Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Bhagavad-gita As It Is 7.19

bahunam janmanam ante

jnanavan mam prapadyate

vasudevah sarvam iti

sa mahatma su-durlabhah

SYNONYMS

bahunam -- many; janmanam -- repeated births and deaths; ante -- after; jnana-van -- one who is in full knowledge; mam -- unto Me; prapadyate -- surrenders; vasudevah -- the Personality of Godhead, Krsna; sarvam -- everything; iti -- thus; sah -- that; maha-atma -- great soul; su-durlabhah -- very rare to see.

TRANSLATION

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

PURPORT

The living entity, while executing devotional service or transcendental rituals after many, many births, may actually become situated in transcendental pure knowledge that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate goal of spiritual realization. In the beginning of spiritual realization, while one is trying to give up one's attachment to materialism, there is some leaning towards impersonalism, but when one is further advanced he can understand that there are activities in the spiritual life and that these activities constitute devotional service. Realizing this, he becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrenders to Him. At such a time one can understand that Lord Sri Krsna's mercy is everything, that He is the cause of all causes and that this material manifestation is not independent from Him. He realizes the material world to be a perverted reflection of spiritual variegatedness and realizes that in everything there is a relationship with the Supreme Lord Krsna. Thus he thinks of everything in relation to Vasudeva, or Sri Krsna. Such a universal vision of Vasudeva precipitates one's full surrender to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna as the highest goal. Such surrendered great souls are very rare.

This verse is very nicely explained in the Third Chapter (verses 14 and 15) of the Svetasvatara Upanisad:

sahasra-sirsa purusah

sahasraksah sahasra-pat

sa bhumim visvato vrtva-

tyatisthad dasangulam

purusa evedam sarvam

yad bhutam yac ca bhavyam

utamrtatvasyesano

yad annenatirohati

In the Chandogya Upanisad (5.1.15) it is said, na vai vaco na caksumsi na srotrani na manamsity acaksate prana iti evacaksate prano hy evaitani sarvani bhavanti: "In the body of a living being neither the power to speak, nor the power to see, nor the power to hear, nor the power to think is the prime factor; it is life which is the center of all activities." Similarly Lord Vasudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, is the prime entity in everything. In this body there are powers of speaking, of seeing, of hearing, of mental activities, etc. But these are not important if not related to the Supreme Lord. And because Vasudeva is all-pervading and everything is Vasudeva, the devotee surrenders in full knowledge (cf. Bhagavad-gita 7.17 and 11.40).

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness