Bg. 13.8-12

अमानित्वमदम्भित्वमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम् ।
आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रहः ॥८॥
इन्द्रियार्थेषु वैराग्यमनहंकार एव च ।
जन्ममृत्युजराव्याधिदुःखदोषानुदर्शनम् ॥९॥
असक्तिरनभिष्वङ्गः पुत्रदारगृहादिषु ।
नित्यं च समचित्तत्वमिष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु ॥१०॥
मयि चानन्ययोगेन भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी ।
विविक्तदेशसेवित्वमरतिर्जनसंसदि ॥११॥
अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वं तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् ।
एतज्ज्ञानमिति प्रोक्तमज्ञानं यदतोऽन्यथा ॥१२॥

Text

amānitvam adambhitvam
ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavam
ācāryopāsanaṁ śaucaṁ
sthairyam ātma-vinigrahaḥ

indriyārtheṣu vairāgyam
anahaṅkāra eva ca
janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-
duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam

asaktir anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ
putra-dāra-gṛhādiṣu
nityaṁ ca sama-cittatvam
iṣṭāniṣṭopapattiṣu

mayi cānanya-yogena
bhaktir avyabhicāriṇī
vivikta-deśa-sevitvam
aratir jana-saṁsadi

adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvaṁ
tattva-jñānārtha-darśanam
etaj jñānam iti proktam
ajñānaṁ yad ato ‘nyathā

Synonyms

amānitvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigamānitvam

humility.
—humility; adambhitvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigadambhitvam

pridelessness.
—pridelessness; ahiṁsāplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigahiṁsā

nonviolence (not subjecting any living entity to the threefold miseries); nonviolence.
—nonviolence; kṣāntiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigkṣāntiḥ

forgiveness (being unagitated by anger); forgiveness; self-control even if there is cause of anger; tolerance.
—tolerance; ārjavamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigārjavam

honesty; plain and simple; simplicity (freedom from mental duplicity); simplicity; straightforwardness.
—simplicity; ācāryaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigācārya

//ācārya//; Advaita Prabhu; Advaita Ācārya; Bhagavān Ācārya; Gopīnātha Ācārya; my dear Gopīnātha Ācārya; O teacher; of Advaita Ācārya; of the spiritual master; Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi; teacher; teachers; the //ācārya//; the so-called spiritual master of the Buddhists; the spiritual master; the teacher; Śaṅkarācārya; Śrī Advaita Ācārya; Śrī Advaita Ācārya Prabhu.
-upāsanamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigupāsanam

approaching a bona fide spiritual master.
—approaching a bona fide spiritual master; śaucamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigśaucam

cleanliness (bathing regularly at least twice a day, morning and evening, and remembering to chant the holy name of God); cleanliness; purity.
—cleanliness; sthairyamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsthairyam

gravity; immovability; steadfastness; steadiness.
—steadfastness; ātmaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigatma

and of the soul; and of the Supersoul (Paramātmā); and the mind; body; by a manifestation of Yourself; by the body and mind; by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; by themselves; by Yourself; heart; Himself; his; in Himself; in the body; in the living entities; into the self; living being; mind; of all living entities; of Himself; of one's self; of spiritual knowledge; of the mind; of the mind and senses; of the soul; of the Supreme; one's own; own; personal; self; self-realized; soul; spirit; Supersoul; the body and mind; the devotees are the Lord's heart and soul; the mind; the mind and body; the self; the spirit; the Supersoul; the Supreme Personality of Godhead; the Supreme Self; the tree of work; to the body; upon the Supersoul; within; Yourself; ātmā.
-vinigrahaḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigvinigrahaḥ

control.
—control; iṇdriyaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigindriya

and of the senses themselves; and to the senses; bodily; by the senses; material senses; of sense organs; of the senses; senses; the knowledge-acquiring senses; the material senses; the sense organs; the senses; the senses for working and recording knowledge; the ten senses; to the senses; with the senses.
-artheṣuplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigartheṣu

in acquiring interests; in all affairs; in self-interest; in the matter of; in the sense objects; purposes.
—in the matter of the senses; vairāgyamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigvairāgyam

detachment; dry renunciation; renunciation.
—renunciation; anahaṅkāraḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biganahaṅkāraḥ

being without false egoism.
—being without false egoism; evaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigeva

alone; also; also the word //eva//; although; as; as it is; as it were; as much as; as they are; at all; at that time; certainly; certainly,; certainty; completely; definitely; even; ever; exactly; exactly like; factually; Himself; immediately; in fact; in this way; indeed; it is all like that; just; just so; like; like that; like this; of course; on the very; only; quite; simply; so; surely; the word //eva//; they are; thus; truly; undoubtedly; very; without doubt.
—certainly; caplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigca

//ca//; all these; also; also other bodily forms; also that I have not been able to ask; and (the five gross material elements and the ten acting and knowledge-gathering senses); and; and also; and Devahūti; and for all; and the paraphernalia; as also; as much as; as well; as well as; but; certainly; either; however; indeed; only; or; over and above; respectively; the word //ca//; this word //ca//; thus; totally; unlimitedly; verily.
—also; janmaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjanma

after births; appearance; aristocracy or nobility; aristocratic birth; birth; birth in a very polished, aristocratic family; births; by birth; by birth in an aristocratic family; creation; generation; good birth; of birth; of births; of the birth; such a birth; the appearance; the birth; the creation; the whole life; time of birth; whose birth.
—birth; mṛtyuplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigmrtyu

death; of death; that; untimely death; while dying.
—death; jarāplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjara

old age; old age, invalidity.
—old age; vyādhiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigvyādhi

disease; diseases.
—disease; duḥkhaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigduhkha

aggrieved; all distresses; difficulties; difficulty; disappointment; distress; distressed condition; grief; in distress; inconvenience; misery; of grief; of unhappiness; pains; the troubles; the unhappiness; trouble; troubles; unhappiness; unhappy.
—distress; doṣaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdosa

any fault; fault; fault upon Me; faults; faulty; of faults; offense; the fault; the faults; weakness.
—fault; anudarśanamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biganudarśanam

informing about the ways; observing.
—observing; asaktiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigasaktih

without attachment.
—without attachment; anabhiṣvaṅgaḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biganabhiṣvaṅgaḥ

without association.
—without association; putraplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigputra

a son; children; children, sons; His son; my dear son; my son; of her son; of the sons; son; sons; the son.
—son; dāraplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdara

conchshell.
—wife; gṛhaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biggṛha

by home; home; home, community, society and nation; house; in the material home; room; the home; the homes; the house; the household; to your home.
-ādiṣuplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigādiṣu

and in all such dealings; and in everything in relation to them; and so on; beginning with; etc; relating to.
—home, etc.; nityamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bignityam

always; constant; constantly (engaged); constantly; constantly existing; daily; eternal; eternal function; eternally; for all time; forever; from time immemorial; perpetually; regularly; regularly by the principles of nature; regularly, always; the eternal spirit soul; twenty-four hours a day; without cessation, continuously.
—eternal; caplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigca

//ca//; all these; also; also other bodily forms; also that I have not been able to ask; and (the five gross material elements and the ten acting and knowledge-gathering senses); and; and also; and Devahūti; and for all; and the paraphernalia; as also; as much as; as well; as well as; but; certainly; either; however; indeed; only; or; over and above; respectively; the word //ca//; this word //ca//; thus; totally; unlimitedly; verily.
—also; samaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsama

and equal; equal; equal level; equal or proper; equal to; equally; equiposed; just like; like; of equal; same; symmetrical; the same; unaltered.
-cittatvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigcittatvam

equilibrium.
—equilibrium; iṣṭaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigista

activities for public benefit; all desirable; desirable; desired.
—desirable; aniṣṭaḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biganiṣṭaḥ

undesirable.
—undesirable; upapattiṣuplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigupapattiṣu

having obtained.
—having obtained; mayiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigmayi

as I; at me; devoted to Me; I am; in Me; in me, in my water; in my (womb); Me; of Myself; on me; on My; to Me; towards Me; unto Me; unto Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; upon Me; when 1; when I; while I am living; within me.
—unto Me; caplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigca

//ca//; all these; also; also other bodily forms; also that I have not been able to ask; and (the five gross material elements and the ten acting and knowledge-gathering senses); and; and also; and Devahūti; and for all; and the paraphernalia; as also; as much as; as well; as well as; but; certainly; either; however; indeed; only; or; over and above; respectively; the word //ca//; this word //ca//; thus; totally; unlimitedly; verily.
—also; ananyaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigananya

absolutely; by others; extraordinary; no other; not by others; without any other; without deviation.
-yogenaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigyogena

by //bhakti-yoga,// devotional service; by //yoga// practice; by combination; by concentration of the mind in devotion; by controlling the senses; by devotional service; by dint of; by means of mystic //yoga//; by mystic //yoga//; by mystic //yoga// practice; by mystic meditation; by performance of //yoga//; by practice of //bhakti-yoga//; by practice of mystic //yoga//; by practice of such //bhakti-yoga//; by practicing //yoga//; by proper means; by the //yoga// system; by the mystic power; by the process of linking up; in devotional service; in meditation; practice of //yoga//; simply by the method of devotional service.
—by devotional service; bhaktiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigbhaktiḥ

devotion; devotional service; devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; engagement in devotional service; feelings of devotional service; love; love and devotion; loving service; the devotional service; the nine kinds of devotional service, such as //śravaṇa, kīrtana// and //smaraṇa//; transcendental loving service; who possesses devotional service.
—devotion; avyabhicāriṇīplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigavyabhicāriṇī

constant, unalloyed.
—constant, unalloyed; viviktaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigvivikta

completely pure; purified; secluded; solitary; understanding; Vivikta; without a doubt; without affection.
—solitary; deśaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdeśa

according to country; countries; country; in place; in the matter of country; of country; of the country; place; residential country; space; the country; the particular place, a holy place or a temple; the whole country; to your country.
—place; sevitvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsevitvam

aspiring.
—aspiring; aratiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigaratiḥ

unattractiveness; without attachment.
—without attachment; janaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjana

a person; by persons; followers; in the devotee; inhabitants; of people; of persons; of the associates; people; people in general; person; personalities; persons; souls; the person.
—people in general; saṁsadiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsaṁsadi

in the meeting; mass.
—mass; adhyātmaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigadhyatma

due to being highly elevated in spiritual consciousness; in the matter of transcendental knowledge; minds of others; pertaining to the self; spiritual; spiritualism; transcendental; with full knowledge of the self.
—pertaining to the self; jñānaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjñāna

and knowledge; as knowledge; by acquired knowledge; by knowledge; by the knowledge of the philosophy of the monist Māyāvādīs; cultivation of knowledge; empiric knowledge; having full knowledge; knowledge; knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; knowledge, philosophical speculations; knowledge-acquiring; knowledge-acquiring senses; material knowledge; notion; of knowledge; of knowledge through Vedic scriptures; of perfect knowledge; of philosophical speculation; of real spiritual knowledge; of scriptural knowledge; perfect knowledge; philosophical speculation; speculative cultivation of knowledge; speculative knowledge; such a consideration; such knowledge; the knowledge; the path of knowledge; the path of philosophical speculation; the path of speculative knowledge; with knowledge.
—knowledge; nityatvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bignityatvam

eternity.
—eternity; tattvaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigtattva

Absolute Truth; basic principles; conclusions; in truth; knowledge; of the Absolute Truth; of the truth; of the ultimate principles; real nature; that truth; the Absolute Truth; the fundamental principles; the principle; the truth; to the truth; truth; truths.
-jñānaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjñāna

and knowledge; as knowledge; by acquired knowledge; by knowledge; by the knowledge of the philosophy of the monist Māyāvādīs; cultivation of knowledge; empiric knowledge; having full knowledge; knowledge; knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; knowledge, philosophical speculations; knowledge-acquiring; knowledge-acquiring senses; material knowledge; notion; of knowledge; of knowledge through Vedic scriptures; of perfect knowledge; of philosophical speculation; of real spiritual knowledge; of scriptural knowledge; perfect knowledge; philosophical speculation; speculative cultivation of knowledge; speculative knowledge; such a consideration; such knowledge; the knowledge; the path of knowledge; the path of philosophical speculation; the path of speculative knowledge; with knowledge.
—knowledge of the truth; arthaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigartha

a meaning; accumulation of wealth; as a fact; by material opulence; economic; economic development; explanation; explanations; for the purpose of; gain; giving the meaning; import; importance; imports; interest; material facility; material gain; meaning; meanings; money; object; object, goal; objective; objects of senses; of meaning; of meanings; of the meaning; of your interest; on values; purport; purpose; reality; riches; sense objects; subject; the goal of life; the import; the meaning; the meanings; the object; the objects of the senses; the phenomenon; the purpose; the real purpose of the //Vedas//; the sense objects; value; wealth; with desirable opulences; with the sense objects.
—the object; darśanamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdarśanam

audience; in my view; meeting; observation; philosophy; realization; revealing; seeing; sight; the audience; to look at; to see; to see personally; understanding; viewing; vision; who could show; who met.
—philosophy; etatplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigetat

a person materially conditioned; about this; about this incident; all living entities; all these; all these details; all these events of Dakṣa's sacrifice; all these explanations; all these facts; all these incidents; all these things; all these words about the Yadu family and Vṛṣṇi family; all this; all this flesh; all those; concerning this; creation; here; inquiries; it is; like this; of all this; on this matter; such a thing; such an act; such inquiries; that; that is; the events of Dakṣa's sacrifice; the following; the following words; the mind; their; these; these incidents; these two natures; this (Bhārata-varṣa); this (body); this (form); this (maintaining body and soul together); this; this activity; this body; this body and the material manifestation; this book; this cosmic manifestation; this creation; this departure; this description; this form of Viṣṇu; this incident; this incident of delivering both Aghāsura and Kṛṣṇa's associates from death; this instruction; this is; this kind of; this knowledge; this matter; this much; this narration; this narration of the deliverance of Gajendra; this narrative; this path of liberation; this sacrifice; this science of Godhead; this situation; this universe; thus; what you have said.
—all this; jñānamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjnanam

knowledge.
—knowledge; itiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigiti

//thus//; all these; also; and so on; as; as such; considering all these things; considering in that way; here; in this way (after giving everything to the //brāhmaṇas//); in this way; it is thus; known by these names; like that; like this; so it is; such; taking it as; that; therefore; they; this; thus (Hariścandra said); thus (saying out of contempt); thus (thinking in the above-mentioned way); thus (thinking); thus; thus accepted; thus accepting the words of Lord Brahmā; thus deciding; thus stated; thus thinking; thus vituperating.
—thus; proktamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigproktam

as it was said; called; declared; described (above); described; explained; has been spoken; instructed; is called; is said; it is said; prescribed; said; spoken; was said; what has already been spoken; what was said.
—declared; ajñānamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigajnanam

ignorance; ignoraṇce; nescience; nonsense; which is nothing but constant ignorance and darkness.
—ignoraṇce; yatplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigyat

//which//; about whom; all these; all those; although; and as; and whichever; anything; as; as a matter of fact; as it is; as its; as much as; as they are; because; because of; because of which; because of whom; by the result of which; by the Supreme Lord; by which; by which way; by whom (the Supreme Lord); by whom; by whose; by whose merciful; even though; everything that was required; fixed under Your direction; for; for which; from both of whom; from him; from which; from whom; from whose; from Yuyudha; he whose; his; His eternal form which; his son; if; in which; in whom; inasmuch as; Kṛṣṇa; now further; of him (Somāpi); of him; of Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune; of the fire-gods; of the Lord; of the Supreme Lord; of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; of which (the intermediate space); of which; of whom (of the Supreme Lord); who; who is; whom; whose; whose form; Your.
—that which; ataḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigataḥ

after this; and from him (Rādhika); as such; besides this; beyond this; for this reason; from him; from that (lotus); from this; hence; here; hereafter; in this way; now; obtain; so; than Him (Vāsudeva); than the initiated //brāhmaṇa//; than this; then; thereafter (from Campa); thereafter; therefore (because Kṛṣṇa's name, form, quality are all on the absolute platform); therefore (due to the rareness of seeing pure devotees of the Lord); therefore; this; thus; to the //brāhmaṇas//.
—from this; anyathāplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_biganyathā

alternative; and otherwise; apart; by any other means; by other means; just the opposite; other; other than; others; otherwise; without being in such a relationship as master and servant.
—others. 

Translation

Humility, pridelessness, nonviolence, tolerance, simplicity, approaching a bona fide spiritual master, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, absence of false ego, the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; nonattachment to children, wife, home and the rest, and evenmindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization, and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth—all these I thus declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to these is ignorance. 

Purport

This process of knowledge is sometimes misunderstood by less intelligent men as being the interaction of the field of activity. But actually this is the real process of knowledge. If one accepts this process, then the possibility of approaching the Absolute Truth exists. This is not the interaction of the tenfold elements, as described before, This is actually the means to get out of it. Of all the descriptions of the process of knowledge, the most important point is described in the first line of the tenth verse: The process of knowledge terminates in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. So, if one does not approach, or is not able to approach, the transcendental service of the Lord, then the other nineteen items are of no particular value. But, if one takes to devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the other nineteen items automatically develop within him. The principle of accepting a spiritual master, as mentioned in the seventh verse, is essential. Even for one who takes to devotional service, it is most important. Transcendental life begins when one accepts a bona fide spiritual master. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, clearly states here that this process of knowledge is the actual path. Anything speculated beyond this is nonsense. 

