We must accept Bhagavad-gītā without interpretation, without deletion and without our own whimsical participation in the matter. The Gītā should be taken as the most perfect presentation of Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge is received from transcendental sources, and the first words were spoken by the Lord Himself. The words spoken by the Lord are called apauruṣeya, meaning that they are different from words spoken by a person of the mundane world who is infected with four defects. A mundaner (1) is sure to commit mistakes, (2) is invariably illusioned, (3) has the tendency to cheat others and (4) is limited by imperfect senses. With these four imperfections, one cannot deliver perfect information of all-pervading knowledge.
Different from... (BG)
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Preface and Introduction
The English word religion is a little different from sanātana-dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but sanātana-dharma refers to that activity which cannot be changed. For instance, liquidity cannot be taken from water, nor can heat be taken from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken from the living entity. Sanātana-dharma is eternally integral with the living entity. When we speak of sanātana-dharma, therefore, we must take it for granted on the authority of Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya that it has neither beginning nor end. That which has neither end nor beginning must not be sectarian, for it cannot be limited by any boundaries. Those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that sanātana-dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeply into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, it is possible for us to see that sanātana-dharma is the business of all the people of the world—nay, of all the living entities of the universe.
BG Chapters 1 - 6
The theory of reflection can be applied to the Supersoul, who is present in each and every individual body and is known as the Paramātmā. He is different from the individual living entity. When the sky is reflected in water, the reflections represent both the sun and the moon and the stars also. The stars can be compared to the living entities and the sun or the moon to the Supreme Lord. The individual fragmental spirit soul is represented by Arjuna, and the Supreme Soul is the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies—whether man or animal—we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the supreme consciousness is all-knowledge—past, present and future. The consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the superior lessons of Kṛṣṇa. But Kṛṣṇa is not like the forgetful soul. If so, Kṛṣṇa's teachings of Bhagavad-gītā would be useless.
On the authority of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one has to believe that there is a soul different from the material body, not that there is no such thing as soul, or that living symptoms develop at a certain stage of material maturity resulting from the interaction of chemicals. Though the soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it is not discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified in terms of the sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.
But a sthita-dhīr muni, as mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni. The sthita-dhīr muni is always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for he has exhausted all his business of creative speculation. He is called praśānta-niḥśeṣa-mano-rathāntara (Stotra-ratna 43), or one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or Vāsudeva, is everything (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ).
Everything in relation to Him is spirit—whereas the conditioned soul is different from his material body. And because the Lord's body and self are identical, His position is always different from that of the ordinary living entity, even when He descends to the material platform.
And because Lord Kṛṣṇa's appearance and disappearance are completely different from that of any ordinary, common living entity, it is evident that He is eternal, blissful knowledge by His internal potency—and He is never contaminated by material nature.
All these yogīs are faithfully engaged in different types of sacrifice and are seeking a higher status of life. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, is different from these because it is the direct service of the Supreme Lord. Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be attained by any one of the above-mentioned types of sacrifice but can be attained only by the mercy of the Lord and His bona fide devotees. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is transcendental.
Only the ignorant speak of devotional service (karma-yoga) as being different from the analytical study of the material world (Sāṅkhya). Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.
A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not make any distinction between species or castes. The brāhmaṇa and the outcaste may be different from the social point of view, or a dog, a cow, and an elephant may be different from the point of view of species, but these differences of body are meaningless from the viewpoint of a learned transcendentalist.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only basis for fearlessness. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Kṛṣṇa conscious. And since the ultimate goal of yoga practice is to see the Lord within, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is already the best of all yogīs. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.
The basic principle of self-realization is knowledge that the living entity is not this material body but that he is different from it and that his happiness is in eternal life, bliss and knowledge.
BG Chapters 7 - 12
By searching after knowledge one realizes that his self is different from his material body, and when further advanced he comes to the knowledge of impersonal Brahman and Paramātmā. When one is fully purified, he realizes that his constitutional position is to be the eternal servant of God.
