Emotional Exchanges between Krishna and Arjuna in the Gita
A concise yet systematic overview of the Gita focussing on the theme of Krishna’s love as expressed consistently from the start to the end of the Gita. To hear, click here
Given below is a transcript of the lecture:
So he describes prapanna parijataya, for the surrendered soul that Lord is the evergreen tree which gives shelter. Tottra vetreka panaye, so panaye means hands, eka panaye, in one of his hands He is holding a stick to discipline the horse, He has become charioteer and in other hand is paradoxically … so generally a person is taking care of horses, is not considered very enlightened. But one hand is carrying the stick to discipline the animal but the other hand is jnana mudraya, jnana mudraya krishnaya and what is He doing? gitamrita duhe namah. He is giving the nectar of the message of Bhagavad Gita. So we will recite this verse then we will start
tottra vetreka panaye
jnana mudraya krishnaya
gitamrita duhe namah
Bhagavad Gita – A book of loving reciprocations
So on the occasion of upcoming Gita Jayanti, I would briefly speak on how the Bhagavad Gita is not just a book of philosophy, it is actually a book of loving reciprocation masquerading as philosophy. So in the Vedic library, the Bhagavad Gita is one of the most known and least understood books. Even amongst devotees, many devotees feel even Bhagavatam and CC there are many pastimes, Bhagavad Gita is difficult to understand. Yes there is philosophy but when we understand that two individuals are discussing and both of them have emotions. So Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura, one of our great acaryas and he has by the grace of Lord Krishna entered into the hearts of Krishna and Arjuna while discussing and he reveals to us their insights and other acaryas like Ramanujacarya, Baladev Vidybhusana, and others have also given precious insights. So we will try to discuss today that how as the philosophy is going on what is the effect of that discussion on Arjuna and correspondingly on Krishna.
Arjuna getting depressed due to his perceptions and conceptions
So we know the Bhagavad Gita has eighteen chapters and many academic or jnani type scholars who comment on the Bhagavad Gita, they mostly neglect the first chapter. This is all just names and this is not very important. So actually the first chapter sets the scene. At the end of the first chapter, it is described that,
visrijya sa-sharam capam
In the 46th verse of the first chapter, Arjuna puts aside his bow, visrijya, giving up, sa-sharam capam, shara and capa is bow and arrow, shoka-samvigna-manasah. His mind is filled with lamentation. Next chapter while continuing he says,
na yotsya iti govindam
uktva tushnim babhuva ha
He says that I will not fight. So the Bhagavad Gita is surely a historical reality which happened five thousand years ago but it is not just a historical reality, it is actually eternal reality and Bhagavad Gita represents what happens in the heart of all of us. So in poetic sense Arjuna’s Gandiva bow represents the determination of the sadhaka to serve Krishna and that determination gets weakened by the ups and downs of this world. Primarily it gets weakened by perceptions and conceptions which are disconnected from Krishna. So Arjuna came fully ready to fight. But then he had just a feeling, “I want to see who all are fighting.” So he told Krishna, “Please take my chariot in between the two armies.” When He took in between then he saw Bhisma and Drona.
sarvesham ca mahi-kshitam
uvaca partha pashyaitan
samavetan kurun iti
So Krishna told him, “Just see O Arjuna.” So Krishna is sarcastically telling him, “This is not time to see, this is time for action. What do you want to see over here?” But he sees and he gets bewildered. So that’s a very dramatic … before Krishna takes the chariot between the two parties, he tells, “I want to see” dhartarashtrasya durbuddher (BG 1.23) he says who are those people who are here to assist the evil minded sons of Dhritarashtra but as soon as he sees he says,
drishtvemam sva-janam krishna
So sva-janam, so before coming in the middle he knows that they are actually evil minded but when he comes in between and sees those who are durbuddher, they become sva-jana, “Ohh they are all my relatives, how can I fight with them?” So this first perception weakens his determination and in based of perception, there is conceptions, speculations. What if this will happen, what if that will happen, what if that happens and at the end of it he loses heart, he says, “I can’t fight” So actually if we over-rely on our perceptions and conceptions, the same thing happens to us, we lose our enthusiasm to serve Krishna
Krishna sarcastically calling Arjuna as impotent
And when Krishna starts speaking, the first thing Krishna does is just gives pep-talk, Arjuna this is not becoming …
kutas tva kashmalam idam
“Arjuna this is not become … why are you becoming cowardly like this?” So our acaryas describe that klaibyam ma sma gamah partha (BG 2.3), klaibyam actually means impotent. So we know in the Mahabharata, at the time of the ajnata-vasa, actually Arjuna had acted as an impotent person, as a eunuch, so Krishna is sarcastically telling Arjuna, “While playing the role of a klaibya have you actually become a klaibya now? Why are you not fighting?” So this is like verbal slap for Arjuna.
Essential message of Gita – “Do not lament”
But Arjuna says, “No I am not weak hearted. Actually how can I fight with my relatives?” And then finally he says, “I surrender to you” And then Krishna starts speaking. So Jiva Goswami in his sandarbha explains the essential message of Gita in a very beautiful way. He says we can understand the essential message of a book by looking at the beginning and at the end. So the beginning, the first words of instructions that Krishna speaks is,
ashocyan anvashocas tvam
prajna-vadamsh ca bhashase
“Why are you lamenting for that which is not worthy of lamentation?” And the concluding instructions He speaks is ma shucah (BG 18.66) “Do not lament” So Jiva Goswami explains that the essential message of the Bhagavad Gita is do not lament.
Krishna blends encouragement & enlightenment to relieve Arjuna from lamentation
This material world is a place that causes lamentation for us inevitably, sooner or later, something goes wrong and despite our best plans and intentions and we tend to lament.
The Bhagavad Gita’s message is meant to free us from lamentation but this freedom from lamentation has two parts – there is Krishna offers encouragement at the start of the Gita and at the end of the Gita and in between He offers enlightenment. These two both have to be there when we help others. There are many modern self help books which says, “Come-on you can do it” So they just try to encourage but actually self help does not work because these books don’t tell us what is the self that they are trying to help. So without knowing that how can they really be helping anyone? So that’s why there should not just be encouragement but also enlightenment. So if there is only encouragement without enlightenment, it is not substantial, it cannot last. On the other hand if there is only enlightenment without encouragement then that does not create the confidence, “Ok this is a right thing. I don’t think I can do it. It’s very difficult.” So Krishna very endearingly blends encouragement and enlightenment in His message and this blend of encouragement and enlightenment that frees Arjuna from lamentation.
Why does Krishna smiles seeing Arjuna suffering?
So first thing when Arjuna surrenders so at that time prahasann iva bharata (BG 2.10) Krishna smiles. So Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura describes why does Krishna smiles? Actually Arjuna is lamenting. Why should Krishna smile at that time? Because He feels that Arjuna is behaving in very unbecoming way and as a friend whenever in the Mahabharata if any of the pandavas behave in unbecoming ways then Krishna tends to tease them. At one point when Bhima says just before Krishna is going to go as shanti duta. At that time even Bhima says, “Krishna please try for peace” And at that time Krishna ____ “Bhima I didn’t expect this from you.” He said, “All the fourteen years you were breathing fire practically and now what has happened. Truly it is said that when the war approaches even the brave becomes cowardly” And this incites Bhima, he says, “I am not cowardly but I feel there should not be any bloodshed.” So actually Krishna generally if somebody behaves in a way that is not appropriate _____ Krishna teases them. So Krishna because Krishna is in sakhya rasa with all the pandavas so He has that tendency to laugh at Arjuna when he says, “Oh I can’t fight” But then He sees that Arjuna has surrendered to Me so now we are not friends, actually our relationship has changed. So if a disciple expresses a problem to the spiritual master, the spiritual master cannot laugh at the problem of the disciple. If the spiritual master laughs, the disciple’s heart will break by that. So that’s why Krishna is about to laugh but He curbs His laughter and therefore it is said prahasann iva bharata as if laughing
Krishna stressing – “Do not lament”
And then Krishna starts speaking and then He talks about how you are not the body, you are the soul. So basically if we see the first section is essentially 25, 26, 27, 30, this is do not lament. That is like a chorus Krishna says, na tvam shocitum arhasi (BG 2.27, BG 2.30), nainam shocitum arhasi (BG 2.26), nanushocitum arhasi (BG 2.25) Do not lament. Why? Because you are not the body, you are the soul, they are not the body, they are the soul.
Why is Krishna talking elaborate philosophy in second chapter?
1. Only God knows what the audience is hearing
And then Krishna starts talking about karma-kanda, karma yoga. I will not go into the full philosophy because we are focusing on the emotions. But generally it is said that when a speaker speaks and the audience hears, the audience hears only 20 % of what the speaker speaks. Of course that is if the audience is awake, otherwise that will also not be there. But ofcourse Arjuna was not sleeping on the battlefield. But now ok the audience knows hears 20 % but God only knows which 20 % we will hear. So because of that Krishna is talking elaborate philosophy.
