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Gita Jayanti – Advent of Srimad Bhagavad-gita

On this auspicious day, I will speak on Srimad Bhagavad-gita, which is a part of the Mahabharata. Have many of you  have heard of Srimad Bhagavad-gita? In Mahabharata, Bhishma-parva, chapters 42 to 60 are called the Bhagavad-gita — containing 18 chapters. The essence of all the Vedas, Puranas, and Upanishads are contained within the Bhagavad-gita. It is the essence of all the Upanishads — ‘Sarvopanishado gavo’

In Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Krishna gave many instructions to Arjuna. And throughout the 18 chapters found in this book, Krishna also discusses the 18 types of yoga. What does yoga mean? The way in which one connects with the Lord. Yoga means connection. Unfortunately, conditioned souls have forgotten the Lord: 

kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha

ataeva māyā tāre deya saṁsāra-duḥkha

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila, 20.117)

[Forgetting Krishna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore, the illusory energy [maya] gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.]

How will they become connected with the Lord again?

The Nature of the Soul

One aspect of conditioned souls is that they have forgotten Krishna. For this regard, they are wandering in the same cycle of repeated birth and death. Maya, the illusory potency of Krishna, is giving us so much punishment. Srimad Bhagavad-gita deeply discusses all of these topics and it also discusses the soul: what the nature of the soul is, what the nature of this body is, and what the nature of the mind is. These topics are explained first. For this reason, I am always reminding you, again and again, we are not this body, rather we are the soul. While the soul resides in the body, the body is working. And one day, this body will inevitably be destroyed. This is the truth. We cannot conquer death.

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur

dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca

tasmād aparihārye ’rthe

na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

Bhagavad-gita (2.27)

[One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.]

One who takes birth in this material world will surely die. This body is created and one day, this body will be destroyed. However, the soul is eternal and transcendental. Thus, in the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna speaks on these topics. 

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin

nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ

ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo

na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

Bhagavad-gita (2.20)

[For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.]

‘Na jāyate mriyate’.— the atma (soul) never takes birth and also never perishes. ‘Ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre’— no one can kill the soul. ‘Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre’— the atma travels from one body to another. We are occupying particular bodies according to our previous karma (reward-seeking activities), and when that karma-phala, fruit of our actions, is finished, we will automatically give this body up and enter another one.  

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya

navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi

tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny

anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

Bhagavad-gita (2.22)

[As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.]

Our bodies are like clothes. When our clothes become old, we acquire new ones. For how many months do you wear your clothes? Maybe 5 to 10 months, but not more than one year. Then after a year, you disregard your old clothes and get new ones.  You won’t always wear the same clothes also; you have many things to wear, some items are red, some white or black. In the same way, what does the atma, the soul, do? The soul is always changing bodies. Thus, we conclude that this body is like clothing, and when this body becomes old, the soul automatically gives it up and enters a new one. This is referred to as the repeated cycle of birth and death, and we are all wandering in this same repetitive cycle. According to our karma, we sometimes attain upper planets or even lower planets.  However, extremely fortunate living entities wandering in this cycle, will take shelter of the lotus feet of a guru (spiritual master) and sadhus (pure devotees). Thereafter they will listen to their advice, perform bhajana and sadhana (devotional activities) and attain Goloka Vrindavana.

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva

guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila, 19.151)

[According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate, gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.]

mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa

śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale karaye secana

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila, 19.152)

[When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of shravana and kirtana [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout.]

Four Types of People Who Approach the Lord  

The aforementioned verse in Chaitanya-charitamrita states, “Wandering in the cycle of repeated birth and death, extremely fortunate living entities will take shelter on the lotus feet of a bona fide guru.” Then, by regularly chanting the holy names and performing bhajana and sadhana, they will eventually reach Goloka Vrindavana. Except, in another verse Krishna tells Arjuna, “Not everyone can perform bhajana and sadhana.” Try to understand that there are four types of people that can practice devotional service to the Lord. 

catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ

janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna

ārto jijñāsur arthārthī

jñānī ca bharatarṣabha

Bhagavad-gita (7.16)

[O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me – the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.]

First, are those with accumulated pious spiritual activities, sukriti. Krishna said, “Hey Arjuna, listen. Not everyone can practice devotional service to the Lord. Only when their sukriti has matured and accumulated, will they get the association of a sadhu and listen to the advice of this sadhu. Then, they will slowly, slowly perform bhajana, sadhana and attain the Lord.” I mentioned there are four types of people who can practice devotional service to the Lord. Who are they? Ārto— those who are suffering distresses of maya. Some would argue, “Actually, everyone is suffering the three distresses of maya.” 

