Hear from Me to know Me: Bhagwat Gita overview chapter 7 (at Cross maidan festival)


Reading from BG as it is, chapter 7. This is an overview of the chapter. Of course, by now you must be knowing why chapter 7 was selected for this festival at Cross Maidan. (someone responds). .. Yes, exactly. Srila Prabhupada had been giving his discourses on chapter 7 in 1971 here in Cross Maidan during morning hours. Srila Prabhupada ki jay. Of course, I missed the morning talks. Morning talks are for more serious students. Anyone could easily come in the evening. But to come in the morning – it takes special efforts – you have to be seriously interested in the subject matter. May be I did not have that much interest at that time in 1971. I was coming in the evening, attending Srila Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna festival right here at Cross Maidan. Unfortunately, I did miss the morning BG lectures.

The seventh chapter onwards, upto chapter 12 is considered bhakti yoga discussion. Yoginam api sarvesam mad gatim..This is how Krishna concluded the sixth chapter of Bhagavad Gita by saying that of all the yogis, the bhakti yogi is the topmost. Shraddhavan bhajate yo mam, same yukta tamah. Yukta tamah means the top most. This way one links with Me. Yoga is linking. The best and complete linking is there when there is bhakti yoga, with devotion. Of course, it is Srila Prabhuapda, who describes or translates bhakti not just as devotion, but devotional service. Lot others are there who say bhakti is devotion. But Prabhupada said bhakti is devotional service. Not just sitting around. That is over. Dhyana yoga is over, getting completed here. now it is time for gyana, meditation as well as action. That is devotional service. Mam anusmar yuddhya cha. Cha means and. You have to do two things. Mam anusmar is one thing. While remembering Me, yuddhya, fight ‘cha’, and . This and that. Not just remembrance and not just fighting, but fight while remembering Me. That is devotional service for kshatriya. So that bhakti yoga is being described here in chapter 7 and some more chapters. The knowledge of the absolute is the title of this chapter 7. Sri Bhagavan uvach..we will just take a look at the different verses. This chapter.. I was just running through the chapter. I could see practically that every verse in this chapter is the most quoted verse. Srila Prabhupada used many of them very frequently.

Verse 7.1 “Sri Bhagavan uvach: Mayy asakta manah partha, yogam yunjan mad-ashrayah, Asamshayam samagram mam, yatha jnasyasi tat chrunu” The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Prutha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.

Please hear. Who says this? Sri Bhagavan uvach. Shrunu.. give attention. the advise here is try to hear. How fortunate is Arjuna. We are hearing this verse of Sri Krishna at Cross Maidan 5000 years later. But there was Arjuna hearing directly from the lotus mouth of the Lord.

Ya svayam padmanabhasya mukha-padmad vinimsruta – “This one book, Bhagavad-gita, will suffice, because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and especially because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Gita-mahatmya 4 – mentioned in BHAGAVAD GITA introduction). It says that the Lord with lotus naval is speaking from His lotus mouth. The words are Padmanabh and mukha-padma. The words are coming out of the lotus mouth of the Lord and the first person to hear those words is Arjuna. He was recipient of this mercy. He said, this is Prasad my dear Lord. He said (BHAGAVAD GITA 18.73) “nashto mohah smrutir labdha tvat prasadan maya Achyuta” – My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am very thank ful for this Prasad. He said I have regained my consciousness by Your mercy alone. The Prasad that Arjuna is referring to is the verse that he heard from the Lord. What we get here in Cross Maidan is what? “Maha-pradad”. Acharyas have heard this in disciplic succession and we hear it from Srila Prabhupada in his BHAGAVAD GITA as it is. Prabhupada writes, “let Krishna speak!”. You have spoken enough, now you shut up. Kindly let Krishna speak. Even those who comment on BHAGAVAD GITA do not let Krishna speak; what to speak of others who are busy doing grama katha or prajalpa. But those who speak of so called bhagavat katha or Krishna katha, even they do not allow Krishna to speak. Hence Prabhupada had to insist to allow Krishna to speak. Let Him speak for Himself.

So that is BHAGAVAD GITA as it is. We have heard it. We are hearing it from Srila Prabhupada as maha-maha-maha-prasad.

So if we allow, as the acharyas allow Krishna to speak, then to know Krishna becomes possible. Krishna as He is could be known if we hear BHAGAVAD GITA as it is. There is no doubt about this.. there was not even a need to speak such a statement because Krishna is speaking. Yet Krishna is saying this so that no one should have any doubt. Krishna was not doubtful; it is for us that He is reassuring.

