Contents of the Gita Summarized



Contents of the Gétä Summarized


saïjaya uväca

taà tathä kåpayäviñöam


viñédantam idaà väkyam

uväca madhusüdanaù


saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; tam—unto Arjuna; tathä—thus; kåpayä—by compassion; äviñöam—overwhelmed; açru-pürëa-äkula—full of tears; ékñaëam—eyes; viñédantam—lamenting; idam—these; väkyam—words; uväca—said; madhu-südanaù—the killer of Madhu.


Saïjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind depressed, his eyes full of tears, Madhusüdana, Kåñëa, 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 “Madhusüdana” is significant in this verse. Lord Kåñëa killed the demon Madhu, and now Arjuna wanted Kåñëa 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 çüdra, or one who laments unnecessarily. Arjuna was a kñatriya, and this conduct was not expected from him. Lord Kåñëa, however, can dissipate the lamentation of the ignorant man, and for this purpose the Bhagavad-gétä 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 Çré Kåñëa. This realization is possible when one works without attachment to fruitive results and is situated in the fixed conception of the real self.


çré-bhagavän uväca

kutas tvä kaçmalam idaà

viñame samupasthitam

anärya-juñöam asvargyam

akérti-karam arjuna


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; kutaù—wherefrom; tvä—unto you; kaçmalam—dirtiness; idam—this lamentation; viñame—in this hour of crisis; samupasthitam—arrived; anärya—persons who do not know the value of life; juñöam—practiced by; asvargyam—which does not lead to higher planets; akérti—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.


Kåñëa and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are identical. Therefore Lord Kåñëa is referred to as Bhagavän throughout the Gétä. Bhagavän is the ultimate in the Absolute Truth. Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding, namely Brahman, or the impersonal all-pervasive spirit;

Paramätmä, or the localized aspect of the Supreme within the heart of all living entities; and Bhagavän, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kåñëa. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam (1.2.11) this conception of the Absolute Truth is explained thus:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas

tattvaà yaj jïänam advayam

brahmeti paramätmeti

bhagavän iti çabdyate

“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, Paramätmä, and Bhagavän.”

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 Paramätmä 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 Bhagavän 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 bhagavän is explained by the great authority Paräçara Muni, the father of Vyäsadeva. The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation is called Bhagavän. 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 Kåñëa can claim this because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No living entity, including Brahmä, Lord Çiva, or Näräyaëa, can possess opulences as fully as Kåñëa. Therefore it is concluded in the Brahma-saàhitä by Lord Brahmä himself that Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is equal to or above Him. He is the primeval Lord, or Bhagavän, known as Govinda, and He is the supreme cause of all causes:

éçvaraù paramaù kåñëaù


anädir ädir govindaù


“There are many personalities possessing the qualities of Bhagavän, but Kåñëa 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-saàhitä5.1) In the Bhägavatam also there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kåñëa is described as the original Personality of Godhead, from whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand:

ete cäàça-kaläù puàsaù

kåñëas tu bhagavän svayam

indräri-vyäkulaà lokaà

måòayanti 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 Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.” (Bhäg.1.3.28)

Therefore, Kåñëa 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. Kåñëa expressed His surprise with the word kutaù, “wherefrom.” Such impurities were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Äryans. The word Äryan 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, Viñëu, or Bhagavän, 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-Äryans. Although Arjuna was a kñatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Äryans. 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 Kåñëa did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.


klaibyaà mä sma gamaù pärtha

naitat tvayy upapadyate

kñudraà hådaya-daurbalyaà

tyaktvottiñöha parantapa


klaibyam—impotence; mä sma—do not; gamaù—take to; pärtha—O son of Påthä; na—never; etat—this; tvayi—unto you; upadyate—is befitting; kñudram—petty; hådaya—of the heart; daurbalyam—weakness; tyaktvä—giving up; uttiñöha—get up; param-tapa—O chastiser of the enemies.


O son of Påthä, 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 Påthä, who happened to be the sister of Kåñëa’s father Vasudeva. Therefore Arjuna had a blood relationship with Kåñëa. If the son of a kñatriya declines to fight, he is akñatriya in name only, and if the son of a brähmaëa acts impiously, he is a brähmaëa in name only.

Such kñatriyas and brähmaëas are unworthy sons of their fathers; therefore, Kåñëa did not want Arjuna to become an unworthy son of akñatriya. Arjuna was the most intimate friend of Kåñëa, and Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Bhéñma and his relatives, but Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa.


 arjuna uväca

kathaà bhéñmam ahaà saìkhye

droëaà ca madhusüdana

iñubhiù pratiyotsyämi

püjärhäv ari-südana


arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; katham—how; bhéñmam—Bhéñma; aham—I; saìkhye—in the fight; droëam—Droëa; ca—also; madhu-südana—O killer of Madhu; iñubhiù—with arrows; pratiyotsyämi—shall counterattack; püjä-arhau—those who are worshipable; ari-südana—O killer of the enemies.


Arjuna said: O killer of enemies, O killer of Madhu, how can Icounterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhéñma and Droëa, who are worthy of my worship?


Respectable superiors like Bhéñma the grandfather and Droëäcärya 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 Kåñëa ever attack His own grandfather, Ugrasena, or His teacher, Sändépani Muni? These were some of the arguments offered by Arjuna to Kåñëa.


 gurün ahatvä hi mahänubhävän

çreyo bhoktuà bhaikñyam apéha loke

hatvärtha-kämäàs tu gurün ihaiva

bhuïjéya bhogän rudhira-pradigdhän


gurün—the superiors; ahatvä—not killing; hi—certainly; mahä-anubhävän—great souls; çreyaù—it is better; bhoktum—to enjoy life; bhaikñyam—by begging; api—even; iha—in this life; loke—in this world; hatvä—killing; artha—gain; kämän—desiring; tu—but; gurün—superiors; iha—in this world; eva—certainly; bhuïjéya—one has to enjoy; bhogän—enjoyable things; rudhira—blood; pradigdhän—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. Bhéñma and Droëa 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.


na caitad vidmaù kataran no garéyo

yad vä jayema yadi vä no jayeyuù

yän eva hatvä na jijéviñämas

te ’vasthitäù pramukhe dhärtaräñöräù


na—nor; ca—also; etat—this; vidmaù—do we know; katarat—which; naù—for us; garéyaù—better; yat vä—whether; jayema—we may conquer; yadi—if; —or; naù—us; jayeyuù—they conquer; yän—those who; eva—certainly; hatvä—by killing; na—never; jijéviñämaù—we would want to live; te—all of them; avasthitäù—are situated; pramukhe—in the front; dhärtaräñöräù—the sons of Dhåtaräñöra.


Nor do we know which is better—conquering them or being conquered by them. If we killed the sons of Dhåtaräñöra, 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 kñatriyas, 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 Dhåtaräñöra 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 Çré Kåñëa (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.



påcchämi tväà dharma-sammüòha-cetäù

yac chreyaù syän niçcitaà brühi tan me

çiñyas te ’haà çädhi mäà tväà prapannam


kärpaëya—of miserliness; doña—by the weakness; upahata—being afflicted; sva-bhävaù—characteristics; påcchämi—I am asking; tväm—unto You; dharma—religion; sammüòha—bewildered; cetäù—in heart;yat—what; çreyaù—all-good; syät—may be; niçcitam—confidently;brühi—tell; tat—that; me—unto me; çiñyaù—disciple; te—Your; aham—I am; çädhi—just instruct; mäm—me; tväm—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 Båhad-äraëyaka Upaniñad(3.8.10) the perplexed man is described as follows: yo vä etad akñaraà gärgy aviditväsmäû lokät praiti sa kåpaëaù. “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 brähmaëa, or he who is intelligent enough to utilize this body to solve all the problems of life.Ya etad akñaraà gärgi viditväsmäû lokät praiti sa brähmaëaù.

The kåpaëas, 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 kåpaëa thinks that he is able to protect his family members from death; or the kåpaëa 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 Kåñëa, the supreme spiritual master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Kåñëa 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. Kåñëa is therefore the original spiritual master of the science ofBhagavad-gétä, and Arjuna is the first disciple for understanding theGétä. How Arjuna understands the Bhagavad-gétä is stated in the Gétäitself. And yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Kåñëa as a person, but to “the unborn within Kåñëa.” There is no difference between Kåñëa’s within and without. And one who has no sense of this understanding is the greatest fool in trying to understand Bhagavad-gétä.


na hi prapaçyämi mamäpanudyäd

yac chokam ucchoñaëam indriyäëäm

aväpya bhümäv asapatnam åddhaà

räjyaà suräëäm api cädhipatyam


na—do not; hi—certainly; prapaçyämi—I see; mama—my; apanudyät—can drive away; yat—that which; çokam—lamentation; ucchoñaëam—drying up; indriyäëäm—of the senses; aväpya—achieving; bhümau—on the earth; asapatnam—without rival; åddham—prosperous; räjyam—kingdom; suräëäm—of the demigods; api—even; ca—also; ädhipatyam—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 Çré Kåñëa. 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 Kåñëa. 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 Kåñëa. Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one hundred percent Kåñëa conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for he can solve the problems of life. Lord Caitanya said that one who is master in the science of Kåñëa consciousness, regardless of his social position, is the real spiritual master.

kibä vipra, kibä nyäsé, çüdra kene naya

yei kåñëa-tattva-vettä, 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 master in the science of Kåñëa, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master.” (Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya 8.128) So without being a master in the science of Kåñëa consciousness, no one is a bona fide spiritual master. It is also said in Vedic literature:

ñaö-karma-nipuëo vipro


avaiñëavo gurur na syäd

vaiñëavaù çva-paco guruù

“A scholarly brähmaëa, expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge, is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaiñëava, or expert in the science of Kåñëa consciousness. But a person born in a family of a lower caste can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaiñëava, or Kåñëa conscious.” ( Padma Puräëa) 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 Kåñëa, or theBhagavad-gétä and Çrémad-Bhägavatam—which constitute the science of Kåñëa—through the bona fide representative of Kåñëa, the man in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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-gétä confirms this:kñéëe puëye martya-lokaà viçanti. “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 Kåñëa, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked Kåñëa to solve his problem definitely, and that is the way of Kåñëa consciousness.


saïjaya uväca

evam uktvä håñékeçaà

guòäkeçaù parantapaù

na yotsya iti govindam

uktvä tüñëéà babhüva ha


saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; evam—thus; uktvä—speaking; håñékeçam—unto Kåñëa, the master of the senses; guòäkeçaù—Arjuna, the master of curbing ignorance; parantapaù—the chastiser of the enemies; na yotsye—I shall not fight; iti—thus; govindam—unto Kåñëa, the giver of pleasure to the senses; uktvä—saying; tüñëém—silent; babhüva—became; ha—certainly.


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


Dhåtaräñöra 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 Saïjaya disappointed him again in relating that Arjuna was competent to kill his enemies ( parantapaù). Although Arjuna was, for the time being, overwhelmed with false grief due to family affection, he surrendered unto Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa consciousness, and would then surely fight. Thus Dhåtaräñöra’s joy would be frustrated, since Arjuna would be enlightened by Kåñëa and would fight to the end.


tam uväca håñékeçaù

prahasann iva bhärata

senayor ubhayor madhye

viñédantam idaà vacaù


tam—unto him; uväca—said; håñékeçaù—the master of the senses, Kåñëa; prahasan—smiling; iva—like that; bhärata—O Dhåtaräñöra, descendant of Bharata; senayoù—of the armies; ubhayoù—of both parties; madhye—between; viñédantam—unto the lamenting one; idam—the following;vacaù—words.


O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kåñëa, 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 Håñékeça and the Guòäkeça. As friends, both of them were on the same level, but one of them voluntarily became a student of the other. Kåñëa 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 benefitted. So the talks of Bhagavad-gétä are not for any particular person, society, or community, but they are for all, and friends or enemies are equally entitled to hear them.


çré-bhagavän uväca

açocyän anvaçocas tvaà

prajïä-vädäàç ca bhäñase

gatäsün agatäsüàç ca

nänuçocanti paëòitäù


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said;açocyän—not worthy of lamentation; anvaçocaù—you are lamenting;tvam—you; prajïä-vädän—learned talks; ca—also; bhäñase—speaking;gata—lost; asün—life; agata—not past; asün—life; ca—also; na—never; anuçocanti—lament; paëòitäù—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.


na tv evähaà jätu näsaà

na tvaà neme janädhipäù

na caiva na bhaviñyämaù

sarve vayam ataù param


na—never; tu—but; eva—certainly; aham—I; jätu—at any time; na—did not; äsam—exist; na—not; tvam—you; na—not; ime—all these; jana-adhipäù—kings; na—never; ca—also; eva—certainly; na—not; bhaviñyämaù—shall exist; sarve vayam—all of us; ataù 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 Kaöha Upaniñad as well as in the Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad, 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 nityänäà cetanaç cetanänäm

eko bahünäà yo vidadhäti kämän

tam ätma-sthaà ye ’nupaçyanti dhéräs 

teñäà çäntiù çäçvaté netareñäm

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 Mäyävädé theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of mäyä, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Kåñëa, the supreme authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Kåñëa clearly says herein that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is confirmed in the Upaniñads, will continue eternally. This statement of Kåñëa’s is authoritative because Kåñëa cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality were not a fact, then Kåñëa would not have stressed it so much—even for the future. The Mäyävädé may argue that the individuality spoken of by Kåñëa is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Kåñëa’s individuality? Kåñëa 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. Kåñëa has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gétä 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 Gétä is above such literature. No mundane book compares with the Bhagavad-gétä. When one accepts Kåñëa as an ordinary man, the Gétä loses all importance. The Mäyävädé 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 Kåñëa to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, individuality is maintained on spiritual grounds and is thus confirmed by great äcäryas like Çré Rämänuja and others. It is clearly mentioned in many places in the Gétä that this spiritual individuality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord. Those who are envious of Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona fide access to the great literature. The nondevotee’s approach to the teachings of the Gétä 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-gétä 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 Gétä be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord. Therefore, the Mäyävädé explanation of the Gétä is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Caitanya has forbidden us to read commentations made by the Mäyävädés and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the Mäyävädé philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gétä. If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need of teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual soul and of the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is confirmed by the Vedasas above mentioned.


dehino ’smin yathä dehe

kaumäraà yauvanaà jarä

tathä dehäntara-präptir

dhéras tatra na muhyati


dehinaù—of the embodied; asmin—in this; yathä—as; dehe—in the body; kaumäram—boyhood; yauvanam—youth; jarä—old age; tathä—similarly; deha-antara—of transference of the body; präptiù—achievement; dhéraù—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 Bhéñma nor for Droëa, 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 Bhéñma and Droëa, 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 dhéra, or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies.

The Mäyävädé 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 Gétä,the fragmental portions of the Supreme exist eternally ( sanätana) and are called kñara; 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 Paramätmä. 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 Çré Kåñëa. 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 Kåñëa, and Kåñëa is not superior to Arjuna, then their relationship of instructor and instructed becomes meaningless. If both of them are deluded by the illusory energy ( mäyä), 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 mäyä, no one can be an authoritative instructor. Under the circumstances, it is admitted that Lord Kåñëa is the Supreme Lord, superior in position to the living entity, Arjuna, who is a forgetful soul deluded by mäyä.


mäträ-sparçäs tu kaunteya


ägamäpäyino ’nityäs

täàs titikñasva bhärata


mäträ-sparçäù—sensory perception; tu—only; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; çéta—winter; uñëa—summer; sukha—happiness; duùkha—and pain; däù—giving; ägama—appearing; apäyinaù—disappearing; anityäù—nonpermanent; tän—all of them; titikñasva—just try to tolerate; bhärata—O descendant of the Bharata dynasty.


O son of Kunté, 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 Mägha (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 kñatriyas, 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 mäyä (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 Bhärata 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.


yaà hi na vyathayanty ete

puruñaà puruñarñabha

sama-duùkha-sukhaà dhéraà

so ’måtatväya kalpate


yam—one to whom; hi—certainly; na—never; vyathayanti—are distressing; ete—all these; puruñam—to a person; puruña-åñabha—O best among men; sama—unaltered; duùkha—in distress; sukham—and happiness; dhéram—patient; saù—he; amåtatväya—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 thevarëäçrama institution, the fourth stage of life, namely the renounced order ( sannyäsa), is a painstaking situation. But one who is serious about making his life perfect surely adopts the sannyäsa 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 akñatriya, he is advised to persevere, even if it is difficult to fight with his family members or similarly beloved persons. Lord Caitanya tooksannyäsa 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 sannyäsa and was steady in the discharge of higher duties. That is the way of achieving liberation from material bondage.


näsato vidyate bhävo

näbhävo vidyate sataù

ubhayor api dåñöo ’ntas

tv anayos tattva-darçibhiù


na—never; asataù—of the nonexistent; vidyate—there is; bhävaù—endurance; na—never; abhävaù—changing quality; vidyate—there is; sataù—of the eternal; ubhayoù—of the two; api—verily; dåñöaù—observed; antaù—conclusion; tu—indeed; anayoù—of them; tattva—of the truth; darçibhiù—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 Viñëu Puräëa (2.12.38) it is stated that Viñëu and His abodes all have self-illuminated spiritual existence ( jyotéàñi viñëur bhuvanäni viñëuù). 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 Vedänta-sütras, as well as in theÇrémad-Bhägavatam, 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 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-gétä for the enlightenment of all living entities for all time.


avinäçi tu tad viddhi

yena sarvam idaà tatam

vinäçam avyayasyäsya

na kaçcit kartum arhati


avinäçi—imperishable; tu—but; tat—that; viddhi—know it; yena—by whom; sarvam—all of the body; idam—this; tatam—pervaded; vinäçam—destruction; avyayasya—of the imperishable; asya—of it; na kaçcit—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 Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad (5.9) confirms this: bälägra-çata-bhägasya

çatadhä kalpitasya ca

bhägo jévaù vijïeyaù

sa cänantyäya 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:


çatäàçaù sädåçätmakaù

jévaù sükñma-svarüpo ’yaà

saìkhyätéto hi cit-kaëaù

[Cc. Madya 19.140]

“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 Muëòaka Upaniñad (3.1.9) the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further explained:

eño ’ëur ätmä cetasä veditavyo

yasmin präëaù païcadhä saàviveça

präëaiç cittaà sarvam otaà prajänäà 

yasmin viçuddhe vibhavaty eña ätmä

“The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air ( präëa, apäna, vyäna,samäna and udäna), 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 haöha-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-pervadingviñëu-tattva.

The influence of the atomic soul can be spread all over a particular body.  According to the Muëòaka Upaniñad, 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 prabhä, 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-gétä by the Personality of Godhead Himself.


antavanta ime dehä

nityasyoktäù çarériëaù

anäçino ’prameyasya

tasmäd yudhyasva bhärata


anta-vantaù—perishable; ime—all these; dehäù—material bodies; nityasya—eternal in existence; uktäù—are said; çarériëaù—of the embodied soul; anäçinaù—never to be destroyed; aprameyasya—immeasurable; tasmät—therefore; yudhyasva—fight; bhärata—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 Vedänta-sütras 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.


ya enaà vetti hantäraà

yaç cainaà manyate hatam

ubhau tau na vijänéto

näyaà hanti na hanyate


yaù—anyone who; enam—this; vetti—knows; hantäram—the killer; yaù—anyone who; ca—also; enam—this; manyate—thinks; hatam—killed; ubhau—both; tau—they; na—never; vijänétaù—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 mä hiàsyät sarvä bhütäni: 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.


na jäyate mriyate vä kadäcin

näyaà bhütvä bhavitä vä na bhüyaù

ajo nityaù çäçvato ’yaà puräëo

na hanyate hanyamäne çarére


na—never; jäyate—takes birth; mriyate—dies; —either; kadäcit—at any time (past, present or future); na—never; ayam—this; bhütvä—having come into being; bhavitä—will come to be; —or; na—not;bhüyaù—or is again coming to be; ajaù—unborn; nityaù—eternal;çäçvataù—permanent; ayam—this; puräëaù—the oldest; na—never;hanyate—is killed; hanyamäne—being killed; çarére—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 küöa-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 Kaöha Upaniñad (1.2.18) we also find a similar passage, which reads: 

na jäyate mriyate vä vipaçcin

näyaà kutaçcin na babhüva kaçcit

ajo nityaù çäçvato ’yaà puräëo

na hanyate hanyamäne çarére

[Bg. 2.20]

The meaning and purport of this verse is the same as in the Bhagavad-gétä, but here in this verse there is one special word, vipaçcit, 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 Kåñëa. But Kåñëa is not like the forgetful soul. If so, Kåñëa’s teachings of Bhagavad-gétä would be useless.

There are two kinds of souls—namely the minute particle soul ( aëu-ätmä) and the Supersoul ( vibhu-ätmä). This is also confirmed in theKaöha Upaniñad (1.2.20) in this way:

aëor aëéyän mahato mahéyän

ätmäsya jantor nihito guhäyäm

tam akratuù paçyati véta-çoko

dhätuù prasädän mahimänam ätmanaù

“Both the Supersoul [Paramätmä] and the atomic soul [ jévätmä] 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.” Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa, or by His bona fide representative (the spiritual master).


vedävinäçinaà nityaà

ya enam ajam avyayam

kathaà sa puruñaù pärtha

kaà ghätayati hanti kam


veda—knows; avinäçinam—indestructible; nityam—always existing; yaù—one who; enam—this (soul); ajam—unborn; avyayam—immutable;katham—how; saù—that; puruñaù—person; pärtha—O Pärtha (Arjuna);kam—whom; ghätayati—causes to hurt; hanti—kills; kam—whom.


O Pärtha, 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-saàhitä, 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa is with full knowledge, so there is no possibility of sinful reaction.


väsäàsi jérëäni yathä vihäya

naväni gåhëäti naro ’paräëi

tathä çaréräëi vihäya jérëäny

anyäni saàyäti naväni dehé


väsäàsi—garments; jérëäni—old and worn out; yathä—just as; vihäya—giving up; naväni—new garments; gåhëäti—does accept; naraù—a man; aparäëi—others; tathä—in the same way; çaréräëi—bodies; vihäya—giving up; jirëäni—old and useless; anyäni—different; saàyäti—verily accepts; naväni—new sets; dehé—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 Muëòaka Upaniñad, as well as the Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad,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 (Kåñëa) 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. Kåñëa 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 jéva 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 Kåñëa for instruction—the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both the Muëòaka Upaniñad (3.1.2) and Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad (4.7) confirm this: 

samäne våkñe puruño nimagno

’néçayä çocati muhyamänaù

juñöaà yadä paçyaty anyam éçam

asya mahimänam iti véta-çokaù

“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 who is 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, Kåñëa, and is understanding the Bhagavad-gétä from Him. And thus, hearing from Kåñëa, 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.


nainaà chindanti çasträëi

nainaà dahati pävakaù

na cainaà kledayanty äpo

na çoñayati märutaù


na—never; enam—this soul; chindanti—can cut to pieces; çasträëi—weapons; na—never; enam—this soul; dahati—burns; pävakaù—fire; na—never; ca—also; enam—this soul; kledayanti—moistens; äpaù—water; na—never; çoñayati—dries; märutaù—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. Firearms 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 Mäyävädé cannot explain how the individual soul came into existence simply by ignorance and consequently became covered by 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 ( sanätana), 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 Varäha Puräëa, the living entities are described as separated parts and parcels of the Supreme. They are eternally so, according to the Bhagavad-gétä 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 Kåñëa, but he never became one with Kåñëa.


acchedyo ’yam adähyo ’yam

akledyo ’çoñya eva ca

nityaù sarva-gataù sthäëur

acalo ’yaà sanätanaù


acchedyaù—unbreakable; ayam—this soul; adähyaù—unable to be burned; ayam—this soul; akledyaù—insoluble; açoñyaù—not able to be dried; eva—certainly; ca—and; nityaù—everlasting; sarva-gataù—all-pervading; sthäëuù—unchangeable; acalaù—immovable; ayam—this soul; sanätanaù—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.


avyakto ’yam acintyo ’yam

avikäryo ’yam ucyate

tasmäd evaà viditvainaà

nänuçocitum arhasi


avyaktaù—invisible; ayam—this soul; acintyaù—inconceivable; ayam—this soul; avikäryaù—unchangeable; ayam—this soul; ucyate—is said; tasmät—therefore; evam—like this; viditvä—knowing it well; enam—this soul; na—do not; anuçocitum—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 çruti, 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.


atha cainaà nitya-jätaà

nityaà vä manyase måtam

tathäpi tvaà mahä-bäho

nainaà çocitum arhasi


atha—if, however; ca—also; enam—this soul; nitya-jätam—always born; nityam—forever; —either; manyase—you so think; måtam—dead;tathä api—still; tvam—you; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; na—never; enam—about the soul; çocitum—to lament; arhasi—deserve.


If, however, you think that the soul [or the symptoms of life] is always born and dies 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 Kåñëa spoke the Bhagavad-gétä, it appears that such philosophers existed, and they were known as the lokäyatikas andvaibhäñikas. 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 well as to the nihilistic nondevotional Buddhist sects.

Even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul—as in the vaibhäñika 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 vaibhäñikaphilosophy, the so-called soul or ätmä 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, Kåñëa sarcastically addressed Arjuna as mahä-bähu, mighty-armed, because He, at least, did not accept the theory of the vaibhäñikas, which leaves aside the Vedic wisdom. As a kñatriya, Arjuna belonged to the Vedic culture, and it behooved him to continue to follow its principles.


jätasya hi dhruvo måtyur

dhruvaà janma måtasya ca

tasmäd aparihärye ’rthe

na tvaà çocitum arhasi


jätasya—of one who has taken his birth; hi—certainly; dhruvaù—a fact; måtyuù—death; dhruvam—it is also a fact; janma—birth; måtasya—of the dead; ca—also; tasmät—therefore; aparihärye—of that which is unavoidable; arthe—in the matter; na—do not; tvam—you; çocitum—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 Kurukñetra, being the will of the Supreme, was an inevitable event, and to fight for the right cause is the duty of akñatriya. 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.


avyaktädéni bhütäni

vyakta-madhyäni bhärata

avyakta-nidhanäny eva

tatra kä paridevanä


avyakta-ädéni—in the beginning unmanifested; bhütäni—all that are created; vyakta—manifested; madhyäni—in the middle; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; avyakta—nonmanifested; nidhanäni—when vanquished; eva—it is all like that; tatra—therefore; —what; paridevanä—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-gétäthat these material bodies are perishable in due course of time ( antavanta ime dehäù) but that the soul is eternal ( nityasyoktäù çarériëaù), 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.


äçcarya-vat paçyati kaçcid enam

äçcarya-vad vadati tathaiva cänyaù

äçcarya-vac cainam anyaù çåëoti

çrutväpy enaà veda na caiva kaçcit


äçcarya-vat—as amazing; paçyati—sees; kaçcit—someone; enam—this soul; äçcarya-vat—as amazing; vadati—speaks of; tathä—thus; eva—certainly; ca—also; anyaù—another; äçcarya-vat—similarly amazing; ca—also; enam—this soul; anyaù—another; çåëoti—hears of; çrutvä—having heard; api—even; enam—this soul; veda—knows; na—never; ca—and; eva—certainly; kaçcit—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 Gétopaniñad is largely based on the principles of the Upaniñads, it is not surprising to also find this passage in the Kaöha Upaniñad(1.2.7): 

çravaëayäpi bahubhir yo na labhyaù

çåëvanto ’pi bahavo yaà na vidyuù

äçcaryo vaktä kuçalo ’sya labdhä

äçcaryo ’sya jïätä kuçalänuçiñöaù

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 Brahmä, 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-gétä spoken by the greatest authority, Lord Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kåñëa can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the pure devotee and by no other way.


dehé nityam avadhyo ’yaà

dehe sarvasya bhärata

tasmät sarväëi bhütäni

na tvaà çocitum arhasi


dehé—the owner of the material body; nityam—eternally; avadhyaù—cannot be killed; ayam—this soul; dehe—in the body; sarvasya—of everyone; bhärata—O descendant of Bharata; tasmät—therefore; sarväëi—all; bhütäni—living entities (that are born); na—never; tvam—you; çocitum—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 Kåñëa establishes that the soul is immortal and the body is temporary. Therefore Arjuna as a kñatriya should not abandon his duty out of fear that his grandfather and teacher—Bhéñma and Droëa—will die in the battle. On the authority of Çré Kåñëa, 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.


sva-dharmam api cävekñya

na vikampitum arhasi

dharmyäd dhi yuddhäc chreyo ’nyat

kñatriyasya na vidyate


sva-dharmam—one’s own religious principles; api—also; ca—indeed; avekñya—considering; na—never;vikampitum—to hesitate; arhasi—you deserve;dharmyät—for religious principles; hi—indeed;yuddhät—than fighting; çreyaù—better engagement;anyat—any other; kñatriyasya—of the kñatriya; na—does not; vidyate—exist.


Considering your specific duty as a kñatriya, 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 kñatriya. Kñat means hurt. One who gives protection from harm is called kñatriya ( träyate—to give protection). The kñatriyas are trained for killing in the forest. A kñatriya 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 kñatriya kings of Jaipur state. Thekñatriyas are specially trained for challenging and killing because religious violence is sometimes a necessary factor. Therefore, kñatriyas are never meant for accepting directly the order of sannyäsa, 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:

ähaveñu mitho ’nyonyaà

jighäàsanto mahé-kñitaù

yuddhamänäù paraà çaktyä

svargaà yänty aparäì-mukhäù

yajïeñu paçavo brahman

hanyante satataà dvijaiù

saàskåtäù kila mantraiç ca

te ’pi svargam aväpnuvan

“In the battlefield, a king or kñatriya, while fighting another king envious of him, is eligible for achieving heavenly planets after death, as the brähmaëas 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 kñatriyas killed on the battlefield also attain the heavenly planets as do the brähmaëas 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 brähmaëas and kñatriyas 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 planesva-dharma is called varëäçrama-dharma, or man’s steppingstone for spiritual understanding. Human civilization begins from the stage of varëäçrama-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.


yadåcchayä copapannaà

svarga-dväram apävåtam

sukhinaù kñatriyäù pärtha

labhante yuddham édåçam


yadåcchayä—by its own accord; ca—also;upapannam—arrived at; svarga—of the heavenly planets; dväram—door; apävåtam—wide open;sukhinaù—very happy; kñatriyäù—the members of the royal order; pärtha—O son of Påthä; labhante—do achieve; yuddham—war; édåçam—like this.


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


As supreme teacher of the world, Lord Kåñëa 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 akñatriya to be on the battlefield and to become nonviolent is the philosophy of fools. In theParäçara-småti, or religious codes made by Paräçara, the great sage and father of Vyäsadeva, it is stated: 

kñatriyo hi prajä rakñan

çastra-päëiù pradaëòayan

nirjitya para-sainyädi

kñitià dharmeëa pälayet

“The kñatriya’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.


atha cet tvam imaà dharmyaà

saìgrämaà na kariñyasi

tataù sva-dharmaà kértià ca

hitvä päpam aväpsyasi


atha—therefore; cet—if; tvam—you; imam—this;dharmyam—as a religious duty; saìgrämam—fighting; na—do not; kariñyasi—perform; tataù—then; sva-dharmam—your religious duty; kértim—reputation; ca—also; hitvä—losing; päpam—sinful reaction; aväpsyasi—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 Çiva. After fighting and defeating Lord Çiva in the dress of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the lord and received as a reward a weapon called päçupata-astra.Everyone knew that he was a great warrior. Even Droëäcärya 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 adopted father Indra, the heavenly king. But if he abandoned the battle, not only would he neglect his specific duty as a kñatriya, 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.


akértià cäpi bhütäni

kathayiñyanti te ’vyayäm

sambhävitasya cäkértir

maraëäd atiricyate


akértim—infamy; ca—also; api—over and above;bhütäni—all people; kathayiñyanti—will speak; te—of you; avyayäm—forever; sambhävitasya—for a respectable man; ca—also; akértiù—ill fame; maraëät—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 Kåñëa 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.


bhayäd raëäd uparataà

maàsyante tväà mahä-rathäù

yeñäà ca tvaà bahu-mato

bhütvä yäsyasi läghavam


bhayät—out of fear; raëät—from the battlefield;uparatam—ceased; maàsyante—they will consider;tväm—you; mahä-rathäù—the great generals; yeñäm—for whom; ca—also; tvam—you; bahu-mataù—in great estimation; bhütvä—having been; yäsyasi—you will go; läghavam—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 Kåñëa continued to give His verdict to Arjuna: “Do not think that the great generals like Duryodhana, Karëa, 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.”


aväcya-vädäàç ca bahün

vadiñyanti tavähitäù

nindantas tava sämarthyaà

tato duùkhataraà nu kim


aväcya—unkind; vädän—fabricated words; ca—also;bahün—many; vadiñyanti—will say; tava—your;ahitäù—enemies; nindantaù—while vilifying; tava—your; sämarthyam—ability; tataù—than that; duùkha-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 Kåñëa was astonished in the beginning at Arjuna’s uncalled-for plea for compassion, and He described his compassion as befitting the non-Äryans. Now in so many words, He has proved His statements against Arjuna’s so-called compassion.


hato vä präpsyasi svargaà

jitvä vä bhokñyase mahém

tasmäd uttiñöha kaunteya

yuddhäya kåta-niçcayaù


hataù—being killed; —either; präpsyasi—you gain;svargam—the heavenly kingdom; jitvä—by conquering; —or; bhokñyase—you enjoy; mahém—the world; tasmät—therefore; uttiñöha—get up;kaunteya—O son of Kunté; yuddhäya—to fight; kåta—determined; niçcayaù—in certainty.


