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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Shrimad Bhagavad Gita > Gita By Acharyas > Gita 18 Moksha Yoga

Ch 18. Moksha Yoga

The Yoga of Liberation

This chapter explains the essence of the entire Gita. First Shri Krishna is identified as the highest bhagavat-tattva, and then the most confidential instruction is given. It is explained that one can attain rasamayi seva to Him in His supreme dhama by following the sequence of:

i) surrendering unto him

ii) practising the nine limbs of bhakti (navadha bhakti), and

iii) accepting the shelter of bhava-bhakti.

The Glories of Chapter Eighteen (Mahatmya)

Parvati said ďMy dear husband, you have told me the glories of the Seventeenth Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, now kindly relate the glories of the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita.

Lord Siva said; ďOh daughter of the Himalayas (Parvati), please listen to the glories of the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which is higher than the Vedas and the giver of unlimited bliss. When it enters into oneís ears it destroys all material desires. For the pure devotee, it is divine nectar, it is Lord Vishnuís very life and it is a solace to the hearts of Lord Indra and the demigods as well as the great yogis headed by Sanak and Sananda.

One who recites it sends the messengers of Yamaraja far away. There is no other recitation, which can so quickly destroy all sin and free one from the threefold miseries of this world. Now listen with great devotion.

On the topmost peak of Mount Meru is Amaravati, which was built by Visvakarma. In that heavenly kingdom, Lord Indra along with his wife Saci is served by the demigods. One day while Lord Indra was sitting peacefully, he saw that one very beautiful person had arrived there, whom the servants of Lord Vishnu were serving. When. Lord Indra saw that beautiful young person; he immediately fell from his throne unto the ground. At that time those demigod who had been worshipping Indra picked up the crown that he was wearing and placed it on the head of that new beautiful person. After that, all the demigods and other denizens of the heavenly planets started to perform artik and sing wonderful songs to that new King Indra. The great rishis came there and offered their blessings and chanted Vedic mantras and the Gandharvas and Apsaras started to sing and dance joyfully. In this way, the new Indra, who had not performed the usual one hundred horse sacrifices, started to enjoy hundreds of different types of services rendered by the demigods and other denizens of the heavenly planets. When the old Indra saw this he became very surprised.

He started to think to himself, ďThis person here has never built wells or dug kunds or planted trees for the welfare of others, and when there were droughts, he did not provide grains in charity. He never performed any fire-sacrifices or great charities in the holy places. So how has he managed to attain my seat?Ē The old Indra, feeling greatly disturbed in his mind, left to the ocean of milk to pray to Lord Vishnu. When he managed to obtain darshan of Lord Vishnu, he asked Him ďMy dear Lord Vishnu, in the past I performed many sacrifices and other pious activities, for which I was installed as the Lord of heaven. But at this time another person has come there and taken my place as the king of heaven. This person in his life never performed any great, wonderful pious activities, nor had he performed any great Vedic sacrifices. So, how is it possible that he has managed to obtain my throne?Ē

At that time Lord Vishnu said, ďMy dear Indra, That great soul has performed the recitation daily of the Eighteenth Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita. Everyday during his life, he recited five slokas from this Chapter, and because of that activity he has attained the results of all sorts of pious activities and yajnas and after enjoying for many years as the king of heaven, he will attain My personal abode. If you perform the same activity of reciting the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, you can also attain My divine abode.Ē

After hearing Lord Vishnuís words, Lord Indra took the form of a brahmana and went to the bank of the Godavari River, where he saw the town of Kalegrani, which is very sacred. At that place, the Supreme Lord in His form known as Kalesva, resides. Close to this town, on the bank of the Godavari river, one very pure brahmana was sitting, who was very merciful and had understood the topmost goal and secret of the Vedic literatures. Daily he would sit at that spot and recite slokas of the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita. When Lord Indra saw him he became very happy. He immediately fell at his lotus-feet and requested him to teach him the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita. After Lord Indra had practiced the recitation, of the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita for sometime he managed to attain the topmost place of Vishnuloka. When he attained that place, he realized that the pleasure he had enjoyed as King Indra, along with the demigods, was nothing in comparison.

My dear Parvati, for this reason, the great sages, especially chant this Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita and by so doing very quickly attain the lotus-feet of Lord Vishnu.

Anyone who hears or studies this Gita Mahatmya very quickly destroys all sins, which he has accumulated. And that person, who remembers this discourse with great faith attains the results of all kinds of pious activities and great sacrifices, and after enjoying all worldly opulences, attains the abode of Lord Vishnu.

Thus ends the glories of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita as spoken by Lord Siva to his wife Parvati Devi.


arjuna uvaca
sannyasasya maha-baho / tattvam icchami veditum
tyagasya ca hrishikesha / prithak keshi-nishudana

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arjuna uvaca---Arjuna said; maha-baho---O mighty-armed; hrishikesha---O Master of the senses; keshi-nishudana---O slayer of the asura Keshi; icchami---I desire; veditum---to know; tattvam---the truth; prithak---distinctly; sannyasasya---of the renounced order; ca---and; tyagasya---of renunciation.

Arjuna said: O Maha-baho, O Hrishikesha, O Keshini shudana, I wish to know the true nature of both sannyasa and tyaga, and the distinction between the two.


This chapter describes the following subjects: the three types of sannyasa, jnana and karma, the conclusive understanding of mukti, and the most confidential essence of bhakti.

In the previous chapter, Shri Bhagavan said, "After becoming free from all material desires, those who seek moksha perform various types of yajna, give in charity and engage in penances while uttering the word tat. (Gita 17.25). Shri Bhagavan uses the word moksha-kankshi (a seeker of moksha) in this statement to indicate the sannyasi only. But, if this word refers to someone other than the sannyasi, then who is that person? Shri Bhagavan says in Gita (12.11): sarvakarma- phala-tyagam tatah kuru yatatmavan. "Being situated in the self, you should engage in your prescribed duties, renouncing the fruits of action." Arjuna is now inquiring, "The words sarva-karma-phala-tyagam (in Gita 12.11), refer to tyaga (renunciation). I wish to know about the symptoms of a tyagi (renunciant). I also want to know about the symptoms of sannyasa (the renounced order of life) that are found in sannyasis (those who have formally taken the renounced order)." Arjuna is inquisitive and intelligent, and he spoke this shloka beginning with sannyasasya in order to understand these topics clearly. Arjuna has used the word prithak to mean, "If sannyasa and tyaga have different meanings, then I wish to know their true separate natures. Even if they have the same meaning in Your opinion, or in the opinion of others, I still wish to understand the difference between the two. O Hrishikesha, You alone are the prompter of my intelligence, therefore, this doubt has arisen only by Your inspiration. O Keshi-nishudana, killer of the asura Keshi! Kindly destroy this doubt of mine in the same way that You killed the asura Keshi. O Maha-baho! You are supremely powerful, whereas I have a minute amount of power. I have a friendly relationship with You because we have some similar qualities, but my qualities cannot equal Your qualities, such as omniscience. I am only able to ask You this question without hesitation because You have bestowed upon me a little of Your sakhya-bhava."


In some parts of the Gita, Bhagavan Shri Krishna has given instructions pertaining to karma-sannyasa (the renunciation of activities), and in other parts He has instructed Arjuna not to completely abandon karma (action), but to renounce the desire for the fruits of all types of karma. From a superficial perspective, there seems to be a contradiction between these two instructions. Arjuna wants Krishna to remove the doubts of people whose intelligence is mundane, so he is asking these questions about the real meaning of tyaga and sannyasa, about the difference between them, and about their unique characteristics. The names Keshini shudana, Hrishikesha and Maha-baho used by Arjuna in this shloka have specific meanings. Krishna killed an asura called Keshi who had a furious asurika nature; therefore, He is called Maha-baho, supremely powerful. For this reason, Arjuna says, "O Shri Bhagavan, You are fully capable of annihilating the asura of my doubts. This doubt has arisen in my heart only by Your inspiration because You, Hrishikesha, are the prompter and master of all my senses. Only You can completely remove all my doubts and illuminate atmatattva, bhagavat-tattva and bhakti-tattva within my heart."

This is the hidden meaning behind these three terms of address. If, like Arjuna, a person surrenders to Bhagavan and prays to Him for transcendental knowledge (prema-bhakti), then Shri Bhagavan will surely fulfil his desire.


shri bhagavan uvaca
kamyanam karmanam nyasam / sannyasam kavayo viduh
sarva-karma-phala-tyagam / prahus tyagam vicakshanah

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shri bhagavan----the all-opulent Supreme Person; uvaca---said; vicakshanah---perceptive; kavayah---sages; viduh---understand; nyasam---the renunciation; kamyanam---of fruitive; karmanam---activities; sannyasam---as sannyasa; (and) tyagam--- the renunciation; sarva-karma-phala---of the fruit of all activities; prahuh---they declare; (to be) tyagam---renunciation.

Shri Bhagavan said: According to expert panditas, complete renunciation of kamya-karma (fruitive activities) is called sannyasa, whereas the renunciation of the results of all activities is called tyaga.


This explanation is based on the opinion presented by Shri Bhagavan to Arjuna in previous chapters. He begins by explaining the different meanings of the two words sannyasa and tyaga in this shloka beginning with kamyanam. The term sannyasa applies to one who completely gives up all kamyakarma, such as performing a yajna to fulfil the desire of having a son or attaining Svarga, but who does not give up nityakarma (obligatory activities), such as sandhya-upasana (remembering gayatri mantras, etc.). The term tyaga applies to one who dutifully performs all kamya-karma (fruitive activities) and nitya-karma (obligatory activities) while renouncing the fruits of these activities, but who does not abandon the activities themselves. The results of performing nityakarma are expounded throughout the shrutis. For example, it is stated therein that one attains pitri-loka (the planet of the forefathers) by performing prescribed karma, and one becomes free from sins by performing particular dharmika activities. Therefore, tyaga means to perform all activities without desiring the fruits. The word sannyasa refers to one who performs all nitya-karma without desiring the results and gives up kamya-karma altogether. This is the difference between these two terms.


Shri Bhagavan gives the opinion of the tattva-vit maha- purushas on the above subject matter. Sannyasa refers to one who does not abandon nitya-karma (obligatory duties) or naimittika-karma (occasional dharmika duties incurred by specific circumstances), but who completely gives up sakamakarma. And tyaga is performed when one does not abandon sakama-karma and nitya-naimittika-karma, but gives up their fruits. Various places in shastra describe both these understandings. This chapter reveals the opinion of Shri Bhagavan and His tattva-vit bhaktas regarding this subject. One will only be able to perfectly reconcile these concepts after properly understanding their opinion.

In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Krishna instructs Uddhava, who is the instrument for His teachings. He describes the three types of yoga, namely karma, jnana and bhakti, according to the eligibility (adhikara) of different individuals. He instructs karma-yoga for those who are attached to karma and its results, and He instructs jnana-yoga for those who have completely renounced the results of karma. But He gives instructions on bhakti-yoga for those moderate persons who are not overly attached to the results of karma, nor are they dry renunciants.

Generally, in the initial stage of yoga practice, a baddhaj iva only has sufficient adhikara to perform karma. Shri Bhagavan then gives instructions about giving up the results of karma (tyaga) and about the renunciation of karma (sannyasa), in order to bestow upon him the adhikara to enter into the path of jnana. In the early stages, while practising to completely give up sakama-karma, he should renounce the fruits of nitya and naimittika-karma. A person's heart is purified after performing this practice for some time and he becomes situated on the higher platform of jnana. His adhikara to only perform karma ceases at this stage. In other words, he rises above karma. In that state, it is possible for him to give up all karma completely. According to the statement, jnanam ca mayi sannyaset (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.19.1), even jnana should be renounced upon achieving perfection in it. When they attain perfection in these practices, the karmis have to renounce karma and the jnanis have to renounce jnana. The sadhakas of bhakti however, do not need to renounce bhakti upon attaining perfection in it. Rather, it is then that they start to execute bhakti in its purest, most developed manner. Therefore, Bhagavan Shri Krishna Himself has made the following statements: tavat karmani kurvita, "As long as one has not satiated his fruitive desires, or awakened his taste for bhajana, one has to follow the Vedic injunctions " (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.20.9), jnana-nishtho virakto va, "The conduct of those dedicated to cultivating transcendental jnana, as well as My liberated bhaktas, is beyond the range of rules and regulations. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.18.28); yas tv atma-ratir eva syad, "A person who delights in the self, however, who remains contented and satisfied in the self, has no duties to perform. (Gita 3.17), and: sarva-dharman parityajya, "Completely abandoning all bodily and mental dharma, such as varna and ashrama, take exclusive shelter of Me alone. (Gita 18.66)" The Yoga-vashishtha also states: na karmani tyajeta yogi karmabhist yajyate hy asav iti. "A yogi should not give up karma because the karma itself will renounce the yogi when he has attained an elevated level."

Generally, shastra does not instruct baddha-jivas to give up karma; rather, it suggests that they give up kamya-karma or the results of karma. This is because generally the jiva in his bound state is very much attached to performing sakamakarma. If he is instructed to give up karma completely in the beginning stage of his practice, he will not be able to do it. Therefore, such instructions are given to gradually bring the jiva to a higher platform.

The heart becomes purified by following this gradual process in which one initially practises renouncing the fruits of karma. It is only possible to give up karma completely when one achieves atma-rati (the happiness of the self). For this reason, Bhagavan gives the instruction: na buddhi-bhedam janayet (Gita 3.26). "One should not instruct less intelligent people, who are attached to karma, to give it up. Due to their immature intelligence, they will become confused and deviate from the spiritual path." But it should be noted that only a person who develops the adhikara to engage in kevala-bhakti can give up all karma---nitya, naimittika and kamya. The shloka, sarva-dharman parityajya, is spoken at the end of this chapter for this reason only. In his commentary on this shloka, Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes, "When a person acquires the qualification to perform ananya-bhakti, there is no possibility of sin or fault if he does not perform any nitya-karma. This is the result of his good fortune which has come about through the mercy of the great saints. However, in that state, if he continues to engage in nitya and naimittika-karma, he incurs sin because he is not following My instruction. In other words, the performance of nityanaimittika- karma is unfavourable to the execution of kevalabhakti. " Here, nitya-karma refers to daily obligatory activities such as the worship of various devas and devis, as described in the karma-marga section of the Vedas. Naimittika-karma means occasional religious activities such as the worship of the forefathers and devas in the shraddha ceremony. A person enters into the realm of ananya-bhakti to Shri Krishna only when one completely abandons these activities. By studying Satkriy a-sara-dipika, by Shrimad Gopala BhatŲa Gosvami, the great Gaudiya Vaishnava acarya and protector of Gaudiya Vaishnava conceptions, we can understand that there are no injunctions in any authoritative shastra for the aikantikabhaktas of Shri Krishna to worship the forefathers and devas, regardless of which varna or ashrama these bhaktas belong to. Rather, if the ananya-bhaktas of Shri Krishna engage in the worship of the forefathers or devas, it becomes sevaparadha and namaparadha. Shrimad Gopala BhaŲŲa Gosvami uses evidence from shastra to prove that, when Krishna is pleased by a person's ananya-bhakti, that bhakta does not incur any sinful reaction, even if he gives up all other karma. Such aikantika-bhaktas attain an auspicious position, whether they are situated in this universe or beyond it.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Shri Krishna as saying, "Sannyasa means to give up all kamya-karma completely and perform nitya and naimittika-karma without desiring the fruits. Tyaga means to give up the fruits of all types of karma---nitya, naimittika and kamya-karma. Learned people explain this to be the difference between sannyasa and tyaga."


tyajyam dosha-vad ity eke / karma prahur manishinah
yajna-dana-tapah-karma / na tyajyam iti capare

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eke---some; manishinah---thinkers; prahuh---say; iti---that; karma--- action; (is) doshavat---filled with faults; (and) tyajyam---should be renounced; ca---and; apare---others (say); iti---that; yajnad ana-tapah-karma---sacrifice, charity, austerity and action; na tyajyam---should not be given up.

Some thinkers, such as the sankhya-vadis, propound that, since every action is faulty, action should be relinquished. Others, like the mimamsakas, hold the opinion that acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity should never be given up.


Shri Bhagavan is again discussing the different opinions regarding tyaga in this shloka beginning with the word tyajyam. Some sankhya-vadis have the opinion that karma should be completely given up because it possesses faults, such as violence. Others, like the mimamsakas, say that activities such as yajna are not to be relinquished, because they are prescribed in shastra.


nishcayam shrinu me tatra / tyage bharata-sattama

tyago hi purusha-vyaghra / tri-vidhah samprakirttitah

bharata-sattama.O best of Bharata.s line; shrinu.hear; me.from Me; nishcayam.positively; tatra.on this point; tyage.concerning renunciation; purusha-vyaghra.O foremost among men; tyagah.renunciation; (is) hi.indeed; samprakirttitah.declared (to be); tri-vidhah.of three kinds.

O best of the Bharatas, hear My definite opinion

about tyaga. O foremost among men, tyaga is said to

be of three kinds.




Now Shri Bhagavan is stating His opinion in this shloka beginning with the word nishcayam. Tyaga is of three kinds: sattvika, rajasika and tamasika. Shri Bhagavan says in Gita (18.7) that it is not appropriate to renounce nitya-karma. The tyaga of those who give up nitya-karma due to bewilderment is described as tamasika. In Gita (18.7), tyaga is referred to as sannyasa. Therefore, according to the opinion of Shri Bhagavan, tyaga and sannyasa are synonymous.



yajna-dana-tapah-karma / na tyajyam karyam eva tat
yajno danam tapash caiva / pavanani manishinam

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karma---action; (in the form of) yajna---sacrifice; dana---charity; tapah---and austerity; na tyajyam---should not be given up; tat---they; eva karyam---should be performed; eva---indeed; yajnah---sacrifice; danam---charity; ca---and; tapah---austerity; pavanani---are purifiers; (even) manishinam---of the wise.

Action in the form of sacrifice, charity and austerity should, by no means, be relinquished because they are obligatory duties. Sacrifice, charity and austerity purify the hearts of even those who are thoughtful and wise.


According to the opinion of Shri Bhagavan, even within kamya-karma, the sattvika acts of yajna, dana and tapasya should all be performed, without desiring their results. He says that the performance of yajna and so forth is obligatory because they purify the heart.


etany api tu karmani / sangam tyaktva phalani ca
karttavyaniti me partha / nishcitam matam uttamam

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partha---O son of Pritha; etani---these; karmani---activities; karttavyani---should be performed; api tu---however; tyaktva--- giving up; sangam---attachment; phalani---to the results; iti--- such; (is) me---My; nishcitam---definite; ca---and; uttamam---supreme; matam---opinion.

O Partha, one should perform all of these activities having given up the ego of being the doer and abandoning attachment to the fruits. This is My definite and supreme opinion.


Shri Bhagavan is now explaining how these activities can purify the heart, in this shloka beginning with etany api. The word sangam means that one should perform prescribed duties without any fruitive desires, and without maintaining the false ego of being the doer. Tyaga is when both the fruitive desires and the ego of being the doer are relinquished. It is also called sannyasa.


niyatasya tu sannyasah / karmano nopapadyate
mohat tasya parityagas / tamasah parikirttitah

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tu---certainly; sannyasah---renunciation; niyatasya---of obligatory; karmanah---work; (is) na---not; upapadyate---to be done; parityagah---renunciation; tasya---of that (work); mohat---out of delusion; parikirttitah---is described; tamasah---as governed by the quality of darkness.

But the renunciation of nitya- karma (obligatory work) is not proper. To renounce such work out of delusion is described as tamasika.


Of the three types of tyaga, tamasika tyaga is being explained here in relation to this subject. Mohat refers to the performance of tyaga without knowing the purport of shastra. Such tyaga is called tamasika tyaga. A sannyasi can give up kamya-karma (fruitive activities), thinking them to be unnecessary, but it is not proper for him to give up nitya-karma. This is implied by the word tu. Mohat means out of ignorance. The result of tamasika tyaga is also ignorance, and the desired jnana is not achieved.


duhkham ity eva yat karma / kaya-klesha-bhayat tyajet
sa kritva rajasam tyagam / naiva tyaga-phalam labhet

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sah---one; tyajet---may give up; karma---work; iti---as; duhkham--- misery; yat kaya-klesha-bhayat---out of fear of bodily suffering; kritva---having performed; tyagam---renunciation; rajasam---in the quality of passion; na eva labhet---he certainly does not obtain; tyaga-phalam---the result of renunciation.

If one considers nitya-karma to be a source of misery and relinquishes it out of fear of bodily discomfort, then his tyaga is rajasika and he fails to obtain its result.


Nitya-karma is compulsory. Its performance incurs only good; no fault is incurred. Despite knowing this, some persons think, "But why should I unnecessarily give pain to my body?" The tyaga of such persons is rajasika; jnana is not the result of their tyaga.


karyam ity eva yat karma / niyatam kriyate 'rjuna
sangam tyaktva phalan caiva / sa tyagah sattviko matah

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arjuna---O Arjuna; eva---certainly; niyatam---obligatory; karma---work; yat---which; kriyate---is performed; iti---as; karyam---a duty; tyaktva---giving up; sangam---attachment; ca--- and; phalam---the result; sah---that; tyagah---renunciation; (is) eva---certainly; matah---considered; sattvikah---in the mode of goodness.

O Arjuna, the tyaga of one who performs nityakarma simply as a matter of duty, and who renounces all attachment to the fruits of action as well as to the ego of being the doer, is considered to be sattvika.


"It is imperative to do this." The nitya-karma performed with such a disposition is sattvika. Such people attain jnana, which is the desired result of their tyaga.


na dveshŲy akushalam karma / kushale nanushajjate
tyagi sattva-samavishŲo / medhavi chinna-samshayah

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medhavi---the intelligent; tyagi---renunciant; sattvasam avishŲah---absorbed in the quality of goodness; chinnasa mshayah---whose doubts are dispelled; na dveshŲi---does not hate; akushalam---troublesome; karma---work; na---nor; anushajjate---is he attached; kushale---to work that gives happiness.

The tyagi who is endowed with sattva-guna, whose intelligence is steady and who is free from all doubts, neither hates work which is troublesome nor becomes attached to work which gives happiness.


Shri Bhagavan is explaining the characteristics of a person who is steadfast in sattvika tyaga in this shloka beginning with the words na dveshŲy. Akushalam means that they do not dislike painful activities, such as taking a morning bath in winter, and kushale means they do not become attached to activities which give pleasure, such as taking a bath in cold water during the summer time.


na hi deha-bhrita shakyam / tyaktum karmany asheshatah
yas tu karma-phala-tyagi / sa tyagity abhidhiyate

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hi---certainly; na shakyam---it is not possible; deha-bhrita---by an embodied being; tyaktum---to renounce; karmani---activities; asheshatah---completely; tu---however; sah---he; yah---who; karmaphala- tyagi---renounces the results of his activities; abhidhiyate--- is known; iti---as; tyagi---a renunciant.

An embodied being cannot entirely relinquish action, but he who gives up the fruits of all actions is truly a tyagi.


Since it is impossible for the embodied jiva to completely renounce all activity, the activities that shastra prescribes should not be given up. To emphasise this, Shri Bhagavan speaks the shloka beginning with the words na hi. It is not possible to give up all activities. Shri Bhagavan says earlier in Gita (3.5): na hi kashcit kshanam api jatu tishŲhaty akarma-krit. "One cannot exist even for a moment without performing work."


anishŲam ishŲam mishran ca / tri-vidham karmanah phalam
bhavaty atyaginam pretya / na tu sannyasinam kvacit

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atyaginam---for those who are not renounced; tri-vidham---the threefold; phalam---results; karmanah---of action; bhavati---exist; pretya---after death; anishŲam---undesired (hell); ishŲam---desired (heaven); ca---and; mishram---mixed (the middle planets such as earth); tu---but; na kvacit---never; sannyasinam---for the renounced.

Those who do not perform tyaga as previously described attain three types of destinations after giving up the body: a hellish existence (hell), a place where the devas reside (celestial planets), or as humans in this world. Sannyasis, however, never attain such results.


When a person does not perform tyaga like this, he incurs fault. It is due to the lack of such tyaga that one receives misery in hell (anishŲam), temporary happiness in the higher planets (ishŲam), or the combined happiness and misery of human life (mishram). This happens only to those who are not tyagis. It does not happen to the tyagis (renunciants). Pretya means the next world.


pancaitani maha-baho / karanani nibodha me
sankhye kritante proktani / siddhaye sarva-karmanam

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maha-baho---O mighty-armed Arjuna; nibodha---be informed; me---from Me; etani---these; panca---five; karanani---causes; siddhaye---for the accomplishment; sarva-karmanam---of all actions; (they are) proktani---described; sankhye---in sankhya philosophy; krita-ante---for ending action and reaction.

O Maha-baho! Now hear from Me about the five causes which are involved in the accomplishment of any action. They are described in Vedanta-shastra ( sankhya philosophy), which explains how to stop the reactions of karma.


How can a person who performs karma not receive the result of that karma? Expecting this question, Shri Bhagavan is now speaking five shlokas to establish that people who are free from ahankara, the false ego of being the doer, do not become implicated in the results of karma. The first of these shlokas begins with the word pancaitani. "Hear from Me about the five causes of action which are responsible for the completion of all activities." That which fully explains Paramatma is called sankhya. Sankhya (san---completely; khya---describes) is also known as Vedanta-shastra, which explains how to nullify the reactions of actions that have already been performed.


It is impossible for the embodied baddha-jivas to give up all work. Furthermore, it is detrimental for those who are unqualified to give up all types of work out of obstinacy. Therefore, those in the initial stage of yoga practice, who only have the adhikara to engage in karma, are instructed to give up akarma and vikarma and perform nitya and naimittika-karma. When a person's attachment to the fruits of karma has gradually ceased, it is beneficial and auspicious for him to perform the karma prescribed in shastra as a matter of duty, without desiring the results. According to Krishna, the symptom of a sannyasi and a yogi is that they perform karma only as a duty, without desiring to enjoy the results. Such persons are real sannyasis and yogis. Upon obtaining the association of Vaishnavas, such individuals can enter the realm of bhakti very quickly and attain the supreme destination.


adhishŲhanam tatha kartta / karanan ca prithag-vidham
vividhash ca prithak ceshŲa / daivan caivatra pancamam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.14 <>

adhishŲhanam---the place (body); tatha---also; kartta---the doer (the soul and dull matter bound together by false ego); karanam---the senses; prithag-vidham---the various; ca---and; vividhah---manifold; prithak---distinct; ceshŲah---endeavours (such as the actions of the in-coming and out-going breaths); ca---and; eva---certainly; ca atra---amidst these other causes; (is) pancamam---the fifth; daivam---Antaryami.

The body, the agent (doer), the senses, the various types of endeavours and the indwelling prompter (Antaryami) are the five causes of the success of karma which are mentioned in Vedanta.


Shri Bhagavan now enumerates those causes. AdhishŲhanam means the body, and kartta (the agent or doer) refers to the false ego in the form of a knot which ties the conscious (cit or soul) to the inert (jada or dull matter). Karanam means the senses such as the eyes and ears, prithag-vidham means various types of endeavours, that is, the function of the lifeairs such as prana and apana, and daivam means Antaryami, the indwelling prompter of everyone. These are the five causes of action.


The five causes of action mentioned in the previous shloka are explained here in detail. It should be understood that the word adhishŲhanam in this shloka means this body, because action can only be performed when a baddha-jiva becomes situated in this body. The atma situated in this body is called the doer, because it is he who performs the action (karma). The pure atma has nothing to do with this karma, but he becomes the enjoyer of the results of karma due to his false ego of being the doer. Therefore, the atma itself is called both the knower and the doer. This is also mentioned in the shrutis: esha hi drashŲa srashŲa, "It is actually the soul who sees and is the doer. (Prashna-Upanishad 4)" The Vedanta-sutra also states, jno ta eva. "It is truly the soul who is the knower" (Brahma-sutra 2.3.17), and: kartta shastrarthavattvat. "The jivatma is understood as the doer because this fact is confirmed in the shastra. (Brahma-sutra 2.3.31) and so on. All these statements substantiate the above conclusion. The senses are the instruments used to perform karma. The atma accomplishes various types of work only with the help of these senses. There is a separate endeavour for each activity, but every activity depends on the sanction of Parameshvara, who is situated within everyone's heart as a witness, friend and controller. Thus, Parameshvara alone is the supreme cause. Those persons who are inspired by a shastra-vit, tattva-vit maha-purusha, and also by Parameshvara, who is situated within their hearts, are able to ascertain what is obligatory for them and what is not. Thus, they engage in the performance of bhakti and very quickly attain the supreme destination. They are not bound by the reactions of their good or bad karma.


sharira-van-manobhir yat / karma prarabhate narah
nyayyam va viparitam va / pancaite tasya hetavah

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ete---these; panca---five; (are) hetavah---the causes; tasya---for; yat---whatever; nyayyam---virtuous; va---or; viparitam---improper; karma---activity; narah---a man; prarabhate---undertakes; sharira-vak-manobhih---with his body, words or mind.

These are the five causes behind whatever virtuous or improper actions a person may perform by body, speech or mind.


Sharira-van-manobhih. There are three types of action (karma): that performed by the body (kayika), that performed by speech (vacika), and that performed by the mind (manasika). Karma is of another two types: dharmika (virtuous) and adharmika (unvirtuous). Their causes are the above-mentioned five factors.


tatraivam sati karttaram / atmanam kevalan tu yah
pashyaty akrita-buddhitvan / na sa pashyati durmatih

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tatra---then; evam sati---such being the case; sah durmatih---that foolish person; yah---who; pashpati---sees; atmanam---himself; (to be) kevalam---the only; karttaram---doer; tu---indeed; na pashyati---does not see; akrita-buddhitvat---due to impure intelligence.

As such, a foolish person who ignores these five factors and considers the atma alone to be the doer of all these works cannot see things as they are due to his impure intelligence.


Shri Bhagavan says that although these five causes are behind all karma, he who sees the pure atma (the jiva who has no association with matter) as the only doer is to be understood to be durmatih, foolish. He does not see properly because he lacks purified intelligence. Such an ignorant person, is indeed, blind.


An ignorant person cannot understand that a separate, individual entity, known as Paramatma, is situated in his heart as a witness, controller and friend, and is regulating all his activities. The body, the doer, the various endeavours and the senses are all material causes of action. The prominent cause, however, is Paramatma. Thus, one should see that Paramatma, who is situated within the heart, is the supreme cause of action; one should not just consider that these four material causes accomplish an action. Those who are unable to see in this way think of themselves as the only doers; thus, they always remain agitated.


yasya nahankrito bhavo / buddhir yasya na lipyate
hatvapi sa imal lokan / na hanti na nibadhyate

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.17 <>

api---even though; hatva---killing; sah---he; yasya---whose; bhavah---consciousness; (is) na ahankritah---not taken by false ego; (and) yasya---whose; buddhih---intelligence; na lipyate---is unattached; na hanti---does not slay; iman---these; lokan---people; na---nor; nibadhyate---is he bound.

Even if he kills living beings, he who is free from the ego of being the doer, and whose intelligence is not attached to the fruits of karma, does not in reality kill, nor does he become bound by the result of his actions.


"Who, then, has purified intelligence and who actually sees?" In response to this, Shri Bhagavan speaks the shloka beginning with the words yasya nahankrito bhavah. "Those who do not possess the false ego of being the doer do not become attached to thinking, "This is pleasing; this is not pleasing." Such persons do not become bound by the results of karma. What more can I say in this regard? Whether the work they perform is auspicious or inauspicious, in reality, they are not the doers of that work. From a material perspective, it may seem that they kill all of these people, but from the spiritual perspective they do not actually kill because they are free from any selfish motivations. Therefore, they do not become bound by the results of karma."


People who know themselves to be subservient to Parameshvara, and who perform karma without fruitive desire and without the false ego of being the doer, are certainly intelligent. The results of karma cannot bind them. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "O Arjuna, you were only in illusion about this battle because of the false ego. If you had been aware that the five factors I have described are the cause of all karma, then you would not have become so bewildered. Therefore, those whose intelligence is not implicated by the false ego of being the doer do not kill, even if they kill all of humanity; nor do they become bound by the result of such killing."


jnanam jneyam parijnata / tri-vidha karma-codana
karanam karma kartteti / tri-vidhah karma-sangrahah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.18 <>

jnanam---knowledge; jneyam---the knowable; (and) parijnata--- the knower; (are) tri-vidha---the three-fold; karma-codana--- impulses of action; karanam---the instrument; karma---the activity; (and) kartta---the agent; (are) iti---thus; tri-vidhah---the three-fold; karma-sangrahah---basis of action.

Knowledge, the knowable and the knower constitute the impulse to perform karma. The instrument, the activity and the agent form the three-fold basis of karma.


Hence, in the opinion of Shri Bhagavan, sannyasa in the form of renunciation (tyaga) in sattva-guna is instructed for the jnanis, but for bhaktas, complete renunciation of karmayoga is recommended. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.11.32), Shri Bhagavan says, "O Uddhava, those who have carefully analysed the positive and negative aspects of dharma and adharma, but give up their sva-dharma prescribed by Me in the Vedas to engage in bhajana to Me, are indeed sattamah, the best among men." Shrila Shridhara Svami has explained the meaning of this shloka as follows: "Those who perform bhajana to Me, completely giving up their sva-dharma as instructed by Me in the Vedas, are sattamah, the best." Here a question arises. "If someone gives up his prescribed svadharma out of ignorance or an atheistic propensity, will he still be considered sattamah?" In response, Shri Bhagavan says, "No" Those who are sattamah understand that favourable qualities such as purity of existence resulting from the performance of dharmika activities (prescribed duties according to varna and ashrama), and discrepancies caused by the neglect of such activities, distract one from meditating upon Me. Those who understand this are sattamah. They possess the firm determination that everything can be achieved by performing bhakti to Me, and they solely engage in bhajana to Me, giving up all other dharmika activities."

The words, dharmam santyajya in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam shloka quoted above (11.11.32), does not mean to give up the results of dharma, but to give up dharma itself. One should understand that there is no discrepancy involved in giving up the results of dharma. This opinion is given in the statements of Shri Bhagavan and is supported by those who have explained those statements. Jnana certainly requires purification of the heart. The performance of nishkama-karma enables one to achieve different levels of such purification, and jnana rises in proportion to the degree that the heart is purified. There is no other way for jnana to appear. Therefore, it is imperative for even the sannyasis to practise nishkama-karma for complete jnana to appear in their hearts. When the performance of karma has completely purified the heart, at that time karma is no longer required. As it is also said in Gita (6.3), "Karma is the sadhana for those who desire jnana-yoga, but for those who are already situated on the stage of jnana, the means is renunciation of this karma, as it causes a distraction." However Gita (3.17) says, "There is no prescribed karma for those who derive pleasure from the self and who are satisfied and happy in the self alone." But bhakti is supremely independent and extremely powerful. It does not depend upon purity of heart. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.39) states: "Those who with transcendental faith hear Shri Krishna's pastimes with the gopis of Vraja, attain para bhakti to Him, and thus very quickly become free from the disease of the heart, which is mundane lust." How can this happen? First para bhakti enters into the heart of a person who is suffering from material lust and purifies it; consequently, the lust and anarthas of such a qualified person are destroyed." Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.8.5) further states: "Krishna enters into the lotus-like hearts of the bhaktas through the ear, and removes all their impurities, just as the autumn season purifies the rivers."

Why then, should the bhaktas engage in karma if the heart becomes purified by performing bhakti alone? To clarify this point, the present shloka is now spoken. Simply knowing that the atma is separate from the body does not comprise jnana. Rather, one is to understand atma-tattva, the truth of the atma. The only real jnanis are those who have taken shelter of such knowledge. But the three constituents of jnana, namely knowledge (jnana), the knowable (jneya), and the knower (jnata) also have a relationship with karma. To understand this is the duty of the sannyasis. For this purpose, Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with the word jnanam. Here the word codana means injunction or process. Shrila Gopala BhaŲŲa Gosvami says that the words codana, upadesha (instruction) and vidhi (rules and regulations) are synonymous.

Now Bhagavan Himself is explaining the second half of this shloka, starting with the words karanam karma. Jnana is that which helps us to know something. According to this definition: jnana is the instrument, jneya, the knowable (jivatma-tattva) is the object, and one who knows this truth about the jivatma is jnata, the subject. The instrument (karana), the object (karma) and the subject (kartta) are the three factors known as karma-sangrahah that are related to nishkama-karma. This is the explanation of the compound word karma-codana. In other words, the performance of nishkama-karma-yoga is based on these three: the principle of knowledge (jnana), the knowable (jneya) and the knower (jnata).


The atma is a nirguna entity, devoid of any material qualities. The inspiration for karma (karma-prerana), the basis of karma (karma-ashraya) and the result of karma (karmaphala) are all products of the three gunas. Therefore, they have no constitutional relationship with the atma. Aikantika-bhaktas of Shri Bhagavan, who are completely surrendered to Him, know the atma perfectly. Although they perform all activities either by the will of Krishna or for His pleasure, they are never called karmis (materialists). The only designation which adorns them is that of bhakta; thus, they do not get entangled in the web of karma.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "Knowledge (jnana), the knowable (jneya) and the knower (jnata) are the three impulses of action known as karmacodan a. The instrument (karana), the object (karma) and the doer (kartta) are the three-fold basis of karma known as karma-sangrahah. Whatever action a person performs has two states: codana (inspiration) and sangrahah (basis). The process which precedes karma is called codana. Inspiration is the subtle existence of action, and it is the faith that exists in the mind before the gross state of action manifests. The stage which precedes action is divided into three parts: 1) knowledge of the instrument of action; 2) the knowable object of action and; 3) the performer of action. The execution of action has three divisions: 1) karanatva (the instrument), 2) karmatva (the object), and 3) karttritva (the subject)."


jnanam karma ca kartta ca / tridhaiva guna-bhedatah
procyate guna-sankhyane / yathavac chrinu tany api

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.19 <>

guna-sankhyane---in the shastra which describes the three qualities of material nature; jnanam---knowledge; karma---action; ca---and; kartta---the agent; procyate---are declared to be; tridha---three-fold; guna-bhedatah---according to the divisions of the material qualities; eva---certainly; api shrinu---you should also hear; tani---of these; yathavat---as they are.

Sankhya shastra describes the different modes of nature, knowledge, action and the performer of action. Each is said to be of three types: sattvika, rajasika and tamasika. Now hear of them from Me.


sarva-bhuteshu yenaikam / bhavam avyayam ikshate
avibhaktam vibhakteshu / taj jnanam viddhi sattvikam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.20 <>

viddhi---you should understand; sattvikam---the quality of goodness; (is) tat---that; jnanam---knowledge; yena---by which; ikshate---one sees; ekam---one; avyayam---imperishable; avibhaktam---undivided; bhavam---nature; vibhakteshu---among the divided; sarva-bhuteshu---living beings.

Sattvika jnana is that knowledge by which one sees that the jivatmas in various bodies such as humans, devatas, animals and birds are indivisible and imperishable, and that they all possess the same quality of consciousness, although they are experiencing various types of fruits.


Here, Shri Bhagavan is explaining sattvika jnana. Ekam bhavam means that the same jivatma sequentially accepts different forms, such as those of devatas, human beings, and lower species, such as animals and birds, in order to undergo the various results of his karma. Although the atma lives in the midst of that which is perishable, he is not perishable. Although the various jivatmas are different (vibhakteshu), they are one (eka-rupam) because they possess the same conscious nature. Sattvika jnana is that jnana arising from karma by which one perceives in this way.


This shloka has a very deep meaning. The cause of all causes, the controller of all controllers, and the source of everyone is the primeval Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna. Although He is one, He manifests in this universe as various avataras. They are all one in Their essence (svarupa) and in Their tattva. There is some gradation of vaishishŲya (unique characteristics) amongst Them based on rasa and vilasa (pastimes). Yet They are one. The jivas manifest from Him as vibhinnamsha (separated parts) and are very subtle entities. They are unlimited in number. Shvetashvatara Upanishad (5.9) states:

balagra-shata-bhagasya / shatadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah / sa canantyaya kalpate

It is said that the size of the jiva is one-hundredth the tip of a hair which is again divided into a hundred parts. Such jivas are declared to be eternal.

As explained earlier, these jivas are of two types: baddha (bound) and mukta (liberated). Although they are unlimited in number, they are all one in tattva in regard to their conscious nature (cit-tattva). They are all Krishna dasa by constitutional nature, although they take birth in various species such as devas, humans, animals and birds. To establish this siddhanta, Shri Krishna is explaining that through sattvika jnana one sees that unlimited jivas exist in various bodies such as devas, asuras, humans, animals and birds in order to experience the various fruits of their karma. From the perspective of cit-tattva (conscious reality), by sattvika jnana, one also perceives them as indivisible, immutable and without any difference in nature.


prithaktvena tu yaj jnanam / nana-bhavan prithag-vidhan
vetti sarveshu bhuteshu / taj jnanam viddhi rajasam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.21 <>

tu---however; tat---that; jnanam---knowledge; yat---by which; (one) vetti---considers; prithaktvena---variously; nana-bhavan--- many natures; prithag-vidhan---of distinct varieties; sarveshu bhuteshu---in all living entities; (is) rajasam---governed by the quality of passion.

However, that knowledge by which one sees different types of jivas in different bodies, such as devas and humans, and by which one perceives the jivas as belonging to different classifications and existing for different purposes, is known as rajasika jnana.


Here Shri Bhagavan is explaining rajasika jnana. In the opinion of the asuras, there are characteristic differences between the jivatmas in all beings. They also say that the atma is destroyed when the body is destroyed. Thus, they see that there are separate types of atmas in different bodies. By the influence of rajasika jnana, one may conclude that the soul is the cause of happiness and distress, or that happiness and misery are without any basis. In other words, one sees that their occurence is merely accidental. The jnana by which one sees the oneness of all conceptions of existence, such as the inert, the conscious, the all-pervading, or the atomic particles, is known as rajasika jnana.


Rajasika jnana determines different understandings. This means that those who do not believe in the existence of a transcendental world say that the body itself is the atma. The Jains say that although the atma is different from the body, it is limited by the body, that is, it has no existence separate from it. The Buddhists say that the atma is conscious for a limited period of time. The logicians say that the atma is the basis of nine types of special qualities, that is, it is different from the body, and is not inert. The jnana by which these various understandings arise in relation to the atma is rajasika jnana.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "Those who have rajasika jnana say that the jivatmas which exist in different species, such as humans, animals and birds, belong to different classes and that their constitutional natures are also different."


yat tu kritsna-vad ekasmin / karye saktam ahaitukam
atattvartha-vad alpanca / tat tamasam udahritam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.22 <>

tu---but; tamasam---knowledge governed by the quality of darkness; udahritam---is said to be; tat---that knowledge; yat---by which; (one is) kritsna-vat---completely; saktam---attached; ahaitukam---without any reason; ekasmin---to one; karye---work (bodily maintenance); atattva-artha-vat---which is without an understanding of the purpose of reality; ca---and; (is) alpam--- meagre (like that of an animal).

And tamasika jnana is that knowledge which causes one to be absorbed in activities related to the temporary body, such as bathing and eating, considering them to be the ultimate perfection. This is irrational, devoid of any spiritual substance or reality, and meagre like that of the animals.


Now Shri Bhagavan is explaining tamasika jnana. Tamasika jnana is that knowledge which is devoid of any spiritual basis, and which only fosters attachment to the natural acts of the body, such as bathing, eating, drinking, and enjoying women, as well as to the various ways of attaining such enjoyment. Nor does it foster attachment to Vedic activities such as yajna and dana. Tamasika jnana also lacks any essential meaning in relation to tattva and is insubstantial and unimportant like the knowledge or instincts of animals. In brief, knowledge of the Absolute Reality, which is beyond the body (tatpad artha), is sattvika; knowledge of nyaya-shastras, for example, which are full of various arguments and counter-arguments, is rajasika; and materialistic knowledge, which is simply related to the demands of the body, such as bathing and eating, is tamasika.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "The jnana of those who consider bodily activities such as bathing and eating to be most important, and which encourages attachment to such activities, is inferior and is called tamasika jnana. Although this jnana is improper and does not contain any essential tattva, it appears to be natural and of value. The conclusion is that knowledge of tat-padartha (the Absolute Reality), which is separate from the body, is called sattvika jnana. Knowledge of various shastras such as nyaya, which establish different argumentative philosophies, is called rajasika jnana. And the knowledge which deals with bodily activities, such as bathing and eating, is called tamasika jnana."


niyatam sanga rahitam / araga-dveshatah kritam
aphala-prepsuna karma / yat tat sattvikam ucyate

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.23 <>

tat---that; karma---work; yat---which; (is) kritam---performed; niyatam---steadily; sanga-rahitam---with detachment; aragadve shatah---free from desire and hate; aphala-prepsuna---without desiring the result; ucyate---is said to be; sattvikam---governed by the quality of goodness.

The obligatory duty ( nitya-karma) which a person performs without fruitive desires and attachment, and which is free from any personal attraction or aversion, is called sattvika.


Having explained the three types of jnana, Shri Bhagavan explains the three types of karma. When that karma which is described in shastra as nitya-karma, is performed without attachment or absorption, that is, without feelings of attraction or aversion and without any desire for its fruits, it is called sattvika.


yat tu kamepsuna karma / sahankarena va punah
kriyate bahulayasam / tad rajasam udahritam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.24 <>

tu---but; tat---that; karma---work; yat---which; kriyate---is performed; bahula-ayasam---with great trouble; sa-ahankarena. with conceit; va punah---and also; kama-ipsuna---with fruitive desire; udahritam---is said to be; rajasam---governed by the quality of passion.

However, that karma which is performed with great trouble by a conceited person who seeks to fulfil his fruitive desires, is called rajasika karma.


Kamepsuna means having little false ego, and sahankarena means having an immense false ego.


anubandham kshayam himsam / anapekshya ca paurusham
mohad arabhyate karma / yat tat tamasam ucyate

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.25 <>

tat---that; karma---activity; yat---which; arabhyate---is undertaken; mohat---out of delusion; anapekshya---without considering; paurusham---one's own ability; anubandham---the consequent; kshayam---destruction (of virtue); ca---and; himsam---gives misery (to others or oneself); ucyate---is said to be; tamasam---governed by the quality of darkness.

That activity performed out of delusion, without considering one's own ability, which will bring misery in the future, and which causes the destruction of dharma and jnana as well as loss to one's self or trouble to others, is called tamasika karma.


In the word anubandham, anu means that which will come in the future, after the karma has been performed. In other words, it means its consequential results. Bandha means the bondage enforced by people such as state police or Yamadutas. Any materialistic endeavour (karma) which is commenced out of delusion, without properly considering resultant future miseries, loss of dharma and jnana, or loss to one's own self, is called tamasika.


In the above three shlokas, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the three types of karma. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.23), it is also said:

mad-arpanam nishphalam / va sattvikam nija-karma tat
rajasam phala-sankalpam / himsa-prayadi tamasam

Only that nitya-karma which is selflessly performed as an offering to Bhagavan is called sattvika. Karma performed with the desire to enjoy its fruits is rajasika, and that karma which is performed with violence and out of envy is tamasika.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "Tamasika karma is that activity which is only a materialistic endeavour; which is performed in a bewildered state of mind, without properly considering the future misery it may cause, the loss to dharma and jnana it may incur; or which is violent (meaning at a loss to one's self)."


mukta-sango 'naham-vadi / dhrity-utsaha-samanvitah
siddhy-asiddhyor nirvikarah / kartta sattvika ucyate

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.26 <>

kartta---the performer of action; mukta-sangah---who is free from attachment; anaham-vadi---free from false ego; samanvitah--- endowed; dhriti---with determination; utsaha---and enthusiasm; nirvikarah---who is unaffected; siddhi-asiddhyoh---by success and failure; ucyate---is said to be; sattvikah---governed by the quality of goodness.

