Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 11: Universal form: Verse 55
yaḥ sa mām eti pāṇḍava
mat–karma–kṛt — engaged in doing My work; mat–paramaḥ — considering Me the Supreme; mat–bhaktaḥ — engaged in My devotional service; saṅga–varjitaḥ — freed from the contamination of fruitive activities and mental speculation; nirvairaḥ — without an enemy; sarva–bhūteṣu — among all living entities; yaḥ — one who; saḥ — he; mām — unto Me; eti — comes; pāṇḍava — O son of Pāṇḍu.
My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being – he certainly comes to Me.
In the Tenth Chapter Krishna explains about his great opulence to Arjuna. Krishna says aham sarvasya prabhavah. I am the source of everything. Then Arjuna requests Krishna now that I know about all your opulences kindly show me your unlimited universal form. This universal form (The virata rupa )is not so pleasant, it is very fearful but still Krishna shows it to Arjuna. Because Krishna is using Arjuna as an instrument to present his divine teachings to all of us. Krishna is inspiring Arjuna to ask him all the questions so that Krishna can give proper knowledge to the entire humanity. Krishna says, Arjuna you cannot see me with your normal eyes and blessed him with divine vision. After watching Krishna’s virata rupa with unlimited mouths, eyes, heads and wonderful visions Arjuna was so frightened.
For example)If we have a loving father who is a police officer, and then one day if we see him in action firing his revolver then automatically fear will overcome our love. Same way Arjuna was frightened to see the Virata form of the Lord. Krishna’s effulgence was so strong that hundreds and thousands of suns shine at the same time and Arjuna requests Krishna to come back to his Shyama Sundara form. Then Krishna comes back to his normal Shyama Sundara form. Then Arjuna says to Krishna I thought you were a normal human being, treated you as a friend, addressed you as O ‘Krishna O’ Madhava , O’ Sakhae , had food with you together, slept together, in front of everyone I made jokes around you without knowing that you are the Supreme Personality of God head. Now I have seen your form please excuse me , please forgive me. Then again Arjuna says to Krishna that now I have seen your Virata or Universal form and I got to know about your opulence’s and now please let me know how one can I come to your abode, how can one come and associate with you in your kingdom. So, this verse talks about how devotional service is so important in our lives .
In this sloka Krishna says,5 important qualities( mentioned in the sloka) to reach his abode. These are
1)Mat karma krn: Work for me. Karma can be understood in many ways. It can be fruitive work which means we do some work and expect good results and karma can be prescribed duties . Example there are some prescribed duties for Kshatriyas, Brahmanas, Vaishya’s, Sudras etc. Scriptures describe kshatriyas should do certain things, Brahmana should do specific word. Those are all prescribed duties. Karma can be work which has reactions. In Sanskrit words will have multiple meanings. How can we understand these meanings? These meanings can be understood according to the context. We can perceive the original meaning only through our Acharyas. Karma in this verse means It is the work which you do for Krishna, it is not a fruitive work but Krishna Karma and we have to do this without expecting any results
2)Mat paramo : Consider me and my abode as the supreme goal. So, Krishna is telling Our supreme goal should be Krishna
We should have this firm determination to attain our Supreme Goal.
3)Mat bhakah : Become my devotee.
4)Sangavarjitah: This means to give up sanga. Sanga means having good association and bad association. Sanga in this context means give up bad association which give freedom from the contamination of fruitive action and mental speculations .It means karma and Jnana .Karma means fruitive work and Jnana means mental speculations. example discussing more about matter and spirit. In sloka, Krishna is asking to give up the bad association should not misinterpret this as good association . We should always have good association because even though if we are falling down there is always someone to help you to rise up again
5)Nirvairah sarva bhutesu :Never be envious. We should never be an enemy to any living entity. . It should not be like this I love all human beings and the entire humanity is my friend. But I will kill an animal and eat meat because they are not my friends. We should not do that. We should have any enmity with anyone be it ant, elephant, lion or a cockroach etc. Nirvah sarva bhuteshu means we should not envy any entity. We should see all the living entities the same. We should not hit even an ant cat or dog.
Yah smamate Pandava: Krishna says if you have these qualities you will come to my abode.
So, these five qualities(mat karma krn, mat paramo, mat bhaktah, sangavarjitah) are the essential qualities to reach Krishna Loka or Goloka. Krishna promises that if you have these 5 qualities you can come and live in my abode. Krishna will never give false promises. If Krishna says this ,he will certainly take us back home back to God Head. So Srila Prabhupada says that this verse gives the essence of Bhagavad Gita. The entire Bhagavad Gita is captured in this sloka.
The very purpose of Bhagavad Gita is to establish the lost relationship of the conditioned souls with Krishna. There are many other slokas also like in BG 9.34 and in BG 18.65 .
