Bhagavad-gītā 13.18

October 12

Pradyumna: “He is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone’s heart.”

Prabhupāda: You have recited the word meaning?

Pradyumna: Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda.


jyotiṣām api taj jyotis
tamasaḥ param ucyate
jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyaṁ
hṛdi sarvasya viṣṭhitam
[Bg. 13.18]

Jyoti. Jyoti means light. There are different types of light. There is lamp. There is candle. There is electric bulb. The power also, they are different powers: hundred power, fifty powers, twenty-five… There are different grades of jyoti.

[loud sounds of firecrackers throughout]

But there is supreme jyoti. Just like this moon. Moon, this night is full moon. This moon has got its illumination, but wherefrom this illumination comes? It comes from the sunshine. The sunshine is reflected on the moon, and the moon has become illuminating source. Just like in a mirror when there is reflection of the sunshine, the mirror can also reflect another dark place; not independently. Everyone… In childhood everyone has played with a mirror. Just put a mirror in front of the sunshine, and the reflection is there, and you can pass on the reflection in the darkest place and it will be illuminated. Have you got experience? Yes. Similarly, neither the mirror has got reflection, neither the dark place can be illuminated by the mirror. But when the sunshine is there on the mirror, the mirror acts as illuminating agent, and it dissipates the darkness of a corner.

So sunshine is the source of all light. In the material world we have got experience that sunshine, jyoti, prakāśa. But wherefrom the sunshine comes? Sunshine is also reflection of another jyoti, or illumination. That illumination is called brahma-jyotir. And wherefrom that brahma-jyotir emanates? That emanates from Kṛṣṇa. Just like the sunshine is emanation from the sun globe, and the sun globe is fiery, illuminated, on account of the persons within the sun globe. They have got some bodily rays. That rays is emanating from their body. Therefore the whole sun planet looks like fiery planet. And from there the illumination comes, and it is reflecting on the moon, and the moon is illuminating the whole dark night. This is called pūrṇimā. So one is borrowing the illumination from the other. But there is the supreme source of illumination. That is Kṛṣṇa.

That is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā: yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi [Bs. 5.40]. Yasya prabhā, the bodily rays of Kṛṣṇa, being illuminated… In that illumination, which is called brahma-jyotir, there are innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets. The Vaikuṇṭha planets are self-illuminating. Therefore in the spiritual world there is no darkness. Tamasaḥ para. Therefore is said here that taj jyotis tamasaḥ param ucyate: “That spiritual world is beyond this material world.” This material world is called tamaḥ. Tamaḥ means darkness. Just like this night, it is darkness. Why it is darkness? By nature it is dark. Simply by the sunshine, moonshine, electricity, we keep it brightened for some time. Otherwise, by nature it is darkness.

Similarly, there is another world, paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ [Bg. 8.20], another cosmic manifestation, spiritual cosmic manifestation, where there is no need of sunshine. Na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ [Bg. 15.6]. There is no need of sunshine, there is no need of moonshine, as here in this darkness, material world, there is arrangement by God to illuminate the darkness of this world. There is sun; there is moon; there is electricity; there is fire. But in the spiritual world, which is tamasaḥ para, which is beyond this darkness of this material world, there is jyoti. Therefore here it is said, jyotiṣām api taj jyotiḥ, param. There are different kinds of illumination—sunshine, moonshine, electricity, fire—but that jyoti which is directly emanating from Kṛṣṇa’s body, that is the real jyoti.

So on account of Kṛṣṇa’s bodily rays, the whole creation is coming out. That is Kṛṣṇa’s inconceivable power, brahma-jyotir. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. In the Vedānta-sūtra, you have to inquire about that paraṁ jyoti, brahma-jyotir. And from that paraṁ jyoti, everything is coming out. Just like from the sunshine. What is this material world? This material world is resting on the sunshine. Because the sunshine is there, therefore all the planets are rotating. There is a small machine, you’ll find it. As soon as it is heated, within that machine the balls begin to rotate. Similarly, the certain temperature of the sunshine, the whole planetary system is rotating on the orbit, on account of the sunshine. This is scientifically true. And because there is sunshine, there is vegetation, there is water, there is rainfall, and from the rainfall, there is agricultural products.

