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SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute Editor: The dearmost disciple and associate of The King of Spitirual Teachers Of Vaishnava Ontology Vaishnava-siddhantacharya-samrat Jagad-guru Prabhupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya-varya Sarva-sastra-siddhanta-vit Astottara-sata-sri Srimad Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja Rendered into English by Tridandi Bhiksu Sripad Sagar Maharaj Assisted by Sripad Nimai Sundar Brahmachari and Sripad Jagadananda Adhikari Invocation Meditation on Sri Gita   O Bhagavad-gita, sung by the Supreme Lord Himself, You are the bestower of the enlightenment of Arjuna. You have been interwoven within the scripture Mahabharata by Srila Vedavyasa, the writer of the Puranas. In eighteen chapters, You are the rain of ever-flowing nectar, and the almighty potency of the Supreme Lord which delivers the whole material world of suffering. O Mother, I keep You in my heart forever. Obeisances unto Srila Vyasadeva O master of great, formidable intelligence, Srila Vyasadeva, whose eyes resemble the long petals of a blooming lotus flower, and who litthe lamp of knowledge which was filled with the oil of the Mahabharata - I offer my respectful obeisances unto you. Obeisances unto the Lord as the chariot-driver of Arjuna I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, who fulfills all the desires of His surrendered devotees. He holds a driving-rod in one hand while the other is poised in the gesture of instruction, and He is the extractor of the nectar of the Gita. The glory of the Gita The crest-jewels of the Vedas, the Upanisads, are like a cow, and the milker of the cow is Lord Sri Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaj. Arjuna is the calf, the nectar of the Gita is the milk, and the virtuous devotees are the drinkers and enjoyers of that milk. Obeisances unto Lord Sri Krsna I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, who is the son of Vasudeva, the vanquisher of demons like Kamsa and Canura, the expander of the divine ecstasy of mother Devaki, the Supreme God of all gods, and the guru of the whole universe. The battlefield represented as a river The river, of which one bank is Bhisma and the other is Dronacarya; Jayadratha is the water, the sons of Gandhari are the blue lotus flower, and Salya is the crocodile; Krpa is the current, and Karna is the everchanging rising and ebbing tide; Asvatthama, Vikarna and company are the fearful sharks, and Duryodhana is the whirlpool - Sri Kesava is the fisherman of such a river of battle, which was crossed over by the Pandava brothers. The Mahabharata as a lotus flower The words of Sri Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva, the son of Parasara Muni, are a pure lotus flower. The meaning of the Gita is the far- reaching fragrance of that lotus, and the various narrations are its stamens. The revelations of harikatha, narrations about the Supreme Lord, are the river. In this world, the pure devotees are the bees who are constantly absorbed in drinking the nectar of the lotus flower. Maythat Mahabharata lotus, which is the vanquisher of all evils in this age of Kali, graciously bestow auspiciousness upon us. Obeisances unto the Supreme Lord I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord whose glories are praised with celestial prayers by Lord Brahma, Lord Varuna, Lord Indra, Lord Rudra, and the Maruts, and whose glories are recited by the knowers of the Sama-veda; whose glories are sung by all the Vedas, along with their six subsidiary divisions and the Upanisads; who is seen within the hearts of the yogis absorbed in meditational trance, and whose infinite glories cannot be known, either by the gods or the demons. (Bhag. 12.13.1) Before reciting or studying the scriptures, one must offer respectful obeisances unto the Lord's incarnations Nara-Narayana Rsi of Badarikasrama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, the goddess of speech Saraswati, and the writer of the scriptures, Srila Vyasadeva. Preface  The Srimad Bhagavad-gita is unique in its wide publication and extensive circulation. Along with the commentaries of former great saints as well as modern scholars, this classic appears in various languages, both in India and other countries. The commentaries of the great Vaisnava acaryas such as Srimat Ramanuja, Srimat Madhvamuni, and Sri Sridhara Swamipada deserve special mention, while among the proponents of jnana-marga, or the scholastic path, the commentaries of Srimat Sankaracarya and Sri Madhusudana Saraswati are prominent. The commentaries of Sriyuta Bala Gangadhara Tilak and Sri Aurobindo favor the school of karma-yoga, or the path of action, and are also familiar to modern scholars. Furthermore, great thinkers of both Orient and Occident have ardently sung the glories of Sri Gita, being inspired by the ideals of its teaching. But fortunate persons of fine theistic intellect will experience the acintya-bhedabheda-siddhanta, or axiom of inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference illustriouslypromulgated by the authentic followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Gaudiya