The Four Principle Verses of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita


Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Goswami Maharaja 


The four principle verses of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita are in chapter 10 verses 8, 9, 10, 11. The ontological substance of the entire book is contained within these four essential verses beginning in verse 8 with Lord Krishna declaring aham sarvasya prabhavo meaning: Everything emanates from Me. In the Srimad Bhagavatam verse I.II.XI beginning vadanti tat tattva vidas the three absolute conceptions of the Supreme Lord Krishna are given as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Brahman is the all comprehensive aspect of the supreme absolute. Paramatma is the all permeating aspect of the supreme absolute and Bhagavan is the personal manifestation of the supreme absolute. We find the defintion of Bhagavan in the Vishnu Purana VI:V:XXXXVII beginning aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah defines: Bhagavan the Supreme Lord Krishna is  inseparably replete with the six sublime qualities of complete wealth, complete power, complete fame, complete beauty, complete knowledge and complete renunciation.  

The characteristic of Bhagavan in the form of Lord Krishna's expansion of Narayana the Lord of Vaikuntha in the celestial spiritual worlds is that all potencies are personally controlled by Him. However Srila Jiva Goswami has revealed a special and particularly fine interpretation by revealing that Bhagavan means bhajaniya guna visista meaning: Whoever comes into contact with Lord Krishna cannot resist serving Him. No one can resist feeling moved to worship and adore His charming form and captivating personality as He attracts the love of all. Therefore the word sarvasya meaning of all causes denotes that Lord Krishna is factually Svayam Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord Himself, the originator of all. His statment mattah sarvam pravartate indicates that all efforts and every endeavour originates from Him including the methods by which everyone worships and propitiates Him in devotion. The Katha Upanisad I.II.XXIII beginning nayam atma pravacanena states: The Supreme Lord cannot be realised by erudite logic, superior intelligence or penetrating study of the Vedic scriptures. The Supreme Lord reveals Himself personally to the atma the immortal soul of the jiva or embodied being who having become enthused to engage in loving devotional service unto Him, humbly prays to be a recipient of His causeless mercy. In this way the Supreme Lord is the first to reveal Himself to the public as how to worship Himself by appearing as the guru the spiritual master and through Him instruct others on how to worship Himself. Lord Krishna explains in Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto, chapter 17, verse 27 beginning acaryam mam vijaniyan states: One should understand that the bonafide guru is verily an expansion of the Supreme Lord and should never be dishonoured. The inherent nature of the guru represents  everything that is divine and thus he should never be envied or disrespected by ascribing  mundane conceptions of time, place and circumstances upon Him. 

The most rare and elevated stage of devotion is the line of spontaneous devotion known as raga marga. In that line guided by the qualified guru an elevated pure devotee may gradually advance to render service to a group leader of one of Lord Krishna's personal associates who serve Him in sakhya rasa which is friendship, in vatsalya rasa which is parental or in madurya rasa which is consorthood. In the eternal spiritual worlds of Goloka Vrindavan the Supreme Lord Krishna is being served in spontaneous loving devotion by His friends in sakhya rasa such as Sridham and Subal. In vatsalya rasa by Nanda Baba and Yasoda Ma and in madhurya rasa by the gopis such as Lalita and Vishaka.  

The words mac-citta mad-gatta-prana in verse 9 mean: Lord Krishna is the core of His devotees hearts, in their every thought. Their entire energy, their whole life is dedicated to the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna. In private His devotees enjoy conversing about the Supreme Lord to mutually enlighten one another of His glories. In public His devotees love to preach the Supreme Lord's glories and nothing else. At all times, in all places, in every situation they are enlivened by topics concerning the Supreme Lord. The words tusyanti ca means they become gratified. Up unto the divine interaction of vatsalya rasa or parental relationship with the Supreme Lord there is a feeling of satisfaction. The words ramanti ca denote that just as a wife feels great satisfaction in conjugal relationship with her husband the devotees feel similar ecstasy when discussing intimate pastimes about the Supreme Lord. This conception has also been verified by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. 

In verse 10 Lord Krishna reveals that the highest group of servitors who were described in the previous verse by the word ramanti indicating the highest enjoyment are those who are satata yuktanam or always engaged in loving devotion to Him. Then He reveals that He will personally bestow the spiritual illumination by which they will be able to assuredly come to Him. The Supreme Lord Krishna's relationship with His devotees is independent of everything conceivable. It is beyond rules, laws, society, even scriptures. It is fully innate and natural and does not require any approval or sanction. One may show formal respect to the norms and restrictions of society but in their heart of hearts they are totally surrendered to the Supreme Lord. This is the special dispensation Lord Krishna bequeaths to His devotees. Externally there are ordinances and injunctions that must be followed but the position of the Supreme Lord is transcendental them all. The Vedic scriptures are His instructions for the masses who have deviated from Him and society is also under the jurisdiction of the Vedic scriptures. But the Supreme Lord's divine, transcendental relationships with His devotees is intrinsic and independent, not requiring recognition from anyone and this is the highest. It supersedes all laws and rules. Like signposts the Vedic scriptures are all pointing in the direction of the Supreme Lord Krishna. In this direction He is available; but where and how is unknown. 

The general interpretation for verse 11 is always given that Lord Krishna situated in the hearts of all living entities dispels the darkness of ignorance with the radiance of knowledge out of compassion for His devotees. But if we appreciate pure uncalculated devotion then this verse may appear redundant and inconsistent. When the highest devotees are already committed to performing continuous unadulterated devotional service and above even that they are situated on the plane of pure love which is spontaneous and unmotivated. How can it be harmonised that the Supreme Lord will now in the last stage destroy their non-existing ignorance which arises from misunderstanding by giving them jnana or knowledge? Jnana is only a cover, a futile, finite conception of the infinite absolute. When these highest devotees have already achieved devotion devoid of the covering of knowledge why will they again have to return to this jnana. In this regard the great preceptor Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has commented that this jnana is vilaksanam or extraordinary; but he did not put forth any specific details. To clarify this point we have given the following explanation. Lamentation and suffering are generally known to be symptoms of tama guna the mode of ignorance. Yet in jnana-sunya the elevated devotees who see Lord Krishna not as the Supreme Lord; but see Him intimately as their friend, son, husband or paramour will come to experience lamentation and suffering; but this is only an external appearance of ignorance. In reality it is the pain of vipralambha or divine separation. So they will lament: Where has Krishna gone? When will He return? Why has he left us? Etc.  

Lord Krishna's states tesam evanukampartham which usually means: Certainly to favour them I dispel the darkness of ignorance; but it may also be interpreted as: Being conquered by their love I aspire for the favour of these elevated devotees by atma-bhavah-stah appearing in the soul within their hearts and revealing bhasvata jnana dipena the extraordinary illumination of My dazzling divine presence which nasayami destroys all ignorance. Another great preceptor Srila Krishna das Kaviraja Goswami has determined a similar internal meaning when he concluded: Through devotion everyone wants the Supreme Lord to help them attain the highest position of eternal benefit and if they have a connection with Lord Krishna they consider themselves. But Lord Krishna considers Himself fortunate when He comes in contact with the invaluable affection that He is offered from His surrendered devotee's hearts. Although Lord Krishna is the absolute controller of all existence and the paramount Supreme Lord of all creation; He is so sublimely wonderful that He feels it is His great, good fortune to experience the association of His loving devotees. So in this light it can be understood that Lord Krishna stating tesam evanukampartham can be understood as: Conquered by the love of My devotees, when I can no longer tolerate the pain of their separation, I at once show Myself to satisfy them and I reveal to them with jnana dipena the extraordinary illumination of transcendental consciousness. Sweetly I tell them that I have returned to you, I am here. With the powerful brilliance of jnana dipena's dazzling illumination I show them my presence when they are very much in need of me and relieve their pain of vipralambha. The Supreme Lord Krishna reveals Himself in the form that is in accordance with the mood His devotees are individually situated in. In sakhya rasa it is as a friend to a friend, in vatsalya rasa it is as a child to His parents, in madhurya rasa it is as the beloved to the beloved or as a husband to a wife. Such extraordinary illumination is transcendental and beyond even the superlative jnana of topics found within the Vedas that we are accustomed to hearing and learning about. 

The acme of theism is found in madhurya rasa and it is called parakiya-rasa. Parakiya means another's. Rasa means divine mood in relationship. In every rasa Lord Krishna attracts everyone. Throughout the whole spiritual world of Goloka Vrindavan where everyone is eternally feeling the rasa of love for Lord Krishna, this parikiya rasa is infused. In sakhya rasa Krishna's friends sometimes hear stories that He is not really a gopa or cowherd boy and that really he is the son of a king from the ksatriya or royal warrior class and that He cannot remain as their friend because soon He will be leaving to join His parents. His friends worry that they can lose Krishna's company at any time. They think that without Him how will they ever be able to go daily to the forest tending the cows? They experience such apprehensions and this increases their feelings of loving friendship towards Him. Similarly Yasoda Ma and Nanda Baba hear rumours that some say Krishna is not really their son but the son of King Vasudeva and Queen Devaki in Mathura. They both reject this idea as foolishness, that it cannot be and they refuse to accept the possibility of it. They both think Krishna is our child. We raised Him right from birth. How can anyone think otherwise? But in the back of their mind they reflect that if it is somehow true they could lose Him. They ponder how could they live without Him? So such contrary feelings greatly enhance their love for Krishna. Therefore parikiya-rasa stresses the rarity of relationship with Krishna due to the apprehension of possibly losing Him and this is always in the background and is most evident in the highest intensity of devotion to Lord Krishna in madhurya rasa.  

In Vaikuntha, the eternal spiritual worlds where Lord Krishna's expansion of Narayana rules majestically, the nature of worship there is grandiose, opulent, reverential and awe-inspiring. But above Vaikuntha in Goloka Vrindavan which is the highest conception of divinity, the fountainhead of all incarnations and expansions, Lord Krishna performs His eternal divine pastimes in the spiritual form of a human being as an ever youthful, cowherd boy bedecked with peacock feather, playing upon a flute. His beauty is so sublimely charming and sweet that all creation is inundated from just an atom of it and all living entities are drawn irresistibly to Him. 

The Supreme Lord Krishna is approachable by all His creation. We can find the Supreme Lord Krishna very near residing within our hearts as paramatma the Supreme Soul. It has been explained by the previous acarya's or spiritual preceptors of our parampara or disciplic succession in the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, how the nature of Lord Krishna's human form is the highest manifestation of the ultimate reality, the supreme absolute truth according to the calculation of rasa which is the common standard of measurement for the whole scope of the infinite. By the progressive development of rasas ascending from santa rasa or neutraliy to dasya rasa or servotorship to sakhya rasa or friendship to vatsalya rasa or parental affection and madhurya rasa as the beloved; this is scientifically proven without   whimsical speculation or blind faith. If we follow the line of rupanuga bhajana devotion in the mood of Srila Rupa Goswami which originates from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; then this scientific basis can be appreciated. The previous acaryas have left this for us, step by step, how we can follow, conceive and attain all these things. 

Bhakti Raksaka Sridhar Goswmi

Sri Caitanya Saraswati GaudiyaMath

Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya 

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