So as the sunshine is the cause of all material variegatedness, similarly, the sunshine is also due to the brahma-jyotir. The sunshine, yac cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇām. The sun is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā as the eyes for all the planets. Yac cakṣur eṣa, eṣa sakala-grahāṇāṁ cakṣuḥ. The sun is the actual eyes for all the planets, because unless there is sunshine you cannot see. We are very much proud of our eyes. Sometimes we challenge, “Can you show me God?”

But he does not think that what power his eyes have got. It is completely dependent on the sunshine. If there is no sunshine, his so-called eyes are useless. Still, with that useless eyes he wants to see God. Just see. “Can you show me God? I am not seeing God, therefore God cannot be seen. Therefore I don’t believe in God.” But he does not think that what power he has got to see. It is only dependent on sunshine. Not only this planet, all the planets, unless there is sunshine… Because it is darkness. This material world is simply darkness. Tamaso mā jyotir gama. The Vedic instruction is that “Don’t keep yourself in this darkness of material world. Come out to the spiritual world.” Jyotir gama.

So people do not think of their imperfectness of the senses, how the senses working, dependent on the laws of material nature. Still one is very proud of his senses, especially of the eyes. Adhyakṣiṇa—everything dependent on his eyes, although his eyes are completely useless without being helped by the light of the sun. So actually these eyes are useless. The eyes of the eyes is the sun. Yac cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇām. Every planetary system there are many millions and trillions of living entities.

They can see only when there is sunrise. This gāyatrī-mantra is, therefore, offering prayer to the savitā. Oṁ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur vareṇyaṁ bhargo devasya dhīmahi. Sunshine. So sunshine is… But there are many suns, not only one sun, as there are many universes, yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi [Bs. 5.40]. Koṭi means innumerable. Numberless universes. And in each and every universe there is sunshine.

So this sunshine is reflection of the brahma-jyotir. Yasya prabhā prabhavataḥ [Bs. 5.40]. When the bodily rays, shining rays, of Kṛṣṇa is there, then all these universes are generated. The universes are also generated. In another place, yasyaika-niśvasita-kālam athāvalambya jīvanti loma-vilajā jagad-aṇḍa-nāthāḥ [Bs. 5.48]. Jagad-aṇḍa-nāthāḥ. Jagad-aṇḍa-nātha means… Jagad-aṇḍa means universe. Each universe has a principal living being. That is Lord Brahmā. So there are many innumerable Brahmās also, innumerable Śivas, innumerable suns, innumerable moons, because there are innumerable universes. And each and every universe, there are innumerable planets.

Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi [Bs. 5.40]. Vasudhā means this planet. Vibhūti-bhinnam. Each planet has got different atmosphere. Therefore these people, they cannot understand what is the atmosphere. They understand… Some scientists, they say the atmosphere in the moon planet is two hundred degrees below zero. So there are difference of scientists’ opinion, but according to Vedic literature we understand that there are innumerable planets, and one of the planet is the moon planet. Nakṣatrāṇām ahaṁ śaśī [Bg. 10.21]. Nakṣatrāṇām: “Among the stars and planets,” Kṛṣṇa says, “I am the moon.”

So jyotiṣām api jyotis tamasaḥ param. So this jyoti, this illumination, is beyond this material world. And because there is illumination, that illumination is reflected in the material world. You will find the reflection, bluish reflection, in the sky. It means that brahma-jyotir is bluish because it is coming out from the blue body of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is bluish. We see the sky bluish, and in darkness we see, although it is darkness, there is some brightness in the sky. Always the sky is… The sky is everywhere, but the covering is seven times covered by different types of material elements, and that brahma-jyotir is penetrating through the covers, and little reflection we can see in the sky.

So therefore, here it is said,

jyotiṣām api taj jyotis
tamasaḥ param ucyate
jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyaṁ
hṛdi sarvasya viṣṭhitam
[Bg. 13.18]

Viṣṭhitam. Kṛṣṇa is situated in everyone’s heart. Actually He is knowledge, and He is the object of knowledge, jñeyam, and one should try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyam. And He is in everyone’s heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. Simply we have to know the process how to know Him. That is explained already, we have discussed. Amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavam [Bg. 13.8], ācāryopāsanam, indriya, vinigrahaḥ, bhakti-yoga… Māṁ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena… [Bg. 14.26]. These things are already discussed. So human life is meant for understanding this. Athāto brahma-jijñā… These are all Brahman subject. They are not material subject matter. Tattva-vastu. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam [SB 1.2.11].

