is not this body and that this body does not belong to him. He himself belongs to Kṛṣṇa, and the body too belongs to Kṛṣṇa. When he applies everything produced of the body, mind, intelligence, words, life, wealth, etc. – whatever he may have within his possession – to Kṛṣṇa’s service, he is at once dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa. He is one with Kṛṣṇa and is devoid of the false ego that leads one to believe that he is the body, etc. This is the perfect stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||5-12||

युक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम् | अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते ||५-१२||

yuktaḥ karmaphalaṃ tyaktvā śāntimāpnoti naiṣṭhikīm . ayuktaḥ kāmakāreṇa phale sakto nibadhyate ||5-12||

yuktaḥ — one who is engaged in devotional service; karma-phalam — the results of all activities; tyaktvā — giving up; śāntim — perfect peace; āpnoti — achieves; naiṣṭhikīm — unflinching; ayuktaḥ — one who is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; kāma-kāreṇa — for enjoying the result of work; phale — in the result; saktaḥ — attached; nibadhyate — becomes entangled.


The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.


The difference between a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and a person in bodily consciousness is that the former is attached to Kṛṣṇa whereas the latter is attached to the results of his activities. The person who is attached to Kṛṣṇa and works for Him only is certainly a liberated person, and he has no anxiety over the results of his work. In the Bhāgavatam, the cause of anxiety over the result of an activity is explained as being one’s functioning in the conception of duality, that is, without knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no duality. All that exists is a product of Kṛṣṇa’s energy, and Kṛṣṇa is all good. Therefore, activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are on the absolute plane; they are transcendental and have no material effect. One is therefore filled with peace in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But one who is entangled in profit calculation for sense gratification cannot have that peace. This is the secret of Kṛṣṇa consciousness – realization that there is no existence besides Kṛṣṇa is the platform of peace and fearlessness.

||5-13||

सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी | नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन् ||५-१३||

sarvakarmāṇi manasā saṃnyasyāste sukhaṃ vaśī . navadvāre pure dehī naiva kurvanna kārayan ||5-13||

sarva — all; karmāṇi — activities; manasā — by the mind; sannyasya — giving up; āste — remains; sukham — in happiness; vaśī — one who is controlled; nava-dvāre — in the place where there are nine gates; pure — in the city; dehī — the embodied soul; na — never; eva — certainly; kurvan — doing anything; na — not; kārayan — causing to be done.


When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates [the material body], neither working nor causing work to be done.


The embodied soul lives in the city of nine gates. The activities of the body, or the figurative city of body, are conducted automatically by its particular modes of nature. The soul, although subjecting himself to the conditions of the body, can be beyond those conditions, if he so desires. Owing only to forgetfulness of his superior nature, he identifies with the material body, and therefore suffers. By Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can revive his real position and thus come out of his embodiment. Therefore, when one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one at once becomes completely aloof from bodily activities. In such a controlled life, in which his deliberations are changed, he lives happily within the city of nine gates. The nine gates are mentioned as follows:
nava-dvāre pure dehī
haṁso lelāyate bahiḥ
vaśī sarvasya lokasya
sthāvarasya carasya ca
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is living within the body of a living entity, is the controller of all living entities all over the universe. The body consists of nine gates [two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth, the anus and the genitals]. The living entity in his conditioned stage identifies himself with the body, but when he identifies himself with the Lord within himself, he becomes just as free as the Lord, even while in the body.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.18)
Therefore, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is free from both the outer and inner activities of the material body.

||5-14||

न कर्तृत्वं न कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः | न कर्मफलसंयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते ||५-१४||

na kartṛtvaṃ na karmāṇi lokasya sṛjati prabhuḥ . na karmaphalasaṃyogaṃ svabhāvastu pravartate ||5-14||

na — never; kartṛtvam — proprietorship; na — nor; karmāṇi — activities; lokasya — of the people; sṛjati — creates; prabhuḥ — the master of the city of the body; na — nor; karma-phala — with the results of activities; saṁyogam — connection; svabhāvaḥ — the modes of material nature; tu — but; pravartate — act.


The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.


The living entity, as will be explained in the Seventh Chapter, is one of the energies or natures of the Supreme Lord but is distinct from matter, which is another nature – called inferior – of the Lord. Somehow the superior nature, the living entity, has been in contact with material nature since time immemorial. The temporary body or material dwelling place which he obtains is the cause of varieties of activities and their resultant reactions. Living in such a conditional atmosphere, one suffers the results of the activities of the body by identifying himself (in ignorance) with the body. It is ignorance acquired from time immemorial that is the cause of bodily suffering and distress. As soon as the living entity becomes aloof from the activities of the body, he becomes free from the reactions as well. As long as he is in the city of the body, he appears to be the master of it, but actually he is neither its proprietor nor controller of its actions and reactions. He is simply in the midst of the material ocean, struggling for existence. The waves of the ocean are tossing him, and he has no control over them. His best solution is to get out of the water by transcendental Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That alone will save him from all turmoil.

||5-15||

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं न चैव सुकृतं विभुः | अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः ||५-१५||

nādatte kasyacitpāpaṃ na caiva sukṛtaṃ vibhuḥ . ajñānenāvṛtaṃ jñānaṃ tena muhyanti jantavaḥ ||5-15||

na — never; ādatte — accepts; kasyacit — anyone’s; pāpam — sin; na — nor; ca — also; eva — certainly; su-kṛtam — pious activities; vibhuḥ — the Supreme Lord; ajñānena — by ignorance; āvṛtam — covered; jñānam — knowledge; tena — by that; muhyanti — are bewildered; jantavaḥ — the living entities.


Nor does the Supreme Lord assume anyone’s sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.


The Sanskrit word vibhu means the Supreme Lord who is full of unlimited knowledge, riches, strength, fame, beauty and renunciation. He is always satisfied in Himself, undisturbed by sinful or pious activities. He does not create a particular situation for any living entity, but the living entity, bewildered by ignorance, desires to be put into certain conditions of life, and thereby his chain of action and reaction begins. A living entity is, by superior nature, full of knowledge. Nevertheless, he is prone to be influenced by ignorance due to his limited power. The Lord is omnipotent, but the living entity is not. The Lord is vibhu, or omniscient, but the living entity is aṇu, or atomic. Because he is a living soul, he has the capacity to desire by his free will. Such desire is fulfilled only by the omnipotent Lord. And so, when the living entity is bewildered in his desires, the Lord allows him to fulfill those desires, but the Lord is never responsible for the actions and reactions of the particular situation which may be desired. Being in a bewildered condition, therefore, the embodied soul identifies himself with the circumstantial material body and becomes subjected to the temporary misery and happiness of life. The Lord is the constant companion of the living entity as Paramātmā, or the Supersoul, and therefore He can understand the desires of the individual soul, as one can smell the flavor of a flower by being near it. Desire is a subtle form of conditioning for the living entity. The Lord fulfills his desire as he deserves: Man proposes and God disposes. The individual is not, therefore, omnipotent in fulfilling his desires. The Lord, however, can fulfill all desires, and the Lord, being neutral to everyone, does not interfere with the desires of the minute independent living entities. However, when one desires Kṛṣṇa, the Lord takes special care and encourages one to desire in such a way that one can attain to Him and be eternally happy. The Vedic hymns therefore declare, eṣa u hy eva sādhu karma kārayati taṁ yam ebhyo lokebhya unninīṣate. eṣa u evāsādhu karma kārayati yam adho ninīṣate: “The Lord engages the living entity in pious activities so that he may be elevated. The Lord engages him in impious activities so that he may go to hell.” (Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad 3.8)
ajño jantur anīśo ’yam
ātmanaḥ sukha-duḥkhayoḥ
īśvara-prerito gacchet
svargaṁ vāśv abhram eva ca
“The living entity is completely dependent in his distress and happiness. By the will of the Supreme he can go to heaven or hell, as a cloud is driven by the air.”
Therefore the embodied soul, by his immemorial desire to avoid Kṛṣṇa consciousness, causes his own bewilderment. Consequently, although he is constitutionally eternal, blissful and cognizant, due to the littleness of his existence he forgets his constitutional position of service to the Lord and is thus entrapped by nescience. And, under the spell of ignorance, the living entity claims that the Lord is responsible for his conditional existence. The Vedānta-sūtras (2.1.34) also confirm this. Vaiṣamya-nairghṛṇye na sāpekṣatvāt tathā hi darśayati: “The Lord neither hates nor likes anyone, though He appears to.”

||5-16||

ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः | तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् ||५-१६||

jñānena tu tadajñānaṃ yeṣāṃ nāśitamātmanaḥ . teṣāmādityavajjñānaṃ prakāśayati tatparam ||5-16||

jñānena — by knowledge; tu — but; tat — that; ajñānam — nescience; yeṣām — whose; nāśitam — is destroyed; ātmanaḥ — of the living entity; teṣām — their; āditya-vat — like the rising sun; jñānam — knowledge; prakāśayati — discloses; tat param — Kṛṣṇa consciousness.


When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.


Those who have forgotten Kṛṣṇa must certainly be bewildered, but those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are not bewildered at all. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarvaṁ jñāna-plavena, jñānāgniḥ sarva-karmāṇi and na hi jñānena sadṛśam. Knowledge is always highly esteemed. And what is that knowledge? Perfect knowledge is achieved when one surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, as is said in the Seventh Chapter, nineteenth verse: bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate. After passing through many, many births, when one perfect in knowledge surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, or when one attains Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then everything is revealed to him, as everything is revealed by the sun in the daytime. The living entity is bewildered in so many ways. For instance, when he unceremoniously thinks himself God, he actually falls into the last snare of nescience. If a living entity is God, then how can he become bewildered by nescience? Does God become bewildered by nescience? If so, then nescience, or Satan, is greater than God. Real knowledge can be obtained from a person who is in perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, one has to seek out such a bona fide spiritual master and, under him, learn what Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, for Kṛṣṇa consciousness will certainly drive away all nescience, as the sun drives away darkness. Even though a person may be in full knowledge that he is not this body but is transcendental to the body, he still may not be able to discriminate between the soul and the Supersoul. However, he can know everything well if he cares to take shelter of the perfect, bona fide Kṛṣṇa conscious spiritual master. One can know God and one’s relationship with God only when one actually meets a representative of God. A representative of God never claims that he is God, although he is paid all the respect ordinarily paid to God because he has knowledge of God. One has to learn the distinction between God and the living entity. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa therefore stated in the Second Chapter (2.12) that every living being is individual and that the Lord also is individual. They were all individuals in the past, they are individuals at present, and they will continue to be individuals in the future, even after liberation. At night we see everything as one in the darkness, but in day, when the sun is up, we see everything in its real identity. Identity with individuality in spiritual life is real knowledge.

||5-17||

तद्बुद्धयस्तदात्मानस्तन्निष्ठास्तत्परायणाः | गच्छन्त्यपुनरावृत्तिं ज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः ||५-१७||

tadbuddhayastadātmānastanniṣṭhāstatparāyaṇāḥ . gacchantyapunarāvṛttiṃ jñānanirdhūtakalmaṣāḥ ||5-17||

tat-buddhayaḥ — those whose intelligence is always in the Supreme; tat-ātmānaḥ — those whose minds are always in the Supreme; tat-niṣṭhāḥ — those whose faith is only meant for the Supreme; tat-parāyaṇāḥ — who have completely taken shelter of Him; gacchanti — go; apunaḥ-āvṛttim — to liberation; jñāna — by knowledge; nirdhūta — cleansed; kalmaṣāḥ — misgivings.