Quarter hen logic
karmany evadhikaras te
ma phaleshu kadacana
This is one of the most quoted, least understood verse of the Gita. Actually Srila Prabhupada talks about half hen logic. You take the hen, just back part and leave off the front part. So we just want the eggs, but not to feed ____ But actually with respect to this verse, it is not even half hen logic, it is quarter hen logic because only one-fourth of the verse is quoted, karmany evadhikaras te, that’s all.
2. Arjuna asking about the symptoms of enlightened persons
But Krishna is speaking very lofty philosophy and Arjuna is still thinking, “Should I fight or should I not fight?” So what is happening is he is having his own thought process and that’s why he asks Krishna, “Krishna you are talking about this enlightened person, please tell me his symptoms” and that’s why that question comes up in 2.53, what are the symptoms of an enlightened person? And Krishna again goes into philosophy because Krishna wants to take the discussion to higher level.
3. Bhagavad Gita is a book of transcendence not violence or peace
Actually the Bhagavad Gita is not book of violence or peace, it is a book of transcendence and to attract our attention, it creates the most dramatic setting possible and that is a setting of the warfield but the Bhagavad Gita’s message is not primarily a message of war. So Krishna is taking the discussion at a higher and higher level.
Arjuna getting confused at the end of second chapter
So He talks about how the enlightened person is self-controlled and how one can become self-controlled and then when He says how you will become self-controlled, He says, “Such a self-controlled person will attain peace, sa shantim adhigacchati (BG 2.71) Now Arjuna is thinking, “Oh shanti means no fighting.” So Krishna is talking about different kind of shanti, Arjuna thinks about different kind of shanti. So that’s why in the third chapter Arjuna asks Krishna, “Krishna first You said that fighting is bad and then you are recommending me to fight. How will the fighting will attain peace?” Then Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport, actually everything has been spoken in the second chapter but because it was not spoken in a way that Arjuna could understand so Krishna elaborates it. So Bhaktivinod Thakura in his Rasika-ranjana commentary calls the second chapter as contents of the Gita summarized and Prabhupada uses that chapter title.
Arjuna unble to catch Krishna’s hint in the second chapter
Now in the second chapter Krishna does not talk about His supreme position. He mainly talks about what is the right course of action. So there is only one verse 2.61, only one fourth of one verse, “mat-parah, tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita mat-parah, you should fix your mind on Me.” So Krishna just drops a hint over there that “Actually I am not just teacher of sense control, I am the object of the controlled senses, I am the object on which the controlled senses should be fixed.” But Arjuna does not catch that because he is in his own world at that time, “So should I fight, or should I not fight?” So then again there is systematic discussion.
So basically the essential message that comes out at the end of the Gita is how bhakti yoga is the greatest best part and Bhagavan is the highest manifestation of God, the personality, the beautiful personality of Godhead that is the highest manifestation of God.
Krishna dropping a hint to Arjuna about His Supreme position
So in the third chapter, Krishna speaks about various things and how one should in an exemplary way, practice karma yoga and then there is Krishna again drops one verse hint that actually the perfection of karma yoga is to offer your work to Me, in 3.30 He says,
mayi sarvani karmani
That offer your work to Me.
Arjuna inquiring about duty and about becoming detached
But then Arjuna is still thinking, “Ok You are saying I should do duty, you are saying I should be detached but I am attached, what should I do?” and this whole analysis which Krishna gives. So at the end of the third chapter, Krishna describes, how one can become free from attachment, primarily attachment to lust
Arjuna getting confused with Krishna’s declaration about Sun God
And then suddenly in the fourth chapter, Krishna _____ changes track and He says, “I spoke this knowledge to the Sun God.” So Arjuna thinks, “Where did Sun-God come into the picture? Just now You are talking about controlling the senses and this is the mind, this is the intelligence and this is the soul and suddenly I spoke this knowledge to the Sun-God.”
Arjuna waits and inquires
So now generally speaking … Arjuna is also very intelligent. Sometimes when we are hearing a class we get a question and sometimes it’s possible that if we just keep hearing, the question will get answered. So Arjuna he hears that 4.1 Krishna says that, “I have given this knowledge to Sun-God, imam vivasvate yogam (BG 4.1)” so he immediately gets the question but he doesn’t ask anything, “Let me see if Krishna Himself explains” But then He doesn’t explain, He says, “Ok like that the knowledge was given to so many people and now I am going to give this knowledge and then you will have to preach this knowledge.” “Hey wait a minute, wait a minute, I can’t do this. Please tell me how did You do this to Sun God.”
Why does Krishna brings the Sun God in between?
So why does Krishna brings the Sun God suddenly in between? Krishna wants to actually tell Arjuna that “The knowledge which I am giving you is not just some circumstantial knowledge that is taught in the battlefield. This is the knowledge which is eternally available since the start of the creation. So the Sun gives light to the world but I give light to the Sun, I give the light of knowledge to the Sun.” So that is the theme of Krishna’s telling that I have enlightened and illuminated the Sun God and this knowledge of how to become free from attachment, how to become free from selfishness that Krishna says is eternally available.
Krishna plays the role of both Brahmana and ksatriya
So actually in this world Krishna plays the role of both the brahmana and ksatriya. A Brahmana is a person who gives knowledge and ksatriya is a person who creates facility to implement that knowledge. So first Krishna says, “I give the knowledge to the Sun God and as the Sun God carries on that mean the rajarsis who continue that knowledge but then He says sometimes these rajarsis are not able to function and at that time there is dharmasya glanir (BG 4.7) and when there is dharmasya glanir then I Myself come. So normally appears in the role of a brahmana but when there is emergency He takes up the role of a ksatriya. So that’s why,
vinashaya ca dushkritam
This is actually the role of a ksatriya, so establishing dharma, removing adharma, protecting the saintly, so Krishna says, “I take that up Myself”
The main purpose of Krishna’s descent
And then after that Krishna says, “But this is not the main purpose I come for. I come not to create order in this world because no matter how much order we will create there will eventually be disorder in this world. I come to take you out of this world back to the spiritual world, janma karma ca me divyam, You actually come back to Me”, 4.9 and 4.10 He describes how You can come back to Me.
Misinterpretation of ye yatha mam…
And then 4.11 is the verse which is again very often quoted and very little understood, one of the verses again,
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manushyah partha sarvashah
So generally impersonalists, those people who believe only in the impersonal conception of God, the mayavadis, they quote the second half of the verse that where as the Vaisnava acarya quotes the first half. What is the second half? mama vartmanuvartante manushyah partha sarvashah actually this verse means that all people are on My path but this is mistranslated as all paths come to me.
Srila Prabhupada pastime
So Srila Prabhupada was in America. At one time one young man after the lecture he asked, “Swamiji I don’t know the verse but I heard that Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that whatever you will do you will come to Me. What do you have to say about that?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “If whatever you do, you will go to Krishna then why does Krishna has to speak the Bhagavad Gita?” It’s very simple, why does Krishna has to speak the Bhagavad Gita? So obviously the Bhagavad Gita is telling do this and don’t do this. But it is often misunderstood.
So this is the only section in the first six chapters of the Gita where Krishna speaks about Himself from 4.5 to 4.15.
Krishna focusing on the art of work
So the focus is on Him that actually I come, descend to this world and give this knowledge but Krishna is focusing more on the art of work and that’s why He says,
kim karma kim akarmeti
kavayo ‘py atra mohitah
That actually it is very difficult to understand what is the art of work and I will tell you the art of work
Understandiing the verse brahmarpanam brahma havi…
And then finally He comes to tell, “Ok you have to actually perform sacrifice” and there is one verse in the 4th chapter, 24th verse which actually puts people into bhrama, its filled with brahma and that’s why it puts people in bhrama,
brahmarpanam brahma havir
brahmagnau brahmana hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
So now there are mayavadis they say that everything is Brahman. So what they do? When they take prasad, brahmarpanam brahma havir, this brahma is going into brahma. But actually Krishna is saying something very different over there. Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna is telling, “Arjuna that I want you to perform a fire sacrifice. What is that fire sacrifice? The sacrifice is that the whole battlefield of Kuruksetra is the yajna-sthali and your bow and arrow is the spoon and the kauravas are the ghee that is to be offered.”
Arjuna surprised with the above mentioned sacrifice
So Arjuna says, “I never heard about this kind of sacrifice.” Then Krishna says, “Oh you didn’t know. There are so many different kinds of sacrifices” and then from 4.25 to 4.32 Krishna tell different kinds of sacrifices. Arjuna says, “My God I thought there is only one kind of sacrifice.”
Krishna recommends Arjuna to go to guru for understanding sacrifices
Then Krishna tells, “Actually there are so many different kind of sacrifices therefore if you want to know what you have to do you should go to a guru and find out which sacrifice you should do.” And then Arjuna hears this, “Ok you have to go to a guru” Now he thinks, “Ok what about fighting because Arjuna again and again …”
Krishna describing His relationship with other living entities for the first time
Now here in 4.35, He tells what is the consequence of attaining knowledge from a guru. He says that you will see the connection of everyone with Me.
yaj jnatva na punar moham
evam yasyasi pandava
yena bhutany asheshani
drakshyasy atmany atho mayi
“drakshyasy atmany atho mayi, you will see all living beings are in Me and are Mine.” So here Krishna describes for the first time in the Gita His relationship with the living entities that they all belong to Me and therefore should understand that I am their greatest wellwisher. Whatever I am telling you is good for them.
ArjunA getting confused again at the end of the fourth chapter
So then again Krishna is telling how if you practice this knowledge you will attain peace, shantim adhigacchati (BG 4.39) and He says shantim adhigacchati in 4.40 and in 4.42 He says, “Arjuna rise and fight” So again Arjuna says, “What happened? Why are you giving contradictory instructions like this?” So again what happens is Arjuna is in a different frame of reference, Krishna is in a different frame of reference but finally Krishna says, “I will clarify again and He gave systematically the understanding of the 5th chapter.
Krishna talking about Himself only once at the end
And the fifth chapter only place He refers to Himself is the last verse where He says that bhoktaram yajna-tapasam, where he says that I am the goal of all sacrifice, I am the goal of all austerities, I am the goal of all works
Arjuna getting frightened on hearing about astanga yoga
And here basically in the first chapter Krishna tells Arjuna, “_____ karma yoga and the perfection of karma yoga is Bhakti yoga” and then He talks about astanga yoga over there. Now when Arjuna hears about astanga yoga he becomes a little frightened because you have to go to the jungles and stay in the jungle,
shucau deshe pratishthapya
sthiram asanam atmanah
Is Prabhupada cancelling Krishna’s words?
Now Srila Prabhupadu is actually very compassionate. So when Krishna is telling that go to jungle, Prabhupada is telling in the purport, “This is not practical. You should stay at home and chant Hare Krishna.” Now actually there are some mundane scholars who say, “Is this a commentary or is this a contradiction of the speaker? So actually is Prabhupada elaborating Krishna’s words or is he cancelling Krishna’s words? So how can you say something exactly opposite to what the teacher is saying?”
1. Krishna is cancelling His own words. Why?
Actually if you are talking about cancelling Krishna’s words, Krishna cancels His own words in the Gita where at the end He says,
mam ekam sharanam vraja
“Give up everything and surrender to Me” So here He teaches all these things, so there are some mundane scholar, they can’t understand so they change this verse and they say, sarva-adharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja, they change the dharma to adharma, why? How can you give up dharma?
1A. Krishna is giving different level of instructions for different people
But actually Krishna is telling us to give up lower dharmas to take up higher dharmas. So Bhagavad Gita is not a very simple book to understand because we don’t have a very simple intelligence. So Bhagavad Gita is giving different levels of instructions for different people and when it gives different levels of instructions for different people what is good at one level is not good at other.
Ex reaction of father to his two sons
So imagine a father has two sons. So one son is outstanding in his studies, he always gets very good marks, say 80 % marks. The other son gets very mediocre marks, just 40 % marks and now today both of them have come with the results and both of them have 60 % marks. And the 40 % son comes, “Father I have got 60 %” “Very good” pets his back, “Well done!” Second son, “Father I got 60%” “Very bad, what did you do?” Both got 60% why bad? Because for him it’s a come down. So what is good or bad depends on what level one is at. So Krishna will tell the same thing at one time … first He will say, dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge (BG 4.8) I have come to establish dharma but later He will say, give up all dharma why? Because from 40 %, 60 % is good but from 60 %, 80 % is better. So from adharma to come to dharma is good but from dharma to go to para dh arma of pure devotional service that is the best.
1B. Whole purpose of Gita is to glorify Srimati Radharani
So in the 6th chapter, Krishna starts … So what Srila Prabhupada does is Krishna build His argument, He just drop some verses. Actually Krishna’s heart is so compassionate that He simply wants to give the ultimate conclusion. Now our acaryas describe that the whole purpose of the Bhagavad Gita is to glorify Srimati Radharani. Now in the whole Bhagavad Gita there is no reference to the word Radharani. The only two words that come close to the reference of Radharani is that daivim prakritim ashritah (BG 9.13) that to take shelter of the divine potency and esha brahmi sthitih partha (BG 2.72) Normally the word brahma is neuter but Krishna uses the word brahmi, its feminine but there is no reference to Radharani in the full Bhagavad Gita. And if you look at the complete Bhagavad Gita as it is, the commentary of Srila Prabhupada, there also the name of Radharani comes only once and where is that? That is in the introduction when Srila Prabhupada is offering prayers,
That is the only place where Radharani’s reference is there then how can it be claimed that the whole purpose of the Bhagavad Gita is to glorify Radharani? Actually Radharani is not just a personality, She is surely a personality but She is a personality who manifests also as the energy of bhakti and Krishna wants to glorify the process of bhakti. So Krishna speaks His own glories so as to inspire people, “If this is how glorious I am and yet I get conquered by bhakti so how glorious is bhakti.” So Krishna is speaking His glories simply to glorify the prowess of bhakti. That’s why Krishna speaks all these things and He rejects all these things at the end of the Bhagavad Gita.
2. What Krishna does at the end, Srila Prabhupada does through out
But what Srila Prabhupada does compassionately is Krishna drops hints throughout the Gita and at the end of the Gita He says, “Just forget everything, surrender to Me” But throughout the Gita, Prabhupada says, “Just forget everything, surrender to Krishna” So what Krishna does at the end of the Gita Srila Prabhupada does throughout the Gita.
3. Prabhupada does that owing to the fallen condition of kali yuga generation
So why does Srila Prabhupada do that? He says in one of the lectures that people in kaliyuga they have neither the time, nor the capacity, nor the intelligence to read and understand so they would just take any verse of the Gita and start reading that and they will say, “Ok this says I have to become a renunciant, I have to give up home, I have to go to a jungle, it is not practical, put it side.” Prabhupada says, “Just open any page of the Gita, you will get the conclusion of the Gita there.” That is the characteristic of Srila Prabhupada. So Srila Prabhupada is actually bringing forefront of the Gita the essential compassion of Krishna’s heart.
4. Srila Prabhupada following what Narada muni told Vyasadeva
So in essence if we compare with the Srimad Bhagavatam then there is Narada muni and Vyasa speaking. So Vyasadeva has written all the scriptures and at the end Narada muni chastises him, “Why are you doing all that? Just speak pure devotional service.” Then he writes Bhagavatam. So in one sense Krishna also does the whole thing. He talks about all the dharmas, all the various processes of religion and then he talks about pure devotional service. So Srila Prabhupada follows what Narada muni told Vyasadeva in Bhagavatam, just speak about pure devotional service throughout the Gita.
Krishna describing about the ultimate achievement of life
So now in the 6th chapter Krishna talks about how you have to go to the jungle and then you have to attain samadhi and those verses in 6.20 to 23 are very beautiful verses, how a person’s mind become stilled,
pashyann atmani tushyati
The mind becomes completely still and when the mind becomes still one turn inwards and inwards one sees the Supersoul, pashyann atmani tushyati and here describes what is actually the ultimate achievement of life. Different people have different conceptions. Somebody may say, “I want to go to America, I want to start my own company, I want to do this, I want to do that.” Krishna says, “Fine” Real achievement should have two characteristics. What are the two characteristics?
yam labdhva caparam labham
manyate nadhikam tatah
yasmin sthito na duhkhena
So He says that if you attain the ultimate achievement, the first characteristic is after achieving that one should feel that there is nothing more to achieve, yam labdhva caparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah that means one becomes satisfied by that achievement and I don’t want anything more and second thing He says is if you achieve that thing then no misery can trouble you, yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunapi vicalyate. So real achievement is that which takes us beyond hankering and beyond lamentation. So no achievement of the material world can take us beyond this. Even if somebody says, “Ok I want to become the wealthiest person may be in the city of Mumbai. We become but then what happens? I want to become the wealthiest person in the state of Maharastra. Then the person wants to become the wealthiest in the country of India then in the continent of Asia then in the whole world then in the history of the world and then the person becomes history. So no matter how much one achieves, actually there is no satisfaction. But when one achieves Krishna, when achieve Krishna prema, yam labdhva caparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah and second thing he says once one has achieved that, yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunapi vicalyate, one will not be disturbed by anything. So this is Krishna’s definition of the real achievement of life. Try to achieve that which will take us beyond the reach of hankering, beyond the reach of lamentation and that is pure love of Krishna because that is awakening of the innermost core of our heart and nothing between can seize us from … take that away from us.
