One of the corner stone literatures of the revealed Vedic scriptures is the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is a short explanation by Krishna himself on the true nature of the Soul, the reason why the Soul is here, and the processes for achieving its freedom from matter.
One of the corner stone literatures of the revealed Vedic scriptures is the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is a short explanation by Krishna himself on the true nature of the Soul, the reason why the Soul is here, and the processes for achieving its freedom from matter. Although this knowledge is eternal. Krishna spoke it a various times on the Planet and at various times on other Planets in this Universe during his different stays on each of them. Roughly 5,000 years ago, Krishna graced this Planet with his presence and spoke the Bhagavad Gita once again here. The conversation was recorded and it exists today in its original Sanskrit language. It has been translated to almost every language on Earth since then. The Bhagavad Gita means the Song of God. Actually it was not a song, but a conversation that took place between Krishna and Arjun his friend on a battlefield just prior to the beginning of a great war. Arjun was a great warrior, a very religious man. He was one of five brothers, the eldest of, who was going to be the king of all of India and other lands surrounding India. Some other persons, namely their cousins tried to take the kingdom in an unfair way and this battle ensued.
They had gathered on the battlefield, each side having the help of many other smaller dynasties from all over India. Thus on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, which is a place in Northern India, there was arrayed hundreds of thousands of soldiers in opposition to each other about to begin a war that would last 18 days.
On the very 1st day, when the two sides faced each other and were about to begin battle, the following events and conversation took place, which were recorded by Mystic sages and would become known as the Bhagavad Gita or Song of God, which is essentially an explanation of the absolute truth given by Sri Krishna on that battlefield that day. Sri Krishna is the Supreme God, himself.
The leader of one side is talking to his teacher who is also on his side and they were discussing the different heroes and soldiers and number of soldiers on each side so that they could be well informed of what to do. Then, when they were all ready, the leader of one side sounded his war cry and blew his horn, which marks the beginning of their charge. It is momentarily about to begin. Then the other side responded by blowing their battle horns. Then, Arjun, who is an intimate friend of Lord Krishna asked Krishna who was performing the duty of Arjuna's charioteer, to place his chariot in between the two armies in the division of the battle field, which was currently empty, where the two armies would clash once they began to charge.
Driving the chariot up and down in this empty space between the two armies, Arjun saw distant relatives and other people he had known while growing on both sides of the battle. He saw Kinsmen or persons he considered his own kinsmen on the opposite side. The tale that led to this battle is so complicated that as it turned out, families were split across the armies. Seeing his kinsmen on the opposite side and seeing so many dear persons on both sides, knowing that many of them would die, he began to doubt why this had come to pass and he began to wonder if this was truly worth it. He became overwhelmed with compassion to them and he began to speak to Krishna. He said that, "Krishna seeing my friends and relatives on both sides, knowing they will die, I am feeling tapped of strength. I am feeling very much in anxiety. I can't hold on to my bow. I can't stop my mind from reeling. I think I see evil in the future. My desire for victory and the ensuing kingdom is weighing greatly. What good is it to live here if all of those people who've you've loved, who you would want to live for to be with are dead. I don't want to kill them, I don't want to see them killed. Even if I became the ruler of the whole Universe, I wouldn't want to engage in this act we are about to engage in today. Shouldn't we stop. Shouldn't we stop this war some how or another. Isn't it true Krishna that if a person kills there own family members and sees the destruction of so many persons who they love and know, doesn't that mean that there virtue, piety, virtue are all destroyed. Doesn't that mean that sin and evil will overcome them. In such a family we would expect that total ruination would come. That everyone in the family would become sinful. They would create children that they don't want and eventually the entire family tradition and the whole city would become completely irreligious and low class. Strong virtuous family traditions would disappear in such a city and the residents of such a place remain forever irreligious. I think right now if some one were to kill me and win this battle, that would be better."
And thus, sitting down in his chariot, literally collapsing in grief and dismay, Arjun dropped his weapons very much overwhelmed with lamentation told Krishna that he could not fight. He could not go on. Thus, Arjun, who was a great prince, fully trained in religious knowledge and all types of knowledge found himself in a situation created by a series of events of a long period of time, which he could not understand and did not know how to deal with.
It is in this setting that Krishna began to speak and what he spoke is the Bhagavad Gita. First, Sri Krishna simply tried to wake Arjun up from his lamentation. By asking him why such feelings had overcome him at this critical moment and telling him that it was unbefitting for him and definitely an obstacle for his progressive path as a warrior prince, Krishna told him to give up his cowardliness, but Arjun replied, "How can I attack in this battle people who I consider my relatives. It would be better to be a beggar than to kill one's noble teachers. I don't want to live in this world enjoying spoils tainted with their blood. I can't understand if victory or defeat would be better. Either way, this battle seems terrible and unattractive to me. I don't know what my duty is. I see the fall of my great dynasty now and I need you Krishna, please tell me what is right for me. Instruct me in my duty at this time"
Then Krishna said, "Although you speak like a learned person Arjun, basically you are grieving for something that is not worthy of grief. You are speaking as if death is real, but the fact is that the living being never dies. There was never a time when all the Souls before you did not exist. As we are living now, we have always lived and shall always live. We pass through bodies and it is only the body that appears to grow from childhood and eventually to death and old age. A really learned person doesn't grieve for this transformation of the body and it is eventual inevitable death because the really learned person knows that the living being lives beyond the death of the body. It is only the sensations of the senses that makes one feel that pain and pleasure are going on. The wise person just endures such transformations, knowing themselves to be eternal. A wise person is not disturbed by all the changes of our sensual perception. Such a person is eligible for liberation to the spiritual world. The Soul does not transform, only the body does. Therefore, you should try to see the difference between these two, just like the real sages. No one can kill the Soul. Only physical bodies can be killed. So Arjun, your religious duty of fighting this religious war should not be abandoned. If you think a person can be slain or that you are the killer of a person, both of these ideas are wrong. The Soul is never born, nor does it ever die."