When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.


The Supreme Transcendental Truth is Lord Kṛṣṇa. The whole Bhagavad-gītā centers around the declaration that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the version of all Vedic literature. Para-tattva means the Supreme Reality, who is understood by the knowers of the Supreme as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the last word in the Absolute. There is nothing more than that. The Lord says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañ-jaya. Impersonal Brahman is also supported by Kṛṣṇa: brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham. Therefore in all ways Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Reality. One whose mind, intelligence, faith and refuge are always in Kṛṣṇa, or, in other words, one who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is undoubtedly washed clean of all misgivings and is in perfect knowledge in everything concerning transcendence. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person can thoroughly understand that there is duality (simultaneous identity and individuality) in Kṛṣṇa, and, equipped with such transcendental knowledge, one can make steady progress on the path of liberation.

||5-18||

विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि | शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिताः समदर्शिनः ||५-१८||

vidyāvinayasampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini . śuni caiva śvapāke ca paṇḍitāḥ samadarśinaḥ ||5-18||

vidyā — with education; vinaya — and gentleness; sampanne — fully equipped; brāhmaṇe — in the brāhmaṇa; gavi — in the cow; hastini — in the elephant; śuni — in the dog; ca — and; eva — certainly; śva-pāke — in the dog-eater (the outcaste); ca — respectively; paṇḍitāḥ — those who are wise; sama-darśinaḥ — who see with equal vision.


The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].


A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not make any distinction between species or castes. The brāhmaṇa and the outcaste may be different from the social point of view, or a dog, a cow and an elephant may be different from the point of view of species, but these differences of body are meaningless from the viewpoint of a learned transcendentalist. This is due to their relationship to the Supreme, for the Supreme Lord, by His plenary portion as Paramātmā, is present in everyone’s heart. Such an understanding of the Supreme is real knowledge. As far as the bodies are concerned in different castes or different species of life, the Lord is equally kind to everyone because He treats every living being as a friend yet maintains Himself as Paramātmā regardless of the circumstances of the living entities. The Lord as Paramātmā is present both in the outcaste and in the brāhmaṇa, although the body of a brāhmaṇa and that of an outcaste are not the same. The bodies are material productions of different modes of material nature, but the soul and the Supersoul within the body are of the same spiritual quality. The similarity in the quality of the soul and the Supersoul, however, does not make them equal in quantity, for the individual soul is present only in that particular body whereas the Paramātmā is present in each and every body. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has full knowledge of this, and therefore he is truly learned and has equal vision. The similar characteristics of the soul and Supersoul are that they are both conscious, eternal and blissful. But the difference is that the individual soul is conscious within the limited jurisdiction of the body whereas the Supersoul is conscious of all bodies. The Supersoul is present in all bodies without distinction.

||5-19||

इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः | निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद् ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः ||५-१९||

ihaiva tairjitaḥ sargo yeṣāṃ sāmye sthitaṃ manaḥ . nirdoṣaṃ hi samaṃ brahma tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ ||5-19||

iha — in this life; eva — certainly; taiḥ — by them; jitaḥ — conquered; sargaḥ — birth and death; yeṣām — whose; sāmye — in equanimity; sthitam — situated; manaḥ — mind; nirdoṣam — flawless; hi — certainly; samam — in equanimity; brahma — like the Supreme; tasmāt — therefore; brahmaṇi — in the Supreme; te — they; sthitāḥ — are situated.


Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.


Equanimity of mind, as mentioned above, is the sign of self-realization. Those who have actually attained to such a stage should be considered to have conquered material conditions, specifically birth and death. As long as one identifies with this body, he is considered a conditioned soul, but as soon as he is elevated to the stage of equanimity through realization of self, he is liberated from conditional life. In other words, he is no longer subject to take birth in the material world but can enter into the spiritual sky after his death. The Lord is flawless because He is without attraction or hatred. Similarly, when a living entity is without attraction or hatred, he also becomes flawless and eligible to enter into the spiritual sky. Such persons are to be considered already liberated, and their symptoms are described below.

||5-20||

न प्रहृष्येत्प्रियं प्राप्य नोद्विजेत्प्राप्य चाप्रियम् | स्थिरबुद्धिरसम्मूढो ब्रह्मविद् ब्रह्मणि स्थितः ||५-२०||

na prahṛṣyetpriyaṃ prāpya nodvijetprāpya cāpriyam . sthirabuddhirasammūḍho brahmavid brahmaṇi sthitaḥ ||5-20||

na — never; prahṛṣyet — rejoices; priyam — the pleasant; prāpya — achieving; na — does not; udvijet — become agitated; prāpya — obtaining; ca — also; apriyam — the unpleasant; sthira-buddhiḥ — self-intelligent; asammūḍhaḥ — unbewildered; brahma-vit — one who knows the Supreme perfectly; brahmaṇi — in the transcendence; sthitaḥ — situated.


A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, who is unbewildered, and who knows the science of God is already situated in transcendence.


The symptoms of the self-realized person are given herein. The first symptom is that he is not illusioned by the false identification of the body with his true self. He knows perfectly well that he is not this body but is the fragmental portion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is therefore not joyful in achieving something, nor does he lament in losing anything which is related to his body. This steadiness of mind is called sthira-buddhi, or self-intelligence. He is therefore never bewildered by mistaking the gross body for the soul, nor does he accept the body as permanent and disregard the existence of the soul. This knowledge elevates him to the station of knowing the complete science of the Absolute Truth, namely Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. He thus knows his constitutional position perfectly well, without falsely trying to become one with the Supreme in all respects. This is called Brahman realization, or self-realization. Such steady consciousness is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||5-21||

बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्मा विन्दत्यात्मनि यत्सुखम् | स ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मा सुखमक्षयमश्नुते ||५-२१||

bāhyasparśeṣvasaktātmā vindatyātmani yatsukham . sa brahmayogayuktātmā sukhamakṣayamaśnute ||5-21||

bāhya-sparśeṣu — in external sense pleasure; asakta-ātmā — one who is not attached; vindati — enjoys; ātmani — in the self; yat — that which; sukham — happiness; saḥ — he; brahma-yoga — by concentration in Brahman; yukta-ātmā — self-connected; sukham — happiness; akṣayam — unlimited; aśnute — enjoys.


Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.


Śrī Yāmunācārya, a great devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, said:
yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-pādāravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt
tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne
bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭhu niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca
“Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste.” A person in brahma-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is so absorbed in the loving service of the Lord that he loses his taste for material sense pleasure altogether. The highest pleasure in terms of matter is sex pleasure. The whole world is moving under its spell, and a materialist cannot work at all without this motivation. But a person engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can work with greater vigor without sex pleasure, which he avoids. That is the test in spiritual realization. Spiritual realization and sex pleasure go ill together. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not attracted to any kind of sense pleasure, due to his being a liberated soul.

||5-22||

ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगा दुःखयोनय एव ते | आद्यन्तवन्तः कौन्तेय न तेषु रमते बुधः ||५-२२||

ye hi saṃsparśajā bhogā duḥkhayonaya eva te . ādyantavantaḥ kaunteya na teṣu ramate budhaḥ ||5-22||

ye — those; hi — certainly; saṁsparśa-jāḥ — by contact with the material senses; bhogāḥ — enjoyments; duḥkha — distress; yonayaḥ — sources of; eva — certainly; te — they are; ādi — beginning; anta — end; vantaḥ — subject to; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; na — never; teṣu — in those; ramate — takes delight; budhaḥ — the intelligent person.


An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kuntī, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.


Material sense pleasures are due to the contact of the material senses, which are all temporary because the body itself is temporary. A liberated soul is not interested in anything which is temporary. Knowing well the joys of transcendental pleasures, how can a liberated soul agree to enjoy false pleasure? In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:
ramante yogino ’nante
satyānande cid-ātmani
iti rāma-padenāsau
paraṁ brahmābhidhīyate
“The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Rāma.”
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also (5.5.1) it is said:
nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛ-loke
kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye
tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ
śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ tv anantam
“My dear sons, there is no reason to labor very hard for sense pleasure while in this human form of life; such pleasures are available to the stool-eaters [hogs]. Rather, you should undergo penances in this life by which your existence will be purified, and as a result you will be able to enjoy unlimited transcendental bliss.”
Therefore, those who are true yogīs or learned transcendentalists are not attracted by sense pleasures, which are the causes of continuous material existence. The more one is addicted to material pleasures, the more he is entrapped by material miseries.

||5-23||

शक्नोतीहैव यः सोढुं प्राक्शरीरविमोक्षणात् | कामक्रोधोद्भवं वेगं स युक्तः स सुखी नरः ||५-२३||

śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṃ prākśarīravimokṣaṇāt . kāmakrodhodbhavaṃ vegaṃ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ ||5-23||

śaknoti — is able; iha eva — in the present body; yaḥ — one who; soḍhum — to tolerate; prāk — before; śarīra — the body; vimokṣaṇāt — giving up; kāma — desire; krodha — and anger; udbhavam — generated from; vegam — urges; saḥ — he; yuktaḥ — in trance; saḥ — he; sukhī — happy; naraḥ — human being.


Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world.


If one wants to make steady progress on the path of self-realization, he must try to control the forces of the material senses. There are the forces of talk, forces of anger, forces of mind, forces of the stomach, forces of the genitals, and forces of the tongue. One who is able to control the forces of all these different senses, and the mind, is called gosvāmī, or svāmī. Such gosvāmīs live strictly controlled lives and forgo altogether the forces of the senses. Material desires, when unsatiated, generate anger, and thus the mind, eyes and chest become agitated. Therefore, one must practice to control them before one gives up this material body. One who can do this is understood to be self-realized and is thus happy in the state of self-realization. It is the duty of the transcendentalist to try strenuously to control desire and anger.

||5-24||

योऽन्तःसुखोऽन्तरारामस्तथान्तर्ज्योतिरेव यः | स योगी ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं ब्रह्मभूतोऽधिगच्छति ||५-२४||

yo.antaḥsukho.antarārāmastathāntarjyotireva yaḥ . sa yogī brahmanirvāṇaṃ brahmabhūto.adhigacchati ||5-24||

yaḥ — one who; antaḥ-sukhaḥ — happy from within; antaḥ-ārāmaḥ — actively enjoying within; tathā — as well as; antaḥ-jyotiḥ — aiming within; eva — certainly; yaḥ — anyone; saḥ — he; yogī — a mystic; brahma-nirvāṇam — liberation in the Supreme; brahma-bhūtaḥ — being self-realized; adhigacchati — attains.


One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.


Unless one is able to relish happiness from within, how can one retire from the external engagements meant for deriving superficial happiness? A liberated person enjoys happiness by factual experience. He can, therefore, sit silently at any place and enjoy the activities of life from within. Such a liberated person no longer desires external material happiness. This state is called brahma-bhūta, attaining which one is assured of going back to Godhead, back to home.

||5-25||

लभन्ते ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृषयः क्षीणकल्मषाः | छिन्नद्वैधा यतात्मानः सर्वभूतहिते रताः ||५-२५||

labhante brahmanirvāṇamṛṣayaḥ kṣīṇakalmaṣāḥ . chinnadvaidhā yatātmānaḥ sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ ||5-25||

labhante — achieve; brahma-nirvāṇam — liberation in the Supreme; ṛṣayaḥ — those who are active within; kṣīṇa-kalmaṣāḥ — who are devoid of all sins; chinna — having torn off; dvaidhāḥ — duality; yata-ātmānaḥ — engaged in self-realization; sarva-bhūta — for all living entities; hite — in welfare work; ratāḥ — engaged.


Those who are beyond the dualities that arise from doubts, whose minds are engaged within, who are always busy working for the welfare of all living beings and who are free from all sins achieve liberation in the Supreme.


Only a person who is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be said to be engaged in welfare work for all living entities. When a person is actually in the knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of everything, then when he acts in that spirit he acts for everyone. The sufferings of humanity are due to forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor and the supreme friend. Therefore, to act to revive this consciousness within the entire human society is the highest welfare work. One cannot be engaged in such first-class welfare work without being liberated in the Supreme. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no doubt about the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa. He has no doubt because he is completely freed from all sins. This is the state of divine love.
A person engaged only in ministering to the physical welfare of human society cannot factually help anyone. Temporary relief of the external body and the mind is not satisfactory. The real cause of one’s difficulties in the hard struggle for life may be found in one’s forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Lord. When a man is fully conscious of his relationship with Kṛṣṇa, he is actually a liberated soul, although he may be in the material tabernacle.

||5-26||

कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् | अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम् ||५-२६||

kāmakrodhaviyuktānāṃ yatīnāṃ yatacetasām . abhito brahmanirvāṇaṃ vartate viditātmanām ||5-26||

kāma — from desires; krodha — and anger; vimuktānām — of those who are liberated; yatīnām — of the saintly persons; yata-cetasām — who have full control over the mind; abhitaḥ — assured in the near future; brahma-nirvāṇam — liberation in the Supreme; vartate — is there; vidita-ātmanām — of those who are self-realized.


Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.


Of the saintly persons who are constantly engaged in striving toward salvation, one who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the best of all. The Bhāgavatam (4.22.39) confirms this fact as follows:
yat-pāda-paṅkaja-palāśa-vilāsa-bhaktyā
karmāśayaṁ grathitam udgrathayanti santaḥ
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo ’pi ruddha-
sroto-gaṇās tam araṇaṁ bhaja vāsudevam
“Just try to worship, in devotional service, Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even great sages are not able to control the forces of the senses as effectively as those who are engaged in transcendental bliss by serving the lotus feet of the Lord, uprooting the deep-grown desire for fruitive activities.”
In the conditioned soul the desire to enjoy the fruitive results of work is so deep-rooted that it is very difficult even for the great sages to control such desires, despite great endeavors. A devotee of the Lord, constantly engaged in devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, perfect in self-realization, very quickly attains liberation in the Supreme. Owing to his complete knowledge in self-realization, he always remains in trance. To cite an analogous example of this:
darśana-dhyāna-saṁsparśair
matsya-kūrma-vihaṅgamāḥ
svāny apatyāni puṣṇanti
tathāham api padma-ja
“By vision, by meditation and by touch only do the fish, the tortoise and the birds maintain their offspring. Similarly do I also, O Padmaja!”
The fish brings up its offspring simply by looking at them. The tortoise brings up its offspring simply by meditation. The eggs of the tortoise are laid on land, and the tortoise meditates on the eggs while in the water. Similarly, the devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, although far away from the Lord’s abode, can elevate himself to that abode simply by thinking of Him constantly – by engagement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He does not feel the pangs of material miseries; this state of life is called brahma-nirvāṇa, or the absence of material miseries due to being constantly immersed in the Supreme.

||5-27||

स्पर्शान्कृत्वा बहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरे भ्रुवोः | प्राणापानौ समौ कृत्वा नासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ ||५-२७||

sparśānkṛtvā bahirbāhyāṃścakṣuścaivāntare bhruvoḥ . prāṇāpānau samau kṛtvā nāsābhyantaracāriṇau ||5-27||

sparśān — sense objects, such as sound; kṛtvā — keeping; bahiḥ — external; bāhyān — unnecessary; cakṣuḥ — eyes; ca — also; eva — certainly; antare — between; bhruvoḥ — the eyebrows; prāṇa-apānau — up- and down-moving air; samau — in suspension; kṛtvā — keeping; nāsa-abhyantara — within the nostrils; cāriṇau — blowing; yata — controlled; indriya — senses; manaḥ — mind; buddhiḥ — intelligence; muniḥ — the transcendentalist; mokṣa — for liberation; parāyaṇaḥ — being so destined; vigata — having discarded; icchā — wishes; bhaya — fear; krodhaḥ — anger; yaḥ — one who; sadā — always; muktaḥ — liberated; eva — certainly; saḥ — he is.


Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils, and thus controlling the mind, senses and intelligence, the transcendentalist aiming at liberation becomes free from desire, fear and anger. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated.


Being engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can immediately understand one’s spiritual identity, and then one can understand the Supreme Lord by means of devotional service. When one is well situated in devotional service, one comes to the transcendental position, qualified to feel the presence of the Lord in the sphere of one’s activity. This particular position is called liberation in the Supreme.
After explaining the above principles of liberation in the Supreme, the Lord gives instruction to Arjuna as to how one can come to that position by the practice of the mysticism or yoga known as aṣṭāṅga-yoga, which is divisible into an eightfold procedure called yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi. In the Sixth Chapter the subject of yoga is explicitly detailed, and at the end of the Fifth it is only preliminarily explained. One has to drive out the sense objects such as sound, touch, form, taste and smell by the pratyāhāra process in yoga, and then keep the vision of the eyes between the two eyebrows and concentrate on the tip of the nose with half-closed lids. There is no benefit in closing the eyes altogether, because then there is every chance of falling asleep. Nor is there benefit in opening the eyes completely, because then there is the hazard of being attracted by sense objects. The breathing movement is restrained within the nostrils by neutralizing the up-moving and down-moving air within the body. By practice of such yoga one is able to gain control over the senses, refrain from outward sense objects, and thus prepare oneself for liberation in the Supreme.
This yoga process helps one become free from all kinds of fear and anger and thus feel the presence of the Supersoul in the transcendental situation. In other words, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the easiest process of executing yoga principles. This will be thoroughly explained in the next chapter. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, however, being always engaged in devotional service, does not risk losing his senses to some other engagement. This is a better way of controlling the senses than by aṣṭāṅga-yoga.

||5-28||

यतेन्द्रियमनोबुद्धिर्मुनिर्मोक्षपरायणः | विगतेच्छाभयक्रोधो यः सदा मुक्त एव सः ||५-२८||

yatendriyamanobuddhirmunirmokṣaparāyaṇaḥ . vigatecchābhayakrodho yaḥ sadā mukta eva saḥ ||5-28||

||5-29||

भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् | सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ||५-२९||

bhoktāraṃ yajñatapasāṃ sarvalokamaheśvaram . suhṛdaṃ sarvabhūtānāṃ jñātvā māṃ śāntimṛcchati ||5-29||

bhoktāram — the beneficiary; yajña — of sacrifices; tapasām — and penances and austerities; sarva-loka — of all planets and the demigods thereof; mahā-īśvaram — the Supreme Lord; su-hṛdam — the benefactor; sarva — of all; bhūtānām — the living entities; jñātvā — thus knowing; mām — Me (Lord Kṛṣṇa); śāntim — relief from material pangs; ṛcchati — one achieves.


A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.


The conditioned souls within the clutches of the illusory energy are all anxious to attain peace in the material world. But they do not know the formula for peace, which is explained in this part of the Bhagavad-gītā. The greatest peace formula is simply this: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the beneficiary in all human activities. Men should offer everything to the transcendental service of the Lord because He is the proprietor of all planets and the demigods thereon. No one is greater than He. He is greater than the greatest of the demigods, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. In the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.7) the Supreme Lord is described as tam īśvarāṇāṁ paramaṁ maheśvaraṁ. Under the spell of illusion, living entities are trying to be lords of all they survey, but actually they are dominated by the material energy of the Lord. The Lord is the master of material nature, and the conditioned souls are under the stringent rules of material nature. Unless one understands these bare facts, it is not possible to achieve peace in the world either individually or collectively. This is the sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme predominator, and all living entities, including the great demigods, are His subordinates. One can attain perfect peace only in complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
This Fifth Chapter is a practical explanation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, generally known as karma-yoga. The question of mental speculation as to how karma-yoga can give liberation is answered herewith. To work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to work with the complete knowledge of the Lord as the predominator. Such work is not different from transcendental knowledge. Direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness is bhakti-yoga, and jñāna-yoga is a path leading to bhakti-yoga. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to work in full knowledge of one’s relationship with the Supreme Absolute, and the perfection of this consciousness is full knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A pure soul is the eternal servant of God as His fragmental part and parcel. He comes into contact with māyā (illusion) due to the desire to lord it over māyā, and that is the cause of his many sufferings. As long as he is in contact with matter, he has to execute work in terms of material necessities. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, brings one into spiritual life even while one is within the jurisdiction of matter, for it is an arousing of spiritual existence by practice in the material world. The more one is advanced, the more he is freed from the clutches of matter. The Lord is not partial toward anyone. Everything depends on one’s practical performance of duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which helps one control the senses in every respect and conquer the influence of desire and anger. And one who stands fast in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, controlling the abovementioned passions, remains factually in the transcendental stage, or brahma-nirvāṇa. The eightfold yoga mysticism is automatically practiced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because the ultimate purpose is served. There is a gradual process of elevation in the practice of yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi. But these only preface perfection by devotional service, which alone can award peace to the human being. It is the highest perfection of life.

Глава 6

Dhyāna-yoga

||6-1||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः | स संन्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रियः ||६-१||

śrībhagavānuvāca . anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṃ kāryaṃ karma karoti yaḥ . sa saṃnyāsī ca yogī ca na niragnirna cākriyaḥ ||6-1||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Lord said; anāśritaḥ — without taking shelter; karma-phalam — of the result of work; kāryam — obligatory; karma — work; karoti — performs; yaḥ — one who; saḥ — he; sannyāsī — in the renounced order; ca — also; yogī — mystic; ca — also; na — not; niḥ — without; agniḥ — fire; na — nor; ca — also; akriyaḥ — without duty.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.


In this chapter the Lord explains that the process of the eightfold yoga system is a means to control the mind and the senses. However, this is very difficult for people in general to perform, especially in the Age of Kali. Although the eightfold yoga system is recommended in this chapter, the Lord emphasizes that the process of karma-yoga, or acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is better. Everyone acts in this world to maintain his family and their paraphernalia, but no one is working without some self-interest, some personal gratification, be it concentrated or extended. The criterion of perfection is to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and not with a view to enjoying the fruits of work. To act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the duty of every living entity because all are constitutionally parts and parcels of the Supreme. The parts of the body work for the satisfaction of the whole body. The limbs of the body do not act for self-satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the complete whole. Similarly, the living entity who acts for satisfaction of the supreme whole and not for personal satisfaction is the perfect sannyāsī, the perfect yogī.
The sannyāsīs sometimes artificially think that they have become liberated from all material duties, and therefore they cease to perform agnihotra yajñas (fire sacrifices), but actually they are self-interested because their goal is to become one with the impersonal Brahman. Such a desire is greater than any material desire, but it is not without self-interest. Similarly, the mystic yogī who practices the yoga system with half-open eyes, ceasing all material activities, desires some satisfaction for his personal self. But a person acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness works for the satisfaction of the whole, without self-interest. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no desire for self-satisfaction. His criterion of success is the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, and thus he is the perfect sannyāsī, or perfect yogī. Lord Caitanya, the highest perfectional symbol of renunciation, prays in this way:
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
“O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor to enjoy beautiful women. Nor do I want any number of followers. What I want only is the causeless mercy of Your devotional service in my life, birth after birth.”

||6-2||

यं संन्यासमिति प्राहुर्योगं तं विद्धि पाण्डव | न ह्यसंन्यस्तसङ्कल्पो योगी भवति कश्चन ||६-२||

yaṃ saṃnyāsamiti prāhuryogaṃ taṃ viddhi pāṇḍava . na hyasaṃnyastasaṅkalpo yogī bhavati kaścana ||6-2||

yam — what; sannyāsam — renunciation; iti — thus; prāhuḥ — they say; yogam — linking with the Supreme; tam — that; viddhi — you must know; pāṇḍava — O son of Pāṇḍu; na — never; hi — certainly; asannyasta — without giving up; saṅkalpaḥ — desire for self-satisfaction; yogī — a mystic transcendentalist; bhavati — becomes; kaścana — anyone.


What is called renunciation you should know to be the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme, O son of Pāṇḍu, for one can never become a yogī unless he renounces the desire for sense gratification.


Real sannyāsa-yoga or bhakti means that one should know his constitutional position as the living entity, and act accordingly. The living entity has no separate independent identity. He is the marginal energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by material energy, he is conditioned, and when he is Kṛṣṇa conscious, or aware of the spiritual energy, then he is in his real and natural state of life. Therefore, when one is in complete knowledge, one ceases all material sense gratification, or renounces all kinds of sense gratificatory activities. This is practiced by the yogīs who restrain the senses from material attachment. But a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has no opportunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the purpose of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is simultaneously a sannyāsī and a yogī. The purpose of knowledge and of restraining the senses, as prescribed in the jñāna and yoga processes, is automatically served in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If one is unable to give up the activities of his selfish nature, then jñāna and yoga are of no avail. The real aim is for a living entity to give up all selfish satisfaction and to be prepared to satisfy the Supreme. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no desire for any kind of self-enjoyment. He is always engaged for the enjoyment of the Supreme. One who has no information of the Supreme must therefore be engaged in self-satisfaction, because no one can stand on the platform of inactivity. All purposes are perfectly served by the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||6-3||

आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगं कर्म कारणमुच्यते | योगारूढस्य तस्यैव शमः कारणमुच्यते ||६-३||

ārurukṣormuneryogaṃ karma kāraṇamucyate . yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇamucyate ||6-3||

ārurukṣoḥ — who has just begun yoga; muneḥ — of the sage; yogam — the eightfold yoga system; karma — work; kāraṇam — the means; ucyate — is said to be; yoga — eightfold yoga; ārūḍhasya — of one who has attained; tasya — his; eva — certainly; śamaḥ — cessation of all material activities; kāraṇam — the means; ucyate — is said to be.


For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means.


The process of linking oneself with the Supreme is called yoga. It may be compared to a ladder for attaining the topmost spiritual realization. This ladder begins from the lowest material condition of the living entity and rises up to perfect self-realization in pure spiritual life. According to various elevations, different parts of the ladder are known by different names. But all in all, the complete ladder is called yoga and may be divided into three parts, namely jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The beginning of the ladder is called the yogārurukṣu stage, and the highest rung is called yogārūḍha.
Concerning the eightfold yoga system, attempts in the beginning to enter into meditation through regulative principles of life and practice of different sitting postures (which are more or less bodily exercises) are considered fruitive material activities. All such activities lead to achieving perfect mental equilibrium to control the senses. When one is accomplished in the practice of meditation, he ceases all disturbing mental activities.
A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, however, is situated from the beginning on the platform of meditation because he always thinks of Kṛṣṇa. And, being constantly engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, he is considered to have ceased all material activities.

||6-4||

यदा हि नेन्द्रियार्थेषु न कर्मस्वनुषज्जते | सर्वसङ्कल्पसंन्यासी योगारूढस्तदोच्यते ||६-४||

yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu na karmasvanuṣajjate . sarvasaṅkalpasaṃnyāsī yogārūḍhastadocyate ||6-4||

yadā — when; hi — certainly; na — not; indriya-artheṣu — in sense gratification; na — never; karmasu — in fruitive activities; anuṣajjate — one necessarily engages; sarva-saṅkalpa — of all material desires; sannyāsī — renouncer; yoga-ārūḍhaḥ — elevated in yoga; tadā — at that time; ucyate — is said to be.


A person is said to be elevated in yoga when, having renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in fruitive activities.


When a person is fully engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he is pleased in himself, and thus he is no longer engaged in sense gratification or in fruitive activities. Otherwise, one must be engaged in sense gratification, since one cannot live without engagement. Without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one must be always seeking self-centered or extended selfish activities. But a Kṛṣṇa conscious person can do everything for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa and thereby be perfectly detached from sense gratification. One who has no such realization must mechanically try to escape material desires before being elevated to the top rung of the yoga ladder.

||6-5||

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् | आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ||६-५||

uddharedātmanātmānaṃ nātmānamavasādayet . ātmaiva hyātmano bandhurātmaiva ripurātmanaḥ ||6-5||

uddharet — one must deliver; ātmanā — by the mind; ātmānam — the conditioned soul; na — never; ātmānam — the conditioned soul; avasādayet — put into degradation; ātmā — mind; eva — certainly; hi — indeed; ātmanaḥ — of the conditioned soul; bandhuḥ — friend; ātmā — mind; eva — certainly; ripuḥ — enemy; ātmanaḥ — of the conditioned soul.


One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.


The word ātmā denotes body, mind and soul – depending upon different circumstances. In the yoga system, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially important. Since the mind is the central point of yoga practice, ātmā refers here to the mind. The purpose of the yoga system is to control the mind and to draw it away from attachment to sense objects. It is stressed herein that the mind must be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of nescience. In material existence one is subjected to the influence of the mind and the senses. In fact, the pure soul is entangled in the material world because the mind is involved with the false ego, which desires to lord it over material nature. Therefore, the mind should be trained so that it will not be attracted by the glitter of material nature, and in this way the conditioned soul may be saved. One should not degrade oneself by attraction to sense objects. The more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes entangled in material existence. The best way to disentangle oneself is to always engage the mind in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The word hi is used for emphasizing this point, i.e., that one must do this. It is also said:
mana eva manuṣyāṇāṁ
kāraṇaṁ bandha-mokṣayoḥ
bandhāya viṣayāsaṅgo
muktyai nirviṣayaṁ manaḥ
“For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.” (Amṛta-bindu Upaniṣad 2) Therefore, the mind which is always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the cause of supreme liberation.

||6-6||

बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जितः | अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत् ||६-६||

bandhurātmātmanastasya yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ . anātmanastu śatrutve vartetātmaiva śatruvat ||6-6||

bandhuḥ — friend; ātmā — the mind; ātmanaḥ — of the living entity; tasya — of him; yena — by whom; ātmā — the mind; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the living entity; jitaḥ — conquered; anātmanaḥ — of one who has failed to control the mind; tu — but; śatrutve — because of enmity; varteta — remains; ātmā eva — the very mind; śatru-vat — as an enemy.


For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.


The purpose of practicing eightfold yoga is to control the mind in order to make it a friend in discharging the human mission. Unless the mind is controlled, the practice of yoga (for show) is simply a waste of time. One who cannot control his mind lives always with the greatest enemy, and thus his life and its mission are spoiled. The constitutional position of the living entity is to carry out the order of the superior. As long as one’s mind remains an unconquered enemy, one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, avarice, illusion, etc. But when the mind is conquered, one voluntarily agrees to abide by the dictation of the Personality of Godhead, who is situated within the heart of everyone as Paramātmā. Real yoga practice entails meeting the Paramātmā within the heart and then following His dictation. For one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness directly, perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord follows automatically.

||6-7||

जितात्मनः प्रशान्तस्य परमात्मा समाहितः | शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु तथा मानापमानयोः ||६-७||

jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ . śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ ||6-7||

jita-ātmanaḥ — of one who has conquered his mind; praśāntasya — who has attained tranquillity by such control over the mind; parama-ātmā — the Supersoul; samāhitaḥ — approached completely; śīta — in cold; uṣṇa — heat; sukha — happiness; duḥkheṣu — and distress; tathā — also; māna — in honor; apamānayoḥ — and dishonor.


For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquillity. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.


Actually, every living entity is intended to abide by the dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated in everyone’s heart as Paramātmā. When the mind is misled by the external, illusory energy, one becomes entangled in material activities. Therefore, as soon as one’s mind is controlled through one of the yoga systems, one should be considered to have already reached the destination. One has to abide by superior dictation. When one’s mind is fixed on the superior nature, he has no alternative but to follow the dictation of the Supreme. The mind must admit some superior dictation and follow it. The effect of controlling the mind is that one automatically follows the dictation of the Paramātmā, or Supersoul. Because this transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the devotee of the Lord is unaffected by the dualities of material existence, namely distress and happiness, cold and heat, etc. This state is practical samādhi, or absorption in the Supreme.

||6-8||

ज्ञानविज्ञानतृप्तात्मा कूटस्थो विजितेन्द्रियः | युक्त इत्युच्यते योगी समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः ||६-८||

jñānavijñānatṛptātmā kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ . yukta ityucyate yogī samaloṣṭāśmakāñcanaḥ ||6-8||

jñāna — by acquired knowledge; vijñāna — and realized knowledge; tṛpta — satisfied; ātmā — a living entity; kūṭa-sthaḥ — spiritually situated; vijita-indriyaḥ — sensually controlled; yuktaḥ — competent for self-realization; iti — thus; ucyate — is said; yogī — a mystic; sama — equipoised; loṣṭra — pebbles; aśma — stone; kāñcanaḥ — gold.


A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogī [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything – whether it be pebbles, stones or gold – as the same.


Book knowledge without realization of the Supreme Truth is useless. This is stated as follows:
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234)
This Bhagavad-gītā is the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. No one can become Kṛṣṇa conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure consciousness. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has realized knowledge, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, because he is satisfied with pure devotional service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By transcendental knowledge one can remain steady in his convictions, but by mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions. It is the realized soul who is actually self-controlled, because he is surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. He is transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship. For him mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others, are of no greater value than pebbles or stones.

||6-9||

सुहृन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु | साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते ||६-९||

suhṛnmitrāryudāsīnamadhyasthadveṣyabandhuṣu . sādhuṣvapi ca pāpeṣu samabuddhirviśiṣyate ||6-9||

su-hṛt — to well-wishers by nature; mitra — benefactors with affection; ari — enemies; udāsīna — neutrals between belligerents; madhya-stha — mediators between belligerents; dveṣya — the envious; bandhuṣu — and the relatives or well-wishers; sādhuṣu — unto the pious; api — as well as; ca — and; pāpeṣu — unto the sinners; sama-buddhiḥ — having equal intelligence; viśiṣyate — is far advanced.


