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

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50: O son of Kunti, learn from Me how one can attain to the Supreme perfectional stage, Brahman, by acting in the way I shall now summarize.

51–53: Being purified by his intelligence, and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, without any attachment and without any hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats a small quantity of foodstuff, and who controls the body and the speaking power, and is always in trance, detached; who is without false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, or the acceptance of material things—such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization.

54: One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments, or desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. And in that state he achieves pure devotional service unto Me.


TO THE IMPERSONALIST, to achieve the Brahmabhuta stage, becoming one with the Absolute, is the last word. But for the personalist, or pure devotee, one has to go still further, to become engaged in pure devotional service. This means that one who is engaged in pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord is already in the state of liberation called Brahmabhuta, oneness with the Absolute. Because, without being one with the Supreme, the Absolute, nobody can render such service to Him. In the Absolute conception of life there is no difference between the served and the servitor; but still the distinction is there, in a higher spiritual sense. In the material concept of life, working for sense gratification, there is the perception of misery. But in the Absolute world, when one is engaged in pure devotional service, there is no such thing as trouble. Therefore, the devotee in Krishna consciousness has nothing to lament over, and nothing to desire. As God, the Supreme Lord, is full, so a living entity who is engaged in God’s service, in Krishna consciousness, becomes full in himself.

55: One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the Kingdom of God.


THE SUPREME PERSONALITY of Godhead, Krishna, or His plenary portions, cannot be understood by mental speculation, nor by the non-devotees. If anyone wants to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he has to take to pure devotional service, under the guidance of a pure devotee. Otherwise, the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead will always be hidden from him. Neither erudite scholarship nor mental speculation can reveal the Supreme Lord. Only one who is actually engaged in Krishna consciousness and devotional service can understand what Krishna is. University degrees are not helpful. One who is fully conversant with Krishna science becomes eligible to enter into the spiritual Kingdom, the Abode of Krishna. So to become Brahman does not mean that one loses his identity. Devotional service is there, and so long as devotional service exists, there must be God and the devotee, and the process of devotional service. Such knowledge is never vanquished even after liberation.

56: Though engaged in all kinds of activities, by My mercy, the pure devotee reaches the spiritual Kingdom in the end, without any pain.

57: In all activities, and for their results, just depend upon Me, and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.


THAT ONE SHOULD act in Krishna consciousness means he should not act as the master of the world. Just like a servant, one should act fully under the direction of the Supreme Lord. A servant has no individual independence. He acts only on the order of the master. A servant acting on behalf of the Supreme Master has no affection for profit and loss. He simply discharges his duty faithfully, in terms of the order of the Lord. Now, one may argue that Arjuna was acting under the Personal direction of Krishna, but when Krishna is not present, how should one act? If one acts according to the direction of Krishna in this book, as well as under the guidance of the representative of Krishna, then the result will be the same. The Sanskrit word matparah is very important in this verse. It means that one has no goal in life save and except to act in Krishna consciousness, just to satisfy Krishna. And while acting in such a way, one should think of Krishna only: "I have been appointed to discharge this particular duty by Krishna." While acting in such a way, he naturally has to think of Krishna. This is perfect Krishna consciousness. One should, however, note that after doing something whimsically, he may not offer the result to the Supreme Lord. That sort of duty is not in the devotional service of Krishna consciousness. One should act according to the order of Krishna. This is a very important point: That order of Krishna comes through disciplic succession, from the bona fide spiritual master. Therefore, the spiritual master’s order should be taken as the prime duty of life. If one gets a bona fide spiritual master and acts according to his direction, that means his perfection of life in Krishna consciousness is guaranteed.

58: One who becomes conscious of Me passes over all the obstacles of conditional life. If, however, one does not work in such consciousness, and acts through false ego, not hearing Me, he is lost.


