Bhagavad-gītā 4.1 and Review

July 13
New York

Prabhupāda: Last day we discussed on the last verse of the third chapter of Bhagavad-gītā. Now, today we shall begin the fourth chapter.

evaṁ buddheḥ paraṁ buddhvā
saṁstabhyātmānam ātmanā
jahi śatruṁ mahā-bāho
kāma-rūpaṁ durāsadam
[Bg. 3.43]

We have discussed this point that our material bondage is due to hankering and lust for dominating over the resources of matter. We are, in essence, we are pure souls, but circumstantially we are now fallen in this material bondage and therefore we are undergoing threefold miseries of material existence. And the whole Bhagavad-gītā scheme is how to get out of this material entanglement and be situated in your real spiritual life of bliss, knowledge and eternal life. That is the whole scheme of Bhagavad-gītā.

Now, the first chapter… I’m just making a summary of the three chapters which we have already finished… Now, today we are going to begin the fourth chapter.

In the first chapter the situation is created… Just like we are ordinarily entangled in family affairs. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. The bondage of accepting this material body as myself, and the extension of bodily relation is accepted as my kinsmen and the land in which the body is got, that land is supposed to be worshipable. These are analytical study of our material existence. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ. Bhauma ijya-dhīḥ [SB 10.84.13]. We have taken up the land as worshipable, the land of birth, which is, I mean to say, extended in the form of nationalism. This is material bondage.

Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke… The Bhāgavata, the Bhāgavata gives us direction that “A person who has accepted this material body, which is composed of three elements…” Three elements means earth, water and fire, which is, in Ayurvedic language it is called kapha-pitta-vāyu. Now, one who has accepted this material body as his self and one who has accepted the extension of this material body… Extension of this material body means the byproduct, the children and the wife with whom we have got this connection with this material body. And the relatives. You go on extending in that way. So yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ [SB 10.84.13]. Bhauma means the land. Ijya-dhīḥ. Ijya-dhīḥ means worshipable. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ, yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile.

Of course, in your country there is no holy land of pilgrimage. In India there are many holy lands of pilgrimage just like Prayāga, Vṛndāvana, Gayā. You have got, also got. In the water of Jordan the Christian people, they go and they take their bath. Similarly, in India, the River Ganges and the Yamunā, Godāvarī, Kāverī. There are many rivers. So yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile. Now, somebody goes to holy land and takes bath only and comes back. Yat-tīrtha, salile. Salile means water. One who has accepted the holy land of pilgrimage—the water only. Yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij janeṣv abhijñeṣu: “But they have no interest with persons who are actually experienced in spiritual consciousness of life.” In the holy land, especially in India, you’ll find there are many sages and saints, they are living there and culturing spiritual knowledge. And one should go there. If they are at all interested to go to holy land, they should find out such men, where they are sitting, what they are doing, and take advantage of it. But people do not do that. They go there, take bath in the water, purchase some playthings for their children and clothing and come back, and they think that “We have done a great thing, traveled in the holy land.”

Bhāgavata says that these men who have accepted this material body as self and the byproducts of this body as his own kinsmen and the water in the holy land as the end of pilgrimage but do not take, consult, with men of experience. So they are described, sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13]. Go-kharaḥ. Such persons are designated as go-kharaḥ. Go means cow, and kharaḥ means ass. So such people have been described as go-kharaḥ. That means without any intelligence, without any intelligence. So such position, I mean to say, Arjuna, did, I mean to say, manifested. He manifested himself as one of us. Otherwise, there was no possibility of speaking Bhagavad-gītā. Although Arjuna… [aside:] You can take your seat. Come here. Come here. Yes.

So Arjuna, although he is a personal devotee of Kṛṣṇa, a personal friend of Kṛṣṇa, he is… Just like we are trying to have Kṛṣṇa consciousness just to make our life perfect. Now, the person who is not only Kṛṣṇa conscious but, I mean to say, constant associate, such a person, Arjuna, he was in bewilderment, “Whether I shall fight with my kinsmen, my brothers and my nephews, my brother-in-laws, my father-in-law, my grandfather, my other friends, so many all?” Because it was a family war, so he was afraid, that “I shall not fight. I shall not fight.” It is quite natural.