Sarvam etad hrutam manye, yan mam vadasi Keshav.. (BHAGAVAD GITA 10. 14) – “O Krishna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me”, said Arjuna. Still Krishna says, “asamshayam samgram”. You will know Me by giving Me ear, just hear – right here!!

Verse 7.2 Jnanam te ‘ham sa-vijnanam, idam vakshyamy asheshtah Krishna says, “I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous”. Again Krishna says, asheshtah. As I speak, this knowledge will be complete; there will be no balance. Shesha means remaining. I will talk of gyanam and also sa-vigyana. There will be nothing more to be known. I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know.

Then Krishna says, how everyone is not interested in this knowledge. Everyone doesn’t come to the pandal; everyone is not interested in hearing these topics of religion or God consciousness.

Verse 7.3 “Manushyanam sahasreshu, kaschid yatati siddhaye

Yatatam api siddhanam, kaschin mam vetti tattvatah” Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” How rare is knowing Krishna! Krishna clarifies this here. This knowing Krishna tattvah is of great important. Tat means that. What is that. That is Lord. Tat means the Lord. “Om tat sat”. “tat-va” means complete science about that ‘tat’, complete siddhanta about that ‘tat’.

So that kind of understanding is very important. Then “tyaktva deha puran janma na eti mam eti” (BHAGAVAD GITA 4.9) For that person, there is no birth but he comes to Me. He does not go for another birth but he comes to Me. So how important is this tatva business as is stated here.

Verse 7.4 “bhumir apo nalo vayu, kham mano buddhir eva ca, ahankar itiyam me bhinna prakritir ashtadha” Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—all together these eight constitute My separated material energies. Again this is one of the most often quoted verse. There are five great elements and tgree subtle elements. Grand total is ashta or eight. All these 8 elements constitute My separated external or material energies, Krishna says. Although the scientists have further broken down the five great elements into further more elements. They have reached the number 108. They are not able to go beyond this number. All those elements are there in the universe or “brahmanda” and also in this body called “pinda”. All the five great elements which are out there in the universe are also in the body, but in lesser proportion. However, the three subtle elements – mind, intelligence and false ego are even beyond this list of great elements. That makes the body different from the dead matter.

Yet another element which is of prime importance in the body. Krishna speaks of it in the next verse: Verse 7.5 “apareyam itas tv anyam prakrim viddhi me param, jiva bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat” Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature. The body comprises of the eight elements, as above, which are called as ‘matter’. Yet there is another ‘superior’ energy of Krishna which is the living entity and is present in the body.

Some scientists are coming slightly close to this conclusion. Srila Prabhupada mentions about Russian scientists in his book “easy journey to other planets”. The scientists are thinking that if there is matter; then there must be “anti-matter” also. Then it should be complete. This “anti-matter” or anti-material is the spirit soul. In the previous verse, Krishna spoke of matter or material energy. In the verse 7.5 He spoke of ‘param’ or His superior energy which is basically anti material. That is the living entity present in the body.

In the next verse, Krishna says, besides these superior and inferior energies, I am also there in the body. Verse 7.6 “etad yonini bhutani sarvaneeti upadharaya, aham kritsnasya jagatah prabhavah pralayas tatha” All created beings have their source in these two natures. Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both the origin and the dissolution. This ‘aham’ is referring to Krishna. There is no pride in Krishna when He says ‘aham’. He is just explaining the truth. What else He could have said? Krishna says, all created beings have two natures – one is material and other is spiritual. And I am both the origin and dissolution of all that is created. Thus, Krishna is all in all.

Verse 7.7 “mattah parataram nanyat kinchit asti dhananjaya, mayi sarvam idam protam sutre manigana iva” O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.

This is Prabhupada’s favorite verse. He always emphasized that Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead. How many times has he said this? How many times has he written this? Wherever he mentions the word “Krishna”; he always puts a comma and writes the subsequent words “the supreme personality of Godhead”. He is never tired of saying or writing it. This is Srila Prabhupada. This is his contribution. With full realization and conviction, Srila Prabhupada repeats the message of Krishna.

Prabhupada used to ask child Saraswati, “who is Krishna?” Saraswati was just a few years old daughter of Malati and Syamasundar prabhus and she used to sit on the dais in Hare Krishna programs in 1971. So Prabhupada used to ask her this question, who is Krishna. And she used to immediately reply, “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead” to Prabhupada’s full satisfaction.

