A. C. Bhaktivedanta swami acharya, international society for krishna consciousness

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2: The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material Nature. The twigs are the objects of the senses, and this tree also has roots going down, bound to the fruitive actions of human society.

3: The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or where its foundation is. This banyan tree must be cut out with determination, by the weapon of detachment.

4: Thereafter, one must seek that situation from which, having gone, one never comes back. One must surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything has begun and is extending since time immemorial.

5: One who is free from illusion, false prestige, and false association; who is in understanding of the eternal, done with material lust, freed from the duality of happiness and distress, and who knows how to surrender unto the Supreme Person, attains to that eternal Kingdom.


THE SURRENDERING PROCESS is described here very nicely. The first qualification is that one should be out of the illusion of false prestige. The conditioned soul is puffed up, thinking himself the Lord of material Nature. It is therefore very difficult for him to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should know, by the cultivation of real knowledge, that he is not lord of the material Nature; the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Lord. For one who is always expecting some honor in this material world, it is not possible to surrender to the Supreme Person. This false prestige is due to illusion. One comes here for some time, and then goes away, living here only briefly; but still he has the foolish notion that he is lord of the world. He thus makes all things complicated, and he is always in trouble. The whole world moves under this impression. People are considering that the land, this earth, belongs to the human society; and they have divided the land, by their mental concoction, under the false impression that they are the proprietors. One has to get out of this false notion that human society is the proprietor of this world. When one is freed from such a false notion, he becomes free from all false associations. False association means our family, social, and national affections. This faulty association binds us to this material world. After this stage, one has to develop spiritual knowledge. One has to cultivate knowledge of what is actually his own, and what is actually not his own. And when one has understanding of things as they are, he becomes free from all conceptions of happiness and distress. He comes fully into knowledge, at which time it is possible to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

6: That Abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. And anyone who reaches It never comes back to this material world.


THE DESCRIPTION OF the spiritual world and of the Abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna—which is known as Krishnaloka, Goloka Vrindaban—is described here. In the spiritual sky there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, or electricity, because all the planets there are self-illuminated. We have only one planet in this universe, the sun, which is self-illuminated. But all the planets in the spiritual sky are self-illuminated; and the shining effulgence of all those self-illuminated planets (called Vaikunthas) is the shining sky, which is known as the Brahmajyoti. Actually, the effulgence is emanating from the planet of Krishna, Goloka Vrindaban. Part of that shining effulgence is covered by this Mahat Tatva, the material world. Other than this, the major portion of that shining sky is full of spiritual planets, which are called Vaikunthas, and there is also Goloka Vrindaban. So long as a living entity is in this dark material world, he is in conditional life. And as soon as he reaches the spiritual sky, by cutting through the false, perverted tree of this world, he becomes liberated, and there is no chance of his coming back here.

7: The living entities in this conditional world are My fragmental parts, and they are eternal. But due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.


IN THIS VERSE, the identity of the living being is clearly mentioned. The living entities are fragmental parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord—eternally. None is assuming individually in his conditioned life to become one with the Supreme Lord in the liberated state. Each is eternally fragmented.

8: The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life, as the air carries aromas. Thus does he take one kind of body, and again quit it to take another.


HERE THE LIVING entity is described as Iswara, the controller of his own body. If he likes, he can change his body to a higher grade; and if he likes, he can move to a lower class. Minute independence is there. The change of his body depends on hirn. The process is that, at the time of death, the consciousness he has created will carry him on to the next type of body. If he has made his consciousness cat-like, or dog-like, he is sure to change from his human body to a cat’s or a dog’s body. And if he has fixed his consciousness to godly qualities, he will change his body into the form of a demigod. And if he changes his consciousness into Krishna consciousness, he will be transferred to the Krishnaloka in the spiritual world, to be with Krishna.

9: The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a particular type of ear, sense of touch, tongue, and nose, centered about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.


CONSCIOUSNESS IS ORIGINALLY pure, like water. But if we mix water with a certain color, it changes. Similarly, consciousness is pure, for the spirit soul is pure. But consciousness is changed according to the association of the material qualities. Real consciousness is Krishna consciousness. When, therefore, one is situated in Krishna consciousness, that is his pure life. Otherwise, if his consciousness is adulterated by some type of mentality, in the next life he gets a corresponding body.

10: The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, or what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of Nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see.

11: The endeavoring transcendentalist, who is situated in selfrealization, can see all this clearly. But those who are not situated in self-realization, though they may try, cannot see what is taking place.

12: The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of this universe, is due to Me. And the splendor of the moon, and the splendor of fire are also from Me.

13: I enter into each planet, and by My energy these stay in orbit. I become the moon, and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.


IT IS DUE TO THE Supreme Personality of Godhead that the moon nourishes all vegetables. Due to the moon’s influence, the vegetables become delicious. Without the moonshine, the vegetables can neither grow, nor are they good to eat. Human society is working so nicely, living comfortably and enjoying food, due to the supply from the Supreme Lord. Otherwise, it could not get on. Everything becomes palatable by the agency of the Supreme Lord, through the influence of the moon.

14: I am the fire of digestion in every living body, and I am the air of life, outgoing and incoming, by which I digest the four kinds of foodstuff.

15: I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas I am to be known; and I am the Compiler of Vedanta; and I know Veda as it is.

16: There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world, every entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world, every entity is called infallible.


HERE THE LORD IS giving, in summary, the contents of The Vedanta Sutra: He says that the living entities, who are innumerable, can be divided into two classes: the fallible and the infallible. The living entities are eternally separated parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When they are in contact with the material world, they are called jivabhutah, and the Sanskrit words given here, sarvani bhutani, mean that they are fallible. Those who are in oneness with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, are called infallible. Oneness does not mean that they have no individuality, but that there is no disunity. They are all agreeable to the purpose of the Lord.

17: Besides these two, there is the greatest living Personality, the Lord Himself, who has entered into these worlds, and is maintaining them.

18: Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and the infallible, and greatest, I am celebrated both in the world and in the Vedas as that Supreme Person.

19: Anyone who knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is to be understood as the knower of everything. And he therefore engages himself in full devotional service, O son of Bharata.


THERE ARE MANY philosophical speculations about the constitutional position of the living entities and the Supreme Absolute Truth. Now, in this verse, the Supreme Personality of Godhead clearly explains that anyone who knows Lord Krishna as the Supreme Person is actually the knower of everything. The difference between a perfect knower and an imperfect knower is that the imperfect knower goes on simply speculating about the Absolute Truth; but the perfect knower, without wasting his valuable time, engages directly in Krishna consciousness, the devotional service of the Supreme Lord. Throughout the whole of The Bhagavad Gita, this fact is being stressed at every step. And yet there remain so many stubborn commentators on The Bhagavad Gita, who unnecessarily try to make the Supreme Absolute Truth and the living entities one and the same.

20: This is the most confidential part of the Vedic scriptures, O sinless One, disclosed now by Me. Anyone who understands this will become wise, and his endeavors will know perfection.


THE LORD CLEARLY explains here that this is the substance of all revealed scriptures. And one should understand it as it is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one will become intelligent, and perfect in transcendental knowledge. In other words, by understanding this philosophy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engaging oneself in His transcendental service, everyone can become freed from all contaminations of the modes of material Nature. Devotional service is a process of spiritual understanding. Wherever such devotional service exists, the material contamination cannot coexist. Devotional service to the Lord and the Lord Himself are one and the same, because this is spiritual—the internal energy of the Supreme Lord.

The Lord is said to be the sun, and ignorance is called darkness. Where sun is present, there is no question of darkness. Therefore, whenever devotional service is present under the proper guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, there is no question of ignorance.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Fifteenth Chapter of The Srimad Bhagavad Gita, in the matter of the Yoga of the Supreme Person.




1–3: THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD said: Fearlessness, the purification of one’s existence, the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, sense control, performance of sacrifice, study of the Veda, austerity and simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, peacefulness, aversion to faultfinding, compassion toward every living entity, being without any greed, gentleness, shyness and determination, vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from both enviousness and the passion for honor—these are the transcendental qualities, born of the godly atmosphere, O son of Bharata.


IN THE BEGINNING of the Fifteenth Chapter, the banyan tree of this material world was explained. The extra roots coming out of it were compared to the activities of the living entities, some auspicious, some inauspicious. In the Ninth Chapter, also, it was stated who is the deva, or godly, and who is the asura, the ungodly, or demon. Now, according to Vedic rites, activities in the mode of goodness are considered auspicious for making progress on the path of liberation, and such activities are known as daivaprakriti, transcendental by nature. Those who are situated in the transcendental Nature are making progress on the path of liberation. For those who are acting in the modes of passion and ignorance, on the other hand, there is no possibility of liberation. Either they will have to remain in this material world as human beings, or they may descend among the species of animals, and others even lower. In this Sixteenth Chapter the Lord will explain the transcendental Nature and its attendant qualities; as well as the demoniac nature and its qualities. He will also explain the advantages and disadvantages of these qualities.

4: Those who are born with demoniac qualities exhibit pride, arrogance, false prestige, anger, harshness, and ignorance, O son of Pritha.


IN THIS VERSE, the royal road to hell is described. The demoniac want to make a show of religiousness and advancement in spiritual science, although they do not follow the principles. They are always arrogant, possessing some type of education, in possession of wealth, desiring to be worshiped by others. They demand respectability, although they do not command respect. In trifles they grow very angry, and they speak harshly, not gently. They do not know what should be done and what should not be done. They do everything whimsically, according to their own desire, and they do not recognize any authority. These demoniac qualities are taken by them from the beginning of their bodies in the wombs of their mothers, and as they grow they manifest all these inauspicious things.

5: The transcendental assets lead to liberation, whereas the demoniac assets are meant for bondage. But do not worry, O son of Pandu—you are born with transcendental qualities.

6: O son of Pritha, in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called divine, and the other demoniac. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities; and now I shall describe the demoniac.

7: Those who are of demoniac quality do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done in propriety. They are unclean, neither do they know how to behave, nor is there any truth in them.

8: They say that this world is unreal, that there is neither any foundation, nor any God in control. It is produced of sex desire; and has no other cause than lust.


THE DEMONIAC PEOPLE conclude that the creation of the world is a phantasm. There is no cause or effect, no controller, no purpose: Everything is unreal. As the will o’ the wisp is caused by certain atmospheric changes, so this cosmic manifestation is due to chance material actions and reactions. That is their conclusion. They do not think that the world was created by God for a certain purpose. They have their own theory: that the world has come about in its own way, and there is no reason to believe that there could be a God behind it. For them there is no differentiation between spirit and matter, or acceptance of the Supreme Spirit. Everything is matter only, and the whole thing is supposed to be a mass of ignorance. According to them, everything is void, and whatever manifestation exists is due to our ignorance in perception. They take it for granted that all manifestation or diversity is a display of ignorance. Just as in a dream, we may create so many things, which actually have no existence; so, similarly, when we are awakened we shall see that everything is simply a dream. But factually, although the demons say that it is a dream, they are very expert in enjoying this dream. And so, instead of getting knowledge, they become more and more implicated in their dreamland.

9: Following such conclusions, the demoniac people, lost to themselves and without intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.


THE DEMONIAC ARE engaged in such activities as will lead the world to destruction. The Lord states here that they are less intelligent. The materialistic people, who have no concept of God, think that they are advancing. But according to The Bhagavad Gita, they are less intelligent, and devoid of all sense. They try to enjoy this material world to the utmost limit, and therefore always engage in inventing something for sense gratification. Such materialistic inventions are considered the advancement of human civilization; and the result is that the people are growing more and more violent, and more and more cruel. Cruel to the animals, cruel to the human beings—they have no concept of how to behave toward one another. Animal killing is very prominent amongst demoniac people.

Such people are considered the enemies of the world. Because, ultimately, they invent or create something which will bring destruction to all. Indirectly, this verse points to the invention of nuclear weapons, for which the whole world is today very proud. At any moment war may take place, and these atomic weapons may create havoc: Such things are created solely for the destruction of the world—and this is indicated in The Bhagavad Gita. Due to Godlessness, such things are invented in human society, and are not meant for the peace and prosperity of the world.