Suppose if you are called for fighting with your enemies, you are ready. But if somebody says that “You fight with your sons and daughters and wives and your friends,” oh, you’ll hesitate. That is quite natural. So Arjuna was placed in such a position, that “I have to fight with my relatives.” So he was perplexed. He was perplexed and there was some arguments. We have already discussed. And Kṛṣṇa said that when the question of fighting is there, it doesn’t matter who are they on the opposite party. “You are a kṣatriya. You are a fighting man. It is your duty to fight. You should not hesitate.”

But Arjuna could not be satisfied with such arguments, and… Arjuna could not be satisfied with such arguments. He declined to fight, and then he surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, “Kṛṣṇa, we are now talking as friends. Now I am, I am serious about learning from You.” Because Arjuna knew it perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “So whatever instruction I’ll have from Kṛṣṇa, that will be perfect. That will be perfect.”

We have several times discussed in this meeting that a ordinary being, just like we are, we are subjected to four principles of imperfectness. But an incarnation of God or a real representative of God, they are above these, I mean, four principles of imperfectness. That is the way of… Why we are giving so much stress on the Bhagavad-gītā? There are many books available in the market, full of good instruction, knowledge, but why we are giving so much stress on the Bhagavad-gītā? Because it is spoken by a personality who is above all imperfections. What are these imperfections? The imperfections are that a conditioned soul just like we are, we are sure to commit mistake. There is nobody in the world, in this conditional state, who can boldly say that “I have never committed any mistake in my life.” Is there anybody? No. We have committed so many mistakes. Even a perfect… I shall speak of our country. Our country, Mahatma Gandhi, he was supposed to be a very great, I mean to say, perfect leader of the country. He also committed mistakes, so many. And what to speak of us. What to speak of us. So a conditioned soul is sure to commit mistake. That is one imperfection.

And the next imperfection is to accept something in place of something. Just like we are accepting this body as myself, which I am not. Under this illusion… Everyone is under this illusion, nobody excepted. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. When you ask me, “Swamiji, what you are?”, oh, I’ll say, “I am Indian.” What sort of Indian I am? Because my this body is Indian, made in India or got in India. But I am not this body. I am not this body. So this, this is illusion. So second imperfection. First imperfection, that we must commit mistake. The second imperfection is accepting something which is not real. This is called illusion. The example of illusion is given generally: Just like in darkness, if you find some curling rope, you are afraid, “Oh, here is a snake!” Actually, that is not a snake. That means accepting the curling rope as a snake. This is the example of illusion.

The third imperfection is that cheating. Everyone thinks himself very clever and he can cheat others. Everyone thinks, “Oh, I am so clever. Oh, I shall do it. Oh, I shall cheat him.” In every, our dealing, it is going on. The customer and the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper thinks that “I am giving him nonsense things and making profit,” and the customer is thinking, “Oh, I am getting it very cheap.” So this is going on, even in ordinary dealing. So this is called cheating process. Now, even in animal you’ll find that they are searching after some food, and it is thinking, “Oh, I’m cheating my master and taking this food.” That means in the conditional life this cheating propensity is there.

And the fourth imperfection is that our senses are blunt. We acquire knowledge by our senses. Just like we acquire knowledge by seeing. Everyone will say, “Can you show me God?” But the answer is “Can you see God?” How you can see God? You have no eyes to see God. Even I show you God, you cannot see. Our senses are so imperfect. Just like take for example the eyes. The eyes, it is seeing under certain condition. As soon as you put off this light, you cannot see. So what is the use of having this eyes? So therefore, we have got our imperfect senses.

We have got cheating propensity, we are prone to commit mistake, and we accept illusory things. These four principles of imperfect is in the conditioned soul. But who is liberated soul or who is God, they are not under these conditions. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is considered to be the highest perfectional personality, and Arjuna selected Him as the spiritual master. Śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam: [Bg. 2.7] “My dear Kṛṣṇa, we are talking on the platform of friendship.” That will not make a solution. Because friendly talks, sometimes they are not taken seriously, friendly talks. But when there is talk between the spiritual master and disciple, there is some discipline and there is some gravity. So Arjuna created that gravity and discipline. He accepted Kṛṣṇa as the spiritual master.

And as soon as Arjuna accepted Kṛṣṇa as the spiritual master, so as master, He at once chastised him in these words,

aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ
prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ
[Bg. 2.11]

“My dear Arjuna, you are posing yourself as a very great learned man, but I see that you are fool number one. You are fool number one.” Why? “Now, because you are lamenting for things which are not to be lamented.” This was the first answer of Kṛṣṇa. So a person like Arjuna, he was not an ordinary person; still, in the eyes of the perfect personality, he happened to be a fool. So this material knowledge, if anyone is very proud of his material knowledge…

Just like Sanātana Gosvāmī, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, when he approached Lord Caitanya, he just inquired from Him, “My dear Sir, people address me that I am a very great learned man, but I am such a learned man that I do not know wherefrom I have come and where I have to go. I am such a learned man. That means I am fool number one. I have come to this world and I am staying here, say, for fifty years or eighty years or, at most, hundred years. Then after finishing this period of my life, where I am going? These two things I do not know. I do not know wherefrom I have come and where I have to go. Then what sort of learned, learned man I am? Although I am posing myself a very learned man, I do not know my past. I do not know my future. I am concerned with this present situation. That’s all.”

So therefore Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna that avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam: “Arjuna, My dear Arjuna, you have, so long you have spoken, you have argued with Me in so many ways, but such argument is not for, not to be entertained in learned circle. Now just try to be a learned man.” And what is that? Now, avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam: “You just try to understand. In your body there is some thing which is spread all over body, all over your body. And that is eternal. And what is that thing which is spread all over your body? That is your consciousness. Your consciousness.”

Just like this electric bulb is here, and the light of the electric bulb is diffused all over the, I mean to say, room. We can see. Similarly, the spirit soul is within your heart. It is situated there. But it is so powerful that its light is spread all over this body so that wherever you pinch, you feel, by consciousness, “Oh, I am feeling some pain.” That consciousness. And as soon as that consciousness is gone from this body, if your head is cut off, or your leg is cut off, by chopped off, you don’t feel anything.

So this instruction was first given to Arjuna, that “Arjuna! You are arguing with Me just like a very learned scholar, but you are fool number one, and you just try to understand this first of all, that that thing which is spread all over…” Avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam. Yena sarvam idam. Sarvam means the whole body, idam. But your consciousness is not spread in others’ bodies. You must know it. If you say that “My consciousness is spread all over the universe,” that is also another mistake. Your consciousness is limited within your body. Just like my consciousness is limited within my body, your consciousness is limited within your body. And everyone… We are all living entities and we are, everyone, conscious, but our consciousness is limited. We should not falsely claim that “I am the supreme consciousness.”

That is another mistake. I am not the supreme consciousness. Supreme consciousness means that… Just like with my consciousness I can feel what is happening in my body, but with my consciousness I cannot feel what is going on in your body, similarly, you also cannot feel what is going on in my body. But the supreme consciousness is that which can know what is going on in your body, which is going on in my body, which is going on universally, everyone’s body; He is, He knows. That is supreme consciousness.

Supreme consciousness, He has distinguished in this way, that we, the, in the battlefield… He first of all made this clear, that “My dear Arjuna, yourself, Myself and all these people who have assembled before us for fighting, all of them as living entities, they existed, and they are existing at present, and they’ll continue to exist. They will continue to exist.” That means the soul is eternal. Then He has described the nature of the soul and the nature of the body very nicely and has concluded that soul is eternal, but the body is not eternal. Antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ [Bg. 2.18]. Śarīriṇaḥ means one who possesses this body. This thing we have discussed in the second chapter, and in the third chapter Arjuna is advised to adopt the means of karma-yoga. For spiritual emancipation we have to act on the platform of consciousness, and because we are now engaged in material engagement, it is not possible for us to at once get rid of this material consciousness, but we have gradually to get out of it. And that is called karma-yoga. Karma-yoga means you have to adopt this process of karma-yoga in such a way that even within your material body you shall be able to act on spiritual platform, consciousness. That we have already discussed.

And the last, and the last śloka in the third chapter, that He said, “By intelligence we have to conquer over the formidable enemy which has captured three strategic positions.” That means the senses and the mind and intelligence. “In three strategic positions, the formidable enemy…” That means ignorance that I am trying to lord it over the material nature, this ignorance. This is ignorance because I cannot lord it over the material nature. It is impossible. I am not so powerful that I can become the master of the material nature.

The whole world’s activity is going on under this impression that “We shall be able to conquer over the material nature.” This modern scientific advancement of knowledge is aiming in that way. But it is not possible. Because we are not actually the master of the material nature. That is an ignorance. That is an ignorance. We are trying to enjoy the material resources to our best, but that is not possible. That is called illusion.

So this has been explained by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna that “This is your… This sense of mastering over or lording over the material nature, kāma…” Kāma means to enjoy. Kāma means enjoy. “That is your formidable enemy, and that formidable enemy is sitting in three places: on your mind, on your intelligence, on your senses.” Now, you have to deal with them very tactfully. How? That you have to replace the enemy with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You have to replace. Simply, you have to replace. Just like if you have got a glass of water, now, if you want to fill up this glass with milk, then you have to throw the water and take milk. Similarly, if your mind is occupied by the lust of enjoying the material world, if you replace Kṛṣṇa on your mind, then you’ll find that the enemy which is occupying your strategic position of mind, it will be defeated.

So far we have discussed in the, up to third chapter. Now, today we shall begin in the fourth chapter, what Lord says to Kṛṣṇa, er, Arjuna. Now, “śrī-bhagavān uvāca:” The Lord says,

imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ‘bravīt
[Bg. 4.1]

Now, this is very important. The fourth chapter the Lord says that “In the long ago, first of all I described this karma-yoga to Vivasvān.” Vivasvān means Sūrya, the sun-god, sun-god.

Now, according to our calculation, the sun is a planet which is too hot and nobody can go there. And actually, so far our this present body is concerned, it is not possible to, I mean to say, tolerate even the sunshine from a distance of ninety-three hundred millions or ninety-three… I do not exactly… It is far distant place. But actually, from the description of Vedic literature, we can understand that sun planet is just like a planet like this, but it is made of fire. It is made of fire. Just like this planet is predominant by earth only, similarly, there are varieties of planets in the universe. Some planet is predominant by air; some planet is predominant by water; some planet is predominant by fire. So similarly, the sun planet is predominated by fire. There are living entities also, and there is one principal living entity who is called the sun-god, Sūrya Nārāyaṇa. Or, in the language of the Bhagavad-gītā, he is called Vivasvān. In the language of Bhagavad-gītā.

Just like in every planet there is a chief man… Just like in your country, the chief man is President Johnson, similarly, in every planet, there is a chief man. Formerly, in this planet also, there was one king. We can get from Mahābhārata history that five thousand years before there was only one king of this planet, one flag, and one regiment. We get this information from Mahābhārata. Gradually, the world has divided into many states, and we can see hundreds of flags in the United States, er, Nations. But similarly, the example is that similarly, that in the sun planet there is a chief person who is called Vivasvān, who is called Vivasvān.

So Lord Kṛṣṇa says that “This science of karma-yoga, what I am just trying to explain to you, it is not a new thing, but first I spoke this karma-yoga to Vivasvān.” Vivasvān means the sun-god. And then He says that vivasvān manave prāha: “Vivasvān”—means the sun-god—“again repeated the same thing to his son, who is called Manu.”

Vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave bravīt: “And again Manu, he told to his disciple, whose name is Ikṣvāku.” Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, he was a great king. He was the forefather of Rāmacandra. You have heard the name of Lord Rāmacandra, and so he was the fore, I mean to say, forefather. Ikṣvāku.

The idea is that this process of Bhagavad-gītā is not an ordinary thing. If you have to learn Bhagavad-gītā and if you have to take profit out of it, then there is a process. There is a process to understand Bhagavad-gītā. And that process is described here. We have to take it very seriously. Just like the first Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa to sun-god. It is not that Kṛṣṇa was speaking Bhagavad-gītā for the first time to Arjuna only. No. It was spoken long, long ago.

Long, long ago. If you make an estimate of the time, then that estimation also, we can make from Vedic literature. That estimation is… I have made an estimation. It is about four hundred millions of years before, it was spoken. So far, as far as we get the information of Bhagavad-gītā, from Mahābhārata, we understand that this Bhagavad-gītā was spoken to Arjuna about five thousand years before. But we have to calculate in the fourth chapter that the Lord says that “I spoke to the sun-god, and sun-god spoke it to Manu, and Manu spoke to Ikṣvāku.”

