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Bhagavad-gita Ch. 9


Chapter Nine is entitled "The Most Confidential Knowledge" because it concerns the intimate loving relationship between the Lord and His devotee.

Hearing about Krsna - qualifications and disqualifications (9.1-3)
After answering Arjuna's eight questions, Krsna returns to the same themes stressed in Chapter Seven, beginning with the importance of hearing.

Main theme:
The most intimate knowledge of the Absolute Truth is obtainable through proper hearing.

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Sub Points:
A. Hearing topics of the Lord in the association of devotees purifies one, and grants spiritual
advancement (9.1).
B. The confidentiality of spiritual knowledge is based on how much it discloses the true
position of the spirit soul in relationship with Krsna (9.1-2).
1. The opening chapters of the Gita presented knowledge of the soul's distinction from
the body. This is confidential knowledge.
2. Chapters Seven and Eight present knowledge of devotional service. This is more
confidential knowledge because it discusses one's relationship with Krsna.
3. The knowledge of Chapter Nine is the most confidential, however, because it
reveals the intimate loving reciprocation between the Lord and His devotees.
C. One will be able to access knowledge of Krsna in proportion to his or her devotional
Consciousness (9.1, 3)
1. Primarily, the Lord explains that Arjuna is qualified to attain the most confidential
knowledge of Krsna because he is anasuyava, non-envious. One must be non-envious of
Krsna in order to understand the Gita because the essential message of the Gita is that the
spirit soul is the eternal servant of Krsna.
2. Faith is not opposed to knowledge. Rather, it is a precondition for knowledge,
especially for the most confidential knowledge. Faith is the gateway by which one
can access knowledge.

Krsna's acintya-bhedabheda relationship with the material world (9.4-10)
Lord Krsna begins His elucidation of the most confidential knowledge by explaining His relationship with the material world. This is His mercy for those who are materialistic. He is giving requisite faith to materially absorbed people by showing Himself to be Supreme in relation to the cosmic manifestation.
The Ninth Chapter establishes Krsna as the "supreme object of worship." His superiority is proclaimed above the demigods, impersonal Brahman, and the cosmic manifestation. Verses 4-10 show Krsna to be the supreme object of worship in the material world, and also establish the acintya-bhedabheda philosophy of Lord Caitanya, which declares the simultaneous unity and difference between the Lord, the living entities, and the material energy.

Main theme:
Because of His unique and supreme position in relation with the material creation, Lord Krsna is the supreme object of worship.

Sub Points:
A. The Lord supports and pervades the entire universe through His energies (9.4-6).
1. The all-pervading aspect of the Lord is described as avyakta murti, His unmanifest
2. The Lord is unmanifest to material senses, but can be perceived by one whose
senses are purified by the practice of devotional service (9.4).
B. Krsna says that "All beings are in Me, but I am not in them." This makes the point that
although the Lord is everywhere, He does not lose His own personal existence (9.4).

C. After explaining that all beings rest in Him, the Lord says the opposite; they do not rest in
Him (9.5). This contradictory language is meant to show that He is personally aloof from the
workings of the universe and that such functions are carried out by His energies.
Everything is situated in His energies, but He is not personally connected with the creation.
In this way, the Lord's will is executed without His having to take direct involvement.

1. The analogy of the wind in the sky is meant to give an appreciation of how Krsna
sustains everything through His energies and yet remains unaffected (9.6).

D. Aside from supporting the creation by His energies, Sri Krsna is also the intelligence that
has set up the system that governs its workings (9.7-10).
1. The universe runs according to a set cycle of creation, maintenance, and destruction (see 8.17
purport). It is Lord Krsna who controls this process as the Purusa-avataras.
E. Maha-visnu is the resting place of all material energies, for they enter into His nature after
annihilation (9.7).
F. Although the cosmic manifestation runs according to His will, the Lord is not implicated in
its workings (9.8-10).
G. All functions of material nature (the cycles of its manifestation, the assignment of suitable
bodies for the living entities, etc.) happen through the agency of material nature, which is
running under the Lord's will. By this arrangement, the Lord is always in ultimate control,
but is not directly attached to the activities of creation.
H. "As if neutral" (udasina-vat).
1. Because He is not personally attached to the activities of the creation, the Lord is
2. The Lord must have some reason for the world; however, as He is the one who has
created it and who ultimately controls it. He cannot, therefore, be completely
neutral. He is neutral in the sense that He has no selfish interests at stake in the
events of the material world.

Non-worshippers and worshippers (9.11-15)
After hearing the Lord describe how He is the supreme object of worship in terms of the material creation, one may ask, "Why then do some people not respect Him?" Krsna answers this question here.

Main Theme:
Different people will appreciate Krsna in different ways according to their level of devotional consciousness.

Sub Points:
A. Sri Krsna's form is fully spiritual, beyond a doubt (9.11).
1. Lord Krsna cannot have a material body. A material body confines the pure spirit soul
to limiting conditions. The body is a product of the three modes of material nature, which influences one's behavior. Lord Krsna has already declared that the three modes are His energy and that one can be free from their grasp by taking shelter of Him (7.14). Therefore, how can He be encased in a material body composed of the modes of nature?
2. Although the Lord appeared on the planet like an ordinary human, He is not. His
transcendental body has many forms, some of which more clearly show His
position as God. In His human-like form He can most intimately relate with His
B. One who derides Lord Krsna is doomed to failure in all respects (9.12).
1. Mogha-jnana - indicates that those who do not accept Krsna's transcendental
form are baffled in their attempts at knowledge.
C. One who accepts Krsna's true position and acts accordingly is a great sou1 (9.13-14).
1. Unlike the envious impersonalists, those who are great souls can appreciate the
truth about Krsna. They surrender unto Him because they understand His
supreme position.
2. By surrendering to the Lord, the mahatmas are placed under His divine nature.
This daivi prakrti is the internal potency that facilitates their service to the Lord.
3. The mahatmas are fixed in their devotional service. They serve Lord Krsna with
steady vows.

D. Those who approach the Supreme without fully knowing Krsna worship Him indirectly (9.15).

Krsna is the supreme object of worship (9.16-25)
At the end of the previous section, Krsna mentioned three kinds of people who surrender to Him indirectly:
(1) the monist, (2) the demigod worshipper, and (3) the worshipper of the universal form. The Lord begins this section by establishing Himself as supreme for those in the third category. By seeing that Krsna is the personality behind all material phenomena, the worshipper of the Universal Form will turn to Him.

Main Theme:
Seeing Lord Krsna's superiority in terms of the material world as well as the demigods will lead one to worship Him directly.

Sub Points:
A. Lord Krsna is the essence of all things within the material world (9.16-19).
1. All things are constituted of His energies. The living entities, for example, are
Krsna's marginal potency.
2. Also, all things are designed to lead the conditioned souls to Him. Because they
gradually lead people to worship Him, Lord Krsna can be appreciated as the
essence of Vedic sacrifice and as the four Vedas themselves.
B. Worship of Lord Krsna is superior to worship of the demigods.
1. Worship of the demigods is ultimately futile because its result, elevation to the
heavenly planets, is only a temporary haven from suffering. One will inevitably fall
down again to the earthly regions (9.20-22).
2. Bhakti is superior because the Lord takes personal interest in the spiritual
refinement of the devotee. Krsna sees to the devotee's needs, and provides
protection for his spiritual advancement.
3. Worship of the demigods is indirect worship of Krsna (9.23-24).
a) The demigods are not independent from the Lord. They are deputed
agents of the Supreme Lord who have different empowerment to assist in
the running of the material world. By worshipping them, one is ultimately
worshipping their source, Krsna. This worship is called improper (avidhi-
purvakam), however, because it fails to recognize Krsna (9.23).
b) Krsna explains that those who do not recognize His nature as the supreme
transcendental enjoyer fall down. This is because they remain on the
material plane, in the cycle of higher and lower material birth, where no
position is secure (9.24).
C. According to one's mode of worship, he will attain a corresponding birth (9.25).

The glories of directly worshiping Krsna (9.26-34)

Verse 22 briefly made the point that worship of Krsna is distinct from demigod worship because it is based
on a personal loving relationship between the Lord and the devotee. Demigod worship is simply a business deal where one worships a great personality to receive material boons. In contrast, activities in Krsna consciousness are impelled by a devotee's selfless desire to please Krsna. In kind, the Lord gives direct personal attention to the spiritual upliftment of His devotee. This transcendental reciprocation is the main focus of the final section of the Ninth Chapter, which is the "essence of the essence of the essence" of the Gita.

Main Theme:
Worship of Lord Krsna is superior to all other types of worship because the Supreme Lord takes
direct interest in the life of His devotee.

Sub Points:
A. Krsna consciousness has no material qualifications (9.26).

1. Demigod worship is characterized by strict regulation and ritual Krsna's first point
about the path of bhakti is that it is not based on such material considerations. It is universally open to all.
2. Krsna is not interested in material considerations. What pleases Him is devotion.
Since devotion is not based on one's material position anyone can worship the
Lord with the means available to him or her. Part of the beauty of bhakti is its simplicity.

B. Verse 26 describes pure devotion. Verse 27 describes niskama-karma yoga, where one is
still attached to one's activities, but does them for Krsna.
1. The main difference between pure bhakti and niskama-karma-yoga is that the
actions of one in pure bhakti are initiated by his devotion. The acts of one in
niskama-karma-yoga are generally initiated by some kind of attachment, which is
then purified by offering the fruits to Krsna.

C. Freedom comes by connecting our activities with the Lord's service (9.27-28).
1. Lord Krsna explains that by acting in this way, one will be freed from the bondage
to work and its results (moksyase karma-bandhanaih).
2. More than that, one will become liberated (vimuktah).
3. More than that, one will come to Krsna (mam upaisyasi).

D. The most essential quality of bhakti is that the Lord personally reciprocates with His
devotees, bringing them closer to Him (9.29-34).

E. One may argue that Krsna's special affection for His devotee is a symptom of attachment
and aversion.
1. The Lord explains that he is not partial or hateful of anyone, but because He is a
person He naturally reciprocates with those who are favorably disposed toward
Him. The analogy of the rain (p. 492) is helpful in this regard (9.29).
2. Srila Prabhupada makes the point that "If a reciprocal relationship is not present
between the devotee and the Lord, then there is no personalist philosophy." (p. 493)

F. The Lord explains how His devotee, whom He favors, is in a different category than
ordinary people. Generally, one who commits a sin is considered fallen in society. But the
Lord's devotee is to be considered saintly even if he is fallen by ordinary standards.
1. The devotee may sometimes make mistakes and commit a sinful action. Even so, if
he is situated firmly in devotional service, he should be considered saintly because
the powerful process of bhakti yoga, in which the Lord personally amends His
devotees' faults, will soon rectify him.
2. Because of the Lord's mercy, even those who are generally considered unfit for
spiritual life (by birth) can attain the supreme destination (9.32-33).

G. Understanding the truth about Krsna and His devotee, one should absorb himself in Krsna
consciousness (9.34).
1. The most confidential knowledge is that Lord Krsna takes personal interest in His devotee's life.
This intimate relationship is the essential understanding presented in the Gita. Understanding it
naturally leads one to take to the path of Krsna consciousness, as explained in verse 34.


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