Krishna describing about three aspects of Absolute Truth
And then Krishna goes on further describes. He describes about the three manifestations of God – Brahman, Paramatama and Bhagavan. 28th verse of the 6th chapter He describes Brahman
atyantam sukham ashnute
29th verse He describes Paramatama,
And 30th verse, He describes Bhagavan,
yo mam pashyati sarvatra
sarvam ca mayi pashyati
“One who sees Me in everyone’s heart.” So like that He has taken to the highest understanding of God. And then Krishna says the highest yogi is one who wants to share what he has achieved with others
Arjuna finds the whole process impractical and difficult
And there Arjuna starts thinking, Arjuna says, “This process of going to jungle, turning inwards and finding the Lord in the heart, meditating on Him, it all seems very impractical. I don’t think I can do it.” So he says, “My mind is very restless.” And when he says my mind is very restless, Krishna encourages him, “Yes practice it, you will be able to achieve.”
abhyasena tu kaunteya
vairagyena ca grihyate
But then Arjuna still is not pacified, he says, “Ok I will achieve it but it doesn’t seem very easy. It may take a very long time and what if I am not successful?”
Arjuna expressing his fear of being unsuccessful
So then there are three verses when Arjuna pours out his heart, his anxiety, “Krishna what You are telling it seems very difficult. If I try to go on a spiritual path and if I don’t succeed, kaccin nobhaya-vibhrashtash chinnabhram iva nashyati, will I not be lost? Gaining nothing materially, gaining nothing spiritually also.” So 37, 38, 39 Arjuna asks three verses on this question
Krishna’s loving reassurance to Arjuna
1. “You will not lose in this world or the next”
And 6.40 the loving concern of Krishna comes out in one of the most sweet and reassuring verses of the Gita. Krishna tells Arjuna,
partha naiveha namutra
vinashas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyana-krit kashcid
durgatim tata gacchati
So tata, tata means O beloved! It’s the only place in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna addresses Arjuna as tata, “O my dear beloved Arjuna one who does good My friend will never perish. Know that you will not lose in this world or in the next world also” And then Krishna describes.
2. “You will get both heaven and spiritual world”
So Arjuna thinks, “If I do my duty properly, I will go to heaven. If I give up my material duty and try to practice spirituality, I will go to the spiritual world. But if I give up my material duties and I am unable to succeed spiritually then I will never get heaven, nor I will get spiritual world. So I will lose both.” But Krishna such a brilliant reversal of paradigm He does that He shows, “Arjuna that actually if you practice bhakti, if you still have material desire, you will go to heaven then you will come back and you will go to the spiritual world also. So you will get both.” So Arjuna is thinking, “I will lose both”, Krishna tell him, “You will get both” So Krishna actually changes Arjuna’s vision. So Arjuna is thinking it is lose-lose, Krishna shows him it is win-win.
3. “In next life you will be helplessly attracted to Me”
And then Krishna tells Arjuna, very beautifully He says, “Even if you are not able to complete your path of spirituality, actually in the next life when you start,
hriyate hy avasho ‘pi sah
“Helplessly you will be attracted to Me and you will return back to Me” and devotees all over the world have given accounts of how there are souls …
3A. A small girl’s recount
H.H.Indradyumna Maharaja describes in his travelling preacher’s diary how he was preaching in Poland and one day after the lecture one small four-five year old girl came and she said, “Maharaja I want to talk, I have a question.” And maharaja thought, “Ok let me see some older person is there, this small girl, what question can she have?” And then that girl’s mother also came over there and when the mother came she said, “Actually maharaja …” They were westerners but she also said, “Maharaja she loves you so much and she has a photo of you in her room and she chants the prayers you told her last year. He said, “I told her last year?” He said, “What do you mean?” and she said, “Actually last year she had come and then what happened she came for the program … actually right from her childhood, so when she would go to the school, in school she would tell, ‘Actually to eat meat is very bad and we all go through many lives. In my last life I was born in India, now I am born here’ and then when the first time the devotees went on Hari Nama kirtana suddenly she was in her home, she just ran out of the home, small four year girl and then she said, ‘I want to go to where they are going’ the mother went and caught down, ‘You cannot go like this’, ‘No you must come’ then she went and now they have a big festival ___, there were hundreds of things over there but she just went straight to the place where the deities of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra deities were there and she just offered complete prostrated obeisances.” Mother is wondering, “What is happening? Has something fallen down?”She couldn’t figure out. So actually this is the example of purvabhyasena tenaiva hriyate hy avasho ‘pi sah, by past practice one is helplessly attracted.
3B. Animals in Krishna Consciousness
H.H. Janananda Maharaja has written a very beautiful book called, “Animals in Krishna Consciousness” So he describes how there are different temples for example one temple in Malaysia, every evening at 7 o’ clock at the time of Gaur Arati, one dog would come near to the door and he would just stand and look at the deities and the devotees thought, “What is this dog doing? They ____push him away and he would just go away and again sit there. And everyday he would come and half an hour he would be there then he will go away and then they thought this dog will not bite even if somebody throws stone at him, he will not bark, he will not bite and then they realize that this dog is a devotee from previous life. So there are many remarkable experiences. So what we practice Krishna Consciousness that is never lost. So then Krishna assures Arjuna that actually whatever you will achieve will stay with you forever and then He says, “Therefore the greatest yogi is one who fixes his mind on Me”
Krishna introducing a new path for Arjuna
And then… actually Krishna has not answered Arjuna’s questions. Arjuna said, “This path is very difficult” So now seventh chapter onwards Krishna says there is another path for you to follow Arjuna. Till the sixth chapter Krishna has been telling, “You have to be detached, you have to be equipoised but suddenly seventh chapter, Krishna introduces a new dimension, “mayy asakta-manah partha (BG 7.1) Make your mind attached to Me.”
Seventh chapter starts with the Bhakti section
So seventh chapter start with the bhakti section of the Bhagavad Gita when Krishna describes how you should, actually don’t just become detached from the world but become attached to Me and then He describes how He pervades the whole world and perfection of life is to surrender to Him.
Krishna calling His devotees to be udara
He describes four kinds of people who surrender to Him and there Ramanujacarya in his commentary explains a very beautiful point. Krishna says that all the people who come to Me,
udarah sarva evaite
jnani tv atmaiva me matam
He says, “All those people who come to Me are very udara, very charitable. Now the word udara, generally speaking you can say a wealthy person is udara or God is udara but Krishna is udara but Krishna is telling that My devotees are udara, My devotees are charitable. So Ramanujacarya explains that actually Krishna is hungry for bhakti. Krishna can get everything in this world but there is one thing which He cannot get unless we give it to Him and that is our love and that’s why if a soul offers his love to Krishna, Krishn feels you are so charitable. This is Krishna’s heart. Actually Krishna has made us, Krishna has sustained us, Krishna is providing us everything but if we offer our love to Krishna, Krishna says, “You are so udara, you are so large hearted.” Mrkandeya rishi in his prayers to the Lord says that, “My dear Lord how compassionate are you. Actually you only inspires the devotees to perform devotional service. When the devotee performs devotional service, You only give the devotee ecstasy and when You give ecstasy to the devotee, devotee starts crying tears and You think what a great devotee this person is.” So this is udara, how Krishna is so large hearted. So Krishna is actually hungry for love. “And somehow or the other you come to Me” Krishna says
Krishna answering the question Arjuna asked in sixth chapter
So seventh chapter He describes all these different kinds of people who come to Me. And then the eight chapter He goes into… eighth chapter He answers Arjuna’s question. Arjuna had said, “This path of yoga is very difficult. So eight chapter Krishna says, “Yes now I will tell you a path that is easy.”
yo mam smarati nityashah
tasyaham sulabhah partha
So He says, “If you remember Me I will be sulabhah, I will be easily obtained.” Earlier Krishna has said dushkaram, it’s very difficult to attain but by bhakti that which is difficult becomes easy to attain. So actually Krishna reassures Arjuna. This is the only place in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna says, “I am easy to obtain”easy to obtain by the path of bhakti.
Krishna cannot tolerate separation from His devotee
And then Krishna talks about the path of yoga and says, “Ok you have to … if you die at the time of night, this will happen. If you die at the time of day, this will happen.” And then Arjuna says, “How can I control when I will die?” And then Krishna tells Arjuna,
naite sriti partha janan
yogi muhyati kashcana
tasmat sarveshu kaleshu
He says, “All this is for the yogis, you are My devotee. Whether you die at night or day time I will come and give you My rememberance.” So Baldeva Vidyabhusana explains in the …he quotes from the Vayu Purana, he explains in the Govinda Bhasya commentary that actually when a devotee starts serving Krishna, Krishna cannot tolerate separation from that devotee and actually if the devotee forgets Krishna, Krishna feels separated from that devotee. So when we forget Krishna, we are the loser but Krishna thinks, “I am the loser.” So if the devotee goes way from Krishna because the devotee has offered his love to Krishna, Krishna feels, “I cannot tolerate separation and Krishna forces Himself back into his consciousness.” And He says, “When I can no longer tolerate separation from the devotee, I come on Garuda Myself and I take the devotee on Garuda and take him back to the spiritual world. So Arjuna you don’t have to worry at all.”