"So a person who knows these things cannot kill or cause anyone to be killed. It is only the Karmic bodies that are changing due to their Karma. Just as a person takes off old clothes and puts on new clothes, so also the eternal persons known as Souls give up old bodies and take on new bodies. Nothing material can cut or effect the spiritual Soul. It cannot be burned or cut. So if you know the Soul in this way, you will no longer lament. Even if you think the Soul does die, why give up your duties since death is inevitable."
"Some people can understand this about the Soul and they see the Soul as wonderful. Some can repeat such descriptions, but don't actually feel it. Others hear these things and aren't sure what to make of it. And there are others who cannot understand why anyone would believe such things in the 1st place and they are truly the atheists. These different conceptions arise automatically in these different people."
"But Arjun, you should understand that the Soul cannot be slain and, therefore, you should not lament. And considering who you are, a great prince, a great warrior, you have no reason to not fight in this truly righteous religious battle. Such a battle as this is actually a gateway to righteousness for warriors such as yourself. But if you leave this battle irreligion and infamy will overcome you. People will make fun of you. You won't be able to tolerate it. And if you fight in this great battle and die, due to your righteousness, you will obtain the heavenly Planets. Therefore, Arjun, give up your lamentation and fight this battle. Know that pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, these are all equal because they are only taking place on the material, impermanent plane. You will be unaffected by sin because your reason for fighting will be secure in the eternal duties. Therefore, get up and fight."
"Now what I have said so far to you is just a basic conception of the Soul. But I have more to tell you. I want to tell you about devotion, which can completely cut the bondage of action in the material world. Even just beginning in the devotional process that I am about to describe to you can make you life truly great, even a small amount of this devotional process can save you from repeated birth and death. As long as the Soul does not engage in the process of liberation, it takes birth over and over on the material plane.
"Arjun, one who has their mind firmly fixed on devotion is one pointed towards the goal, but those whose minds are devoted not exclusively to me are splayed out all over the place towards many different objects of sensual gratification. Further more, many people are distracted by the flowery words of religious scriptures, especially the Vedas, which are very vast and full of such flowery words. They are always interpreting trivial aspects and thus their minds are directed in many directions. Actually, they still just want to enjoy the fruits of this world, either gross or mystical. Such foolish persons are basically enchanted and they are not fixed on the true goal. Such persons do not obtain to uninterrupted and real devotion to Me, The Supreme."
"Arjun, when describing different paths, the Vedas understand that there are three modes of material nature. Persons who are overwhelmed by material nature and not of the highest caliber, remain ignorant of the chief objective of the Vedic scriptures, which is to go beyond the modes of material nature. To basically arrive above matter and this entire universal creation. But you should rise above this duality Arjun and live in the association of my real devotees. Don't be focused on the gain or preservation of your material position. Dedicate your mind fully to me and free yourself from being subjected to emotions based on matter. Don't try to cultivate knowledge in order to become an expert materialist. Give yourself fully to the path of devotion to me. Just as all the purposes of a tiny pond are served by a large lake, so also everything you might obtain by worshipping various lower Gods or other lower processes or paths are all included in exclusive devotion to me."
"So in this way, a person who understands that this is the end of all Vedic knowledge, automatically fills all the necessitates of the lower aspects of the Vedas. So understand this, you should perform you duty on this plane. You should engage in the necessary actions for maintaining the proper material life for yourself and everyone you know. But, you should never be attached to whether those actions are fruitful or failure. In other words, don't be attached to the result of your action because that is not up to you, nor within your control. So be detached from the fruits of your actions, but be attached to performing all your duties in devotion to me. Thus you will be equal towards success and failure. Yet fully endeavoring to carry out the duties, which are the natural byproduct of who you are. So this detachment, while performing your normal life is what is known as Yoga, or linking with Divinity."
"Endeavoring to get material results is very ugly compared to what I am describing. People who want, strongly desire results of their material actions appear greedy and full of ugly desires. So don't be one of them. A person who is truly not motivated by material result in this very life becomes free from all types of Karmic reaction."
"This is what wise people do, they become detached from both good and bad action and all the different results of their actions. Thus their mind enters into a state of Divine tranquility, even in this life. It is only attainable, truly by my devotees, so when your mind finally comes out of attachment to material life, which is like a dense forest, then at last, you will become truly indifferent to all the trivia of this material world and eventually you will no longer be deterred by various people's interpretations of the Vedas and when you attain such trance, then you will be on the path of real and pure devotion."
Then Arjun asked, "What does such a person look like? Tell me how they act." Then Krishna replied, "this person who really relishes this internal ecstasy of detachment and devotion is the only one you should think of as wise, undisturbed by the various types of material miseries and no longer interested in material pleasure because of tasting a higher internal pleasure and free from attachment, fear, anger, such a person is to be known as really wise and intelligent. This person is never elated because of receiving or loosing something material. He is like a tortoise that can draw his limbs into his shell. His intelligence is always established despite changes in the outer world or in their outer world. Most people if they avoid being attached to material it is a forcible process, but for this person it is natural. Even inner attachment to material things is not found in my real devotee because he has had a glimpse of Me and the internal truth. If a person does not have attachment to a higher thing, even if they forcefully try to control their mind, it can be carried away by a strong wave of the material energy, some strong attraction that is. But by being devoted to me, because I am so wonderful and beautiful and high and great, the mind of My devotee is never distracted. All other persons attempting all other paths gradually become attached again to various goals and objectives, which are material and when such desire is born in them and when those desires are not fulfilled, the normal result of anger will arise and thus begins the chain of fall down because from anger, delusion and then forgetfulness and then loss of intelligence all gradually follow. But a true devotee whose aim is me acts exclusively for my satisfaction, therefore, with that goal as their director, there is no chance of them having their own particular attachment to anything. In a sense I become the way through, which they control their mind and senses. With me as their director, they sail easily through all the temptations in their material life. Therefore, only by such devotion can one only achieve a tranquil heart in this material life. A person whose senses and mind are not controlled has no real judgment and their thoughts are meaningless, similarly one who has no purity of thought cannot have peace. With peace, how can one be happy. Thus Arjun, it is the truth that without real devotion to me, you cannot be happy. The boat of your mind will be thrust all over by the unfavorable waves of the material changes. Therefore, only the person who is really devoted to me and thus indifferent to material attractions, repulsions and all the changes of this material life is really intelligent, wise and happy."