That is what this verse says, “mattah na andyad kinchit asti” – there is nothing more superior that Me, not even a little bit. Krishna is described as “asamordhvam” (Bhag. 10.44.14) meaning “not paralleled or surpassed”. No one is equal to Him or above Him. He is the one.

Everything rests upon Me as pearls are strung on a thread. Likewise same Krishna through each and every atom. Not just brahmada. This is the realization of Lord Brahma in Brahma Samhita. “Andantarastham paramanu cayantarastham” I am not only in the universes as Garbhodakashayi Vishnu but also in each smallest unit of the universe called molecule or atom (paramanu). In that sense, He is all pervading. Atoms are everywhere and He is in each and every atom.

Nowadays, the scientists are searching for new atoms – protons and neutrons. As they progress more and more, they wish they could produce a microscope to look at all the atoms. Of course that microscope is in fact Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. See through the eyes of the scriptures and you will see in that tiny atom the Lord is residing there.

Verse 7.8 “Raso ‘ham apsu kauteya, prabhasmi shashi suryayoh, pranavah sarva vedeshu shabdah khe paurusham nrushu” O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable Om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man. Now the Lord is giving some examples from different ‘pearls’ found here and there within the universe. He begins with “raso aham apsu”. He says He is the taste. I am the taste in the water. Every time Srila Prabhupada would pick up his water cup and drink water, he used to remember – oh! This is Krishna! Is it difficult to remember Krishna this way?

Prabhasmi .. Krishna says that I am the light of the sun and the moon. Every time you see the sun rise or the moon, think of Krishna. But without the light of the sun you cannot see. What is the power of our seeing if we have eyes but no light? That light is Krishna. Only with the help of Krishna you could see. If He does not want you to see, you cannot see. Do you not see how controlled we are? Srila Prabhupada further explains that the light of the sun and the moon are not independent. The light is actually coming from Krishna’s brahma jyoti in the spiritual sky. The sun is only acting as a mirror to reflect that real light of Krishna. When I was a child in the village, I remember we used to take the mirror outside during the day and then we used to throw the reflection of the light inside the house, right into the eyes of my mother. She used to shout as she could not see. Has anyone played these kind of tricks? Oh, so many. Just like this example of a child throwing the reflected light into the house, the original “Krishna – kanti”, the brahma jyoti is reflected into the material world with the help of the mirrors of the sun and the moon.

Pranavah sarva vedeshu is the OM sound. There are many pranavah sounds like Om, Aim, Clim. Of all these, Krishna says, I am the OM sound. Shabda khe. Kham means ether. The sound in ether is Krishna. Paurusham nrushu.. the ability in man or woman is Krishna. Anyone who is capable.. that capability is due to Krishna. Krishna is pointing out here how He is the common thread that goes through the whole creation.

Verse 7.9 punyo gandhah prithivyam cha, tejas casmi vibhavasau, jivanam sarva-bhuteshu tapas chasmi tapasvishu I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics. When we have obnoxious unpleasant smell, that is not Krishna. Once while looking at a patch of blooming flowers, Prabhupada said it was like the face of Krishna! When a devotee sees a beautiful flower, he thinks that let me offer this to Krishna. Another person would think that let me offer this to my girlfriend or boyfriend. So the consciousness is different where one is trying to abuse and exploit the energy of the Lord who is present there in the flower.

Verse 7.10 bijam mam sarva-bhutanam, vidhhi partha sanatanam, bhddhir buddhimatam asmi tejas tejasvinam ahm O son of Prutha, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men. If someone is intelligent , Krishna says that intelligence is Me.

Verse 7.11 balam balavatam chaham, kama-raga-vivarjitam, dharmavirddho bhuteshu kamo smi bharatarshabha I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]. That lust which is not contrary to dharma or which is within the parameter of dharma, is Me, Krishna says.

In this way, Krishna continues to mention how He is everything as the common factor in every existence. Verse 7.14 “daivi hyeshya guna mayi mama maya duratyaya, mameva ye prapadhyante mayam etam taranti te”. This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it. Krishna says that all of this creation in which I am pervading is full of gunas – the three modes of material nature. This is My maya. Hence this has to be duratyaya.. very difficult to overcome, very powerful. Why?.. because whose maya is it? It is Krishna’s maya. So it has to be powerful; otherwise what kind of maya it would be if it is not strong? If it was my maya or your maya, it would not be so strong. But if it Krishna’s maya, then it is very difficult to overcome. Krishna is not scaring us, just informing us. He says, if you want to go ahead on your own, then go ahead and try it, try it. But you will not succeed in overcoming this maya. This is where I come into the picture. He calls us, hear me, I am here, come near O dear! Krishna says, if you surrender unto Me, then for sure very easily you could overcome because My maya is under My control. I can order her to go away at any time. Just like the owner of the dog can order the dog to go away as his friend wants to come in; the Lord also orders His own energy.

After suggesting us to surrender to Him, Krishna mentions that there are some people who would not like to surrender. Verse 7.15 na mam dushkritino mudhah prapadhyante naradhamah, mayaya apahrtia gyana asurim bhavam ashritah Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.

Prabhupada always used these words – fools and demons and rascals and cats and dogs. He would say all these words during his lectures. I had just started listening to him that time in Mumbai and I thought, could he not use some better words? People used to come all the way from downtown to Juhu to listen to him – big rich people wearing coat-and-tie; with their wives sitting next to them with heavy jewelry. And Prabhupada used to address them – fools and demons, rascals, cats and dogs and on and on!! I was just a new bhakta and I thought, “What?! Such nice people with wives and family members coming from so far away just to listen that they were fools and rascals and cats and dogs? I had hard time digesting it for some time, but soon or rather gradually I realized that Prabhupada was presenting Bhagavad Gita “as it is”. These terms are right there in Bhagavad Gita which other speakers or commentators camouflage or modified as if sugaring of the pill. But Prabhupada presented it “as it is”. Straightforward.

Coming back to the verse, these are four kinds of people who do not surrender unto the Lord – grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion and atheistic. They are not Indians or Hindus only but people from all over the world who fit in these four categories – they do not surrender unto the Lord.

Verse 7.16 Now Krishna mentions the four kinds of people who do surrender to Him. These two verses are next to each other for our easy remembrance. So the verse is “chatur vidha bhajante mam janah sukrutino ‘Arjuna, arto jigyasu artharthi gyani cha bharatarshabha” O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute. They are described as ‘sukrutina’. Kruta means activity. Duskrutina are those who do not surrender unto God and sukrutina do surrender. Those who are great distress, or curious or in need of money or those with some knowledge – these four surrender unto Me.

Verse 19 “bahunam janmanam ante gyanavan mam prapadyate, vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah” After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare. Some people do take some extra time to surrender. They are referred to as ‘gyanavan’. Earlier Krishna said that the ‘sukrutino’ or the pious souls surrender unto Me. Here Krishna says those who are gyanavan (with some knowledge) surrender unto Me after many many births. What is that knowledge? “Vasudeva sarvam”. If someone asks us what is knowledge? Here is the answer by Krishna : Vasudevah sarvam iti. Iti means this much. One needs to know only this much: Vasudevah sarvam – Vasudeva is all in all. One who knows this much is described as ‘gyanavan’, in full knowledge. With full knowledge, what does he do? Mam prapadyate – he surrenders unto Me, Krishna says. How many such gyanavan people surrender? “sa mahatma sudurlabha”. Very very rarely a person surrenders unto Me in full knowledge.

Having spoken about persons surrendering unto Him, Krishna says now that some people do surrender – but not unto Me, but to someone else. Verse 7.20 “kamais tai stair hruta-gyanah, prapadyante anya devatah, tam tam niyamam asthaya prakritya niyatah svaya” Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures. Krishna speaks of those who are afflicted or influenced by kama or lust and hence are deprived of the knowledge. Knowledge is confiscated from them due to lust. The lust is stealing the knowledge from them. They have intense desires and they do surrender to some other devatas – other than Myself. Those who are in full of knowledge – gyanavan – they come to Me; but those whose knowledge is stolen – they go to some other personalities – other demigods or demigoddesses.

Verse 7.23: “antavat tu phalam tesham tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam, devan deva-yajo yanti mad-bhakta yanti mama pi” Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.

That is fine, Krishna says. We cannot stop them from going to other demigods, but then they should know that the fruit or benefit that they will be deriving by going to other demigods will be ending soon – not lasting very long. They are alpa-medhasam. That is how the Lord is describing them – the demigod worshippers are less intelligent. They go to the demigods and those who are My devotees, they only come to Me. The Lord is making a distinction here.

And now the case of mayavadis – impersonalists. Krishna spoke about the materialists, those who do not surrender unto Me or who surrender to other demigods and now He speaks of the impersonalists.