10: The demoniac, taking shelter of insatiable lust, pride, and false prestige, and being thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.

11: Their belief is that to gratify the senses unto the end of life is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus, there is no measurement for their anxiety.


THE DEMONIAC PEOPLE have accepted that the enjoyment of the senses is the ultimate goal of life. And this concept is prolonged until death. They do not believe in life after death; and they do not believe there are different grades of bodies, according to one’s karma, or activities in this world. Their plans for life are never finished, and they go on preparing plan after plan, all of which are never finished. We have personal experience of a person of such demoniac mentality, who, even at the point of death, was requesting the physician to prolong his life for four years more—because his plans were not yet complete. Such foolish people do not know that no physician can prolong life even for a moment. When the notice is there, without any consideration of man’s desire, the laws of Nature allow not even a second beyond what one is destined to enjoy.

12: Being bound by hundreds and thousands of desires, by lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.

13–15: The demoniac person thinks: "So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy and I have killed him; and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the Lord of everything, I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful, and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall make some charity, and thus I shall rejoice." In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.

16: Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, one becomes too strongly attached to sense enjoyment, and falls down into hell.


THE DEMONIAC MAN has no limit to his desire to acquire money. For that reason, he does not mind acting in any sinful way. This is known as black market or illegal gratification. Such demoniac persons are enamored by the possessions they have already—such as the land, the family, the house, and the bank balance. And they are always thinking to improve such things. And they believe in their own strength. They have no knowledge that whatever they are gaining is due to past good deeds. So they are given the opportunity to accumulate such things. But they have no conception of the past causes. They simply think that all this mass of wealth is due to their own endeavor. Demoniac people believe in the strength of their personal work. They do not believe in the law of karma: According to the law of karma, a man takes his birth in a high family, or becomes rich, or becomes very well-educated, or becomes very beautiful, on account of good work in the past. The demoniac think all these things are accidental, and due to the strength of one’s personal ability. They do not sense any arrangement behind all these varieties of people, beauty, and education. And anyone who comes into competition with such a demoniac man is his enemy. There are many demoniac people, and each is enemy to the others. This enmity becomes more and more deep—between persons, then between families, then between societies, and at last between nations. And therefore there is constant strife, war, and enmity all

Each demoniac person thinks that he can live at the sacrifice over the world. of all others. Generally, a demoniac person thinks of himself as the Supreme God, and demoniac preachers instruct their followers: Why are you seeking God elsewhere? You are all yourselves God! Whatever you like you can do. Don’t believe in God. Throw God away. God is dead. These are their preachings. The best example of such a demoniac man was Ravana, in the narrative of The Ramayana. He offered a program to the people by which he would prepare a staircase, so that anyone could reach the heavenly planets without performing sacrifices such as are prescribed in the Vedas. Similarly, at the present age, such demoniac men are thinking to reach the higher planetary systems by some mechanical arrangement. These are examples of the bewilderment of the demoniac people, and the result is that, without their knowledge, they are gliding toward hell. Here the Sanskrit word mohajala is very significant. Jala means net: Like fishes caught in a net, they have no way to come out.

17: Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes perform sacrifices in name only, without following any rules or regulations.

18: Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust, and anger, the demon becomes envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated in his own body and in others, and blasphemes against the real religion.


A DEMONIAC PERSON, being always against the existence of God’s supremacy, does not like to believe in the scriptures. He is envious of both the scriptures and of the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, on account of his so-called prestige, and his accumulation of wealth and strength. He does not know that the present life is a background for preparing the next life. And, without knowing this, he is actually envious of his own self, as well as of others. He commits violence on other bodies and on his own. He does not care for the supreme control of the Personality of Godhead, because he has no knowledge. Being envious of the scriptures and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he puts forward illogic against the existence of God and refutes the scriptural authority. He thinks himself independent and powerful in every action. He thinks that no one can equal him in strength, power, or in wealth. He can, therefore, act in any way. No one can stop him; and if there is any enemy in the advancement of his sensual activities, he will think to cut down such enemies by his own power.

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