Acaryas Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana as eminently faithful to exclusive devotion to the Supreme Lord. The learned and faithful devotees are also inspired within the core of their hearts by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Bengali commentary on Sri Gita, realizing it to be an all-harmonious treasure of divine love for Lord Sri Krsna (Krsna-prema), which is the fifth and ultimate goal of life, transcendental to religiosity, economy, sense enjoyment, and liberation. In the introduction to the present edition my worshipful divine master, Sri Gurupadapadma Om Visnupada Paramahaµsa Parivrajakacarya Sri Srimad Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj has beautifully revealed to the readers the deep, internal devotional realization in his rendition. Among the numerous editions of Sri Gita presently available, few can be said to faithfully nurture pure devotion in accordance with the perfect conclusions of parampara, or bona fide descending disciplic succession. Therefore, our current endeavor has been justified. We shall consider ourselves blessed if our thoughtful readers will take the vital and all-auspicious essence of this sincere attempt to heart. Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip Introduction vande sri-guru-gaurangau, radha-govinda-sundarau sa-gunau giyate catha, gita-gudhartha-gauravam  Bowing down to the holy feet of Sri Guru, Sri Gauranga, and Sri Sri Radha Govindasundara, all accompanied by Their associates, I shall sing the great glory of the hidden treasure of Srimad Bhagavad-gita. The Srimad Bhagavad-gita is well-known by the learned. Therefore, some explanation of the procedure adopted by this edition's editor must initially be given. The editor belongs to the school of thought descending in disciplic line from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We will therefore distinguish that the present edition is based on thecommentaries on Sri Gita as given by the preeminent, exalted Sri Gaudiya Vaisnava Acaryas, Sri Visvanatha, Sri Baladeva, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. By the manifest grace of our worshipful spiritual master, Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, and from hints given by the aforementioned great pure devotees, some new light has been shed herein, unfolding deeper meanings throughout the text. The devotional reader will appreciate this distinction particularly in noting the purport of the four verses (10.8-11) which were explained by Sri Visvanathapada to be the four essential verses (catuh-sloki) of the book. Generally, Sri Gita is known as an excellent study of the science of religion. The language of Sri Gita is simple and sweet; its mood is grave, extensive, and fundamental; its thought is brief, distinct, and impartial; and its logic is sound and natural. The prologue, epilogue, exposition, review, analysis, synthesis, and art of presentation of Sri Gita is unprecendented and charming to the extreme. Sri Gita is activation for the lazy, courage for the coward, hope for the hopeless, and new life for the dying. Sri Gita unifies and sustains all ranks, whether revolutionist, occultist, optimist, renunciationist, liberationist, or full-fledged theist. From the atheist of grossly crude vision to the most elevated saint the essential conceptions of all classes of philosophers are dealt with in clear and forceful logic. The fruitive worker, the learned, and the yoga practitioner (karmi, jnani, and yogi) and the devotee of the Lord will find herein a comprehensive and illuminating exposition on the substance of their respective philosophies, and thus the book is highly esteemed by all. The essential teachings of the Vedas and Upanisads of the Aryans is directly explained, and upon a little closer scrutiny, the gist of various non-Aryan doctrines may also be detected in the text. Within the purport of Sri Gita we find that the purification of consciousness through wisdom arises from materially unmotivated performance of scripturally enjoined duties, resulting in self-knowledge absolute existential knowledge, or divine realization. In full maturity, this pure, spotless perception culminates in the quest for loving service in pure cognition, in the divine ecstatic realm. In the analysis of sambandha-jnana, or knowledge of divinerelationship, Sri Gita has revealed that the nature of the most original truth is a transcendental all-conscious personality. In the analysis of prayojana, or the supreme objective, internal inspiration of pure love in pursuit of the Supreme Absolute Reality has been mentioned as the perfectional attainment. And in the analysis of abhidheya, or the method of attaining the desired goal, the first stage has been revealed as offering all one's actions to the Supreme Lord, followed by the cultivation of internal self-knowledge, which arises according to one's progressive realization of the Lord. Finally, by giving up all other endeavors, one surrenders exclusively unto the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna. In other words by taking shelter of pure unalloyed faith, one is situated in one's perfected divine identity and engages in divine