Verse 7.24 “avyaktam vyaktim apannam manyante mam abuddhayah, param bhavam ajananto mamavyayam anuttamam. Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme.

The impersonalists who are also described as unintelligent. What is their philosophy? They think the Lord is ultimately avyakta – impersonal – He is just the light, all pervading. But occasionally He becomes vyakta – assumes a form. Manyante – they consider. About Me they think like this and hence they are unintelligent and do not know My superior nature which is inexhaustible and finest.

Verse 7.25 “naham prakashah sarvasya yoga maya samavritah, mudhoyam nabhijanati loko mama jam avyayam” I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible. The Lord is making a comment – I do not become known to everyone. They all are being covered by My yogamaya. They do not know that I am unborn and infallible.

Verse 7.26 “vedaham samatitani vartamanani charjuna, bhavishyani ca bhutani mam tu veda na kaschana” O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.

Krishna says I know Vedas. Not only Vedas, but everything else that is to be known, is known to Me. All the things from the past I know. Everything that is happening right now, right here I know and I know the future of everything and everyone. But .. tu means but.. Krishna says something contrary.. while I am like this.. even though I know past, present, and future of everything and everything.. mam tu veda na kaschana..but Me no one know. In the beginning of the chapter Krishna said “srunu”. You better hear from Me Arjuna.. jnasyasi.. you will know by hearing from Me. At the end He says, no one knows Me. So knowing Krishna becomes possible by srunu – by hearing. Hence Krishna is speaking, so that we can know.

Verse 7.28 “yesham tv anta-gatam papm jananam punya karmanam, te dvandva moha nirmuka bhajante mam dridha vratah” Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.

Devotional service is getting established here. If you hear Me, then you would know Me. If you know Me, then you would serve Me. That is the sequence. They will go for worshipping Me. How will they worship? Dridha vratah – equipped with knowledge, they will worship Me, having become free from dualities of this existence and illusion. Their sins will be finished by hearing from Me. Those pious person, who listen to Me, will worship Me.

Verse 7.30 “sadhibhuta adhidaivam mam sadhijaynam cha ye viduh, prayan kale api cha mam te vidur yukta-chetasah” Those in full consciousness of Me, who know Me, the Supreme Lord, to be the governing principle of the material manifestation, of the demigods, and of all methods of sacrifice, can understand and know Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even at the time of death.

They will keep knowing and remembering Me, even at the time of death. That is the perfection – that we remember the Lord at the time of death. This chapter was knowing about the ‘Supreme’ and the next chapter would be attaining the ‘Supreme’. You know and you achieve.. any questions or comments?

Q from Tattvavit prabhu, editor of BTG and BBT: Maharaja, you quoted the verse in which Krishna says that He knows the future. Many people want to know future, so they go to astrologers to know future. Is that equivalent to trying to find Krishna?

A: if you chant Hare Krishna, you need not go the astrologer. Those who chant Hare Krishna.. their lives are changing. What your astrologer is going to tell you is action and reaction. If you perform this action, you will get this reaction. The astrologer has a way to calculate or know your past and your activities. He asks questions about your actions. Then there are governing effects of so many different planets on your life. So if nothing much changes and if you remain mundane, then based on these factors, he predicts your future. It depends upon your past, present, influences of various planets etc. But as soon as you chant Hare Krishna, surrendering unto Krishna.. Krishna says .. aham tvam sarva papebhyo mokshayishyami.. everything changes! I will make you free from all the reactions of previous life, and you will come to Me. The astrologer could talk about your next birth based on the previous birth. But if you surrender unto Krishna then there is no more birth. Astrologer has no way to talk beyond this creation or universe. They cannot talk about that future, but the scriptures could tell – not only that the scriptures will tell that you will go back to Godhead, but they will also tell which flight you will take, where you will land, what party will receive you, what will be your mellow.. how you will enter the nitya lila, the scriptures can see inside you, within these eight elements, within these gross and subtle elements they can see the soul. The astrologer could predict the body’s future and about mind, intelligence and false ego. But as soon as you surrender to Krishna, it is another jurisdiction, another knowledge of the future.

Q: raso aham apsu .. how about the taste of wine? Is Krishna there?

A: yes, taste is essentially the characteristic of water. Prabhupada said even if a person drinks wine, and thinks that Krishna is there in the taste, he could become Krishna conscious.

Hare Krishna!


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