As for the knowledge outlined here, the items may be analyzed as follows: Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. The material conception of life makes us very eager to receive honor from others, but from the point of view of a man in perfect knowledge—who knows that he is not this body—anything, honor or dishonor, pertaining to this body is useless. One should not be hankering after this material deception. People are very anxious to be famous for their religion, and consequently sometimes it is found that without understanding the principles of religion, one enters into some group, which is not actually following religious principles, and then wants to advertise himself as a religious mentor. As for actual advancement in spiritual science, one should have a test to see how far he is progressing. He can judge by these items. 

Nonviolence is generally taken to mean not killing or destroying the body, but actually nonviolence means not to put others into distress. People in general are trapped by ignorance in the material concept of life, and they perpetually suffer material pains. So, unless one elevates people to spiritual knowledge, one is practicing violence. One should try his best to distribute real knowledge to the people, so that they may become enlightened and leave this material entanglement. That is nonviolence. 

Tolerance means that one should be practiced to bear insult and dishonor from others. If one is engaged in the advancement of spiritual knowledge, there will be so many insults and much dishonor from others. This is expected because material nature is so constituted. Even a boy like Prahlāda, who, only five years old, was engaged in the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, was endangered when his father became antagonistic to his devotion. The father tried to kill him in so many ways, but Prahlada tolerated him. So, for making advancement in spiritual knowledge, there may be many impediments, but we should be tolerant and continue our progress with determination. 

Simplicity means that without diplomacy one should be so straightforward that he can disclose the real truth even to an enemy. As for acceptance of the spiritual master, that is essential, because without the instruction of a bona fide spiritual master, one cannot progress in the spiritual science. One should approach the spiritual master with all humility and offer him all services so that he will be pleased to bestow his blessings upon the disciple. Because a bona fide spiritual master is a representative of Kṛṣṇa, if he bestows any blessings upon his disciple, that will make the disciple immediately advanced without the disciple’s following the regulated principles. Or, the regulated principles will be easier for one who has served the spiritual master without reservation. 

Cleanliness is essential for making advancement in spiritual life. There are two kinds of cleanliness: external and internal. External cleanliness means taking a bath, but for internal cleanliness, one has to think of Kṛṣṇa always and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/Hare Rāma. Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. This process cleans the accumulated dust of past karma from the mind. 

Steadiness means that one should be very determined to make progress in spiritual life. Without such determination, one cannot make tangible progress. And self-control means that one should not accept anything which is detrimental to the path of spiritual progress. One should become accustomed to this and reject anything which is against the path of spiritual progress. This is real renunciation. The senses are so strong that they are always anxious to have sense gratification. One should not cater to these demands, which are not necessary. The senses should only be gratified to keep the body fit so that one can discharge his duty in advancing in spiritual life. The most important and uncontrollable sense is the tongue. If one can control the tongue, then there is every possibility of controlling the other senses. The function of the tongue is to taste and to vibrate. Therefore, by systematic regulation, the tongue should always be engaged in tasting the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. As far as the eyes are concerned, they should not be allowed to see anything but the beautiful form of Kṛṣṇa. That will control the eyes. Similarly, the ears should be engaged in hearing about Kṛṣṇa and the nose in smelling the flowers offered to Kṛṣṇa. This is the process of devotional service, and it is understood here that Bhagavad-gītā is simply expounding the science of devotional service. Devotional service is the main and sole objective. Unintelligent commentators on the Gītā try to divert the mind of the reader to other subjects, but there is no other subject in Bhagavad-gītā but devotional service. 

False ego means accepting this body as oneself. When one understands that he is not his body and is spirit soul, that is real ego. Ego is there. False ego is condemned, but not real ego. In the Vedic literature, it is said: ahaṁ brahmāsmi. I am Brahman, I am spirit. This “I am,” the sense of self, also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of “I am” is ego, but when the sense of “I am” is applied to this false body, it is false ego. When the sense of self is applied to reality, that is real ego. There are some philosophers who say we should give up our ego, but we cannot give up our ego because ego means identity. We ought, of course, to give up the false identification with the body. 