And the next verse He says, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]: “So this confidential knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā was received in such disciplic succession.” Disciplic succession. Just like the Lord Kṛṣṇa said to the sun-god, and the sun-god said to Manu, and Manu said to Ikṣvāku, and He summarizes that evaṁ paramparā-prāptam: “In such disciplic succession, the knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā was received.” Sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa. Now, He says that “This yoga…” This Bhagavad-gītā is also called yoga. Karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, bhakti-yoga. You’ll find in Bhagavad-gītā different yogas. So the whole book is called yoga.

Now, here also it is stated, sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa: “My dear Arjuna, oh, you are the great hero. Now, that Bhagavad-gītā, the instruction which I imparted to the sun-god, was coming by disciplic succession. Now it is lost.” Now, we have to note down this point. Why it is lost? Why it is lost? Do you think that there was no learned man during that time? During Kṛṣṇa’s time? Oh, there were many learned sages. Not only one, two, there were dozens of learned sages. But still, the Lord said, Kṛṣṇa said, that “They… That knowledge which I exactly imparted to sun-god is now lost.” How it is lost? There were many scholars, and still, how it is lost? The lost means that the purport of Bhagavad-gītā is lost.

Because scholars they can interpret in their own way about Bhagavad-gītā, but that is not Bhagavad-gītā. That is not Bhagavad-gītā. That is the purport which Kṛṣṇa wants to stress. So any student of Bhagavad-gītā must note it, that Bhagavad-gītā commented by a person—he may be very scholar in the material sense, but that scholarship will not help to comment on the Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā, to understand Bhagavad-gītā, we have to accept this disciplic succession principle as Lord Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna, that “It is coming down by disciplic succession.” We have to take that spirit. And without taking that spirit, simply by our erudite scholarship, if we want to understand Bhagavad-gītā, that is a misunderstanding. That is the purpose He has said.

Now, He also again clears the subject matter. Sa evāyaṁ mayā te ‘dya yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ: [Bg. 4.3] “So Arjuna, I am just trying to speak to you about that old system of Bhagavad-gītā yoga, old system of yoga which I first spoke to sun-god.” Why? “Why You are speaking to me?” The question… “You say that the spirit of Bhagavad-gītā is lost, and You are… Why You have selected me to speak the Bhagavad-gītā? There are many learned men. There is Vyāsadeva. There is Vasiṣṭha. There is other, many sages. They are existing. I am an ordinary military man. I am a family man. I know simply fighting. So why You are anxious to speak to me about Bhagavad-gītā? Why You are anxious to speak to Me? I am not a Vedantist. I am ordinary man. So why?”

Now, the reply is bhakto ‘si. Just see. Bhakto ‘si me sakhā ceti rahasyaṁ hy etad uttamam: “Oh, My dear Arjuna, I am just trying to speak to you Bhagavad-gītā because you have got an exceptional qualification which others haven’t got.” And what is that exceptional qualification? Here it is clearly mentioned, bhakto ‘si. Bhakto ‘si. Bhakto ‘si means “You are My devotee. You know that I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore you have surrendered yourself unto Me, accepted Me, Myself, as the spiritual master. You know. You are My devotee.”

So now, herein we have to understand that unless one is devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa it is not possible for him to understand what is Bhagavad-gītā. It is not possible. Nobody can understand Bhagavad-gītā unless he is a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is the first qualification. It is clearly said here. You cannot go beyond Bhagavad-gītā. If you want to understand Bhagavad-gītā, you cannot take help of other methods. You have to take the help as it is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā. He clearly says that bhakto ‘si: “You are not only My friend. There are many friends. I can find many friends. But you are not only My friend, but you are a great devotee. Therefore you can understand what is the real sense of Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore I am speaking to you. I am speaking to you.” So if anyone wants to understand Bhagavad-gītā, then…

Just like the disciplic succession was coming down from Vivasvān, the, the, I mean to say, the principal man in the sun, the sun-god, and the sun-god taught the Bhagavad-gītā, the mystery of Bhagavad-gītā, to his son, Manu, and Manu taught the mystery of Bhagavad-gītā to Ikṣvāku, and Ikṣvāku taught the mystery of Bhagavad-gītā to his disciple or son, like that… But now, in course of time, it is now lost. Now I am again establishing that disciplic succession through you. So anyone who has to understand Bhagavad-gītā, he has to understand as Arjuna understood it. If you try to understand in a different way, if you want to give a different interpretation of Bhagavad-gītā, that may be a manifestation of your scholarship, but that is not Bhagavad-gītā. By your scholarship, you can manufacture some idea.

Just like Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi. He also wrote an interpretation of Bhagavad-gītā, and he wanted to prove that from Bhagavad-gītā, nonviolence. How you can prove nonviolence from Bhagavad-gītā? The, the theme of Bhagavad-gītā is that Arjuna declined to fight and Lord Kṛṣṇa is just trying to induce him that “You must fight. You must fight.” Ultimately, He said that “The program is already settled by Me. These people who have come here, they’ll never return. They are destined to die. It is My program. Now, if you like, you can take the credit that you have conquered them.” Last of all, He said like that. When the program is that the Bhagavad-gītā clearly says that in this case fighting is necessary, how can you prove that nonviolence is taught in Bhagavad-gītā? That is a different interpretation. You cannot interpret a thing which is, whose theme is different. The author, the author of Bhagavad-gītā… The author of the Bhagavad-gītā is saying very frankly that “the purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is now lost. So I am just trying to convince you. So you try to understand it.” The purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is lost because they have been interpreted in a different way. So as soon as Bhagavad-gītā is interpreted in the way of a particular scholar or particular man, oh, then the purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is lost.

Now, you’ll find in the Tenth Chapter how Arjuna understood Bhagavad-gītā. So you have to follow the footprints. The whole thing is… I have several times repeatedly saying to you that mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Mahājana. Dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. It is said that you cannot reach to the right conclusion of the Vedic literature simply by your argument, by your force of argument or logic. That is not possible. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ. There are many things which do not come within our argument, within our sense of logic. So tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ. You cannot understand the Supreme Truth simply by argument. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ.

And there are, so far scriptures are concerned, you’ll find different scriptures describing in a different way. So that also, you’ll be bewildered. Nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. And there are different philosophers who are always contradictory. One philosopher is deviating. He’s not in agreement with another philosopher. He has got a different theory. Another has got different theory. So philosophers also cannot give you the real truth. So neither you can understand the real truth simply by going through different scriptures, nor you can understand the real truth simply by your logical force or argument. So dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. The, the, I mean to say, the mystery of Absolute Truth is very confidential, very confidential. Then how I can understand? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] “If you follow the mahājana, the authorities, then you can understand.” Therefore, this authority, this disciplic succession…

In India there are disciplic successions. Now, so far we are concerned, we are following the disciplic succession. Just like Rāmānujācārya and the Madhvācārya and Nimbārka, Viṣṇu Svāmī. So we try to understand the Vedic literatures from our superior spiritual master. That is the process. Just like Arjuna is trying to understand from Bhagavad-gītā, or from Kṛṣṇa, similarly, if we want to understand Bhagavad-gītā, then we have to understand it from Arjuna, not from any other person.

If you have got any knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā, you have to see how does it tally with the understanding of Arjuna? That you’ll find in the tenth chapter. If you find that, that you have understood in the same way as Arjuna understood it, Bhagavad-gītā, then your understanding of Bhagavad-gītā is right. Otherwise, if you have understood in a different way which is not corroborated by the understanding of Arjuna, then your understanding of Bhagavad-gītā is different from the Bhagavad-gītā as it is. This should be the criterion of your study.

So if we actually want to derive some benefit out of the Bhagavad-gītā, then we have to follow these principles. Without following some principles, without following some, I mean to, some regulative rules and regulation, how can you understand Bhagavad-gītā? It is not a, not an ordinary book of knowledge, that you can purchase from the market, and read it and consult dictionary, and you can understand. No. It is not possible. Not possible. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa would not have told to Arjuna, “Now it is lost. The Bhagavad-gītā is now lost. I am therefore speaking to you.” Why? “Because you are My devotee.” So one has to become a devotee like Arjuna and take instruction from Arjuna. And he must be ready to understand the Bhagavad-gītā as Arjuna understood. Then the spirit of Bhagavad-gītā can be understood. Otherwise, it is not at all…

So far this… If there is any questions, you can ask.

Student: Why is it that he did not know this?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Student: Doesn’t he know this, that he is not in the disciplic succession? If this is so, why does he do this? Why does he make a translation?

Prabhupāda: He wanted to show his scholarship, that’s all. Scholarship is not only the asset by which we can understand Bhagavad-gītā. You may be a great scholar. That’s all right. But that does not mean that you know the techniques… Mr. Goldsmith, will you wait. Will you come here.

Mr. Goldsmith: No, I got an appointment.

Prabhupāda: You can sit down, but I have to talk with you…

Mr. Goldsmith: Yes, as a matter of fact, I wanted to make an announcement.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mr. Goldsmith: Do you want to make it now? Uh. [break]

Student: …big scholars would, would write a commentary on the Gītā if he, if it says in the Gītā that you must belong to the disciplic succession in order to be able to understand it.

Prabhupāda: Yes. The trick is that because Gītā is a very reputed literature and Dr. Radhakrishnan, he’s also a reputed scholar, so he thought that “I can…” Now, at the present moment, the things are going that everyone can give his own interpretation. That is the modern tendency, that everyone can give his own interpretation in any literature. So that, I mean to say, propensity, is also in Dr. Radhakrishnan, in Gandhi, and many other persons also. They are renowned persons of the world. So they have translated, and they have given their own opinion. But actually, so far Bhagavad-gītā is concerned, it is to be understood in the process as recommended by Kṛṣṇa. That is clear here. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa would not have said that is lost. Five thousand years before, there were many scholars, but still, Kṛṣṇa said that “The Bhagavad-gītā…, the purport of the Bhagavad-gītā is now lost.” Why it is lost? That means simply scholarship will not do. One has to…

I’ll give you one practical example how things are misinterpreted. Now, in India, there was a great dramatist. He was known as Mr. D.L. Raya. He wrote one book which is called Shahjahan. Now this Shahjahan, the theme of this book is that Aurangzeb, the son of Shahjahan, he was the second son of Shahjahan, Emperor Shahjahan, and he made a clique. He killed his elder brother, he killed his younger brother, and he arrested his own father in the fort, and he manipulated things in such a way, politician, and he became the king, emperor, king, emperor. Now, the whole activities of that book is the Aurangzeb’s activities. So one friend of the author, D.L. Raya, he inquired from D.L. Raya that “Mr. Raya, you have written this book and this book is full of the activities of Aurangzeb. Now, why you have made the hero Shahjahan? Shahjahan is on the background. The old man is arrested in the fort of Agra. He is sitting there. Why you have named the Shahjahan?” Now, just see the purpose of the author. The author replied, “Yes, I have purposely named this book Shahjahan because actually the hero is Shahjahan.” The friend inquired, “Why?” “Now, because the whole activities was being done by Aurangzeb, but the effect was being enjoyed and suffered by Shahjahan. Shahjahan was the father; he could not tolerate that his eldest son was killed, his youngest son was killed, and he was arrested. This was a political maneuver by Aurangzeb. But actually, the hero, the sufferer, was the Shahjahan, Emperor Shahjahan.” Now, just see. The mind of the author was disclosed by the author. Nobody could interpret what was the intention.

Similarly, the intention of the Bhagavad-gītā is known by Kṛṣṇa, the author. So we have to understand the intention of the author. We cannot exact any meaning by our own scholarship which is different from the intention of the author. So anyone who is not in the disciplic succession, he cannot understand the intention of Kṛṣṇa, why this Bhagavad-gītā, why this yoga was imparted. You can… You are a good scholar. You can make a… something… Just like our president, Mr. Goldsmith, he knows that expert lawyers, by interpretation, they can do so many things. That is another thing. And in Calcutta, when I was in Calcutta, there was a rent tax passed by the government, and some expert lawyer changed the whole thing by his interpretation. The government had to reenact, you see, because the purpose was foiled by the interpretation of the lawyer. You see? So we are not out for foiling the purpose of Kṛṣṇa for which the Bhagavad-gītā is said. These persons, these unauthorized persons, they are practically trying to foil the purpose of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, that is unauthorized. All right, Mr. Goldsmith, you can ask anything.

Mr. Goldsmith: I am finished. I have no questions.

Prabhupāda: You are finished?

Mr. Goldsmith: I have no further…

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Mr. Goldsmith: Oh, I just wanted the addresses…

Prabhupāda: You can take the addresses. They are present here.

Mr. Goldsmith: I can take them now. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. You can, Bob, you can give your address. And… [end]

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