"This spiritual path is like dark night time for the gross materialists, but their way of life is hideous and like night time to the spiritualists. In this way, the two paths are quite opposite and the one does not attract the other. The materialists are attracting to fleeting material pleasures, which are devoid of the everlasting spiritual joy, which is the essential goal of the spiritualists. The truly fixed spiritualist is like the ocean. Many rivers of sensual input can flow towards him, but nothing changes his size or effects him."
"Giving up attachment to all types of desires, which flow forth from the particular body in, which the persons finds themselves, such a right thinking and detached spiritualist attains tranquility. A center of this tranquility is their relationship with the Supreme. Arjun, once a person becomes fixed in this spiritual path, they attain to permanent tranquility. Once attaining that, a person is never distracted back by material life, even the time of death is not bewildering to such a person and if this stage is attained by the time of death the person is liberated to places beyond this material creation." Then Arjun said, "Oh Krishna, if you consider that the kind of spiritual attention that you've been describing to be better than action in goodness and action in passion, then why do you engage me in this violent activity of warfare. I am confused by your words.
Then Krishna said, Arjun what I have described is not different types of behavior, but different types of consciousness. There may be multiple types of faith, but really everyone has to act the same. Everyone has to perform some duties just to stay alive. So one might as well perform scripturally. The difference between material and spiritual approved activities is that one leads to the path of freedom and the other does not, so why abandon properly arranged religiously approved or pure duties. A person who pretends like they are detached from material life and doesn't do anything, but eternally is not detached is a hypocrite. It is better to be a person acting for example in married life and actually be engaged in the process of purification than be such a hypocrite. So perform all your duties. Do everything you need to do according to how your life is created. But in your heart and in your mind, do everything to please me as an offering to me. That is real devotion and renunciation. Such selfless duties done as an offering unto me are really religious sacrifice, whereas actions performed for other purposes become a source of bondage and the cause of repeated birth and death in different bodies in this material world.
In the beginning of creation, Lord Brahma creating everything and everybody also brought forth sacrifices aimed at Vishnu, which who is my direct expansion. He told the DemiGods and all the humans that he had created to perform these sacrifices and that by doing so the DemiGods would also be satisfied and general prosperity would be there for everyone. It was known and it is still understood that someone who tries to enjoy all the gifts of the Universe without offering them back to Vishnu and thus satisfying the DemiGods occurs all the sins of being a their and basically makes it bad for everyone. So persons who participate in this reciprocatory process of offering and then accepting the remains of such sacrifice of offering as their foodstuffs and everything they need in life are really happy, but those who don't participate in this way of recognizing the Supreme Lord and all His servitors throughout the Universe is really sinful and creates a dark situation all around. The Vedic understanding is that living beings need food and food is grown from the rain and rain comes from the happiness of the DemiGods in the Universe and they remain happy by everyone serving the Lord in the way I described. And the proper way to understand and serve the Supreme Lord and how to please Him is understood through the Vedas. And the Vedas arise from Me.
Therefore, I the Supreme Lord pervade and am always situated within the acts of proper sacrifice as ordained by the true understanding of the Vedic scriptures. A person who doesn't follow this cyclical system of offering and accepting, which is really a loving exchange between all beings and myself, certainly leads a sinful, separates life. Such a compulsive enjoyer and separatist really lives in vain.
Since everything in this Universe is designed for the enlightenment of the Soul, once a Soul has attained the highest levels of enlightenment, they really no longer have any duties to perform in society because they no longer need or want anything. They just act for the bare necessities of what they need and they serve everyone around them. Always self-satisfied within. This person is really graduated from the processes of enlightenment of this world. He rejoices in his own Soul and therefore he doesn't need to perform actions in order to gain piety. He doesn't need to engage in the processes of gradual spiritual evolution that others really should engage in. Such a Soul, fully enlightened, fully dependent on me is not dependent in his mind upon anyone else from the highest being on the highest material Planet down to the lowest. So ignored to attain to this stage of very high devotion and enlightenment, Arjun, give up your inner attachment to the fruits of your actions and all other material goals, although you should continue to perform the duties to who you are in life. By continuing this cycle of performing action without attachment, you will attain liberation. And true liberation is that state of exclusive devotion to me, which is the ultimate maturity of all Yogi paths. Other great personalities in the past of this great Planet attain to this stage by devotion to me and performing the duties that were a natural part of their life. Therefore, it is proper for you to follow that path and thus by your actions you will instruct everyone who lives with you and who shall follow after you. People look up to great men and they follow their example, you know, I the Supreme Lord have nothing that I have to do in this world since I already own everything. And yet see, I am active, I am setting an example. If I did not act and set a good example, people would become confused trying to imitate me and they would give up doing what they should do. Thus, I would be the cause of creating great turmoil and I would be spoiling prosperity for everyone. So seeing the general inclination of the masses, which is more towards ignorance than it is towards wisdom, the wise persons seeing the fact that most people are in ignorance should work in order to direct the masses. But, they should do so without attachment. Thus in this way they will encourage the proper path for everyone.
