Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute: Text 3
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
manuṣyāṇām — of men; sahasreṣu — out of many thousands; kaścit — someone; yatati — endeavors; siddhaye — for perfection; yatatām — of those so endeavoring; api — indeed; siddhānām — of those who have achieved perfection; kaścit — someone; mām — Me; vetti — does know; tattvataḥ — in fact.
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
Bhagavad Gita is arranged in such a way out of 18 chapters, 7 to 12 contains the most confidential knowledge. It is very difficult to access Krishna. If somebody want to access Krishna, Krishna wants to see how sincere, how determined and truthful they are. Therefore he hides information which give access to him in the middle of Bhagavad Gita. So Srila Prabhupad has presented Bhagavad Gita in a brilliant, clear and profound way that it really brings the essence of Bhagavad Gita easily accessible to us.
It is an interesting fact that people who claim to be the scholars of Bhagavad Gita completely miss the points of Bhagavad Gita. So this is how secretive Krishna can be. Krishna says to Arjuna because you are my friend, not envious of me so I am revealing this confidential knowledge. So if you are a true friend, you cannot be naturally envious of others rather you will be a well wisher of them. One who has a beautiful heart can be called as a friend. You cannot be friendly with a person who is envious of you. Someone may pretend to be your friend, but when the friendship is put to test, then the true nature of friendship can be seen. In this material world people want to be friendly with you because of some hidden agenda. It may be they need some money, or to get some favor from you, to exploit you, to become famous. So we can see people become friends for wrong reasons which is not really the actual friendship.
Krishna says in BG: 5.29
jnatva mam santim rcchati
Translation: The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and Demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.
So Krishna is the well-wisher of all living entity , because Krishna accompanies the living entity where ever he goes be it a man, elephant, plant, bees, trees etc. He is always looking after us and our friendship become rekindled when we turn our face away from him. An example Is given in Upanishads of two birds sitting on a tree . One bird is tasting the fruits bitter and sweet and the other bird is witnessing. The moment the other bird realizes my friend is going with me wherever I am going even if it is to enjoy he is simply accompanying me. Let me find out who the real friend of mine is . Then the living entity turns his face towards Krishna then all the auspiciousness starts in one’s life. So Krishna says, out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection and out of those who have achieved perfection hardly one knows me in truth. So we hardly find devotees because devotees are very rare . If you see an average person they don’t have any desire to attain perfection. They even don’t know what is perfection nor aspire for it.
Krishna says those who are pure devotees who have given up their life completely surrendered like the Gopi’s, Krishna is most attracted by their love and service because it is pleasing to Krishna . The highest and most perfect worship was exhibited by the Gopi’s according to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. For example If you are living in an emperor kingdom, you perceive the emperor influences by how the government runs the country. So indirectly you may perceive the wonderful influence of the King by the way everything is going in the Kingdom . This kind of Brahman realization. Here you have not met the King. Another example is the sun and its rays. When you are approaching an island far from the ocean, you see everything as green and you don’t feel any variety there. You cannot distinguish trees, rocks other features of the island. This is Brahman realization. You perceive from far that there is the island, this is Brahman, this is God. As you get closer and closer you will see some variety, some details, this is like Paramatma realization, which the yogis realize. It is said in Brahma Samhita that the yogis can meditate on Krishna just to get a glimpse of effulgence coming from his toe nail. When some one become perfect in yoga they see the Paramatma in their heart which is in the form of Ksirodakaśāyī Vishnu. So he is seated in everyone heart. When you see the Lord in your heart, you don’t develop a deep relationship sometimes. Then the ultimate realization is Bhagavan realization when you get in to the island and walk in to the island you can see the birds, trees, flowers, fruits, whine in full detail. That is the Bhagavan realization where you realize Krishna as the fullest and engaged yourself in loving devotional service.