O son of Kunté, 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.


sukha-duùkhe same kåtvä

läbhäläbhau jayäjayau

tato yuddhäya yujyasva

naivaà päpam aväpsyasi


sukha—happiness; duùkhe—and distress; same—in equanimity; kåtvä—doing so; läbha-aläbhau—both profit and loss; jaya-ajayau—both victory and defeat; tataù—thereafter; yuddhäya—for the sake of fighting;yujyasva—engage (fight); na—never; evam—in this way; päpam—sinful reaction; aväpsyasi—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 Kåñëa 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 gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Kåñëa consciousness. That everything should be performed for the sake of Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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:

devarñi-bhütäpta-nåëäà pitèëäà

na kiìkaro näyam åëé ca räjan

sarvätmanä yaù çaraëaà çaraëyaà

gato mukundaà parihåtya kartam

“Anyone who has completely surrendered unto Kåñëa, 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.” (Bhäg.11.5.41) That is the indirect hint given by Kåñëa to Arjuna in this verse, and the matter will be more clearly explained in the following verses.


eñä te ’bhihitä säìkhye

buddhir yoge tv imäà çåëu

buddhyä yukto yayä pärtha

karma-bandhaà prahäsyasi


eñä—all this; te—unto you; abhihitä—described;säìkhye—by analytical study; buddhiù—intelligence;yoge—in work without fruitive result; tu—but; imäm—this; çåëu—just hear; buddhyä—by intelligence;yuktaù—dovetailed; yayä—by which; pärtha—O son of Påthä; karma-bandham—bondage of reaction;prahäsyasi—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 Påthä, when you act in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works.


According to the Nirukti, or the Vedic dictionary,saìkhyä means that which describes things in detail, and säìkhya refers to that philosophy which describes the real nature of the soul. And yogainvolves 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 Dhåtaräñöra. 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. Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa. And this descriptive knowledge of the soul and the body from different angles of vision has been described here as Säìkhya, in terms of the Nirukti dictionary. This Säìkhya has nothing to do with Säìkhya philosophy of the atheist Kapila. Long before the imposter Kapila’s Säìkhya, the Säìkhya philosophy was expounded in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam by the true Lord Kapila, the incarnation of Lord Kåñëa, who explained it to His mother, Devahüti. It is clearly explained by Him that the puruña, or the Supreme Lord, is active and that He creates by looking over the prakåti. This is accepted in the Vedas and in the Gétä. The description in the Vedas indicates that the Lord glanced over the prakåti, 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 mäyä, or sense gratificatory illusion, and it is only after many, many births of such sense gratificatory activities that a great soul surrenders unto Väsudeva, Lord Kåñëa, thereby fulfilling the search after the ultimate truth.

Arjuna has already accepted Kåñëa as his spiritual master by surrendering himself unto Him: çiñyas te ’haà çädhi mäà tväà prapannam. Consequently, Kåñëa will now tell him about the working process inbuddhi-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 Paramätmä 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 Kåñëa 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 Säìkhya mentioned herein has nothing to do with the atheistic säìkhya-yoga enunciated by the imposter Kapila. One should not, therefore, misunderstand that the säìkhya-yoga mentioned herein has any connection with the atheistic Säìkhya. Nor did that philosophy have any influence during that time; nor would Lord Kåñëa care to mention such godless philosophical speculations. Real Säìkhya philosophy is described by Lord Kapila in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam,but even that Säìkhya has nothing to do with the current topics. Here, Säìkhya means analytical description of the body and the soul. Lord Kåñëa made an analytical description of the soul just to bring Arjuna to the point of buddhi-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. Therefore, Lord Kåñëa’s Säìkhya and Lord Kapila’s Säìkhya, as described in the Bhägavatam, are one and the same. They are all bhakti-yoga. Lord Kåñëa Said, therefore, that only the less intelligent class of men make a distinction between säìkhya-yoga and bhakti-yoga ( säìkhya-yogau påthag bäläù pravadanti na paëòitäù).

Of course, atheistic säìkhya-yoga has nothing to do with bhakti-yoga, yet the unintelligent claim that the atheistic säìkhya-yoga is referred to in the Bhagavad-gétä.

One should therefore understand that buddhi-yogameans to work in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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.


nehäbhikrama-näço ’sti

pratyaväyo na vidyate

sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya

träyate mahato bhayät


na—there is not; iha—in this yoga; abhikrama—in endeavoring; näçaù—loss; asti—there is; pratyaväyaù—diminution; na—never; vidyate—there is; su-alpam—a little; api—although; asya—of this; dharmasya—occupation; träyate—releases; mahataù—from very great; bhayät—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 Kåñëa consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness is incomplete. One percent done in Kåñëa 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. Ajämila performed his duty in some percentage of Kåñëa 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 Çrémad-Bhägavatam(1.5.17):

tyaktvä sva-dharmaà caraëämbujaà harer

bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi

yatra kva väbhadram abhüd amuñya kià

ko värtha äpto ’bhajatäà sva-dharmataù

“If someone gives up his occupational duties and works in Kåñëa 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 suffers the loss of his eternal soul?”

Material activities and their results end with the body. But work in Kåñëa consciousness carries a person again to Kåñëa 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 brähmaëa or in a rich aristocratic family that will give one a further chance for elevation. That is the unique quality of work done in Kåñëa consciousness.


vyavasäyätmikä buddhir

ekeha kuru-nandana

bahu-çäkhä hy anantäç ca

buddhayo ’vyavasäyinäm


vyavasäya-ätmikä—resolute in Kåñëa consciousness;buddhiù—intelligence; ekä—only one; iha—in this world; kuru-nandana—O beloved child of the Kurus;bahu-çäkhäù—having various branches; hi—indeed; anantäù—unlimited; ca—also; buddhayaù—intelligence; avyavasäyinäm—of those who are not in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness one will be elevated to the highest perfection of life is calledvyavasäyätmikä intelligence. The Caitanya-caritämåta (Madhya 22.62) states:

’çraddhä’-çabde——viçväsa kahe sudåòha niçcaya

kåñëe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kåta haya

Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one is engaged in the duties of Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Kåñëa consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are no longer subject to dualities like good and bad. The highest perfection of Kåñëa consciousness is renunciation of the material conception of life. This state is automatically achieved by progressive Kåñëa consciousness.

The resolute purpose of a person in Kåñëa consciousness is based on knowledge. Väsudevaù sarvam iti sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù: a person in Kåñëa consciousness is the rare good soul who knows perfectly that Väsudeva, or Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Kåñëa is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.

Service in Kåñëa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kåñëa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kåñëa consciousness. As such, to be well versed in Kåñëa consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Kåñëa, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one’s mission in life. Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura instructs us, in his famous prayers for the spiritual master, as follows:

yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo

yasyäprasädän na gatiù kuto ’pi

dhyäyan stuvaàs tasya yaças tri-sandhyaà

vande guroù çré-caraëäravindam

“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 Kåñëa 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.

TEXTS 42–43

yäm imäà puñpitäà väcaà

pravadanty avipaçcitaù

veda-väda-ratäù pärtha

nänyad astéti vädinaù

kämätmänaù svarga-parä



bhogaiçvarya-gatià prati


yäm imäm—all these; puñpitäm—flowery; väcam—words; pravadanti—say; avipaçcitaù—men with a poor fund of knowledge; veda-väda-ratäù—supposed followers of the Vedas; pärtha—O son of Påthä; na—never; anyat—anything else; asti—there is; iti—thus; vädinaù—the advocates; käma-ätmänaù—desirous of sense gratification; svarga-paräù—aiming to achieve heavenly planets; janma-karma-phala-pradäm—resulting in good birth and other fruitive reactions; kriyä-viçeña—pompous ceremonies; bahuläm—various; bhoga—in sense enjoyment; aiçvarya—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 sensegratification 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-käëòa 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 Vedasmany sacrifices are recommended for elevation to the heavenly planets, especially the jyotiñöomasacrifices. 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 Kåñëa 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-käëòa section of the Vedas it is said,apäma somam amåtä abhüma and akñayyaà ha vai cäturmasya-yäjinaù sukåtaà 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-känana 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.




vyavasäyätmikä buddhiù

samädhau na vidhéyate


bhoga—to material enjoyment; aiçvarya—and opulence; prasaktänäm—for those who are attached;tayä—by such things; apahåta-cetasäm—bewildered in mind; vyavasäya-ätmikä—fixed in determination;buddhiù—devotional service to the Lord; samädhau—in the controlled mind; na—never; vidhéyate—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.


Samädhi means “fixed mind.” The Vedic dictionary, the Nirukti, says, samyag ädhéyate ’sminn ätma-tattva-yäthätmyam: “When the mind is fixed for understanding the self, it is said to be in samädhi. ” Samädhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment, nor for those who are bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.


trai-guëya-viñayä vedä

nistrai-guëyo bhavärjuna

nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho

niryoga-kñema ätmavän


trai-guëya—pertaining to the three modes of material nature; viñayäù—on the subject matter;vedäù—Vedic literatures; nistrai-guëyaù—transcendental to the three modes of material nature;bhava—be; arjuna—O Arjuna; nirdvandvaù—without duality; nitya-sattva-sthaù—in a pure state of spiritual existence; niryoga-kñemaù—free from ideas of gain and protection; ätma-vän—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 Kåñëa, is advised to raise himself to the transcendental position of Vedänta philosophy where, in the beginning, there is brahma-jijïäsä, 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-käëòa chapter, are finished, then the chance for spiritual realization is offered in the form of the Upaniñads, which are part of different Vedas, as the Bhagavad-gétä is a part of the fifth Veda, namely the Mahäbhärata. The Upaniñads 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 Kåñëa consciousness when one is fully dependent on the good will of Kåñëa.


yävän artha udapäne

sarvataù samplutodake

tävän sarveñu vedeñu

brähmaëasya vijänataù


yävän—all that; arthaù—is meant; uda-päne—in a well of water; sarvataù—in all respects; sampluta-udake—in a great reservoir of water; tävän—similarly; sarveñu—in all; vedeñu—Vedic literatures;brähmaëasya—of the man who knows the Supreme Brahman; vijänataù—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-käëòa 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-gétä (15.15): the purpose of studying the Vedas is to know Lord Kåñëa, the primeval cause of everything. So, self-realization means understanding Kåñëa and one’s eternal relationship with Him. The relationship of the living entities with Kåñëa is also mentioned in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä (15.7). The living entities are parts and parcels of Kåñëa; therefore, revival of Kåñëa consciousness by the individual living entity is the highest perfectional stage of Vedic knowledge. This is confirmed in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam (3.33.7) as follows: 

aho bata çva-paco ’to garéyän

yaj-jihvägre vartate näma tubhyam

tepus tapas te juhuvuù sasnur äryä

brahmänücur näma gåëanti ye te

“O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a caëòäla [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 Äryan 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 Vedänta and the Upaniñads 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, Prakäçänanda Sarasvaté, why He, the Lord, was chanting the holy name of the Lord like a sentimentalist instead of studying Vedäntaphilosophy, 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 Kåñëa. 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 Vedänta philosophy; the best purpose of Vedänta philosophy is served by inoffensively chanting the holy name of the Lord.Vedänta is the last word in Vedic wisdom, and the author and knower of the Vedänta philosophy is Lord Kåñëa; and the highest Vedäntist is the great soul who takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord. That is the ultimate purpose of all Vedic mysticism.


karmaëy evädhikäras te

mä phaleñu kadäcana

mä karma-phala-hetur bhür

mä te saìgo ’stv akarmaëi


karmaëi—in prescribed duties; eva—certainly;adhikäraù—right; te—of you; —never; phaleñu—in the fruits; kadäcana—at any time; —never; karma-phala—in the result of the work; hetuù—cause; bhüù—become; —never; te—of you; saìgaù—attachment; astu—there should be; akarmaëi—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.


yoga-sthaù kuru karmäëi

saìgaà tyaktvä dhanaïjaya

siddhy-asiddhyoù samo bhütvä

samatvaà yoga ucyate


yoga-sthaù—equipoised; kuru—perform; karmäëi—your duties; saìgam—attachment; tyaktvä—giving up;dhanaïjaya—O Arjuna; siddhi-asiddhyoù—in success and failure; samaù—equipoised; bhütvä—becoming;samatvam—equanimity; yogaù— yoga; ucyate—is called.


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


Kåñëa tells Arjuna that he should act in yoga. And what is that yogaYoga 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 Kåñëa’s concern; Arjuna is simply advised to act according to the dictation of Kåñëa. The following of Kåñëa’s dictation is real yoga, and this is practiced in the process called Kåñëa consciousness. By Kåñëa consciousness only can one give up the sense of proprietorship. One has to become the servant of Kåñëa, or the servant of the servant of Kåñëa. That is the right way to discharge duty in Kåñëa consciousness, which alone can help one to act in yoga.

Arjuna is a kñatriya, and as such he is participating in the varëäçrama-dharma institution. It is said in theViñëu Puräëa that in the varëäçrama-dharma, the whole aim is to satisfy Viñëu. No one should satisfy himself, as is the rule in the material world, but one should satisfy Kåñëa. So unless one satisfies Kåñëa, one cannot correctly observe the principles of varëäçrama-dharma. Indirectly, Arjuna was advised to act as Kåñëa told him.


düreëa hy avaraà karma

buddhi-yogäd dhanaïjaya

buddhau çaraëam anviccha

kåpaëäù phala-hetavaù


düreëa—discard it at a long distance; hi—certainly;avaram—abominable; karma—activity; buddhi-yogät—on the strength of Kåñëa consciousness; dhanaïjaya—O conqueror of wealth; buddhau—in such consciousness; çaraëam—full surrender;anviccha—try for; kåpaëäù—misers; phala-hetavaù—those desiring fruitive results.


O Dhanaïjaya, 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness, for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. 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 Kåñëa 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.


buddhi-yukto jahätéha

ubhe sukåta-duñkåte

tasmäd yogäya yujyasva

yogaù karmasu kauçalam


buddhi-yuktaù—one who is engaged in devotional service; jahäti—can get rid of; iha—in this life; ubhe—both; sukåta-duñkåte—good and bad results; tasmät—therefore; yogäya—for the sake of devotional service; yujyasva—be so engaged; yogaù—Kåñëa consciousness; karmasu—in all activities; kauçalam—art.


A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions 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-gétä, which teaches one to surrender unto Lord Çré Kåñëa in all respects and become liberated from the chained victimization of action and reaction, birth after birth. Arjuna is therefore advised to act in Kåñëa consciousness, the purifying process of resultant action.


karma-jaà buddhi-yuktä hi

phalaà tyaktvä manéñiëaù


padaà gacchanty anämayam


karma-jam—due to fruitive activities; buddhi-yuktäù—being engaged in devotional service; hi—certainly;phalam—results; tyaktvä—giving up; manéñiëaù—great sages or devotees; janma-bandha—from the bondage of birth and death; vinirmuktäù—liberated;padam—position; gacchanti—they reach; anämayam—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 Bhägavatam (10.14.58) says: 

samäñritä ye pada-pallava-plavaà

mahat-padaà puëya-yaço muräreù

bhavämbudhir vatsa-padaà paraà padaà

padaà padaà yad vipadäà na teñäm

“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. paraà padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuëöha, 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 Vaikuëöha 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 Vaikuëöhaloka. Service for the cause of the Lord is called karma-yoga or buddhi-yoga, or in plain words, devotional service to the Lord.


yadä te moha-kalilaà

buddhir vyatitariñyati

tadä gantäsi nirvedaà

çrotavyasya çrutasya ca


yadä—when; te—your; moha—of illusion; kalilam—dense forest; buddhiù—transcendental service with intelligence; vyatitariñyati—surpasses; tadä—at that time; gantä asi—you shall go; nirvedam—callousness; çrotavyasya—toward all that is to be heard; çrutasya—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 Kåñëa and his relationship with Kåñëa, he naturally becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities, even though an experienced brähmaëa. Çré Mädhavendra Puré, a great devotee and äcärya in the line of the devotees, says: 

sandhyä-vandana bhadram astu bhavato bhoù snäna tubhyaà namo 

bho deväù pitaraç ca tarpaëa-vidhau nähaà kñamaù kñamyatäm 

yatra kväpi niñadya yädava-kulottamasya kaàsa-dviñaù 

smäraà smäram aghaà harämi tad alaà 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 [Kåñëa], the enemy of Kaàsa, 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa, 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 theVedas is to reach Kåñëa and simply engages in the rituals, etc., then he is uselessly wasting time in such engagements. Persons in Kåñëa consciousness transcend the limit of çabda-brahma, or the range of the Vedas and Upaniñads.