So by the end of the 5th chapter, Krishna has shown how bhakti yoga is better then karma yoga. At the end of the eight chapter, Krishna has shown how bhakti yoga is better then astanga yoga.
Now ninth chapter just speaks abut bhakti, pure bhakti He speaks about. And there, there are many beautiful verses like ananyash cintayanto mam (BG 9.22) “If you think about Me, I will take care of all your problems, don’t worry.”
Krishna expressing His love unconditionally for a devotee
And then there is this very special verse, where Krishna says, “Even if My devotee does something wrong still he is to be considered saintly.” So,
api cet suduracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
“Even if My devotee does any sinful activity, no matter how bad, still he is to be considered saintly.” Now how is this to be understood if we do something wrong? So actually the emphasis of this verse is Krishna’s love. So Krishna is telling, “Whatever you do I will keep loving you.” That does not mean that we should do whatever we want to do. Just like a father says, father tells his son, “My dear son whatever you do I will love you.” But that doesn’t mean son should do whatever he wants but the idea is Krishna expresses His love unconditionally and for a devotee this verse is a reassurance that there is nothing that we can do that can stop Krishna from loving us. Krishna has made us to love Him and to be loved by Him and there is nothing that anyone can do, we or anyone else can do that can stop Krishna from loving us. It is a very reassuring verse.
Contradictions in the verses 9.30 and 9.31
Now Bhaktivinod Thakur in his commentary Rasik Ranjana gives a very beautiful explanation of this verse. He says, “This verse is telling even if My devotee does the most sinful activity, if he is fixed in My devotional service then he will never … he will be saintly and he will never perish and become dharmatma (BG 9.31)” So he says, “This is a very strange verse because if somebody is My fixed devotee, ananya-bhak devotee, somebody is My constant devotee, how can he do sinful activities? Somebody is constantly practicing bhakti, how can he do sinful activities?” So there are three levels – There is pure bhakti, there is sinful activity and there is mundane dharma, dharmatma that is mundane punya. So there is papa, punya and bhakti. These three levels are there. So Krishna is telling that if one is doing My pure bhakti then even if he does some papa still he is to be called a punyatma, still he will become a punyatma. So he says why this three level confusion? First of all how can a bhakta do papa? And if a bhakta does papa, why will he become punyavana, he should stay bhakta?
The above verse refers to the gopis
So he gives a very beautiful answer. He says that actually this verse refers to the gopis of Vrindavana. He says how? api cet suduracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak, He says the gopis when they leave their homes and go to Krishna at midnight. From a mundane point of view, this is suduracaro, this is very bad but they are doing it out of pure bhakti, ananya-bhak and therefore sadhur eva sa mantavyah, therefore they are to be considered sadhus. So He says that My devotees even if they seem to do wrong, they never do wrong, especially the gopis, they can never do wrong. So they are sadhur eva sa mantavyah.
One who declares the glories of gopis becomes dharmatma
Then what about dharmatma? He says that one who declares the glories of the gopis such a person will become dharmatma, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranashyati (BG 9.31) one who declares the glories of the gopis, even if he is sinful, he will become pious.
Grace of bhakti
Then Krishna describes how anybody and everybody can serve Me
mam hi partha vyapashritya
ye ‘pi syuh papa-yonayah
So He says that even if one is very sinful … so the grace of bhakti extends in two ways – one way is it can go down to the person who is at the lowest level and secondly it can take a person to the highest level. So other paths cannot go down so much and they cannot take you up so much. So Krishna describes …
And then He has this famous verse man-mana bhava mad-bhakto (BG 9.34) So Jiva Goswami gives very beautiful understanding. He says that this same verse comes in 9.34 and it also comes in 18.65. So what is the difference? So I will tell in 18.65 when we come to that.
Bhagavad Gita should have been over by chapter 10
So then in the tenth chapter Krishna speaks the catur sloki, “Yes, aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah (BG 9.34) … I am the source of everything” and then Arjuna is enlightened. Arjuna describes his understanding,
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
“You are the supreme person.” And when Arjuna speaks that practically the Bhagavad Gita is over at that time.
Arjuna asking questions for the enlightenment of common people
But now Arjuna starts following Krishna’s instructions loka-sangraham evapi (BG 3.20) for the enlightenment of people he starts asking further questions. So he said, “Krishna You had told You are in the spiritual world, we should always think of you but people who are material conscious, how can they think of You?” So then he says, “Please tell us how I can think of you materially.” Then Krishna starts describing His vibhuti. So He says, “mriganam ca mrigendro ‘ham (BG 10.30) Among animals I am lion. ritunam kusumakarah (BG 10.35) Among seasons I am the spring”
Arjuna and not Yuddhisthira represents Krishna’s vibuti through the Pandavs
And then Krishna says, “vrishninam vasudevo ‘smi pandavanam dhananjayah (BG 10.37)” He says, “Among the Vrishni I am Vasudeva” and the acaryas explain tht Krishna is speaking, “Among Pandavas…” So Arjuna thinks, “Krishna will speak I am Yuddhisthia” But He says, “I am Arjuna” So now, “Oh we two are one” “Shut up! No need for you to speak” It is not like that. So this is not a mayavadi understanding, “Oh Krishna I am You. I didn’t know that only” It is not like that. Actually why does He says, pandavanam dhananjayah because among all the Pandavas, Arjuna has the maximum integrated virtues. You know when Pandu is praying, first he says, “I want a son who will become a king so he should have dharma” And then he prays to dharmaraja and he gets Yuddhisthira. But then he thinks, “Actually dharma is good but actually dharma alone is not enough, virtue alone is not enough. Actually in this world to implement virtue we need strength. So please give me a son who has strength.” And then he prays to Vayu and then he gets Bhima. But then he thinks, “Actually just virtue or just strength are also not enough, ctually one needs skill also, expertise.” And then he says, “Give me a son who has all these three, virtue, strength and skill.” So that son is Arjuna. So that’s why Arjuna is considered to be most special amongst Pandavas.
Is Krishna having a big ego?
And then Krishna speaks after that, “Arjuna I have told you so many of My glories but actually … nanto ‘sti mama divyanam vibhutinam parantapa (BG 10.40)” He says, “There is no end to My glories” Now there is one western scholar who commented on the Bhagavad Gita and he said, “This is the height of ego. What is this?” Here Krishna is telling, imagine if we tell somebody, “Can you please introduce yourself?” He says, “Actually my introduction is endless” And not only that He says, on top of it He says, “I am …” not only does He say that I am the best among everyone … One level of false ego is to say that I am better than everyone else. But another level is that whoever has anything that is also from me only. So when Krishna says that “I am the best of everything and whatever good you see in anyone, yad yad vibhutimat sattvam shrimad urjitam eva va (BG 10.41) all that comes from Me only and that is actually just My spark mama tejo-‘msha-sambhavam” So actually what is Krishna’s mood over here? So as I said Krishna is He having a big ego?
1. Krishna speaking about Himself as a third person
There are so many verses of the Gita when Krishna speaks about Himself in the third person. Third person means for example, 18.61 He will say, Ishvarah sarva-bhutanam hrid-deshe ‘rjuna tishthati surrender to that ishvara who is situated in the hearts of everyone. Now who is that ishvara? That ishvara is Krishna only. But Krishna speaks about Himself in the third person. First person is I, second person is you, third person is he. So Krishna doesn’t want to brag His own glories. That’s why there are many places in the Bhagavad Gita where He speaks about Himself in the third person.
2. Krishna choosing clarity over humility to save the conditioned souls
But Krishna has to make a choice between humility and clarity. And He considers clarity more important than humility. Why?
Ex A doctor declaring his qualifications to save a patient
Because suppose there is a sudden accident on the road and there is a person whose bone is broken and his blood is coming out and at that time there is a doctor, very competent doctor but he is in plain clothes. Now he wants to tell the people, “Hey! Come on you take him out, you put this plaster, put this bandage and do like this.” And people are not ready to listen to him. Then he will tell, “You know the biggest hospital in the city, I am the number one doctor in that and I have done so many surgeries, I have saved so many people.” Now he is telling that not because he wants to brag his own glories but because he wants to save the patient over there. So similarly Krishna doesn’t want to brag His own glories but Krishna wants to save the conditioned soul who is moving in ignorance and for the conditioned soul to take an instruction seriously Krishna has to speak His position. So Krishna doesn’t have any false ego. Ofcourse nothing is false about Him so even His ego is true.
3. Krishna being a charioteer indicates His humility
But actually Krishna He is simply speaking and if You want to say that Krishna is proud, just look at the setting of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna is the charioteer of Arjuna. You know what pride is there in being a charioteer?
4. Krishna is motivated by love
Krishna is ready to become a charioteer for the sake of love and Krishna is ready to proclaim His own glories for the sake of love. Krishna is motivated only by love.
Arjuna asking Krishna to reveal His universal form for the benefit of people
Now 11th chapter is the most dramatic in terms of action in the Gita. Till the tenth chapter, emotions are just in the heart. So Arjuna thinks that “Ok Krishna You have told that You are the greatest, You contain everything, everything comes from You. But people will not believe You. So can You please reveal Your universal form?” So it is described that when Markandeya rishi asks the Lord, “Can I see your maya?” So the Lord smiled regretfully. So same happens with Krishna. So Krishna says, “Ok you want to see, I will show you.”
Vision of Universal form is described three times in Bhagavad Gita
So 11th chapter is very beautiful because what Arjuna is going to see is never seen before. So first Krishna describes to Arjuna what you are going to see. So 5th to 9th verses they just describe what you are going to see. Then after that Sanjaya tells Dhrtrastra what Arjuna is seeing that’s four verses. And then next 18 verses Arjuna tells what I am seeing. So the same vision is described three times.
Arjuna becoming bewildered and developing awe and venerance
And Arjuna first starts glorifying, “Oh You are so great, You are everywhere” and then He is looking at the whole form and suddenly He starts seeing… Actually He is not just everywhere, looking very fierce and all these warriors are going into the mouth of the Visva rupa and he gives two examples over there of moth going to fire or rivers going to the ocean and as Arjuna is seeing, bhayena ca pravyathitam mano me (BG 11.45) his mind becomes bewildered and then in 31st verse he says, “akhyahi me ko bhavan ugra-rupo (BG 11.31) who are You?” Actually in 30th verse only he says He is Visnu. He identifies Him as Visnu but he has never seen Visnu in such a rupa so he asks, “Who are You?” So just like Laksmidevi knew Nrsimhadeva as Visnu but He just can’t be Visnu, She couldn’t understand who are You. So Arjuna says, till then, till the 30th verse Arjuna is referring to Krishna as tvam, you know in Hindi tvam means tu but suddenly in 31st verse he says bhavan, apa (in Hindi)because this is such a big form. Tu nahi apa, apa.
Krishna mentioning the name of Jayadratha
And then Krishna speaks and He says, “kalo ‘smi loka-kshaya-krit pravriddho (BG 11.32) I am time, I am the destroyer of all the worlds” and then He says,
dronam ca bhishmam ca jayadratham ca
karnam tathanyan api yodha-viran
maya hatams tvam jahi ma vyathishtha
He says that “Actually all the warriors on your opposite side are going to be killed.” Now Jayadratha is not a very important warrior and in fact in the first chapter when Duryodhana assesses the forces on two sides, he doesn’t even bother to mention Jayadratha. But Krishna knows that Jaydratha is going to create an obstacle and he wants to reassure Arjuna, “That obstacle I am going to remove.” So he mentions Jayadratha also over there. And he says, “Arjuna arise and fight”
Arjuna although ksatriya became fearful
And then now Arjuna … actually it is described, in next verse he describes he is kiritinam, he is wearing a crown that means he is a ksatriya but sa-gadgadam bhita-bhitah pranamya (BG 11.35) he becomes frightened. Normally ksatriya never gets frightened.
Arjuna offering obeisances to Krishna from all sides
And then he starts praying to Krishna and then he prays, “namo namas te ‘stu sahasra-kritvah (BG 11.39) I offer my obeisances to You” But then he thinks, “Actually where should I offer obeisances? Because the altar is here so I can offer here.”
But he says, “You are here, you are there, you are here, you are everywhere.” He says, “Where should I offer obeisances?”
namah purastad atha prishthatas te
namo ‘stu te sarvata eva sarva
He says, “I offer obeisances from ahead, from behind, from everywhere I offer You obeisances.”
Arjuna begging forgiveness from the Lord for treating Him as inferior
And then he says, “Oh Krishna I am sorry. I thought that I have called you as my friend and I thought that actually You are my inferior friend. Why? Because he krishna he yadava he sakheti (BG 11.41)” He says, “I used to think that actually I am the king but You are just a prince. So I used to think that I am superior to You. But what a fool I was.” He says, “How can anyone be equal to You what to speak of being superior to You?” And he says, “Therefore what should I do?”
tasmat pranamya pranidhaya kayam
prasadaye tvam aham isham idyam
“Therefore I fall down at Your feet and beg for Your forgiveness my dear Lord”
Arjuna begging forgiveness from the Lord in different degrees of intimacy
1. Father forgiving a son
And he says, “How should You forgive me?”
piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuh
priyah priyayarhasi deva sodhum
He gives three analogies and these three analogies are very significant. He says, “Just as a father forgives a son so that Krishna is so great so I am just like a son.”
2. Friend forgiving another friend
But actually Arjuna has a natural relationship with Krishna as a friend. So he says, “As a friend forgives a friend.”
3. Arjuna referring to his relationship in the role of Ramananda Raya
But then he gives one more intimate analogy, he is saying, priyah priyayarhasi deva sodhum just as a beloved forgives her lover. Now this he is referring to we know in Caitanya Caritamrita, actually Arjuna is Ramananda Raya and Ramananda Raya is Visakha sakhi. So he is referring to that, “Actually just as a lover forgives the beloved, please forgive me.”
Krishna teasing Arjuna on his request to resume His original form
And then Arjuna tells Krishna, “Enough of this form, please come back to Your normal form.” And then Krishna tries to tease Arjuna a little bit. He says, “Hey Arjuna you only asked for this form and I showed it to you.” And He says that “Actually by study of Vedas, by austerities, by tapa, by none of these can this form be seen, this is so rare. Why don’t you see it?” So Arjuna says, “No no I don’t want to see it please! Please show me back in your form” ma te vyatha ma ca vimudha-bhavo (BG 11.49) He says, “No no I don’t want to see this form.” Then Krishna says, “Ok ok you don’t want to see, I will not show you.” So actually that is how it works.
The soul in the spiritual world but the soul wants to see what is this material world. He comes here and he says, “Hey I don’t want, I want to come back to You Krishna” So that’s how …
Krishna displaying His original two handed form
Then Krishna says, “I will show you My normal form” and where His two handed form He shows and when He shows the two handed form. Then Krishna tells Arjuna, “Actually this form is the most rare. Even the demigods are actually longing to see this form.”
deva apy asya rupasya
So actually the form of Krsna is the real devananda. But there was a Devanand who thought dam maro dam is the anand. So actually this is another example of how people see according to their frame of reference everything.
Arjuna asking further questions for enlightenment of people
So then this whole Vishvarupa is shown and suddenly Arjuna seems to ask unconnected question. He says Krsna, “Who is better? Are those who worship Brahman better? Are those who worship You better?” Actually Arjuna is simply asking so that he can enlighten everyone and then Krsna makes it very clear My devotee …
tesham aham samuddharta
He says, “I will personally deliver My devotee and I will take him back to the spiritual world” and then Krsna conclude, “Therefore become My devotee.”
Krishna bringing the level of bhakti down and down out of compassion
So from the seventh chapter onwards Krsna is taking bhakti to the highest level and in 12.7 He brings that highest level, He says that “I will rescue My devotee and therefore fix your mind on Me.” He says, “Hey! It’s is very difficult. I can’t fix my mind” “At least fix your intelligence on Me, understand about Me” “That’s also very difficult”, “At least do sadhana bhakti”, “That’s also difficult”, “At least do some seva for Me”, “That’s also very difficult”, “At least give some charity to Me”, “That’s also very difficult”, “At least give some charity for some good cause, at least your spiritual life will begin.” So Krsna brings the rungs of the ladder down, down, down, “Come on, just come on” Krsna is telling. We can see Krsna’s compassion over there. Different level of Bhakti He describes.
Arjuna clarifying whatever he has heard from Krishna
And then the thirteenth chapter Arjuna again asks what is prakrti, what is purusa? So Arjuna what is he doing? He wants to clarify whatever he has heard about different philosophical aspects, from the highest authority Krsna. So from thirteen chapter onwards he ask about jnana and when he ask about jnana, that’s why he ask what is jnana, what is jneya, what is purusa, what is prakrti. This is one the most philosophically difficult chapter of the Gita.
So it seems to be very full of contradictory description.
That absolute truth has no senses but has all senses. That absolute truth is detached from everyone still He maintains everyone. He is outside everything, He is inside everything. That Absolute is very far away, He is very close. What is all this?
