Chapter Ten: The Opulence of the Absolute
bhūya eva mahā-bāho
śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
yat te ’haṁ prīyamāṇāya
The word bhagavān is explained thus by Parāśara Muni: one who is full in six opulences, who has full strength, full fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation, is Bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. While Kṛṣṇa was present on this earth, He displayed all six opulences. Therefore great sages like Parāśara Muni have all accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now Kṛṣṇa is instructing Arjuna in more conﬁdential knowledge of His opulences and His work. Previously, beginning with the Seventh Chapter, the Lord has already explained His different energies and how they are acting. Now in this chapter He explains His speciﬁc opulences to Arjuna. In the previous chapter He has clearly explained His different energies to establish devotion in ﬁrm conviction. Again in this chapter He tells Arjuna about His manifestations and various opulences.
The more one hears about the Supreme God, the more one becomes ﬁxed in devotional service. One should always hear about the Lord in the association of devotees; that will enhance one’s devotional service. Discourses in the society of devotees can take place only among those who are really anxious to be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Others cannot take part in such discourses. The Lord clearly tells Arjuna that because Arjuna is very dear to Him, for his beneﬁt such discourses are taking place.
prabhavaṁ na maharṣayaḥ
aham ādir hi devānāṁ
maharṣīṇāṁ ca sarvaśaḥ
As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. No one is greater than Him; He is the cause of all causes. Here it is also stated by the Lord personally that He is the cause of all the demigods and sages. Even the demigods and great sages cannot understand Kṛṣṇa; they can understand neither His name nor His personality, so what is the position of the so-called scholars of this tiny planet? No one can understand why this Supreme God comes to earth as an ordinary human being and executes such wonderful, uncommon activities. One should know, then, that scholarship is not the qualiﬁcation necessary to understand Kṛṣṇa. Even the demigods and the great sages have tried to understand Kṛṣṇa by their mental speculation, and they have failed to do so. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also it is clearly said that even the great demigods are not able to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They can speculate to the limits of their imperfect senses and can reach the opposite conclusion of impersonalism, of something not manifested by the three qualities of material nature, or they can imagine something by mental speculation, but it is not possible to understand Kṛṣṇa by such foolish speculation.
Here the Lord indirectly says that if anyone wants to know the Absolute Truth, “Here I am present as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am the Supreme.” One should know this. Although one cannot understand the inconceivable Lord who is personally present, He nonetheless exists. We can actually understand Kṛṣṇa, who is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, simply by studying His words in Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The conception of God as some ruling power or as the impersonal Brahman can be reached by persons who are in the inferior energy of the Lord, but the Personality of Godhead cannot be conceived unless one is in the transcendental position.
Because most men cannot understand Kṛṣṇa in His actual situation, out of His causeless mercy He descends to show favor to such speculators. Yet despite the Supreme Lord’s uncommon activities, these speculators, due to contamination in the material energy, still think that the impersonal Brahman is the Supreme. Only the devotees who are fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord can understand, by the grace of the Supreme Personality, that He is Kṛṣṇa. The devotees of the Lord do not bother about the impersonal Brahman conception of God; their faith and devotion bring them to surrender immediately unto the Supreme Lord, and out of the causeless mercy of Kṛṣṇa they can understand Kṛṣṇa. No one else can understand Him. So even great sages agree: What is ātmā, what is the Supreme? It is He whom we have to worship.
asammūḍhaḥ sa martyeṣu
As stated in the Seventh Chapter (7.3), manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye: those who are trying to elevate themselves to the platform of spiritual realization are not ordinary men; they are superior to millions and millions of ordinary men who have no knowledge of spiritual realization. But out of those actually trying to understand their spiritual situation, one who can come to the understanding that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the proprietor of everything, the unborn, is the most successful spiritually realized person. In that stage only, when one has fully understood Kṛṣṇa’s supreme position, can one be free completely from all sinful reactions.
Here the Lord is described by the word aja, meaning “unborn,” but He is distinct from the living entities who are described in the Second Chapter as aja. The Lord is different from the living entities who are taking birth and dying due to material attachment. The conditioned souls are changing their bodies, but His body is not changeable. Even when He comes to this material world, He comes as the same unborn; therefore in the Fourth Chapter it is said that the Lord, by His internal potency, is not under the inferior, material energy, but is always in the superior energy.
In this verse the words vetti loka-maheśvaram indicate that one should know that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme proprietor of the planetary systems of the universe. He was existing before the creation, and He is different from His creation. All the demigods were created within this material world, but as far as Kṛṣṇa is concerned, it is said that He is not created; therefore Kṛṣṇa is different even from the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. And because He is the creator of Brahmā, Śiva and all the other demigods, He is the Supreme Person of all planets.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is therefore different from everything that is created, and anyone who knows Him as such immediately becomes liberated from all sinful reactions. One must be liberated from all sinful activities to be in the knowledge of the Supreme Lord. Only by devotional service can He be known and not by any other means, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā.
One should not try to understand Kṛṣṇa as a human being. As stated previously, only a foolish person thinks Him to be a human being. This is again expressed here in a different way. A man who is not foolish, who is intelligent enough to understand the constitutional position of the Godhead, is always free from all sinful reactions.
If Kṛṣṇa is known as the son of Devakī, then how can He be unborn? That is also explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: When He appeared before Devakī and Vasudeva, He was not born as an ordinary child; He appeared in His original form, and then He transformed Himself into an ordinary child.
Anything done under the direction of Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. It cannot be contaminated by material reactions, which may be auspicious or inauspicious. The conception that there are things auspicious and inauspicious in the material world is more or less a mental concoction because there is nothing auspicious in the material world. Everything is inauspicious because the very material nature is inauspicious. We simply imagine it to be auspicious. Real auspiciousness depends on activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in full devotion and service. Therefore if we at all want our activities to be auspicious, then we should work under the directions of the Supreme Lord. Such directions are given in authoritative scriptures such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā, or from a bona ﬁde spiritual master. Because the spiritual master is the representative of the Supreme Lord, his direction is directly the direction of the Supreme Lord. The spiritual master, saintly persons and scriptures direct in the same way. There is no contradiction in these three sources. All actions done under such direction are free from the reactions of pious or impious activities of this material world. The transcendental attitude of the devotee in the performance of activities is actually that of renunciation, and this is called sannyāsa. As stated in the ﬁrst verse of the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, one who acts as a matter of duty because he has been ordered to do so by the Supreme Lord, and who does not seek shelter in the fruits of his activities (anāśritaḥ karma-phalam), is a true renouncer. Anyone acting under the direction of the Supreme Lord is actually a sannyāsī and a yogī, and not the man who has simply taken the dress of the sannyāsī, or a pseudo yogī.
kṣamā satyaṁ damaḥ śamaḥ
sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ bhavo ’bhāvo
bhayaṁ cābhayam eva ca
tapo dānaṁ yaśo ’yaśaḥ
bhavanti bhāvā bhūtānāṁ
matta eva pṛthag-vidhāḥ
The different qualities of living entities, be they good or bad, are all created by Kṛṣṇa, and they are described here.