The difference between these two classes of persons is not the actions they perform, or the attachment or detachment that they feel in their minds and hearts. In other words, enlightenment is somewhat invisible. You cannot tell if a person is enlightened by their external actions.
Amongst the wise, those persons who are scholarly and very learned should avoid confusing the ignorant people with their complex writings and speaking. Instead they should encourage the general people to engage in the way they can engage. In other words they should encourage the general people to engage in acts of devotion while performing the duties that are necessary for their common lives.
Everything that you body does is automatically performed by my fantastic material nature. But a deluded person identifying with their body, thinks that they are actually doing whatever they do with their body. But one who is really in knowledge of how material nature works does not falsely identify with this body and does not think himself the doer of any action. He knows well that his senses and nervous system, his entire body, activated automatically by material nature is actually doing everything. The person who identifies with his body and is thus under the spell of the material illusion is as if possessed by a ghost. Such a person is captivated and attached. So the wise should not agitate such ignorant, dull-brained and unenlightened persons by revealing philosophical truths to them. They should instead instruct them to perform their normal duties in life, but encourage them to develop the spirit of detachment, because that will gradually nullify their enchantment for material nature. Everyone should think as follows: All my actions are under the control of the in dwelling Lord. And Arjun in this way you should perform your duty, which today is to fight this battle. For persons who constantly practice the path I described, gradually attain full liberation from this material world, even though they are performing all the duties necessary for their life. But the others who will not perform this path of selfless devotion to me and do not follow these teachings are devoid of good sense. They are envious and they will be reborn in order to experience more lessons in this material world.
Even the learned persons are under the control of their own natures inherent in their birth. And endeavoring to become one of them means to be enslaved as such persons, just as they currently are. So each person is invariably attracted to and repulsed by different things, but the key is not to become subjected to such retraction and repulsion. It is better to do your own duties the way they are than to think that some other lifestyle is going to be better. Where ever you are in life, who ever you are, do what you do, but do it well. Do it religiously. Do it spiritually. Do it in devotion to me.
Thinking that true spirituality means to adopt some other persons life or to greatly change your life is not correct, Arjun. Whatever you are is OK, but offer your life to me and make it as holy as possible, you don't need to become someone else to please Me, The Supreme Lord.
Then Arjun asked Krishna, "Why are we compelled to be sinful? Why are we compelled to do awful things?" And Krishna replied, "It is lust, which compels one to perform sinful acts. Lust and greed are the basis for such desires and it is also lust, which transforms into anger and makes people malicious. Therefore it is lust that is the greatest enemy of the living beings. According to their natures at birth, different living beings are covered by different degrees of this lust, but it is this lust that is the greatest enemy of the person on the path of enlightenment because it bewilders and misdirects one's best intelligence and judgment. This lust lives in your mind and in your senses so one has to learn to determine when it is lust that is misdirecting you. So Arjun , focus your life and your activities upon my satisfaction and you will easily subdue this enemy, lust. You have to help yourself 1st , before you can help anyone else.
"Arjun you senses and working limbs are superior to dull inert matter, and your senses and limbs are under the control of your mind. Your mind can be subjected by your intelligence and the Soul is above all of these things. So knowing this and knowing that your Soul should be directed towards me and liberation, bring your mind, intelligence, your senses and all your actions under the firm grip and control of your Soul on the path of spiritual liberation and perfection and thus you will easily slay this terrible enemy of material lust, which is ruining your life and everyone else's.
I have previously taught these things to the gods who taught them to their descendants and disciples and now I am again delivering this knowledge to you. Then Arjun asked, "The Gods are older than you Krishna, how is it that you taught them?" And then Krishna told Arjun that He is eternal and that He is the Supreme Lord forever and that he existed previously and was able to thus teach the Gods." Krishna also said, "I appear in every great age to reestablish religious principles. I appear on Earth just like a mortal person and speak religious truths so that persons who are ready for the highest thing will have a chance to receive it. Arjun, if a person can understand me the way I really am, the Supreme Lord and that I appear like a human but I am not human, such a person understands me properly and is eligible for liberation. no longer under the spell of worldly attraction and what goes along with it, which is fear and anger, such persons become my devotees. They absorb their hearts in Me. They love to hear about Me, talk about Me, sing my glories and remember Me always. They are fully purified by their knowledge of spiritual life and by their sacrifices for my pleasure. They attain divine love for me and they attain my divine abode after this life. As much as a person takes shelter in Me, I accordingly reward them and reciprocate with their love. I am the ultimate goal of all philosophies and religions. Everyone, ultimately is following my path and attaining to me alone. But those persons who want quick success in this material world, worship other Gods and have other goals in their minds. I arrange for such things to take place to appear to be fruitful. But, I, alone have created everything, including all the divisions in human society according to and for the sake of the different levels of spiritual evolution. But, nevertheless, I am the Supreme Lord, I created everything as well as this system of gradual evolution of the human beings. But, I am not the doer of all of this. I am not fond of or subjugated to this material nature. I am above it. I am always spiritual and that can never change. I am not subject to the laws of Karma, which I have created to help the living being learn and gradually attain me. I am the Supreme Lord full of everything. Why would I be attached to the insignificant things of this material world. One who understands this true conception about me is never bound by action in this world. Such pure devotees of mine definitely come to me. This is a very simple, spiritual principle and great yogis in the past following it attained to me. Likewise Arjun, you should try to follow this and attain to me.
