Bhagavad-gita 1.20
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
London, July 17, 1973

Pradyumna (leads chanting, etc.):

atha vyavasthitan drstva dhartarastran kapi-dhvajah pravrtte sastra-sampate dhanur udyamya pandavah hrsikesam tada vakyam idam aha mahi-pate

Translation: “O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, who was seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of Dhrtarastra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hrsikesa, Krsna, these words:”

Prabhupada: So again the word hrsikesa is used here. In the beginning also, hrsikesah pancajanyam. Krsna is again designated as Hrsikesa. As we have explained several times, bhakti means hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Bhakti, the whole devotional service program, means hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam. So Arjuna was meant for serving Krsna, because he is bhakta. Krsna has already addressed him, bhakto ’si, priyo ’si, rahasyam hy etad uttamam: “My dear Arjuna, I am speaking to you the mystery of Bhagavad-gita.” It is a mystery. Mystery means very complicated; no ordinary man can understand. Therefore it is called mystery, rahasyam. But not ordinary rahasyam, uttamam. Uttamam means transcendental, not covered with darkness of material science. But it is brilliant, daivam, divyam. Rahasyam.

So ordinary man cannot understand. Therefore they interpret foolishly, speculate, and demonstrate their rascaldom. That’s all. Even big, big scholars. So they cannot understand because they are not devotee. It is meant for the devotee. This whole Bhagavad-gita is a transaction between God and His devotee. There is nothing more. Just like if you go to the market and two mercantile men talking. So it should be understood that he is also businessman, he is also businessman, so they must be talking something about business. It is natural conclusion. Two businessmen are talking seriously, not that they are discussing Bhagavad-gita. You cannot say that. They must be talking about business, something about profit.

Just like all the businessmen, they assemble in exchange, like stock exchange. So there is howling, great sound, talking with each other, tumultuous sound. That tumultuous sound means one businessman is talking, “What is your rate? This is my rate. What is your rate?” That’s all. You cannot expect that a stock exchange, the people gathered there, they are talking something about Bhagavata and Bhagavad-gita. No.

Similarly, when there is talk between the Supreme Lord Krsna and His devotee, so this whole talk is bhakti. It is nothing else. They derive some meaning, jnana, jnanatmaka-vyakhya. They describe on the understanding of the jnanis, philosophical speculators. They are also candidate. Those who are jnanis actually, they are also interested to know what is Krsna. Jnani ca bharatarsabha, jijnasur. Arto artharthi jijnasur jnani ca bharatarsabha. These four classes of men, provided their background is pious life….

Impious life cannot inquire about God or can understand about God. We have several times repeated the verse,

yesam tv anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam te dvandva-moha-nirmukta bhajante mam drdha-vratah [Bg. 7.28]

Papis, sinful men, they cannot understand. They understand, only think that “Krsna is Bhagavan; so I am also Bhagavan. He’s an ordinary man, maybe little powerful, historically very famous man. So He is, after all, a man. So I am also man. So why not I am God?” This is the conclusion of the abhaktas, non-devotees and sinful men.

So anyone who is declaring himself God, immediately you should know he is the greatest sinful man. And if you study his private life, you will see that he is number one sinful man. This is the test. Otherwise nobody will say that I am God, this false representation. Nobody. Any pious man will not do it. He knows, “What I am? I am ordinary human being. How can I claim to take the position of God?” And they become famous among rascals.

As it is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, sva-vid-varahostra kharaih. What is that verse? Ustra-kharaih, samstutah purusah pasuh. They…. in this world we see there are many great men, so- called great men, and they are very much praised by the general people. So Bhagavata says, that anyone who is not a devotee, who never chants the Hare Krsna mantra, he may be very great man in the estimation of rascals, but he is nothing but an animal. Sva-vid-varaha-ustra-kharaih. “So how you can say such a great man. You are saying that animal.” Our business is very thankless task. We say any man who is not a devotee, he is rascal. We say generally. It is very harsh word, but we have to use it. As soon as we see that he is not a devotee of Krsna, then he’s a rascal. How do we say? He is not my enemy, but we have to say because it is stated by Krsna.

If we are really Krsna conscious, then our business is to repeat the words of Krsna. That’s all. What is the difference between a Krsna’s representative and non-representative? The representative of Krsna will simply repeat what Krsna says. That’s all. He becomes representative. It doesn’t require much qualification. You simply repeat with firm conviction. As Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66] So one who has accepted this fact, that, “If I surrender to Krsna, my all business is successful,” he is Krsna’s representative. That’s all.

You don’t require to be very highly educated or advanced. Simply if you simply accept that what Krsna says… Just like Arjuna said, sarvam etam rtam manye yad vadasi kesava: “My dear Krsna, Kesava, whatever You are saying, I accept it, without any change.” That is bhakta. Therefore Arjuna is addressed, bhakto ’si. This is the bhakta’s business. Why shall I think of Krsna as like me, ordinary man? This is the difference between a bhakta and not bhakta. A bhakta knows that “I am insignificant, a small spark of Krsna. Krsna is individual person. I am also individual person. But when we consider about His power and my power, I am most insignificant.” This is understanding of Krsna.

There is no difficulty. Simply one must be sincere, not sinful. But a sinful man cannot understand Him. The sinful man, he will say, “Oh, Krsna is also man. I am also man. Why I am not God? He is simply God? No, I am also. I am God. You are God, you are God, every God.” Just like Vivekananda said, “Why you are searching after God? Don’t you see so many gods are loitering in the street?” You see. This is his God realization. This is his God realization. And he became a big man: “Oh, he is seeing everyone God.”

This foolishness, this rascaldom, is going on all over the world. One does not know what is God, what is power of God, what is meant by God. They are accepting some rascal as God. As nowadays, that is going on. Another rascal has come. He is also declaring himself God. So it has become very cheap thing. But they have no brain to think that “I am claiming God; what power I have got?”

So this is the mystery. This is the mystery. Without becoming devotee, the mystery of understanding God is not possible. And Krsna has said in the Bhagavad-gita how one can know Him. Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. Only by devotion, simply. He could have said, “By high, topmost knowledge” or “By yogic process” or “By acting, becoming a very great karmi, worker, one can understand Me.” No, he has never said, never said. So the karmis, jnanis, yogis, they are all rascals. They cannot understand Krsna. All rascals. Karmis are third-class rascals, the jnanis are second-class rascal, and the yogis are first-class rascal. That’s all.

You should understand, the so-called yogis, they are first-class rascal because they do not understand Krsna. The jnanis they are also second-class rascal. Even a big scholar like Dr. Radhakrishnan, he is how, I mean to say, deforming the meaning of Bhagavad-gita. Krsna says man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru: [Bg. 18.65] “You always think…” This is Krsna consciousness, man-mana: “Always think of Krsna, Me, about Me,” Krsna says. And they will make meaning that you can say also. “Krsna says that you always think of Him; you can say also, Think of me.” This meaning, they are distorting. So Krsna says man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], and this Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “It is not to the Krsna person.” Just see. Just a big scholar, doctor of philosophy, he cannot understand Krsna. Krsna says directly, man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. He is interpreting in a different way.

Therefore this word is used here, hrsikesa. Hrsikesam idam vakyam, hrsikesam tada vakyam idam aha mahi-pate. Mahi-pate, “O King…” Sanjaya was addressing Dhrtarastra. He’s a king. So mahi-pate. Hrsikesam kapi-dhvajah. Kapi-dhvajah is nominative. So “He said…” Kapi-dhvajah. Kapi-dhvajah is also significant. Kapi-dhvajah, Arjuna, on his… Just like nowadays also, every nation has different types of flags, so Arjuna also had his flag on the… Dhvajah. Dhvajah means the flag. The flag was on the top of his chariot. And it was marked with Hanuman, Vajrangaji, Vajrangaji, Hanuman, who fought for Lord Ramacandra. He is fighting for Krsna. So he is also following the footsteps of Vajrangaji.

Vaisnavism is like that. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Vaisnava should follow his previous mahajana, authority. That is Vaisnavism. We don’t manufacture ideas. We don’t commit such rascaldom. We simply accept the behavior or the activities of previous acaryas. There is no difficulty. There is no difficulty.

So in the fighting principle, Arjuna is fighting for Krsna. He is following the previous fighting acarya, Hanumanji. Therefore he has depicted his flag with Hanuman, that “Hanumanji, Vajrangaji, kindly help me.” This is Vaisnavism. “I have come here to fight for Lord Krsna. You fought also for the Lord. Kindly help me.” This is the idea. Kapi-dhvajah. So any activities of the Vaisnava, they should always pray to the previous acarya, “Kindly help me. Kindly…” This is, Vaisnava is always thinking himself helpless, helpless. And begging help from the previous acarya.

Just like in Caitanya-caritamrta you will find, the author, at the end of every chapter:

sri rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsnadasa

His every line, he is thinking of Rupa-Raghunatha, previous acaryas. “So let me surrender to the gosvamis and they will help me how to write.” You cannot write. That is not possible.

So this is Vaisnava’s policy. Vaisnava thakura, tomara kukkura, baliya janaha more. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, “My dear vaisnava thakura, you just accept me as your dog, as the dog works by the indication of the master.” He will give his life. Dog has a good qualification. However a strong dog may be, when the master orders, he will give his life. This is dog, faithful, so faithful to the master. So vaisnava thakura… So Bhaktivinoda Thakura is praying, vaisnava thakura, tomara kukkura, baliya janaha more: “My dear vaisnava thakura…” Vaisnava thakura means guru. “Kindly accept me as your dog.” And he describes, I forget the exact language, that “I will always try to protect you. As dog keeps watch, so I will watch so nobody will come to disturb you. And whatever little prasadam you’ll give me, I’ll be satisfied.” That dog’s qualification. The master is eating, but the dog will never come, unless the master gives little morsel. He is satisfied. He is satisfied.

So this is Vaisnavism, to follow the previous acarya. This is Vaisnavism. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah…. Tarko ’pratisthah srutayo vibhinna. Tarko, if you are very great logician, you can argue, “Oh why Krsna can be God? I can be God,” by logic you may defeat an ignorant devotee, but sastra says by becoming a big logician, you cannot understand transcendental knowledge. Transcendental knowledge you have to understand by submitting, pranipatena, tad viddhi pranipatena [Bg. 4.34]. First of all surrender. Tad viddhi. If you want to know this transcendental science, then you must fully surrender. This is first qualification. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. Three things. First surrender; then if you cannot understand, then you question. Otherwise you have no right to question from a Vaisnava.

Not that “Can you show me God?” What qualification you have got? You want to see God. Another rascal will say “Yes, I will show you God. Come to me. I shall show you God.” This is going on. One rascal inquires, “Can you show me God?” and the big rascal says, “Yes, come to me alone. I shall show you God.” This business is going on. God’s seeing is so cheap thing that any rascal comes, “Can you show me God,” and another rascal says, “Yes, come to me. In the evening I shall show you.” That means if he is a foolish rascal, then he will show him something magic, and he will understand, “Oh I have seen God.” That’s all, finished. God-seeing business is finished. And he comes… After God-seeing, he is the same, the same rascal. What improvement you have… You have seen God. What improvement you have made? God seeing is so cheap thing. No.

