720529 - Lecture BG Introduction - Los Angeles

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Introduction to Bhagavad-gītā
on May 29 1972, Los Angeles




720529BG-LOS ANGELES - May 29, 1972

(note: this transcription has been made from ITV subtitles from the video. No other audio source is available at this time).


So, I shall speak on Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. The purpose of saying Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, explain, that there are many editions of the Bhagavad-gītā. They are interpreted in their own way, giving up the spirit of Bhagavad-gītā. So this particular name, 'As It Is' significant, perhaps there is no other edition of Bhagavad-gītā where it is written 'as it is.' In this connection, Professor Dimock of Chicago University has written a foreword, and he very much appreciates the theme. He says, "Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gita from this point of view, and that is legitimate." He accepts that Bhagavad-gītā As It Is is legitimate presentation of the great book of knowledge. He also says, "More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Kṛṣṇa devotee interprets his own texts." So, about Kṛṣṇa... The devotees actually can interpret about Kṛṣṇa, book. Others, if they are not devotee, how they can interpret on Kṛṣṇa? Just like a member of a family can say very nicely about the head of the family; how outsiders can say about the family? That is not possible. Similarly, about Kṛṣṇa, a Kṛṣṇa devotee can speak nicely. Not others. Others have no right to speak about Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa also, admits Arjuna as the right student of Bhagavad-gītā. In the beginning, Kṛṣṇa says that, "I have selected you as my student because you are my friend and you are my devotee." So, in other words, we can understand that Bhagavad-gītā can be understood, who has intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa. This is, Kṛṣṇa says, "You are my dear friend." That he has intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Without becoming a devotee, nobody can be intimately related with Kṛṣṇa. These are the factors to be understood.

So, this Bhagavad-gītā was spoken five thousand years ago to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra. The science of understanding God is there in this Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is the science of God. Everything has got some science, scientific book, to understand that particular subject matter. Similarly, there are different types of concepts of God. Generally, they take it as an idea but we don't take it as idea. We take God as concrete fact. Just like you are seeing me, I am seeing you. This is concrete fact. Similarly, a God can be seen by you, and God is already seeing you. There is no doubt about it. But you can see also God. That process we have to understand, how to see God. That process is mentioned in all the Vedic scriptures. That is called bhakti-yoga, that process. Kṛṣṇa also says in the Bhagavad-gītā, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ (BG 18.55). If anyone wants to know Kṛṣṇa, what he is, then one has to accept the process of bhakti-yoga. There are different types of yogas. Yoga means linking oneself with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, speculating yoga will not help us. You have to take concrete yoga. Concrete yoga is Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

So, we have given our introduction of the Bhagavad-gītā that one has to understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is directed in the Bhagavad-gītā. There is direction. How to read Bhagavad-gītā. People are reading Bhagavad-gītā without taking the direction. This we have explained in the manner that if you take some medicine, there is some direction on the bottle, that this is the dose. You take so many drops so many times. That is direction. Similarly, for understanding Bhagavad-gītā actually, you have to accept the direction as given by the author himself, Kṛṣṇa. He says that, long long ago, some forty millions of years ago, He first spoke this Bhagavad-gītā to the Sun-God. And Sun-God transmitted the knowledge to his son, Manu. And Manu transmitted the knowledge to his son, Iksvaku.

imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
(BG 4.1)

So, the raja-rsis, they are all kings. Manu is king, Maharaja Iskvaku is also king, and the Sun-God Vivasvan, he is also king. He is the king of the Sun planet. And his grandson Iskvaku became the king of this planet, Maharaja Iskvaku. And in this dynasty, which is known as Raghu-vamsa, Lord Ramachandra appeared. This is very old monarchical family. Iskvaku vamsa, Raghu vamsa. Vamsa means family. So formerly, the kings, the head of the administrative executive, they used to learn the thesis or the injunction given by God. So according to Bhagavad-gītā, only a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, a person who is intimately related with Kṛṣṇa, he can understand what is Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa... Arjuna, after hearing Bhagavad-gītā from Kṛṣṇa, he addressed him as:

paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma
pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam
ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
(BG 10.12)

He understood Kṛṣṇa as Parambrahman. Parambrahman means the Supreme Truth. Absolute Truth, Parambrahman. Brahman, the living entities, they are also called brahman, but living entities are not Parambrahman. Parambrahman means Supreme. So Arjuna addressed him as Parambrahman, and Paramdhāman. Paramdhāman means the resting place of everything. Everything is resting on the energy of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he is called Paramdhāman. Just like all these planets are resting on the sunshine. Sunshine is the energy of the Sun globe. Similarly, this material energy is Kṛṣṇa's energy. And everything is, material or spiritual, everything is resting on Kṛṣṇa's energy. The resting place is Kṛṣṇa's energy. In another place, Kṛṣṇa says:

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
(BG 9.4)

Kṛṣṇa says that, "In my impersonal feature, I am spread everywhere." All pervading. God is all pervading by his impersonal feature, namely his energy. The example is given, just like heat is the energy of fire. The fire spreads by it's heat and light. The fire is one place, but the heat and light is spreading. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa is in his own abode, which is called Goloka Vrndavana. There is a planet in the spiritual world, the topmost planet. As the topmost planet within this universe is called Brahmaloka, similarly, in the spiritual sky, there is the topmost planet which is called Goloka Vrndavana. That is Kṛṣṇa's place. Kṛṣṇa is there. But He can expand himself by his different types of energies and by his different types of incarnations. It does not mean that when Kṛṣṇa was present on this planet, Kṛṣṇa was absent in Goloka Vrndavana. No. It is not like that. Just like I am now present here, I am absent in my apartment. Kṛṣṇa is not like that. Kṛṣṇa can be present everywhere; at the same time, he can remain in his own abode. That is described in the Brahma-samhita: goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ (BS 5.37). Although he is in his abode, which is known as Goloka Vrndavana, he can expand himself everyone... Everywhere. And actually he has done it. So we must know how he has expanded. In which way He is in contact with us. That is the science. In Bhagavad-gītā, these things are explained.

So Kṛṣṇa is addressed here as Paramdhāman. The resting place of everything. Everything is resting. Kṛṣṇa also says, mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni (BG 9.4). Everything, material manifestations, is resting on him. Na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ - but I am not there. These contradictory things. Everything is resting on him, but I am not there. But it is not contradictory. It is very simple to understand. Just like, all the planets, they're resting on sunshine. But the Sun is far away from the planets. Some millions of miles away.. But resting on the sunshine means resting on the Sun. That's a fact. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ (BG 9.4). Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ (BG 10.12)... Pavitram means uncontaminated. When we come to this material world, we are also spirit soul, brahman, not exactly as good as Parambrahman, Kṛṣṇa, but still, because we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, we are also brahman. Pavitram. Pavitram means pure. Just like the particle of gold is also gold. If gold is pure, the particle also, pure.

So Kṛṣṇa comes to this world, we also come to this world. But we are contaminated. But Kṛṣṇa is not contaminated. The example is, just like in the prison house, there are many prisoners, but if the king, or some king's representative, minister, goes into the prison, to inspect things, how things are going on, it does not mean that the king or his minister is also a prisoner. He is not prisoner. But we, living entities, we have been entangled with these material modes of nature. But Kṛṣṇa never becomes involved in these modes of material nature. Therefore he is called pavitram paramam. Absolute pure. Bhavan, bhavan means You, Your Lordship. And purusam. Purusam he is addressed as a person. God is never imperson. God is person. Exactly a person like you and me. And when He appeared on this planet, exactly like a human being, two hands, two legs, walking like human being, talking, behaving like human being, everything. So God is Purusam. Purusam means man. I mean to say, male. Not female. Male. Without becoming male one cannot be enjoyer. In another place it is stated that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Enjoyer. As soon as the word is used, enjoyer, he must be purusam, male. So that is described. Arjuna understood him. He is a purusam. Param Purusam, the Supreme Person. In another place Kṛṣṇa is described as Purusottam - the best of the males. So, purusam sasvatam. Sasvatam means eternal. The Mayavadi philosopher, they think that the Absolute Truth is impersonal.

mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha
yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ
yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu
(BG 7.1)

Arjuna is being advised by Kṛṣṇa, "What is God?" The conception of God, however we may speculate, it cannot be perfect, because God is unlimited, all-pervading. We are limited. So actually unless God Himself reveals Himself to the devotee, it is not possible to understand what is God. Therefore, God Himself, Kṛṣṇa, is speaking about Himself. The processes is mayy āsakta-manāḥ. One has to increase attachment for Kṛṣṇa. We have got now attachment for material things, and we have to divert that. Our position is that we must have attachment for something. That is fact. So now, on the bodily concept of life, we have got attachment to this body, and anything pertaining to this body, we have got attachment. Just like I have got attachment for my wife. Why? There are millions and thousands of women, beautiful women. I have no attachment for them. But my attachment for my wife, even though she may not be very beautiful, is a fact. Why? Because, due to her relation with my body. Similarly, I have got attachment for my country, I have got attachment for my home, my, so many things, because I am thinking I am this body, and anything in connection with this body, I am thinking mine. So at the present, my conception of 'I' and 'My' is wrong. Therefore, if we divert that attachment to Kṛṣṇa, then we can understand Kṛṣṇa, or God, perfectly well. Kṛṣṇa is just like Sun. When there is sunshine, you can see the Sun and yourself also. Without sunshine, in the darkness of night, neither you can see the sun nor yourself. Therefore the process is mayy āsakta-manāḥ, developing Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ.

This is the yoga. Yoga means connected. Yogaṁ yuñjan... That yoga should be practiced in connection with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore he said, mad asraya. Mad means me, or mine. Asraya means taking shelter. So either you take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa's representative. Of course it is not possible for us to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, because Kṛṣṇa is not present at the present moment. But His representative is there. So one has to take shelter of His representative. And practice bhakti-yoga, concentrating his mind on Kṛṣṇa. This is called Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. One has to take shelter of a person whose life is devoted to Kṛṣṇa, and under his direction, we have to practice how to develop Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, and then Kṛṣṇa will be revealed. The revelation, proportionate revelation is proportionate advancement in seeing Kṛṣṇa directly.