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October 25, 2006

Bhagavad-gita Ch. 7

CHAPTER 7
KNOWLEDGE OF THE ABSOLUTE

Knowing Krsna in full by hearing about Him (1-3)
The first six chapters were mainly about karma-yoga, detached work. This middle section from Chapter Seven to Chapter Twelve will focus on bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme Lord.

Krsna ends the sixth chapter by explaining that the highest yogi is the one who concentrates on Him in full faith. Faith, however, requires knowledge. Without knowledge one may doubt Krsna's position. Consequentially, in Chapters Seven through Twelve, Krsna presents knowledge of Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to inspire and strengthen bhakti.

Hearing is stressed, because knowledge of the Absolute comes through the descending process.

Main theme:
The rare understanding of Krsna and His energies is obtained through proper hearing.


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Sub points:
A. To truly know a thing requires, more than existential data, an awareness of its relation to
the Absolute, Sri Krsna. Therefore, one can know everything phenomenal (material) and
numinous (spiritual) simply by hearing of Krsna and His energies (7.2).
B. Bhakti is "easy" because it requires no material qualifications. In another sense, however,
bhakti is very difficult to perfect because it is obtainable only by selfless devotion, not by
any material formula of mental speculation or ritual (7.3).

Knowing Krsna as the source of both the material and spiritual energies (7.4-12)
Now Arjuna will hear how Krsna is the source of all reality, which has two divisions: purusa (the energetic) and prakrti (the energy). The energetic is the origin and controller of the energies. Krsna is both the energetic and the energy. He Himself is the Purusa, the source and master of all, and His prakrti is the energy that constitutes all of reality. Krsna is thus the supreme object of worship.
Texts 4-7 appreciate the Lord as the origin of creation, and texts 8-11 appreciate the Lord as the essence of the creation.

Main theme:
Krsna is the source of all potencies.

Sub points:
A. The three Visnu expansions of Lord serve to manifest and control the material nature.
1. Karanodakasayi Visnu: creates the mahat-tattva to begin the material
manifestation.
2. Garbhodakasayi Visnu: enters into each universe to make diversities within it.
3. Ksirodakasayi Visnu: Enters into each atom of the universes as the Supersoul.
B. In illusion, the living entity trapped in maya thinks himself or herself the purusa who has the inherent
right to enjoy prak,ti (material nature). He or she does not recognize the factual purusa, Sri Vishnu (7.4).
C. Being the Lord's energy, the living entities are eternally subordinate to Him. Therefore
liberation does not mean to become God, but to enter into full consciousness of one's true
position as spiritual prakrti, servant of the Lord (7.5).
D. Krsna's energies constitute all of reality. The entire creation is simply the confluence of
para and apara prakrti (spirit and matter) (7.6).
E. Although the three modes, which comprise the world, emanate from Krsna, He is always
independent of their influence (7.12)

The three modes are controlled by Krsna - therefore surrender (7.13-14)
If, as explained in texts 4-12, Krsna is the origin and essence of everything, why do some people not recognize him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead? They are deluded by the three modes of nature. Krsna however, is always transcendental to the modes.

Main theme:
The three modes are Krsna's potency, which keeps the conditioned souls in illusion. To be free from their influence, therefore, one must take shelter of the Him.

Sub points:
A. The three modes act to keep the conditioned soul forgetful of Krsna. One who is immersed
in the modes cannot appreciate Sri Krsna in His personal feature but can at best appreciate
the underlying spiritual unity of all things, the impersonal conception (7.13).
B. Freedom from the modes is proportionate to one's surrender to Krsna (7.14).
1. The modes act on one to facilitate his desire for independence from God. As one
surrenders to Krsna, the modes cease to act on him.
2. Freedom from the modes can only come by the mercy of one who is already free.
Therefore, one has to approach the Lord and His pure devotees.
The impious lack knowledge and never surrender to Krsna; the pious develop knowledge and surrender (7.15-19)
In the previous section, the Lord explained that one could be free from the influence of the modes by surrendering to Him. Here, He will point out the different types of people who surrender unto Him, and those who do not.

Main theme:
One's ability to surrender to Krsna is based upon their piety and knowledge.

Sub points:
A. Those who do not surrender to Krsna (7.15).
Four types of impious miscreants (duskrti).

1. Mudhab - The "hard-working asses." They are extremely attached to their labor
and the fruits thereof, and are therefore uninclined to surrender such fruits to the Supreme Lord. They are completely absorbed in their mundane attachments, and thus have no time for Krsna.
2. Naradhamah.- The "uncivilized." Civilization is meant for cultivation of the
ultimate potential of humanity: God consciousness. Thus so-called civilized people
who do not follow principles of religion are naradhamas.
Due to irrelgiousness, they are not inclined to surrender to the Supreme Lord.
3. Mayayapahrita -jnanah - The "misled intellectuals;" those who have intelligence,
but who are befooled by the illusions of maya and thus invest that intelligence in
temporary affairs, and do not apply it to the service of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. The material energy misguides them to disobey the Lord.
4. Asuram bhavam asritab -The "demons," outright atheists.
B.. Those who do surrender.to Krsna 75
Four types of pious persons (sukritnah).
1. Artah - The "distressed" turn to Krsna for relief.
2 Artharthi - The "wealth-wanters" turn to Krsna for success in business, family
affairs, etc.
3. Jijnasuh- The "inquisitive" turns to Krsna for knowledge.
4. Jnani - The "wise" desire realization of the Absolute, or are already situated in
such knowledge, and therefore turn towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Sri Krsna.
C. Further discussion of the pious that surrender to Krsna (7.16).
1. Since the four pious men have some motive in their surrender, they are not yet on
the platform of pure devotional service. They can become pure devotees by
associating with those who are pure (7.16).
2. The wise man (jnani) is considered the best of these four, because he has some
realization that he is not the body, and is thus more detached from selfish
motives.
3. After many births one's knowledge becomes complete and one can appreciate that
Sri Krsna is the fundamental reality underlying all things. This indicates that the
jnani can eventually surrender to Krsna without any extraneous motive (7.19).

Others who have no knowledge (7.20-25)
Krsna described four types of people who have no knowledge and therefore do not surrender. Now He describes other types of people, who do surrender. Yet because they also have very little knowledge, they surrender in imperfect ways.

Main theme:
Atheists have no knowledge of Krsna and perform no worship. Others engage in worship, but have
limited knowledge of Krsna. Thus their worship is indirect and imperfect compared to pure devotional
service.
Sub points:
A. Demigod worshippers are characterized as less intelligent because they are worshipping
secondary beings for temporary fruits. Their lack of intelligence is due to lusty desires.
1. The Lord gives the living entities freedom to pursue material satisfaction. As the
Supersoul, he perceives their desires and facilitates them through the demigods.
Thus demigod worship is effective only through the merciful sanction of Krsna (7.21-22).
Impersonalists are also unintelligent, because they consider Krsna's personality to be
inferior to the impersonal aspect.
1 They understand the supremacy of Krsna, because the method of knowing Krsna is
devotional service. When pleased with such service, Krsna reveals knowledge of
Himself. The impersonalists prefer to use the strength of their own material mind's
ability to understand scripture as the method for knowing. Therefore, they cannot get beyond the knowledge of Krsna's brahmajyoti which acts as a covering of His transcendental form (7.24-25).

The bewilderment and liberation of the living entity (7.26-30)

Main theme:
Living entities are trapped in the material world because of selfish desire. They can become free by cultivation of devotion and surrender to Krsna in full knowledge.

Sub points:
A. Sri Krsna is transcendental to material nature. This is epitomized by His freedom from
ignorance and full knowledge of past, present and future (7.26)
B. Krsna is rarely known because He is understood only by one in Krsna consciousness (7.26).
C. When one has selfish desire, he sees things separate from Krsna, and, desiring to enjoy,
becomes bewildered by dualities of attraction and repulsion, desire and hate. When one
views the world with the intention of selfishly enjoying it, he must see things as good or
bad, according to how they will satisfy his senses (7.27).
1. The original sinful desire of the living entity is to take Krsna's position as the
supreme enjoyer.
2. The original hate is towards Krsna because of the living entities' envy.