So this Vedic civilization is meant for Brahman realization. Therefore we have got so many Vedic literatures. Bhagavad-gītā is only a part, A-B-C-D, the first book of spiritual knowledge. Still, people are so degraded that they cannot understand even Bhagavad-gītā, the A-B-C-D. What they will understand, other things? Their education is so poor and they are so unfortunate that even Bhagavad-gītā, which Kṛṣṇa left behind Him… Kṛṣṇa was present five thousand years ago on this planet, and just to benefit us He left His instruction, Bhagavad-gītā.

Arjuna did not require the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā. He was already enlightened, but he presented himself as a fool just to induce the Lord to speak on Bhagavad-gītā, and it is noted by Vyāsadeva, Vedavyāsa, in the Mahābhārata, so that people may take advantage of the instruction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything is there: what is this brahma-jyotir, what is this material world, what is that spiritual world, what is our object of life, what we should know.

But we are… Because we are so much influenced by the material world, especially in this age of Kali, the age of misunderstanding and quarreling, that people are mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ [SB 1.1.10]. Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ. In this age their life is very short. Span of life is very short. And manda, all bad, not good men. Manda. And even there are so-called good men, they have got their own process of knowledge, speculative process. Godless. The main basic principle of speculative process is to avoid Kṛṣṇa, to avoid God. There are so many commentaries on Bhagavad-gītā to make Kṛṣṇa nil. That is mental speculation. Somebody is saying that in the Bhagavad-gītā there is karma only recommended. Somebody says jñāna. Somebody says yoga. Somebody says bhakti. But actually Bhagavad-gītā is meant for bhaktas. Bhakto ‘si sakhā ceti [Bg. 4.3]. Bhagavad-gītā was instructed to Arjuna for his only qualification, that he was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Bhakto ‘si me sakhā ceti.

So the whole Bhagavad-gītā is the essence of Vedic knowledge, and the Vedic knowledge means to understand Kṛṣṇa. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]. Vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau [Bs. 5.33]. Even if you study Vedic literature, without bhakti, without studying the Vedic literature, you cannot understand the Absolute Truth. Bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā. Tac chraddadhānasya munayo jñāna-vairāgya-yuktayā [SB 1.2.12]. Tac chraddadhānasya munayaḥ. Those who are faithful, such great saintly persons, śraddadhānasya munayo jñāna-vairāgya-yuktayā… Jñāna-vairāgya-yuktayā. There is sufficient knowledge and vairāgya, detachment.

Vairāgya… Vedānta knowledge is not to be discussed on the table as a recreation, taking tea and smoking and discussing on Vedānta-sūtra. This kind of discussion will not help. Jñāna-vairāgya-yuktayā. Vairāgya. There must be detachment from material activities. Tac chraddadhānā munayo jñāna-vairāgya…, paśyanty ātmani cātmānaṁ bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā [SB 1.2.12]. Bhaktyā. There must be bhakti. And what kind of bhakti? Not sentiment, but śruta-gṛhītayā, taking, accepting bhakti, the devotional path, after being completely aware of the spiritual science. Bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā.

Śruta. The specific meaning of śruta means this knowledge has to be received through the ear, through the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau [Brs. 1.2.234]. Śruta-gṛhītayā. It is never explained in the Vedic literature that the science of God can be understood by the eyes. No. It has been mentioned, the tongue and the ear. These are the sources. Śruta-gṛhītayā. One must hear the Vedic literature. The Vedic literature is called, therefore, śruti. Śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]. Śrotriyam. Formerly there was no book. The students used to hear from the spiritual master, śruta, śrotriyam. That was perfect. There was no need of literacy. That ear is sufficient. Śruta-gṛhītayā. Tac chraddadhānasya munayo jñāna-vairāgya… And hearing, hearing, hearing, one becomes enlightened with knowledge, and the effect of knowledge is vairāgya. Vairāgya, detachment.

