Bhagavad-gita 4.19-22
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
New York, August 8, 1966


yasya sarve samarambhah kama-sankalpa-varjitah jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam tam ahuh panditam budhah

tyaktva karma-phalasangam nitya-trpto nirasrayah karmany abhipravrtto ’pi naiva kincit karoti sah

Now, how one can work without any lust? This process is being described by Sri Krsna to Arjuna. In our last meeting we have discussed the previous verse, that we have to… We may begin any gorgeous task. It doesn’t matter. But we have to work in Krsna consciousness, not for sense gratification. That will make us free from the interaction of the activities. So long we are attached to work for sense gratification, so long we shall be under this obligation of reaction.

Now, if we want to get out of the reaction of material activity, then this is the formula given by Sri Krsna: kama-sankalpa-varjitah. Kama means one’s sense gratification. “I want to do this thing for my sense gratification.” That is materialism. But if I want to do something which will be satisfactory, which will give satisfaction to Krsna, that is Krsna consciousness. This very simple thing we are discussing in a different way. And this Krsna consciousness is attained by jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam. Yes?

Devotee: If you look from this angle, the pane is broken.

Prabhupada: No. Just like a fire burns everything, similarly, when we act in Krsna consciousness, after attainment of full knowledge of Krsna consciousness, then just like fire burns everything, similarly, the reaction of our activities will be burned. Jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam. This verse we have already discussed. And the next verse is further explanation of this verse. Tyaktva karma-phalasangam nitya-trpto nirasrayah.

Now, whatever we do, we desire some fruit out of it. Anything we do, we expect some result out of it. Sometimes the result may be bad, or sometimes the result may be very good. But a person in Krsna consciousness should not be attached either to the good result or bad result because even if I want good result, that is my attachment. And of course, if there is bad result, we haven’t got any attachment, but sometimes we lament. That is our attachment. That is our attachment. So one has to transcend both from the good result and the bad result.

How it can be done? It can be done. Just like if you are working on account of some big firm. Suppose you are a salesman. You are working on behalf of that big firm. Now, suppose if you make one million dollars profit, you have no attachment for that because you know that “This profit goes to the proprietor.” You have no attachment. Similarly, if there is some loss, you also know that “I have nothing to do with the loss. It goes to the proprietor.”

Similarly, if we work on account of Krsna, then I shall be able to give up the attachment for the result of the work. Tyaktva karma-phalasangam nitya-trpto nirasrayah. Nitya-trpta, always satisfied: “Either there is good result or there is bad result, it doesn’t matter. I shall remain satisfied in the sense that I am working under the direction of Krsna. So I have nothing to think of the result.” Karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana.

Just like Arjuna. Arjuna did not like to fight with his relatives, with his grandfather, but because Krsna wanted it, he fought, and he was satisfied. Because the principle was that “Krsna wants it, and Krsna is satisfied. Although I do not like to fight, but Krsna is satisfied; therefore I have to fight.” This is Krsna consciousness. Nitya-trpta. He is not dissatisfied: “Oh, I have to fight against my relatives, my grandfather, my teacher.” Nirasraya. Nirasraya means he is not under the obligation of any good result or bad result. Nirasraya. “In this way, if we engage ourself in any activity,” karmany abhipravrtto ’pi, “if one is engaged in such a spirit of neutrality, simply for the satisfaction of Krsna, then the result will be,” karmany abhipravrtto ’pi, “although he is engaged in every sort of work,” naiva kincit karoti sah, “he is free from that work. He is free from the result or reaction of such work.”

So this is the process, that we, we have simply to act in Krsna consciousness, and by doing so, the reaction of such work will not affect me.

nirasir yata-cittatma tyakta-sarva-parigrahah sariram kevalam karma kurvan napnoti kilbisam

Kilbisam. Kilbisam means sin. We are materially so much entangled that even if we do not want to commit any sin, consciously or unconsciously we are obliged to commit some sort of sins. We are in such a circumstances.

