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

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10: In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying, Be thou happy by this Yajna [sacrifice], because its perforrmnce will bestow upon you all desirable things.


THE MATERIAL CREATION by the Lord of creatures (Vishnu) is a sort of chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back to Home—back to Godhead. All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material Nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to Vishnu, or Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are to help us understand this eternal relationship. The Lord says that the purport of the Vedas is to understand Him. In the Vedic hymns it is said, Patim visvasya atma iswaram: The Lord of the living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.

Vishnu is the Lord of all living creatures, all worlds, and all beauties, and the Protector of everyone. The Lord created this material world for the conditioned souls to learn how to perform Yajnas for the satisfaction of Vishnu, so that while in the material world they can live very comfortably without anxiety in life. Then, after finishing the present material body, they can enter into the Kingdom of God. That is the whole program for the conditioned souls. By performance of Yajna, the conditioned souls gradually become Krishna conscious, and become godly in all respects. In this Age of Kali, the Samkirtan Yajna, or chanting the holy Names of God, is recommended by the Vedic scriptures, and this transcendental system was introduced by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for deliverance of all men. Samkirtan Yajna and Krishna consciousness go well together. Lord Krishna in His devotional form (as Lord Chaitanya) is worshiped in The Srimad Bhagwatam as follows, with special reference to the Samkirtan Yajna: "In this Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient brain substance will worship the Lord, Who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of Samkirtan Yajna." Although other Yajnas prescribed in the Vedic literature are not easy to perform in this Age of Kali, the Samkirtan Yajna is the easiest and is sublime for all purposes, as is recommended in The Bhagavad Gita.

11: The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.


THE DEMIGODS ARE empowered administrators of material affairs. The supply of air, light, water, and all other benedictions for maintenance of the body and soul of every living entity are entrusted to the demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the Body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependent on the performance of Yajnas by human beings. Some of the Yajnas are meant for satisfying the particular demigods, but even in so doing, Lord Vishnu is worshiped in all Yajnas as the chief Beneficiary. It is stated also in The Bhagavad Gita that Krishna Himself is the Beneficiary of all kinds of Yajnas. “Bhoktaram yajna tapasam.” Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the Lord is the chief purpose of all Yajnas. When these sacrifices are perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the flow of natural products.

Performance of Yajnas has many side benefits, ultimately leading to liberation from the material bondage. By performance of sacrifice, all activities become purified, as is stated in the Vedas. As will be explained in the following verse, by performance of Yajnas, the eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs, one’s very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence, finer tissues in the memory become sanctified; and memory being sanctified, one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Krishna consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society.

12: In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of Yajna, supply all needs to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.

13: The devotees of the Lord are released from all sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

14: All living bodies subsist on food grains; food grains are produced from rains, rains come from performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is born of man’s work.

15: Activity [karma] arises from the Vedas, and the Vedas spring from the Supreme Godhead. Therefore, the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.


YAJNARTHE KARMA, or the necessity for work for the satisfaction of Vishnu only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work for the satisfaction of the Yajna Purusa—Vishnu—then we must find the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The Vedas are therefore codes of working direction. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called Vikarma, or unauthorized work, 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, similarly, one has to work under direction of the supreme state of the Lord. Such instructions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said: "All the four Vedas—namely Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda, and Atharvaveda—are emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead." The Lord, being potent, can speak by His breathing air, as is confirmed in The Brahma Samhita, for 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. It is said that He glanced over the material Nature and thus fathered all the living entities. So, after impregnating the conditioned soul into the womb of material Nature, He gave His direction 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. And the Vedic directions are so made that one can satisfy one’s perverted desires, then return to Godhead, having finished this 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 Yajna by becoming Krishna conscious. Those who have not followed the Vedic injunction may adopt the principles of Krishna consciousness, and that will take the place of performance of Vedic Yajnas, or karma.

16: My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin; for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.


