Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 4: Transcendental Knowledge: Verse: 9
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
Translation: One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
This is an important verse in Bhagavad Gita and the favorite verse of Srila Prabupada. In this verse Krishna says how one can attain his eternal abode after leaving this material body. The process is very simple. One need to understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead, his disappearance and his transcendental activities will be automatically liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting this present material body.
The purpose of human life is to realize who we are, who is God and what is the relationship with us and God and how can we get out of the cycle of birth, old age, diseases, death. To get this knowledge, or to know about the absolute truth one has to learn the process of Krishna consciousness. In Nectar of Devotion, it is said that no one can understand the transcendental name, form, quality and past time of Sri Krishna through this materially contaminated sense. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental loving service ( Transcendental means DIVYAM, beyond the modes of material nature) to the Lord only then one can understand the transcendental name form, quality and past time of the Lord. For this one must surrender to the Lord and engage oneself in the devotional service to the Lord. Then lord reveals himself to his devotees.
Lord Shiva says to Parvati Devi better than Vishnu Aradhana (worship) it is better to worship the Vaishnava or devotees of the Lord. In Srimad Bhagvatam 11.19.21 Krishna says anyone who worships my pure devotees, that is a better worship compared to worshipping me directly. This teaches us how we should be submissive to the Vaishnavas. We should be very careful not to do any offence or harm to a devotee or a Vaishnava. This shows we need to worship devotees more than Krishna. That is why we acknowledge or address people as “Prabhu”in ISKCON. “Prabhu” means you are the Master and I am the Servant. This shows our submissive attitude .In material world it is different. Everyone want to be a master but in spiritual world everyone wanted to be a servant.
In this material world we have several designations like I am an Indian, American, Brahmin, Sudra, House holder, Kshatriya, Christian, Muslim etc. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says we should free from this material designation and become Krishna consciousness. One has to become a servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna that is the attitude we should all develop and that should be our identification. When we are in Krishna consciousness, we will understand what is our real position, who is God and what is our relationship with God. We will develop the qualities of a servant and become submissive in our position by chanting the Holy Name of the Lord. It is said in Sri Shikshashtakam prayers by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu how one should chant the Holy name of the Lord.
trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harihi
Translation: One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the Holy name of the Lord constantly.
Once we practice this then we will slowly understand what is the absolute truth then we are eligible to enter the spiritual kingdom and there is no need to take birth in this material world because of our consciousness is purified. The continuation repetition of taking different body is finished and we will go back to Krishna because we have attained the highest perfection. This is explained in BG: 8.15.
In this verse there is words like “JANMA” and “KARMA”. JANMA means birth. There is no question of birth of the Lord or living entity. Both are eternal. “JIVA” and “PARAMATMA” are eternal, “Sat-chit-ananda”. Take example of sun setting and sun rising. It is simply an adjustment of our own position. Actually, there is no sunset and nor sunrise, the sun always remains. Same is applicable to appearance and disappearance as well. We are eternally existing ; our appearance actually means the appearance of the body. Difference between the appearance of God and Jiva is Jiva takes the material body as offered by the material nature according to their karma, but God appears in his original body. God is not under the law of karma so he need not take a material body like us. God appears in his own original body and therefore he is not forgetful of the past, present and future. But as far as we are concerned, we are appearing in different material body therefore we forget our past, present and future.
If we see what ever we find in this material nature like Sun, Moon everything is created by the God. We cannot claim that this planet belongs to us. It is given to us for living since we are children of god. Krishna says that in Bhagavad Gita 14.4 and in 9.17 that he is the seed giving father and we as his children are enjoying the property of the Lord. In the material world we can see that the son has the right to enjoy father’s property. But if the son disobeys the father, then he is in trouble, his free will be restricted, enjoyment will be limited because it will lead to further problems to him. Our position is also like that. So, it is very important to understand our position, God position, what is the relationship with us and God, what is the material nature and her laws and how it is working. Ignorance is not an excuse. Example it will be like driving on the wrong side of the road and when caught by the Police we can’t say that we did not know the rule. You will be still punished by the Law. So, if you are an atheist who does not believe in God, don’t want to get liberated, want to remain in this material world still you need to understand the rules of material world and If you are acting against the will of lord you will punished. In BG 5:29 verse is considered as Peace formula. It says that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the beneficiary in all human activities. Men should offer everything to the transcendental service of the Lord because He is the proprietor of all planets and the demigods thereon. No one is greater than He. He is greater than the greatest of the demigods, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Under the spell of illusion, living entities are trying to be lords of all they survey, but actually they are dominated by the material energy of the Lord. The Lord is the master of material nature, and the conditioned souls are under the stringent rules of material nature. Unless one understands these bare facts, it is not possible to achieve peace in the world. So, this shows we are just the visitors of this material world, everything belongs to Krishna.
There is an example regarding the verse mentioned above. A person from US visits a Sadhu in Varanasi. The US person was impressed by the philosophy or knowledge that the Sadhu had. And one day he decided to visit Sadhu’s house. The Sadhu welcomed him. The US person noticed that the Sadhu had only 3 items with him, a mat, a lamp and a tumbler. The US person was amazed and ask the Sadhu where are his other belongings like furniture etc. The Sadhu in turn asked the US person what he was carrying. So, the US person showed what he was carrying, so the Sadhu asked him where are his other belongings like clothes, furniture etc. to which the US person replied that since he is a traveler it is impossible for him to carry all those things with him. So, the Sadhu said he is also a traveler in this material world, nothing else.
Also, we all know the past times of Krishna like how he was born in the Prison of Kamsa to his parents Vasudeva and Devaki, the 4 handed form of God turning in to two handed form, and how he was carried by Vasudeva to Gokula to Nanda Maharaj and Yashoda Maiya’s abode. We also learned that Krishna has 6,000 wife and he had 8 main chief queens. And one of the queens was Jambavati and they had a son called Samba. It is so happened that once great sages like Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, Narada among others were on a pilgrimage. After visiting various places, they visited Dwarka to meet Lord Krishna and Balarama. A group of Yadavas boys who saw the great sages decided to play a prank on them in order to test their powers. They dressed Samba, as a woman and tied many robes to his belly so he’d appear as a pregnant woman. They approached the sages and asked them to predict whether the ‘lady’ would give birth to a boy or a girl. The Rishis realized the truth through their divine vision and were enraged. In anger, Durvasa Muni cursed them saying that the disguised boy will give birth to a lump of Iron which will destroy the entire Yadava race. The boys went to Ugrasena Maharaj and tells him what happened so he asks the boys to powder the iron lump and cast in to the seas. They ground the mace finely but except a sharp triangular piece which appeared to be very hard remained indeed. And then they had thrown the fine powder and the lone piece into the sea. Happy that they had taken care of the matter so easily, they returned back to their general state of intoxication and bliss.
Time rolled by. The triangular piece of the mace was swallowed by a fish. The fish was caught by a hunter, who upon finding the piece in the fish’s entrails immediately used it to craft a fine poisonous arrow. The fine powder, on the other hand, washed back ashore and deposited itself by the beautiful coast of Dwarka. A certain grass grew in lush abundance in the area where the powder was deposited. Durvasa words came true, one day Yadav people got intoxicated and disagreement happened and they were looking for weapon, and what ever iron stored in the sea came to the shore and came to sharp iron grass. Each blade of grass became a mace, smashing into the Yadavas, killing them instantly. It was a matter of moments before the Yadavas lay dead, killed by their own clan members and in front of their very King. Except Krishna, all Yadavas were killed. Krishna laid down under a tree and went into Yoga Samadhi. At that time a hunter Jara entered that forest. That hunter misunderstood the moving foot of Krishna as a lurking deer and shot a lethal arrow that pierced into Krishna’s feet. As soon as the hunter reached Krishna, he realized his mistake and pleaded the lord for forgiveness. Lord Krishna consoles him and tell him how his death was inevitable.
Krishna says that in his previous birth as Rama in the Tretayuga, Rama killed Vaali (Sugreeva’s brother) from behind. The hunter Jara was king Vaali in his previous birth. This story beautifully brings out the very important fact that, Krishna is showing that how powerful is the Law of Karma even though he is not under the influence of Law of Karma.
There is another Story Once upon a time there was a Kingdom. The king in that Kingdom used to conduct entertainment for all the people by arranging dancers, musicians, singers etc. One time a tribal family visited King to show their performance. The family told king that we are going to perform some magic. The tribal person had a big drum, so he makes different beats, fast or slow. And for his wife they have a made an arrangement to dance. The erected two poles on opposite side and a string was tied to both the poles and she was supposed to dance on the string from one end to the other according to the beats of her husband’s drum. She was dancing with a good balance carrying 6 pots on her head. Once the performace was done, all the audiences, the King and the Queen was very much impressed. The king gave the man his gold chain and the queen rewarded his wife with her necklace. The couple had two sons. The elder son came and asked the Kings why he did not give him anything to which King replied that he did not perform anything. The younger son got the necklace from his mother but the elder son was not able to snatch the chain from his father. So, he decided that it is better to snatch the necklace from his younger brother. In that rustle both of them stuck each other with their knife and got killed. Seeing this the mother of the kids also felt sad and killed herself. The man also killed himself seeing his family situation. The king and queen were so shocked and morose they could not believe what had just happened in front of their eyes. Then after 5 days the King gets a letter from a tribal person telling that the king appreciated their first act and rewarded them so what about the reward for the second act. Actually, the tribal people were performing the magic, and they were all alive. The king went to visit their house and was actually stunned
There is another story P.C Sorcar a talented magician was invited to perform a magic in the British regime and was asked to come one day at 4 pm. But he did not turn up until it was 5 pm. So, when he came the organizers asked him why he was late. Actually, he hypnotizes them by changing the time and making them believe it was 5 pm, but he reached on time. So, if a person like P.C Sorcar and the tribal person can trick then what to speak of Supreme personality of God head who is the biggest magician. Even though he is not under the influence of 3 modes of material nature or under the influences of Karma through his power, the material energy, Durga Devi he makes the non-devotees think that Krishna is an ordinary person and like how Lord Ram killed Vaali behind the back he too got killed by Vaali in the form of a hunter in this birth of Krishna. But if we logically think how can one take away the life of Krishna who is the Supreme personality of Godhead himself, who appears in this world with his original body, who is an Avatar and from him all incarnations come. Srila Prabupada and other Acharya’s have given a right understanding to all these things. Only think is we should understand it well, and ask questions submissively if we have doubt but not in a challenging mood.