Bg 13.4 — April 20, 1974, Hyderabad

Nitāi: [leads chanting of verse, etc.] [devotees repeat, etc]

tat kṣetraṁ yac ca yādṛk ca
yad vikāri yataś ca yat
sa ca yo yat prabhāvaś ca
tat samāsena me śṛṇu
[Bg. 13.4]

[break] [00:51]

Translation: “Now please hear My brief description of this field of activity and how it is constituted, what its changes are, whence it is produced, who that knower of the field of activities is, and what his influences are.”


Prabhupāda: Hmm. So yesterday we had been discussing about the questions put forward by Arjuna:

prakṛtiṁ puruṣaṁ caiva
kṣetraṁ kṣetra-jñam eva ca
etad veditum icchāmi
jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ ca keśava
[Bg. 13.1]

So to some extent we have discussed from where we have to receive knowledge, perfect knowledge, without any mistake, without any illusion. Our knowledge… We are possessing four defects: we commit mistake, we are illusioned, our senses are imperfect and we have got a cheating propensity. We are possessing these four defects. However great a man may be, he makes mistake in calculation. “To err is human.” Then we are illusioned. Illusioned means we accept something for something. Just like we are accepting this body as myself. This is illusion. The whole world is illusioned. Everyone is thinking in terms of the body. And according to Vedic knowledge, anyone who is under the concept of this body as self, he is no better than the cow and the asses. Sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13].

So these are our defects: bhrama, pramāda, vipralipsa, karaṇa-pāṭava. Karaṇa. Karaṇa means senses, the instrument through which we gather knowledge. They are imperfect. So with so many imperfectness, how we can give right knowledge? That is not possible. So any knowledge received from these defective person is imperfect. Therefore we should receive knowledge from the Supreme. Nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya says, “Nārāyaṇa is beyond this material creation. He is…, exists before the material creation.” Aham eva asam agre. Before the material creation, the Nārāyaṇa is there, and after the annihilation of this material creation, the Nārāyaṇa is there. Just like we are part and parcel of Nārāyaṇa, living entities, soul. We existed before the creation of this body, this present body, my body or your body, and we shall remain also after the destruction of this body. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. The real we—means the spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi—I am not annihilated even after the destruction of this body. Similarly, the huge, gigantic material body also, when it is destroyed, Nārāyaṇa exists. And we are part and parcel of Nārāyaṇa. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7].

Nārāyaṇa has got two kinds of expansion. One is called svāṁśa, personal expansion. Just like there are so many incarnations:

rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan
nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
[Bs. 5.39]

So Nārāyaṇa, He has got many forms. Kṛṣṇa is the original Nārāyaṇa. And from Kṛṣṇa there are expansion, catur-vyūha: Vāsudeva, Śaṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha, Pradyumna. Then Nārāyaṇa. From Nārāyaṇa, puruṣāvatāra: the Mahā Viṣṇu avatāra, the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu avatāra, the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu avatāra. In this way Nārāyaṇa has got personal expansion. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca [Bs. 5.33]. We get this information from Vedic literature.

So Nārāyaṇa… And we are also expansion of Nārāyaṇa, vibhinnāṁśa. We are called vibhinna, separated particles, part and parcel of Nārāyaṇa. And Nārāyaṇa has got personal expansions. So we are to get knowledge from Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa. That is perfect. That is perfect knowledge. The Vedas means the knowledge from Nārāyaṇa. Therefore it is perfect. Tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye [SB 1.1.1]. He imparted the Vedic knowledge. Lord Brahmā is not independent. He received knowledge from Nārāyaṇa. So if you receive knowledge from Nārāyaṇa, that is perfect knowledge. That Nārāyaṇa, sa bhagavān svayaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ nārāyaṇaḥ [Śaṅkarācārya]. If you receive knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, that is perfect.

Therefore Arjuna is putting question, these questions, that “What is this material nature?” Prakṛtiṁ puruṣam. “What are these living entities who are trying to enjoy this material nature?” Puruṣa wants to enjoy prakṛti. So that I have explained yesterday, that although we are also prakṛti, we are now in the mentality of puruṣa. Just like in this material world, man and woman. The man is trying to enjoy the woman, and the woman is trying to enjoy the man. This attitude of enjoyment is called puruṣa. Actually, we are not puruṣa; we are also prakṛti. Jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat. Apareyam itas tu viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām [Bg. 7.5]. We are superior prakṛti, but we are prakṛti. But because we are trying to enjoy the other prakṛti, which is dull matter, therefore we are sometimes called as puruṣa, the mentality as puruṣa.

