Bhagavad-gītā 7.28–8.6 , New York , 1966-10-21
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
[Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination.]
This verse we have been discussing last day. Dvandva-moha. Dvandva-moha, this duality, that "You are..., you have got different interest, I have got different interest," this is called dvandva-moha. "Your interest is clashing with my interest." This is illusion. This illusion can be removed only by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore the Lord says that yeṣām anta-gataṁ pāpam. Pāpam means sin.
So sin, we commit sins out of ignorance. Our sinful nature is due to ignorance. Just like a person who does not know the laws of the state, he commits something which he does not know, but he is captured, he is arrested under the law. So similarly, all kind of sins we perform, it is due to ignorance. And ignorance is no excuse at the same time.
Suppose a child does not know that fire burns, but the child catches fire. The fire is so cruel that it will not excuse. The laws of fire will act, even on the child. The child is innocent, or ignorant. Innocence is also sometimes ignorance, due to ignorance. We sometimes praise the quality of child, the ignorance. But that child, when grown up, becomes a vicious man. So this ignorance or innocence, they are not very good qualities.
So yeṣām anta-gataṁ pāpam. Pāpam means sin. "One who has been completely freed from the reactions of sinful acts," anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām, "of those persons who are simply engaged in activities of piety," te, "those people," dvandva-moha-nirmuktāḥ, "they can become free from this duality of interest." That means one who becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he has no distinction between one person to another. He has no distinction, "Oh, this is Indian," "This is American," "This is Chinese," "This is Russian." No. He transcends this. By Kṛṣṇa consciousness we can transcend this material consciousness of different interest.
We have no other interest except realization of our self. But because, due to our ignorance, we have created our different interest and we are committing sins and breaking the laws of nature, and therefore we are gradually, by and by, becoming more and more entangled in this material nature. So the Lord says that "One who has surpassed this material nature and ignorance," te, "they can become free from this conception of duality," and bhajante mām, "and becomes a perfect devotee of Myself." That means, in other words, one who becomes perfectly Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he becomes liberated from this conception of duality or illusion of duality. He becomes a perfect man.
Jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya. Now, one can question why this perfection is required. What is the necessity of perfection? Because there are still... There are... People are mostly under the spell of the modes of nature of ignorance. Therefore they do not know the value of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They can enquire that "What is the use of becoming Kṛṣṇa consciousness..., Kṛṣṇa conscious, and become free from this conception of duality? What is the use?"
So Lord Kṛṣṇa replies that question. Why?
mām āśritya yatanti ye
te brahma tad viduḥ kṛtsnam
adhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam
[Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old age and death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about transcendental and fruitive activities.]
This is necessary for you to become this Kṛṣṇa conscious, to adopt this life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Why? Because jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya: "In order to get out of the miseries of jarā." Jarā means old age, invalidity. And jarā-maraṇa. Maraṇa means death. Due to ignorance, we forget the miseries of death, the miseries of invalidity, or old age. We think, "Now we are young, young man, young woman. Oh, we don't care for what is old age or what is death. Let us enjoy." We forget. But a man who is not in ignorance, he has always in his view that this material life is full of miseries, because there is birth, there is death, there is old age and there is disease.
So we materialist, we don't take into consideration that birth, death, disease and old age are the greatest miseries of our life, due to our ignorance. But this ignorance has to be removed if one has to become out of these clutches of birth, death, old age and disease. This is not possible to remove by the so-called material science. Material science cannot remove these miseries. They can remove temporary, something artificially, some of our miseries. Just like we are feeling little warm. If the room was..., had been air-conditioned, we could feel some comfort. That is temporary. But our ultimate miseries are these four things: jarā-maraṇa-mokṣa. Jarā means old age, and birth, death.
So Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya mām āśritya [Bg 7.29]. If one has to..., has the ambition for getting out of these clutches of birth, death, old age and disease, then one, if he's intelligent enough, then, jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya mām āśritya, under Kṛṣṇa consciousness, if one attains his life living activities... Activities there must be. We cannot stop, so long we have got this body or we have no body. That is an activity... We are active. Every living soul is active by nature. But that activity should be coordinated, dovetailed. That activity should be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So, jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya mām āśritya yatanti ye. Yatanti means "one who endeavors in that way." Te brahma: "They are actually Brahman." Brahman means they are transcendental, in transcendental stage. Te brahma tad viduḥ kṛtsnam: "Or they can understand what is the meaning of Brahman, or the transcendental, Transcendence." Te brahma tad viduḥ kṛtsnam adhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam: "They understand what is Brahman, and their work, their activities, are also Brahman."
Now, there are two classes of transcendentalist. One class of transcendentalist, just like the impersonalist, they want to stop activities. They think like that, that when one becomes one with the Transcendence, then their activities stop. But actually, from the Bhagavad-gītā we find that te kṛtsnam adhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam. Their activities are not stopped, but the quality of the activity is changed. Brahman. The quality of activities become transcendental. Karma cākhilam. Akhila. Whatever he does in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, whatever he does, that becomes Brahman, or transcendental. That means free from the contamination of the three modes of material nature.
Therefore, as he becomes free from the contamination of the three modes of material nature, therefore he's not going to have next body of this material nature. Next body he's not going to have material... The same example: Just the, if you put iron rod into the fire, it becomes gradually the fire. The nature of fire the iron rod attains. So when it is red hot, there is no possibility of its being the iron, but it is fire.
So by our activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we become free from the contamination of these three modes of material nature, and thus, at the end, we become purely, purely spiritual, transcendental. Here it is stated,
sādhiyajñaṁ ca ye viduḥ
prayāṇa-kāle 'pi ca māṁ
te vidur yukta-cetasaḥ
[Those who know Me as the Supreme Lord, as the governing principle of the material manifestation, who know Me as the one underlying all the demigods and as the one sustaining all sacrifices, can, with steadfast mind, understand and know Me even at the time of death.]
"One who understands this science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness," sa-adhibhūtam adhidaivam, "so even at the time of his death, he remains steady in that Kṛṣṇa consciousness." And therefore his next birth is not in this material world, but in the spiritual world.
Now next chapter Kṛṣṇa enquires, er, Arjuna enquires, "What is this adhibhūtam, adhidaivam, adhiyajñam?" These three questions are being put by Arjuna.
kiṁ tad-brahma kim adhyātmaṁ
kiṁ karma puruṣottama
adhibhūtaṁ ca kiṁ proktam
adhidaivaṁ kim ucyate
[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.]
Now, this, these are technical terms. What are these technical terms? First technical term is "brahma." What is Brahman? Arjuna's question is first, "What is Brahman?" Then next question is, "What is adhyātmā? What is adhyātmā, spirit?" Then next question is: adhibhūtam. Adhibhūtam means, "What is these material elements?" And adhiyajña: "What is Supersoul?" And "At the time of death, what are the perception of these three things?" Very complicated questions. Very complicated question. Adhyātma..., brahma, adhyātmā, adhibhūta and adhiyajña and adhidaiva.
So Kṛṣṇa is answering one and each gradually. Śrī bhagavān uvāca. Bhagavān uvāca means Lord Kṛṣṇa, He's the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He's replying. Śrī bhagavān uvāca. What is that? Now, akṣaraṁ paramaṁ brahma svabhāvo 'dhyātmam ucyate. Akṣaraṁ paramaṁ brahma. Now, akṣaram means infallible. Infallible. And paramam means supreme. And brahma means indestructible, Brahman. Indestructible or which is eternal, that is called Brahman.
Now, akṣaraṁ paramaṁ brahma. Paramaṁ brahma. Now, eternal, we are eternal. This has been explained in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg 2.20]
[For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.]
We do not die even after the destruction of this body. So we are Brahman. Brahman means indestructible and eternal. Some, some matter may be indestructible sometimes, but not eternal. Matter is not eternal. Therefore two things are to be understood about Brahman: indestructible and eternal.
So as we have several times explained, that we are all Brahman, but we are part and parcel of the Brahman. Now here it is said that paramaṁ brahma, the Supreme Brahman. The Supreme Brahman means one who does not come into this material contamination. He is called Supreme Brahman.
The impersonalist school, they do not distinguish between these two Brahmans. They say, "Brahman is one. This individual Brahman, this conception of individual Brahman, is māyā, illusion." That is their doctrine. But according to Vaiṣṇava doctrine, they do not accept this. Their question is, "If Brahman is Supreme, then how He comes in contact with the māyā?" A Supreme cannot be under the subordinate..., subordination of anything else. If something is under subordination, he cannot be Supreme. He cannot be Supreme. That is their argument.
Therefore the Brahman who comes under the clutches of this material... energy, that Brahman is not the Supreme Brahman. And that is accepted in the Vedic literature, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]:
[The Supreme Lord is eternal and the living beings are eternal. The Supreme Lord is cognizant and the living beings are cognizant. The difference is that the Supreme Lord is supplying all the necessities of life for the many other living entities.]
"There are eternals, but out of the eternals, there is one supreme eternal." Nityaḥ. Nityaḥ means singular number, and nityānām means plural number. So plural number; we are plural number.
Nityo nityānām, cetana. Cetana means living. I am also living. God is also living. He is also a living being like us, but He, His distinction is like this: eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. "That eka, that singular number Brahman, He maintains all these plural number Brahmans." Therefore, this plural number Brahman, this jīvātmā, these living entities, they are supported by the Supreme Brahman, Bhagavān. Just like government and citizens. Now, together that is a nation, but government supports the citizens. Similarly, Paraṁ Brahman and these ordinary living entities, Brahman, simple Brahman, they are qualitatively one, but the Supreme Brahman supports all other Brahmans.
Akṣaraṁ paramaṁ brahma. Akṣaram means that the Supreme Brahman, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, svabhāvo 'dhyātmam ucyate... Svabhāva, these qualities, they are called adhyātmā. Bhūta-bhāvodbhava-karo visargaḥ karma-saṁjñitaḥ [Bg 8.3].
[The Supreme Lord said, The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called the self. Action pertaining to the development of these material bodies is called karma, or fruitive activities.]
And the activities out of these three qualities of material nature, they are called karma, work. Adhibhūtaṁ kṣaro bhāvaḥ. Adhibhūtam. The material energy is kṣaraḥ. Kṣaraḥ means destructible. Kṣaro bhāvaḥ. Puruṣaś ca adhidaivatam. And the living soul, he's called adhidaiva. Adhiyajñaḥ aham eva atra dehe deha-bhṛtām [Bg 8.4].
[Physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The universe is the cosmic form of the Supreme Lord, and I am that Lord represented as the Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being.]
Now, there, there are... We have several times explained in this meeting that there, there are two birds: the individual soul and the Supersoul. They're sitting in this tree of this body. So the Supersoul is called adhiyajña. These are all the technical names. You can remember. The Supersoul is called adhiyajña, and the soul is called adhibhūta. Now, Kṛṣṇa says... These technical terms, of course, one should know, but it requires very long description; we have to give our attention with..., separately for understanding. Generally, we can take up.
Now, the real fact is that why these things are to be known? Now, Lord Kṛṣṇa says,
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ
[And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.]
Now here is the critical point. The critical point is anta-kāle. Now, if you go on with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, your, the ultimate result of Kṛṣṇa consciousness... What is the ultimate result? The ultimate result is described here. Now, anta-kāle: "at the time of your death." That is called anta-kāle—now end everything, all our activities, all this proprietorship, everything is now ended. Not end; it is just going to, just at the verge of your point of death... Anta-kāle ca mām eva. Mām eva. Kṛṣṇa says, mām: "unto Me, Kṛṣṇa."
So therefore one who is always, constantly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, naturally, at the time of his death he'll think of Kṛṣṇa. This is a practice. This is a practice. Just like that King, er, Kulaśekhara. He has got many nice verses about his devotional service, and in one verse he describes about his position. He says,
adyaiva viśatu me mānasa-rāja-haṁsaḥ
kaṇṭhāvarodhana-vidhau smaraṇaṁ kutas te
[My Lord Kṛṣṇa, I pray that the swan of my mind may immediately sink down to the stems of the lotus feet of Your Lordship and be locked up in their network; otherwise at the time of my final breath, when my throat is choked up with cough, how will it be possible to think of You?]
"Because at the time of death, my dear Kṛṣṇa, I do not know what will be my position, because at that time all the functions of my body will be stopped, and naturally there will be a block in my throat of the coughs..." At the time of death... One who has seen a dying man, he'll see there is cough in this kaṇṭha, in this throat, in the channel, throat.
So he prays, "At the time of death," kaṇṭhāvarodhana-vidhau kapha-vāta-pittaiḥ, "by the derangement of the bodily function, when kapha will choke up my throat, then how I shall be able to chant? Because I am now healthy. I am now chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare, but at that time, how I shall be able to chant? So therefore, while I am chanting now in good health, please let me die immediately, so that I can die chanting." Yes. That is the prayer. But, er... Because that is the ultimate examination.
Here it is stated, anta-kāle ca mām eva smaran muktvā kalevaram. Just kalevaram. Kalevaram means this body, and when becomes freed from this body, he..., or gets out of the body, and at the very same time he remembers Kṛṣṇa, then one who passes this body, life, in this way, yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ yāti... Mad-bhāvaṁ yāti means he at once attains the nature of Kṛṣṇa: eternity, blissful and knowledge.
This is the advantage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Because at the time of death, whatever you practice now in your healthy life, that will be... Just like asleep we dream of the things of our activities, similarly, this death is also a kind of dream. Death is a dream, er, sleep, sleeping. Death is nothing but sleeping for seven months. That's all. Sleeping for seven months, that is called death. Just like in the operation table one becomes unconscious for one hour, half an hour, then he comes to his consciousness; again he comes to the same point.
So similarly, death is nothing but to remain practically unconscious for seven months. That's all. This body is left, and we enter into a particular womb of mother, and just to develop another body it takes about seven months. Then, after seven months, when the body is fit, then our consciousness comes back. Then we want to come out of the womb. And at the tenth month we come out. That is a very miserable condition. That is the miserable condition of birth.
"But one who leaves his body in Kṛṣṇa consciousness," anta-kāle, "at the point of death," Kṛṣṇa says, yaḥ prayāti, "who leaves his body in this way," sa mad-bhāvaṁ yāti, "he at once attains the perfection like Me, like My nature." His nature is transcendental; therefore one attains at once, transcendental. Yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ: "These things are to be taken up." Nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ: "There is no doubt about it."
Now, if we believe Kṛṣṇa as the supreme authority, if we believe Him, then we can adopt this. And there is no question of disbelieving Him, because all great souls, all great scholars and all great spiritualists... Arjuna, you say the example of Arjuna. He's not an ordinary man. He belongs to the royal order. And he's a very, I mean, a great fighter, great general. And he is taking instruction from Kṛṣṇa.
If Arjuna has taken instruction from Kṛṣṇa... He's a... Rāmānujācārya has taken, accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme. He... Śaṅkarācārya has accepted the Kṛṣṇa as Supreme. And all the ācāryas... Lord Caitanya has accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme. Then what is the difficulty of my understanding about His greatness? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc Madhya 17.186].
[Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, ”’Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.’]
Just like when we go to the market, if we see that everyone is purchasing at the same time, then I think, "Oh, undoubtedly it is the exactly price. Oh, let me purchase at this price." The doubt is gone at once, because I see several persons, they're accepting at that price. So it is right price. That is the standard. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ.
The śāstra says that knowledge... Because our receptive power of knowledge is very limited. We are not perfect. Our senses are not perfect. Therefore whatever knowledge we acquire by these blunt senses, they cannot be perfect. The direction is, therefore, tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ [Cc Madhya 17.186]:
"If you want to reach to the ultimate conclusion simply by arguments and speculation, that is not possible." Because argumentative power is a special gift. Suppose you can argue very nicely, that's all. I cannot. But somebody may come—he's more powerful in arguments—he can defeat you. So don't depend on your speculative function or arguments. Don't depend on that. They're all imperfect. Tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ. These are the direction of higher authorities.
So tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Śrutayaḥ means scriptures. If you take scriptures, different scriptures there are, and one scripture may differ from another scripture. So that is also very difficult, to find out the real truth, transcendence, from the scriptures. So tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. And so far philosophy is concerned, each and every philosopher is different from the other philosopher. One philosopher is putting some theory, another philosophy is putting another doctrine or theory. So we are puzzled which of them has to be accepted.
Śrutayo vibhinnā nāsāv ṛṣir ya... Because in the mundane philosophers, mundane scholars, they want to give his own interpretation of everything. That is their habit. They don't accept the interpretation of the higher authorities. They want..., each and every one of them want to become the higher authorities.
So our this principle, this devotional principle, is not like that. We don't pose ourselves as the higher authority. We just try to follow the higher authority. We don't pose ourself. We never... We'll never say that "In my opinion, it should be like this." Oh, what opinion I have got? What value I have got of my opinion? What is my value? I am a blunt man. I cannot acquire any knowledge perfectly. And what is the use of my opinion?
So this is the line. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, er, they do not accept anything which is not authorized by the higher personality. But in the material world you'll find one philosopher is putting one doctrine, another philosopher is putting another doctrine, and they're differing with one another. So you cannot conclude what is real thing. Nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam, dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām [Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.117]:
[Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.]
"Therefore the truth, real truth, is lying in the very confidential part of your body." Then what is to be done? Now, best thing is mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: "You just try to follow the higher authorities."
So Kṛṣṇa is the higher authority. Kṛṣṇa is the higher authority. If we accept Him and follow this instruction, and if we believe Him, then we get perfection. There is no doubt about it. Of course, these philosophical questions are difficult. It may not be very interesting. But it is..., they are to be understood. Actually, if we want to get out of ignorance, these books are meant for driving our ignorance. And as we become out of the ignorance, so we become free from this material entanglement.
But at the present age, people are not so intelligent that they can follow. Therefore this saṅkīrtana movement is the best. Everyone can take part. And when Hare Kṛṣṇa is chantings there, undoubtedly... We discuss this Bhagavad-gītā only for understanding that we are not blindly following a principle. It is a science. It is based on philosophy and science. But we have made the process easy, that's all, by following great, stalwart personalities. But it is not that it is a blind following. It is based on philosophy and science, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So if anyone wants to understand on the basis of philosophy and science, oh, we have got ample philosophy and science on this point. But if you accept it, then it is the same thing. The acceptance is required—if you directly accept it. Suppose the fire, the fire, you accept it at once or you accept fire by scientific study, "What is fire? What is the quality? What is the...?" Go on. You can understand scientifically fire. But either you understand it scientifically or philosophically or you touch it directly, the action is the same. The action is the same. A child, without knowing the science of fire, physical constitution of fire, if he touches the fire, the fire will act. And, I mean to say, a great scientist who has physical knowledge of this fire, if he touches also fire, he'll get..., he is also burnt.
So Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice that you accept without understanding any philosophy or science about it—this, it will act. But if you want to understand it through philosophy or science, we have got ample stock in the Bhagavad-gītā. These are the...
So now Kṛṣṇa concludes. Of course, I shall conclude this portion after reading one verse. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran. Now, Kṛṣṇa has said that at the last point of your death, if you are in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then your next promotion is to the equal status of Kṛṣṇa. Mad-bhāvam: "in the same nature." Why? Now, the truth is,
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
[Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.]
The nature's law is that if you are practiced under certain condition of life, and at the end of death if you think of that life, then your next birth... The next birth is, means, carrying the idea of this birth to the next birth. You are changing simply body, death. Suppose you are poet, you are a thoughtful poet. Now, when you change your body, oh, you'll still remain a poet. By changing your body, it does not become something else.
So the thought is the real thing. That will carry you to the other body. This is, this is gross body, and there is subtle body. The subtle body is mind, ego and intelligence. So when you give up this gross body, the subtle body carries me to another gross body, another gross body. But when you become on the same level of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then your this subtle body also cannot act. You directly go in spiritual body to Kṛṣṇa.
So we shall discuss this point next. Now, if there is any question, you can ask. [end]