In BG , 9.34 Krishna says
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
Translation: Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisance to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
In BG 18.65
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo ’si me
Translation: Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.
Krishna repeats multiple times in several chapters just to become my devotees ,serve me, offer results to me then it’s my promise to Arjuna that you will reach the final destination. Krishna is saying this again and again, it does not mean that it is repetition or redundancy it is emphasizing the importance …revealing us the essence. You poor souls have entrapped in this material entanglement please understand this and please come back to me.
Srila Prabhupada writes in one of his books as Sri Sri Radha Krishna and the editor removes one “SRI “thinking it as a repetition. Then Srila Prabhupada asked him why did you remove this. Then the editor says we cannot write repetitive words like “THE THE Moon”, “and and book” etc. Srila Prabhupada replies if I write something in your language you can edit but not this. You have to keep as it is. The reason why Srila Prabupada kept Sri Sri is to give the importance of glorifying the so one Sri is not enough and not repetition. In the same way Krishna again and again repeatedly tells us become my devotee, offer your results to me, Work for me , be in a loving relationship with me, you will be coming back and living with me was you were before.
So, when we work for Krishna, we should not have any attachment to the results. Krishna repeatedly says this in the first 6 chapters of Bhagavad Gita. We should work for Krishna not for ourself like if I do this service, I will get name, fame etc. No, it should not be our goal. The goal should be to please Krishna and to establish a loving relationship and devotion towards Krishna.
In this verse Krishna talks about: Mat karma krn: Krishna is not asking us to give our whole property. Krishna is always asking work for me.
In BG 9:26 ,Krishna says
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
Translation: If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.
If you offer a leaf, flower or little water Krishna will accept. Here, Krishna is mainly asking for our love and devotion. But the main ingredient should be Bhakti ( it is repeated twice in the verse). So, Bhakti is the key ingredient that Krishna is asking not our property. So even the poorest person can also offer these things (patram,phalam,pushpam,toyam). He can plant a Thulasi plant in front of his home, grow it, water it and offer Thulasi leaves to the Lord. Everyone can afford to grow a Thulasi plant at home. If you can’t do that you can offer water. A poor man cannot say that I don’t have little water when water is freely available. We need not buy silk clothes ,bright jewelry for Krishna Just offer little water with Bhakti that gives Krishna happiness or you can grow some flower plants and offer those flowers to Krishna. Bhakti is not a costly affair. It is very easy and simple process. Even the poorest person can do this. Krishna is so kind he does not expect anything from us. For example, our kids take money from us to buy gifts for birthday party’s etc. So, when they buy something for us with that money and give us, we automatically feel very happy seeing their love. Same way Krishna feels for us. Even though he has all opulence’s he does not expect any opulence’s from us. The only opulence’s he expects from us is Bhakti or pure devotional service. Doing so we are establishing our loving relationship with him. If you are not able to do that, Krishna gives another way in BG 9.27
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
Translation: Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that, O son of Kuntī, as an offering to Me.
Whatever you do in charity or tapasya you do that as an offering to me. In this Slokha it is the Bhakti he is expecting from us.
Offering things to Krishna is of two types.
1. You understand what Krishna wants and offer it.( BG 9.26)
2. You know what you have and offer that Krishna.(BG 9.27)
For example : When a guest comes to your house and we know that they like Gulab jamun , so will prepare and give it to them. Another way is ,you already have another sweet, say Rasgulla so just give to them. Both the ways we are serving the guest with all hospitality. In the first case ,we have prepared what the guest likes and in the second case you have offered just what we have, we didn’t put any extra efforts for the guest. Both the cases we have shown the hospitality, selfless attitude and detachment. When we do what Krishna wants ,the offering process starts during the preparation itself, here we are thinking of Krishna , and are doing for him. Krishna likes this more because we are putting love and devotion in it. But if we offer what we have ,that’s doing everything without knowing what Krishna wants. The offering starts only when it is offered to Krishna. Here while working we are not thinking of Krishna. We are offering whatever we want.
In this verse lets go in depth the meaning of each words.
1)Mat karma krn :Krishna clearly says that we have to work for Krishna. Everything should be done as offering to Krishna. Without thinking anything about the result or thinking yourself the proprietor you should do the work. We should have an attitude that whatever I am today it is because of Krishna and everything belongs to Krishna. Whatever the property I have today ,it is because Krishna has given that. When we have this attitude, we will never be attached to the results of our fruitive activity
Srila Prabhupada quotes in the purport that the businessman does his business and contributes in the building the temples or book distribution. They do it selfless . This is like doing the business in Krishna consciousness. There are some other people who do whatever Krishna wants him or her to do. That is also one way of working for Krishna. In this mat karma krn :Krishna clearly says that we have to work for Krishna. Everything should be done as offering to Krishna. That is the first quality.