loving service to the Lord, which is the ultimate goal of all devotional practices. Sri Gita has clearly distinguished and delineated the characteristics of the nondevotional paths based on action (karma) and knowledge (jnana) and their corresponding achievable objectives of sense enjoyment (kama) and liberation (moksa). Therefore, the intelligent can note that by the statement, yo yac chraddhah sa eva sah, "One is identified by his particular faith", Sri Gita has drawn an objective comparison of different paths and their goals, thus disarming and exposing those who create confusion by supporting the concoction that the many paths and goals are "all one". In this respect, the following verses (6.46-47) deserve special attention: tapasvibhyo 'dhiko yogi, jnanibhyo 'pi mato 'dhikah karmibhyas cadhiko yogi, tasmad yogi bhavarjuna yoginam api sarvesam, mad-gatenantaratmana sraddhavan bhajate yo mam, sa me yuktatamo matah  Tyaga or renunciation has been completely condemned, and its futility has been emphatically asserted. This proclamation shows the conclusive, intrinsic gift of Sri Gita. Karma-yoga, or offering one's actions to the Supreme Lord without provincial interest, is preferred above karma-tyaga, or renunciation of action and finally, full self- surrender to the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, with every action dedicated by divine inspiration in his loving service is the ultimate and supremeteaching of Sri Gita, one will find it to be the king of all scriptures as the bestower of the highest devotion. In its full-fledged nature, this devotion is the most supreme love divine, love for the all-attractive Supreme Personality Sri Krsna, Reality the Beautiful. Sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja - the grand, vibrant, and resounding clarion call of Sri Gita has proclaimed the glories of life's superexcellent objective. Hidden, more hidden, and the most hidden treasures have been given, from the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord (sankirtana) up to spontaneous devotion (bhava-seva) in the life of total dedication to the cultivation of Krsna consciousness with exclusive surrender. This is the consistent and unanimous conclusion of the pure parampara, or descending spiritual succession, as corroborated by the genuine followers of the lotus footsteps of Sri Caitanyacandra, the original Supreme Lord, who descends to deliver the fallen souls of Kali-yuga, this iron age of quarrel and strife. May this edition be an offering unto Lord Sri Krsna.   Swami B. R. Sridhar Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math Nabadwip Chapter One Observing the Armies Sainya-darsana  1) Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, after assembling for battle at the holy place of Kuruksetra? 2) Sanjaya said: Looking over the Pandavas' soldiers and armies arrayed in military formation, King Duryodhana approached Dronacarya and spoke as follows: 3) O master, please observe the great armies of the Pandavas,arrayed in military formation by your intelligent disciple, Dhrstadyumna. 4-6) Among these soldiers are the expert bowmen Bhima and Arjuna, as well as others who are equally expert, such as Satyaki, King Virata, the great fighter Drupada, Dhrstaketu, Cekitana, the mighty hero Kasiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja, the noble King Saibya, valiant Yudhamanyu, heroic Uttamauja, Abhimanyu, and the sons of Draupadi all of whom are certainly great warriors. 7) O best of the twice-born, please also be informed of the great heroes and leaders of our armies. I shall now fully describe them for your consideration. 8-9) Besides your worthy self, who are always victorious in battle, and Bhisma, Karna, Krpacarya, Asvatthama, Vikarna, Saumadatti (Bhurisrava), and Jayadratha, there are many other heroes who are expert in the art of warfare; they are all armed with various weapons and are determined to lay down their very lives for me. 10) Our army, headed by Bhisma, is inadequate, whereas the army of the Pandavas, protected by Bhima, is competent. 11) Therefore, remaining in your respective divisions at the strategic points of the formation, please cooperate to protect Grandfather Bhisma. 12) Then, with a war-cry like the roar of a lion, Bhisma, the mighty grandsire of the Kurus, loudly blew his conchshell to encourage Duryodhana. 13) At once, conchshells, kettledrums, hand-drums, bugles, and other instruments were suddenly sounded, producing a tumultuous vibration. 14) On the other side, Lord Sri Krsna and Arjuna, in a grand chariot drawn by white horses, resounded their divineconchshells. 15) Hrsikesa sounded His conchshell, Pancajanya; Dhananjaya sounded his, the Devadatta; and Bhimasena, the performer of mighty tasks, blew the great conchshell named Paundra. 16) King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew the Anantavijaya, while Nakula and Sahadeva sounded the conchshells named Sughosa and Manipuspaka respectively. 17, 18) O lord of the earth, the expert bowman Kasiraja, the great warrior Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, King Virata, the unconquerable Satyaki, King Drupada, the sons of Draupadi and the mighty son of Subhadra, Abhimanyu all sounded their respective conchshells. 