A person is considered still further advanced when he regards honest well-wishers, affectionate benefactors, the neutral, mediators, the envious, friends and enemies, the pious and the sinners all with an equal mind.

||6-10||

योगी युञ्जीत सततमात्मानं रहसि स्थितः | एकाकी यतचित्तात्मा निराशीरपरिग्रहः ||६-१०||

yogī yuñjīta satatamātmānaṃ rahasi sthitaḥ . ekākī yatacittātmā nirāśīraparigrahaḥ ||6-10||

yogī — a transcendentalist; yuñjīta — must concentrate in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; satatam — constantly; ātmānam — himself (by body, mind and self); rahasi — in a secluded place; sthitaḥ — being situated; ekākī — alone; yata-citta-ātmā — always careful in mind; nirāśīḥ — without being attracted by anything else; aparigrahaḥ — free from the feeling of possessiveness.


A transcendentalist should always engage his body, mind and self in relationship with the Supreme; he should live alone in a secluded place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.


Kṛṣṇa is realized in different degrees as Brahman, Paramātmā and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means, concisely, to be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. But those who are attached to the impersonal Brahman or the localized Supersoul are also partially Kṛṣṇa conscious, because the impersonal Brahman is the spiritual ray of Kṛṣṇa and the Supersoul is the all-pervading partial expansion of Kṛṣṇa. Thus the impersonalist and the meditator are also indirectly Kṛṣṇa conscious. A directly Kṛṣṇa conscious person is the topmost transcendentalist because such a devotee knows what is meant by Brahman and Paramātmā. His knowledge of the Absolute Truth is perfect, whereas the impersonalist and the meditative yogī are imperfectly Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Nevertheless, all of these are instructed herewith to be constantly engaged in their particular pursuits so that they may come to the highest perfection sooner or later. The first business of a transcendentalist is to keep the mind always on Kṛṣṇa. One should always think of Kṛṣṇa and not forget Him even for a moment. Concentration of the mind on the Supreme is called samādhi, or trance. In order to concentrate the mind, one should always remain in seclusion and avoid disturbance by external objects. He should be very careful to accept favorable and reject unfavorable conditions that affect his realization. And, in perfect determination, he should not hanker after unnecessary material things that entangle him by feelings of possessiveness.
All these perfections and precautions are perfectly executed when one is directly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness means self-abnegation, wherein there is very little chance for material possessiveness. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī characterizes Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this way:
anāsaktasya viṣayān, yathārham upayuñjataḥ
nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe, yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
prāpañcikatayā buddhyā
hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo
vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate
“When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Kṛṣṇa, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Kṛṣṇa is not as complete in his renunciation.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.255–256)
A Kṛṣṇa conscious person well knows that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, and thus he is always free from feelings of personal possession. As such, he has no hankering for anything on his own personal account. He knows how to accept things in favor of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and how to reject things unfavorable to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is always aloof from material things because he is always transcendental, and he is always alone, having nothing to do with persons not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect yogī.

||6-11||

शुचौ देशे प्रतिष्ठाप्य स्थिरमासनमात्मनः | नात्युच्छ्रितं नातिनीचं चैलाजिनकुशोत्तरम् ||६-११||

śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya sthiramāsanamātmanaḥ . nātyucchritaṃ nātinīcaṃ cailājinakuśottaram ||6-11||

śucau — in a sanctified; deśe — land; pratiṣṭhāpya — placing; sthiram — firm; āsanam — seat; ātmanaḥ — his own; na — not; ati — too; ucchritam — high; na — nor; ati — too; nīcam — low; caila-ajina — of soft cloth and deerskin; kuśa — and kuśa grass; uttaram — covering; tatra — thereupon; eka-agram — with one attention; manaḥ — mind; kṛtvā — making; yata-citta — controlling the mind; indriya — senses; kriyaḥ — and activities; upaviśya — sitting; āsane — on the seat; yuñjyāt — should execute; yogam — yoga practice; ātma — the heart; viśuddhaye — for clarifying.


To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kuśa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogī should then sit on it very firmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses and activities and fixing the mind on one point.


“Sacred place” refers to places of pilgrimage. In India the yogīs – the transcendentalists or the devotees – all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayāga, Mathurā, Vṛndāvana, Hṛṣīkeśa and Hardwar and in solitude practice yoga where the sacred rivers like the Yamunā and the Ganges flow. But often this is not possible, especially for Westerners. The so-called yoga societies in big cities may be successful in earning material benefit, but they are not at all suitable for the actual practice of yoga. One who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation. Therefore, in the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa it is said that in Kali-yuga (the present yuga, or age), when people in general are short-lived, slow in spiritual realization and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is chanting the holy name of the Lord.
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”

||6-12||

तत्रैकाग्रं मनः कृत्वा यतचित्तेन्द्रियक्रियः | उपविश्यासने युञ्ज्याद्योगमात्मविशुद्धये ||६-१२||

tatraikāgraṃ manaḥ kṛtvā yatacittendriyakriyaḥ . upaviśyāsane yuñjyādyogamātmaviśuddhaye ||6-12||

||6-13||

समं कायशिरोग्रीवं धारयन्नचलं स्थिरः | सम्प्रेक्ष्य नासिकाग्रं स्वं दिशश्चानवलोकयन् ||६-१३||

samaṃ kāyaśirogrīvaṃ dhārayannacalaṃ sthiraḥ . samprekṣya nāsikāgraṃ svaṃ diśaścānavalokayan ||6-13||

samam — straight; kāya — body; śiraḥ — head; grīvam — and neck; dhārayan — holding; acalam — unmoving; sthiraḥ — still; samprekṣya — looking; nāsikā — of the nose; agram — at the tip; svam — own; diśaḥ — on all sides; ca — also; anavalokayan — not looking; praśānta — unagitated; ātmā — mind; vigata-bhīḥ — devoid of fear; brahmacāri-vrate — in the vow of celibacy; sthitaḥ — situated; manaḥ — mind; saṁyamya — completely subduing; mat — upon Me (Kṛṣṇa); cittaḥ — concentrating the mind; yuktaḥ — the actual yogī; āsīta — should sit; mat — Me; paraḥ — the ultimate goal.


One should hold one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.


The goal of life is to know Kṛṣṇa, who is situated within the heart of every living being as Paramātmā, the four-handed Viṣṇu form. The yoga process is practiced in order to discover and see this localized form of Viṣṇu, and not for any other purpose. The localized viṣṇu-mūrti is the plenary representation of Kṛṣṇa dwelling within one’s heart. One who has no program to realize this viṣṇu-mūrti is uselessly engaged in mock yoga practice and is certainly wasting his time. Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of life, and the viṣṇu-mūrti situated in one’s heart is the object of yoga practice. To realize this viṣṇu-mūrti within the heart, one has to observe complete abstinence from sex life; therefore one has to leave home and live alone in a secluded place, remaining seated as mentioned above. One cannot enjoy sex life daily at home or elsewhere and attend a so-called yoga class and thus become a yogī. One has to practice controlling the mind and avoiding all kinds of sense gratification, of which sex life is the chief. In the rules of celibacy written by the great sage Yājñavalkya it is said:
karmaṇā manasā vācā
sarvāvasthāsu sarvadā
sarvatra maithuna-tyāgo
brahmacaryaṁ pracakṣate
“The vow of brahmacarya is meant to help one completely abstain from sex indulgence in work, words and mind – at all times, under all circumstances and in all places.” No one can perform correct yoga practice through sex indulgence. Brahmacarya is taught, therefore, from childhood, when one has no knowledge of sex life. Children at the age of five are sent to the guru-kula, or the place of the spiritual master, and the master trains the young boys in the strict discipline of becoming brahmacārīs. Without such practice, no one can make advancement in any yoga, whether it be dhyāna, jñāna or bhakti. One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having a sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called a brahmacārī. Such a restrained householder brahmacārī may be accepted in the bhakti school, but the jñāna and dhyāna schools do not even admit householder brahmacārīs. They require complete abstinence without compromise. In the bhakti school, a householder brahmacārī is allowed controlled sex life because the cult of bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gītā (2.59) it is said:
viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ’py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate
Whereas others are forced to restrain themselves from sense gratification, a devotee of the Lord automatically refrains because of superior taste. Other than the devotee, no one has any information of that superior taste.
Vigata-bhīḥ. One cannot be fearless unless one is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A conditioned soul is fearful due to his perverted memory, his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. The Bhāgavatam (11.2.37) says, bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād īśād apetasya viparyayo ’smṛtiḥ. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only basis for fearlessness. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Kṛṣṇa conscious. And since the ultimate goal of yoga practice is to see the Lord within, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is already the best of all yogīs. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.

||6-14||

प्रशान्तात्मा विगतभीर्ब्रह्मचारिव्रते स्थितः | मनः संयम्य मच्चित्तो युक्त आसीत मत्परः ||६-१४||

praśāntātmā vigatabhīrbrahmacārivrate sthitaḥ . manaḥ saṃyamya maccitto yukta āsīta matparaḥ ||6-14||

||6-15||

युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी नियतमानसः | शान्तिं निर्वाणपरमां मत्संस्थामधिगच्छति ||६-१५||

yuñjannevaṃ sadātmānaṃ yogī niyatamānasaḥ . śāntiṃ nirvāṇaparamāṃ matsaṃsthāmadhigacchati ||6-15||

yuñjan — practicing; evam — as mentioned above; sadā — constantly; ātmānam — body, mind and soul; yogī — the mystic transcendentalist; niyata-mānasaḥ — with a regulated mind; śāntim — peace; nirvāṇa-paramām — cessation of material existence; mat-saṁsthām — the spiritual sky (the kingdom of God); adhigacchati — does attain.


Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist, his mind regulated, attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Kṛṣṇa] by cessation of material existence.


The ultimate goal in practicing yoga is now clearly explained. Yoga practice is not meant for attaining any kind of material facility; it is to enable the cessation of all material existence. One who seeks an improvement in health or aspires after material perfection is no yogī according to Bhagavad-gītā. Nor does cessation of material existence entail one’s entering into “the void,” which is only a myth. There is no void anywhere within the creation of the Lord. Rather, the cessation of material existence enables one to enter into the spiritual sky, the abode of the Lord. The abode of the Lord is also clearly described in the Bhagavad-gītā as that place where there is no need of sun, moon or electricity. All the planets in the spiritual kingdom are self-illuminated like the sun in the material sky. The kingdom of God is everywhere, but the spiritual sky and the planets thereof are called paraṁ dhāma, or superior abodes.
A consummate yogī, who is perfect in understanding Lord Kṛṣṇa, as is clearly stated herein by the Lord Himself (mat-cittaḥ, mat-paraḥ, mat-sthānam), can attain real peace and can ultimately reach His supreme abode, Kṛṣṇaloka, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37) it is clearly stated, goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ: the Lord, although residing always in His abode called Goloka, is the all-pervading Brahman and the localized Paramātmā as well by dint of His superior spiritual energies. No one can reach the spiritual sky (Vaikuṇṭha) or enter into the Lord’s eternal abode (Goloka Vṛndāvana) without the proper understanding of Kṛṣṇa and His plenary expansion Viṣṇu. Therefore a person working in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect yogī, because his mind is always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa’s activities (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ). In the Vedas also (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.8) we learn, tam eva viditvāti mṛtyum eti: “One can overcome the path of birth and death only by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.” In other words, perfection of the yoga system is the attainment of freedom from material existence and not some magical jugglery or gymnastic feats to befool innocent people.

||6-16||

नात्यश्नतस्तु योगोऽस्ति न चैकान्तमनश्नतः | न चातिस्वप्नशीलस्य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन ||६-१६||

nātyaśnatastu yogo.asti na caikāntamanaśnataḥ . na cātisvapnaśīlasya jāgrato naiva cārjuna ||6-16||

na — never; ati — too much; aśnataḥ — of one who eats; tu — but; yogaḥ — linking with the Supreme; asti — there is; na — nor; ca — also; ekāntam — overly; anaśnataḥ — abstaining from eating; na — nor; ca — also; ati — too much; svapna-śīlasya — of one who sleeps; jāgrataḥ — or one who keeps night watch too much; na — not; eva — ever; ca — and; arjuna — O Arjuna.