All these contradictory descriptions can be only understood by devotee
Then Krsna tells even in the chapter of jnana He says who can understand this? He says
iti kshetram tatha jnanam
jneyam coktam samasatah
mad-bhakta etad vijnaya
“Only My devotee can understand this.”
Why is that contradictory descriptions can only be understood by bhakta?
So sometimes spiritual concepts appear very difficult to understand. Why is that? Imagine a person who has been blind since birth. There are two kinds of blindness. One is congenital and another is adventitious, adventitious means because of an accident someone becomes blind. So that person who had some experience of vision and then has becomes blind, he can at least have some conception. If you tell ok there is a building, it’s very beautiful. He has some experience so he can conceive. But a person who has been blind from birth, he can’t conceive anything at all. So now if a person who has been blind since birth, we try describing, “There is this painting and it’s so beautiful. Now no matter how well we describe it actually that person cannot understand. So similarly all of us are spiritually blind right now. So because of that when Krsna is describing spiritual truths, we cannot understand with our reasoning. So Krsna is describing the experience. Now when the experience comes as an expression the expression can never be complete and we can argue about the expression, “What is this, why so contradictory things?” But rather then logic and argumentation if we try to repeat the experience, Krishna tells, “You become My bhakta, you will understand this, you will come back to Me.”
In the fourteenth chapter Krsna analyses the different modes and He says only My devotee can cross beyond these modes.
Then fifteenth chapter He describes this Purusottama Yoga, very beautiful chapter where He describes about the upside down banyan tree, very enigmatic analogy and then He says, “How My devotee is going to return back to me. One who understand that I am the highest is the wisest of all people” and then … just rushing through.
Chapter 16 and 17
Description about the upside down banyana tree (Chapter 13 till chapter 18)
In sixteenth chapter He describes about the divine and demonic natures. So Chakravarti pada explains that this whole section, last section, 13.22 purushah prakriti-stho hi that is like the seed, the whole tree grows from a seed. So when the tree grows from the seed that seed is what? The soul’s desire to enjoy the material world purushah prakriti-stho hi and as this tree is growing the fifteenth chapter describes this tree. The sixteenth chapter the divine and demoniac nature, describes the upper and the lower parts of the tree. The seventeenth chapter describes the middle part of the tree and then Krsna describes Bhakti is the means to cut off this tree and return back to Him.
Where is the exact phrase ‘Krishna Consciousness’ in Bhagavad Gita?
And then the eighteenth chapter is the most beautiful because there Krsna again comes to the climax of bhakti. So in the eighteenth chapter… now sometimes people ask this where is this word Krsna Consciousness? It seems very odd word if you hear it for the first time. First time when I was introduced to ISKCON I thought, “Ok Krsna is a spiritual person, consciousness is a scientific entity, what is this Krsna Consciousness? And ok Krsna Consciousness might be something, why do you need International Society for that?” I couldn’t figure it out but actually there is a clear phrase in the Bhagavad Gita,
mac-cittah, become conscious of Me that is Krsna Consciousness.
Krishna telling Arjuna to decide what to do
So there in eighteenth chapter Krsna describes, “Please surrender to Me.” So first He says, “There is a Supersoul in the heart of every one. You please surrender to Him” and then when He says … Now Krsna says, “I have completed My instructions, now Arjuna you decide what you want to do.”
iti te jnanam akhyatam
guhyad guhyataram maya
yathecchasi tatha kuru
“As you desire so you can do.”
Arjuna confused and lost
So when Krsna speaks this Arjuna goes deep into thought, “This is what Krsna said in the third chapter, then he said that in the seventh chapter, said that in the eleventh chapter and this is in the sixteenth chapter, what to do” and when Arjuna goes so deep in thought, Krsna’s compassion overflows from his heart. So before that he has told Arjuna, “You think and you decide what you want to do.” Bhagavad Gita is not a book of commandments. It is a book of choices and consequences. If you do this, this will happen and if you do this, this will happen and you decide what you want to do.
Krishna’s love overflows seeing Arjuna’s bewildered condition
But seeing Arjuna lost in thought, Krsna tells, “I will tell you what to do.” So here He has said, “I have given you the knowledge more confidential then before” But now He says, “I will give you the most confidential knowledge.”
shrinu me paramam vacah
ishto ‘si me dridham iti
tato vakshyami te hitam
“The most confidential knowledge I gave you”, What is that? “ishto ‘si me dridham iti I love you very strongly and therefore for your benefit tato vakshyami te hitam for your benefit I am speaking this O Arjuna.”
Ex Krishna’s determination to love Arjuna
So on the seventeenth day of the battle in Kurukshetra, when Karna and Arjuna were about to confront each other for the final battle. So at that time Karna asked the charioteer Shalya, “O Shalya if today Arjuna kills me in the battle field what will you do?” So Shalya says, “I will raise my weapons against your aggressor and send him to the abode of death and if I am unable to do so then I will fight in the battle and I will attain a warrior’s death, following in your footsteps.” So Karna nods gravely. On the other side Arjuna ask Krsna, “O Krsna if today Karna kills me what will you do?” So Krsna’s voice become thunderously angry, He says, “O Arjuna, the Sun may become cold, the earth may crack apart, the sky may fall down, the wind may stop flowing, but Karna will never be able to kill you. If somehow Karna kills you, I will take My Sudarshana Chakra and I will kill not only Karna, I will kill all the Kaurava warriors. No! I will assume My Visvarupa and destroy the whole universe. Rest assure O Arjuna, no harm will come to you.” ishto ‘si me dridham iti, this is Krsna, “I love you very much strongly.” The dridha means determined. Krsna is saying, “I am determined to love you” and unfortunately we are determined to forget Krsna. He says, “I am determined to love you and therefore for your benefit I speak, what do I speak?” Then He speaks the two verses.
Jewels of Bhagavad Gita
Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur says that Bhagavad-Gita is like a Treasure house. So there is upper lid, there is lower lid and in that there are jewels. So these two are the jewels of the Bhagavad-Gita. He says ____
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaishyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo ‘si me
These four things, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. In this you will surely come back to Me. I guarantee you O Arjuna because I love you very much.”
Difference between verses 9.34 and 18.65
Now this verse as I mentioned comes in 9.34 also but there it is mam evaishyasi yuktvaivam atmanam mat-parayanah In this way engage thus you will come back to Me. But here He says, “You will come back to Me, I guarantee you. I speak the truth because I love you.” So Jiva Goswami explains that 9.34 it’s telling about the devotee’s love for Krsna that this is how the devotee should love the Lord atmanam mat-parayanah, offer your whole existence to Krsna. But so Krsna is initially telling Arjuna, “You should become this kind of devotee” but as the Bhagavad-Gita is progressing, coming to its climax, Krsna is so eager, so desperate that Arjuna take up devotional service that He tells this verse to show how much I love you. He says, “mam evaishyasi, you will come to Me, satyam te I am speaking the truth” Why? “pratijane priyo ‘si me because you are very dear to Me.” So pratijanihi this was the word which Krsna used in 9.31 He says, “Declare that My devotee will never perish.” So Krsna told Arjuna, “You declare” but now Krsna says, “I declare that you will not perish” and then He says …
Difference between verses 7.28 and 18.66
But Arjuna thinks what about my duty to my teacher, my relatives. He says, “Forget it.”
mam ekam sharanam vraja
“Just surrender unto Me” What will happen by that?
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
mokshayishyami ma shucah
“I will free you from all sinful reactions.” So in the end of the seventh chapter 7.27 Krsna tells Arjuna that “Actually if you want to become My devotee, you have to become free from all sins.”
yesham tv anta-gatam papam
“Only when you become free from all sins then you can come to Me.” But here Krsna is telling, “You just come to Me, I will free you from all sins.”
Ex mother’s love for her child
So what is happening here? Just like there is a mother. She tells the child, child is small, he is learning, how to stay clean. The mother tells him, “Whenever you want to respond to nature, you should go to the washroom and respond over there” and the child again dirties himself and mother says, “Don’t come near me. First you clean yourself then only you come close to me” Then the child says, “How do I do that?” And the mother’s heart, “Oh come I will clean you.” So Krsna is like that. First he is telling, “You become clean anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam when you become free from sin then you come to Me.” “How will I become free?” “Hey come I will free you aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shucah I will free you from all sins”
Krishna unwilling to reveal this knowledge to everyone
And then it’s like sometimes a father may have a very precious and secret treasury and generally … ultimately the father wants to give his treasury to his children but if the children are not responsible enough, not grown up enough then they squander it. So the father may not reveal the treasury. So here Krsna feels, “I have revealed My heart” and then He tells Arjuna, “Hey don’t tell this to anyone. Don’t tell this to anyone and everyone.”
idam te natapaskaya
na cashushrushave vacyam
na ca mam yo ‘bhyasuyati
“Don’t tell this to these who are not austere, those who don’t render seva, those who don’t have bhakti and those who are envious.”
