Bhagavad-gita 13.4
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Hyderabad, April 20, 1974


tat ksetram yac ca yadrk ca yad vikari yatas ca yat sa ca yo yat prabhavas ca tat samasena me srnu

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.”

Prabhupada: So yesterday we had been discussing about the questions put forward by Arjuna,

prakrtim purusam caiva ksetram ksetra-jnam eva ca etad veditum icchami jnanam jneyam ca kesava

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 mistakes, 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-kharah [SB 10.84.13].

So these are our defects: bhrama, pramada, vipralipsa, karana-patava. Karana. Karana 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 persons is imperfect. Therefore we should receive knowledge from the Supreme.

Narayanah parah avyaktat. Sripada Sankaracarya says, “Narayana is beyond this material creation. He is, exists before the material creation.” Aham eva asam agre. Before the material creation, the Narayana is there, and after the annihilation of this material creation, the Narayana is there. Just like we are part and parcel of Narayana, 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 hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20] The real we—means the spirit soul, aham brahmasmi—I am not annihilated even after the destruction of this body. Similarly, the huge gigantic material body also, when it is destroyed, Narayana exists. And we are part and parcel of Narayana. Mamaivamso jiva-bhutah [Bg. 15.7].

Narayana has got two kinds of expansion. One is called svamsa, personal expansion. Just like there are so many incarnations.

ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan nanavataram akarod bhuvanesu kintu krsnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yo govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami [Bs. 5.39]

So Narayana, He has got many forms. Krsna is the original Narayana. And from Krsna, there are expansion, catur-vyuha: Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Aniruddha, Pradyumna. Then Narayana. From Narayana, purusavatara: the Maha Visnu avatara, the Ksirodakasayi Visnu avatara, the Garbhodakasayi Visnu avatara. In this way Narayana has got personal expansion. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca [Bs. 5.33]

We get this information from Vedic literature. So Narayana… And we are also expansion of Narayana, vibhinnamsa. We are called vibhinna, separated particles, part and parcel of Narayana. And Narayana has got personal expansions. So we are to get knowledge from Narayana or Krsna. That is perfect. That is perfect knowledge. The Vedas means the knowledge from Narayana. Therefore it is perfect. Tene brahma hrda adi-kavaye. He imparted the Vedic knowledge. Lord Brahma is not independent. He received knowledge from Narayana. So if you receive knowledge, that is perfect knowledge. That Narayana, sa bhagavan svayam krsnah narayanah. If you receive knowledge from Krsna, that is perfect.

Therefore Arjuna is putting question, these questions, that “What is this material nature?” Prakrtim purusam. “What are these living entities who are trying to enjoy this material nature?” Purusa wants to enjoy prakrti. So that I have explained yesterday, that although we are also prakrti, we are now in the mentality of purusa. 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 purusa. Actually, we are not purusa. We are also prakrti. Jiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat. Apareyam itas tu viddhi me prakrtim param. We are superior prakrti, but we are prakrti. But because we are trying to enjoy the other prakrti, which is dull matter, therefore we are sometimes called as purusa, the mentality as purusa.

So Arjuna question is prakrtim purusa, “What are these purusa? What are the prakrti?” Ksetra-ksetra-jna. “What is this body, ksetra? And who is the owner of the body?” That we must know. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. 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 Krsna began speaking Bhagavad-gita and Arjuna accepted to become His disciple, sisyas te ’ham sadhi mam prapannam… 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 Krsna as a sisya, as disciple, not as friend.

So as spiritual master, as teacher, immediately Krsna chastised Arjuna, asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase: [Bg. 2.11] “You are talking like a very learned man, but you are lamenting on a subject matter on which no pandita, learned man, laments.” Gatasun agatasums ca nanusocanti panditah. He very mildly chastised. Indirectly He said that “You are not pandita; you are a fool, those who are learned, they do not consider this body as very important.” They are pandita.

But at the present moment everyone is thinking this body as the most important thing. So according to Bhagavad-gita, 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 pandita. 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. Aham brahmasmi. Brahma-jnana. Athato brahma jijnasa. So far the body is concerned, that has been taken care in so many lives. In animal life, in bird’s life, beasts’ life, aquatic life. Now athato brahma jijnasa. This is the Vedanta instruction: “Now we should take care of the soul, of the Brahman.” Aham brahmasmi. This is required.

That is spiritual knowledge. Unfortunately, for want of spiritual knowledge, for want of studying Bhagavad-gita properly, we are simply taking care of this, I mean to say, temporary body. That is being explained. First of all Krsna said that this body is the ksetra. Ksetra 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-kanda. 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 ksetram yac ca yadrk yad vikari.

Now Krsna 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 Krsna. 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 Krsna. Therefore Krsna said, ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi sarva-ksetresu bharata.

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. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ’rjuna tisthati [Bg. 18.61] He is situated, both of them are situated within this heart. Hrd-dese, 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. Atma and Paramatma.

That is described in the Upanisad, 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. Upadrasta anumanta. 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 Paramatma 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-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam 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? Karmana daiva-netrena 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 Krsna 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 tatha kuru. Krsna says, “Whatever you like, I will give you opportunity.”

But the best advice is that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is your best way. It is up to me to accept it or not to accept it. Krsna does not interfere with your independence. Because you are part and parcel of Krsna, you have got little independence, minute quantity, not full independence. As Krsna is full independent, we are not full independent. Krsna is sva-rat, fully independent. Janmady asya yatah anvayad itaratas ca arthesu abhijnah sva-rat [Bhag. 1.1.1]. Sva-rat means fully independent. But we are, being part and parcel of Krsna, we are also little independent. So by misusing our independence, instead of serving Krsna, we are serving our senses. Therefore bhakti-marga means to rectify the senses, to purify the senses. By purifying senses, we come to Krsna consciousness. This is the definition of bhakti.

sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam 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. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23] (aside:) Water.

This is the first process. You have kindly come here; you are hearing about Krsna, Krsna’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. Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. This is the recommendation by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 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-gita 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-gita, chants Hare Krsna mantra, just see the result. Every home will be happy. This is our propaganda, Krsna consciousness movement. Simply try to hear about Krsna.

So about Krsna, Krsna is personally speaking this Bhagavad-gita about Himself. So why not take this opportunity? Why you are losing the opportunity given in this human form of life to hear about Krsna? Everyone can do that. But don’t misinterpret according to your own, I mean to say, fertile brain. No. Just hear Krsna, what Krsna says, as it is. Krsna… Don’t try to interpret, mal- interpretation. That will not make you profit? Try to hear Krsna.

Krsna says that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He says, mattah parataram nanyat [Bg. 7.7]. There is nothing superior than Krsna. That is, if you accept that, then you immediately advance fifty percent in spiritual knowledge, immediately, if you simply accept this, that Krsna said that mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya [Bg. 7.7]. And that is the verdict of the sastra.

isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1]

This is statement of Brahma-samhita. And in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. Ete camsa-kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam [Bhag. 1.3.28] Again it is said, ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan nanavataram akarod bhuvanesu kintu, krsnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yah [Bs. 5.39] We have got description of many avataras, incarnation. So they are Krsna’s expansion, by Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha, Matsya. There are so many incarnation. But krsnah svayam paramah puman: “Krsna is the Supreme Person.” In this way accept Krsna, the origin of everything. Janmady asya yatah [Bhag. 1.1.1]. Krsna also explains,

aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate iti matva bhajante mam budha bhava-samanvitah [Bg. 10.8]

Those who are actually budhah, intelligent, and bhava, with ecstatic love, they worship Krsna. Bhajante mam. Catur-vidha… Aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate [Bg. 10.8]. Sarvam means Because in the beginning of creation, there were three Deities: Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara. So they are also emanation from Krsna. Mattah sarvam. Sarvam includes Brahma, Visnu and Siva. Mattah sarvam pravartate. Iti matva: “One who knows it very well.” Iti matva bhajante mam: “Those who know, in the knowledge, they worship Me,” budhah, “because they are expert, they are actually in knowledge.” Budha bhava-samanvitah: “with ecstasy of love.”

This is wanted. This is perfection of life. If we take to Krsna consciousness with love and faith, full understanding of Krsna, that is the perfection of life. That you can get, everyone of us can get it if we study Bhagavad-gita 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-gita’s purpose. It is very plain. Still, as we are very much unfortunate, we cannot understand. That misfortune can be avoided by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra. It will cleanse the heart. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam [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 aham brahmasmi: “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.” Bhutva bhutva praliyate. “I am taking my birth and again I am becoming annihilated, although I am eternal.” Nityah sasvato ’yam na hanyate…

This is understand… People should be little intelligent that “If I am eternal,” na hanyate hanyamane sarire [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-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]. When you actually understand that “I am Brahman,” aham brahmasmi, “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-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]

Then one who comes into this knowledge, he becomes another prasannatma, “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 prasannatma, “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 prasannatma, jolly. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]. So this is perfection, liberation. This is called liberation. When you come to the platform of jolliness, anandamayo ’bhyasat. You are anandamaya. Sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], part and parcel of sac-cid-ananda-vig… Sac, cit, ananda.

So when we come to our spiritual consciousness or Krsna consciousness, then we immediately become anandamaya. That is real knowledge. brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanks…, samah sarvesu bhutesu [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 brahmana is also a spirit soul; this elephant is also a spirit soul.” Panditah sama-darsinah.

vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi hastini suni caiva sva-pake ca panditah sama-darsinah [Bg. 5.18]

That is real sama-darsinah. And so long we are on the material platform we may preach sama-darsinah, 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-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]

Then, when you come to that understanding, then actual bhakti begins. Samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54]. Therefore in the bhakti platform, Krsna 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 Krsna conscious. So actually if we want equality, fraternity, then we must come to Krsna consciousness. This is the purpose of Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness. Come to this platform. Then all your ambitions will be fulfilled and you will be perfect. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (end)