A PERSON IN FULL Krishna consciousness has no anxiety to execute the duties of his existence. The foolish cannot understand this great freedom from anxiety. For one who acts in Krishna consciousness, Lord Krishna becomes the most intimate Friend. He always looks after his friend’s comfort, and He gives Himself to His friend, who is so devotedly engaged, working twenty-four hours a day to please the Lord. Therefore, no one should be carried away by the false ego of the bodily concept of life. One should not falsely think himself independent of the laws of material Nature, free to act. He is already under the strict material laws. But as soon as he acts in Krishna consciousness, he is liberated, free from the material perplexities. So one should note very carefully that anyone who is not active in Krishna consciousness is losing himself in the material whirlpool, in the ocean of birth and death. No conditioned soul actually knows what is to be done and what is not to be done; but a person who acts in Krishna consciousness is free to act, because everything is prompted by Krishna from within and confirmed by the Spiritual Master.

59: If you do not act according to My direction, and do not fight, then you will be falsely directed. And, by your nature, you will have to be engaged in warfare.


ARJUNA WAS A MILITARY man, and born of the nature of the Kshatriya. Therefore, his natural duty is to fight. But, by false ego, he was considering whether, by killing his teacher and grandfather and friends, there would be a sinful reaction. So, practically, he was considering himself master of the action, as if he was directing the good and bad results of such work. He forgot that the Supreme Personality of Godhead was present there, instructing him to fight. That is the forgetfulness of the conditioned soul. The Supreme Personality gives direction as to what is good and what is bad, and one simply has to act in Krishna consciousness to attain the perfection of life. No one can ascertain his destiny as completely as the Supreme Lord can, and therefore the best thing to do is to take direction from the Supreme Lord, and act. No one should neglect the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or the order of the spiritual master, who is the representative of God. One should act unhesitatingly to execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That will keep him safe under all circumstances.

60: Under illusion you are now declining to act according to My direction. But, compelled by your own nature, you will act all the same, O son of Kunti.


IF ONE REFUSES to act under the direction of the Supreme Lord, then he will be compelled to act by the modes in which he is situated. Everyone is under the spell of a particular combination of the modes of Nature, and is acting in that way. But anyone who voluntarily engages himself under the direction of the Supreme Lord becomes glorious.

61: The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.

62: O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him in all respects, so that by His mercy you can have transcendental peace and eternal abode.

63: Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.


GOD DOES NOT interfere with the little independence of the living entity. In The Bhagavad Gita, the Lord has advised in all respects about the elevation of the living condition. The best advice imparted to Arjuna is to surrender unto the Supersoul sitting in everyone’s heart. So, by right discrimination, one should agree to act according to the order of the Supersoul. That will help him to be situated constantly in Krishna consciousness, the highest perfectional stage of human life. Arjuna is being directly ordered by the Personality of Godhead to fight. Therefore, he has no other alternative than to fight. To surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in the best interest of the living entities. It is not for the interest of the Supreme. Before surrendering, one is free to deliberate on this subject as far as intelligence goes; that is the best way to accept the instruction of the Supreme Person. Such instruction comes also through the spiritual master, the bona fide representative of Krishna.

64: Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.

65: Always think of Me. Become My devotee. Worship Me, and offer your homage unto Me. The result is that you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this, because you are My very dear friend.


THE MOST CONFIDENTIAL part of knowledge is that one should become a pure devotee of Krishna and always think of Him and act for Him. One should not become an official meditator. One’s life should be so molded that he will always have the chance to think of Krishna. One should always act in such way that all his daily activities are in connection with Krishna. He should mold his life in such a way that, throughout twenty-four hours, he cannot but think of Krishna. And the Lord’s promise is that anyone who is in such pure Krishna consciousness will certainly go back to the Abode of Krishna, where he will be engaged in the association of Krishna face to face. This most confidential part of knowledge is spoken to Arjuna, because he is the dear friend of Krishna. And everyone who follows the path of Arjuna can also become a dear friend to Krishna and obtain the same perfection as Arjuna.

66: Give up all varieties of religiousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear.