19) The tremendous sound of those conchshells, resounding throughout the land and heavens, pierced the hearts of the sons of Dhrtarastra. 20) O King, at that time, Dhananjaya (Arjuna), mounted on a chariot decorated with the flag of Hanuman, was ready to release his weapons. Seeing Duryodhana and his company poised for battle, he picked up his bow and spoke to Sri Krsna as follows: 21-23) Arjuna said: O Krsna, please place my chariot between the two armies, so I may observe the warriors with whom I must contend on this battlefield, and who have come to fight for the satisfaction of the wicked Duryodhana. 24-25) Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, after the vigilant Arjuna spoke these words, Sri Krsna (the Lord of all senses) maneuvered the grand chariot between both armies, in front of Bhisma, Drona, and all the emperors. The Lord then said: O Partha, behold the Kauravas assembled here for battle. 26) There, within both armies, Arjuna could actually see fatherly elders, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons,grandsons, fathers-in-law, friends, and other well-wishers. 27) Thus, seeing his own kinsmen present on the battlefield, the son of Kunti, Arjuna, griefstricken and overwhelmed with great compassion, spoke the following words: 28) Arjuna said: O Krsna Seeing my own relatives all standing before me eager for warfare, my limbs are being sapped of their strength and my mouth feels parched. 29) My whole body is trembling and bristling. I am losing grip of my bow Gandiva, and my skin is burning. 30) O Kesava I cannot contain myself any longer. My mind is bewildered, and I see only hostile signs fraught with evil. 31) Nor do I see any good in killing my own relatives in this battle. O Krsna, I have no desire for victory, kingdom, or happiness. 32-34) O Govinda, of what value is our kingdom? What is the purpose of happiness and enjoyment, if those for whom we desire all this - teachers, fatherly elders, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives have today arrived for battle, ready to sacrifice their very lives and possessions? Therefore, O Madhusudana, even if they want to take my life, I do not wish to kill them. 35) O Janardana, even if we gain sovereignty over the three worlds, not to speak of ruling over the earth, what happiness shall we obtain by killing Duryodhana and company? 36) Only sin will befall us if we slay our teachers and guardians, even if they be our aggressors. We cannot take the lives of our own relatives, the sons of Dhrtarastra. O Madhava, how can we be happy by killing our own kinsmen? 37-38) Although these men, their hearts afflicted by greed, cannot see the grave sin of fighting with friends and killing familymembers, why, O Janardana, should we not refrain from this heinous act, being in full knowledge of the grave consequences? 39) With the decline of the dynasty, the religious traditions of the family are curtailed. When religious practices are thus disrupted, the entire remaining dynasty is overwhelmed by irreligion. 40) O Krsna, descendant of the Vrsni dynasty, when the family is thus predominated by irreligion, the women of the family become depraved, and from adultery, unwanted and unvirtuous progeny is born. 41) Undesirable progeny forces both the family and its destroyers into a hellish condition. The same fate befalls the ancestors of that family, because the regular offerings of food and water to those ancestors are discontinued. 42) The heinous acts of such destroyers of the dynasty cause the outbreak of mongrelized progeny. By those acts, ageless family tradition and noble high lineage are utterly devastated. 43) O Janardana, we have heard that persons whose familial, social, and religious traditions are disrupted dwell always in hell. 44) Alas What a grave sin we have decided to commit. Driven by our greed for trifling royal happiness, we are about to kill our own kinsmen. 45) If unarmed and unresisting, I were to be killed on this battlefield by the armed sons of Dhrtarastra, then that would be much more auspicious for me. 46) Sanjaya said: Having thus spoken on the battlefield, Arjuna cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his heart overwhelmed with lamentation.Chapter Two The Constitution of the Soul Sankhya-yoga 1) Sanjaya said: The Supreme Lord, Madhusudana, then spoke the following words unto griefstricken Arjuna, who was overwhelmed with compassion and whose sorrowful eyes were brimming with tears. 2) The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, why has such illusion overcome you at this critical moment? This is unbefitting a noble man (Aryan). It is an obstacle to the attainment of heaven, and a destroyer of good name and fame. 3) O son of Kunti, give up this cowardice, for it does not become you. O great hero, cast off this petty weakness of heart, and arise for battle 4) Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, killer of the enemy, how can I counterattack, shooting arrows at my grandsire Bhisma and teacher Drona, who are worthy of my worship? 