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Extracting Gita from Mahabharata

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Gita has been mentioned in Padma-Purana. Does it mean that these verses had been named as "Gita" before Padma-Purana or at least the part of this purana that glorifies Gita was written?

The particular term "Gita" has a pretty universal application towards instructional conversations within the Puranas and Itihasas (For example Rama Gita, Guru Gita, etc.). As far as the Bhagavad Gita term itself goes, it is likely to have been given by Vyasa himself, if we accept the colophon verses to be his composition.


As far as who was the first to specify its unique value in a generic sense, it would be Sanjaya (beginning with verse 74 of the eighteenth chapter), but his glorification was included within the Gita itself by Vyasa.



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I seem to recall that too. But the Vedas actually have no origin, since they are part and parcel of God. But they did exist before our Lord Brahma; indeed any Lord Brahma. I was in a big debate once way back and I remember the deciding Vedic quote referred to the Vedas not being manufactured at any point in time, but rather existing eternally, emanating from the breathing of Lord Narayana. I guess as the perfect Adi-Guru, Lord Brahma repeats the Vedas exactly as he hears them.

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Perhaps Krsna uses the highlighter here on the conversation in verse 18.70:

And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.

<font color="#f7f7f7">


[This message has been edited by gHari (edited 12-26-2001).]

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Well I came up with no definite clues after a six hour search of the Vedabase, but I did manage to collect everything you could possibly want to know about the origin and nature of the Vedas.


Considering the target audience of the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita I remembered how many people lose interest in heady thought-provoking movies. They prefer an action flick. Then I wondered whether the Gita was in the Mahabharata or whether the Mahabharata was surrounding the Gita. Well, that was speculation.


I could get no hints from Vyasadeva or Krsna, or even Srila Prabhupada. Here's what I did find that related to the 'emanation' of the Vedas and the Vedas in general:


Vintage Prabhupada:

At present only a small portion of the knowledge contained in the Vedas, VedAnta-sUtra, and UpaniSads is available to the general populace. What is noteworthy, however, is that the essence of all Vedic knowledge is available in the GItopaniSad, popularly known as the Bhagavad-gItA. Lord KRSNa milked the cow of the UpaniSads, and Arjuna drank the milk thus obtained--the Bhagavad-gItA. If Arjuna found time to hear the Bhagavad-gItA in the middle of a battlefield at Kuruksetra, then what urgent business is stopping us from hearing the GItA?


Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.40:

yamadUtA UcuH

veda-praNihito dharmo

hy adharmas tad-viparyayaH

vedo nArAyaNaH sAkSAt

svayambhUr iti zuzruma


yamadUtAH UcuH--the order carriers of YamarAja said; veda--by the four Vedas (SAma, Yajur, Rg and Atharva); praNihitaH--prescribed; dharmaH--religious principles; hi--indeed; adharmaH--irreligious principles; tat-viparyayaH--the opposite of that (that which is not supported by Vedic injunctions); vedaH--the Vedas, books of knowledge; nArAyaNaH sAkSAt--directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead (being the words of NArAyaNa); svayam-bhUH--self-born, self-sufficient (appearing only from the breath of NArAyaNa and not being learned from anyone else); iti--thus; zuzruma--we have heard.


The YamadUtas replied: That which is prescribed in the Vedas constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, NArAyaNa, and are self-born. This we have heard from YamarAja.



The servants of YamarAja replied quite properly. They did not manufacture principles of religion or irreligion. Instead, they explained what they had heard from the authority YamarAja. MahAjano yena gataH sa panthAH: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] one should follow the mahAjana, the authorized person. YamarAja is one of twelve authorities. Therefore the servants of YamarAja, the YamadUtas, replied with perfect clarity when they said zuzruma ("we have heard"). The members of modern civilization manufacture defective religious principles through speculative concoction. This is not dharma. They do not know what is dharma and what is adharma. Therefore, as stated in the beginning of SrImad-BhAgavatam, dharmaH projjhita-kaitavo 'tra: [sB 1.1.2] dharma not supported by the Vedas is rejected from zrImad-bhAgavata-dharma. BhAgavata-dharma comprises only that which is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. BhAgavata-dharma is sarva-dharmAn parityajya mAm ekaM zaraNaM vraja: [bg. 18.66] one must accept the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender to Him and whatever He says. That is dharma. Arjuna, for example, thinking that violence was adharma, was declining to fight, but KRSNa urged him to fight. Arjuna abided by the orders of KRSNa, and therefore he is actually a dharmI because the order of KRSNa is dharma. KRSNa says in Bhagavad-gItA (15.15), vedaiz ca sarvair aham eva vedyaH: "The real purpose of veda, knowledge, is to know Me." One who knows KRSNa perfectly is liberated. As KRSNa says in Bhagavad-gItA (4.9):

janma karma ca me divyam

evaM yo vetti tattvataH

tyaktvA dehaM punar janma

naiti mAm eti so 'rjuna

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna." One who understands KRSNa and abides by His order is a candidate for returning home, back to Godhead. It may be concluded that dharma, religion, refers to that which is ordered in the Vedas, and adharma, irreligion, refers to that which is not supported in the Vedas.

Dharma is not actually manufactured by NArAyaNa. As stated in the Vedas, asya mahato bhUtasya nizvasitam etad yad Rg-vedaH iti: the injunctions of dharma emanate from the breathing of NArAyaNa, the supreme living entity. NArAyaNa exists eternally and breathes eternally, and therefore dharma, the injunctions of NArAyaNa, also exist eternally. SrIla MadhvAcArya, the original AcArya for those who belong to the MAdhva-GauDIya-sampradAya, says:

vedAnAM prathamo vaktA

harir eva yato vibhuH

ato viSNv-AtmakA vedA

ity Ahur veda-vAdinaH

The transcendental words of the Vedas emanated from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Vedic principles should be understood to be VaiSNava principles because ViSNu is the origin of the Vedas. The Vedas contain nothing besides the instructions of ViSNu, and one who follows the Vedic principles is a VaiSNava. The VaiSNava is not a member of a manufactured community of this material world. A VaiSNava is a real knower of the Vedas, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gItA (vedaiz ca sarvair aham eva vedyaH [bg. 15.15]).


Bhagavad-gita As It Is 3.15:


karma brahmodbhavaM viddhi


tasmAt sarva-gataM brahma

nityaM yajJe pratiSThitam


karma--work; brahma--from the Vedas; udbhavam--produced; viddhi--you should know; brahma--the Vedas; akSara--from the Supreme Brahman (Personality of Godhead); samudbhavam--directly manifested; tasmAt--therefore; sarva-gatam--all-pervading; brahma--transcendence; nityam--eternally; yajJe--in sacrifice; pratiSThitam--situated.


Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.



YajJArtha-karma, or the necessity of work for the satisfaction of KRSNa only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the yajJa-puruSa, ViSNu, then we must find out the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The Vedas are therefore codes of working directions. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma, or unauthorized or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take direction from the Vedas to be saved from the reaction of work. As one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state, one similarly has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such directions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said, asya mahato bhUtasya nizvasitam etad yad Rg-vedo yajur-vedaH sAmavedo 'tharvAGgirasaH. "The four Vedas--namely the Rg Veda, Yajur Veda, SAma Veda, and Atharva Veda--are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead." (BRhad-AraNyaka UpaniSad 4.5.11) The Lord, being omnipotent, can speak by breathing air, for as it is confirmed in the Brahma-saMhitA, the Lord has the omnipotence to perform through each of His senses the actions of all other senses. In other words, the Lord can speak through His breathing, and He can impregnate by His eyes. In fact, it is said that He glanced over material nature and thus fathered all living entities. After creating or impregnating the conditioned souls into the womb of material nature, He gave His directions in the Vedic wisdom as to how such conditioned souls can return home, back to Godhead. We should always remember that the conditioned souls in material nature are all eager for material enjoyment. But the Vedic directions are so made that one can satisfy one's perverted desires, then return to Godhead, having finished his so-called enjoyment. It is a chance for the conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore the conditioned souls must try to follow the process of yajJa by becoming KRSNa conscious. Even those who have not followed the Vedic injunctions may adopt the principles of KRSNa consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic yajJas, or karmas.


From Nectar of Devotion 5:

VyAsadeva has left for us all the Vedas. Before VyAsadeva's writing, the Vedic literature was simply heard, and the disciples would learn the mantras quickly by hearing and not by reading. Later on, VyAsadeva thought it wise to write down the Vedas, because in this age people are short-memoried and unable to remember all the instructions given by the spiritual master. Therefore, he left all the Vedic knowledge in the form of books, such as the PurANas, VedAnta, MahAbhArata and SrImad-BhAgavatam.


From the purport of Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.138:

In the Brahma-saMhitA (5.27–28) it is stated:

atha veNu-ninAdasya trayI-mUrti-mayI gatiH

phurantI pravivezAzu mukhAbjAni svayambhuvaH

gAyatrIM gAyatas tasmAd adhigatya saroja-jaH

saMskRtaz cAdi-guruNA dvijatAm agamat tataH

trayyA prabuddho 'tha vidhir vijJAta-tattva-sAgaraH

tuSTAva veda-sAreNa stotreNAnena kezavam

"Then GAyatrI, mother of the Vedas, having been manifested by the divine sound of SrI KRSNa's flute, entered the lotus mouth of BrahmA, the self-born, through his eight earholes. Thus the lotus-born BrahmA received the GAyatrI mantra, which had sprung from the song of SrI KRSNa's flute. In this way he attained twice-born status, having been initiated by the supreme, primal preceptor, Godhead Himself. Enlightened by the recollection of that GAyatrI, which embodies the three Vedas, BrahmA became acquainted with the expanse of the ocean of truth. Then he worshiped SrI KRSNa, the essence of all the Vedas, with a hymn."

The vibration of KRSNa's flute is the origin of the Vedic hymns. Lord BrahmA, who is seated on a lotus flower, heard the sound vibration of KRSNa's flute and was thereby initiated by the GAyatrI mantra.


SB 3.12.34:

kadAcid dhyAyataH sraSTur

vedA AsaMz catur-mukhAt

kathaM srakSyAmy ahaM lokAn

samavetAn yathA purA


kadAcit--once upon a time; dhyAyataH--while contemplating; sraSTuH--of BrahmA; vedAH--the Vedic literature; Asan--became manifested; catuH-mukhAt--from the four mouths; katham srakSyAmi--how shall I create; aham--myself; lokAn--all these worlds; samavetAn--assembled; yathA--as they were; purA--in the past.


Once upon a time, when BrahmA was thinking of how to create the worlds as in the past millennium, the four Vedas, which contain all varieties of knowledge, became manifested from his four mouths.



As a fire can consume anything and everything without being contaminated, so, by the grace of the Lord, the fire of BrahmA's greatness consumed his desire for the sinful act of sex with his daughter. The Vedas are the source of all knowledge, and they were first revealed to BrahmA by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead while BrahmA was thinking of re-creating the material world. BrahmA is powerful by dint of his devotional service unto the Lord, and the Lord is always ready to forgive His devotee if by chance he falls down from the noble path of devotional service. The SrImad-BhAgavatam (11.5.42) confirms this as follows:

sva-pAda-mUlaM bhajataH priyasya

tyaktvAnya-bhAvasya hariH parezaH

vikarma yac cotpatitaM kathaJ-cid

dhunoti sarvaM hRdi sannviSTaH

"Any person who is engaged one hundred percent in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, at His lotus feet, is very dear to the Personality of Godhead Hari, and the Lord, being situated in the heart of the devotee, excuses all kinds of sins committed by chance." It was never expected that a great personality like BrahmA would ever think of sex indulgence with his daughter. The example shown by BrahmA only suggests that the power of material nature is so strong that it can act upon everyone, even BrahmA. BrahmA was saved by the mercy of the Lord with a little punishment, but by the grace of the Lord he did not lose his prestige as the great BrahmA.



maitreya uvAca


vedAn pUrvAdibhir mukhaiH

zAstram ijyAM stuti-stomaM

prAyazcittaM vyadhAt kramAt


maitreyaH uvAca--Maitreya said; Rk-yajuH-sAma-atharva--the four Vedas; AkhyAn--of the name; vedAn--Vedic literatures; pUrva-AdibhiH--beginning with the front; mukhaiH--by the mouths; zAstram--Vedic hymns not pronounced before; ijyAm--priestly rituals; stuti-stomam--the subject matter of the reciters; prAyazcittam--transcendental activities; vyadhAt--established; kramAt--one after another.


Maitreya said: Beginning from the front face of BrahmA, gradually the four Vedas--Rk, Yajur, SAma and Atharva--became manifest. Thereafter, Vedic hymns which had not been pronounced before, priestly rituals, the subject matters of the recitation, and transcendental activities were all established, one after another.


From purport to SB 2.4.22:

The Vedic knowledge was therefore first impregnated within BrahmA, and it appears that BrahmA distributed the Vedic knowledge. BrahmA is undoubtedly the speaker of the Vedic knowledge, but actually he was inspired by the Lord to receive such transcendental knowledge, as it directly descends from the Lord. The Vedas are therefore called apauruSeya, or not imparted by any created being. Before the creation the Lord was there (nArAyaNaH paro 'vyaktAt), and therefore the words spoken by the Lord are vibrations of transcendental sound. There is a gulf of difference between the two qualities of sound, namely prAkRta and aprAkRta. The physicist can deal only with the prAkRta sound, or sound vibrated in the material sky, and therefore we must know that the Vedic sounds recorded in symbolic expressions cannot be understood by anyone within the universe unless and until one is inspired by the vibration of supernatural (aprAkRta) sound, which descends in the chain of disciplic succession from the Lord to BrahmA, from BrahmA to NArada, from NArada to VyAsa and so on. No mundane scholar can translate or reveal the true import of the Vedic mantras (hymns). They cannot be understood unless one is inspired or initiated by the authorized spiritual master. The original spiritual master is the Lord Himself, and the succession comes down through the sources of paramparA, as clearly stated in the Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gItA. So unless one receives the transcendental knowledge from the authorized paramparA, one should be considered useless (viphalA matAH), even though one may be greatly qualified in the mundane advancements of arts or science.

Sukadeva GosvAmI is praying from the Lord by dint of being inspired from within by the Lord so that he could rightly explain the facts and figures of creation as inquired by MahArAja ParIkSit. A spiritual master is not a theoretical speculator, like the mundane scholar, but is zrotriyaM brahma-niSTham [MU 1.2.12].


SB 2.2.34:

bhagavAn brahma kArtsnyena

trir anvIkSya manISayA

tad adhyavasyat kUTa-stho

ratir Atman yato bhavet


bhagavAn--the great personality BrahmA; brahma--the Vedas; kArtsnyena--by summarization; triH--three times; anvIkSya--scrutinizingly examined; manISayA--with scholarly attention; tat--that; adhyavasyat--ascertained it; kUTa-sthaH--with concentration of the mind; ratiH--attraction; Atman (Atmani)--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead SrI KRSNa; yataH--by which; bhavet--it so happens.


The great personality BrahmA, with great attention and concentration of the mind, studied the Vedas three times, and after scrutinizingly examining them, he ascertained that attraction for the Supreme Personality of Godhead SrI KRSNa is the highest perfection of religion.



SrI Sukadeva GosvAmI is referring to the highest Vedic authority, Lord BrahmA, who is the qualitative incarnation of Godhead. The Vedas were taught to BrahmAjI in the beginning of the material creation. Although BrahmAjI was to hear Vedic instructions directly from the Personality of Godhead, in order to satisfy the inquisitiveness of all prospective students of the Vedas, BrahmAjI, just like a scholar, studied the Vedas three times, as generally done by all scholars. He studied with great attention, concentrating on the purpose of the Vedas, and after scrutinizingly examining the whole process, he ascertained that becoming a pure, unalloyed devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead SrI KRSNa is the topmost perfection of all religious principles. And this is the last instruction of the Bhagavad-gItA directly presented by the Personality of Godhead. The Vedic conclusion is thus accepted by all AcAryas, and those who are against this conclusion are only veda-vAda-ratas, as explained in the Bhagavad-gItA (2.42).


Excerpt from SB 2.3.14:

As we have already quoted above from the Bhakti-rasAmRta-sindhu of RUpa GosvAmI, even mundane things, if dovetailed in the service of the Lord SrI KRSNa, are accepted as transcendental. For example, the epics or the histories of RAmAyaNa and MahAbhArata, which are specifically recommended for the less intelligent classes (women, zUdras and unworthy sons of the higher castes), are also accepted as Vedic literature because they are compiled in connection with the activities of the Lord. MahAbhArata is accepted as the fifth division of the Vedas after its first four divisions, namely SAma, Yajur, Rg and Atharva. The less intelligent do not accept MahAbhArata as part of the Vedas, but great sages and authorities accept it as the fifth division of the Vedas. Bhagavad-gItA is also part of the MahAbhArata, and it is full of the Lord's instruction for the less intelligent class of men. Some less intelligent men say that Bhagavad-gItA is not meant for householders, but such foolish men forget that Bhagavad-gItA was explained to Arjuna, a gRhastha (family man), and spoken by the Lord in His role as a gRhastha. So Bhagavad-gItA, although containing the high philosophy of the Vedic wisdom, is for the beginners in the transcendental science, and SrImad-BhAgavatam is for graduates and postgraduates in the transcendental science. Therefore literatures like MahAbhArata, the, purANas and similar other literatures which are full of the pastimes of the Lord, are all transcendental literatures, and they should be discussed with full confidence in the society of great devotees.

From the Introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

The forgetful living entities or conditioned souls have forgotten their relationship with the Supreme Lord, and they are engrossed in thinking of material activities. Just to transfer their thinking power to the spiritual sky, KRSNa-dvaipAyana VyAsa has given a great number of Vedic literatures. First he divided the Vedas into four, then he explained them in the PurANas, and for less capable people he wrote the MahAbhArata. In the MahAbhArata there is given the Bhagavad-gItA. Then all Vedic literature is summarized in the VedAnta-sUtra, and for future guidance he gave a natural commentation on the VedAnta-sUtra, called SrImad-BhAgavatam. We must always engage our minds in reading these Vedic literatures. Just as materialists engage their minds in reading newspapers, magazines and so many materialistic literatures, we must transfer our reading to these literatures which are given to us by VyAsadeva; in that way it will be possible for us to remember the Supreme Lord at the time of death. That is the only way suggested by the Lord, and He guarantees the result: "There is no doubt."

tasmAt sarveSu kAleSu

mAm anusmara yudhya ca

mayy arpita-mano-buddhir

mAm evaiSyasy asaMzayaH

"Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of KRSNa and at the same time continue your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt." (Bg. 8.7)


Part of purport to BG 4.1:

At the present moment we have just passed through five thousand years of the Kali-yuga, which lasts 432,000 years. Before this there was DvApara-yuga (800,000 years), and before that there was TretA-yuga (1,200,000 years). Thus, some 2,005,000 years ago, Manu spoke the Bhagavad-gItA to his disciple and son MahArAja IkSvAku, the king of this planet earth. The age of the current Manu is calculated to last some 305,300,000 years, of which 120,400,000 have passed. Accepting that before the birth of Manu the GItA was spoken by the Lord to His disciple the sun-god VivasvAn, a rough estimate is that the GItA was spoken at least 120,400,000 years ago; and in human society it has been extant for two million years. It was respoken by the Lord again to Arjuna about five thousand years ago. That is the rough estimate of the history of the GItA, according to the GItA itself and according to the version of the speaker, Lord SrI KRSNa. It was spoken to the sun-god VivasvAn because he is also a kSatriya and is the father of all kSatriyas who are descendants of the sun-god, or the sUrya-vaMza kSatriyas. Because Bhagavad-gItA is as good as the Vedas, being spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this knowledge is apauruSeya, superhuman. Since the Vedic instructions are accepted as they are, without human interpretation, the GItA must therefore be accepted without mundane interpretation. The mundane wranglers may speculate on the GItA in their own ways, but that is not Bhagavad-gItA as it is. Therefore, Bhagavad-gItA has to be accepted as it is, from the disciplic succession, and it is described herein that the Lord spoke to the sun-god, the sun-god spoke to his son Manu and Manu spoke to his son IkSvAku.


From purport of BG 2.45:

All material activities involve actions and reactions in the three modes of material nature. They are meant for fruitive results, which cause bondage in the material world. The Vedas deal mostly with fruitive activities to gradually elevate the general public from the field of sense gratification to a position on the transcendental plane. Arjuna, as a student and friend of Lord KRSNa, is advised to raise himself to the transcendental position of VedAnta philosophy where, in the beginning, there is brahma-jijJAsA, or questions on the supreme transcendence. All the living entities who are in the material world are struggling very hard for existence. For them the Lord, after creation of the material world, gave the Vedic wisdom advising how to live and get rid of the material entanglement. When the activities for sense gratification, namely the karma-kANDa chapter, are finished, then the chance for spiritual realization is offered in the form of the UpaniSads, which are part of different Vedas, as the Bhagavad-gItA is a part of the fifth Veda, namely the MahAbhArata. The UpaniSads mark the beginning of transcendental life.


Portion of purport to BG 4.7:

Principles of religion are laid down in the Vedas, and any discrepancy in the matter of properly executing the rules of the Vedas makes one irreligious. In the BhAgavatam it is stated that such principles are the laws of the Lord. Only the Lord can manufacture a system of religion. The Vedas are also accepted as originally spoken by the Lord Himself to BrahmA, from within his heart. Therefore, the principles of dharma, or religion, are the direct orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (dharmaM tu sAkSAd bhagavat-praNItam [sB 6.3.19]). These principles are clearly indicated throughout the Bhagavad-gItA. The purpose of the Vedas is to establish such principles under the order of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord directly orders, at the end of the GItA, that the highest principle of religion is to surrender unto Him only, and nothing more.


From the purport of BG 11.48:

In this verse there are some significant words, just like veda-yajJAdhyayanaiH, which refers to studying Vedic literature and the subject matter of sacrificial regulations. Veda refers to all kinds of Vedic literature, such as the four Vedas (Rg, Yajur, SAma and Atharva) and the eighteen PurANas, the UpaniSads and the VedAnta-sUtra. One can study these at home or anywhere else. Similarly, there are sUtras--Kalpa-sUtras and MImAMsA-sUtras--for studying the method of sacrifice.


Part of SB 1.1.1:

oM namo bhagavate vAsudevAya

janmAdy asya yato 'nvayAd itarataz cArtheSv abhijJaH svarAT

tene brahma hRdA ya Adi-kavaye muhyanti yat sUrayaH

tejo-vAri-mRdAM yathA vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mRSA

dhAmnA svena sadA nirasta-kuhakaM satyaM paraM dhImahi


om--O my Lord; namaH--offering my obeisances; bhagavate--unto the Personality of Godhead; vAsudevAya--unto VAsudeva (the son of Vasudeva), or Lord SrI KRSNa, the primeval Lord; janma-Adi--creation, sustenance and destruction; asya--of the manifested universes; yataH--from whom; anvayAt--directly; itarataH--indirectly; ca--and; artheSu--purposes; abhijJaH--fully cognizant; sva-rAT--fully independent; tene--imparted; brahma--the Vedic knowledge; hRdA--consciousness of the heart; yaH--one who; Adi-kavaye--unto the original created being; muhyanti--are illusioned; yat--about whom; sUrayaH--great sages and demigods; tejaH--fire; vAri--water; mRdAm--earth; yathA--as much as; vinimayaH--action and reaction; yatra--whereupon; tri-sargaH--three modes of creation, creative faculties; amRSA--almost factual; dhAmnA--along with all transcendental paraphernalia; svena--self-sufficiently; sadA--always; nirasta--negation by absence; kuhakam--illusion; satyam--truth; param--absolute; dhImahi--I do meditate upon.


O my Lord, SrI KRSNa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord SrI KRSNa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of BrahmAjI, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord SrI KRSNa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.



Obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, VAsudeva, directly indicate Lord SrI KRSNa, who is the divine son of Vasudeva and DevakI. This fact will be more explicitly explained in the text of this work. SrI VyAsadeva asserts herein that SrI KRSNa is the original Personality of Godhead, and all others are His direct or indirect plenary portions or portions of the portion. SrIla JIva GosvAmI has even more explicitly explained the subject matter in his KRSNa-sandarbha. And BrahmA, the original living being, has explained the subject of SrI KRSNa substantially in his treatise named Brahma-saMhitA. In the SAma-veda UpaniSad, it is also stated that Lord SrI KRSNa is the divine son of DevakI. Therefore, in this prayer, the first proposition holds that Lord SrI KRSNa is the primeval Lord, and if any transcendental nomenclature is to be understood as belonging to the Absolute Personality of Godhead, it must be the name indicated by the word KRSNa, which means the all-attractive. In Bhagavad-gItA, in many places, the Lord asserts Himself to be the original Personality of Godhead, and this is confirmed by Arjuna, and also by great sages like NArada, VyAsa, and many others. In the Padma PurANa, it is also stated that out of the innumerable names of the Lord, the name of KRSNa is the principal one. VAsudeva indicates the plenary portion of the Personality of Godhead, and all the different forms of the Lord, being identical with VAsudeva, are indicated in this text. The name VAsudeva particularly indicates the divine son of Vasudeva and DevakI. SrI KRSNa is always meditated upon by the paramahaMsas, who are the perfected ones among those in the renounced order of life.

VAsudeva, or Lord SrI KRSNa, is the cause of all causes. Everything that exists emanates from the Lord. How this is so is explained in later chapters of this work. This work is described by MahAprabhu SrI Caitanya as the spotless PurANa because it contains the transcendental narration of the Personality of Godhead SrI KRSNa. The history of the SrImad-BhAgavatam is also very glorious. It was compiled by SrI VyAsadeva after he had attained maturity in transcendental knowledge. He wrote this under the instructions of SrI NAradajI, his spiritual master. VyAsadeva compiled all Vedic literatures, containing the four divisions of the Vedas, the VedAnta-sUtras (or the Brahma-sUtras), the PurANas, the MahAbhArata, and so on. But nevertheless he was not satisfied. His dissatisfaction was observed by his spiritual master, and thus NArada advised him to write on the transcendental activities of Lord SrI KRSNa. These transcendental activities are described specifically in the Tenth Canto of this work. But, in order to reach to the very substance, one must proceed gradually by developing knowledge of the categories.


SB 1.1.21:

tataH saptadaze jAtaH

satyavatyAM parAzarAt

cakre veda-taroH zAkhA

dRSTvA puMso 'lpa-medhasaH


tataH--thereafter; saptadaze--in the seventeenth incarnation; jAtaH--advented; satyavatyAm--in the womb of SatyavatI; parAzarAt--by ParAzara Muni; cakre--prepared; veda-taroH--of the desire tree of the Vedas; zAkhAH--branches; dRSTvA--be seeing; puMsaH--the people in general; alpa-medhasaH--less intelligent.


Thereafter, in the seventeenth incarnation of Godhead, SrI VyAsadeva appeared in the womb of SatyavatI through ParAzara Muni, and he divided the one Veda into several branches and subbranches, seeing that the people in general were less intelligent.


Originally the Veda is one. But SrIla VyAsadeva divided the original Veda into four, namely SAma, Yajur, Rg, Atharva, and then again they were explained in different branches like the PurANas and the MahAbhArata. Vedic language and the subject matter are very difficult for ordinary men. They are understood by the highly intelligent and self-realized brAhmaNas. But the present age of Kali is full of ignorant men. Even those who are born by a brAhmaNa father are, in the present age, no better than the zUdras or the women. The twice-born men, namely the brAhmaNas, kSatriyas and vaizyas, are expected to undergo a cultural purificatory process known as saMskAras, but because of the bad influence of the present age the so-called members of the brAhmaNa and other high-order families are no longer highly cultured. They are called the dvija-bandhus, or the friends and family members of the twice-born. But these dvija-bandhus are classified amongst the zUdras and the women. SrIla VyAsadeva divided the Vedas into various branches and subbranches for the sake of the less intelligent classes like the dvija-bandhus, zUdras and women.


SB 1.3.40:

idaM bhAgavataM nAma

purANaM brahma-sammitam


cakAra bhagavAn RSiH

niHzreyasAya lokasya

dhanyaM svasty-ayanaM mahat


idam--this; bhAgavatam--book containing the narration of the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees; nAma--of the name; purANam--supplementary to the Vedas; brahma-sammitam--incarnation of Lord SrI KRSNa; uttama-zloka--of the Personality of Godhead; caritam--activities; cakAra--compiled; bhagavAn--incarnation of the Personality of Godhead; RSiH--SrI VyAsadeva; niHzreyasAya--for the ultimate good; lokasya--of all people; dhanyam--fully successful; svasti-ayanam--all-blissful; mahat--all-perfect.


This SrImad-BhAgavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by SrIla VyAsadeva, the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all-successful, all-blissful and all-perfect.



Lord SrI Caitanya MahAprabhu declared that SrImad-BhAgavatam is the spotless sound representation of all Vedic knowledge and history. There are selected histories of great devotees who are in direct contact with the Personality of Godhead. SrImad-BhAgavatam is the literary incarnation of Lord SrI KRSNa and is therefore nondifferent from Him. SrImad-BhAgavatam should be worshiped as respectfully as we worship the Lord. Thereby we can derive the ultimate blessings of the Lord through its careful and patient study. As God is all light, all bliss and all perfection, so also is SrImad-BhAgavatam. We can have all the transcendental light of the Supreme Brahman, SrI KRSNa, from the recitation of SrImad-BhAgavatam, provided it is received through the medium of the transparent spiritual master. Lord Caitanya's private secretary SrIla SvarUpa DAmodara GosvAmI advised all intending visitors who came to see the Lord at PurI to make a study of the BhAgavatam from the person BhAgavatam Person BhAgavatam is the self-realized bona fide spiritual master, and through him only can one understand the lessons of BhAgavatam in order to receive the desired result. One can derive from the study of the BhAgavatam all benefits that are possible to be derived from the personal presence of the Lord. It carries with it all the transcendental blessings of Lord SrI KRSNa that we can expect from His personal contact.


SB 1.4.13:

tat sarvaM naH samAcakSva

pRSTo yad iha kiJcana

manye tvAM viSaye vAcAM

snAtam anyatra chAndasAt


tat--that; sarvam--all; naH--unto us; samAcakSva--clearly explain; pRSTaH--questioned; yat iha--herein; kiJcana--all that; manye--we think; tvAm--you; viSaye--in all subjects; vAcAm--meanings of words; snAtam--fully acquainted; anyatra--except; chAndasAt--portion of the Vedas.


We know that you are expert in the meaning of all subjects, except some portions of the Vedas, and thus you can clearly explain the answers to all the questions we have just put to you.



The difference between the Vedas and the PurANas is like that between the brAhmaNas and the parivrAjakas. The brAhmaNas are meant to administer some fruitive sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas, but the parivrAjakAcAryas, or learned preachers, are meant to disseminate transcendental knowledge to one and all. As such, the parivrAjakAcAryas are not always expert in pronouncing the Vedic mantras, which are practiced systematically by accent and meter by the brAhmaNas who are meant for administering Vedic rites. Yet it should not be considered that the brAhmaNas are more important than the itinerant preachers. They are one and different simultaneously because they are meant for the same end, in different ways.

There is no difference also between the Vedic mantras and what is explained in the PurANas and ItihAsa. According to SrIla JIva GosvAmI, it is mentioned in the MAdhyandina-zruti that all the Vedas, namely the SAma, Atharva, Rg, Yajur, PurANas, ItihAsas, UpaniSads, etc., are emanations from the breathing of the Supreme Being. The only difference is that the Vedic mantras are mostly begun with praNava oMkAra, and it requires some training to practice the metric pronunciation of the Vedic mantras. But that does not mean that SrImad-BhAgavatam is of less importance than the Vedic mantras. On the contrary, it is the ripened fruit of all the Vedas, as stated before. Besides that, the most perfectly liberated soul, SrIla Sukadeva GosvAmI, is absorbed in the studies of the BhAgavatam, although he is already self-realized. SrIla SUta GosvAmI is following his footsteps, and therefore his position is not the least less important because he was not expert in chanting Vedic mantras with metric pronunciation, which depends more on practice than actual realization. Realization is more important than parrotlike chanting.


SB 1.4.19-20:

cAtur-hotraM karma zuddhaM

prajAnAM vIkSya vaidikam

vyadadhAd yajJa-santatyai

vedam ekaM catur-vidham


cAtuH--four; hotram--sacrificial fires; karma zuddham--purification of work; prajAnAm--of the people in general; vIkSya--after seeing; vaidikam--according to Vedic rites; vyadadhAt--made into; yajJa--sacrifice; santatyai--to expand; vedam ekam--only one Veda; catuH-vidham--in four divisions.


He saw that the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas were means by which the people's occupations could be purified. And to simplify the process he divided the one Veda into four, in order to expand them among men.



Formerly there was only the Veda of the name Yajur, and the four divisions of sacrifices were there specifically mentioned. But to make them more easily performable, the Veda was divided into four divisions of sacrifice, just to purify the occupational service of the four orders. Above the four Vedas, namely Rg, Yajur, SAma, and Atharva, there are the PurANas, the MahAbhArata, SaMhitAs, etc., which are known as the fifth Veda. SrI VyAsadeva and his many disciples were all historical personalities, and they were very kind and sympathetic toward the fallen souls of this age of Kali. As such, the PurANas and MahAbhArata were made from related historical facts which explained the teaching of the four Vedas. There is no point in doubting the authority of the PurANas and MahAbhArata as parts and parcels of the Vedas. In the ChAndogya UpaniSad (7.1.4), the PurANas and MahAbhArata, generally known as histories, are mentioned as the fifth Veda. According to SrIla JIva GosvAmI, that is the way of ascertaining the respective values of the revealed scriptures.




vedAz catvAra uddhRtAH

itihAsa-purANaM ca

paJcamo veda ucyate


Rg-yajuH-sAma-atharva-AkhyAH--the names of the four Vedas; vedAH--the Vedas; catvAraH--four; uddhRtAH--made into separate parts; itihAsa--historical records (MahAbhArata); purANam ca--and the PurANas; paJcamaH--the fifth; vedaH--the original source of knowledge; ucyate--is said to be.


The four divisions of the original sources of knowledge [the Vedas] were made separately. But the historical facts and authentic stories mentioned in the PurANas are called the fifth Veda.


SB 1.4.28-29:

dhRta-vratena hi mayA

chandAMsi guravo 'gnayaH

mAnitA nirvyalIkena

gRhItaM cAnuzAsanam



hy AmnAyArthaz ca pradarzitaH

dRzyate yatra dharmAdi

strI-zUdrAdibhir apy uta


dhRta-vratena--under a strict disciplinary vow; hi--certainly; mayA--by me; chandAMsi--the Vedic hymns; guravaH--the spiritual masters; agnayaH--the sacrificial fire; mAnitAH--properly worshiped; nirvyalIkena--without pretense; gRhItam ca--also accepted; anuzAsanam--traditional discipline; bhArata--the MahAbhArata; vyapadezena--by compilation of; hi--certainly; AmnAya-arthaH--import of disciplic succession; ca--and; pradarzitaH--properly explained; dRzyate--by what is necessary; yatra--where; dharma-AdiH--the path of religion; strI-zUdra-AdibhiH api--even by women, zUdras, etc.; uta--spoken.


I have, under strict disciplinary vows, unpretentiously worshiped the Vedas, the spiritual master and the altar of sacrifice. I have also abided by the rulings and have shown the import of disciplic succession through the explanation of the MahAbhArata, by which even women, zUdras and others [friends of the twice-born] can see the path of religion.



No one can understand the import of the Vedas without having undergone a strict disciplinary vow and disciplic succession. The Vedas, spiritual masters and sacrificial fire must be worshiped by the desiring candidate. All these intricacies of Vedic knowledge are systematically presented in the MahAbhArata for the understanding of the woman class, the laborer class and the unqualified members of brAhmaNa, kSatriya or vaizya families. In this age, the MahAbhArata is more essential than the original Vedas.


SB 1.6.25:

etAvad uktvopararAma tan mahad

bhUtaM nabho-liGgam aliGgam Izvaram

ahaM ca tasmai mahatAM mahIyase

zIrSNAvanAmaM vidadhe 'nukampitaH


etAvat--thus; uktvA--spoken; upararAma--stopped; tat--that; mahat--great; bhUtam--wonderful; nabhaH-liGgam--personified by sound; aliGgam--unseen by the eyes; Izvaram--the supreme authority; aham--I; ca--also; tasmai--unto Him; mahatAm--the great; mahIyase--unto the glorified; zIrSNA--by the head; avanAmam--obeisances; vidadhe--executed; anukampitaH--being favored by Him.


Then that supreme authority, personified by sound and unseen by eyes, but most wonderful, stopped speaking. Feeling a sense of gratitude, I offered my obeisances unto Him, bowing my head.



That the Personality of Godhead was not seen but only heard does not make any difference. The Personality of Godhead produced the four Vedas by His breathing, and He is seen and realized through the transcendental sound of the Vedas. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gItA is the sound representation of the Lord, and there is no difference in identity. The conclusion is that the Lord can be seen and heard by persistent chanting of the transcendental sound.


From SB 1.9.6-7 purport:

BAdarAyaNa (VyAsadeva): He is known as KRSNa, KRSNa-dvaipAyana, DvaipAyana, SatyavatI-suta, PArAzarya, ParAzarAtmaja, BAdarAyaNa, VedavyAsa, etc. He was the son of MahAmuni ParAzara in the womb of SatyavatI prior to her betrothal with MahArAja Santanu, the father of the great general Grandfather BhISmadeva. He is a powerful incarnation of NArAyaNa, and he broadcasts the Vedic wisdom to the world. As such, VyAsadeva is offered respects before one chants the Vedic literature, especially the PurANas. Sukadeva GosvAmI was his son, and RSis like VaizampAyana were his disciples for different branches of the Vedas. He is the author of the great epic MahAbhArata and the great transcendental literature BhAgavatam. The Brahma-sUtras--the VedAnta-sUtras, or BAdarAyaNa-sUtras--were compiled by him. Amongst sages he is the most respected author by dint of severe penances. When he wanted to record the great epic MahAbhArata for the welfare of all people in the age of Kali, he was feeling the necessity of a powerful writer who could take up his dictation. By the order of BrahmAjI, SrI GaNezajI took up the charge of noting down the dictation on the condition that VyAsadeva would not stop dictation for a moment. The MahAbhArata was thus compiled by the joint endeavor of VyAsa and GaNeza.


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From Easy Journey to Other planets:

The most widely recognized scriptures in the world are the Vedas. The Vedas have been divided into four parts: SAma, Yajur, Rg and Atharva. The subject matter of the Vedas is very difficult for a man of ordinary understanding. For elucidation, the four Vedas are explained in the historical epic called the MahAbhArata and in eighteen PurANas. The RAmAyaNa is also a historical epic which contains all the necessary information from the Vedas. So the four Vedas, the original RAmAyaNa by VAlmIki, the MahAbhArata and the PurANas are classified as Vedic literatures. The UpaniSads are parts of the four Vedas, and the VedAnta-sUtras represent the cream of the Vedas. To summarize all these Vedic literatures, the Bhagavad-gItA is accepted as the essence of all UpaniSads and the preliminary explanation of the VedAnta-sUtras. One may then conclude that from the Bhagavad-gItA alone one can have the essence of the Vedas, for it is spoken by Lord SrI KRSNa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who descends upon this material world from the antimaterial world in order to give complete information of the superior form of energy.


BG 15.15:

sarvasya cAhaM hRdi sanniviSTo

mattaH smRtir jJAnam apohanaM ca

vedaiz ca sarvair aham eva vedyo

vedAnta-kRd veda-vid eva cAham


sarvasya--of all living beings; ca--and; aham--I; hRdi--in the heart; sanniviSTaH--situated; mattaH--from Me; smRtiH--remembrance; jJAnam--knowledge; apohanam--forgetfulness; ca--and; vedaiH--by the Vedas; ca--also; sarvaiH--all; aham--I am; eva--certainly; vedyaH--knowable; vedAnta-kRt--the compiler of the VedAnta; veda-vit--the knower of the Vedas; eva--certainly; ca--and; aham--I.


I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of VedAnta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.



The Supreme Lord is situated as ParamAtmA in everyone's heart, and it is from Him that all activities are initiated. The living entity forgets everything of his past life, but he has to act according to the direction of the Supreme Lord, who is witness to all his work. Therefore he begins his work according to his past deeds. Required knowledge is supplied to him, and remembrance is given to him, and he forgets, also, about his past life. Thus, the Lord is not only all-pervading; He is also localized in every individual heart. He awards the different fruitive results. He is worshipable not only as the impersonal Brahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the localized ParamAtmA, but as the form of the incarnation of the Vedas as well. The Vedas give the right direction to people so that they can properly mold their lives and come back to Godhead, back to home. The Vedas offer knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, KRSNa, and KRSNa in His incarnation as VyAsadeva is the compiler of the VedAnta-sUtra. The commentation on the VedAnta-sUtra by VyAsadeva in the SrImad-BhAgavatam gives the real understanding of VedAnta-sUtra. The Supreme Lord is so full that for the deliverance of the conditioned soul He is the supplier and digester of foodstuff, the witness of his activity, and the giver of knowledge in the form of Vedas and as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, SrI KRSNa, the teacher of the Bhagavad-gItA. He is worshipable by the conditioned soul. Thus God is all-good; God is all-merciful.

AntaH-praviSTaH zAstA janAnAm. The living entity forgets as soon as he quits his present body, but he begins his work again, initiated by the Supreme Lord. Although he forgets, the Lord gives him the intelligence to renew his work where he ended his last life. So not only does a living entity enjoy or suffer in this world according to the dictation from the Supreme Lord situated locally in the heart, but he receives the opportunity to understand the Vedas from Him. If one is serious about understanding the Vedic knowledge, then KRSNa gives the required intelligence. Why does He present the Vedic knowledge for understanding? Because a living entity individually needs to understand KRSNa. Vedic literature confirms this: yo 'sau sarvair vedair gIyate. In all Vedic literature, beginning from the four Vedas, VedAnta-sUtra and the UpaniSads and PurANas, the glories of the Supreme Lord are celebrated. By performance of Vedic rituals, discussion of the Vedic philosophy and worship of the Lord in devotional service, He is attained. Therefore the purpose of the Vedas is to understand KRSNa. The Vedas give us direction by which to understand KRSNa and the process of realizing Him. The ultimate goal is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. VedAnta-sUtra (1.1.4) confirms this in the following words: tat tu samanvayAt. One can attain perfection in three stages. By understanding Vedic literature one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by performing the different processes one can approach Him, and at the end one can attain the supreme goal, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined.

Purport excerpt from Srimad-Bhagavatam Introduction:

In the Vedic literatures BrahmA is described as the supreme god or the head of all other gods like Indra, Candra and VaruNa, but the SrImad-BhAgavatam confirms that even BrahmA is not independent as far as his power and knowledge are concerned. He received knowledge in the form of the Vedas from the Supreme Person who resides within the heart of every living being. That Supreme Personality knows everything directly and indirectly. Individual infinitesimal persons, who are parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality, may know directly and indirectly everything about their bodies or external features, but the Supreme Personality knows everything about both His external and internal features.


Many devotees of Lord Caitanya like SrIla VRndAvana dAsa ThAkura, SrI Locana dAsa ThAkura, SrIla KRSNadAsa KavirAja GosvAmI, SrI KavikarNapUra, SrI PrabodhAnanda SarasvatI, SrI RUpa GosvAmI, SrI SanAtana GosvAmI, SrI RaghunAtha BhaTTa GosvAmI, SrI JIva GosvAmI, SrI GopAla BhaTTa GosvAmI, SrI RaghunAtha dAsa GosvAmI and in this latter age within two hundred years, SrI VizvanAtha CakravartI, SrI Baladeva VidyAbhUSana, SrI SyAmAnanda GosvAmI, SrI Narottama dAsa ThAkura, SrI Bhaktivinoda ThAkura and at last SrI BhaktisiddhAnta SarasvatI ThAkura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the zAstras like the Vedas, PurANas, UpaniSads, RAmAyaNa, MahAbhArata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized AcAryas.


"The PurANas are also supplementary to the Vedas. The Vedic mantras are too difficult for an ordinary man. Women, zUdras and the so-called twice-born higher castes are unable to penetrate into the sense of the Vedas. And thus the MahAbhArata as well as the PurANas are made easy to explain the truths of the Vedas. In his prayers before the boy SrI KRSNa, BrahmA said that there is no limit to the fortune of the residents of VrajabhUmi headed by SrI Nanda MahArAja and YazodAmayI because the eternal Absolute Truth has become their intimate relative.

CC Madhya-lila 22.6:

yathA mAtur vANI smRtir api tathA vakti bhaginI

purANAdyA ye vA sahaja-nivahAs te tad-anugA

ataH satyaM jJAtaM mura-hara bhavAn eva zaraNam


zrutiH--Vedic knowledge; mAtA--like a mother who is affectionate to her children; pRSTA--when questioned; dizati--she directs; bhavat--of You; ArAdhana--worship; vidhim--the process; yathA--just as; mAtuH vANI--the instructions of the mother; smRtiH--the smRti-zAstras, which explain the Vedic literatures; api--also; tathA--similarly; vakti--express; bhaginI--like a sister; purANa-AdyAH--headed by the PurANas; ye--which; vA--or; sahaja-nivahAH--like brothers; te--all of them; tat--of the mother; anugAH--followers; ataH--therefore; satyam--the truth; jJAtam--known; mura-hara--O killer of the demon Mura; bhavAn--Your Lordship; eva--only; zaraNam--the shelter.


"‘When the mother Vedas [zruti] is questioned as to whom to worship, she says that You are the only Lord and worshipable object. Similarly, the corollaries of the zruti-zAstras, the smRti-zAstras, give the same instructions, just like sisters. The PurANas, which are like brothers, follow in the footsteps of their mother. O enemy of the demon Mura, the conclusion is that You are the only shelter. Now I have understood this in truth.'

From the Teachings of Lord Caitanya 19:

There are four different sects of VaiSNava AcAryas--the SuddhAdvaita, ViziSTAdvaita, DvaitAdvaita and Acintya-bhedAbheda. All the VaiSNava AcAryas in these schools have written commentaries on the VedAnta-sUtra, but the MAyAvAdI philosophers do not recognize them. The MAyAvAdIs distinguish between KRSNa and KRSNa's body, and therefore they do not recognize the worship of KRSNa by the VaiSNava philosophers. Thus when the MAyAvAdI sannyAsIs asked Lord Caitanya why He did not study the VedAnta-sUtra, the Lord replied, "Dear sirs, you have asked why I do not study VedAnta, and in answer to this I would speak something, but I am afraid that you would be sorry to hear it."

"We shall be very much pleased to hear You," all the sannyAsIs replied. "You appear just like NArAyaNa, and Your speeches are so nice that we are taking great pleasure in them. We are very much obliged to see and hear You. Therefore we shall be very glad to hear patiently and accept whatever You say."

The Lord then began to speak on VedAnta philosophy as follows: VedAnta-sUtra is spoken by the Supreme Lord Himself. The Supreme Lord, in His incarnation as VyAsadeva, has compiled this great philosophical treatise. Since VyAsadeva is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, he cannot be likened to an ordinary person, who has the four defects which arise due to contact with material existence. The defects of a conditioned soul are: (1) he must commit mistakes; (2) he must be illusioned; (3) he must possess the tendency to cheat others; and (4) all his senses must be imperfect. We must understand that the incarnation of God is transcendental to all these defects. Thus whatever has been spoken and written by VyAsadeva is considered to be perfect. The UpaniSads and VedAnta-sUtra aim at the same goal: the Supreme Absolute Truth. When we accept the import of VedAnta-sUtra and the UpaniSads directly as they are stated, we become glorified. The commentaries made by SaGkarAcArya, however, are indirect and are very dangerous for the common man to read, for by understanding the import of the UpaniSads in such an indirect, disruptive way, one practically bars himself from spiritual realization.

According to the Skanda and VAyu PurANas, the word sUtra refers to a condensed work which carries meaning and import of immeasurable strength without mistake or fault. The word vedAnta means "the end of Vedic knowledge." In other words, any book which deals with the subject matter indicated by all the Vedas is called VedAnta. For example, Bhagavad-gItA is VedAnta because in Bhagavad-gItA the Lord says that the ultimate goal of all Vedic research is KRSNa. Thus Bhagavad-gItA and SrImad-BhAgavatam, which aim only at KRSNa, are to be understood to be VedAnta.

In transcendental realization there are three divisions of knowledge called prasthAna-traya. That department of knowledge which is proved by Vedic instruction (like the UpaniSads) is called zruti-prasthAna. Authoritative books indicating the ultimate goal and written by liberated souls like VyAsadeva (for example, Bhagavad-gItA, MahAbhArata and the PurANas, especially SrImad-BhAgavatam, the MahA-PurANa) are called smRti-prasthAna. From Vedic literatures we understand that the Vedas originated from the breathing of NArAyaNa. VyAsadeva, who is an incarnation of the power of NArAyaNa, has compiled the VedAnta-sUtra (nyAya-prasthAna), but according to SaGkara's commentaries, ApAntaratamA RSi is also accredited with having compiled the codes of VedAnta-sUtra. According to Lord Caitanya, the codes of the PaJcarAtra and the codes of VedAnta are one and the same. Since the VedAnta-sUtra is compiled by VyAsadeva, it should be understood to be spoken by NArAyaNa Himself. From all descriptive literatures dealing with VedAnta-sUtra, it appears that there were many other RSis contemporary with VyAsadeva who also discussed VedAnta-sUtra. These sages were Atreya, Azmarathya, AuDulomi, KArSNAjini, KAzakRtsna, Jaimini, BAdarI and other sages such as PArAzarI and KarmandI.

Actually in the first two chapters of VedAnta-sUtra the relationship between the living entities and the Supreme Lord is explained, and in the Third Chapter the discharge of devotional service is explained. The Fourth Chapter deals with the relationship which results from discharging devotional service. The natural commentary on VedAnta-sUtra is SrImad-BhAgavatam. The great AcAryas of the four VaiSNava communities (sampradAyas)--namely, RAmAnujAcArya, MadhvAcArya, ViSNusvAmI and NimbArka--have also written commentaries on VedAnta-sUtra by following the principles of SrImad-BhAgavatam. At present the followers of all the AcAryas have written many books following the principles of SrImad-BhAgavatam as the commentary on the VedAnta. SaGkara's commentary on VedAnta-sUtra, known as SArIraka-bhASya, is very much adored by the impersonalist scholars, but commentaries written on the VedAnta written from the materialistic point of view are completely adverse to the transcendental service of the Lord. Consequently Lord Caitanya said that direct commentaries on the UpaniSads and VedAnta-sUtra are glorious, but that anyone who follows the indirect path of SaGkarAcArya's SArIraka-bhASya is certainly doomed.

CC Adi-lila 7.106:

prabhu kahe, vedAnta-sUtra Izvara-vacana

vyAsa-rUpe kaila yAhA zrI-nArAyaNa


prabhu kahe--the Lord began to speak; vedAnta-sUtra--the philosophy of Vedanta-sUtra; Izvara-vacana--spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vyAsa-rUpe--in the form of VyAsadeva; kaila--He has made; yAhA--whatever; zrI-nArAyaNa--the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


The Lord said, "VedAnta philosophy consists of words spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead NArAyaNa in the form of VyAsadeva.



The VedAnta-sUtra, which consists of aphorisms revealing the method of understanding Vedic knowledge, is the concise form of all Vedic knowledge. It begins with the words athAto brahma jijJAsA: "Now is the time to inquire about the Absolute Truth." The human form of life is especially meant for this purpose, and therefore the VedAnta-sUtra very concisely explains the human mission. This is confirmed by the words of the VAyu and Skanda PurANas, which define a sUtra as follows:

alpAkSaram asandigdhaM sAra-vat vizvato-mukham

astobham anavadyaM ca sUtraM sUtra-vido viduH

"A sUtra is a compilation of aphorisms that expresses the essence of all knowledge in a minimum of words. It must be universally applicable and faultless in its linguistic presentation." Anyone familiar with such sUtras must be aware of the VedAnta-sUtra, which is well known among scholars by the following additional names: (1) Brahma-sUtra, (2) SArIraka, (3) VyAsa-sUtra, (4) BAdarAyaNa-sUtra, (5) Uttara-mImAMsA and (6) VedAnta-darzana.

There are four chapters (adhyAyas) in the VedAnta-sUtra, and there are four divisions (pAdas) in each chapter. Therefore the VedAnta-sUtra may be referred to as SoDaza-pAda, or sixteen divisions of aphorisms. The theme of each and every division is fully described in terms of five different subject matters (adhikaraNas), which are technically called pratijJA, hetu, udAharaNa, upanaya and nigamana. Every theme must necessarily be explained with reference to pratijJA, or a solemn declaration of the purpose of the treatise. The solemn declaration given in the beginning of the VedAnta-sUtra is athAto brahma jijJAsA, which indicates that this book was written with the solemn declaration to inquire about the Absolute Truth. Similarly, reasons must be expressed (hetu), examples must be given in terms of various facts (udAharaNa), the theme must gradually be brought nearer for understanding (upanaya), and finally it must be supported by authoritative quotations from the Vedic zAstras (nigamana).

According to the great dictionary compiler Hemacandra, also known as KoSakAra, VedAnta refers to the purport of the UpaniSads and the BrAhmaNa portion of the Vedas. Professor Apte, in his dictionary, describes the BrAhmaNa portion of the Vedas as that portion which states the rules for employment of hymns at various sacrifices and gives detailed explanations of their origin, sometimes with lengthy illustrations in the form of legends and stories. It is distinct from the mantra portion of the Vedas. Hemacandra says that the supplement of the Vedas is called the VedAnta-sUtra. Veda means knowledge, and anta means the end. In other words, proper understanding of the ultimate purpose of the Vedas is called VedAnta knowledge. Such knowledge, as given in the aphorisms of the VedAnta-sUtra, must be supported by the UpaniSads.

According to learned scholars, there are three different sources of knowledge, which are called prasthAna-traya. According to these scholars, VedAnta is one of such sources, for it presents Vedic knowledge on the basis of logic and sound arguments. In the Bhagavad-gItA (13.5) the Lord says, brahma-sUtra-padaiz caiva hetumadbhir vinizcitaiH: "Understanding of the ultimate goal of life is ascertained in the Brahma-sUtra by legitimate logic and argument concerning cause and effect." Therefore the VedAnta-sUtra is known as nyAya-prasthAna, the UpaniSads are known as zruti-prasthAna, and the GItA, MahAbhArata and PurANas are known as smRti-prasthAna. All scientific knowledge of transcendence must be supported by zruti, smRti and a sound logical basis.

It is said that both the Vedic knowledge and the supplement of the Vedas called the SAtvata-paJcarAtra emanated from the breathing of NArAyaNa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The VedAnta-sUtra aphorisms were compiled by SrIla VyAsadeva, a powerful incarnation of SrI NArAyaNa, although it is sometimes said that they were compiled by a great sage named ApAntaratamA. The PaJcarAtra and VedAnta-sUtra, however, express the same opinions. SrI Caitanya MahAprabhu therefore confirms that there is no difference in opinion between the two, and He declares that because the VedAnta-sUtra was compiled by SrIla VyAsadeva, it may be understood to have emanated from the breathing of SrI NArAyaNa. SrIla BhaktisiddhAnta SarasvatI ThAkura comments that while VyAsadeva was compiling the VedAnta-sUtra, seven of his great saintly contemporaries were also engaged in similar work. These saints were Atreya RSi, Azmarathya, AuDulomi, KArSNAjini, KAzakRtsna, Jaimini and BAdarI. In addition, it is stated that PArAzarI and KarmandI-bhikSu also discussed the VedAnta-sUtra aphorisms before VyAsadeva.

As mentioned above, the VedAnta-sUtra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jJAna, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jJAna. The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by SrI Caitanya MahAprabhu: jIvera ‘svarUpa' haya kRSNera ‘nitya-dAsa' [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. "The living entity is an eternal servant of KRSNa, the Supreme God." (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sAdhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jJAna. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (prayojana-jJAna). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. The words anAvRttiH zabdAt in the VedAnta-sUtra indicate this ultimate goal.

SrIla VyAsadeva, a powerful incarnation of NArAyaNa, compiled the VedAnta-sUtra, and in order to protect it from unauthorized commentaries, he personally composed SrImad-BhAgavatam on the instruction of his spiritual master, NArada Muni, as the original commentary on the VedAnta-sUtra. Besides SrImad-BhAgavatam, there are commentaries on the VedAnta-sUtra composed by all the major VaiSNava AcAryas, and in each of them devotional service to the Lord is described very explicitly. Only those who follow SaGkara's commentary have described the VedAnta-sUtra in an impersonal way, without reference to viSNu-bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord, ViSNu. Generally people very much appreciate this SArIraka-bhASya, or impersonal description of the VedAnta-sUtra, but all commentaries that are devoid of devotional service to Lord ViSNu must be considered to differ in purpose from the original VedAnta-sUtra. In other words, Lord Caitanya definitely confirmed that the commentaries, or bhASyas, written by the VaiSNava AcAryas on the basis of devotional service to Lord ViSNu, and not the SArIraka-bhASya of SaGkarAcArya, give the actual explanation of the VedAnta-sUtra.

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Vedas are said to be eternal. Is it true for the contents of the four vedas as they are found in the present time. The vedas mention the names of rsis reciting verses. But there must have been some time when they first recited those verses. In upanishads also, some dialogs have been mentioned. There must have been some time when those dialogs took place. So what is eternal? The contents of Vedas and Upanishads as they are found now or the teachings therein?

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From new collection "Civilization and Transcendence":


PuSTa KRSNa: Would you like to hear another question, SrIla PrabhupAda?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes.

PuSTa KRSNa: "It is said that whereas the zrutis [the four original Vedas, the upaniSads, and the VedAnta-sUtra] embody eternal truths, the smRtis [the PurANas, the MahAbhArata, the RAmAyaNa, and corollary Vedic literature] embody the rules of conduct and thus need to be revised according to the dictates of the changing times. Will such a view be acceptable to all sections of society, and if so, how can the new smRtis come into being, and who will give them sanction and sanctity?"

SrIla PrabhupAda: The smRtis are given by the Lord and His representatives. They come from spiritual authorities such as Lord Caitanya MahAprabhu. The zAstra, or scripture, also gives this authority. For instance, for this age, Kali-yuga, the Lord has prescribed a special means of God-realization--the chanting of His holy name. SmRtis such as the BRhan-nAradIya PurANa say the same thing--that in this age of Kali-yuga, the only possible means of God-realization is chanting the Lord's name. In the BhAgavata PurANa [12.3.51] also, Sukadeva GosvAmI directs,

kaler doSa-nidhe rAjann

asti hy eko mahAn guNaH

kIrtanAd eva kRSNasya

mukta-saGgaH paraM vrajet

"Although in this age there are so many faults--it is truly an ocean of faults--still, there is one very great advantage: simply by chanting the Hare KRSNa mantra, one becomes fully purified and is liberated from all material miseries." So this smRti injunction we should take up, and actually we see all over the world how it is purifying all sections of people. Take to this chanting of Hare KRSNa; then zruti, smRti, everything will be fulfilled. This is the easiest method. KIrtanAd eva kRSNasya mukta-saGgaH paraM vrajet: chant the Lord's holy name and you'll be liberated.

PuSTa KRSNa: So the zrutis are eternally relevant and constant?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes, everything is based on the zrutis. as the VedAnta-sUtra says, anAvRttiH zabdAt: simply by chanting the Lord's names and instructions--His sound vibration--one becomes spiritually realized. Sabda brahman means "spiritual sound vibration," and as the VedAnta-sUtra instructs us, by chanting this spiritual sound vibration--the instructions and holy name of the Lord--one can become liberated.

PuSTa KRSNa: Also, the smRtis are directly based on the original zrutis?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes, for instance, Bhagavad-gItA is considered smRti. And Bhagavad-gItA also says, satatAM kIrtayanto mAM yatantaz ca dRDha-vratAH: [bg. 9.14] "Fully endeavoring with determination, the great souls are always chanting My glories." And as the Bhakti-rasAmRta-sindhu, which is also considered smRti, explains: zruti-smRti-purANAdi [brs. 1.2.101]--the great devotees heed both the zrutis and the smRtis. Another smRti, BRhan-nAradIya PurANa, enjoins, harer nAma harer nAma harer nAmaiva kevalam: "In this age of quarrel, the only way to realize the Lord is to chant His holy name, chant His holy name, chant His holy name." So because He was in the role of a great devotee, Lord Caitanya followed these injunctions of zruti and smRti. KRSNa-varNaM tviSAkRSNaM sAGgopAGgAstra-pArSadam [sB 11.5.32]. KRSNam varNayati: Lord Caitanya was always chanting Hare KRSNa. These examples are evidence that the smRtis are directly based on the zrutis. So introduce this Hare KRSNa mahA-mantra. Everyone will be purified.

PuSTa KRSNa: Is smRti more than just rules of conduct?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes. Here is what smRti means:

The four original Vedas are considered zruti. But simply by hearing them, one cannot understand fully. Therefore, the smRtis have explained further. Purayati iti purANa: by hearing the PurANas and other smRtis, one makes his understanding complete. The Vedic mantras are not always understood. For instance, the VedAnta, which is zruti, begins with the mantra janmAdy asya yataH: [sB 1.1.1] "The Supreme is that being from whom everything has emanated." This is very abbreviated. But the SrImad-BhAgavatam, which is smRti, explains, janmAdy asya yato 'nvayAd itarataz cArtheSv abhijJAH sva-rAt: [sB 1.1.1] "The Supreme Being, from whom everything has emanated, is directly and indirectly cognizant of everything and is fully independent." In this way the smRti explains the zruti.

So whether you take zruti or smRti, the subject matter is the same. Both zruti and smRti are spiritual evidence. We cannot do without either of them. As SrIla RUpa GosvAmI says in the Bhakti-rasAmRta-sindhu [1.2.101],


paJcarAtra-vidhiM vinA

aikAntiki harer bhaktir

utpAtAyaiva kalpate

[brs. 1.2.101]

You cannot become purified or actually God conscious without reference to both zruti and smRti. So as we push on this KRSNa consciousness movement, it is not whimsical. It is based on zruti, smRti, and paJcarAtriki-vidhi, the principles of zruti, smRti, and the NArada-paJcarAtra. Therefore, it is becoming effective

PuSTa KRSNa: Nevertheless, SrIla PrabhupAda, the question asks, "Do the smRtis need to be revised according to the changing times?"

SrIla PrabhupAda: They cannot be changed.

PuSTa KRSNa: The smRtis cannot be changed?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Nothing can be changed. But according to the time, you have to apply the principles properly. For instance, in Kali-yuga the smRti order is kIrtanAd eva kRSNasya mukta-saGgaH paraM vrajet: to obtain spiritual liberation, one must chant the holy name of the Lord, Hare KRSNa. So you have to do this. For instance, a doctor may order, "In the morning, take this medicine; in the evening, take that medicine." It is not a change of the doctor's orders. It is simply that according to the time, the doctor's orders call for a particular medicine. But the particular medicine is recommended by the doctor, not by your whims. Sruti and smRti cannot be changed, but they may recommend a particular process at a particular time. So there must be adherence to both zruti and smRti--to scriptural authority. You cannot modify.

PuSTa KRSNa: There is no question, then, of--as the magazine puts it--"new smRti."

SrIla PrabhupAda: No. New smRti? they may take it as "new smRti," but smRti is smRti--it is not new. In any spiritual statement, you have to give references to zruti and smRti. Otherwise, it is not valid. There must be veda-pramANa, zabda-pramANa: evidence from the Vedas and from the explanatory Vedic literature. Otherwise, there is no evidence. Your statement is not valid: you cannot change the original zruti-smRti. But you have to take their particular recommendation for the particular time, just as KRSNa Caitanya MahAprabhu did when He urged His followers to heed the injunction of BRhan-nAradIya PurANa [3.8.126]:

harer nAma harer nAma

harer nAmaiva kevalam

kalau nAsty eva nAsty eva

nAsty eva gatir anyathA

[Cc. Adi 17.21]

"Chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of KRSNa. In the present age of quarrel and anxiety, there is no other way to attain God realization, no other way, no other way." So zruti-smRti-pramANa--citing evidence from the Vedas and the corollary literature--is the only method for making a spiritual statement. You have to take it.

PuSTa KRSNa: Can anyone change …

SrIla PrabhupAda: No!

PuSTa KRSNa: … the rules of conduct as described in the smRtis?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Nobody can change them. But these particular rules and regulations in zruti-smRti are for particular times, particular circumstances. So we have to take these rules and regulations. You cannot change them.

PuSTa KRSNa: And who will sanction a particular application for a particular time and place?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes. This was done by Lord SrI KRSNa Caitanya. When he appeared five hundred years ago, he sanctioned the application of zruti-smRti because He's a genuine authority. He's a genuine AcArya. And we are following in the footsteps of Caitanya MahAprabhu. It is not whimsical. You have to follow the authority in all circumstances.

PuSTa KRSNa: Is this Vedic religion, this sanAtana-dharma, so broad that everyone is included?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes. SanAtana means "eternal." As KRSNa says in the Bhagavad-gItA, na hanyate hanyamAne zarIre: [bg. 2.20] "The living entity within the body is not destroyed when the body is destroyed, because he is eternal." So that eternality belongs to everyone. Not that the Hindus, after giving up this body, exist, and the Muslims or Christians do not exist. Everyone exists eternally. So sanAtana-dharma is meant for everyone.

PuSTa KRSNa: Then is there anyone actually outside of sanAtana-dharma?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Nobody is actually outside. Everyone is an eternal spirit soul, and therefore everyone is meant for the eternal religion, sanAtana-dharma. You may think that you are not an eternal spirit soul, but that is simply illusion. There are so many rascals who think that with the death of the body, everything is finished. They may think so, but that is not a fact. Similarly, you may think, "I am not a sanAtana-dharmI--a follower of sanAtana-dharma--I am a Christian," but actually you are a sanAtana-dharmI. Of course, if you wish to think otherwise, you can. Who can check it?

Hari-sauri: So whether one can be accepted as following sanAtana-dharma depends on how one acts?

SrIla PrabhupAda: Yes. If one does not act accord to the rules and regulations of sanAtana-dharma, that is his business. That's all.

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Eternal pastimes as related in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Mahabharata. and our wonderful Gita: my understanding is that somewhere in the innumerable universes of the material world, every glorious pastime is taking place. The stories and truths in the self-born Vedas are eternal, and are always happening, somewhere; if not here or there, then certainly in one of the other uncountable universes.


Right now in some universe, Lord Caitanya is inaugurating His sankirtana movement; in another universe Lord Krsna is performing His rasa dance; in another universe Dhanvantari is emerging with a giant jug of nectar; like that.


This means that in your very next life, you could join Lord Caitanya's kirtana in front of Lord Jagannatha's ratha in Puri; or you could take birth during Krsna's rasa lila.


Of course, I imagine that would be considered some pretty far-out totally cool karma, and may require some major planning right now to effect.<font color="#dedfdf">


[This message has been edited by gHari (edited 12-27-2001).]

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Right now in some universe, Lord Caitanya is inaugurating His sankirtana movement; in other universe Lord Krsna is performing His rasa dance; in another universe Dhanvantari is emerging with a giant jug of nectar; like that.


Nice example of multi-universe theory (a theory accepted by some of Quantum Physicists).

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NITYA LILA<blockquote>

Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta Madhya-lila 20.382-406:

ananta brahmANDa, tAra nAhika gaNana

kona lIlA kona brahmANDe haya prakaTana


ananta brahmANDa--innumerable universes; tAra--of which; nAhika gaNana--there is no counting; kona lIlA--some pastimes; kona brahmANDe--in some universe; haya--there is; prakaTana--manifestation.


"The consecutive pastimes of KRSNa are being manifested in one of the innumerable universes moment after moment. There is no possibility of counting the universes, but in any case some pastime of the Lord is being manifested at every moment in one universe or another.


ei-mata saba lIlA----yena gaGgA-dhAra

se-se lIlA prakaTa kare vrajendra-kumAra


ei-mata--in this way; saba lIlA--all pastimes; yena--like; gaGgA-dhAra--the flowing of the water of the Ganges; se-se--those; lIlA--pastimes; prakaTa kare--demonstrates; vrajendra-kumAra--the son of MahArAja Nanda.


"Thus the Lord's pastimes are like the flowing Ganges water. In this way all the pastimes are manifested by the son of Nanda MahArAja.


krame bAlya-paugaNDa-kaizoratA-prApti

rAsa-Adi lIlA kare, kaizore nitya-sthiti


krame--gradually; bAlya--childhood; paugaNDa--boyhood; kaizoratA--youth; prApti--development; rAsa--dancing with the gopIs; Adi--and others; lIlA--pastimes; kare--performs; kaizore--in His age of pre-youth; nitya-sthiti--eternally existing.


"Lord KRSNa exhibits His pastimes of childhood, boyhood and pre-youth. When He reaches pre-youth, He continues to exist eternally to perform His rAsa dance and other pastimes.



The comparison made here is very interesting. KRSNa does not grow like an ordinary human being, even though He exhibits His pastimes of childhood, boyhood and pre-youth. When He reaches the age of pre-youth, kaizora, He does not grow any older. He simply remains in His kaizora age. He is therefore described in the Brahma-saMhitA (5.33) as nava-yauvana:

advaitam acyutam anAdim ananta-rUpam

AdyaM purANa-puruSaM nava-yauvanaM ca

vedeSu durlabham adurlabham Atma-bhaktau

govindam Adi-puruSaM tam ahaM bhajAmi

This nava-yauvana, or pre-youth, is the eternal transcendental form of KRSNa. KRSNa never grows older than nava-yauvana.


‘nitya-lIlA' kRSNera sarva-zAstre kaya

bujhite nA pAre lIlA kemane ‘nitya' haya


nitya-lIlA--eternal pastimes; kRSNera--of Lord KRSNa; sarva-zAstre kaya--described in every zAstra; bujhite nA pAre--not able to understand; lIlA--pastimes; kemane--how; nitya haya--are eternal.


"Descriptions of KRSNa's eternal pastimes are in all the revealed scriptures. But one cannot understand how they are continuing eternally.


dRSTAnta diyA kahi tabe loka yadi jAne

kRSNa-lIlA----nitya, jyotizcakra-pramANe


dRSTAnta diyA--giving an example; kahi--let Me say; tabe--then; loka--people; yadi--if; jAne--can understand; kRSNa-lIlA--pastimes of Lord KRSNa; nitya--eternal; jyotiH-cakra--of the zodiac; pramANe--by evidence.


"Let me give an example by which people may understand Lord KRSNa's eternal pastimes. An example can be found in the zodiac.


jyotizcakre sUrya yena phire rAtri-dine

sapta-dvIpAmbudhi laGghi' phire krame krame


jyotiH-cakre--in the zodiac; sUrya--of the sun; yena--as; phire--moves; rAtri-dine--the day and night; sapta-dvIpa-ambudhi--the oceans of the islands; laGghi'--crossing; phire--rotates; krame krame--one after another.


"The sun moves across the zodiac day and night and crosses the oceans between the seven islands one after the other.


rAtri-dine haya SaSTi-daNDa-parimANa

tina-sahasra chaya-zata ‘pala' tAra mAna


rAtri-dine--during the whole day and night; haya--there is; SaSTi-daNDa--of sixty daNDas (a measure of time); parimANa--duration; tina-sahasra--three thousand; chaya-zata--six hundred; pala--palas; tAra--of that; mAna--measurement.


"According to Vedic astronomical calculations, the rotation of the sun consists of sixty daNDas, and it is divided into thirty-six hundred palas.


sUryodaya haite SaSTi-pala-kramodaya

sei eka daNDa, aSTa daNDe ‘prahara' haya


sUrya-udaya haite--beginning from the sunrise; SaSTi-pala--sixty palas; krama-udaya--gradually rising higher and higher; sei--that; eka daNDa--one daNDa; aSTa daNDe--in eight daNDas; prahara haya--there is a prahara.


"The sun rises in steps consisting of sixty palas. Sixty palas equal one daNDa, and eight daNDas comprise one prahara.


eka-dui-tina-cAri prahare asta haya

cAri-prahara rAtri gele punaH sUryodaya


eka-dui-tina-cAri--one, two, three, four; prahare--in praharas; asta haya--the sun sets in the evening; cAri-prahara--generally after four praharas; rAtri--the night; gele--when it passes; punaH--again; sUryodaya--the sun rises.


"The day and the night are divided into eight praharas--four belonging to the day and four belonging to the night. After eight praharas, the sun rises again.


aiche kRSNera lIlA-maNDala caudda-manvantare

brahmANDa-maNDala vyApi' krame krame phire


aiche--in the same way; kRSNera--of Lord KRSNa; lIlA-maNDala--groups of different pastimes; caudda-manvantare--in the duration of fourteen Manus; brahmANDa-maNDala--all of the universes; vyApi'--spreading through; krame krame--gradually; phire--return.


"Just as there is an orbit of the sun, there is an orbit of KRSNa's pastimes, which are manifested one after the other. During the lifetime of fourteen Manus, this orbit expands through all the universes, and gradually it returns. Thus KRSNa moves with His pastimes through all the universes, one after another.


saoyAzata vatsara kRSNera prakaTa-prakAza

tAhA yaiche vraja-pure karilA vilAsa


saoyAzata--125; vatsara--years; kRSNera--of Lord KRSNa; prakaTa-prakAza--manifestation of the appearance; tAhA--that; yaiche--like; vraja-pure--in VRndAvana and DvArakA; karilA vilAsa--enjoys the pastimes.


"KRSNa remains within a universe for 125 years, and He enjoys His pastimes both in VRndAvana and DvArakA.


alAta-cakra-prAya sei lIlA-cakra phire

saba lIlA saba brahmANDe krame udaya kare


alAta-cakra-prAya--exactly like a wheel of fire; sei--that; lIlA-cakra--the cycle of KRSNa's pastimes; phire--turns; saba lIlA--all these pastimes; saba brahmANDe--in all the universes; krame--one after another; udaya kare--are manifested.


"The cycle of His pastimes turns like a wheel of fire. Thus KRSNa exhibits His pastimes one after the other in every universe.


janma, bAlya, paugaNDa, kaizora prakAza

pUtanA-vadhAdi kari' mauSalAnta vilAsa


janma--birth; bAlya--childhood; paugaNDa--boyhood; kaizora--pre-youth; prakAza--manifestation; pUtanA-vadha-Adi--killing the demons, beginning from PUtanA; kari'--manifesting; mauSala-anta--until the end of the mauSala pastimes; vilAsa--pastimes.


"KRSNa's pastimes--appearance, childhood, boyhood and youth--are all manifested, beginning with the killing of PUtanA and extending to the end of the mauSala-lIlA, the annihilation of the Yadu dynasty. All of these pastimes are rotating in every universe.


kona brahmANDe kona lIlAra haya avasthAna

tAte lIlA ‘nitya' kahe Agama-purANa


kona brahmANDe--in some universe; kona lIlAra--some pastimes; haya--there is; avasthAna--the presence; tAte--therefore; lIlA--pastimes; nitya--eternal; kahe--explains; Agama-purANa--the Vedas and PurANas.


"Since all KRSNa's pastimes are taking place continuously, at every moment some pastime is existing in one universe or another. Consequently these pastimes are called eternal by the Vedas and PurANas.


goloka, gokula-dhAma----‘vibhu' kRSNa-sama

kRSNecchAya brahmANDa-gaNe tAhAra saGkrama


goloka--the planet known as Goloka; gokula-dhAma--the spiritual land, the pasturing fields for the surabhi cows; vibhu--opulent and powerful; kRSNa-sama--as much as KRSNa; kRSNa-icchAya--by the supreme will of KRSNa; brahmANDa-gaNe--in each of the universes; tAhAra--of the Goloka and Gokula dhAmas; saGkrama--appearance.


"The spiritual abode known as Goloka, which is a pasturing land for surabhi cows, is as powerful and opulent as KRSNa. By the will of KRSNa, the original Goloka and Gokula dhAmas are manifested with Him in all the universes.


ataeva goloka-sthAne nitya vihAra

brahmANDa-gaNe krame prAkaTya tAhAra


ataeva--therefore; goloka-sthAne--in the original Goloka VRndAvana planet; nitya vihAra--eternal pastimes; brahmANDa-gaNe--within the material universes; krame--gradually; prAkaTya--manifestation; tAhAra--of them.


"The eternal pastimes of KRSNa are continuously taking place in the original Goloka VRndAvana planet. These same pastimes are gradually manifested within the material world, in each and every brahmANDa.



SrIla BhaktisiddhAnta SarasvatI ThAkura elucidates this complicated explanation of KRSNa's pastimes. KRSNa's pastimes are always present in the material world in one of the many universes. These pastimes appear in the universes one after the other, just as the sun moves across the sky and measures the time. KRSNa's appearance may be manifested in this universe at one moment, and immediately after His birth, this pastime is manifested in the next universe. After His killing of PUtanA is manifested in this universe, it is next manifested in another universe. Thus all the pastimes of KRSNa are eternally existing both in the original Goloka VRndAvana planet and in the material universes. The 125 years calculated in our solar system to be KRSNa's lifetime equal one moment for KRSNa. One moment these pastimes are manifested in one universe, and the next moment they are manifested in the next universe. There are unlimited universes, and KRSNa's pastimes are manifested one moment after the other in all of them. This rotation is explained through the example of the sun's moving across the sky. KRSNa appears and disappears in innumerable universes, just as the sun appears and disappears during the day. Although the sun appears to rise and set, it is continuously shining somewhere on the earth. Similarly, although KRSNa's pastimes seem to appear and disappear, they are continuously existing in one brahmANDa (universe) or another. Thus all of KRSNa's lIlAs are present simultaneously throughout the innumerable universes. By our limited senses we cannot appreciate this; therefore KRSNa's eternal pastimes are very difficult for us to understand. One should try to understand how they are taking place by understanding the analogy of the sun. Although the Lord is appearing constantly in the material universes, His pastimes are eternally present in the original Goloka VRndAvana. Therefore these pastimes are called nitya-lIlA (eternally present pastimes). Because we cannot see what is going on in other universes, it is a little difficult for us to understand how KRSNa is eternally manifesting His pastimes. There are fourteen Manus in one day of BrahmA, and this time calculation is also taking place in other universes. KRSNa's pastimes are manifested before fourteen Manus expire. Although it is a little difficult to understand the eternal pastimes of KRSNa in this way, we must accept the verdict of the Vedic literatures.

There are two types of devotees--the sAdhaka, who is preparing for perfection, and the siddha, who is already perfect. As far as those who are already perfect are concerned, Lord KRSNa says in the Bhagavad-gItA (4.9), tyaktvA dehaM punar janma naiti mAm eti so 'rjuna: "After giving up this material body, such a devotee comes to Me." After leaving the material body, the perfect devotee takes birth from the womb of a gopI on a planet where KRSNa's pastimes are going on. This may be in this universe or another universe. This statement is found in the Ujjvala-nIlamaNi, which is commented upon by VizvanAtha CakravartI ThAkura. When a devotee becomes perfect, he is transferred to the universe where KRSNa's pastimes are taking place. KRSNa's eternal associates go wherever KRSNa manifests His pastimes. As stated before, first the father and mother of KRSNa appear, then the other associates. Quitting his material body, the perfect devotee also goes to associate with KRSNa and His other associates.


vraje kRSNa----sarvaizvarya-prakAze ‘pUrNatama'

purI-dvaye, paravyome----‘pUrNatara', ‘pUrNa'


vraje--in VRndAvana; kRSNa--Lord KRSNa; sarva-aizvarya-prakAze--manifestation of His full opulence; pUrNa-tama--most complete; purI-dvaye--in DvArakA and MathurA; para-vyome--and in the spiritual world; pUrNa-tara--more complete; pUrNa--complete.


"KRSNa is complete in the spiritual sky [VaikuNTha], He is more complete in MathurA and DvArakA, and He is most complete in VRndAvana, Vraja, due to His manifesting all His opulences.



This is confirmed in the following three verses from the Bhakti-rasAmRta-sindhu (2.1.221–223).


hariH pUrNatamaH pUrNa-

taraH pUrNa iti tridhA

zreSTha-madhyAdibhiH zabdair

nATye yaH paripaThyate


hariH--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pUrNa-tamaH--most complete; pUrNa-taraH--more complete; pUrNaH--complete; iti--thus; tridhA--three stages; zreSTha--best; madhya-AdibhiH--middle, etc.; zabdaiH--by the words; nATye--in books on dramatics; yaH--who; paripaThyate--is proclaimed.


"‘This is stated in the dramatic literatures as "perfect,more perfect" and "most perfect." Thus Lord KRSNa manifests Himself in three ways--perfect, more perfect and most perfect.



smRtaH pUrNatamo budhaiH

asarva-vyaJjakaH pUrNa-

taraH pUrNo 'lpa-darzakaH


prakAzita-akhila-guNaH--having all transcendental qualities manifested; smRtaH--is understood; pUrNa-tamaH--most perfect; budhaiH--by learned scholars; asarva-vyaJjakaH--having qualities not fully manifested; pUrNa-taraH--more perfect; pUrNaH--perfect; alpa-darzakaH--still less fully manifested.


"‘When the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not manifest all His transcendental qualities, He is called complete. When all the qualities are manifested, but not fully, He is called more complete. When He manifests all His qualities in fullness, He is called most complete. This is the version of all learned scholars in the devotional science.


kRSNasya pUrNatamatA

vyaktAbhUd gokulAntare

pUrNatA pUrNataratA



kRSNasya--of Lord KRSNa; pUrNa-tamatA--being most perfect; vyaktA--manifested; abhUt--became; gokula-antare--in the domain of Gokula VRndAvana; pUrNatA--completeness; pUrNa-taratA--more completeness; dvArakA--in DvArakA; mathurA-AdiSu--and MathurA, and so on.


"‘The most complete qualities of KRSNa are manifested within VRndAvana, and His complete and more complete qualities are manifested in DvArakA and MathurA.'


ei kRSNa----vraje ‘pUrNatama' bhagavAn

Ara saba svarUpa----‘pUrNatara' ‘pUrNa' nAma


ei kRSNa--the same KRSNa; vraje--VRndAvana; pUrNa-tama bhagavAn--the most complete manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; Ara--other; saba--all; svarUpa--forms; pUrNa-tara--more complete; pUrNa--complete; nAma--named.


"Lord KRSNa is the most complete Supreme Personality of Godhead in VRndAvana. Elsewhere all His expansions are either complete or more complete.


saGkSepe kahiluG kRSNera svarUpa-vicAra

‘ananta' kahite nAre ihAra vistAra


saGkSepe--in brief; kahiluG--I have described; kRSNera--of Lord KRSNa; svarUpa-vicAra--consideration of His different forms and features; ananta--Lord Ananta; kahite nAre--not able to describe; ihAra--of this; vistAra--the expanse.


"Thus I have briefly described KRSNa's manifestation of transcendental forms. This subject matter is so large that even Lord Ananta cannot describe it fully.


ananta svarUpa kRSNera nAhika gaNana

zAkhA-candra-nyAye kari dig-darazana


ananta--unlimited; svarUpa--forms; kRSNera--of Lord KRSNa; nAhika gaNana--there is no counting; zAkhA-candra-nyAye--by the logic of showing the moon through the branches of a tree; kari--I do; dik-darazana--only partial showing.


"In this way KRSNa's transcendental forms are expanded unlimitedly. No one can count them. Whatever I have explained is simply a little glimpse. It is like showing the moon through the branches of a tree."


ihA yei zune, paDe, sei bhAgyavAn

kRSNera svarUpa-tattvera haya kichu jJAna


ihA--this narration; yei zune--anyone who hears; paDe--or reads; sei--such a person; bhAgyavAn--is most fortunate; kRSNera--of Lord KRSNa; svarUpa-tattvera--of personal bodily features; haya--there is; kichu--something; jJAna--knowledge.


Whoever hears or recites these descriptions of the expansions of KRSNa's body is certainly a very fortunate man. Although this is very difficult to understand, one can nonetheless acquire some knowledge about the different features of KRSNa's body.


zrI-rUpa-raghunAtha-pade yAra Aza

caitanya-caritAmRta kahe kRSNadAsa


zrI-rUpa--SrIla RUpa GosvAmI; raghunAtha--SrIla RaghunAtha dAsa GosvAmI; pade--at the lotus feet; yAra--whose; Aza--expectation; caitanya-caritAmRta--the book named Caitanya-caritAmRta; kahe--describes; kRSNadAsa--SrIla KRSNadAsa KavirAja GosvAmI.


Praying at the lotus feet of SrI RUpa and SrI RaghunAtha, always desiring their mercy, I, KRSNadAsa, narrate SrI Caitanya-caritAmRta, following in their footsteps.


Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to SrI Caitanya-caritAmRta, Madhya-lIlA, Twentieth Chapter, describing how SanAtana GosvAmI met the Lord at VArANasI and received knowledge of the Absolute Truth.

From Renunciation Through Wisdom 2.7

Under Illusion of MAyA Man has Forgotten Lord KRSNa


The karmIs, jJAnIs, and yogIs, as well as the common politicians and anyone else who is working hard to make a comfortable and peaceful situation in this material world, must clearly realize that the world is transitory and full of misery. However much one may toil to make a permanent settlement in this world, at the end everyone is forced to leave. As long as one stays here, one must come to grips with the reality of suffering. Since time immemorial the soul has been coming and going. The Lord's devotees, however, not only live happily in this world, but after they leave here they enter the eternal and ever-blissful abode of the Lord. As the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gItA (8.15),

<center>mAm upetya punar janma

duHkhAlayam azAzvatam

nApnuvanti mahAtmAnaH

saMsiddhiM paramAM gatAH

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

According to the above verse, the devotees attain the highest perfection--that is, they join the elevated corps of the Lord's eternal associates. The mystic yogI's eightfold mystic perfection is not the same as the devotee's para-siddhi, or "highest perfection." While mystic yoga brings perfections that are material and temporary, devotional service to the Supreme Lord brings absolute perfection, which is transcendental and eternal. The Supreme Lord incessantly manifests His ever-fresh transcendental pastimes within this unlimited material universe, which He has created. These pastimes, known as bhauma-lIlA, have been going on since time immemorial. The sun remains in one place, yet somewhere on earth people see it rising, while elsewhere people see it setting. This rising and setting has been going on since the dawn of creation. Similarly, although Lord KRSNa eternally resides in Goloka, His eternal abode, He manifests His transcendental pastimes at every moment in the countless universes of this cosmic creation. As it is a mistake to think the sun rises and sets, it is a gross misconception to think that Lord KRSNa was born on such-and-such a day and was slain by someone on such-and-such a day. The Lord's birth and activities are all transcendental and miraculous. And those who can comprehend this esoteric truth attain the highest perfection. As the Lord states in the the Bhagavad-gItA (4.9),

<center>janma-karma ca me divyam

evaM yo vetti tattvataH

tyaktvA dehaM punar janma

naiti mAm eti so 'rjuna

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.</center>

When Lord KRSNa desires to manifest His earthly pastimes, He appears through His eternal parents, SrImatI DevakI and SrI Vasudeva, and is later brought up by His foster parents, mother YazodA and Nanda MahArAja. Saintly souls who perfect their devotional service by following in the footsteps of the Lord's eternal parents are elevated to the highest position as eternal associates of the Supreme Lord. Once having entered into the Lord's eternal transcendental pastimes, these great souls relish superexcellent devotional mellows in ecstatic love of Godhead.

In the innumerable universes, Lord KRSNa reveals His earthly pastimes with His intimate friend and eternal associate Arjuna. The Lord makes this clear in two Bhagavad-gItA verses (4.5–6):

<center>bahUni me vyatItAni

janmAni tava cArjuna

tAny ahaM veda sarvANi

na tvaM vettha parantapa


ajo 'pi sann avyayAtmA

bhUtAnAm Izvaro 'pi san

prakRtiM svAm adhiSThAya

sambhavAmy Atma-mAyayA

Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy! Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.</center>

As for those unfortunate souls who do not strive for the supreme goal of entering the eternal pastimes of the Supreme Lord and instead become attracted to the mundane practices of karma, jJAna, and yoga, which ultimately elevate one to the heavenly planets--such souls must once again take birth in this material world. Although they may reach a high status in this cosmic system, they must come down as if on a ferris wheel. KRSNa describes this phenomenon in the Bhagavad-gItA (8.16):

<center>A-brahma-bhuvanAl lokAH

punar Avartino 'rjuna

mAm upetya tu kaunteya

punar janma na vidyate

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

The higher planetary systems in this material world are BhUrloka, Bhuvarloka, Svargaloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and up to Satyaloka, or Brahmaloka. Whichever of these planets one rises to in his next life, one must finally return to earth. What to speak of the next life, even in this life the high position one attains after considerable hard work--such as king, emperor, minister, governor, or president--is lost after some time, and one is thrown back to a mean and humble status. Only leaders who have experienced this kind of humiliation can know the trepidation that accompanies it. But if at any stage of life the grossly foolish miscreants described in the GItA decide to render devotional service to Lord KRSNa, they can escape the ferris wheel of karma. On this wheel, sometimes one goes to heaven and sometimes to hell, sometimes one is born a king and sometimes a slave, sometimes one becomes a brAhmaNa and sometimes zUdra, and so it goes on. But once a person enters the spiritual abode of the Supreme Lord, he begins his eternal life in his original, constitutional position.

By the influence of karma, one who is attached to the material body and mind has to change bodies life after life. In this way the soul roams the fourteen planetary systems within this material universe, sometimes going up and sometimes coming down. These planets are transitory--merely theatrical stages upon which the soul enacts his mundane existence. But when the living entity is elevated to spiritual perfection and is situated in his pure, eternal identity, devoid of all mundane designations, he attains the natural habitat of the spirit soul, the supramundane realm transcending this material creation and the intermediary zone of the unmanifested Brahman effulgence.

The material body, made up of material ingredients such as earth, water, fire, and air, is mortal. Similarly, because this material universe is an amalgam of earth, water, fire, air, etc., it is also transitory. But the spirit soul (which, incidently, has never been duplicated in the laboratory despite repeated efforts) is imperishable, as is its natural, eternal home--the kingdom of God. The process that takes the eternal soul to his eternal home is called sanAtana-dharma, or "the eternal religion."

Empirical, atheistic philosophers like Kapila spent innumerable tedious hours researching the material phenomena of this cosmic creation. Yet it remained beyond the grasp of their limited intelligence to understand that there exists a realm transcendental and far superior to this manifested material world. Finally, when their probing minds failed to sight land in an ocean of speculation, they concluded that the absolute truth is unmanifest.

Compared to other species, human beings are certainly endowed with good intelligence, yet unless they are devotees of the Lord, all their thinking is limited within mundane boundaries. Therefore it is impossible for the mundane mind to approach the transcendence. But instead of surrendering to the Supreme Lord or His representative, the empirical philosophers try to explain away as "unmanifest" that which is beyond their mundane minds. This is known as the logic of the frog in the well.

No matter how big a thinker a tiny living entity may be, all his activities are limited by mundane boundaries, just as a frog in the well can never comprehend that such a thing as an ocean exists outside his little domain. He refuses to acknowledge that a mass of water infinitely bigger than his tiny puddle can at all be possible. Similarly, we are trapped in the dark well of our body and mind. And although we may try hard through yoga or empirical speculation to overcome our limitations, no matter how erudite we are it is impossible to reach beyond the limitations of our self-made well.

So, who can bring us news of the great ocean? Is there any record of how long we have been struggling in the water to stay afloat in the well of this material world, sometimes going up to the higher planets, sometimes coming down? Only the Supreme Lord Himself or His empowered representative can possibly free us from confinement in this dark well. Under their guidance we can come to know of the limitless ocean of the spiritual sky. This process--hearing from higher authorities--is called the deductive, or descending, process of knowledge. It is the only authorized way to learn transcendental knowledge. By this method alone is eternal truth transmitted.

And what can we learn by this process? Lord KRSNa describes the spiritual and material worlds as follows in the Bhagavad-gItA (8.17–20):

By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of BrahmA's one day. And such also is the duration of his night. At the beginning of BrahmA's day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again. Again and again, when BrahmA's day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of BrahmA's night they are helplessly annihilated. Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is."

People become awestruck when they learn that the life span on Brahmaloka is many millions of years. One has to undergo severe austerities and renunciation, accepting the sannyAsa order of life, in order to reach Brahmaloka. However, we must consider one essential fact: even Lord BrahmA, the presiding deity of that planet, is not immortal. Those who have researched the Vedic scriptures in depth can calculate the lifetime of BrahmA. Human beings count 365 days in their year, and the cycle of four yugas comprises approximately 4,320,000 such years. A thousand cycles of four yugas make up one day-time (twelve hours) of Lord BrahmA's life. In this way his month and year can be calculated, and BrahmA lives for a hundred years of his time. But despite this vast life span--311 trillion 40 billion human years--Lord BrahmA is a mortal being, and this universe created by him is also perishable. Thus it is not strange that human beings, who are also his creation, should perish. As human beings seem immortal to a tiny insect, so Lord BrahmA and the demigods seem immortal to us. In fact, however, no material body of any form is ever eternal.

At the end of Lord BrahmA's day, when night approaches, a partial dissolution inundates the universe up to the Svargaloka, the abode of the demigods. All the living entities of this world are created at the dawn of Lord BrahmA's day and annihilated at dusk, and this creation and annihilation go on in a continuous cycle.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.39:

vijaya-ratha-kuTumba Atta-totre

dhRta-haya-razmini tac-chriyekSaNIye

bhagavati ratir astu me mumUrSor

yam iha nirIkSya hatA gatAH sva-rUpam


vijaya--Arjuna; ratha--chariot; kuTumbe--the object of protection at all risk; Atta-totre--with a whip in the right hand; dhRta-haya--controlling the horses; razmini--ropes; tat-zriyA--beautifully standing; IkSaNIye--to look at; bhagavati--unto the Personality of Godhead; ratiH astu--let my attraction be; me--my; mumUrSoH--one who is about to die; yam--upon whom; iha--in this world; nirIkSya--by looking; hatAH--those who died; gatAH--attained; sva-rUpam--original form.


At the moment of death, let my ultimate attraction be to SrI KRSNa, the Personality of Godhead. I concentrate my mind upon the chariot driver of Arjuna who stood with a whip in His right hand and a bridle rope in His left, who was very careful to give protection to Arjuna's chariot by all means. Those who saw Him on the Battlefield of KurukSetra attained their original forms after death.



A pure devotee of the Lord constantly sees the presence of the Lord within himself because of being transcendentally related by loving service. Such a pure devotee cannot forget the Lord for a moment. This is called trance. The mystic (yogI) tries to concentrate upon the Supersoul by controlling the senses from all other engagements, and thus he ultimately attains samAdhi. A devotee more easily attains samAdhi, or trance, by constantly remembering the Lord's personal feature along with His holy name, fame, pastimes, etc. Therefore, the concentration of the mystic yogI and that of the devotee are not on the same level. The concentration of the mystic is mechanical, whereas that of the pure devotee is natural in pure love and spontaneous affection. BhISmadeva was a pure devotee, and as a military marshal he constantly remembered the battlefield feature of the Lord as PArtha-sArathi, the chariot driver of Arjuna. Therefore, the Lord's pastime as PArtha-sArathi is also eternal. The pastimes of the Lord, beginning from His birth at the prison house of KaMsa up to the mausala-lIlA at the end, all move one after another in all the universes, just as the clock hand moves from one point to another. And in such pastimes His associates like the PANDavas and BhISma are constant eternal companions. So BhISmadeva never forgot the beautiful feature of the Lord as PArtha-sArathi, which even Arjuna could not see. Arjuna was behind the beautiful PArtha-sArathi while BhISmadeva was just in front of the Lord. As far as the military feature of the Lord is concerned, BhISmadeva observed this with more relish than Arjuna.

All the soldiers and persons on the Battlefield of KurukSetra attained their original spiritual form like the Lord after their death because by the causeless mercy of the Lord they were able to see Him face to face on that occasion. The conditioned souls rotating in the evolutionary cycle from the aquatics up to the form of BrahmA are all in the form of mAyA, or the form obtained by one's own actions and awarded by material nature. The material forms of the conditioned souls are all foreign dresses, and when the conditioned soul becomes liberated from the clutches of material energy, he attains his original form. The impersonalist wants to attain the impersonal Brahman effulgence of the Lord, but that is not at all congenial to the living sparks, parts and parcels of the Lord. Therefore, the impersonalists again fall down and get material forms, which are all false to the spirit soul. A spiritual form like the Lord's, either two-handed or four-handed, is attained by the devotees of the Lord either in the VaikuNThas or in the Goloka planet, according to the original nature of the soul. This form, which is cent percent spiritual, is the svarUpa of the living being, and all the living beings who participated on the Battlefield of KurukSetra, on both sides, attained their svarUpa, as confirmed by BhISmadeva. So Lord SrI KRSNa was not merciful only to the PANDavas; He was also merciful to the other parties because all of them attained the same result. BhISmadeva wanted the same facility also, and that was his prayer to the Lord, although his position as an associate of the Lord is assured in all circumstances. The conclusion is that whoever dies looking on the Personality of Godhead within or without attains his svarUpa, which is the highest perfection of life.

SB 1.15.35:

yathA matsyAdi-rUpANi

dhatte jahyAd yathA naTaH

bhU-bhAraH kSapito yena

jahau tac ca kalevaram


yathA--as much as; matsya-Adi--incarnation as a fish, etc.; rUpANi--forms; dhatte--eternally accepts; jahyAt--apparently relinquishes; yathA--exactly like; naTaH--magician; bhU-bhAraH--burden of the world; kSapitaH--relieved; yena--by which; jahau--let go; tat--that; ca--also; kalevaram--body.


The Supreme Lord relinquished the body which He manifested to diminish the burden of the earth. Just like a magician, He relinquishes one body to accept different ones, like the fish incarnation and others.



The Supreme Lord Personality of Godhead is neither impersonal nor formless, but His body is nondifferent from Him, and therefore He is known as the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss. In the BRhad-vaiSNava Tantra it is clearly mentioned that anyone who considers the form of Lord KRSNa to be made of material energy must be ostracized by all means. And if by chance the face of such an infidel is seen, one must clean himself by jumping in the river with his clothing. The Lord is described as amRta, or deathless, because He has no material body. Under the circumstances, the Lord's dying or quitting His body is like the jugglery of a magician. The magician shows by his tricks that he is cut to pieces, burnt to ashes or made unconscious by hypnotic influences, but all are false shows only. Factually the magician himself is neither burnt to ashes nor cut to pieces, nor is he dead or unconscious at any stage of his magical demonstration. Similarly, the Lord has His eternal forms of unlimited variety, of which the fish incarnation, as was exhibited within this universe, is also one. Because there are innumerable universes, somewhere or other the fish incarnation must be manifesting His pastimes without cessation. In this verse, the particular word dhatte ("eternally accepted," and not the word dhitvA, "accepted for the occasion") is used. The idea is that the Lord does not create the fish incarnation; He eternally has such a form, and the appearance and disappearance of such an incarnation serves particular purposes. In the Bhagavad-gItA (7.24–25) the Lord says, "The impersonalists think that I have no form, that I am formless, but that at present I have accepted a form to serve a purpose, and now I am manifested. But such speculators are factually without sharp intelligence. Though they may be good scholars in the Vedic literatures, they are practically ignorant of My inconceivable energies and My eternal forms of personality. The reason is that I reserve the power of not being exposed to the nondevotees by My mystic curtain. The less intelligent fools are therefore unaware of My eternal form, which is never to be vanquished and is unborn." In the Padma PurANa it is said that those who are envious and always angry at the Lord are unfit to know the actual and eternal form of the Lord. In the BhAgavatam also it is said that the Lord appeared like a thunderbolt to those who were wrestlers. SizupAla, at the time of being killed by the Lord, could not see Him as KRSNa, being dazzled by the glare of the brahmajyoti. Therefore, the temporary manifestation of the Lord as a thunderbolt to the wrestlers appointed by KaMsa, or the glaring appearance of the Lord before SizupAla, was relinquished by the Lord, but the Lord as a magician is eternally existent and is never vanquished in any circumstance. Such forms are temporarily shown to the asuras only, and when such exhibitions are withdrawn, the asuras think that the Lord is no more existent, just as the foolish audience thinks the magician to be burnt to ashes or cut to pieces. The conclusion is that the Lord has no material body, and therefore He is never to be killed or changed by His transcendental body.

SB 3.2.7:

uddhava uvAca

kRSNa-dyumaNi nimloce

gIrNeSv ajagareNa ha

kiM nu naH kuzalaM brUyAM

gata-zrISu gRheSv aham


uddhavaH uvAca--SrI Uddhava said; kRSNa-dyumaNi--the KRSNa sun; nimloce--having set; gIrNeSu--being swallowed; ajagareNa--by the great snake; ha--in the past; kim--what; nu--else; naH--our; kuzalam--welfare; brUyAm--may I say; gata--gone away; zrISu gRheSu--in the house; aham--I.


SrI Uddhava said: My dear Vidura, the sun of the world, Lord KRSNa, has set, and our house has now been swallowed by the great snake of time. What can I say to you about our welfare?



The disappearance of the KRSNa sun may be explained as follows, according to the commentary of SrIla VizvanAtha CakravartI ThAkura. Vidura was struck with great sorrow when he got the hint of the annihilation of the great Yadu dynasty as well as of his own family, the Kuru dynasty. Uddhava could understand the grief of Vidura, and therefore he first of all wanted to sympathize with him by saying that after the sunset everyone is in darkness. Since the entire world was merged in the darkness of grief, neither Vidura nor Uddhava nor anyone else could be happy. Uddhava was as much aggrieved as Vidura, and there was nothing further to be said about their welfare.

The comparison of KRSNa to the sun is very appropriate. As soon as the sun sets, darkness automatically appears. But the darkness experienced by the common man does not affect the sun itself either at the time of sunrise or of sunset. Lord KRSNa's appearance and disappearance are exactly like that of the sun. He appears and disappears in innumerable universes, and as long as He is present in a particular universe there is all transcendental light in that universe, but the universe from which He passes away is put into darkness. His pastimes, however, are everlasting. The Lord is always present in some universe, just as the sun is present in either the eastern or the western hemisphere. The sun is always present either in India or in America, but when the sun is present in India, the American land is in darkness, and when the sun is present in America, the Indian hemisphere is in darkness.

As the sun appears in the morning and gradually rises to the meridian and then again sets in one hemisphere while simultaneously rising in the other, so Lord KRSNa's disappearance in one universe and the beginning of His different pastimes in another take place simultaneously. As soon as one pastime is finished here, it is manifested in another universe. And thus His nitya-lIlA, or eternal pastimes, are going on without ending. As the sunrise takes place once in twenty-four hours, similarly the pastimes of Lord KRSNa take place in a universe once in a daytime of BrahmA, the account of which is given in the Bhagavad-gItA as 4,300,000,000 solar years. But wherever the Lord is present, all His different pastimes as described in the revealed scriptures take place at regular intervals.

As at sunset the snakes become powerful, thieves are encouraged, ghosts become active, the lotus becomes disfigured and the cakravAkI laments, so with the disappearance of Lord KRSNa, the atheists feel enlivened, and the devotees become sorry.

SB 3.4.33:

viduro 'py uddhavAc chrutvA

kRSNasya paramAtmanaH


karmANi zlAghitAni ca


viduraH--Vidura; api--also; uddhavAt--from the source of Uddhava; zrutvA--having heard; kRSNasya--of Lord KRSNa; parama-AtmanaH--of the Supersoul; krIDayA--for the sake of pastimes in the mortal world; upAtta--extraordinarily accepted; dehasya--of the body; karmANi--transcendental activities; zlAghitAni--most glorious; ca--also.


Vidura also heard from Uddhava about the appearance and disappearance of Lord KRSNa, the Supersoul, in the mortal world, which is a subject matter sought after with great perseverance by the great sages.



The subject matter of the appearance and disappearance of the Supersoul, Lord SrI KRSNa, is a mystery even for the great sages. The word paramAtmanaH is significant in this verse. An ordinary living being is generally called the AtmA, but Lord KRSNa is never an ordinary living being because He is paramAtmA, the Supersoul. Yet His appearance as one of the human beings and His disappearance again from the mortal world are subject matters for the research workers who execute research work with great perseverance. Such subject matters are certainly of increasing interest because the researchers have to search out the transcendental abode of the Lord, which He enters after finishing His pastimes in the mortal world. But even the great sages have no information that beyond the material sky is the spiritual sky where SrI KRSNa eternally resides with His associates, although at the same time He exhibits His pastimes in the mortal world in all the universes one after another. This fact is confirmed in Brahma-saMhitA (5.37): goloka eva nivasaty akhilAtma-bhUtaH. "The Lord, by His inconceivable potency, resides in His eternal abode, Goloka, yet at the same time, as the Supersoul, He is present everywhere--in both the spiritual and material skies--by His multivarieties of manifestation." Therefore His appearance and disappearance are simultaneously going on, and no one can say definitely which of them is the beginning and which is the end. His eternal pastimes have no beginning or end, and one has to learn of them from the pure devotee only and not waste valuable time in so-called research work.

SB 10.1.23:

vasudeva-gRhe sAkSAd

bhagavAn puruSaH paraH

janiSyate tat-priyArthaM

sambhavantu sura-striyaH


vasudeva-gRhe--in the house of Vasudeva (who would be the father of KRSNa when the Lord appeared); sAkSAt--personally; bhagavAn--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has full potency; puruSaH--the original person; paraH--who is transcendental; janiSyate--will appear; tat-priya-artham--and for His satisfaction; sambhavantu--should take birth; sura-striyaH--all the wives of the demigods.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead, SrI KRSNa, who has full potency, will personally appear as the son of Vasudeva. Therefore all the wives of the demigods should also appear in order to satisfy Him.



In Bhagavad-gItA (4.9) the Lord says, tyaktvA dehaM punar janma naiti mAm eti: [bg. 4.9] after giving up the material body, the devotee of the Lord returns home, back to Godhead. This means that the devotee is first transferred to the particular universe where the Lord is at that time staying to exhibit His pastimes. There are innumerable universes, and the Lord is appearing in one of these universes at every moment. Therefore His pastimes are called nitya-lIlA, eternal pastimes. The Lord's appearance as a child in the house of DevakI takes place continuously in one universe after another. Therefore, the devotee is first transferred to that particular universe where the pastimes of the Lord are current. As stated in Bhagavad-gItA, even if a devotee does not complete the course of devotional service, he enjoys the happiness of the heavenly planets, where the most pious people dwell, and then takes birth in the house of a zuci or zrImAn, a pious brAhmaNa or a wealthy vaizya (zucInAM zrImatAM gehe yoga-bhraSTo 'bhijAyate [bg. 6.41]). Thus a pure devotee, even if unable to execute devotional service completely, is transferred to the upper planetary system, where pious people reside. From there, if his devotional service is complete, such a devotee is transferred to the place where the Lord's pastimes are going on. Herein it is said, sambhavantu sura-striyaH. Sura-strI, the women of the heavenly planets, were thus ordered to appear in the Yadu dynasty in VRndAvana to enrich the pastimes of Lord KRSNa. These sura-strI, when further trained to live with KRSNa, would be transferred to the original Goloka VRndAvana. During Lord KRSNa's pastimes within this world, the sura-strI were to appear in different ways in different families to give pleasure to the Lord, just so that they would be fully trained before going to the eternal Goloka VRndAvana. With the association of Lord KRSNa, either at DvArakA-purI, MathurA-purI or VRndAvana, they would certainly return home, back to Godhead. Among the sura-strI, the women of the heavenly planets, there are many devotees, such as the mother of the Upendra incarnation of KRSNa. It was such devoted women who were called for in this connection.

SB 10.7.3:

athAnyad api kRSNasya

tokAcaritam adbhutam

mAnuSaM lokam AsAdya

taj-jAtim anurundhataH


atha--also; anyat api--other pastimes also; kRSNasya--of child KRSNa; toka-Acaritam adbhutam--they are also wonderful childhood pastimes; mAnuSam--as if playing as a human child; lokam AsAdya--appearing on this planet earth in human society; tat-jAtim--exactly like a human child; anurundhataH--who was imitating.


Please describe other pastimes of KRSNa, the Supreme Personality, who appeared on this planet earth, imitating a human child and performing wonderful activities like killing PUtanA.



MahArAja ParIkSit requested Sukadeva GosvAmI to narrate other childhood pastimes exhibited by KRSNa while playing as a human child. The Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnates at different times in different planets and universes, and according to the nature of those places, He exhibits His unlimited potency. That a child sitting on the lap of his mother was able to kill the gigantic PUtanA is extremely wonderful for the inhabitants of this planet, but on other planets the inhabitants are more advanced, and therefore the pastimes the Lord performs there are still more wonderful. KRSNa's appearance on this planet like a human being makes us more fortunate than the demigods in the higher planets, and therefore MahArAja ParIkSit was very much interested in hearing about Him.

Excerpt from The Teachings of Lord Caitanya Chapter 8:

After describing the zaktyAveza incarnations, Caitanya MahAprabhu began to speak about the age of the Supreme Lord. He said that the Supreme Lord KRSNa is always like a sixteen-year-old boy, and when He desires to descend on this universe, He first of all sends His father and mother, who are His devotees, and then He advents Himself as an incarnation, or He comes personally. All His activities--beginning with the killing of the PUtanA demon--are displayed in innumerable universes, and there is no limit to them. Indeed, at every moment, at every second, His manifestations and various pastimes are seen in different universes (brahmANDas). Thus His activities are just like the waves of the Ganges River. Just as there is no limit to the flowing of the waves of the Ganges, there is no cessation of Lord KRSNa's incarnations in different universes. From childhood He displays many pastimes, and ultimately He exhibits the rAsa dance.

It is said that all the pastimes of KRSNa are eternal, and this is confirmed in every scripture. Generally people cannot understand how KRSNa performs His pastimes, but Lord Caitanya clarified this by comparing His pastimes to the orbit of the earth about the sun. According to Vedic astrological calculations, the twenty-four hours of a day and night are divided into sixty daNDas. The days are again divided into 3,600 palas. The sun disc can be perceived in every sixty palas, and that time constitutes a daNDa. Eight daNDas make one prahara, and the sun rises and sets with in four praharas. Similarly, four praharas constitute one night, and after that the sun rises. Similarly, all the pastimes of KRSNa can be seen in any of the universes, just as the sun can be seen in its movement through 3,600 palas.

Lord KRSNa remains in this universe for only 125 years, but all the pastimes of that period are exhibited in each and every universe. These pastimes include His appearance, His boyhood activities, His youth and His later pastimes up to those pastimes at DvArakA. Since all these pastimes are present in one or another of the myriad universes at any given time, they are called eternal. The sun is eternally existing, although we see it rise and set, appear and disappear, according to our position on the planet. Similarly, the Lord's pastimes are going on, although we can see them manifest in this particular universe only at certain intervals. His abode is the supreme planet known as Goloka VRndAvana, and by His will, this Goloka VRndAvana is manifested in this universe and in other universes as well. Thus the Lord is always in His supreme abode, Goloka VRndAvana, and by His supreme will His activities there are also manifested in innumerable universes. When He appears, He appears in those particular places, and in every manifestation His six opulences are displayed.

Letter to Saradia:

Los Angeles

12 December, 1968



My Dear Saradia,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your recent letter and I have noted the contents with pleasure. Your kind thoughts which you expressed are very nice and encouraging to me. Also you have asked some intelligent questions and I am answering them here.

You have asked how Krishna is with the spirit soul in the spiritual world and the answer is that Krishna is the heart of the spirit soul, or spiritual body, So Krishna is never apart from us. Either He remains in the heart of the material body, or He remains in the heart of the spiritual body. This is Krishna's Causeless Mercy to all of His beloved children, or living entities.

To answer your second question, you should know that Arjuna and Kunti Devi are not in Krishna Loka. They are eternally associated with Krishna only in the material world. Just like Krishna is always in the spiritual world, so similarly He is always in the material world and His Pastimes are going on there also. In the material world, Krishna also has eternal associates, such as Arjuna and Kunti Devi. There is a difference between the body and soul of Arjuna and Kunti Devi. But although Arjuna is with Krishna in innumerable different material universes at one time, still there is only one spirit soul who is Arjuna. This spirit soul expands into many different bodies and thus you can understand that there are also incarnations of devotees as well as incarnations of Krishna. This is the power of the spirit soul, that it is unlimited. Such conception cannot be understood while one is still in the conditioned state.

Regarding your third question, both incidents are correct. I hope these shall answer your questions. Please convey my blessings to Satsvarupa, Jadurani, Devananda, Rukmini and all others. Hope you are all well.


Your ever well-wisher,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami


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From 1968 Collier Bhagavad-gita As It Is

"Setting the Scene" preamble by Rayarama das


THE BHAGAVAD GITA IS a battlefield dialogue between Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Arjuna, His friend, devotee, and disciple. The dialogue consists of seven hundred verses, in which the Lord brings Arjuna from the dark bewilderment of material consciousness to the stage of serene and joyful enlightenment regarding everything--literally.

Krishna's purpose in coming into this world is nicely described in the Fourth Chapter, and there is no need to go over that here. But a note regarding the activities of Krishna and Arjuna, explaining how They came to be on that battlefield, ought to be quite helpful to the reader whose knowledge of Vedic literature is scant or nil. That literature is the most extensive, comprehensive, scientifically precise and ancient scriptural material now existing in the world. It presents the paths of knowledge of the Absolute Truth in all aspects and from all angles of vision, clearly and elaborately.

Srila Vyasadeva is an incarnation of God Who appeared on earth at about the same time as Krishna, the Original Person. Vyasadeva's purpose was to reconstruct and compile the Vedic wisdom so that it could be understood by the people of the coming age--the Kali Yuga, or Age of Quarrel. It is to Vyasadeva that we can attribute all the Vedic knowledge now in existence, for it was He Who put it into writing. The people of previous times having the capacity for perfect memory of such topics, writing was until then unnecessary.

Part of Vyasadeva's work includes The Mahabharata, a chronicle of events leading up to the initiation of the Age of Kali. "Mahabharata" means, literally, "Great Bharata," Bharata being a ruler of the world during a now forgotten past epoch. The Mahabharata traces not only the doings of Bharata the Great, but of his descendants as well, coming ultimately down to the story of Dhritarashtra and Pandu, the sons of King Vichitravirya. Now, Dhritarashtra was the elder son, but he was born blind, and so the throne that otherwise would have been his devolved upon his younger brother, Pandu. Pandu had five sons--Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva; and Dhritarashtra had a hundred, chief amongst whom was Duryodhana, a great politician and administrator.

Dhritarashtra never came to accept his brother's pre-eminence over him, and he raised his sons with the determination that they--and not Pandu's offspring--should someday reign over the world. Duryodhana and his many brothers thus grew to manhood in possession of their father's ambitions, his pride, and his greed. What's more, Pandu died at an early age, and his five boys came under the guardianship of Dhritarashtra, his other brother Vidura, and the venerated "grandfather" of the clan, Bhisma. Dhritarashtra plotted against the lives of the Pandavas (the sons of Pandu) and their mother Pritha, also called Kunti. But the blind conspirator's plans were foiled by a variety of people and circumstances: chiefly the saintly intervention of Vidura, and the loving protection of Krishna, Kunti's Nephew, thus also a Relative.

Now, the warrior-politicians of that time were called Kshatriyas, and they lived by a code of chivalry, much as the warrior class of Europe did only recently. Part of the Kshatriya code forbade them to turn away from a challenge to a fight--or to a gambling match. In this way, ultimately, the brilliant Duryodhana was able to cheat the five brothers of their kingdom, their wife Droupadi--and even their freedom, forcing them to spend twelve years hiding. When this time was up, the Pandavas returned to the court of Duryodhana and asked him to grant them some kind of administrative post--for it was also part of the Kshatriya code that a warrior might not enter into service or business, but must make his living as a ruler of some kind. The Pandavas were willing to accept a village each from their now magnificent cousin, but Duryodhana had no mercy or regard for them. He informed them that he couldn't spare so much as enough land in which to drive a needle.

Thus rebuked, Arjuna and his brothers resorted to arms, and a global war of tremendous scope was initiated. Yudhisthira was the eldest of the Pandavas, and it was to place him upon the throne--or to oppose him--that great warriors from all the corners of the earth assembled. According to Vedic sources, the Battle of Kurukshetra lasted for eighteen days, and took the unimaginable toll of 640 million lives! This becomes somewhat more comprehensible when we recognize that the Vedic civilization was a highly advanced society, possessed not only of nuclear weapons more subtle than ours today, but also of air, water, and psychic weapons of devastating power.

As the armies were gathering, Sri Krishna, Cousin to both sides in the fight, attempted to mediate on behalf of the Pandavas, but He found Duryodhana determined to rule the world in his own way, and anxious to be done forever with these bothersome men, whose very existence challenged his right to the crown.

Whereas the Pandavas, pure devotees of the Lord and men of the highest moral stature, recognized Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Dhritarashtra's sons had no such qualifications, and no such powers of recognition. Yet Krishna offered to participate in the war according to the desire of the antagonists. As God, He would not Personally take a hand; but whoever so desired might avail himself of Krishna's army--and the other side could have Krishna Himself, as an advisor and helper. Duryodhana, the genius politician, snatched at the armed forces of his Cousin, while Yudhisthira was equally anxious to have Krishna Himself.

In this way, Krishna became the Charioteer of Arjuna, taking it upon Himself to drive the fabled bowman's chariot. This brings us up to the point at which The Bhagavad Gita begins, with the armies arrayed and ready for combat, and Dhritarashtra anxiously inquiring of his secretary Samjaya, "What did they do?"

The scene is set, with only the need for a brief note regarding this translation and the accompanying commentary:

The general pattern in translating The Bhagavad Gita into English--followed by so many writers of so many such works--is to brush aside the Personality of Krishna in order to make room for the translator's own concepts and philosophies. The history of The Mahabharata is taken as quaint mythology, and Krishna becomes a poetic device, an instrument for the presentation of some anonymous genius' concepts, or at best a historical minor personage. But the Person Krishna is both the goal and the substance of The Gita, so far as The Gita speaks of Itself. This translation, then, and the commentary which accompanies it, has as its purpose the determination to direct the reader to Krishna, rather than away from Him. In this, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's work is unique among all the translations and commentaries available in this language. Unique also is the fact that The Bhagavad Gita is thus made wholly consistent and comprehensible. Krishna being the Speaker of The Gita, and Its ultimate goal as well, this is necessarily the only translation that can present this great scripture in Its true terms.

My special thanks are due to my God-brothers Sri Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler, M.A.) for his assistance in polishing the manuscript and to Sri Brahmananda Das Brahmachary (Bruce Scharf) for arranging publication, and my thanks are due to Mr. James O. Wade of The Macmillan Company, New York, for his willing co-operation in presenting this great contribution of our beloved Spiritual Master.


(Raymond Marais)


16 August 1968


(Appearance Day of Lord Krishna)

Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple

26 Second Avenue

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Bhagwad Gita is a part of Mahabharata. But it is also published and read as a separate book. Who was the first person to realize the importance of these 700 verses of Mahabharata?

This is not known. Among the so many instances of preaching in the Mahabharata, only the BG is well known.


Historically, the Gita is a later addition to the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata originally was pure Itihasa which was the story of a war among cousins. Later on, it was interpolated to add religious material. Divine aspects were added to the characters and a lot of spiritual material was inserted at regular intervals.


For example, Arjuna is confused about his course of action on the battlefield and seeks guidance from Krishna. Krishna gives the Bhagavad Gita. After the war is over, Arjuna asks Krishna, "Can you repeat that set of instructions again?". Krishna says, "I cannot, but here is something else" and then proceeds to give the Anu Gita, which didn't become as famous. Yudhistira goes to the dying Bheeshma and asks or guidance. Bheeshma gives him a detailed description of spirituality [including sAnkhya, nyAyA, etc ]which forms 25% of the huge Mahabharata.


Basically the story was modified to provide spiritual instruction; to give an interesting background to otherwise dull and boring material. This was the style of religious literature composed during that age.




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Originally posted by jndas:

Actually, the view you presented was the concoction of the British to undermine the Indian culture and religion. Thus it is quite inferior to the traditional teachings of a school of thought.

INDEED...he is just a max mueller AIT type, who has reached his conclusions being influenced by scholars who had a political agenda, and who didn't know as much as the acedemic world today thinks.

Because such scholars were blinded by Christian history when they came to India they were NOT OBJECTIVE IN THEIR RESERCH.






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If you open your eyes and read again, I said it was the historical view as found in history books. I did not say, it was my view.


May I remind you that you were not around during that time, either? Your stance is no better than anyone else's.




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