There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogī, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.


Regulation of diet and sleep is recommended herein for the yogīs. Too much eating means eating more than is required to keep the body and soul together. There is no need for men to eat animals, because there is an ample supply of grains, vegetables, fruits and milk. Such simple foodstuff is considered to be in the mode of goodness according to the Bhagavad-gītā. Animal food is for those in the mode of ignorance. Therefore, those who indulge in animal food, drinking, smoking and eating food which is not first offered to Kṛṣṇa will suffer sinful reactions because of eating only polluted things. Bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt. Anyone who eats for sense pleasure, or cooks for himself, not offering his food to Kṛṣṇa, eats only sin. One who eats sin and eats more than is allotted to him cannot execute perfect yoga. It is best that one eat only the remnants of foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not eat anything which is not first offered to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, only the Kṛṣṇa conscious person can attain perfection in yoga practice. Nor can one who artificially abstains from eating, manufacturing his own personal process of fasting, practice yoga. The Kṛṣṇa conscious person observes fasting as it is recommended in the scriptures. He does not fast or eat more than is required, and he is thus competent to perform yoga practice. One who eats more than required will dream very much while sleeping, and he must consequently sleep more than is required. One should not sleep more than six hours daily. One who sleeps more than six hours out of twenty-four is certainly influenced by the mode of ignorance. A person in the mode of ignorance is lazy and prone to sleep a great deal. Such a person cannot perform yoga.

||6-17||

युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु | युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा ||६-१७||

yuktāhāravihārasya yuktaceṣṭasya karmasu . yuktasvapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkhahā ||6-17||

yukta — regulated; āhāra — eating; vihārasya — recreation; yukta — regulated; ceṣṭasya — of one who works for maintenance; karmasu — in discharging duties; yukta — regulated; svapna-avabodhasya — sleep and wakefulness; yogaḥ — practice of yoga; bhavati — becomes; duḥkha-hā — diminishing pains.


He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.


Extravagance in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and mating – which are demands of the body – can block advancement in the practice of yoga. As far as eating is concerned, it can be regulated only when one is practiced to take and accept prasādam, sanctified food. Lord Kṛṣṇa is offered, according to the Bhagavad-gītā (9.26), vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains, milk, etc. In this way, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes automatically trained not to accept food not meant for human consumption, or not in the category of goodness. As far as sleeping is concerned, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always alert in the discharge of his duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and therefore any unnecessary time spent sleeping is considered a great loss. Avyartha-kālatvam: a Kṛṣṇa conscious person cannot bear to pass a minute of his life without being engaged in the service of the Lord. Therefore, his sleeping is kept to a minimum. His ideal in this respect is Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, who was always engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa and who could not sleep more than two hours a day, and sometimes not even that. Ṭhākura Haridāsa would not even accept prasādam nor even sleep for a moment without finishing his daily routine of chanting with his beads three hundred thousand names. As far as work is concerned, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not do anything which is not connected with Kṛṣṇa’s interest, and thus his work is always regulated and is untainted by sense gratification. Since there is no question of sense gratification, there is no material leisure for a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And because he is regulated in all his work, speech, sleep, wakefulness and all other bodily activities, there is no material misery for him.

||6-18||

यदा विनियतं चित्तमात्मन्येवावतिष्ठते | निःस्पृहः सर्वकामेभ्यो युक्त इत्युच्यते तदा ||६-१८||

yadā viniyataṃ cittamātmanyevāvatiṣṭhate . niḥspṛhaḥ sarvakāmebhyo yukta ityucyate tadā ||6-18||

yadā — when; viniyatam — particularly disciplined; cittam — the mind and its activities; ātmani — in the transcendence; eva — certainly; avatiṣṭhate — becomes situated; nispṛhaḥ — devoid of desire; sarva — for all kinds of; kāmebhyaḥ — material sense gratification; yuktaḥ — well situated in yoga; iti — thus; ucyate — is said to be; tadā — at that time.


When the yogī, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in transcendence – devoid of all material desires – he is said to be well established in yoga.


The activities of the yogī are distinguished from those of an ordinary person by his characteristic cessation from all kinds of material desires – of which sex is the chief. A perfect yogī is so well disciplined in the activities of the mind that he can no longer be disturbed by any kind of material desire. This perfectional stage can automatically be attained by persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.4.18–20):
sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor
vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane
karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu
śrutiṁ cakārācyuta-sat-kathodaye
mukunda-liṅgālaya-darśane dṛśau
tad-bhṛtya-gātra-sparśe ’ṅga-saṅgamam
ghrāṇaṁ ca tat-pāda-saroja-saurabhe
śrīmat-tulasyā rasanāṁ tad-arpite
pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe
śiro hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane
kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāma-kāmyayā
yathottama-śloka-janāśrayā ratiḥ
“King Ambarīṣa first of all engaged his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa; then, one after another, he engaged his words in describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord, his hands in mopping the temple of the Lord, his ears in hearing of the activities of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the transcendental forms of the Lord, his body in touching the bodies of the devotees, his sense of smell in smelling the scents of the lotus flowers offered to the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasī leaf offered at the lotus feet of the Lord, his legs in going to places of pilgrimage and the temple of the Lord, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, and his desires in executing the mission of the Lord. All these transcendental activities are quite befitting a pure devotee.”
This transcendental stage may be inexpressible subjectively by the followers of the impersonalist path, but it becomes very easy and practical for a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as is apparent in the above description of the engagements of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. Unless the mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord by constant remembrance, such transcendental engagements are not practical. In the devotional service of the Lord, therefore, these prescribed activities are called arcana, or engaging all the senses in the service of the Lord. The senses and the mind require engagements. Simple abnegation is not practical. Therefore, for people in general – especially those who are not in the renounced order of life – transcendental engagement of the senses and the mind as described above is the perfect process for transcendental achievement, which is called yukta in the Bhagavad-gītā.

||6-19||

यथा दीपो निवातस्थो नेङ्गते सोपमा स्मृता | योगिनो यतचित्तस्य युञ्जतो योगमात्मनः ||६-१९||

yathā dīpo nivātastho neṅgate sopamā smṛtā . yogino yatacittasya yuñjato yogamātmanaḥ ||6-19||

yathā — as; dīpaḥ — a lamp; nivāta-sthaḥ — in a place without wind; na — does not; iṅgate — waver; sā — this; upamā — comparison; smṛtā — is considered; yoginaḥ — of the yogī; yata-cittasya — whose mind is controlled; yuñjataḥ — constantly engaged; yogam — in meditation; ātmanaḥ — on transcendence.


As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent Self.


A truly Kṛṣṇa conscious person, always absorbed in transcendence, in constant undisturbed meditation on his worshipable Lord, is as steady as a lamp in a windless place.

||6-20||

यत्रोपरमते चित्तं निरुद्धं योगसेवया | यत्र चैवात्मनात्मानं पश्यन्नात्मनि तुष्यति ||६-२०||

yatroparamate cittaṃ niruddhaṃ yogasevayā . yatra caivātmanātmānaṃ paśyannātmani tuṣyati ||6-20||

yatra — in that state of affairs where; uparamate — cease (because one feels transcendental happiness); cittam — mental activities; niruddham — being restrained from matter; yoga-sevayā — by performance of yoga; yatra — in which; ca — also; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the pure mind; ātmānam — the Self; paśyan — realizing the position of; ātmani — in the Self; tuṣyati — one becomes satisfied; sukham — happiness; ātyantikam — supreme; yat — which; tat — that; buddhi — by intelligence; grāhyam — accessible; atīndriyam — transcendental; vetti — one knows; yatra — wherein; na — never; ca — also; eva — certainly; ayam — he; sthitaḥ — situated; calati — moves; tattvataḥ — from the truth; yam — that which; labdhvā — by attainment; ca — also; aparam — any other; lābham — gain; manyate — considers; na — never; adhikam — more; tataḥ — than that; yasmin — in which; sthitaḥ — being situated; na — never; duḥkhena — by miseries; guruṇā api — even though very difficult; vicālyate — becomes shaken; tam — that; vidyāt — you must know; duḥkha-saṁyoga — of the miseries of material contact; viyogam — extermination; yoga-saṁjñitam — called trance in yoga.


In the stage of perfection called trance, or samādhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the Self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the Self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.