But learned persons who avoid me are invariably bewildered and cannot figure out what the truth is. They go on and on year after year trying to figure everything out, but for one who knows me it is very easy. Indeed, it is very difficult for a person to figure out all the intricacies of action and giving up action, attachment and giving up attachment, what is good action, what is bad action, this is all very difficult to actually, fully comprehend. But, one who really knows that the selfless actions performed by my devotees is free from bondage and is, therefore, in fact true renunciation of material life and further more knows that the renunciation of worldly actions by those persons who hearts are still impure and not my devotees is actually still acting on the material plane and, therefore, attached to this material world. Such a person who understands these subtle facts is indeed intelligent and learned and sees the truth. Only that person who is fully satisfied with internal bliss due to being my devotee and who thus acts in this world without any attachment and doesn't even care for fame or any such thing, he actually is not doing anything, even though he may be acting fully on the material level. He is not bound by the actions he performs. He has renounced all aspirations for material pleasures and enjoyment. And sinful and pious reactions never come to him. He has been freed from the cycle of birth and death. Whatever happens, they are always happy with that. They are never overwhelmed by pleasure or pain. They are not dejected or elated. This spirit of sacrifice and devotion, dissipates the reactions, which normally come to all other persons. Indeed, for ones whose mind is not yet free because of devotion to me, the reactions that come due to their detachment, teach them valuable lessons to encourage them to engage in the path of devotion. In other words, the pain of this world that everyone invariably experiences leads us ultimately to desiring liberation. And true liberation is to become completely attached to an eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord.
"Arjun, in the Vedas a number of different paths are described and you can find different persons following these various paths. Some follow physical Yoga processes. Some follow the path of offering charity. Others do other things such as pursue a life of knowledge of the absolute. These different types of religious performers attain the different ends of their various paths, but in the end, they all eventually reach the supreme, absolute destination. But a person who never performs any religious acts or spiritual life, it is not possible for them to attain to any heaven and they are reborn here over and over until they do engage in the processes of spiritual life. But all these different paths, which are given in the Vedas or other scriptures, arise from the needs of different bodies, different minds and different types of lifestyle. But all of them require some action. So when you realize that action can be used for either liberation or bondage, then you've truly understood action. In other words, people who are performing acts can either be doing so in order to go up or they can be doing so without a desire to go up in, which case they stay here and are reborn.
"Arjun, of all these sacrifices, the sacrifice of knowledge is superior to the sacrifice of actions, because ultimately all the actions culminate in knowledge. So the devotee who actually has knowledge of spirit as it really is further along on the path than that devotee who is engaged in sacrifice of action, or Karma, Yoga who has not actually achieved enlightenment yet. So approaching a fully enlightened person, a master of spiritual matters, and being very submissive towards him and putting proper questions will greatly help you on your spiritual path. Such highly advanced spiritual persons can help you because they have actually seen the truth. If you can receive knowledge from a real master of spiritual life, you will no longer be deluded. You will be able to see all species of life as equal because you will be seeing just the Soul in everything. You will see that everything is situated within me because I am the supreme cause of everything.
Even if you were previously a great sinner, once you have this divine spiritual knowledge, you will easily be able to cross over this ocean of material life. This spiritual knowledge can burn up everything, just as fire burns everything around it. Amongst all the practices I described, nothing is as pure as divine spiritual knowledge. After a while a sincere practitioner eventually achieves this divine knowledge automatically. Being fully purified by non-fruitive action, knowledge arises in their heart. Such persons accept the scriptural purport fully and they are devoted to the path I have described. They swiftly attain freedom of the cycle of birth and death. But a fool who does not follow the scriptures, who has no taste for following my path or who is distracted by many diverse materialistic philosophies or who doubts me. Such persons can never achieve the actual goal. Persons full of doubts cannot achieve happiness in this life or the next. But a person who follows the path of non-fruitive action and duty and eventually achieves divine knowledge, realizes their own internal spiritual nature, that they are no longer implicated by the material world.
"Therefore, Arjun, take this weapon of divine knowledge and kill all these doubts in your heart, which were born out of your own material ignorance. Take refuge in this path of selfless duty and arise for this great battle."
Then Arjun asked, "It seems Krishna that you sometimes recommend renouncing activities, but then again you recommend performing activities , but in a devotional selfless way. Could you please clarify, which is superior for me." Krishna said "both of them are good, but of the two, action in devotional selflessness is better. Arjun, you should understand that that person who is not attracted to things of this world, nor hates them is truly a renunciate because even though engaged in activities they are actually beyond attachment to this material plane. The goal of renunciation or detachment is also achieved by the person who follows the path of selfless devotional action. One who knows the truth, knows that these two paths actually lead to the exact same destination. Arjun, a person who merely renounces this world because it is false, actually leads themselves to a place of near sorrow. It is wiser to engage in selfless action in order to attain a supreme spiritual goal because that is very happy."
"Persons who are still in family life, fully living in the world, who are my devotees can be classified in three ways. The one who has pure intelligence, the one who is still working on controlling their mind and the one who is working on controlling their senses. Comparatively speaking the 1st one is the best because of their possessing pure intelligence. But all of them are to be understood as embodying real good will for every living being. Although they are active people, they are not implicated by action and they are on the path of liberation. They all know that although engaging in so many activities it is really their bodies, their senses and their limbs, (material nature in other words), which is doing everything and that they are not doing anything, but are merely the witness. Just like the leaf of the lotus plant, which is waxy and although resting on water never gets wet. In the same way, my devotee although performing so many activities in this world, because of their knowledge remains very detached and unaffected.
The different kinds of devotees of mine, engaging in their various detailed processes of Yogi detached work achieve liberation, but the attached fruit-hunting person obsessed with the results and fruits of his actions becomes implicated more and more in material life because of their desire to be here. The living beings begin their material lives in ignorance and due to this ignorance, their material lives here continue over and over until they achieve ultimate liberation. But I did not generate their misconceptions while living here and I do not generate or cause their actions and their attachments to the fruits of their actions. I do not accept either their good actions or their bad actions as being caused by me. Their nature is to be conscious, but they are using their consciousness in the way of their being infatuated with material energy. Thinking themselves t be their bodies, they go on and on here. Their real nature, their real eternal consciousness is clouded by their material misconceptions.