In Goloka Vrindavan everybody has personnel relationship with Krishna. Shankaracharya who was the greatest profounder of Advaita philosophy he himself admitted that there is no higher truth than Krishna, and Krishna is the Param Satyam but his followers misguided . The purpose of human life is to revive our relationship with Krishna, and the whole purpose of Bhakti is meant to support that purpose. So why it is difficult for non- devotees to know about Krishna. Because Krishna makes a condition that you should be non-envious of me. You have to be friendly with Krishna only then you can practice bhakti. Because Krishna is seated in your heart, he knows you completely like :- what is your mentality , your impurity, your ulterior motive. Krishna knows you more than you yourself know about you. So therefore Krishna does not give access to himself. They can practice bhakti but still if they are not willing to change their mentality then they cannot progress. Many of us come to Krishna due to various reasons like some due to their financial difficulties , some want to know their purpose of life. Very rarely someone who come to Krishna consciousness with firm conviction that he wants to surrender to absolute truth and dedicate his life entirely to God. If someone comes like that it means they have prior devotional service from their previous life.
Although non-devotees declare the path of bhakti, or devotional service, is very easy, they cannot practice it. If the path of bhaktiis so easy, as the non-devotee class of men proclaim, then why do they take up the difficult path? Srila Prabhupad says the path of bhakti is not that easy. The so-called path of bhaktipracticed by unauthorized persons without knowledge of bhakti may be easy, but when it is practiced factually according to the rules and regulations, the speculative scholars and philosophers fall away from the path. This means bhakti has to be practiced by scriptural injunction as found Srutis, Smriti’s, Puranas and Pañcarātra. If you follow this under the guidance of Spiritual master then it is bhakti.
Sometimes people try to read the scriptures without any guidance from the Spiritual Master. They will be doing things not ordained by the scriptures thinking this is what scriptures are saying , but actually it wont be true. You cannot come in to a conclusion by any argument, debate etc. There are so many variegated literatures, which you can read, you may be a great scholar , you may be in various school of thought of Vedic philosophy but still you cannot come in to a conclusion because everyone has their own conclusion. For example If you follow a certain sage, he has its own opinion. The real essence of religion is very confidential. So to understand bhakti ,you follow the footsteps of the Mahajans very loyally who traveled in the path of bhakti, this is the secret. The thought that whatever path you take will lead to God is a nonsense . There is a well-defined path travelled by so many Mahajan’s. Srimad Bhagavatam says there are 12 Mahajans and those who are following those Mahajans are also more or like Mahajans.
In Brahma Samhita is also said
vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
Even for a greatly learned person they cannot understand Krishna. But for intimate devotees Krishna becomes easily very accessible. In Other part of Bhagavad Gita Krishna say anybody who knows Krishna such Mahatma is very rare. Therefore unless one practices devotional service to the Lord, one cannot know Kṛṣṇa as He is (tattvataḥ). So therefore one should understand Krishna as he is, not according to one’s owns whims. The way to understand Krishna is through Guru ,Sadhu and Shastra.
Only the pure devotees can know something of the inconceivable transcendental qualities in Kṛṣṇa – His being the cause of all causes, His omnipotence and opulence, and His wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation – because Kṛṣṇa is benevolently inclined to His devotees. A great example in Caitanya Caritamrta past times Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was such a unparallel Vedic scholar, Prakashanand Saraswati who had 10,0000 disciple’s leaders in Varanasi Benaras, such monumental scholars could not understand Bhakti. No one can understand Kṛṣṇa as He is by the blunt material senses. When we go to temple we see Krishna with our eyes. Actually Krishna can’t be seen with blunt eyes. Your eyes have to be decorated with ointment of love. Bhakti is the ointment that decorates your eyes and with that eyes you can perceive Krishna otherwise we perceive the form of Krishna as a marble Deity only . So the greater your eyes are immersed in bhakti the more complete will be your vision to perceive Krishna and Krishna reveals Himself to the devotees, being pleased with them for their transcendental loving service unto Him.