By practice of yoga one becomes gradually detached from material concepts. This is the primary characteristic of the yoga principle. And after this, one becomes situated in trance, or samādhi, which means that the yogī realizes the Supersoul through transcendental mind and intelligence, without any of the misgivings of identifying the self with the Superself. Yoga practice is more or less based on the principles of the Patañjali system. Some unauthorized commentators try to identify the individual soul with the Supersoul, and the monists think this to be liberation, but they do not understand the real purpose of the Patañjali system of yoga. There is an acceptance of transcendental pleasure in the Patañjali system, but the monists do not accept this transcendental pleasure, out of fear of jeopardizing the theory of oneness. The duality of knowledge and knower is not accepted by the nondualist, but in this verse transcendental pleasure – realized through transcendental senses – is accepted. And this is corroborated by Patañjali Muni, the famous exponent of the yoga system. The great sage declares in his Yoga-sūtras (4.33): puruṣārtha-śūnyānāṁ guṇānāṁ pratiprasavaḥ kaivalyaṁ svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā vā citi-śaktir iti.
This citi-śakti, or internal potency, is transcendental. Puruṣārtha means material religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, at the end, the attempt to become one with the Supreme. This “oneness with the Supreme” is called kaivalyam by the monist. But according to Patañjali, this kaivalyam is an internal, or transcendental, potency by which the living entity becomes aware of his constitutional position. In the words of Lord Caitanya, this state of affairs is called ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam, or clearance of the impure mirror of the mind. This “clearance” is actually liberation, or bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. The theory of nirvāṇa – also preliminary – corresponds with this principle. In the Bhāgavatam (2.10.6) this is called svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ. The Bhagavad-gītā also confirms this situation in this verse.
After nirvāṇa, or material cessation, there is the manifestation of spiritual activities, or devotional service to the Lord, known as Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In the words of the Bhāgavatam, svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ: this is the “real life of the living entity.” Māyā, or illusion, is the condition of spiritual life contaminated by material infection. Liberation from this material infection does not mean destruction of the original eternal position of the living entity. Patañjali also accepts this by his words kaivalyaṁ svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā vā citi-śaktir iti. This citi-śakti, or transcendental pleasure, is real life. This is confirmed in the Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.12) as ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. This natural transcendental pleasure is the ultimate goal of yoga and is easily achieved by execution of devotional service, or bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga will be vividly described in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā.
In the yoga system, as described in this chapter, there are two kinds of samādhi, called samprajñāta-samādhi and asamprajñāta-samādhi. When one becomes situated in the transcendental position by various philosophical researches, he is said to have achieved samprajñāta-samādhi. In the asamprajñāta-samādhi there is no longer any connection with mundane pleasure, for one is then transcendental to all sorts of happiness derived from the senses. When the yogī is once situated in that transcendental position, he is never shaken from it. Unless the yogī is able to reach this position, he is unsuccessful. Today’s so-called yoga practice, which involves various sense pleasures, is contradictory. A yogī indulging in sex and intoxication is a mockery. Even those yogīs who are attracted by the siddhis (perfections) in the process of yoga are not perfectly situated. If yogīs are attracted by the by-products of yoga, then they cannot attain the stage of perfection, as is stated in this verse. Persons, therefore, indulging in the make-show practice of gymnastic feats or siddhis should know that the aim of yoga is lost in that way.
The best practice of yoga in this age is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is not baffling. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is so happy in his occupation that he does not aspire after any other happiness. There are many impediments, especially in this age of hypocrisy, to practicing haṭha-yoga, dhyāna-yoga and jñāna-yoga, but there is no such problem in executing karma-yoga or bhakti-yoga.
As long as the material body exists, one has to meet the demands of the body, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating. But a person who is in pure bhakti-yoga, or in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, does not arouse the senses while meeting the demands of the body. Rather, he accepts the bare necessities of life, making the best use of a bad bargain, and enjoys transcendental happiness in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is callous toward incidental occurrences – such as accidents, disease, scarcity and even the death of a most dear relative – but he is always alert to execute his duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or bhakti-yoga. Accidents never deviate him from his duty. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.14), āgamāpāyino ’nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. He endures all such incidental occurrences because he knows that they come and go and do not affect his duties. In this way he achieves the highest perfection in yoga practice.

||6-21||

सुखमात्यन्तिकं यत्तद् बुद्धिग्राह्यमतीन्द्रियम् | वेत्ति यत्र न चैवायं स्थितश्चलति तत्त्वतः ||६-२१||

sukhamātyantikaṃ yattad buddhigrāhyamatīndriyam . vetti yatra na caivāyaṃ sthitaścalati tattvataḥ ||6-21||

||6-22||

यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः | यस्मिन्स्थितो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते ||६-२२||

yaṃ labdhvā cāparaṃ lābhaṃ manyate nādhikaṃ tataḥ . yasminsthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate ||6-22||

||6-23||

तं विद्याद् दुःखसंयोगवियोगं योगसंज्ञितम् | स निश्चयेन योक्तव्यो योगोऽनिर्विण्णचेतसा ||६-२३||

taṃ vidyād duḥkhasaṃyogaviyogaṃ yogasaṃjñitam . sa niścayena yoktavyo yogo.anirviṇṇacetasā ||6-23||

||6-24||

सङ्कल्पप्रभवान्कामांस्त्यक्त्वा सर्वानशेषतः | मनसैवेन्द्रियग्रामं विनियम्य समन्ततः ||६-२४||

saṅkalpaprabhavānkāmāṃstyaktvā sarvānaśeṣataḥ . manasaivendriyagrāmaṃ viniyamya samantataḥ ||6-24||

saḥ — that; niścayena — with firm determination; yoktavyaḥ — must be practiced; yogaḥ — yoga system; anirviṇṇa-cetasā — without deviation; saṅkalpa — mental speculations; prabhavān — born of; kāmān — material desires; tyaktvā — giving up; sarvān — all; aśeṣataḥ — completely; manasā — by the mind; eva — certainly; indriya-grāmam — the full set of senses; viniyamya — regulating; samantataḥ — from all sides.


One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith and not be deviated from the path. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of mental speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind.


The yoga practitioner should be determined and should patiently prosecute the practice without deviation. One should be sure of success at the end and pursue this course with great perseverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success. Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. Regarding bhakti-yoga, Rūpa Gosvāmī says:
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati
“One can execute the process of bhakti-yoga successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance and determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness.” (Upadeśāmṛta 3)
As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuḍa, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuḍa was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuḍa at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuḍa.
Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.

||6-25||

शनैः शनैरुपरमेद् बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया | आत्मसंस्थं मनः कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् ||६-२५||

śanaiḥ śanairuparamed buddhyā dhṛtigṛhītayā . ātmasaṃsthaṃ manaḥ kṛtvā na kiñcidapi cintayet ||6-25||

śanaiḥ — gradually; śanaiḥ — step by step; uparamet — one should hold back; buddhyā — by intelligence; dhṛti-gṛhītayā — carried by conviction; ātma-saṁstham — placed in transcendence; manaḥ — mind; kṛtvā — making; na — not; kiñcit — anything else; api — even; cintayet — should think of.


Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.


By proper conviction and intelligence one should gradually cease sense activities. This is called pratyāhāra. The mind, being controlled by conviction, meditation and cessation from the senses, should be situated in trance, or samādhi. At that time there is no longer any danger of becoming engaged in the material conception of life. In other words, although one is involved with matter as long as the material body exists, one should not think about sense gratification. One should think of no pleasure aside from the pleasure of the Supreme Self. This state is easily attained by directly practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||6-26||

यतो यतो निश्चरति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् | ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ||६-२६||

yato yato niścarati manaścañcalamasthiram . tatastato niyamyaitadātmanyeva vaśaṃ nayet ||6-26||

yataḥ yataḥ — wherever; niścalati — becomes verily agitated; manaḥ — the mind; cañcalam — flickering; asthiram — unsteady; tataḥ tataḥ — from there; niyamya — regulating; etat — this; ātmani — in the Self; eva — certainly; vaśam — control; nayet — must bring under.


From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.


The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogī has to control the mind; the mind should not control him. One who controls the mind (and therefore the senses as well) is called gosvāmī, or svāmī, and one who is controlled by the mind is called go-dāsa, or the servant of the senses. A gosvāmī knows the standard of sense happiness. In transcendental sense happiness, the senses are engaged in the service of Hṛṣīkeśa, or the supreme owner of the senses – Kṛṣṇa. Serving Kṛṣṇa with purified senses is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the way of bringing the senses under full control. What is more, that is the highest perfection of yoga practice.

||6-27||

प्रशान्तमनसं ह्येनं योगिनं सुखमुत्तमम् | उपैति शान्तरजसं ब्रह्मभूतमकल्मषम् ||६-२७||

praśāntamanasaṃ hyenaṃ yoginaṃ sukhamuttamam . upaiti śāntarajasaṃ brahmabhūtamakalmaṣam ||6-27||

praśānta — peaceful, fixed on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa; manasam — whose mind; hi — certainly; enam — this; yoginam — yogī; sukham — happiness; uttamam — the highest; upaiti — attains; śānta-rajasam — his passion pacified; brahma-bhūtam — liberation by identification with the Absolute; akalmaṣam — freed from all past sinful reactions.


The yogī whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest perfection of transcendental happiness. He is beyond the mode of passion, he realizes his qualitative identity with the Supreme, and thus he is freed from all reactions to past deeds.


Brahma-bhūta is the state of being free from material contamination and situated in the transcendental service of the Lord. Mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām (Bg. 18.54). One cannot remain in the quality of Brahman, the Absolute, until one’s mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. To be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, or to remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is to be factually liberated from the mode of passion and all material contamination.

||6-28||

युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी विगतकल्मषः | सुखेन ब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तं सुखमश्नुते ||६-२८||

yuñjannevaṃ sadātmānaṃ yogī vigatakalmaṣaḥ . sukhena brahmasaṃsparśamatyantaṃ sukhamaśnute ||6-28||

yuñjan — engaging in yoga practice; evam — thus; sadā — always; ātmānam — the self; yogī — one who is in touch with the Supreme Self; vigata — freed from; kalmaṣaḥ — all material contamination; sukhena — in transcendental happiness; brahma-saṁsparśam — being in constant touch with the Supreme; atyantam — the highest; sukham — happiness; aśnute — attains.


Thus the self-controlled yogī, constantly engaged in yoga practice, becomes free from all material contamination and achieves the highest stage of perfect happiness in transcendental loving service to the Lord.


Self-realization means knowing one’s constitutional position in relationship to the Supreme. The individual soul is part and parcel of the Supreme, and his position is to render transcendental service to the Lord. This transcendental contact with the Supreme is called brahma-saṁsparśa.

||6-29||

सर्वभूतस्थमात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि | ईक्षते योगयुक्तात्मा सर्वत्र समदर्शनः ||६-२९||

sarvabhūtasthamātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani . īkṣate yogayuktātmā sarvatra samadarśanaḥ ||6-29||

sarva-bhūta-stham — situated in all beings; ātmānam — the Supersoul; sarva — all; bhūtāni — entities; ca — also; ātmani — in the Self; īkṣate — does see; yoga-yukta-ātmā — one who is dovetailed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; sarvatra — everywhere; sama-darśanaḥ — seeing equally.


A true yogī observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized person sees Me, the same Supreme Lord, everywhere.


A Kṛṣṇa conscious yogī is the perfect seer because he sees Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme, situated in everyone’s heart as Supersoul (Paramātmā). Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati. The Lord in His Paramātmā feature is situated within both the heart of the dog and that of a brāhmaṇa. The perfect yogī knows that the Lord is eternally transcendental and is not materially affected by His presence in either a dog or a brāhmaṇa. That is the supreme neutrality of the Lord. The individual soul is also situated in the individual heart, but he is not present in all hearts. That is the distinction between the individual soul and the Supersoul. One who is not factually in the practice of yoga cannot see so clearly. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person can see Kṛṣṇa in the heart of both the believer and the nonbeliever. In the smṛti this is confirmed as follows: ātatatvāc ca mātṛtvāc ca ātmā hi paramo hariḥ. The Lord, being the source of all beings, is like the mother and the maintainer. As the mother is neutral to all different kinds of children, the supreme father (or mother) is also. Consequently the Supersoul is always in every living being.
Outwardly, also, every living being is situated in the energy of the Lord. As will be explained in the Seventh Chapter, the Lord has, primarily, two energies – the spiritual (or superior) and the material (or inferior). The living entity, although part of the superior energy, is conditioned by the inferior energy; the living entity is always in the Lord’s energy. Every living entity is situated in Him in one way or another.
The yogī sees equally because he sees that all living entities, although in different situations according to the results of fruitive work, in all circumstances remain the servants of God. While in the material energy, the living entity serves the material senses; and while in the spiritual energy, he serves the Supreme Lord directly. In either case the living entity is the servant of God. This vision of equality is perfect in a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||6-30||

यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति | तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ||६-३०||

yo māṃ paśyati sarvatra sarvaṃ ca mayi paśyati . tasyāhaṃ na praṇaśyāmi sa ca me na praṇaśyati ||6-30||

yaḥ — whoever; mām — Me; paśyati — sees; sarvatra — everywhere; sarvam — everything; ca — and; mayi — in Me; paśyati — sees; tasya — for him; aham — I; na — not; praṇaśyāmi — am lost; saḥ — he; ca — also; me — to Me; na — nor; praṇaśyati — is lost.