That kartta (performer of action) who is free from fruitive desire and conceit, endowed with fortitude and enthusiasm, and who remains unaffected by the success or failure of his actions, is said to be sattvika.


First, Shri Bhagavan explained the three types of karma, and now He is explaining the three types of kartta, performers of action.


ragi karma-phala-prepsur / lubdho himsatmako 'shucih
harsha-shokanvitah kartta / rajasah parikirttitah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.27 <>

kartta---a performer of action; ragi---who is very attached; prepsuh---who very much hankers; karma-phala---for the results of his work; lubdhah---who is greedy; himsa-atmakah---envious; ashucih---unclean; anvitah---absorbed in; harsha---jubilation; shoka---and tribulation; parikirttitah---is described; (to be) rajasah---governed by the quality of passion.

That kartta who is attached to action and hankers for the fruits, who is addicted to sense objects, who is always ready to indulge in violence, who is unclean, and is carried away by elation and sorrow, is said to be rajasika.


Ragi means attached to action. Lubdhah means addicted to sense objects.


ayuktah prakritah stabdhah / shaŲho naishkritiko 'lasah
vishadi dirgha-sutri ca / kartta tamasa ucyate

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.28 <>

kartta---the performer of action; ayuktah---who is not connected (through sadhu, shastra or guru); prakritah---identifies with his material nature; (is) stabdhah---obstinate; shaŲhah---deceptive; naishkritikah---insulting to others; alasah---lazy; vishadi---despondent; ca---and; dirgha-sutri---procrastinating; ucyate---is said to be; tamasah---governed by the quality of darkness.

That kartta who always neglects the injunctions of shastra and endeavours according to his own acquired nature, who is obstinate, deceptive, insulting to others, lazy, despondent and procrastinating, is said to be tamasika.


Ayuktah means one who performs improper acts. Prakritah means one who is situated in his own acquired nature. Such persons act according to the dictates of their minds. They do not even follow the orders of their guru. Naishkritikah means one who insults others. "Jnanis, therefore, should perform sattvika tyaga which possesses the characteristics described earlier. One should only take shelter of the jnana that arises when one is fixed in sattvika karma. Indeed, sattvika karma is obligatory. One should be a sattvika kartta. This is the sannyasa of the jnanis. This is the jnana of the jnanis. It is related to the self, and is the essence of this subject matter."

"However, the jnana of the bhaktas is tri-gunatita, beyond the three gunas. The karma which is performed for Me is trigu natita and is called bhakti, and its doer (kartta) is also trigu natita." As Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.24) states, "Kaivalyaj nana, knowledge of the self, is sattvika; jnana which is based on duality or manifold variety is rajasika; mundane jnana which is related to the body is tamasika; and that jnana which is fixed in Me is nirguna." This nirguna-jnana is said to be the characteristic of nirguna-bhakti-yoga as stated in Shrimad- Bhagavatam (3.29.12). "Pure bhajana is exhibited by one whose mind is at once attracted to hearing an uninterupted flow of hari-katha, just as the Ganga flows to the ocean." Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.25.26) states: "That kartta who is unattached is sattvika, he who is attached is rajasika, and he who has lost his sense of discrimination is tamasika, but that kartta who is surrendered to Me is nirguna." Furthermore, not only the jnana, karma and kartta related to bhakti are nirguna, but, from the perspective of bhakti, anything related to bhakti is nirguna. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.27), there is also a statement concerning shraddha: "Shraddha related to atmaj nana is sattvika, shraddha which is based on karma is rajasika, and shraddha based on adharma is tamasika, but shraddha in service to Me is nirguna." Concerning residence, Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.25.25) states: "To live in the forest is sattvika, to live in the village is rajasika, and to live in the gambling house (the city, which is the centre of various deceitful activities) is tamasika, but My residence (the place of My worship) and the association of My bhaktas is nirguna." Concerning happiness, Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.29) states: "The happiness arising from the self is sattvika, that arising from sense objects is rajasika, that arising from delusion and meanspiritedness is tamasika, while the happiness that results from surrendering unto Me is nirguna."

"Therefore, the personal happiness that My gunatitabhaktas derive from that jnana, karma and shraddha which are related to bhakti is gunatita. Everything related to the jnana of sattvika jnanis is sattvika. Everything related to rajasika karmis is rajasika, and everything related to unrestrained tamasika people is tamasika." This is discerned from the statements of Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam.

The Fourteenth Chapter also states that the jnanis ultimately attain freedom from the material gunas by the performance of kevala-bhakti, which manifests only after jnana has been relinquished.


Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25-26) also describes the performer of action (kartta) to be of three types:

sattvikah karako 'sangi / ragandho rajasah smritah
tamasah smriti-vibhrashŲo / nirguno mad-apashrayah

That kartta who is detached is sattvika, he who is excessively attached to karma and its results is rajasika, he who has no discrimination is tamasika, and he who is surrendered unto Me is nirguna.


buddher bhedam dhritesh caiva / gunatas tri-vidham shrinu
procyamanam asheshena / prithaktvena dhananjaya

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.29 <>

dhananjaya---O winner of wealth; eva---indeed; shrinu---now hear; tri-vidham---the threefold; bhedam---division; buddheh---of intelligence; ca---and; dhriteh---of determination; procyamanam--- described; prithaktvena---individually; asheshena---and completely; gunatah---according to the qualities of material nature.

O Dhananjaya, please listen, the three divisions of intelligence and determination pertaining to the different gunas, are being described individually and completely.


Everything related to the jnanis is sattvika and therefore, beneficial. Shri Bhagavan is now describing the three divisions of intelligence and determination in this shloka beginning with buddheh.


pravrittin ca nivrittin ca / karyakarye bhayabhaye
bandham mokshan ca ya vetti / buddhih sa partha sattviki

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partha---O son of Pritha; sa---that; buddhih---intelligence; ya--- which; vetti---understands; pravrittim---when to engage; ca--- and; nivrittim---when to disengage; karya-akarye---what is proper and improper action; bhaya-abhaye---what is to be feared and what is not to be feared; bandham---what is bondage; ca---and; moksham---what is liberation; (is) sattviki---governed by the quality of goodness.

O Partha, intelligence is sattvika if it is able to distinguish between proper and improper engagement, between what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, and between what is binding and what is liberating.


Bhayabhaye refers to the cause of entanglement in the material world, and liberation from it.


yaya dharmam adharman ca / karyan cakaryam eva ca
ayathavat prajanati / buddhih sa partha rajasi

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.31 <>

partha---O son of Pritha; sa---that; buddhih---intelligence; yaya--- by which; prajanati---one discerns; ayathavat---imperfectly; dharmam---virtue; ca---and; adharmam---vice; karyam---that which is to be done--- duty; ca---and; akaryam---that which is not to be done; (is) eva---certainly; rajasi---governed by the quality of passion.

O Partha, intelligence is rajasika if it distinguishes imperfectly between dharma and adharma, and between that which is to be done and that which is not to be done.


Ayathavat means imperfectly.


adharmam dharmam iti ya / manyate tamasavrita
sarvarthan viparitamsh ca / buddhih sa partha tamasi

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.32 <>

partha---O son of Pritha; sa---that; buddhih---intelligence; ya--- which; manyate---considers; adharmam---irreligion; (to be) dharmam---religion; ca---and; iti---thus; (considers) sarvaarth an---all things; viparitan---perversely; tamasi---is governed by the quality of darkness.

O Partha, that intelligence is tamasika which considers adharma to be dharma, and which endeavours in a perverse manner, being covered by ignorance and illusion.


Ya manyate refers to an intelligence which sees that an axe cuts independently. In other words, a person who only perceives the external function (e.g., the axe cutting) cannot enter the internal understanding that the atma, he who is wielding the axe, is the actual performer of the act of cutting, not the instrument, the axe.


dhritya yaya dharayate / manah-pranendriya-kriyah yogenavyabhicarinya / dhritih sa partha sattviki

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.33 <>

partha---O son of Pritha; sa---that; dhritih---determination; dhritya---by determining; yaya---which; dharayate---one sustains; kriyah---the activities; manah---of the mind; prana---life airs; indriya---and senses; avyabhicarinya---through undeviating; yogena---practice of union with the Supreme Lord; (is) sattviki--- governed by the quality of goodness.

O Partha, the unswerving determination which is attained by the practice of yoga and by which a person controls the functions of the mind, life air and senses is called sattvika dhriti.


Now Shri Bhagavan is describing the three types of dhriti (determination or fortitude).


yaya tu dharma-kamarthan / dhritya dharayate 'rjuna
prasangena phalakankshi / dhritih sa partha rajasi

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.34 <>

partha arjuna---O Arjuna, son of Pritha; tu---but; sa---that; dhritih--- determination; phala-akankshi---to enjoy the results; dhritya---by determining; yaya---which; dharayate---one sustains; prasangena--- through strong attachment; dharma-kama-arthan---the activities of dharma, sense gratification and economic development; rajasi--- is governed by the quality of passion.

O Partha, O Arjuna, the determination by which one adheres to dharma, sense gratification and economic development, driven by attachment to enjoy the fruits, is called rajasika dhriti.


yaya svapnam bhayam shokam / vishadam madam eva ca
na vimuncati durmedha / dhritih sa tamasi mata

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.35 <>

sa---that; durmedha---unintelligent; dhritih---determination; yaya---by which; na vimuncati---one cannot surpass; svapnam--- sleep; bhayam---fear; shokam---lamentation; vishadam---depression; ca madam---and madness; (is) eva---certainly; mata---considered; tamasi---governed by the quality of darkness.

But the unintelligent determination which cannot go beyond sleep, fear, lamentation, depression and madness, is called tamasika dhriti.


sukham tv idanim tri-vidham / shrinu me bharatarshabha
abhyasad ramate yatra / duhkhantan ca nigacchati

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.36 <>

bharata-rishabha---O best of Bharata's line; tu---but; idanim---now; shrinu---hear; me---from Me; tri-vidham---the three kinds; sukham---of happiness; yatra---which; ramate---one relishes; abhyasat---through (constant) cultivation; ca---and; nigacchati--- brings one; duhkha-antam---to the end of suffering (is happiness in the quality of goodness).

O best of the Bharata dynasty, now hear from Me about the three types of happiness. The happiness which a jiva relishes by constant cultivation, and which brings an end to the misery of material existence, is known as sattvika happiness.


Shri Bhagavan is describing sattvika happiness, its nature and how, by constant cultivation, one becomes attached to it. This differs from the happiness which is derived from sense objects and which appears due to the excitement of sensual stimulation. Duhkhantam ca nigacchati means being attached to that by which one can cross over the misery of material existence.


yat tad agre visham iva / pariname 'mritopamam
tat sukham sattvikam proktam / atma-buddhi-prasada-jam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.37 <>

tat---that; sukham---happiness; yat---which; (is) iva---like; visham---poison; agre---in the beginning; (and) amrita-upamam--- like nectar; pariname---in the end; jam---which is generated; prasada---from purity; buddhi---of intelligence; atma---directed to the self; tat---that; proktam---is declared; (to be) sattvikam--- governed by the quality of goodness.

That happiness which is like poison in the beginning, but nectar in the end, and which is generated from the purity of intelligence related to the self, is sattvika happiness.


Visham iva indicates that, in the beginning, it is quite troublesome to control the senses and the mind.


vishayendriya-samyogad / yat tad agre 'mritopamam
pariname visham iva / tat sukham rajasam smritam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.38 <>

tat---that; sukham---happiness; yat---which; (is) samyogat---from the contact; indriya---of the senses; vishaya---with the sense objects; (and which is) amrita-upamam---like nectar; agre---in the beginning; (and) iva---like; visham---poison; pariname---in the end; tat---that (happiness); smritam---is considered; rajasam--- governed by the quality of passion.

Rajasika happiness is produced by the contact of the senses with the sense objects. It is like nectar in the beginning, but poison in the end.


Yad amrita-upamam refers to the happiness experienced while enjoying with women other than one's wife and so forth.


yad agre canubandhe ca / sukham mohanam atmanah
nidralasya-pramadottham / tat tamasam udahritam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.39 <>

tat---that; sukham---happiness; yat---which; (is) mohanam---delusion; atmanah---for the atma; (both) agre---in the beginning; ca---and; anubandhe---in the end; ca---and; uttham---is born out of; nidra---sleep; alasya---laziness; (and) pramada---carelessness; udahritam---is said; (to be) tamasam---governed by the quality of darkness.

That happiness which covers the nature of the self from beginning to end, and which arises from sleep, laziness, negligence and indifference, is called tamasika happiness.


Happiness is also of three types. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.29) states:

sattvikam sukham atmottham / vishayottham tu rajasam
tamasam moha-dainyottham / nirgunam mad-apashrayam

Happiness derived from realisation of the self is sattvika; happiness derived from sense pleasure is rajasika; happiness that arises from a deluded, wretched condition is tamasika; and the happiness that comes from the performance of kirtanam, shravanam, etc., of Shri Bhagavan is nirguna.


na tad asti prithivyam va / divi deveshu va punah
sattvam prakriti-jair muktam / yad ebhih syat tribhir gunaih

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.40 <>

prithivyam---on the earth; va---or; punah---even; deveshu--- amongst the gods; divi---in Svarga; tat---there; na asti---does not exist; sattvam---a being; yat---who; syat---can be; muktam---free; ebhih.from these; tribhih.three; gunaih.binding qualities; prakriti-jaih---born of material nature.

Among humans and other earthly species, or even among the devas in Svarga, no object or entity anywhere in this creation is free from these three gunas, which are born of material nature.


Shri Bhagavan is concluding this subject by explaining what He has not yet described. Tat sattvam means that no living being or object in the creation is free from the three gunas, which are born of material nature. Therefore, everything is composed of the three gunas of material nature, and only that which is sattvika is useful; that which is rajasika or tamasika is not. This is the purport of this topic.


Shri Bhagavan is concluding this subject by stating, "Everything that is related to this material world is composed of the three gunas of material nature. The superiority of that which is sattvika has been established. One is instructed to ardently take shelter of and accept only what is sattvika. However, in order to become free from the bondage of this material world, it is necessary to take shelter of that which is nirguna. Bhagavan, bhakta, bhakti, and all the instruments, bhavas and so forth, for seva, are nirguna. Without adopting them, a jiva cannot achieve his ultimate benefit. Therefore, it is the supreme duty of all intelligent individuals to endeavour to rise above the three gunas of material nature by the influence of sadhu-sanga. Being thus situated in their nirguna nature, they should enter into the nirguna-prema-mayi seva of Bhagavan. A table of subjects and their gunas is given on the next page by which the sadhaka will be able to easily understand the gunas and, thus, comprehend nirguna-tattva. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.30-31) describes the above-mentioned subjects that are within the three gunas and beyond them. Shri Bhagavan says to Uddhava:

dravyam deshah phalam kalo / jnanam karma ca karakah
shraddhavasthakritir nishŲha / trai-gunyah sarva eva hi
sarve guna-maya bhavah / purushavyakta-dhishŲhitah
drishŲam shrutam anudhyatam / buddhya va purusharshabha

Various objects, places, results of activities, kala (time), jnana, karma, the performers of action, shraddha, form and allegiance, all consist of the three gunas of material nature. O best among men, all that is seen, heard or conceived of within the mind is situated within prakriti and purusha, and is, therefore, composed of the three gunas.

How can one conquer the three gunas? In this regard, Shri Bhagavan says in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.32):

etah samsritayah pumso / guna-karma-nibandhanah
yeneme nirjitah saumya / guna jivena citta-jah
bhakti-yogena man-nishtho / mad bhavaya prapadyate

O gentle one, because the jiva mistakes the body for the self, he is bound by the gunas and by karma. Thus, he wanders throughout the various species of life. Those who are influenced by the association of bhaktas, practise bhakti-yoga. Consequently, they conquer the material modes that manifest in the mind as the false ego (considering the body to be the self) and they become firmly devoted to Me. Thus, they attain bhagavat-seva to Me in My dhama. Shri Bhagavan is nirguna-tattva. The bhaktas who take shelter of Him are also nirguna. Ananya-bhakti and its associated limbs are also nirguna. The various objects and moods that the bhaktas accept as useful instruments in bhakti, and with which they engage in the service of Bhagavan, become nirguna by His inconceivable power. This principle has been established in various places throughout shastras, such as Shrimad-Bhagavatam.


brahmana-kshatriya-visham / shudranan ca parantapa
karmani pravibhaktani / svabhava-prabhavair gunaih

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.41 <>

parantapa---O chastiser of the foe; karmani---the activities; brahmana---of the priestly or intellectual class; visham---of the mercantile or cow protecting class; kshatriya---of the warrior or administrative class; ca---and; shudranam---of the labourer class; (are) pravibhaktani---divided; gunaih---according to those (same) binding qualities; prabhavaih---which are born; svabhava---of their respective natures.

O Parantapa, the prescribed duties of the brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras are divided according to the dispositions born of their respective natures.


Furthermore, the jivas, who are subject to the influence of the three gunas of material nature, become successful and perfect by worshipping Parameshvara through the performance of activities which are prescribed in shastra, according to their respective qualifications. Shri Bhagavan now speaks the next six shlokas beginning with brahmana-kshatriya-visham, in order to explain this principle.

Svabhava-prabhavair gunaih means work born of one's own nature in accordance with the gunas such as sattva. The various types of karma are appropriately divided according to these gunas and prescribed for the brahmanas, kshatriyas and so forth. This determines their obligatory duties.


In order to elevate humans beyond the three gunas of material nature and gradually raise them to a higher adhikara, Bhagavan Shri Krishna establishes varna-dharma by dividing their prescribed duties according to their respective gunas (qualities) and karma (actions). The arrangement of the pure varna system is very beneficial, auspicious and scientific for human life. With the passing of time, however, the common man has lost faith in this system, having witnessed various defects in its socalled followers. This faith is lost to such an extent that, now, even common people in Indian society blame the varnashrama system for the divisions and hostility created by its castes. They also assert that varna-dharma is the main cause of India's social, political and economic collapse. They say that Indian people are less advanced than those of other countries because of varnashrama-dharma. The majority of India's population is becoming determined to completely destroy the varna-dharma and establish an atheistic society without any varna. It is easy to destroy a useful thing, but it is extremely difficult to initiate and propagate, in this case, an ideal system. May Shri Bhagavan bestow good intelligence upon such people. Are they taking this stance after careful deliberation? Or are they simply being carried away by their sentiments, thus developing firm resolve to completely destroy the individual, as well as society as a whole, at the roots? In this regard, we are quoting some meaningful portions from Shri Chaitanya-Shikshamrita by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. We humbly request the faithful reader to carefully examine and understand it.

"One's inclinations or qualities depend only upon one's nature, sva-bhava. A person should work according to that individual nature. Work which is not executed in accordance with his nature is not fruitful. The English word "genius" is used to refer to a particular part of one's nature. It is not easy for a person to change his matured nature, therefore, he should endeavour for his livelihood and spiritual perfection by working in accordance with his nature. People in India are divided into four varnas in accordance with four types of nature. As a result of people being properly situated in society, having followed the injunctions of the varna system, all social activities naturally become fruitful and humanity attains all auspiciousness. The varna system is based on solid scientific understanding. A society which has such a foundation is worthy of respect by all of humanity.

"Some people may doubt the varnashrama system, saying, "No one in Europe and America follows these injunctions which are based on varna divisions, yet the people of those lands are more advanced and respected than the Indian people in economy, science and other ways." They conclude that it is useless to accept such a system. But such doubts are baseless, because the European societies are quite new. People of such modern societies are generally stronger and more courageous. With that courage and strength, they perform various activities in the world and accept portions of the knowledge, science and arts which have been preserved by the older societies. But all these new societies will gradually become extinct because their social arrangement has no scientific foundation. However, symptoms of the original varna system that existed in ancient India's Aryan society can still be observed in current Indian society, even though it is now so old and weak.

"Previously, the Roman and Greek societies were more powerful and advanced than those of modern European countries, but what is their present plight? They have lost their own ancient caste system, and have embraced the religions and systems of modern societies to such an extent that the people of those castes do not even boast the glory of their noble ancestors. Although the Aryan society of India is much older than the Roman and Greek societies, the present Aryans feel proud of their great heroic forefathers. What is the reason for this? It is because the foundation of Aryan society was so strongly based on the varnashrama system that their social or caste traits still remain. The descendants of Rama, who were defeated by the mlecchas, still consider themselves to be the heroic descendants of Shri Ramacandra. As long as the varna arrangement is existing in India, people will undoubtedly remain Aryan; they can never become non-Aryan, no matter how fallen they become due to the time-worn and antiquated condition of the society.

"The European Aryan descendants, such as the Romans, have intermingled and become integrated with the lowest castes such as the Hana and Bhandala. By studying the structure of the present European societies, we will find that whatever charm exists in them is due to the fact that they have in some way embraced the principles of the varna system, which has manifested through their own natural propensities. In Europe, those people who have a vaishya nature consider it beneficial to engage in business, and because of that alone, they are making economic progress. Those who have the nature of a kshatriya will voluntarily become soldiers, and those who have the nature of a shudra generally prefer to perform menial services. In fact, no society can exist without accepting the varnadharma in some form or other. Even when a marriage is arranged, the higher or lower state of the bride and groom's varna and nature are examined and considered.

"Although varna-dharma is partially accepted in Europe, it has not been established in its full, scientifically-based form. Wherever knowledge and civilization make progress, varna-dharma will proportionately manifest in a more complete form. Two types of methods are effective in every activity: the unscientific and the scientific. An activity is performed unscientifically until the scientific process is accepted. For example, before the invention of power driven ships, people used to travel in boats designed to depend on the winds. But, when scientifically manufactured ships were introduced, all voyages were made on them. The same principle can also be applied to society. Until the varna system becomes properly established in a country, its society will be run by some unscientific, rudimentary system. Such an elementary and primitive arrangement of varna is currently operating and controlling societies in all countries of the world, save and except for India. India has therefore been called karmak shetra, the land for the proper execution of karma.

"At this point in our discussion, the question may be raised as to whether or not the varna system is actually functioning properly in India today. The answer is that it is most definitely not. Although previously this varna system was fully established, in course of time it became diseased. Consequently, degradation of this system is now visible in India. What, we may ask, is that disease? The answer is given in the following explanation.

"At the beginning of Treta-yuga, the Aryan society had reached the pinnacle of its progressive development. At that time, the varnashrama system was established. An arrangement was made to determine the varna of every person according to his nature. Upon acquiring the requisite qualifications set forth, he would perform his prescribed work in that varna only. The activities of the world were thus very comfortably managed with the labour divided according to the qualification and nature of the individual. A person whose father had no varna was accommodated by being placed in the appropriate varna after his nature was examined. The Vedic histories about Jabali and Gautama, Janashruti and Citraratha, etc., give evidence of this. A person's varna was ascertained on the basis of his own nature and on the basis of his family lineage in cases where his father's varna was known. In the dynasty of Narishyanta, Agnivesha himself became the great sage known as Jatukarna. It is from him that the famous brahmana dynasty known as Agniveshyayana originated. In the Aila dynasty, Jahnu, the son of Hotra, attained the status of a brahmana. In the dynasty of Bharadvaja, who was born in the dynasty of Bharata and who was known as King Vitatha, there came two progenies, the one from Nara became kshatriyas, and the progeny of Garga became brahmanas. In the dynasty of King Bharyasva, maudgalya gotra brahmanas, such as Shatananda and Kripacarya were born. There are many such examples in shastra, of which only a few have been cited.

"When the varna system was functioning in a cultured manner, India's fame spread all over the world like the powerful glow of the midday sun. People from all countries of the world paid homage to India and accepted their rulers, controllers and spiritual masters as their own. People of countries such as Egypt and China would hear and receive instructions from the Indians with great faith and reverence.

