Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge: Verse 14
satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
satatam — always; kīrtayantaḥ — chanting; mām — about Me; yatantaḥ — fully endeavoring; ca — also; dṛḍha–vratāḥ — with determination; namasyantaḥ — offering obeisances; ca — and; mām — Me; bhaktyā — in devotion; nitya–yuktāḥ — perpetually engaged; upāsate — worship.
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.
These words in this verse Always chanting, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before the Lord , listening to the glories of the lord, continually worshipping the Lordshows how important it is to practice devotional service.
Krishna begins the Nineth Chapter by explaining to Arjuna – My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most confidential knowledge and realization, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.
In this material world if we want to share any good news to someone, we do that with people who are not envy with us and are very happy to hear the news from us. We are in this material world because we were envious of Krishna and want to be independent from him. But some of us are fortunate we got association with devotees and Spiritual master who are directing in our spiritual path. Arjuna was also fortunate he got the message of Bhagavad Gita directly from the Lord because he was not envious of the Lord and executed his duties are per the direction of the Lord. So these are qualities which we also should strive to achieve as well by complete surrender and act according to the will of the Lord.
Then again in 9th chapter , verse 2 Krishna says
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukham kartum avyayam
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
This chapter of Bhagavad gita is called the King of education because it is the essence of all doctrines and philosophies explained before.
The Lord says Bhagavad Gita Ninth Chapter as the King of all such knowledge, the essence of all knowledge that can be derived from the study of the Vedas and different kinds of philosophy. This knowledge is the purest of all activities, as explained in Vedic literature.
Generally, people are not trained in this confidential knowledge of Gita but trained in the external knowledge and not in the science of spirit and soul. But the soul is the most important part and entrapped in our body. Without the presence of the soul our body has no value. Still people stress more on the bodily necessities of life by not caring for the vital soul.
This can be explained by a short story.
Once upon a time, there lived a king who had four wives. The king got seriously ill and was on his death bed. Afraid to venture into the afterlife alone, he asked his fourth wife whom he loved the most and bought her diamond, gold and elegant clothing — “Would you die with me? And go with me to the afterlife?” The fourth wife replied with a sorry saying she can’t do that and walked away.
He also loved his third wife and was very proud of her so he called her and asked the same question — “Would you accompany me to the afterlife”? The third wife replied that she loved her life too much and she cannot go with him and also that she would remarry on his death.
The second wife has always been there for him in the times of his need. So, he asked her would she accompany him in the afterlife? The second wife apologetically replied that she would not be able to help him this time but would arrange his funeral and would be there for his funeral.
A voice called out and said that — “I will leave with you and follow you wherever you go, even if it is to the afterlife”. The king looked and it was his first wife. And this was the wife he took care of the least. He felt embarrassed and said that I should have taken a better care of you and given you more attention when I was alive.
The moral of this story is that we all have four wives.
1)Our fourth wife is our body. We like to decorate it with nice clothes, nice jewelry but in the end, it cannot follow us to the afterlife.
2)Our third wife is our possessions. We spend so much time gathering our possessions — Car, house, gold. But in the end, they can’t follow us to the afterlife. It will be given to other people and divided. Just like the third wife remarrying.
3)The second wife are our friends and family. We trust them, they’re always there for us in times of need. But the farthest they can go is the funeral and send us off.
4)Our first wife represents our soul. We usually neglect the soul by taking care of our body, but that is the thing that will follow us to the afterlife.
This story teaches us that we should not forget to take care of our soul. We ignore our soul and adore our body with so much care. So, we have to take time to pray, take time to meditate. Because the soul is the source of all our life and our most faithful friend.
In BG 2.18 Krishna says
antavanta ime dehānityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥanāśino ’prameyasyatasmād yudhyasva bhārata
The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.