5) It is better to live in this world by begging, without taking the lives of our great, noble elders and teachers. Otherwise, by killing them we shall only live in this world to enjoy their wealth and properties tainted with their blood. 6) We cannot understand which will be better for us victory or defeat because those sons of Dhrtarastra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, now stand before us on the battlefront. 7) Now I am bewildered. What is my real duty? Overwhelmed by apprehension for the fall of our dynasty, I am begging You to please tell me clearly which course of action is most beneficial for me. I am Your surrendered disciple. Kindly instruct me.8) Even if we obtain an unrivaled, expanding empire on Earth and supremacy over the kingdom of heaven, I cannot find anything to allay this sadness which is leaving me senseless. 9) Sanjaya said: In this way, the chastiser of the enemy, the intensely alert Arjuna, addressed Krsna who is the Lord of the senses of all beings. Then he declared, "Govinda, I will not fight", and fell silent. 10) O Bharata, thereafter Sri Hrsikesa, in the midst of both armies, smilingly addressed the griefstricken Arjuna as follows: 11) The Lord said: O Arjuna, you are mourning for that which is unworthy of grief, and yet speaking words of wisdom. But the wise lament neither for the living nor the dead. 12) Never was there a time when I, you, or all these kings did not exist. As we are at present, so have we been in the past, and shall continue to be in the future. 13) As the embodied living being gradually passes in this body from childhood to youth to old age, so also that soul attains yet another boy at death. The learned are not deluded by such a transformation. 14) O son of Kunti, only the engagement of the senses with their objects gives rise to the sensations for cold, heat, pleasure, and pain. But these effects are temporary they come and go. Therefore, O Bharata, you are to endure them. 15) O noblest of men, a person of steady intelligence, equipoised in pleasure and pain, undisturbed by sensual experiences, is certainly eligible for liberation. 16) Of the changeable, such as the body, there is no everlasting existence; of the everlasting soul, there is no transformation or destruction. Seers of the truth have thus distinguished and analyzed the nature of both eternal reality and temporary illusion.17) Know that the soul who pervades the entire body is imperishable. He is unchangeable and everlasting, and no one can destroy him. 18) Only these physical bodies of the eternal, indestructible, and immeasurable soul are subject to destruction. Therefore, fight, O Bharata, and do not give up your natural religious principles. 19) Those who think that the living being is a slayer, and those who think that he is slain, are both ignorant of the true nature of the soul - the soul neither slays nor is slain. 20) The soul is never born and he never dies, nor does he repeatedly come into being and undergo expansion, because he is unborn and eternal. He is inexhaustible ever-youthful yet ancient. Although the body is subject to birth and death, the soul is never destroyed. 21) O Partha, how can a person who knows the soul to be constant, indestructible, birthless, and inexhaustible, kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed? 22) As a person accepts new dress, rejecting that which is old and worn, so also the soul continues to accept a new body, giving up the old and useless one. 23) Weapons cannot pierce the soul, and fire cannot burn him. He can neither be moistened with water, nor dried by the air. 24-25) The soul is indivisible and cannot be burned, moistened, or dried up. He is everlasting, constant, unchangeable, and ever- existent. Nothing can obstruct his passage. This soul is imperceptible, inconceivable, and unaffected by the sixfold mutations (birth, existence, growth, maturity, diminution, and destruction). Therefore, knowing the soul in this way, you can no longer lament.26-27) And, O best of warriors, even if you think that the soul is perpetually subject to birth and death, you still have no reason to lament. For one who is born, death is certain, and for one who dies, he must be reborn to undergo the reactions of his past actions. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. 28) O Bharata, when all living entities are unmanifest before birth, manifest between birth and death, and again unmanifest at death, why lament for them? (This conclusion is not corroborated by saintly authorities; but if it is accepted for the sake of argument, your duty is still to fight to uphold your natural religious principles.) 29) Some see the soul as astonishing, some describe him as astonishing, some hear of him as astonishing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all. 30) O Bharata, the soul dwelling within the bodies of all living beings is eternal and cannot be slain. Therefore, you should not lament for anybody. 