Intelligence refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective, and knowledge refers to understanding what is spirit and what is matter. Ordinary knowledge obtained by a university education pertains only to matter, and it is not accepted here as knowledge. Knowledge means knowing the distinction between spirit and matter. In modern education there is no knowledge about spirit; they are simply taking care of the material elements and bodily needs. Therefore academic knowledge is not complete.
Asammoha, freedom from doubt and delusion, can be achieved when one is not hesitant and when he understands the transcendental philosophy. Slowly but surely he becomes free from bewilderment. Nothing should be accepted blindly; everything should be accepted with care and with caution. Kṣamā, tolerance and forgiveness, should be practiced; one should be tolerant and excuse the minor offenses of others. Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the beneﬁt of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the beneﬁt of others. That is the deﬁnition of truth.
Control of the senses means that the senses should not be used for unnecessary personal enjoyment. There is no prohibition against meeting the proper needs of the senses, but unnecessary sense enjoyment is detrimental for spiritual advancement. Therefore the senses should be restrained from unnecessary use. Similarly, one should restrain the mind from unnecessary thoughts; that is called śama. One should not spend one’s time pondering over earning money. That is a misuse of the thinking power. The mind should be used to understand the prime necessity of human beings, and that should be presented authoritatively. The power of thought should be developed in association with persons who are authorities in the scriptures, saintly persons and spiritual masters and those whose thinking is highly developed. Sukham, pleasure or happiness, should always be in that which is favorable for the cultivation of the spiritual knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And similarly, that which is painful or which causes distress is that which is unfavorable for the cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Anything favorable for the development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be accepted, and anything unfavorable should be rejected.
Bhava, birth, should be understood to refer to the body. As far as the soul is concerned, there is neither birth nor death; that we have discussed in the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā. Birth and death apply to one’s embodiment in the material world. Fear is due to worrying about the future. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has no fear because by his activities he is sure to go back to the spiritual sky, back home, back to Godhead. Therefore his future is very bright. Others, however, do not know what their future holds; they have no knowledge of what the next life holds. So they are therefore in constant anxiety. If we want to get free from anxiety, then the best course is to understand Kṛṣṇa and be situated always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In that way we will be free from all fear. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.37) it is stated, bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt: fear is caused by our absorption in the illusory energy. But those who are free from the illusory energy, those who are conﬁdent that they are not the material body, that they are spiritual parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who are therefore engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Godhead, have nothing to fear. Their future is very bright. This fear is a condition of persons who are not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Abhayam, fearlessness, is possible only for one in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Ahiṁsā, nonviolence, means that one should not do anything which will put others into misery or confusion. Material activities that are promised by so many politicians, sociologists, philanthropists, etc., do not produce very good results because the politicians and philanthropists have no transcendental vision; they do not know what is actually beneﬁcial for human society. Ahiṁsā means that people should be trained in such a way that the full utilization of the human body can be achieved. The human body is meant for spiritual realization, so any movement or any commissions which do not further that end commit violence on the human body. That which furthers the future spiritual happiness of the people in general is called nonviolence.
Samatā, equanimity, refers to freedom from attachment and aversion. To be very much attached or to be very much detached is not the best. This material world should be accepted without attachment or aversion. That which is favorable for prosecuting Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be accepted; that which is unfavorable should be rejected. That is called samatā, equanimity. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has nothing to reject and nothing to accept save in terms of its usefulness in the prosecution of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Tuṣṭi, satisfaction, means that one should not be eager to gather more and more material goods by unnecessary activity. One should be satisﬁed with whatever is obtained by the grace of the Supreme Lord; that is called satisfaction. Tapas means austerity or penance. There are many rules and regulations in the Vedas which apply here, like rising early in the morning and taking a bath. Sometimes it is very troublesome to rise early in the morning, but whatever voluntary trouble one may suffer in this way is called penance. Similarly, there are prescriptions for fasting on certain days of the month. One may not be inclined to practice such fasting, but because of his determination to make advancement in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he should accept such bodily troubles when they are recommended. However, one should not fast unnecessarily or against Vedic injunctions. One should not fast for some political purpose; that is described in Bhagavad-gītā as fasting in ignorance, and anything done in ignorance or passion does not lead to spiritual advancement. Everything done in the mode of goodness does advance one, however, and fasting done in terms of the Vedic injunctions enriches one in spiritual knowledge.
As far as charity is concerned, one should give ﬁfty percent of his earnings to some good cause. And what is a good cause? It is that which is conducted in terms of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not only a good cause, but the best cause. Because Kṛṣṇa is good, His cause is also good. Thus charity should be given to a person who is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. According to the Vedic literature, it is enjoined that charity should be given to the brāhmaṇas. This practice is still followed, although not very nicely in terms of the Vedic injunction. But still the injunction is that charity should be given to the brāhmaṇas. Why? Because they are engaged in higher cultivation of spiritual knowledge. A brāhmaṇa is supposed to devote his whole life to understanding Brahman. Brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ: one who knows Brahman is called a brāhmaṇa. Thus charity is offered to the brāhmaṇas because they are always engaged in higher spiritual service and have no time to earn their livelihood. In the Vedic literature, charity is also to be awarded to one in the renounced order of life, the sannyāsī. The sannyāsīs beg from door to door, not for money but for missionary purposes. The system is that they go from door to door to awaken the householders from the slumber of ignorance. Because the householders are engaged in family affairs and have forgotten their actual purpose in life – awakening their Kṛṣṇa consciousness – it is the business of the sannyāsīs to go as beggars to the householders and encourage them to be Kṛṣṇa conscious. As it is said in the Vedas, one should awake and achieve what is due him in this human form of life. This knowledge and method is distributed by the sannyāsīs; hence charity is to be given to the renouncer of life, to the brāhmaṇas, and similar good causes, not to any whimsical cause.
Yaśas, fame, should be according to Lord Caitanya, who said that a man is famous when he is known as a great devotee. That is real fame. If one has become a great man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and it is known, then he is truly famous. One who does not have such fame is infamous.
All these qualities are manifest throughout the universe in human society and in the society of the demigods. There are many forms of humanity on other planets, and these qualities are there. Now, for one who wants to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Kṛṣṇa creates all these qualities, but the person develops them himself from within. One who engages in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord develops all the good qualities, as arranged by the Supreme Lord.