So Arjuna question is prakṛtiṁ puruṣa, “What are these puruṣa? What are the prakṛti?Kṣetra-kṣetra-jña. “What is this body, kṣetra? And who is the owner of the body?” That we must know. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā. The beginning of spiritual knowledge is to know what is this body and who is the owner of the body. That is the beginning of spiritual knowledge. When Kṛṣṇa began speaking Bhagavad-gītā and Arjuna accepted to become His disciple, śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam… [Bg. 2.7], when he said… So Arjuna was bewildered whether he would fight in the battle or not. So the question was not solved by friendly discussion. Therefore Arjuna surrendered to Kṛṣṇa as a śiṣya, as disciple, not as friend.

So as spiritual master, as teacher, immediately Kṛṣṇa chastised Arjuna, aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase [Bg. 2.11]: “You are talking like a very learned man, but you are lamenting on a subject matter on which no paṇḍita, learned man, laments.” Gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ. He very mildly chastised. Indirectly He said that “You are not paṇḍita; you are a fool, because you are lamenting on this body.” Nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ. “Those who are paṇḍita, those who are learned, they do not consider this body as very important.” They are paṇḍita. But at the present moment everyone is thinking this body as the most important thing.

So according to Bhagavad-gītā… Not Bhagavad…; on the Vedic understanding. Anyone who is stressing too much on the body, they are go-khara, asses and cows and animals, what to speak of becoming paṇḍita. But at the present moment, the whole educational system is concentrated on this body, how to keep this body comfortable. Spiritual knowledge does not mean that you neglect your body. No. That is not the idea. But the most important subject matter of understanding is the soul. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. Brahma-jñāna. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. So far the body is concerned, that has been taken care in so many lives—in animal life, in birds’ life, beasts’ life, aquatic life. Now athāto brahma jijñāsā. This is the Vedānta instruction: “Now we should take care of the soul, of the Brahman.” Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. This is required. That is spiritual knowledge.

Unfortunately, for want of spiritual knowledge, for want of studying Bhagavad-gītā properly, we are simply taking care of this, I mean to say, temporary body. That is being explained. First of all Kṛṣṇa said that this body is the kṣetra. Kṣetra means field of activities. We are acting according to the body we have received. And this owner of the body is working, just like a cultivator has got a certain amount of land and he is cultivating and producing foodstuff according to his own capacity. This is called karma-kāṇḍa. We are working with this body and reaping the result and enjoying it. In this way we are repeating again and again, again and again, transmigration of the soul from one body to another. Tat kṣetraṁ yac ca yādṛk yad vikāri.

Now Kṛṣṇa is explaining… First of all He has explained that we, the living entities, we are the proprietor of this body. But there is another proprietor. That is Kṛṣṇa. Just like of a house, rented house, one is the occupier and another is the proprietor, similarly, this body, I the soul, you the soul, we are simply occupier. The real proprietor is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said, kṣetra-jñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata [Bg. 13.3]. Just like a landlord has got hundreds of house, and each house is occupied by one tenant, but the landlord is occupier of all the houses, similarly, in each body there are two living entities: one living entity is the soul, individual soul, and the other living entity is the Supreme Lord. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. He is situated…, both of them are situated within this heart. Hṛd-deśe, it is pointed out.

Now, you have got…, you, everyone knows, from the heart the energy is distributed to the whole body, and as soon as the heart stops to work, no more body existing. Everyone will know. Therefore the heart is the office, sitting office, of both the soul and the Supersoul, ātmā and Paramātmā. That is described in the Upaniṣad, that two birds are sitting in one tree. This one tree is this whole body, and the two birds—one the individual soul and the other is the Supersoul—both of them are sitting as friends. One bird is eating the fruits of the tree, and the other bird is simply onlooker. Upadraṣṭā anumantā. The one bird who is eating the fruit is asking, “Shall I eat the fruit?” And the other bird says, “No.” But he says, “No, I shall eat.” “All right, you eat at your risk.” This is going on. This subject matter was written, I think, by Milton, the Paradise Lost.

So the Paramātmā is sitting within your heart to guide you. And without His permission, you cannot enjoy anything. But He gives permission. When you are persistent He gives permission, “All right, you can do it—at your own risk.” And when he is fed up, he may come to God again, “What shall I do?” But God’s open declaration is that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. The Supersoul bird is always expecting when this individual soul bird will turn towards Him. He is so merciful. He is going, “My dear friend, why you are trying to become happy by enjoying this material fruit produced by your work in this body?” We are creating different types of fruit. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa jantur deha upapatti [SB 3.31.1]. We are getting different types of body life after life, which is created by our own karma. We wanted a body like this. We get it. If you want a body like tiger, to eat meat and suck blood, then Kṛṣṇa will give you a tiger’s body. And if you want a body like demigod you can get it. Everything, you can get it. Yathecchasi tathā kuru [Bg. 18.63]. Kṛṣṇa says, “Whatever you like, I will give you opportunity.”

But the best advice is that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is your best way. It is up to me to accept it or not to accept it. Kṛṣṇa does not interfere with your independence. Because you are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, you have got little independence, minute quantity, not full independence. As Kṛṣṇa is full independent, we are not full independent. Kṛṣṇa is sva-rāṭ, fully independent. Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ sva-rāṭ [SB 1.1.1]. Sva-rāṭ means fully independent. But we are, being part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, we are also little independent. So by misusing our independence, instead of serving Kṛṣṇa, we are serving our senses. Therefore bhakti-mārga means to rectify the senses, to purify the senses. By purifying senses, we come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the definition of bhakti.

tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
[Cc. Madhya 19.170]

Bhakti means to come to our original consciousness by purifying the senses. How the senses can be purified? This bhakti-yoga process. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]. [coughs] [aside:] Water.

This is the first process. You have kindly come here; you are hearing about Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s talk with Arjuna. It is very good. If you continue hearing like this, you will be perfect, simply by hearing, even if you do not do anything. Kevala, only hearing. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ [SB 10.14.3]. This is the recommendation by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that people should be given chance for hearing. Especially in this age, Kali-yuga, they cannot do anything, but if they simply agree to hear, sitting for some time… That can be introduced in every house, every home. The Bhagavad-gītā is there, and everything is explained there. If family-wise everyone sits down in the evening or in the morning for half an hour and reads Bhagavad-gītā, chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, just see the result. Every home will be happy. This is our propaganda, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Simply try to hear about Kṛṣṇa.

So about Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is personally speaking this Bhagavad-gītā about Himself. So why not take this opportunity? Why you are losing the opportunity given in this human form of life to hear about Kṛṣṇa? Everyone can do that. But don’t misinterpret according to your own, I mean to say, fertile brain. No. Just hear Kṛṣṇa, what Kṛṣṇa says, as it is. Kṛṣṇa… Don’t try to interpret, malinterpretation. That will not make you profit. Try to hear Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat [Bg. 7.7]. There is nothing superior than Kṛṣṇa. That is, if you accept that, then you immediately advance fifty percent in spiritual knowledge, immediately, if you simply accept this, that Kṛṣṇa said that mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya.

And that is the verdict of the śāstra.

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
[Bs. 5.1]

This is statement of Brahma-saṁhitā. And in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. Ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. Again it is said, rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu, kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yaḥ [Bs. 5.39]. We have got description of many avatāras, incarnation. So they are Kṛṣṇa’s expansion, by Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, Matsya. There are so many incarnation, They are coming, incarnation or hundreds and thousand. So They are all incarnation.. But kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ paramaḥ pumān: “Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person.” In this way accept Kṛṣṇa, the origin of everything. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1].

Kṛṣṇa also explains,

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ
[Bg. 10.8]

Those who are actually budhāḥ, intelligent, and bhāva, with ecstatic love, they worship Kṛṣṇa. Bhajante mām. Catur-vidhā… Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate [Bg. 10.8]. Sarvam means… Because in the beginning of creation, there were three deities: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. So they are also emanation from Kṛṣṇa. Mattaḥ sarvam. Sarvam includes Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate. Iti matvā: “One who knows it very well.” Iti matvā bhajante mām: “Those who know, in the knowledge, they worship Me,” budhāḥ, “because they are expert, they are actually in knowledge,” budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ, “with ecstasy of love.” This is wanted. This is perfection of life. If we take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness with love and faith, full understanding of Kṛṣṇa, that is the perfection of life. That you can get, everyone of us can get it, if we study Bhagavad-gītā very carefully, without any malinterpretation.

