October 05, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 18


Acting with detachment is true renunciation and brings freedom from reaction

This first section of the Eighteenth Chapter summarizes the first six chapters of Bhagavad-gita, the karma- yoga section. The discussion begins by analyzing the respective positions of sannyasa (the giving up of work), and tyaga (the giving tip of the fruits of work). One does not have to give up activity, but must give up fruitive mentality.

Main theme:
Acting with detachment is true renunciation and brings freedom from reaction.

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September 08, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 17

Chapter 17
The Divisions of Faith

One’s modes determine one’s activities: Faith and worship in the modes (17.1-7)

Main Theme:
When one does not base his faith in sastric inunctions, his faith becomes based upon his mentality, which is a product of his particular conditioning by the modes.

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August 17, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 16

Transcendental and demoniac qualities (16.1-6)
The Demoniac nature (16.7-20)

Main theme:
According to one's level of general detachment and selflessness, he is an eligible candidate for liberation.

Sub points:
The Sixteenth Chapter will describe and contrast the types of mentalities that are conducive for both bondage and for liberation from the banyan tree of material existence. These are the divine and demoniac

One interesting point is that this chapter appears in the jnana-yoga section of Bhagavad-gita. At first look it does not present itself in the same way as other jnana-yoga chapters. It is not so much an analysis of
philosophical themes as it is a description of certain modes of being. But it is designed to give one the
proper discrimination. By hearing in depth about the qualities that liberate and the qualities that bind, one can detach himself from activities based upon false ego. He can thus establish himself in the true conception of the self.

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July 26, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 15


Becoming detached from the material world - the reflection of the spiritual work

Chapter 15 presents the example of the inverted Banyan tree. Srila Prabhupada explains that inverted trees can be seen only when they are reflected in water. Just as the refection of a tree can be situated in the water of a river, the spiritual world reflected on the "water" of self-centered desire becomes the illusory material world.
The existence of this world implies the existence of the spiritual world, as the existence of a reflected tree implies the existence of a real tree.

Main theme:
One can be free from entanglement within the material world by cultivating a transcendental desire to enter into the spiritual world.

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June 21, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 14


Chapter Thirteen explained why the living entity (purusa) is entangled in the external energy (prakriti)due to his desire for enjoyment. Chapter Fourteen explains how material energy binds the soul through the modes of nature.

The liberation and conditioning of the living entity (1-4)
Krsna glorifies the knowledge he is about to speak by explaining that it will liberate the spirit soul. He then explains how the living entity first comes into contact with material nature.

Main theme:
Understanding the conditioning of the three modes is a powerful tool to assist on the path of self-realization.

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May 18, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 13


In Chapters Six through Twelve, Lord Krsna concluded His description of bhakti-yoga. In chapters 13-18, He describes jnana- yoga.

One may ask, "If bhakti is the culmination of the yoga ladder, why is jnana presented after the section on bhakti?"

Understanding the connection between the bhakti section and the jnana section will help reveal the reason. In Text 12.7, Lord Krsna promised to save His devotees from the path of birth and death. Chapters 13-18 fulfill this promise by supplying the philosophical knowledge necessary to extricate oneself from material entanglement.

We call this section the "jnana section," but in truth the entire Bhagavad-gita is bhakti. The first six chapters discuss how to achieve bhakti through one's works (karma yoga). The last six chapters discuss how to achieve bhakti through knowledge. The middle six chapters discuss bhakti itself.

Jnana has its use in assisting our detachment from maya and our subsequent attachment to Krsna. When we utilize knowledge as a means to attain devotion, it becomes a part of bhakti.

Without the touch of bhakti, both karma and jnana are useless. This is another reason why the discussion of bhakti comes in the middle of Bhagavad-gita, where it can remain in contact with both karma and jnana and thus lend them value.

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March 28, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 11


Arjuna's request and Krsna's description of His universal form (11. 1-9)
Lord Krsna ended the previous chapter by describing how, as the Supersoul, He creates, maintains and destroys the cosmic manifestation. He concluded by saying, "what need is there for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe."

In the Eleventh Chapter, Arjuna asks to see how that fragment pervades the universe.

Main theme:
One can understand the nature of the Lord's form through the Lord's mercy.

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March 08, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 10


Krsna's position as the origin of everything (10.1-7)
Lord Krsna ends the Ninth Chapter with an imperative to fix the mind on Him (man-mana bhava mad- bhakto). The Tenth Chapter describes the Lord's opulence, upon which the devotee can fix his mind. The conclusion of the Ninth Chapter is that one should become a pure devotee of the Lord. The Tenth Chapter will increase our devotion by elaborating about Krsna's opulence.

Main theme:
Knowledge of Krsna's supreme position is an inspiration for one to take to the process of devotional service.

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January 14, 2007

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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December 05, 2006

Bhagavad-gita Ch. 8


Krsna answers Arjuna's eight questions (8.1-4)
In the last two verses of Chapter Seven, Sri Krsna mentions six highly technical terms. Chapter Eight starts out with Arjuna asking for clarification of those terms. The remainder of the Chapter concerns Arjuna's eighth question: "How can those engaged in devotional service know Krsna at the time of death?'

Main theme:
Understanding Krsna through proper inquiry.

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October 25, 2006

Bhagavad-gita Ch. 7


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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September 27, 2006

Bhagavad-gita - Chapter 6


Advancing In yoga through detached work (6.1-4)
While speaking about karma-yoga in Chapter Five Krsna mentioned ashtanga- yoga to set the scene for Chapter Six. In this chapter, Krsna clears the doubt that ashtanga- yoga may be a superior path of self-realization. By discussing ashtanga- yoga Krsna establishes it as an impractical path that one should reject in favor of bhakti yoga

Main theme:
True renunciation manifests in detachment from possessiveness and enjoying propensities, not necessarily in cessation of activities.

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September 05, 2006

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 5 Philosophical Points


Niskama-karma Is equal to, but easier than renouncing work (5.1-6)
At the conclusion of the Second Chapter, Arjuna was perplexed because Krishna stressed both the cultivation
of knowledge and fighting in the war. Arjuna was unsure if he should fight, or give up fighting and pursue
knowledge. A similar confusion arises at the beginning of this chapter. Krishna spent the entire 4th Chapter
glorifying transcendental knowledge, yet finished the chapter with an imperative to "stand and fight." In
Chapter Five, Krishna resolves this dilemma by explaining that activity and renunciation are not mutually

Main theme:
There is no real difference between performing detached activities in karma-yoga and renouncing activities altogether. The only difference is that karma-yoga is easier and provokes less chance of fall down. It is therefore the safer, better path.

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August 07, 2006

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 4


Transcendental knowledge about Krsna (4.1-10)
As mentioned in text 30 of the previous chapter, to perform the highest level of karma-yoga - surrendering all works to Krsna - one must know who Krsna is. The fourth chapter gives that knowledge.

Main theme:
Krsna is the Absolute Truth, Supreme Personality of Godhead, who comes to the world to protect eternal dharma. One who knows this is factually liberated.

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July 20, 2006

Bhagavad-gita - Chapter 3

From karma-kanda to karma yoga (3.10-6)

Previously, Krsna established that one should not artificially renounce activities but should perform prescribed duties in a detached way. Now, He will explain the course of action for those who are not yet at the stage of detached work, but wish to attain it: by satisfying their material desires in a religious way, those who are attached will be purified.

Main theme:
Lord Krsna has designed the material world to encourage sacrifice. He does this by making
material advancement dependent upon yajna. By worshipping the Lord for material well-being, one
becomes purifed and advances.

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July 06, 2006

BG 2.54-72

Sthita prajña – Fight! Become fixed in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (2.54-72)
After giving Arjuna instruction about buddhi-yoga, Kṛṣṇa describes the sthita-dhir muni to illustrate what a person fixed in buddhi-yoga is like.

Main Theme:
One who is fixed in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is beyond the disturbances of
external, material phenomenon. They can experience transcendence
even while in this body.

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June 21, 2006

Bhagavad-gita 2.39-53

Buddhi-Yoga ( niskama-karma) - Fight! But without any reaction ( 2.39-53)

Arjuna cannot think of fighting as anything but sinful. Thus he sees inactivity as the single solution to the problem of sin. To counteract this misunderstanding, Krsna will present an entirely different way of action: Buddhi-yoga.

As the name implies, buddhi-yoga concerns linking one’s intelligence with God. By fixing the intelligence on the conception of the soul, one will no longer act for fruitive bodily results. One will continue to act, but in a mood of detachment from the material results.

Krsna’s argument against Arjuna’s fear of sinful reaction comprises this section.

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June 15, 2006

Bhagavad-gita 2.31-38

Karma-kāṇda – Fight! Gains come from dutifully fighting and losses come from not fighting (2.31-38)
Kṛṣṇa now drops His argument to a materialistic level. Having successfully defeated the argument of compassion, He will now defeat Arjuna’s argument of enjoyment, and make clear that one can become happy only by adherence to duty.

Main Theme:
Material happiness comes from proper execution of one’s dharma. Neglect of dharma brings material downfall.

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June 07, 2006

Bhagavad-gita 2.11-30

Jñāna—Fight! There is no death for the soul (2.11—30)

Main Theme:

The spirit soul is eternal and indestructible, while material nature is temporary. Because of this, one should not be bewildered by the inevitable destruction of the material body. Rather one should remain fixed in prescribed duties, which purify and allow one to realize the eternal self.

A. Kṛṣṇa calls Arjuna foolish (2.11).
1. The first step in teaching is to dismantle the student’s misconceptions.
2. Arjuna presented many intellectual arguments to avoid fighting, but he did not consider the essential nature of the soul. Therefore, even though his arguments sounded intellectual, they were based on the platform of ignorance.
B. The soul is eternal and eternally individual (2.12).
C. Prescribed duties are essential for spiritual advancement. They fulfill material desires in a regulated way, and thus gradually detach one from the bodily concept of life.

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May 31, 2006

Philosophical Points: BG 2.1-10

Chapter Two – Contents of the Gītā Summarized

Arjuna’s surrender (2.1-10)

Main Theme:
When one comes to the realization that there is no shelter in the material world, including their own mind and intelligence, they take full shelter of a spiritual authority.

A. Necessity of guru to solve the problems of life (text 2.7)
1. After presenting his arguments and hearing Kṛṣṇa’s opinion, Arjuna realizes that he cannot find a conclusion to his dilemma; he needs superior guidance.
2. Therefore, Arjuna decides to take full shelter of a spiritual master (Śrī Kṛṣṇa)

B. Arjuna illustrates the result of selfish consciousness: frustration and
inability to reach sound conclusions.

C. Finer sentiments like compassion, although praiseworthy, are worthless
if applied without knowledge (text 2.1-3)
1. Due to lack of knowledge Arjuna directs his compassion towards
the temporary material body alone.
2. This misunderstanding causes him to disregard higher values of life, such as prescribed duties, which purify one’s consciousness.

D. The Gītā directly accepts Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead
by referring to Him as Śrī Bhagavān (text 2.2)
1. Using the example of the sun, Śrīla Prabhupāda explains the
Absolute Truth in three phases:
a) Brahman
b) Paramātmā
c) Bhagavān
2. Although all three are the same Absolute substance, Bhagavān is
the most complete realization

E. The need for guru
1. Arjuna’s reverential attitude toward Bhiṣma and Droṇa underscores
the uniquely respected position of teacher (text 2.4-5)
2. One can surrender to a spiritual master when they realize:
a) They cannot independently solve the perplexities of material existence (text 2.7)
b) Fully taking shelter of Kṛṣṇa is the only way to alleviate pain and despondency (text 2.8)
3. Arjuna sets a perfect example o surrender by his taking shelter
of Kṛṣṇa

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May 11, 2006

Philosophical Points: Bhagavad-gita 1.1-27

Philosophical Points – Introduction and Chapter One (1-27)

  • Bhagavad-gita also known as Gitopanisad, is the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upanisads (p. 3).

  • Krsna cannot be known even to personalities greater than human beings, so how can a human being understand Him without becoming a devotee. Therefore one must at least theoretically accept Sri Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and try to understand the Bhagavad-gita in a submissive spirit (p. 6-7).

Chapter One – Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra
Introduction: Preparations for War (1.1-27)
Main Theme:

  • Using literary devices (i.e. foreshadowing, tone), Chapter One
    Repeatedly presents the following theme: Devotees who surrender to Krsna’s protection are assured victory, despite overwhelming material odds.

  • Bhagavad-gita introduces Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the intimate servant of His devotee.


  • Examples of how this first section foreshadows the victory of the
    surrendered devotee.
    1. Text 1: As explained in the first verse of the Gita, the battle will take place at ‘dharma-ksetre’, a place of religion. Since the Pandavas are religious they will be victorious.

    2. Text 10: Grandsire Bhisma’s strength doesn’t measure up (aparyaptam) to the strength of Bhima who is surrendered to Krsna.

    3. Text 12: In response to Duryodhana, Bhisma blows a conch, the symbol of Vishnu.

    4. Text 14: Krsna is called Madhava to denote that He is the husband of the goddess of fortune. Also the conchshells of the Krsna and Arjuna are referred to as transcendental (divyau sankhau).

    5. Test 15: Krsna is referred to as Hrsikesa suggesting that He will personally direct the senses of Arjuna.

    6. Text 19: The devotee’s confidence in Krsna shatters the hearts of the enemy.

  • The political expertise of Duryodhana.

    1. Text 3: drupada-putrena, the enemy was born to kill Dronacarya, so be attentive.

    2. Text 8: The order in which he mentions the heroes of his army.

    3. Text 10: He encourages Dronacarya that his assistance to Bhisma is essential.

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