"The above-mentioned varnashrama-dharma continued in its pure form in India for a long time. Later, through the influence of time, Jamadagni and his son Parashurama, who had the nature of kshatriyas, were unlawfully accepted as brahmanas, but they gave up their caste as brahmanas, as it was opposed to their nature. This caused a disturbance to the peace of the world order by creating a dispute between the brahmanas and the kshatriyas. The unfavourable result of this quarrel was that within the varna system more emphasis was placed on birth. In course of time, this perverted varna system was covertly introduced, even infiltrating shastras such as the Manu-smriti. The kshatriyas lost all hope of attaining a higher varna and they revolted. They supported the Buddhist dharma and focused all their energy on destroying the brahmanas. The degree to which a new activity or opinion is propagated, is opposed to in a proportionate degree. When the Buddhist dharma, which was opposed to the Vedas, arose to confront the brahmanas, the varna arrangement based upon birth became even more deeply rooted. A disagreement ensued between this ill-conceived system and a spirit of nationalism, which gradually led to a virtual disintegration of the Aryan civilization in India.

"Driven by selfish motives, the so-called brahmanas, who were bereft of any brahminical qualities, composed their own religious scriptures and began to cheat the other varnas. The so-called kshatriyas who had lost their true kshatriya spirit and qualities, became averse to engaging in battle and, thus began to lose their kingdoms. Finally, they started to preach the comparatively insignificant and inferior Buddhist dharma. The vaishyas, who did not possess any real business qualities and acumen, began propogating religions such as Jainism. Under these circumstances, the world-wide business ventures of India gradually declined, and the shudras who had no real shudra qualities, became almost like dacoits, being unable to find work befitting their nature. As a result, the cultivation of knowledge of and discussions on sat-shastras such as the Vedas' gradually came to a halt. The rulers of the mleccha countries then attacked India at an opportune time and established their control. India's shipping industry suffered and finally ceased due to improper management. In this way, the influence of Kali intensified. Alas! The Aryan race of India, which once was the ruler and guru of all other societies on earth, deteriorated to the pitiable condition we see today. The reason for this unfortunate development is not the aging of Indian civilization, but the numerous defects that have permeated the varna system.

"Parameshvara is the original controller of all systems and living entities. He has the ability to remove all inauspicious elements and bestow all auspiciousness. If He so desires, He may send His empowered representative to re-establish varnashrama-dharma. Even the writers of the Puranas assert that Shri Kalki-deva will make His advent and reinstate the pristine glory of varnashrama-dharma. The story of King Maru and Devapi describes a similar expectancy. We will now discuss the vidhis (rites) within varnashrama-dharma.

"Dharma-shastra gives a detailed explanation about the karma (duties) that a person in each varna has the right to perform. It is not possible to present the full details of that subject in the context of this book. Activities such as serving food to guests, bathing thrice a day for purity, worshipping devatas and devis, studying the Vedas, giving instructions, performing puja, observing vratas such as upanayana (accepting the sacred thread), brahmacarya and sannyasa are the activities prescribed for brahmanas. Kshatriyas have the right to perform activities such as fighting for dharma, ruling a kingdom, protecting the subjects and generously distributing charity. Vaishyas have the right to perform such activities as protecting animals and executing business endeavours. The right of the shudras is to perform service to the devatas without the utterance of mantras, and to render various services to the above-mentioned three varnas.

"Apart from the activities that are exclusive to their own varnas, all men and women have the common right to perform activities such as marriage, ishvara-bhakti, welfare activities, general charity, service to the guru, honouring guests, purificatory rites, celebrating festivals, serving the cows, producing progeny and following prescribed codes of conduct.

Women have the special right to engage in the service of their husbands. The basic principle is that a person has the right to perform duties which are conducive to his or her own nature. With simple intelligence, everyone can ascertain his or her particular right to perform work. If a person does not have the ability to do that, then he should approach a bona fide guru to ascertain his nature and rights. Those Vaishnavas who are nirguna and who are interested to know more about this subject, should study Sat-kriya-sara-dipika, by Shrila Gopala BhaŲŲa Gosvami."


shamo damas tapah shaucam / kshantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam / brahma-karma svabhava-jam

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shamah---control of the mind; damah---control over the senses; tapah---austerity; shaucam---cleanliness; kshantih---tolerance; arjavam---simplicity; ca---and; eva---certainly; jnanam---transcendental knowledge; vijnanam---realised knowledge; (and) astikyam---firm faith in the philosophical conclusions of shastra; (are) karma---the duties; brahma---of the brahmanas; svabhavajam ---born out of their own nature.

Control of the mind and senses, penance, purity, tolerance, simplicity, knowledge of the self and of bhajana, and firm faith in and realisation of shastra are the characteristic qualities and duties ( karma) of the brahmanas born of their own natures.


Now the karma (prescribed duties) of brahmanas, who are influenced predominantly by sattva-guna, are being described. Shamah refers to control of the internal sense, the mind. Damah means control of the external physical senses. Tapah refers to the prescribed work performed by the body. Jnana-vijnane means knowledge and realisation of the shastra. Astikata means firm faith in the meaning and purport of shastra. All of these are the natural karma of the brahmanas.


In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.21), the qualities of the brahmanas are described. They are: control of the mind and senses, penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simplicity, knowledge, mercy, truthfulness and bhagavadbhakti.

shamo damas tapah shaucam / santoshah kshantir arjavam
jnanam dayacyutatmatvam / satyam ca brahma-lakshanam

Also in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.16), Shri Krishna tells Uddhava that control of the mind and senses, performance of penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simplicity, bhagavad-bhakti, mercy and truthfulness are the qualities of the brahmanas.

In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.24), Rshabhadeva says:

dhrita tanur ushati me purani
yeneha sattvam paramam pavitram
shamo damah satyam anugrahash ca
tapas titikshanubhavash ca yatra

Who can be superior to the brahmanas? By their study they are sustaining My very beautiful and primeval form of the Vedas, which are the avatara of transcendental sound, and they are endowed with the eight supremely pure qualities of sattva-guna: control of the mind, control of the senses, truthfulness, mercy, penance, tolerance, knowledge and realisation (bhakti).

Here, it should be understood that a real brahmana who is endowed with such qualities cannot be the cause of harm or violence to any person, society, community or nation. Undoubtedly, such individuals are the well-wishing friends of every living being. This statement is most definititely true. But those who are bereft of brahminical qualities will only cause great harm to society although pretentiously proclaiming themselves to be brahmanas; of this there is no doubt. At the same time, it is not correct to envy the whole varna system because of this defect and make efforts to destroy it completely. The proper course of action to correct the defects that have crept into this system is for society to honour those who truly possess such good qualities.

According to the Gita, a person should be appropriately honoured after ascertaining his varna based on his qualities, actions, nature and his impressions from previous lives. This will make it possible for brahmanas like VasishŲha, Narada and Vyasa to make their appearance in our society. Peace and happiness will be established throughout the world if such elevated brahmanas and great kshatriya heroes like Shri Rama, Arjuna, Bhima and Maharaja Bharata take birth here.

The atheistic society that is taking shape today is without any concern for caste or divisions. It is simply giving rise to murder, looting, dacoitry, cheating and other sinful activities. Agitation and fear are all-pervading. The world has never before seen such a miserable condition. It is said in Shrimad- Bhagavatam (7.11.35):

yasya yal-lakshanam proktam / pumso varnabhivyanjakam
yad anyatrapi drishyeta / tat tenaiva vinirdishet

A person's varna can be ascertained by noting in him particular symptoms that have been described for establishing the varnas of humans. A person should be assigned to a varna according to these particular symptoms. Varna cannot be decided merely by birth.

In the present age, nitya-lila-pravishŲa om vishnupada ashŲottara-shata Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, the founder of the worldwide Gaudiya Mission, re-established and preached daiva-varnashramadharma based on various evidences from shruti and smriti as well as time-honoured customs.


shauryam tejo dhritir dakshyam / yuddhe capy apalayanam
danam ishvara-bhavash ca / kshatram karma-svabhava-jam

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shauryam---heroism; tejah---boldness; dhritih---firmness; dakshyah--- dexterity; ca---and; api---also; apalayanam---not fleeing; yuddhe---in battle; danam---generosity; ca---and; ishvarabh avah---leadership; (comprise) kshatra-karma---the work of the administrative or warrior class; jam---born; (which are) svabhava---of their own nature.

Heroism, boldness, firmness, dexterity, not fleeing from a battle, generosity and leadership are the prescribed ctions of the kshatriyas which are born of their own nature.


This shloka describes the activities of kshatriyas, in whom rajo-guna predominates over sattva-guna. Shaurya means valour or heroism, tejah means aggressiveness or courage, dhritih means patience (determination), and ishvara-bhavah means the ability and tendency to control people. These are the innate duties of a kshatriya.


It is also stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.22):

shauryam viryam dhritis tejas / tyagash catma-jayah kshama
brahmanyata prasadash ca / raksha ca kshatra-lakshanam

Enthusiasm in battle, heroism, firmness, boldness, sacrifice, control of the mind, forgiveness, devotion to the brahmanas, mercy and protection of the subjects are the characteristics of the kshatriyas.


krishi-go-rakshya-vanijyam / vaishya-karma svabhava-jam
paricaryatmakam karma / shudrasyapi svabhava-jam

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karma---the work; vaishya---of the vaishyas; sva-bhava-jam---which is born of their own nature; (is) krishi---agriculture; go-rakshya--- cow protection; (and) vanijyam---commerce; api---and; karma--- the work; shudrasya---of the shudras; svabhava-jam---born of their own nature; (is) atmakam---of the nature; paricarya---of rendering service.

The prescribed karma of the vaishyas, which is born of their own nature, is agriculture, protecting cows, commerce and trade. The karma of the shudras, which is born of their own nature, is to render service to the other three varnas.


In the vaishyas, rajo-guna predominates; tamo-guna is less prominent. Agriculture, protection of the cows and trade, etc., are the natural and inborn karma of the vaishyas. They are called go-rakshaka (protectors of the cows) because they rear and protect the cows. Tamo-guna is predominant in shudras, not rajo-guna. Their natural karma is to render service to brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas.


sve sve karmany abhiratah / samsiddhim labhate narah
sva-karma niratah siddhim / yatha vindati tac chrinu

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abhiratah---being attached; sve sve---to his respective; karmani--- activities; narah---a man; labhate---attains; samsiddhim---full perfection (eligibility to acquire jnana); shrinu---now hear; tat--- that (information); yatha---how; vindati---he finds; siddhim--- perfection; niratah---while being attached; sva-karma---to his work.

Men are devoted to their own karma according to their respective qualifications. Thus, they attain the perfection of being eligible to acquire jnana. Now hear how a person who is engaged in his prescribed duty can attain perfection.


yatah pravrittir bhutanam / yena sarvam idam tatam
sva-karmana tam abhyarcya / siddhim vindati manavah

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manavah---a man; vindati---attains; siddhim---perfection; svakarma na---through performance of his prescribed duties; abhyarcya---by worshipping; tam---Him; yatah---whence; (arises) pravrittih---the manifestation; bhutanam---of all beings; (and) yena---by whom; idam---this; sarvam---entire (world); tatam---is pervaded.

A man attains perfection through the performance of his own prescribed karma (work) by worshipping Parameshvara, from whom all jivas have come into existence, and by whom this world is pervaded.


One should attain Parameshvara, from whom all living entities are born, by performing puja and arcana to Him with the prayerful entreaty: "May Parameshvara be pleased by my rendering this work (karma)." To perform arcana to Parameshvara with such feeling is proper worship of Him.


shreyan sva-dharmo vigunah / para-dharmat sv-anushŲhitat
svabhava-niyatam karma / kurvan napnoti kilbisham

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shreyan---better; (than) sva-dharmah---one's own occupational duty; (is) vigunah---imperfectly performed; para-dharmat--- than another's duty; su-anushŲhitat---very nicely performed; kurvan---by performing; karma---work; svabhava-niyatam--- regulated by one's own nature; na apnoti---one does not incur; kilbisham---sin.

It is more beneficial to perform one's own occupational duty ( sva-dharma), even though inferior or imperfectly performed, than to perfectly execute the higher duty of another ( paradharma). By performing his sva-dharma, a man incurs no sin.


"It is not proper to engage in sattvika acts, having lost interest in one's own dharma, considering it to be rajasika."

Thus, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word shreyan. Even though one is unable to perform one's lowly, inferior sva-dharma properly, it is better than properly performing para-dharma, which may appear to be superior.

"Therefore, O Arjuna, it is improper for you to renounce your sva-dharma of fighting just because you see the killing of relatives as detrimental, in order to perform para-dharma, the occupation of others who wander and beg."


Here it should be understood that one can accept the conclusion of the present shloka only when the word sva-dharma implies varnashrama-dharma. But when the word sva-dharma is used to imply atma-dharma, bhakti to Shri Hari, then one must accept the conclusions of the shlokas such as sarvadharm an parityajya. Where sva-dharma means atmadharma, the word para-dharma means activities related to the body and mind. Until a person develops faith in atmadharma, it is beneficial to perform prescribed duties according to his innate nature. As it is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.9):

tavat karmani kurvita / na nirvidyeta yavata
mat-katha-shravanadau va / shraddha yavan na jayate

As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his taste for bhajana by shravanam, kirtanam, etc., one has to follow the principles of shastra.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "It is better to perform svadharma even improperly than to engage in para-dharma expertly.

Sva-dharma means the duties prescribed according to one's natural aptitude and innate qualities. Therefore, even if sva-dharma is sometimes not executed expertly, it is always beneficial. There is no possibility of incurring sin by performing duties which are prescribed according to one's own nature."


saha-jam karma kaunteya / sa-dosham api na tyajet
sarvarambha hi doshena / dhumenagnir ivavritah

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kaunteya---O son of Kunti; na tyajet---one should not give up; karma---the work; saha-jam---born of one's nature; api---even though; sa-dosham---faulty; hi---indeed; sarva-arambhah---all endeavours; (are) avritah---covered; doshena---by fault; iva---as; agnih---fire; (is covered) dhumena---by smoke.

O Kaunteya, one should not relinquish duty that is in accordance with one's nature even if that duty has some defect, because all undertakings are covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke.


It is not proper to think that there is only fault in one's sva-dharma, as there is certainly some fault in para-dharma also. To clarify this point, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word saha-jam. One should perform the duty that is in accordance with one's nature, because all work (karma), be it seen (manifest) or unseen (unmanifest) is tinged with some defect, just as fire is covered by smoke. A person overlooks the defect of a fire's smoke while utilising its light and heat to dispel darkness and cold. In the same way, one must accept the positive aspect of one.s prescribed duty for the purification of one.s existence, and neglect the defective aspect.


Generally, duties that are prescribed according to one's nature are called sva-dharma. By performing such duties a person can maintain his life very easily, and he may also possibly gradually enter spiritual life. If a person accepts the prescribed duties of others, having observed some fault in his own sva-dharma, there is a possibility that he may incur even more sin. If one gives up one's kshatriya-dharma, considering it to be violent, and accepts the duty of a brahmana, thinking that it is free from such faults, then there is the possibility of impropriety, because even the duties that are prescribed according to the nature of the brahmanas are subject to the three gunas. Since the instruments for performing brahminical acts are material, there always remains some fault or other in activities performed with them. For example, there is always the possibility of killing living entities while performing a fire yajna. For this reason, the example of fire is given here. Fire remains covered by smoke. This is a defect of fire, but the fire is still accepted in order to dispel cold, to cook and serve other purposes. According to this same reasoning, it is beneficial to engage only in one's prescribed activities. A person utilises the fire he lights after removing some portion of the smoke. In the same way, after overcoming the defects of his karma by offering that karma to Shri Bhagavan, one should accept that aspect of it which gives rise to jnana for the purpose of self-realisation.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Shri Krishna as saying, "O Kaunteya, even if the duties that are prescribed according to one's nature are defective, they should by no means be relinquished. Every endeavour is covered by some defect. Just as fire is always covered by smoke, defects cover and contaminate every action. A man should accept the positive part of the karma which is prescribed according to his nature for the purpose of purifying his existence, and should discard the defective part."


asakta-buddhih sarvatra / jitatma vigata-sprihah
naishkarmya-siddhim paramam / sannyasenadhigacchati

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buddhih---one whose intelligence; (is) asakta---detached; sarvatra---in all situations; jita-atma---whose mind is self-controlled; (and) vigata-sprihah---who is devoid of desire; adhigacchati---attains; paramam---supreme; siddhim---perfection; naishkarmya---in the form of action free from reaction; sannyasena---through renunciation (of the results of his work).

One whose intelligence is not attached to anything material, whose citta (mind) is under control, and who is free from all desires, even for achieving the happiness of Brahma-loka, attains supreme perfection in the form of naishkarmya (reaction-free action) by completely renouncing karma.


Action (karma) becomes defective when, due to false ego, a person considers himself to be the doer and desires the fruit of that activity. The first stage of sannyasa is to give up these defects and remain engaged in karma. Gradually, however, when the sadhana of such a sannyasi matures and he becomes firmly situated in yoga (yogarudha), he may completely renounce all karma. This is the second stage of sannyasa. Asakta-buddhih refers to one whose intelligence is free from all attachment to material objects. Jitatma means one whose mind is under control and vigata-sprihah means one who does not even desire the happiness of Brahma-loka. Such persons attain supreme perfection in the form of naishkarmya by giving up all karma completely. In the yogarudha stage, their naishkarmya (reaction-free or desireless action) attains perfection in the highest sense.


Here, Shri Bhagavan is explaining how one can accept the positive aspect of karma by giving up the defective aspect. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "Those whose intelligence is completely free from attachment to material objects, whose minds are under control, and who do not even desire the happiness of Brahma-loka, achieve the supreme perfection in the form of naishkarmya by completely renouncing their karma-nishŲha (adherence to action)."


siddhim prapto yatha brahma / tathapnoti nibodha me
samasenaiva kaunteya / nishŲha jnanasya ya para

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tatha---also; nibodha---be informed; me---by Me; samasena---in brief; kaunteya---O son of Kunti; yatha---how; praptah---one who has attained; siddhim---perfection; eva---indeed; apnoti---attains; brahma---spiritual realisation; ya---which; (is) para---the highest; nishŲha---stage of steadiness; jnanasya---in transcendental knowledge.

Hear from Me in brief, O Kaunteya, the means by which a person who has achieved perfection in the form of naishkarmya attains brahma, which is the highest culmination of jnana.


"And now, hear from Me how he then attains and realises brahma." NishŲha para refers to complete cessation of ignorance through the practice of various types of yoga. According to the Amara-kosha dictionary, nishŲha means completion, destruction or end. "Understand how, when ignorance subsides, jnana is progressively superseded by vijnana. Then finally, when jnana is entirely relinquished, brahma will be realised."


buddhya vishuddhaya yukto / dhrityatmanam niyamya ca
shabdadin vishayams tyaktva / raga-dveshau vyudasya ca

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vivikta-sevi laghv-ashi / yata-vak-kaya-manasah
dhyana-yoga-paro nityam / vairagyam samupashritah

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ahankaram balam darpam / kamam krodham parigraham
vimucya nirmamah shanto / brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

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yuktah---one engaged (in bhakti); vishuddhaya---with fully purified; buddhya---intelligence; ca---and; niyamya---controlling; atmanam---the mind; dhritya---with determination; tyaktva--- giving up; vishayan---sense objects; shabda-adin---such as sound; ca---and; vyudasya---putting aside; raga-dveshau---attachment and aversion; vivikta-sevi---resorting to solitary places; laghu- ashi---eating lightly; yata---controlling; kaya---body; manasah--- mind; vak---and speech; parah---being absorbed; dhyana-yoga--- in contemplative yoga; nityam---always; samupashritah---taking shelter; vairagyam---of the philosophy and principles of renunciation; vimucya---being freed from; ahankaram---false ego; balam---false (physical) strength; darpam---arrogance; kamam---desire; krodham---anger; parigraham---unnecessary accumulation of possessions; (being) nirmamah---free from possessiveness; (and) shantah---peaceful; kalpate---is eligible; brahma-bhuyaya---for brahma realisation.

Being blessed with pure intelligence, controlling the mind with forbearance, relinquishing the objects of sense enjoyment such as sound, being freed from attachment and aversion, living in a sanctified solitary place, eating little, controlling the body, mind and speech, constantly taking shelter of yoga by meditation on Bhagavan, being completely detached and free from false ego, false attachment, arrogance, desire, anger, and unnecessary accumulation of possessions, being free from the notion of "mine", and situated peacefully, such people are qualified to realise brahma.


Those who are able to control their mind with sattvika intelligence and sattvika forbearance, and who take shelter of the supreme yoga, becoming situated in meditation upon Shri Bhagavan, become qualified to realise brahma. Here, the word bala does not mean strength or ability, but attachment to kama, material desires. After giving up the false ego and material desires, they become qualified to realise brahma. This is called cessation of ignorance. In such a state, even sattva-guna becomes quiet and subdued. This alone is called renunciation of jnana. It is also stated in the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam: "Renounce even jnana in Me." One cannot realise brahma without renouncing both ajnana and jnana. Brahma-bhuyaya kalpate means to become capable of realizing brahma.


A sadhaka's heart becomes purified by offering Bhagavan the results of one's sattvika actions which are born of one's nature. By subduing their senses, such sadhakas remain fixed in a state of trance. Their senses are satisfied because they are detached from sense objects. This dispels all mundane attachments and aversions. In such a state, they become free from the false ego of considering the body to be the self. They do not seek material happiness, nor are they ever overpowered by lamentation. They are constantly equipoised. In this state, which is called brahma-bhuta, they even give up the subtle body and become situated in the atma-svarupa, the true self.


brahma-bhutah prasannatma / na shocati na kankshati
samah sarveshu bhuteshu / mad-bhaktim labhate param

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.54 <> who is spiritually realised;
(is) prasanna- atma.a fully joyful soul; na shocati.he never laments; na.nor; kankshati.hankers; samah.he is equal; all; bhuteshu.beings; labhate.he attains; mad-bhaktim.My bhakti; param.which is blessed with the symptoms of prema. A person thus situated in brahma becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires anything. Being equally disposed to all beings, he attains bhakti to Me which is blessed with the symptoms of prema.


A sadhaka-jiva attains the nature of brahma (brahmabh uta) when he becomes free from the impure designations of sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. That means he attains a state of pure consciousness, free from any covering, and thus becomes prasannatma (fully joyful). Having achieved this higher state, he neither laments for what he has lost, nor hankers for what he does not have. In such a state, he is free from the false ego of considering the body to be the self. Sarveshu bhuteshu means in all beings, good or bad. Samah means that he develops equal vision like that of a child, thereby becoming free from any external identification. His desire for jnana becomes satiated, just like a fire that has been extinguished due to lack of fuel. He then attains My imperishable bhakti in the form of shravanam and kirtanam (which is vested in jnana). Bhakti is a function of My svarupa-shakti and even continues to exist when ajnana and jnana cease, because it is separate from My illusory potency. Therefore, the word param means separate, or superior to jnana. In other words, param means kevala-bhakti, which is devoid of nishkama-karma, jnana, etc. The word labhate means that previously, bhakti, which was partially situated in jnana and vairagya and practised for the purpose of achieving moksha, was not intelligibly realised, just as Antaryami, situated in all beings, cannot be realised very easily. Therefore, the word labhate (obtain) has been used instead of the word kurute (does). A golden gem which has become mixed with grains such as mung or urad dal can be retrieved even when the grains are destroyed by grinding. This is because the gem is comparatively imperishable. In the same way, bhakti, which is partially situated in jnana and vairagya, can be achieved independently when jnana and vairagya are dispelled. This is the most opportune time to attain pure prema-bhakti. The result of such bhakti is never sayujya-mukti. Therefore, the word param here must mean prema-lakshana bhakti, or bhakti endowed with the symptoms of prema.


Para bhakti is necessary to understand parabrahma Shri Krishna, even after one has attained the state of brahma-bhuta. This is explained in the present shloka. Various commentators give different explanations of the word brahma-bhuta which convey almost the same meaning. Only a jiva who is free from all the material gunas and situated on the platform of brahma is called brahma-bhuta. Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes that brahma-bhuta is the pure state of transcendental nature attained by a jiva when he has become free from all gross and subtle designations. This refutes the understanding that brahma-bhuta means to lose one.s existence completely by merging into and becoming one with brahma. Shrila Shridhara Svami, Shri Ramanujacarya, Shri Madhvacarya, Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Shrila Baladeva ! Vidyabhushana and others have unanimously refuted the above opinion which is against siddhanta. The kevala advaita-vadis (impersonalists) say that the following four statements are the supreme axioms of the Vedas: aham brahmasmi (I am brahma); tattvam asi (You are that); sarvam khalv idam brahma (Indeed everything is brahma); and prajnanam brahma (Real knowledge is brahma realisation). They attempt to establish mayavada philosophy by erroneously interpreting these statements, but they are simply cheating the common people by such deceptive propaganda. The above four statements of the Vedas are actually only peripheral statements. Om alone is the supreme statement and it is the svarupa of brahma. Tattvam asi actually means, .You belong to Him,. or .you are His servant.. This was also clarified earlier. The mayavadis, however, explain it to mean, .You are also that (Him).. This explanation is completely distorted and misleading. Also, in regard to the statement aham brahmasmi, the jiva is designated as brahma simply because he has some qualitative similarity with brahma. Because the jiva is the separated part of brahma, he is also cit-svarupa (conscious by nature), but he can be controlled by maya because he is only a separated part. Parabrahma, however, is the controller of maya. The jiva is atomic and parabrahma is an infinite entity, therefore, these two can never become one. The entire creation containing both conscious and inert energies has manifested from parabrahma. Inert matter and consciousness are the transformations of brahma.s potency, and are partially one with Him; they are not completely one with Him. A person can thus understand the true import of the Vedas only after he first considers the precise meaning of each and every Upanishad mantra individually, after which he deliberates upon them collectively to comprehend their meaning as a whole. If a person unnecessarily speculates and interprets the peripheral statements of the Vedas, he will only arrive at false conclusions. One must, therefore, properly understand Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.s definitive instructions on acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva in order to avoid any misinterpretation. There are abundant mantras in the Vedas which establish the difference between the jiva and brahma.

Some of those mantras are cited below: 1) pradhana-kshetra-jna-patir guneshah (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.16). .He is the controller of the gunas and master of the kshetra-jna living entities.. 2) tam ahur agryam purusham mahantam (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.19). .Sages declare Him to be the foremost and greatest of persons.. 3) yathatathyato .rthan vyadadhat (Ishopanishad 8). .It is He who awards the many jivas. necessities.. 4) tenedam purnam purushena sarvam (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.9). .By that Person.s arrangement, this universe is complete in every respect.. 5) nityo nityanam (KaŲha Upanishad 5.13, Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.13). .He is supreme among all eternal beings.. It can be clearly understood from the above quotations that the jiva can never merge with brahma and become one with Him. Therefore, brahma-bhuta actually means that the jiva becomes situated in his eternal constitutional position. The symptoms of jivas who have achieved the brahma-bhuta stage are explained as follows: a) prasannatma: The first characteristic is that they remain always joyful due to being freed from the effects of the subtle body, which is composed of the three material gunas. b) na shocati: They never lament for that which has been lost. ! na kankshati: They do not hanker for what they do not have. d) samah sarveshu bhuteshu: Like a child, they possess equal vision towards all beings, good or bad. e) mad bhaktim param: They have an intense desire to attain My para bhakti. Mahatmas who have attained the brahma-bhuta stage, which is endowed with the above mentioned symptoms, in the association of sadhus, attain para prema bhakti unto Shri Bhagavan. It is also appropriate at this point to understand the true meaning of the word para bhakti. anyabhilashita-shunyam jnana-karmady-anavritam anukulyena krishnanushilanam bhaktir uttama Uttama-bhakti means the cultivation of activities which are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Shri Krishna or, in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service to Shri Krishna performed in all endeavours of the body, mind and speech and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhavas), which is not covered by jnana, knowledge of oneness with brahma or nitya and naimittika-karma, yoga, tapasya and so forth, and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Shri Krishna. This uttama-bhakti is certainly the very essence of all shastras. Famous kevala advaita-vadi commentators, such as Acarya Shankara, Anandagiri and Madhusudana Sarasvati, have stated in their commentaries on this present shloka that para bhakti is bhakti characterised by jnana. But it is worth noting that the para bhakti described in this shloka is only achieved after attaining the brahma-bhuta stage. In other words, it is achieved by a person who has become situated on the brahma-bhuta platform. Para bhakti is therefore superior even to the brahma-bhuta state. It can be easily understood that it does not refer to bhakti which is mixed with jnana and aimed at achieving brahma-jnana. A person still needs to acquire tattva-jnana of parabrahma Shri Krishna, even after he has attained brahma-jnana. Thus, a brahmaj nani will achieve tattva-jnana of Shri Krishna if he has the good fortune to perform para bhakti in the association of bhaktas. It should be clearly understood here that there is a difference between the para bhakti, which gives knowledge of krishna-tattva, and the bhakti which is used to achieve brahmaj nana. The word para has been used to clarify this point. There is a confidential meaning also behind the use of the word labhate (obtains), instead of the word kurute (does). There is a possibility of achieving para bhakti only when a person has realised the insignificance and inferior nature of the brahma-jnana attained by a brahma-jnani. This takes place by the causeless mercy of Bhagavan or His bhaktas. The word labhate has therefore been used because para bhakti is achieved only by the mercy of Bhagavan or His bhaktas. The word kurute (does or makes) would have been used if it were achievable by one.s own endeavour; but Shri Bhagavan has not used the word kurute. This observation clarifies that the word para bhakti only aims at shuddha, kevala or ananyabhakti and not at jnana-mishra-bhakti. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that even this brahma-bhuta stage is external, because one who is situated in that stage cannot realise or attain Goloka or VaikunŲha although he has become free from the gunas. Goloka or VaikunŲha can only be realised when one acquires para bhakti. Therefore, the brahma-bhuta platform is not the highest step. Rather, it is the initial stage in the process of acquiring that supreme level. Here it should also be understood that those who acquire the brahma-bhuta stage are of two types. The first type endeavour for sayujya-mukti, even after they have attained the brahma-bhuta stage. They disregard the bhaktas of Bhagavan and Shri Bhagavan.s nama, rupa, guna and lila and do not listen to hari-katha. They are offenders and never achieve mukti but continue to wander in the bodies of asurika species in this material world. The second type respect the bhaktas as well as Bhagavan.s nama, rupa, guna and lila. Taking shelter of the bhaktas, they easily achieve para bhakti due to their non-offensive attitude.


bhaktya mam abhijanati / yavan yash casmi tattvatah
tato mam tattvato jnatva / vishate tad-anantaram

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bhaktya---through bhakti; abhijanati---one can fully know; mam--- Me; tattvatah---in truth; yavan---how great My opulence is; ca yah asmi---and what My svarupa (original form) is; tatah---then; jnatva---having understood; tattvatah---in truth; tat-anantaram. after that; vishate---one can enter; mam---Me (My nitya-lila).

It is only by bhakti that he can know the tattva of My glories and svarupa. He then enters My eternal pastimes through that tattva on the strength of prema bhakti.


"What is the result of attaining bhakti to You?" Shri Bhagavan answers this with the shloka beginning with bhaktya. "Jnanis and various types of bhaktas who have attained bhakti understand the tattva of My opulences and svarupa (tat-padartha), and thus enter My nitya-lila. As I have also said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21): .I am attainable only by kevala-bhakti." Thus, the vidya of the jnanis can cease on the strength of that bhakti alone. They can enter into Me and realise the bliss of sayujya when they come to know Me in tattva. Because I am beyond maya and since avidya is maya, I am known only by vidya."

The five divisions of vidya are stated in the Naradapa ncaratra. They are: jnana, yoga, vairagya, tapa and bhakti to Keshava. Bhakti is a special function of vidya. Furthermore, only a portion of bhakti, which is a function of Shri Bhagavan's hladini-shakti, enters into vidya to enable its success. Sometimes, a portion of bhakti enters karma to facilitate the success of karma-yoga. The practice of karma, yoga and jnana, etc. is simply unnecessary labour without bhakti, and does not bear fruit. In truth, bhakti is nirguna, so it cannot manifest from vidya, which is in sattva-guna. Ignorance is removed by vidya, whereas Shri Bhagavan (tat-padartha) is known by bhakti. Furthermore, it is said in Gita (14.17): "Jnana arises from sattva-guna." Therefore, the jnana which comes from sattva-guna is also in sattva-guna. Vidya refers to sattvaj nana, but the jnana arising from bhakti is bhakti Herself. That bhakti is denoted in some places by the word bhakti, and in other places by the word jnana. In this way, it is necessary to understand that jnana is also of two types.

One achieves brahma-sayujya only after giving up the first type of jnana which manifests from sattva-guna, and adopting the second type of jnana arising from bhakti. This can be clearly seen in the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Chapter Twenty-Five. Some people, who are bereft of bhakti, try to attain sayujya through jnana. Such persons, who are proud of their jnana, unfortunately only become distressed and are condemned. There are those who understand that mukti cannot be achieved solely through jnana. Thus they engage in some practices of bhakti with their jnana (jnana mishra-bhakti). Such persons think that the existence of Bhagavan is material and temporary, and that His body consists of the material gunas. Even after attaining the platform of yoga called yogarudha, such persons, who falsely think that they are liberated, are only worthy of being condemned. As it is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.2): "According to their respective gunas, the four ashramas along with the four varnas, originated separately from the mouth, arms, thighs, and feet of the purusha, Bhagavan. Those who disrespect this self-born purusha, Bhagavan Himself, and do not render service to Him, fall from their position." This means that those who do not perform bhajana to Him as well as those who disrespect Him, even while worshipping Him, fall down after losing their vidya, even though they are sannyasis. Shrimad-Bhagavatam also states (10.2.32):

ye 'nye aravindaksha vimukta-maninas
tvayy asta-bhavad avishuddha-buddhayah
aruhya kricchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho .nadrita-yushmad-anghrayah

O Kamala-nayana (lotus-eyed Lord)! One who is falsely proud of being liberated, and does not perform bhakti to You due to his polluted intelligence, falls down because he disrespects Your lotus feet, even after he has taken great trouble to attain the highest position of renunciation.

The word anye in the above Bhagavatam shloka refers to a person other than a bhakta of Shri Madhava, and the word anghri refers to bhakti. To disrespect Shri Bhagavan's lotus feet, therefore, means to disrespect bhakti.

Anadrita-yushmad-anghrayah means that it is disrespectful to consider that Shri Bhagavan's body is composed of the three gunas. This was also stated earlier in Gita (9.11): .Foolish people deride Me when I appear in My human form." In reality, that human form is sac-cid-ananda-maya, composed of eternality, knowledge and bliss. Only by the influence of Shri Bhagavan's inconceivable kripa shakti does that body become visible. It is said in Narayana-adhyatma-vacana, "Although the svarupa of Shri Bhagavan is ever unmanifest, He becomes visible only by the influence of His own shakti. Who can see His supremely blissful svarupa without the help of that potency?. Thus, the sac-cid-ananda nature of Bhagavan's body is established.

Even though hundreds of shruti and smriti statements such as kliptam sac-cid-ananda-vigraham shri vrindavana surabh uruha-talasinam, "The Lord is described as He who has a transcendental form of eternality, cognisance and bliss, and is seated at the base of a desire-tree. (Gopala-tapini Upanishad), and shabdam brahma dadhad vapuh, "The Lord displayed His transcendental form, which can only be understood through the Vedas." Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.21.8) further establishes the sac-cid-ananda nature of Bhagavan's body, still some conclude that His name, form, qualities, etc., are materially designated on the basis of one solitary statement in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4.10): mayam tu prakritim vidyan mayinam tu maheshvaram. "The phenomema of material nature is maya (a temporary illusion), and Parameshvara is mayi, made up of maya." However, there is a shruti statement quoted in Shri Madhva-bhashya, ato mayamayam vishnum pravadanti sanatanam, "Therefore, they declare Shri Vishnu, the eternal supreme Lord to be mayamaya, constituted of maya." According to this statement, Bhagavan is eternally endowed with an internal potency called svarupa-bhutam aya, which is part of His own svarupa. In the word mayam tu, in this shloka from Shvetashvatara Upanishad, maya refers to His svarupa-bhuta, cit or conscious potency, which originates from His svarupa. It does not refer to the material energy consisting of the gunas, which is not part of His svarupa. However, they do not accept this meaning. They do not even accept the interpretation that maya is the prakriti and Maheshvara or Shambhu Shiva is the master of that maya. Therefore, they fall down due to their offensive attitude to Bhagavan, even after attaining the state of jivan mukta, liberation while living within this material body. It is also said in the supplementary statement of Vasana-bhashya, that even a person who is jivan mukta becomes entrenched in material lusty desires and again has to enter samsara if he somehow offends the inconceivable, supremely powerful Bhagavan. When he has attained the result of his practice, he thinks that the means are of no further use; hence he falls down. Therefore, in the stage of jnana-sannyasa, he abandons not only jnana, but gunibhuta bhakti (bhakti which is present in jnana to some degree). Thus he maintains the false conception that he is experiencing direct realisation of brahma. Because he commits offenses to the shri-vigraha of Bhagavan, bhakti also disappears along with jnana, and he is not able to attain bhakti again. Without bhakti, the Supreme Absolute Truth cannot be realised. It should be understood that the meditation such a person performs at that time is useless, and his pride in being jivan mukta, liberated while in this body, should also be recognised as baseless.

Supporting this view, Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32) states: ye 'nye aravindaksha vimukta-maninah. "There are two types of jivan muktas who properly engage in the practice of bhakti-mishra-jnana (jnana mixed with bhakti). Both of them recognise the shri-murti of Bhagavan to be sac-cid-anandamay i, and they achieve para bhakti after gradually giving up vidya and avidya. The first perform bhakti with the aim of attaining sayujya, becoming one with Him. With the assistance of this bhakti, they achieve tat-padartha, direct realisation of the Supreme Absolute Truth, thus attaining oneness with Him. Those individuals are worthy of honour. In the second group are highly fortunate persons who give up the desire for mukti and remain absorbed in tasting the sweetness of bhakti-rasa by the influence of the association of calm and composed maha-bhagavatas like Shukadeva Gosvami. Such personalities are to be most highly honoured. As it is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.10): "The qualities of Shri Hari are so wonderful that even the great munis who are atmarama, and who have completely cut the knot of avidya, are attracted by His attracting potency. Hence, they perform selfless bhakti to Urukrama Shri Krishna, who performs wonderful feats."

Therefore, out of these four types of jnanis, the first two are worthy of reproach and they remain bound, while the other two are respectable and cross beyond the material world.


In the present shloka, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the result of para bhakti (kevala-bhakti characterised by prema). By some good fortune, by the mercy of a great personality, a person who has achieved the stage of brahma-bhuta attains para bhakti. At that time, he loses his desire for moksha. Having become free from jnana, he achieves nirguna bhakti and realises krishna-tattva. This takes place when he realises his svarupa-siddhi. Then, at the time of attaining vastu-siddhi, he enters into the pastimes of Bhagavan. It is stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.10):

atmaramash ca munayo / nirgrantha apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim/ ittham-bhuta-guno harih

Those atmaramas who are very fortunate can become attracted by the qualities of Shri Bhagavan if they receive the causeless mercy of Shri Bhagavan and His bhaktas. They can then become absorbed in relishing the sweetness of bhakti-rasa by engaging in ahaituki bhakti to Him.

The examples are the four Kumaras, who received the mercy of Bhagavan, and Shri Shukadeva Gosvami, who received the mercy of Shri Vyasadeva.

In Gita shlokas, such as 11.54, 8.14 and 9.22, it is stated that Shri Bhagavan can only be attained by bhakti. Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.14.21) also states: bhaktyaham ekaya grahyah. "Only by pure devotional service am I to be known." While answering the questions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raya Ramananda said that bhakti which is free from jnana, is the essence of all perfection. But Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not even accept this as the highest goal of life, and requested him to explain further. At this point, Shri Raya Ramananda prabhu presented a Bhagavatam shloka as evidence: jnane prayasam udapasya. This shloka states that not all perfected and liberated persons can realise krishna-tattva. This has been discussed in the shlokas, manushyanam sahasreshu, .Only an extremely rare person comes to know Me in truth. (Gita 7.3), muktanam api siddhanam, "Among millions of liberated souls, only one knows Me in truth. (Shrimad- Bhagavatam: 6.14.5), and koŲi-mukta-madhye "durlabha" eka krishna-bhakta, "Among millions of souls who are actually liberated, it is very difficult to find one who is My pure bhakta. (Chaitanya-caritamrita Madhya-lila 19.148).

Shastras such as the shrutis, smritis, Vedanta-sutra, Shrimad- Bhagavatam and the Gita give numerous proofs to show that even after a jiva has achieved mukti, he can become situated in his own pure constitutional svarupa and taste the bliss of service to Shri Bhagavan. In Shrila Shridhara Svami.s Shrimad- Bhagavatam commentary called Dhrita-sarvajna-bhashya-kara, he has commented on shloka 10.87.21 as follows: mukta api lilaya vigraham kritva bhagavantam bhajante. "Even the liberated beings constantly render voluntary service to Bhagavan with their transcendental (aprakrita) bodies." In the shrutis, we find references such as aprayanat tatrapi hi drishŲam, "What one does throughout one's life is evident at the time of death. (Brahma-sutra 4.1.12), and mokshe ca bhaktir anuvarttate, that describe the presence of bhakti, even in the state of moksha.

Vishate tad anantaram (Gita 18.55) has a deeper, more confidential meaning. Having known and realised Bhagavan, one does not enter into Him and become one with Him, but rather one enters into His lila. For example, when a person enters a city, or a bird enters its nest, it does not mean that the person becomes the city, or that the bird becomes the nest. The actual meaning is that they enjoy great happiness in meeting with their family members. The nirvisheshav adis normally use the example of rivers flowing into the ocean to express the oneness of the jiva with brahma. They say that, just as the rivers lose their name and form when they merge into the ocean (having given up their separate existence), in the same way, the jiva merges with brahma and becomes one with Him. However, the savishesha-vadi bhaktas say that, even after mukti, a pure jiva maintains his own individual existence, just as the aquatics living in the ocean have their separate existence from the ocean. Living beings live happily in the ocean with their family members. To know the ocean, mere knowledge of the ocean's surface is not adequate. It is necessary also to know the various aquatics that live deep down in the ocean, as well as the pearls, jewels and various types of useful mines there. Similarly, to know Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna, as He who is complete with six opulences and full of bhaktirasa, is to know Him in tattva and in full. Only when a sadhaka or bhava-bhakta has attained this knowledge can he then enter into the lila of Bhagavan in his state of vastusiddhi and taste the bliss of rendering seva to Him.

If one deeply deliberates on the statements of shastra, it becomes clear that one cannot attain mukti merely by jnana, without the help of bhakti: shreyah sritim bhaktim udasya, "I can be attained by bhakti alone, not by speculative knowledge " (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.4). The jnanis are of two types: the kevala-jnani (who cultivates jnana only) and the bhakti-mishra-jnani (who mixes bhakti with his cultivation of jnana).

Bhakti-mishra-jnanis are also of two types: those who consider the form of Bhagavan as illusory, and those who accept the form of Bhagavan as sac-cid-ananda. The first category of jnanis do not become mukta (liberated) because of their offence at the lotus feet of Bhagavan. They only maintain a false ego of being liberated. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32) makes the following statement about such jnanis who are falsely proud and think that they are liberated:

ye .nye aravindaksha vimukta-maninas
tvayy astabhavad avishuddha buddhayah
aruhya kricchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho anadrita yushmad-anghrayah

O Kamala-locana (lotus-eyed Bhagavan)! He who has cultivated jnana and who is falsely proud calls himself liberated. It should be understood that he possesses a polluted intelligence because he has no conception that bhakti is an eternal activity. In his cultivation of jnana, he has given up material objects (atat) through the process of negation and only reaches a supreme position near tat, the Absolute Reality, where he remains stagnant. However, because he has failed to attain the shelter of Your lotus feet, he eventually falls down.

Gita (9.12) also states:

moghasha mogha-karmano / mogha-jnana vicetasah
rakshasim asurim caiva / prakritim mohinim shritah

With frustrated hopes, futile actions, ineffectual knowledge and a distracted mind, he only takes shelter of an illusory, tamasika and asurika nature.

The second type of jnani who follows the path of bhaktimi shra-jnana accepts the shri-murti of Bhagavan as sac-cid- ananda-mayi. Such a jnani attains sayujya-mukti after his vidya and avidya has been removed, but he does not attain para bhakti. Some of these jnanis have the good fortune to receive the mercy of a maha-purusha. They are able to give up the desire for mukti, and thus attain para bhakti. The following Bhagavatam shloka (1.7.10) is spoken in reference to such atmaramas (self-satisfied jnanis).

atmaramash ca munayo / nirgrantha apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim / itthambhuta guno harih

Shri Krishna has such an attractive potency that even the atmarama-munis who have completely cut the knot of avidya become attracted to Him and start performing ahaituki-bhakti to Urukrama, the performer of wonderful activities. What to speak, then, of a person absorbed in attraction to mundane matter?

All of the above shlokas that have been cited clarify this subject.


sarva-karmany api sada / kurvano mad-vyapashrayah
mat-prasadad avapnoti / shashvatam padam avyayam

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mat-vyapashrayah---one who always takes shelter of Me; avapnoti---attains; shashvatam---the eternal; (and) avyayam--- imperishable; padam---abode; mat-prasadat---by My grace; api--- even though; sada---always; kurvanah---performing; sarvakarm ani---all sorts of activities.

One who is My aikantika-bhakta attains the eternal and imperishable VaikunŲha abode by My grace, even though he is always engaged in various types of activities .


"It was explained earlier that a jnani ultimately achieves the result of My sayujya by gradually giving up the results of karma. He then gives up the karma itself and finally he abandons jnana. But how can My bhaktas attain Me? To explain this, Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with sarva. If even those who are specifically sakama, and who maintain inferior desires can attain the supreme destination by taking shelter of Me, then what to speak of those who are nishkama-bhaktas? And furthermore, what can be said about the destinations of ananya-bhaktas who give up their adherence to karma, yoga, jnana and the worship of various devas, as well as all other material desires and worship Me exclusively, although engaged in all types of karma, such as nitya and naimittika, as well as fruitive or social activities for the maintenance of sons, daughters and so on?.

Here the statement ashrayate (takes shelter) means that he performs seva properly and wholeheartedly. The prefix an to the word shraya certainly implies the predominance of seva. The word api (also) in the phrase karmany api indicates the inferiority of karma, thereby implying that karma is secondary for such people. In other words, these people perform bhakti which is mixed with karma, not karma which is mixed with bhakti. This means that they are not excessively engrossed in the karma which was described in the first six chapters. The words shashvatam padam mean, "They attain My eternal abodes such as VaikunŲha, Mathura, Dvaraka and Ayodhya." But how will these abodes survive the maha-pralaya, total annihilation? In response to this, Shri Bhagavan says avyayam. "My abodes are not destroyed during the complete annihilation; they remain unaffected. This is possible only by the influence of My inconceivable potency."

One may raise the following doubt: "On the one hand, a jnani attains sayujya after achieving the state of naishkarmya, action without reaction. This occurs as a result of his giving up all sense enjoyments, as well as undergoing great pains in the performance of austerities and so forth for many lifetimes. Your bhaktas, however, attain Your eternal abode, even though they are engaged in karma with material desires. Does this occur merely by taking shelter of You?" In response to this Shri Bhagavan says, "This takes place by My mercy. Know that the influence of My sweet will is beyond reason."


This shloka illustrates the speciality of bhakti and of a bhakta. The heart becomes progressively purified as a result of performing nishkama-karma as an offering to Bhagavan, and gradually one attains jnana. "Such jnanis then become qualified to attain bhakti to Me. By My causeless mercy, however, My aikantika-bhaktas can attain My supreme abode in any state, simply by taking shelter of ananya-bhakti. My aikantika-bhaktas are not bound by the results of any karma, even while performing nitya (obligatory), naimittika (causal) and kamya (fruitive) activities. By My mercy, they quickly attain My eternal abodes such as VaikunŲha and Goloka."

This indicates the supremely merciful nature of Bhagavan in relation to His aikantika-bhaktas. Bhagavan Himself says in Gita (9.30): api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak. "Even if a man's conduct is most abominable, if he engages in My ananya-bhakti, he should be accepted as a bhakta." Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "It has been explained that the confidential path to attain Me is by the Vedic process of first performing nishkama-karmayoga by which one attains jnana. Bhakti is then attained through that jnana. This is the first of the three processes I am lucidly describing. Now, please listen as I explain how I am attained by the second process, namely worship of Me. It is by My mercy that a person finally attains nirgunabhakti, the imperishable and eternal position. This occurs when he takes exclusive shelter of Me, even in an unfavourable manner because of his material desires. He still offers all of his activities to Me however, considering Me to be Ishvara.


cetasa sarva-karmani / mayi sannyasya mat-parah
buddhi-yogam upashritya / mac-cittah satatam bhava

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.57 <>

sannyasya---having renounced; sarva-karmani---all activities; cetasa---through your mind; mayi---unto Me; mat-parah----being dedicated to Me; upashritya---taking shelter; buddhi-yogam---of the yoga of intelligence; bhava---be; satatam---always; mat-cittah--- in consciousness of Me.

With your mind free from the false ego of being the doer, wholeheartedly offering Me all your activities, and taking shelter of resolute intelligence filled with dedication to Me, remain always absorbed in full consciousness of Me.


"So what are You finally ordering me to do? Do you want me to become an ananya-bhakta, or a sakama-bhakta, possessing the symptoms You have already described?. Shri Bhagavan responds to Arjuna.s question as follows: "You will not be able to become the topmost bhakta, nor should you become the inferior type of sakama-bhakta. Rather, you should become a madhyama-bhakta (a bhakta situated in the intermediate stage)." Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word cetasa to give this instruction. Sarvakarm ani indicates, "You should become a nishkama-bhakta by offering all your activites to Me, whether they are related to ashrama-dharma or to varna-dharma. I am the only goal of such nishkama-bhaktas. I have already explained this in Gita (9.26), yat karoshi." The word buddhi-yogam means, "You should become constantly absorbed in Me with resolute intelligence. In other words, you should always remember Me while performing work, or in any situation."


Here, Arjuna wants to clearly understand the obligations of a bhakta whose adhikara is to practise bhakti on the intermediate level, between that of the aikantika-bhakta who has attained para bhakti, and the inferior sakama-bhakta. Understanding Arjuna's inner feeling, Shri Krishna now instructs the devotee who has a similar adhikara. "Such a person should give up the false ego of being the doer and the enjoyer of all actions, and offer all that karma to Me, remembering Me always. " This was also stated earlier: yat karoshi yad ashnasi. It is noteworthy, however, that the activity itself should be performed as an offering, not that the results alone be offered after the action is performed. Influenced by sadhu-sanga, such a person finally attains para bhakti by acting in this way. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "I have already explained that brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan are My three manifestations. Through buddhi-yoga, fix your citta (thoughts) on My manifestation of Paramatma, and with your mind, offer all your works to Me. In this way, become devoted to Me."


mac-cittah sarva-durgani / mat-prasadat tarishyasi
atha cet tvam ahankaran / na shroshyasi vinankshyasi

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.58 <>

mat-cittah---fixing your mind on Me; mat-prasadat---by My grace; tarishyasi---you will cross over; sarva-durgani---all obstacles; atha cet---if however; ahankarat---out of egoism; tvam---you; na shroshyasi---do not listen; vinankshyasi---you will be lost.

By constantly remembering Me with wholehearted devotion, you will, by My grace, cross over all obstacles. But if, out of false ego, you neglect My instructions, you will be ruined.


"What would occur as a consequence of that?" In response, Shri Krishna speaks this shloka beginning with the word maccitta h.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "By fixing your mind upon Me in this way, you will be able to cross over all obstacles which may arise during your lifetime. However, if you do not act in this way, and instead consider yourself to be the doer, due to the false ego of identifying your self with the body, then you will fall from your immortal svarupa and incur destruction by remaining in this material world."


yad ahankaram ashritya / na yotsya iti manyase
mithyaiva vyavasayas te / prakritis tvam niyokshyati

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.59 <>

te---your; vyavasayah---resolution; yat---out of which; manyase--- you are thinking; iti---that; na yotsye---I shall not fight; ashritya--- having taken shelter; ahankaram---of false ego; eva---certainly; (will be) mithya---in vain; (because) prakritih---My illusory energy; niyokshyati---will engage; tvam---you.

This resolution not to fight is only due to your selfconceited indulgence, and it will only go in vain, for My maya in the form of rajo-guna will compel you to fight anyway.


"I am a kshatriya and to fight is my highest duty (paramadharma). However, I do not wish to fight because I am fearful of incurring great sin as a result of killing so many people." In response to this argument, Shri Bhagavan reprimands Arjuna by speaking this shloka beginning with the words yad ahankaram. The word prakritih means sva-bhava or nature. "You are not accepting My instructions now, O Maha-vira, but when your formidable natural enthusiasm for fighting manifests, you will make Me laugh by engaging yourself in this battle and killing worshipable personalities like Bhishma."


Sadhakas should never misuse their independence and engage in frivolous acts. According to the instructions of Shri Bhagavan, they should give up the false ego of being the doers and the enjoyers, and perform karma as His servants. One should receive this instruction of Bhagavan either from Bhagavan Himself as caitya-guru within, or from the shastra spoken by Him. Or, considering the instructions of the bhaktas to be non-different from His own instructions, one should perform work only for the purpose of serving Him. However, if one performs work with the conception of being the doer and the enjoyer, which is opposed to the instruction of Bhagavan, one becomes bound to undergo the good and bad results of those actions, life after life.


svabhava-jena kaunteya / nibaddhah svena karmana
karttum necchasi yan mohat / karishyasy avasho 'pi tat

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.60 <>

kaunteya---O son of Kunti; (you are) nibaddhah---bound; karmana---by your work; yat---which; na icchasi---you do not wish; karttum---to do; mohat---out of delusion; api---still; karishyasi---you will do; tat---that; avashah---against your own will; svena svabhava-jena---born of your own nature.

O Kaunteya, that action, which in your present deluded state you now wish to avoid, will nevertheless be forced upon you, because you are bound by the activities born of your own nature.


This shloka further explains the previous one. "Due to samskaras (impressions from your past lives), you possess the nature of a kshatriya. You will certainly engage in battle, being compelled by your natural inborn qualities, such as chivalry."


The import of Shri Bhagavan's statement in this shloka is as follows: "Now, you are not accepting My instructions because you are bewildered; that is why you are not engaging in battle. But when your enthusiasm to fight gains strength, in accordance with your own nature, you will not be able to suppress it. You will be bound to undergo the results of those actions, thinking yourself to be an agent of this battle, a warrior. Therefore, it is beneficial for you to fight in pursuance of My instruction." According to this injunction, the sadhakas who have the same adhikara as Arjuna (as discussed in the previous shlokas) should become free from both gross and subtle egos in order to serve Bhagavan. They should also perform activities which are favourable to bhakti.


ishvarah sarva-bhutanam / hrid-deshe 'rjuna tishŲhati
bhramayan sarva-bhutani / yantrarudhani mayaya

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.61 <>

arjuna---O Arjuna; ishvarah---the Lord; tishŲhati---is situated; hritde she---in the area of the heart; sarva-bhutanam---of all beings; mayaya---by His illusory energy; bhramayan---He is motivated to wander; sarva-bhutani---all the living beings; yantra- arudhani---who are mounted upon machines.

O Arjuna, Sarvantaryami Paramatma is situated in the heart of all jivas and is causing them to wander in the cycle of birth and death by His maya, as if they are mounted on a machine.


Shri Bhagavan is now giving His own conclusion, having explained the opinion of the svabhava-vadis (those who worship the tendencies born of their natures) in the previous two shlokas. Shri Narayana is Antaryami, who dwells within all jivas. Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (3.6.3) states that He resides within the earth but the earth does not know Him. The earth is His body and by residing within the earth, He controls and moves it. The shrutis also state: "Shri Narayana pervades whatever is seen or heard in this universe, whatever is within or beyond it." From these Vedic statements, it is established that Ishvara is situated within the heart as Antaryami. What does He do there? In response to this, Shri Bhagavan says, "He makes all the jivas wander within this material world by His maya-shakti, engaging them in various activities." Just as a puppeteer manoeuvres puppets that are mounted on a platform by a device which controls the threads, similarly, maya controls all the jivas in a particular way. Yantrarudhani also means the jivas who are situated in various bodies.


Parameshvara is the Supersoul of the entire moving and nonmoving world. He has already stated this earlier in Gita (15.15): sarvasya caham hridi sannivishŲo. "I am seated within everyone.s heart; all remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness come from Me alone."

The shrutis also say:

eko devah sarva-bhuteshu gudhah
sarva-vyapi sarva-bhutantaratma
karmadhyakshah sarva-bhutadhivasah
sakshi ceta kevalo nirgunash ca
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.11

He is omnipresent and omnipotent. Under His control the jiva, influenced by maya, is wandering throughout this material world, riding the machine of the subtle and gross body. Some think that Ishvara controls all beings and prompts their actions. "Therefore, all of our good and bad actions are performed by His inspiration." They presume that the jiva is just like a puppet. Therefore, they think, instead of the jiva getting the results of all his good and bad works, Ishvara alone should and, in fact, does receive the results. But such understanding is completely illusory. One should properly appreciate the meaning of the word yantrarudhani. Those jivas who are averse to Bhagavan are given a subtle and a gross body by maya according to the impressions of their karma, which have accumulated since time immemorial. The jiva wanders throughout the cycle of karma, riding on the body given to him according to his previous actions. This takes place on the inspiration of Ishvara, under the control of maya. Ishvara does not directly engage the bound jivas in their karma. The baddha-jiva does not want to give up his independence completely and be controlled by Bhagavan; therefore, he does not receive this good fortune. Thus, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu clearly states in Chaitanya-caritamrita, (Madhyal ila 20.117):

krishna bhuli' sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha
ataeva maya tare deya samsara-duhkha

Having forgotten Krishna, the jiva has been attracted by maya since time immemorial. Thus, maya gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.

Parameshvara merely acts as a witness to such rebellious jivas, and through maya He makes them undergo the results of all their good and bad activities. In the case of His bhaktas, however, He does not remain indifferent towards them like a witness, but rather He engages them in His service. This is His great mercy.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "I alone am situated in the heart of all jivas as Paramatma, and Paramatma is indeed, the controller and master of all jivas. Ishvara gives the jivas the fruit of whatever activities they perform. Just as an object that is situated on a machine rotates, similarly, the jivas continue to wander in the material world, as arranged by the all-controlling quality of Ishvara. According to your previous karma, your nature will continue to function by the inspiration of Ishvara."


tam eva sharanam gaccha / sarva-bhavena bharata
tat prasadat param shantim / sthanam prapsyasi shashvatam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.62 <>

bharata---O scion of Bharata; gaccha sharanam---take shelter; eva---exclusively; tam---of Him; sarva-bhavena---in every respect; (and) tat-prasadat---by His mercy; prapsyasi---you will attain; param shantim---transcendental peace; (and) shashvatam sthanam---His eternal abode.

O Bharata, surrender exclusively to that Ishvara in every respect. By His grace, you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme eternal abode.


For the purpose of explaining the significance of surrender to Him, Shri Bhagavan is now speaking this shloka beginning with the words tam eva. Param means, "When both avidya and vidya cease, you will attain the eternal abode, VaikunŲha." Some people think that those who worship Antaryami attain this result. However, the result of those who worship and surrender unto Bhagavan will be explained later. Others constantly think, "My ishŲa-deva, Shri Krishna, is my only guru. He alone will bestow bhakti-yoga upon me and offer me beneficial instructions. I surrender unto Him. Shri Krishna Himself is my Antaryami; may He alone engage me in His service. I take exclusive shelter of Him." As Uddhava also says in Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.29.6), "O Isha, even those who are greatly learned, who have acquired a duration of life equivalent to that of Brahma, and who blissfully remember You, always feel indebted to You. This is because You illuminate the embodied entities with the process of attaining You. You do this externally as acarya-guru and internally as caitya-guru."


Here, Shri Bhagavan instructs Arjuna to fully surrender to Antaryami who is within everyone. He is the causelessly merciful Parameshvara who was described in the previous shloka. Parameshvara is influenced by such one-pointed surrender which pleases Him. By His mercy, one can easily attain supreme transcendental peace and go to His imperishable abodes such as VaikunŲha or Goloka. Bhagavan manifests Himself in five forms in this world for the welfare of the jivas, according to the service attitude of His bhaktas. These five forms are: arca-vigraha (the Deity), Antaryami (the Supersoul), vaibhava (avataras of the Lord), vyuha (expansions) and para (Shri Krishna Himself).

krishna yadi kripa kare kono bhagyavane
guru-antaryami-rupe sikhaye apane
Chaitanya-caritamrita Madhya-lila 22.47

To bestow His mercy upon the jivas who possess the type of sukriti that directs them towards bhakti, Bhagavan gives instructions about surrendering to Him, both externally as the spiritual master and internally as the caitya-guru.


iti te jnanam akhyatam / guhyad guhyataram maya
vimrishyaitad asheshena / yathecchasi tatha kuru

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.63 <>

iti---thus; akhyatam---has been described; maya---by Me; te---to you; jnanam---knowledge; guhyataram---more confidential; guhyat---than the confidential knowledge; vimrishya---after reflecting; etat---on this; asheshena---completely; yatha---as; icchasi--- you wish; tatha---so; kuru---do.

Thus, I have instructed you in knowledge which is more confidential than the secret knowledge of brahma. Reflect on this knowledge properly, and then act as you wish.


Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka beginning with the word iti to conclude the entire Gita. "One can know karma-yoga, ashŲanga-yoga and jnana-yoga by this knowledge. That is, it is even more confidential than the secret knowledge of jnana-shastra. This being the topmost secret, even sages such as VasishŲha, Veda-vyasa and Narada have not revealed it in shastras composed by them. In other words, their omniscience is relative and My omniscience is complete. They do not know this tattva fully, because it is highly confidential. Since it is highly secret, I do not even instruct it to these exalted sages. After reflecting deeply on My instructions regarding this knowledge, act as you desire, according to your discretion." In this way, the last set of six chapters have been completed. This Gita-shastra, consisting of eighteen chapters, is the crestjewel of all vidyas (education). It is comprised of three sets of six chapters and is like a treasure chest that contains the most precious and unrivalled gem, namely that of highly confidential bhakti. The first set of six chapters, called karma- shaŲkas, is like the gold-covered lower foundation of this chest. The last set of six chapters, jnana-shaŲka, is like the gem-studded cover of the chest. Bhakti. the set of six chapters situated in between these two shaŲkas, is the most precious wealth within the three worlds. Bhakti, which has the power to control and overpower Shri Krishna, is situated within this chest like an excellent, great and beautiful gem. The forthcoming two shlokas, the first beginning with the words man-mana bhava (18.65-66), which consists of sixty-four syllables, should be considered as the pure maidservant of this bhakti, being situated in the upper covering of the chest.


In this present shloka, Shri Bhagavan is presenting His conclusion to Bhagavad-gita. He says that the brahma-jnana He previously described is confidential; paramatma-jnana is more confidential and bhagavat-jnana is the most confidential. He will clearly explain this in the following shloka. Vrajendranandana Shri Krishna is alone advaya-jnana-svarupa and the highest limit of para-tattva. He has three manifestations: brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. As Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.11) states:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam / yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti / bhagavan iti shabdyate

Those who are tattva-vit realise that non-dual Absolute Truth in three aspects. Brahma only has the characteristic of cit or consciousness and is the first realisation (manifestation) of that tattva. Paramatma, the extension of that cit consciousness, is the second manifestation, and Bhagavan, who manifests as cidvil asa-rupa (He who performs transcendental amorous pastimes), is the third realisation of that tattva. That tattva is known by three names in these three states.

These three manifestations of Vrajendra-nandana Krishna are brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Of these, realisation of brahma (the effulgence emanating from His body) is the perverted reflection of the cid-amsha, the conscious part of the para-tattva. This is called incomplete realisation. Paramatma realisation is a partial realisation of sat and cit, and Bhagavan realisation is the complete realisation of the Absolute in the form of sat, cit and ananda. Here brahmaj nana is called confidential (guhya), paramatma-jnana more confidential (guhyatara) and bhagavat-jnana the most confidential (guhyatama).

This most confidential bhagavat-jnana also has three divisions: Shri Krishna is complete in Dvaraka, more complete in Mathura and most complete in Vrindavana or Gokula. Arjuna, who is a friend of Krishna in His pastimes in Dvaraka, only knows His complete feature.

There are eighteen chapters in the Gita and they are divided into three divisions of six chapters. The first six chapters describe nishkama-karma-yoga which is offered to Bhagavan. The second six chapters describe bhakti-yoga and the third six chapters describe jnana-yoga. One should not think that jnana-yoga is the highest and final conclusion just because it comes at the end. Rather, the hidden meaning is that bhakti-yoga, which is situated in between karma-yoga and jnana-yoga, gives strength to them both, thus making karma and jnana qualified to give their results. Karma-yoga and jnana-yoga are useless without the shelter of bhakti. In this way, the Gita is like a box, its base is karma-yoga, its upper lid is jnana-yoga and the great wealth of Bhakti-devi is situated like a precious gem within. In this way, people in general can understand that the first six chapters are confidential, the last six chapters are more confidential and the middle six chapters are the most confidential.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "Brahma-jnana, which was explained to you earlier, is a secret. Paramatma-jnana, which is explained now, is more secret. Reflect on this thoroughly and do as you wish. This means that if you want to achieve brahma by taking shelter of jnana through nishkama-karma-yoga and gradually achieve My nirguna-bhakti, then perform your actions in this battle as nishkama-karma. And if you want to surrender to Paramatma, then engage in battle while offering your actions to Ishvara, performing the occupation which is born of your kshatriya nature, as prompted by Him. Then Ishvara, who is My avatara, will gradually bestow nirguna-bhakti upon you. Whatever your conclusion, understand that to fight is certainly beneficial for you."


sarva-guhyatamam bhuyah / shrinu me paramam vacah
ishŲo .si me dridham iti / tato vakshyami te hitam

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.64 <>

shrinu---hear; bhuyah---again; me---My; paramam---supreme; vacah---instruction; sarva-guhyatamam---the most confidential of all instructions; tatah---therefore; vakshyami---I shall speak; te---for your; dridham---complete; hitam---welfare; iti---since; asi---you are; ishŲah---very dear; me---to Me.

Hear once more My supreme instruction, the most confidential of all knowledge. I am speaking this for your highest benefit, because you are very dear to Me.


When Shri Krishna saw that His dear friend Arjuna had fallen silent while deliberating on the deep and grave meanings of this Gita-shastra, His heart, which is as soft as butter, melted and He said, "O Arjuna, My dear friend, now I will speak the very essence of all shastra to you in these concluding eight shlokas." If Arjuna asks, "Why will You take further trouble to explain this?" then in answer Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words sarvaguhyatamam. "I am again giving you the essence of the Ninth Chapter, raja vidya raja guhyam, in the shloka beginning with the words man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. This statement is indeed the supreme statement, for it is the essence of the Gita-shastra, which is the summum bonum of all shastras. The word guhyatamam means that there is nothing more confidential than this to be found anywhere. It is absolute. I am speaking this again for your greatest benefit because You are My very dear friend (ishŲo 'si me dridham iti). Why not? After all, a person does not tell the most confidential secrets to anyone except his dearest friend." Some versions of the Gita use the phrase ishŲo 'si me dridha-matih instead of dridham iti.


Shri Gita is called an Upanishad. It is the essence of the Vedas and of the Upanishads. One can only understand its innermost intention by the mercy of Bhagavan and His bhaktas. These confidential instructions cannot be understood merely on the strength of one's intelligence, nor through the medium of karmis, jnanis, or non-devotees who consider the form of Bhagavan to be illusory and devoid of potency. Only the exclusive, fully surrendered bhaktas of Krishna can, by His grace, become aware of these most confidential instructions. This shloka is spoken by Shri Bhagavan for the explicit purpose of explaining this secret.

Arjuna is Shri Krishna's full aikantika-bhakta, and is very dear to Him. He is, therefore, qualified to hear this most confidential instruction. In the same way, only aikantika-krishnabhaktas are capable of comprehending this most secret instruction of the Gita, not others. The aikantika-bhaktas are exclusively surrendered to Krishna, knowing Him to be sac-cid- ananda-parabrahma, and are thus actively engaged in following His instructions and directions, being freed from any doubt or controversy.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "I spoke guhya (confidential) brahma-jnana to you, and guhyatara (more confidential) ishvara-jnana. Now, I am instructing guhyatama (most confidential) bhagavat-jnana. Please listen. This is superior to all the other instructions I have given in this Gita-shastra. I am imparting it to you for your eternal welfare, because you are very dear to Me."


man-mana bhava mad-bhakto / mad-yaji mam namaskuru mam evaishyasi satyam te / pratijane priyo 'si me

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.65 <>

mat-manah---offer your mind to Me; bhava---become; matbhakta h---My bhakta (engaged in hearing and chanting about My nama, rupa, etc.); (become) mat-yaji---My worshipper; namaskuru---offer your obeisances; mam---to Me; evaishyasi---you shall come; mam---to Me; pratijane---I promise; satyam---truthfully; te---to you; (because) asi---you are; priyah---dear; me---to Me.

Offer your mind to Me; become My bhakta by hearing and chanting, etc. about My names, forms, qualities and pastimes; worship Me and offer obeisances to Me. In this way, you will certainly come to Me. I promise you this truthfully because you are very dear to Me.


"Man-mana bhava means that you should meditate on Me by becoming My exclusive bhakta. Do not become a jnani or a yogi and think of Me as they do. Alternatively, man-mana bhava means that you should become like one who has offered his mind to Me, Shyamasundara, who am showering upon you a sweet, merciful glance from My very beautiful moon-like face that is adorned with exquisite arched eyebrows and soft curly hair. Mad-bhaktah means to offer your senses to Me. In other words, perform bhajana to Me by engaging all your senses in My seva, that is, by performing shravanam and kirtanam, seeing My shri-murti, cleansing and decorating My temple, collecting flowers and making garlands, decorating Me with ornaments, offering Me an umbrella, camara and performing other services. Mad-yaji means to worship Me and offer articles such as fragrant flowers, incense, a ghee lamp and bhoga. Mam namaskuru means offering dandavat pranamas, falling down on the ground and offering obeisances with either eight or five limbs of your body. Mam evaishyasi means you will surely achieve Me by performing the four activities of thinking, serving, worshipping and offering obeisances, or by performing even one of them. Offer your mind to Me, and all your senses, such as the ear and tongue, and in return I will give Myself to you. This is the truth; do not doubt it." According to the Amara-kosha Dictionary, the words satya (truth), shapatha (vow) and tathya (fact) are synonymous. If Arjuna says, "The people of Mathura take vows at every step (but in fact are unable to maintain them), so how can I have faith in Your vow since You are Mathuresha Krishna?" then in response Shri Bhagavan says, "This is true, but I am making this promise because you are very dear to Me. A person does not deceive those who are dear to him..


Man-mana bhava means to absorb one's mind in Krishna exclusively. Shri Krishna Himself has accepted the gopis as the highest ideal of man-mana bhava devotees and expresses this to Uddhava in sweet words (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.46.4-6):

ta man-manaska mat-prana / mad-arthe tyakta-daihikah
mam eva dayitam preshŲham / atmanam manasa gatah
ye tyakta-loka-dharmash ca / mad-arthe tan bibharmy aham
mayi tah preyasam preshŲhe / dura-sthe gokula-striyah
smarantyo .nga vimuhyanti / virahautkanŲhya-vihvalah
dharayanty ati-kricchrena / prayah pranan kathancana
pratyagamana-sandeshair / ballavyo me mad-atmikah

Dear Uddhava, the minds of the gopis are always absorbed in Me. I am their very life and their all-in-all. It is for My sake alone that they have relinquished everything, including their homes, husbands, sons, relatives, shyness, dharmika principles and so forth. They constantly remain absorbed in thoughts of Me alone. It is by their trust in My statement, "I will come," that they are maintaining their lives somehow or other, with great difficulty, and are waiting for Me.

This description of the gopis who are feeling anxiety in separation from Krishna is the highest example of man-mana bhava. Now hear about a gopi's absorption in Krishna while she was in purva-raga, that state prior to meeting with Him.

Once, a newly married gopi came to live in Nandagaon. This gopi had heard of Krishna's name and His supremely attractive and wonderful activities, yet she had never had the good fortune to see Him directly. Every day, Krishna played on His flute as He entered the forest to tend the cows with His friends. Hearing the sound of His flute-playing, all the residents of Vraja would gather on the royal path, being very eager to see the unparalleled sweetness of His beauty. Some stood on the balconies and some climbed trees. Some stood near the path and some peeped through windows. That newly-married gopi also longed to go there and see Krishna, but her mother-in-law forbade her, saying, "That black snake out there will bite you, so it is not proper for you to go." The newly-wedded bride argued, "Your daughter has gone there, so why are you not allowing me to go?" But the motherin- law still did not give her permission.

Despite this restriction, the gopi went to a bush near the royal path and stood behind it. In this way, she could see Krishna. Understanding her mind, Krishna slightly twisted the tail of a calf who started running and jumping over to that new gopi and stood near her. Krishna ran after the calf and arrived at the same spot. Standing there for a moment in His beautiful tribhanga-lalita form, He touched the chin of that gopi with His flute, and then ran off to rejoin His friends. The new gopi, now absorbed in the sweetness of Krishna's beautiful form, lost her external consciousness and remained standing there, motionless, as Krishna entered the forest. A considerable amount of time passed by. Her motherin- law came searching for her when she did not return home. Shaking the gopi's body, her mother-in-law cried, "What I feared has happened! You have been bitten by that black snake." She brought the gopi back to the house and ordered her to make buttermilk from yogurt kept in a clay pot. The bride still had not regained her external consciousness, so she took a pot full of mustard seeds instead and began to churn them, mistaking it for the pot of yogurt. Because she had not returned to her external consciousness, she would sometimes churn the mustard seeds and sometimes not, so sometimes there was a harsh sound and sometimes no sound. When the mother-in-law noticed this, she stopped her from churning and instead ordered her to bring water from the well. Placing three pots on her head, one on top of the other and giving her a rope to hold in one hand and a little baby to hold in the other, she sent her for water. The bride went to the well and prepared the rope to haul water, but because she was not in her natural state of mind, she began to tie the rope around the neck of the baby. The other gopis, who had come there to fetch water, stopped her, crying out, "Alas, alas! What has happened to her? It seems that she is possessed by a ghost!" Some gopis who knew the reality of the situation said, "No, she is not possessed by a ghost, but by the son of Nanda Maharaja." This is an example of man-mana bhava.

The instruction, mad-bhakto bhava, is given for those who cannot become as absorbed in Krishna as the gopis can. Mad-bhakto bhava means to offer oneself in all respects unto the lotus feet of Bhagavan. How can a bhakta render service continuously? In this regard, the story of Prahlada has been described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23-24):

shri-prahlada uvaca
shravanam kirtanam vishnoh / smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam / sakhyam atma-nivedanam
iti pumsarpita vishnau / bhaktish cen nava-lakshana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha / tan manye 'dhitam uttamam

Prahlada Maharaja said, "O my dear father, bhakti to Shri Vishnu is performed in nine ways: hearing, chanting and remembering His name, form, qualities, pastimes, etc., rendering service to His lotus feet, worshipping Him, praying to Him, serving Him, making friendship with Him and surrendering one's self to Him. If these nine types of bhakti are performed to Bhagavan in a mood of surrender, then I consider that to be the best of all education.

Maharaja Ambarisha is the illuminating example of complete surrender. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.18-20) describes how he performed bhakti to Krishna.

sa vai manah krishna-padaravindayor
vacamsi vaikunŲha-gunanuvarnane
karau harer mandira-marjanadishu
shrutim cakaracyuta-sat-kathodaye
mukunda-lingalaya-darshane drishau
tad-bhritya-gatra-sparshe 'nga-sangamam
ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe
shrimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite
padau hareh ksetra-padanusarpane
shiro hrisikesha-padabhivandane
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya
yathottama-shloka-janashraya ratih

He fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Shri Krishnacandra, his speech in glorifying the qualities of Bhagavan, his hands in cleansing the temple of Shri Hari and his ears in hearing the auspicious pastimes of Bhagavan Acyuta. He engaged his eyes in seeing the shri murti and the temples of Mukunda, his body and limbs in touching the bodies of His bhaktas, his nose in smelling the transcendental fragrance of Tulasi offered at His feet, and his tongue in honouring the prasada which had been offered to Bhagavan. He utilised his feet for walking to the holy abodes of Bhagavan, and his head in offering obeisances to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna. He offered all paraphernalia, such as garlands and sandalwood, in the service of Bhagavan. He did all this, not to acquire material enjoyment, but to attain bhagavat-prema which only resides in the bhaktas of Bhagavan, glorification of whom purifies everyone. Bilvamangala is an example of a bhakta belonging to this class. He was born in a village on the bank of the Krishna- venŽa River in South India. He was a great scholar of the Vedas and Vedanta, yet he was very much attached to a prostitute named CintamaŽi. One evening it was raining heavily, but his desire to meet CintamaŽi made him so restless that he set out to meet her, not caring for the bad weather. On the way, he had to cross a river, which on that terrifying night was flooded and looked like the very form of death. Because there were no means to cross that river, in desperation Bilvamangala crossed it using a floating corpse. When he reached CintamaŽi's home, her gate was closed. A snake was hanging from her boundary wall and Bilvamangala used it to scale the wall. Mistaking it for a rope. While climbing down the other side of the wall, however, he slipped and fell to the ground, making a loud crash, and lost consciousness. Hearing that sound, CintamaŽi and her friends ran out to see what had happened. Flashes of lightning illuminating the scene enabled her to recognise Bilvamangala, and she understood everything. Reproaching herself, CintamaŽi chastised Bilvamangala severely. "If only you were as attached to the lotus feet of Shri KrishŽa as you are to me, then certainly you would become a supremely blessed man."

Bilvamangala heard the heart-piercing words of CintamaŽi as he regained consciousness. At that very moment, he saw the folly of his activities and immediately decided to end his sinful ways and journey on foot to Vrindavana. As he proceeded on his way, he felt thirsty, so when he passed a village where he saw a young woman hauling water from a well, he went there to quench his thirst. When he saw the beauty of that young woman, however, he became attracted to her. He even followed the woman to her home.

The husband of the woman, assuming Bilvamangala to be a saint by his dress and demeanor, showed him respect and invited him to accept a seat inside his home. Bilvamangala requested the man to call his wife. On the call of her husband, that woman came out, and Bilvamangala asked her for her two hairpins. Taking those hairpins, Bilvamangala immediately pierced both his eyes with them. As he did this, he lamented grievously, crying out, "These eyes have become the cause of my degraded wretched condition, being attracted by their sense objects in the form of beautiful women. Where there is no cause there can be no effect!" Having thus lost his eyesight, and with blood flowing profusely from his eyes, he again started for Vrindavana. But now, his heart had become purified. After only walking a short distance, a boy came to him and in a very sweet voice asked, "O Baba, where are you going?. Bilvamangala replied, "I am going to Vrindavana." The boy said, "I am also going to Vrindavana. Please hold on to My stick." That boy was none other than Murali- Manohara Shri KrishŽa Himself, who captivates the mind by playing His murali flute.

Mad-yaji means to perform My arcana. The nishŲha (steady practice) of arcana is on a slightly lower level than that of mad-bhakto. Shri Bhagavan therefore, says that if you cannot be a bhakta (mad-bhakto) like Bilvamangala, then perform My arcana. What should be the nishŲha of one who performs arcana to Shri Bhagavan? To illustrate this, I will relate a story from our own experience that took place here in Mathura, India.

There used to be a baba (saintly person) in Mathura who performed arcana of his shalagrama-shila with great nishŲha. He did not have complete knowledge of the various limbs of arcana, but whatever arcana he performed, he did with nishŲha. He had taken a vow to bathe in Yamuna every day during brahma-muhurta, and to worship his shalagrama with Yamuna water only. Once, on the amavasya (new-moon day) in the month of Magha, the cold winter month from mid-January to mid-February, it rained the entire night and a heavy cold wind blew. On that pitch-dark morning he had no idea of the time because no stars were visible in the sky. He woke long before the brahma-muhurta hour and set out to take his bath. Although Yamuna's waters were as cold as ice and he was shivering due to the extreme cold, he nevertheless took bath just to maintain his vow. He then started back for his home, carrying the Yamuna water for his worship. He faced severe difficulty because of the dense darkness, heavy rain and the weak condition of his shivering body. He was anxiously wondering how it would be possible to return home to worship his Deity when, suddenly, he saw somebody holding a lantern coming towards him. As the person came closer, he saw that it was a young boy carrying a blanket on His head to protect Him from the rain. Coming close to the baba the boy asked, "Baba, where are you going?" When the man told Him where he lived, the boy said, "I am also going that way. Come with Me and I will take you to your house." He started walking with that boy and reached his house very quickly. Just as he was about to enter, he thought, "Let me ask this boy His name." But what a wonder! The baba could not see Him anywhere. He looked all around but there was no trace of Him. Standing there like a stone, he lamented, "Alas! That chaliya (transcendental cheater) Himself came to protect my vow, and upon cheating me, He has gone away."

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.3.29) illustrates the meaning of mam namaskuru with Yamaraja's instructions to the Yamadutas:

jihva na vakti bhagavad-guŽa-namadheyam
cetash ca na smarati tac-caraŽaravindam
krishŽaya no namati yac-chira ekadapi
tan anayadhvam asato 'krita-vishŽu-krityan

O Yamadutas, bring me only those sinful people whose tongues do not chant the name of KrishŽa, whose minds do not remember the lotus feet of KrishŽa, and whose heads have not bowed even once before Shri KrishŽa, because they have never performed a single act of bhakti.

Dashashvamedhi punar eti janma krishŽa-praŽami na punar bhavaya. "A person who performs ten ashvamedha-yajnas has to take birth again, but those who offer obeisances to KrishŽa even once never take birth again."

Sakrit praŽami krishŽasya matuh stanyam piben nahi. "One who bows down to KrishŽa does not have to drink a mother's breast-milk again."

While explaining the word namah in Bhakti-sandarbha (169), Shrila Jiva Gosvami writes vandanam namaskaram. "Akrura attained bhakti to KrishŽa by paying obeisances." The Skanda-PuraŽa describes the glory of paying obeisances in the following way:

shaŲhyepi namaskaram kurvatah sharnga-dhanvine
shata janmarjitam papam tat-kshaŽad eva nashyati

Even if one deceitfully bows down to Shri VishŽu, who carries in His hand the bow called sharnga, his sins accumulated from one hundred lives are immediately destroyed.


sarva-dharman parityajya / mam ekam sharaŽam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo / mokshayishyami ma shucah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 18.66 <>

parityajya---abandoning; sarva-dharman---all other dharmas; vraja---take; ekam---exclusive; sharaŽam---shelter; mam---of Me; aham---I; mokshayishyami---shall free; tvam---you; sarvap apebhyah---from all sinful reactions; ma shucah---do not grieve.

Completely abandoning all bodily and mental dharma, such as varŽa and ashrama, fully surrender to Me alone. I shall liberate you from all reactions to your sins. Do not grieve.


"Should I perform activities such as meditation (dhyana) on You and fulfil my ashrama-dharma as well, or should I exclusively perform dhyana, etc., without depending on any other dharma?" In response to this question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words sarva-dharman. "Renouncing all types of varŽashrama-dharma, take exclusive shelter of Me." It is incorrect to translate the word parityajya as sannyasa (complete renunciation of karma) because, as a kshatriya, Arjuna did not have the adhikara to take sannyasa.

Someone may ask that, if KrishŽa is making Arjuna an instrument in His teachings to show that Arjuna does not have the adhikara to take sannyasa, is He, in fact, indicating that this instruction regarding sannyasa is for common people who may consider that they have that adhikara, and not for Arjuna, who was a kshatriya? In answer to this, it is said that, if this instruction regarding sannyasa had been applicable to Arjuna, who is the prime object of KrishŽa's instructions, it would be applicable to all others, and not otherwise. Furthermore, it is also not proper to translate the word parityajya to mean renouncing the fruits of one's activities. Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.5.41) states:

devarshi-bhutapta-nriŽam pitriŽam
na kinkaro nayam riŽi ca rajan
sarvatmana yah sharaŽam sharaŽyam
gato mukundam parihritya kartam

One who gives up the false ego of being the doer, and accepts the shelter of the supreme shelter Shri Mukunda within the core of his being (atma), becomes free from any obligations to the devas, rishis, living entities, family members and forefathers. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.29.34) also states:

martyo yada tyakta-samasta-karma
niveditatma vicikirshito me
tadamritatvam pratipadyamano
mayatma-bhuyaya ca kalpate vai

When a person renounces all types of karma and completely surrenders himself unto Me, by My will he becomes more opulent than a yogi or a jnani. And in the course of time, when he has attained immortality (mukti), he becomes qualified to attain opulences like My own.

Another shloka from Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.9) states:

tavat karmaŽi kurvita / na nirvidyeta yavata
mat-katha-shravaŽadau va / shraddha yavan na jayate
Until a person develops detachment from sense objects and attains faith in hearing narrations about Me, he should continue to perform his nitya (obligatory) and naimittika (incidental) duties. Also, in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.11.32) it says:

ajnayaivam guŽan doshan / mayadishŲan api svakan
dharman santyajya yah sarvan / mam bhajeta sa tu sattamah

Those who render service unto Me, having abandoned all types of dharma, and having understood the inherent positive and negative aspects of the prescribed duties instructed by Me in the Vedas, are counted among the best of sadhus.

It is necessary to explain the meaning of this Gita shloka in accordance with the above profound statements of Shri Bhagavan, and to reconcile their meanings. The word pari (parityaja) indicates that the highest objective of these instructions is not to renounce the fruits of karma. "Rather, it means that you should take absolute shelter of Me, and not surrender to dharma, jnana, yoga or any of the devas. Previously, it was stated that you do not have the adhikara to perform My supreme ananya-bhakti. Therefore, I have described that your adhikara is to perform karma-mishra bhakti in statements such as yat karoshi yad ashnasi (Gita 9.26). Now, however, by My boundless and causeless mercy, I am bestowing upon you the adhikara to perform ananya-bhakti. This ananya-bhakti is attained by some great fortune, only by the mercy of My aikantika-bhaktas. This is My vow. But I am breaking this vow to personally bestow upon you the adhikara to perform ananya-bhakti. Now, if you give up your nitya and naimittika duties in pursuance of My order, you will not have to face any reaction. I alone, in the form of the Vedas, have given the instruction to perform nitya-karma and now I Myself am ordering you to give it up. By accepting My order, where is the possibility of you incurring sin as a consequence of abandoning your nitya-karma? Rather, if you choose to ignore My direct order and continue to perform nitya-karma, then the result will be that you will incur sin. This you should know to be a fact. If a person surrenders to someone, he remains under that person's ownership and control, just like an animal who has been purchased. Whatever the master commands him do, he must do; wherever he keeps him, he stays; whatever food he gives him, he eats. This is the essence of dharma as understood by one who is fully surrendered, sharaŽagata. The Vayu-PuraŽa lists the six aspects of sharaŽagati:

anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam
rakshishyatiti vishvaso goptritve varaŽam tatha
atma-nikshepa-karpaŽye shad-vidha sharaŽagatih

1) To accept with determination everything that is favourable for bhakti, 2) to give up everything that is unfavourable for bhakti, 3) to have the staunch faith that "Bhagavan will protect me", 4) to accept Him as one's maintainer 5) to offer oneself completely and 6) humility.

To remain devotedly engaged for the pleasure of one's worshipable Deity, as established in the bhakti-shastras, is anukulya, favourable, and any acts contrary to this are pratikulya, unfavourable. VaraŽa, choosing Him as one's maintainer, means to feel, "He alone is my protector; I have none other than Him." Rakshishyati refers to the faith seen in those such as Gajendra and Draupadi: "Whenever I am threatened by some unfavourable situation, He will surely protect me." NikshepaŽa means to devote one's gross and subtle body as well as one's own self for the purpose of serving Shri KrishŽa. karpaŽya means to exclusively express one's humility and submission to Shri KrshŽa alone. When these six activities are performed with the intention of attaining prema for Bhagavan, it is called sharaŽagati.

"If I surrender unto You alone, beginning from today, my only duty is to remain surrendered, whether I attain auspiciousness as described by You, or inauspiciousness. In this way, if You engage me in dharmika activity, there is obviously no cause for anxiety. But what will my destination be if You, the supremely independent Ishvara, engage me in an adharmika act?. In response to Arjuna's doubt, Shri Bhagavan says, "I will liberate you from all your accumulated sins, past and present, as well as from any sins I may cause you to perform. Unlike other masters, I am capable of liberating you from sin. Having made you My instrument, I am giving this instruction from shastra to you for the benefit of every human being.. Ma shucah means, "Do not grieve for yourself or others. I am bound by My vow to carry the burden of freeing any person like you from all his sins and deliver him from the cycle of birth and death. If such a person fixes his mind upon Me, completely giving up all his sva-dharma or para-dharma and remains happily situated having surrendered to Me, I am also bound to carry the burden of providing him with the means to achieve Me. What more can I say? I am even ready to accept the burden of maintaining his material life, as I stated when I spoke ananyash cintayanto mam (Gita 9.22). "Do not grieve by thinking, "Alas! I have placed such a heavy burden on my Lord and master!" There is absolutely no labour involved in accepting this burden for Me, who am bhakta-vatsala and satya-sankalpa, whose vows always hold true. Having given this instruction, there is no need to give any further instruction. I therefore conclude this shastra here."


Shri KrishŽa gave the most confidential instruction of Bhagavad-Gita concerning shuddha-bhakti in the previous shloka. Now, in this present shloka, He states that it is first necessary to exclusively surrender to Him to become qualified to receive this shuddha-bhakti. Here the word sarvadharm an means that varŽashrama-dharma and its limbs.

karma, jnana, yoga, worship of other devas and religious faiths other than krishŽa-bhajana are all based on the bodily or mental platform. It is not correct to think that the word parityajya only means giving up the attachment to karma and the fruits of karma. The innermost intention of Bhagavan's statement is to completely give up karma-nishtha (adherence to karma). This is the deeper meaning of the prefix pari. Someone may think that there is a possibility of incurring sin or reaction by giving up all other dharma as described above, to exclusively surrender to KrishŽa. To remove this doubt from the minds of common faithful persons, Shri KrishŽa has bestowed fearlessness upon them through His declaration: sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shucah. "Do not grieve, I will certainly free you from all types of sins."

eta saba chadi ara varŽashrama-dharma
akincana haiya laya krishŽaika-sharaŽa
Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 22.93

One should give up the bad association of impersonalists who are bereft of bhakti, as well as karmis, yogis, materialists, womanisers and those who associate with such womanisers. One should even give up varŽashrama-dharma and take full shelter of KrishŽa, becoming humble, meek and possessionless.

One cannot embrace the bhavas described in the previous shloka without doing this. However, as long as one falsely identifies the body as his true self, he fears incurring sin as a result of giving up dharma. Therefore, Shri Bhagavan has to take the vow that He will free one from all sins incurred as a result of giving up all types of dharma. Even after taking this vow, He is again lifting His hand to bestow fearlessness and telling Arjuna, "Do not grieve." In this way, He reassures him.

In the Raya Ramananda-Samvada, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said that even the stage of sarva-dharman parityajya is external. This is because it has no relationship with atma-rati, the constitutional loving function (bhava) of the self. It is merely the initial qualification required to understand the bhava of the previous shloka (18.65). Unless a person fully realises the purport of the present shloka and practises it in his life by becoming firmly fixed in the spirit of it, it will be as impossible for him to understand the deeper meaning of the previous shloka as it is to catch an imaginary flower in the sky. The pure ego, "I am a servant of KrishŽa", is natural in shuddha-bhaktas and, therefore, varŽashramadharma is renounced of its own accord. At that time, no sin or irregularity affects them because they are completely renounced. Such bhaktas are uttama-adhikaris and qualified for the highest type of bhakti.

ajnayaivam guŽan doshan / maya dishŲan api svakan
dharman santyajya yah sarvan / mam bhajeta sa ca sattamah
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.11.32

Those who render service unto Me, having abandoned all types of dharma, and having understood the inherent positive and negative aspects of the prescribed duties instructed by Me in the Vedas, are counted among the best of sadhus. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes KrishŽa as saying, "I have instructed you in the various types of religions such as varŽashrama-dharma, yati-dharma (the renounced order of life), vairagya (detachment), sense and mind control, dhyana-yoga and the controlling opulences of Ishvara, so you can attain brahma-jnana and ishvara-jnana." Now, in His conclusion, Shri Bhagavan is telling Arjuna to completely give up all these dharmika processes and exclusively surrender to Him. "Only if you surrender in this way will I deliver you from all types of sins, whether they are caused by your material conditioning or by renouncing these dharmika processes. You should consider that you are not the performer of these activities, and you should not grieve for anything. The true constitutional nature of the jivas is easily awakened from its dormant state by the performance of nirguŽa-bhakti to Me. At that time, it is not required that one perform dharma, prescribed duties or atonements, etc., or to practise jnana, yoga, dhyana or any other process. One should perform bodily, mental and spiritual activities, even in the bound stage, but he should give up brahma-nishŲha (adherence to the impersonal feature), being attracted by the beauty and sweetness of Bhagavan in an exclusively surrendered mood. The meaning is that whatever karma an embodied jiva performs for his livelihood should be performed with these types of higher nishŲha: brahma-nishŲha, ishvarani shŲha, and bhagavad-nishŲha. Lower nishŲha refers to akarma and vikarma, which create anarthas. All processes, such as varŽashrama and vairagya, assume their respective natures (bhavas) by adopting one of these types of nishŲha. When action is performed in subordination to brahma-nishŲha, the bhava of karma and jnana manifests. When action is performed under ishvara-nishŲha, the bhava of karma offered to Ishvara (dhyana-yoga, etc.,) manifests. And when it is performed with bhagavad-nishŲha, it transforms into shuddha or kevalabhakti. Hence, this bhakti alone is the most confidential tattva. and prema is the supreme aim of life. This is, indeed, the principal teaching and innermost intention of Bhagavad-Gita. The lifestyles of karmis, jnanis, yogis and bhaktas appear to be the same, but when we observe their respective types of nishŲha, it is clear that there is a vast difference between their styles of worship in terms of their sadhana practice, as well as their ultimate goal."


idan te natapaskaya / nabhaktaya kadacana
na cashushrushave vacyam / na ca mam yo 'bhyasuyati

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idam---this; na kadacana vacyam---should never be explained; te---by you; atapaskaya---to one who is not an ascetic; na---nor; abhaktaya---to a non-devotee; ca---and; na---not; ashushrushave--- to one who is unsubmissive; ca---and; na---not; yah abhyasuyati--- one who is envious; mam---of Me.

You should never explain this essence of Gita-shastra to anyone whose senses are uncontrolled, who is a non-devotee, who is devoid of a serving mood, or who is envious of Me.


Thus, having completed His instructions on Gita-shastra, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the principle of continuing the sampradaya. In other words, He is giving the criteria by which one can ascertain who is qualified to receive these instructions. One whose senses are not under control is called atapaska--- Smriti also states: "Tranquility, or control of the mind and the senses, is the highest penance." These instructions of the Gita should not be imparted to a non-devotee, even if he has control over his senses. Nor should they be given to a bhakta who is self-controlled but who is not interested in submissive hearing (ashushrushu). "A further prohibition is given for a person who fulfils the above three qualifications (self-controlled, a bhakta, and interested in hearing), but who is envious of Me, mam yo' bhyasuyati, considering Me, the nirupadhika-purŽa-brahma (the Supreme Absolute Truth, transcendental to any material designations) to be one with maya, and My existence to be illusory and temporary. This message of the Gita must never be given to such a person, at any cost."


In the present shloka, Shri KrishŽa is establishing the necessary qualifications to hear the instructions of the Gita. The tattvas of the Gita should never be instructed to those who are envious of Shri KrishŽa, who consider His transcendental form to be illusory, who are devoid of bhakti to the guru and the VaishŽavas, who have no control over their senses, and who do not render any service to Shri Hari, guru or the VaishŽavas. None of them are qualified to receive the Gita's instructions. Because some people are unable to fully realise the essence of KrishŽa's instruction, they narrate the Gita in an unauthorised manner to unqualified persons. They think that this is a symptom of their magnanimous and compassionate nature. However, by performing such activities in disobedience to KrishŽa's orders, they become offenders. Shri KrishŽa Himself knows most clearly the harmful effects of giving this knowledge to an unqualified person. Ignorant persons cannot understand nor retain this jnana. Some people may say that it shows a lack of compassion to consider a recipient's qualification or disqualification in the matter of giving him dharmika instructions. However, this is not correct because the good results of having received dharmika instructions are observed only in a qualified person. An unqualified person however, disobeys such instructions after receiving them and, becoming an offender, falls down even further. Once, the king of the devas, Indra, and the chief of the asuras, Virocana, went to Lord Brahma to receive instruction on atma-tattva. Brahma instructed Indra who was a qualified recipient of this knowledge, and who was able to comprehend tattva-jnana. However, Virocana, who was unqualified, was not able to follow the instructions given by Brahma. He understood the self to be his gross body only, and the maintenance of it to be the goal of life. In this way, Virocana remained bereft of true tattva-jnana. Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6.23) also states:

yasya deve para bhaktir / yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah / prakashante mahatmanah

The conclusive essence of the shrutis is only revealed to those great souls who have para bhakti unto Shri Bhagavan and who have an equal amount of bhakti for Shri Gurudeva.

In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri KrishŽa instructs Uddhava in a similar way:

naitat tvaya dambhikaya / nastikaya shaŲhaya ca
ashushrushor abhaktaya / durvinitaya diyatam
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.29.30

You must never give this jnana to persons who are proud, atheistic, wicked, faithless, devoid of bhakti or unsubmissive.

The Padma-PuraŽa also says: ashraddhadhane vimukhe py ashriŽvati yash copadeshah shiva-namaparadhah, "By giving this instruction to a person who is faithless and averse to Bhagavan, one causes him to become an offender. It does not benefit him."


ya imam paramam guhyam / mad-bhakteshv abhidhasyati
bhaktim mayi param kritva / mam evaishyaty asamshayah

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(he) yah---who; abhidhasyati---teaches; imam---this; paramam--- supremely; guhyam---confidential knowledge; mat-bhakteshu---to My bhaktas; kritva---attaining; param---the highest (premamayi); bhaktim---bhakti; mayi---unto Me; (and) asamshayah---becoming free from all doubts; evaishyati---will come; mam---to Me.

He who instructs this most confidential knowledge of Gita-shastra to My bhaktas will attain para bhakti unto Me, and, upon becoming free from all doubts, will finally attain Me.


Shri Bhagavan is describing the results attained by those who give instruction on this Gita-shastra, in two shlokas, the first starting with the word yah. "They first attain My para bhakti and later they attain Me."


In this shloka, Shri Bhagavan is describing the symptoms and destiny of the genuine qualified preachers and the genuine qualified hearers or students of the Gita. While giving Arjuna the most secret instruction of the Gita (18.65), Shri KrishŽa said, "You are very dear to Me. That is why I am explaining this highly confidential truth to you." In the previous shloka, KrishŽa also instructed that one should give this knowledge of the Gita only to a person who is self-controlled, faithful, endowed with a service attitude and who has love for Him. Therefore, it is essential for the preacher of Gita-shastra to have strong shraddha in KrishŽa and aikantika-bhakti for Him. He must be fully conversant with tattva-jnana and free from any doubts. If a preacher of the Gita has theoretical knowledge, but does not practise it, or if he is bereft of the abovementioned qualities, then he is not a bona fide preacher and one must never hear the instructions of the Gita from him. The result will simply be that both the listener and the preacher will remain deprived of the Gita's true jnana. Shastra describes the qualifications and the characteristics of a sincere listener. Shri KrishŽa says to Uddhava:

etair doshair vihinaya / brahmaŽyaya priyaya ca
sadhave shucaye bruyad / bhaktih syac chudra-yoshitam
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.29.31

One should give these teachings to those who are free from the defects of conceit, atheism, wickedness, faithlessness, arrogance, or who are devoid of bhakti. They should be dedicated to the welfare of the brahmaŽas, strive for bhagavat-prema, have a saintly nature and, above all, they should be bhaktas. But these instructions can be given to a shudra or a woman who has shraddha in Me and possesses bhakti to Me.

From this it is clear that one's caste, creed, age, activities, etc, are not to be considered in the matter of deciding who is fit to receive the tattva of the Gita. Anyone who has the above-mentioned qualities is qualified to hear it. In Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya-lila 22.64), this principle has been substantiated: shraddhavan jana haya bhakti adhikari. "A faithful bhakta is a truly eligible candidate to perform service to the Lord." Shri Kapiladeva has also said:

shraddadhanaya bhaktaya / vinitayanasuyave
bhuteshu krita-maitraya / shushrushabhirataya ca
bahirjata-viragaya / shanta-cittaya diyate
nirmatsaraya shucaye / yasyaham preyasam priyah

Only narrate this to faithful, devout bhaktas who are submissive, free from malice, well-wishing to all living entities, engaged in seva, renounced from external sense pleasures, peaceful, free from envy, and for whom I am the only beloved.

The essence of this instruction is that any person who has shraddha and bhakti for KrishŽa is qualified to hear the Gita- shastra. Those who impart the instructions of the Gita to such qualified persons attain para bhakti and finally attain KrishŽa, without a doubt. Similarly, the qualified listeners also attain the same supreme destination.


na ca tasman manushyeshu / kashcin me priya-krittamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad / anyah priyataro bhuvi

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ca---and; (there is) na kashcit---no one; manushyeshu---in human society; priya-krittamah---who performs a more pleasing service; me---to Me; tasmat---than him; ca---and; na bhavita--- there will never be; anyah---another; bhuvi---on the earth; priyatarah---more dear; me---to Me; tasmat---than him.

There is no one in human society who performs a more pleasing service to Me than one who explains this message of the Gita to others. Nor will there be anyone in the entire world more dear to Me than him.


"There is no one in this world who performs such a pleasing service to Me, nor is there anyone as dear to me as he who preaches this Gita-shastra."


The bona fide instructors or preachers of this Gita-shastra are very dear to Bhagavan. Therefore, the duty of shuddhabhaktas is to preach the message of the Gita. However, those who entertain people on the pretext of preaching the Gita, do not preach the confidential, more confidential and most confidential tattva of the Gita. Instead, they teach mayavada, karma, jnana and yoga. Such persons become offenders at the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan. One does not benefit by hearing the Gita from such preachers.



adhyeshyate ca ya imam / dharmyam samvadam avayoh

jnana-yajnena tenaham / ishŲah syam iti me matih

ca.and; aham.I; syam.can be; ishŲah.worshipped; jnanayaj

nena.through the sacrifice of transcendental knowledge; he; yah.who; adhyeshyate.studies; imam.

this; dharmyam.sacred; samvadam.conversation;

avayoh.between us; iti.such; (is) me.My; matih.opinion.


I shall be worshipped by those who study this sacred

dialogue between us, through jnana-yajna, the

principle of true knowledge. This is My opinion.




Now, in the shloka beginning with the word adhyeshyate, Shri Bhagavan is explaining the results of studying this Gita.




Simply by engaging in the faithful study of this dialogue between Shri KrishŽa and Arjuna, one performs jnana-yoga. KrishŽa is pleased by this effort. Here, jnana means that one practises the essence of Gita after understanding it. The essence of the Gita is ananya-bhakti to Shri Bhagavan. Therefore, one who practises such bhakti is very dear to Bhagavan. Others, such as the karmi, jnani and yogi are not as dear to Him.


shraddhavan anasuyash ca / shriŽuyad api yo narah
so .pi muktah shubhal lokan / prapnuyat puŽya-karmaŽam

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ca---and; sah---that; shraddhavan---faithful; (and) anasuyah---nonenvious; narah---man; yah---who; api---even; shriŽuyat---hears; api---also; (becomes) muktah---liberated; (and) prapnuyat---attains; shubhal---the auspicious; lokan---planets; puŽya-karmaŽam--- where those who have performed pious deeds reside.

And one who merely hears this Gita with faith, and without envy, also becomes liberated from sins and goes to the auspicious planets that are attained by the pious.


Now Shri Bhagavan is explaining the results of hearing Gita in this shloka beginning with the word shraddhavan.


kaccid etac chrutam partha / tvayaikagreŽa cetasa
kaccid ajnana-sammohah / pranashŲas te dhananjaya

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partha---O son of Pritha; dhananjaya---O winner of wealth; kaccit---has?; etat---this (teaching of the Gita); shrutam---been heard; tvaya---by you; eka-agreŽa---with one-pointed; cetasa--- attention; kaccit---is?; te---your; ajnana-sammohah---delusion born of ignorance; pranashŲah---dispelled.

O Partha, O Dhananjaya, have you heard this Gita with undivided attention? Having heard it, has your delusion born of ignorance been dispelled?


"If you have not understood the superlative essence of this teaching, then I will instruct it to you again." Shri Bhagavan is speaking this shloka with this intention only.


After concluding the instructions on the Gita and describing the results of hearing it and preaching its purport, Shri KrishŽa is asking Arjuna, "Do you have any further questions? If you do, then I will answer them again." From this it is indicated that one should hear the instructions of the Gita with fixed attention. Another point is that, even after hearing the confidential tattva of Gita from Shri Gurudeva or tattvadar shi bhaktas, until the student fully realises such tattva, he should continue to repeatedly hear it through the process of submissive inquiry and by rendering service. He will not be able to understand these teachings otherwise.


arjuna uvaca
nashŲo mohah smritir labdha / tvat prasadan mayacyuta
sthito .smi gata-sandehah / karishye vacanam tava

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arjuna uvaca---Arjuna said; acyuta---O infallible Lord; maya--- my; mohah---illusion; (is) nashŲah---dispelled; tvat-prasadat---by Your mercy; (and) smritih---my spiritual remembrance; (is) labdha---regained; asmi---I am; gata-sandehah---free from doubt; (and) sthitah---situated (in transcendental jnana); karishye---I shall do; tava---Your; vacanam---will.

Arjuna said: O Acyuta, my delusion is dispelled by Your grace and I have regained the memory of my true self. My doubt has gone and I am situated firmly in true jnana. I will now carry out Your order.


"What further questions should I ask? I have become free from all anxiety because I have given up all types of dharma (prescribed duties) and have surrendered unto You. Now I have complete faith in You."Arjuna is speaking this shloka beginning with the word nashŲah, to present the actual condition of his heart to KrishŽa. "From now on, You are my sole refuge. I have completely surrendered My dharma unto You, and will remain fixed in Your order; I will not follow varŽashramadharma, jnana-yoga or any other process. From today, I have abandoned them all." When Arjuna, who carries the GaŽdiva bow, heard Shri Bhagavan say, "O My dear friend Arjuna, I still have to perform some acts to remove the burden of the earth. I will accomplish them through you," he prepared to fight.


Arjuna became very pleased to understand the intention of Bhagavan Shri KrishŽa and, with folded hands, he said, "O Acyuta, by Your instruction and mercy, all my ignorance and delusion have been dispelled. I have perfectly understood that You are the guru and Lord of all beings within the entire universe, both moving and non-moving. I am Your servant and I fully surrender at Your lotus feet. I will execute whatever order You give me." Having said this, Arjuna prepared to fight, having understood KrishŽa's intention.

We learn from Arjuna's example that this human form of life will yield perfection if we become free from all doubts by studying this Gita-shastra, engaging in KrishŽa's service, surrendering exclusively to Him and giving up all other philosophies.


sanjaya uvaca
ity aham vasudevasya / parthasya ca mahatmanah
samvadam imam ashrausham / adbhutam roma-harshaŽam

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sanjaya uvaca---Sanjaya said (to King DhritarashŲra); iti---thus; aham---I; ashrausham---have heard; imam---this; adbhutam---wonderful; samvadam---conversation; vasudevasya---between Vasudeva; ca---and; maha-atmanah---the great soul; parthasya--- Partha (Arjuna); roma-harshaŽam---which causes my hair to stand on end.

Sanjaya said: O King, thus I have heard this wonderful dialogue between mahatma Vasudeva and Partha, which causes my hair to stand on end.


It so happens that the two papers on which I had written the explanation of the five final shlokas summarising the essence of the complete Gita have disappeared. I take it that GaŽeshaji had those papers stolen by his mouse carrier. After that, I did not again write those purports. May GaŽeshaji be pleased with me. I offer my obeisances unto him.

Thus ends the Bhavanuvada of the Sarartha-VarshiŽi Tika, by Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, on the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which gives pleasure to the bhaktas and is accepted by all saintly persons.

Thus ends the Sarartha-varshiŽi commentary of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita. May it increase the pleasure of saintly people. May the sweetness of this Sarartha-varshiŽi commentary, which is beneficial for entire humanity, completely satisfy the bhaktas who are like cataka birds. And may its sweetness manifest in our hearts.


vyasa-prasadac chrutavan / imam guhyam aham param

yogam yogeshvarat krishŽat / sakshat kathayatah svayam the mercy of Vyasa; aham.I; (have)

shrutavan.heard; imam.this; param.most; guhyam.confidential; of union with the Supreme Lord; sakshat.directly; krishŽat.from all-attractive Shri KrishŽa; yoga-ishvarat.the Master of yoga; He was speaking; svayam.Himself.

By the grace of Shrila Vyasadeva, I have heard this most confidential yoga explained directly by Yogeshvara, the all-attractive Shri KrishŽa Himself.


Shri KrishŽa-Dvaipayana Vyasadeva was the guru of Sanjaya. Sanjaya acknowledges that he heard and understood the divya-jnana of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which manifested from the dialogue between KrishŽa and Arjuna, only by the grace of his guru, Shrila Vyasadeva. Without the grace of guru, the tattva of Gita (bhagavat-tattva) cannot be understood. The guru must be as well versed in tattva as Shrila Vyasadeva was, and endowed with realisation of Bhagavan. The disciple should be like Sanjaya, capable of rendering attentive service to the guru, as well as desiring to hear from him and to

follow his teachings and instructions without argument. Only such a faithful disciple can achieve perfection afterunderstanding bhagavat-tattva. It should also be understood that, just as Arjuna became supremely blessed after hearing the deep secret of the Bhagavad-gita directly from the lotus mouth of Svayam Bhagavan Shri KrishŽa, Sanjaya also, by the grace of Shrila Vyasadeva, became supremely blessed after hea ring and understanding it, although he was sitting far away from Kurukshetra. And just as Arjuna and Sanjaya wereblessed and became perfect, any person who wants to make his life perfect can do so by taking shelter of a bona fide guruparampara, and surrendering to a self-realised guru or a VaishŽava. It is impossible to attain bhagavat-tattva unless one accepts a shuddha-bhakti-parampara.


rajan samsmritya samsmritya / samvadam imam adbhutam
keshavarjunayoh puŽyam / hrishyami ca muhur muhuh

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ca---and; rajan---O king; samsmritya samsmritya---remembering again and again; imam---this; adbhutam---astonishing; puŽyam---sacred; samvadam---dialogue; keshava-arjunayoh---between Keshava and Arjuna; hrishyami---I rejoice; muhuh muhuh--- at every moment.

O King, as I repeatedly recall this wonderful and sacred dialogue between Shri Keshava and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again.


tac ca samsmritya samsmritya / rupam atyadbhutam hareh
vismayo me mahan rajan / hrishyami ca punah punah

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ca---and; rajan---O king; samsmritya samsmritya---remembering repeatedly; tat---that; ati adbhutam---most wonderful; rupam--- form; hareh---of Shri Hari; me---my; vismayah---amazement; (is) mahan---great; ca---and; hrishyami---I rejoice; punah punah---again and again.

O King, as I remember that most wonderful form of Shri Hari, I am struck with great amazement, and am thrilled at every moment.


From this shloka, it appears that the vishvarupa of Shri KrishŽa which Arjuna saw at Kurukshetra was also seen by Sanjaya, by the grace of Shrila Vyasadeva, as he sat in the royal palace in Hastinapura. This took place by the grace of Shrila Vyasadeva. Shri KrishŽa had explained to Arjuna that He had not shown that form to anyone before, and that He was showing it to Arjuna for the first time. However, by thoroughly deliberating upon this point, it can be understood that both Sanjaya and Vyasa most definitely saw the vishvarupa along with Arjuna. And from Arjuna.s statement, it can be understood that even rishis, maharshis and devatas also saw it. Shri Vedavyasa is Shri KrishŽa.s parama-bhakta. Not only that, he is also a shaktyavesha-avatara of Bhagavan Himself. It follows, therefore, that only those who are in the parampara of Shrila Vyasa are capable of realizing the essence of Bhagavad-gita.


yatra yogeshvarah krishŽo / yatra partho dhanurdharah
tatra shrir vijayo bhutir / dhruva nitir matir mama

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yatra---wherever; (there is) yoga-ishvarah---the Master of all yoga; krishŽah---Shri KrishŽa; yatra---wherever; (there is) dhanur-dharah--- the bow-wielder; parthah---Partha; tatra---there; (will be) dhruva---constant; shrih---wealth; vijayah---victory; bhutih---opulence; (and) nitih---dedication to morality; (this is) mama---My; matih---opinion.

Wherever there is Shri KrishŽa, the master of all yoga, and wherever there is Partha, the wielder of the bow, there will surely be opulence, victory, prosperity and righteousness. This is My definite opinion.


The Eighteenth Chapter briefly describes the essence of the entire Gita. One division describes karma-yoga predominated by dhyana-yoga, which results in atma-jnana. The other division describes shuddha-bhakti-yoga that originates from shraddha related to Bhagavan. This is indeed the essence of the Gita. Within these two divisions, the confidential instruction is to gradually achieve the path of jnana by performing nishkamakarma, while adopting varŽashrama-dharma based on one's own nature. The more confidential instruction is to cultivate atmaj nana within this life, through dhyana-yoga. And the most confidential instruction is to engage in bhakti-yoga by exclusively surrendering unto Svayam Bhagavan Shri KrishŽa. This is the essence of the Eighteenth Chapter.

The purport of the entire Bhagavad-gita is that advaya-vastu, the non-dual Absolute Entity, is the only tattva. Shri Bhagavan is the complete manifestation of that tattva. All other tattvas have emanated from Him. From His cit-shakti, bhagavat-svarupa and cid-vaibhava, the spiritual opulences emanate. Two types of infinite jivas manifest from his jiva-shakti: the liberated (mukta) and the bound (baddha). And the twenty-four elements, from pradhana to the blade of grass, manifest from His maya-shakti. Creation, maintenance and annihilation of different states comes from the kala-shakti, time potency. All types of manifestations emanate from the kriya-shakti. The five elements.Ishvara, prakriti, jiva, kala and karma. have manifested from bhagavat-tattva only. Brahma, Paramatma, etc., are all within Bhagavan, as are all other conceptions of the Absolute Truth. Although the five elements listed above are separate, they are simultaneously one element under the control of bhagavat-tattva, and although they are one, they are eternally different because they have different characteristics. This explanation of bhed-abhedatattva, or simultaneous oneness and difference, given in the Gita is beyond human logic. Therefore, the previous mahajanas have called this tattva, acintya-bhed-abhedatattva, and the jnana related to it, tattva-jnana.

Jiva: The jivas are pure conscious entities by constitutional nature, and they are a special tattva which exist as atomic particles in the rays emanating from cit-surya, the transcendental conscious sun, KrishŽa. By nature, they are qualified to exist in the spiritual and in the material worlds. They are situated on the border of the cit (spiritual) and the acit (material) world. Because they are conscious, they are independent by nature. If they are favourable to KrishŽa and attracted to the spiritual world, then they can relish pure ananda with the help of the hladini-shakti, KrishŽa's pleasure potency. On the other hand, if they turn away from KrishŽa, being attracted to the illusory world, due to the influence of the maya-shakti, then they have to undergo material happiness and distress. The jivas who have cid-rati, affinity for the conscious world, are nitya-mukta, eternally liberated, and those who have jadarati, affinity towards the world of unconscious matter, are nityabaddha. Both types of jivas are unlimited in number.

Forgetting his pure constitutional nature, the jiva suffers various types of miseries in the ocean of material existence in higher and lower forms of life, such as devas, humans, worms, trees and creepers. Sometimes he becomes dejected and disgusted. He then takes shelter of a proper guru and attains perfection in dhyana through karma-yoga. Thus realising his pure svarupa, he attains prema for the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan. Or, if he develops shraddha in topics of Bhagavan, he takes shelter of a proper guru and performs sadhana-bhakti. He then attains bhava-bhakti and finally prema-bhakti. There are no paths other than these two for the atma to realise his pure svarupa.

Of the two paths of atma-jnana mentioned above, the path of karma-yoga predominated by dhyana-yoga is suitable for the common man, because it is under the control of one's own efforts. Bhakti-yoga, which arises from shraddha, is superior to karma-yoga and also easier to perform, but it cannot be attained without receiving the good fortune of the grace of Bhagavan or His bhaktas. Therefore, most people in the world are inclined to perform karma-yoga. Among such karmayog is, those who are fortunate develop shraddha in bhakti-yoga, and thus they attain the stage of exclusive surrender to Bhagavan as described in the concluding shloka of the Gita. This is the abhidheya (process) described in all the Vedas. The path of karma is based on material desires. Its goals: attainment of material happiness, enjoyment in the fourteen planetary systems, and mukti,are all devoid of true value for the conscious jiva. The very beginning of the Gita describes fruitive karma and its result, bhukti (sense enjoyment), as being worthless. Even the attainment of sayujyanirv aŽa, which is the perfection of monism, and is attained when one has become liberated from birth and death, is not the ultimate purpose of the jiva. This has also been stated in various places. The supreme prayojana of the jiva is to rise above impersonal realisation and the four types of mukti, such as salokya, and achieve nirmala-prema to Shri KrishŽa by entering into the topmost spiritual realm where His lilas are performed.

Having compiled the siddhanta of all the Vedas and Vedanta in the Gita, it has been determined that the supreme goal is to attain prema for Bhagavan by performing bhaktiyoga with knowledge of one's relationship with Him. A person should always practise bhakti-yoga by hearing, chanting, etc." as well as by following his dharma according to his qualifications. He should maintain his life by performing his occupation while remaining favourable to the cultivation of bhakti-yoga. With great shraddha in the higher process, he should gradually give up his nishŲha in the lower process. Then he should become firmly fixed in bhakti-yoga, through sharaŽagati, full surrender, and thus live his life in this way. Then Bhagavan will quickly award him shuddha-prema.

Merely by entering into the process of purifying his existence, a person achieves the mercy of Bhagavan. This mercy makes him fearless, immortal and free from lamentation, and he becomes eternally absorbed in His prema.

Thus ends the Sarartha-VarshiŽi Prakashika-vritti, by Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta NarayaŽa Maharaja, on the Eighteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita.