|Chapter 11: The Universal Form|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 11.55
yaḥ sa mām eti pāṇḍava
mat-karma-kṛt — engaged in doing My work; mat-paramaḥ — considering Me the Supreme; mat-bhaktaḥ — engaged in My devotional service; sańga-varjitaḥ — freed from the contamination of fruitive activities and mental speculation; nirvairaḥ — without an enemy; sarva-bhūteṣu — among all living entities; yaḥ — one who; saḥ — he; mām — unto Me; eti — comes; pāṇḍava — O son of Pāṇḍu.
My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being — he certainly comes to Me.
Anyone who wants to approach the supreme of all the Personalities of Godhead, on the Kṛṣṇaloka planet in the spiritual sky, and be intimately connected with the Supreme Personality, Kṛṣṇa, must take this formula, as stated by the Supreme Himself. Therefore, this verse is considered to be the essence of Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā is a book directed to the conditioned souls, who are engaged in the material world with the purpose of lording it over nature and who do not know of the real, spiritual life. The Bhagavad-gītā is meant to show how one can understand his spiritual existence and his eternal relationship with the supreme spiritual personality and to teach one how to go back home, back to Godhead. Now here is the verse which clearly explains the process by which one can attain success in his spiritual activity: devotional service.
As far as work is concerned, one should transfer his energy entirely to Kṛṣṇa conscious activities. As stated in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.255),
yuktaḿ vairāgyam ucyate
No work should be done by any man except in relationship to Kṛṣṇa. This is called kṛṣṇa-karma. One may be engaged in various activities, but one should not be attached to the result of his work; the result should be done only for Him. For example, one may be engaged in business, but to transform that activity into Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one has to do business for Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of the business, then Kṛṣṇa should enjoy the profit of the business. If a businessman is in possession of thousands and thousands of dollars, and if he has to offer all this to Kṛṣṇa, he can do it. This is work for Kṛṣṇa. Instead of constructing a big building for his sense gratification, he can construct a nice temple for Kṛṣṇa, and he can install the Deity of Kṛṣṇa and arrange for the Deity's service, as is outlined in the authorized books of devotional service. This is all kṛṣṇa-karma. One should not be attached to the result of his work, but the result should be offered to Kṛṣṇa, and one should accept as prasādam the remnants of offerings to Kṛṣṇa. If one constructs a very big building for Kṛṣṇa and installs the Deity of Kṛṣṇa, one is not prohibited from living there, but it is understood that the proprietor of the building is Kṛṣṇa. That is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If, however, one is not able to construct a temple for Kṛṣṇa, one can engage himself in cleansing the temple of Kṛṣṇa; that is also kṛṣṇa-karma. One can cultivate a garden. Anyone who has land — in India, at least, any poor man has a certain amount of land — can utilize that for Kṛṣṇa by growing flowers to offer Him. One can sow tulasī plants, because tulasī leaves are very important and Kṛṣṇa has recommended this in Bhagavad-gītā. Patraḿ puṣpaḿ phalaḿ toyam. Kṛṣṇa desires that one offer Him either a leaf, or a flower, or fruit, or a little water — and by such an offering He is satisfied. This leaf especially refers to the tulasī. So one can sow tulasī and pour water on the plant. Thus, even the poorest man can engage in the service of Kṛṣṇa. These are some of the examples of how one can engage in working for Kṛṣṇa.
The word mat-paramaḥ refers to one who considers the association of Kṛṣṇa in His supreme abode to be the highest perfection of life. Such a person does not wish to be elevated to the higher planets such as the moon or sun or heavenly planets, or even the highest planet of this universe, Brahmaloka. He has no attraction for that. He is only attracted to being transferred to the spiritual sky. And even in the spiritual sky he is not satisfied with merging into the glowing brahmajyoti effulgence, for he wants to enter the highest spiritual planet, namely Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana. He has full knowledge of that planet, and therefore he is not interested in any other. As indicated by the word mad-bhaktaḥ, he fully engages in devotional service, specifically in the nine processes of devotional engagement: hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering prayers, carrying out the orders of the Lord, making friends with Him, and surrendering everything to Him. One can engage in all nine devotional processes, or eight, or seven, or at least in one, and that will surely make one perfect.
The term sańga-varjitaḥ is very significant. One should disassociate himself from persons who are against Kṛṣṇa. Not only are the atheistic persons against Kṛṣṇa, but so also are those who are attracted to fruitive activities and mental speculation. Therefore the pure form of devotional service is described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11) as follows:
śīlanaḿ bhaktir uttamā
In this verse Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī clearly states that if anyone wants to execute unalloyed devotional service, he must be freed from all kinds of material contamination. He must be freed from the association of persons who are addicted to fruitive activities and mental speculation. When, freed from such unwanted association and from the contamination of material desires, one favorably cultivates knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, that is called pure devotional service. Ānukūlyasya sańkalpaḥ prātikūlyasya varjanam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 11.676). One should think of Kṛṣṇa and act for Kṛṣṇa favorably, not unfavorably. Kaḿsa was an enemy of Kṛṣṇa's. From the very beginning of Kṛṣṇa's birth, Kaḿsa planned in so many ways to kill Him, and because he was always unsuccessful, he was always thinking of Kṛṣṇa. Thus while working, while eating and while sleeping, he was always Kṛṣṇa conscious in every respect, but that Kṛṣṇa consciousness was not favorable, and therefore in spite of his always thinking of Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day, he was considered a demon, and Kṛṣṇa at last killed him. Of course anyone who is killed by Kṛṣṇa attains salvation immediately, but that is not the aim of the pure devotee. The pure devotee does not even want salvation. He does not want to be transferred even to the highest planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana. His only objective is to serve Kṛṣṇa wherever he may be.
A devotee of Kṛṣṇa is friendly to everyone. Therefore it is said here that he has no enemy (nirvairaḥ). How is this? A devotee situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows that only devotional service to Kṛṣṇa can relieve a person from all the problems of life. He has personal experience of this, and therefore he wants to introduce this system, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, into human society. There are many examples in history of devotees of the Lord who risked their lives for the spreading of God consciousness. The favorite example is Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified by the nondevotees, but he sacrificed his life for spreading God consciousness. Of course, it would be superficial to understand that he was killed. Similarly, in India also there are many examples, such as Ṭhākura Haridāsa and Prahlāda Mahārāja. Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and it is difficult. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person knows that if a man is suffering it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one's neighbor from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord. Now, we can imagine how merciful Kṛṣṇa is to those engaged in His service, risking everything for Him. Therefore it is certain that such persons must reach the supreme planet after leaving the body.
In summary, the universal form of Kṛṣṇa, which is a temporary manifestation, and the form of time which devours everything, and even the form of Viṣṇu, four-handed, have all been exhibited by Kṛṣṇa. Thus Kṛṣṇa is the origin of all these manifestations. It is not that Kṛṣṇa is a manifestation of the original viśva-rūpa, or Viṣṇu. Kṛṣṇa is the origin of all forms. There are hundreds and thousands of Viṣṇus, but for a devotee no form of Kṛṣṇa is important but the original form, two-handed Śyāmasundara. In the Brahma-saḿhitā it is stated that those who are attached to the Śyāmasundara form of Kṛṣṇa in love and devotion can see Him always within the heart and cannot see anything else. One should understand, therefore, that the purport of this Eleventh Chapter is that the form of Kṛṣṇa is essential and supreme.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Eleventh Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of the Universal Form.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness