Attaining the Supreme







 - CHAPTER 8 -

Attaining the Supreme


TEXT 1

arjuna uväca

kià tad brahma kim adhyätmaà

kià karma puruñottama

adhibhütaà ca kià proktam

adhidaivaà kim ucyate

SYNONYMS

arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; kim—what; tat—that;brahma—Brahman; kim—what; adhyätmam—the self; kim—what; karma—fruitive activities; puruña-uttama—O Supreme Person; adhibhütam—the material manifestation; ca—and; kim—what; proktam—is called; adhidaivam—the demigods; kim—what;ucyate—is called.

TRANSLATION

Arjuna inquired: O my Lord, O Supreme Person, what is Brahman? What is the self? What are fruitive activities? What is this material manifestation? And what are the demigods? Please explain this to me.

PURPORT

In this chapter Lord Kåñëa answers different questions from Arjuna, beginning with “What is Brahman?” The Lord also explains karma (fruitive activities), devotional service and yoga principles, and devotional service in its pure form. The Çrémad-Bhägavatam explains that the Supreme Absolute Truth is known as Brahman, Paramätmä and Bhagavän. In addition, the living entity, the individual soul, is also called Brahman. Arjuna also inquires about ätmä, which refers to body, soul and mind. According to the Vedic dictionary, ätmä refers to the mind, soul, body and senses also.

Arjuna has addressed the Supreme Lord as Puruñottama, Supreme Person, which means that he was putting these questions not simply to a friend but to the Supreme Person, knowing Him to be the supreme authority able to give definitive answers.

TEXT 2

adhiyajïaù kathaà ko ’tra

dehe ’smin madhusüdana

prayäëa-käle ca kathaà

jïeyo ’si niyatätmabhiù

SYNONYMS

adhiyajïaù—the Lord of sacrifice; katham—how; kaù—who; atra—here; dehe—in the body; asmin—this;madhusüdana—O Madhusüdana; prayäëa-käle—at the time of death; ca—and; katham—how; jïeyaù asi—You can be known; niyata-ätmabhiù—by the self-controlled.

TRANSLATION

Who is the Lord of sacrifice, and how does He live in the body, O Madhusüdana? And how can those engaged in devotional service know You at the time of death?

PURPORT

“Lord of sacrifice” may refer to either Indra or Viñëu. Viñëu is the chief of the primal demigods, including Brahmä and Çiva, and Indra is the chief of the administrative demigods. Both Indra and Viñëu are worshiped by yajïa performances. But here Arjuna asks who is actually the Lord of yajïa (sacrifice) and how the Lord is residing within the body of the living entity.

Arjuna addresses the Lord as Madhusüdana because Kåñëa once killed a demon named Madhu. Actually these questions, which are of the nature of doubts, should not have arisen in the mind of Arjuna, because Arjuna is a Kåñëa conscious devotee. Therefore these doubts are like demons. Since Kåñëa is so expert in killing demons, Arjuna here addresses Him as Madhusüdana so that Kåñëa might kill the demonic doubts that arise in Arjuna’s mind.

Now the word prayäëa-käle in this verse is very significant because whatever we do in life will be tested at the time of death. Arjuna is very anxious to know of those who are constantly engaged in Kåñëa consciousness. What should be their position at that final moment? At the time of death all the bodily functions are disrupted, and the mind is not in a proper condition. Thus disturbed by the bodily situation, one may not be able to remember the Supreme Lord. Mahäräja Kulaçekhara, a great devotee, prays, “My dear Lord, just now I am quite healthy, and it is better that I die immediately so that the swan of my mind can seek entrance at the stem of Your lotus feet.” The metaphor is used because the swan, a bird of the water, takes pleasure in digging into the lotus flowers; its sporting proclivity is to enter the lotus flower. Mahäräja Kulaçekhara says to the Lord, “Now my mind is undisturbed, and I am quite healthy. If I die immediately, thinking of Your lotus feet, then I am sure that my performance of Your devotional service will become perfect. But if I have to wait for my natural death, then I do not know what will happen, because at that time the bodily functions will be disrupted, my throat will be choked up, and I do not know whether I shall be able to chant Your name. Better let me die immediately.” Arjuna questions how a person can fix his mind on Kåñëa’s lotus feet at such a time.

TEXT 3

çré-bhagavän uväca

akñaraà brahma paramaà

svabhävo ’dhyätmam ucyate

bhüta-bhävodbhava-karo

visargaù karma-saàjïitaù

SYNONYMS

çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; akñaram—indestructible; brahma—Brahman; paramam—transcendental; svabhävaù—eternal nature; adhyätmam—the self; ucyate—is called; bhüta-bhäva-udbhava-karaù—producing the material bodies of the living entities; visargaù—creation; karma—fruitive activities; saàjïitaù—is called.

TRANSLATION

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is calledadhyätma, the self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities.

PURPORT

Brahman is indestructible and eternally existing, and its constitution is not changed at any time. But beyond Brahman there is Parabrahman. Brahman refers to the living entity, and Parabrahman refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The constitutional position of the living entity is different from the position he takes in the material world. In material consciousness his nature is to try to be the lord of matter, but in spiritual consciousness, Kåñëa consciousness, his position is to serve the Supreme. When the living entity is in material consciousness, he has to take on various bodies in the material world. That is called karma, or varied creation by the force of material consciousness.

In Vedic literature the living entity is called jévätmäand Brahman, but he is never called Parabrahman. The living entity ( jévätmä) takes different positions—sometimes he merges into the dark material nature and identifies himself with matter, and sometimes he identifies himself with the superior, spiritual nature. Therefore he is called the Supreme Lord’s marginal energy. According to his identification with material or spiritual nature, he receives a material or spiritual body. In material nature he may take a body from any of the 8,400,000 species of life, but in spiritual nature he has only one body. In material nature he is manifested sometimes as a man, demigod, animal, beast, bird, etc., according to hiskarma. To attain material heavenly planets and enjoy their facilities, he sometimes performs sacrifices ( yajïa), but when his merit is exhausted he returns to earth again in the form of a man. This process is called karma.

The Chändogya Upaniñad describes the Vedic sacrificial process. On the sacrificial altar, five kinds of offerings are made into five kinds of fire. The five kinds of fire are conceived of as the heavenly planets, clouds, the earth, man and woman, and the five kinds of sacrificial offerings are faith, the enjoyer on the moon, rain, grains and semen.

In the process of sacrifice, the living entity makes specific sacrifices to attain specific heavenly planets and consequently reaches them. When the merit of sacrifice is exhausted, the living entity descends to earth in the form of rain, then takes on the form of grains, and the grains are eaten by man and transformed into semen, which impregnates a woman, and thus the living entity once again attains the human form to perform sacrifice and so repeat the same cycle. In this way, the living entity perpetually comes and goes on the material path. The Kåñëa conscious person, however, avoids such sacrifices. He takes directly to Kåñëa consciousness and thereby prepares himself to return to Godhead.

Impersonalist commentators on the Bhagavad-gétäunreasonably assume that Brahman takes the form ofjéva in the material world, and to substantiate this they refer to Chapter Fifteen, verse 7, of the Gétä. But in this verse the Lord also speaks of the living entity as “an eternal fragment of Myself.” The fragment of God, the living entity, may fall down into the material world, but the Supreme Lord (Acyuta) never falls down. Therefore this assumption that the Supreme Brahman assumes the form of jéva is not acceptable. It is important to remember that in Vedic literature Brahman (the living entity) is distinguished from Parabrahman (the Supreme Lord).

TEXT 4

adhibhütaà kñaro bhävaù

puruñaç cädhidaivatam

adhiyajïo ’ham evätra

dehe deha-bhåtäà vara

SYNONYMS

adhibhütam—the physical manifestation; kñaraù—constantly changing; bhävaù—nature; puruñaù—the universal form, including all the demigods, like the sun and moon; ca—and; adhidaivatam—calledadhidaiva; adhiyajïaù—the Supersoul; aham—I (Kåñëa); eva—certainly; atra—in this; dehe—body; deha-bhåtäm—of the embodied; vara—O best.

TRANSLATION

O best of the embodied beings, the physical nature, which is constantly changing, is called adhibhüta [the material manifestation]. The universal form of the Lord, which includes all the demigods, like those of the sun and moon, iscalled adhidaiva. And I, the Supreme Lord, represented as the Supersoul in the heart of every embodied being, am called adhiyajïa [the Lord of sacrifice].

PURPORT

The physical nature is constantly changing. Material bodies generally pass through six stages: they are born, they grow, they remain for some duration, they produce some by-products, they dwindle, and then they vanish. This physical nature is called adhibhüta.It is created at a certain point and will be annihilated at a certain point. The conception of the universal form of the Supreme Lord, which includes all the demigods and their different planets, is calledadhidaivata. And present in the body along with the individual soul is the Supersoul, a plenary representation of Lord Kåñëa. The Supersoul is called the Paramätmä oradhiyajïa and is situated in the heart. The word eva is particularly important in the context of this verse because by this word the Lord stresses that the Paramätmä is not different from Him. The Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, seated beside the individual soul, is the witness of the individual soul’s activities and is the source of the soul’s various types of consciousness. The Supersoul gives the individual soul an opportunity to act freely and witnesses his activities. The functions of all these different manifestations of the Supreme Lord automatically become clarified for the pure Kåñëa conscious devotee engaged in transcendental service to the Lord. The gigantic universal form of the Lord calledadhidaivata is contemplated by the neophyte who cannot approach the Supreme Lord in His manifestation as Supersoul. The neophyte is advised to contemplate the universal form, or viräö-puruña,whose legs are considered the lower planets, whose eyes are considered the sun and moon, and whose head is considered the upper planetary system.

TEXT 5

anta-käle ca mäm eva

smaran muktvä kalevaram

yaù prayäti sa mad-bhävaà

yäti nästy atra saàçayaù

SYNONYMS

anta-käle—at the end of life; ca—also; mäm—Me;eva—certainly; smaran—remembering; muktvä—quitting; kalevaram—the body; yaù—he who; prayäti—goes; saù—he; mat-bhävam—My nature; yäti—achieves; na—not; asti—there is; atra—here;saàçayaù—doubt.

TRANSLATION

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

PURPORT

In this verse the importance of Kåñëa consciousness is stressed. Anyone who quits his body in Kåñëa consciousness is at once transferred to the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the purest of the pure. Therefore anyone who is constantly Kåñëa conscious is also the purest of the pure. The word smaran(“remembering”) is important. Remembrance of Kåñëa is not possible for the impure soul who has not practiced Kåñëa consciousness in devotional service. Therefore one should practice Kåñëa consciousness from the very beginning of life. If one wants to achieve success at the end of his life, the process of remembering Kåñëa is essential. Therefore one should constantly, incessantly chant the mahä-mantra—Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare. Lord Caitanya has advised that one be as tolerant as a tree ( taror iva sahiñëunä). There may be so many impediments for a person who is chanting Hare Kåñëa. Nonetheless, tolerating all these impediments, one should continue to chant Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare, so that at the end of one’s life one can have the full benefit of Kåñëa consciousness.

TEXT 6

yaà yaà väpi smaran bhävaà

tyajaty ante kalevaram

taà tam evaiti kaunteya

sadä tad-bhäva-bhävitaù

SYNONYMS

yam yam—whatever; vä api—at all; smaran—remembering; bhävam—nature; tyajati—gives up;ante—at the end; kalevaram—this body; tam tam—similar; eva—certainly; eti—gets; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; sadä—always; tat—that; bhäva—state of being; bhävitaù—remembering.

TRANSLATION

Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunté, that state he will attain without fail.

PURPORT

The process of changing one’s nature at the critical moment of death is here explained. A person who at the end of his life quits his body thinking of Kåñëa attains the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord, but it is not true that a person who thinks of something other than Kåñëa attains the same transcendental state. This is a point we should note very carefully. How can one die in the proper state of mind? Mahäräja Bharata, although a great personality, thought of a deer at the end of his life, and so in his next life he was transferred into the body of a deer. Although as a deer he remembered his past activities, he had to accept that animal body. Of course, one’s thoughts during the course of one’s life accumulate to influence one’s thoughts at the moment of death, so this life creates one’s next life. If in one’s present life one lives in the mode of goodness and always thinks of Kåñëa, it is possible for one to remember Kåñëa at the end of one’s life. That will help one be transferred to the transcendental nature of Kåñëa. If one is transcendentally absorbed in Kåñëa’s service, then his next body will be transcendental (spiritual), not material. Therefore the chanting of Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare is the best process for successfully changing one’s state of being at the end of one’s life.

TEXT 7

tasmät sarveñu käleñu

mäm anusmara yudhya ca

mayy arpita-mano-buddhir

mäm evaiñyasy asaàçayaù

SYNONYMS

tasmät—therefore; sarveñu—at all; käleñu—times;mäm—Me; anusmara—go on remembering; yudhya—fight; ca—also; mayi—unto Me; arpita—surrendering; manaù—mind; buddhiù—intellect;mäm—unto Me; eva—surely; eñyasi—you will attain;asaàçayaù—beyond a doubt.

TRANSLATION

Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kåñëa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Mewithout doubt.

PURPORT

This instruction to Arjuna is very important for all men engaged in material activities. The Lord does not say that one should give up his prescribed duties or engagements. One can continue them and at the same time think of Kåñëa by chanting Hare Kåñëa. This will free one from material contamination and engage the mind and intelligence in Kåñëa. By chanting Kåñëa’s names, one will be transferred to the supreme planet, Kåñëaloka, without a doubt.

TEXT 8

abhyäsa-yoga-yuktena

cetasä nänya-gäminä

paramaà puruñaà divyaà

yäti pärthänucintayan

SYNONYMS

abhyäsa-yoga—by practice; yuktena—being engaged in meditation; cetasä—by the mind and intelligence;na anya-gäminä—without their being deviated; paramam—the Supreme; puruñam—Personality of Godhead; divyam—transcendental; yäti—one achieves; pärtha—O son of Påthä; anucintayan—constantly thinking of.

TRANSLATION

He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O

Pärtha, is sure to reach Me.

PURPORT

In this verse Lord Kåñëa stresses the importance of remembering Him. One’s memory of Kåñëa is revived by chanting themahä-mantra, Hare Kåñëa. By this practice of chanting and hearing the sound vibration of the Supreme Lord, one’s ear, tongue and mind are engaged. This mystic meditation is very easy to practice, and it helps one attain the Supreme Lord. Puruñam means enjoyer. Although living entities belong to the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord, they are in material contamination. They think themselves enjoyers, but they are not the supreme enjoyer. Here it is clearly stated that the supreme enjoyer is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His different manifestations and plenary expansions as Näräyaëa, Väsudeva, etc.

The devotee can constantly think of the object of worship, the Supreme Lord, in any of His features—Näräyaëa, Kåñëa, Räma, etc.—by chanting Hare Kåñëa. This practice will purify him, and at the end of his life, due to his constant chanting, he will be transferred to the kingdom of God. Yoga practice is meditation on the Supersoul within; similarly, by chanting Hare Kåñëa one fixes his mind always on the Supreme Lord. The mind is fickle, and therefore it is necessary to engage the mind by force to think of Kåñëa. One example often given is that of the caterpillar that thinks of becoming a butterfly and so is transformed into a butterfly in the same life. Similarly, if we constantly think of Kåñëa, it is certain that at the end of our lives we shall have the same bodily constitution as Kåñëa.

TEXT 9

kavià puräëam anuçäsitäram

aëor aëéyäàsam anusmared yaù

sarvasya dhätäram acintya-rüpam

äditya-varëaà tamasaù parastät

SYNONYMS

kavim—the one who knows everything; puräëam—the oldest; anuçäsitäram—the controller; aëoù—than the atom; aëéyäàsam—smaller; anusmaret—always thinks of; yaù—one who; sarvasya—of everything; dhätäram—the maintainer; acintya—inconceivable;rüpam—whose form; äditya-varëam—luminous like the sun; tamasaù—to darkness; parastät—transcendental.

TRANSLATION

One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller thanthe smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun, and He is transcendental, beyond this material nature.

PURPORT

The process of thinking of the Supreme is mentioned in this verse. The foremost point is that He is not impersonal or void. One cannot meditate on something impersonal or void. That is very difficult. The process of thinking of Kåñëa, however, is very easy and is factually stated herein. First of all, the Lord is puruña, a person—we think of the person Räma and the person Kåñëa. And whether one thinks of Räma or of Kåñëa, what He is like is described in this verse of Bhagavad-gétä. The Lord is kavi; that is, He knows past, present and future and therefore knows everything. He is the oldest personality because He is the origin of everything; everything is born out of Him. He is also the supreme controller of the universe, and He is the maintainer and instructor of humanity. He is smaller than the smallest. The living entity is one ten-thousandth part of the tip of a hair, but the Lord is so inconceivably small that He enters into the heart of this particle. Therefore He is called smaller than the smallest. As the Supreme, He can enter into the atom and into the heart of the smallest and control him as the Supersoul. Although so small, He is still all-pervading and is maintaining everything. By Him all these planetary systems are sustained. We often wonder how these big planets are floating in the air. It is stated here that the Supreme Lord, by His inconceivable energy, is sustaining all these big planets and systems of galaxies. The word acintya (“inconceivable”) is very significant in this connection. God’s energy is beyond our conception, beyond our thinking jurisdiction, and is therefore called inconceivable ( acintya). Who can argue this point? He pervades this material world and yet is beyond it. We cannot comprehend even this material world, which is insignificant compared to the spiritual world—so how can we comprehend what is beyond?Acintya means that which is beyond this material world, that which our argument, logic and philosophical speculation cannot touch, that which is inconceivable. Therefore intelligent persons, avoiding useless argument and speculation, should accept what is stated in scriptures like the Vedas, Bhagavad-gétä and Çrémad-Bhägavatam and follow the principles they set down. This will lead one to understanding.

TEXT 10

prayäëa-käle manasäcalena

bhaktyä yukto yoga-balena caiva

bhruvor madhye präëam äveçya samyak

sa taà paraà puruñam upaiti divyam

SYNONYMS

prayäëa-käle—at the time of death; manasä—by the mind; acalena—without its being deviated; bhaktyä—in full devotion; yuktaù—engaged; yoga-balena—by the power of mystic yoga; ca—also; eva—certainly; bhruvoù—the two eyebrows; madhye—between;präëam—the life air; äveçya—establishing; samyak—completely; saù—he; tam—that; param—transcendental; puruñam—Personality of Godhead;upaiti—achieves; divyam—in the spiritual kingdom.

TRANSLATION

One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and, by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

PURPORT

In this verse it is clearly stated that at the time of death the mind must be fixed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For those practiced in yoga, it is recommended that they raise the life force between the eyebrows (to the äjïä-cakra). The practice of ñaö-cakra-yoga, involving meditation on the six cakras, is suggested here. A pure devotee does not practice such yoga, but because he is always engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, at death he can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His grace. This is explained in verse fourteen.

The particular use of the word yoga-balena is significant in this verse because without practice ofyoga—whether ñaö-cakra-yoga or bhakti-yoga—one cannot come to this transcendental state of being at the time of death. One cannot suddenly remember the Supreme Lord at death; one must have practiced some yoga system, especially the system of bhakti-yoga. Since one’s mind at death is very disturbed, one should practice transcendence through yogaduring one’s life.

TEXT 11

yad akñaraà veda-vido vadanti

viçanti yad yatayo véta-rägäù

yad icchanto brahmacaryaà caranti

tat te padaà saìgraheëa pravakñye

SYNONYMS

yat—that which; akñaram—syllable oà; veda-vidaù—persons conversant with the Vedas; vadanti—say;viçanti—enter; yat—in which; yatayaù—great sages; véta-rägäù—in the renounced order of life; yat—that which; icchantaù—desiring; brahmacaryam—celibacy;caranti—practice; tat—that; te—unto you; padam—situation; saìgraheëa—in summary; pravakñye—I shall explain.

TRANSLATION

Persons who are learned in the Vedas, who utter oàkära and who are great sages in the renounced order enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now briefly explain to you this process by which onemay attain salvation.

PURPORT

Lord Çré Kåñëa has recommended to Arjuna the practice of ñaö-cakra-yoga, in which one places the air of life between the eyebrows. Taking it for granted that Arjuna might not know how to practice ñaö-cakra-yoga, the Lord explains the process in the following verses. The Lord says that Brahman, although one without a second, has various manifestations and features. Especially for the impersonalists, the akñara, or oàkära—the syllable —is identical with Brahman. Kåñëa here explains the impersonal Brahman, in which the renounced order of sages enter.

In the Vedic system of knowledge, students, from the very beginning, are taught to vibrate  and learn of the ultimate impersonal Brahman by living with the spiritual master in complete celibacy. In this way they realize two of Brahman’s features. This practice is very essential for the student’s advancement in spiritual life, but at the moment such brahmacäré (unmarried celibate) life is not at all possible. The social construction of the world has changed so much that there is no possibility of one’s practicing celibacy from the beginning of student life. Throughout the world there are many institutions for different departments of knowledge, but there is no recognized institution where students can be educated in the brahmacäré principles. Unless one practices celibacy, advancement in spiritual life is very difficult. Therefore Lord Caitanya has announced, according to the scriptural injunctions for this Age of Kali, that in this age no process of realizing the Supreme is possible except the chanting of the holy names of Lord Kåñëa: Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare.

TEXT 12

sarva-dväräëi saàyamya

mano hådi nirudhya ca

mürdhny ädhäyätmanaù präëam

ästhito yoga-dhäraëäm

SYNONYMS

sarva-dväräëi—all the doors of the body; saàyamya—controlling; manaù—the mind; hådi—in the heart;nirudhya—confining; ca—also; mürdhni—on the head; ädhäya—fixing; ätmanaù—of the soul; präëam—the life air; ästhitaù—situated in; yoga-dhäraëäm—the yogic situation.

TRANSLATION

The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.

PURPORT

To practice yoga as suggested here, one first has to close the doors of all sense enjoyment. This practice is called pratyähära, or withdrawing the senses from the sense objects. The sense organs for acquiring knowledge—the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch—should be fully controlled and should not be allowed to engage in self-gratification. In this way the mind focuses on the Supersoul in the heart, and the life force is raised to the top of the head. In the Sixth Chapter this process is described in detail. But as mentioned before, this practice is not practical in this age. The best process is Kåñëa consciousness. If one is always able to fix his mind on Kåñëa in devotional service, it is very easy for him to remain in an undisturbed transcendental trance, or in samädhi.

TEXT 13

oà ity ekäkñaraà brahma

vyäharan mäm anusmaran

yaù prayäti tyajan dehaà

sa yäti paramäà gatim

SYNONYMS

—the combination of letters  ( oàkära); iti—thus;eka-akñaram—the one syllable; brahma—absolute;vyäharan—vibrating; mäm—Me (Kåñëa); anusmaran—remembering; yaù—anyone who; prayäti—leaves; tyajan—quitting; deham—this body; saù—he; yäti—achieves; paramäm—the supreme; gatim—destination.

TRANSLATION

After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable oà, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.

PURPORT

It is clearly stated here that oà, Brahman and Lord Kåñëa are not different. The impersonal sound of Kåñëa is oà, but the sound Hare Kåñëa contains oà. The chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra is clearly recommended for this age. So if one quits his body at the end of life chanting Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare, he certainly reaches one of the spiritual planets, according to the mode of his practice. The devotees of Kåñëa enter the Kåñëa planet, Goloka Våndävana. For the personalists there are also innumerable other planets, known as Vaikuëöha planets, in the spiritual sky, whereas the impersonalists remain in thebrahmajyoti.

TEXT 14

ananya-cetäù satataà

yo mäà smarati nityaçaù

tasyähaà sulabhaù pärtha

nitya-yuktasya yoginaù

SYNONYMS

ananya-cetäù—without deviation of the mind;satatam—always; yaù—anyone who; mäm—Me (Kåñëa); smarati—remembers; nityaçaù—regularly;tasya—to him; aham—I am; su-labhaù—very easy to achieve; pärtha—O son of Påthä; nitya—regularly; yuktasya—engaged; yoginaù—for the devotee.

TRANSLATION

For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Påthä, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.

PURPORT

This verse especially describes the final destination attained by the unalloyed devotees who serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead in bhakti-yoga.Previous verses have mentioned four different kinds of devotees—the distressed, the inquisitive, those who seek material gain, and the speculative philosophers. Different processes of liberation have also been described: karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga andhaöha-yoga. The principles of these yoga systems have some bhakti added, but this verse particularly mentions pure bhakti-yoga, without any mixture ofjïäna, karma or haöha. As indicated by the wordananya-cetäù, in pure bhakti-yoga the devotee desires nothing but Kåñëa. A pure devotee does not desire promotion to heavenly planets, nor does he seek oneness with thebrahmajyoti or salvation or liberation from material entanglement. A pure devotee does not desire anything. In the Caitanya-caritämåta the pure devotee is called niñkäma, which means he has no desire for self-interest. Perfect peace belongs to him alone, not to them who strive for personal gain. Whereas a jïäna-yogé, karma-yogé or haöha-yogé has his own selfish interests, a perfect devotee has no desire other than to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Lord says that for anyone who is unflinchingly devoted to Him, He is easy to attain. 

A pure devotee always engages in devotional service to Kåñëa in one of His various personal features. Kåñëa has various plenary expansions and incarnations, such as Räma and Nåsiàha, and a devotee can choose to fix his mind in loving service to any of these transcendental forms of the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee meets with none of the problems that plague the practitioners of otheryogas. Bhakti-yoga is very simple and pure and easy to perform. One can begin simply by chanting Hare Kåñëa. The Lord is merciful to all, but as we have already explained, He is especially inclined toward those who always serve Him without deviation. The Lord helps such devotees in various ways. As stated in the Vedas (Kaöha Upaniñad 1.2.23), yam evaiña våëute tena labhyas/ tasyaiña ätmä vivåëute tanuà sväm: one who is fully surrendered and engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord can understand the Supreme Lord as He is. And as stated in Bhagavad-gétä (10.10),dadämi buddhi-yogaà tam: the Lord gives such a devotee sufficient intelligence so that ultimately the devotee can attain Him in His spiritual kingdom.

The special qualification of the pure devotee is that he is always thinking of Kåñëa without deviation and without considering the time or place. There should be no impediments. He should be able to carry out his service anywhere and at any time. Some say that the devotee should remain in holy places like Våndävana or some holy town where the Lord lived, but a pure devotee can live anywhere and create the atmosphere of Våndävana by his devotional service. It was Çré Advaita who told Lord Caitanya, “Wherever You are, O Lord— there is Våndävana.”

As indicated by the words satatam and nityaçaù,which mean “always,” “regularly,” or “every day,” a pure devotee constantly remembers Kåñëa and meditates upon Him. These are qualifications of the pure devotee for whom the Lord is most easily attainable. Bhakti-yoga is the system that the Gétä recommends above all others. Generally, the bhakti-yogés are engaged in five different ways: (1) çänta-bhakta, engaged in devotional service in neutrality; (2) däsya-bhakta,engaged in devotional service as servant; (3) säkhya-bhakta, engaged as friend; (4) vätsalya-bhakta,engaged as parent; and (5) mädhurya-bhakta,engaged as conjugal lover of the Supreme Lord. In any of these ways, the pure devotee is always constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Lord and cannot forget the Supreme Lord, and so for him the Lord is easily attained. A pure devotee cannot forget the Supreme Lord for a moment, and similarly the Supreme Lord cannot forget His pure devotee for a moment. This is the great blessing of the Kåñëa conscious process of chanting the mahä-mantra—Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare.

TEXT 15

mäm upetya punar janma

duùkhälayam açäçvatam

näpnuvanti mahätmänaù

saàsiddhià paramäà gatäù

SYNONYMS

mäm—Me; upetya—achieving; punaù—again; janma—birth; duùkha-älayam—place of miseries;açäçvatam—temporary; na—never; äpnuvanti—attain; mahä-ätmänaù—the great souls; saàsiddhim—perfection; paramäm—ultimate; gatäù—having achieved.

TRANSLATION

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogés in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

PURPORT

Since this temporary material world is full of the miseries of birth, old age, disease and death, naturally he who achieves the highest perfection and attains the supreme planet, Kåñëaloka, Goloka Våndävana, does not wish to return. The supreme planet is described in Vedic literature as avyakta and akñara and paramä gati; in other words, that planet is beyond our material vision, and it is inexplicable, but it is the highest goal, the destination for the mahätmäs (great souls). The mahätmäs receive transcendental messages from the realized devotees and thus gradually develop devotional service in Kåñëa consciousness and become so absorbed in transcendental service that they no longer desire elevation to any of the material planets, nor do they even want to be transferred to any spiritual planet. They only want Kåñëa and Kåñëa’s association, and nothing else. That is the highest perfection of life. This verse specifically mentions the personalist devotees of the Supreme Lord, Kåñëa. These devotees in Kåñëa consciousness achieve the highest perfection of life. In other words, they are the supreme souls.

TEXT 16

ä-brahma-bhuvanäl lokäù

punar ävartino ’rjuna

mäm upetya tu kaunteya

punar janma na vidyate

SYNONYMS

ä-brahma-bhuvanät—up to the Brahmaloka planet;lokäù—the planetary systems; punaù—again;ävartinaù—returning; arjuna—O Arjuna; mäm—unto Me; upetya—arriving; tu—but; kaunteya—O son of Kunté; punaù janma—rebirth; na—never; vidyate—takes place.

TRANSLATION

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunté, never takes birth again.

PURPORT

All kinds of yogés—karma, jïäna, haöha, etc.—eventually have to attain devotional perfection in bhakti-yoga, or Kåñëa consciousness, before they can go to Kåñëa’s transcendental abode and never return. Those who attain the highest material planets, the planets of the demigods, are again subjected to repeated birth and death. As persons on earth are elevated to higher planets, people on higher planets such as Brahmaloka, Candraloka and Indraloka fall down to earth. The practice of sacrifice called païcägni-vidyä,recommended in the Chändogya Upaniñad, enables one to achieve Brahmaloka, but if, on Brahmaloka, one does not cultivate Kåñëa consciousness, then he must return to earth. Those who progress in Kåñëa consciousness on the higher planets are gradually elevated to higher and higher planets and at the time of universal devastation are transferred to the eternal spiritual kingdom. Çrédhara Svämé, in his commentary on Bhagavad-gétä, quotes this verse: brahmaëä saha te sarve

sampräpte pratisaïcare

parasyänte kåtätmänaù

praviçanti paraà padam

“When there is devastation of this material universe, Brahmä and his devotees, who are constantly engaged in Kåñëa consciousness, are all transferred to the spiritual universe and to specific spiritual planets according to their desires.”

TEXT 17

sahasra-yuga-paryantam

ahar yad brahmaëo viduù

rätrià yuga-sahasräntäà

te ’ho-rätra-vido janäù

SYNONYMS

sahasra—one thousand; yuga—millenniums;paryantam—including; ahaù—day; yat—that which;brahmaëaù—of Brahmä; viduù—they know; rätrim—night; yuga—millenniums; sahasra-antäm—similarly, ending after one thousand; te—they; ahaù-rätra—day and night; vidaù—who understand; janäù—people.

TRANSLATION

By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahmä’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.

PURPORT

The duration of the material universe is limited. It is manifested in cycles of kalpas. kalpa is a day of Brahmä, and one day of Brahmä consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas, or ages: Satya, Tretä, Dväpara and Kali. The cycle of Satya is characterized by virtue, wisdom and religion, there being practically no ignorance and vice, and the yuga lasts 1,728,000 years. In the Tretä-yuga vice is introduced, and thisyuga lasts 1,296,000 years. In the Dväpara-yuga there is an even greater decline in virtue and religion, vice increasing, and this yuga lasts 864,000 years. And finally in Kali-yuga (the yuga we have now been experiencing over the past 5,000 years) there is an abundance of strife, ignorance, irreligion and vice, true virtue being practically nonexistent, and thisyuga lasts 432,000 years. In Kali-yuga vice increases to such a point that at the termination of the yugathe Supreme Lord Himself appears as the Kalkiavatära, vanquishes the demons, saves His devotees, and commences another Satya-yuga. Then the process is set rolling again. These four yugas, rotating a thousand times, comprise one day of Brahmä, and the same number comprise one night. Brahmä lives one hundred of such “years” and then dies. These “hundred years” by earth calculations total to 311 trillion and 40 billion earth years. By these calculations the life of Brahmä seems fantastic and interminable, but from the viewpoint of eternity it is as brief as a lightning flash. In the Causal Ocean there are innumerable Brahmäs rising and disappearing like bubbles in the Atlantic. Brahmä and his creation are all part of the material universe, and therefore they are in constant flux.

In the material universe not even Brahmä is free from the process of birth, old age, disease and death. Brahmä, however, is directly engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord in the management of this universe—therefore he at once attains liberation. Elevated sannyäsés are promoted to Brahmä’s particular planet, Brahmaloka, which is the highest planet in the material universe and which survives all the heavenly planets in the upper strata of the planetary system, but in due course Brahmä and all the inhabitants of Brahmaloka are subject to death, according to the law of material nature.

TEXT 18

avyaktäd vyaktayaù sarväù

prabhavanty ahar-ägame

rätry-ägame praléyante

tatraivävyakta-saàjïake

SYNONYMS

avyaktät—from the unmanifest; vyaktayaù—living entities; sarväù—all; prabhavanti—become manifest;ahaù-ägame—at the beginning of the day; rätri-ägame—at the fall of night; praléyante—are annihilated; tatra—into that; eva—certainly; avyakta—the unmanifest; saàjïake—which is called.

TRANSLATION

At the beginning of Brahmä’s day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again.

TEXT 19

bhüta-grämaù sa eväyaà

bhütvä bhütvä praléyate

rätry-ägame ’vaçaù pärtha

prabhavaty ahar-ägame

SYNONYMS

bhüta-grämaù—the aggregate of all living entities;saù—these; eva—certainly; ayam—this; bhütvä bhütvä—repeatedly taking birth; praléyate—is annihilated; rätri—of night; ägame—on the arrival;avaçaù—automatically; pärtha—O son of Påthä;prabhavati—is manifest; ahaù—of daytime; ägame—on the arrival.

TRANSLATION

Again and again, when Brahmä’s day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahmä’s night they are helplessly annihilated.

PURPORT

The less intelligent, who try to remain within this material world, may be elevated to higher planets and then again must come down to this planet earth. During the daytime of Brahmä they can exhibit their activities on higher and lower planets within this material world, but at the coming of Brahmä’s night they are all annihilated. In the day they receive various bodies for material activities, and at night they no longer have bodies but remain compact in the body of Viñëu. Then again they are manifest at the arrival of Brahmä’s day. Bhütvä bhütvä praléyate:during the day they become manifest, and at night they are annihilated again. Ultimately, when Brahmä’s life is finished, they are all annihilated and remain unmanifest for millions and millions of years. And when Brahmä is born again in another millennium they are again manifest. In this way they are captivated by the spell of the material world. But those intelligent persons who take to Kåñëa consciousness use the human life fully in the devotional service of the Lord, chanting Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare. Thus they transfer themselves, even in this life, to the spiritual planet of Kåñëa and become eternally blissful there, not being subject to such rebirths.

TEXT 20

paras tasmät tu bhävo ’nyo

’vyakto ’vyaktät sanätanaù

yaù sa sarveñu bhüteñu

naçyatsu na vinaçyati

SYNONYMS

paraù—transcendental; tasmät—to that; tu—but;bhävaù—nature; anyaù—another; avyaktaù—unmanifest; avyaktät—to the unmanifest; sanätanaù—eternal; yaù saù—that which; sarveñu—all; bhüteñu—manifestation; naçyatsu—being annihilated; na—never; vinaçyati—is annihilated.

TRANSLATION

Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and isnever annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.

PURPORT

Kåñëa’s superior, spiritual energy is transcendental and eternal. It is beyond all the changes of material nature, which is manifest and annihilated during the days and nights of Brahmä. Kåñëa’s superior energy is completely opposite in quality to material nature. Superior and inferior nature are explained in the Seventh Chapter.

TEXT 21

avyakto ’kñara ity uktas

tam ähuù paramäà gatim

yaà präpya na nivartante

tad dhäma paramaà mama

SYNONYMS

avyaktaù—unmanifested; akñaraù—infallible; iti—thus; uktaù—is said; tam—that; ähuù—is known;paramäm—the ultimate; gatim—destination; yam—which; präpya—gaining; na—never; nivartante—come back; tat—that; dhäma—abode; paramam—supreme; mama—My.

TRANSLATION

That which the Vedäntists describe as unmanifest and infallible, that which is known as the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, one never returns—that is My supreme abode.

PURPORT

The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, is described in the Brahma-saàhitä ascintämaëi-dhäma, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Kåñëa, known as Goloka Våndävana, is full of  palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees, called “desire trees,” that supply any type of eatable upon demand, and there are cows, known as surabhicows, which supply a limitless supply of milk. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (Lakñmés), and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes. The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute ( veëuà kvaëantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds—His eyes are like lotus petals, and the color of His body is like the color of clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of Cupids. He wears saffron cloth, a garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair. In the Bhagavad-gétä Lord Kåñëa gives only a small hint of His personal abode, Goloka Våndävana, which is the supermost planet in the spiritual kingdom. A vivid description is given in the Brahma-saàhitä. Vedic literatures (Kaöha Upaniñad 1.3.11) state that there is nothing superior to the abode of the Supreme Godhead, and that that abode is the ultimate destination ( puruñän na paraà kiïcit sä käñöhä paramä gatiù). When one attains to it, he never returns to the material world. Kåñëa’s supreme abode and Kåñëa Himself are nondifferent, being of the same quality. On this earth, Våndävana, ninety miles southeast of Delhi, is a replica of that supreme Goloka Våndävana located in the spiritual sky. When Kåñëa descended on this earth, He sported on that particular tract of land known as Våndävana, comprising about eighty-four square miles in the district of Mathurä, India.

TEXT 22

puruñaù sa paraù pärtha

bhaktyä labhyas tv ananyayä

yasyäntaù-sthäni bhütäni

yena sarvam idaà tatam

SYNONYMS

puruñaù—the Supreme Personality; saù—He; paraù—the Supreme, than whom no one is greater; pärtha—O son of Påthä; bhaktyä—by devotional service;labhyaù—can be achieved; tu—but; ananyayä—unalloyed, undeviating; yasya—whom; antaù-sthäni—within; bhütäni—all of this material manifestation;yena—by whom; sarvam—all; idam—whatever we can see; tatam—is pervaded.

TRANSLATION

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than all, is attainable by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present in His abode, He is all-pervading, and everything is situated within Him.

PURPORT

It is here clearly stated that the supreme destination, from which there is no return, is the abode of Kåñëa, the Supreme Person. The Brahma-saàhitä describes this supreme abode as änanda-cinmaya-rasa, a place where everything is full of spiritual bliss. All the variegatedness manifest there is of the quality of spiritual bliss—nothing there is material. That variegatedness is expanded as the spiritual expansion of the Supreme Godhead Himself, for the manifestation there is totally of the spiritual energy, as explained in Chapter Seven. As far as this material world is concerned, although the Lord is always in His supreme abode, He is nonetheless all-pervading by His material energy. So by His spiritual and material energies He is present everywhere—both in the material and in the spiritual universes. Yasyäntaù-sthäni means that everything is sustained within Him, within either His spiritual or material energy. The Lord is all-pervading by these two energies.

To enter Kåñëa’s supreme abode or the innumerable Vaikuëöha planets is possible only by bhakti,devotional service, as clearly indicated here by the word bhaktyä. No other process can help one attain that supreme abode. The Vedas (Gopäla-täpané Upaniñad 3.2) also describe the supreme abode and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Eko vaçé sarva-gaù kåñëaù. In that abode there is only one Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose name is Kåñëa. He is the supreme merciful Deity, and although situated there as one He has expanded Himself into millions and millions of plenary expansions. The Vedas compare the Lord to a tree standing still yet bearing many varieties of fruits, flowers and changing leaves. The plenary expansions of the Lord who preside over the Vaikuëöha planets are four-armed, and they are known by a variety of names—Puruñottama, Trivikrama, Keçava, Mädhava, Aniruddha, Håñékeça, Saìkarñaëa, Pradyumna, Çrédhara, Väsudeva, Dämodara, Janärdana, Näräyaëa, Vämana, Padmanäbha, etc.

The Brahma-saàhitä (5.37) also confirms that although the Lord is always in the supreme abode, Goloka Våndävana, He is all-pervading, so that everything is going on nicely ( goloka eva nivasaty akhilätma-bhütaù). As stated in the Vedas(Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.8), paräsya çaktir vividhaiva çrüyate/ sväbhäviké jïäna-bala-kriyä ca: His energies are so expansive that they systematically conduct everything in the cosmic manifestation without a flaw, although the Supreme Lord is far, far away.

TEXT 23

yatra käle tv anävåttim

ävåttià caiva yoginaù

prayätä yänti taà kälaà

vakñyämi bharatarñabha

SYNONYMS

yatra—at which; käle—time; tu—and; anävåttim—no return; ävåttim—return; ca—also; eva—certainly;yoginaù—different kinds of mystics; prayätäù—having departed; yänti—attain; tam—that;kälam—time; vakñyämi—I shall describe; bharata-åñabha—O best of the Bhäratas.

TRANSLATION

O best of the Bhäratas, I shall now explain to you the different times at which, passing away from this world, the yogé does or does not come back.

PURPORT

The unalloyed devotees of the Supreme Lord, who are totally surrendered souls, do not care when they leave their bodies or by what method. They leave everything in Kåñëa’s hands and so easily and happily return to Godhead. But those who are not unalloyed devotees and who depend instead on such methods of spiritual realization as karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga andhaöha-yoga must leave the body at a suitable time and thereby be assured whether or not they will return to the world of birth and death.

If the yogé is perfect he can select the time and situation for leaving this material world. But if he is not so expert his success depends on his accidentally passing away at a certain suitable time. The suitable times at which one passes away and does not come back are explained by the Lord in the next verse. According to Äcärya Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa, the Sanskrit word käla used herein refers to the presiding deity of time.

TEXT 24

agnir jyotir ahaù çuklaù

ñaë-mäsä uttaräyaëam

tatra prayätä gacchanti

brahma brahma-vido janäù

SYNONYMS

agniù—fire; jyotiù—light; ahaù—day; çuklaù—the white fortnight; ñaö-mäsäù—the six months; uttara-ayanam—when the sun passes on the northern side;tatra—there; prayätäù—those who pass away;gacchanti—go; brahma—to the Absolute; brahma-vidaù—who know the Absolute; janäù—persons.

TRANSLATION

Those who know the Supreme Brahman attain that Supreme by passing away from the world during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment of the day, during the fortnight of the waxing moon, or during the six months when the sun travels in the north.

PURPORT

When fire, light, day and the fortnight of the moon are mentioned, it is to be understood that over all of them there are various presiding deities who make arrangements for the passage of the soul. At the time of death, the mind carries one on the path to a new life. If one leaves the body at the time designated above, either accidentally or by arrangement, it is possible for him to attain the impersonal brahmajyoti.Mystics who are advanced in yoga practice can arrange the time and place to leave the body. Others have no control—if by accident they leave at an auspicious moment, then they will not return to the cycle of birth and death, but otherwise there is every possibility that they will have to return. However, for the pure devotee in Kåñëa consciousness, there is no fear of returning, whether he leaves the body at an auspicious or inauspicious moment, by accident or arrangement.

TEXT 25

dhümo rätris tathä kåñëaù

ñaë-mäsä dakñiëäyanam

tatra cändramasaà jyotir

yogé präpya nivartate

SYNONYMS

dhümaù—smoke; rätriù—night; tathä—also; kåñëaù—the fortnight of the dark moon; ñaö-mäsäù—the six months; dakñiëa-ayanam—when the sun passes on the southern side; tatra—there; cändra-masam—the moon planet; jyotiù—the light; yogé—the mystic;präpya—achieving; nivartate—comes back.

TRANSLATION

The mystic who passes away from this world during the smoke, the night, the fortnight of the waning moon, or the six months when the sun passes to the south reaches the moon planet but again comes back.

PURPORT

In the Third Canto of Çrémad-Bhägavatam Kapila Muni mentions that those who are expert in fruitive activities and sacrificial methods on earth attain to the moon at death. These elevated souls live on the moon for about 10,000 years (by demigod calculations) and enjoy life by drinking soma-rasa. They eventually return to earth. This means that on the moon there are higher classes of living beings, though they may not be perceived by the gross senses.

TEXT 26

çukla-kåñëe gaté hy ete

jagataù çäçvate mate

ekayä yäty anävåttim

anyayävartate punaù

SYNONYMS

çukla—light; kåñëe—and darkness; gaté—ways of passing; hi—certainly; ete—these two; jagataù—of the material world; çäçvate—of the Vedas; mate—in the opinion; ekayä—by one; yäti—goes; anävåttim—to no return; anyayä—by the other; ävartate—comes back; punaù—again.

TRANSLATION

According to Vedic opinion, there are two ways of passing from this world—one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does notcome back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns.

PURPORT

The same description of departure and return is quoted by Äcärya Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa from the Chändogya Upaniñad (5.10.3–5). Those who are fruitive laborers and philosophical speculators from time immemorial are constantly going and coming. Actually they do not attain ultimate salvation, for they do not surrender to Kåñëa.

TEXT 27

naite såté pärtha jänan

yogé muhyati kaçcana

tasmät sarveñu käleñu

yoga-yukto bhavärjuna

SYNONYMS

na—never; ete—these two; såté—different paths;pärtha—O son of Påthä; jänan—even if he knows;yogé—the devotee of the Lord; muhyati—is bewildered; kaçcana—any; tasmät—therefore;sarveñu käleñu—always; yoga-yuktaù—engaged in Kåñëa consciousness; bhava—just become; arjuna—O Arjuna.

TRANSLATION

Although the devotees know these two paths, O Arjuna, they are never bewildered. Therefore be always fixed in devotion.

PURPORT

Kåñëa is here advising Arjuna that he should not be disturbed by the different paths the soul can take when leaving the material world. A devotee of the Supreme Lord should not worry whether he will depart by arrangement or by accident. The devotee should be firmly established in Kåñëa consciousness and chant Hare Kåñëa. He should know that concern over either of these two paths is troublesome. The best way to be absorbed in Kåñëa consciousness is to be always dovetailed in His service, and this will make one’s path to the spiritual kingdom safe, certain and direct. The word yoga-yukta is especially significant in this verse. One who is firm in yoga is constantly engaged in Kåñëa consciousness in all his activities. Çré Rüpa Gosvämé advises, anäsaktasya viñayän yathärham upayuïjataù: one should be unattached in material affairs and do everything in Kåñëa consciousness. By this system, which is called yukta-vairägya, one attains perfection. Therefore the devotee is not disturbed by these descriptions, because he knows that his passage to the supreme abode is guaranteed by devotional service.

TEXT 28

vedeñu yajïeñu tapaùsu caiva

däneñu yat puëya-phalaà pradiñöam

atyeti tat sarvam idaà viditvä

yogé paraà sthänam upaiti cädyam

SYNONYMS

vedeñu—in the study of the Vedas; yajïeñu—in the performances of yajïa, sacrifice; tapaùsu—in undergoing different types of austerities; ca—also; eva—certainly; däneñu—in giving charities; yat—that which; puëya-phalam—result of pious work;pradiñöam—indicated; atyeti—surpasses; tat sarvam—all those; idam—this; viditvä—knowing; yogé—the devotee; param—supreme; sthänam—abode; upaiti—achieves; ca—also; ädyam—original.

TRANSLATION

A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. Simply by performingdevotional service, he attains all these, and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode.

PURPORT

This verse is the summation of the Seventh and Eighth chapters, which particularly deal with Kåñëa consciousness and devotional service. One has to study the Vedas under the guidance of the spiritual master and undergo many austerities and penances while living under his care. A brahmacäré has to live in the home of the spiritual master just like a servant, and he must beg alms from door to door and bring them to the spiritual master. He takes food only under the master’s order, and if the master neglects to call the student for food that day, the student fasts. These are some of the Vedic principles for observingbrahmacarya.

After the student studies the Vedas under the master for a period from five to twenty years, he may become a man of perfect character. Study of theVedas is not meant for the recreation of armchair speculators, but for the formation of character. After this training, the brahmacäré is allowed to enter into household life and marry. When he is a householder, he has to perform many sacrifices so that he may achieve further enlightenment. He must also give charity according to the country, time and candidate, discriminating among charity in goodness, in passion and in ignorance, as described in Bhagavad-gétä. Then after retiring from household life, upon accepting the order of vänaprastha, he undergoes severe penances—living in forests, dressing with tree bark, not shaving, etc. By carrying out the orders ofbrahmacarya, householder life, vänaprastha and finally sannyäsa, one becomes elevated to the perfectional stage of life. Some are then elevated to the heavenly kingdoms, and when they become even more advanced they are liberated in the spiritual sky, either in the impersonal brahmajyoti or in the Vaikuëöha planets or Kåñëaloka. This is the path outlined by Vedic literatures.

The beauty of Kåñëa consciousness, however, is that by one stroke, by engaging in devotional service, one can surpass all the rituals of the different orders of life.

The words idaà viditvä indicate that one should understand the instructions given by Çré Kåñëa in this chapter and the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä. One should try to understand these chapters not by scholarship or mental speculation but by hearing them in association with devotees. Chapters Seven through Twelve are the essence ofBhagavad-gétä. The first six and the last six chapters are like coverings for the middle six chapters, which are especially protected by the Lord. If one is fortunate enough to understand Bhagavad-gétä—especially these middle six chapters—in the association of devotees, then his life at once becomes glorified beyond all penances, sacrifices, charities, speculations, etc., for one can achieve all the results of these activities simply by Kåñëa consciousness.

One who has a little faith in Bhagavad-gétä should learn Bhagavad-gétä from a devotee, because in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter it is stated clearly that Bhagavad-gétä can be understood only by devotees; no one else can perfectly understand the purpose of Bhagavad-gétä. One should therefore learn Bhagavad-gétä from a devotee of Kåñëa, not from mental speculators. This is a sign of faith. When one searches for a devotee and finally gets a devotee’s association one actually begins to study and understand Bhagavad-gétä. By advancement in the association of the devotee one is placed in devotional service, and this service dispels all one’s misgivings about Kåñëa, or God, and Kåñëa’s activities, form, pastimes, name and other features. After these misgivings have been perfectly cleared away, one becomes fixed in one’s study. Then one relishes the study of Bhagavad-gétä and attains the state of feeling always Kåñëa conscious. In the advanced stage, one falls completely in love with Kåñëa. This highest perfectional stage of life enables the devotee to be transferred to Kåñëa’s abode in the spiritual sky, Goloka Våndävana, where the devotee becomes eternally happy.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Eighth Chapter of the Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of Attaining the Supreme.





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