Otherwise, we, hearing or studying… But there is no vairāgya. Even big, big sannyāsīs, they cannot… They are in their saffron dress, but they… Vairāgya, so far vairāgya is concerned, if you study their inner history, there is no vairāgya. They are attached to all kinds of material enjoyment. Simply a show-bottle dress, that will not help. There must be vairāgya. That vairāgya can be achieved by bha…, bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā: when you hear. Bhakta means through the devotees, or you becoming devotee. There must be devotional service. And bhakti means sevonmukha, the attitude of rendering service to the Lord. That is bhakti. Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Bhakti means when you engage your senses for the service of the master of the senses, Hṛṣīkeśa. That is called is bhakti.

Bhakti is not sentiment. Just like these boys, these American, European boys, Indian boys who are working for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are simply engaging their senses in the service of the master of the senses, Kṛṣṇa. Therefore they are making progress. Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ [Brs. 1.2.234]. When you engage your tongue in the loving service of the Lord, He becomes revealed. He manifests Himself. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna… [Bg. 18.61]. He is already there within your heart, and if you becomes purified, tat-paratvena nirmalam… Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170], if you become nirmala, if you become purified…

How you can become purified? Tat-paratvena: just being absorbed in thought of Kṛṣṇa. Tat-paratvena nirmalam. If you simply remain always in fire, then you remain always warm; there is no possibility of being caught by the chilly coldness. That is not possible. Daivī hy eṣā mama māyā duratyayā.

daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
[Bg. 7.14]

So the only process for keeping yourself aloof from the touch of māyā is bhakti. Is bhakti. That is the conclusion of all śāstras. Without taking to the process of bhakti, you cannot get out of the influence of māyā. That is required. That is the objective of life. Jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyam. So if we utilize our life for understanding the supreme, jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyam… Mayi ca, ananya-yogena, ananya-yogena bhakti… If you learn that art, how you can become ananya-yoga-bhakti, avyabhicāriṇī-bhakti, then you’ll understand what is Kṛṣṇa. Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ [Bg. 18.55]. By tattva, by truth, you will be able to understand Kṛṣṇa, and as soon as you understand Kṛṣṇa, your life becomes successful. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ.

So the same tattva, in truth, not superficially, if you understand Kṛṣṇa, then tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]: after giving up this body, you’ll not have to accept another material body. That is saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ. That is highest perfection of life. If you don’t accept anymore the material form of body… There are 8,400,000 species of body. Any type of body we accept, it is troublesome, it is miserable. Mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ [Bg. 2.14]. The bodily pains and pleasure are perceivable, mātrā-sparśa, because we have got this material skin, mātrā, and when it is touched, in touch with the influence of this material world, mātrā-sparśāḥ, you become subject of pains and pleasure.

But if you don’t have this material body, then you are untouched by the material qualities, you are completely in spiritual body, so there is no question of pains and pleasure. It is simply blissful life.

mām upetya tu kaunteya
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
[Bg. 8.15]

That is the highest perfection of life. If you come back…, if you go back to home, back to Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, there you get sac-cid-ānanda body, eternal, blissful body of knowledge. And that is our aim, jñāna-gamyam, jñeyam. That is jñāna-gamyam.

Therefore the bhakti path has to be accepted—bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā—by knowledge in the Vedic literature, by hearing. Śruta-gṛhītayā means I… You… The Vedic literature is also understood by hearing from the bona fide spiritual master. Satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ [SB 3.25.25]. Unless you hear from realized soul, it is not possible. Simply by speculation it is useless waste of time. Teṣāṁ kleśala eva śiṣyate [SB 10.14.4]. After hearing for many, many years the Vedas from the non-realized soul—simply hearing from this hole of the ear and going out from the other hole—that kind of hearing will not help us.

Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ [SB 3.25.25]. Satāṁ prasaṅgāt. In the association of devotees, if you discuss about the message of Kṛṣṇa, then it becomes very relishable, pleasing to the ear and to the heart. And if we bring them into practical use of life, taj-joṣaṇād āśu, very soon, apavarga-vartmani, on the path of liberation, śraddhā, faith, bhakti, devotion, rati, attachment, anukramiṣyati, comes one after another, one after another. So this is the process.

So we shall discuss tomorrow again. [end]

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