Actually the eyes are not the medium to see Krishna. Example when you are sleeping you are dreaming. Your eyes are shut then how can you see what is going on in your dream. Who is perceiving the dream ?. Actually the soul is perceiving the dream. Sometimes dreams have so much clarity as if something happening right in front of you. Sri BilvamangalaThakura was blind but he can see Krishna sitting beside him so the blunt senses are not the one who touches Krishna, sees Krishna, feels Krishna, it is the transcendental senses which is activated by the practice of bhakti or devotional service which give easy access to Krishna. So bhakti cannot be analyzed by mundane logic. The real way to understand Krishna is by “Shabdha” the transcendental sound of the scriptures, by the words of Saddhu and the Spiritual Master, Holy name of Krishna. This is called “Shabdha Brahman”. So the sound vibrations are very important in Vedic tradition. One can understand Krishna by the medium of hearing . Initially it may not be attractive, but if we stick towards it rigorously ,hearing about Krishna from authorized sources, one can know about Krishna. Krishna cannot be known by any unauthorized sources who give different understanding of Krishna. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu forbids his followers from hearing any type of commentary from non-devotee even though they may be great scholars. Even Shankaracharya says at the end of your life your authoritive skills, grammatical composition cannot save you. Only the service of Govinda can save you.
How do you distinguish Lord of Vaikuntha, Narayana from Goloka, Lord Sri Krishna?. How do you establish Krishna as Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Sri Rupa Goswami and Sri Jive Goswami has extensively dealt with this subject matter. Usually Jiva has 50 qualities, typically not to complete degree. Example, we may merciful but not merciful as Krishna . Then Lord Shiva has 55 qualities. He is actually Vishnu coming voluntarily in contact with material nature/energy. It means he is touching the material energy and in the process he becomes Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is neither a Vishnu tattva or a Jiva tattva. He is in his own category 55 qualities. Even Lord Brahma is a Jiva. Then comes Lord Narayan who has 60 qualities to the complete degree. But Krishna beauty , his activities are unparallel. His play on his flute , Krishna’s Rupa Madhurya, Lila Madhurya, Venu Madhurya captivates entire universe and he is surrounded by superexcellent devotees. But in Vaikuntha everyone sees Vishnu as their master. Lakshmi Devi to some degree sees Lord Narayan as her husband. Same time she knows he is her master but in Vrindavan such reservation is completely absent. Even though people are in servitude mood they don’t have this reservation for Krishna. They are his servants, but there is Sakha relationship which is like a friend , who does not know or treat Krishna as God. They treat Krishna as their friend who had come to herd the cow with them, take lunch with them, play tug of war , who carries them on his back. This is the understanding because Krishna’s Yoga Maya covers them . Krishna himself gets covered by his own Yoga Maya because here Krishna is not pretending in this Lila.
As long as Krishna is concerned he is the son of mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj and his duty as a son is to take care of the cows. There is parental rasa where they treat Krishna as their child. Not only mother Yashoda some elder Gopi’s also treat Krishna as their child and the Krishna serves them. Example carrying Nanda Maharaj sandals on his head, then the Damodar Lila where mother Yashoda takes the stick and Krishna gets frightened. Krishna is not pretending and then finally the relationship with the Gopi’s where they see Krishna as their beloved and Krishna sees them as his beloved. Example Srimati Radha Rani’s love for Krishna. These rasas bring the greatest sweetest brilliance in Krishna . But still we should not see that Vaikuntha rasa is inferior because it is the same Krishna but he is in a certain mood in the Vaikuntha Lokha. Therefore a devote attracted to Krishna one should not perceive differently. Vaikuntha vasis are also complete in relationship. Example Hanuman considers Lord Ram as his Master. Here Hanuman is in Dasya Bhava and Lord Ram never wishes to have a different relationship with him. Example is we have different cups some are small, some are big, but some are full it feels complete . In Vaikuntha there is no parental rasa, everybody sees Lord Narayan as their Master. Same way Krishna in Vrindavan have some servitors and he is completely happy with them. With cows, especially if we go and ask the cow to change the relationship with Krishna it becomes incompatible. It is like going to tell a mother who has a parental relationship with the son that someone relationship with their son is much greater than yours . It won’t be pleasing. The relationship is Unique. You cannot take away the relationship that Lakshmi who is an expansion of Srimati Radha Rani has with Lord Narayan. She is massaging Lord Narayana’s feet and sometimes she is thinking of Krishna’s past times and becomes attractive to that. Because Krishna is that attractive .In fact Krishna sees his own reflection on a shiny marble in his palace and says who is this person who is so attractive. He became attractive to himself; Krishna is “Tribuvana sundar” , he is attractive to the entire creation.