THE MAMMONIST PHILOSOPHY—of work very hard and enjoy sense gratification—is condemned herewith by the Lord. For those who want to enjoy this material world, the above-mentioned cycle of sacrifices is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more and more. By Nature’s law, this human form of life is specifically meant for self-realization, in either of the three ways—namely Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, or Bhaktiyoga. There is no necessity of rigidly following the perfonrmnces of the prescribed Yajnas. Such transcendentalists are above vice and virtue. But those who are engaged in sense gratification require purification by the above-mentioned cycle of Yajna performances. There are different kinds of activities. Those who are not Krishna conscious are certainly engaged in sensory consciousness, and therefore they need to execute pious work. The Yajna system is planned in such a way that the sensory conscious persons may satisfy their desires without becoming entangled in the reactions to such sense gratifying work. The prosperity of the world depends not on our own efforts, but on the background arrangement of the Supreme Lord, directly carried out by the demigods. Therefore, these sacrifices are directly aimed at the particular demigod mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Krishna consciousness, because when one masters the performances of Yajnas, one is sure to become Krishna conscious. If, having performed Yajnas, one does not become Krishna conscious, such principles are counted as only moral codes. One should not, of course, limit his progress to the point of moral codes, but should transcend them, to attain Krishna consciousness.

17: One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.


A PERSON WHO IS fully Krishna conscious, and by his acts in Krishna consciousness is fully satisfied, no longer has anything to perform as his duty. Due to his becoming Krishna conscious, all the dirty things within are instantly cleansed, ordinarily an effect of many, many thousands of Yajna performances. By such clearing of consciousness one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the Grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer has anything to do in terms of the Vedic injunctions. Such a Krishna conscious person is no longer interested in material activities, and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women, and similar infatuations.

18: A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.

19: Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.


THIS SUPREME IS the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and liberation for the impersonalists. A person acting for Krishna, or in Krishna consciousness, under proper guidance and without attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Indirectly, Arjuna is told that he should fight the Battle of Kurukshetra without attachment, in the interest of Krishna, because Krishna wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a non-violent man is also a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme’s desire is to act without attachment for the result. That is the perfect action of the highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.

Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed by persons for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But a person who is acting in Krishna consciousness is transcendental to the actions and reactions of good or evil work. A Krishna conscious person has no attachment for the result, but acts on behalf of Krishna alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely non-attached.

20: Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.


KINGS LIKE JANAKA and others were all self-realized souls; consequently they had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties in the Vedas. Nonetheless, they performed all prescribed activities just to set examples for the people in general. Janaka was the father of Sita, and father-in-law of Lord Sri Rama. A great devotee of the Lord like King Janaka was transcendentally situated, but because he was the King of Mithila (a subdivision of Behar province in India) he had to teach his subjects how to act. In the Battle of Kurukshetra, the Lord wanted to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the Battle of Kurukshetra there was every effort to avoid the war, even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the other party was determined to fight. So in such a right cause, there is a necessity for fighting. Therefore, although one who is situated in Krishna consciousness may not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public how to live and how to act. Experienced persons in Krishna consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is explained in the following verse.

21: Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men will follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

22: O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Neither am I in want of anything, nor have I the need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.


EVERYTHING BEING in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead, and naturally existing in all Truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Krishna is engaged on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra as the Leader of the Kshatriyas, because the Kshatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of revealed scriptures, He does not do anything which is not directed in the revealed scriptures.

23: For, if I did not engage in work, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path. 24: If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination, and I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.


VARNASAMKARA IS unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and regulations by which the population can automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life. When Lord Krishna descends, naturally He deals with such rules and regulations in order to maintain the prestige and necessity of such important performances. The Lord is said to be the Father of all living entities, and if the living entities are misguided indirectly, the responsibility goes to the Lord. Therefore, whenever there is a general disregard of such regulative principles, the Lord Himself descends and corrects the society. We should, however, note carefully that although we have to follow the footsteps of the Lord, we still have to remember that we cannot imitate Him. Following and imitating are not on the same level. We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhan Hill, as the Lord did in His childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any length. The Srimad Bhagwatam affirms this as follows: "One should simply follow the instructions of the Controllers and should not imitate them in their activities. Their instructions are all good for us and any intelligent person must perform them as instructed. However, one should guard against trying to imitate their actions. One should not try to drink the ocean of poison, imitating Lord Shiva."