2)Mat paramo: Krishna says make me the supreme goal of your life. A devotee considers Krishna’s association in Goloka Vrindavan as the supreme goal. However, going to Goloka Vrindavan is also not the goal of the devotee .He thinks if Krishna wants me to do service in Goloka I will go there otherwise wherever I am I will render service to Krishna.
This can be explained by a short story:
There is a Great devotee Named Ananthacharya. He is a disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya. Ramanujacharya asked his disciples that someone should go to Tirupati hill and grow flowers for Balaji. At that time Tirupathi was not so developed and didn’t have more facilities .It was like a deep forest.To go to that place, where there are so many animals and forests was very risky and scary but Ananthacharya told that he will go. He went there and was serving Lord Balaji.
Once Anantha charya was doing some service in the flower garden of Balaji ,A snake bit him. He was not bothering at all and was continuing to do his service. His disciples asked my dear Guru please take the medicines otherwise the snake bite and poison will affect your body. But Ananthacharya didn’t take the medicines. So, the disciples went and Prayed to Balaji Deity. Please do something. Ananthacharya was bitten by a snake and he is not taking medicine. Then Lord started speaking please take medicine Ananthacharya otherwise poison will affect you.
Devotees are requesting please take it.
Then Ananthacharya replied “which poison are you talking about my dear Lord?’’ Is the poison which is already present in me or the poison by the snake.
Ananathacharya says that poison inside him is ‘Lust,anger,greed,pride,envy and madness. These are the 6 anarthas. If the poison in me more powerful than the poison of the snake then I will not die, I will continue my service here. If the snake’s poison is more powerful, I will die and come back to you and serve in Vaikunta.Either in Tirupati or in Vaikunta or Goloka my job profile is the same so I will not take the medicine. Anything is fine with me.
For a pure devotee ,serving Krishna is the supreme goal. The only focus for them is Service for Krishna. The quality of a pure devotee will only be love and serve Krishna. Bhakti can be shown only through service. A pure devotee does not mind the geographical location but their mind always goes to doing pure devotional service to Krishna.
3)Mad bhakatah : Krishna is telling Arjuna become my devotee, fully engage in my devotional service.
There are 9 processes of devotional service given by Prahlad Maharaj:
Hearing(sravanam), Chanting(kirtanam),Remembering(smaranam),Worshiping(archanam),Serving the lotus feet of the lord(paada sevanam),Offering prayers(vandanam),Carrying out the order of the Lord(becoming servant of krishna),Making friends(sakhyam) and Surrendering everything to Krishna(Aatma nivedanam).
One can perform all kinds of 9 processes of devotional service or one or two like that. Examples from scriptures: Prahalada Maharaj(smaranam) Bali Maharaj(Aatma nivedanam),Mother Lakshmi(always massaging the lotus of Narayana .Arjuna(sakhya).
Bhakti is not an emotion. It has an action with emotion. That is why Srila Prabupada always describes bhakti as devotional service not just devotion. When we love someone, we should render some service . We cannot say that I love God but I do not want to render service. So, when we get the service, we should happily accept it. Example) A mother loves all kids .But whenever she goes to pick her child from the school , her attention will go towards her own child because she serves her own child day in and out and through the service, she will develop a lot of love. In the same way ,serving the Supreme Lord we will develop love and devotion towards Krishna and will become his devotees.Best example is Vraja vaasi’s and Gopi’s. The top most devotees. They always think and constantly singing the glories of Krishna while churning butter, milking the cows, doing house hold chores or anything. They are so fortunate that their consciousness is filled with Krishna. Their Love is the top most love towards Krishna.
We can also do various devotional service in different rasas like
śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhurya. Madhurya is the highest rasa
4)Sanga Varjitah : One should disassociate oneself from the persons who are against Krishna. Our Bhakti should be free from fruitive activities and mental speculations . This will lead to impersonalism. We should be free from Knana and Karma.
The pure form of devotional service is described in Bhakti rasamrta Sindhu (1.1.11) as follows
anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṃ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam |
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṃ bhaktir uttamā ||1.1.11||
A devotee should not have material desires. One should not have deep rooted sense gratification. One should be devoid of fruitive results. One should not go around Jnana and Karma . Jnana means matter and spirit which will drive us towards impersonalism. In Bhakti the karma we do is Krishna karma not material karma. One should render service to Krishna in a favorable mood. When we are serving we should think in a favorable mood.
Examples from scriptures:
Prahalad Maharaj was always remembering Krishna in a favorable mood even though undergoing painful situations from his Father.
Gopi’s always remember Krishna in a favorable mood .
Kamsa always remembered Krishna ,while eating and sleeping everything as he was in fear of death .He was remembering Krishna all the way but NOT in a favorable mood.