31) Moreover, considering your svadharma, you have no reason to waver, since no action is more beneficial for a ksatriya than fighting for religious justice. Commentary: Svadharma, or the natural duty of the living entity, is of two types, according to the condition of either his bondage or liberation. In the liberated state, svadharma is devoid of the superfluous color or impetus which is found in the svadharma of material bondage. Actually, pure sva-dharma, suddha svadharma, is the liberated soul's absorption in engaging his every attempt for the divine pleasure of the Supreme Lord. On the other hand, the soul in material bondage accepts various birth throughout 8,400,000 species of life according to the fruits of his past actions, until by dint of pious or virtuous actions he obtains a human birth; then, according to his particular nature and movements he adopts a position in daiva- varnasrama, the God-centered, graded socio-religious system, as a favorable means of attaining pure svadharma of the liberated state. Thus, the practice of this favorable means is also known as svadharma in a general way. In other words, as smoke-covered fire is still knownas fire regardless of its covering, similarly, although the original suddha svadharma of the soul may appear to be slightly covered, it is nonetheless counted as svadharma, within the consideration of the God-centered socio-religious system of varnasrama-dharma.  32) O Partha, such a battle, present of its own accord like the open gates of heaven, can be gained only by the most fortunate warriors. 33) In fact, if you choose not to engage in this war of religious justice, your religious principles will be lost, fame will desert you, and sin will overcome you. 34) People will speak of your infamy for all time to come, and for the renowned, infamy is worse than death. 35) Those great warriors who have highly honored you will ridicule you, considering that you were afraid to fight. 36) Your enemies will scorn your abilities with many insulting words. What could be more painful? 37) O Kaunteya, if you are killed, you will attain heaven, and if you are victorious, you will enjoy the Earth. Therefore, being confident of your success, arise for battle 38) Knowing pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat to be one and the same - fight. You will be unaffected by sin. 39) I have just explained to you the wisdom of the conception of reality. Now hear of the conception of devotional service, or bhakti-yoga. O Partha, by buddhi-yoga, engaging your intelligence in devotion, you will be able to completely cut the bondage of action. Commentary: "It will be shown herein that buddhi-yoga is a singular path. When this buddhi-yoga is seen to be limited by the ideal of action, it is known as karma-yoga; when it extends beyond karma upto the utmost limit of knowledge, it is known as jnana-yoga, or sankhya-yoga; and when, transcending the limitations of both jnana and karma, it touches bhakti, or devotion, it is then known as bhakti- yoga, or perfectly pure and complete buddhi-yoga." Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura 40) Even a small beginning in this devotional service cannot go in vain, nor can any loss be suffered. The most insignificant practice of such devotional service saves one from the all-devouring fear of repeated birth and death in this world. Commentary: enerally, maha-bhaya is taken as the all-devouring fear of repeated birth and death in this world of exploitation. But maha- bhaya also refers to sayujya-mukti, the liberation of merging into the impersonal nondifferentiated consciousness of Brahmaloka, Viraja, or samadhi. Renunciation leads to sayujya-mukti, the fullstop of birth and death, but not a life in the positive plane. It takes one to a permanent burial in Brahmaloka. The demon of mukti will devour one wholesale, and therefore it is even more dangerous than this ordinary worldly life of action and reaction. Mukti means a strike in the organic system, so it must be avoided. To either abuse duties in a factory or to declare a strike by cessation of duties are both abnormal. Bhukti, exploitation, and mukti, renunciation, are both fearsome ghosts. Therefore, maha-bhaya means the great apprehension fo falling prey to both the ghost of exploitation leading to repeated birth and death, as well as the ghost of committing suicide by merging into the impersonalism of incarceration in Brahmaloka fear of both bhoga- bhumi, the plane of exploitation, and tyaga-bhumi, the plane of renunciation. It is stated in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: bhukti-mukti sprha yavat, pisaci hrdi vartate tavad bhakti-sukhasyatra, katham abhyudayo bhavet  "As long as the two ghosts of exploitation and renunciation remain haunting the heart, the ecstasy of devotion to Krsna will never awaken there." (B.r.s. 1.2.22) anyabhilasita sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtamanukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama  "The highest devotion is that which pleases exclusively the Supreme Lord, Krsna, and it is devoid of any desire apart from His service. It is not covered by the action of daily or customary duties (karma), nor by the knowledge that searches for the impersonal nondifferentiated aspect of the Absolute (jnana), nor by the meditational attempt to become one with the Lord (yoga)." (B.r.s. 1.1.9) Only the Supreme Lord is abhaya, beyond apprehension. Therefore only participation in His service can free one from the ghosts of exploitation and renunciation, bhukti and mukti. If we subtract bhukti and mukti, then only positive bhakti, devotion, is the remainder. Therefore without bhakti everything is maha-bhaya, great danger. 