The spirit of Bhagavad-gītā is mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā itself. It is just like this: If we want to take a particular medicine, then we have to follow the directions written on the label. We cannot take the medicine according to our own whim or the direction of a friend. It must be taken according to the directions on the label or the directions given by a physician. Similarly, Bhagavad-gītā should be taken or accepted as it is directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker of Bhagavad-gītā is Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He is mentioned on every page of Bhagavad-gītā as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. Of course the word bhagavān sometimes refers to any powerful person or any powerful demigod, and certainly here bhagavān designates Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as a great personality, but at the same time we should know that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as is confirmed by all great ācāryas (spiritual masters) like Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka Svāmī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge in India. The Lord Himself also establishes Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad-gītā, and He is accepted as such in the Brahma-saṁhitā and all the Purāṇas, especially the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, known as the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28)). Therefore we should take Bhagavad-gītā as it is directed by the Personality of Godhead Himself.
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Lectures
- 4 Conversations and Morning Walks
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Preface and Introduction
SB Canto 1
As we shall find in the Tenth Canto of this great literature, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa exhibited His humanly impossible activities even from the days of His lying on the lap of His mother. He killed the Pūtanā witch, although she smeared her breast with poison just to kill the Lord. The Lord sucked her breast like a natural baby, and He sucked out her very life also. Similarly, He lifted the Govardhana Hill, just as a boy picks up a frog's umbrella, and stood several days continuously just to give protection to the residents of Vṛndāvana. These are some of the superhuman activities of the Lord described in the authoritative Vedic literatures like the Purāṇas, Itihāsas (histories) and Upaniṣads. He has delivered wonderful instructions in the shape of the Bhagavad-gītā. He has shown marvelous capacities as a hero, as a householder, as a teacher and as a renouncer. He is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead by such authoritative personalities as Vyāsa, Devala, Asita, Nārada, Madhva, Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Jīva Gosvāmī, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and all other authorities of the line. He Himself has declared as much in many places of the authentic literatures.
SB Canto 7
In this regard, an example is given from an old history. This involves a discourse between Yamarāja and the friends of a dead person. Please hear it attentively.
The words itihāsaṁ purātanam mean "an old history." The Purāṇas are not chronologically recorded, but the incidents mentioned in the Purāṇas are actual histories of bygone ages. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the Mahā-Purāṇa, the essence of all the Purāṇas. The Māyāvādī scholars do not accept the Purāṇas, but Śrīla Madhvācārya and all other authorities accept them as the authoritative histories of the world.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
So here is an authority, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Authority. His authority, authorityship, is accepted by all over the world. In, in our India there are five different disciplic succession of authorities, just like the Śaṅkarites, followers of Śaṅkarācārya, and Vaiṣṇavites. Generally, they are two: Māyāvādī, impersonalists; and personalists. The personalist school, philosophers, they are divided into four: Rāmānuja-sampradāya—that means followers of Ācārya Rāmānuja; Madhvācārya-sampradāya, or the followers of Madhvācārya; Nimbārka-sampradāya, followers of Nimbārka Ācārya; and Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya. They, their conclusion is the same. Although they are four in number, their conclusion is the same. And another sect is Śaṅkarite sampradāya. So all these four, I mean, five different section of the Hindus, they accept Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All of them. There is no denial. Although they are five, they have got different theses and philosophies, little, little difference, not, I mean, conclusion, but still... Now, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, he, he is supposed, he is considered to be impersonalist. Impersonalist means he does not believe in the personal form of God. But still, he has commented in this, of this Bhagavad-gītā, Śaṅkara-bhāṣya. He has admitted there that "Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Personality of Godhead." He has also admitted. Others, they are Vaiṣṇavites, other ācāryas, other authorities, they are Vaiṣṇavites. They have naturally admitted because they believe from the beginning. But even Śaṅkarācārya, who is impersonalist, he has also clearly written that sa bhagavān svayaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ: "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." And there are many evidences in many scriptures and Vedic scriptures that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So we have to accept the sampradāya, disciplic succession, to receive real knowledge. So that sampradāya begins from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the original spiritual master of Lord Brahmā, of Lord Śiva, Nārada, so many other authorities. There are twelve authorities, svayambhur nāradaḥ śambhuḥ (SB 6.3.20). Svayambhu means Lord Brahmā; Nārada; and Śambhu, Lord Śiva; Kumāra; Kapila; Manu. They are all authorities. So that is the indication of the śāstra, that if you want to understand the transcendental science, the science of God, then tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). That is the injunction of the Vedas, that if you really interested to learn the transcendental science, you must approach. Abhigacchet. This is vidhilin. Vidhilin. This form of verb is used in Sanskrit grammar when it meant "You must." You cannot say "I may accept or may not accept." That will not do. You must accept. Tad, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet, samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham (MU 1.2.12). These are the injunctions of the Vedas.
