Bhagavad-Gita: Chapter 15, Text 15
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭomattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ cavedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyovedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
Translation: I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.
In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined.Veda means knowledge, and anta means the end.
Śrīla Vyāsadeva, a powerful incarnation of Narayana, compiled the Vedānta-sutra, and in order to protect it from unauthorized commentaries, he personally composed Srimad-Bhagavatam on the instruction of his Spiritual master, Nārada Muni (CC Ādi 7.106 mentions the same). The commentation on the Vedanta-sutra in Srimad Bhagavatam gives us a clear understanding about our relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, what are the different process of devotional service by which we can approach Him, and at the end how one can attain the supreme goal, The Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita 3.13 and 7.15.
This Verse also talks about that the Supreme Lord is situated as Paramātmā in everyone’s heart, and it is from Him that all activities are initiated knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness. This is mentioned in Mundaka Upanishad (3.1.2) and in Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4.7) as well.
samāne vṛkṣe puruṣo nimagno anīśayā śocati muhyamānaḥ juṣṭaṃ yadā paśyaty anyam īśaṃ asya mahimānam iti vītaśokaḥ
Translation: On the same tree, the individual self (Jiva), deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he recognizes the other as the Lord worshipped by all and His glory, he becomes free from grief.
This can be compared to two birds sitting on a same tree. However, they do not have the same experience of the tree. The individual self, the jiva, tastes the fruit of the tree in the form of the inner and outer senses, and undergoes various experiences and according to the quality of that experience he is either happy or unhappy, contented, discontented, sometimes laughing or weeping, sometimes immersed in thought and bewildered by his own helplessness–and so forth.
The Supreme Self, on the other hand, neither taste sweet or bitter experiences, he calmly observes since he is an indweller of all and is aware of all that the individual spirit experiences, yet, but he is not affected or conditioned by such experiences. Some way or the other the Jiva turns to the Lord friend and knows his glories and then the suffering bird is free from all anxiety’s.
We have seen in Bhagavat Gita about how Arjuna is bewildered in the battle field thinking he has to kill everyone and experiences so much anxiety and distress hence he surrenders himself at the lotus feet of Krishna. Then Krishna explains what is the position of Arjuna, the position of the super soul, what is his duty, so when he knows everything clearly, he is satisfied and hence starts to perform his duties. So, the lord is the witness to all our activities. He is the one who executes, because he knows our desire and can make us very responsible to do the actions
There are 3 important aspects in the second line of the verse. Smṛtir, Jñānam and Apohanaṁ.Apohananammeans forgetfulness. The living entity forgets everything about his past life. This is really a blessing from Krishna. As soon as we end our life, we forget this life. What will be our situation if we were able to remember all our past lives: – our loved ones, our desires, our attachments we will not have any peace in this life, will be completely disturbed and will not be able to do any of the devotional activities peacefully. So, forgetfulness is actually the mercy of the Supreme Lord so that in this birth we can continue our devotional service to him and attain liberation otherwise we will be stuck in this material world full of anxieties.
Next is Smrtir meaning remembrance. A Jiva will start its work from where he left off in the past life’s. The transcendental endeavors, or the practice of yoga, never go in vain. By the grace of the Lord the transcendentalist gets repeated opportunities for complete perfection in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So, if in this birth if we are not able to complete the devotional service we need not worry. Best example is King Bharatha, who took his third birth in the family of a good Brahmana. So, if we see people chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, coming to attend the Bhagavad Gita lectures in the temple and doing various devotional service they are not ordinary souls. They started from where they left from their previous life and got the opportunity again in this life due to the mercy of the Lord.
In Bhagavat Gita 6.43 Krishna says
tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁlabhate paurva-dehikamyatate ca tato bhūyaḥsaṁsiddhau kuru-nandana
Translation: On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
Jñānam is required to make further progress in our life. The living entity forgets everything of his past life, but he has to act according to the direction of the Supreme Lord. So, the lord gives him the knowledge. Some examples are: kids or the cubs of animals drinking milk from their mother immediately they are born, birds hatching their eggs by sitting on them. No one taught them how to do this. So, the knowledge and intelligence to do the work comes from Krishna only. When we do some actions, we are not entitled to enjoy the fruits of our action only the Lord can or it is considered to be a sin because the knowledge and intelligence to do the work comes from Krsna only and with his mercy only we are able to do the work.
Even though living entity enjoy or suffer in this material world based on their past deeds, the Lord is so merciful that he gives them the opportunity to understand the Vedas from him. The Vedas gives the right direction to living entity making them understand the purpose of their life, about the Supreme Personality of God head Krsna so that they can mold their life and come back to God head back to their real home. We should understand that Krishna has also given us free will we are not fully independent. Based on that whatever action we do we get Sukriti or Dushkriti, either we are closer to god or away from god. So, it is up to us how we want to live in this material world. To follow the path of Bhakti or to engage our self in sense gratification. In order to increase our Sukriti we need to sharpen our knowledge by studying shastras like Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and Srila Prabupad books. Because these books sharpen our knowledge, so without knowledge we won’t be able to make out whether we are making right decisions in life when tough situations come and if we do whimsically out of ignorance, we will end up in misery only. Srila Prabupada gives a beautiful explanation Mother Nature treats everyone the same. Whether a small child touches the fire out of ignorance or an adult touches fire both will get burned equally. So, we have to apply right knowledge and intelligence and that comes from Krsna.
These are the regulations mentioned in Bhagavad Gita how to live and do devotional service to the Lord (BG 3.13, 7.15). Nothing happens by chance. We need to understand that all the good and bad that comes in our way is not whimsical it is personally given by the lord based on our actions. The living entity enjoy or suffer in this world according to the dictation from the Supreme Lord situated locally in the heart.
In BG 7.16 also Krsna talks about 4 classes of men who comes to him under different conditions those who are sometimes distressed, those who are in need of money, those who are sometimes inquisitive, and those who are sometimes searching after knowledge of the Absolute Truth. These persons are not pure devotees, because they have some aspiration to fulfill in exchange for devotional service. Pure devotional service is without aspiration and without desire for material profits. Even though if people who are selfish, frustrated, distressed, irregular and without any spiritual goals come to Krsna, by association of devotees they will also become pure devotees. That is the power of association.
Why is it necessary to know the Supreme God glories alone?
In CC Madhya 20.108-109, CC Adi 7.73 clearly explains why we need to know the glories of the Supreme Lord.
The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. “The living entity is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme God.” We are actually spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Krsna not the gross material body nor the subtle body composed of mind and intelligence. Therefore, we are His eternal servants. But our position is simultaneously one with and different from the Supreme Soul. The examples given are those of the sun itself and the small particles of sunshine and of a blazing fire and the small particles of fire.”
Soul’s natural tendency is, it wants unlimited happiness. The soul is part and parcel of the Supreme Being, who is sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah–the embodiment of knowledge, bliss, and eternity. Indeed, the very name Krsna, means “the greatest pleasure. Krsna is the epitome of pleasure, and being part and parcel of Him, we hanker for pleasure and it can be achieved by doing service to the Lord. In this material world we are always serving one and another but the actually happiness can be attained by doing various devotional service to the Lord like the performance of the Vedic rituals, the discussion of Vedic philosophy and the worship of the lord.
The Vedānta-sutra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jñāna, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sādhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service, prayojana-jñāna. This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead.
This can be explained by story. A young prince is getting lost. He is wandering here and there with his clothes torn and no food to eat. Finally, he finds a food place. The owner of the place without knowing the identity of the prince tells him, that he will feed him but ask him to wait for few moments. Mean time the Ministers of the king who were searching for young prince finds him and asks him to accompany them to the palace. But the prince is telling them that he is waiting for his food and will finish eating and will join them. Theanalogy here is our Supreme father, Krsna is so rich (compared to the king who could provide all the riches), The Minister represents the Spiritual master who come to us and shows the right path to reach our destiny which is Krsna. The waiting for the food represents that we are so grossed in our day to day material activities we want to finish that then follow the spiritual activities. But actually, when a Guru shows us the way we should take up the spiritual activities or prayojana-jnana immediately.
If one adheres to the regulative principles under the order of the spiritual master, Chants the Hare Krsna Mantra easily gets the opportunity to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. The material miseries of a living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. A devotee relates to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five relationships — namely, śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or mādhurya — and thus he relishes transcendental bliss in that relationship. Such a relationship certainly transcends the body and mind. When one realizes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Supreme Person, he becomes completely eligible to chant the holy name of the Lord. But the many people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic literature Srimad-Bhagavatam is in relation to the Supreme Truth by the instruction of Sri Narada.” One can overcome all misconceptions and entanglement in the material world by practicing bhakti-yoga. Therefore, one must read Srimad Bhagavatam regularly and with scrutiny so gradually become attached to Krishna.
Again, this can be explained by another story. Once upon a time there was a kingdom. The rule in this Kingdom was that whoever be the king they rule for only 5 years after that he will be thrown in to an island which is full of poisonous plants and wild animals and without any food or water. So, all the kings who enjoyed ruling the Kingdom finally met a miserable death. Finally, one person’s turn came. He knew the problem which he will be facing by ruling the Kingdom. So in the first year of ruling the Kingdom he sends some people to make a fence in the Island, 2nd year sends people to kill all the wild animals, 3rd. year sends people to kill all the poisonous plants and made them plant fruits trees and vegetable plants and all in the 4th year he sends more people to live in the Island.5th year he himself moved to live in that Island. The moral of the story is our life span is fixed in this body. Based on current activity our consciousness moves to the next life. So fencing the Island represent knowing what is the purpose of our human life, killing all wild animals represents mitigating all internal enemies like Kaama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusion of mind, by which one arrives at false understanding), Mada (arrogance) and Maatsarya (jealousy).Planting fruit trees and vegetable plant represents planting the seeds of bhakti, sending more people to the island represent peaceful association with devotees and moving in to the island represent slowly progressing towards the path of bhakti. Like how we plan things in the material world we should plan things how to achieve the spiritual platform. Time never stops. Law of nature will act upon us so we need to take conscious effort and make right choices. Whatever knowledge we have and whatever higher consciousness awarded to human beings should be utilized then only we will reach the stage of prayojana. Since we have higher consciousness, we should have higher principle in daily life. The clerk and collector work in same office. But the collector is paid more compared to the clerk because he has to do higher responsibilities so he gets better facilities compared to the clerk. There are 8,400,000 forms of life like animals-birds, beast, aquatics, insects, serpents etc., out of it the human birth is the highest. So, we should put our every effort to attain liberation in this birth itself and never to be born in any of the species mentioned above.
In the sreekirshna asraya sostra by vallabacharya mentions that
Sarvamaargeshu nashteshu kaale cha kalidharmini |
paashanda prachure loke krishna eva gathirmama ||
In this age of kali all the path leading to god are destroyed and non-righteous and hypocrisy is prevalent everywhere and Lord Krishna is our only refuge in this difficult time.
In another verse he also mentions
gangaaditheerthavaryeshu dushtaii revaavrtheshviha |
thirohithaadhi-daiveshu krishna eva gathirmama ||
Principle holy places like Ganga are surrounded by the weak person so the gods residing in such places have abandoned them so Lord Krishna is the only refuge. So, we need to take the shelter of Sri Krishna. So, the commentary of Vedanta is the user manual. This will tell us how to use to get the ultimate benefit of our life because Krishna, our heavenly father knows what is right for us, and he so merciful and he gives us a proper platform to understand things.
To conclude Krnsa in his incarnation as Vyasadeva is the compiler of Vedanta-Sutra. The commentation on the Vedanta-sutra by Vyasadeva in Srimad Bhagavatam gives the real understanding of the Vedanta-sutra. One can attain perfection in three stages. By understanding Vedic literature one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by performing the different processes one can approach Him, and at the end one can attain the supreme goal, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is witness to all his work.