So success is there. We have to take. And another facility is that because sometimes we cannot understand what is actually Bhagavad-gītā’s purpose… It is very plain. Still, as we are very much unfortunate, we cannot understand. That misfortunity can be avoided by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. It will cleanse the heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. We are suffering for misunderstanding—misunderstanding that “I am this body. I belong to this nation, I belong to this family, I belong to this, that,” so many things. All misunderstanding. All misunderstanding. My real identity is ahaṁ brahmāsmi: “I am spirit soul. Fortunately or unfortunately, by my own work, I have been put into the encagement of this body, temporary body, and I am creating another body. In this way I am traveling from one body to another, from one planet to another, from one place to another. This is going on.” Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate [Bg. 8.19]. “I am taking my birth, and again I am becoming annihilated, although I am eternal.” Nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ na hanyate…

This is understand… People should be little intelligent, that “If I am eternal,” na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20], “I do not die even after the destruction of this body.” Just like if this shirt and coat is torn out, we throw it away, that does not mean I am also torn and finished; similarly, this body… This body means I am spirit soul. I am covered with this gross body and the subtle body. This gross body is made of earth, water, air, fire, sky, and the subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and ego. So I am covered by these two shirts and coat. So I am different from this. That is knowledge. That is knowledge. That knowledge is being explained. And when you come to that real knowledge then you become brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. When you actually understand that “I am Brahman,” ahaṁ brahmāsmi, “I am spirit soul. This is my shirt and coat. Oh, so long I was busy with this shirt and coat only? I have no business with it.” Yes, you have got business, but that is not your main business. Your main business is to take care of yourself as soul. That is your main business. This is called knowledge. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54].

Then one who comes into this knowledge, he becomes prasannātmā: “Oh, I was so much ignorant of knowledge.” Now, just like you committed some mistake, and when you come to the knowledge that you committed, you become prasannātmā, “Oh, I was mistaking like this, and simply I was anxious. I was taking so much care, anxiety. This is mistaken.” Similarly, as soon as you come to this understanding that “I am spirit soul,” then immediately you become prasannātmā, jolly. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati. So this is perfection, liberation. This is called liberation. When you come to the platform of jolliness, ānandamayo ‘bhyāsāt… [Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12]. You are ānandamaya, sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], part and parcel of sac-cid-ānanda-vig… Sac, cit, ānanda. So when we come to our spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then we immediately become ānandamaya. That is real knowledge. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣ…, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu [Bg. 18.54]. Then you can understand that “All the living entities, they are also soul, equally…, equally important like me. As I am important, so all the living entities, they are also my brothers.” That is called universal brotherhood, on the spiritual platform.

In the material platform it is not possible, because material platform means ignorance. He does not know what he is. Then when you come to the spiritual platform, then you can understand that “This dog is also a spirit soul; this learned brāhmaṇa is also a spirit soul; this elephant is also a spirit soul.” Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ.

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
[Bg. 5.18]

That is real sama-darśinaḥ. And so long we are on the material platform we may preach sama-darśinaḥ, so many “ism,” philanthropism, nationalism, this “ism,” that… These are all false. You cannot come into the equal level. Only spiritual level, through spiritual understanding, that “Now, we are all soul,” brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. Then, when you come to that understanding, then actual bhakti begins. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām.

Therefore in the bhakti platform, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no such distinction, “Here is American, here is an Indian, here is an African, here is this and that.” No. Everyone is Kṛṣṇa conscious. So actually if we want equality, fraternity, then we must come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the purpose of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And actually, it is becoming fact, factual. These boys and these girls, they are no more thinking that they are American or European or Canadian or Australian and Indian also. They are equal. So if you want equality, fraternity, friendship, love and perfection, solution of problems, all problems—economic, political, social, religious—then come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Come to this platform. Then all your ambitions will be fulfilled and you will be perfect.

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: Jaya. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]

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