Bhagavad Gita - Chapter IV:
Transcendental Knowledge

Text 1
Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • sri-bhagavan uvaca
  • imam vivasvate yogam
  • proktavan aham avyayam
  • vivasvan manave praha
  • manur iksvakave bravit.
English Translation:
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu, in turn instructed it to Iksvaku.

Purport:
Herein we find the history of the Bhagavad-Gita 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-Gita 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 Krsna consciousness so that the people may take advantage of this great science and pursue a successful path, utiliz- ing the opportunity of the human form of life.

In this millennium, the sun-god is known as Vivasvan, the king of the sun, which is the origin of all planets within the solar system. In the Brahma-samhitd (5.52) it is stated:

"Let me worship," Lord Brahma said, "the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Krsna], 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 Vivasvan) rules the sun planet, which is controlling all other planets by supplying heat and light. He is rotating under the order of Krsna, and Lord Krsna originally made Vivasvan His first disciple to understand the science of Bhagavad-gita. The Gita 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 Mahdbharata (Santi-parva 348.51-52) we can trace out the history of the Gita as follows:

"In the beginning of the millennium known as Treta-yuga this science of the relationship with the Supreme was delivered by Vivasvan to Manu. Manu, being the father of mankind, gave it to his son Maharaja Iksvaku, the king of this earth planet and forefather of the Raghu dynasty, in which Lord Ramacandra appeared." Therefore, Bhagavad-Gita existed in human society from the time of Maharaja Iksvaku.

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 Dvapara-yuga (800,000 years), and before that there was Treta- yuga (1,200,000 years). Thus, some 2,005,000 years ago, Manu spoke the Bhagavad-Gita to his disciple and son Maharaja Iksvaku, 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 Gita was spoken by the Lord to His disciple the sun-god Vivasvan, a rough estimate is that the Gita 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 Gita, according to the Gita itself and according to the version of the speaker. Lord Sri Krsna. It was spoken to the sun-god Vivasvan because he is also a ksatriya and is the father of all ksatriyas who are descendants of the sun-god, or the surya-vamsa ksatriyas. Because Bhagavad-Gita is as good as the Vedas, being spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this knowledge is apauruseya, superhuman. Since the Vedic instructions are accepted as they are, without human interpretation, the Gita must therefore be accepted without mundane interpretation. The mundane wranglers may speculate on the Gita in their own ways, but that is not Bhagavad-Gita as it is. Therefore, Bhagavad-Gita has to be accepted as it is, from the disciple 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 Iksvaku.

Text 2

Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • evam parampara-praptam
  • imam rajarsayo viduh
  • sa kaleneha mahata
  • yogo nastah parantapa.
English Translation:
This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciple 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.

Purport: It is clearly stated that the Gita was especially meant for the saintly kings because they were to execute its purpose in ruling over the citizens. Certainly Bhagavad-Gita 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 Gita appeared to be lost.

In the same way, at the present moment also there are so many editions of the Gild (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, Krsna, although they make a good business on the words of Sri Krsna. 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 Gita in English, as it is received by the parampara (disciplic succession) system, an attempt is made herewith to fulfill this great want. Bhagavad-Gita-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.

Text 3

Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • sa evayam maya te
  • dya yogah proktah
  • puratanah bhakto si me
  • sakha ceti rahasyam hy etad uttamam.
English Translation:
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.

Purport:
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 Sri Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and any commentary on the Gita following in the footsteps of Arjuna is real devotional service to the cause of this great science. The demonic, however, do not accept Lord Krsna as He is. Instead they concoct something about Krsna and mislead general readers from the path of Krsna'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 Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Text 4
Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • arjuna uvaca
  • aparam bhavato
  • janma param janma
  • vivisvatah katham etad
  • vijaniyam tvam adau
  • proktavan iti.
English Translation:
Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?

Purport:
Arjuna is an accepted devotee of the Lord, so how could he not believe Krsna'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 Krsna 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 Krsna. As it will be evident from the Tenth Chapter, Arjuna knew perfectly well that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the fountainhead of everything and the last word in transcendence.

Of course, Krsna also appeared as the son of Devaki on this earth. How Krsna 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 Krsna so that He Himself could speak authoritatively. That Krsna 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 Krsna is the authority accepted by all, Arjuna put this question before Him in order that Krsna 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 Krsna. Therefore, when Krsna Himself speaks about Himself, it is auspicious for all the worlds. To the demons, such explanations by Krsna Himself may appear to be strange because the demons always study Krsna from their own standpoint, but those who are devotees heartily welcome the statements of Krsna when they are spoken by Krsna Himself.

The devotees will always worship such authoritative statements of Krsna because they are always eager to know more and more about Him. The atheists, who consider Krsna an ordinary man, may in this way come to know that Krsna is superhuman, that He is sac-cid-dnanda-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 Krsna, like Arjuna, is undoubtedly above any misunderstanding of the transcendental position of Krsna. Arjuna's putting this question before the Lord is simply an attempt by the devotee to defy the atheistic attitude of persons who consider Krsna to be an ordinary human being, subject to the modes of material nature.

Text 5
Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • sri-bhagavan uvaca
  • bahuni me vyatitani
  • janmani tava carjuna
  • tany aham veda sarvani
  • na tvam vettha parantapa.
English Translation:
The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, 0 subduer of the enemy!

Purport:

In the Brahma-samhita (5.33) we have information of many, many incarnations of the Lord. It is stated there:

"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Krsna], 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 understood by the best Vedic scholars, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees."

It is also stated in Brahma-samhita (5.39): "I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda [Krsna], who is always situated in various incarnations such as Rama, Nrsirhma and many sub-incarnations as well, but who is the original Personality of Godhead known as Krsna, 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 vaidurya stone, which changes color yet still remains one. All those multi-forms are understood by the pure, unalloyed devotees, but not by a simple study of the Vedas. 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 Krsna spoke the Bhagavad-Gita to the sun-god Vivasvan, 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-samhita 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 non-devotee or a demon cannot understand this transcendental nature. Consequently these descriptions in the God cannot be understood by demonic brains.

Krsna remembered acts which were performed by Him millions of years before, but Arjuna could not, despite the fact that both Krsna 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-dnanda 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.

Text 6
Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • ajo ípi sann avyayatma
  • bhutanam isvaro ípi san
  • prakrtim svam adhisthaya
  • sambhavamy atma-mayaya.
English Translation:
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.

Purport:

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 Krsna. One should not be misled by such meaningless claims. Then again, the Lord explains His prakrti, or His form. Prakrti means "nature," as well as svariipa, 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, Krsna 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 appeals 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 Krsna 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 Kuruksetra, 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 Krsna 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 is 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 is 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 Krsna'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 multi-manifestations. 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 Bhagavatam. He appears before His mother as Narayana, with four hands and the decorations of the six kinds of full opulence. 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 maya, or atma-maya, refers to the Lord's causeless mercy, according to the Visva-kosa 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.

Text 7
Sanskrit working:

  • yada yada hi dharmasya
  • glanir bhavati bharata
  • abhyutthanam adharmasya
  • tadatmanam srjiamy aham.
English Translation:
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, 0 descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself.

Purport:

The word srjami is significant herein. Srjami 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, srjami means that the Lord manifests Himself as He is. Although the Lord appears on schedule, namely at the end of the Dvapara-yuga of the twenty-eighth millennium of the seventh Manu in one day of Brahma, 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 Bhdgavatam 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 Brahma, from within his heart. Therefore, the principles of dharma, or religion, are the direct orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These principles are clearly indicated throughout the Bhagavad-Gita.

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 Gild, 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 Bhdgavatam we understand that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Krsna who appeared when materialism was rampant and materialists were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas.

Al- though 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 to stop this nonsense and to establish the Vedic principles of nonviolence. Therefore each and every avatdra, 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 avatdra 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-Gita 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 Krsna consciousness everywhere. Such consciousness is manifest and non-manifest only under different circumstances.

Text 8
Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • paritranaya sadhunam
  • vinasaya ca duskrtam
  • dharma-samsthapanarthaya
  • sambhavami yuge yuge.
English Translation:
To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

Purport:
According to Bhagavad-Gita, a sadhu (holy man) is a man in Krsna consciousness. A person may appear to be irreligious, but if he has the qualifications of Krsna consciousness wholly and fully, he is to be understood to be a sadhu. And duskrtdm applies to those who do not care for Krsna consciousness. Such miscreants, or duskrtam, 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 Krsna consciousness is accepted as a sadhu, 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 Ravana and Karhsa. 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 Prahlada Maharaja was the son of Hiranyakasipu, he was nonetheless persecuted by his father; although Devaki, the mother of Krsna, was the sister of Kamsa, she and her husband Vasudeva were persecuted only because Krsna was to be born of them. So Lord Krsna appeared primarily to deliver Devaki, rather than kill Kamsa, 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-caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the following verses (Madhya 20.263-264) summarize these principles of incarnation:

"The avatdra, 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 avatdra. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When they descend to the material creation, they assume the name avatdra.'"

There are various kinds of avatdras, such as purusdvatdras, gun- avatdras, lildvatdras, sakty-dvesa avatdras, manvantara-avaldras and yugdvatdras-all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Krsna is the primeval Lord, the fountainhead of all avatdras. Lord Sri Krsna descends for the specific purpose of mitigating the anxieties of the pure devotees, who are very anxious to see Him in His original Vrndavana pastimes. Therefore, the prime purpose of the Krsna avatara 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 Srimad-Bhagavatam, the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who spread the worship of Krsna by the sankirtana movement (congregational chanting of the holy names) and spread Krsna consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of sankirtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya as the incarnation of Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, is described secretly but not directly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures, such as the Upanishads, Mahabhdrala and Bhagavatam. The devotees of Lord Krsna are very much attracted by the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatara of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers them by His causeless mercy.

Text 9
Sanskrit working:

English Wording:

  • janma karma ca me divyam
  • evam you vetti tattvatah
  • tyaktva deham punar janma
  • naiti mam eti so rjuna.
English Translation:
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, 0 Arjuna.

Purport:
The Lord's descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the 6th 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 yogis attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births.

Even then, the liberation they achieve- merging into the impersonal brahmajyoti 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-samhitd (5.33) it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anddim ananta-rupam. 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 (Purusa-bodhini Upanishad):

"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 Gita 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 Krsna 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:

"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." (Svetasvafara Upanisad 3.8)

That there is no alternative means that anyone who does not understand Lord Krsna 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-Gita 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 Krsna consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in this way attain perfection.

Text 10

Sanskrit working:

English wording:

  • vita-raga-bhaya-krodha
  • man-maya mam upasritah
  • bahavo jnana-tapasa puta
  • mad-bhavam agatah.
English Translation:
Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past be- came purified by knowledge of Me-and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.

Purport:
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 attachment to the material world: negligence of spiritual 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 bhava, or transcendental love of Godhead.

According to Bhakti-rasdmrta-sindhu (1.4.15-16), the science of devotional service:

"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, Sri Krsna. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Krsna consciousness, which is matured in bhava, 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 tearfulness 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.


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