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 Bhagavatam says:
"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 water, the ocean of the material world is like the water
contained in a calf's footprint. Param padam, or the place where
there are no material miseries, or Vaikuntha, 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 Vaikuntha 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 Vaikun haloka. Service for the cause of the Lord is called karma-
yoga or buddhi-yoga, or in plain words, devotional service to the
- yada te moha-kalilam
- buddhir vyatitarisyati
- tada gantasi nirvedam
- srotavyasya srutasya ca.
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 Lord Krishna and his relationship with Lord Krishna, he naturally
becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities,
even though an experienced brahmana. Sri Madhavendra Puri, a
great devotee and acarya in the line of the devotees, says:
"0 my prayers three times a day, all glory to you. 0 bathing, I offer
my obeisance unto you. 0 demigods! 0 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 [Lord Krishna], the
enemy of Kamsa, 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 Lord Krishna 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 Lord Krishna, 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 Lord Krishna and
simply engages in the rituals, etc., then he is uselessly wasting time in
such engagements. Persons in Lord Krishna consciousness transcend the
limit of sabda-brahma, or the range of the Vedas and Upanishads.
- sruti-vipratipanna te
- yada sthasyati niscala
- samadhav acala buddhis
- tada yogam avapsyasi.
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 samadhi is to say that one has fully realized
Lord Krishna consciousness; that is, one in full samadhi has realized Brah-
man, Paramatma and Bhagavan. The highest perfection of self-
realization is to understand that one is eternally the servitor of Lord Krishna
and that one's only business is to discharge one's duties in Lord Krishna
A Lord Krishna 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 Lord Krishna consciousness, one comes directly into
communion with Lord Krishna, and thus all directions from Lord Krishna 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 Lord Krishna or His representative, the
- arjuna uvaca
- sthita-prajnasya ka
- bhasa samadhi-sthasya
- kesava sthita-dhih kim
- prabhaseta kim asita vrajeta kim.
Arjun said: 0 Lord Krishna, 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 Lord Krishna 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 Lord Krishna has specific symptoms in various dealings.
One can know his specific symptoms from the Bhagavad-gita. Most
important is how the man in Lord Krishna 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
Lord Krishna conscious man is that he speaks only of Lord Krishna and of matters
relating to Him. Other symptoms then automatically follow, as
- sri-bhagavan uvaca
- prajahati yada kaman
- sarvan partha mano-gatan
- atmany evatmana tustah
- sthita-prajnas tadocyate.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: 0 Partha, 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 Bhagavatam affirms that any person who is fully in Lord Krishna
consciousness, or devotional service of the Lord, has all the good
qualities of the great sages, whereas a person who is not so transcen-
dentally 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 Lord Krishna consciousness,
then, automatically, sense desires subside without extraneous
Therefore, one has to engage himself in Lord Krishna consciousness
without hesitation, for this devotional service will instantly help one
onto the platform of transcendental consciousness. The highly de-
veloped 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 material-
ism; rather, he remains always happy in his natural position of
eternally serving the Supreme Lord.
- duhkhesv anudvigna-manah
- sukhesu vigata-sprhah
- sthita-dhir munir ucyate.
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. But a sthita-dhir muni, as
mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni.
The sthita-dhir muni is always in Lord Krishna consciousness, for he has
exhausted all his business of creative speculation. H
e is called
prasdata-nihsesa-mano-rathdntara, or one who
has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the
conclusion that Lord Sri Lord Krishna, or Vasudeva, is everything. He is called a muni
fixed in mind. Such a fully Lord Krishna 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.
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 attach-
ment. But one fixed in Lord Krishna 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 Lord Krishna conscious person is
always steady in his determination.
- yah sarvatranabhisnehas
- tat tat prapya
- subhasubham nabhinandati
- na dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita.
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
Lord Krishna 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 Lord Krishna consciousness is not affected
by good and evil, because he is simply concerned with Lord Krishna, who is
all-good absolute. Such consciousness in Lord Krishna situates one in a
perfect transcendental position called, technically, samddhi.
- yada samharate cayam
- kurmo nganiva sarvasah
- tasya prajna pratisthita.
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 yogi, 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 yogi is
situated. The senses are compared to venomous serpents. They want
to act very loosely and without restriction. The yogi, 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 injunc-
tions 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 Lord Krishna consciousness. The best example, set
herein, is the tortoise. The tortoise can at any moment wind up his
senses and exhibit them again at any time for particular purposes.
Similarly, the senses of the Lord Krishna conscious persons are used only
for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are
withdrawn otherwise. Arjun 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.
- visaya vinivartante
- niraharasya dehinah
- rasa-varjam raso
- py asya param drstva nivartate.
The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though
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 enjoy-
ment 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 asfanga-yoga, in the matter
of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratydhara, dharana, dhydna,
etc., is recommended for less intelligent persons who have no better
But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord
Lord Krishna, in the course of his advancement in Lord Krishna consciousness, no
longer has a taste for dead, material things. Therefore, restrictions
are there for the less intelligent neophytes in the spiritual advance-
ment of life, but such restrictions are only good until one actually
has a taste for Lord Krishna consciousness. When one is actually Lord Krishna
conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.
- yatato ny api kaunteya
- purusasya vipascitah indriyani
- pramathini haranti
- prasabham manah.
The senses are so strong and impetuous, 0 Arjun, that they forcibly
carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is en-
deavoring 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 enjoy-
ment due to the agitated mind. Even Visvamitra, a great sage and
perfect yogi, was misled by Menaka into sex enjoyment, although
the yogi 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 Lord Krishna conscious.
Without engaging the mind in Lord Krishna, one cannot cease such materi-
al engagements. A practical example is given by Sri Yamunacarya, a
great saint and devotee, who says:
"Since my mind has been engaged in the service of the lotus feet of
Lord Lord Krishna, 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."
Lord Krishna 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. Maharaja Ambarisa also conquered a great
yogi. Durvasa Muni, simply because his mind was engaged in Lord Krishna