IT HAS BEEN SAID that only one who has become free from all sinful reactions can take to the worship of Lord Krishna. So one may think that, unless he is free from all sinful reactions, how can he take to the surrendering process? To such doubts it is here said that, even if one is not free from all sinful reactions, simply by the process of surrendering to Sri Krishna, he automatically becomes free from them. There is no need of strenuous effort to free oneself from sinful reaction. He should unhesitatingly accept Krishna as the Supreme Savior of all living entities. With faith and love he should surrender unto Him. Devotional service to Krishna, in full consciousness, is the most confidential part of knowledge as described here, and this is the essence of the whole study of The Bhagavad Gita.

67: This confidential knowledge may not be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me.

68: For anyone who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.

69: There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.

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

71: And one who listens with faith and without enviousness becomes free from sinful reactions, and will attain to the planets where the pious dwell.


IN THE sixty-seventh verse of this chapter, the Lord explicitly forbade The Gita to be spoken to those who are envious of Him. In other words, The Bhagavad Gita is for the devotees only; but it so happens that sometimes a devotee of the Lord will open class, and in that class all the students are not expected to be devotees. Why do such persons hold open class? It is explained here that, although everyone is not a devotee, still there are many men who are not envious of Krishna. They have faith in Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and if such persons hear from a bona fide devotee about the Lord, the result is that they become at once free from all sinful reactions, and after that attain to the planetary systems where all righteous persons are situated.

72: O conqueror of wealth, Arjuna, have you heard this with your mind at perfect attention? And are your ignorance and illusion now dispelled?

73: Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, O Infallible One, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy, and now I am fixed without any doubt, prepared to act according to Your instructions.

74: Samjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two great souls, Krishna and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end.

75: By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the Master of all mysticism, Krishna, speaking Personally to Arjuna.


VYASA WAS THE spiritual master of Samjaya, and he admits that it was by his mercy that he could understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that one has to understand Krishna not directly, but through the medium of the spiritual master. The spiritual master is the transparent medium; although it is true the experience is still direct. This is the mystery of disciplic succession. When the spiritual master is bona fide, then one can hear The Bhagavad Gita directly, as Arjuna heard it.

76: O King, in the repeated remembrance of that conversation between Krishna and Arjuna I am taking pleasure, thrilled at every moment.


THE UNDERSTANDING OF The Bhagavad Gita is so transcendental that anyone who becomes conversant with the topics of Arjuna and Krishna becomes perfect in righteousness, and he cannot forget such talks. This is the transcendental position of spiritual life. Or, in other words, one who hears The Gita from the right source, directly from Krishna, becomes fully in Krishna consciousness and the result of Krishna consciousness is that one becomes enlightened more and more, and he enjoys life with a thrill, not only for some time, but at every moment.

77: O King, remembering as well the wonderful Form of Lord Krishna, and becoming more and more struck with wonder, I rejoice again and again.

78: Wherever there is the Master of all mystics, Krishna, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.


THE BHAGAVAD GITA began with the inquiry of King Dhritarashtra. He was hopeful of the victory of his sons, assisted by great warriors like Bhisma, Drona, and Karna. He was hopeful that the victory would be on his side. But, after describing the scene in the battlefield, Samjaya told the King, "You are thinking of victory, but my opinion is that where there is Krishna and where there is Arjuna, every auspicious thing will also be." He directly confirmed that Dhritarashtra could not expect victory for his side. Victory was sure for the side of Arjuna, because Krishna was there. Some may protest that Krishna incited Arjuna to fight, which is immoral; but the reality is clearly stated: that The Bhagavad Gita is the supreme instruction of morality. The instruction of The Bhagavad Gita is the supreme process of religion and the supreme process of morality—all other processes may be purifying, to lead to this process, but the last instruction of The Gita is the last word of all morality and religion: Surrender unto Krishna. That is the verdict of the Eighteenth Chapter, the last chapter, of The Bhagavad Gita.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Eighteenth Chapter of The Srimad Bhagavad Gita, in the matter of its Conclusion, and the Perfection of Renunciation.

Copyright © 1998 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Int'l. All Rights Reserved.
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