çruti-vipratipannä te

yadä sthäsyati niçcalä

samädhäv acalä buddhis

tadä yogam aväpsyasi


çruti—of Vedic revelation; vipratipannä—without being influenced by the fruitive results; te—your;yadä—when; sthäsyati—remains; niçcalä—unmoved; samädhau—in transcendental consciousness, or Kåñëa consciousness; acalä—unflinching; buddhiù—intelligence; tadä—at that time; yogam—self-realization; aväpsyasi—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 samädhi is to say that one has fully realized Kåñëa consciousness; that is, one in fullsamädhi has realized Brahman, Paramätmä and Bhagavän. The highest perfection of self-realization is to understand that one is eternally the servitor of Kåñëa and that one’s only business is to discharge one’s duties in Kåñëa consciousness. A Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness, one comes directly into communion with Kåñëa, and thus all directions from Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa or His representative, the spiritual master.


arjuna uväca

sthita-prajïasya kä bhäñä

samädhi-sthasya keçava

sthita-dhéù kià prabhäñeta

kim äséta vrajeta kim


arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; sthita-prajïasya—of one who is situated in fixed Kåñëa consciousness; —what; bhäñä—language; samädhi-sthasya—of one situated in trance; keçava—O Kåñëa; sthita-dhéù—one fixed in Kåñëa consciousness; kim—what;prabhäñeta—speaks; kim—how; äséta—does remain still; vrajeta—walks; kim—how.


Arjuna said: O Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa has specific symptoms in various dealings. One can know his specific symptoms from the Bhagavad-gétä. Most important is how the man in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa conscious man is that he speaks only of Kåñëa and of matters relating to Him. Other symptoms then automatically follow, as stated below.


çré-bhagavän uväca

prajahäti yadä kämän

sarvän pärtha mano-gatän

ätmany evätmanä tuñöaù

sthita-prajïas tadocyate


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prajahäti—gives up; yadä—when;kämän—desires for sense gratification; sarvän—of all varieties; pärtha—O son of Påthä; manaù-gatän—of mental concoction; ätmani—in the pure state of the soul; eva—certainly; ätmanä—by the purified mind;tuñöaù—satisfied; sthita-prajïaù—transcendentally situated; tadä—at that time; ucyate—is said.


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


The Bhägavatam affirms that any person who is fully in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness, then, automatically, sense desires subside without extraneous efforts. Therefore, one has to engage himself in Kåñëa 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.


duùkheñv anudvigna-manäù

sukheñu vigata-spåhaù


sthita-dhér munir ucyate


duùkheñu—in the threefold miseries; anudvigna-manäù—without being agitated in mind; sukheñu—in happiness; vigata-spåhaù—without being interested;véta—free from; räga—attachment; bhaya—fear;krodhaù—and anger; sthita-dhéù—whose mind is steady; muniù—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 amuni differs from other munis, he cannot be called amuni in the strict sense of the term. Näsäv åñir yasya mataà na bhinnam (Mahäbhärata, Vana-parva313.117). But a sthita-dhér muni, as mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni. The sthita-dhér muni is always in Kåñëa consciousness, for he has exhausted all his business of creative speculation. He is called raçänta-niùçeña-mano-rathäntara (Stotra-ratna43), or one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Çré Kåñëa, or Väsudeva, is everything ( väsudevaù sarvam iti sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù). He is called a muni fixed in mind. Such a fully Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa conscious person is always steady in his determination.


yaù sarvatränabhisnehas

tat tat präpya çubhäçubham

näbhinandati na dveñöi

tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä


yaù—one who; sarvatra—everywhere; anabhisnehaù—without affection; tat—that; tat—that; präpya—achieving; çubha—good; açubham—evil; na—never; abhinandati—praises; na—never; dveñöi—envies; tasya—his; prajïä—perfect knowledge;pratiñöhitä—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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness is not affected by good and evil, because he is simply concerned with Kåñëa, who is all-good absolute. Such consciousness in Kåñëa situates one in a perfect transcendental position called, technically, samädhi.


yadä saàharate cäyaà

kürmo ’ìgänéva sarvaçaù


tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä


yadä—when; saàharate—winds up; ca—also; ayam—he; kürmaù—tortoise; aìgäni—limbs; iva—like;sarvaçaù—altogether; indriyäëi—senses; indriya-arthebhyaù—from the sense objects; tasya—his; prajïä—consciousness; pratiñöhitä—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 yogé, 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 yogé is situated. The senses are compared to venomous serpents. They want to act very loosely and without restriction. The yogé, 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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.


viñayä vinivartante

nirähärasya dehinaù

rasa-varjaà raso ’py asya

paraà dåñövä nivartate


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


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 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 añöäìga-yoga, in the matter ofyama, niyama, äsana, präëäyäma, pratyähära,dhäraëä, dhyäna, etc., is recommended for less intelligent persons who have no better knowledge. But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Kåñëa, in the course of his advancement in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness. When one is actually Kåñëa conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.


yatato hy api kaunteya

puruñasya vipaçcitaù

indriyäëi pramäthéni

haranti prasabhaà manaù


yatataù—while endeavoring; hi—certainly; api—in spite of; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; puruñasya—of a man; vipaçcitaù—full of discriminating knowledge; indriyäëi—the senses; pramäthéni—agitating; haranti—throw; prasabham—by force; manaù—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 Viçvämitra, a great sage and perfect yogé, was misled by Menakä into sex enjoyment, although the yogé was endeavoring for sense control with severe types of penance andyoga 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 Kåñëa conscious. Without engaging the mind in Kåñëa, one cannot cease such material engagements. A practical example is given by Çré Yämunäcärya, a great saint and devotee, who says:

yad-avadhi mama cetaù kåñëa-pädäravinde

nava-nava-rasa-dhämany udyataà rantum äsét

tad-avadhi bata näré-saìgame smaryamäne

bhavati mukha-vikäraù suñöhu niñöhévanaà ca

“Since my mind has been engaged in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa, 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.”

Kåñëa 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. Mahäräja Ambaréña also conquered a great yogé,Durväsä Muni, simply because his mind was engaged in Kåñëa consciousness ( sa vai manaù kåñëa-pädäravindayor vacäàsi vaikuëöha-guëänuvarëane).


täni sarväëi saàyamya

yukta äséta mat-paraù

vaçe hi yasyendriyäëi

tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä


täni—those senses; sarväëi—all; saàyamya—keeping under control; yuktaù—engaged; äséta—should be situated; mat-paraù—in relationship with Me; vaçe—in full subjugation; hi—certainly; yasya—one whose; indriyäëi—senses; tasya—his; prajïä—consciousness;pratiñöhitä—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 Kåñëa consciousness is clearly explained in this verse. And unless one is Kåñëa conscious it is not at all possible to control the senses. As cited above, the great sage Durväsä Muni picked a quarrel with Mahäräja Ambaréña, and Durväsä 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 yogé 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 Çrémad-Bhägavatam (9.4.18–20): 

sa vai manaù kåñëa-pädäravindayor

vacäàsi vaikuëöha-guëänuvarëane

karau harer mandira-märjanädiñu

çrutià cakäräcyuta-sat-kathodaye

mukunda-liìgälaya-darçane dåçau

tad-bhåtya-gätra-sparçe ’ìga-saìgamam

ghräëaà ca tat-päda-saroja-saurabhe

çrémat-tulasyä rasanäà tad-arpite

pädau hareù kñetra-padänusarpaëe

çiro håñékeça-padäbhivandane

kämaà ca däsye na tu käma-kämyayä

yathottama-çloka-janäçrayä ratiù

“King Ambaréña fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa, 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 tulaséleaves 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-paradevotee 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 Mahäräja Ambaréña. Çréla Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa, a great scholar and äcäryain the line of the mat-para, remarks, mad-bhakti-prabhävena sarvendriya-vijaya-pürvikä svätma-dåñöiù sulabheti bhävaù. “The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Kåñëa.” Also, the example of fire is sometimes given: “As a blazing fire burns everything within a room, Lord Viñëu, situated in the heart of the yogé, burns up all kinds of impurities.” The Yoga-sütra also prescribes meditation on Viñëu, and not meditation on the void. The so-called yogéswho meditate on something which is not on the Viñëu platform simply waste their time in a vain search after some phantasmagoria. We have to be Kåñëa conscious—devoted to the Personality of Godhead. This is the aim of the real yoga.


dhyäyato viñayän puàsaù

saìgas teñüpajäyate

saìgät saïjäyate kämaù

kämät krodho ’bhijäyate


dhyäyataù—while contemplating; viñayän—sense objects; puàsaù—of a person; saìgaù—attachment;teñu—in the sense objects; upajäyate—develops; saìgät—from attachment; saïjäyate—develops;kämaù—desire; kämät—from desire; krodhaù—anger; abhijäyate—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 Kåñëa 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 Çiva and Lord Brahmä—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 Kåñëa conscious. Lord Çiva was deep in meditation, but when Pärvaté agitated him for sense pleasure, he agreed to the proposal, and as a result Kärtikeya was born. When Haridäsa Öhäkura was a young devotee of the Lord, he was similarly allured by the incarnation of Mäyä-devé, but Haridäsa easily passed the test because of his unalloyed devotion to Lord Kåñëa. As illustrated in the above-mentioned verse of Çré Yämunäcärya, 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 Kåñëa 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.


krodhäd bhavati sammohaù

sammohät småti-vibhramaù

småti-bhraàçäd buddhi-näço

buddhi-näçät praëaçyati


krodhät—from anger; bhavati—takes place;sammohaù—perfect illusion; sammohät—from illusion; småti—of memory; vibhramaù—bewilderment; småti-bhraàçät—after bewilderment of memory; buddhi-näçaù—loss of intelligence;buddhi-näçät—and from loss of intelligence;praëaçyati—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.


Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé has given us this direction:

präpaïcikatayä buddhyä


mumukñubhiù parityägo

vairägyaà phalgu kathyate

(Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu 1.2.258)

By development of Kåñëa consciousness one can know that everything has its use in the service of the Lord. Those who are without knowledge of Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 prasädam. Thus everything becomes spiritualized, and there is no danger of a downfall. The devotee takes prasädam in Kåñëa 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.


räga-dveña-vimuktais tu

viñayän indriyaiç caran

ätma-vaçyair vidheyätmä

prasädam adhigacchati


räga—attachment; dveña—and detachment;vimuktaiù—by one who has become free from; tu—but; viñayän—sense objects; indriyaiù—by the senses; caran—acting upon; ätma-vaçyaiù—under one’s control; vidheya-ätmä—one who follows regulated freedom; prasädam—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 Kåñëa consciousness may apparently be on the sensual plane, because of his being Kåñëa conscious he has no attachment to sensual activities. The Kåñëa conscious person is concerned only with the satisfaction of Kåñëa, and nothing else. Therefore he is transcendental to all attachment and detachment. If Kåñëa wants, the devotee can do anything which is ordinarily undesirable; and if Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa. This consciousness is the causeless mercy of the Lord, which the devotee can achieve in spite of his being attached to the sensual platform.


prasäde sarva-duùkhänäà

hänir asyopajäyate

prasanna-cetaso hy äçu

buddhiù paryavatiñöhate


prasäde—on achievement of the causeless mercy of the Lord; sarva—of all; duùkhänäm—material miseries; häniù—destruction; asya—his; upajäyate—takes place; prasanna-cetasaù—of the happy-minded; hi—certainly; äçu—very soon; buddhiù—intelligence; pari—sufficiently; avatiñöhate—becomes established.


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


nästi buddhir ayuktasya

na cäyuktasya bhävanä

na cäbhävayataù çäntir

açäntasya kutaù sukham


na asti—there cannot be; buddhiù—transcendental intelligence; ayuktasya—of one who is not connected (with Kåñëa consciousness); na—not; ca—and;ayuktasya—of one devoid of Kåñëa consciousness;bhävanä—fixed mind (in happiness); na—not; ca—and; abhävayataù—of one who is not fixed; çäntiù—peace; açäntasya—of the unpeaceful; kutaù—where is; sukham—happiness.


One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa consciousness, there is no possibility of peace. So it is confirmed in the Fifth Chapter (5.29) that when one understands that Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa is certainly always in distress and is without peace, however much he may make a show of peace and spiritual advancement in life. Kåñëa consciousness is a self-manifested peaceful condition which can be achieved only in relationship with Kåñëa.


indriyäëäà hi caratäà

yan mano ’nuvidhéyate

tad asya harati prajïäà

väyur nävam ivämbhasi


indriyäëäm—of the senses; hi—certainly; caratäm—while roaming; yat—with which; manaù—the mind;anuvidhéyate—becomes constantly engaged; tat—that; asya—his; harati—takes away; prajïäm—intelligence; väyuù—wind; nävam—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 Mahäräja Ambaréña, all of the senses must be engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, for that is the correct technique for controlling the mind.


tasmäd yasya mahä-bäho

nigåhétäni sarvaçaù


tasya prajïä pratiñöhitä


tasmät—therefore; yasya—whose; mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; nigåhétäni—so curbed down;sarvaçaù—all around; indriyäëi—the senses; indriya-arthebhyaù—from sense objects; tasya—his;prajïä—intelligence; pratiñöhitä—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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 sädhaka, or a suitable candidate for liberation.


yä niçä sarva-bhütänäà

tasyäà jägarti saàyamé

yasyäà jägrati bhütäni

sä niçä paçyato muneù


—what; niçä—is night; sarva—all; bhütänäm—of living entities; tasyäm—in that; jägarti—is wakeful;saàyamé—the self-controlled; yasyäm—in which; jägrati—are awake; bhütäni—all beings; —that is; niçä—night; paçyataù—for the introspective; muneù—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.


äpüryamäëam acala-pratiñöhaà

samudram äpaù praviçanti yadvat

tadvat kämä yaà praviçanti sarve

sa çäntim äpnoti na käma-kämé


äpüryamäëam—always being filled; acala-pratiñöham—steadily situated; samudram—the ocean; äpaù—waters; praviçanti—enter; yadvat—as; tadvat—so; kämäù—desires; yam—unto whom;praviçanti—enter; sarve—all; saù—that person;çäntim—peace; äpnoti—achieves; na—not; käma-kämé—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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa 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 yogés who are after mystic powers are all unhappy because of unfulfilled desires. But the person in Kåñëa 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 Kåñëa have no material desires, and therefore they are in perfect peace.


vihäya kämän yaù sarvän

pumäàç carati niùspåhaù

nirmamo nirahaìkäraù

sa çäntim adhigacchati


vihäya—giving up; kämän—material desires for sense gratification; yaù—who; sarvän—all; pumän—a person; carati—lives; niùspåhaù—desireless; nirmamaù—without a sense of proprietorship;nirahaìkäraù—without false ego; saù—he; çäntim—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 Kåñëa conscious is actually desirelessness. To understand one’s actual position as the eternal servitor of Kåñëa, without falsely claiming this material body to be oneself and without falsely claiming proprietorship over anything in the world, is the perfect stage of Kåñëa consciousness. One who is situated in this perfect stage knows that because Kåñëa is the proprietor of everything, everything must be used for the satisfaction of Kåñëa. Arjuna did not want to fight for his own sense satisfaction, but when he became fully Kåñëa conscious he fought because Kåñëa wanted him to fight. For himself there was no desire to fight, but for Kåñëa the same Arjuna fought to his best ability. Real desirelessness is desire for the satisfaction of Kåñëa, 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 Kåñëa ( éçäväsyam idaà 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 Kåñëa in spiritual identity, and that the eternal position of the living entity is therefore never on the level of Kåñëa or greater than Him. This understanding of Kåñëa consciousness is the basic principle of real peace.


eñä brähmé sthitiù pärtha

nainäà präpya vimuhyati

sthitväsyäm anta-käle ’pi

brahma-nirväëam åcchati


eñä—this; brähmé—spiritual; sthitiù—situation;pärtha—O son of Påthä; na—never; enäm—this;präpya—achieving; vimuhyati—one is bewildered; sthitvä—being situated; asyäm—in this; anta-käle—at the end of life; api—also; brahma-nirväëam—the spiritual kingdom of God; åcchati—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 Kåñëa 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. Khaöväìga Mahäräja attained this state of life just a few minutes before his death, by surrendering unto Kåñëa. Nirväëa means ending the process of materialistic life. According to Buddhist philosophy, there is only void after the completion of this material life, but Bhagavad-gétä 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 Kåñëa conscious, he at once attains the stage of brahma-nirväëa. 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 Kåñëa consciousness. Attainment of Kåñëa consciousness even during this life is immediate attainment of Brahman, and one who is situated in Kåñëa consciousness has certainly already entered into the kingdom of God.

Brahman is just the opposite of matter. Thereforebrähmé sthiti means “not on the platform of material activities.” Devotional service of the Lord is accepted in the Bhagavad-gétä as the liberated stage ( sa guëän samatétyaitän brahma-bhüyäya kalpate). Therefore, brähmé sthiti is liberation from material bondage.

Çréla Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura has summarized this Second Chapter of the Bhagavad-gétä as being the contents for the whole text. In the Bhagavad-gétä,the subject matters are karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga, andbhakti-yoga. In the Second Chapter karma-yoga andjïäna-yoga have been clearly discussed, and a glimpse of bhakti-yoga has also been given, as the contents for the complete text.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Second Chapter of the Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of its Contents.





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