For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.


A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness certainly sees Lord Kṛṣṇa everywhere, and he sees everything in Kṛṣṇa. Such a person may appear to see all separate manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he is conscious of Kṛṣṇa, knowing that everything is a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa’s energy. Nothing can exist without Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of everything – this is the basic principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the development of love of Kṛṣṇa – a position transcendental even to material liberation. At this stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, beyond self-realization, the devotee becomes one with Kṛṣṇa in the sense that Kṛṣṇa becomes everything for the devotee and the devotee becomes full in loving Kṛṣṇa. An intimate relationship between the Lord and the devotee then exists. In that stage, the living entity can never be annihilated, nor is the Personality of Godhead ever out of the sight of the devotee. To merge in Kṛṣṇa is spiritual annihilation. A devotee takes no such risk. It is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.38):
premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Śyāmasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee.”
At this stage, Lord Kṛṣṇa never disappears from the sight of the devotee, nor does the devotee ever lose sight of the Lord. In the case of a yogī who sees the Lord as Paramātmā within the heart, the same applies. Such a yogī turns into a pure devotee and cannot bear to live for a moment without seeing the Lord within himself.

||6-31||

सर्वभूतस्थितं यो मां भजत्येकत्वमास्थितः | सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि स योगी मयि वर्तते ||६-३१||

sarvabhūtasthitaṃ yo māṃ bhajatyekatvamāsthitaḥ . sarvathā vartamāno.api sa yogī mayi vartate ||6-31||

sarva-bhūta-sthitam — situated in everyone’s heart; yaḥ — he who; mām — Me; bhajati — serves in devotional service; ekatvam — in oneness; āsthitaḥ — situated; sarvathā — in all respects; vartamānaḥ — being situated; api — in spite of; saḥ — he; yogī — the transcendentalist; mayi — in Me; vartate — remains.


Such a yogī, who engages in the worshipful service of the Supersoul, knowing that I and the Supersoul are one, remains always in Me in all circumstances.


A yogī who is practicing meditation on the Supersoul sees within himself the plenary portion of Kṛṣṇa as Viṣṇu – with four hands, holding conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. The yogī should know that Viṣṇu is not different from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa in this form of Supersoul is situated in everyone’s heart. Furthermore, there is no difference between the innumerable Supersouls present in the innumerable hearts of living entities. Nor is there a difference between a Kṛṣṇa conscious person always engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa and a perfect yogī engaged in meditation on the Supersoul. The yogī in Kṛṣṇa consciousness – even though he may be engaged in various activities while in material existence – remains always situated in Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.187) of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī: nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate. A devotee of the Lord, always acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is automatically liberated. In the Nārada Pañcarātra this is confirmed in this way:
dik-kālādy-anavacchinne
kṛṣṇe ceto vidhāya ca
tan-mayo bhavati kṣipraṁ
jīvo brahmaṇi yojayet
“By concentrating one’s attention on the transcendental form of Kṛṣṇa, who is all-pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in thinking of Kṛṣṇa and then attains the happy state of transcendental association with Him.”
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the highest stage of trance in yoga practice. This very understanding that Kṛṣṇa is present as Paramātmā in everyone’s heart makes the yogī faultless. The Vedas (Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad 1.21) confirm this inconceivable potency of the Lord as follows: eko ’pi san bahudhā yo ’vabhāti. “Although the Lord is one, He is present in innumerable hearts as many.” Similarly, in the smṛti-śāstra it is said:
eka eva paro viṣṇuḥ
sarva-vyāpī na saṁśayaḥ
aiśvaryād rūpam ekaṁ ca
sūrya-vat bahudheyate
“Viṣṇu is one, and yet He is certainly all-pervading. By His inconceivable potency, in spite of His one form, He is present everywhere, as the sun appears in many places at once.”

||6-32||

आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योऽर्जुन | सुखं वा यदि वा दुःखं स योगी परमो मतः ||६-३२||

ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṃ paśyati yo.arjuna . sukhaṃ vā yadi vā duḥkhaṃ sa yogī paramo mataḥ ||6-32||

ātma — with his self; aupamyena — by comparison; sarvatra — everywhere; samam — equally; paśyati — sees; yaḥ — he who; arjuna — O Arjuna; sukham — happiness; vā — or; yadi — if; vā — or; duḥkham — distress; saḥ — such; yogī — a transcendentalist; paramaḥ — perfect; mataḥ — is considered.


He is a perfect yogī who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna!


One who is Kṛṣṇa conscious is a perfect yogī; he is aware of everyone’s happiness and distress by dint of his own personal experience. The cause of the distress of a living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with God. And the cause of happiness is knowing Kṛṣṇa to be the supreme enjoyer of all the activities of the human being, the proprietor of all lands and planets, and the sincerest friend of all living entities. The perfect yogī knows that the living being who is conditioned by the modes of material nature is subjected to the threefold material miseries due to forgetfulness of his relationship with Kṛṣṇa. And because one in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is happy, he tries to distribute the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa everywhere. Since the perfect yogī tries to broadcast the importance of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is the best philanthropist in the world, and he is the dearest servitor of the Lord. Na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ (Bg. 18.69). In other words, a devotee of the Lord always looks to the welfare of all living entities, and in this way he is factually the friend of everyone. He is the best yogī because he does not desire perfection in yoga for his personal benefit, but tries for others also. He does not envy his fellow living entities. Here is a contrast between a pure devotee of the Lord and a yogī interested only in his personal elevation. The yogī who has withdrawn to a secluded place in order to meditate perfectly may not be as perfect as a devotee who is trying his best to turn every man toward Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

||6-33||

अर्जुन उवाच | योऽयं योगस्त्वया प्रोक्तः साम्येन मधुसूदन | एतस्याहं न पश्यामि चञ्चलत्वात्स्थितिं स्थिराम् ||६-३३||

arjuna uvāca . yo.ayaṃ yogastvayā proktaḥ sāmyena madhusūdana . etasyāhaṃ na paśyāmi cañcalatvātsthitiṃ sthirām ||6-33||

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; yaḥ ayam — this system; yogaḥ — mysticism; tvayā — by You; proktaḥ — described; sāmyena — generally; madhu-sūdana — O killer of the demon Madhu; etasya — of this; aham — I; na — do not; paśyāmi — see; cañcalatvāt — due to being restless; sthitim — situation; sthirām — stable.


Arjuna said: O Madhusūdana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.


The system of mysticism described by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna beginning with the words śucau deśe and ending with yogī paramaḥ is here being rejected by Arjuna out of a feeling of inability. It is not possible for an ordinary man to leave home and go to a secluded place in the mountains or jungles to practice yoga in this Age of Kali. The present age is characterized by a bitter struggle for a life of short duration. People are not serious about self-realization even by simple, practical means, and what to speak of this difficult yoga system, which regulates the mode of living, the manner of sitting, selection of place, and detachment of the mind from material engagements. As a practical man, Arjuna thought it was impossible to follow this system of yoga, even though he was favorably endowed in many ways. He belonged to the royal family and was highly elevated in terms of numerous qualities; he was a great warrior, he had great longevity, and, above all, he was the most intimate friend of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Five thousand years ago, Arjuna had much better facilities than we do now, yet he refused to accept this system of yoga. In fact, we do not find any record in history of his practicing it at any time. Therefore this system must be considered generally impossible in this Age of Kali. Of course it may be possible for some very few, rare men, but for the people in general it is an impossible proposal. If this were so five thousand years ago, then what of the present day? Those who are imitating this yoga system in different so-called schools and societies, although complacent, are certainly wasting their time. They are completely in ignorance of the desired goal.

||6-34||

चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद् दृढम् | तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम् ||६-३४||

cañcalaṃ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa pramāthi balavad dṛḍham . tasyāhaṃ nigrahaṃ manye vāyoriva suduṣkaram ||6-34||

cañcalam — flickering; hi — certainly; manaḥ — mind; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; pramāthi — agitating; bala-vat — strong; dṛḍham — obstinate; tasya — its; aham — I; nigraham — subduing; manye — think; vāyoḥ — of the wind; iva — like; su-duṣkaram — difficult.


The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.


The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although the mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, it is certainly very difficult to control the mind. Artificially, one may establish a mental equilibrium toward both friend and enemy, but ultimately no worldly man can do so, for this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literature (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.3.3–4) it is said:
ātmānaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi
śarīraṁ ratham eva ca
buddhiṁ tu sārathiṁ viddhi
manaḥ pragraham eva ca
indriyāṇi hayān āhur
viṣayāṁs teṣu gocarān
ātmendriya-mano-yuktaṁ
bhoktety āhur manīṣiṇaḥ
“The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers.” Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even one’s own intelligence, as an acute infection may surpass the efficacy of medicine. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of modern man? The simile used here is appropriate: one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting “Hare Kṛṣṇa,” the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ: one must engage one’s mind fully in Kṛṣṇa. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.

||6-35||

श्रीभगवानुवाच | असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् | अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ||६-३५||

śrībhagavānuvāca . asaṃśayaṃ mahābāho mano durnigrahaṃ calam . abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate ||6-35||

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Personality of Godhead said; asaṁśayam — undoubtedly; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; manaḥ — the mind; durnigraham — difficult to curb; calam — flickering; abhyāsena — by practice; tu — but; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; vairāgyeṇa — by detachment; ca — also; gṛhyate — can be so controlled.


Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: O mighty-armed son of Kuntī, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.


The difficulty of controlling the obstinate mind, as expressed by Arjuna, is accepted by the Personality of Godhead. But at the same time He suggests that by practice and detachment it is possible. What is that practice? In the present age no one can observe the strict rules and regulations of placing oneself in a sacred place, focusing the mind on the Supersoul, restraining the senses and mind, observing celibacy, remaining alone, etc. By the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, one engages in nine types of devotional service to the Lord. The first and foremost of such devotional engagements is hearing about Kṛṣṇa. This is a very powerful transcendental method for purging the mind of all misgivings. The more one hears about Kṛṣṇa, the more one becomes enlightened and detached from everything that draws the mind away from Kṛṣṇa. By detaching the mind from activities not devoted to the Lord, one can very easily learn vairāgya. Vairāgya means detachment from matter and engagement of the mind in spirit. Impersonal spiritual detachment is more difficult than attaching the mind to the activities of Kṛṣṇa. This is practical because by hearing about Kṛṣṇa one becomes automatically attached to the Supreme Spirit. This attachment is called pareśānubhava, spiritual satisfaction. It is just like the feeling of satisfaction a hungry man has for every morsel of food he eats. The more one eats while hungry, the more one feels satisfaction and strength. Similarly, by discharge of devotional service one feels transcendental satisfaction as the mind becomes detached from material objectives. It is something like curing a disease by expert treatment and appropriate diet. Hearing of the transcendental activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa is therefore expert treatment for the mad mind, and eating the foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa is the appropriate diet for the suffering patient. This treatment is the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.