Say for example, just like animal killing. Animal killing, according to Buddhist philosophy, or even according to Hindu philosophy, animal killing is a sort of sin. Now, suppose I am not inclined to kill animals or I do not kill animals. I avoid it. But intentionally or unintentionally, sometimes we have to kill animals. How is that? Now, suppose we are walking on the street. There are many ants who are being killed by the pressure of our legs unintentionally. Now, suppose… Of course, here you have got gas oven, but in India they have got ordinary country oven and that is worked daily. And sometimes in the oven some small germs and flies they take shelter. But when you fire the oven, they die. So that is unintentional. Sometimes we kill… The jug of water, and underneath the jug of water, there are many, I mean to say, small germs and flies. They take shelter. But when you take the jug, they are killed. In this way there are so many processes, unintentionally or intentionally, we have to kill. But they are taken into account; they are also sin. According to strict Vedic literature, if you kill even a bug, oh, you are sinful. You cannot kill even a bug. These are mentioned in the scriptures. Now, how we can avoid? How we can avoid?

That is the distinction[?]. I do not like to kill, but sometimes unintentionally they are killed. Therefore, according to Vedic literature, there are five kinds of yajna performed to get oneself free from this unintentional killing of animals. Now, here Krsna says that sariram kevalam karma kurvan napnoti kilbisam. If you make your principle of life that “I have to work simply for maintaining my body and soul together.” Sariram. Sariram means body. Because I have to execute, I have to understand, Krsna consciousness, but without this body, how can I understand or culture Krsna consciousness? So my body must be maintained. And if I want to maintain my body, intentionally or unintentionally, I have to commit so many sins.

Take for example those who are vegetarians. They may think that “We are not killing animals.” No. They are also committing sins because vegetables, they have also got life. So the nature’s law is that to keep up your body you have to kill another body. Never mind it is vegetable or, I mean to say, animal or some fish or something else. You see? Jivo jivasya jivanam: “One living entity is the subsistence, life-giving subsistence, for another living being.” That is the nature’s law. You’ll find. Ahastani sahastanam. The everything has been very nicely discussed in Vedic literature. They have discussed all the points.

Ahastani sahastanam: “Those who have got hands, they are eating,” I mean to say, “living entities who have no hands.” That means we are human being, we have got hands, and we are eating animals. They have got only legs; they have no hands. So sahastanam ahastani: “Those who have got hands, they are eating the animals which have no hands.” And apadani catus-padam: “Those who have no legs, they are being eaten by the four-legged.” Just like a cow eating grass. So grass cannot move. It has life, but it cannot move. So and… phalguni tatra mahatam. Phalguni, “those who are weak, they are being eaten by the…” Just like we find lizards. In your country you don’t find lizards. In India we have got many lizards in the walls. They are eating small ants. Phalguni mahatam tatra. And in the snake, snake kingdom, you will find the small snakes are being by the big snake. Similarly, in sea water also, you will find small fishes are being eaten by the big fishes.

And the same law is applicable in human society. A big nation is trying to swallow up a small nation. You see? This is going on. This is nature’s law. Nature’s law. You cannot avoid it. But there are those who are Krsna conscious. They… It is said that sariram kevalam karma kurvan napnoti kilbisam: “Those who are in Krsna consciousness, they are not entangled in these sinful acts.” How? They are also maintaining their body. So when they are maintaining their body, they have to commit sins. They have to eat other animals or vegetables. Never mind. So how they are not committing sins? These are very intelligent questions. There is Krsna consciousness.

A devotee of Lord Krsna, he does not eat anything which is not offered to Krsna. Just like you take the remnants of your master. Just like servant takes the remnants of master. The master eats. In India the process is that husband and wife, that after the husband eats, the remnants are taken by the wife. The wife does not eat along with the husband. That is the old system. Now it is being changed. The husband and wife, they do not… The husband is supplied by the wife all kinds of good dishes, and when the husband is satisfied, some foodstuff is left, and that is taken by the wife. So similarly, a devotee of Krsna, he does not take anything, does not accept anything, which is not offered to Krsna. This is the process. Because his life is full of Krsna consciousness.

And Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, you will find… Suppose if you want to take things which have been eaten by Krsna, then you have to ask Krsna, “What do You desire to eat, sir?” Suppose if you want me, to feed, give me some foodstuff, naturally you ask me, “Swamiji, what sort of foodstuff you’ll like?” I have got experience here in your country. I was invited in Butler, here also, by some churches, and they wanted to give me some food. So they asked me, “Swamiji, what do you desire to eat?” So I told them, “I eat… I am strictly vegetarian. I shall accept fruits and milk. That’s all.” Similarly, if anyone invites somebody, it is natural that the guest is asked what sort of foodstuff he would like.

Similarly, Krsna, if you want to offer something Krsna, you must know what sort of foodstuff He wants. How you will know? Krsna is not just present in your front. How you will know that Krsna wants this foodstuff? Oh, that is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Just like you can understand, what government expects from me, you can know from the lawbooks, from the civil court, similarly, what Krsna wants, it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Krsna says,

patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati tad aham bhakty-upahrtam asnami prayatatmanah

Now, Krsna, the Supreme Lord, He is not hungry. He is not hungry that I shall supply Him foodstuff, and therefore He will be maintained. It is not like that. But still, Krsna says that patram puspam phalam toyam bhaktya prayacchati: “Any devotee, if he offers Me patram…” Patram means leaf. Puspam means flower. Patram puspam phalam. Phalam means fruit. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Toyam means milk or water. Generally, it is meant water.

Now, just see. To satisfy Krsna is not very difficult thing. Even the poorest man in the world, he can satisfy Krsna by these four items. Anyone can secure from any part of the world. It doesn’t matter that because Krsna was, I mean to say, Krsna appeared in India, therefore He wanted Indian food. No. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Leaf, and flower, and fruit, and water. Oh, that is available in America, that is available in Czechoslovakia and Greenland, everywhere.

So this is the universal form of satisfying Krsna. Anyone—it doesn’t matter however poor he is—he can satisfy Krsna. You do not require, “Oh, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I have invited Him, so I must arrange very nice foodstuff.” Of course, if you have got means to supply very nice foodstuff, you must. Otherwise you will be understood that you are miser. If for your own eating you prepare very nice dishes, and because Krsna says, “I will be satisfied with leaf and fruits,” so you supply Krsna, “All right, sir. You take leaf and fruit. And for me, I shall take these palatable dishes,” no. Krsna is very, I mean to say, intelligent also. He is more intelligent than… Then you are cheating Him. It is for the, I mean to say, poorest man. If you have got means…

In India there are many thousands of Krsna temples all over India, especially in Vrndavana. I have several times told you that Vrndavana is the city, only fifty thousand people, not even one hundred thousand, fifty thousand people within a small city. But there are five thousand temples, five thousand, all Krsna temples. Now, in each and every temple you will find how nice foodstuff. According to the capacity of the temple owner, oh, very, I mean to say costly foodstuff are being offered. And those foodstuff is distributed amongst the poor class men.

Now, at the present moment, after the, we have got sva-raja, or independence, the government has interfered with this sort of service. They say that “This is waste of money. Why you are offering?” They are becoming atheist. But this is not waste of money. At the cost of the rich men, the prasadam was being distributed to the poor class of men at a nominal cost. You see? Now, poor men, they go to hotel. But if they take prasadam in a temple, oh, the far better quality foodstuff is supplied to him only at nominal cost. In a hotel, what will be charged, one dollar, he can have it in the temple for ten cents. So this is still more sane.

In our childhood, when I was a boy of eight or ten years, sometimes I used to accompany my father. My father was a great devotee. He would take prasadam from the temple. So I have got experience that we paid for two dishes, four annas. Four annas means, according to modern exchange, it is five cents only, five cents according to your exchange value. For five cents we were, very nice prasadam we can get. Two persons we were fed. Still there is a place which is called Nathadvara. Nathadvara, if you pay there two annas, you will get worth prasadam, two dollars worth. So this system is going on still.