There are two kinds of knowledge, mundane material knowledge and divine spiritual knowledge. One is concerned with the details of this material world and the other is concerned with spiritual reality. Once a person has spiritual knowledge, it overcomes, overwhelms and over shadows the much less important material knowledge. Like the mighty rising Sun, divine spiritual knowledge reveals the supreme reality. Those who have tasted this divine knowledge and who are living by it become my devotees and they never tire of unendingly singing my glories having devoted themselves completely to me. They completely transcend this world. Such person see all living beings equally, whether it be a plant, animal or a great saint. They see the Soul in every living being and they are true pandits or wise men. Such persons, even though still living in this world, have actually already entered into the transcendental world. They are completely free from the conception of me and mine because they are permanently situated in spiritual thought. They don't care if they get good things or loose good things, they don't care about loss or gain."
"Arjun, the pleasures of the body in this life are the Soul cause of distress because all such things are subject to destruction. They are temporary. A really intelligent person does not delight in temporary material pleasures. One who can stop desire and anger at their source and engage themselves in the process of selfless action I have described is truly happy in this life and actually attains union with me. Such persons are free from bad actions, free from doubts, their minds are fully controlled and they are always engaged in good activities that benefit everyone. Such seers of the truth attain real liberation."
I am the Supreme Enjoyer of everything. Even the persons who work for themselves are really only working for me and of course I am the object of worship for the devoted. I am the indwelling monitor for all planes of life and I am the Supreme Lord who controls who is liberated and who is not liberated. Yet, I am the well-wisher of everyone. I desire everyone's ultimate benefit. Anyone who truly knows me in this way, achieves divine ecstasy and their own fully developed spiritual body. One does not become a great renunciate or a great Yogi simply by becoming an inactive fool, rather a person who genuinely performs selfless action in devotion is the real renunciate and the real Yogi, the real saint. Further more Arjun, all the practices of Yoga given in the Vedas including the eight fold path and the various Yogas based on mediation, the ends of all of these are achieved through the path I have described. The true aim of all of these paths is devotion unto me.
In all these paths you must learn to control your mind. The mind can be your friend or enemy. The uncontrolled mind clings onto material desires and carries the living being downwards deeper into material existence, but the controlled mind can be your assistant and friend. The real practitioner on the path I have described sees everything equally and is not deterred by the different appearances of cold and heat, happiness or distress. All the time no matter what, they remain absorbed in their path with their mind fixed on me and the superior practitioner on the path is capable of seeing all living beings as equal whether they are his enemy or his friend. They simply see material nature transforming and teaching all Souls through different lives and different bodies. The real devotee does not identify himself or anyone else with their current body or life.
At 1st , when one is on the path, they should accept what is favorable for their beginning stage. They may need to set themselves somewhat apart from the hustle and bustle of society. Perhaps at an Ashram or some quiet place, which enables them to focus on their spiritual path. They should learn to meditate. How to live a simple, clean life. They should learn from their spiritual master how to control their mind, how to practice different stages of meditation according to the teachings of the real spiritual master. For a person who does not control and balance their eating and sleeping and all other material activities, Yoga is very difficult. Yoga must begin in a state of balance. Over eating, over sleeping or under eating and under sleeping will not help, but will rather harm the persons path. It is the excesses of passion in this life, which put us off balance and cause us to not be able to focus our minds and make steady spiritual progress. By gradually bringing ones life into balance and under control and by gradually increasing ones spiritual knowledge and awareness, the person gradually achieves to a real state of trance or Yoga and ultimately by going on and on like this, attains to permanent trance, which is also known as Samadhi. This can be done while living ones normal life and engaging in ones normal activities. Only some minor adjustments in order to aid one on the path are necessary."
"Ultimately, my devotee can attain to such a position mentally, that even the most unbearable tribulation of material life does not waver their focus or concentration on divine truth. Ultimately, the real devotee perceives that I am in the heart of every one along with their individual Soul. They see everyone engaged in the process of gradual purification. Such a person who sees Me within everything and who sees that the whole creation is under Me, to him I am never away or unseen. And I always see him too, I always remember such a devotee of Mine. I consider the greatest master of religion, Yoga or mysticism to be that person who sees everyone as his equal. Who sees the happiness and distress of others as their own and in the same way that they apply detachment to themselves, they similarly do not lament or feel elation on behalf of what happens to other people."
Then Arjun expressed a doubt and he told Krishna, "It seems impossible to achieve such a great high state of conscious equilibrium." He wondered if it was actually possible to attain what Krishna was describing. Then Krishna said, "You are right Arjun, this is difficult especially for a person who has not decided to control their mind on the spiritual path, but for one who accepts a real spiritual master and steadfastly practices controlling their mind by their spiritual path can gradually make progress and ultimately attain the state I have described."
Then Arjun said, "Krishna, what happens to the person who begins such a path, but before their death is not totally successful, aren't they destroyed having neither successful spiritual or material success? Only you being the Supreme Lord can dispel this doubt, tell me Krishna what happens to such a person?" Then Krishna said, "Arjun, there are higher material Planets where great satisfaction and pleasure is going on. The unsuccessful Yogi goes there for sometime and enjoys such heavenly pleasures and then after hundreds and thousands of human years returns and I give them birth in a very wealthy or devotional family so that either way they can easily continue on the path where they left off. But know for sure, Arjun that I am promising you that nothing bad ever happens to a person who begins on this path. Making an investment on this path is always a good idea and no progress is ever lost, no one should fear that. In fact it is for this reason, Arjun that sometimes it is seen that for no apparent reason certain people suddenly take with great fervor to the path of devotion to me. It is due to their past merit and previous progress on the path in some previous life. Eventually, when the sincere devotee achieves the full goal that I have described, no matter how any life times it may take, such a devotee eventually achieves me."
"As the Supreme Lord of everything, I declare to you Arjun, that my devotee, the true saintly person who is a worshiper of my presence in all things is superior to those who engage in austerity simply to achieve liberation and superior to those who worship spirit in an impersonal way and definitely superior to those who are simply attached to material activities in this life, therefore, My friend, Arjun, become a devotee of Mine, worship Me with all your heart, adoring Me, singing My glories and rendering all services unto Me."
"Arjun, nothing is superior to Me. Everything in creation, even every thing you don't know or understand or can see, everything, virtually everything rests and depends upon me. I am the basis of the flavor in everything. I am all opulence. I am in the Planets. I am the basis of the sound vibration. I am the basis of the Vedas. My male side is in all men, My female side in all women. I am the pure fragrance of the Earth and I am the light in all fire. I am the life span, I am the strength. I am the cause of everything. I am intelligence personified. I am the supremely powerful. Although I am the source of all things, I am not in them, they are all subordinate to Me, existing in Me, dependent on Me. Mostly everyone is diluted by my external eternal energy and therefore, they do not know Me even though I am above all these things. My external potency is insurmountable, only those who exclusively surrender to Me can rise beyond it, otherwise this dream or fantasy engulfs the living entity. People who are too attached to material things, people who reject this devotional path, people whose knowledge is mislead and people who think My lower forms to be higher than Me, never worship Me. These four kinds of people do not worship me. There are another four kind of persons who do worship Me. They are the afflicted, the person who wants the highest knowledge, and the person who prays to Me for worldly enjoyment and the very pure hearted person who actually sees the Soul. These persons if they pursue the devotional service I have described can eventually obtain Me. Amongst these four, the highest one is the one who is enlightened. Who is actually absorbed in Me and devoted to Me. Whoever holds my personal form as Krishna as dear, is also very dear to Me. Anyone who is seeking God is dear to me. But the person who actually has realization, who is actually willing to come to the highest stage of knowing Me is most dear to Me and becomes basically inseparable from Me. A person who has been through many life times and comes to the understanding that everything is going on within Me and is dependent on Me, who becomes very much attached to My personal form, this person is extremely rare. Know this for sure. Some persons have material desires and find religion such as Hinduism they worship various DemiGods, they follow the rules and they get the result according to their faith. However, all sorts of things are awarded by Me alone. These fruits that they obtain are temporary, whereas my devotees come to Me and that is eternal. My own body and my abode, my nature qualities and everything I do are all transcendental and eternal. They are never in illusion. They are above Maya . But unintelligent men think that when I take birth amongst the humans that I am simply Brahman or spirit taking birth as a human, but this is not the case. My world and My spiritual body are eternally spiritual and eternally manifest. They are never subject to illusion. They are the source of both this world of Maya and the expansive Brahman that provides everything. I conceal Myself from those who are not willing to know me as I really am. I reveal myself when I desire to reveal Myself. I know every body and every thing in the past, present and future. But the minute living entities because of their size cannot know even their own past what to speak of the future. Because from the very beginning of creation, all the living beings are just literally overwhelmed by the dualities of happiness and unhappiness based on their desires for certain types of sensual contact. But those fortunate persons who have risen to the point of being able to associate with My lineage of pure devotees become purified. The become free from the delusion of duality and they constantly engage in my devotional service. And for whatever reason people come to me, they receive that reward whether it be Brahman or some type of realization. But those who come to Me for the right reason, who know Me as I really am, they can know Me even at the time of death. Even when afflicted by the terrible ghastly experience of leaving the body, they do not run or take shelter anywhere else. Instead they remember only Me.
Arjun asked some questions. He asked Krishna, "What is spirit and what is the Soul, what is work or Karma as differentiated from that, what is caused by the environment alone? Who governs this entire universal environment and who exactly is God within us? How is God situated within us? How do you devotees know you even at the time of the greatest tribulation, which is death?
Then Krishna replied, "Spirit is the indestructible, unchangeable, absolute truth. This spirit actually constitutes what makes the Soul inside each of us. Work is that, which ones performs for the sake of a demigod or some goal and that actually every goal is a demigod and that work produces the bodies that we live in both as humans and animals and plants or all bodies. The bodies, which our egos produce form the environment and the entire Universe is governed by all the DemiGods taken together at the top of, which is the solar gods or the central god and that, I, Krishna, alone, am the Supreme Lord of all endeavors. The enjoyer of everything and that I, alone, am situated within every body given their impetus and their reward for their various actions, charities, sacrifices, etc. Anyone who thinks of Me at the time of death attains to Me. Indeed what ever one is meditating on at the time of death, being the summation of their meditation for a whole life time forms their next destination. Therefore, it is wise to remember me at all times. To situate your life in such a way that you are always thinking of Me. Make your life a meditation upon Me. I am in everything, somehow or another learn to see everything connected to me.
One can try to attain to constant meditation upon me by performing strict Yoga disciplines or one can become my devotee acting spontaneously within their life with their mind fixed on me. Either way I can be obtained. Anyone who reaches my abode to participate in my past times never returns here again. From Lord Brahma's Planet on down in this material Universe, everyone must die and take rebirth. But for those who have gone beyond this material creation and reached my Planet there is no rebirth ever again.