Of whatever we ﬁnd, good or bad, the origin is Kṛṣṇa. Nothing can manifest itself in this material world which is not in Kṛṣṇa. That is knowledge; although we know that things are differently situated, we should realize that everything ﬂows from Kṛṣṇa.
catvāro manavas tathā
mad-bhāvā mānasā jātā
yeṣāṁ loka imāḥ prajāḥ
The Lord is giving a genealogical synopsis of the universal population. Brahmā is the original creature born out of the energy of the Supreme Lord, who is known as Hiraṇyagarbha. And from Brahmā all the seven great sages, and before them four other great sages, named Sanaka, Sananda, Sanātana and Sanat-kumāra, and the fourteen Manus, are manifested. All these twenty-ﬁve great sages are known as the patriarchs of the living entities all over the universe. There are innumerable universes and innumerable planets within each universe, and each planet is full of population of different varieties. All of them are born of these twenty-ﬁve patriarchs. Brahmā underwent penance for one thousand years of the demigods before he realized by the grace of Kṛṣṇa how to create. Then from Brahmā came Sanaka, Sananda, Sanātana and Sanat-kumāra, then Rudra, and then the seven sages, and in this way all the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas are born out of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmā is known as Pitāmaha, the grandfather, and Kṛṣṇa is known as Prapitāmaha, the father of the grandfather. That is stated in the Eleventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā (11.39).
mama yo vetti tattvataḥ
so ’vikalpena yogena
yujyate nātra saṁśayaḥ
The highest summit of spiritual perfection is knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unless one is ﬁrmly convinced of the different opulences of the Supreme Lord, he cannot engage in devotional service. Generally people know that God is great, but they do not know in detail how God is great. Here are the details. If one knows factually how God is great, then naturally he becomes a surrendered soul and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord. When one factually knows the opulences of the Supreme, there is no alternative but to surrender to Him. This factual knowledge can be known from the descriptions in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā and similar literatures.
In the administration of this universe there are many demigods distributed throughout the planetary system, and the chief of them are Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the four great Kumāras and the other patriarchs. There are many forefathers of the population of the universe, and all of them are born of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the original forefather of all forefathers.
These are some of the opulences of the Supreme Lord. When one is ﬁrmly convinced of them, he accepts Kṛṣṇa with great faith and without any doubt, and he engages in devotional service. All this particular knowledge is required in order to increase one’s interest in the loving devotional service of the Lord. One should not neglect to understand fully how great Kṛṣṇa is, for by knowing the greatness of Kṛṣṇa one will be able to be ﬁxed in sincere devotional service.
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
A learned scholar who has studied the Vedas perfectly and has information from authorities like Lord Caitanya and who knows how to apply these teachings can understand that Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything in both the material and spiritual worlds, and because he knows this perfectly he becomes ﬁrmly ﬁxed in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord. He can never be deviated by any amount of nonsensical commentaries or by fools. All Vedic literature agrees that Kṛṣṇa is the source of Brahmā, Śiva and all other demigods. In the Atharva Veda (Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad 1.24) it is said, yo brahmāṇaṁ vidadhāti pūrvaṁ yo vai vedāṁś ca gāpayati sma kṛṣṇaḥ: “It was Kṛṣṇa who in the beginning instructed Brahmā in Vedic knowledge and who disseminated Vedic knowledge in the past.” Then again the Nārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (1) says, atha puruṣo ha vai nārāyaṇo ’kāmayata prajāḥ sṛjeyeti: “Then the Supreme Personality Nārāyaṇa desired to create living entities.” The Upaniṣad continues, nārāyaṇād brahmā jāyate, nārāyaṇād prajāpatiḥ prajāyate, nārāyaṇād indro jāyate, nārāyaṇād aṣṭau vasavo jāyante, nārāyaṇād ekādaśa rudrā jāyante, nārāyaṇād dvādaśādityāḥ: “From Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā is born, and from Nārāyaṇa the patriarchs are also born. From Nārāyaṇa, Indra is born, from Nārāyaṇa the eight Vasus are born, from Nārāyaṇa the eleven Rudras are born, from Nārāyaṇa the twelve Ādityas are born.” This Nārāyaṇa is an expansion of Kṛṣṇa.
It is said in the same Vedas, brahmaṇyo devakī-putraḥ: “The son of Devakī, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Personality.” (Nārāyaṇa Upaniṣad 4) Then it is said, eko vai nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā neśāno nāpo nāgni-somau neme dyāv-āpṛthivī na nakṣatrāṇi na sūryaḥ: “In the beginning of the creation there was only the Supreme Personality Nārāyaṇa. There was no Brahmā, no Śiva, no water, no ﬁre, no moon, no heaven and earth, no stars in the sky, no sun.” (Mahā Upaniṣad 1.2) In the Mahā Upaniṣad it is also said that Lord Śiva was born from the forehead of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Vedas say that it is the Supreme Lord, the creator of Brahmā and Śiva, who is to be worshiped.
In the Mokṣa-dharma section of the Mahābhārata, Kṛṣṇa also says,
prajāpatiṁ ca rudraṁ cāpy
aham eva sṛjāmi vai
tau hi māṁ na vijānīto
“The patriarchs, Śiva and others are created by Me, though they do not know that they are created by Me because they are deluded by My illusory energy.” In the Varāha Purāṇa it is also said,
nārāyaṇaḥ paro devas
tasmāj jātaś caturmukhaḥ
tasmād rudro ’bhavad devaḥ
sa ca sarva-jñatāṁ gataḥ
“Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and from Him Brahmā was born, from whom Śiva was born.”
Lord Kṛṣṇa is the source of all generations, and He is called the most efﬁcient cause of everything. He says, “Because everything is born of Me, I am the original source of all. Everything is under Me; no one is above Me.” There is no supreme controller other than Kṛṣṇa. One who understands Kṛṣṇa in such a way from a bona ﬁde spiritual master, with references from Vedic literature, engages all his energy in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and becomes a truly learned man. In comparison to him, all others, who do not know Kṛṣṇa properly, are but fools. Only a fool would consider Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary man. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person should not be bewildered by fools; he should avoid all unauthorized commentaries and interpretations on Bhagavad-gītā and proceed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness with determination and ﬁrmness.
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ
tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca
Pure devotees, whose characteristics are mentioned here, engage themselves fully in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Their minds cannot be diverted from the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Their talks are solely on the transcendental subjects. The symptoms of the pure devotees are described in this verse speciﬁcally. Devotees of the Supreme Lord are twenty-four hours daily engaged in glorifying the qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Their hearts and souls are constantly submerged in Kṛṣṇa, and they take pleasure in discussing Him with other devotees.
In the preliminary stage of devotional service they relish the transcendental pleasure from the service itself, and in the mature stage they are actually situated in love of God. Once situated in that transcendental position, they can relish the highest perfection which is exhibited by the Lord in His abode. Lord Caitanya likens transcendental devotional service to the sowing of a seed in the heart of the living entity. There are innumerable living entities traveling throughout the different planets of the universe, and out of them there are a few who are fortunate enough to meet a pure devotee and get the chance to understand devotional service. This devotional service is just like a seed, and if it is sown in the heart of a living entity, and if he goes on hearing and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, that seed fructiﬁes, just as the seed of a tree fructiﬁes with regular watering. The spiritual plant of devotional service gradually grows and grows until it penetrates the covering of the material universe and enters into the brahma-jyotir effulgence in the spiritual sky. In the spiritual sky also that plant grows more and more until it reaches the highest planet, which is called Goloka Vṛndāvana, the supreme planet of Kṛṣṇa. Ultimately, the plant takes shelter under the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and rests there. Gradually, as a plant grows fruits and ﬂowers, that plant of devotional service also produces fruits, and the watering process in the form of chanting and hearing goes on. This plant of devotional service is fully described in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā, Chapter Nineteen). It is explained there that when the complete plant takes shelter under the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, one becomes fully absorbed in love of God; then he cannot live even for a moment without being in contact with the Supreme Lord, just as a ﬁsh cannot live without water. In such a state, the devotee actually attains the transcendental qualities in contact with the Supreme Lord.
The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also full of such narrations about the relationship between the Supreme Lord and His devotees; therefore the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is very dear to the devotees, as stated in the Bhāgavatam itself (12.13.18). Śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānāṁ priyam. In this narration there is nothing about material activities, economic development, sense gratiﬁcation or liberation. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the only narration in which the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord and His devotees is fully described. Thus the realized souls in Kṛṣṇa consciousness take continual pleasure in hearing such transcendental literatures, just as a young boy and girl take pleasure in association.
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
In this verse the word buddhi-yogam is very signiﬁcant. We may remember that in the Second Chapter the Lord, instructing Arjuna, said that He had spoken to him of many things and that He would instruct him in the way of buddhi-yoga. Now buddhi-yoga is explained. Buddhi-yoga itself is action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; that is the highest intelligence. Buddhi means intelligence, and yoga means mystic activities or mystic elevation. When one tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and takes fully to Kṛṣṇa consciousness in devotional service, his action is called buddhi-yoga. In other words, buddhi-yoga is the process by which one gets out of the entanglement of this material world. The ultimate goal of progress is Kṛṣṇa. People do not know this; therefore the association of devotees and a bona ﬁde spiritual master are important. One should know that the goal is Kṛṣṇa, and when the goal is assigned, then the path is slowly but progressively traversed, and the ultimate goal is achieved.
When a person knows the goal of life but is addicted to the fruits of activities, he is acting in karma-yoga. When he knows that the goal is Kṛṣṇa but he takes pleasure in mental speculations to understand Kṛṣṇa, he is acting in jñāna-yoga. And when he knows the goal and seeks Kṛṣṇa completely in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service, he is acting in bhakti-yoga, or buddhi-yoga, which is the complete yoga. This complete yoga is the highest perfectional stage of life.
A person may have a bona ﬁde spiritual master and may be attached to a spiritual organization, but if he is still not intelligent enough to make progress, then Kṛṣṇa from within gives him instructions so that he may ultimately come to Him without difﬁculty. The qualiﬁcation is that a person always engage himself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and with love and devotion render all kinds of services. He should perform some sort of work for Kṛṣṇa, and that work should be with love. If a devotee is not intelligent enough to make progress on the path of self-realization but is sincere and devoted to the activities of devotional service, the Lord gives him a chance to make progress and ultimately attain to Him.
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
When Lord Caitanya was in Benares promulgating the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, thousands of people were following Him. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, a very inﬂuential and learned scholar in Benares at that time, derided Lord Caitanya for being a sentimentalist. Sometimes Māyāvādī philosophers criticize the devotees because they think that most of the devotees are in the darkness of ignorance and are philosophically naive sentimentalists. Actually that is not the fact. There are very, very learned scholars who have put forward the philosophy of devotion. But even if a devotee does not take advantage of their literatures or of his spiritual master, if he is sincere in his devotional service he is helped by Kṛṣṇa Himself within his heart. So the sincere devotee engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be without knowledge. The only qualiﬁcation is that one carry out devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The Māyāvādī philosophers think that without discriminating one cannot have pure knowledge. For them this answer is given by the Supreme Lord: those who are engaged in pure devotional service, even though they be without sufﬁcient education and even without sufﬁcient knowledge of the Vedic principles, are still helped by the Supreme God, as stated in this verse.
The Lord tells Arjuna that basically there is no possibility of understanding the Supreme Truth, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, simply by speculating, for the Supreme Truth is so great that it is not possible to understand Him or to achieve Him simply by making a mental effort. Man can go on speculating for several millions of years, and if he is not devoted, if he is not a lover of the Supreme Truth, he will never understand Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Truth. Only by devotional service is the Supreme Truth, Kṛṣṇa, pleased, and by His inconceivable energy He can reveal Himself to the heart of the pure devotee. The pure devotee always has Kṛṣṇa within his heart; and with the presence of Kṛṣṇa, who is just like the sun, the darkness of ignorance is at once dissipated. This is the special mercy rendered to the pure devotee by Kṛṣṇa.
Due to the contamination of material association, through many, many millions of births, one’s heart is always covered with the dust of materialism, but when one engages in devotional service and constantly chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, the dust quickly clears, and one is elevated to the platform of pure knowledge. The ultimate goal, Viṣṇu, can be attained only by this chant and by devotional service, and not by mental speculation or argument. The pure devotee does not have to worry about the material necessities of life; he need not be anxious, because when he removes the darkness from his heart, everything is provided automatically by the Supreme Lord, who is pleased by the loving devotional service of the devotee. This is the essence of the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā. By studying Bhagavad-gītā, one can become a soul completely surrendered to the Supreme Lord and engage himself in pure devotional service. As the Lord takes charge, one becomes completely free from all kinds of materialistic endeavors.
paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma
pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam
ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
devarṣir nāradas tathā
asito devalo vyāsaḥ
svayaṁ caiva bravīṣi me
In these two verses the Supreme Lord gives a chance to the Māyāvādī philosopher, for here it is clear that the Supreme is different from the individual soul. Arjuna, after hearing the essential four verses of Bhagavad-gītā in this chapter, became completely free from all doubts and accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He at once boldly declares, “You are paraṁ brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” And previously Kṛṣṇa stated that He is the originator of everything and everyone. Every demigod and every human being is dependent on Him. Men and demigods, out of ignorance, think that they are absolute and independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That ignorance is removed perfectly by the discharge of devotional service. This has already been explained in the previous verse by the Lord. Now, by His grace, Arjuna is accepting Him as the Supreme Truth, in concordance with the Vedic injunction. It is not that because Kṛṣṇa is Arjuna’s intimate friend Arjuna is ﬂattering Him by calling Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. Whatever Arjuna says in these two verses is conﬁrmed by Vedic truth. Vedic injunctions afﬁrm that only one who takes to devotional service to the Supreme Lord can understand Him, whereas others cannot. Each and every word of this verse spoken by Arjuna is conﬁrmed by Vedic injunction.
In the Kena Upaniṣad it is stated that the Supreme Brahman is the rest for everything, and Kṛṣṇa has already explained that everything is resting on Him. The Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad conﬁrms that the Supreme Lord, in whom everything is resting, can be realized only by those who engage constantly in thinking of Him. This constant thinking of Kṛṣṇa is smaraṇam, one of the methods of devotional service. It is only by devotional service to Kṛṣṇa that one can understand his position and get rid of this material body.
In the Vedas the Supreme Lord is accepted as the purest of the pure. One who understands that Kṛṣṇa is the purest of the pure can become puriﬁed from all sinful activities. One cannot be disinfected from sinful activities unless he surrenders unto the Supreme Lord. Arjuna’s acceptance of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme pure complies with the injunctions of Vedic literature. This is also conﬁrmed by great personalities, of whom Nārada is the chief.
Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should always meditate upon Him and enjoy one’s transcendental relationship with Him. He is the supreme existence. He is free from bodily needs, birth and death. Not only does Arjuna conﬁrm this, but all the Vedic literatures, the Purāṇas and histories. In all Vedic literatures Kṛṣṇa is thus described, and the Supreme Lord Himself also says in the Fourth Chapter, “Although I am unborn, I appear on this earth to establish religious principles.” He is the supreme origin; He has no cause, for He is the cause of all causes, and everything is emanating from Him. This perfect knowledge can be had by the grace of the Supreme Lord.
Here Arjuna expresses himself through the grace of Kṛṣṇa. If we want to understand Bhagavad-gītā, we should accept the statements in these two verses. This is called the paramparā system, acceptance of the disciplic succession. Unless one is in the disciplic succession, he cannot understand Bhagavad-gītā. It is not possible by so-called academic education. Unfortunately those proud of their academic education, despite so much evidence in Vedic literatures, stick to their obstinate conviction that Kṛṣṇa is an ordinary person.
yan māṁ vadasi keśava
na hi te bhagavan vyaktiṁ
vidur devā na dānavāḥ
Arjuna herein conﬁrms that persons of faithless and demonic nature cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. He is not known even by the demigods, so what to speak of the so-called scholars of this modern world? By the grace of the Supreme Lord, Arjuna has understood that the Supreme Truth is Kṛṣṇa and that He is the perfect one. One should therefore follow the path of Arjuna. He received the authority of Bhagavad-gītā. As described in the Fourth Chapter, the paramparā system of disciplic succession for the understanding of Bhagavad-gītā was lost, and therefore Kṛṣṇa reestablished that disciplic succession with Arjuna because He considered Arjuna His intimate friend and a great devotee. Therefore, as stated in our Introduction to Gītopaniṣad, Bhagavad-gītā should be understood in the paramparā system. When the paramparā system was lost, Arjuna was selected to rejuvenate it. The acceptance by Arjuna of all that Kṛṣṇa says should be emulated; then we can understand the essence of Bhagavad-gītā, and then only can we understand that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
vettha tvaṁ puruṣottama
The Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, can be known by persons who are in a relationship with Him through the discharge of devotional service, like Arjuna and his followers. Persons of demonic or atheistic mentality cannot know Kṛṣṇa. Mental speculation that leads one away from the Supreme Lord is a serious sin, and one who does not know Kṛṣṇa should not try to comment on Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is the statement of Kṛṣṇa, and since it is the science of Kṛṣṇa, it should be understood from Kṛṣṇa as Arjuna understood it. It should not be received from atheistic persons.
As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.11):
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
bhagavān iti śabdyate
The Supreme Truth is realized in three aspects: as impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and at last as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So at the last stage of understanding the Absolute Truth, one comes to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A common man or even a liberated man who has realized impersonal Brahman or localized Paramātmā may not understand God’s personality. Such men, therefore, may endeavor to understand the Supreme Person from the verses of Bhagavad-gītā, which are being spoken by this person, Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes the impersonalists accept Kṛṣṇa as Bhagavān, or they accept His authority. Yet many liberated persons cannot understand Kṛṣṇa as Puruṣottama, the Supreme Person. Therefore Arjuna addresses Him as Puruṣottama. Yet one still may not understand that Kṛṣṇa is the father of all living entities. Therefore Arjuna addresses Him as Bhūta-bhāvana. And if one comes to know Him as the father of all the living entities, still one may not know Him as the supreme controller; therefore He is addressed here as Bhūteśa, the supreme controller of everyone. And even if one knows Kṛṣṇa as the supreme controller of all living entities, still one may not know that He is the origin of all the demigods; therefore He is addressed herein as Deva-deva, the worshipful God of all demigods. And even if one knows Him as the worshipful God of all demigods, one may not know that He is the supreme proprietor of everything; therefore He is addressed as Jagat-pati. Thus the truth about Kṛṣṇa is established in this verse by the realization of Arjuna, and we should follow in the footsteps of Arjuna to understand Kṛṣṇa as He is.
divyā hy ātma-vibhūtayaḥ
yābhir vibhūtibhir lokān
imāṁs tvaṁ vyāpya tiṣṭhasi
In this verse it appears that Arjuna is already satisﬁed with his understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. By Kṛṣṇa’s grace, Arjuna has personal experience, intelligence and knowledge and whatever else a person may have, and through all these agencies he has understood Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For him there is no doubt, yet he is asking Kṛṣṇa to explain His all-pervading nature. People in general and the impersonalists in particular concern themselves mainly with the all-pervading nature of the Supreme. So Arjuna is asking Kṛṣṇa how He exists in His all-pervading aspect through His different energies. One should know that this is being asked by Arjuna on behalf of the common people.
tvāṁ sadā paricintayan
keṣu keṣu ca bhāveṣu
cintyo ’si bhagavan mayā
As it is stated in the previous chapter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is covered by His yoga-māyā. Only surrendered souls and devotees can see Him. Now Arjuna is convinced that his friend, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Godhead, but he wants to know the general process by which the all-pervading Lord can be understood by the common man. Common men, including the demons and atheists, cannot know Kṛṣṇa, because He is guarded by His yoga-māyā energy. Again, these questions are asked by Arjuna for their beneﬁt. The superior devotee is concerned not only for his own understanding but for the understanding of all mankind. So Arjuna, out of his mercy, because he is a Vaiṣṇava, a devotee, is opening for the common man the understanding of the all-pervasiveness of the Supreme Lord. He addresses Kṛṣṇa speciﬁcally as yogin because Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the master of the yoga-māyā energy, by which He is covered and uncovered to the common man. The common man who has no love for Kṛṣṇa cannot always think of Kṛṣṇa; therefore he has to think materially. Arjuna is considering the mode of thinking of the materialistic persons of this world. The words keṣu keṣu ca bhāveṣu refer to material nature (the word bhāva means “physical things”). Because materialists cannot understand Kṛṣṇa spiritually, they are advised to concentrate the mind on physical things and try to see how Kṛṣṇa is manifested by physical representations.
vibhūtiṁ ca janārdana
bhūyaḥ kathaya tṛptir hi
śṛṇvato nāsti me ’mṛtam
A similar statement was made to Sūta Gosvāmī by the ṛṣis of Naimiṣāraṇya, headed by Śaunaka. That statement is:
vayaṁ tu na vitṛpyāma
yac chṛṇvatāṁ rasa-jñānāṁ
svādu svādu pade pade
“One can never be satiated even though one continuously hears the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, who is gloriﬁed by excellent prayers. Those who have entered into a transcendental relationship with Kṛṣṇa relish at every step the descriptions of the pastimes of the Lord.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.19) Thus Arjuna is interested in hearing about Kṛṣṇa, and speciﬁcally how He remains as the all-pervading Supreme Lord.