So we should be very careful. If we actually are interested in understanding… Manusyanam. It is not so easy. In the Bhagavad-gita you will find. Manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye [Bg. 7.3]. Out of many millions of persons, kascid yatati siddhaye, one person becomes interested how to make his life successful. Because they do not know what is successful life. They simply know who to work like hogs and dogs, day and night working. And what is the goal of life? Now, sense gratification. Just like the hogs. Hogs, you will find, day and night finding out where is stool. And he will eat. And as soon as the hogs become very fatty, because they eat actually very substantial… Stool is chemically very substantial food. It contains hydro-phosphytes. The doctors said. I do not know whether they have tasted. (laughter). But they taste it actually. When they test in laboratory, they taste. I know that. They taste it. They have to taste it. Because their laboratory, chemical examination means the symptoms has to be written, the characteristics. Just like potassium cyanide, they have not tasted. Because as soon as you taste, you will die. (laughter)

So chemical analysis means one has to test to find out the characteristic. So this I have seen, one doctor friend, he was keeping one dysentery stool in a plate, on his table, I saw. “What is this doctor?” He said, “Oh, it is to be tasted… It is dysentery stool”. So they taste it. They have to. They take fish… Everyone, medical men know. So this hog’s business is to eat stool, and as soon as he gets fatty, then sex. And that sex has no discrimination. You will see, a hogs, he does not care whether mother, sister or anyone, daughter. It doesn’t matter. So this is hog civilization. Simply eating and getting strength of the senses and enjoy it.

This human life is not meant for that purpose. Therefore it is said that a person without God consciousness, Krsna consciousness, he is no better than these dogs and hogs. That’s all. This is our conclusion. We don’t give any formal respect. Of course, we have to give because we are in this world. But at heart we cannot give respect to a person who has not any sense of Krsna consciousness. We cannot give. Because who is going to give any respect to the dogs and hogs? Sva-vid-varahostra-kharaih samstutah purusah pasuh. Therefore Jiva Gosvami has commented on this verse… If somebody says that “This Mr. such and such, this Dr. such and such, he is respected by so many people, and you are saying that he’s a rascal? What is this?” So Jiva Gosvami says that “This man, who is respected, but he is respected by whom? He is respected by this class of men: dogs, hogs, camel and asses. So he is a big pasuh.”

Just like the lion. Lion is respected in the forest by dogs, hogs, camel and asses and other animals. Because lion is the king of the animals. But does it mean, because he is designated as the king of animals, it has got any use? Has it got any use for any purpose? Similarly, these political leaders, they may be lion, but who respects them? These dogs, hogs, camels and asses, that’s all. He may be a big animal, but he is animal, no better than a big animal. That’s all. And other animals praises, dogs, hogs, camels.

Every word in the Srimad-Bhagavata we have to… We have described why especially these animals have been selected, dogs, hogs, camels and asses. A dog is very faithful to his master. He will commit so many offenses for the sake of the master. Because he knows, “The master gives me food.” So in your country, if you pass through one’s house, from within the house they will bark, “Bark! Bark! Bark! Ba! Ba! Why you are going in front of my house?” This is committing offense, committing offense unnecessarily. So the dog’s business: one side, he is very faithful, and one side, he is simply committing offense, unnecessarily frightening other people, unnecessarily, without any offense. And dog’s another business is that he is seeking always master. Unless he finds out a good master, it is a street dog and it has no place. It has no place. It will not get sufficient food, become lean and thin, and loiter in the street. Because dog must find out… Sudra-like. Sudra, unless he finds out a master to provide him, his all education is useless.

Nowadays they are educated, but they must have a good service. That means he’s a sudra. Without finding a master, his education has no value. So therefore in the sastra it is said, kalau sudra sambhavah. Kalau, “In this age, Kali-yuga, everyone is sudra.” Because he cannot even live without having a master. He must have a master to provide him. But the Vedic culture is that brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, they will not accept any service. No. They will die of starvation. Especially brahmana. That is enjoined in the sastras, that a brahmana, if he is in bad position some way or other, economically, he may accept the position of a ksatriya or a vaisya, but he should not accept the position of a sudra. That is doggish. This is so injunction.

Therefore formerly a brahmana, when he accepts a service from anywhere, he was rejected from the brahmana society. You know, Sanatana Gosvami. Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, they belonged to a very high-class brahmana, Sarasvata Brahmana, very rich men. But both the brothers accepted service in Mohammedan government as ministers, and they were immediately rejected from the brahmana society. It is not very long ago, say, about five hundred years ago. The brahmana society was so strong. As soon as they will accept service. You know, the Tagore family of Calcutta, Rabindranatha Tagore, they are also brahmanas. But we know, in our childhood, they were also excommunicated from the brahmana family because they also accepted service.

So these are Vedic principles. If we follow… The brahmana will not accept anyone’s service. That is against. Similarly, ksatriya. Ksatriya… Why this fight between Arjuna? They made them bereft of the kingdom. So they appealed to Duryodhana, that “My dear Duryodhana, you are my brother, you have taken all our properties. So we are ksatriya. We are not going to become vaisya or brahmana. We must live. Give us at least five villages, five brothers. We shall be satisfied. There is no question of war.” “No, sir, not even the land which can hold the point of needle. I cannot spare.” There is no way. Therefore there was fight. There was fight.

So these are the some of the glorious points of this fight. But he depended on Krsna, Arjuna. Therefore he was successful, victorious. You do, act as ksatriya. Not that as ksatriya he should become a brahmana beggar, no. A ksatriya cannot be beggar, neither a brahmana cannot be vaisya. This is real caste system. But you work as a cobbler, and at the same time you claim to become a brahmana, this is not allowed. Formerly the king used to see whether a brahmana is acting like a brahmana. Otherwise he will be stopped. Then he will be designated as he is working. This was the duty of the king to see that everyone is employed according to his profession. It was the duty of the king to see. Everyone must be employed. A brahmana must be working like a brahmana. A ksatriya must be working like a ksatriya. A vaisya must be working as a… Otherwise he cannot say.

Not like at the present moment, a brahmana is working, a servant, a sudra, and he is brahmana. No. This is called asuric varnasrama. Varnasrama. Varnasrama is very good institution. But still varnasrama, perfect varnasrama, cannot be possible in this age. Therefore when there was talk between Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya that how perfection of life can be attained, so Ramananada Raya first of all quoted a verse from Visnu Purana,

varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman visnur aradhyate pumsam nanyat tat-tosa-karanam

That “When human society accepts this varnasrama institution, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacari, grhastha, vana… This is Vedic civilization. Without this division, there is no civilization. They are animals.” So therefore he quoted this verse, varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman: “If anyone is following the principles of varnasrama, then he is worshiping Lord Visnu.” Because the whole life is meant for worshiping Visnu. The present civilization, they do not know that. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum [SB 7.5.31]. They do not know, rascals, that what is the aim of life. Aim of life is to become Vaisnava, servant of Visnu. Therefore the very word is used, hrsikesa. Hrsikesa, He is the guide. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ’rjuna tisthati [Bg. 18.61].

So Arjuna was strictly following the Vaisnava principles, and therefore he inquired from Hrsikesa because he knows, “The Hrsikesa will guide me.” Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto [Bg. 15.15]. Hrdi sannivisto. Mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca. So Arjuna knew it. Therefore this very word is used. The other day, also hrsikesa word was there. And bhakti means to satisfy Hrsikesa. This is bhakti. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Bhakti, this is the simple definition of bhakti. Hrsikena. Hrsika means the senses. As you have got hands, legs, eyes, ears…. These are different senses. When you engage your senses only for the service of Krsna, then you become devotee. That’s all. Your life is perfect.

You simply see Krsna nicely decorated in the temple. That is bhakti. You simply prepare foodstuff for Krsna. That is bhakti. You simply chant the holy name of Krsna. That is bhakti. In this way we can utilize all the senses. We can utilize our hands in collecting flowers, in cleansing the temple. If we haven’t got education, ignorant, it doesn’t require. Simply engage your senses, hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Then you become perfect. You have got your senses. Engage the senses for the service of Krsna. Then you become perfect. Very nice thing. You don’t require to become a very big philosopher, very rich man, very nicely educated, nothing of the sort. Simply you have got your senses. Engage the senses in the service of Krsna, your life is perfect. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (end)