So if one has got sufficient means, he should supply Krsna to his best capacity. But when Krsna wants that “You give Me…” He says… This is the lowest common factor. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Anyone, any poor man in any part of the country, they can supply Krsna and take the prasadam. So that by taking that prasadam, you become free from the, I mean to say, responsibility of being sinful. That is the point. That you will find in Bhagavad-gita, that yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih: “If you take the remnants after offering Krsna, that foodstuff makes you free from all kinds of sin.”

So anyone—it doesn’t matter what he is—he can prepare foodstuff either family-wise or… Just like I am here, Hindu. I am cooking my foodstuff, and I am offering to Krsna, and I am taking, and as far as possible, some of the remnants is distributed to the devotees. So this process we can adopt, everyone, because we have to maintain this body. So if we do not take krsna-prasada, then I become responsible for all kinds of sins. But if we take, accept, krsna-prasada, then I have no responsibility because Krsna is taking.

Just like Arjuna is fighting. Arjuna was afraid of sinful acts by killing his kinsmen and, I mean to say, grandfather. But when he understood that “I am fighting on Krsna’s account, so I am free.” Sariram kevalam karma kurvan na apnoti kilbisam. If you simply don’t try to increase your artificial demands for maintaining this body… You have every right to live, and everyone has got right to live, not only myself. Even the ant has got the right to live. But in human society, so-called civilization, we give all protection to the human society, but we don’t give any protection to the animal society.

Because it is due to want of Krsna consciousness. When we shall be Krsna conscious, then naturally we shall feel for every living entity because we shall know… Because in the Bhagavad-gita it is stated, mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah: [Bg. 15.7] “All these living entities, they are all My fragments.” They are part and parcels of Krsna. Under circumstances, some of them have become lower animals, some of them have become big men, some of them become higher demigods, some of them become small germs. It doesn’t matter. But they are all parts and parcels of Krsna. So a person who is under Krsna consciousness, he cannot make any injustice to any living entity. That is Krsna consciousness.

Therefore, one who has dedicated his life for acting on account of Krsna, under Krsna consciousness, nirasir yata-cittatma, he has no other hope except, save and except, to satisfy Krsna. Nirasir yata-cittatma tyakta-sarva-parigrahah: “He doesn’t like to make, exploit, the resources of the material nature.” Whatever is obtained easily, as gift of nature, he accepts and he maintains his body and soul together for Krsna’s satisfaction, and he eats everything which is offered to Krsna. Then he is freed from all kinds of sinful reactions.

Now, by the next sloka, it is more nicely explained.

yadrccha-labha-santusto dvandvatito vimatsarah samah siddhav asiddhau ca krtvapi na nibadhyate

Now, the process of life described here, yadrccha-labha-santustah: “One should be satisfied with things which comes very easily.” We should not try for anything too much to obtain it. No. We shall be satisfied. Whatever comes automatically or by the will of Krsna, we may be satisfied in that way. Yadrccha-labha. For gaining something, we should not be too much endeavoring. Then I shall be deviated from Krsna consciousness.

There are six formulas which can deviate us from Krsna consciousness, and there are six formulas which can encourage us, which can enhance, advance us in Krsna consciousness. And what are they? Now, first of all let me state what are “against” principles, against Krsna consciousness, against the principle of Krsna consciousness. What are they?

atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah jana-sangas ca laulyam ca sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati

Sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati. Vinasyati means is lost. Krsna consciousness is lost. How? By these six processes. What are the six processes? Atyahara. Atyahara means to eat more than you require, and atyahara means to accumulate wealth more than what you require.

The whole trouble of the world is that nobody is satisfied. If he’s a poor man, if he thinks, “Oh, my income is $100. If I get $400 per month, then I will be very happy.” But when he gets $400, he expects, “Oh, if I get $1,000, then I shall be happy.” In this way it is going on. Nobody is satisfied. But here it is said, yadrccha-labha-santustah. That automatically comes, as we make progress in the matter of Krsna consciousness, then our demand for more enjoyment, more accumulation of wealth, diminishes. That is the symptom of Krsna consciousness. Yadrccha-labha-santustah.