One should try to understand the distress of accepting birth, death, old age and disease. There are descriptions in various Vedic literatures of birth. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the world of the unborn, the child’s stay in the womb of the mother, its suffering, etc., are all very graphically described. It should be thoroughly understood that birth is distressful. Because we forget how much distress we have suffered within the womb of the mother, we do not make any solution to the repetition of birth and death. Similarly at the time of death, there are all kinds of sufferings, and they are also mentioned in the authoritative scriptures. These should be discussed. And as far as disease and old age are concerned, everyone gets practical experience. No one wants to be diseased, and no one wants to become old, but there is no avoiding these. Unless we have a pessimistic view of this material life, considering the distresses of birth, death, old age and disease, there is no impetus for our making advancement in spiritual life. 

As for detachment from children, wife and home, it is not meant that one should have no feeling for these. They are natural objects of affection, but when they are not favorable to spiritual progress, then one should not be attached to them. The best process for making the home pleasant is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If one is in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can make his home very happy because this process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four will make one happy. One should train the members of his family in this way. The family members can sit down morning and evening and chant together Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. If one can mold his family life in this way to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness, following these four principles, then there is no need to change from family life to renounced life. But if it is not congenial, not favorable for spiritual advancement, then family life should be abandoned. One must sacrifice everything to realize or serve Kṛṣṇa, just as Arjuna did. Arjuna did not want to kill his family members, but when he understood that these family members were impediments to his Kṛṣṇa realization, he accepted the instruction of Kṛṣṇa and fought and killed them. In all cases, one should be detached from the happiness and distress of family life because in this world one can never be fully happy or fully miserable. Happiness and distress are concommitant factors of material life. One should learn to tolerate, as advised in Bhagavad-gītā. One can never restrict the coming and going of happiness and distress, so one should be detached from the materialistic way of life and be automatically equiposed in both cases. Generally, when we get something desirable, we are very happy, and when we get something undesirable, we are distressed. But if we are actually in the spiritual position, these things will not agitate us. To reach that stage, we have to practice unbreakable devotional service; devotional service to Kṛṣṇa without deviation means engaging oneself in the nine processes of devotional service, chanting, hearing, worshiping, offering respect, etc., as described in the last verse of the Ninth Chapter. That process should be followed. Naturally, when one is adapted to the spiritual way of life, he will not want to mix with materialistic men. That would go against his grain. One may test himself by seeing how far he is inclined to live in a solitary place without unwanted association. 

Naturally a devotee has no taste for unnecessary sporting or cinema-going or enjoying some social function, because he understands that these are simply a waste of time. There are many research scholars and philosophers who study sex life or some other subject, but according to Bhagavad-gītā, such research work and philosophical speculation have no value. That is more or less nonsensical. According to Bhagavad-gītā, one should make research by philosophical discretion into the nature of the soul. One should make research to understand with what the self is concerned. That is recommended here. 

As far as self-realization is concerned, it is clearly stated here that bhakti-yoga is especially practical. As soon as there is a question of devotion, one must consider the relationship between the Supersoul and the individual soul. The individual soul and the Supersoul cannot be one, at least not in the bhakti conception, the devotional conception of life. This service of the individual soul to the Supreme Soul is eternal, nityam, as is clearly stated. So bhakti or devotional service is eternal. One should be established in that philosophical conviction, otherwise it is only a waste of time, ignorance. 

In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, this is explained; vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam. “Those who are actually knowers of the Absolute Truth know that the Self is realized in three different phases as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān.” (Bhāg. 1.2.11)plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigŚrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.11

Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.
Bhagavān is the last word in the realization of the Absolute Truth; therefore one should reach up to that platform of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus engage in the devotional service of the Lord. That is perfection of knowledge. 

Beginning from practicing humility up to the point of realization of the Supreme Truth, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, this process is just like a staircase beginning from the ground floor up to the top floor. Now on this staircase there are so many people who have reached the first floor, the second or third floor, etc., but unless one reaches the top floor, which is the understanding of Kṛṣṇa, he is at a lower stage of knowledge. If anyone wants to compete with God and at the same time make advancement in spiritual knowledge, he will be frustrated. It is clearly stated that without humility understanding is harmful. To think oneself God is most puffed up. Although the living entity is always being kicked by the stringent laws of material nature, still he thinks, “I am God” because of ignorance. One should be humble and know that he is subordinate to the Supreme Lord. Due to rebellion against the Supreme Lord, one becomes subordinate to material nature. One must know and be convinced of this truth.