The Temple of Love and Affection Verse 4
Continuing our series of posts on the verses which adorn the Temple of Love and Affection, we are here presenting another verse on the theme of Hari-kathā. Having already presented some verses about Hari-kathā in general, we will now present favorite verses of Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj regarding specific types of Hari-kathā. This post will focus on the subject of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.
pārāśarya-vachaḥ sarojam-amalaṁ gītārtha-gandhotkaṭaṁ
loke sajjana-ṣaṭ-padair ahar-ahaḥ pepīyamānaṁ mudā
bhūyād bhārata-paṅkajaṁ kali-mala-pradhvaṁsi naḥ śreyase
(Śrī Gītā-Māhātmya: 7)
“The words of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyan Vyāsadev, the son of Parāśar Muni, are a perfect lotus ﬂower. The meaning of the Gītā is the beautiful fragrance of this lotus, the various episodes are its stamens, and the enlightening narrations about the Supreme Lord are its nectar. In this world, the pure devotees are the bees who day after day delight in drinking the nectar of this lotus ﬂower. May this Mahābhārat lotus, the vanquisher of all evils in this age of Kali, graciously bestow auspiciousness upon us.”
Specifically regarding this verse, readers can note the similarity it bears with Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj’s favorite verse śrī-śrīmad-bhagavat-padāmbuja which we presented in our first post about the Temple of Love and Affection.
The following is an excerpt from the upcoming release Revealed Truth in which Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj discusses Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā:
Everything about yoga and spiritual life is concisely explained in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. In Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa took the form of a Jagad-Guru, universal teacher, and gave transcendental knowledge to the whole world.
In the beginning of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Arjuna surrenders to Kṛṣṇa wholeheartedly. He prays, “My Lord, I am fully surrendering to You now. I do not know and I cannot understand what is good or what is bad for me. Please reveal transcendental knowledge in my heart.”
Then Kṛṣṇa took His chair as Arjuna’s Guru and enlightened Arjuna with transcendental knowledge in a very clear and broad way. In the 700 ślokas of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā everything is explained; all types of knowledge and yoga are explained by Kṛṣṇa Himself in His form as Jagad-Guru.
The Scripture Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is Vedavyās’s record of Kṛṣṇa’s instructions to His dear-most friend Arjuna. But Arjuna was actually an instrument used by Kṛṣṇa to express the essence of yoga and transcendental knowledge to the whole world. Kṛṣṇa actually spoke Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā for the benefit of the conditioned souls of this world and we see now how famous Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is all over the world.
If anyone reads Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and tries to follow Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s advice and instructions as though Kṛṣṇa is his own Guru, then he must be benefited. If anyone fully surrenders to Kṛṣṇa in this way, Kṛṣṇa will never cheat him. Rather, Kṛṣṇa will always be merciful to him, and all obstacles will be removed from his spiritual life.
In the early portion of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa explains that yoga means practices for progress in life, practices for sympathetic and harmonious dealings with nature. Kṛṣṇa begins His explanation of yoga by giving inspiration to everyone to avoid selfish karma and instead take up yoga. Kṛṣṇa says,
dūreṇa hy avaraṁ karma buddhi-yogād dhanañjaya
buddhau śaraṇam anvichchha kṛpaṇāḥ phala-hetavaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.49)
‘“You are an eternal jīva-soul, you have natural capacity for thinking, feeling and willing, and you cannot avoid those aspects of your existence. If you use your natural conscious property to wrongly exploit the material nature, you will not be fulfilled by that; you will be a miser destined to suffer helplessly in material existence. By your nature you are always active, so do something positive, otherwise you will always be the cause of harm to yourself and others.”
In this śloka Kṛṣṇa encourages everyone to do something positive by taking up buddhi-yoga, the yoga of wisdom. Buddhi-yoga is the first form of yoga mentioned in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and buddhi-yoga is the basis of all the forms of yoga Kṛṣṇa goes on to describe in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, haṭha-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, abhyāsa-yoga, bhakti-yoga, etc.
buddhi-yukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛta-duṣkṛte
tasmād yogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.50)
“A wise person engaged in buddhi-yoga abstains from both good and bad actions in this world and simply engages in yoga because, yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam, yoga is the art of all activities.”
So buddhi-yoga is a very wide idea, it is the basis of yoga itself and all other forms of yoga are expressions of buddhi-yoga.
Kṛṣṇa gave His guidance to the conditioned souls in different stages throughout Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa presented all knowledge, from karma-yoga to jñāna-yoga to aṣṭāṅga-yoga, to bring all the different jīva-souls whose minds and mentalities are attracted in different ways, to the devotional platform. But finally He showed His greatest mercy in His very nice and very happy conclusion. He said,
sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥśṛṇu me paramaṁ vachaḥ
iṣṭo ’si me dṛḍham ititato vakṣyāmi te hitam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.64)
“Because you are so dear to Me I will now tell you the most hidden treasure of all I have to share with you. Hear My advice with full faith and determination, and you must be super-benefited.”
man-manā bhava mad-bhaktomad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ tepratijāne priyo ’si me
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.65)
“Because you are very dear to Me I am telling you very clearly, ‘I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever you do, do it for Me. Think of Me always, devote yourself to Me, worship Me and bow to Me, and surely you will come to Me; your whole account will come to Me. I promise you this, because you are dear to Me. Other practices will not be truly fruitful for you. But the practice of bhakti-yoga must be fully fruitful for you and that fruit will give you supreme benefit.’”
Within bhakti-yoga all the rules and regulations of the various forms of yoga merge together for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. In bhakti-yoga the action, the result, everything, goes to Kṛṣṇa. Here we find the full meaning of buddhi-yoga, the yoga of wisdom, and yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam, “Yoga is the art of all activity.” That is, through bhakti-yoga, everything is perfectly adjusted for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa.
When I translated Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā under the guidance of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, I found that Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, who was a very expert translator, put great emphasis on Kṛṣṇa’s teaching of buddhi-yoga. He explained that buddhi-yoga, as explained in the beginning of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, is actually a covered form of bhakti-yoga, and that Kṛṣṇa actually begins teaching bhakti-yoga from the very beginning of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā under the covering of buddhi-yoga.
There are eighteen chapters in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and externally they are named Karma-yoga, Jñāna-yoga, etc. But what is actually inside those chapters? We see that within all eighteen chapters of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā the fully enlightened form of Kṛṣṇa consciousness expressed as bhakti-yoga is present. All the other forms of yoga—karma, jñāna, etc.—are actually dependent on bhakti-yoga.
ei saba sādhanera ati tuchchha bala
kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā tāhā dite nāre phala
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.18)
“Without the presence of devotion, that is, Kṛṣṇa-bhakti, the practices of karma, jñāna, etc. will not be fruitful. They have no real power to act alone.”
In every chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa connects the jīva-souls’ activity within the different forms of yoga with bhakti, devotion. And the results the jīva-souls may get from the various lower forms of yoga—karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, etc.—are actually produced by the presence of bhakti within those practices. So the practices of karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, etc. are actually mixed with bhakti-yoga.
The main heart of all the jīva-souls’ spiritual activity is always bhakti-yoga. Everything Kṛṣṇa explained in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā from beginning to end, is actually about bhakti-yoga. This also means that nothing within Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā can be ignored, every chapter is important for everyone, including those who practise bhakti-yoga.
I have been reading Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā all my life, as well as practising bhakti-yoga, and through that I have understood that everything within Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is important for everyone. I have read Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā so many times, and every time I read it new meaning comes to me. But the general meanings of the ślokas do not become suppressed either, rather more and more meanings continue to overflow, and I am so satisfied with that. From deep to deeper to deepest, everything is presented in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. It is necessary for everyone to read Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā every day attentively. Day by day I am more and more enthusiastic to preach the conception taught in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā because it is very essential for the primary religious education of all people.