So atyahara. Atyahara means to acquire more than we need. Because we have to maintain this body and soul together, then we must earn something or acquire something to keep my health and body fit. That is all right. But we should not try unnecessarily for accumulating more. Suppose if I am satisfied by some grains and vegetables and fruits and milk, if my health is properly kept, why should I eat more than that simply for satisfying the palate, my tongue? Oh, no. We should not do that. Yadrccha-labha-santustah. So atyahara, atyahara, to accept more than what we need, that is against Krsna consciousness.

And prayasa. Prayasa means we have to acquire something, but if it requires a heavy work, heavy, I mean to say, endeavor, we should avoid it. We should avoid it.

Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpah. Prajalpa means for nothing talking nonsense. People are accustomed to talk so many things unnecessarily just in clubs, amongst friends’ circle, which has no benefit either spiritually or materially. So that sort of talking should be avoided.

Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah. Niyamagraha means to stick to the rules regulation. Suppose in your faith or in my faith there are certain rules and regulations to be observed. But if I go to some other place where the rules and regulations cannot be strictly observed, and if I want to observe such rules and regulations, then my main business is suffering. So we should not stick to the rules and regulations. We should see to the business.

Just like I am an Indian sannyasi. I have come to your country, at your country. Oh, there are many rules and regulations in India which is different from your rules and regulations. But if I follow, if I stick to rules and regulations of Indian conception, then it is impossible to remain here. So I have to propagate this mission, Krsna consciousness, so I am not so much attached to the rules and regulations, but I am attached to the preaching work. So therefore niyamagraha. Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah. This four, this niyamagraha, is also against Krsna consciousness. And niyamagraha. And when you are in a quite convenient position, if you do not observe the rules and regulations, that is also against Krsna consciousness. Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah.

And laulyam. Laulyam means greediness. That is against Krsna consciousness. Laulyam, and jana-sangas ca. Jana-sanga means to associate with persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness. We should avoid. We should avoid association of persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness. If we make more association with persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness, then it will go against me.

So these are six “against” rules. Similarly, there are six favorable rules. What are they?

utsahan niscayad dhairyat tat-tat-karma-pravartanat sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati

Prasidhyati means it flourishes. The cause is advanced. How? Utsahat. We should be very much enthusiastic: “Oh, Krsna consciousness is so nice. We have heard about Krsna consciousness so nice things. It is so beneficial for successful human mission, so I must have it. I must execute this Krsna consciousness.” This is called utsahat, to become energetic, not lethargic but energetic. So utsahad dhairyat. Dhairyat means with patience. Suppose I have begun immediately. So if there are so many impediments, I am not immediately successful, oh, that does not matter. I must be patient.

Utsahad dhairyan niscayat. Niscayat means with confidence. Confidence. Because Krsna says this is this, so I must have confidence. “So Krsna says like this, so it is sure it is successful.” I must have that confidence. Utsahad dhairyan niscayat, and tat-tat-karma-pravartanat. And you have to do, you have to act accordingly, as Krsna says. If you do not act, then… So tat-tat-karma-pravartanat sato vrtteh, and your profession should be very honest. Sato vrtteh.

And sadhu-sange, and you should associate. Just like the “against” rule is to associate with persons who are not Krsna conscious, similarly, sadhu-sange. Sadhu-sanga means… Sadhu means who are culturing Krsna consciousness. They are called sadhu. You will find in the Bhagavad-gita, api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak, sadhur eva sa mantavyah [Bg. 9.30]. About sadhu I have explained several times. So sadhu-sanga, we have to make association with persons who are spiritually interested and who are trying to culture Krsna consciousness, that association.

So these six things will elevate me to the path of Krsna consciousness. And the other six formulas, they will go against me. So yadrccha-labha-santustah means that my principle should be how to… (incomplete) (end)