Who is not suffering in this material world? Who is happy? Everyone is suffering the threefolds of mayaadhyātmika (bodily or mental miseries), ādhidaivika (miseries caused by nature and the demigods) and ādhibhautika (miseries caused by others). We are all suffering the threefolds of maya. However, in this verse Krishna states, “Once their sukriti, pious spiritual activities, are matured and accumulated, they will be able to perform bhajana and sadhana. Not everyone will be able to do this. If their sukriti is not matured or accumulated, they cannot receive the association of a sadhu.”

Pastime of Gajendra

Again, the first type of person is called ārto. Ārto means those suffering the threefolds of maya. Do you understand? An example of this is found in the pastime of Gajendra, as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Gajendra means elephant. Once, an elephant went to a pond with his family. Engaged in water sporting activities, they were enjoying sense gratification in that pond. In the meantime, one crocodile came, caught his leg, and pulled him down to the deep waters. 

Though elephants are very powerful, their strength is nullified once in the water and they simply cannot fight back. Still, this elephant was very robust and they battled with each other for a very long time. The powerful elephant fought in the water against the crocodile for many years, he was unable to eat anything, while the crocodile was able to feed by sucking the elephant’s blood. As a result, Gajendra, who was once a strong and mighty elephant, had now become very weak. 

First, all of his family members tried to pull him out of the water. Yet all of their attempts completely failed. Eventually the crocodile began pulling the elephant by his feet into even deeper waters. At this point, Gajendra’s body was almost completely submerged and he was about to die, only his trunk remained above water. However, due to some previous sukriti, Gajendra was able to remember the Lord. And as his massive body sank deeper into the water, he saw a flower and he offered it to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. 

Lord Vishnu immediately appeared, and with His Sudarshana chakra (invincible disc weapon), He cut the head of the crocodile and pulled Gajendra out of the water. After, Gajendra completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. 

A question may now arise— what did Gajendra do in his previous life to earn this sukriti? I will tell you; in his previous life, he performed bhajana and sadhana, and because of this, Gajendra was now able to offer a flower at the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. 

Actually, in his previous life Gajendra was a very powerful king named Indradyumna Maharaja. Once, King Indradyumna left his house and went to the forest to worship his Thakuraji. Then a very high-classed Rishi, named Agastya, arrived in his ashrama (temple). Absorbed in his worship, the king did not pay proper respects to him and Agastya Rishi cursed the king as a result. The Rishi spoke this curse to the king, “O, you have not given respect to a sadhu, so, in your next life you will become an elephant.” At that time, Indradyumna Maharaja held the lotus feet of Agastya Rishi and pleaded, “How will I be delivered from the body of an elephant?” Agastya Rishi replied, “Lord Vishnu will deliver you from that body.” 

So in this verse from Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “Catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna— four types of people can worship Me, if they have sukriti, pious spiritual activities. And if they are jijñāsur, have an inquisitive mood...” This is also a very important factor. Not everyone has developed an inquisitive mood, yet it is still very important. Without this inquisitive mood, one can never develop their spiritual life. And what exactly is an inquisitive mood? You must inquire about yourself. Who are you? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Who am I? Am I this body, the mind or am I the soul? Why am I coming to this material world and suffering these threefolds of maya? Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada also asked these questions to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 

‘ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya’

ihā nāhi jāni — ‘kemane hita haya’

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila, 20.102)

[Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited?]

'Кe āmi’— who am I? Why am I in this material world suffering the threefolds of maya? And how will I be delivered from this material world? Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that these inquisitive moods also appeared in Shaunaka Rishi when he inquired of Srila Suta Gosvamipada. 

A simple question may arise in your heart. How can I attain peace? In this material world, everyone is unhappy, distressed and all of their minds are disturbed. Perhaps, you have already asked these things: how will you attain peace and happiness? Doesn’t everyone want peace and happiness? The sages in an assembly asked six important questions, one being: how will we achieve happiness? This is a very relevant topic of discussion because in this material world, everyone is suffering, feeling unhappiness and are distressed. It is very important to know how one can attain love and peacefulness in this material world. After hearing their questions, Sri Suta Gosvamipada offered this response:

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo 

yato bhaktir adhokṣaje

ahaituky apratihatā

yayātmā suprasīdati

Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6)

[The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.]

If you worship Lord Vishnu/Krishna, you will achieve perfected happiness; this is a very simple solution.

na sādhayati māṁ yogo

na sāṅkhyaṁ dharma uddhava

na svādhyāyas tapas tyāgo

yathā bhaktir mamorjitā

Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.20)

[My dear Uddhava, the unalloyed devotional service rendered to Me by My devotees brings Me under their control. I cannot be thus controlled by those engaged in mystic yoga, Shankhya philosophy, pious work, Vedic study, austerity or renunciation.]

The Necessity of Sukriti in Bhakti

Krishna says, “No one can attain Me by performing karma (reward-seeking activities), jnana (the pursuit of knowledge), yoga (a path of developing mystic powers), or tapasya (performance of austerities), only by practicing devotional service to Me.” ‘Arto jijñāsur arthārthī’. Arthārthī refers to those who are very eager to attain wealth or money. When their sukriti has matured, they can also perform bhajana and sadhana. An example of this is Dhruva Maharaja—Srimad-Bhagavatam tells the very nice and beautiful pastime of Dhruva Maharaja. 

There are also jnanis (those who pursue the path of jnana), like the four Kumaras, chatuhsana: those who have an inquisitive mood or desire to acquire knowledge — even they cannot perform bhajana and sadhana to Krishna if their sukriti has not matured and accumulated. Many people study philosophy. However, if their sukriti has not matured, they also cannot perform bhajana and sadhana. All they can do is just study and study. They merely memorise Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads or other scriptures for the sake of argument. Their purpose for studying is just to defeat others. There are many in this material world who have acquired a vast wealth of knowledge. But if they do not have enough sukriti, they will never want to engage themselves in worshipping the Lord or performing bhajana and sadhana

Now another question may emerge: what does sukriti actually mean? I have used this word today many times. What is sukriti? Pious spiritual activities. The literal definition of sukriti is: ’acts related to the Lord and all of His activities’. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, if you are somehow connected with these acts, you will collect sukriti. For example, earlier today someone was taking water from the Ganges and performing achamana (a ritual of purification). This process created sukriti in that person as it is a spiritual pious activity. Watering Tulasi and offering her leaves to the Lord also creates sukriti. Offering ghee lamps to the Lord creates sukriti. Even honouring maha-prasada, the remnants of the Lord, creates sukriti. The Lord’s remnants are very powerful and whether you knowingly or unknowingly consume maha-prasada, your sukriti will begin to mature and accumulate. And when matured, you will surely perform bhajana and sadhana to the Lord. This is because all of these activities are transcendental, aprakrita.  

Pastime of the Princess Accumulating Sukriti 

For example, one day a brahmana (priest) was worshipping Thakuraji with ghee lamps. After offering the ghee wick, he closed the doors and exited the temple, leaving the ghee lamp burning inside. And as the ghee wicks were about to go out, a rat came and attempted to eat them. The moment the rat bit a ghee wick with his sharp teeth, the flames began spreading over his face. Attempting to extinguish the fire, the rat began rolling on the ground in front of Thakuraji, with the ghee wick stuck to his face. 

Try to understand that our conception and the Lord’s conception are completely different. The Lord was thinking, “He is rolling around in front of Me, which means he is actually performing arati (worship) to Me.” Then some sukriti entered his body and after the rat passed away, his soul attained the body of a very beautiful princess. From her childhood, that princess would spontaneously offer ghee lamps to Thakuraji. When the princess’s sukriti accumulated and matured, she received the association of a sadhu. With the association of this sadhu, Bhakti-devi manifested in her heart and she attained Goloka Vrindavana. 

All of our spiritual advancements are completely dependent on our sukriti. Sukriti is of two types and can be created in two ways: one type is created knowingly and the other, unknowingly. As mentioned earlier, our scriptures explain some of the ways to create sukriti are by honouring maha-prasada or by offering water to Tulasi. All activities which are related to the Lord, whether performed knowingly or unknowingly, will create sukriti and eventually, you will attain bhakti (devotional service to the Lord). Chanting the holy names is a pious spiritual activity which also creates sukriti. Simply chant,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

[Jaya Srila Gurudeva ki jaya!]

[Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!]

Date: 16 January 2015  Location: Brazil


Transcriber: Sanatana dasa (USA) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreading: Chandrika dasi (UK), Indira dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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