The constitutional position of the living entity is different from the position he takes in the material world. In material consciousness his nature is to try to be the lord of matter, but in spiritual consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his position is to serve the Supreme.
That is a confidential part of knowledge: simply knowing that the spirit soul is different from this body and that its nature is immutable, indestructible and eternal. But that gives no positive information about the soul. Sometimes people are under the impression that the soul is different from the body and that when the body is finished, or one is liberated from the body, the soul remains in a void and becomes impersonal. But actually that is not the fact. How can the soul, which is so active within this body, be inactive after being liberated from the body? It is always active. If it is eternal, then it is eternally active, and its activities in the spiritual kingdom are the most confidential part of spiritual knowledge. These activities of the spirit soul are therefore indicated here as constituting the king of all knowledge, the most confidential part of all knowledge.
The planetary systems are floating in space, and this space is the energy of the Supreme Lord. But He is different from space. He is differently situated. Therefore the Lord says, "Although they are situated on My inconceivable energy, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead I am aloof from them." This is the inconceivable opulence of the Lord.
Simultaneously the Lord is present in everything; yet the common man cannot understand how He is also present personally. He is different from this material manifestation, yet everything is resting on Him. This is explained here as yogam aiśvaram, the mystic power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord is different from the living entities who are taking birth and dying due to material attachment. The conditioned souls are changing their bodies, but His body is not changeable. Even when He comes to this material world, He comes as the same unborn; therefore in the Fourth Chapter it is said that the Lord, by His internal potency, is not under the inferior, material energy, but is always in the superior energy.
In this verse the words vetti loka-maheśvaram indicate that one should know that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme proprietor of the planetary systems of the universe. He was existing before the creation, and He is different from His creation. All the demigods were created within this material world, but as far as Kṛṣṇa is concerned, it is said that He is not created; therefore Kṛṣṇa is different even from the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. And because He is the creator of Brahmā, Śiva and all the other demigods, He is the Supreme Person of all planets.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is therefore different from everything that is created, and anyone who knows Him as such immediately becomes liberated from all sinful reactions. One must be liberated from all sinful activities to be in the knowledge of the Supreme Lord. Only by devotional service can He be known and not by any other means, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā.
In these two verses the Supreme Lord gives a chance to the Māyāvādī philosopher, for here it is clear that the Supreme is different from the individual soul. Arjuna, after hearing the essential four verses of Bhagavad-gītā (10.8-11) in this chapter, became completely free from all doubts and accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He at once boldly declares, "You are paraṁ brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." And previously Kṛṣṇa stated that He is the originator of everything and everyone. Every demigod and every human being is dependent on Him. Men and demigods, out of ignorance, think that they are absolute and independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That ignorance is removed perfectly by the discharge of devotional service.
Modern stories, fiction and histories are different from the transcendental pastimes of the Lord in that one will tire of hearing mundane stories but one never tires of hearing about Kṛṣṇa. It is for this reason only that the history of the whole universe is replete with references to the pastimes of the incarnations of Godhead. The Purāṇas are histories of bygone ages that relate the pastimes of the various incarnations of the Lord. In this way the reading matter remains forever fresh, despite repeated readings.
The Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, has senses and a body like the ordinary man, but for Him there is no difference between His senses, His body, His mind and Himself. Foolish persons who do not perfectly know Him say that Kṛṣṇa is different from His soul, mind, heart and everything else. Kṛṣṇa is absolute; therefore His activities and potencies are supreme. It is also stated that although He does not have senses like ours, He can perform all sensory activities; therefore His senses are neither imperfect nor limited. No one can be greater than Him, no one can be equal to Him, and everyone is lower than Him.
The knowledge, strength and activities of the Supreme Personality are all transcendental. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
- janma karma ca me divyam
- evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
- tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
- naiti mām eti so 'rjuna
Whoever knows Kṛṣṇa's transcendental body, activities and perfection, after quitting his body, returns to Him and doesn't come back again to this miserable world. Therefore one should know that Kṛṣṇa's activities are different from others.
In other words, all the disciplic devotees of the Lord could see the universal form which was shown to Arjuna by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Someone has commented that this form was shown to Duryodhana also when Kṛṣṇa went to Duryodhana to negotiate for peace. Unfortunately, Duryodhana did not accept the peace offer, but at that time Kṛṣṇa manifested some of His universal forms. But those forms are different from this one shown to Arjuna. It is clearly said that no one had ever seen this form before.
The personal forms of Kṛṣṇa, the two-handed form and the four-handed, are described as su-durdarśam, very difficult to see. They are completely different from the temporary universal form shown to Arjuna. The four-handed form of Nārāyaṇa and the two-handed form of Kṛṣṇa are eternal and transcendental, whereas the universal form exhibited to Arjuna is temporary.
BG Chapters 13 - 18
A living conditioned soul can thus understand that he is different from the body. It is described in the beginning—dehino 'smin—that the living entity is within the body and that the body is changing from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and from youth to old age, and the person who owns the body knows that the body is changing. The owner is distinctly kṣetra-jña. Sometimes we think, "I am happy," "I am a man," "I am a woman," "I am a dog," "I am a cat." These are the bodily designations of the knower. But the knower is different from the body. Although we may use many articles—our clothes, etc.—we know that we are different from the things used. Similarly, we also understand by a little contemplation that we are different from the body. I or you or anyone else who owns the body is called kṣetra-jña, the knower of the field of activities, and the body is called kṣetra, the field of activities itself.
Now, starting with the Thirteenth Chapter, how the living entity comes into contact with material nature and how he is delivered by the Supreme Lord through the different methods of fruitive activities, cultivation of knowledge, and the discharge of devotional service are explained. Although the living entity is completely different from the material body, he somehow becomes related. This also is explained.
The Vedānta-sūtra also describes the Supreme by saying, ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is by nature full of joy. To enjoy His transcendental bliss, He expands into vijñāna-maya, prāṇa-maya, jñāna-maya and anna-maya. In the field of activities the living entity is considered to be the enjoyer, and different from him is the ānanda-maya. That means that if the living entity decides to enjoy in dovetailing himself with the ānanda-maya, then he becomes perfect. This is the real picture of the Supreme Lord as the supreme knower of the field, the living entity as the subordinate knower, and the nature of the field of activities. One has to search for this truth in the Vedānta-sūtra, or Brahma-sūtra.
The Supreme is different from the individual soul. The Supreme Lord can extend His hand without limit; the individual soul cannot. In Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says that if anyone offers Him a flower, or a fruit, or a little water, He accepts it. If the Lord is a far distance away, how can He accept things? This is the omnipotence of the Lord: even though He is situated in His own abode, far, far away from earth, He can extend His hand to accept what anyone offers. That is His potency.
Because the monist philosophers take the knower of the body to be one, they think that there is no difference between the Supersoul and the individual soul. To clarify this, the Lord says that He is represented as the Paramātmā in every body. He is different from the individual soul; He is para, transcendental. The individual soul enjoys the activities of a particular field, but the Supersoul is present not as finite enjoyer nor as one taking part in bodily activities, but as the witness, overseer, permitter and supreme enjoyer. His name is Paramātmā, not ātmā, and He is transcendental. It is distinctly clear that the ātmā and Paramātmā are different.
Persons who are everlastingly fooled by lust and desire lose all power to understand their change of body and their stay in a particular body. They cannot comprehend it. Those who have developed spiritual knowledge, however, can see that the spirit is different from the body and is changing its body and enjoying in different ways. A person in such knowledge can understand how the conditioned living entity is suffering in this material existence. Therefore those who are highly developed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness try their best to give this knowledge to the people in general, for their conditional life is very much troublesome. They should come out of it and be Kṛṣṇa conscious and liberate themselves to transfer to the spiritual world.
Although superficially the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entity, material nature and time appear to be different, nothing is different from the Supreme. But the Supreme is always different from everything. Lord Caitanya's philosophy is that of "inconceivable oneness and difference." This system of philosophy constitutes perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth.