Seven Lord Krsna Instructs Uddhava
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O greatly
fortunate Uddhava, you have accurately revealed My desire to withdraw the Yadu
dynasty from the earth and return to My own abode in Vaikuntha. Thus Lord
Brahma, Lord Siva and all other planetary rulers are now praying for Me to
resume My residence in Vaikuntha.
2. Answering the prayer of Lord Brahma, I
descended within this world along with My plenary portion, Lord Baladeva, and
performed various activities on behalf of the demigods. I have now completed My
3. Now due to the brahmanas’ curse the Yadu
dynasty will certainly perish by fighting among themselves; and on the seventh
day from today the ocean will rise up and inundate this city of Dvaraka.
4. O saintly Uddhava, in the near future I will
abandon this earth. Then, being overwhelmed by the age of Kali, the earth will
be bereft of all piety.
5. My dear Uddhava, you should not remain here on
the earth once I have abandoned this world. My dear devotee, you are sinless,
but in Kali-yuga the people will be addicted to all types of sinful activities;
therefore do not stay here.
6. Now you should completely give up all
attachment to your personal friends and relatives and fix your mind on Me. Thus
being always conscious of Me, you should observe all things with equal vision
and wander throughout the earth.
7. My dear Uddhava, the material universe that you
perceive through your mind, speech, eyes, ears and other senses is an illusory
creation that one imagines to be real due to the influence of maya. In fact,
you should know that all of the objects of the material senses are temporary.
8. One whose consciousness is bewildered by
illusion perceives many differences in value and meaning among material
objects. Thus one engages constantly on the platform of material good and evil
and is bound by such conceptions. Absorbed in material duality, such a person
contemplates the performance of compulsory duties, nonperformance of such
duties and performance of forbidden activities.
9. Therefore, bringing all your senses under
control and thus subduing the mind, you should see the entire world as situated
within the self, who is expanded everywhere, and you should also see this
individual self within Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
10. Being fully endowed with conclusive knowledge
of the Vedas and having realized the ultimate purpose of such knowledge in
practice, you will be able to perceive the pure self, and thus your mind will
be satisfied. At that time you will become dear to all living beings, headed by
the demigods, and you will never be hampered by any disturbance in life.
11. One who has transcended material good and evil
automatically acts in accordance with religious injunctions and avoids
forbidden activities. The self-realized person does this spontaneously, like an
innocent child, and not because he is thinking in terms of material good and
12. One who is the kind well-wisher of all living
beings, who is peaceful and firmly fixed in knowledge and realization, sees Me
within all things. Such a person never again falls down into the cycle of birth
13. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, thus instructed His pure devotee Uddhava,
who was eager to receive knowledge from the Lord. Uddhava then offered
obeisances to the Lord and spoke as follows.
14. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You alone
award the results of yoga practice, and You are so kind that by Your own
influence You distribute the perfection of yoga to Your devotee. Thus You are
the Supreme Soul who is realized through yoga, and it is You who are the origin
of all mystic power. For my supreme benefit You have explained the procedure
for giving up the material world through the process of sannyasa, or
15. My dear Lord, O Supreme Soul, for those whose
minds are attached to sense gratification, and especially for those bereft of
devotion unto You, such renunciation of material enjoyment is most difficult to
perform. That is my opinion.
16. O my Lord, I myself am most foolish because my
consciousness is merged in the material body and bodily relations, which are
all manufactured by Your illusory energy. Thus I am thinking, “I am this body,
and all of these relatives are mine.” Therefore, my Lord, please instruct Your
poor servant. Please tell me how I can very easily carry out Your instructions.
17. My dear Lord, You are the Absolute Truth, the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You reveal Yourself to Your devotees.
Besides Your Lordship, I do not see anyone who can actually explain perfect
knowledge to me. Such a perfect teacher is not to be found even among the
demigods in heaven. Indeed, all of the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are
bewildered by Your illusory potency. They are conditioned souls who accept
their own material bodies and bodily expansions to be the highest truth.
18. Therefore, O Lord, feeling weary of material
life and tormented by its distresses, I now surrender unto You because You are
the perfect master. You are the unlimited, all-knowing Supreme Personality of
Godhead, whose spiritual abode in Vaikuntha is free from all disturbances. In
fact, You are known as Narayana, the true friend of all living beings.
19. The Supreme Lord replied: Generally those
human beings who can expertly analyze the actual situation of the material
world are able to raise themselves beyond the inauspicious life of gross
20. An intelligent person, expert in perceiving
the world around him and in applying sound logic, can achieve real benefit
through his own intelligence. Thus sometimes one acts as one’s own instructing
21. In the human form of life, those who are
self-controlled and expert in the spiritual science of Sankhya can directly see
Me along with all of My potencies.
22. In this world there are many kinds of created
bodies—some with one leg, others with two, three, four or more legs, and still
others with no legs—but of all these, the human form is actually dear to Me.
23. Although I, the Supreme Lord, can never be
captured by ordinary sense perception, those situated in human life may use
their intelligence and other faculties of perception to directly search for Me
through both apparent and indirectly ascertained symptoms.
24. In this regard, sages cite a historical
narration concerning the conversation between the greatly powerful King Yadu
and an avadhuta.
25. Maharaja Yadu once observed a certain brahmana
avadhuta, who appeared to be quite young and learned, wandering about
fearlessly. Being himself most learned in spiritual science, the King took the
opportunity and inquired from him as follows.
26. Sri Yadu said: O brahmana, I see that you are
not engaged in any practical religious activity, and yet you have acquired a
most expert understanding of all things and all people within this world.
Kindly tell me, sir, how did you acquire this extraordinary intelligence, and
why are you traveling freely throughout the world behaving as if you were a
27. Generally human beings work hard to cultivate
religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and also knowledge of
the soul, and their usual motive is to increase the duration of their lives,
acquire fame and enjoy material opulence.
28. You, however, although capable, learned,
expert, handsome and most eloquent, are not engaged in doing anything, nor do
you desire anything; rather, you appear stupefied and maddened as if you were a
29. Although all people within the material world
are burning in the great forest fire of lust and greed, you remain free and are
not burned by that fire. You are just like an elephant who takes shelter from a
forest fire by standing within the water of the Ganges River,
30. O brahmana, we see that you are devoid of any
contact with material enjoyment and that you are traveling alone, without any
companions or family members. Therefore, because we are sincerely inquiring
from you, please tell us the cause of the great ecstasy that you are feeling
31. Lord Krsna continued: The intelligent King
Yadu, always respectful to the brahmanas, waited with bowed head as the
brahmana, pleased with the King’s attitude, began to reply.
32. The brahmana said: My dear King, with my
intelligence I have taken shelter of many spiritual masters. Having gained
transcendental understanding from them, I now wander about the earth in a
liberated condition. Please listen as I describe them to you.
33-35. O King, I have taken shelter of twenty-four
gurus, who are the following: the earth, air, sky, water, fire, moon, sun,
pigeon and python; the sea, moth, honeybee, elephant and honey thief; the deer,
the fish, the prostitute Pingala, the kurara bird and the child; and the young
girl, arrow maker, serpent, spider and wasp. My dear King, by studying their
activities I have learned the science of the self.
36. Please listen, O son of Maharaja Yayati, O
tiger among men, as I explain to you what I have learned from each of these
37. A sober person, even when harassed by other
living beings, should understand that his aggressors are acting helplessly
under the control of God, and thus he should never be distracted from progress
on his own path. This rule I have learned from the earth.
38. A saintly person should learn from the
mountain to devote all his efforts to the service of others and to make the
welfare of others the sole reason for his existence. Similarly, as the disciple
of the tree, he should learn to dedicate himself to others.
39. A learned sage should take his satisfaction in
the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction
through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the
material body in such a way that one’s higher knowledge is not destroyed and so
that one’s speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization.
40. Even a transcendentalist is surrounded by
innumerable material objects, which possess good and bad qualities. However,
one who has transcended material good and evil should not become entangled even
when in contact with the material objects; rather, he should act like the wind.
41. Although a self-realized soul may live in
various material bodies while in this world, experiencing their various
qualities and functions, he is never entangled, just as the wind which carries
various aromas does not actually mix with them.
42. A thoughtful sage, even while living within a
material body, should understand himself to be pure spirit soul. Similarly, one
should see that the spirit soul enters within all forms of life, both moving
and nonmoving, and that the individual souls are thus all-pervading. The sage
should further observe that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the
Supersoul, is simultaneously present within all things. Both the individual
soul and the Supersoul can be understood by comparing them to the nature of the
sky: although the sky extends everywhere and everything rests within the sky,
the sky does not mix with anything, nor can it be divided by anything.
43. Although the mighty wind blows clouds and
storms across the sky, the sky is never implicated or affected by these
activities. Similarly, the spirit soul is not actually changed or affected by
contact with the material nature. Although the living entity enters within a
body made of earth, water and fire, and although he is impelled by the three
modes of nature created by eternal time, his eternal spiritual nature is never
44. O King, a saintly person is just like water
because he is free from all contamination, gentle by nature, and by speaking
creates a beautiful vibration like that of flowing water. Just by seeing,
touching or hearing such a saintly person, the living entity is purified, just
as one is cleansed by contact with pure water. Thus a saintly person, just like
a holy place, purifies all those who contact him because he always chants the
glories of the Lord.
45. Saintly persons become powerful by execution
of austerities. Their consciousness is unshakable because they do not try to
enjoy anything within the material world. Such naturally liberated sages accept
foodstuffs that are offered to them by destiny, and if by chance they happen to
eat contaminated food, they are not affected, just like fire, which burns up
contaminated substances that are offered to it.
46. A saintly person, just like fire, sometimes
appears in a concealed form and at other times reveals himself. For the welfare
of the conditioned souls who desire real happiness, a saintly person may accept
the worshipable position of spiritual master, and thus like fire he burns to
ashes all the past and future sinful reactions of his worshipers by mercifully
accepting their offerings.
47. Just as fire manifests differently in pieces
of wood of different sizes and qualities, the omnipotent Supreme Soul, having
entered the bodies of higher and lower life forms created by His own potency,
appears to assume the identity of each.
48. The various phases of one’s material life,
beginning with birth and culminating in death, are all properties of the body
and do not affect the soul, just as the apparent waxing and waning of the moon
does not affect the moon itself. Such changes are enforced by the imperceptible
movements of time.
49. The flames of a fire appear and disappear at
every moment, and yet this creation and destruction is not noticed by the
ordinary observer. Similarly, the mighty waves of time flow constantly, like
the powerful currents of a river, and imperceptibly cause the birth, growth and
death of innumerable material bodies. And yet the soul, who is thus constantly
forced to change his position, cannot perceive the actions of time.
50. Just as the sun evaporates large quantities of
water by its potent rays and later returns the water to the earth in the form
of rain, similarly, a saintly person accepts all types of material objects with
his material senses, and at the appropriate time, when the proper person has
approached him to request them, he returns such material objects. Thus, both in
accepting and giving up the objects of the senses, he is not entangled.
51. Even when reflected in various objects, the
sun is never divided, nor does it merge into its reflection. Only those with
dull brains would consider the sun in this way. Similarly, although the soul is
reflected through different material bodies, the soul remains undivided and
52. One should never indulge in excessive
affection or concern for anyone or anything; otherwise one will have to
experience great suffering, just like the foolish pigeon.
53. There once was a pigeon who lived in the
forest along with his wife. He had built a nest within a tree and lived there
for several years in her company.
54. The two pigeons were very much devoted to
their household duties. Their hearts being tied together by sentimental
affection, they were each attracted by the other’s glances, bodily features and
states of mind. Thus, they completely bound each other in affection.
55. Naively trusting in the future, they carried
out their acts of resting, sitting, walking, standing, conversing, playing,
eating and so forth as a loving couple among the trees of the forest.
56. Whenever she desired anything, O King, the
she-pigeon would flatteringly cajole her husband, and he in turn would gratify
her by faithfully doing whatever she wanted, even with great personal
difficulty. Thus, he could not control his senses in her association.
57. Then the female pigeon experienced her first
pregnancy. When the time arrived, the chaste lady delivered a number of eggs
within the nest in the presence of her husband.
58. When the time was ripe, baby pigeons, with
tender limbs and feathers created by the inconceivable potencies of the Lord,
were born from those eggs.
59. The two pigeons became most affectionate to
their children and took great pleasure in listening to their awkward chirping,
which sounded very sweet to the parents. Thus with love they began to raise the
little birds who were born of them.
60. The parent birds became very joyful by
observing the soft wings of their children, their chirping, their lovely
innocent movements around the nest and their attempts to jump up and fly.
Seeing their children happy, the parents were also happy.
61. Their hearts bound to each other by affection,
the foolish birds, completely bewildered by the illusory energy of Lord Visnu,
continued to take care of the young offspring who had been born to them.
62. One day the two heads of the family went out
to find food for the children. Being very anxious to feed their offspring
properly, they wandered all over the forest for a long time.
63. At that time a certain hunter who happened to
be wandering through the forest saw the young pigeons moving about near their
nest. Spreading out his net he captured them all.
64. The pigeon and his wife were always anxious
for the maintenance of their children, and they were wandering in the forest
for that purpose. Having obtained proper food, they now returned to their nest.
65. When the lady pigeon caught sight of her own
children trapped within the hunter’s net, she was overwhelmed with anguish, and
crying out, she rushed toward them as they cried out to her in return.
66. The lady pigeon had always allowed herself to
be bound by the ropes of intense material affection, and thus her mind was
overwhelmed by anguish. Being in the grip of the illusory energy of the Lord,
she completely forgot herself, and rushing forward to her helpless children,
she was immediately bound in the hunter’s net.
67. Seeing his own children, who were more dear to
him than life itself, fatally bound in the hunter’s net along with his dearmost
wife, whom he considered equal in every way to himself, the poor male pigeon
began to lament wretchedly.
68. The male pigeon said: Alas, just see how I am
now destroyed! I am obviously a great fool, for I did not properly execute
pious activities. I could not satisfy myself, nor could I fulfill the purpose
of life. My dear family, which was the basis of my religiosity, economic
development and sense gratification, is now hopelessly ruined.
69. My wife and I were an ideal match. She always
faithfully obeyed me and in fact accepted me as her worshipable deity. But now,
seeing her children lost and her home empty, she has left me behind and gone to
heaven with our saintly children.
70. Now I am a wretched person living in an empty
home. My wife is dead; my children are dead. Why should I possibly want to
live? My heart is so pained by separation from my family that life itself has
become simply suffering.
71. As the father pigeon wretchedly stared at his
poor children trapped in the net and on the verge of death, pathetically
struggling to free themselves, his mind went blank, and thus he himself fell
into the hunter’s net.
72. The cruel hunter, having fulfilled his desire
by capturing the head pigeon, his wife and all of their children, set off for
his own home.
73. In this way, one who is too attached to family
life becomes disturbed at heart. Like the pigeon, he tries to find pleasure in
mundane sex attraction. Busily engaged in maintaining his own family, the
miserly person is fated to suffer greatly, along with all his family members.
74. The doors of liberation are opened wide to one
who has achieved human life. But if a human being simply devotes himself to
family life like the foolish bird in this story, then he is to be considered as
one who has climbed to a high place
only to trip and fall down.
Eight The Story of Pingala
1. The saintly brahmana said: O King, the embodied
living entity automatically experiences unhappiness in heaven or hell.
Similarly, happiness will also be experienced, even without one’s seeking it.
Therefore a person of intelligent discrimination does not make any endeavor to
obtain such material happiness.
2. Following the example of the python, one should
give up material endeavors and accept for one’s maintenance food that comes of
its own accord, whether such food be delicious or tasteless, ample or meager.
3. If at any time food does not come, then a
saintly person should fast for many days without making endeavor. He should
understand that by God’s arrangement he must fast. Thus, following the example
of the python, he should remain peaceful and patient.
4. A saintly person should remain peaceful and
materially inactive, maintaining his body without much endeavor. Even though
possessed of full sensual, mental and physical strength, a saintly person
should not become active for material gain but rather should always remain
alert to his actual self-interest.
5. A saintly sage is happy and pleasing in his
external behavior, whereas internally he is most grave and thoughtful. Because
his knowledge is immeasurable and unlimited he is never disturbed, and thus in
all respects he is like the tranquil waters of the unfathomable and
6. During the rainy season the swollen rivers rush
into the ocean, and during the dry summer the rivers, now shallow, severely
reduce their supply of water; yet the ocean does not swell up during the rainy
season, nor does it dry up in the hot summer. In the same way, a saintly
devotee who has accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the goal of his
life sometimes will receive by providence great material opulence, and
sometimes he will find himself materially destitute. However, such a devotee of
the Lord does not rejoice in a flourishing condition, nor is he morose when
7. One who has failed to control his senses
immediately feels attraction upon seeing a woman’s form, which is created by
the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, when the woman speaks with
enticing words, smiles coquettishly and moves her body sensuously, his mind is
immediately captured, and thus he falls blindly into the darkness of material
existence, just as the moth maddened by the fire rushes blindly into its
8. A foolish person with no intelligent
discrimination is immediately aroused at the sight of a lusty woman beautifully
decorated with golden ornaments, fine clothing and other cosmetic features.
Being eager for sense gratification, such a fool loses all intelligence and is
destroyed just like the moth who rushes into the blazing fire.
9. A saintly person should accept only enough food
to keep his body and soul together. He should go from door to door accepting
just a little bit of food from each family. Thus he should practice the
occupation of the honeybee.
10. Just as the honeybee takes nectar from all
flowers, big and small, an intelligent human being should take the essence from
all religious scriptures.
11. A saintly person should not think, “This food
I will keep to eat tonight and this other food I can save for tomorrow.” In
other words, a saintly person should not store foodstuffs acquired by begging.
Rather, he should use his own hands as his plate and eat whatever fits on them.
His only storage container should be his belly, and whatever conveniently fits
into his belly should be his stock of food. Thus one should not imitate the
greedy honeybee who eagerly collects more and more honey.
12. A saintly mendicant should not even collect
foodstuffs to eat later in the same day or the next day. If he disregards this
injunction and like the honeybee collects more and more delicious foodstuffs,
that which he has collected will indeed ruin him.
13. A saintly person should never touch a young
girl. In fact, he should not even let his foot touch a wooden doll in the shape
of a woman. By bodily contact with a woman he will surely be captured by
illusion, just as the elephant is captured by the she-elephant due to his
desire to touch her body.
14. A man possessing intelligent discrimination
should not under any circumstances try to exploit the beautiful form of a woman
for his sense gratification. Just as an elephant trying to enjoy a she-elephant
is killed by other bull elephants also enjoying her company, one trying to
enjoy a lady’s company can at any moment be killed by her other lovers who are
stronger than he.
15. A greedy person accumulates a large quantity
of money with great struggle and pain, but the person who has struggled so much
to acquire this wealth is not always allowed to enjoy it himself or give it in
charity to others. The greedy man is like the bee who struggles to produce a
large quantity of honey, which is then stolen by a man who will enjoy it
personally or sell it to others. No matter how carefully one hides his
hard-earned wealth or tries to protect it, there are those who are expert in
detecting the whereabouts of valuable things, and they will steal it.
16. Just as a hunter takes away the honey
laboriously produced by the honeybees, similarly, saintly mendicants such as
brahmacaris and sannyasis are entitled to enjoy the property painstakingly
accumulated by householders dedicated to family enjoyment.
17. A saintly person dwelling in the forest in the
renounced order of life should never listen to songs or music promoting
material enjoyment. Rather, a saintly person should carefully study the example
of the deer, who is bewildered by the sweet music of the hunter’s horn and is
thus captured and killed.
18. Becoming attracted to the worldly singing, dancing
and musical entertainment of beautiful women, even the great sage Rsyasrnga,
the son of Mrgi, fell totally under their control, just like a pet animal.
19. Just as a fish, incited by the desire to enjoy
his tongue, is fatally trapped on the fisherman’s hook, similarly, a foolish
person is bewildered by the extremely disturbing urges of the tongue and thus
20. By fasting, learned men quickly bring all of
the senses except the tongue under control, because by abstaining from eating
such men are afflicted with an increased desire to gratify the sense of taste.
21. Although one may conquer all of the other
senses, as long as the tongue is not conquered it cannot be said that one has
controlled his senses. However, if one is able to control the tongue, then one
is understood to be in full control of all the senses.
22. O son of kings, previously in the city of
Videha there dwelled a prostitute named Pingala. Now please hear what I have
learned from that lady.
23. Once that prostitute, desiring to bring a
lover into her house, stood outside in the doorway at night showing her
24. O best among men, this prostitute was very
anxious to get money, and as she stood on the street at night she studied all
the men who were passing by, thinking, “Oh, this one surely has money. I know
he can pay the price, and I am sure he would enjoy my company very much.” Thus
she thought about all the men on the street.
25-26. As the prostitute Pingala stood in the
doorway, many men came and went, walking by her house. Her only means of
sustenance was prostitution, and therefore she anxiously thought, “Maybe this
one who is coming now is very rich...Oh, he is not stopping, but I am sure
someone else will come. Surely this man who is coming now will want to pay me
for my love, and he will probably give lots of money.” Thus, with vain hope,
she remained leaning against the doorway, unable to finish her business and go
to sleep. Out of anxiety she would sometimes walk out toward the street, and
sometimes she went back into her house. In this way, the midnight hour
27. As the night wore on, the prostitute, who
intensely desired money, gradually became morose, and her face dried up. Thus
being filled with anxiety for money and most disappointed, she began to feel a
great detachment from her situation, and happiness arose in her mind.
28. The prostitute felt disgusted with her
material situation and thus became indifferent to it. Indeed, detachment acts
like a sword, cutting to pieces the binding network of material hopes and
desires. Now please hear from me the song sung by the prostitute in that
29. O King, just as a human being who is bereft of
spiritual knowledge never desires to give up his false sense of proprietorship
over many material things, similarly, a person who has not developed detachment
never desires to give up the bondage of the material body.
30. The prostitute Pingala said: Just see how
greatly illusioned I am ! Because I cannot control my mind, just like a fool I
desire lusty pleasure from an insignificant man.
31. I am such a fool that I have given up the
service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart, is
actually most dear to me. That most dear one is the Lord of the universe, who
is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity.
Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have
ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and
who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation and
32. Oh, how I have uselessly tortured my own soul!
I have sold my body to lusty, greedy men who are themselves objects of pity.
Thus practicing the most abominable profession of a prostitute, I hoped to get
money and sex pleasure.
33. This material body is like a house in which I,
the soul, am living. The bones forming my spine, ribs, arms and legs are like
the beams, crossbeams and pillars of the house, and the whole structure, which
is full of stool and urine, is covered by skin, hair and nails. The nine doors
leading into this body are constantly excreting foul substances. Besides me,
what woman could be so foolish as to devote herself to this material body,
thinking that she might find pleasure and love in this contraption?
34. Certainly in this city of Videha I alone am
completely foolish. I neglected the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards
us everything, even our original spiritual form, and instead I desired to enjoy
sense gratification with many men.
35. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolutely the
most dear one for all living beings because He is everyone’s well-wisher and
Lord. He is the Supreme Soul situated in everyone’s heart. Therefore I will now
pay the price of complete surrender, and thus purchasing the Lord I will enjoy
with Him just like Laksmidevi.
36. Men provide sense gratification for women, but
all these men, and even the demigods in heaven, have a beginning and an end.
They are all temporary creations who will be dragged away by time. Therefore
how much actual pleasure or happiness could any of them ever give to their
37. Although I most stubbornly hoped to enjoy the
material world, somehow or other detachment has arisen in my heart, and it is
making me very happy. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, must
be pleased with me. Without even knowing it, I must have performed some
activity satisfying to Him.
38. A person who has developed detachment can give
up the bondage of material society, friendship and love, and a person who
undergoes great suffering gradually becomes, out of hopelessness, detached and
indifferent to the material world. Thus, due to my great suffering, such detachment
awoke in my heart; yet how could I have undergone such merciful suffering if I
were actually unfortunate? Therefore, I am in fact fortunate and have received
the mercy of the Lord. He must somehow or other be pleased with me.
39. With devotion I accept the great benefit that
the Lord has bestowed upon me. Having given up my sinful desires for ordinary
sense gratification, I now take shelter of Him, the Supreme Personality of
40. I am now completely satisfied, and I have full
faith in the Lord’s mercy. Therefore I will maintain myself with whatever comes
of its own accord. I shall enjoy life with only the Lord, because He is the
real source of love and happiness.
41. The intelligence of the living entity is
stolen away by activities of sense gratification, and thus he falls into the
dark well of material existence. Within that well he is then seized by the
deadly serpent of time. Who else but the Supreme Personality of Godhead could
save the poor living entity from such a hopeless condition?
42. When the living entity sees that the entire
universe has been seized by the serpent of time, he becomes sober and sane and
at that time detaches himself from all material sense gratification. In that
condition the living entity is qualified to be his own protector.
43. The avadhuta said: Thus, her mind completely
made up, Pingala cut off all her sinful desires to enjoy sex pleasure with
lovers, and she became situated in perfect peace. Then she sat down on her bed.
44. Material desire is undoubtedly the cause of
the greatest unhappiness, and freedom from such desire is the cause of the
greatest happiness. Therefore, completely cutting off her desire to enjoy
so-called lovers, Pingala very happily went to sleep.
Nine Detachment from All that Is Material
1. The saintly brahmana said: Everyone considers
certain things within the material world to be most dear to him, and because of
attachment to such things one eventually becomes miserable. One who understands
this gives up material possessiveness and attachment and thus achieves
2. Once a group of large hawks who were unable to
find any prey attacked another, weaker hawk who was holding some meat. At that
time, being in danger of his life, the hawk gave up his meat and experienced actual
3. In family life, the parents are always in
anxiety about their home, children and reputation. But I have nothing to do
with these things. I do not worry at all about any family, and I do not care
about honor and dishonor. I enjoy only the life of the soul, and I find love on
the spiritual platform. Thus I wander the earth like a child.
4. In this world two types of people are free from
all anxiety and merged in great happiness: one who is a retarded and childish
fool and one who has approached the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the three modes
of material nature.
5. Once a marriageable young girl was alone in her
house because her parents and relatives had gone that day to another place. At
that time a few men arrived at the house, specifically desiring to marry her.
She received them with all hospitality.
6. The girl went to a private place and began to
make preparations so that the unexpected male guests could eat. As she was
beating the rice, the conchshell bracelets on her arms were colliding and
making a loud noise.
7. The young girl feared that the men would
consider her family to be poor because their daughter was busily engaged in the
menial task of husking rice. Being very intelligent, the shy girl broke the
shell bracelets from her arms, leaving just two on each wrist.
8. Thereafter, as the young girl continued to husk
the rice, the two bracelets on each wrist continued to collide and make noise.
Therefore she took one bracelet off each arm, and with only one left on each
wrist there was no more noise.
9. O subduer of the enemy, I travel throughout the
surface of the earth learning constantly about the nature of this world, and
thus I personally witnessed the lesson of the young girl.
10. When many people live together in one place
there will undoubtedly be quarreling. And even if only two people live together
there will be frivolous conversation and disagreement. Therefore, to avoid
conflict, one should live alone, as we learn from the example of the bracelet
of the young girl.
11. Having perfected the yoga sitting postures and
conquered the breathing process, one should make the mind steady by detachment
and the regulated practice of yoga. Thus one should carefully fix the mind on
the single goal of yoga practice.
12. The mind can be controlled when it is fixed on
the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Having achieved a stable situation, the
mind becomes free from polluted desires to execute material activities; thus as
the mode of goodness increases in strength, one can completely give up the
modes of passion and ignorance, and gradually one transcends even the material
mode of goodness. When the mind is freed from the fuel of the modes of nature,
the fire of material existence is extinguished. Then one achieves the
transcendental platform of direct relationship with the object of his
meditation, the Supreme Lord.
13. Thus, when one’s consciousness is completely
fixed on the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one no longer
sees duality, or internal and external reality. The example is given of the
arrow maker who was so absorbed in making a straight arrow that he did not even
see or notice the king himself, who was passing right next to him.
14. A saintly person should remain alone and
constantly travel without any fixed residence. Being alert, he should remain
secluded and should act in such a way that he is not recognized or noticed by
others. Moving without companions, he should not speak more than required.
15. When a person living in a temporary material
body tries to construct a happy home, the result is fruitless and miserable.
The snake, however, enters a home that has been built by others and prospers
16. The Lord of the universe, Narayana, is the
worshipable God of all living entities. Without extraneous assistance, the Lord
creates this universe by His own potency, and at the time of annihilation the
Lord destroys the universe through His personal expansion of time and withdraws
all of the cosmos, including all the conditioned living entities, within Himself.
Thus, His unlimited Self is the shelter and reservoir of all potencies. The
subtle pradhana, the basis of all cosmic manifestation, is conserved within the
Lord and is in this way not different from Him. In the aftermath of
annihilation the Lord stands alone.
17-18. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead
displays His own potency in the form of time and guides His material potencies,
such as the mode of goodness, into a neutral condition of equilibrium, He
remains as the supreme controller of that neutral state, called pradhana, as
well as of the living entities. He is also the supreme worshipable object for
all beings, including liberated souls, demigods and ordinary conditioned souls.
The Lord is eternally free from any material designation, and He constitutes
the totality of spiritual bliss, which one experiences by seeing the Lord’s
spiritual form. The Lord thus exhibits the fullest meaning of the word
19. O subduer of the enemies, at the time of
creation the Personality of Godhead expands His own transcendental potency in
the form of time, and agitating His material energy, maya, composed of the
three modes of material nature, He creates the mahat-tattva.
20. According to great sages, that which is the
basis of the three modes of material nature and which manifests the variegated
universe is called the sutra or mahat-tattva. Indeed, this universe is resting
within that mahat-tattva, and due to its potency the living entity undergoes
21. Just as from within himself the spider expands
thread through his mouth, plays with it for some time and eventually swallows
it, similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands His personal potency
from within Himself. Thus, the Lord displays the network of cosmic
manifestation, utilizes it according to His purpose and eventually withdraws it
completely within Himself.
22. If out of love, hate or fear an embodied soul
fixes his mind with intelligence and complete concentration upon a particular
bodily form, he will certainly attain the form that he is meditating upon.
23. O King, once a wasp forced a weaker insect to
enter his hive and kept him trapped there. In great fear the weak insect
constantly meditated upon his captor, and without giving up his body, he
gradually achieved the same state of existence as the wasp. Thus one achieves a
state of existence according to one’s constant concentration.
24. O King, from all these spiritual masters I
have acquired great wisdom. Now please listen as I explain what I learned from
my own body.
25. The material body is also my spiritual master
because it teaches me detachment. Being subject to creation and destruction, it
always comes to a painful end. Thus, although using my body to acquire
knowledge, I always remember that it will ultimately be consumed by others, and
remaining detached, I move about this world.
26. A man attached to the body accumulates money
with great struggle to expand and protect the position of his wife, children,
property, domestic animals, servants, homes, relatives, friends, and so on. He
does all this for the gratification of his own body. As a tree before dying
produces the seed of a future tree, the dying body manifests the seed of one’s
next material body in the form of one’s accumulated karma. Thus assuring the
continuation of material existence, the material body sinks down and dies.
27. A man who has many wives is constantly
harassed by them. He is responsible for their maintenance, and thus all the
ladies constantly pull him in different directions, each struggling for her
self-interest. Similarly, the material senses harass the conditioned soul,
pulling him in many different directions at once. On one side the tongue is
pulling him to arrange tasty food; then thirst drags him to get a suitable
drink. Simultaneously the sex organs clamor for satisfaction, and the sense of
touch demands soft, sensuous objects. The belly harasses him until it is
filled, the ears demand to hear pleasing sounds, the sense of smell hankers for
pleasant aromas, and the fickle eyes clamor for pleasing sights. Thus the
senses, organs and limbs, all desiring satisfaction, pull the living entity in
28. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, expanding
His own potency, maya-sakti, created innumerable species of life to house the
conditioned souls. Yet by creating the forms of trees, reptiles, animals,
birds, snakes and so on, the Lord was not satisfied within His heart. Then He
created human life, which offers the conditioned soul sufficient intelligence
to perceive the Absolute Truth, and became pleased.
29. After many, many births and deaths one
achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one
the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being
should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his
body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After
all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of
life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being.
30. Having learned from my spiritual masters, I
remain situated in realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and, fully
renounced and enlightened by realized spiritual knowledge, wander the earth
without attachment or false ego.
31. Although the Absolute Truth is one without a
second, the sages have described Him in many different ways. Therefore one may
not be able to acquire very firm or complete knowledge from one spiritual
32. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said:
Having thus spoken to King Yadu, the wise brahmana accepted obeisances and
worship from the King and felt pleased within himself. Then bidding farewell,
he left exactly as he had come.
33. O Uddhava, hearing the words of the avadhuta,
the saintly King Yadu, who is the forefather of our own ancestors, became free
from all material attachment, and thus his mind was evenly fixed on the
Ten The Nature of Fruitive Activity
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Taking
full shelter in Me, with the mind carefully fixed in the devotional service of
the Lord as spoken by Me, one should live without personal desire and practice
the social and occupational system called varnasrama.
2. A purified soul should see that because the
conditioned souls who are dedicated to sense gratification have falsely
accepted the objects of sense pleasure as truth, all of their endeavors are
doomed to failure.
3. One who is sleeping may see many objects of
sense gratification in a dream, but such pleasurable things are merely
creations of the mind and are thus ultimately useless. Similarly, the living
entity who is asleep to his spiritual identity also sees many sense objects,
but these innumerable objects of temporary gratification are creations of the
Lord’s illusory potency and have no permanent existence. One who meditates upon
them, impelled by the senses, uselessly engages his intelligence.
4. One who has fixed Me within his mind as the
goal of life should give up activities based on sense gratification and should
instead execute work governed by the regulative principles for advancement.
When, however, one is fully engaged in searching out the ultimate truth of the
soul, one should not accept the scriptural injunctions governing fruitive
5. One who has accepted Me as the supreme goal of
life should strictly observe the scriptural injunctions forbidding sinful
activities and, as far as possible, should execute the injunctions prescribing
minor regulative duties such as cleanliness. Ultimately, however, one should
approach a bona fide spiritual master who is full in knowledge of Me as I am,
who is peaceful, and who by spiritual elevation is not different from Me.
6. The servant or disciple of the spiritual master
should be free from false prestige, never considering himself to be the doer.
He should be active and never lazy and should give up all sense of
proprietorship over the objects of the senses, including his wife, children,
home and society. He should be endowed with feelings of loving friendship toward
the spiritual master and should never become deviated or bewildered. The
servant or disciple should always desire advancement in spiritual
understanding, should not envy anyone and should always avoid useless
7. One should see one’s real self-interest in life
in all circumstances and should therefore remain detached from wife, children,
home, land, relatives, friends, wealth and so on.
8. Just as fire, which burns and illuminates, is
different from firewood, which is to be burned to give illumination, similarly
the seer within the body, the self-enlightened spirit soul, is different from
the material body, which is to be illuminated by consciousness. Thus the spirit
soul and the body possess different characteristics and are separate entities.
9. Just as fire may appear differently as dormant,
manifest, weak, brilliant and so on, according to the condition of the fuel,
similarly, the spirit soul enters a material body and accepts particular bodily
10. The subtle and gross material bodies are
created by the material modes of nature, which expand from the potency of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. Material existence occurs when the living
entity falsely accepts the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies as being
his own factual nature. This illusory state, however, can be destroyed by real
11. Therefore, by the cultivation of knowledge one
should approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead situated within oneself. By
understanding the Lord’s pure, transcendental existence, one should gradually
give up the false vision of the material world as independent reality.
12. The spiritual master can be compared to the
lower kindling stick, the disciple to the upper kindling stick, and the
instruction given by the guru to the third stick placed in between. The
transcendental knowledge communicated from guru to disciple is compared to the
fire arising from the contact of these, which burns the darkness of ignorance
to ashes, bringing great happiness both to guru and disciple.
13. By submissively hearing from an expert
spiritual master, the expert disciple develops pure knowledge, which repels the
onslaught of material illusion arising from the three modes of material nature.
Finally this pure knowledge itself ceases, just as fire ceases when the stock
of fuel has been consumed.
14-16. My dear Uddhava, I have thus explained to
you perfect knowledge. There are philosophers, however, who challenge My
conclusion. They state that the natural position of the living entity is to
engage in fruitive activities, and they see him as the enjoyer of the happiness
and unhappiness that accrue from his own work. According to this materialistic
philosophy, the world, time, the revealed scriptures and the self are all
variegated and eternal, existing as a perpetual flow of transformations.
Knowledge, moreover, cannot be one or eternal, because it arises from the
different and changing forms of objects; thus knowledge itself is always
subject to change. Even if you accept such a philosophy, My dear Uddhava, there
will still be perpetual birth, death, old age and disease, since all living
entities must accept a material body subject to the influence of time.
17. Although the performer of fruitive activities
desires perpetual happiness, it is clearly observed that materialistic workers
are often unhappy and only occasionally satisfied, thus proving that they are
not independent or in control of their destiny. When a person is always under
the superior control of another, how can he expect any valuable results from
his own fruitive actions?
18. It is observed within the material world that
sometimes even an intelligent person is not happy. Similarly, sometimes even a
great fool is happy. The concept of becoming happy through expertly performing
material activities is simply a useless exhibition of false egotism.
19. Even if people know how to achieve happiness
and avoid unhappiness, they still do not know the process by which death will
not be able to exert its power over them.
20. Death is not at all pleasing, and since
everyone is exactly like a condemned man being led to the place of execution,
what possible happiness can people derive from material objects or the
gratification they provide?
21. That material happiness of which we hear, such
as promotion to heavenly planets for celestial enjoyment, is just like that
material happiness we have already experienced. Both are polluted by jealousy,
envy, decay and death. Therefore, just as an attempt to raise crops becomes
fruitless if there are many problems like crop disease, insect plague or
drought, similarly, the attempt to attain material happiness, either on earth
or on the heavenly planets, is always fruitless because of innumerable
22. If one performs Vedic sacrifices and fruitive
rituals without any mistake or contamination, one will achieve a heavenly
situation in the next life. But even this result, which is only achieved by
perfect performance of fruitive rituals, will be vanquished by time. Now hear
23. If on earth one performs sacrifices for the
satisfaction of the demigods, he goes to the heavenly planets, where, just like
a demigod, he enjoys all of the heavenly pleasures he has earned by his
24. Having achieved the heavenly planets, the
performer of ritualistic sacrifices travels in a glowing airplane, which he
obtains as the result of his piety on earth. Being glorified by songs sung by
the Gandharvas and dressed in wonderfully charming clothes, he enjoys life
surrounded by heavenly goddesses.
25. Accompanied by heavenly women, the enjoyer of
the fruits of sacrifice goes on pleasure rides in a wonderful airplane, which
is decorated with circles of tinkling bells and which flies wherever he
desires. Being relaxed, comfortable and happy in the heavenly pleasure gardens,
he does not consider that he is exhausting the fruits of his piety and will
soon fall down to the mortal world.
26. Until his pious results are used up, the
performer of sacrifice enjoys life in the heavenly planets. When the pious
results are exhausted, however, he falls down from the pleasure gardens of
heaven, being moved against his desire by the force of eternal time.
27-29. If a human being is engaged in sinful,
irreligious activities, either because of bad association or because of his
failure to control his senses, then such a person will certainly develop a
personality full of material desires. He thus becomes miserly toward others,
greedy and always anxious to exploit the bodies of women. When the mind is so
polluted one becomes violent and aggressive and without the authority of Vedic
injunctions slaughters innocent animals for sense gratification. Worshiping
ghosts and spirits, the bewildered person falls fully into the grip of
unauthorized activities and thus goes to hell, where he receives a material
body infected by the darkest modes of nature. In such a degraded body, he
unfortunately continues to perform inauspicious activities that greatly
increase his future unhappiness, and therefore he again accepts a similar
material body. What possible happiness can there be for one who engages in
activities inevitably terminating in death?
30. In all the planetary systems, from the
heavenly to the hellish, and for all of the great demigods who live for one
thousand yuga cycles, there is fear of Me in My form of time. Even Brahma, who
possesses the supreme life span of 311,040,000,000,000 years, is also afraid of
31. The material senses create material
activities, either pious or sinful, and the modes of nature set the material
senses into motion. The living entity, being fully engaged by the material
senses and modes of nature, experiences the various results of fruitive work.
32. As long as the living entity thinks that the
modes of material nature have separate existences, he will be obliged to take
birth in many different forms and will experience varieties of material
existence. Therefore, the living entity remains completely dependent on
fruitive activities under the modes of nature.
33. The conditioned soul who remains dependent on
fruitive activities under the material modes of nature will continue to fear
Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, since I impose the results of one’s
fruitive activities. Those who accept the material concept of life, taking the
variegatedness of the modes of nature to be factual, devote themselves to
material enjoyment and are therefore always absorbed in lamentation and grief.
34. When there is agitation and interaction of the
material modes of nature, the living entities then describe Me in various ways
such as all-powerful time, the Self, Vedic knowledge, the universe, one’s own
nature, religious ceremonies and so on.
35. Sri Uddhava said: O my Lord, a living entity
situated within the material body is surrounded by the modes of nature and the
happiness and distress that are born of activities caused by these modes. How
is it possible that he is not bound by this material encirclement? It may also
be said that the living entity is ultimately transcendental and has nothing to
do with the material world. Then how is he ever bound by material nature?
36-37. O my Lord, Acyuta, the same living entity
is sometimes described as eternally conditioned and at other times as eternally
liberated. I am not able to understand, therefore, the actual situation of the
living entity. You, my Lord, are the best of those who are expert in answering
philosophical questions. Please explain to me the symptoms by which one can
tell the difference between a living entity who is eternally liberated and one
who is eternally conditioned. In what various ways would they remain situated,
enjoy life, eat, evacuate, lie down, sit or move about?
Eleven The Symptoms of Conditioned and Liberated Living Entities
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, due to the influence of the material modes of nature, which are
under My control, the living entity is sometimes designated as conditioned and
sometimes as liberated. In fact, however, the soul is never really bound up or
liberated, and since I am the supreme Lord of maya, which is the cause of the
modes of nature, I also am never to be considered liberated or in bondage.
2. Just as a dream is merely a creation of one’s
intelligence but has no actual substance, similarly, material lamentation,
illusion, happiness, distress and the acceptance of the material body under the
influence of maya are all creations of My illusory energy. In other words,
material existence has no essential reality.
3. O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being
products of maya, are expansions of My potency. Both knowledge and ignorance
are beginningless and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied
4. O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity,
called jiva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering
in material bondage since time immemorial. By knowledge, however, he can be
5. Thus, My dear Uddhava, in the same material
body we find opposing characteristics, such as great happiness and misery. That
is because both the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternally liberated,
as well as the conditioned soul are within the body. I shall now speak to you
about their different characteristics.
6. By chance, two birds have made a nest together
in the same tree. The two birds are friends and are of a similar nature. One of
them, however, is eating the fruits of the tree, whereas the other, who does
not eat the fruits, is in a superior position due to His potency.
7. The bird who does not eat the fruits of the
tree is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who by His omniscience perfectly
understands His own position and that of the conditioned living entity,
represented by the eating bird. That living entity, on the other hand, does not
understand himself or the Lord. He is covered by ignorance and is thus called
eternally conditioned, whereas the Personality of Godhead, being full of
perfect knowledge, is eternally liberated.
8. One who is enlightened in self-realization,
although living within the material body, sees himself as transcendental to the
body, just as one who has arisen from a dream gives up identification with the
dream body. A foolish person, however, although not identical with his material
body but transcendental to it, thinks himself to be situated in the body, just
as one who is dreaming sees himself as situated in an imaginary body.
9. An enlightened person who is free from the
contamination of material desire does not consider himself to be the performer
of bodily activities; rather, he knows that in all such activities it is only
the senses, born of the modes of nature, that are contacting sense objects born
of the same modes of nature.
10. An unintelligent person situated within the
body created by his previous fruitive activities thinks, “I am the performer of
action.” Bewildered by false ego, such a foolish person is therefore bound up
by fruitive activities, which are in fact carried out by the modes of nature.
11. An enlightened person fixed in detachment
engages his body in lying down, sitting, walking, bathing, seeing, touching,
smelling, eating, hearing and so on, but is never entangled by such activities.
Indeed, remaining as a witness to all bodily functions, he merely engages his
bodily senses with their objects and does not become entangled like an
12-13. Although the sky, or space, is the resting
place of everything, the sky does not mix with anything, nor is it entangled.
Similarly, the sun is not at all attached to the water in which it is reflected
within innumerable reservoirs, and the mighty wind blowing everywhere is not
affected by the innumerable aromas and atmospheres through which it passes. In
the same way, a self-realized soul is completely detached from the material
body and the material world around it. He is like a person who has awakened and
arisen from a dream. With expert vision sharpened by detachment, the
self-realized soul cuts all doubts to pieces through knowledge of the self and
completely withdraws his consciousness from the expansion of material variety.
14. A person is considered to be completely
liberated from the gross and subtle material bodies when all the functions of
his vital energy, senses, mind and intelligence are performed without material
desire. Such a person, although situated within the body, is not entangled.
15. Sometimes for no apparent reason one’s body is
attacked by cruel people or violent animals. At other times and in other
places, one will suddenly be offered great respect or worship. One who becomes
neither angry when attacked nor satisfied when worshiped is actually
16. A saintly sage sees with equal vision and
therefore is not affected by that which is materially good or bad. Indeed,
although he observes others performing good and bad work and speaking properly
and improperly, the sage does not praise or criticize anyone.
17. For the purpose of maintaining his body, a
liberated sage should not act, speak or contemplate in terms of material good
or bad. Rather, he should be detached in all material circumstances, and taking
pleasure in self-realization, he should wander about engaged in this liberated
life-style, appearing like a retarded person to outsiders.
18. If through meticulous study one becomes expert
in reading Vedic literature but makes no endeavor to fix one’s mind on the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one’s endeavor is certainly like that of a
man who works very hard to take care of a cow that gives no milk. In other
words, the fruit of one’s laborious study of Vedic knowledge will simply be the
labor itself. There will be no other tangible result.
19. My dear Uddhava, that man is certainly most
miserable who takes care of a cow that gives no milk, an unchaste wife, a body
totally dependent on others, useless children or wealth not utilized for the
right purpose. Similarly, one who studies Vedic knowledge devoid of My glories
is also most miserable.
20. My dear Uddhava, an intelligent person should
never take to literatures that do not contain descriptions of My activities,
which purify the whole universe. Indeed, I create, maintain and annihilate the
entire material manifestation. Among all My pastime incarnations, the most
beloved are Krsna and Balarama. Any so-called knowledge that does not recognize
these activities of Mine is simply barren and is not acceptable to those who
are actually intelligent.
21. Coming to this conclusion of all knowledge,
one should give up the false conception of material variety that one imposes
upon the soul and thus cease one’s material existence. The mind should be fixed
on Me, since I am all-pervading.
22. My dear Uddhava, if you are not able to free
your mind from all material disturbance and thus absorb it completely on the
spiritual platform, then perform all your activities as an offering to Me,
without trying to enjoy the fruits.
23-24. My dear Uddhava, narrations of My pastimes
and qualities are all-auspicious and purify the entire universe. A faithful
person who constantly hears, glorifies and remembers such transcendental
activities, who through dramatic performances relives My pastimes, beginning
with My appearance, and who takes full shelter of Me, dedicating his religious,
sensual and occupational activities for My satisfaction, certainly obtains
unflinching devotional service to Me, the eternal Personality of Godhead.
25. One who has obtained pure devotional service
by association with My devotees always engages in worshiping Me. Thus he very
easily goes to My abode, which is revealed by My pure devotees.
26-27. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O Supreme
Personality of Godhead, what type of person do You consider to be a true
devotee, and what type of devotional service is approved by great devotees as
worthy of being offered to Your Lordship? My dear ruler of the universal
controllers, O Lord of Vaikuntha and almighty God of the universe, I am Your
devotee, and because I love You I have no other shelter than You. Therefore
please explain this to me.
28. My dear Lord, as the Absolute Truth You are
transcendental to material nature, and like the sky You are never entangled in
any way. Still, being controlled by Your devotees’ love, You accept many
different forms, incarnating according to Your devotees’ desires.
29-32. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O
Uddhava, a saintly person is merciful and never injures others. Even if others
are aggressive he is tolerant and forgiving toward all living entities. His
strength and meaning in life come from the truth itself, he is free from all
envy and jealousy, and his mind is equal in material happiness and distress.
Thus, he dedicates his time to work for the welfare of all others. His
intelligence is never bewildered by material desires, and he has controlled his
senses. His behavior is always pleasing, never harsh and always exemplary, and
he is free from possessiveness. He never endeavors in ordinary, worldly
activities, and he strictly controls his eating. He therefore always remains
peaceful and steady. A saintly person is thoughtful and accepts Me as his only
shelter. Such a person is very cautious in the execution of his duties and is never
subject to superficial transformations, because he is steady and noble, even in
a distressing situation. He has conquered over the six material
qualities—namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. He
is free from all desire for prestige and offers honor to others. He is expert
in reviving the Krsna consciousness of others and therefore never cheats
anyone. Rather, he is a well-wishing friend to all, being most merciful. Such a
saintly person must be considered the most learned of men. He perfectly
understands that the ordinary religious duties prescribed by Me in various
Vedic scriptures possess favorable qualities that purify the performer, and he
knows that neglect of such duties constitutes a discrepancy in one’s life.
Having taken complete shelter at My lotus feet, however, a saintly person
ultimately renounces such ordinary religious duties and worships Me alone. He
is thus considered to be the best among all living entities.
33. My devotees may or may not know exactly what I
am, who I am and how I exist, but if they worship Me with unalloyed love, then
I consider them to be the best of devotees.
34-41. My dear Uddhava, one can give up false pride and
prestige by engaging in the following devotional activities. One may purify oneself
by seeing, touching, worshiping, serving, and offering prayers of glorification
and obeisances to My form as the Deity and to My pure devotees. One should also
glorify My transcendental qualities and activities, hear with love and faith
the narrations of My glories and constantly meditate on Me. One should offer to
Me whatever one acquires, and accepting oneself as My eternal servant, one
should give oneself completely to Me. One should always discuss My birth and
activities and enjoy life by participating in festivals, such as Janmastami,
which glorify My pastimes. In My temple, one should also participate in
festivals and ceremonies by singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and
discussing Me with other Vaisnavas. One should observe all the regularly
celebrated annual festivals by attending ceremonies, pilgrimages and making
offerings. One should also observe religious vows such as Ekadasi and take
initiation by the procedures mentioned in the Vedas, Pancaratra and other,
similar literatures. One should faithfully and lovingly support the
installation of My Deity, and individually or in cooperation with others one
should work for the construction of Krsna conscious temples and cities as well
as flower gardens, fruit gardens and special areas to celebrate My pastimes.
One should consider oneself to be My humble servant, without duplicity, and
thus should help to clean the temple, which is My home. First one should sweep
and dust thoroughly, and then one should further cleanse with water and cow dung.
Having dried the temple, one should sprinkle scented water and decorate the
temple with mandalas. One should thus act just like My servant. A devotee
should never advertise his devotional activities; therefore his service will
not be the cause of false pride. One should never use lamps that are offered to
Me for other purposes simply because there is need of illumination, and
similarly, one should never offer to Me anything that has been offered to or
used by others. Whatever is most desired by one within this material world, and
whatever is most dear to oneself—one should offer that very thing to Me. Such
an offering qualifies one for eternal life.
42. O saintly Uddhava, please know that you may
worship Me in the sun, fire, brahmanas, cows, Vaisnavas, sky, wind, water,
earth, individual soul and all living entities.
43-45. My dear Uddhava, one should worship Me within the
sun by chanting selected Vedic mantras and by performing worship and offering
obeisances. One may worship Me within fire by offering oblations of ghee, and
one may worship Me among the brahmanas by respectfully receiving them as
guests, even when uninvited. I can be worshiped within the cows by offerings of
grass and other suitable grains and paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of
the cows, and one may worship Me within the Vaisvavas by offering loving
friendship to them and honoring them in all respects. Through steady meditation
I am worshiped within the inner space of the heart, and within the air I can be
worshiped by knowledge that prana, the life air, is the chief among elements. I
am worshiped within water by offerings of water itself, along with other
elements such as flowers and tulasi leaves, and one may worship Me within the
earth by proper application of confidential seed mantras. One may worship Me
within the individual living entity by offering food and other enjoyable
substances, and one may worship Me within all living entities by seeing the
Supersoul within all of them, thus maintaining equal vision.
46. Thus, in the previously mentioned places of
worship and according to the processes I have described, one should meditate on
My peaceful, transcendental form with four arms holding a conchshell, Sudarsana
disc, club and lotus flower. In this way, one should worship Me with fixed
47. One who has executed sacrificial performances
and pious works for My satisfaction, and who thus worships Me with fixed
attention, obtains unflinching devotional service unto Me. By the excellent
quality of his service such a worshiper obtains realized knowledge of Me.
48. My dear Uddhava, I am personally the ultimate
shelter and way of life for saintly liberated persons, and thus if one does not
engage in My loving devotional service, which is made possible by associating
with My devotees, then for all practical purposes, one possesses no effective
means for escaping from material existence.
49. My dear Uddhava, O beloved of the Yadu
dynasty, because you are My servant, well-wisher and friend, I shall now speak
to you the most confidential knowledge. Please hear as I explain these great
mysteries to you.
Twelve Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge
1-2. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear
Uddhava, by associating with My pure devotees one can destroy one’s attachment
for all objects of material sense gratification. Such purifying association
brings Me under the control of My devotee. One may perform the astanga-yoga
system, engage in philosophical analysis of the elements of material nature,
practice nonviolence and other ordinary principles of piety, chant the Vedas,
perform penances, take to the renounced order of life, execute sacrificial
performances and dig wells, plant trees and perform other public welfare
activities, give in charity, carry out severe vows, worship the demigods, chant
confidential mantras, visit holy places or accept major and minor disciplinary
injunctions, but even by performing such activities one does not bring Me under
3-6. In every yuga many living entities entangled in the
modes of passion and ignorance gained the association of My devotees. Thus,
such living entities as the Daityas, Raksasas, birds, beasts, Gandharvas,
Apsaras, Nagas, Siddhas, Caranas, Guhyakas and Vidyadharas, as well as such
lower-class human beings as the vaisyas, sudras, women and others, were able to
achieve My supreme abode. Vrtrasura, Prahlada Maharaja and others like them
also achieved My abode by association with My devotees, as did personalities
such as Vrsaparva, Bali Maharaja, Banasura, Maya, Vibhisana, Sugriva, Hanuman,
Jambavan, Gajendra, Jatayu, Tuladhara, Dharma-vyadha, Kubja, the gopis in
Vrndavana and the wives of the brahmanas who were performing sacrifice.
7. The persons I have mentioned did not undergo
serious studies of the Vedic literature, nor did they worship great saintly
persons, nor did they execute severe vows or austerities. Simply by association
with Me and My devotees, they achieved Me.
8. The inhabitants of Vrndavana, including the
gopis, cows, unmoving creatures such as the twin arjuna trees, animals, living
entities with stunted consciousness such as bushes and thickets, and snakes
such as Kaliya, all achieved the perfection of life by unalloyed love for Me
and thus very easily achieved Me.
9. Even though one engages with great endeavor in
the mystic yoga system, philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances,
ritualistic sacrifices, teaching of Vedic mantras to others, personal study of
the Vedas, or the renounced order of life, still one cannot achieve Me.
10. The residents of Vrndavana, headed by the
gopis, were always completely attached to Me with deepest love. Therefore, when
My uncle Akrura brought My brother Balarama and Me to the city of Mathura, the
residents of Vrndavana suffered extreme mental distress because of separation
from Me and could not find any other source of happiness.
11. Dear Uddhava, all of those nights that the
gopis spent with Me, their most dearly beloved, in the land of Vrndavana seemed
to them to pass in less than a moment. Bereft of My association, however, the
gopis felt that those same nights dragged on forever, as if each night were
equal to a day of Brahma.
12. My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga
trance merge into self-realization, like rivers merging into the ocean, and are
thus not aware of material names and forms, similarly, the gopis of Vrndavana
were so completely attached to Me within their minds that they could not think
of their own bodies, or of this world, or of their future lives. Their entire
consciousness was simply bound up in Me.
13. All those hundreds of thousands of gopis,
understanding Me to be their most charming lover and ardently desiring Me in
that way, were unaware of My actual position. Yet by intimately associating
with Me, the gopis attained Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth.
14-15. Therefore, My dear Uddhava, abandon the
Vedic mantras as well as the procedures of supplementary Vedic literatures and
their positive and negative injunctions. Disregard that which has been heard
and that which is to be heard. Simply take shelter of Me alone, for I am the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated within the heart of all conditioned
souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, and by My grace be free from fear in
16. Sri Uddhava said: O Lord of all masters of
mystic power, I have heard Your words, but the doubt in my heart does not go
away; thus my mind is bewildered.
17. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, the Supreme Lord gives life to every living being and is situated
within the heart along with the life air and primal sound vibration. The Lord
can be perceived in His subtle form within the heart by one’s mind, since the
Lord controls the minds of everyone, even great demigods like Lord Siva. The
Supreme Lord also assumes a gross form as the various sounds of the Vedas,
composed of short and long vowels and consonants of different intonations.
18. When sticks of kindling wood are vigorously
rubbed together, heat is produced by contact with air, and a spark of fire
appears. Once the fire is kindled, ghee is added and the fire blazes.
Similarly, I become manifest in the sound vibration of the Vedas.
19. The functions of the working senses—the organ
of speech, the hands, the legs, the genital and the anus—and the functions of
the knowledge-acquiring senses—the nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears—along with
the functions of the subtle senses of mind, intelligence, consciousness and
false ego, as well as the function of the subtle pradhana and the interaction
of the three modes of material nature—all these should be understood as My
materially manifest form.
20. When many seeds are placed in an agricultural
field, innumerable manifestations of trees, bushes, vegetables and so on will
arise from a single source, the soil. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, who gives life to all and is eternal, originally exists beyond the
scope of the cosmic manifestation. In the course of time, however, the Lord,
who is the resting place of the three modes of nature and the source of the
universal lotus flower, in which the cosmic manifestation takes place, divides
His material potencies and thus appears to be manifest in innumerable forms,
although He is one.
21. Just as woven cloth rests on the expansion of
lengthwise and crosswise threads, similarly the entire universe is expanded on
the lengthwise and crosswise potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and
is situated within Him. The conditioned soul has been accepting material bodies
since time immemorial, and these bodies are like great trees sustaining one’s
material existence. Just as a tree first blossoms and then produces fruit,
similarly the tree of material existence, one’s material body, produces the
various results of material existence.
22-23. This tree of material existence has two seeds,
hundreds of roots, three lower trunks and five upper trunks. It produces five
flavors and has eleven branches and a nest made by two birds. The tree is
covered by three types of bark, gives two fruits and extends up to the sun.
Those lusty after material enjoyment and dedicated to family life enjoy one of
the tree’s fruits, and swanlike men in the renounced order of life enjoy the
other fruit. One who with the help of the bonafide spiritual masters can
understand this tree to be a manifestation of the potency of the one Supreme
Truth appearing in many forms actually knows the meaning of the Vedic
24. With steady intelligence you should develop
unalloyed devotional service by careful worship of the spiritual master, and
with the sharpened ax of transcendental knowledge you should cut off the subtle
material covering of the soul. Upon realizing the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, you should then give up that ax of analytic knowledge.
Thirteen The Hamsa-avatara Answers the Questions of the Sons of Brahma
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The
three modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance, pertain
to material intelligence and not to the spirit soul. By development of material
goodness one can conquer the modes of passion and ignorance, and by cultivation
of transcendental goodness one may free oneself even from material goodness.
2. When the living entity becomes strongly
situated in the mode of goodness, then religious principles, characterized by
devotional service to Me, become prominent. One can strengthen the mode of
goodness by cultivation of those things that are already situated in goodness,
and thus religious principles arise.
3. Religious principles, strengthened by the mode
of goodness, destroy the influence of passion and ignorance. When passion and
ignorance are overcome, their original cause, irreligion, is quickly
4. According to the quality of religious
scriptures, water, one’s association with one’s children or with people in general,
the particular place, the time, activities, birth, meditation, chanting of
mantras, and purificatory rituals, the modes of nature become differently
5. Among the ten items I have just mentioned, the
great sages who understand Vedic knowledge have praised and recommended those
that are in the mode of goodness, criticized and rejected those in the mode of
ignorance, and shown indifference to those in the mode of passion.
6. Until one revives one’s direct knowledge of the
spirit soul and drives away the illusory identification with the material body
and mind caused by the three modes of nature, one must cultivate those things
in the mode of goodness. By increasing the mode of goodness, one automatically
can understand and practice religious principles, and by such practice
transcendental knowledge is awakened.
7. In a bamboo forest the wind sometimes rubs the
bamboo stalks together, and such friction generates a blazing fire that
consumes the very source of its birth, the bamboo forest. Thus, the fire is
automatically calmed by its own action. Similarly, by the competition and
interaction of the material modes of nature, the subtle and gross material
bodies are generated. If one uses his mind and body to cultivate knowledge,
then such enlightenment destroys the influence of the modes of nature that
generated one’s body. Thus, like the fire, the body and mind are pacified by
their own actions in destroying the source of their birth.
8. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Krsna, generally
human beings know that material life brings great future unhappiness, and still
they try to enjoy material life. My dear Lord, how can one in knowledge act
just like a dog, an ass or a goat?
9-10. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, a person bereft of intelligence first falsely identifies himself
with the material body and mind, and when such false knowledge arises within
one’s consciousness, material passion, the cause of great suffering, pervades
the mind, which by nature is situated in goodness. Then the mind, contaminated
by passion, becomes absorbed in making and changing many plans for material
advancement. Thus, by constantly thinking of the modes of material nature, a
foolish person is afflicted with unbearable material desires.
11. One who does not control the material senses
comes under the control of material desires and is thus bewildered by the
strong waves of the mode of passion. Such a person executes material
activities, although clearly seeing that the result will be future unhappiness.
12. Although the intelligence of a learned person
may be bewildered by the modes of passion and ignorance, he should again
carefully bring the mind under control. By clearly seeing the contamination of
the modes of nature, he does not become attached.
13. A person should be attentive and grave and
never lazy or morose. Mastering the yoga procedures of breathing and sitting
properly, one should practice fixing the mind on Me at dawn, noon and sunset,
and thus gradually the mind should be completely absorbed in Me.
14. The actual yoga system as taught by My
devotees, headed by Sanaka-kumara, is simply this: Having withdrawn the mind
from all other objects, one should directly and appropriately absorb it in Me.
15. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Kesava, at what time
and in what form did You instruct the science of yoga to Sanaka and his
brothers? I now desire to know about these things.
16. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Once,
the mental sons of Lord Brahma, namely, the sages headed by Sanaka, inquired
from their father about the difficult subject matter of the supreme goal of
17. The sages headed by Sanaka said: O Lord,
people’s minds are naturally attracted to material sense objects, and similarly
the sense objects in the form of desire enter within the mind. Therefore, how
can a person who desires liberation, who desires to cross over activities of
sense gratification, destroy this mutual relationship between the sense objects
and the mind? Please explain this to us.
18. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, Brahma himself, who is born directly from the body of the Lord
and who is the creator of all living entities within the material world, being
the best of the demigods, seriously contemplated the question of his sons
headed by Sanaka. The intelligence of Brahma, however, was affected by his own
activities of creation, and thus he could not discover the essential answer to
19. Lord Brahma desired to attain the answer to
the question that was puzzling him, and thus he fixed his mind on Me, the
Supreme Lord. At that time, in My form of Hamsa, I became visible to Lord
20. Thus seeing Me, the sages, placing Brahma in
the lead, came forward and worshiped My lotus feet. Then they frankly asked Me,
“Who are You?”
21. My dear Uddhava, the sages, being eager to
understand the ultimate truth of the yoga system, thus inquired from Me. Now
please hear as I explain that which I spoke unto the sages.
22. My dear brahmanas, if, when asking Me who I
am, you believe that I am also a jiva soul and that there is no ultimate
difference between us—since all souls are ultimately one without
individuality—then how is your question possible or appropriate? Ultimately,
what is the real situation or resting place both of yourselves and of Me?
23. If by asking Me “Who are You?” you were
referring to the material body, then I must point out that all material bodies
are constituted of five elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether.
Thus, you should have asked, “Who are you five?” If you consider that all
material bodies are ultimately one, being constituted essentially of the same
elements, then your question is still meaningless, since there would be no deep
purpose in distinguishing one body from another. Thus, it appears that in asking
My identity, you are merely speaking words, without any real meaning or
24. Within this world, whatever is perceived by
the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All
of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts.
25. My dear sons, the mind has a natural
proclivity to enter into the material sense objects, and similarly the sense
objects enter into the mind; but both this material mind and the sense objects
are merely designations that cover the spirit soul, who is part and parcel of
26. A person who has thus achieved Me by
understanding that he is not different from Me realizes that the material mind
is lodged within the sense objects because of constant sense gratification, and
that the material objects are existing prominently within the material mind.
Having understood My transcendental nature, he gives up both the material mind
and its objects.
27. Waking, sleeping and deep sleep are the three
functions of the intelligence and are caused by the modes of material nature.
The living entity within the body is ascertained to possess characteristics
different from these three states and thus remains us a witness to them.
28. The spirit soul is trapped in the bondage of
material intelligence, which awards him constant engagement in the illusory
modes of nature. But I am the fourth stage of consciousness, beyond
wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. Becoming situated in Me, the soul should
give up the bondage of material consciousness. At that time, the living entity
will automatically renounce the material sense objects and the material mind.
29. The false ego of the living entity places him
in bondage and awards him exactly the opposite of what he really desires.
Therefore, an intelligent person should give up his constant anxiety to enjoy
material life and remain situated in the Lord, who is beyond the functions of
30. According to My instructions, one should fix
the mind on Me alone. If, however, one continues to see many different values
and goals in life rather than seeing everything within Me, then although
apparently awake, one is actually dreaming due to incomplete knowledge, just as
one may dream that one has wakened from a dream.
31. Those states of existence that are conceived
of as separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no actual
existence, although they create a sense of separation from the Absolute Truth.
Just as the seer of a dream imagines many different activities and rewards,
similarly, because of the sense of an existence separate from the Lord’s
existence, the living entity falsely performs fruitive activities, thinking
them to be the cause of future rewards and destinations.
32. While awake the living entity enjoys with all
of his senses the fleeting characteristics of the material body and mind; while
dreaming he enjoys similar experiences within the mind; and in deep dreamless
sleep all such experiences merge into ignorance. By remembering and
contemplating the succession of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, the
living entity can understand that he is one throughout the three stages of
consciousness and is transcendental. Thus, he becomes the lord of the senses.
33. You should consider how, by the influence of
My illusory energy, these three states of the mind, caused by the modes of
nature, have been artificially imagined to exist in Me. Having definitely
ascertained the truth of the soul, you should utilize the sharpened sword of
knowledge, acquired by logical reflection and from the instructions of sages
and Vedic literatures, to completely cut off the false ego, which is the
breeding ground of all doubts. All of you should then worship Me, who am
situated within the heart.
34. One should see that the material world is a
distinct illusion appearing in the mind, because material objects have an
extremely flickering existence and are here today and gone tomorrow. They can
be compared to the streaking red line created by whirling a fiery stick. The
spirit soul by nature exists in the single state of pure consciousness.
However, in this world he appears in many different forms and stages of
existence. The modes of nature divide the soul’s consciousness into normal
wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep. All such varieties of perception,
however, are actually maya and exist only like a dream.
35. Having understood the temporary illusory
nature of material things, and thus having pulled one’s vision away from
illusion, one should remain without material desires. By experiencing the happiness
of the soul, one should give up material speaking and activities. If sometimes
one must observe the material world, one should remember that it is not
ultimate reality and therefore one has given it up. By such constant
remembrance up till the time of death, one will not again fall into illusion.
36. Just as a drunken man does not notice if he is
wearing his coat or shirt, similarly, one who is perfect in self-realization
and who has thus achieved his eternal identity does not notice whether the temporary
body is sitting or standing. Indeed, if by God’s will the body is finished or
if by God’s will he obtains a new body, a self-realized soul does not notice,
just as a drunken man does not notice the situation of his outward dress.
37. The material body certainly moves under the
control of supreme destiny and therefore must continue to live along with the
senses and vital air as long as one’s karma is in effect. A self-realized soul,
however, who is awakened to the absolute reality and who is thus highly
situated in the perfect stage of yoga, will never again surrender to the
material body and its manifold manifestations, knowing it to be just like a
body visualized in a dream.
38. My dear brahmanas, I have now explained to you the
confidential knowledge of Sankhya, by which one philosophically distinguishes
matter from spirit, and of astanga-yoga, by which one links up with the
Supreme. Please understand that I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu,
and that I have appeared before you desiring to explain your actual religious
39. O best of the brahmanas, please know that I am
the supreme shelter of the yoga system, analytic philosophy, virtuous action,
truthful religious principles, power, beauty, fame and self-control.
40. All superior transcendental qualities, such as
being beyond the modes of nature, detached, the well-wisher, the most dear, the
Supersoul, equally situated everywhere, and free from material entanglement—all
such qualities, free from the transformations of material qualities, find their
shelter and worshipable object in Me.
Krsna continued:] My dear Uddhava, thus all of the doubts of the sages headed
by Sanaka were destroyed by My words. Fully worshiping Me with transcendental
love and devotion, they chanted My glories with excellent hymns.
42. The greatest of sages, headed by Sanaka Rsi,
thus perfectly worshiped and glorified Me, and as Lord Brahma looked on, I
returned to My own abode.
Fourteen Lord Krsna Explains the Yoga System to Sri Uddhava
1. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Krsna, the learned
sages who explain Vedic literature recommend various processes for perfecting
one’s life. Considering these varieties of viewpoint, my Lord, please tell me
whether all these processes are equally important, or whether one of them is
2. My dear Lord, You have clearly explained the
process of unalloyed devotional service, by which a devotee removes all
material association from his life, enabling him to fix his mind on You.
3. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: By the
influence of time, the transcendental sound of Vedic knowledge was lost at the
time of annihilation. Therefore, when the subsequent creation took place, I
spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahma because I Myself am the religious
principles enunciated in the Vedas.
4. Lord Brahma spoke this Vedic knowledge to his
eldest son, Manu, and the seven great sages headed by Bhrgu Muni then accepted
the same knowledge from Manu.
5-7. From the forefathers headed by Bhrgu Muni and other
sons of Brahma appeared many children and descendants, who assumed different
forms as demigods, demons, human beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas,
Vidyadharas, Caranas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, Nagas, Kimpurusas, and so on. All of
the many universal species, along with their respective leaders, appeared with
different natures and desires generated from the three modes of material
nature. Therefore, because of the different characteristics of the living
entities within the universe, there are a great many Vedic rituals, mantras and
8. Thus, due to the great variety of desires and
natures among human beings, there are many different theistic philosophies of
life, which are handed down through tradition, custom and disciplic succession.
There are other teachers who directly support atheistic viewpoints.
9. O best among men, the intelligence of human
beings is bewildered by My illusory potency, and thus, according to their own
activities and whims, they speak in innumerable ways about what is actually
good for people.
10. Some say that people will be happy by
performing pious religious activities. Others say that happiness is attained
through fame, sense gratification, truthfulness, self-control, peace,
self-interest, political influence, opulence, renunciation, consumption, sacrifice,
penance, charity, vows, regulated duties or strict disciplinary regulation.
Each process has its proponents.
11. All the persons I have just mentioned obtain
temporary fruits from their material work. Indeed, the meager and miserable
situations they achieve bring future unhappiness and are based on ignorance.
Even while enjoying the fruits of their work, such persons are filled with
12. O learned Uddhava, those who fix their
consciousness on Me, giving up all material desires, share with Me a happiness
that cannot possibly be experienced by those engaged in sense gratification.
13. One who does not desire anything within this
world, who has achieved peace by controlling his senses, whose consciousness is
equal in all conditions and whose mind is completely satisfied in Me finds only
happiness wherever he goes.
14. One who has fixed his consciousness on Me
desires neither the position or abode of Lord Brahma or Lord Indra, nor an
empire on the earth, nor sovereignty in the lower planetary systems, nor the
eightfold perfection of yoga, nor liberation from birth and death. Such a
person desires Me alone.
15. My dear Uddhava, neither Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Lord
Sankarsana, the goddess of fortune nor indeed My own self are as dear to Me as
16. With the dust of My devotees’ lotus feet I
desire to purify the material worlds, which are situated within Me. Thus, I
always follow the footsteps of My pure devotees, who are free from all personal
desire, rapt in thought of My pastimes, peaceful, without any feelings of
enmity, and of equal disposition everywhere.
17. Those who are without any desire for personal
gratification, whose minds are always attached to Me, who are peaceful, without
false ego and merciful to all living entities, and whose consciousness is never
affected by opportunities for sense gratification—such persons enjoy in Me a
happiness that cannot be known or achieved by those lacking such detachment
from the material world.
18. My dear Uddhava, if My devotee has not fully
conquered his senses, he may be harassed by material desires, but because of
his unflinching devotion for Me, he will not be defeated by sense
19. My dear Uddhava, just as a blazing fire turns
firewood into ashes, similarly, devotion unto Me completely burns to ashes sins
committed by My devotees.
20. My dear Uddhava, the unalloyed devotional service
rendered to Me by My devotees brings Me under their control. I cannot be thus
controlled by those engaged in mystic yoga, Sankhya philosophy, pious work,
Vedic study, austerity or renunciation.
21. Only by practicing unalloyed devotional
service with full faith in Me can one obtain Me, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. I am naturally dear to My devotees, who take Me as the only goal of
their loving service. By engaging in such pure devotional service, even the
dog-eaters can purify themselves from the contaminationof their low birth.
22. Neither religious activities endowed with
honesty and mercy nor knowledge obtained with great penance can completely
purify one’s consciousness if they are bereft of loving service to Me.
23. If one’s hairs do not stand on end, how can
the heart melt? And if the heart does not melt, how can tears of love flow from
the eyes? If one does not cry in spiritual happiness, how can one render loving
service to the Lord? And without such service, how can the consciousness be
24. A devotee whose speech is sometimes choked up,
whose heart melts, who cries continually and sometimes laughs, who feels
ashamed and cries out loudly and then dances—a devotee thus fixed in loving
service to Me purifies the entire universe.
25. Just as gold, when smelted in fire, gives up
its impurities and returns to its pure brilliant state, similarly, the spirit
soul, absorbed in the fire of bhakti-yoga, is purified of all contamination
caused by previous fruitive activities and returns to its original position of
serving Me in the spiritual world.
26. When a diseased eye is treated with medicinal
ointment it gradually recovers its power to see. Similarly, as a conscious
living entity cleanses himself of material contamination by hearing and
chanting the pious narrations of My glories, he regains his ability to see Me,
the Absolute Truth, in My subtle spiritual form.
27. The mind of one meditating upon the objects of
sense gratification is certainly entangled in such objects, but if one
constantly remembers Me, then the mind is absorbed in Me.
28. Therefore, one should reject all material
processes of elevation, which are like the mental creations of a dream, and
should completely absorb one’s mind in Me. By constantly thinking of Me, one
29. Being conscious of the eternal self, one
should give up association with women and those intimately associated with
women. Sitting fearlessly in a solitary place, one should concentrate the mind
on Me with great attention.
30. Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising
from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage
arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to
31. Sri Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Krsna, by
what process should one who desires liberation meditate upon You, of what
specific nature should his meditation be, and upon which form should he
meditate? Kindly explain to me this topic of meditation.
32-33. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Sitting
on a level seat that is not too high or too low, keeping the body straight and
erect yet comfortable, placing the two hands on one’s lap and focusing the eyes
on the tip of one’s nose, one should purify the pathways of breathing by
practicing the mechanical exercises of puraka, kumbhaka and recaka, and then
one should reverse the procedure (recaka, kumbhaka, puraka). Having fully
controlled the senses, one may thus practice pranayama step by step.
34. Beginning from the muladhara-cakra, one should move
the life air continuously upward like the fibers in the lotus stalk until one
reaches the heart, where the sacred syllable om is situated like the sound of a
bell. One should thus continue raising the sacred syllable upward the distance
of twelve angulas, and there the omkara should be joined together with the
fifteen vibrations produced with anusvara.
35. Being fixed in the omkara, one should
carefully practice the pranayama system ten times at each sunrise, noon and
sunset. Thus, after one month one will have conquered the life air.
36-42. Keeping the eyes half closed and fixed on
the tip of one’s nose, being enlivened and alert, one should meditate on the
lotus flower situated within the heart. This lotus has eight petals and is
situated on an erect lotus stalk. One should meditate on the sun, moon and
fire, placing them one after the other within the whorl of that lotus flower.
Placing My transcendental form within the fire, one should meditate upon it as
the auspicious goal of all meditation. That form is perfectly proportioned,
gentle and cheerful. It possesses four beautiful long arms, a charming,
beautiful neck, a handsome forehead, a pure smile and glowing, shark-shaped
earrings suspended from two identical ears. That spiritual form is the color of
a dark rain cloud and is garbed in golden-yellowish silk. The chest of that
form is the abode of Srivatsa and the goddess of fortune, and that form is also
decorated with a conchshell, disc, club, lotus flower and garland of forest
flowers. The two brilliant lotus feet are decorated with ankle bells and
bracelets, and that form exhibits the Kaustubha gem along with an effulgent
crown. The upper hips are beautified by a golden belt, and the arms are
decorated with valuable bracelets. All of the limbs of that beautiful form
capture the heart, and the face is beautified by merciful glancing. Pulling the
senses back from the sense objects, one should be grave and self-controlled and
should use the intelligence to strongly fix the mind upon all of the limbs of
My transcendental body. Thus one should meditate upon that most delicate
transcendental form of Mine.
43. One should then pull the consciousness back
from all the limbs of that transcendental body. At that time, one should
meditate only on the wonderfully smiling face of the Lord.
44. Being established in meditation on the Lord’s
face, one should then withdraw the consciousness and fix it in the sky. Then
giving up such meditation, one should become established in Me and give up the
process of meditation altogether.
45. One who has completely fixed his mind on Me
should see Me within his own soul and should see the individual soul within Me,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, he sees the individual souls united
with the Supreme Soul, just as one sees the sun’s rays completely united with
46. When the yogi thus controls his mind by
intensely concentrated meditation, his illusory identification with material
objects, knowledge and activities is very quickly extinguished.
Fifteen Lord Krsna’s Description of Mystic Yoga Perfections
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, the mystic perfections of yoga are acquired by a yogi who has
conquered his senses, steadied his mind, conquered the breathing process and
fixed his mind on Me.
1. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Acyuta, by what
process can mystic perfection be achieved, and what is the nature of such
perfection? How many mystic perfections are there? Please explain these things
to me. Indeed, You are the bestower of all mystic perfections.
3. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The
masters of the yoga system have declared that there are eighteen types of
mystic perfection and meditation, of which eight are primary, having their
shelter in Me, and ten are secondary, appearing from the material mode of
4-5. Among the eight primary mystic perfections,
the three by which one transforms one’s own body are anima, becoming smaller
than the smallest; mahima, becoming greater than the greatest; and laghima,
becoming lighter than the lightest. Through the perfection of prapti one
acquires whatever one desires, and through prakamya-siddhi one experiences
any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next. Through isita-siddhi
one can manipulate the subpotencies of maya, and through the controlling potency called vasita-siddhi one is
unimpeded by the three modes of nature. One who has acquired
kamavasayita-siddhi can obtain anything from anywhere, to the highest possible
limit. My dear gentle Uddhava, these
eight mystic perfections are considered to be naturally existing and unexcelled within this world.
6-7. The ten secondary mystic perfections arising
from the modes of nature are the powers of freeing oneself from hunger and
thirst and other bodily disturbances, hearing and seeing things far away,
moving the body at the speed of the mind, assuming any form one desires,
entering the bodies of others, dying when one desires, witnessing the pastimes
between the demigods and the celestial girls called Apsaras, completely
executing one’s determination and giving orders whose fulfillment is unimpeded.
8-9. The power to know past, present and future;
tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities; knowing the minds of others;
checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on; and remaining
unconquered by others—these constitute five perfections of the mystic process
of yoga and meditation. I am simply listing these here according to their names
and characteristics. Now please learn from Me how specific mystic perfections
arise from specific meditations and also of the particular processes involved.
10. One who worships Me in My atomic form pervading all
subtle elements, fixing his mind on that alone, obtains the mystic perfection
11. One who absorbs his mind in the particular
form of the mahat-tattva and thus meditates upon Me as the Supreme Soul of the
total material existence achieves the mystic perfection called mahima. By
further absorbing the mind in the situation of each individual element such as
the sky, air, fire, and so on, one progressively acquires the greatness of each
12. I exist within everything, and I am therefore
the essence of the atomic constituents of material elements. By attaching his
mind to Me in this form, the yogi may achieve the perfection called laghima, by
which he realizes the subtle atomic substance of time.
13. Fixing his mind completely in Me within the
element of false ego generated from the mode of goodness, the yogi obtains the
power of mystic acquisition, by which he becomes the proprietor of the senses
of all living entities. He obtains such perfection because his mind is absorbed
14. One who concentrates all mental activities in
Me as the Supersoul of that phase of the mahat-tattva which manifests the chain
of fruitive activities obtains from Me, whose appearance is beyond material
perception, the most excellent mystic perfection called prakamya.
15. One who places his consciousness on Visnu, the
Supersoul, the prime mover and Supreme Lord of the external energy consisting
of three modes, obtains the mystic perfection of controlling other conditioned
souls, their material bodies and their bodily designations.
16. The yogi who places his mind in My form of Narayana,
known as the fourth factor, full of all opulences, becomes endowed with My
nature and thus obtains the mystic perfection called vasita.
17. One who fixes his pure mind on Me in My
manifestation as the impersonal Brahman obtains the greatest happiness, wherein
all his desires are completely fulfilled.
18. A human being who concentrates on Me as the
upholder of religious principles, the personification of purity and the Lord of
Svetadvipa obtains the pure existence in which he is freed from the six waves
of material disturbance, namely hunger, thirst, decay, death, grief and
19. That purified living entity who fixes his mind
on the extraordinary sound vibrations occurring within Me as the personified sky
and total life air is then able to perceive within the sky the speaking of all
20. Merging one’s sight into the sun planet and
then the sun planet into one’s eyes, one should meditate on Me as existing
within the combination of sun and vision; thus one acquires the power to see
any distant thing.
21. The yogi who completely absorbs his mind in
Me, and who then makes use of the wind that follows the mind to absorb the
material body in Me, obtains through the potency of meditation on Me the mystic
perfection by which his body immediately follows his mind wherever it goes.
22. When the yogi, applying his mind in a certain
way, desires to assume a particular form, that very form immediately appears.
Such perfection is possible by absorbing the mind in the shelter of My
inconceivable mystic potency, by which I assume innumerable forms.
23. When a perfect yogi desires to enter another’s
body, he should meditate upon himself within the other body, and then, giving
up his own gross body, he should enter the other’s body through the pathways of
air, as easily as a bee leaves one flower and flies into another.
24. The yogi who has achieved the mystic perfection
called svacchanda-mrtyu blocks the anus with the heel of the foot and then
lifts the soul from the heart to the chest, to the neck and finally to the
head. Situated within the brahma-randhra, the yogi then gives up his material
body and guides the spirit soul to the selected destination.
25. The yogi who desires to enjoy in the pleasure
gardens of the demigods should meditate on the purified mode of goodness, which
is situated within Me, and then the heavenly women, generated from the mode of
goodness, will approach him in airplanes.
26. A yogi who has faith in Me, absorbing his mind
in Me and knowing that My purpose is always fulfilled, will always achieve his
purpose by the very means he has determined to follow.
27. A person who perfectly meditates on Me
acquires My nature of being the supreme ruler and controller. His order, like
Mine, can never be frustrated by any means.
28. A yogi who has purified his existence by
devotion to Me and who thus expertly knows the process of meditation obtains
knowledge of past, present and future. He can therefore see the birth and death
of himself and others.
29. Just as the bodies of aquatics cannot be
injured by water, similarly, the body of a yogi whose consciousness is pacified
by devotion to Me and who is fully developed in yoga science cannot be injured
by fire, sun, water, poison, and so forth.
30. My devotee becomes unconquerable by meditating
on My opulent incarnations, which are decorated with Srivatsa and various
weapons and are endowed with imperial paraphernalia such as flags, ornamental
umbrellas and fans.
31. A learned devotee who worships Me through yoga
meditation certainly obtains in all respects the mystic perfections that I have
32. For a sage who has conquered his senses,
breathing and mind, who is self-controlled and always absorbed in meditation on
Me, what mystic perfection could possibly be difficult to achieve?
33. Learned experts in devotional service state
that the mystic perfections of yoga that I have mentioned are actually
impediments and are a waste of time for one who is practicing the supreme yoga,
by which one achieves all perfection in life directly from Me.
34. Whatever mystic perfections can be achieved by
good birth, herbs, austerities and mantras can all be achieved by devotional
service to Me; indeed, one cannot achieve the actual perfection of yoga by any
35. My dear Uddhava, I am the cause, the protector
and the Lord of all mystic perfections, of the yoga system, of analytic
knowledge, of pure activity and of the community of learned Vedic teachers.
36. Just as the same material elements exist within
and outside of all material bodies, similarly, I cannot be covered by anything
else. I exist within everything as the Supersoul and outside of everything in
My all-pervading feature.
Sixteen The Lord’s Opulence
1. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You are
beginningless and endless, the Absolute Truth Himself, unlimited by anything
else. You are the protector and life-giver, the destruction and creation of all
things that exist.
2. My dear Lord, although it is difficult for the
impious to understand that You are situated in all superior and inferior
creations, those brahmanas who are actual knowers of the Vedic conclusion
worship You in truth.
3. Please tell me of the perfections that great
sages achieve by worshiping You with devotion. Also, kindly explain which of
Your different forms they worship.
4. O my Lord, maintainer of all, although You are
the Supersoul of the living entities, You remain hidden. Thus being bewildered
by You, the living entities cannot see You, although You are seeing them.
5. O supremely potent Lord, please explain to me
Your innumerable potencies, which You manifest on the earth, in heaven, in hell
and indeed in all directions. I offer my humble obeisances at Your lotus feet,
which are the shelter of all holy places.
6. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best
of those who know how to inquire, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Arjuna,
desiring to fight with his rivals, asked Me the same question that you are now
7. On the Battlefield of Kuruksetra Arjuna thought
that killing his relatives would be an abominable, irreligious activity,
motivated only by his desire to acquire a kingdom. He therefore desisted from
the battle, thinking, “I would be the killer of my relatives. They would be
destroyed.” Thus Arjuna was afflicted with mundane consciousness.
8. At that time I enlightened Arjuna, the tiger
among men, with logical arguments, and thus in the front of the battle Arjuna
addressed Me with questions in the same way that you are now inquiring.
9. My dear Uddhava, I am the Supersoul of all
living entities, and therefore I am naturally their well-wisher and supreme
controller. Being the creator, maintainer and annihilator of all entities, I am
not different from them.
10. I am the ultimate goal of all those seeking progress,
and I am time among those who exert control. I am the equilibrium of the modes
of material nature, and I am natural virtue among the pious.
11. Among things possessing qualities I am the
primary manifestation of nature, and among great things I am the total material
creation. Among subtle things I am the spirit soul, and of things that are
difficult to conquer I am the mind.
12. Among the Vedas I am their original teacher,
Lord Brahma, and of all mantras I am the three-lettered omkara. Among letters I
am the first letter, ”a,” and among sacred meters I am the Gayatri mantra.
13. Among the demigods I am Indra, and among the
Vasus I am Agni, the god of fire. I am Visnu among the sons of Aditi, and among
the Rudras I am Lord Siva.
14. Among saintly brahmanas I am Bhrgu Muni, and I
am Manu among saintly kings. I am Narada Muni among saintly demigods, and I am
Kamadhenu among cows.
15. I am Lord Kapila among perfected beings and Garuda
among birds. I am Daksa among the progenitors of mankind, and I am Aryama among
16. My dear Uddhava, among the demoniac sons of
Diti know Me to be Prahlada Maharaja, the saintly lord of the asuras. Among the
stars and herbs I am their lord, Candra (the moon), and among Yaksas and
Raksasas I am the lord of wealth, Kuvera.
17. I am Airavata among lordly elephants, and
among aquatics I am Varuna, the lord of the seas. Among all things that heat
and illuminate I am the sun, and among human beings I am the king.
18. Among horses I am Uccaihsrava, and I am gold among
metals. I am Yamaraja among those who suppress and punish, and among serpents I
19. O sinless Uddhava, among the best of snakes I
am Anantadeva, and among those animals with sharp horns and teeth I am the
lion. Among the social orders I am the fourth, or the renounced order of life,
and among the occupational divisions I am the first, the brahmanas.
20. Among sacred and flowing things I am the holy
Ganges, and among steady bodies of water I am the ocean. Among weapons I am the
bow, and of the wielders of weapons I am Lord Siva.
21. Among residences I am Mount Sumeru, and of
impervious places I am the Himalayas. Among trees I am the holy fig tree, and
among plants I am those that bear grains.
22. Among priests I am Vasistha Muni, and among those
highly situated in Vedic culture I am Brhaspati. I am Kartikeya among great
military leaders, and among those advancing in superior ways of life I am the
great personality Lord Brahma.
23. Among sacrifices I am study of the Veda, and I
am nonviolence among vows. Among all things that purify I am the wind, fire,
the sun, water and speech.
24. Among the eight progressive states of yoga I
am the final stage, samadhi, in which the soul is completely separated from
illusion. Among those desiring victory I am prudent political counsel, and
among processes of expert discrimination I am the science of the soul, by which
one distinguishes spirit from matter. Among all speculative philosophers I am
diversity of perception.
25. Among ladies I am Satarupa, and among male
personalities I am her husband, Svayambhuva Manu. I am Narayana among the sages
and Sanat-kumara among brahmacaris.
26. Among religious principles I am renunciation,
and of all types of security I am consciousness of the eternal soul within. Of
secrets I am pleasant speech and silence, and among sexual pairs I am Brahma.
27. Among the vigilant cycles of time I am the year, and
among seasons I am spring. Among months I am Margasirsa, and among lunar houses
I am the auspicious Abhijit.
28. Among ages I am the Satya-yuga, the age of
truth, and among steady sages I am Devala and Asita. Among those who have
divided the Vedas I am Krsna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa, and among learned scholars I
am Sukracarya, the knower of spiritual science.
29. Among those entitled to the name Bhagavan I am
Vasudeva, and indeed, you, Uddhava, represent Me among the devotees. I am
Hanuman among the Kimpurusas, and among the Vidyadharas I am Sudarsana.
30. Among jewels I am the ruby, and among
beautiful things I am the lotus cup. Among all types of grass I am the sacred
kusa, and of oblations I am ghee and other ingredients obtained from the cow.
31. Among the enterprising I am fortune, and among
the cheaters I am gambling. I am the forgiveness of the tolerant and the good
qualities of those in the mode of goodness.
32. Of the powerful I bodily and mental strength,
and I am the devotional activities of My devotees. My devotees worship Me in
nine different forms, among which I am the original and primary Vasudeva.
33. Among the Gandharvas I am Visvavasu, and I am
Purvacitti among the heavenly Apsaras. I am the steadiness of mountains and the
fragrant aroma of the earth.
34. I am the sweet taste of water, and among
brilliant things I am the sun. I am the effulgence of the sun, moon and stars,
and I am the transcendental sound that vibrates in the sky.
35. Among those dedicated to brahminical culture I
am Bali Maharaja, the son of Virocana, and I am Arjuna among heroes. Indeed, I
am the creation, maintenance and annihilation of all living entities.
36. I am the functions of the five working
senses—the legs, speech, anus, hands and sex organs—as well as those of the
five knowledge-acquiring senses—touch, sight, taste, hearing and smell. I am
also the potency by which each of the senses experiences its particular sense
37. I am form, taste, aroma, touch and sound;
false ego; the mahat-tattva; earth, water, fire, air and sky; the living
entity; material nature; the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance; and the
transcendental Lord. All these items, along with knowledge of their individual
symptoms and the steady conviction that results from this knowledge, represent
38. As the Supreme Lord I am the basis of the
living entity, of the modes of nature and of the mahat-tattva. Thus I am everything,
and nothing whatsoever can exist without Me.
39. Even though over a period of time I might
count all the atoms of the universe, I could not count all of My opulences
which I manifest within innumerable universes.
40. Whatever power, beauty, fame, opulence,
humility, renunciation, mental pleasure, fortune, strength, tolerance or
spiritual knowledge there may be is simply an expansion of My opulence.
41. I have briefly described to you all My
spiritual opulences and also the extraordinary material features of My
creation, which are perceived by the mind and defined in different ways
according to circumstances.
42. Therefore, control your speaking, subdue the
mind, conquer the life air, regulate the senses and through purified
intelligence bring your rational faculties under control. In this way you will
never again fall onto the path of material existence.
43. A transcendentalist who does not completely
control his words and mind by superior intelligence will find that his
spiritual vows, austerities and charity flow away just as water flows out of an
unbaked clay pot.
44. Being surrendered to Me, one should control
the speech, mind and life air, and then through loving devotional intelligence
one will completely fulfill the mission of life.
Seventeen Lord Krsna’s Description of the Varnasrama System
1-2. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, previously
You described the principles of devotional service that are to be practiced by
followers of the varnasrama system and even ordinary, unregulated human beings.
My dear lotus-eyed Lord, now please explain to me how all human beings can
achieve loving service unto You by the execution of their prescribed duties.
3-4. My dear Lord, O mighty-armed one, previously
in Your form of Lord Hamsa You spoke to Lord Brahma those religious principles
that bring supreme happiness to the practitioner. My dear Madhava, now much
time has passed, and that which You previously instructed will soon practically
cease to exist, O subduer of the enemy.
5-6. My dear Lord Acyuta, there is no speaker,
creator and protector of supreme religious principles other than Your Lordship,
either on the earth or even in the assembly of Lord Brahma, where the
personified Vedas reside. Thus, my dear Lord Madhusudana, when You, who are the
very creator, protector and speaker of spiritual knowledge, abandon the earth,
who will again speak this lost knowledge?
7. Therefore, my Lord, since You are the knower of
all religious principles, please describe to me the human beings who may
execute the path of loving service to You and how such service is to be
8. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Sri Uddhava, the
best of devotees, thus inquired from the Lord. Hearing his question, the
Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, was pleased and for the welfare of all
conditioned souls spoke those religious principles that are eternal.
9. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, your question is faithful to religious principles and thus gives
rise to the highest perfection in life, pure devotional service, for both
ordinary human beings and the followers of the varnasrama system. Now please
learn from Me those supreme religious principles.
10. In the beginning, in Satya-yuga, there is only
one social class, called hamsa, to which all human beings belong. In that age
all people are unalloyed devotees of the Lord from birth, and thus learned
scholars call this first age Krta-yuga, or the age in which all religious
duties are perfectly fulfilled.
11. In Satya-yuga the undivided Veda is expressed by the syllable
om, and I am the only object of mental activities. I become manifest as the
four-legged bull of religion, and thus the inhabitants of Satya-yuga, fixed in
austerity and free from all sins, worship Me as Lord Hamsa.
12. O greatly fortunate one, at the beginning of
Treta-yuga Vedic knowledge appeared from My heart, which is the abode of the
air of life, in three divisions—as Rg, Sama and Yajur. Then from that knowledge
I appeared as threefold sacrifice.
13. In Treta-yuga the four social orders were manifested
from the universal form of the Personality of Godhead. The brahmanas appeared
from the Lord’s face, the ksatriyas from the Lord’s arms, the vaisyas from the
Lord’s thighs and the sudras from the legs of that mighty form. Each social
division was recognized by its particular duties and behavior.
14. The married order of life appeared from the
loins of My universal form, and the celibate students came from My heart. The
forest-dwelling retired order of life appeared from My chest, and the renounced
order of life was situated within the head of My universal form.
15. The various occupational and social divisions
of human society appeared according to inferior and superior natures manifest
in the situation of the individual’s birth.
16. Peacefulness, self-control, austerity,
cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simple straightforwardness, devotion to
Me, mercy and truthfulness are the natural qualities of the brahmanas.
17. Dynamic power, bodily strength, determination,
heroism, tolerance, generosity, great endeavor, steadiness, devotion to the
brahmanas and leadership are the natural qualities of the ksatriyas.
18. Faith in Vedic civilization, dedication to
charity, freedom from hypocrisy, service to the brahmanas and perpetually
desiring to accumulate more money are the natural qualities of the vaisyas.
19. Service without duplicity to the brahmanas,
cows, demigods and other worshipable personalities, and complete satisfaction
with whatever income is obtained in such service, are the natural qualities of
20. Dirtiness, dishonesty, thievery,
faithlessness, useless quarrel, lust, anger and hankering constitute the nature
of those in the lowest position outside the vanasrama system.
21. Nonviolence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for
the happiness and welfare of all others and freedom from lust, anger and greed
constitute duties for all members of society.
22. The twice-born member of society achieves
second birth through the sequence of purificatory ceremonies culminating in
Gayatri initiation. Being summoned by the spiritual master, he should reside
within the guru’s asrama and with a self-controlled mind carefully study the
23. The brahmacari should regularly dress with a
belt of straw and deerskin garments. He should wear matted hair, carry a rod
and waterpot and be decorated with akña beads and a sacred thread. Carrying
pure kusa grass in his hand, he should never accept a luxurious or sensuous
sitting place. He should not unnecessarily polish his teeth, nor should he
bleach and iron his clothes.
24. A brahmacari should always remain silent while
bathing, eating, attending sacrificial performances, chanting japa or passing
stool and urine. He should not cut his nails and hair, including the armpit and
25. One observing the vow of celibate brahmacari
life should never pass semen. If the semen by chance spills out by itself, the
brahmacari should immediately take bath in water, control his breath by
pranayama and chant the Gayatri mantra.
26. Purified and fixed in consciousness, the brahmacari
should worship the fire-god, sun, acarya, cows, brahmanas, guru, elderly
respectable persons and demigods. He should perform such worship at sunrise and
sunset, without speaking but by silently chanting or murmuring the appropriate
27. One should know the acarya as Myself and never
disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary
man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.
28. In the morning and evening one should collect
foodstuffs and other articles and deliver them to the spiritual master. Then,
being self-controlled, one should accept for oneself that which is allotted by
29. While engaged in serving the spiritual master
one should remain as a humble servant, and thus when the guru is walking the
servant should humbly walk behind. When the guru lies down to sleep, the
servant should also lie down nearby, and when the guru has awakened, the
servant should sit near him, massaging his lotus feet and rendering other,
similar services. When the guru is sitting down on his asana, the servant
should stand nearby with folded hands, awaiting the guru’s order. In this way
one should always worship the spiritual master.
30. Until the student has completed his Vedic
education he should remain engaged in the asrama of the spiritual master,
should remain completely free of material sense gratification and should not
break his vow of celibacy [brahmacarya].
31. If the brahmacari student desires to ascend to
the Maharloka or Brahmaloka planets, then he should completely surrender his
activities to the spiritual master and, observing the powerful vow of perpetual
celibacy, dedicate himself to superior Vedic studies.
32. Thus enlightened in Vedic knowledge by service
to the spiritual master, freed from all sins and duality, one should worship Me
as the Supersoul, as I appear within fire, the spiritual master, one’s own self
and all living entities.
33. Those who are not married—sannyasis,
vanaprasthas and brahmacaris—should never associate with women by glancing,
touching, conversing, joking or sporting. Neither should they ever associate
with any living entity engaged in sexual activities.
34-35. My dear Uddhava, general cleanliness,
washing the hands, bathing, performing religious services at sunrise, noon and
sunset, worshiping Me, visiting holy places, chanting japa, avoiding that which
is untouchable, uneatable or not to be discussed, and remembering My existence
within all living entities as the Supersoul—these principles should be followed
by all members of society through regulation of the mind, words and body.
36. A brahmana observing the great vow of celibacy
becomes brilliant like fire and by serious austerity burns to ashes the
propensity to perform material activities. Free from the contamination of
material desire, he becomes My devotee.
37. A brahmacari who has completed his Vedic
education and desires to enter household life should offer proper remuneration
to the spiritual master, bathe, cut his hair, put on proper clothes, and so on.
Then, taking permission from the guru, he should go back to his home.
38. A brahmacari desiring to fulfill his material
desires should live at home with his family, and a householder who is eager to
purify his consciousness should enter the forest, whereas a purified brahmana
should accept the renounced order of life. One who is not surrendered to Me
should move progressively from one asrama to another, never acting otherwise.
39. One who desires to establish family life
should marry a wife of his own caste, who is beyond reproach and younger in
age. If one desires to accept many wives he must marry them after the first
marriage, and each wife should be of a successively lower caste.
40. All twice-born men—brahmanas, ksatriyas and
vaisyas—must perform sacrifice, study the Vedic literature and give charity.
Only the brahmanas, however, accept charity, teach the Vedic knowledge and
perform sacrifice on behalf of others.
41. A brahmana who considers that accepting
charity from others will destroy his austerity, spiritual influence and fame
should maintain himself by the other two brahminical occupations, namely
teaching Vedic knowledge and performing sacrifice. If the brahmana considers
that those two occupations also compromise his spiritual position, then he
should collect rejected grains in agricultural fields and live without any
dependence on others.
42. The body of a brahmana is not intended to
enjoy insignificant material sense gratification; rather, by accepting
difficult austerities in his life, a brahmana will enjoy unlimited happiness
43. A brahmana householder should remain satisfied
in mind by gleaning rejected grains from agricultural fields and marketplaces.
Keeping himself free of personal desire, he should practice magnanimous religious
principles, with consciousness absorbed in Me. In this way a brahmana may stay
at home as a householder without very much attachment and thus achieve
44. Just as a ship rescues those who have fallen
into the ocean, similarly, I very quickly rescue from all calamities those
persons who uplift brahmanas and devotees suffering in a poverty-stricken
45. Just as the chief bull elephant protects all
other elephants in his herd and defends himself as well, similarly, a fearless
king, just like a father, must save all of the citizens from difficulty and
also protect himself.
46. An earthly king who protects himself and all
citizens by removing all sins from his kingdom will certainly enjoy with Lord
Indra in airplanes as brilliant as the sun.
47. If a brahmana cannot support himself through
his regular duties and is thus suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a
merchant and overcome his destitute condition by buying and selling material
things. If he continues to suffer extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he
may adopt the occupation of a ksatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in
any circumstances become like a dog, accepting an ordinary master.
48. A king or other member of the royal order who
cannot maintain himself by his normal occupation may act as a vaisya, may live
by hunting or may act as a brahmana by teaching others Vedic knowledge. But he
may not under any circumstances adopt the profession of a sudra.
49. A vaisya, or mercantile man, who cannot
maintain himself may adopt the occupation of a sudra, snd a sudra who cannot
find a master can engage in simple activities like making baskets and mats of
straw. However, all members of society who have adopted inferior occupations in
emergency situations must give up those substitute occupations when the
difficulties have passed.
50. One in the grhastha order of life should daily
worship the sages by Vedic study, the forefathers by offering the mantra
svadha, the demigods by chanting svaha, all living entities by offering shares
of one’s meals, and human beings by offering grains and water. Thus considering
the demigods, sages, forefathers, living entities and human beings to be
manifestations of My potency, one should daily perform these five sacrifices.
51. A householder should comfortably maintain his
dependents either with money that comes of its own accord or with that gathered
by honest execution of one’s duties. According to one’s means, one should
perform sacrifices and other religious ceremonies.
52. A householder taking care of many dependent
family members should not become materially attached to them, nor should he
become mentally unbalanced, considering himself to be the lord. An intelligent
householder should see that all possible future happiness, just like that which
he has already experienced, is temporary.
53. The association of children, wife, relatives
and friends is just like the brief meeting of travelers. With each change of
body one is separated from all such associates, just as one loses the objects
one possesses in a dream when the dream is over.
54. Deeply considering the actual situation, a
liberated soul should live at home just like a guest, without any sense of
proprietorship or false ego. In this way he will not be bound or entangled by
55. A householder devotee who worships Me by
execution of his family duties may remain at home, go to a holy place or, if he
has a responsible son, take sannyasa.
56. But a householder whose mind is attached to
his home and who is thus disturbed by ardent desires to enjoy his money and
children, who is lusty after women, who is possessed of a miserly mentality and
who unintelligently thinks, ”Everything is mine and I am everything,” is
certainly bound in illusion.
57. ”O my poor elderly parents, and my wife with a
mere infant in her arms, and my other young children! Without me they have
absolutely no one to protect them and will suffer unbearably. How can my poor
relatives possibly live without me?”
58. Thus, because of his foolish mentality, a
householder whose heart is overwhelmed by family attachment is never satisfied.
Constantly meditating on his relatives, he dies and enters into the darkness of
Eighteen Description of Varnasrama-dharma
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One
who desires to adopt the third order of life, vanaprastha, should enter the
forest with a peaceful mind, leaving his wife with his mature sons, or else
taking her along with him.
2. Having adopted the vanaprastha order of life,
one should arrange one’s sustenance by eating uncontaminated bulbs, roots and
fruits that grow in the forest. One may dress oneself with tree bark, grass,
leaves or animal skins.
3. The vanaprastha should not groom the hair on
his head, body or face, should not manicure his nails, should not pass stool
and urine at irregular times and should not make a special endeavor for dental
hygiene. He should be content to take bath in water three times daily and
should sleep on the ground.
4. Thus engaged as a vanaprastha, one should execute
penance during the hottest summer days by subjecting oneself to burning fires
on four sides and the blazing sun overhead; during the rainy season one should
remain outside, subjecting oneself to torrents of rain; and in the freezing
winter one should remain submerged in water up to one’s neck.
5. One may eat foodstuffs prepared with fire, such
as grains, or fruits ripened by time. One may grind one’s food with mortar and
stone or with one’s own teeth.
6. The vanaprastha should personally collect
whatever he requires for his bodily maintenance, carefully considering the
time, place and his own capacity. He should never collect provisions for the
7. One who has accepted the vanaprastha order of
life should perform seasonal sacrifices by offering oblations of caru and
sacrificial cakes prepared from rice and other grains found in the forest. The
vanaprastha, however, may never offer animal sacrifices to Me, even those
sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas.
8. The vanaprastha should perform the agnihotra, darsa
and paurnamasa sacrifices, as he did while in the grhastha-asrama. He should
also perform the vows and sacrifices of caturmasya, since all of these rituals
are enjoined for the vanaprastha-asrama by expert knowers of the Vedas.
9. The saintly vanaprastha, practicing severe
penances and accepting only the bare necessities of life, becomes so emaciated
that he appears to be mere skin and bones. Thus worshiping Me through severe
penances, he goes to the Maharloka planet and then directly achieves Me.
10. One who with long endeavor executes this
painful but exalted penance, which awards ultimate liberation, simply to
achieve insignificant sense gratification must be considered the greatest fool.
11. If the vanaprastha is overtaken by old age and
because of his trembling body is no longer able to execute his prescribed
duties, he should place the sacrificial fire within his heart by meditation.
Then, fixing his mind on Me, he should enter into the fire and give up his
12. If the vanaprastha, understanding that even
promotion to Brahmaloka is a miserable situation, develops complete detachment
from all possible results of fruitive activities, then he may take the sannyasa
order of life.
13. Having worshiped Me according to scriptural
injunctions and having given all one’s property to the sacrificial priest, one
should place the fire sacrifice within oneself. Thus, with the mind completely
detached, one should enter the sannyasa order of life.
14. ”This man taking sannyasa is going to surpass
us and go back home, back to Godhead.” Thus thinking, the demigods create
stumbling blocks on the path of the sannyasi by appearing before him in the
shape of his former wife or other women and attractive objects. But the s
sannyasi should pay the demigods and their manifestations no heed.
15. If the sannyasi desires to wear something besides a
mere kaupina, he may use another cloth around his waist and hips to cover the
kaupina. Otherwise, if there is no emergency, he should not accept anything
besides his danda and waterpot.
16. A saintly person should step or place his foot
on the ground only after verifying with his eyes that there are no living
creatures, such as insects, who might be injured by his foot. He should drink
water only after filtering it through a portion of his cloth, and he should
speak only words that possess the purity of truth. Similarly, he should perform
only those activities his mind has carefully ascertained to be pure.
17. One who has not accepted the three internal
disciplines of avoiding useless speech, avoiding useless activities and
controlling the life air can never be considered a sannyasi merely because of
his carrying bamboo rods.
18. Rejecting those houses that are polluted and
untouchable, one should approach without previous calculation seven houses and
be satisfied with that which is obtained there by begging. According to
necessity, one may approach each of the four occupational orders of society.
19. Taking the food gathered through begging, one
should leave the populated areas and go to a reservoir of water in a secluded
place. There, having taken a bath and washed one’s hands thoroughly, one should
distribute portions of the food to others who may request it. One should do
this without speaking. Then, having thoroughly cleansed the remnants, one
should eat everything on one’s plate, leaving nothing for future consumption.
20. Without any material attachment, with senses
fully controlled, remaining enthusiastic, and satisfied in realization of the
Supreme Lord and his own self, the saintly person should travel about the earth
alone. Having equal vision everywhere, he should be steady on the spiritual
21. Dwelling in a safe and solitary place, his
mind purified by constant thought of Me, the sage should concentrate on the soul
alone, realizing it to be nondifferent from Me.
22. By steady knowledge a sage should clearly
ascertain the nature of the soul’s bondage and liberation. Bondage occurs when
the senses are deviated to sense gratification, and complete control of the
senses constitutes liberation.
23. Therefore, completely controlling the five
senses and the mind by Krsna consciousness, a sage, having experienced
spiritual bliss within the self, should live detached from insignificant
material sense gratification.
24. The sage should travel in sanctified places,
by flowing rivers and within the solitude of mountains and forests. He should
enter the cities, towns and pasturing grounds and approach ordinary working men
only to beg his bare sustenance.
25. One in the vanaprastha order of life should
always practice taking charity from others, for one is thereby freed from
illusion and quickly becomes perfect in spiritual life. Indeed, one who
subsists on food grains obtained in such a humble manner purifies his
26. One should never see as ultimate reality those
material things which obviously will perish. With consciousness free from
material attachment, one should retire from all activities meant for material
progress in this life and the next.
27. One should logically consider the universe,
which is situated within the Lord, and one’s own material body, which is
composed of mind, speech and life air, to be ultimately products of the Lord’s
illusory energy. Thus situated in the self, one should give up one’s faith in these
things and should never again make them the object of one’s meditation.
28. A learned transcendentalist dedicated to the
cultivation of knowledge and thus detached from external objects, or My devotee
who is detached even from desire for liberation—both neglect those duties based
on external rituals or paraphernalia. Thus their conduct is beyond the range of
rules and regulations.
29. Although most wise, the paramahamsa should
enjoy life like a child, oblivious to honor and dishonor; although most expert,
he should behave like a stunted, incompetent person; although most learned, he
should speak like an insane person; and although a scholar learned in Vedic
regulations, he should behave in an unrestricted manner.
30. A devotee should never engage in the fruitive rituals
mentioned in the karma-kanda section of the Vedas, nor should he become
atheistic, acting or speaking in opposition to Vedic injunctions. Similarly, he
should never speak like a mere logician or skeptic or take any side whatsoever
in useless arguments.
31. A saintly person should never let others
frighten or disturb him and, similarly, should never frighten or disturb other
people. He should tolerate the insults of others and should never himself
belittle anyone. He should never create hostility with anyone for the sake of
the material body, for he would thus be no better than an animal.
32. The one Supreme Lord is situated within all
material bodies and within everyone’s soul. Just as the moon is reflected in
innumerable reservoirs of water, the Supreme Lord, although one, is present
within everyone. Thus every material body is ultimately composed of the energy
of the one Supreme Lord.
33. If at times one does not obtain proper food
one should not be depressed, and when one obtains sumptuous food one should not
rejoice. Being fixed in determination, one should understand both situations to
be under the control of God.
34. If required, one should endeavor to get
sufficient foodstuffs, because it is always necessary and proper to maintain
one’s health. When the senses, mind and life air are fit, one can contemplate
spiritual truth, and by understanding the truth one is liberated.
35. A sage should accept the food, clothing and
bedding—be they of excellent or inferior quality—that come of their own accord.
36. Just as I, the Supreme Lord, execute
regulative duties by My own free will, similarly, one who has realized
knowledge of Me should maintain general cleanliness, purify his hands with
water, take bath and execute other regulative duties not by force but by his
own free will.
37. A realized soul no longer sees anything as
separate from Me, for his realized knowledge of Me has destroyed such illusory
perception. Since the material body and mind were previously accustomed to this
kind of perception, it may sometimes appear to recur; but at the time of death
the self-realized soul achieves opulences equal to Mine.
38. One who is detached from sense gratification,
knowing its result to be miserable, and who desires spiritual perfection, but
who has not seriously analyzed the process for obtaining Me, should approach a
bona fide and learned spiritual master.
39. Until a devotee has clearly realized spiritual
knowledge, he should continue with great faith and respect and without envy to
render personal service to the guru, who is nondifferent from Me.
40-41. One who has not controlled the six forms of
illusion [lust, anger, greed, excitement, false pride and intoxication], whose
intelligence, the leader of the senses, is extremely attached to material
things, who is bereft of knowledge and detachment, who adopts the sannyasa
order of life to make a living, who denies the worshipable demigods, his own
self and the Supreme Lord within himself, thus ruining all religious
principles, and who is still infected by material contamination, is deviated
and lost both in this life and the next.
42. The main religious duties of a sannyasi are
equanimity and nonviolence, whereas for the vanaprastha austerity and
philosophical understanding of the difference between the body and soul are
prominent. The main duties of a householder are to give shelter to all living
entities and perform sacrifices, and the brahmacari is mainly engaged in
serving the spiritual master.
43. A householder may approach his wife for sex
only at the time prescribed for begetting children. Otherwise, the householder
should practice celibacy, austerity, cleanliness of mind and body, satisfaction
in his natural position, and friendship toward all living entities. Worship of
Me is to be practiced by all human beings, regardless of social or occupational
44. One who worships Me by his prescribed duty,
having no other object of worship, and who remains conscious of Me as present
in all living entities, achieves unflinching devotional service unto Me.
45. My dear Uddhava, I am the Supreme Lord of all
worlds, and I create and destroy this universe, being its ultimate cause. I am
thus the Absolute Truth, and one who worships Me with unfailing devotional
service comes to Me.
46. Thus, one who has purified his existence by
execution of his prescribed duties, who fully understands My supreme position
and who is endowed with scriptural and realized knowledge, very soon achieves
47. Those who are followers of this varnasrama system
accept religious principles according to authorized traditions of proper
conduct. When such varnasrama duties are dedicated to Me in loving service,
they award the supreme perfection of life.
48. My dear saintly Uddhava, I have now described
to you, just as you inquired, the means by which My devotee, perfectly engaged
in his prescribed duty, can come back to Me, the Supreme Personality of
Nineteen The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: A
self-realized person who has cultivated scriptural knowledge up to the point of
enlightenment and who is free from impersonal speculation, understanding the
material universe to be simply illusion, should surrender unto Me both that
knowledge and the means by which he achieved it.
2. For learned, self-realized philosophers I am
the only object of worship, the desired goal of life, the means for achieving
that goal, and the settled conclusion of all knowledge. Indeed, because I am
the cause of their happiness and their freedom from unhappiness, such learned
souls have no effective purpose or dear object in life except Me.
3. Those who have achieved complete perfection
through philosophical and realized knowledge recognize My lotus feet to be the
supreme transcendental object. Thus the learned transcendentalist is most dear
to Me, and by his perfect knowledge he maintains Me in happiness.
4. That perfection which is produced by a small
fraction of spiritual knowledge cannot be duplicated by performing austerities,
visiting holy places, chanting silent prayers, giving in charity or engaging in
other pious activities.
5. Therefore, My dear Uddhava, through knowledge
you should understand your actual self. Then, advancing by clear realization of
Vedic knowledge, you should bworship Me in the mood of loving devotion.
6. Formerly, great sages, through the sacrifice of
Vedic knowledge and spiritual enlightenment, worshiped Me within themselves,
knowing Me to be the Supreme Lord of all sacrifice and the Supersoul in
everyone’s heart. Thus coming to Me, these sages achieved the supreme
7. My dear Uddhava, the material body and mind,
composed of the three modes of material nature, attach themselves to you, but
they are actually illusion, since they appear only at the present, having no
original or ultimate existence. How is it possible, therefore, that the various
stages of the body, namely birth, growth, reproduction, maintenance, dwindling
and death, can have any relation to your eternal self? These phases relate only
to the material body, which previously did not exist and ultimately will not
exist. The body exists merely at the present moment.
8. Sri Uddhava said: O Lord of the universe! O
form of the universe! Please explain to me that process of knowledge which
automatically brings detachment and direct perception of the truth, which is
transcendental, and which is traditional among great spiritual philosophers.
This knowledge, sought by elevated personalities, describes loving devotional
service unto Your Lordship.
9. My dear Lord, for one who is being tormented on
the terrible path of birth and death and is constantly overwhelmed by the
threefold miseries, I do not see any possible shelter other than Your two lotus
feet, which are just like a refreshing umbrella that pours down showers of
10. O almighty Lord, please be merciful and uplift
this hopeless living entity who has fallen into the dark hole of material
existence, where the snake of time has bitten him. In spite of such abominable
conditions, this poor living entity has tremendous desire to relish the most
insignificant material happiness. Please save me, my Lord, by pouring down the
nectar of Your instructions, which awaken one to spiritual freedom.
11. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava,
just as you are now inquiring from Me, similarly, in the past King Yudhisthira,
who considered no one his enemy, inquired from the greatest of the upholders of
religious principles, Bhisma, while all of us were carefully listening.
12. When the great Battle of Kuruksetra had ended, King
Yudhisthira was overwhelmed by the death of many beloved well-wishers, and
thus, after listening to instructions about many religious principles, he
finally inquired about the path of liberation.
13. I will now speak unto you those religious principles
of Vedic knowledge, detachment, self-realization, faith and devotional service
that were heard directly from the mouth of Bhismadeva.
14. I personally approve of that knowledge by
which one sees the combination of nine, eleven, five and three elements in all
living entities, and ultimately one element within those twenty-eight.
15. When one no longer sees the twenty-eight separated
material elements, which arise from a single cause, but rather sees the cause
itself, the Personality of Godhead—at that time one’s direct experience is
called vijnana, or self-realization.
16. Commencement, termination and maintenance are
the stages of material causation. That which consistently accompanies all these
material phases from one creation to another and remains alone when all
material phases are annihilated is the one eternal.
17. From the four types of evidence—Vedic
knowledge, direct experience, traditional wisdom and logical induction—one can
understand the temporary, insubstantial situation of the material world, by
which one becomes detached from the duality of this world.
18. An intelligent person should see that any
material activity is subject to constant transformation and that even on the
planet of Lord Brahma there is thus simply unhappiness. Indeed, a wise man can
understand that just as all that he has seen is temporary, similarly, all
things within the universe have a beginning and an end.
19. O sinless Uddhava, because you love Me, I
previously explained to you the process of devotional service. Now I will again
explain the supreme process for achieving loving service unto Me.
20-24. Firm faith in the blissful narration of My
pastimes, constant chanting of My glories, unwavering attachment to ceremonial
worship of Me, praising Me through beautiful hymns, great respect for My
devotional service, offering obeisances with the entire body, performing
first-class worship of My devotees, consciousness of Me in all living entities,
offering of ordinary, bodily activities in My devotional service, use of words
to describe My qualities, offering the mind to Me, rejection of all material
desires, giving up wealth for My devotional service, renouncing material sense
gratification and happiness, and performing all desirable activities such as
charity, sacrifice, chanting, vows and austerities with the purpose of
achieving Me—these constitute actual religious principles, by which those human
beings who have actually surrendered themselves to Me automatically develop
love for Me. What other purpose or goal could remain for My devotee?
25. When one’s peaceful consciousness,
strengthened by the mode of goodness, is fixed on the Personality of Godhead,
one achieves religiosity, knowledge, detachment and opulence.
26. When consciousness is fixed on the material
body, home and other, similar objects of sense gratification, one spends one’s
life chasing after material objects with the help of the senses. Consciousness,
thus powerfully affected by the mode of passion, becomes dedicated to impermanent
things, and in this way irreligion, ignorance, attachment and wretchedness
27. Actual religious principles are stated to be those
that lead one to My devotional service. Real knowledge is the awareness that
reveals My all-pervading presence. Detachment is complete disinterest in the
objects of material sense gratification, and opulence is the eight mystic
perfection, such as anima-siddhi.
28-32. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Krsna, O
chastiser of the enemies, please tell me how many types of disciplinary
regulations and regular daily duties there are. Also, my Lord, tell me what is
mental equilibrium, what is self-control, and what is the actual meaning of
tolerance and steadfastness. What are charity, austerity and heroism, and how
are reality and truth to he described? What is renunciation, and what is
wealth? What is desirable, what is sacrifice, and what is religious
remuneration? My dear Kesava, O most fortunate one, how am I to understand the
strength, opulence and profit of a particular person? What is the best
education, what is actual humility, and what is real beauty? What are happiness
and unhappiness? Who is learned, and who is a fool? What are the true and the
false paths in life, and what are heaven and hell? Who is indeed a true friend,
and what is one’s real home? Who is a rich man, and who is a poor man? Who is
wretched, and who is an actual controller? O Lord of the devotees, kindly
explain these matters to me, along with their opposites.
33-35. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said:
Nonviolence, truthfulness, not coveting or stealing the property of others,
detachment, humility, freedom from possessiveness, trust in the principles of
religion, celibacy, silence, steadiness, forgiveness and fearlessness are the
twelve primary disciplinary principles. Internal cleanliness, external
cleanliness, chanting the holy names of the Lord, austerity, sacrifice, faith,
hospitality, worship of Me, visiting holy places, acting and desiring only for
the supreme interest, satisfaction, and service to the spiritual master are the
twelve elements of regular prescribed duties. These twenty-four elements bestow
all desired benedictions upon those persons who devotedly cultivate them.
36-39. Absorbing the intelligence in Me
constitutes mental equilibrium, and complete discipline of the senses is
self-control. Tolerance means patiently enduring unhappiness, and steadfastness
occurs when one conquers the tongue and genitals. The greatest charity is to
give up all aggression toward others, and renunciation of lust is understood to
be real austerity. Real heroism is to conquer one’s natural tendency to enjoy
material life, and reality is seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead
everywhere. Truthfulness means to speak the truth in a pleasing way, as declared
by great sages. Cleanliness is detachment in fruitive activities, whereas
renunciation is the sannyasa order of life. The true desirable wealth for human
beings is religiousness, and I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, am
sacrifice. Religious remuneration is devotion to the acarya with the purpose of
acquiring spiritual instruction, and the greatest strength is the pranayama
system of breath control.
40-45. Actual opulence is My own nature as the
Personality of Godhead, through which I exhibit the six unlimited opulences.
The supreme gain in life is devotional service to Me, and actual education is
nullifying the false perception of duality within the soul. Real modesty is to
be disgusted with improper activities, and beauty is to possess good qualities
such as detachment. Real happiness is to transcend material happiness and
unhappiness, and real misery is to be implicated in searching for sex pleasure.
A wise man is one who knows the process of freedom from bondage, and a fool is
one who identifies with his material body and mind. The real path in life is
that which leads to Me, and the wrong path is sense gratification, by which
consciousness is bewildered. Actual heaven is the predominance of the mode of
goodness, whereas hell is the predominance of ignorance. I am everyone’s true
friend, acting as the spiritual master of the entire universe, and one’s home
is the human body. My dear friend Uddhava, one who is enriched with good
qualities is actually said to be rich, and one who is unsatisfied in life is
actually poor. A wretched person is one who cannot control his senses, whereas
one who is not attached to sense gratification is a real controller. One who
attaches himself to sense gratification is the opposite, a slave. Thus,
Uddhava, I have elucidated all of the matters about which you inquired. There
is no need for a more elaborate description of these good and bad qualities,
since to constantly see good and bad is itself a bad quality. The best quality
is to transcend material good and evil.
Twenty Pure Devotional Service Surpasses Knowledge and Detachment
1. Sri Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Krsna, You
are the Supreme Lord, and thus the Vedic literatures, consisting of positive
and negative injunctions, constitute Your order. Such literatures focus upon
the good and bad qualities of work.
2. According to Vedic literature, the superior and
inferior varieties found in the human social system, varnasrama, are due to
pious and sinful modes of family planning. Thus piety and sin are constant points
of reference in the Vedic analysis of the components of a given
situation—namely the material ingredients, place, age and time. Indeed, the
Vedas reveal the existence of material heaven and hell, which are certainly
based on piety and sin.
3. Without seeing the difference between piety and
sin, how can one understand Your own instructions in the form of Vedic
literatures, which order one to act piously and forbid one to act sinfully?
Furthermore, without such authorized Vedic literatures, which ultimately award
liberation, how can human beings achieve the perfection of life?
4. My dear Lord, in order to understand those
things beyond direct experience—such as spiritual liberation or attainment of
heaven and other material enjoyments beyond our present capacity—and in general
to understand the means and end of all things, the forefathers, demigods and
human beings must consult the Vedic literatures, which are Your own laws, for
these constitute the highest evidence and revelation.
5. My dear Lord, the distinction observed between
piety and sin comes from Your own Vedic knowledge and does not arise by itself.
If the same Vedic literature subsequently nullifies such distinction between
piety and sin, there will certainly be confusion.
6. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, because I desire that human beings may achieve perfection, I have
presented three paths of advancement—the path of knowledge, the path of work
and the path of devotion. Besides these three there is absolutely no other means
7. Among these three paths, jnana-yoga, the path of
philosophical speculation, is recommended for those who are disgusted with
material life and are thus detached from ordinary, fruitive activities. Those
who are not disgusted with material life, having many desires yet to fulfill,
should seek perfection through the path of karma-yoga.
8. If somehow or other by good fortune one
develops faith in hearing and chanting My glories, such a person, being neither
very disgusted with nor attached to material life, should achieve perfection
through the path of loving devotion to Me.
9. As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity
and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by sravanam kirtanam
visnoh one has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic
10. My dear Uddhava, a person who is situated in
his prescribed duty, properly worshiping by Vedic sacrifices but not desiring
the fruitive result of such worship, will not go to the heavenly planets;
similarly, by not performing forbidden activities he will not go to hell.
11. One who is situated in his prescribed duty,
free from sinful activities and cleansed of material contamination, in this
very life obtains transcendental knowledge or, by fortune, devotional service
12. The residents of both heaven and hell desire
human birth on the earth planet because human life facilitates the achievement
of transcendental knowledge and love of Godhead, whereas neither heavenly nor
hellish bodies efficiently provide such opportunities.
13. A human being who is wise should never desire
promotion to heavenly planets or residence in hell. Indeed, a human being
should also never desire permanent residence on the earth, for by such
absorption in the material body one becomes foolishly negligent of one’s actual
14. A wise person, knowing that although the
material body is subject to death it can still award the perfection of one’s
life, should not foolishly neglect to take advantage of this opportunity before
15. Without attachment, a bird gives up the tree
in which his nest was constructed when that tree is cut down by cruel men who
are like death personified, and thus the bird achieves happiness in another
16. Knowing that one’s duration of life is being
similarly cut down by the passing of days and nights, one should be shaken by
fear. In this way, giving up all material attachment and desire, one
understands the Supreme Lord and achieves perfect peace.
17. The human body, which can award all benefit in
life, is automatically obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very
rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed
boat having the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality
of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these
advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human life to cross the
ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.
18. A transcendentalist, having become disgusted
and hopeless in all endeavors for material happiness, completely controls the
senses and develops detachment. By spiritual practice he should then fix the
mind on the spiritual platform without deviation.
19. Whenever the mind, being concentrated on the
spiritual platform, is suddenly deviated from its spiritual position, one
should carefully bring it under the control of the self by following the
20. One should never lose sight of the actual goal
of mental activities, but rather, conquering the life air and senses and
utilizing intelligence strengthened by the mode of goodness, one should bring
the mind under the control of the self.
21. An expert horseman, desiring to tame a headstrong horse, first lets
the horse have his way for a moment and then, pulling the reins, gradually
places the horse on the desired path. Similarly, the supreme yoga process is
that by which one carefully observes the movements and desires of the mind and
gradually brings them under full control.
22. Until one’s mind is fixed in spiritual
satisfaction, one should analytically study the temporary nature of all
material objects, whether cosmic, earthly or atomic. One should constantly
observe the process of creation through the natural progressive function and
the process of annihilation through the regressive function.
23. When a person is disgusted with the temporary,
illusory nature of this world and is thus detached from it, his mind, guided by
the instructions of his spiritual master, considers again and again the nature
of this world and eventually gives up the false identification with matter.
24. Through the various disciplinary regulations
and the purificatory procedures of the yoga system, through logic and spiritual
education or through worship and adoration of Me, one should constantly engage
his mind in remembering the Personality of Godhead, the goal of yoga. No other
means should be employed for this purpose.
25. If, because of momentary inattention, a yogi
accidentally commits an abominable activity, then by the very practice of yoga
he should burn to ashes the sinful reaction, without at any time employing any
26. It is firmly declared that the
steady adherence of transcendentalists to their respective spiritual positions
constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a transcendentalist neglects
his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of piety and sin, sincerely
desiring to give up all past association with sense gratification, is able to
subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature impure.
27-28. Having awakened faith in the narrations of
My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all
sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense
enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and
conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee
knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he
sincerely repents such activities.
29. When an intelligent person engages constantly
in worshiping Me through loving devotional service as described by Me, his
heart becomes firmly situated in Me. Thus all material desires within the heart
30. The knot in the heart is pierced, all
misgivings are cut to pieces and the chain of fruitive actions is terminated
when I am seen as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
31. Therefore, for a devotee engaged in My loving
service, with mind fixed on Me, the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation
is generally not the means of achieving the highest perfection within this
32-33. Everything that can be achieved by fruitive
activities, penance, knowledge, detachment, mystic yoga, charity, religious
duties and all other means of perfecting life is easily achieved by My devotee
through loving service unto Me. If somehow or other My devotee desires
promotion to heaven, liberation, or residence in My abode, he easily achieves
34. Because My devotees possess saintly behavior
and deep intelligence, they completely dedicate themselves to Me and do not
desire anything besides Me. Indeed, even if I offer them liberation from birth
and death, they do not accept it.
35. It is said that complete detachment is the
highest stage of freedom. Therefore, one who has no personal desire and does
not pursue personal rewards can achieve loving devotional service unto Me.
36. Material piety and sin, which arise from the
good and evil of this world, cannot exist within My unalloyed devotees, who,
being free from material hankering, maintain steady spiritual consciousness in
all circumstances. Indeed, such devotees have achieved Me, the Supreme Lord,
who am beyond anything that can be conceived by material intelligence.
37. Persons who seriously follow these methods of
achieving Me, which I have personally taught, attain freedom from illusion, and
upon reaching My personal abode they perfectly understand the Absolute Truth.
Twenty-One Lord Krsna’s Explanation of the Vedic Path
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those
who give up these methods for achieving Me, which consist of devotional
service, analytic philosophy and regulated execution of prescribed duties, and
instead, being moved by the material senses, cultivate insignificant sense
gratification, certainly undergo the continual cycle of material existence.
2. Steadiness in one’s own position is declared to
be actual piety, whereas deviation from one’s position is considered impiety.
In this way the two are definitely ascertained.
3. O sinless Uddhava, in order to understand what
is proper in life one must evaluate a given object within its particular
category. Thus, in analyzing religious principles one must consider purity and
impurity. Similarly, in one’s ordinary dealings one must distinguish between
good and bad, and to insure one’s physical survival one must recognize that
which is auspicious and inauspicious.
4. I have revealed this way of life for those
bearing the burden of mundane religious principles.
5. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five
basic elements that constitute the bodies of all conditioned souls, from Lord
Brahma himself down to the nonmoving creatures. These elements all emanate from
the one Personality of Godhead.
6. My dear Uddhava, although all material bodies
are composed of the same five elements and are thus equal, the Vedic
literatures conceive of different names and forms in relation to such bodies so
that the living entities may achieve their goal of life.
7. O saintly Uddhava, in order to restrict
materialistic activities, I have established that which is proper and improper
among all material things, including time, space and all physical objects.
8. Among places, those bereft of the spotted antelope,
those devoid of devotion to the brahmanas, those possessing spotted antelopes
but bereft of respectable men, provinces like Kikata and places where
cleanliness and purificatory rites are neglected, where meat-eaters are
prominent or where the earth is barren, are all considered to be contaminated
9. A specific time is considered pure when it is
appropriate, either by its own nature or through achievement of suitable
paraphernalia, for the performance of one’s prescribed duty. That time which
impedes the performance of one’s duty is considered impure.
10. An object’s purity or impurity is established
by application of another object, by words, by rituals, by the effects of time
or according to relative magnitude.
11. Impure things may or may not impose sinful
reactions upon a person, depending on that person’s strength or weakness,
intelligence, wealth, location and physical condition.
12. Various objects such as grains, wooden
utensils, things made of bone, thread, liquids, objects derived from fire,
skins and earthy objects are all purified by time, by the wind, by fire, by
earth and by water, either separately or in combination.
13. A particular purifying agent is considered
appropriate when its application removes the bad odor or dirty covering of some
contaminated object and makes it resume its original nature.
14. The self can be cleansed by bathing, charity,
austerity, age, personal strength, purificatory rituals, prescribed duties and,
above all, by remembrance of Me. The brahmana and other twice-born men should
be duly purified before performing their specific activities.
15. A mantra is purified when chanted with proper
knowledge, and one’s work is purified when offered to Me. Thus by purification
of the place, time, substance, doer, mantras and work, one becomes religious,
and by negligence of these six items one is considered irreligious.
16. Sometimes piety becomes sin, and sometimes
what is ordinarily sin becomes piety on the strength of Vedic injunctions. Such
special rules in effect eradicate the clear distinction between piety and sin.
17. The same activities that would degrade an
elevated person do not cause falldown for those who are already fallen. Indeed,
one who is lying on the ground cannot possibly fall further. The material
association that is dictated by one’s own nature is considered a good quality.
18. By refraining from a particular sinful or
materialistic activity, one becomes freed from its bondage. Such renunciation
is the basis of religious and auspicious life for human beings and drives away
all suffering, illusion and fear.
19. One who accepts material sense objects as
desirable certainly becomes attached to them. From such attachment lust arises,
and this lust creates quarrel among men.
20. From quarrel arises intolerable anger,
followed by the darkness of ignorance. This ignorance quickly overtakes a man’s
21. O saintly Uddhava, a person bereft of real
intelligence is considered to have lost everything. Deviated from the actual
purpose of his life, he becomes dull, just like a dead person.
22. Because of absorption in sense gratification,
one cannot recognize himself or others. Living uselessly in ignorance like a
tree, one is merely breathing just like a bellows.
23. Those statements of scripture promising
fruitive rewards do not prescribe the ultimate good for men hut are merely
enticements for executing beneficial religious duties, like promises of candy
spoken to induce a child to take beneficial medicine.
24. Simply by material birth, human beings become
attached within their minds to personal sense gratification, long duration of
life, sense activities, bodily strength, sexual potency and friends and family.
Their minds are thus absorbed in that which defeats their actual self-interest.
25. Those ignorant of their real self-interest are
wandering on the path of material existence, gradually heading toward darkness.
Why would the Vedas further encourage them in sense gratification if they,
although foolish, submissively pay heed to Vedic injunctions?
26. Persons with perverted intelligence do not
understand this actual purpose of Vedic knowledge and instead propagate as the
highest Vedic truth the flowery statements of the Vedas that promise material
rewards. Those in actual knowledge of the Vedas never speak in that way.
27. Those who are full of lust, avarice and greed
mistake mere flowers to be the actual fruit of life. Bewildered by the glare of
fire and suffocated by its smoke, they cannot recognize their own true
28. My dear Uddhava, persons dedicated to sense gratification
obtained through honoring the Vedic rituals cannot understand that I am
situated in everyone’s heart and that the entire universe is nondifferent from
Me and emanates from Me. Indeed, they are just like persons whose eyes are
covered by fog.
29-30. Those who are sworn to sense gratification
cannot understand the confidential conclusion of Vedic knowledge as explained
by Me. Taking pleasure in violence, they cruelly slaughter innocent animals in
sacrifice for their own sense gratification and thus worship demigods,
forefathers and leaders among ghostly creatures. Such passion for violence,
however, is never encouraged within the process of Vedic sacrifice.
31. Just as a foolish businessman gives up his
real wealth in useless business speculation, foolish persons give up all that
is actually valuable in life and instead pursue promotion to material heaven,
which although pleasing to hear about is actually unreal, like a dream. Such
bewildered persons imagine within their hearts that they will achieve all
32. Those established in material passion,
goodness and ignorance worship the particular demigods and other deities,
headed by Indra, who manifest the same modes of passion, goodness or ignorance.
They fail, however, to properly worship Me.
33-34. The worshipers of demigods think, “We shall
worship the demigods in this life, and by our sacrifices we shall go to heaven
and enjoy there. When that enjoyment is finished we shall return to this world
and take birth as great householders in aristocratic families.” Being
excessively proud and greedy, such persons are bewildered by the flowery words
of the Vedas. They are not attracted to topics about Me, the Supreme Lord.
35. The Vedas, divided into three divisions,
ultimately reveal the living entity as pure spirit soul. The Vedic seers and
mantras, however, deal in esoteric terms, and I also am pleased by such
36. The transcendental sound of the Vedas is very
difficult to comprehend and manifests on different levels within the prana,
senses and mind. This Vedic sound is unlimited, very deep and unfathomable,
just like the ocean.
37. As the unlimited, unchanging and omnipotent
Personality of Godhead dwelling within all living beings, I personally
establish the Vedic sound vibration in the form of omkara within all living
entities. It is thus perceived subtly, just like a single strand of fiber on a
38-40. Just as a spider brings forth from its heart its
web and emits it through its mouth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
manifests Himself as the reverberating primeval vital air, comprising all
sacred Vedic meters and full of transcendental pleasure. Thus the Lord, from
the ethereal sky of His heart, creates the great and limitless Vedic sound by
the agency of His mind, which conceives of variegated sounds such as the
sparsas. The Vedic sound branches out in thousands of directions, adorned with
the different letters expanded from the syllable om: the consonants, vowels,
sibilants and semivowels. The Veda is then elaborated by many verbal varieties,
expressed in different meters, each having four more syllables than the
previous one. Ultimately the Lord again withdraws His manifestation of Vedic
sound within Himself.
41. The Vedic meters are Gayatri, Usnik, Anustup, Brhati,
Pankti, Tristup, Jagati, Aticchanda, Atyasti, Atijagati and Ativirat.
42. In the entire world no one but Me actually
understands the confidential purpose of Vedic knowledge. Thus people do not
know what the Vedas are actually prescribing in the ritualistic injunctions of
karma-kanda, or what object is actually being indicated in the formulas of
worship found in the upasana-kanda, or that which is elaborately discussed
through various hypotheses in the jnana-kanda section of the Vedas.
43. I am the ritualistic sacrifice enjoined by the
Vedas, and I am the worshipable Deity. It is I who am presented as various
philosophical hypotheses, and it is I alone who am then refuted by
philosophical analysis. The transcendental sound vibration thus establishes Me
as the essential meaning of all Vedic knowledge. The Vedas, elaborately
analyzing all material duality as nothing but My illusory potency, ultimately
completely negate this duality and achieve their own satisfaction.
Twenty-Two Enumeration of the Elements of Material Creation
1-3. Uddhava inquired: My dear Lord, O master of
the universe, how many different elements of creation have been enumerated by
the great sages? I have heard You personally describe a total of
twenty-eight—God, the jiva soul, the mahat-tattva, false ego, the five gross
elements, the ten senses, the mind, the five subtle objects of perception and
the three modes of nature. But some authorities say that there are twenty-six
elements, while others cite twenty-five or else seven, nine, six, four or
eleven, and even others say that there are seventeen, sixteen or thirteen. What
did each of these sages have in mind when he calculated the creative elements
in such different ways? O supreme eternal, kindly explain this to me.
4. Lord Krsna replied: Because all material
elements are present everywhere, it is reasonable that different learned
brahmanas have analyzed them in different ways. All such philosophers spoke
under the shelter of My mystic potency, and thus they could say anything
without contradicting the truth.
5. When philosophers argue, “I don’t choose to
analyze this particular case in the same way that you have,” it is simply My
own insurmountable energies that are motivating their analytic disagreements.
6. By interaction of My energies different
opinions arise. But for those who have fixed their intelligence on Me and
controlled their senses, differences of perception disappear, and consequently
the very cause for argument is removed.
7. O best among men, because subtle and gross
elements mutually enter into one another, philosophers may calculate the number
of basic material elements in different ways, according to their personal
8. All subtle material elements are actually
present within their gross effects; similarly, all gross elements are present
within their subtle causes, since material creation takes place by progressive
manifestation of elements from subtle to gross. Thus we can find all material
elements within any single element.
9. Therefore, no matter which of these thinkers is
speaking, and regardless of whether in their calculations they include material
elements within their previous subtle causes or else within their subsequent
manifest products, I accept their conclusions as authoritative, because a
logical explanation can always be given for each of the different theories.
10. Because a person who has been covered by
ignorance since time immemorial is not capable of effecting his own
self-realization, there must be some other personality who is in factual
knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart this knowledge to him.
11. According to knowledge in the material mode of
goodness, there is no qualitative difference between the living entity and the
supreme controller. The imagination of qualitative difference between them is
12. Nature exists originally as the equilibrium of
the three material modes, which pertain only to nature, not to the
transcendental spirit soul. These modes—goodness, passion and ignorance—are the
effective causes of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe.
13. In this world the mode of goodness is
recognized as knowledge, the mode of passion as fruitive work, and the mode of
darkness as ignorance. Time is perceived as the agitated interaction of the
material modes, and the totality of functional propensity is embodied by the
primeval sutra, or mahat-tattva.
14. I have described the nine basic elements as
the enjoying soul, nature, nature’s primeval manifestation of the mahat-tattva,
false ego, ether, air, fire, water and earth.
15. Hearing, touch, sight, smell and taste are the
five knowledge acquiring senses, My dear Uddhava, and speech, the hands, the
genitals, the anus and the legs constitute the five working senses. The mind belongs
to both these categories.
16. Sound, touch, taste, smell and form are the
objects of the knowledge-acquiring senses, and movement, speech, excretion and
manufacture are functions of the working senses.
17. In the beginning of creation nature assumes,
by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, its form as the embodiment of
all subtle causes and gross manifestations within the universe. The Supreme
Personality of Godhead does not enter the interaction of material manifestation
but merely glances upon nature.
18. As the material elements, headed by the
mahat-tattva, are transformed, they receive their specific potencies from the
glance of the Supreme Lord, and being amalgamated by the power of nature, they
create the universal egg.
19. According to some philosophers there are seven
elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether, along with the conscious
spirit soul and the Supreme Soul, who is the basis of both the material
elements and the ordinary spirit soul. According to this theory, the body,
senses, life air and all material phenomena are produced from these seven
20. Other philosophers state that there are six
elements—the five physical elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) and the
sixth element, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That Supreme Lord, endowed
with the elements that He has brought forth from Himself, creates this universe
and then personally enters within it.
21. Some philosophers propose the existence of
four basic elements, of which three—fire, water and earth—emanate from the
fourth, the Self. Once existing, these elements produce the cosmic
manifestation, in which all material creation takes place.
22. Some calculate the existence of seventeen
basic elements, namely the five gross elements, the five objects of perception,
the five sensory organs, the mind, and the soul as the seventeenth element.
23. According to the calculation of sixteen
elements, the only difference from the previous theory is that the soul is
identified with the mind. If we think in terms of five physical elements, five
senses, the mind, the individual soul and the Supreme Lord, there are thirteen
24. Counting eleven, there are the soul, the gross
elements and the senses. Eight gross and subtle elements plus the Supreme Lord
would make nine.
25. Thus great philosophers have analyzed the
material elements in many different ways. All of their proposals are
reasonable, since they are all presented with ample logic. Indeed, such
philosophical brilliance is expected of the truly learned.
26. Sri Uddhava inquired: Although nature and the
living entity are constitutionally distinct, O Lord Krsna, there appears to be
no difference between them, because they are found residing within one another.
Thus the soul appears to be within nature and nature within the soul.
27. O lotus-eyed Krsna, O omniscient Lord, kindly
cut this great doubt out of my heart with Your own words, which exhibit Your
great skill in reasoning.
28. From You alone the knowledge of the living
beings arises, and by Your potency that knowledge is stolen away. Indeed, no
one but Yourself can understand the real nature of Your illusory potency.
29. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O
best among men, material nature and its enjoyer are clearly distinct. This
manifest creation undergoes constant transformation, being founded upon the
agitation of the modes of nature.
30. My dear Uddhava, My material energy,
comprising three modes and acting through them, manifests the varieties of
creation along with varieties of consciousness for perceiving them. The
manifest result of material transformation is understood in three aspects:
adhyatmic, adhidaivic and adhibhautic.
31. Sight, visible form and the reflected image of
the sun within the aperture of the eye all work together to reveal one another.
But the original sun standing in the sky is self-manifested. Similarly, the
Supreme Soul, the original cause of all entities, who is thus separate from all
of them, acts by the illumination of His own transcendental experience as the ultimate
source of manifestation of all mutually manifesting objects.
32. Similarly, the sense organs, namely the skin,
ears, eyes, tongue and nose—as well as the functions of the subtle body, namely
conditioned consciousness, mind, intelligence and false ego—can all be analyzed
in terms of the threefold distinction of sense, object of perception and
33. When the three modes of nature are agitated,
the resultant transformation appears as the element false ego in three
phases—goodness, passion and ignorance. Generated from the mahat-tattva, which
is itself produced from the unmanifest pradhana, this false ego becomes the
cause of all material illusion and duality.
34. The speculative argument of philosophers—“This
world is real,” “No, it is not real”—is based upon incomplete knowledge of the
Supreme Soul and is simply aimed at understanding material dualities. Although
such argument is useless, persons who have turned their attention away from Me,
their own true Self, are unable to give it up.
35-36. Sri Uddhava said: O supreme master, the
intelligence of those dedicated to fruitive activities is certainly deviated
from You. Please explain to me how such persons accept superior and inferior
bodies by their materialistic activities and then give up such bodies. O
Govinda, this topic is very difficult for foolish persons to understand. Being
cheated by illusion in this world, they generally do not become aware of these
37. Lord Krsna said: The material mind of men is
shaped by the reactions of fruitive work. Along with the five senses, it
travels from one material body to another. The spirit soul, although different
from this mind, follows it.
38. The mind, bound to the reactions of fruitive
work, always meditates on the objects of the senses, both those that are seen
in this world and those that are heard about from Vedic authority.
Consequently, the mind appears to come into being and to suffer annihilation
along with its objects of perception, and thus its ability to distinguish past
and future is lost.
39. When the living entity passes from the present
body to the next body, which is created by his own karma, he becomes absorbed
in the pleasurable and painful sensations of the new body and completely
forgets the experience of the previous body. This total forgetfulness of one’s
previous material identity, which comes about for one reason or another, is
40. O most charitable Uddhava, what is called
birth is simply a person’s total identification with a new body. One accepts
the new body just as one completely accepts the experience of a dream or a
fantasy as reality.
41. Just as a person experiencing a dream or
daydream does not remember his previous dreams or daydreams, a person situated
in his present body, although having existed prior to it, thinks that he has
only recently come into being.
42. Because the mind, which is the resting place
of the senses, has created the identification with a new body, the threefold
material variety of high, middle and low class appears as if present within the
reality of the soul. Thus the self creates external and internal duality, just
as a man might give birth to a bad son.
43. My dear Uddhava, material bodies are
constantly undergoing creation and destruction by the force of time, whose swiftness
is imperceptible. But because of the subtle nature of time, no one sees this.
44. The different stages of transformation of all
material bodies occur just like those of the flame of a candle, the current of
a river, or the fruits of a tree.
45. Although the illumination of a lamp consists
of innumerable rays of light undergoing constant creation, transformation and
destruction, a person with illusory intelligence who sees the light for a
moment will speak falsely, saying, “This is the light of the lamp.” As one
observes a flowing river, ever-new water passes by and goes far away, yet a
foolish person, observing one point in the river, falsely states, “This is the
water of the river.” Similarly, although the material body of a human being is
constantly undergoing transformation, those who are simply wasting their lives
falsely think and say that each particular stage of the body is the person’s
46. A person does not actually take birth out of
the seed of past activities, nor, being immortal, does he die. By illusion the
living being appears to be born and to die, just as fire in connection with
firewood appears to begin and then cease to exist.
47. Impregnation, gestation, birth, infancy,
childhood, youth, middle age, old age and death are the nine ages of the body.
48. Although the material body is different from
the self, because of the ignorance due to material association one falsely
identifies oneself with the superior and inferior bodily conditions. Sometimes
a fortunate person is able to give up such mental concoction.
49. By the death of one’s father or grandfather
one can surmise one’s own death, and by the birth of one’s son one can
understand the condition of one’s own birth. A person who thus realistically
understands the creation and destruction of material bodies is no longer
subject to these dualities.
50. One who observes the birth of a tree from its
seed and the ultimate death of the tree after maturity certainly remains a
distinct observer separate from the tree. In the same way, the witness of the
birth and death of the material body remains separate from it.
51. An unintelligent man, failing to distinguish
himself from material nature, thinks nature to be real. By contact with it he
becomes completely bewildered and enters into the cycle of material existence.
52. Made to wander because of his fruitive work,
the conditioned soul, by contact with the mode of goodness, takes birth among
the sages or demigods. By contact with the mode of passion he becomes a demon
or human being, and by association with the mode of ignorance he takes birth as
a ghost or in the animal kingdom.
53. Just as one may imitate persons whom one sees
dancing and singing, similarly the soul, although never the doer of material
activities, becomes captivated by material intelligence and is thus forced to
imitate its qualities.
54-55. The soul’s material life, his experience of sense
gratification, is actually false, O descendant of Dasarha, just like trees’
appearance of quivering when the trees are reflected in agitated water, or like
the earth’s appearance of spinning due to one’s spinning his eyes around, or
like the world of a fantasy or dream.
56. For one who is meditating on sense
gratification, material life, although lacking factual existence, does not go
away, just as the unpleasant experiences of a dream do not.
57. Therefore, O Uddhava, do not try to enjoy
sense gratification with the material senses. See how illusion based on
material dualities prevents one from realizing the self.
58-59. Even though neglected, insulted, ridiculed
or envied by bad men, or even though repeatedly agitated by being beaten, tied
up or deprived of one’s occupation, spat upon or polluted with urine by
ignorant people, one who desires the highest goal in life should in spite of
all these difficulties use his intelligence to keep himself safe on the
60. Sri Uddhava said: O best of all speakers,
please explain to me how I may properly understand this.
61. O soul of the universe, the conditioning of
one’s personality in material life is very strong, and therefore it is very
difficult even for learned men to tolerate the offenses committed against them
by ignorant people. Only Your devotees, who are fixed in Your loving service
and who have achieved peace by residing at Your lotus feet, are able to
tolerate such offenses.
Chapter Twenty-Three The Song of the Avanti Brahmana.
1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Mukunda, the chief
of the Dasarhas, having thus been respectfully requested by the best of His
devotees, Sri Uddhava, first acknowledged the fitness of his servant’s
statements. Then the Lord, whose glorious exploits are most worthy of being
heard, began to reply to him.
2. Lord Sri Krsna said: O disciple of Brhaspati,
there is virtually no saintly man in this world capable of resettling his own
mind after it has been disturbed by the insulting words of uncivilized men.
3. Sharp arrows which pierce one’s chest and reach
the heart do not cause as much suffering as the arrows of harsh, insulting
words that become lodged within the heart when spoken by uncivilized men.
4. My dear Uddhava, in this regard a most pious
story is told, and I shall now describe it to you. Please listen with careful
5. Once a certain sannyasi was insulted in many
ways by impious men. However, with determination he remembered that he was
suffering the fruit of his own previous karma. I will narrate to you his story
and that which he spoke.
6. In the country of Avanti there once lived a
certain brahmana who was very rich and gifted with all opulences, and who was
engaged in the occupation of commerce. But he was a miserly person—lusty,
greedy and very prone to anger.
7. In his home, devoid of religiosity and lawful
sense gratification, the family members and guests were never properly
respected, even with words. He would not even allow sufficient gratification
for his own body at the suitable times.
8. Since he was so hardhearted and miserly, his
sons, in-laws, wife, daughters and servants began to feel inimical toward him.
Becoming disgusted, they would never treat him with affection.
9. In this way the presiding deities of the five family
sacrifices became angry at the brahmana, who, being niggardly, guarded his
wealth like a Yaksa, who had no good destination either in this world or the
next, and who was totally deprived of religiosity and sense enjoyment.
10. O magnanimous Uddhava, by his neglect of these
demigods he depleted his stock of piety and all his wealth. The accumulation of
his repeated exhaustive endeavors was totally lost.
11. Some of the wealth of this so-called brahmana
was taken away by his relatives, My dear Uddhava, some by thieves, some by the
whims of providence, some by the effects of time, some by ordinary men and some
by government authorities.
12. Finally, when his property was completely
lost, he who never engaged in religiosity or sense enjoyment became ignored by
his family members. Thus he began to feel unbearable anxiety.
13. Having lost all his wealth, he felt great pain
and lamentation. His throat choked up with tears, and he meditated for a long
time on his fortune. Then a powerful feeling of renunciation came over him.
14. The brahmana spoke as follows: O what great
misfortune! I have simply tormented myself uselessly, struggling so hard for
money that was not even intended for religiosity or material enjoyment.
15. Generally, the wealth of misers never allows
them any happiness. In this life it causes their self-torment, and when they
die it sends them to hell.
16. Whatever pure fame is possessed by the famous
and whatever praiseworthy qualities are found in the virtuous are destroyed by
even a small amount of greed, just as one’s attractive physical beauty is
ruined by a trace of white leprosy.
17. In the earning, attainment, increase,
protection, expense, loss and enjoyment of wealth, all men experience great
labor, fear, anxiety and delusion.
18-19. Theft, violence, speaking lies, duplicity,
lust, anger, perplexity, pride, quarreling, enmity, faithlessness, envy and the
dangers caused by women, gambling and intoxication are the fifteen undesirable
qualities that contaminate men because of greed for wealth. Although these
qualities are undesirable, men falsely ascribe value to them. One desiring to
achieve the real benefit of life should therefore remain aloof from undesirable
20. Even a man’s brothers, wife, parents and
friends united with him in love will immediately break off their affectionate
relationships and become enemies over a single coin.
21. For even a small amount of money these
relatives and friends become very agitated and their anger is inflamed. Acting
as rivals, they quickly give up all sentiments of goodwill and will reject one
at a moment’s notice, even to the point of committing murder.
22. Those who obtain human life, which is prayed
for even by the demigods, and in that human birth become situated as
first-class brahmanas, are extremely fortunate. If they disregard this
important opportunity, they are certainly killing their own self-interest and
thus achieve a most unfortunate end.
23. What mortal man, having achieved this human
life, which is the very gateway to both heaven and liberation, would willingly
become attached to that abode of worthlessness, material property?
24. One who fails to distribute his wealth to the
proper shareholders—the demigods, sages, forefathers and ordinary living
entities, as well as his immediate relatives, in-laws and own self—is
maintaining his wealth simply like a Yaksa and will fall down.
25. Discriminating persons are able to utilize
their money, youth and strength to achieve perfection. But I have feverishly
squandered these in the useless endeavor for further wealth. Now that I am an
old man, what can I achieve?
26. Why must an intelligent man suffer by his
constant vain efforts to get wealth? Indeed, this whole world is most
bewildered by someone’s illusory potency.
27. For one who is in the grips of death, what is
the use of wealth or those who offer it, sense gratification or those who offer
it, or, for that matter, any type of fruitive activity, which simply causes one
to again take birth in the material world?
28. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari,
who contains within Himself all the demigods, must be satisfied with me.
Indeed, He has brought me to this suffering condition and forced me to
experience detachment, which is the boat to carry me over this ocean of
29. If there is any time remaining in my life, I
will perform austerities and force my body to subsist on the bare necessities.
Without further confusion I shall pursue that which constitutes my entire
self-interest in life, and I shall remain satisfied within the self.
30. Thus may the presiding demigods of these three worlds
kindly show their mercy upon me. Indeed, Maharaja Khatvanga was able to achieve
the spiritual world in a single moment.
31. Lord Sri Krsna continued: His mind thus
determined, that most excellent Avanti brahmana was able to untie the knots of
desire within his heart. He then assumed the role of a peaceful and silent
32. He wandered about the earth, keeping his
intelligence, senses and life air under control. To beg charity he traveled
alone to various cities and villages. He did not advertise his advanced
spiritual position and thus was not recognized by others.
33. O kind Uddhava, seeing him as an old, dirty
beggar, rowdy persons would dishonor him with many insults.
34. Some of these persons would take away his
sannyasi rod, and some the waterpot which he was using as a begging bowl. Some
took his deerskin seat, some his chanting beads, and some would steal his torn,
ragged clothing. Displaying these things before him, they would pretend to
offer them back but would then hide them again.
35. When he was sitting on the bank of a river
about to partake of the food that he had collected by his begging, such sinful
rascals would come and pass urine on it, and they would dare to spit on his
36. Although he had taken a vow of silence, they
would try to make him speak, and if he did not speak they would beat him with
sticks. Others would chastise him, saying, “This man is just a thief.” And
others would bind him up with rope, shouting, ”Tie him up! Tie him up!”
37. They would criticize and insult him, saying,
“This man is just a hypocrite and a cheat. He makes a business of religion
simply because he lost all his wealth and his family threw him out.”
38-39. Some would ridicule him by saying, ”Just
see this greatly powerful sage! He is as steadfast as the Himalaya Mountains.
By practice of silence he strives for his goal with great determination, just
like a duck.” Other persons would pass foul air upon him, and sometimes others
would bind this twice-born brahmana in chains and keep him captive like a pet
40. The brahmana understood that all his
suffering—from other living beings, from the higher forces of nature and from
his own body—was unavoidable, being allotted to him by providence.
41. Even while being insulted by these low-class
men who were trying to effect his downfall, he remained steady in his spiritual
duties. Fixing his resolution in the mode of goodness, he began to chant the
42. The brahmana said: These people are not the
cause of my happiness and distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the
planets, my past work, or time. Rather, it is the mind alone that causes
happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life.
43. The powerful mind actuates the functions of
the material modes, from which evolve the different kinds of material
activities in the modes of goodness, ignorance and passion. From the activities
in each of these modes develop the corresponding statuses of life.
44. Although present along with the struggling
mind within the material body, the Supersoul is not endeavoring, because He is
already endowed with transcendental enlightenment. Acting as my friend, He
simply witnesses from His transcendental position. I, the infinitesimal spirit
soul, on the other hand, have embraced this mind, which is the mirror
reflecting the image of the material world. Thus I have become engaged in
enjoying objects of desire and am entangled due to contact with the modes of
45. Charity, prescribed duties, observance of
major and minor regulative principles, hearing from scripture, pious works and
purifying vows all have as their final aim the subduing of the mind. Indeed,
concentration of the mind on the Supreme is the highest yoga.
46. If one’s mind is perfectly fixed and pacified,
then tell me what need does one have to perform ritualistic charity and other
pious rituals? And if one’s mind remains uncontrolled, lost in ignorance, then
of what use are these engagements for him?
47. All the senses have been under the control of
the mind since time immemorial, and the mind himself never comes under the sway
of any other. He is stronger than the strongest, and his godlike power is
fearsome. Therefore, anyone who can bring the mind under control becomes the
master of all the senses.
48. Failing to conquer this irrepressible enemy,
the mind, whose urges are intolerable and who torments the heart, many people
are completely bewildered and create useless quarrel with others. Thus they
conclude that other people are either their friends, their enemies or parties
indifferent to them.
49. Persons who identify with this body, which is
simply the product of the material mind, are blinded in their intelligence,
thinking in terms of ”I” and ”mine.” Because of their illusion of ”this is I,
but that is someone else,” they wander in endless darkness.
50. If you say that these people are the cause of
my happiness and distress, then where is the place of the soul in such a
conception? This happiness and distress pertain not to the soul but to the
interactions of material bodies. If someone bites his tongue with his own
teeth, at whom can he become angry in his suffering?
51. If you say that the demigods who rule the
bodily senses cause suffering, still, how can such suffering apply to the
spirit soul? This acting and being acted upon are merely interactions of the
changeable senses and their presiding deities. When one limb of the body
attacks another, with whom can the person in that body be angry?
52. If the soul himself were the cause of
happiness and distress, then we could not blame others, since happiness and
distress would be simply the nature of the soul. According to this theory,
nothing except the soul actually exists, and if we were to perceive something
besides the soul, that would be illusion. Therefore, since happiness and
distress do not actually exist in this concept, why become angry at oneself or
53. And if we examine the hypothesis that the
planets are the immediate cause of suffering and happiness, then also where is
the relationship with the soul, who is eternal? After all, the effect of the
planets applies only to things that have taken birth. Expert astrologers have
moreover explained how the planets are only causing pain to each other.
Therefore, since the living entity is distinct from these planets and from the
material body, against whom should he vent his anger?
54. If we assume that fruitive work is the cause
of happiness and distress, we still are not dealing with the soul. The idea of
material work arises when there is a spiritual actor who is conscious and a
material body that undergoes the transformation of happiness and distress as a
reaction to such work. Since the body has no life, it cannot be the actual
recipient of happiness and distress, nor can the soul, who is ultimately
completely spiritual and aloof from the material body. Since karma thus has no
ultimate basis in either the body or the soul, at whom can one become angry?
55. If we accept time as the cause of happiness
and distress, that experience still cannot apply to the spirit soul, since time
is a manifestation of the Lord’s spiritual potency and the living entities are
also expansions of the Lord’s spiritual potency manifesting through time.
Certainly a fire does not burn its own flames or sparks, nor does the cold harm
its own snowflakes or hail. In fact, the spirit soul is transcendental and
beyond the experience of material happiness and distress. At whom, therefore,
should one become angry?
56. The false ego gives shape to illusory material
existence and thus experiences material happiness and distress. The spirit
soul, however, is transcendental to material nature; he can never actually be
affected by material happiness and distress in any place, under any
circumstance or by the agency of any person. A person who understands this has
nothing whatsoever to fear from the material creation.
57. I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of
nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krsna. This
was approved by the previous acaryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the
Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
58. Lord Sri Krsna said: Thus becoming detached
upon the loss of his property, this sage gave up his moroseness. He left home,
taking sannyasa, and began to travel about the earth. Even when insulted by
foolish rascals he remained unswerved from his duty and chanted this song.
59. No other force besides his own mental
confusion makes the soul experience happiness and distress. His perception of
friends, neutral parties and enemies and the whole material life he builds
around this perception are simply created out of ignorance.
60. My dear Uddhava, fixing your intelligence on
Me, you should thus completely control the mind. This is the essence of the
science of yoga.
61. Anyone who listens to or recites to others
this song of the sannyasi, which presents scientific knowledge of the Absolute,
and who thus meditates upon it with full attention, will never again be
overwhelmed by the dualities of material happiness and distress.
Twenty-Four The Philosophy of Sankhya
1. Lord Sri Krsna said: Now I shall describe to you the
science of Sankhya, which has been perfectly established by ancient
authorities. By understanding this science a person can immediately give up the
illusion of material duality.
2. Originally, during the Krta-yuga, when all men
were very expert in spiritual discrimination, and also previous to that, during
the period of annihilation, the seer existed alone, nondifferent from the seen
3. That one Absolute Truth, remaining free from
material dualities and inaccessible to ordinary speech and mind, divided
Himself into two categories—the material nature and the living entities who are
trying to enjoy the manifestations of that nature.
4. Of these two categories of manifestation, one
is material nature, which embodies both the subtle causes and manifests
products of matter. The other is the conscious living entity, designated as the
5. When material nature was agitated by My glance,
the three material modes—goodness, passion and ignorance—became manifest to
fulfill the pending desires of the conditioned souls.
6. From these modes arose the primeval sutra,
along with the mahat-tattva. By the transformation of the mahat-tattva was
generated the false ego, the cause of the living entities’ bewilderment.
7. False ego, which is the cause of physical
sensation, the senses, and the mind, encompasses both spirit and matter and
manifests, in three varieties: in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.
8. From false ego in the mode of ignorance came
the subtle physical perceptions, from which the gross elements were generated.
From false ego in the mode of passion came the senses, and from false ego in
the mode of goodness arose the eleven demigods.
9. Impelled by Me, all these elements combined to
function in an orderly fashion and together gave birth to the universal egg,
which is My excellent place of residence.
10. I Myself appeared within that egg, which was
floating on the causal water, and from My navel arose the universal lotus, the
birthplace of self-born Brahma.
11. Lord Brahma, the soul of the universe, being
endowed with the mode of passion, performed great austerities by My mercy and
thus created the three planetary divisions, called Bhur, Bhuvar and Svar, along
with their presiding deities.
12. Heaven was established as the residence of the
demigods, Bhuvarloka as that of the ghostly spirits, and the earth system as
the place of human beings and other mortal creatures. Those mystics who strive
for liberation are promoted beyond these three divisions.
13. Lord Brahma created the region below the earth
for the demons and the Naga snakes. In this way the destinations of the three
worlds were arranged as the corresponding reactions for different kinds of work
performed within the three modes of nature.
14. By mystic yoga, great austerities and the
renounced order of life, the pure destinations of Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka
and Satyaloka are attained. But by devotional yoga, one achieves My
15. All results of fruitive work have been
arranged within this world by Me, the supreme creator acting as the force of
time. Thus one sometimes rises up toward the surface of this mighty river of
the modes of nature and sometimes again submerges.
16. Whatever features visibly exist within this
world—small or great, thin or stout—certainly contain both the material nature
and its enjoyer, the spirit soul.
17. Gold and earth are originally existing as
ingredients. From gold one may fashion golden ornaments such as bracelets and
earrings, and from earth one may fashion clay pots and saucers. The original
ingredients gold and earth exist before the products made from them, and when
the products are eventually destroyed, the original ingredients, gold and
earth, will remain. Thus, since the ingredients are present in the beginning
and at the end, they must also be present in the middle phase, taking the form
of a particular product to which we assign for convenience a particular name,
such as bracelet, earring, pot or saucer. We can therefore understand that
since the ingredient cause exists before the creation of a product and after
the product’s destruction, the same ingredient cause must be present during the
manifest phase, supporting the product as the basis of its reality.
18. A material object, itself composed of an
essential ingredient, creates another material object through transformation.
Thus one created object becomes the cause and basis of another created object.
A particular thing may thus be called real in that it possesses the basic
nature of another object that constitutes its origin and final state.
19. The material universe may be considered real,
having nature as its original ingredient and final state. Lord Maha-Visnu is
the resting place of nature, which becomes manifest by the power of time. Thus
nature, the almighty Visnu and time are not different from Me, the Supreme
20. As long as the Supreme Personality of Godhead
continues to glance upon nature, the material world continues to exist,
perpetually manifesting through procreation the great and variegated flow of
21. I am the basis of the universal form, which
displays endless variety through the repeated creation, maintenance and
destruction of the planetary systems. Originally containing within itself all
planets in their dormant state, My universal form manifests the varieties of
created existence by arranging the coordinated combination of the five
22-27. At the time of annihilation, the mortal
body of the living being becomes merged into food. Food merges into the grains,
and the grains merge back into the earth. The earth merges into its subtle
sensation, fragrance. Fragrance merges into water, and water further merges
into its own quality, taste. That taste merges into fire, which merges into form.
Form merges into touch, and touch merges into ether. Ether finally merges into
the sensation of sound. The senses all merge into their own origins, the
presiding demigods, and they, O gentle Uddhava, merge into the controlling
mind, which itself merges into false ego in the mode of goodness. Sound becomes
one with false ego in the mode of ignorance, and all-powerful false ego, the
first of all the physical elements, merges into the total nature. The total
material nature, the primary repository of the three basic modes, dissolves
into the modes. These modes of nature then merge into the unmanifest form of
nature, and that unmanifest form merges into time. Time merges into the Supreme
Lord, present in the form of the omniscient Maha-purusa, the original activator
of all living beings. That origin of all life merges into Me, the unborn
Supreme Soul, who remains alone, established within Himself. It is from Him
that all creation and annihilation are manifested.
28. Just as the rising sun removes the darkness of
the sky, similarly, this scientific knowledge of cosmic annihilation removes
all illusory duality from the mind of a serious student. Even if illusion
somehow enters his heart, it cannot remain there.
29. Thus I, the perfect seer of everything material and
spiritual, have spoken this knowledge of Sankhya, which destroys the illusion
of doubt by scientific analysis of creation and annihilation.
Twenty-Five The Three Modes of Nature and Beyond
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best
among men, please listen as I describe to you how the living entity attains a
particular nature by association with individual material modes.
2-5. Mind and sense control, tolerance,
discrimination, sticking to one’s prescribed duty, truthfulness, mercy, careful
study of the past and future, satisfaction in any condition, generosity,
renunciation of sense gratification, faith in the spiritual master, being
embarrassed at improper action, charity, simplicity, humbleness and
satisfaction within oneself are qualities of the mode of goodness. Material
desire, great endeavor, audacity, dissatisfaction even in gain, false pride,
praying for material advancement, considering oneself different and better than
others, sense gratification, rash eagerness to fight, a fondness for hearing
oneself praised, the tendency to ridicule others, advertising one’s own prowess
and justifying one’s actions by one’s strength are qualities of the mode of
passion. Intolerant anger, stinginess, speaking without scriptural authority,
violent hatred, living as a parasite, hypocrisy, chronic fatigue, quarrel,
lamentation, delusion, unhappiness, depression, sleeping too much, false
expectations, fear and laziness constitute the major qualities of the mode of
ignorance. Now please hear about the combination of these three modes.
6. My dear Uddhava, the combination of all three
modes is present in the mentality of ”I” and ”mine.” The ordinary transactions
of this world, which are carried out through the agency of the mind, the
objects of perception, the senses and the vital airs of the physical body, are
also based on the combination of the modes.
7. When a person devotes himself to religiosity,
economic development and sense gratification, the faith, wealth and sensual
enjoyment obtained by his endeavors display the interaction of the three modes
8. When a man desires sense gratification, being
attached to family life, and when he consequently becomes established in
religious and occupational duties, the combination of the modes of nature is
9. A person exhibiting qualities such as
self-control is understood to be predominantly in the mode of goodness.
Similarly, a passionate person is recognized by his lust, and one in ignorance
is recognized by qualities such as anger.
10. Any person, whether man or woman, who worships
Me with loving devotion, offering his or her prescribed duties unto Me without
material attachment, is understood to be situated in goodness.
11. When a person worships Me by his prescribed
duties with the hope of gaining material benefit, his nature should be
understood to be in passion, and one who worships Me with the desire to commit
violence against others is in ignorance.
12. The three modes of material nature—goodness,
passion and ignorance—influence the living entity but not Me. Manifesting
within his mind, they induce the living entity to become attached to material
bodies and other created objects. In this way the living entity is bound up.
13. When the mode of goodness, which is luminous,
pure and auspicious, predominates over passion and ignorance, a man becomes
endowed with happiness, virtue, knowledge and other good qualities.
14. When the mode of passion, which causes
attachment, separatism and activity, conquers ignorance and goodness, a man
begins to work hard to acquire prestige and fortune. Thus in the mode of
passion he experiences anxiety and struggle.
15. When the mode of ignorance conquers passion
and goodness, it covers one’s consciousness and makes one foolish and dull.
Falling into lamentation and illusion, a person in the mode of ignorance sleeps
excessively, indulges in false hopes, and displays violence toward others.
16. When consciousness becomes clear and the
senses are detached from matter, one experiences fearlessness within the
material body and detachment from the material mind. You should understand this
situation to be the predominance of the mode of goodness, in which one has the
opportunity to realize Me.
17. You should discern the mode of passion by its
symptoms—the distortion of the intelligence because of too much activity, the
inability of the perceiving senses to disentangle themselves from mundane
objects, an unhealthy condition of the working physical organs, and the
unsteady perplexity of the mind.
18. When one’s higher awareness fails and finally
disappears and one is thus unable to concentrate his attention, his mind is
ruined and manifests ignorance and depression. You should understand this
situation to be the predominance of the mode of ignorance.
19. With the increase of the mode of goodness, the
strength of the demigods similarly increases. When passion increases, the
demoniac become strong. And with the rise of ignorance, O Uddhava, the strength
of the most wicked increases.
20. It should be understood that alert wakefulness
comes from the mode of goodness, sleep with dreaming from the mode of passion,
and deep, dreamless sleep from the mode of ignorance. The fourth state of
consciousness pervades these three and is transcendental.
21. Learned persons dedicated to Vedic culture are
elevated by the mode of goodness to higher and higher positions. The mode of
ignorance, on the other hand, forces one to fall headfirst into lower and lower
births. And by the mode of passion one continues transmigrating through human
22. Those who leave this world in the mode of
goodness go to the heavenly planets, those who pass away in the mode of passion
remain in the world of human beings, and those dying in the mode of ignorance
must go to hell. But those who are free from the influence of all modes of
nature come to Me.
23. Work performed as an offering to Me, without
consideration of the fruit, is considered to be in the mode of goodness. Work
performed with a desire to enjoy the results is in the mode of passion. And
work impelled by violence and envy is in the mode of ignorance.
24. Absolute knowledge is in the mode of goodness,
knowledge based on duality is in the mode of passion, and foolish,
materialistic knowledge is in the mode of ignorance. Knowledge based upon Me,
however, is understood to be transcendental.
25. Residence in the forest is in the mode of
goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a
gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place
where I reside is transcendental.
26. A worker free of attachment is in the mode of
goodness, a worker blinded by personal desire is in the mode of passion, and a
worker who has completely forgotten how to tell right from wrong is in the mode
of ignorance. But a worker who has taken shelter of Me is understood to be
transcendental to the modes of nature.
27. Faith directed toward spiritual life is in the
mode of goodness, faith rooted in fruitive work is in the mode of passion,
faith residing in irreligious activities is in the mode of ignorance, but faith
in My devotional service is purely transcendental.
28. Food that is wholesome, pure and obtained
without difficulty is in the mode of goodness, food that gives immediate
pleasure to the senses is in the mode of passion, and food that is unclean and
causes distress is in the mode of ignorance.
29. Happiness derived from the self is in the mode
of goodness, happiness based on sense gratification is in the mode of passion,
and happiness based on delusion and degradation is in the mode of ignorance.
But that happiness found within Me is transcendental.
30. Therefore material substance, place, result of
activity, time, knowledge, work, the performer of work, faith, state of
consciousness, species of life and destination after death are all based on the
three modes of material nature.
31. O best of human beings, all states of material
being are related to the interaction of the enjoying soul and material nature.
Whether seen, heard of or only conceived within the mind, they are without exception
constituted of the modes of nature.
32. O gentle Uddhava, all these different phases
of conditioned life arise from work born of the modes of material nature. The
living entity who conquers these modes, manifested from the mind, can dedicate
himself to Me by the process of devotional service and thus attain pure love
33. Therefore, having achieved this human form of
life, which allows one to develop full knowledge, those who are intelligent
should free themselves from all contamination of the modes of nature and engage
exclusively in loving service to Me.
34. A wise sage, free from all material
association and unbewildered, should subdue his senses and worship Me. He
should conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by engaging himself only with
things in the mode of goodness.
35. Then, being fixed in devotional service, the
sage should also conquer the material mode of goodness by indifference toward
the modes. Thus pacified within his mind, the spirit soul, freed from the modes
of nature, gives up the very cause of his conditioned life and attains Me.
36. Freed from the subtle conditioning of the mind
and from the modes of nature born of material consciousness, the living entity
becomes completely satisfied by experiencing My transcendental form. He no
longer searches for enjoyment in the external energy, nor does he contemplate
or remember such enjoyment within himself.
Twenty-Six The Aila-Gita
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having
achieved this human form of life, which affords one the opportunity to realize
Me, and being situated in My devotional service, one can achieve Me, the
reservoir of all pleasure and the Supreme Soul of all existence, residing
within the heart of every living being.
2. A person fixed in transcendental knowledge is
freed from conditioned life by giving up his false identification with the
products of the material modes of nature. Seeing these products as simply
illusion, he avoids entanglement with the modes of nature, although constantly
among them. Because the modes of nature and their products are simply not real,
he does not accept them.
3. One should never associate with materialists,
those dedicated to gratifying their genitals and bellies. By following them one
falls into the deepest pit of darkness, just like a blind man who follows
another blind man.
4. The following song was sung by the famous
emperor Purarava. When deprived of his wife, Urvasi, he was at first
bewildered, but by controlling his lamentation he began to feel detachment.
5. When she was leaving him, even though he was
naked he ran after her just like a madman and called out in great distress, ”O
my wife, O terrible lady! Please stop!”
6. Although for many years Purarava had enjoyed
sex pleasure in the evening hours, still he was not satisfied by such
insignificant enjoyment. His mind was so attracted to Urvasi that he did not
notice how the nights were coming and going.
7. King Aila said: Alas, just see the extent of my
delusion! This goddess was embracing me and held my neck in her grip. My heart
was so polluted by lust that I had no idea how my life was passing.
8. That lady cheated me so much that I did not
even see the rising or setting of the sun. Alas, for so many years I passed my
days in vain!
9. Alas, although I am supposed to be a mighty
emperor, the crown jewel of all kings on this earth, just see how my
bewilderment has rendered me a toy animal in the hands of women!
10. Although I was a powerful lord with great
opulence, that woman gave me up as if I were no more than an insignificant
blade of grass. And still, naked and without shame, I followed her, crying out
to her like a madman.
11. Where are my so-called great influence, power
and sovereignty? Just like an ass being kicked in the face by his she-ass, I
ran after that woman, who had already given me up.
12. What is the use of a big education or the
practice of austerities and renunciation, and what is the use of studying
religious scriptures, of living in solitude and silence, if, after all that,
one’s mind is stolen by a woman?
13. To hell with me! I am such a fool that I
didn’t even know what was good for me, although I arrogantly thought I was
highly intelligent. Although I achieved the exalted position of a lord, I
allowed myself to be conquered by women as if I were a bullock or a jackass.
14. Even after I had served the so-called nectar
of the lips of Urvasi for many years, my lusty desires kept rising again and
again within my heart and were never satisfied, just like a fire that can never
be extinguished by the oblations of ghee poured into its flames.
15. Who but the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
who lies beyond material perception and is the Lord of self-satisfied sages,
can possibly save my consciousness, which has been stolen by a prostitute?
16. Because I allowed my intelligence to become
dull and because I failed to control my senses, the great confusion in my mind
did not go away, even though Urvasi herself gave me wise counsel with
17. How can I blame her for my trouble when I
myself am ignorant of my real, spiritual nature? I did not control my senses,
and so I am like a person who mistakenly sees a harmless rope as a snake.
18. What is this polluted body anyway—so filthy
and full of bad odors? I was attracted by the fragrance and beauty of a woman’s
body, but what are those so-called attractive features? They are simply a false
covering created by illusion.
19-20. One can never decide whose property the
body actually is. Does it belong to one’s parents, who have given birth to it,
to one’s wife, who gives it pleasure, or to one’s employer, who orders the body
around? Is it the property of the funeral fire or of the dogs and jackals who
may ultimately devour it? Is it the property of the indwelling soul, who
partakes in its happiness and distress, or does the body belong to intimate
friends who encourage and help it? Although a man never definitely ascertains
the proprietor of the body, he becomes most attached to it. The material body
is a polluted material form heading toward a lowly destination, yet when a man
stares at the face of a woman he thinks, “What a good-looking lady! What a
charming nose she’s got, and see her beautiful smile!”
21. What difference is there between ordinary
worms and persons who try to enjoy this material body composed of skin, flesh,
blood, muscle, fat, marrow, bone, stool, urine and pus?
22. Yet even one who theoretically understands the
actual nature of the body should never associate with women or with men
attached to women. After all, the contact of the senses with their objects
inevitably agitates the mind.
23. Because the mind is not disturbed by that
which is neither seen nor heard, the mind of a person who restricts the
material senses will automatically be checked in its material activities and
24. Therefore one should never let his senses
associate freely with women or with men attached to women. Even those who are
highly learned cannot trust the six enemies of the mind; what to speak, then,
of foolish persons like me.
25. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said:
Having thus chanted this song, Maharaja Pururava, eminent among the demigods
and human beings, gave up the position he had achieved in the planet of Urvasi.
His illusion cleansed away by transcendental knowledge, he understood Me to be
the Supreme Soul within his heart and so at last achieved peace.
26. An intelligent person should therefore reject
all bad association and instead take up the association of saintly devotees,
whose words cut off the excessive attachment of one’s mind.
27. My devotees fix their minds on Me and do not
depend upon anything material. They are always peaceful, endowed with equal
vision, and free from possessiveness, false ego, duality and greed.
28. O greatly fortunate Uddhava, in the
association of such saintly devotees there is constant discussion of Me, and
those partaking in this chanting and hearing of My glories are certainly
purified of all sins.
29. Whoever hears, chants and respectfully takes
to heart these topics about Me becomes faithfully dedicated to Me and thus
achieves My devotional service.
30. What more remains to be accomplished for the
perfect devotee after achieving devotional service unto Me, the Supreme
Absolute Truth, whose qualities are innumerable and who am the embodiment of all
31. Just as cold, fear and darkness are eradicated
for one who has approached the sacrificial fire, so dullness, fear and
ignorance are destroyed for one engaged in serving the devotees of the Lord.
32. The devotees of the Lord, peacefully fixed in
absolute knowledge, are the ultimate shelter for those who are repeatedly
rising and falling within the fearful ocean of material life. Such devotees are
just like a strong boat that comes to rescue persons who are at the point of
33. Just as food is the life of all creatures,
just as I am the ultimate shelter for the distressed, and just as religion is
the wealth of those who are passing away from this world, so My devotees are
the only refuge of persons fearful of falling into a miserable condition of
34. My devotees bestow divine eyes, whereas the
sun allows only external sight, and that only when it is risen in the sky. My
devotees are one’s real worshipable deities and real family; they are one’s own
self, and ultimately they are nondifferent from Me.
35. Thus losing his desire to be on the same
planet as Urvasi, Maharaja Pururava began to wander the earth free of all
material association and completely satisfied within the self.
Twenty-Seven Lord Krsna’s Instructions on the Process of Deity Worship
1. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O master of the
devotees, please explain to me the prescribed method of worshiping You in Your
Deity form. What are the qualifications of those devotees who worship the
Deity, on what basis is such worship established, and what is the specific
method of worship?
2. All the great sages repeatedly declare that
such worship brings the greatest benefit possible in human life. This is the
opinion of Narada Muni, the great Vyasadeva and my own spiritual master,
3-4. O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on
this process of Deity worship first emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they
were spoken by the great Lord Brahma to his sons, headed by Bhrgu, and by Lord
Siva to his wife, Parvati. This process is accepted by and appropriate for all
the occupational and spiritual orders of society. Therefore I consider worship
of You in Your Deity form to be the most beneficial of all spiritual practices,
even for women and sudras.
5. O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords
of the universe, please explain to Your devoted servant this means of
liberation from the bondage of work.
6. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, there is no end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for
executing Deity worship; so I shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step
at a time.
7. One should carefully worship Me by selecting
one of the three methods by which I receive sacrifice: Vedic, tantric or mixed.
8. Now please listen faithfully as I explain
exactly how a person who has achieved twice-born status through the relevant
Vedic prescriptions should worship Me with devotion.
9. A twice-born person should worship Me, his
worshipable Lord, without duplicity, offering appropriate paraphernalia in
loving devotion to My Deity form or to a form of Me appearing upon the ground,
in fire, in the sun, in water or within the worshiper’s own heart.
10. One should first purify his body by cleansing
his teeth and bathing. Then one should perform a second cleansing by smearing
the body with earth and chanting both Vedic and tantric mantras.
11. Fixing the mind on Me, one should worship Me
by his various prescribed duties, such as chanting the Gayatri mantra at the
three junctures of the day. Such performances are enjoined by the Vedas and
purify the worshiper of reactions to fruitive activities.
12. The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear
in eight varieties—stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels.
13. The Deity form of the Lord, who is the shelter
of all living entities, can be established in two ways: temporarily or
permanently. But a permanent Deity, having been called, can never be sent away,
My dear Uddhava.
14. The Deity that is temporarily established can
optionally be called forth and sent away, but these two rituals should always
be performed when the Deity is traced upon the ground. Bathing should be done
with water except if the Deity is made of clay, paint or wood, in which cases a
thorough cleansing without water is enjoined.
15. One should worship Me in My Deity forms by
offering the most excellent paraphernalia. But a devotee completely freed from
material desire may worship Me with whatever he is able to obtain, and may even
worship Me within his heart with mental paraphernalia.
16-17. In worshiping the temple Deity, my dear
Uddhava, bathing and decoration are the most pleasing offerings. For the Deity
traced on sacred ground, the process of tattva-vinyasa is most dear. Oblations
of sesame and barley soaked in ghee are the preferred offering to the
sacrificial fire, whereas worship consisting of upasthana and arghya is
preferred for the sun. One should worship Me in the form of water by offering
water itself. Actually, whatever is offered to Me with faith by My devotee—even
if only a little water—is most dear to Me.
18. Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy
Me if they are offered by nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant
offering made by My loving devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice
presentations of fragrant oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered
19. After cleansing himself and collecting all the
paraphernalia, the worshiper should arrange his own seat with blades of kusa
grass whose tips point eastward. He should then sit facing either east or
north, or else, if the Deity is fixed in one place, he should sit directly
facing the Deity.
20. The devotee should sanctify the various parts
of his body by touching them and chanting mantras. He should do the same for My
Deity forms and then with his hands he should clean the Deity of old flowers
and the remnants of previous offerings. He should properly prepare the sacred
pot and the vessel containing water for sprinkling.
21. Then, with the water of that proksaniya vessel he
should sprinkle the area where the Deity is being worshiped, the offerings that
are going to be presented, and his own body. Next he should decorate with
various auspicious substances three vessels filled with water.
22. The worshiper should then purify those three vessels.
He should sanctify the vessel holding water for washing the Lord’s feet by
chanting hrdayaya namah, the vessel containing water for arghya by chanting
sirase svaha, and the vessel containing water for washing the Lord’s mouth by
chanting sikhayai vasat. Also, the Gayatri mantra should be chanted for all
23. The worshiper should meditate upon My subtle
form—which is situated within the worshiper’s own body, now purified by air and
fire—as the source of all living entities. This form of the Lord is experienced
by self-realized sages in the last part of the vibration of the sacred syllable
24. The devotee conceives of the Supersoul, whose
presence surcharges the devotee’s body, in the form corresponding to his realization.
Thus the devotee worships the Lord to his full capacity and becomes fully
absorbed in Him. By touching the various limbs of the Deity and chanting
appropriate mantras, the devotee should invite the Supersoul to join the
Deity’s form, and then the devotee should worship Me.
25-26. The worshiper should first imagine My seat
as decorated with the personified deities of religion, knowledge, renunciation
and opulence and with My nine spiritual energies. He should think of the Lord’s
sitting place as an eight-petaled lotus, effulgent on account of the saffron
filaments within its whorl. Then, following the regulations of both the Vedas
and the tantras, he should offer Me water for washing the feet, water for
washing the mouth, arghya and other items of worship. By this process he
achieves both material enjoyment and liberation.
27. One should worship, in order, the Lord’s
Sudarsana disc, His Pancajanya conchshell, His club, sword, bow, arrows and
plow, His musala weapon, His Kaustubha gem, His flower garland and the Srivatsa
curl of hair on His chest.
28. One should worship the Lord’s associates Nanda and
Sunanda, Garuda, Pracanda and Canda, Mahabala and Bala, and Kumuda and
29. With offerings such as proksana one should worship
Durga, Vinayaka, Vyasa, Visvaksena, the spiritual masters and the various
demigods. All these personalities should be in their proper places facing the
Deity of the Lord.
30-31. The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as
opulently as his assets permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, usira
root, camphor, kunkuma and aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns,
such as the anuvaka known as Svarna-gharma, the Mahapurusa-vidya, the
Purusa-sukta and various songs of the Sama Veda, such as the Rajana and the
32. My devotee should then lovingly decorate Me
with clothing, a brahmana thread, various ornaments, marks of tilaka and
garlands, and he should anoint My body with fragrant oils, all in the
33. The worshiper should faithfully present Me
with water for washing My feet and mouth, fragrant oils, flowers and unbroken
grains, along with incense, lamps and other offerings.
34. Within his means, the devotee should arrange to offer
Me sugar candy, sweet rice, ghee, saskuli [rice-flour cakes], apupa [various
sweet cakes], modaka [steamed rice-flour dumplings filled with sweet coconut
and sugar], samyava [wheat cakes made with ghee and milk and covered with sugar
and spices], yogurt, vegetable soups and other palatable foods.
35. On special occasions, and daily if possible,
the Deity should be massaged with ointment, shown a mirror, offered a
eucalyptus stick for brushing His teeth, bathed with the five kinds of nectar,
offered all kinds of opulent foods, and entertained with singing and dancing.
36. In an arena constructed according to
scriptural injunctions, the devotee should perform a fire sacrifice, utilizing
the sacred belt, the sacrificial pit and the altar mound. When igniting the
sacrificial fire, the devotee should bring it to a blaze with wood piled up by
his own hands.
37. After spreading kusa grass on the ground and
sprinkling it with water, one should perform the anvadhana ritual according to
the prescribed rules. Then one should arrange the items to be offered as
oblations and should sanctify them with water from the sprinkling vessel. The
worshiper should next meditate upon Me within the fire.
38-41. The intelligent devotee should meditate upon that
form of the Lord whose color is like molten gold, whose four arms are resplendent
with the conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower, and who is always peaceful
and dressed in a garment colored like the filaments within a lotus flower. His
helmet, bracelets, belt and fine arm ornaments shine brilliantly. The symbol of
Srivatsa is on His chest, along with the glowing Kaustubha gem and a garland of
forest flowers. The devotee should then worship that Lord by taking pieces of
firewood soaked in the sacrificial ghee and throwing them into the fire. He
should perform the ritual of aghara, presenting into the fire the various items
of oblation drenched in ghee. He should then offer to sixteen demigods,
beginning with Yamaraja, the oblation called svisti-krt, reciting the basic
mantras of each deity and the sixteen-line Purusa-sukta hymn. Pouring one
oblation after each line of the Purusa-sukta, he should utter the particular
mantra naming each deity.
42. Having thus worshiped the Lord in the
sacrificial fire, the devotee should offer his obeisances to the Lord’s
personal associates by bowing down and should then present offerings to them.
He should then chant quietly the mula-mantra of the Deity of the Lord,
remembering the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality, Narayana.
43. Once again he should offer the Deity water for
washing His mouth, and he should give the remnants of the Lord’s food to
Visvaksena. Then he should present the Deity with fragrant perfume for the
mouth and prepared betel nut.
44. Singing along with others, chanting loudly and
dancing, acting out My transcendental pastimes, and hearing and telling stories
about Me, the devotee should for some time absorb himself in such festivity.
45. The devotee should offer homage to the Lord with all
kinds of hymns and prayers, both from the Puranas and from other ancient
scriptures, and also from ordinary traditions. Praying, ”O Lord, please be
merciful to me! ”he should fall down flat like a rod to offer his obeisances.
46. Placing his head at the feet of the Deity, he
should then stand with folded hands before the Lord and pray, ”O my Lord,
please protect me, who am surrendered unto You. I am most fearful of this ocean
of material existence, standing as I am in the mouth of death.”
47. Praying in this way, the devotee should
respectfully place upon his head the remnants I offer to him. And if the
particular Deity is meant to be sent away at the end of the worship, then this
should be performed, the devotee once again placing the light of the Deity’s
presence inside the light of the lotus within his own heart.
48. Whenever one develops faith in Me—in My form
as the Deity or in other bona fide manifestations—one should worship Me in that
form. I certainly exist both within all created beings and also separately in
My original form, since I am the Supreme Soul of all.
49. By worshiping Me through the various methods
prescribed in the Vedas and tantras, one will gain from Me his desired
perfection in both this life and the next.
50. The devotee should more fully establish My
Deity by solidly constructing a temple, along with beautiful gardens. These
gardens should be set aside to provide flowers for the regular daily worship,
special Deity processions and holiday observances.
51. One who offers the Deity gifts of land,
markets, cities and villages so that the regular daily worship and special
festivals of the Deity may go on continually will achieve opulence equal to My
52. By installing the Deity of the Lord one
becomes king of the entire earth, by building a temple for the Lord one becomes
ruler of the three worlds, by worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the
planet of Lord Brahma, and by performing all three of these activities one
achieves a transcendental form like My own.
53. But one who simply engages in devotional
service with no consideration of fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever
worships Me according to the process I have described will ultimately attain
pure devotional service unto Me.
54. Anyone who steals the property of the demigods
or the brahmanas, whether originally given to them by himself or someone else, must
live as a worm in stool for one hundred million years.
55. Not only the performer of the theft but also
anyone who assists him, instigates the crime, or simply approves of it must
also share the reaction in the next life. According to their degree of participation,
they each must suffer a proportionate consequence.
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One
should neither praise nor criticize the conditioned nature and activities of
other persons. Rather, one should see this world as simply the combination of
material nature and the enjoying souls, all based on the one Absolute Truth.
2. Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the
qualities and behavior of others will quickly become deviated from his own best
interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities.
3. Just as the embodied spirit soul loses external
consciousness when his senses are overcome by the illusion of dreaming or the
deathlike state of deep sleep, so a person experiencing material duality must encounter
illusion and death.
4. That which is expressed by material words or
meditated upon by the material mind is not ultimate truth. What, therefore, is
actually good or bad within this insubstantial world of duality, and how can
the extent of such good and bad be measured?
5. Although shadows, echoes and mirages are only
illusory reflections of real things, such reflections do cause a semblance of
meaningful or comprehensible perception. In the same way, although the
identification of the conditioned soul with the material body, mind and ego is
illusory, this identification generates fear within him even up to the moment
6-7. The Supersoul alone is the ultimate
controller and creator of this world, and thus He alone is also the created.
Similarly, the Soul of all existence Himself both maintains and is maintained,
withdraws and is withdrawn. No other entity can be properly ascertained as
separate from Him, the Supreme Soul, who nonetheless is distinct from
everything and everyone else. The appearance of the threefold material nature,
which is perceived within Him, has no actual basis. Rather, you should
understand that this material nature, composed of the three modes, is simply
the product of His illusory potency.
8. One who has properly understood the process of
becoming firmly fixed in theoretical and realized knowledge, as described
herein by Me, does not indulge in material criticism or praise. Like the sun,
he wanders freely throughout this world.
9. By direct perception, logical deduction,
scriptural testimony and personal realization, one should know that this world
has a beginning and an end and so is not the ultimate reality. Thus one should
live in this world without attachment.
10. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, it is not
possible for this material existence to be the experience of either the soul,
who is the seer, or of the body, which is the seen object. On the one hand, the
spirit soul is innately endowed with perfect knowledge, and on the other hand,
the material body is not a conscious, living entity. To whom, then, does this
experience of material existence pertain?
11. The spirit soul is inexhaustible,
transcendental, pure, self-luminous and never covered by anything material. It
is like fire. But the nonliving material body, like firewood, is dull and
unaware. So in this world, who is it that actually undergoes the experience of
12. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: As
long as the foolish spirit soul remains attracted to the material body, senses
and vital force, his material existence continues to flourish, although it is
13. Actually, the living entity is transcendental
to material existence. But because of his mentality of lording it over material
nature, his material existential condition does not cease, and, just as in a
dream, he is affected by all sorts of disadvantages.
14. Although while dreaming a person experiences
many undesirable things, upon awakening he is no longer confused by the dream
15. Lamentation, elation, fear, anger, greed,
confusion and hankering, as well as birth and death, are experiences of the
false ego and not of the pure soul.
16. The living entity who falsely identifies with
his body, senses, life air and mind, and who dwells within these coverings,
assumes the form of his own materially conditioned qualities and work. He is
designated variously in relation to the total material energy, and thus, under
the strict control of supreme time, he is forced to run here and there within
17. Although the false ego has no factual basis,
it is perceived in many forms—as the functions of the mind, speech, life air
and bodily faculties. But with the sword of transcendental knowledge, sharpened
by worship of a bona fide spiritual master, a sober sage will cut off this
false identification and live in this world free from all material attachment.
18. Real spiritual knowledge is based on the
discrimination of spirit from matter, and it is cultivated by scriptural
evidence, austerity, direct perception, reception of the Puranas’ historical
narrations, and logical inference. The Absolute Truth, which alone was present
before the creation of the universe and which alone will remain after its
destruction, is also the time factor and the ultimate cause. Even in the middle
stage of this creation’s existence, the Absolute Truth alone is the actual
19. Gold alone is present before its manufacture
into gold products, the gold alone remains after the products’ destruction, and
the gold alone is the essential reality while it is being utilized under
various designations. Similarly, I alone exist before the creation of this
universe, after its destruction and during its maintenance.
20. The material mind manifests in three phases of
consciousness—wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep—which are products of the three
modes of nature. The mind further appears in three different roles—the
perceiver, the perceived and the regulator of perception. Thus the mind is
manifested variously throughout these threefold designations. But it is the
fourth factor, existing separately from all this, that alone constitutes the
21. That which did not exist in the past and will
not exist in the future also has no existence of its own for the period of its
duration, but is only a superficial designation. In My opinion, whatever is
created and revealed by something else is ultimately only that other thing.
22. Although thus not existing in reality, this
manifestation of transformations created from the mode of passion appears real
because the self-manifested, self-luminous Absolute Truth exhibits Himself in
the form of the material variety of the senses, the sense objects, the mind and
the elements of physical nature.
23. Thus clearly understanding by discriminating
logic the unique position of the Absolute Truth, one should expertly refute
one’s misidentification with matter and cut to pieces all doubts about the
identity of the self. Becoming satisfied in the soul’s natural ecstasy, one
should desist from all lusty engagements of the material senses.
24. The material body made of earth is not the
true self; nor are the senses, their presiding demigods or the air of life; nor
is the external air, water or fire or one’s mind. All these are simply matter.
Similarly, neither one’s intelligence, material consciousness nor ego, nor the
elements of ether or earth, nor the objects of sense perception, nor even the
primeval state of material equilibrium can be considered the actual identity of
25. For one who has properly realized My personal
identity as the Supreme Godhead, what credit is there if his senses—mere
products of the material modes—are perfectly concentrated in meditation? And on
the other hand, what blame is incurred if his senses happen to become agitated?
Indeed, what does it mean to the sun if the clouds come and go?
26. The sky may display the various qualities of
the air, fire, water and earth that pass through it, as well as such qualities
as heat and cold, which continually come and go with the seasons. Yet the sky
is never entangled with any of these qualities. Similarly, the Supreme Absolute
Truth is never entangled with the contaminations of goodness, passion and
ignorance, which cause the material transformations of the false ego.
27. Nevertheless, until by firmly practicing
devotional service to Me one has completely eliminated from his mind all
contamination of material passion, one must very carefully avoid associating
with the material modes, which are produced by My illusory energy.
28. Just as an improperly treated disease recurs
and gives repeated distress to the patient, the mind that is not completely
purified of its perverted tendencies will remain attached to material things
and repeatedly torment the imperfect yogi.
29. Sometimes the progress of imperfect
transcendentalists is checked by attachment to family members, disciples or
others, who are sent by envious demigods for that purpose. But on the strength
of their accumulated advancement, such imperfect transcendentalists will resume
their practice of yoga in the next life. They will never again be trapped in
the network of fruitive work.
30. An ordinary living entity performs material
work and is transformed by the reaction to such work. Thus he is driven by
various desires to continue working fruitively up to the very moment of his
death. A wise person, however, having experienced his own constitutional bliss,
gives up all material desires and does not engage in fruitive work.
31. The wise man, whose consciousness is fixed in
the self, does not even notice his own bodily activities. While standing,
sitting, walking, lying down, urinating, eating or performing other bodily
functions, he understands that the body is acting according to its own nature.
32. Although a self-realized soul may sometimes
see an impure object or activity, he does not accept it as real. By logically
understanding impure sense objects to be based on illusory material duality,
the intelligent person sees them to be contrary to and distinct from reality,
in the same way that a man awakening from sleep views his fading dream.
33. Material nescience, which expands into many
varieties by the activities of the modes of nature, is wrongly accepted by the
conditioned soul to be identical with the self. But through the cultivation of
spiritual knowledge, My dear Uddhava, this same nescience fades away at the
time of liberation. The eternal self, on the other hand, is never assumed and
34. When the sun rises it destroys the darkness
covering men’s eyes, but it does not create the objects they then see before
them, which in fact were existing all along. Similarly, potent and factual
realization of Me will destroy the darkness covering a person’s true
35. The Supreme Lord is self-luminous, unborn and
immeasurable. He is pure transcendental consciousness and perceives everything.
One without a second, He is realized only after ordinary words cease. By Him
the power of speech and the life airs are set into motion.
36. Whatever apparent duality is perceived in the
self is simply the confusion of the mind. Indeed, such supposed duality has no
basis to rest upon apart from one’s own soul.
37. The duality of the five material elements is
perceived only in terms of names and forms. Those who say this duality is real
are pseudoscholars vainly proposing fanciful theories without basis in fact.
38. The physical body of the endeavoring yogi who
is not yet mature in his practice may sometimes be overcome by various
disturbances. Therefore the following process is recommended.
39. Some of these obstructions may be counteracted
by yogic meditation or by sitting postures, practiced together with
concentration on controlled breathing, and others may be counteracted by
special austerities, mantras or medicinal herbs.
40. These inauspicious disturbances can be
gradually removed by constant remembrance of Me, by congregational hearing and
chanting of My holy names, or by following in the footsteps of the great
masters of yoga.
41. By various methods, some yogis free the body
from disease and old age and keep it perpetually youthful. Thus they engage in
yoga for the purpose of achieving material mystic perfections.
42. This mystic bodily perfection is not valued
very highly by those expert in transcendental knowledge. Indeed, they consider
endeavor for such perfection useless, since the soul, like a tree, is
permanent, but the body, like a tree’s fruit, is subject to destruction.
43. Although the physical body may be improved by
various processes of yoga, an intelligent person who has dedicated his life to
Me does not place his faith in the prospect of perfecting his physical body
through yoga, and in fact he gives up such procedures.
44. The yogi who has taken shelter of Me remains
free from hankering because he experiences the happiness of the soul within.
Thus while executing this process of yoga, he is never defeated by obstacles.
1. Sri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Acyuta, I fear
that the method of yoga described by You is very difficult for one who cannot
control his mind. Therefore please explain to me in simple terms how someone
can more easily execute it.
2. O lotus-eyed Lord, generally those yogis who
try to steady the mind experience frustration because of their inability to
perfect the state of trance. Thus they weary in their attempt to bring the mind
3. Therefore, O lotus-eyed Lord of the universe,
swanlike men happily take shelter of Your lotus feet, the source of all
transcendental ecstasy. But those who take pride in their accomplishments in
yoga and karma fail to take shelter of You and are defeated by Your illusory
4. My dear infallible Lord, it is not very
astonishing that You intimately approach Your servants who have taken exclusive
shelter of You. After all, during Your appearance as Lord Ramacandra, even
while great demigods like Brahma were vying to place the effulgent tips of
their helmets upon the cushion where Your lotus feet rested, You displayed
special affection for monkeys such as Hanuman because they had taken exclusive
shelter of You.
5. Who, then, could dare reject You, the very
Soul, the most dear object of worship, and the Supreme Lord of all—You who give
all possible perfections to the devotees who take shelter of You? Who could be
so ungrateful, knowing the benefits You bestow? Who would reject You and accept
something for the sake of material enjoyment, which simply leads to
forgetfulness of You? And what lack is there for us who are engaged in the
service of the dust of Your lotus feet?
6. O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in
spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if
they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahma, for You appear in two
features—externally as the acarya and internally as the Supersoul—to deliver
the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You.
7. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus questioned by the
most affectionate Uddhava, Lord Krsna, the supreme controller of all
controllers, who takes the entire universe as His plaything and assumes the
three forms of Brahma, Visnu and Siva, began to reply, lovingly displaying His
8. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I shall
describe to you the principles of devotion to Me, by executing which a mortal
human being will conquer unconquerable death.
9. Always remembering Me, one
should perform all his duties for Me without becoming impetuous. With mind and
intelligence offered to Me, one should fix his mind in attraction to My
10. One should take shelter of holy places where
My saintly devotees reside, and one should be guided by the exemplary
activities of My devotees, who appear among the demigods, demons and human
11. Either alone or in public gatherings, with
singing, dancing and other exhibitions of royal opulence, one should arrange to
celebrate those holy days, ceremonies and festivals set aside specially for My
12. With a pure heart one should see Me, the
Supreme Soul within all beings and also within oneself, to be both unblemished
by anything material and also present everywhere, both externally and
internally, just like the omnipresent sky.
13-14. O brilliant Uddhava, one who thus views all
living entities with the idea that I am present within each of them, and who by
taking shelter of this divine knowledge offers due respect to everyone, is
considered actually wise. Such a man sees equally the brahmana and the
outcaste, the thief and the charitable promoter of brahminical culture, the sun
and the tiny sparks of fire, the gentle and the cruel.
15. For him who constantly meditates upon My
presence within all persons, the bad tendencies of rivalry, envy and
abusiveness, along with false ego, are very quickly destroyed.
16. Disregarding the ridicule of one’s companions, one
should give up the bodily conception and its accompanying embarrassment. One
should offer obeisances before all—even the dogs, outcastes, cows and
asses—falling flat upon the ground like a rod.
17. Until one has fully developed the ability to
see Me within all living beings, one must continue to worship Me by this
process with the activities of his speech, mind and body.
18. By such transcendental knowledge of the
all-pervading Personality of Godhead, one is able to see the Absolute Truth
everywhere. Freed thus from all doubts, one gives up fruitive activities.
19. Indeed, I consider this process—using one’s
mind, words and bodily functions for realizing Me within all living beings—to
be the best possible method of spiritual enlightenment.
20. My dear Uddhava, because I have personally
established it, this process of devotional service unto Me is transcendental
and free from any material motivation. Certainly a devotee never suffers even
the slightest loss by adopting this process.
21. O Uddhava, greatest of saints, in a dangerous
situation an ordinary person cries, becomes fearful and laments, although such
useless emotions do not change the situation. But activities offered to Me
without personal motivation, even if they are externally useless, amount to the
actual process of religion.
22. This process is the supreme intelligence of
the intelligent and the cleverness of the most clever, for by following it one
can in this very life make use of the temporary and unreal to achieve Me, the
23. Thus have I related to you—both in brief and
in detail—a complete survey of the science of the Absolute Truth. Even for the
demigods, this science is very difficult to comprehend.
24. I have repeatedly spoken this knowledge to you
with clear reasoning. Anyone who properly understands it will become free from
all doubts and attain liberation.
25. Anyone who fixes his attention on these clear
answers to your questions will attain to the eternal, confidential goal of the
Vedas—the Supreme Absolute Truth.
26. One who liberally disseminates this knowledge
among My devotees is the bestower of the Absolute Truth, and to him I give My
very own self.
27. He who loudly recites this supreme knowledge,
which is the most lucid and purifying, becomes purified day by day, for he
reveals Me to others with the lamp of transcendental knowledge.
28. Anyone who regularly listens to this knowledge
with faith and attention, all the while engaging in My pure devotional service,
will never become bound by the reactions of material work.
29. My dear friend Uddhava, have you now
completely understood this transcendental knowledge? Are the confusion and
lamentation that arose in your mind now dispelled?
30. You should not share this instruction with
anyone who is hypocritical, atheistic or dishonest, or with anyone who will not
listen faithfully, who is not a devotee, or who is simply not humble.
31. This knowledge should be taught to one who is
free from these bad qualities, who is dedicated to the welfare of the brahmanas,
and who is kindly disposed, saintly and pure. And if common workers and women
are found to have devotion for the Supreme Lord, they are also to be accepted
as qualified hearers.
32. When an inquisitive person comes to understand
this knowledge, he has nothing further to know. After all, one who has drunk
the most palatable nectar cannot remain thirsty.
33. Through analytic knowledge, ritualistic work,
mystic yoga, mundane business and political rule, people seek to advance in
religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. But
because you are My devotee, whatever men can accomplish in these multifarious
ways you will very easily find within Me.
34. A person who gives up all fruitive activities
and offers himself entirely unto Me, eagerly desiring to render service unto
Me, achieves liberation from birth and death and is promoted to the status of
sharing My own opulences.
35. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing these words
spoken by Lord Krsna, and having thus been shown the entire path of yoga,
Uddhava folded his hands to offer obeisances. But his throat choked up with
love and his eyes overflowed with tears; so he could say nothing.
36. Steadying his mind, which had become
overwhelmed with love, Uddhava felt extremely grateful to Lord Krsna, the
greatest hero of the Yadu dynasty. My dear King Pariksit, Uddhava bowed down to
touch the Lord’s lotus feet with his head and then spoke with folded hands.
37. Sri Uddhava said: O unborn, primeval Lord,
although I had fallen into the great darkness of illusion, my ignorance has now
been dispelled by Your merciful association. Indeed, how can cold, darkness and
fear exert their power over one who has approached the brilliant sun?
38. In return for my insignificant surrender, You
have mercifully bestowed upon me, Your servant, the torchlight of
transcendental knowledge. Therefore, what devotee of Yours who has any
gratitude could ever give up Your lotus feet and take shelter of another
39. The firmly binding rope of my affection for the families
of the Dasarhas, Vrsnis, Andhakas and Satvatas—a rope You originally cast over
me by Your illusory energy for the purpose of developing Your creation—is now
cut off by the weapon of transcendental knowledge of the self.
40. Obeisances unto You, O greatest of yogis.
Please instruct me, who am surrendered unto You, how I may have undeviating
attachment to Your lotus feet.
41-44. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, take My order and go to My asrama called Badarika. Purify
yourself by both touching and also bathing in the holy waters there, which have
emanated from My lotus feet. Rid yourself of all sinful reactions with the
sight of the sacred Alakananda River. Dress yourself in bark and eat whatever
is naturally available in the forest. Thus you should remain content and free
from desire, tolerant of all dualities, good-natured, self-controlled, peaceful
and endowed with transcendental knowledge and realization. With fixed
attention, meditate constantly upon these instructions I have imparted to you
and assimilate their essence. Fix your words and thoughts upon Me, and always
endeavor to increase your realization of My transcendental qualities. In this
way you will cross beyond the destinations of the three modes of nature and
finally come back to Me.
45. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus addressed by Lord
Krsna, whose intelligence destroys all the suffering of material life, Sri
Uddhava circumambulated the Lord and then fell down, placing his head upon the
Lord’s feet. Although Uddhava was free from the influence of all material
dualities, his heart was breaking, and at this time of departure he drenched
the Lord’s lotus feet with his tears.
46. Greatly fearing separation from Him for whom
he felt such indestructible affection, Uddhava was distraught, and he could not
give up the Lord’s company. Finally, feeling great pain, he bowed down to the
Lord again and again, placed the slippers of his master upon his head, and
47. Thereupon, placing the Lord deeply within his
heart, the great devotee Uddhava went to Badarikasrama. By engaging there in
austerities, he attained to the Lord’s personal abode, which had been described
to him by the only friend of the universe, Lord Krsna Himself.
48. Thus Lord Krsna, whose lotus feet are served
by all great yoga masters, spoke to His devotee this nectarean knowledge, which
comprises the entire ocean of spiritual bliss. Anyone within this universe who
receives this narration with great faith is assured of liberation.
49. I offer my obeisances to that Supreme
Personality of Godhead, the original and greatest of all beings, Lord Sri
Krsna. He is the author of the Vedas, and just to destroy His devotees’ fear of
material existence, like a bee He has collected this nectarean essence of all
knowledge and self-realization. Thus He has awarded to His many devotees this
nectar from the ocean of bliss, and by His mercy they have drunk it.
OM TAT SAT
THE END OF UDDHAVA GITA