Ravana was thinking of Rama in a negative way.
Sishupala was always talking about Krishna but not in good terms. Finally, he was Killed . Of Course, if one is killed, they will be liberated but that is not the aim of pure devotees. The goal of a pure devotee is not liberation. Pure devotees’ goal is to have a loving relationship with Krishna
5)Nirvairah : One should never hate anyone. Devotee is the person who sees everything and everyone in connection to Krishna. Even though if he sees a person fully engrossed in material world, he will think he is the part and parcel of Krishna and Krishna is present as a super soul in each and every living entity. He is a potential devotee and if we can help him understand the spiritual knowledge, he will come to that Bhakti platform. Also, if a devotee sees a lion or tiger or an ant, he will feel oh! this soul is entrapped in a tiger body or lion’s body or an ant’s body.
Every soul is a part and parcel of Krishna. We should provide prasadam to such souls and they will evolve to human beings in next life. Also, if we see someone who is not in the level of a devotee still, we should offer them some prasadam because prasadam has so much potency. They will get some sukriti and get some spiritual strength. Prasadam will built up the spiritual strength. Eventually they will become a devotee.
In BG 5.18 Krishna says
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
Translation: The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].
In a spiritual platform, every soul is the same .The bodies may look different in shape and size but the ingredients of the body (earth, water, air ,fire, ether) are the same. The same bones, blood and flesh. But there is one thing in everyone. It is the Super soul. We should to try to enlighten the people to come to the platform of spiritual level or bhakti. Devotees take all kinds of risks to enlighten the people with spiritual knowledge and make them God consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada gives the example of Jesus Christ, even though he was crucified by the non-devotees, he risked his life to make them God consciousness. Haridas Thakur and Prahalad Maharaj. They all risked their lives because they know the value of God consciousness and they were so compassionate to pass the knowledge to others and convert them from a non-devotee to a devotee.
Prahalad Maharaj says I have no fear for me because I am always immersed in your holy name. I lament for the souls around who never sing your glories and are not trying to subordinate to you. They are turned their faces away from Krishna just for sense gratification .They are carrying the load of sense gratification .I lament for them and I wanted to enlighten.
A devotee should have compassion towards the souls. The cause for this suffering in this material world is due to forgetfulness of one’s eternal relationship with Krishna. Every Jiva is a servant of Krishna. The real relief we can give to others is by connecting them to Krishna. We have the good fortune of listening and studying the glories of Krishna though our Guru Parampara system .We should pass on this essential knowledge of Bhagavad Gita to everyone then it is Nirvairah , not thinking enmity to anyone .Hence temples are organizing Shastra Dhaan and book distribution. Since we have this good fortune to connect with those books and Guru Parampara system and Krishna. So, we have to give this knowledge to everyone and make them a devotee that is why Srila Prabhupada says this verse as the essence of Bhagavad Gita. We should follow the path which is favorable for devotional service and rejects which takes away from Krishna consciousness.
Krishna is the ultimate protector of everyone.
kṛṣṇo rakṣatu no jagat-traya-guruḥ kṛṣṇo hi viśvambharaḥ
kṛṣṇād eva samutthitaḿ jagad idaḿ kṛṣṇe layaḿ gacchati
kṛṣṇe tiṣṭhati viśvaḿ etad akhilaḿ kṛṣṇasya dāsā vayaḿ
kṛṣṇenākhila-sad-gatir vitaritā kṛṣṇāya tasmai namaḥ
Translation: May Kṛṣṇa, the spiritual master of the three worlds, protect us. Continually bow down to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa has killed all our enemies. Obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. From Kṛṣṇa alone this world has come into being. I am the servant of Kṛṣṇa. This entire universe rests within Kṛṣṇa. O Kṛṣṇa, please protect me!
Whatever calamities come he is our only protector. Krishna has taken many Avatar to protect his devotees. So, we should understand that the Krishna is the ultimate protector of everything. In the initial stage as a Neo-Phyte devotee we all do mistakes due to ignorance in us . We have accumulated lot of dust of anarthas from millions of lives. If something happens to us due to others, we should not consider that as an enmity but consider others as part and parcel of Krishna and correct ourself and go on serving Supreme Personality of God head. Others may consider devotees as enemies but devotees never consider others as enemy.
Example from scriptures) Duryodhana considers Yudhishthira as an enemy and Krishna punishes them.
Krishna feels so pity and compassion while punishing others but he is obliged to do so like how a father corrects his children.
Chanda and Amarka (Teacher of Prahalda).
Dhruva’s mother advises him not to have enmity to his step mother and his father. She asks him to shelter of Krishna
We should not consider any one as an enemy. It is very essential to follow devotional services and follow these principles then as Krishna says
Yah sa mam eti Pandava : he certainly comes to me. We will definitely go back to Krishna.