Now as far as amṛtam, nectar, is concerned, any narration or statement concerning Kṛṣṇa is just like nectar. And this nectar can be perceived by practical experience. Modern stories, ﬁction and histories are different from the transcendental pastimes of the Lord in that one will tire of hearing mundane stories but one never tires of hearing about Kṛṣṇa. It is for this reason only that the history of the whole universe is replete with references to the pastimes of the incarnations of Godhead. The Purāṇas are histories of bygone ages that relate the pastimes of the various incarnations of the Lord. In this way the reading matter remains forever fresh, despite repeated readings.
hanta te kathayiṣyāmi
divyā hy ātma-vibhūtayaḥ
nāsty anto vistarasya me
It is not possible to comprehend the greatness of Kṛṣṇa and His opulences. The senses of the individual soul are limited and do not permit him to understand the totality of Kṛṣṇa’s affairs. Still the devotees try to understand Kṛṣṇa, but not on the principle that they will be able to understand Kṛṣṇa fully at any speciﬁc time or in any state of life. Rather, the very topics of Kṛṣṇa are so relishable that they appear to the devotees as nectar. Thus the devotees enjoy them. In discussing Kṛṣṇa’s opulences and His diverse energies, the pure devotees take transcendental pleasure. Therefore they want to hear and discuss them. Kṛṣṇa knows that living entities do not understand the extent of His opulences; He therefore agrees to state only the principal manifestations of His different energies. The word prādhānyataḥ (“principal”) is very important because we can understand only a few of the principal details of the Supreme Lord, for His features are unlimited. It is not possible to understand them all. And vibhūti, as used in this verse, refers to the opulences by which He controls the whole manifestation. In the Amara-kośa dictionary it is stated that vibhūti indicates an exceptional opulence.
The impersonalist or pantheist cannot understand the exceptional opulences of the Supreme Lord nor the manifestations of His divine energies. Both in the material world and in the spiritual world His energies are distributed in every variety of manifestation. Now Kṛṣṇa is describing what can be directly perceived by the common man; thus part of His variegated energy is described in this way.
aham ādiś ca madhyaṁ ca
bhūtānām anta eva ca
In this verse Arjuna is addressed as Guḍākeśa, which means “one who has conquered the darkness of sleep.” For those who are sleeping in the darkness of ignorance, it is not possible to understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself in various ways in the material and spiritual worlds. Thus this address by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna is signiﬁcant. Because Arjuna is above such darkness, the Personality of Godhead agrees to describe His various opulences.
Kṛṣṇa ﬁrst informs Arjuna that He is the soul of the entire cosmic manifestation by dint of His primary expansion. Before the material creation, the Supreme Lord, by His plenary expansion, accepts the puruṣa incarnation, and from Him everything begins. Therefore He is ātmā, the soul of the mahat-tattva, the universal elements. The total material energy is not the cause of the creation; actually the Mahā-viṣṇu enters into the mahat-tattva, the total material energy. He is the soul. When Mahā-viṣṇu enters into the manifested universes, He again manifests Himself as the Supersoul in each and every entity. We have experience that the personal body of the living entity exists due to the presence of the spiritual spark. Without the existence of the spiritual spark, the body cannot develop. Similarly, the material manifestation cannot develop unless the Supreme Soul, Kṛṣṇa, enters. As stated in the Subāla Upaniṣad, prakṛty-ādi-sarva-bhūtāntar-yāmī sarva-śeṣī ca nārāyaṇaḥ: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is existing as the Supersoul in all manifested universes.”
The three puruṣa-avatāras are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. They are also described in the Nārada Pañcarātra, one of the Sātvata-tantras. Viṣṇos tu trīṇi rūpāṇi puruṣākhyāny atho viduḥ: the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests three features – as Kāraṇodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu – in this material manifestation. The Mahā-viṣṇu, or Kāraṇodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu, is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.47). Yaḥ kāraṇārṇava-jale bhajati sma yoga-nidrām: the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, the cause of all causes, lies down in the cosmic ocean as Mahā-viṣṇu. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the beginning of this universe, the maintainer of the universal manifestations, and the end of all energy.
jyotiṣāṁ ravir aṁśumān
marīcir marutām asmi
nakṣatrāṇām ahaṁ śaśī
There are twelve Ādityas, of which Kṛṣṇa is the principal. Among all the luminaries shining in the sky, the sun is the chief, and in the Brahma-saṁhitā the sun is accepted as the glowing eye of the Supreme Lord. There are ﬁfty varieties of wind blowing in space, and of these winds the controlling deity, Marīci, represents Kṛṣṇa.
Among the stars, the moon is the most prominent at night, and thus the moon represents Kṛṣṇa. It appears from this verse that the moon is one of the stars; therefore the stars that twinkle in the sky also reﬂect the light of the sun. The theory that there are many suns within the universe is not accepted by Vedic literature. The sun is one, and as by the reﬂection of the sun the moon illuminates, so also do the stars. Since Bhagavad-gītā indicates herein that the moon is one of the stars, the twinkling stars are not suns but are similar to the moon.
devānām asmi vāsavaḥ
indriyāṇāṁ manaś cāsmi
bhūtānām asmi cetanā
The difference between matter and spirit is that matter has no consciousness like the living entity; therefore this consciousness is supreme and eternal. Consciousness cannot be produced by a combination of matter.
vasūnāṁ pāvakaś cāsmi
meruḥ śikhariṇām aham
There are eleven Rudras, of whom Śaṅkara, Lord Śiva, is predominant. He is the incarnation of the Supreme Lord in charge of the mode of ignorance in the universe. The leader of the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas is Kuvera, the master treasurer of the demigods, and he is a representation of the Supreme Lord. Meru is a mountain famed for its rich natural resources.
viddhi pārtha bṛhaspatim
senānīnām ahaṁ skandaḥ
sarasām asmi sāgaraḥ
Indra is the chief demigod of the heavenly planets and is known as the king of the heavens. The planet on which he reigns is called Indraloka. Bṛhaspati is Indra’s priest, and since Indra is the chief of all kings, Bṛhaspati is the chief of all priests. And as Indra is the chief of all kings, similarly Skanda, or Kārttikeya, the son of Pārvatī and Lord Śiva, is the chief of all military commanders. And of all bodies of water, the ocean is the greatest. These representations of Kṛṣṇa only give hints of His greatness.
girām asmy ekam akṣaram
yajñānāṁ japa-yajño ’smi
Brahmā, the ﬁrst living creature within the universe, created several sons for the propagation of various kinds of species. Among these sons, Bhṛgu is the most powerful sage. Of all the transcendental vibrations, oṁ (oṁ-kāra) represents Kṛṣṇa. Of all sacriﬁces, the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare is the purest representation of Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes animal sacriﬁces are recommended, but in the sacriﬁce of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, there is no question of violence. It is the simplest and the purest. Whatever is sublime in the worlds is a representation of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore the Himālayas, the greatest mountains in the world, also represent Him. The mountain named Meru was mentioned in a previous verse, but Meru is sometimes movable, whereas the Himālayas are never movable. Thus the Himālayas are greater than Meru.
devarṣīṇāṁ ca nāradaḥ
siddhānāṁ kapilo muniḥ
The banyan tree (aśvattha) is one of the highest and most beautiful trees, and people in India often worship it as one of their daily morning rituals. Amongst the demigods they also worship Nārada, who is considered the greatest devotee in the universe. Thus he is the representation of Kṛṣṇa as a devotee. The Gandharva planet is ﬁlled with entities who sing beautifully, and among them the best singer is Citraratha. Amongst the perfect living entities, Kapila, the son of Devahūti, is a representative of Kṛṣṇa. He is considered an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, and His philosophy is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Later on another Kapila became famous, but his philosophy was atheistic. Thus there is a gulf of difference between them.
viddhi mām amṛtodbhavam
narāṇāṁ ca narādhipam
The devotee demigods and the demons (asuras) once took part in churning the sea. From this churning, nectar and poison were produced, and Lord Śiva drank the poison. From the nectar were produced many entities, of which there was a horse named Uccaiḥśravā. Another animal produced from the nectar was an elephant named Airāvata. Because these two animals were produced from nectar, they have special signiﬁcance, and they are representatives of Kṛṣṇa.
Amongst the human beings, the king is the representative of Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is the maintainer of the universe, and the kings, who are appointed on account of their godly qualiﬁcations, are maintainers of their kingdoms. Kings like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Mahārāja Parīkṣit and Lord Rāma were all highly righteous kings who always thought of the citizens’ welfare. In Vedic literature, the king is considered to be the representative of God. In this age, however, with the corruption of the principles of religion, monarchy decayed and is now ﬁnally abolished. It is to be understood that in the past, however, people were more happy under righteous kings.
dhenūnām asmi kāma-dhuk
prajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥ
sarpāṇām asmi vāsukiḥ
The thunderbolt, indeed a mighty weapon, represents Kṛṣṇa’s power. In Kṛṣṇaloka in the spiritual sky there are cows which can be milked at any time, and they give as much milk as one likes. Of course such cows do not exist in this material world, but there is mention of them in Kṛṣṇaloka. The Lord keeps many such cows, which are called surabhi. It is stated that the Lord is engaged in herding the surabhi cows. Kandarpa is the sex desire for presenting good sons; therefore Kandarpa is the representative of Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes sex is engaged in only for sense gratiﬁcation; such sex does not represent Kṛṣṇa. But sex for the generation of good children is called Kandarpa and represents Kṛṣṇa.
varuṇo yādasām aham
pitṝṇām aryamā cāsmi
yamaḥ saṁyamatām aham
Among the many-hooded Nāga serpents, Ananta is the greatest, as is the demigod Varuṇa among the aquatics. They both represent Kṛṣṇa. There is also a planet of Pitās, ancestors, presided over by Aryamā, who represents Kṛṣṇa. There are many living entities who give punishment to the miscreants, and among them Yama is the chief. Yama is situated in a planet near this earthly planet. After death those who are very sinful are taken there, and Yama arranges different kinds of punishments for them.
kālaḥ kalayatām aham
mṛgāṇāṁ ca mṛgendro ’haṁ
vainateyaś ca pakṣiṇām
Diti and Aditi are two sisters. The sons of Aditi are called Ādityas, and the sons of Diti are called Daityas. All the Ādityas are devotees of the Lord, and all the Daityas are atheistic. Although Prahlāda was born in the family of the Daityas, he was a great devotee from his childhood. Because of his devotional service and godly nature, he is considered to be a representative of Kṛṣṇa.
There are many subduing principles, but time wears down all things in the material universe and so represents Kṛṣṇa. Of the many animals, the lion is the most powerful and ferocious, and of the million varieties of birds, Garuḍa, the bearer of Lord Viṣṇu, is the greatest.
rāmaḥ śastra-bhṛtām aham
jhaṣāṇāṁ makaraś cāsmi
srotasām asmi jāhnavī
Of all the aquatics the shark is one of the biggest and is certainly the most dangerous to man. Thus the shark represents Kṛṣṇa.
madhyaṁ caivāham arjuna
vādaḥ pravadatām aham
Among the created manifestations, the ﬁrst is the creation of the total material elements. As explained before, the cosmic manifestation is created and conducted by Mahā-viṣṇu, Garbhodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu, and then again it is annihilated by Lord Śiva. Brahmā is a secondary creator. All these agents of creation, maintenance and annihilation are incarnations of the material qualities of the Supreme Lord. Therefore He is the beginning, the middle and the end of all creation.
For advanced education there are various kinds of books of knowledge, such as the four Vedas, their six supplements, the Vedānta-sūtra, books of logic, books of religiosity and the Purāṇas. So all together there are fourteen divisions of books of education. Of these, the book which presents adhyātma-vidyā, spiritual knowledge – in particular, the Vedānta-sūtra – represents Kṛṣṇa.
Among logicians there are different kinds of argument. Supporting one’s argument with evidence that also supports the opposing side is called jalpa. Merely trying to defeat one’s opponent is called vitaṇḍā. But the actual conclusion is called vāda. This conclusive truth is a representation of Kṛṣṇa.
dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca
aham evākṣayaḥ kālo
A-kāra, the ﬁrst letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, is the beginning of the Vedic literature. Without a-kāra, nothing can be sounded; therefore it is the beginning of sound. In Sanskrit there are also many compound words, of which the dual word, like rāma-kṛṣṇa, is called dvandva. In this compound, the words rāma and kṛṣṇa have the same form, and therefore the compound is called dual.
Among all kinds of killers, time is the ultimate because time kills everything. Time is the representative of Kṛṣṇa because in due course of time there will be a great ﬁre and everything will be annihilated.
Among the living entities who are creators, Brahmā, who has four heads, is the chief. Therefore he is a representative of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa.
udbhavaś ca bhaviṣyatām
kīrtiḥ śrīr vāk ca nārīṇāṁ
smṛtir medhā dhṛtiḥ kṣamā
As soon as a man is born, he dies at every moment. Thus death is devouring every living entity at every moment, but the last stroke is called death itself. That death is Kṛṣṇa. As for future development, all living entities undergo six basic changes. They are born, they grow, they remain for some time, they reproduce, they dwindle, and ﬁnally they vanish. Of these changes, the ﬁrst is deliverance from the womb, and that is Kṛṣṇa. The ﬁrst generation is the beginning of all future activities.
The seven opulences listed – fame, fortune, ﬁne speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience – are considered feminine. If a person possesses all of them or some of them he becomes glorious. If a man is famous as a righteous man, that makes him glorious. Sanskrit is a perfect language and is therefore very glorious. If after studying one can remember a subject matter, he is gifted with a good memory, or smṛti. And the ability not only to read many books on different subject matters but to understand them and apply them when necessary is intelligence (medhā), another opulence. The ability to overcome unsteadiness is called ﬁrmness or steadfastness (dhṛti). And when one is fully qualiﬁed yet is humble and gentle, and when one is able to keep his balance both in sorrow and in the ecstasy of joy, he has the opulence called patience (kṣamā).
gāyatrī chandasām aham
māsānāṁ mārga-śīrṣo ’ham
It has already been explained by the Lord that amongst all the Vedas, He is the Sāma Veda. The Sāma Veda is rich with beautiful songs played by the various demigods. One of these songs is the Bṛhat-sāma, which has an exquisite melody and is sung at midnight.
In Sanskrit, there are deﬁnite rules that regulate poetry; rhyme and meter are not written whimsically, as in much modern poetry. Amongst the regulated poetry, the Gāyatrī mantra, which is chanted by the duly qualiﬁed brāhmaṇas, is the most prominent. The Gāyatrī mantra is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Because the Gāyatrī mantra is especially meant for God realization, it represents the Supreme Lord. This mantra is meant for spiritually advanced people, and when one attains success in chanting it, he can enter into the transcendental position of the Lord. One must ﬁrst acquire the qualities of the perfectly situated person, the qualities of goodness according to the laws of material nature, in order to chant the Gāyatrī mantra. The Gāyatrī mantra is very important in Vedic civilization and is considered to be the sound incarnation of Brahman. Brahmā is its initiator, and it is passed down from him in disciplic succession.
The month of November-December is considered the best of all months because in India grains are collected from the ﬁelds at this time and the people become very happy. Of course spring is a season universally liked because it is neither too hot nor too cold and the ﬂowers and trees blossom and ﬂourish. In spring there are also many ceremonies commemorating Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes; therefore this is considered to be the most joyful of all seasons, and it is the representative of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa.
tejas tejasvinām aham
jayo ’smi vyavasāyo ’smi
sattvaṁ sattvavatām aham
There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Kṛṣṇa. As the Supreme, Kṛṣṇa can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Kṛṣṇa chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sided – it is all-sided.
Among the victorious, He is victory. He is the splendor of the splendid. Among the enterprising and industrious, He is the most enterprising, the most industrious. Among adventurers He is the most adventurous, and among the strong He is the strongest. When Kṛṣṇa was present on earth, no one could surpass Him in strength. Even in His childhood He lifted Govardhana Hill. No one can surpass Him in cheating, no one can surpass Him in splendor, no one can surpass Him in victory, no one can surpass Him in enterprise, and no one can surpass Him in strength.
munīnām apy ahaṁ vyāsaḥ
kavīnām uśanā kaviḥ
Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Baladeva is Kṛṣṇa’s immediate expansion. Both Lord Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva appeared as sons of Vasudeva, so both of Them may be called Vāsudeva. From another point of view, because Kṛṣṇa never leaves Vṛndāvana, all the forms of Kṛṣṇa that appear elsewhere are His expansions. Vāsudeva is Kṛṣṇa’s immediate expansion, so Vāsudeva is not different from Kṛṣṇa. It is to be understood that the Vāsudeva referred to in this verse of Bhagavad-gītā is Baladeva, or Balarāma, because He is the original source of all incarnations and thus He is the sole source of Vāsudeva. The immediate expansions of the Lord are called svāṁśa (personal expansions), and there are also expansions called vibhinnāṁśa (separated expansions).
Amongst the sons of Pāṇḍu, Arjuna is famous as Dhanañjaya. He is the best of men and therefore represents Kṛṣṇa. Among the munis, or learned men conversant in Vedic knowledge, Vyāsa is the greatest because he explained Vedic knowledge in many different ways for the understanding of the common mass of people in this Age of Kali. And Vyāsa is also known as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa; therefore Vyāsa also represents Kṛṣṇa. Kavis are those who are capable of thinking thoroughly on any subject matter. Among the kavis, Uśanā, Śukrācārya, was the spiritual master of the demons; he was an extremely intelligent and far-seeing politician. Thus Śukrācārya is another representative of the opulence of Kṛṣṇa.
nītir asmi jigīṣatām
maunaṁ caivāsmi guhyānāṁ
jñānaṁ jñānavatām aham
There are many suppressing agents, of which the most important are those that cut down miscreants. When miscreants are punished, the agency of chastisement represents Kṛṣṇa. Among those who are trying to be victorious in some ﬁeld of activity, the most victorious element is morality. Among the conﬁdential activities of hearing, thinking and meditating, silence is most important because by silence one can make progress very quickly. The wise man is he who can discriminate between matter and spirit, between God’s superior and inferior natures. Such knowledge is Kṛṣṇa Himself.
bījaṁ tad aham arjuna
na tad asti vinā yat syān
mayā bhūtaṁ carācaram
Everything has a cause, and that cause or seed of manifestation is Kṛṣṇa. Without Kṛṣṇa’s energy, nothing can exist; therefore He is called omnipotent. Without His potency, neither the movable nor the immovable can exist. Whatever existence is not founded on the energy of Kṛṣṇa is called māyā, “that which is not.”
eṣa tūddeśataḥ prokto
vibhūter vistaro mayā
As stated in the Vedic literature, although the opulences and energies of the Supreme are understood in various ways, there is no limit to such opulences; therefore not all the opulences and energies can be explained. Simply a few examples are being described to Arjuna to pacify his inquisitiveness.
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
Any glorious or beautiful existence should be understood to be but a fragmental manifestation of Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, whether it be in the spiritual or material world. Anything extraordinarily opulent should be considered to represent Kṛṣṇa’s opulence.
kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam
ekāṁśena sthito jagat
The Supreme Lord is represented throughout the entire material universes by His entering into all things as the Supersoul. The Lord here tells Arjuna that there is no point in understanding how things exist in their separate opulence and grandeur. He should know that all things are existing due to Kṛṣṇa’s entering them as Supersoul. From Brahmā, the most gigantic entity, on down to the smallest ant, all are existing because the Lord has entered each and all and is sustaining them.
There is a Mission that regularly propounds that worship of any demigod will lead one to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or the supreme goal. But worship of demigods is thoroughly discouraged herein because even the greatest demigods like Brahmā and Śiva represent only part of the opulence of the Supreme Lord. He is the origin of everyone born, and no one is greater than Him. He is asamaurdhva, which means that no one is superior to Him and that no one is equal to Him. In the Padma Purāṇa it is said that one who considers the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa in the same category with demigods – be they even Brahmā or Śiva – becomes at once an atheist. If, however, one thoroughly studies the different descriptions of the opulences and expansions of Kṛṣṇa’s energy, then one can understand without any doubt the position of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and can ﬁx his mind in the worship of Kṛṣṇa without deviation. The Lord is all-pervading by the expansion of His partial representation, the Supersoul, who enters into everything that is. Pure devotees, therefore, concentrate their minds in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in full devotional service; therefore they are always situated in the transcendental position. Devotional service and worship of Kṛṣṇa are very clearly indicated in this chapter in verses 8 through 11. That is the way of pure devotional service. How one can attain the highest devotional perfection of association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been thoroughly explained in this chapter. Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a great ācārya in disciplic succession from Kṛṣṇa, concludes his commentary on this chapter by saying,
yad-aṁśena dhṛtaṁ viśvaṁ
sa kṛṣṇo daśame ’rcyate
From Lord Kṛṣṇa’s potent energy even the powerful sun gets its power, and by Kṛṣṇa’s partial expansion the whole world is maintained. Therefore Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is worshipable.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Tenth Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of the Opulence of the Absolute.