41) O descendant of the Kuru dynasty, intelligence engaged in exclusive devotion unto Me is one-pointed and firmly situated in Me, since I am its only goal. But the intelligence of those who avoid exclusive devotion to Me is splayed and characterized by endless desires because of its absorption in innumerable sense objects. 42-44) O Partha, those lascivious and ignorant persons who have no knowledge that the chief purpose of the Vedas is the attainment of the Supreme Truth, are always concerned with interpretations of its indirect, trivial aspects. They say "There is nothing worth knowing beyond this." Desirous of enjoying the fruits of their actions and seeking the attainment of heaven, those fools are attracted by the apparently enchanting (but ultimately poisonous) words of the karma-kanda section of the Vedas, wherein many processes of sacrifice and other rituals are described which yield wealth, sense enjoyment, good birth, and the fruits of one's actions. Deluded by these flowery words and enamored by worldly pleasures and opulence, the intelligence of such indiscriminate persons does not attain the resolute determination of exclusive and uninterrupted dedication to the Supreme Lord. 45) O Arjuna, when defining nondevotional paths based on actionand knowledge, the Vedas deal with the three modes of material nature. Foolish men, whose intelligence is covered by exploitation and renunciation, engage themselves in the cultivation of action and knowledge. Thus, they remain in ignorance of the principal object aimed at by the Vedas, which is transcendence beyond the three modes of material nature. But Arjuna, you be free from duality, live in the association of My eternal devotees, and give up all pursuits for gain and preservation. Then by buddhi-yoga, dedicating your intelligence to Me, reach that plane which is free from material qualities, and situate yourself in that transcendence which is the object of the Vedas. In other words, withdrawing yourself from the cultivation of action and knowledge, engage exclusively in the path of devotion as commanded by the Vedas. 46) All the purposes served by several tiny ponds can at once be served better by a large lake. Similarly, the results obtained by worshiping various demigods through respective Vedic prayers may at once be surpassed by exclusive devotion unto Me. Such devotion is the one and only direction of the Vedas. A self-realized person who is thus in full knowledge of the essence of the Vedas, fulfills all necessities by exclusively worshiping the Supreme Lord in devotion. 47) I shall now describe niskama karma-yoga the path of selfless action. You have a right to perform your natural prescribed duties, but your are not entitled to any fruits of that action. You should neither act with desire to enjoy the fruits of your work, nor, as a result, should you be attached to neglecting your duties. 48) O Dhananjaya, after giving up desire for the fruits of action, situate yourself on the path of devotion (bhakti-yoga). Equally disposed to success and failure, carry out the duties prescribed according to your nature. To remain equipoised in either succes or failure of the outcome of action is certainly known as yoga. 49) O Dhananjaya, fruitive action is extremly abominable in comparison to buddhi-yoga, or equilibrium in selfless action. Those who crave the fruits of their actions are misers - they areimpoverished, being full of desires. Therefore, take shelter of the intelligence of which selfless action is the aim and objective. 50) A person who is not motivated by desire to enjoy the fruits of his actions rids himself of both good and bad deeds within this very life. Engage, therefore, in the path of selfless action, since such buddhi-yoga, or equilibrium in selfless action, is certainly the art of action. 51) Wise men of steady intelligence liberate themselves from the bondage of birth by renouncing the fruits born of action. Thus, they enter into that state of divine tranquillity which is attainable only by the devotees. Chapter Three The Path of Action Karma-yoga 1) Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Kesava, if You consider that resolute and determined spiritual intelligence (vyavasayatmika buddhi) is better than action in goodness and passion, then why do You engage me in the violent activity of warfare? 2) My intelligence is confused by Your words. They appear to be ambiguous, sometimes supporting action and sometimes supporting knowledge. So please instruct me which of these two paths is most beneficial for me. 3) The Supreme Lord replied: I have already described the two types of faith to be found in this world. I have established that the learned who are aware of the conscious world, and those who are mainly active in the mundane plane, both engage in the (rudimentary) practice of the path of devotion (sadhana bhakti- yoga) by respectively following the path of knowledge and the path of selfless action offered to the Lord. Actually, the staircase

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