We should always remember the position of the Iswaras, those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon. Without such power, one cannot imitate the Iswara, or the Super-powerful. The example set herein is very appropriate. Lord Shiva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean, but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such a poison, he will be killed. There are many pseudo-devotees of Lord Shiva who want to indulge in smoking Ganja (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Shiva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some pseudo-devotees of Lord Krishna who prefer to imitate the Lord in the matter of his Rasalila, or Dance of Love, forgetting their inability to lift the Govardhan Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply endeavor to follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy the post of the powerful without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the powers of the Supreme Godhead.

25: As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly, the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.

26: Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.

27: The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material Nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by Nature.


Two persons—one in Krishna consciousness and the other in material consciousness—working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. With him there is no consideration that the mechanism of the body is produced by material Nature, or that material Nature is under the supervision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Krishna. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently, and that is the symptom of his nescience. He does not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material Nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Krishna in Krishna consciousness. He does not know that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hrishikesha, or the Master of All Senses. But due to his long misuse of the senses, he is factually bewildered by the false ego, and that is the cause of his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krishna.

28: One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O Mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.


THE KNOWER OF THE Absolute Truth is convinced of his awkward position in material association. He knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and that his position should not be in the material creation. He knows his real identity as part and parcel of the Supreme, Who is eternal bliss and knowledge; and he realizes that somehow or other he is now entrapped in the material conception of life. In his pure state of existence he is meant to dovetail his activities in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. He therefore engages himself in the activities of Krishna consciousness and becomes naturally unattached to the activities of the material senses, which are all circumstantial and temporary. He knows that his material condition of life is under the supreme control of the Lord; consequently he is not disturbed by any kind of material reaction, which he considers to be the mercy of the Lord. According to The Srimad Bhagwatam, one who knows the Absolute Truth in three different features—namely Brahman, Paramatma, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead—is called Tattvavit, for he knows also his own factual position in relationship with the Supreme.

29: Bewildered by the modes of material Nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached, but the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge.


MEN WHO ARE ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Krishna consciousness, and therefore Lord Krishna advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord, because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Krishna consciousness—which are absolutely necessary for the human being.

30: Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy—fight.


THIS VERSE clearly indicates the whole purpose of The Bhagavad Gita. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Krishna conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult, but that is the constitutional position of the living entity. The living entity cannot be happy independent of the co-operation of the Supreme Lord, because the eternal constitutional position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord. Arjuna was therefore ordered by Sri Krishna to fight as if the Lord were his military commander. One has to sacrifice everything for the good will of the Supreme Lord, and at the same time discharge his prescribed duties without claims of proprietorship. Arjuna did not have to consider the order of the Lord; he had only to execute His order. The Supreme Lord is the Soul of all souls, therefore one who depends solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words one who is fully Krishna conscious, is called Adhyatmacetasa, full of self-knowledge. One has to act on the order of the master. One should not expect any fruitive result. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent out of the great amount of money. Similarly, one has to take it for granted that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but everything belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the real purport of Krishna saying "unto Me." And when one acts in such Krishna consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything; so this consciousness is called Nirmama, or "nothing is mine." And if there is any reluctance to execute such a stern order which is without consideration of so-called kinsmen in the bodily relationship, that reluctance should be thrown off; in this way one may become without feverish mentality or lethargy. Everyone, according to his quality and position, has a particular type of work to discharge, and all such duties may be discharged in Krishna consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.

31: One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and who follows this teaching faithfully becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.


THIS INJUNCTION of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom, and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Krishna consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many so-called philosophers who write comments on The Bhagavad Gita but have no faith in Krishna. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Krishna consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle, and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krishna consciousness.

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