Krishna changing His mood and asking to share this message
Now Arjuna starts thinking, “Who will remain to tell then?” So then here Krishna is filled with so much ecstasy that Krishna also has His mood swings. We know that famous pastime where Ramanujacarya’s guru tells him, “Don’t tell anyone” And Rmanujacrya goes and tell everyone the secret mantra, Om Namo Narayanaya! Like that so Krishna first says, “Don’t tell anyone” But then Krishna says, “Yes actually one who shares this message, he is very dear to Me.” So next two verses 68 and 69, they give us an indication of how dear Srila Prabhupada will be. Krishna is telling that “There is no one who will be more dear to Me then ever after, he is always most dear to Me” and Krishna says in many places that “If you do this, this, this you will become My devotee and you will come back to Me” But here Krishna says, “If you preach, pure devotional service is guaranteed and at the end you will also come back to Me.” So Krishna says that “Please share this message of My love with the world”
“If you can’t preach, study”
And now somebody can say that, “Hey I can’t _____ that is very difficult.” So Krishna says, “Atleast study” He says,
adhyeshyate ca ya imam
dharmyam samvadam avayoh
ishtah syam iti me matih
“Just study. If you study My message, you are doing arati of Me, arati with your intelligence” So we have arati paraphernalia, but we can do a worship of Krishna with our intelligence if we study His message.
“If you can’t study, hear”
So somebody may say, “Hey study! I don’t have so much intelligence. I can’t study” Then Krishna says, “Atleast hear” He says,
shraddhavan anasuyash ca
shrinuyad api yo narah
so ‘pi muktah shubhal lokan
He says, “You will attain the highest destination, the destination of the pious souls (devotees it refers to here), if you just hear about My message.”
Krishna’s unlimited concern for Arjuna
And now Krishna has told the highest message and He has told the glory, the sruti of that message, phala sruti. And then He expresses His concern once again, “Arjuna have you understood?”
kaccid etac chrutam partha
pranashtas te dhananjaya
“Arjuna has your doubt gone away? Have you heard attentively? Is everything clear to you?”So Krishna is so concerned that Arjuna understands. So Cakravarti Pada explains that Krishna is so anxious that if Arjuna says, “I have not understood anything” Then Krishna says, “I am ready to speak that thing again. If you want I will speak the full Bhagavad Gita again” So normally if we are in a college and if we go to college professor and tell him, “Sir I didn’t understand this” So he says, “Come to my tuition, pay a big fee then I will tell you” So Krishna not like a professional teacher. Krishna when He is speaking, He is speaking out of love and what happens? Arjuna says, nashto mohah smritir labdha (BG 18.73) “Yes my illusion has gone, my memory is restored, all my doubts are destroyed” and “karishye vacanam tava (BG 18.73) I will do what You tell me to do” So and He finishes this.
Bhagavad Gita is a conversation at three levels
Then again the scene goes back to Dhrtrastra and Sanjaya. Sanjaya now gives his summary. So he tell,
ity aham vasudevasya
parthasya ca mahatmanah
“How I have heard this wonderful conversation.” He says, “How I have heard this? Because of the mercy of Vyasa.” And then he in one sense the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation at three levels. At one level, it is a conversation which is successful in its fruit. At another level it is a conversation which is unsuccessful and the third level the success depends on us. What does that mean?
1. Krishna and Arjuna
At one level, it is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna and Krishna succeeds in persuading Arjuna and Arjuna says, “I will do what you want me to do”
2. Sanjay and Dhrtrastra
At another level it is a conversation between Sanjaya and Dhrtrastra and in one sense Sanjaya fails. Dhrtrastra’s heart doesn’t change but the message of Bhagavad Gita is so glorious that just be repeating that message Sanjaya becomes filled with ecstasy and that’s why he says …What is the effect?
rajan samsmritya samsmritya
samvadam imam adbhutaam
hrishyami ca muhur muhuh
“Every moment I am ecstatic.” So Srila Prabhupada says in that purport that actually the result of Krishna Consciousness is one enjoys life not just occasionally but with a thrill at every moment. And to emphasize that in the next verse he says, hrishyami ca punah punah (BG 18.77) So first he says, “I am remembering the message, I am feeling thrilled.” Then he says, “I am remembering that magnificent form that Krishna showed. I am also feeling thrilled by that.” So at that level, Sanjaya is successful because he has become Krishna Conscious, he has become filled with ecstasy. So when we preach, when we distribute books, if people take that is wonderful but even if they don’t take, if we repeat Krishna’s message, we actually become uplifted, we become enlivened.
Verse 18.78 is an answer (prediction) to the question in verse 1.1
And then the starting question of Dhrtrastra was what happened at the battlefield? So 78th verse is the answer, what happened? It’s not exactly a full description of what happened that will come later but it’s a prediction of what is going to happen.
yatra yogeshvarah krishno
yatra partho dhanur-dharah
Arjuna being described as partho dhanur-dharah
So in 73rd verse it is said Arjuna told, “karishye vacanam tava (BG 18.73) I will do” But when he has to do what Krishna wants him to do, what is he going to do? He is going to pick up his bow and fight. So that’s why he describes here, partho dhanur-dharah, Arjuna has picked up his bow. So actually has picked up his bow means he has become ready to fight. And in the start I explained that Arjuna’s bow represents our determination to serve Krishna.
3. Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between soul and Supersoul
So at a deepest level the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between the soul and the Supersoul. Srila Prabhupada explained when he gave his second initiation ceremony in New York, he said, “Now you need not lament no matter what happens because now you have made Krishna the charioteer of your life.” So when we are practicing bhakti we are making Krishna the charioteer of our life. So only thing we have to do is at the start of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna was instructing Krishna, at the end he was ready to receive instructions from Krishna. So when we have made Krishna the charioteer, Krishna will take care of everything for us. So at the third level whenever there is some distress, whenever there is some difficulty, so if we meditate on Krishna’s words, we can again get rejuvenated and we can also become dhanur-dharah, we can become determined, ____, confident. Sometimes in this material world, when we have to practice bhakti, it appears like a mission impossible. There are so many external obstacles, there are so many internal obstacles, but actually when Krishna shows His Visvarupa and he sees the huge power of Visvarupa and Krishna tells Arjuna, “rite ‘pi tvam na bhavishyanti sarve (BG 11.32) that even without you everybody will be destroyed, don’t worry” So without you, everybody will be destroyed or if you take up, you can get the credit. So when we meditate on Krishna’s omnipotence and Krishna’s omni-benevolence… benevolence means love … then we understand that actually practicing bhakti is not mission impossible but it is mission unstoppable, it is mission unstoppable because Krishna is in our heart and He has taken our chariot in His hands and we can try to stop Krishna but we are tiny and Krishna is infinite. We cannot stop Him, so ____trying to stop Him, we just cooperate with Him and we can return back to Him.
So let’s conclude with one prayer of Arjuna. Arjuna offers this prayer to Krishna at the end of the Mahabharata war when the Visnu Sahasra nama is being spoken. He gives his revelation of how the Lord loves His devotee. So this is Krishna’s version of … So Krishna has told of how I love My devotee and Arjuna’s version is how You love Me. So we will conclude with this prayer.
padma patra vishalaksha
trata bhava janardana
padma patra vishalaksha, Your eyes are lotus like. Lotus like indicates means that they don’t see selfishly where as in this material world everybody sees what is in it there for me. But Krishna, He doesn’t see selfishness, lotus like, He is simply selfless, unaffected by the materialness of this world, vishalaksha and His eyes are very big. It’s not that He will miss out. We may think I am so small, Krishna is … so will He see me? No! vishalaksha He see everyone of us. And padma patra vishalaksha, padmanabha surottama, so actually He is the Lord of the person who created this world. He is a Lord of the persons who are controlling this world, padmanabha and surottama. So He can control everything and protect everyone. And most importantly, bhaktanam anuraktanam, He is very attached to His devotees and what does He do? Trata bhava janardana He actually delivers the devotee from material existence. So this is the love of Krishna which is revealed to us in Bhagavad Gita.
Sri Krishna Bhagavan ki jaya!
please send me the whole story
The downloadable audio lecture contains “the whole story.”
prabhuji where is the facility on the site to ask questions? either in written form or in audio form?
On the home page, among the menu items on the left side, there is a page called “ask a question.”
Hare Krishna pr…
Thank you very much pr. Lecture is very nice.
anyone plz tell me how to download audio lecture
When you right click on the link, then you will see a menu item entitled “save link as”. When you click on it, the audio file will start downloading.
This is really wonderful giving all the critical aspects of every chapter, prabhu ji,
Really awesome to read , thanks for the post !!!