This is the most confidential knowledge that Krishna shares that spirit soul is different from the body and its nature is indestructible, immeasurable and eternal. Sometimes people are under the impression the soul is different from the body and when the body is finished the soul is liberated and the soul remains void and becomes impersonal. But that is not a fact
Srila Prabupad has taught us how can a soul who is so active in this body become void. Consider the body as a lamp. You put a bulb there but without electricity the lamp will not light. The soul is like the electricity which is present in our body. So, when a soul is very active in this body how can it be inactive after liberated from the body. The soul is eternal, it is always active. It is body which becomes inactive after the soul leaves the body. So, chapter 9 talks about the activity of the spirit soul.
In Padma purana a man with sinful activity is analyzed and shown to be the result of sin after sin. The reason we keep take birth is sin after sin. Those who engage in fruitive activity will be entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions. Different stages and forms of sinful reaction means in this material world if we notice we can see that for some action we get immediate results.(it is like putting hand in fire and getting burned at an instance). But for some they will be doing sinful activities at the same time will be enjoying a kingly life and we will be wondering why he is not suffering for his actions. Different actions take time to manifest in reaction form. For example, a seed is sown, it does not grow in to a tree (example mango tree)immediately it takes time. Same way the reactions will take some time to fructify. So, for some actions are instant so some not. When we are in the path of Bhakti, we are conscious of our sinful actions. Sinful action would have stopped now but the results of the fruits of past sinful action will have to be endured later as stress, pain etc.
Further in BG 7.28 Krishna says
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁjanānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇāmte dvandva-moha-nirmuktābhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.
A person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of God head, Krishna. In other world, those who are actually engaged in devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions.
We have to be determined drdha- vratah. In this material world if we want to achieve something in life, we need to have strong determination, same way we should have that determination, commitment and prioritization in our Spiritual life because the force of MAYA IS VERY STRONG. Devotional life is not an optional it is a must. We have to listen to pure soul like our Spiritual master who will help us to purify ourself, by transforming our heart.
Benefits of Devotional service:
For those who are engaged in devotional service of the Supreme Personality of God head, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed , gradually vanish. Therefore, the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called PAVITRAM UTTAMAM, the purest. Uttama means transcendental ( Our Spiritual masters who practice devotional service are so pure they can make others also pure). Opposite of UTTMAM is Tamas which means darkness of the material world, and uttama means that which is transcendental to material activities. So devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service will know that they are not just material activities but spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by material modes of nature. It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. The direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Krsna, in course of chanting without offence feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination.
Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Krsna consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure. In BG.68 Krsna says—For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to me.
Srila Prabupad used to say to his disciples if you chant 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare without any offence , follow 4 regulative principles you will go back to God head in this life time. If we do perfectly the result will also be perfect. So, it is better to chant , read our scriptures like Bhagavad Gita every day at least one verse a day.
In the Vedanta-sutra (3.2.26) it is described: Prakasas ca karmany abhyasat.
“ Devotional service is so potent that simply by engaging in the activities of devotional service one becomes enlightened without a doubt”
A practical example of this can be seen in the previous life of Narada, who in that life happened to be son of a maid servant. He had no education, nor was he born in to a high family. But when his mother was engaged in serving great devotees, Narada also became engaged, and sometimes, in the absence of his mother, he would serve the great devotees and offer them prasadam and take permission from them to take remnants of the prasadam. He was doing so much pious activites and in later life got an opportunity to get spiritual education from Vyasadeva. Simply by engaging in devotional activites one becomes enlightened.
The process of devotional service is a very happy one (su-sukham) because it consists of sravanam, kirtanam visnoh, so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorized Acharya’s in disciplic succession not by any bogus Acharya’s. Simply by sitting, one can learn, then one can eat the remnants of the food offered to God, nice palatable dishes. In every state devotional service is joyful. One can execute devotional service even in the most poverty-stricken condition. The Lord says, patram, puspam phalam toyam. He is ready to accept from the devotee any kind of offering, never mind what. Even a leaf, a flower, a bit of fruit, or a little water, which are all available in every part of the world, can be offered by any person, regardless of social position, and will be accepted if offered with love.
In BG.9.13 Krishna gives Arjuna the definition of MAHATMA- O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know me as the Supreme Personality of God head, original and inexhaustible.
The Mahatma cannot be manufactured by rubber- stamping an ordinary man. His symptoms are describing here as : A mahatma is always engaged in the chanting the glories of Supreme Lord Krishna, the Personality of God head. He has no other business. He is always engaged in the glorification of the Lord. In other words, he is not an impersonalist. When the question of glorification is there, one has to glorify the Supreme Lord, praising his holy name, his eternal form, his transcendental qualities and his uncommon past times. One has to glorify all these things: therefore, a mahatma is attached to the Supreme Personality of God head. One who is attached to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord, the Brahma Jyoti is not described as Mahatma in the Bhagavad Gita. The Mahatma is always engaged in different activities of devotional service, as described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, hearing and chanting about Visnu, not a demigod or a human being. That is devotion: sravanam, kirtanam, visnoh and smaranam, remembering Krishna. Such a Mahatma has firm determination to achieve at the ultimate end the association of the Supreme Lord. To achieve that success, he engages all activities-mental, bodily and vocal, everything- in the service of the Supreme Lord, that is called full Krsna consciousness.
In devotional service there are certain activites which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekadasi, and on the appearance day of the Lord. All the rules and regulations are offered by the great Acharya’s for those who are actually interested in getting admission in to the association of the Supreme Personality of God Head in the transcendental world. The Mahatmas , great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations, and therefore they are sure to achieve the desired result. In this material world also once we have an aim to achieve something in life we work with strict determination and follow certain guidelines to achieve those goals. Same way in spiritual life also we need to have these goals to help us to come out of the cycle of birth and death or falling down back to the lower species of life ( 8.4 million species of life) and reach our destination the abode of Supreme Personality of God head. We should also remember there is a time factor for all of us.
Devotional service is easy and can be performed in a happy mood. One does not need to undergo any severe penance and austerity. This knowledge of BG 9th chapter is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. One can live this life in devotional service, guided by an expert Spiritual Master, either as a householder or a sannyasi or a brahmacari, in any position and anywhere in the world, he can perform this devotional service to the Supreme Personality of God head and thus become actually Mahatma, a great soul.
What is our learning from BG 9.14
Krishna says always chanting my glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before me, these great souls perpetually worship me with devotion.
If we engage ourself always chanting, hearing about faith and determination then gradually the dirty things within our heart will be cleaned and there will be clear direction what to do in which circumstances and how to do it, so this is the king of all knowledge.
satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
This is eternal worship, simply thinking of Kṛṣṇa that Krishna and Kṛṣṇa’s name is not different because God is absolute. Kṛṣṇa’s name is as good as Kṛṣṇa it is not that I am chanting Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa and hearing Kṛṣṇa is different from the service, No. There is no difference. Kṛṣṇa, His holy name is also hearing Kṛṣṇa, therefore when I chant Hare Kṛṣṇa it means I am associating with real Kṛṣṇa, and because I am associating with real Kṛṣṇa I am becoming purified. Example Just like if you always keep in touch with fire you become warm or if you keep yourself warm you do not catch cold. Similarly, if you always keep in Kṛṣṇa, just like if you always keep in the sunlight there is no question of darkness. Similarly, if you keep with Kṛṣṇa always simply by this chanting, Hare Kṛṣṇa then there is no question of being covered by the illusion of māyā. That is liberation, liberation means not to be contaminated by the darkness of Maya or illusional world.
We are all part and parcel of Krishna and our duty is to serve Krishna, then our position is secure. An example is a big machine and a small screw is part and parcel of the machine so long the screw is attached to the machine the screw has value and as soon as it is detached from the machine, it has no value. So being attached with Kṛṣṇa we have got value, being detached from Kṛṣṇa we have no value. Actually, that is happening, this modern civilization despite all advancements of education, economic development, skyscraper buildings, millions of motor cars and their highways are not happy due to frustration, dissatisfaction, confusion because we are detached from Kṛṣṇa, or God .Therefore advancement in material civilization, is very good but we have to utilize these facilities for Kṛṣṇa, then we all can become perfect.