In the Kaṭhopaniṣad the Vedas says that "If you want to learn transcendental science, so you have to approach a bona fide spiritual master."And who is bona fide spiritual master? That is also described, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham: "One who has heard from his spiritual master." This is... Spiritual master becomes by disciplic succession, ascending process. Just like we learn "Man is mortal" from higher authority, from my father, from mother or any other authority.
Or just a child. A child is attracted generally to his mother, in human being, in animals, everywhere. So if a child wants to know his father, then the authority is the mother, and there is not other authority. The child cannot know the name of his father by his own imagination or speculation, if he thinks, "Oh, he may be my father, he may be my father, he may be my father..." Go on imagining, speculating, but you will never be able to understand who is your father. But the mother indicates, "My dear child, he is your father"—immediately business finished. You see? So if you want to speculate who is God, who is the supreme father, you go on speculating for lives together. But if somebody knows, "Here is your God," you accept it—the business finished. Very simple truth.
What Nārāyaṇa says, that is Veda. There is no other authority. And one who follows the Nārāyaṇa, he is also authority.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
The Vedas are accepted by ācāryas, and they are following, and they are getting the result. So therefore, śruti-pramāṇa. Śruti-pramāṇa. There are three kinds of evidences. Out of that, śruti-pramāṇa, evidence from higher authorities, that is the first-class evidence. What are those evidence? Pratyakṣa, aitihya and śruti. Pratyakṣa means direct perception. Direct perception, that is evidence. People with poor fund of knowledge, they want direct perception of everything. That is not possible. Direct perception of everything is not possible. Therefore aitihya. Aitihya means historical, historical, paramparā, hearing, traditional. And the next first-class evidence is śruti. Śruti means to hear from the authority. That is śruti. Just like the example we have several times cited here that the evidence "Who is my father?" that evidence is to hear from my mother. That's all. There is no other evidence. The mother says that "This is your father. He is your father." This is śruti, hearing from the mother, authority. And we have no other authority to understand father. Similarly, we have to understand our supreme father from the śruti mother, Vedas mother, mother Vedic mother. We have to accept Vedas as mother, śruti. The Vedas are considered as mother, and the Purāṇas are considered as sister.
So this movement is very scientific movement, and we have got authoritative statements. You cannot defy authority, authority. As an authority, minister of this Unitarian Church, in one place he has denied authority, and in another place he has quoted so many authorities. So many authorities he has quoted. Why? If you deny authority, then why you quote other authority? So you cannot defy authority. This is not possible. From the beginning of your life, when you were child, you asked your parents, "Mother, father, what is this?" Why? That is the beginning of life. You cannot go even a step without authority. You are governed by authority. You are running your car by authority—"Keep to the right." Why? Why don't you defy it? So authority we have to obey. But the difficulty is: who is authority? That we require to learn who is actually authority. So authority means who has no mistakes, who has no illusion, who does not cheat, and whose senses are perfect. That is authority. That is the definition of authority.
Man (8): No, but lot of times, books you read one thing, and lot of times, as soon as you've taken to it... You don't understand it. Few days more... Something wrong from what you wanted to know.
Prabhupāda: What is wrong?
Man (8): Suppose you read a book of one kind.
Prabhupāda: No. You have to select the authoritative books, not "kind." Just like lawbooks. Oh, there is no "one kind" of lawbook. Lawbooks means that is given by the state. That is one lawbook, only one. That cannot be two. It is not that you take lawbook from other state or other authority. No. Lawbooks means it is the books, it is the laws, which is given by the state. Similarly, our process is to accept the Vedas, not other kind of books. There is no question of other kind of books. Only Vedas. Just like we are speaking of Bhagavad-gītā. So that is one, not "other kind of Bhagavad-gītā." Bhagavad-gītā is one.
Devotee: Should we chant?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Now you can. What is that? Take it. Chant. Authority, it is accepted like that. Because other authorities whom we are accepting, they have accepted... Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). We have to follow the footprints of other authorities. Leadership. In every society they are accepting leadership. So in that way you have to accept authority. There is no other process.
Śyāmasundara: You tell me that Rāma and some other higher creatures lived on this planet so many millions of years ago, so I can expect some day to find evidence of that?
Prabhupāda: The evidence is the authority, Vedic literature.
Karandhara: What other authority will you accept? If you dig up a bone and make a test with your own senses and accept that as an authority...
Prabhupāda: Bone authority. So you will be satisfied with your own authority. We have got our different... If you don't accept my authority, then I don't accept your authority.
Śyāmasundara: Yes. He wants to understand the nature of things so that he can help others...
Prabhupāda: That means that he becomes authority. He becomes authority. If he wants to become authority, why he should deny other authority?
Śyāmasundara: No. He wants to go deep into the matter.
Prabhupāda: How he can go deep into the matter? Because he doesn't want to consult anybody, and he cannot see beyond that superficial greenness. There are so many things which are not visible to our view. They are outside.
Śyāmasundara: Just like you have said that the sound was a symptom of the sky, that...
Prabhupāda: That..., that..., that symptom the sky we understand from the scientist, not that personally I have understood that sound is a symptom of the sky. It is the scientists, those who are dealing with physics, they say that the sky, the symptom of sky is sound.
Śyāmasundara: Well, it seems like I could...
Prabhupāda: That is (Sanskrit). That is not sense perception. That is a perception received from other authorities.
Śyāmasundara: So it seems like I could come to that same conclusion without consulting a scientist, that I could...
Prabhupāda: You cannot. That is our version. You cannot. Because simply you are puzzled with the sound, that's all. So wherefrom the sound comes, you have to approach the authorities.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Karandhara: Well, their process is to discredit all scriptures so that they don't have to follow anything.
Prabhupada: Then you are discredited. Who follows your version? If you discredit others' version, who follows your version? Who are you? If you don't accept other authority, and who is going to accept your authority? Why shall I? You cannot become authority, that "I don't accept any authority." I have to follow that? Then you become authority.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Pañcadraviḍa: ...must associate with them, that is difficult.
Prabhupāda: But you do your business. You don't follow them. That's all. You remain perfect. There are many imperfects, admitting, but you try to remain perfect so that they may see you, your behavior, and they may follow you. If everyone is sincere in his activity, then where is the question? The society means if I am defective, I am seeing that you are doing nicely, so I will be ashamed. That is also teaching. Actually that should be the practice. If I cannot finish my sixteen rounds due to some business, then next day I must finish it. If you say that "Next day also, I am busy," then you should forego your eating and sleeping and finish it. That is the way. You are so busy, but you do not forget your eating and sleeping. That is cheating. If you are so busy that you forget your eating and sleeping, then I can consider that you are very busy. But you do not forget this portion. "Whenever there is opportunity, I sleep and eat. And I have no time for chanting"—this is cheating. How long you can go on by cheating? You must finish it. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Somebody, after initiation he promises, "Yes, I shall follow these rules and regulations. I shall chant sixteen rounds," before the fire, before the Deity, before the guru, and if he does not follow, then he is a cheater. What to speak of his becoming a Vaiṣṇava, he is a cheater. He breaks all his promises. Therefore after seeing, observing a person is doing everything, then say second initiation, or then he should not be recommended for second initiation unless the president and the other authorities see that he is doing nicely, he is following. Otherwise he should not be recommended. If he is recommended, that is also another cheating. If you know that this person is not following the rules and regulation, then why should you recommend him? Then it is another cheating. Viddhi-bhakti must be followed; otherwise it becomes sahajiyā.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Nārada, Asita, Devala, and Vyāsa, proclaim this of You and now You Yourself are declaring it to me."
Prabhupāda: Arjuna is rectifying this because people may say, "Arjuna was Kṛṣṇa's friend, he is accepting Him as guru." No, Arjuna says, "Not only I, but other authorities, they also accept." So it is..., everything is clear, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He should be accepted as guru or His representative should be accepted guru. Then it will be... So our, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that we are presenting Kṛṣṇa as the supreme guru. You take instruction from Him and be benefited. But one who is carrying this message, he is also authorized.
Prabhupāda: So you do accept Kṛṣṇa as the highest authority, and not only you accept, but all other authorities, they accept. Find out this verse. Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (BG 10.12).
- arjuna uvāca
- paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma
- pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
- puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam
- ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
- (BG 10.12)
Prabhupāda: Puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum.
- āhus tvaṁ ṛṣayaḥ sarve
- devarṣir nāradas tathā
- asito devalo vyāsaḥ
- svayaṁ caiva bravīṣi me
Prabhupāda: So this is confirmation that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So if we accept Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then you have to accept Him as He says.
Guest (2): As a great power, yes.
Prabhupāda: Not great power, but greatest power. Nobody is greater than Him. That is accepted by the direct listener of Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna. And he is giving evidences of Vyāsadeva, Asita, Devala, Nārada, they are authorities. And in the recent years, the ācāryas Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka and Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they have all accepted. And He speaks also. Then where is doubt? Where is doubt?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: In Iran most people accept all our philosophy fully, but they are not willing to accept authority from Kṛṣṇa because they say, well, why is... They cannot be convinced that Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead, Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Prabhupāda: Then there is proof: śāstra is there, sādhu is there, ācārya is there, other authorities are there. Just like Arjuna said, that, quoted Vyāsa, Nārada, Asita, Devala, "All of them have accepted You the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You are explaining Yourself. Therefore I have no doubt." Vyāsadeva is authority, Nārada is authority, and there are many others. Recently, all the ācāryas, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Caitanya Mahāprabhu... We are following the Caitanya cult, but He's stated yāre dekha tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa. He's accepting. Why does He say "Kṛṣṇa"? Why does He not say others? Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra ei deśa yāre dekha (CC Madhya 7.128), tāre kaha And Kṛṣṇa also, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat (BG 7.7), "There is no more superior person." And Arjuna accepted, "Whatever You are saying, it is all reasonable." Sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye (BG 10.14). "Whatever you have said, I accept in toto." There is no cut short, "I don't like this, I don't accept this." No, everything, sarvam etad.
1977 Conversations and Morning Walks
Satsvarūpa: They say that theirs can be shown not just to a disciple but to the whole world in general, not just...
Prabhupāda: Nobody believes in Lenin. Then there would have been everyone Communist. You believe, a section. Then why there are two parties? You are not all in all. That is going on everywhere. How you can say that you are correct, I am not correct? The process is the same. Therefore Vivekananda has compromised, "Everyone is correct." Yato mata tato patha. There is no quarrel.
Gurukṛpā: Then they accuse us of being fanatical.
Prabhupāda: You are also fanatical. Why do you believe Lenin? You are fanatical in our eyes. You are worse than fanatical because we have got great other authorities—they believe Kṛṣṇa is God. You have created a section recently, but we have got evidences from thousands and thousands of years ago, authorities believing Kṛṣṇa. Our literatures are very old. Your literature recently made.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: In that book that had your Kṛṣṇa book quotation there's a thing about tāntrika-yoga, and this very thing is mentioned. What you're telling me now, it's mentioned there, that the test is to have sex and not allow any semina to pass. They mention that.
Prabhupāda: I have mentioned?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No, they quote from some other authority.
Prabhupāda: Oh, that we...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Shall I...?
Prabhupāda: No, I don't...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, but it's confirmed, anyway. Yeah, that's what that Rajneesh says. They asked him, "Why are you with so many women?" He said, "This is the proof, that I am able to be with all these women but not be disturbed." But that doesn't really answer why he's with them. Our point is: "Why are you with them? Never mind whether you're disturbed or... Why are you with them? What benefit are you getting? They are not God. So why are you spending so much time with them?"
Prabhupāda: That is their way of sādhana.