Lord Brahma's day lasts for 1,000 Tetra Yugas or 4 Yuga cycles and his night lasts that same length. This is the true day and night. During His day, everything is born and all different types of bodies and at night everything is again absorbed with Him. In other words, every thing in creation is a part of the day consciousness of Lord Brahma and is unmanifest during His night of sleep. But, my own personal abode is beyond this realm of Brahma and it is not destroyed ever. And anyone who attains there, enjoys in that way. I am the Supreme Person within whom all other things exist and live. Myself and My abode are attainable only by fully correcting ones consciousness to the point where it becomes full to the brim 100% with dedication and completely 100% free from the opposites, which are exploitation, renunciation, mysticism, attachment to empirical thinking, separatism and all other types of exploitation when the individual Soul is trying to be the center.
Arjun, there are material paths, which some mystics follow in order to attain certain results such as using astrology in order to manipulate one's future. But devotional service to me is transcendental to both of these and My true devotee never thinks that he has to engage in such material machinations in order to achieve my favor. Devotional service is always transcendental to all such mystical machinations. My devotee achieves everything and anything promised by any other subpath of the Vedas. This includes charity, sacrifices, mysticism, astrology, etc. Only by exclusive devotion onto me in all aspects of their life can a person attain Me and any one who does this is not held back by any other part of the Vedas.
Arjun, now I want to give you something very great. It is like a hidden treasure. By knowing about this you will definitely achieve freedom from the mundane. This is pure. This is the essence of everything. It makes you very joyful. It is completely transcendental. Persons who have no faith in what I am about to tell you cannot attain Me. They remain here forever. I pervade the entire Universe and every thing is situated within me and yet, I am not within every thing. Even though I am in every thing and not within it, it is also true that it is not within Me. Behold my inconceivable divine nature. Although I am the source of everything, I cannot be held to anything. I am completely free to do anything and every thing I want. I create the entire material nature and all the beings within it according to their aspirations and needs. I create this nature over and over. Since it is created it must also disappear so I create the Universe again and again. When I appear within the Universe by My own sweet will, only a fool would think I am implicated by it. Some ignorant persons think I am human and they speak about Me like that. How foolish that persons totally trapped within my material nature dare to judge Me or talk about Me. These persons are idiots and all their desires will be baffled, but great Souls take refuge in My divine and godly nature. And with their hearts directed to Me, they devote themselves to Me, knowing Me to be the cause of every thing. They don't worry about the regulations of worship. Their love for me is the guiding force behind their worship. Trusting that one day they will get to be with Me they go on with their devotional service to Me. And their others who are absorbed in knowledge who are aware of their oneness with Me or their oneness with the DemiGods or the demigod's oneness with Me. All of these people worship Me alone. I am all of the Vedic sacrifices. Whether it is the Nalagraha Puja to the 9 main Planets or the puja to the five main DemiGods or the oblations offering to the ancestors or worship of spring or the autumn crop or the Sun worship or any worship that their might be, I am all of these things. I am the place of worship and I am the act of worshipping. I am the father and mother of this Universe. I am all the ancestors and I am the only thing that could be though of as the true object of knowledge. I am everyone's ultimate goal. I am their maintainer. I am their controller. I witness every thing. I am everyone's refuge. Their only guardian and their only unconditional well-wisher. I am creation, disillusion and the maintainer of every thing. I am the reservoir and I am the seed. And all of this I do as the Supreme, eternal person. I am the extremes such as heat and cold, winter and summer, I send forth the rains and the draughts. I am liberation and death. I am in every thing, both gross and subtle.
Arjun, what is the point of following the various Vedic performances in order to attain to the heavens. Persons who do this strictly, indeed go to the heavenly Planets, but after some time they come back to the Earthly realm as humans, what is the point of this going up and down in the material world? But I personally take great interest in the lives of my exclusive devotees. I personally provide for them, take care of them, and bring them what they need. Whatever somebody worships that is what they attain. People who worship the DemiGods go to the DemiGods, but that is all temporary. People who worship other Gods are actually only worshipping Me, but they are doing it improperly. It doesn't matter what you offer to Me since I already own every thing. But, you should offer Me every thing because that is good for you. I will accept your love. Do everything for Me, whatever you do, do it for Me. Try to make me the goal of your life and then all your actions as offerings unto Me, perform daily. It doesn't matter if what you do is just a general action or something regulated and recommended by some scripture. If you do it for Me, you will be liberated from bondage. But, always remain indifferent to the fruits of all your actions. Just do it for Me. I am not partial to anyone. All Souls are equally My ????? But, those who have come to the point of recognizing Me as their master, they get some special affection from Me, because they have started up their eternal relationship with Me. They love me and I love them, but this does not mean that I disregard any other Soul. I am equal to all. Even a person who is seemingly low class, if they, in their own way, make me their only exclusive goal and try to serve Me as best they can, even they become saintly, even though they are low-class by nature. It won't be long before such persons, even though low class, become adorned with all the beautiful qualities of an excellent person. Declare it loudly to every one Arjun, tell every one that nothing ever gets in the way of my devotee. My devotee is never, ever beaten down, vanquished, over come or tossed away. I always protect my true devotees in all circumstances. Know this for sure and tell it proudly to anyone and every one."
"Any one who goes out and dares to broadcast what I just said about My devotees is dear to Me and very soon gets My grace and becomes, himself, a great devotee.
Arjun, no one is banished or held back from My devotional service. No one is prevented from taking shelter of Me. Any one no matter what body they are in, no matter what cast or family or country they take birth in, no matter how low class they may seem to some one else, no one seems low class to Me. Any one who devotes themselves to Me. attains to Me no matter what the situation of their birth or body may be. That being the case Arjun, there is no question that a great personality like yourself, highly learned in Vedic culture, a great prince could attain to me. Certainly, you, can attain to me. Therefore, become my full time devotee. You've had many births before. Now you should end this wandering through birth after birth in the material world. Just give your heart to Me. Become My devotee. Give everything to Me. Take full shelter in Me Arjun and I guarantee you that you will come to Me.