Chapter ONE The Curse Upon the Yadu Dynasty

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Shri Krsna, accompanied by Balarama and 
surrounded by the Yadu dynasty, executed the killing of many demons. Then, 
further to remove the burden of the earth, the Lord arranged for the great 
Battle of Kuruksetra, which suddenly erupted in violence between the Kurus and 
the Pandavas.

Because the sons of Pandu were enraged by the numerous offenses of their 
enemies, such as duplicitous gambling, verbal insults, the seizing of Draupadi's 
hair, and many other cruel transgressions, the Supreme Lord engaged those 
Pandavas as the immediate cause to execute His will. On the pretext of the 
Battle of Kuruksetra, Lord Krsna arranged for all the kings who were burdening 
the earth to assemble with their armies on opposite sides of the battlefield, 
and when the Lord killed them through the agency of war, the earth was relieved 
of its burden.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead used the Yadu dynasty, which was protected by 
His own arms, to eliminate the kings who with their armies had been the burden 
of this earth. Then the unfathomable Lord thought to Himself, "Although some may 
say that the earth's burden is now gone, in My opinion it is not yet gone, 
because there still remains the Yadava dynasty itself, whose strength is 
unbearable for the earth."

Lord Krsna thought, "No outside force could ever bring about the defeat of this 
family, the Yadu dynasty, whose members have always been fully surrendered to Me 
and are unrestricted in their opulence. But if I inspire a quarrel within the 
dynasty, that quarrel will act just like a fire created from the friction of 
bamboo in a grove, and then I shall achieve My real purpose and return to My 
eternal abode."

My dear King Pariksit, when the supreme almighty Lord, whose desire always comes 
to pass, had thus made up His mind, He withdrew His own family on the pretext of 
a curse spoken by an assembly of brahmanas.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the reservoir of all beauty. All 
beautiful things emanate from Him, and His personal form is so attractive that 
it steals the eyes away from all other objects, which then seem devoid of beauty 
in comparison to Him. When Lord Krsna was on the earth, He attracted the eyes of 
all people. When Krsna spoke, His words attracted the minds of all who 
remembered them. By seeing the footsteps of Lord Krsna, people became attracted 
to Him, and thus they wanted to offer their bodily activities to the Lord as His 
followers. In this way Krsna very easily spread His glories, which are sung 
throughout the world by the most sublime and essential Vedic verses. Lord Krsna 
considered that simply by hearing and chanting those glories, conditioned souls 
born in the future would cross beyond the darkness of ignorance. Being satisfied 
with this arrangement, He left for His desired destination.

King Pariksit inquired: How could the brahmanas curse the Vrsnis, who were 
always respectful to the brahmanas, charitable, and inclined to serve senior and 
exalted personalities and whose minds were always fully absorbed in thought of 
Lord Krsna?

King Pariksit continued inquiring: What was the motive for this curse? What did 
it consist of, O purest of the twice-born? And how could such a disagreement 
have arisen among the Yadus, who all shared the same goal of life? Please tell 
me all these things.

Shukadeva Gosvami said: The Lord, who bore His body as the amalgamation of 
everything beautiful, dutifully executed the most auspicious activities while on 
the earth, although He was, in fact, without any endeavor already satisfied in 
all desires. Residing in His abode and enjoying life, the Lord, whose 
glorification is in itself magnanimous, now wanted to annihilate His dynasty, as 
there still remained some small part of His duty to be carried out.

The sages Vishvamitra, Asita, Kanva, Durvasa, Bhrgu, Angira, Kashyapa, Vamadeva, 
Atri and Vasistha, along with Narada and others, once performed fruitive rituals 
that award abundant pious results, bring great happiness and take away the sins 
of Kali-yuga for the whole world by merely being recounted. The sages duly 
executed these rituals in the home of the chief of the Yadus, Vasudeva, the 
father of Lord Krsna. After Lord Krsna, who was staying in Vasudeva's house as 
time personified, respectfully sent the sages off at the conclusion of the 
ceremonies, they went to the holy place called Pindaraka.

To that holy place, the young boys of the Yadu dynasty had brought Samba, son of 
Jambavati, dressed in woman's garb. Playfully approaching the great sages 
gathered there, the boys grabbed hold of the sages' feet and impudently asked 
them with feigned humility, "O learned brahmanas, this black-eyed pregnant woman 
has something to ask you. She is too embarrassed to inquire for herself. She is 
just about to give birth and is very desirous of having a son. Since all of you 
are great sages with infallible vision, please tell us whether her child will be 
a boy or a girl."

Thus ridiculed by deceit, the sages became angry, O King, and told the boys, 
"Fools! She will bear you an iron club that will destroy your entire dynasty."

Upon hearing the curse of the sages, the terrified boys quickly uncovered the 
belly of Samba, and indeed they observed that therein was an iron club.

The young men of the Yadu dynasty said, "Oh, what have we done? We are so 
unfortunate! What will our family members say to us?" Speaking thus and being 
very disturbed, they returned to their homes, taking the club with them. 

The Yadu boys, the luster of their faces completely faded, brought the club into 
the royal assembly, and in the presence of all the Yadavas they told King 
Ugrasena what had happened.

O King Pariksit, when the inhabitants of Dvaraka heard of the infallible curse 
of the brahmanas and saw the club, they were astonished and distraught with 

After having the club ground to bits, King Ahuka [Ugrasena] of the Yadus 
personally threw the pieces, along with the remaining lump of iron, into the 
water of the ocean.

A certain fish swallowed the iron lump, and the bits of iron, carried back to 
the shore by the waves, implanted themselves there and grew into tall, sharp 

The fish was caught in the ocean along with other fish in a fishermen's net. The 
iron lump in the fish's stomach was taken by the hunter Jara, who fixed it as an 
arrowhead at the end of his shaft. 

Knowing fully the significance of all these events, the Supreme Lord, though 
capable of reversing the brahmanas' curse, did not wish to do so. Rather, in His 
form of time, He gladly sanctioned the events.

Chapter TWO Maharaja Nimi Meets the Nine Yogendras

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Eager to engage in the worship of Lord Krsna, O 
best of the Kurus, Narada Muni stayed for some time in Dvaraka, which was always 
protected by the arms of Govinda.

My dear King, in the material world the conditioned souls are confronted by 
death at every step of life. Therefore, who among the conditioned souls would 
not render service to the lotus feet of Lord Mukunda, who is worshipable even 
for the greatest of liberated souls?

One day the sage among the demigods, Narada, came to the house of Vasudeva. 
After worshiping Narada with suitable paraphernalia, seating him comfortably and 
respectfully bowing down to him, Vasudeva spoke as follows. 

Shri Vasudeva said: My lord, your visit, like that of a father to his children, 
is for the benefit of all living beings. You especially help the most wretched 
among them, as well as those who are advanced on the path toward the Supreme 
Lord, Uttamashloka.

The activities of demigods lead to both misery and happiness for living beings, 
but the activities of great saints like you, who have accepted the infallible 
Lord as their very soul, result only in the happiness of all beings.

Those who worship the demigods receive reciprocation from the demigods in a way 
just corresponding to the offering. The demigods are attendants of karma, like a 
person's shadow, but sadhus are actually merciful to the fallen.

O brahmana, although I am satisfied simply by seeing you, I still wish to 
inquire about those duties which give pleasure to the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. Any mortal who faithfully hears about them is freed from all kinds of 

In a previous birth on this earth, I worshiped the Supreme Lord, Ananta, who 
alone can award liberation, but because I desired to have a child, I did not 
worship Him for liberation. Thus I was bewildered by the Lord's illusory energy.

My dear lord, you are always true to your vow. Please instruct me clearly, so 
that by your mercy I may easily free myself from material existence, which is 
full of many dangers and keeps us constantly bound in fear.

Shukadeva Gosvami said: O King, Devarsi Narada was pleased by the questions of 
the highly intelligent Vasudeva. Because they suggested the transcendental 
qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they reminded Narada of Lord 
Krsna. Thus Narada replied to Vasudeva as follows. 

Shri Narada said: O best of the Satvatas, you have quite correctly asked about 
the eternal duty of the living entity toward the Supreme Lord. Such devotional 
service to the Lord is so potent that its performance can purify the entire 

Pure devotional service rendered to the Supreme Lord is spiritually so potent 
that simply by hearing about such transcendental service, by chanting its 
glories in response, by meditating on it, by respectfully and faithfully 
accepting it, or by praising the devotional service of others, even persons who 
hate the demigods and all other living beings can be immediately purified.

Today you have made me remember my Lord, the supremely blissful Personality of 
Godhead, Narayana. The Supreme Lord is so auspicious that whoever hears and 
chants about Him becomes completely pious.

To explain the devotional service of the Lord, sages have related the ancient 
history of the conversation between the great soul King Videha and the sons of 

Svayambhuva Manu had a son named Maharaja Priyavrata, and among Priyavrata's 
sons was Agnidhra. From Agnidhra was born Nabhi, whose son was known as 

Shri Risabhadeva is accepted as an expansion of the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva. He 
incarnated in this world to propagate those religious principles that lead 
living entities to ultimate liberation. He had one hundred sons, all perfect in 
Vedic knowledge. 

Of the one hundred sons of Lord Risabhadeva, the eldest, Bharata, was completely 
devoted to Lord Narayana. It is because of Bharata's fame that this planet is 
now celebrated as the great Bharata-varsa. 

King Bharata rejected this material world, considering all types of material 
pleasure temporary and useless. Leaving his beautiful young wife and family, he 
worshiped Lord Hari by severe austerities and attained the abode of the Lord 
after three lifetimes.

Nine of the remaining sons of Risabhadeva became the rulers of the nine islands 
of Bharata-varsa, and they exercised complete sovereignty over this planet. 
Eighty-one sons became twice-born brahmanas and helped initiate the Vedic path 
of fruitive sacrifices [karma-kanda].

The nine remaining sons of Risabha were greatly fortunate sages who worked 
vigorously to spread knowledge of the Absolute Truth. They wandered about naked 
and were very well versed in spiritual science. Their names were Kavi, Havir, 
Antariksa, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Drumila, Camasa and Karabhajana.

These sages wandered the earth seeing the entire universe, with all its gross 
and subtle objects, as a manifestation of the Supreme Lord and as nondifferent 
from the self.

The nine Yogendras are liberated souls who travel freely to the planets of the 
demigods, the perfected mystics, the Sadhyas, the heavenly musicians, the 
Yaksas, the human beings, and the minor demigods such as the Kinnaras and the 
serpents. No mundane force can check their free movement, and exactly as they 
wish they can travel as well to the worlds of the sages, the angels, the ghostly 
followers of Lord Shiva, the Vidyadharas, the brahmanas and the cows. 

Once in Ajanabha [the former name of the earth], they came upon the sacrificial 
performance of the great soul Maharaja Nimi, which was being carried out under 
the direction of elevated sages. 

My dear King, seeing those pure devotees of the Lord, who rival the sun in 
brilliance, everyone present - the performer of the sacrifice, the brahmanas and 
even the sacrificial fires - stood in respect. 

King Videha [Nimi] understood that the nine sages were exalted devotees of the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, overjoyed at their auspicious 
arrival, he offered them suitable sitting places and worshiped them in a proper 
way, just as one would worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Overwhelmed by transcendental joy, the King humbly bowed his head and then 
proceeded to question the nine sages. These nine great souls glowed with their 
own effulgence and thus appeared equal to the four Kumaras, the sons of Lord 

King Videha said: I think that you must be direct associates of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, who is famous as the enemy of the demon Madhu. Indeed, 
the pure devotees of Lord Visnu wander throughout the universe not for their 
personal, selfish interest, but to purify all the conditioned souls.

For the conditioned souls, the human body is most difficult to achieve, and it 
can be lost at any moment. But I think that even those who have achieved human 
life rarely gain the association of pure devotees, who are dear to the Lord of 

Therefore, O completely sinless ones, I ask you to kindly tell me what the 
supreme good is. After all, even half a moment's association with pure devotees 
within this world of birth and death is a priceless treasure for any man.

Please speak about how one engages in the devotional service of the Supreme 
Lord, if you consider me capable of properly hearing these topics. When a living 
entity offers loving service to the Supreme Lord, the Lord is immediately 
satisfied, and in return He will give even His own self to the surrendered soul.

Shri Narada said: O Vasudeva, when Maharaja Nimi had thus inquired from the nine 
Yogendras about devotional service to the Lord, those best of saintly persons 
sincerely thanked the King for his questions and spoke to him with affection in 
the presence of the members of the sacrificial assembly and the brahmana 

Shri Kavi said: 1 consider that one whose intelligence is constantly disturbed 
by his falsely identifying himself with the temporary material world can achieve 
real freedom from fear only by worshiping the lotus feet of the infallible 
Supreme Lord. In such devotional service, all fear ceases entirely.

Even ignorant living entities can very easily come to know the Supreme Lord if 
they adopt those means prescribed by the Supreme Lord Himself. The process 
recommended by the Lord is to be known as bhagavata-dharma, or devotional 
service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

O King, one who accepts this process of devotional service to the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead will never blunder on his path in this world. Even while 
running with eyes closed, he will never trip or fall.

In accordance with the particular nature one has acquired in conditioned life, 
whatever one does with body, words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified 
consciousness one should offer to the Supreme, thinking, "This is for the 
pleasure of Lord Narayana."

Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body 
because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the 
living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own 
constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful 
condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an 
intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional 
service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he 
should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul.

Although the duality of the material world does not ultimately exist, the 
conditioned soul experiences it as real under the influence of his own 
conditioned intelligence. This imaginary experience of a world separate from 
Krsna can be compared to the acts of dreaming and desiring. When the conditioned 
soul dreams at night of something desirable or horrible, or when he daydreams of 
what he would like to have or avoid, he creates a reality that has no existence 
beyond his own imagination. The tendency of the mind is to accept and reject 
various activities based on sense gratification. Therefore an intelligent person 
should control the mind, restricting it from the illusion of seeing things 
separate from Krsna, and when the mind is thus controlled he will experience 
actual fearlessness.

An intelligent person who has controlled his mind and conquered fear should give 
up all attachment to material objects such as wife, family and nation and should 
wander freely without embarrassment, hearing and chanting the holy names of the 
Lord, the bearer of the chariot wheel. The holy names of Krsna are all-
auspicious because they describe His transcendental birth and activities, which 
He performs within this world for the salvation of the conditioned souls. Thus 
the holy names of the Lord are sung throughout the world.

By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of 
Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, 
and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs 
very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for 
he is indifferent to public opinion.

A devotee should not see anything as being separate from the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, Krsna. Ether, fire, air, water, earth, the sun and other luminaries, 
all living beings, the directions, trees and other plants, the rivers and oceans 
- whatever a devotee experiences he should consider to be an expansion of Krsna. 
Thus seeing everything that exists within creation as the body of the Supreme 
Lord, Hari, the devotee should offer his sincere respects to the entire 
expansion of the Lord's body.

Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other 
things - these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and 
relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a 
person engaged in eating.

My dear King, the devotee who worships the lotus feet of the infallible 
Personality of Godhead with constant endeavor thus achieves unflinching 
devotion, detachment and experienced knowledge of the Personality of Godhead. In 
this way the successful devotee of the Lord achieves supreme spiritual peace.

Maharaja Nimi said: Now please tell me in greater detail about the devotees of 
the Supreme Lord. What are the natural symptoms by which I can distinguish 
between the most advanced devotees, those on the middle level and those who are 
neophytes? What are the typical religious activities of a Vaisnava, and how does 
he speak? Specifically, please describe those symptoms and characteristics by 
which Vaisnavas become dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Shri Havir said: The most advanced devotee sees within everything the soul of 
all souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krsna. Consequently he sees 
everything in relation to the Supreme Lord and understands that everything that 
exists is eternally situated within the Lord.

An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikari, offers his 
love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the 
devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and 
disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

A devotee who faithfully engages in the worship of the Deity in the temple but 
does not behave properly toward other devotees or people in general is called a 
prakrta-bhakta, a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest 

Even while engaging his senses in contact with their objects, one who sees this 
whole world as the energy of Lord Visnu is neither repelled nor elated. He is 
indeed the greatest among devotees.

Within the material world, one's material body is always subject to birth and 
decay. Similarly, the life air [prana] is harassed by hunger and thirst, the 
mind is always anxious, the intelligence hankers for that which cannot be 
obtained, and all of the senses are ultimately exhausted by constant struggle in 
the material nature. A person who is not bewildered by the inevitable miseries 
of material existence, and who remains aloof from them simply by remembering the 
lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is to be considered bhagavata-
pradhana, the foremost devotee of the Lord.

One who has taken exclusive shelter of the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva, becomes free 
from fruitive activities, which are based on material lust. In fact, one who has 
taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord is freed from even the desire to 
enjoy material sense gratification. Plans for enjoying sex life, social prestige 
and money cannot develop within his mind. Thus he is considered bhagavatottama, 
a pure devotee of the Lord on the highest platform.

Birth in an aristocratic family and the execution of austere and pious 
activities certainly cause one to take pride in himself. Similarly, if one 
enjoys a prestigious position within society because his parents are highly 
respected members of the varnashrama social system, one becomes even more 
infatuated with himself. But if despite these excellent material qualifications 
one does not feel even a tinge of pride within himself, he is to be considered 
the dearmost servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

When a devotee gives up the selfish conception by which one thinks "This is my 
property, and that is his," and when he is no longer concerned with the 
pleasures of his own material body or indifferent to the discomforts of others, 
he becomes fully peaceful and satisfied. He considers himself simply one among 
all the living beings who are equally part and parcel of the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead. Such a satisfied Vaisnava is considered to be at the highest 
standard of devotional service.

The lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are sought even by the 
greatest of demigods, such as Brahma and Shiva, who have all accepted the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead as their life and soul. A pure devotee of the 
Lord can never forget those lotus feet in any circumstance. He will not give up 
his shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord for a single moment - indeed, not for 
half a moment - even in exchange for the benediction of ruling and enjoying the 
opulence of the entire universe. Such a devotee of the Lord is to be considered 
the best of the Vaisnavas.

How can the fire of material suffering continue to burn the hearts of those who 
worship the Supreme Lord? The Lord's lotus feet have performed innumerable 
heroic deeds, and the beautiful nails on His toes resemble valuable jewels. The 
effulgence emanating from those nails resembles cooling moonshine, for it 
instantly relieves the suffering within the heart of the pure devotee, just as 
the appearance of the moon's cooling light relieves the burning heat of the sun.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind to the conditioned souls that if 
they call upon Him by speaking His holy name, even unintentionally or 
unwillingly, the Lord is inclined to destroy innumerable sinful reactions in 
their hearts. Therefore, when a devotee who has taken shelter of the Lord's 
lotus feet chants the holy name of Krsna with genuine love, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead can never give up the heart of such a devotee. One who 
has thus captured the Supreme Lord within his heart is to be known as bhagavata-
pradhana, the most exalted devotee of the Lord.

Chapter THREE Liberation from the Illusory Energy

King Nimi said: Now we wish to learn about the illusory potency of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, Shri Visnu, which bewilders even great mystics. My 
lords, please speak to us about this subject.

Although I am drinking the nectar of your statements about the glories of the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, my thirst is not yet satiated. Such nectarean 
descriptions of the Lord and His devotees are the actual medicine for 
conditioned souls like me, who are tormented by the threefold miseries of 
material existence.

Shri Antariksa said: O mighty-armed King, by activating the material elements, 
the primeval Soul of all creation has sent forth all living beings in higher and 
lower species so that these conditioned souls can cultivate either sense 
gratification or ultimate liberation, according to their desire.

The Supersoul enters the material bodies of the created beings, activates the 
mind and senses, and thus causes the conditioned souls to approach the three 
modes of material nature for sense gratification.

The individual living being, the master of the material body, uses his material 
senses, which have been activated by the Supersoul, to try to enjoy sense 
objects composed of the three modes of nature. Thus he misidentifies the created 
material body with the unborn eternal self and becomes entangled in the illusory 
energy of the Lord.

Impelled by deep-rooted material desires, the embodied living entity engages his 
active sense organs in fruitive activities. He then experiences the results of 
his material actions by wandering throughout this world in so-called happiness 
and distress.

Thus the conditioned living entity is forced to experience repeated birth and 
death. Impelled by the reactions of his own activities, he helplessly wanders 
from one inauspicious situation to another, suffering from the moment of 
creation until the time of cosmic annihilation.

When the annihilation of the material elements is imminent, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead in His form of eternal time withdraws the manifest 
cosmos, consisting of gross and subtle features, and the entire universe 
vanishes into nonmanifestation.

As cosmic annihilation approaches, a terrible drought takes place on earth for 
one hundred years. For one hundred years the heat of the sun gradually 
increases, and its blazing heat begins to torment the three worlds. 

Beginning from Patalaloka, a fire grows, emanating from the mouth of Lord 
Sankarsana. Its flames shooting upward, driven by great winds, it scorches 
everything in all directions. 

Hoards of clouds called Samvartaka pour torrents of rain for one hundred years. 
Flooding down in raindrops as long as the trunk of an elephant, the deadly 
rainfall submerges the entire universe in water. 

Then Vairaja Brahma, the soul of the universal form, gives up his universal 
body, O King, and enters into the subtle unmanifest nature, like a fire that has 
run out of fuel.

Deprived of its quality of aroma by the wind, the element earth is transformed 
into water; and water, deprived of its taste by that same wind, is merged into 

Fire, deprived of its form by darkness, dissolves into the element air. When the 
air loses its quality of touch by the influence of space, the air merges into 
that space. When space is deprived of its tangible quality by the Supreme Soul 
in the form of time, space merges into false ego in the mode of ignorance. 

My dear King, the material senses and intelligence merge into false ego in the 
mode of passion, from which they arose; and the mind, along with the demigods, 
merges into false ego in the mode of goodness. Then the total false ego, along 
with all of its qualities, merges into the mahat-tattva. 

I have now described maya, the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. This illusory potency, consisting of the three modes of material 
nature, is empowered by the Lord for the creation, maintenance and annihilation 
of the material universe. Now, what more do you wish to hear?

King Nimi said: O great sage, please explain how even a foolish materialist can 
easily cross over the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord, which is always 
insurmountable for those who are not self-controlled.

Shri Prabuddha said: Accepting the roles of male and female in human society, 
the conditioned souls unite in sexual relationships. Thus they constantly make 
material endeavors to eliminate their unhappiness and unlimitedly increase their 
pleasure. But one should see that they inevitably achieve exactly the opposite 
result. In other words, their happiness inevitably vanishes, and as they grow 
older their material discomfort increases.

Wealth is a perpetual source of distress, it is most difficult to acquire, and 
it is virtual death for the soul. What satisfaction does one actually gain from 
his wealth? Similarly, how can one gain ultimate or permanent happiness from 
one's so-called home, children, relatives and domestic animals, which are all 
maintained by one's hard-earned money? 

One cannot find permanent happiness even on the heavenly planets, which one can 
attain in the next life by ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices. Even in 
material heaven the living entity is disturbed by rivalry with his equals and 
envy of those superior to him. And since one's residence in heaven is finished 
with the exhaustion of pious fruitive activities, the denizens of heaven are 
afflicted by fear, anticipating the destruction of their heavenly life. Thus 
they resemble kings who, though enviously admired by ordinary citizens, are 
constantly harassed by enemy kings and who therefore never attain actual 

Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide 
spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the 
bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by 
deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great 
personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all 
material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.

Accepting the bona fide spiritual master as one's life and soul and worshipable 
deity, the disciple should learn from him the process of pure devotional 
service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, the soul of all souls, is 
inclined to give Himself to His pure devotees. Therefore, the disciple should 
learn from the spiritual master to serve the Lord without duplicity and in such 
a faithful and favorable way that the Supreme Lord, being satisfied, will offer 
Himself to the faithful disciple.

A sincere disciple should learn to dissociate the mind from everything material 
and positively cultivate association with his spiritual master and other saintly 
devotees. He should be merciful to those in an inferior position to him, 
cultivate friendship with those on an equal level and meekly serve those in a 
higher spiritual position. Thus he should learn to deal properly with all living 

To serve the spiritual master the disciple should learn cleanliness, austerity, 
tolerance, silence, study of Vedic knowledge, simplicity, celibacy, nonviolence, 
and equanimity in the face of material dualities such as heat and cold, 
happiness and distress.

One should practice meditation by constantly seeing oneself to be an eternal 
cognizant spirit soul and seeing the Lord to be the absolute controller of 
everything. To increase one's meditation, one should live in a secluded place 
and give up false attachment to one's home and household paraphernalia. Giving 
up the decorations of the temporary material body, one should dress himself with 
scraps of cloth found in rejected places, or with the bark of trees. In this way 
one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation.

One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following 
those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, Bhagavan. At the same time, one should avoid blaspheming other 
scriptures. One should rigidly control his mind, speech and bodily activities, 
always speak the truth, and bring the mind and senses under full control.

One should hear, glorify and meditate upon the wonderful transcendental 
activities of the Lord. One should specifically become absorbed in the 
appearance, activities, qualities and holy names of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. Thus inspired, one should perform all of one's daily activities as an 
offering to the Lord. One should perform sacrifice, charity and penance 
exclusively for the Lord's satisfaction. Similarly, one should chant only those 
mantras which glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And all one's 
religious activities should be performed as an offering to the Lord. Whatever 
one finds pleasing or enjoyable he should immediately offer to the Supreme Lord, 
and even his wife, children, home and very life air he should offer at the lotus 
feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

One who desires his ultimate self-interest should cultivate friendship with 
those persons who have accepted Krsna as the Lord of their life. One should 
further develop an attitude of service toward all living beings. One should 
especially try to help those in the human form of life and, among them, 
especially those who accept the principles of religious behavior. Among 
religious persons, one should especially render service to the pure devotees of 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

One should learn how to associate with the devotees of the Lord by gathering 
with them to chant the glories of the Lord. This process is most purifying. As 
devotees thus develop their loving friendship, they feel mutual happiness and 
satisfaction. And by thus encouraging one another they are able to give up 
material sense gratification, which is the cause of all suffering.

The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of 
Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one 
another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the 
principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who 
takes away from them everything inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, 
the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, 
their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as 
standing of the bodily hairs on end.

Having achieved love of Godhead, the devotees sometimes cry out loud, absorbed 
in thought of the infallible Lord. Sometimes they laugh, feel great pleasure, 
speak out loud to the Lord, dance or sing. Such devotees, having transcended 
material, conditioned life, sometimes imitate the unborn Supreme by acting out 
His pastimes. And sometimes, achieving His personal audience, they remain 
peaceful and silent.

Thus learning the science of devotional service and practically engaging in the 
devotional service of the Lord, the devotee comes to the stage of love of 
Godhead. And by complete devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
Narayana, the devotee easily crosses over the illusory energy, maya, which is 
extremely difficult to cross.

King Nimi inquired: Please explain to me the transcendental situation of the 
Supreme Lord, Narayana, who is Himself the Absolute Truth and the Supersoul of 
everyone. You can explain this to me, because you are all most expert in 
transcendental knowledge.

Shri Pippalayana said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the 
creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior 
cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious 
deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living 
being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental 
activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their 
functions. My dear King, know that Personality of Godhead to be the Supreme.

Neither the mind nor the faculties of speech, sight, intelligence, the life air 
or any of the senses are capable of penetrating that Supreme Truth, any more 
than small sparks can affect the original fire from which they are generated. 
Not even the authoritative language of the Vedas can perfectly describe the 
Supreme Truth, since the Vedas themselves disclaim the possibility that the 
Truth can be expressed by words. But through indirect reference the Vedic sound 
does serve as evidence of the Supreme Truth, since without the existence of that 
Supreme Truth the various restrictions found in the Vedas would have no ultimate 

Originally one, the Absolute, Brahman, comes to be known as threefold, 
manifesting itself as the three modes of material nature - goodness, passion and 
ignorance. Brahman further expands its potency, and thus the power to act and 
the power of consciousness become manifest, along with the false ego, which 
covers the identity of the conditioned living being. Thus, by the expansion of 
the multipotencies of the Absolute, the demigods, as the embodiment of 
knowledge, become manifest, along with the material senses, their objects, and 
the results of material activity, namely happiness and distress. In this way the 
manifestation of the material world takes place as the subtle cause and as the 
material effect visible in the appearance of gross material objects. Brahman, 
which is the source of all subtle and gross manifestations, is simultaneously 
transcendental to them, being absolute.

Brahman, the eternal soul, was never born and will never die, nor does it grow 
or decay. That spiritual soul is actually the knower of the youth, middle age 
and death of the material body. Thus the soul can be understood to be pure 
consciousness, existing everywhere at all times and never being destroyed. Just 
as the life air within the body, although one, becomes manifest as many in 
contact with the various material senses, the one soul appears to assume various 
material designations in contact with the material body.

The spirit soul is born in many different species of life within the material 
world. Some species are born from eggs, others from embryos, others from the 
seeds of plants and trees, and others from perspiration. But in all species of 
life the prana, or vital air, remains unchanging and follows the spirit soul 
from one body to another. Similarly, the spirit soul is eternally the same 
despite its material condition of life. We have practical experience of this. 
When we are absorbed in deep sleep without dreaming, the material senses become 
inactive, and even the mind and false ego are merged into a dormant condition. 
But although the senses, mind and false ego are inactive, one remembers upon 
waking that he, the soul, was peacefully sleeping.

When one seriously engages in the devotional service of the Personality of 
Godhead, fixing the Lord's lotus feet within one's heart as the only goal of 
life, one can destroy the innumerable impure desires lodged within the heart as 
a result of one's previous fruitive work within the three modes of material 
nature. When the heart is thus purified one can directly perceive both the 
Supreme Lord and one's self as transcendental entities. Thus one becomes perfect 
in spiritual understanding through direct experience, just as one can directly 
experience the sunshine through normal, healthy vision.

King Nimi said: O great sages, please speak to us about the process of karma-
yoga. Purified by this process of dedicating one's practical work to the 
Supreme, a person can very quickly free himself from all material activities, 
even in this life, and thus enjoy pure life on the transcendental platform.

Once in the past, in the presence of my father, Maharaja Iksvaku, I placed a 
similar question before four great sages who were sons of Lord Brahma. But they 
did not answer my question. Please explain the reason for this.

Shri Avirhotra replied: Prescribed duties, nonperformance of such duties, and 
forbidden activities are topics one can properly understand through authorized 
study of the Vedic literature. This difficult subject matter can never be 
understood by mundane speculation. The authorized Vedic literature is the sound 
incarnation of the Personality of Godhead Himself, and thus Vedic knowledge is 
perfect. Even the greatest learned scholars are bewildered in their attempts to 
understand the science of action if they neglect the authority of Vedic 

Childish and foolish people are attached to materialistic, fruitive activities, 
although the actual goal of life is to become free from such activities. 
Therefore, the Vedic injunctions indirectly lead one to the path of ultimate 
liberation by first prescribing fruitive religious activities, just as a father 
promises his child candy so that the child will take his medicine.

If an ignorant person who has not conquered the material senses does not adhere 
to the Vedic injunctions, certainly he will engage in sinful and irreligious 
activities. Thus his reward will be repeated birth and death.

By executing without attachment the regulated activities prescribed in the 
Vedas, offering the results of such work to the Supreme Lord, one attains the 
perfection of freedom from the bondage of material work. The material fruitive 
results offered in the revealed scriptures are not the actual goal of Vedic 
knowledge, but are meant for stimulating the interest of the performer.

One who desires to quickly cut the knot of false ego, which binds the spirit 
soul, should worship the Supreme Lord, Keshava, by the regulations found in 
Vedic literatures such as the tantras.

Having obtained the mercy of his spiritual master, who reveals to the disciple 
the injunctions of Vedic scriptures, the devotee should worship the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead in the particular personal form of the Lord the devotee 
finds most attractive.

After cleansing oneself, purifying the body by pranayama, bhuta-shuddhi and 
other processes, and marking the body with sacred tilaka for protection, one 
should sit in front of the Deity and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The devotee should gather whatever ingredients for worshiping the Deity are 
available, make ready the offerings, the ground, his mind and the Deity, 
sprinkle his sitting place with water for purification and prepare the bathing 
water and other paraphernalia. The devotee should then place the Deity in His 
proper place, both physically and within his own mind, concentrate his 
attention, and mark the Deity's heart and other parts of the body with tilaka. 
Then he should offer worship with the appropriate mantra.

One should worship the Deity along with each of the limbs of His transcendental 
body, His weapons such as the Sudarshana cakra, His other bodily features and 
His personal associates. One should worship each of these transcendental aspects 
of the Lord by its own mantra and with offerings of water to wash the feet, 
scented water, water to wash the mouth, water for bathing, fine clothing and 
ornaments, fragrant oils, valuable necklaces, unbroken barleycorns, flower 
garlands, incense and lamps. Having thus completed the worship in all its 
aspects in accordance with the prescribed regulations, one should then honor the 
Deity of Lord Hari with prayers and offer obeisances to Him by bowing down.

The worshiper should become fully absorbed in meditating upon himself as an 
eternal servant of the Lord and should thus perfectly worship the Deity, 
remembering that the Deity is also situated within his heart. Then he should 
take the remnants of the Deity's paraphernalia, such as flower garlands, upon 
his head and respectfully put the Deity back in His own place, thus concluding 
the worship.

Thus the worshiper of the Supreme Lord should recognize that the Personality of 
Godhead is all-pervading and should worship Him through His presence in fire, 
the sun, water and other elements, in the heart of the guest one receives in 
one's home, and also in one's own heart. In this way the worshiper will very 
soon achieve liberation.

Chapter FOUR Drumila Explains the Incarnations of Godhead to King Nimi

King Nimi said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead descends into the material 
world by His internal potency and according to His own desire. Therefore, please 
tell us about the various pastimes Lord Hari has performed in the past, is 
performing now and will perform in this world in the future in His various 

Shri Drumila said: Anyone trying to enumerate or describe fully the unlimited 
qualities of the unlimited Supreme Lord has the intelligence of a foolish child. 
Even if a great genius could somehow or other, after a time-consuming endeavor, 
count all the particles of dust on the surface of the earth, such a genius could 
never count the attractive qualities of the Personality of Godhead, who is the 
reservoir of all potencies.

When the primeval Lord Narayana created His universal body out of the five 
elements produced from Himself and then entered within that universal body by 
His own plenary portion, He thus became known as the Purusa.

Within His body are elaborately arranged the three planetary systems of this 
universe. His transcendental senses generate the knowledge-acquiring and active 
senses of all embodied beings. His consciousness generates conditioned 
knowledge, and His powerful breathing produces the bodily strength, sensory 
power and conditioned activities of the embodied souls. He is the prime mover, 
through the agency of the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. And 
thus the universe is created, maintained and annihilated.

In the beginning, the original Supreme Personality manifested the form of Brahma 
through the material mode of passion in order to create this universe. The Lord 
manifested His form as Visnu, the Lord of sacrifice and protector of the twice-
born brahmanas and their religious duties, to maintain the universe. And when 
the universe is to be annihilated the same Supreme Lord employs the material 
mode of ignorance and manifests the form of Rudra The created living beings are 
thus always subject to the forces of creation, maintenance and destruction.

Nara-Narayana Risi, who is perfectly peaceful and is the best of sages, was born 
as the son of Dharma and his wife Murti, the daughter of Daksa. Nara-Narayana 
Risi taught the devotional service of the Lord, by which material work ceases, 
and He Himself perfectly practiced this knowledge. He is living even today, His 
lotus feet served by the greatest of saintly persons.

King Indra became fearful, thinking that Nara-Narayana Risi would become very 
powerful by His severe penances and seize Indra's heavenly kingdom. Thus Indra, 
not knowing the transcendental glories of the incarnation of the Lord, sent 
Cupid and his associates to the Lord's residence in Badarikashrama. As the 
charming breezes of spring created a most sensuous atmosphere, Cupid himself 
attacked the Lord with arrows in the form of the irresistible glances of 
beautiful women.

The primeval Lord, understanding the offense committed by Indra, did not become 
proud. Instead He spoke laughingly as follows to Cupid and his followers, who 
were trembling before Him: "Do not fear, O mighty Madana, O wind-god and wives 
of the demigods. Rather, please accept these gifts I am offering you and kindly 
sanctify My ashrama by your presence."

My dear King Nimi, when Nara-Narayana Risi thus spoke, eradicating the fear of 
the demigods, they bowed their heads with shame and addressed the Lord as 
follows, to invoke His compassion: Our dear Lord, You are always transcendental, 
beyond the reach of illusion, and therefore You are forever changeless. Your 
causeless compassion toward us, despite our great offense, is not at all unusual 
in You, since innumerable great sages who are self-satisfied and free from anger 
and false pride bow down humbly at Your lotus feet.

The demigods place many obstacles on the path of those who worship You to 
transcend the temporary abodes of the demigods and reach Your supreme abode. 
Those who offer the demigods their assigned shares in sacrificial performances 
encounter no such obstacles. But because You are the direct protector of Your 
devotee, he is able to step over the head of whatever obstacle the demigods 
place before him.

Some men practice severe penances to cross beyond our influence, which is like 
an immeasurable ocean with endless waves of hunger, thirst, heat, cold and the 
other conditions brought about by the passing of time, such as the sensuous wind 
and the urges of the tongue and sex organs. Nevertheless, although crossing this 
ocean of sense gratification through severe penances, such persons foolishly 
drown in a cow's hoofprint when conquered by useless anger. Thus they exhaust 
the benefit of their difficult austerities in vain.

While the demigods were thus praising the Supreme Lord, the all-powerful Lord 
suddenly manifested before their eyes many women, who were astonishingly 
gorgeous, decorated with fine clothes and ornaments, and all faithfully engaging 
in the Lord's service.

When the followers of the demigods gazed upon the fascinating mystic beauty of 
the women created by Nara-Narayana Risi and smelled the fragrance of their 
bodies, the minds of these followers became bewildered. Indeed, upon seeing the 
beauty and magnificence of such women, the representatives of the demigods were 
completely diminished in their own opulence. 

The Supreme Lord of lords then smiled slightly and told the representatives of 
heaven, who were bowing down before Him, "Please choose one of these women, 
whomever you find suitable for you. She will become the ornament of the heavenly 

Vibrating the sacred syllable om, the servants of the demigods selected Urvashi, 
the best of the Apsaras. Placing her in front of them out of respect, they 
returned to the heavenly planets. 

The servants of the demigods reached the assembly of Indra, and thus, while all 
the residents of the three heavens listened, they explained to Indra the supreme 
power of Narayana. When Indra heard of Nara-Narayana Risi and became aware of 
his offense, he was both frightened and astonished. 

The infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, has descended into this 
world by His various partial incarnations such as Lord Hamsa [the swan], 
Dattatreya, the four Kumaras and our own father, the mighty Risabhadeva. By such 
incarnations, the Lord teaches the science of self-realization for the benefit 
of the whole universe. In His appearance as Hayagriva He killed the demon Madhu 
and thus brought the Vedas back from the hellish planet Patalaloka.

In His appearance as a fish, the Lord protected Satyavrata Manu, the earth and 
her valuable herbs. He protected them from the waters of annihilation. As a 
boar, the Lord killed Hiranyaksa, the son of Diti, while delivering the earth 
from the universal waters. And as a tortoise, He lifted Mandara Mountain on His 
back so that nectar could be churned from the ocean. The Lord saved the 
surrendered king of the elephants, Gajendra, who was suffering terrible distress 
from the grips of a crocodile. 

The Lord also delivered the tiny ascetic sages called the Valakhilyas when they 
fell into the water in a cow's hoofprint and Indra was laughing at them. The 
Lord then saved Indra when Indra was covered by darkness due to the sinful 
reaction for killing Vrtrasura. When the wives of the demigods were trapped in 
the palace of the demons without any shelter, the Lord saved them. In His 
incarnation as Nrsimha, the Lord killed Hiranyakashipu, the king of demons, to 
free the saintly devotees from fear. 

The Supreme Lord regularly takes advantage of the wars between the demons and 
demigods to kill the leaders of the demons. The Lord thus encourages the 
demigods by protecting the universe through His various incarnations during the 
reigns of each Manu. The Lord also appeared as Vamana and took the earth away 
from Bali Maharaja on the plea of begging three steps of land. The Lord then 
returned the entire world to the sons of Aditi. 

Lord Parashurama appeared in the family of Bhrgu as a fire that burned to ashes 
the dynasty of Haihaya. Thus Lord Parashurama rid the earth of all ksatriyas 
twenty-one times. The same Lord appeared as Ramacandra, the husband of Sitadevi, 
and thus He killed the ten-headed Ravana, along with all the soldiers of Lanka. 
May that Shri Rama, whose glories destroy the contamination of the world, be 
always victorious.

To diminish the burden of the earth, the unborn Lord will take birth in the Yadu 
dynasty and perform feats impossible even for the demigods. Propounding 
speculative philosophy, the Lord, as Buddha, will bewilder the unworthy 
performers of Vedic sacrifices. And as Kalki the Lord will kill all the low-
class men posing as rulers at the end of the age of Kali.

O mighty-armed King, there are innumerable appearances and activities of the 
Supreme Lord of the universe similar to those I have already mentioned. In fact, 
the glories of the Supreme Lord are unlimited.

Chapter FIVE Narada Concludes His Teachings to Vasudeva

King Nimi further inquired: My dear Yogendras, all of you are most perfect in 
knowledge of the science of the self. Therefore, kindly explain to me the 
destination of those who for the most part never worship the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, Hari, who are unable to quench their material desires and who are 
not in control of their own selves.

Shri Camasa said: Each of the four social orders, headed by the brahmanas, was 
born through different combinations of the modes of nature, from the face, arms, 
thighs and feet of the Supreme Lord in His universal form. Thus the four 
spiritual orders were also generated.

If any of the members of the four varnas and four ashramas fail to worship or 
intentionally disrespect the Personality of Godhead, who is the source of their 
own creation, they will fall down from their position into a hellish state of 

There are many persons who have little opportunity to take part in discussions 
about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and thus it is difficult for 
them to chant His infallible glories. Persons such as women, shudras and other 
fallen classes always deserve the mercy of great personalities like yourself.

On the other hand, brahmanas, members of the royal order and vaishyas, even 
after being allowed to approach the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Hari, by 
receiving the second birth of Vedic initiation, can become bewildered and adopt 
various materialistic philosophies.

Ignorant of the art of work, such arrogantly proud fools, enchanted and 
enlivened by the sweet words of the Vedas, pose as learned authorities and offer 
flattering entreaties to the demigods.

Due to the influence of the mode of passion, the materialistic followers of the 
Vedas become subject to violent desires and are excessively lusty. Their anger 
is like that of a snake. Deceitful, overly proud, and sinful in their behavior, 
they mock the devotees who are dear to Lord Acyuta.

The materialistic followers of Vedic rituals, giving up the worship of the Lord, 
instead practically worship their wives, and thus their homes become dedicated 
to sex life. Such materialistic householders encourage one another in such 
whimsical behavior. Understanding ritualistic sacrifice as a necessary item for 
bodily maintenance, they perform unauthorized ceremonies in which there is no 
distribution of foodstuffs or charity to the brahmanas and other respectable 
persons. Instead, they cruelly slaughter animals such as goats without any 
understanding of the dark consequences of their activities.

The intelligence of cruel-minded persons is blinded by false pride based on 
great wealth, opulence, prestigious family connections, education, renunciation, 
personal beauty, physical strength and successful performance of Vedic rituals. 
Being intoxicated with this false pride, such cruel persons blaspheme the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees.

The Personality of Godhead is eternally situated within the heart of every 
embodied being; still the Lord remains situated apart, just as the sky, which is 
all-pervading, does not mix with any material object. Thus the Lord is the 
supreme worshipable object and the absolute controller of everything. He is 
elaborately glorified in the Vedic literature, but those who are bereft of 
intelligence do not like to hear about Him. They prefer to waste their time 
discussing their own mental concoctions, which inevitably deal with gross 
material sense gratification such as sex life and meat-eating.

In this material world the conditioned soul is always inclined to sex, meat-
eating and intoxication. Therefore religious scriptures never actually encourage 
such activities. Although the scriptural injunctions provide for sex through 
sacred marriage, for meat-eating through sacrificial offerings and for 
intoxication through the acceptance of ritual cups of wine, such ceremonies are 
meant for the ultimate purpose of renunciation.

The only proper fruit of acquired wealth is religiosity, on the basis of which 
one can acquire a philosophical understanding of life that eventually matures 
into direct perception of the Absolute Truth and thus liberation from all 
suffering. Materialistic persons, however, utilize their wealth simply for the 
advancement of their family situation. They fail to see that insurmountable 
death will soon destroy the frail material body.

According to the Vedic injunctions, when wine is offered in sacrificial 
ceremonies it is later to be consumed by smelling, and not by drinking. 
Similarly, the sacrificial offering of animals is permitted, but there is no 
provision for wide-scale animal slaughter. Religious sex life is also permitted, 
but only in marriage for begetting children, and not for sensuous exploitation 
of the body. Unfortunately, however, the less intelligent materialists cannot 
understand that their duties in life should be performed purely on the spiritual 

Those sinful persons who are ignorant of actual religious principles, yet 
consider themselves to be completely pious, without compunction commit violence 
against innocent animals who are fully trusting in them. In their next lives, 
such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this 

The conditioned souls become completely bound in affection to their own 
corpselike material bodies and their relatives and paraphernalia. In such a 
proud and foolish condition, the conditioned souls envy other living entities as 
well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who resides in the heart of 
all beings. Thus enviously offending others, the conditioned souls gradually 
fall down into hell.

Those who have not achieved knowledge of the Absolute Truth, yet who are still 
beyond the darkness of complete ignorance, generally follow the threefold path 
of pious material life, namely religiosity, economic development and sense 
gratification. Not having time to reflect on any higher purpose, they become the 
killers of their own soul.

The killers of the soul are never peaceful, because they consider that human 
intelligence is ultimately meant for expanding material life. Thus neglecting 
their real, spiritual duties, they are always in distress. They are filled with 
great hopes and dreams, but unfortunately these are always destroyed by the 
inevitable march of time.

Those who have turned away from the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva, being under the 
spell of the Lord's illusory energy, are eventually forced to give up their so-
called homes, children, friends, wives and lovers, which were all created by the 
illusory potency of the Supreme Lord, and enter against their will into the 
darkest regions of the universe.

King Nimi inquired: In what colors and forms does the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead appear in each of the different ages, and with what names and by what 
types of regulative principles is the Lord worshiped in human society?

Shri Karabhajana replied: In each of the four yugas, or ages - Krta, Treta, 
Dvapara and Kali - Lord Keshava appears with various complexions, names and 
forms and is thus worshiped by various processes. 

In Satya-yuga the Lord is white and four-armed, has matted locks and wears a 
garment of tree bark. He carries a black deerskin, a sacred thread, prayer beads 
and the rod and waterpot of a brahmacari. 

People in Satya-yuga are peaceful, nonenvious, friendly to every creature and 
steady in all situations. They worship the Supreme Personality by austere 
meditation and by internal and external sense control.

In Satya-yuga the Lord is glorified by the names Hamsa, Suparna, Vaikuntha, 
Dharma, Yogeshvara, Amala, Ishvara, Purusa, Avyakta and Paramatma.

In Treta-yuga the Lord appears with a red complexion. He has four arms, golden 
hair, and wears a triple belt representing initiation into each of the three 
Vedas. Embodying the knowledge of worship by sacrificial performance, which is 
contained in the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas, His symbols are the ladle, spoon and 
other implements of sacrifice.

In Treta-yuga, those members of human society who are fixed in religiosity and 
are sincerely interested in achieving the Absolute Truth worship Lord Hari, who 
contains within Himself all the demigods. The Lord is worshiped by the rituals 
of sacrifice taught in the three Vedas.

In Treta-yuga the Lord is glorified by the names Visnu, Yajna, Prshnigarbha, 
Sarvadeva, Urukrama, Vrsakapi, Jayanta and Urugaya.

In Dvapara-yuga the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears with a dark blue 
complexion, wearing yellow garments. The Lord's transcendental body is marked in 
this incarnation with Shrivatsa and other distinctive ornaments, and He 
manifests His personal weapons.

My dear King, in Dvapara-yuga men who desire to know the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, who is the supreme enjoyer, worship Him in the mood of honoring a great 
king, following the prescriptions of both the Vedas and tantras.

"Obeisances to You, O Supreme Lord Vasudeva, and to Your forms of Sankarsana, 
Pradyumna and Aniruddha. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all obeisances unto 
You. O Lord Narayana Risi, O creator of the universe, best of personalities, 
master of this cosmos and original form of the universe, O Supersoul of all 
created entities, all homage unto You."

O King, in this way people in Dvapara-yuga glorified the Lord of the universe. 
In Kali-yuga also people worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by following 
various regulations of the revealed scriptures. Now kindly hear of this from me.

In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to 
worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krsna. 
Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krsna Himself. He is accompanied 
by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.

My dear Lord, You are the Maha-purusa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I 
worship Your lotus feet, which are the only eternal object of meditation. Those 
feet destroy the embarrassing conditions of material life and freely award the 
greatest desire of the soul, the attainment of pure love of Godhead. My dear 
Lord, Your lotus feet are the shelter of all holy places and of all saintly 
authorities in the line of devotional service and are honored by powerful 
demigods like Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. My Lord, You are so kind that You 
willingly protect all those who simply bow down to You with respect, and thus 
You mercifully relieve all the distress of Your servants. In conclusion, my 
Lord, Your lotus feet are actually the suitable boat for crossing over the ocean 
of birth and death, and therefore even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva seek shelter 
at Your lotus feet."

O Maha-purusa, I worship Your lotus feet. You gave up the association of the 
goddess of fortune and all her opulence, which is most difficult to renounce and 
is hankered after by even the great demigods. Being the most faithful follower 
of the path of religion, You thus left for the forest in obedience to a 
brahmana's curse. Out of sheer mercifulness You chased after the fallen 
conditioned souls, who are always in pursuit of the false enjoyment of illusion, 
and at the same time engaged in searching out Your own desired object, Lord 

Thus, O King, the Supreme Lord Hari is the giver of all desirable benefits of 
life. Intelligent human beings worship the particular forms and names that the 
Lord manifests in different ages.

Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the 
essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga 
because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the 
performance of sankirtana.

Indeed, there is no higher possible gain for embodied souls forced to wander 
throughout the material world than the Supreme Lord's sankirtana movement, by 
which one can attain the supreme peace and free oneself from the cycle of 
repeated birth and death.

My dear King, the inhabitants of Satya-yuga and other ages eagerly desire to 
take birth in this age of Kali, since in this age there will be many devotees of 
the Supreme Lord, Narayana. These devotees will appear in various places but 
will be especially numerous in South India. O master of men, in the age of Kali 
those persons who drink the waters of the holy rivers of Dravida-desha, such as 
the Tamraparni, Krtamala, Payasvini, the extremely pious Kaveri and the Pratici 
Mahanadi, will almost all be purehearted devotees of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, Vasudeva.

O King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full shelter of 
the lotus feet of Mukunda, who offers shelter to all, is not indebted to the 
demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or 
even one's forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living 
entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the 
Lord's service has no need to serve such persons separately.

One who has thus given up all other engagements and has taken full shelter at 
the lotus feet of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is very dear to the 
Lord. Indeed, if such a surrendered soul accidentally commits some sinful 
activity, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated within everyone's 
heart, immediately takes away the reaction to such sin.

Narada Muni said: Having thus heard the science of devotional service, Nimi, the 
King of Mithila, felt extremely satisfied and, along with the sacrificial 
priests, offered respectful worship to the sagacious sons of Jayanti.

The perfect sages then disappeared before the eyes of everyone present. King 
Nimi faithfully practiced the principles of spiritual life he had learned from 
them, and thus he achieved the supreme goal of life. 

O greatly fortunate Vasudeva, simply apply with faith these principles of 
devotional service which you have heard, and thus, being free from material 
association, you will attain the Supreme.

Indeed, the whole world has become filled with the glories of you and your good 
wife because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, has taken the 
position of your son.

My dear Vasudeva, you and your good wife Devaki have manifested great 
transcendental love for Krsna, accepting Him as your son. Indeed, you are always 
seeing the Lord, embracing Him, speaking with Him, resting with Him, sitting 
together with Him and taking your meals with Him. By such affectionate and 
intimate association with the Lord, undoubtedly both of you have completely 
purified your hearts. In other words, you are already perfect.

Inimical kings like Shishupala, Paundraka and Shalva were always thinking about 
Lord Krsna. Even while they were lying down, sitting or engaging in other 
activities, they enviously meditated upon the bodily movements of the Lord, His 
sporting pastimes, His loving glances upon His devotees, and other attractive 
features displayed by the Lord. Being thus always absorbed in Krsna, they 
achieved spiritual liberation in the Lord's own abode. What then can be said of 
the benedictions offered to those who constantly fix their minds on Lord Krsna 
in a favorable, loving mood?

Do not think of Krsna as an ordinary child, because He is the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, inexhaustible and the Soul of all beings. The Lord has 
concealed His inconceivable opulences and is thus outwardly appearing to be an 
ordinary human being.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead descended to kill the demoniac kings who were 
the burden of the earth and to protect the saintly devotees. However, both the 
demons and the devotees are awarded liberation by the Lord's mercy. Thus, His 
transcendental fame has spread throughout the universe.

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami continued: Having heard this narration, the greatly 
fortunate Vasudeva was completely struck with wonder. Thus he and his most 
blessed wife Devaki gave up all illusion and anxiety that had entered their 

Anyone who meditates on this pious historical narration with fixed attention 
will purify himself of all contamination in this very life and thus achieve the 
highest spiritual perfection. 

Chapter SIX The Yadu Dynasty Retires to Prabhasa

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Brahma then set off for Dvaraka, accompanied 
by his own sons as well as by the demigods and the great Prajapatis. Lord Shiva, 
the bestower of auspiciousness to all living beings, also went, surrounded by 
many ghostly creatures. 

The powerful Lord Indra, along with the Maruts, Adityas, Vasus, Ashvinis, 
Ribhus, Angiras, Rudras, Vishvedevas, Sadhyas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, 
Siddhas, Caranas, Guhyakas, the great sages and forefathers and the Vidyadharas 
and Kinnaras, arrived at the city of Dvaraka, hoping to see Lord Krsna. By His 
transcendental form, Krsna, the Supreme Lord, enchanted all human beings and 
spread His own fame throughout the worlds. The Lord's glories destroy all 
contamination within the universe.

In that resplendent city of Dvaraka, rich with all superior opulences, the 
demigods beheld with unsatiated eyes the wonderful form of Shri Krsna. 

The demigods covered the Supreme Lord of the universe with flower garlands 
brought from the gardens of heaven. Then they praised Him, the best of the Yadu 
dynasty, with statements containing charming words and ideas. 

The demigods began to speak: Our dear Lord, advanced mystie yogis, striving for 
liberation from the severe bondage of material work, meditate with great 
devotion upon Your lotus feet within their hearts. Dedicating our intelligence, 
senses, vital air, mind and power of speech to Your Lordship, we demigods bow 
down at Your lotus feet.

O unconquerable Lord, You engage Your illusory energy, composed of three modes, 
to unleash, maintain and devastate the inconceivable manifest cosmos, all within 
Your own self. As the supreme superintendent of maya, You appear to be situated 
in the interaction of the modes of nature; however, You are never affected by 
material activities. In fact, You are directly engaged in Your own eternal, 
spiritual bliss, and thus You cannot be accused of any material infection.

O greatest of all, those whose consciousness is polluted by illusion cannot 
purify themselves merely by ordinary worship, study of the Vedas, charity, 
austerity and ritual activities. Our Lord, those pure souls who have developed a 
powerful transcendental faith in Your glories achieve a purified state of 
existence that can never be attained by those lacking such faith.

Great sages, desiring the highest benefit in life, always cherish Your lotus 
feet within their hearts, which are melted by love for You. Similarly, Your 
self-controlled devotees, desiring to cross beyond the material kingdom of 
heaven to achieve opulence equal to Yours, worship Your lotus feet in the 
morning, at noon and in the evening. Thus, they meditate upon Your Lordship in 
Your quadruple expansion. Your lotus feet are just like a blazing fire that 
burns to ashes all the inauspicious desires for material sense gratification.

Those about to offer oblations into the fire of sacrifice in accordance with the 
Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas meditate on Your lotus feet. Similarly, the 
practitioners of transcendental yoga meditate upon Your lotus feet, hoping for 
knowledge about Your divine mystic potency, and the most elevated pure devotees 
perfectly worship Your lotus feet, desiring to cross beyond Your illusory 

O almighty Lord, You are so kind to Your servants that You have accepted the 
withered flower garland that we have placed on Your chest. Since the goddess of 
fortune makes her abode on Your transcendental chest, she will undoubtedly 
become agitated, like a jealous co-wife, upon seeing our offering also dwelling 
there. Yet You are so merciful that You neglect Your eternal consort Laksmi and 
accept our offering as most excellent worship. O merciful Lord, may Your lotus 
feet always aet as a blazing fire to consume the inauspicious desires within our 

O omnipotent Lord, in Your incarnation as Trivikrama, You raised Your leg like a 
flagpole to break the shell of the universe, allowing the holy Ganges to flow 
down, like a banner of victory, in three branches throughout the three planetary 
systems. By three mighty steps of Your lotus feet, Your Lordship captured Bali 
Maharaja, along with his universal kingdom. Your lotus feet inspire fear in the 
demons by driving them down to hell and fearlessness among Your devotees by 
elevating them to the perfection of heavenly life. We are sincerely trying to 
worship You, our Lord; therefore may Your lotus feet kindly free us from all of 
our sinful reactions.