When we are not attractive to Krishna then we are in a diseased condition of life. We cannot perceive the beauty of Krishna. Also one should see one form of Krishna as superior or inferior. Example in Ramayana when the Bridge was constructed on the ocean towards Lanka a squirrel was picking up sand and trying to serve Lord Rama and Hanuman was also carrying a big boulder trying to serve Lord Rama and he was frustrated with the squirrel and asked him to get out of his way. Lord Ramachandra corrected Hanuman by saying by picking the boulder you are serving me in your own capacity same way the squirrel is also serving me in his own capacity to the fullest so I see the work of both equally glorious. So this lesson teaches us a devotee should be always humble and do the best to serve Krishna by surrendering un to him. The level of surrender is how much Krishna will be attractive to you. When you completely surrender you are completely under the charge of Krishna. When you say Krishna I am yours, please accept me, your will is mine and I have no separate will than your will , then that becomes total submission to Krishna. That gives you real freedom. When you completely surrender you enter in to Krishna’s family and they have complete freedom to deal with Krishna. You are not bound by all kind of inconveniences . But in this material world even though you surrender to Krishna, since you are in this body , it become a hindrance in service of Krishna because sometimes your body gets tired, sleepy, have to take care of your body when you are sick. People who have surrendered to Krishna transcendentally even though they have the body , the urges of the body are not felt. Dedication to Krishna is very exclusive. Before you go to Golokha it is said that you have to take birth in this Bhoomi Vrindavan and serve in that capacity. One who is absorbed in the thoughts of Vrindavan may not be physically living in Vrindavan. Some of Lord Caitnaya Mahaprabhu associates Swarup Damodar Goswami and Rāmānanda Rāya never visited Vrindavan but they were an epitome of bhakti. Our heart become Vrindavan where ever we are. Example Srila Prabhupada’s heart was Vrindavan. Where ever he went he created Vrindavan. If you go to any temple which teaches Srila Prabupada’s instructions meticulously and who follows those instructions, you will find that place is not different from Vrindavan. So therefore we have to create Vrindavan in our heart, like a Dham even though we are in this material word then we can go back to Krishna.
We cannot practice bhakti because we are envious of Krishna , so how can we avoid been envious of Krishna?
Envy is a deep-rooted thing. First of all we have to realize our enviousness for Krishna. Sometimes it is not easy . When we perform devotional service sincerely and honestly Krishna gives us the intelligence to realize our own envy . So simplicity is very important in bhakti. When you approach Krishna you have to reveal all your shortcomings to Krishna even though Krishna knows all your short comings within yourself. But still you have to see all your short comings and approach Krishna and submit to Krishna telling that this is all the defects I have and somehow or the other I have come to this material world because I was envious of you. So here I am in an envious position even though I am not able to see the envy towards you please help me to get rid of this envy. Another effective way is to approach pure devotees who has given their life to Krishna who are serving Krishna heart and soul, and who are simple in their heart with no duplicity .You cannot approach a Saddhu or a Spiritual Master with a hidden agenda so simplicity is accepting things as they are and going to Krishna in a very straight forward way. Sometimes devotees hide their true motive, they come to temple, sing bhajans, they cheat somebody, behave impropriate, have an ulterior motive. So when we approach Krishna we have to be aware of our own short comings and work hard to fix the short comings and by the grace of Srila Prabhupada, by following his instructions, by serving the Spiritual Masters and the Vaishnavas we can get rid of our bad habits and serve Krishna without any envy. Srimad Bhagavatam is meant to those who are without envy. If you have envious in your heart you cannot understand Bhagavatam
In Goloka we may born as anybody as bees, cows, flowers etc., so what happens if the cow eats grass how do we reciprocate that?
In Golokha everything is transcendental, spiritual, never exhausted, never annihilated. So the grass never loses its existence. When they are eaten they feel ecstasy. In fact Uddhava prays that he wants to be the grass in Vrindavan so the Gopi’s can tremble on it .Sometimes these things are bewildering because we don’t have the sufficient access to these things yet. Sometimes we use our material existence, our experiences in this material word and project it to understand Krishna . Example in this material world there is always a beginning and end. We are caught by the concept of time. In this material world as the sun rises and sets one’s life span is reduced but in spiritual world there is no concept of time and the time does not lesson the life span. There everything is eternal and ever-lasting.