You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the transcendental entity who is 
superior to both material nature and the enjoyer of nature. May Your lotus feet 
bestow transcendental pleasure upon us. All of the great demigods, beginning 
with Brahma, are embodied living entities. Struggling painfully with one another 
under the strict control of Your time factor, they are just like bulls dragged 
by ropes tied through their pierced noses.

You are the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe. 
As time, You regulate the subtle and manifest states of material nature and 
control every living being. As the threefold wheel of time You diminish all 
things by Your imperceptible actions, and thus You are the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead.

My dear Lord, the original purusa-avatara, Maha-Visnu, acquires His creative 
potency from You. Thus with infallible energy He impregnates material nature, 
producing the mahat-tattva. Then the mahat-tattva, the amalgamated material 
energy, endowed with the potency of the Lord, produces from itself the primeval 
golden egg of the universe, which is covered by various layers of material 

O Lord, You are the supreme creator of this universe and the ultimate controller 
of all moving and nonmoving living entities. You are Hrsikesha, the supreme 
controller of all sensory activity, and thus You never become contaminated or 
entangled in the course of Your supervision of the infinite sensory activities 
within the material creation. On the other hand, other living entities, even 
yogis and philosophers, are disturbed and frightened simply by remembering the 
material objects that they have supposedly renounced in their pursuit of 

My Lord, You are living with sixteen thousand exquisitely beautiful, 
aristocratic wives. By their irresistible coy and smiling glances and by their 
lovely arching eyebrows, they send You messages of eager conjugal love. But they 
are completely unable to disturb the mind and senses of Your Lordship.

The nectar-bearing rivers of discussions about You, and also the holy rivers 
generated from the bathing of Your lotus feet, are able to destroy all 
contamination within the three worlds. Those who are striving for purification 
associate with the holy narrations of Your glories by hearing them with their 
ears, and they associate with the holy rivers flowing from Your lotus feet by 
physically bathing in them.

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami continued: After Brahma, along with Lord Shiva and the 
other demigods, thus offered prayers to the Supreme Lord, Govinda, Lord Brahma 
situated himself in the sky and addressed the Lord as follows. 

Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord, previously we requested You to remove the burden 
of the earth. O unlimited Personality of Godhead, that request has certainly 
been fulfilled.

My Lord, You have reestablished the principles of religion among pious men who 
are always firmly bound to the truth. You have also distributed Your glories all 
over the world, and thus the whole world can be purified by hearing about You. 

Descending into the dynasty of King Yadu, You have manifested Your unique 
transcendental form, and for the benefit of the entire universe You have 
executed magnanimous transcendental activities. 

My dear Lord, those pious and saintly persons who in the age of Kali hear about 
Your transcendental activities and also glorify them will easily cross over the 
darkness of the age.

O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O my Lord, You have descended into the Yadu 
dynasty, and thus You have spent one hundred twenty-five autumns with Your 

My dear Lord, there is nothing remaining at this time for Your Lordship to do on 
behalf of the demigods. You have already withdrawn Your dynasty by the curse of 
the brahmanas. O Lord, You are the basis of everything, and if You so desire, 
kindly return now to Your own abode in the spiritual world. At the same time, we 
humbly beg that You always protect us. We are Your humble servants, and on Your 
behalf we are managing the universal situation. We, along with our planets and 
followers, require Your constant protection. 

The Supreme Lord said: O lord of the demigods, Brahma, I understand your prayers 
and request. Having removed the burden of the earth, I have executed everything 
that was required on your behalf. 

That very Yadava dynasty in which I appeared became greatly magnified in 
opulence, especially in their physical strength and courage, to the extent that 
they threatened to devour the whole world. Therefore I have stopped them, just 
as the shore holds back the great ocean.

If I were to leave this world without withdrawing the overly proud members of 
the Yadu dynasty, the whole world would be destroyed by the deluge of their 
unlimited expansion.

Now due to the brahmana's curse, the annihilation of My family has already 
begun. O sinless Brahma, when this annihilation is finished and I am enroute to 
Vaikuntha, I will pay a small visit to your abode.

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Thus addressed by the Lord of the universe, the 
self-born Brahma fell down in obeisances at the lotus feet of the Lord. 
Surrounded by all the demigods, the great Brahma then returned to his personal 

Thereafter, the Personality of Godhead observed that tremendous disturbances 
were taking place in the holy city of Dvaraka. Thus the Lord spoke to the 
assembled senior members of the Yadu dynasty as follows.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Our dynasty has been cursed by the 
brahmanas. Such a curse is impossible to counteract, and thus great disturbances 
are appearing everywhere around us. 

My dear respected elders, we must not remain any longer in this place if we wish 
to keep our lives intact. Let us go this very day to the most pious place 
Prabhasa. We have no time to delay.

Once, the moon was afflicted with consumption because of the curse of Daksa, but 
just by taking bath at Prabhasa-ksetra, the moon was immediately freed from his 
sinful reaction and again resumed the waxing of his phases. 

By bathing at Prabhasa-ksetra, by offering sacrifice there to placate the 
forefathers and demigods, by feeding the worshipable brahmanas with various 
delicious foodstuffs and by bestowing opulent gifts upon them as the most 
suitable candidates for charity, we will certainly cross over these terrible 
dangers through such acts of charity, just as one can cross over a great ocean 
in a suitable boat. 

Shukadeva Gosvami said: O favorite son of the Kurus, thus advised by the 
Personality of Godhead, the Yadavas made up their minds to go to that holy 
place, Prabhasa-ksetra, and thus yoked their horses to their chariots. 

My dear King, Uddhava was a constantly faithful follower of Lord Krsna. Upon 
seeing the imminent departure of the Yadavas, hearing from them of the Lord's 
instructions and taking note of the fearful omens, he approached the Personality 
of Godhead in a private place. He bowed down with his head at the lotus feet of 
the supreme controller of the universe and with folded hands addressed Him as 

Shri Uddhava said: O my Lord, O supreme God among all the demigods, real piety 
is invoked simply by hearing and chanting Your transcendental glories. My Lord, 
it appears that You will now withdraw Your dynasty, and thus You Yourself will 
finally give up Your pastimes within this universe. You are the supreme 
controller and the master of all mystic power. But although You are fully 
capable of counteracting the brahmanas' curse against Your dynasty, You are not 
doing so, and Your disappearance is imminent.

O Lord Keshava, my dear master, I cannot tolerate giving up Your lotus feet even 
for a fraction of a moment. I urge You to take me along with You to Your own 

O my dear Krsna, Your pastimes are supremely auspicious for mankind and are an 
intoxicating beverage for the ears. Tasting such pastimes, people forget their 
desires for other things.

My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Soul, and thus You are most dear to us. We are 
Your devotees, and how can we possibly reject You or live without You even for a 
moment? Whether we are lying down, sitting, walking, standing, bathing, enjoying 
recreation, eating or doing anything else, we are constantly engaged in Your 

Simply by decorating ourselves with the garlands, fragrant oils, clothes and 
ornaments that You have already enjoyed, and by eating the remnants of Your 
meals, we, Your servants, will indeed conquer Your illusory energy.

Naked sages who seriously endeavor in spiritual practice, who have raised their 
semen upward, who are peaceful and sinless members of the renounced order, 
attain the spiritual abode called Brahman.

O greatest of mystics, although we are conditioned souls wandering on the path 
of fruitive work, we will certainly cross beyond the darkness of this material 
world simply by hearing about Your Lordship in the association of Your devotees. 
Thus we are always remembering and glorifying the wonderful things You do and 
the wonderful things You say. We ecstatically recall Your amorous pastimes with 
Your confidential conjugal devotees and how You boldly smile and move about 
while engaged in such youthful pastimes. My dear Lord, Your loving pastimes are 
bewilderingly similar to the activities of ordinary people within this material 

Shukadeva Gosvami said: O King Pariksit, thus addressed, the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, Krsna, the son of Devaki, began to reply confidentially to His dear, 
unalloyed servant Uddhava.

Chapter SEVEN Lord Krsna Instructs Uddhava

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O greatly fortunate Uddhava, you have 
accurately revealed My desire to withdraw the Yadu dynasty from the earth and 
return to My own abode in Vaikuntha. Thus Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and all other 
planetary rulers are now praying for Me to resume My residence in Vaikuntha.

Answering the prayer of Lord Brahma, I descended within this world along with My 
plenary portion, Lord Baladeva, and performed various activities on behalf of 
the demigods. I have now completed My mission here. 

Now due to the brahmanas' curse the Yadu dynasty will certainly perish by 
fighting among themselves; and on the seventh day from today the ocean will rise 
up and inundate this city of Dvaraka.

O saintly Uddhava, in the near future I will abandon this earth. Then, being 
overwhelmed by the age of Kali, the earth will be bereft of all piety.

My dear Uddhava, you should not remain here on the earth once I have abandoned 
this world. My dear devotee, you are sinless, but in Kali-yuga the people will 
be addicted to all types of sinful activities; therefore do not stay here.

Now you should completely give up all attachment to your personal friends and 
relatives and fix your mind on Me. Thus being always conscious of Me, you should 
observe all things with equal vision and wander throughout the earth.

My dear Uddhava, the material universe that you perceive through your mind, 
speech, eyes, ears and other senses is an illusory creation that one imagines to 
be real due to the influence of maya. In fact, you should know that all of the 
objects of the material senses are temporary.

One whose consciousness is bewildered by illusion perceives many differences in 
value and meaning among material objects. Thus one engages constantly on the 
platform of material good and evil and is bound by such conceptions. Absorbed in 
material duality, such a person contemplates the performance of compulsory 
duties, nonperformance of such duties and performance of forbidden activities.

Therefore, bringing all your senses under control and thus subduing the mind, 
you should see the entire world as situated within the self, who is expanded 
everywhere, and you should also see this individual self within Me, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead.

Being fully endowed with conclusive knowledge of the Vedas and having realized 
the ultimate purpose of such knowledge in practice, you will be able to perceive 
the pure self, and thus your mind will be satisfied. At that time you will 
become dear to all living beings, headed by the demigods, and you will never be 
hampered by any disturbance in life.

One who has transcended material good and evil automatically acts in accordance 
with religious injunctions and avoids forbidden activities. The self-realized 
person does this spontaneously, like an innocent child, and not because he is 
thinking in terms of material good and evil.

One who is the kind well-wisher of all living beings, who is peaceful and firmly 
fixed in knowledge and realization, sees Me within all things. Such a person 
never again falls down into the cycle of birth and death. 

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: O King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord 
Krsna, thus instructed His pure devotee Uddhava, who was eager to receive 
knowledge from the Lord. Uddhava then offered obeisances to the Lord and spoke 
as follows.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You alone award the results of yoga practice, 
and You are so kind that by Your own influence You distribute the perfection of 
yoga to Your devotee. Thus You are the Supreme Soul who is realized through 
yoga, and it is You who are the origin of all mystic power. For my supreme 
benefit You have explained the procedure for giving up the material world 
through the process of sannyasa, or renunciation.

My dear Lord, O Supreme Soul, for those whose minds are attached to sense 
gratification, and especially for those bereft of devotion unto You, such 
renunciation of material enjoyment is most difficult to perform. That is my 

O my Lord, I myself am most foolish because my consciousness is merged in the 
material body and bodily relations, which are all manufactured by Your illusory 
energy. Thus I am thinking, "I am this body, and all of these relatives are 
mine." Therefore, my Lord, please instruct Your poor servant. Please tell me how 
I can very easily carry out Your instructions.

My dear Lord, You are the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
and You reveal Yourself to Your devotees. Besides Your Lordship, I do not see 
anyone who can actually explain perfect knowledge to me. Such a perfect teacher 
is not to be found even among the demigods in heaven. Indeed, all of the 
demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are bewildered by Your illusory potency. They 
are conditioned souls who accept their own material bodies and bodily expansions 
to be the highest truth.

Therefore, O Lord, feeling weary of material life and tormented by its 
distresses, I now surrender unto You because You are the perfect master. You are 
the unlimited, all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose spiritual abode 
in Vaikuntha is free from all disturbances. In fact, You are known as Narayana, 
the true friend of all living beings.

The Supreme Lord replied: Generally those human beings who can expertly analyze 
the actual situation of the material world are able to raise themselves beyond 
the inauspicious life of gross material gratification.

An intelligent person, expert in perceiving the world around him and in applying 
sound logic, can achieve real benefit through his own intelligence. Thus 
sometimes one acts as one's own instructing spiritual master.

In the human form of life, those who are self-controlled and expert in the 
spiritual science of Sankhya can directly see Me along with all of My potencies.

In this world there are many kinds of created bodies - some with one leg, others 
with two, three, four or more legs, and still others with no legs - but of all 
these, the human form is actually dear to Me.

Although I, the Supreme Lord, can never be captured by ordinary sense 
perception, those situated in human life may use their intelligence and other 
faculties of perception to directly search for Me through both apparent and 
indirectly ascertained symptoms.

In this regard, sages cite a historical narration concerning the conversation 
between the greatly powerful King Yadu and an avadhuta.

Maharaja Yadu once observed a certain brahmana avadhuta, who appeared to be 
quite young and learned, wandering about fearlessly. Being himself most learned 
in spiritual science, the King took the opportunity and inquired from him as 

Shri Yadu said: O brahmana, I see that you are not engaged in any practical 
religious activity, and yet you have acquired a most expert understanding of all 
things and all people within this world. Kindly tell me, sir, how did you 
acquire this extraordinary intelligence, and why are you traveling freely 
throughout the world behaving as if you were a child? 

Generally human beings work hard to cultivate religiosity, economic development, 
sense gratification and also knowledge of the soul, and their usual motive is to 
increase the duration of their lives, acquire fame and enjoy material opulence.

You, however, although capable, learned, expert, handsome and most eloquent, are 
not engaged in doing anything, nor do you desire anything; rather, you appear 
stupefied and maddened as if you were a ghostly creature.

Although all people within the material world are burning in the great forest 
fire of lust and greed, you remain free and are not burned by that fire. You are 
just like an elephant who takes shelter from a forest fire by standing within 
the water of the Ganges River,

O brahmana, we see that you are devoid of any contact with material enjoyment 
and that you are traveling alone, without any companions or family members. 
Therefore, because we are sincerely inquiring from you, please tell us the cause 
of the great ecstasy that you are feeling within yourself.

Lord Krsna continued: The intelligent King Yadu, always respectful to the 
brahmanas, waited with bowed head as the brahmana, pleased with the King's 
attitude, began to reply. 

The brahmana said: My dear King, with my intelligence I have taken shelter of 
many spiritual masters. Having gained transcendental understanding from them, I 
now wander about the earth in a liberated condition. Please listen as I describe 
them to you.

O King, I have taken shelter of twenty-four gurus, who are the following: the 
earth, air, sky, water, fire, moon, sun, pigeon and python; the sea, moth, 
honeybee, elephant and honey thief; the deer, the fish, the prostitute Pingala, 
the kurara bird and the child; and the young girl, arrow maker, serpent, spider 
and wasp. My dear King, by studying their activities I have learned the science 
of the self.

Please listen, O son of Maharaja Yayati, O tiger among men, as I explain to you 
what I have learned from each of these gurus. 

A sober person, even when harassed by other living beings, should understand 
that his aggressors are acting helplessly under the control of God, and thus he 
should never be distracted from progress on his own path. This rule I have 
learned from the earth.

A saintly person should learn from the mountain to devote all his efforts to the 
service of others and to make the welfare of others the sole reason for his 
existence. Similarly, as the disciple of the tree, he should learn to dedicate 
himself to others.

A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his 
existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material 
senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that 
one's higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one's speech and mind are 
not deviated from self-realization.

Even a transcendentalist is surrounded by innumerable material objects, which 
possess good and bad qualities. However, one who has transcended material good 
and evil should not become entangled even when in contact with the material 
objects; rather, he should act like the wind.

Although a self-realized soul may live in various material bodies while in this 
world, experiencing their various qualities and functions, he is never 
entangled, just as the wind which carries various aromas does not actually mix 
with them.

A thoughtful sage, even while living within a material body, should understand 
himself to be pure spirit soul. Similarly, one should see that the spirit soul 
enters within all forms of life, both moving and nonmoving, and that the 
individual souls are thus all-pervading. The sage should further observe that 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the Supersoul, is simultaneously present 
within all things. Both the individual soul and the Supersoul can be understood 
by comparing them to the nature of the sky: although the sky extends everywhere 
and everything rests within the sky, the sky does not mix with anything, nor can 
it be divided by anything.

Although the mighty wind blows clouds and storms across the sky, the sky is 
never implicated or affected by these activities. Similarly, the spirit soul is 
not actually changed or affected by contact with the material nature. Although 
the living entity enters within a body made of earth, water and fire, and 
although he is impelled by the three modes of nature created by eternal time, 
his eternal spiritual nature is never actually affected.

O King, a saintly person is just like water because he is free from all 
contamination, gentle by nature, and by speaking creates a beautiful vibration 
like that of flowing water. Just by seeing, touching or hearing such a saintly 
person, the living entity is purified, just as one is cleansed by contact with 
pure water. Thus a saintly person, just like a holy place, purifies all those 
who contact him because he always chants the glories of the Lord.

Saintly persons become powerful by execution of austerities. Their consciousness 
is unshakable because they do not try to enjoy anything within the material 
world. Such naturally liberated sages accept foodstuffs that are offered to them 
by destiny, and if by chance they happen to eat contaminated food, they are not 
affected, just like fire, which burns up contaminated substances that are 
offered to it.

A saintly person, just like fire, sometimes appears in a concealed form and at 
other times reveals himself. For the welfare of the conditioned souls who desire 
real happiness, a saintly person may accept the worshipable position of 
spiritual master, and thus like fire he burns to ashes all the past and future 
sinful reactions of his worshipers by mercifully accepting their offerings.

Just as fire manifests differently in pieces of wood of different sizes and 
qualities, the omnipotent Supreme Soul, having entered the bodies of higher and 
lower life forms created by His own potency, appears to assume the identity of 

The various phases of one's material life, beginning with birth and culminating 
in death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the soul, just as the 
apparent waxing and waning of the moon does not affect the moon itself. Such 
changes are enforced by the imperceptible movements of time.

The flames of a fire appear and disappear at every moment, and yet this creation 
and destruction is not noticed by the ordinary observer. Similarly, the mighty 
waves of time flow constantly, like the powerful currents of a river, and 
imperceptibly cause the birth, growth and death of innumerable material bodies. 
And yet the soul, who is thus constantly forced to change his position, cannot 
perceive the actions of time.

Just as the sun evaporates large quantities of water by its potent rays and 
later returns the water to the earth in the form of rain, similarly, a saintly 
person accepts all types of material objects with his material senses, and at 
the appropriate time, when the proper person has approached him to request them, 
he returns such material objects. Thus, both in accepting and giving up the 
objects of the senses, he is not entangled.

Even when reflected in various objects, the sun is never divided, nor does it 
merge into its reflection. Only those with dull brains would consider the sun in 
this way. Similarly, although the soul is reflected through different material 
bodies, the soul remains undivided and nonmaterial.

One should never indulge in excessive affection or concern for anyone or 
anything; otherwise one will have to experience great suffering, just like the 
foolish pigeon.

There once was a pigeon who lived in the forest along with his wife. He had 
built a nest within a tree and lived there for several years in her company. 

The two pigeons were very much devoted to their household duties. Their hearts 
being tied together by sentimental affection, they were each attracted by the 
other's glances, bodily features and states of mind. Thus, they completely bound 
each other in affection.

Naively trusting in the future, they carried out their acts of resting, sitting, 
walking, standing, conversing, playing, eating and so forth as a loving couple 
among the trees of the forest. 

Whenever she desired anything, O King, the she-pigeon would flatteringly cajole 
her husband, and he in turn would gratify her by faithfully doing whatever she 
wanted, even with great personal difficulty. Thus, he could not control his 
senses in her association.

Then the female pigeon experienced her first pregnancy. When the time arrived, 
the chaste lady delivered a number of eggs within the nest in the presence of 
her husband. 

When the time was ripe, baby pigeons, with tender limbs and feathers created by 
the inconceivable potencies of the Lord, were born from those eggs. 

The two pigeons became most affectionate to their children and took great 
pleasure in listening to their awkward chirping, which sounded very sweet to the 
parents. Thus with love they began to raise the little birds who were born of 

The parent birds became very joyful by observing the soft wings of their 
children, their chirping, their lovely innocent movements around the nest and 
their attempts to jump up and fly. Seeing their children happy, the parents were 
also happy. 

Their hearts bound to each other by affection, the foolish birds, completely 
bewildered by the illusory energy of Lord Visnu, continued to take care of the 
young offspring who had been born to them. 

One day the two heads of the family went out to find food for the children. 
Being very anxious to feed their offspring properly, they wandered all over the 
forest for a long time. 

At that time a certain hunter who happened to be wandering through the forest 
saw the young pigeons moving about near their nest. Spreading out his net he 
captured them all. 

The pigeon and his wife were always anxious for the maintenance of their 
children, and they were wandering in the forest for that purpose. Having 
obtained proper food, they now returned to their nest. 

When the lady pigeon caught sight of her own children trapped within the 
hunter's net, she was overwhelmed with anguish, and crying out, she rushed 
toward them as they cried out to her in return. 

The lady pigeon had always allowed herself to be bound by the ropes of intense 
material affection, and thus her mind was overwhelmed by anguish. Being in the 
grip of the illusory energy of the Lord, she completely forgot herself, and 
rushing forward to her helpless children, she was immediately bound in the 
hunter's net. 

Seeing his own children, who were more dear to him than life itself, fatally 
bound in the hunter's net along with his dearmost wife, whom he considered equal 
in every way to himself, the poor male pigeon began to lament wretchedly. 

The male pigeon said: Alas, just see how I am now destroyed! I am obviously a 
great fool, for I did not properly execute pious activities. I could not satisfy 
myself, nor could I fulfill the purpose of life. My dear family, which was the 
basis of my religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, is now 
hopelessly ruined.

My wife and I were an ideal match. She always faithfully obeyed me and in fact 
accepted me as her worshipable deity. But now, seeing her children lost and her 
home empty, she has left me behind and gone to heaven with our saintly children. 

Now I am a wretched person living in an empty home. My wife is dead; my children 
are dead. Why should I possibly want to live? My heart is so pained by 
separation from my family that life itself has become simply suffering. 

As the father pigeon wretchedly stared at his poor children trapped in the net 
and on the verge of death, pathetically struggling to free themselves, his mind 
went blank, and thus he himself fell into the hunter's net. 

The cruel hunter, having fulfilled his desire by capturing the head pigeon, his 
wife and all of their children, set off for his own home. 

In this way, one who is too attached to family life becomes disturbed at heart. 
Like the pigeon, he tries to find pleasure in mundane sex attraction. Busily 
engaged in maintaining his own family, the miserly person is fated to suffer 
greatly, along with all his family members. 

The doors of liberation are opened wide to one who has achieved human life. But 
if a human being simply devotes himself to family life like the foolish bird in 
this story, then he is to be considered as one who has climbed to a high place 
only to trip and fall down. 

Chapter EIGHT The Story of Pingala

The saintly brahmana said: O King, the embodied living entity automatically 
experiences unhappiness in heaven or hell. Similarly, happiness will also be 
experienced, even without one's seeking it. Therefore a person of intelligent 
discrimination does not make any endeavor to obtain such material happiness.

Following the example of the python, one should give up material endeavors and 
accept for one's maintenance food that comes of its own accord, whether such 
food be delicious or tasteless, ample or meager. 

If at any time food does not come, then a saintly person should fast for many 
days without making endeavor. He should understand that by God's arrangement he 
must fast. Thus, following the example of the python, he should remain peaceful 
and patient.

A saintly person should remain peaceful and materially inactive, maintaining his 
body without much endeavor. Even though possessed of full sensual, mental and 
physical strength, a saintly person should not become active for material gain 
but rather should always remain alert to his actual self-interest.

A saintly sage is happy and pleasing in his external behavior, whereas 
internally he is most grave and thoughtful. Because his knowledge is 
immeasurable and unlimited he is never disturbed, and thus in all respects he is 
like the tranquil waters of the unfathomable and unsurpassable ocean.

During the rainy season the swollen rivers rush into the ocean, and during the 
dry summer the rivers, now shallow, severely reduce their supply of water; yet 
the ocean does not swell up during the rainy season, nor does it dry up in the 
hot summer. In the same way, a saintly devotee who has accepted the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead as the goal of his life sometimes will receive by 
providence great material opulence, and sometimes he will find himself 
materially destitute. However, such a devotee of the Lord does not rejoice in a 
flourishing condition, nor is he morose when poverty-stricken.

One who has failed to control his senses immediately feels attraction upon 
seeing a woman's form, which is created by the illusory energy of the Supreme 
Lord. Indeed, when the woman speaks with enticing words, smiles coquettishly and 
moves her body sensuously, his mind is immediately captured, and thus he falls 
blindly into the darkness of material existence, just as the moth maddened by 
the fire rushes blindly into its flames.

A foolish person with no intelligent discrimination is immediately aroused at 
the sight of a lusty woman beautifully decorated with golden ornaments, fine 
clothing and other cosmetic features. Being eager for sense gratification, such 
a fool loses all intelligence and is destroyed just like the moth who rushes 
into the blazing fire.

A saintly person should accept only enough food to keep his body and soul 
together. He should go from door to door accepting just a little bit of food 
from each family. Thus he should practice the occupation of the honeybee.

Just as the honeybee takes nectar from all flowers, big and small, an 
intelligent human being should take the essence from all religious scriptures.

A saintly person should not think, "This food I will keep to eat tonight and 
this other food I can save for tomorrow." In other words, a saintly person 
should not store foodstuffs acquired by begging. Rather, he should use his own 
hands as his plate and eat whatever fits on them. His only storage container 
should be his belly, and whatever conveniently fits into his belly should be his 
stock of food. Thus one should not imitate the greedy honeybee who eagerly 
collects more and more honey.

A saintly mendicant should not even collect foodstuffs to eat later in the same 
day or the next day. If he disregards this injunction and like the honeybee 
collects more and more delicious foodstuffs, that which he has collected will 
indeed ruin him.

A saintly person should never touch a young girl. In fact, he should not even 
let his foot touch a wooden doll in the shape of a woman. By bodily contact with 
a woman he will surely be captured by illusion, just as the elephant is captured 
by the she-elephant due to his desire to touch her body.

A man possessing intelligent discrimination should not under any circumstances 
try to exploit the beautiful form of a woman for his sense gratification. Just 
as an elephant trying to enjoy a she-elephant is killed by other bull elephants 
also enjoying her company, one trying to enjoy a lady's company can at any 
moment be killed by her other lovers who are stronger than he.

A greedy person accumulates a large quantity of money with great struggle and 
pain, but the person who has struggled so much to acquire this wealth is not 
always allowed to enjoy it himself or give it in charity to others. The greedy 
man is like the bee who struggles to produce a large quantity of honey, which is 
then stolen by a man who will enjoy it personally or sell it to others. No 
matter how carefully one hides his hard-earned wealth or tries to protect it, 
there are those who are expert in detecting the whereabouts of valuable things, 
and they will steal it.

Just as a hunter takes away the honey laboriously produced by the honeybees, 
similarly, saintly mendicants such as brahmacaris and sannyasis are entitled to 
enjoy the property painstakingly accumulated by householders dedicated to family 

A saintly person dwelling in the forest in the renounced order of life should 
never listen to songs or music promoting material enjoyment. Rather, a saintly 
person should carefully study the example of the deer, who is bewildered by the 
sweet music of the hunter's horn and is thus captured and killed.

Becoming attracted to the worldly singing, dancing and musical entertainment of 
beautiful women, even the great sage Risyashrnga, the son of Mrgi, fell totally 
under their control, just like a pet animal.

Just as a fish, incited by the desire to enjoy his tongue, is fatally trapped on 
the fisherman's hook, similarly, a foolish person is bewildered by the extremely 
disturbing urges of the tongue and thus is ruined.

By fasting, learned men quickly bring all of the senses except the tongue under 
control, because by abstaining from eating such men are afflicted with an 
increased desire to gratify the sense of taste.

Although one may conquer all of the other senses, as long as the tongue is not 
conquered it cannot be said that one has controlled his senses. However, if one 
is able to control the tongue, then one is understood to be in full control of 
all the senses.

O son of kings, previously in the city of Videha there dwelled a prostitute 
named Pingala. Now please hear what I have learned from that lady. 

Once that prostitute, desiring to bring a lover into her house, stood outside in 
the doorway at night showing her beautiful form. 

O best among men, this prostitute was very anxious to get money, and as she 
stood on the street at night she studied all the men who were passing by, 
thinking, "Oh, this one surely has money. I know he can pay the price, and I am 
sure he would enjoy my company very much." Thus she thought about all the men on 
the street. 

As the prostitute Pingala stood in the doorway, many men came and went, walking 
by her house. Her only means of sustenance was prostitution, and therefore she 
anxiously thought, "Maybe this one who is coming now is very rich...Oh, he is 
not stopping, but I am sure someone else will come. Surely this man who is 
coming now will want to pay me for my love, and he will probably give lots of 
money." Thus, with vain hope, she remained leaning against the doorway, unable 
to finish her business and go to sleep. Out of anxiety she would sometimes walk 
out toward the street, and sometimes she went back into her house. In this way, 
the midnight hour gradually arrived. 

As the night wore on, the prostitute, who intensely desired money, gradually 
became morose, and her face dried up. Thus being filled with anxiety for money 
and most disappointed, she began to feel a great detachment from her situation, 
and happiness arose in her mind.

The prostitute felt disgusted with her material situation and thus became 
indifferent to it. Indeed, detachment acts like a sword, cutting to pieces the 
binding network of material hopes and desires. Now please hear from me the song 
sung by the prostitute in that situation.

O King, just as a human being who is bereft of spiritual knowledge never desires 
to give up his false sense of proprietorship over many material things, 
similarly, a person who has not developed detachment never desires to give up 
the bondage of the material body. 

The prostitute Pingala said: Just see how greatly illusioned I am ! Because I 
cannot control my mind, just like a fool I desire lusty pleasure from an 
insignificant man.

I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being 
eternally situated within my heart, is actually most dear to me. That most dear 
one is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness 
and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have 
completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who 
can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, 
fear, anxiety, lamentation and illusion.

Oh, how I have uselessly tortured my own soul! I have sold my body to lusty, 
greedy men who are themselves objects of pity. Thus practicing the most 
abominable profession of a prostitute, I hoped to get money and sex pleasure.

This material body is like a house in which I, the soul, am living. The bones 
forming my spine, ribs, arms and legs are like the beams, crossbeams and pillars 
of the house, and the whole structure, which is full of stool and urine, is 
covered by skin, hair and nails. The nine doors leading into this body are 
constantly excreting foul substances. Besides me, what woman could be so foolish 
as to devote herself to this material body, thinking that she might find 
pleasure and love in this contraption?

Certainly in this city of Videha I alone am completely foolish. I neglected the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards us everything, even our original 
spiritual form, and instead I desired to enjoy sense gratification with many 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolutely the most dear one for all 
living beings because He is everyone's well-wisher and Lord. He is the Supreme 
Soul situated in everyone's heart. Therefore I will now pay the price of 
complete surrender, and thus purchasing the Lord I will enjoy with Him just like 

Men provide sense gratification for women, but all these men, and even the 
demigods in heaven, have a beginning and an end. They are all temporary 
creations who will be dragged away by time. Therefore how much actual pleasure 
or happiness could any of them ever give to their wives?

Although I most stubbornly hoped to enjoy the material world, somehow or other 
detachment has arisen in my heart, and it is making me very happy. Therefore the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, must be pleased with me. Without even 
knowing it, I must have performed some activity satisfying to Him. 

A person who has developed detachment can give up the bondage of material 
society, friendship and love, and a person who undergoes great suffering 
gradually becomes, out of hopelessness, detached and indifferent to the material 
world. Thus, due to my great suffering, such detachment awoke in my heart; yet 
how could I have undergone such merciful suffering if I were actually 
unfortunate? Therefore, I am in fact fortunate and have received the mercy of 
the Lord. He must somehow or other be pleased with me. 

With devotion I accept the great benefit that the Lord has bestowed upon me. 
Having given up my sinful desires for ordinary sense gratification, I now take 
shelter of Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

I am now completely satisfied, and I have full faith in the Lord's mercy. 
Therefore I will maintain myself with whatever comes of its own accord. I shall 
enjoy life with only the Lord, because He is the real source of love and 

The intelligence of the living entity is stolen away by activities of sense 
gratification, and thus he falls into the dark well of material existence. 
Within that well he is then seized by the deadly serpent of time. Who else but 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead could save the poor living entity from such a 
hopeless condition?

When the living entity sees that the entire universe has been seized by the 
serpent of time, he becomes sober and sane and at that time detaches himself 
from all material sense gratification. In that condition the living entity is 
qualified to be his own protector.

The avadhuta said: Thus, her mind completely made up, Pingala cut off all her 
sinful desires to enjoy sex pleasure with lovers, and she became situated in 
perfect peace. Then she sat down on her bed. 

Material desire is undoubtedly the cause of the greatest unhappiness, and 
freedom from such desire is the cause of the greatest happiness. Therefore, 
completely cutting off her desire to enjoy so-called lovers, Pingala very 
happily went to sleep.

Chapter NINE Detachment from All that Is Material

The saintly brahmana said: Everyone considers certain things within the material 
world to be most dear to him, and because of attachment to such things one 
eventually becomes miserable. One who understands this gives up material 
possessiveness and attachment and thus achieves unlimited happiness. 

Once a group of large hawks who were unable to find any prey attacked another, 
weaker hawk who was holding some meat. At that time, being in danger of his 
life, the hawk gave up his meat and experienced actual happiness.

In family life, the parents are always in anxiety about their home, children and 
reputation. But I have nothing to do with these things. I do not worry at all 
about any family, and I do not care about honor and dishonor. I enjoy only the 
life of the soul, and I find love on the spiritual platform. Thus I wander the 
earth like a child. 

In this world two types of people are free from all anxiety and merged in great 
happiness: one who is a retarded and childish fool and one who has approached 
the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the three modes of material nature.

Once a marriageable young girl was alone in her house because her parents and 
relatives had gone that day to another place. At that time a few men arrived at 
the house, specifically desiring to marry her. She received them with all 

The girl went to a private place and began to make preparations so that the 
unexpected male guests could eat. As she was beating the rice, the conchshell 
bracelets on her arms were colliding and making a loud noise. 

The young girl feared that the men would consider her family to be poor because 
their daughter was busily engaged in the menial task of husking rice. Being very 
intelligent, the shy girl broke the shell bracelets from her arms, leaving just 
two on each wrist. 

Thereafter, as the young girl continued to husk the rice, the two bracelets on 
each wrist continued to collide and make noise. Therefore she took one bracelet 
off each arm, and with only one left on each wrist there was no more noise. 

O subduer of the enemy, I travel throughout the surface of the earth learning 
constantly about the nature of this world, and thus I personally witnessed the 
lesson of the young girl.

When many people live together in one place there will undoubtedly be 
quarreling. And even if only two people live together there will be frivolous 
conversation and disagreement. Therefore, to avoid conflict, one should live 
alone, as we learn from the example of the bracelet of the young girl.

Having perfected the yoga sitting postures and conquered the breathing process, 
one should make the mind steady by detachment and the regulated practice of 
yoga. Thus one should carefully fix the mind on the single goal of yoga 

The mind can be controlled when it is fixed on the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. Having achieved a stable situation, the mind becomes free from polluted 
desires to execute material activities; thus as the mode of goodness increases 
in strength, one can completely give up the modes of passion and ignorance, and 
gradually one transcends even the material mode of goodness. When the mind is 
freed from the fuel of the modes of nature, the fire of material existence is 
extinguished. Then one achieves the transcendental platform of direct 
relationship with the object of his meditation, the Supreme Lord.

Thus, when one's consciousness is completely fixed on the Absolute Truth, the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, one no longer sees duality, or internal and 
external reality. The example is given of the arrow maker who was so absorbed in 
making a straight arrow that he did not even see or notice the king himself, who 
was passing right next to him.

A saintly person should remain alone and constantly travel without any fixed 
residence. Being alert, he should remain secluded and should act in such a way 
that he is not recognized or noticed by others. Moving without companions, he 
should not speak more than required.

When a person living in a temporary material body tries to construct a happy 
home, the result is fruitless and miserable. The snake, however, enters a home 
that has been built by others and prospers happily.

The Lord of the universe, Narayana, is the worshipable God of all living 
entities. Without extraneous assistance, the Lord creates this universe by His 
own potency, and at the time of annihilation the Lord destroys the universe 
through His personal expansion of time and withdraws all of the cosmos, 
including all the conditioned living entities, within Himself. Thus, His 
unlimited Self is the shelter and reservoir of all potencies. The subtle 
pradhana, the basis of all cosmic manifestation, is conserved within the Lord 
and is in this way not different from Him. In the aftermath of annihilation the 
Lord stands alone.

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead displays His own potency in the form of 
time and guides His material potencies, such as the mode of goodness, into a 
neutral condition of equilibrium, He remains as the supreme controller of that 
neutral state, called pradhana, as well as of the living entities. He is also 
the supreme worshipable object for all beings, including liberated souls, 
demigods and ordinary conditioned souls. The Lord is eternally free from any 
material designation, and He constitutes the totality of spiritual bliss, which 
one experiences by seeing the Lord's spiritual form. The Lord thus exhibits the 
fullest meaning of the word "liberation."

O subduer of the enemies, at the time of creation the Personality of Godhead 
expands His own transcendental potency in the form of time, and agitating His 
material energy, maya, composed of the three modes of material nature, He 
creates the mahat-tattva.

According to great sages, that which is the basis of the three modes of material 
nature and which manifests the variegated universe is called the sutra or mahat-
tattva. Indeed, this universe is resting within that mahat-tattva, and due to 
its potency the living entity undergoes material existence.

Just as from within himself the spider expands thread through his mouth, plays 
with it for some time and eventually swallows it, similarly, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead expands His personal potency from within Himself. Thus, 
the Lord displays the network of cosmic manifestation, utilizes it according to 
His purpose and eventually withdraws it completely within Himself.

If out of love, hate or fear an embodied soul fixes his mind with intelligence 
and complete concentration upon a particular bodily form, he will certainly 
attain the form that he is meditating upon.

O King, once a wasp forced a weaker insect to enter his hive and kept him 
trapped there. In great fear the weak insect constantly meditated upon his 
captor, and without giving up his body, he gradually achieved the same state of 
existence as the wasp. Thus one achieves a state of existence according to one's 
constant concentration.

O King, from all these spiritual masters I have acquired great wisdom. Now 
please listen as I explain what I learned from my own body. 

The material body is also my spiritual master because it teaches me detachment. 
Being subject to creation and destruction, it always comes to a painful end. 
Thus, although using my body to acquire knowledge, I always remember that it 
will ultimately be consumed by others, and remaining detached, I move about this 

A man attached to the body accumulates money with great struggle to expand and 
protect the position of his wife, children, property, domestic animals, 
servants, homes, relatives, friends, and so on. He does all this for the 
gratification of his own body. As a tree before dying produces the seed of a 
future tree, the dying body manifests the seed of one's next material body in 
the form of one's accumulated karma. Thus assuring the continuation of material 
existence, the material body sinks down and dies.

A man who has many wives is constantly harassed by them. He is responsible for 
their maintenance, and thus all the ladies constantly pull him in different 
directions, each struggling for her self-interest. Similarly, the material 
senses harass the conditioned soul, pulling him in many different directions at 
once. On one side the tongue is pulling him to arrange tasty food; then thirst 
drags him to get a suitable drink. Simultaneously the sex organs clamor for 
satisfaction, and the sense of touch demands soft, sensuous objects. The belly 
harasses him until it is filled, the ears demand to hear pleasing sounds, the 
sense of smell hankers for pleasant aromas, and the fickle eyes clamor for 
pleasing sights. Thus the senses, organs and limbs, all desiring satisfaction, 
pull the living entity in many directions.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, expanding His own potency, maya-shakti, 
created innumerable species of life to house the conditioned souls. Yet by 
creating the forms of trees, reptiles, animals, birds, snakes and so on, the 
Lord was not satisfied within His heart. Then He created human life, which 
offers the conditioned soul sufficient intelligence to perceive the Absolute 
Truth, and became pleased.

After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, 
which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest 
perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate 
perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has 
not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in 
the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible 
only for a human being.

Having learned from my spiritual masters, I remain situated in realization of 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead and, fully renounced and enlightened by 
realized spiritual knowledge, wander the earth without attachment or false ego. 

Although the Absolute Truth is one without a second, the sages have described 
Him in many different ways. Therefore one may not be able to acquire very firm 
or complete knowledge from one spiritual master.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having thus spoken to King Yadu, the 
wise brahmana accepted obeisances and worship from the King and felt pleased 
within himself. Then bidding farewell, he left exactly as he had come.

O Uddhava, hearing the words of the avadhuta, the saintly King Yadu, who is the 
forefather of our own ancestors, became free from all material attachment, and 
thus his mind was evenly fixed on the spiritual platform.

Chapter TEN The Nature of Fruitive Activity

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Taking full shelter in Me, with the 
mind carefully fixed in the devotional service of the Lord as spoken by Me, one 
should live without personal desire and practice the social and occupational 
system called varnashrama.

A purified soul should see that because the conditioned souls who are dedicated 
to sense gratification have falsely accepted the objects of sense pleasure as 
truth, all of their endeavors are doomed to failure.

One who is sleeping may see many objects of sense gratification in a dream, but 
such pleasurable things are merely creations of the mind and are thus ultimately 
useless. Similarly, the living entity who is asleep to his spiritual identity 
also sees many sense objects, but these innumerable objects of temporary 
gratification are creations of the Lord's illusory potency and have no permanent 
existence. One who meditates upon them, impelled by the senses, uselessly 
engages his intelligence.

One who has fixed Me within his mind as the goal of life should give up 
activities based on sense gratification and should instead execute work governed 
by the regulative principles for advancement. When, however, one is fully 
engaged in searching out the ultimate truth of the soul, one should not accept 
the scriptural injunctions governing fruitive activities.

One who has accepted Me as the supreme goal of life should strictly observe the 
scriptural injunctions forbidding sinful activities and, as far as possible, 
should execute the injunctions prescribing minor regulative duties such as 
cleanliness. Ultimately, however, one should approach a bona fide spiritual 
master who is full in knowledge of Me as I am, who is peaceful, and who by 
spiritual elevation is not different from Me.

The servant or disciple of the spiritual master should be free from false 
prestige, never considering himself to be the doer. He should be active and 
never lazy and should give up all sense of proprietorship over the objects of 
the senses, including his wife, children, home and society. He should be endowed 
with feelings of loving friendship toward the spiritual master and should never 
become deviated or bewildered. The servant or disciple should always desire 
advancement in spiritual understanding, should not envy anyone and should always 
avoid useless conversation.

One should see one's real self-interest in life in all circumstances and should 
therefore remain detached from wife, children, home, land, relatives, friends, 
wealth and so on.

Just as fire, which burns and illuminates, is different from firewood, which is 
to be burned to give illumination, similarly the seer within the body, the self-
enlightened spirit soul, is different from the material body, which is to be 
illuminated by consciousness. Thus the spirit soul and the body possess 
different characteristics and are separate entities.

Just as fire may appear differently as dormant, manifest, weak, brilliant and so 
on, according to the condition of the fuel, similarly, the spirit soul enters a 
material body and accepts particular bodily characteristics.

The subtle and gross material bodies are created by the material modes of 
nature, which expand from the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 
Material existence occurs when the living entity falsely accepts the qualities 
of the gross and subtle bodies as being his own factual nature. This illusory 
state, however, can be destroyed by real knowledge.

Therefore, by the cultivation of knowledge one should approach the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead situated within oneself. By understanding the Lord's 
pure, transcendental existence, one should gradually give up the false vision of 
the material world as independent reality.

The spiritual master can be compared to the lower kindling stick, the disciple 
to the upper kindling stick, and the instruction given by the guru to the third 
stick placed in between. The transcendental knowledge communicated from guru to 
disciple is compared to the fire arising from the contact of these, which burns 
the darkness of ignorance to ashes, bringing great happiness both to guru and 

By submissively hearing from an expert spiritual master, the expert disciple 
develops pure knowledge, which repels the onslaught of material illusion arising 
from the three modes of material nature. Finally this pure knowledge itself 
ceases, just as fire ceases when the stock of fuel has been consumed.

My dear Uddhava, I have thus explained to you perfect knowledge. There are 
philosophers, however, who challenge My conclusion. They state that the natural 
position of the living entity is to engage in fruitive activities, and they see 
him as the enjoyer of the happiness and unhappiness that accrue from his own 
work. According to this materialistic philosophy, the world, time, the revealed 
scriptures and the self are all variegated and eternal, existing as a perpetual 
flow of transformations. Knowledge, moreover, cannot be one or eternal, because 
it arises from the different and changing forms of objects; thus knowledge 
itself is always subject to change. Even if you accept such a philosophy, My 
dear Uddhava, there will still be perpetual birth, death, old age and disease, 
since all living entities must accept a material body subject to the influence 
of time.

Although the performer of fruitive activities desires perpetual happiness, it is 
clearly observed that materialistic workers are often unhappy and only 
occasionally satisfied, thus proving that they are not independent or in control 
of their destiny. When a person is always under the superior control of another, 
how can he expect any valuable results from his own fruitive actions?

It is observed within the material world that sometimes even an intelligent 
person is not happy. Similarly, sometimes even a great fool is happy. The 
concept of becoming happy through expertly performing material activities is 
simply a useless exhibition of false egotism.

Even if people know how to achieve happiness and avoid unhappiness, they still 
do not know the process by which death will not be able to exert its power over 

Death is not st all pleasing, and since everyone is exactly like a condemned man 
being led to the place of execution, what possible happiness can people derive 
from material objects or the gratification they provide?

That material happiness of which we hear, such as promotion to heavenly planets 
for celestial enjoyment, is just like that material happiness we have already 
experienced. Both are polluted by jealousy, envy, decay and death. Therefore, 
just as an attempt to raise crops becomes fruitless if there are many problems 
like crop disease, insect plague or drought, similarly, the attempt to attain 
material happiness, either on earth or on the heavenly planets, is always 
fruitless because of innumerable obstacles.

If one performs Vedic sacrifices and fruitive rituals without any mistake or 
contamination, one will achieve a heavenly situation in the next life. But even 
this result, which is only achieved by perfect performance of fruitive rituals, 
will be vanquished by time. Now hear of this.

If on earth one performs sacrifices for the satisfaction of the demigods, he 
goes to the heavenly planets, where, just like a demigod, he enjoys all of the 
heavenly pleasures he has earned by his performances. 

Having achieved the heavenly planets, the performer of ritualistic sacrifices 
travels in a glowing airplane, which he obtains as the result of his piety on 
earth. Being glorified by songs sung by the Gandharvas and dressed in 
wonderfully charming clothes, he enjoys life surrounded by heavenly goddesses. 

Accompanied by heavenly women, the enjoyer of the fruits of sacrifice goes on 
pleasure rides in a wonderful airplane, which is decorated with circles of 
tinkling bells and which flies wherever he desires. Being relaxed, comfortable 
and happy in the heavenly pleasure gardens, he does not consider that he is 
exhausting the fruits of his piety and will soon fall down to the mortal world. 

Until his pious results are used up, the performer of sacrifice enjoys life in 
the heavenly planets. When the pious results are exhausted, however, he falls 
down from the pleasure gardens of heaven, being moved against his desire by the 
force of eternal time. 

If a human being is engaged in sinful, irreligious activities, either because of 
bad association or because of his failure to control his senses, then such a 
person will certainly develop a personality full of material desires. He thus 
becomes miserly toward others, greedy and always anxious to exploit the bodies 
of women. When the mind is so polluted one becomes violent and aggressive and 
without the authority of Vedic injunctions slaughters innocent animals for sense 
gratification. Worshiping ghosts and spirits, the bewildered person falls fully 
into the grip of unauthorized activities and thus goes to hell, where he 
receives a material body infected by the darkest modes of nature. In such a 
degraded body, he unfortunately continues to perform inauspicious activities 
that greatly increase his future unhappiness, and therefore he again accepts a 
similar material body. What possible happiness can there be for one who engages 
in activities inevitably terminating in death?

In all the planetary systems, from the heavenly to the hellish, and for all of 
the great demigods who live for one thousand yuga cycles, there is fear of Me in 
My form of time. Even Brahma, who possesses the supreme life span of 
311,040,000,000,000 years, is also afraid of Me.

The material senses create material activities, either pious or sinful, and the 
modes of nature set the material senses into motion. The living entity, being 
fully engaged by the material senses and modes of nature, experiences the 
various results of fruitive work.

As long as the living entity thinks that the modes of material nature have 
separate existences, he will be obliged to take birth in many different forms 
and will experience varieties of material existence. Therefore, the living 
entity remains completely dependent on fruitive activities under the modes of 

The conditioned soul who remains dependent on fruitive activities under the 
material modes of nature will continue to fear Me, the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, since I impose the results of one's fruitive activities. Those who 
accept the material concept of life, taking the variegatedness of the modes of 
nature to be factual, devote themselves to material enjoyment and are therefore 
always absorbed in lamentation and grief.

When there is agitation and interaction of the material modes of nature, the 
living entities then describe Me in various ways such as all-powerful time, the 
Self, Vedic knowledge, the universe, one's own nature, religious ceremonies and 
so on.

Shri Uddhava said: O my Lord, a living entity situated within the material body 
is surrounded by the modes of nature and the happiness and distress that are 
born of activities caused by these modes. How is it possible that he is not 
bound by this material encirclement? It may also be said that the living entity 
is ultimately transcendental and has nothing to do with the material world. Then 
how is he ever bound by material nature?

O my Lord, Acyuta, the same living entity is sometimes described as eternally 
conditioned and at other times as eternally liberated. I am not able to 
understand, therefore, the actual situation of the living entity. You, my Lord, 
are the best of those who are expert in answering philosophical questions. 
Please explain to me the symptoms by which one can tell the difference between a 
living entity who is eternally liberated and one who is eternally conditioned. 
In what various ways would they remain situated, enjoy life, eat, evacuate, lie 
down, sit or move about?

Chapter ELEVEN The Symptoms of Conditioned and Liberated Living Entities

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, due to the influence 
of the material modes of nature, which are under My control, the living entity 
is sometimes designated as conditioned and sometimes as liberated. In fact, 
however, the soul is never really bound up or liberated, and since I am the 
supreme Lord of maya, which is the cause of the modes of nature, I also am never 
to be considered liberated or in bondage.

Just as a dream is merely a creation of one's intelligence but has no actual 
substance, similarly, material lamentation, illusion, happiness, distress and 
the acceptance of the material body under the influence of maya are all 
creations of My illusory energy. In other words, material existence has no 
essential reality.

O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being products of maya, are expansions 
of My potency. Both knowledge and ignorance are beginningless and perpetually 
award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings.

O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity, called jiva, is part and parcel 
of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage since time 
immemorial. By knowledge, however, he can be liberated.

Thus, My dear Uddhava, in the same material body we find opposing 
characteristics, such as great happiness and misery. That is because both the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternally liberated, as well as the 
conditioned soul are within the body. I shall now speak to you about their 
different characteristics.

By chance, two birds have made a nest together in the same tree. The two birds 
are friends and are of a similar nature. One of them, however, is eating the 
fruits of the tree, whereas the other, who does not eat the fruits, is in a 
superior position due to His potency.

The bird who does not eat the fruits of the tree is the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, who by His omniscience perfectly understands His own position and that 
of the conditioned living entity, represented by the eating bird. That living 
entity, on the other hand, does not understand himself or the Lord. He is 
covered by ignorance and is thus called eternally conditioned, whereas the 
Personality of Godhead, being full of perfect knowledge, is eternally liberated.

One who is enlightened in self-realization, although living within the material 
body, sees himself as transcendental to the body, just as one who has arisen 
from a dream gives up identification with the dream body. A foolish person, 
however, although not identical with his material body but transcendental to it, 
thinks himself to be situated in the body, just as one who is dreaming sees 
himself as situated in an imaginary body.

An enlightened person who is free from the contamination of material desire does 
not consider himself to be the performer of bodily activities; rather, he knows 
that in all such activities it is only the senses, born of the modes of nature, 
that are contacting sense objects born of the same modes of nature.

An unintelligent person situated within the body created by his previous 
fruitive activities thinks, "I am the performer of action." Bewildered by false 
ego, such a foolish person is therefore bound up by fruitive activities, which 
are in fact carried out by the modes of nature.

An enlightened person fixed in detachment engages his body in lying down, 
sitting, walking, bathing, seeing, touching, smelling, eating, hearing and so 
on, but is never entangled by such activities. Indeed, remaining as a witness to 
all bodily functions, he merely engages his bodily senses with their objects and 
does not become entangled like an unintelligent person.

Although the sky, or space, is the resting place of everything, the sky does not 
mix with anything, nor is it entangled. Similarly, the sun is not at all 
attached to the water in which it is reflected within innumerable reservoirs, 
and the mighty wind blowing everywhere is not affected by the innumerable aromas 
and atmospheres through which it passes. In the same way, a self-realized soul 
is completely detached from the material body and the material world around it. 
He is like a person who has awakened and arisen from a dream. With expert vision 
sharpened by detachment, the self-realized soul cuts all doubts to pieces 
through knowledge of the self and completely withdraws his consciousness from 
the expansion of material variety.

A person is considered to be completely liberated from the gross and subtle 
material bodies when all the functions of his vital energy, senses, mind and 
intelligence are performed without material desire. Such a person, although 
situated within the body, is not entangled.

Sometimes for no apparent reason one's body is attacked by cruel people or 
violent animals. At other times and in other places, one will suddenly be 
offered great respect or worship. One who becomes neither angry when attacked 
nor satisfied when worshiped is actually intelligent.

A saintly sage sees with equal vision and therefore is not affected by that 
which is materially good or bad. Indeed, although he observes others performing 
good and bad work and speaking properly and improperly, the sage does not praise 
or criticize anyone. 

For the purpose of maintaining his body, a liberated sage should not act, speak 
or contemplate in terms of material good or bad. Rather, he should be detached 
in all material circumstances, and taking pleasure in self-realization, he 
should wander about engaged in this liberated life-style, appearing like a 
retarded person to outsiders.

If through meticulous study one becomes expert in reading Vedic literature but 
makes no endeavor to fix one's mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then 
one's endeavor is certainly like that of a man who works very hard to take care 
of a cow that gives no milk. In other words, the fruit of one's laborious study 
of Vedic knowledge will simply be the labor itself. There will be no other 
tangible result.

My dear Uddhava, that man is certainly most miserable who takes care of a cow 
that gives no milk, an unchaste wife, a body totally dependent on others, 
useless children or wealth not utilized for the right purpose. Similarly, one 
who studies Vedic knowledge devoid of My glories is also most miserable.

My dear Uddhava, an intelligent person should never take to literatures that do 
not contain descriptions of My activities, which purify the whole universe. 
Indeed, I create, maintain and annihilate the entire material manifestation. 
Among all My pastime incarnations, the most beloved are Krsna and Balarama. Any 
so-called knowledge that does not recognize these activities of Mine is simply 
barren and is not acceptable to those who are actually intelligent.

Coming to this conclusion of all knowledge, one should give up the false 
conception of material variety that one imposes upon the soul and thus cease 
one's material existence. The mind should be fixed on Me, since I am all-

My dear Uddhava, if you are not able to free your mind from all material 
disturbance and thus absorb it completely on the spiritual platform, then 
perform all your activities as an offering to Me, without trying to enjoy the 

My dear Uddhava, narrations of My pastimes and qualities are all-auspicious and 
purify the entire universe. A faithful person who constantly hears, glorifies 
and remembers such transcendental activities, who through dramatic performances 
relives My pastimes, beginning with My appearance, and who takes full shelter of 
Me, dedicating his religious, sensual and occupational activities for My 
satisfaction, certainly obtains unflinching devotional service to Me, the 
eternal Personality of Godhead.

One who has obtained pure devotional service by association with My devotees 
always engages in worshiping Me. Thus he very easily goes to My abode, which is 
revealed by My pure devotees.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, what type of 
person do You consider to be a true devotee, and what type of devotional service 
is approved by great devotees as worthy of being offered to Your Lordship? My 
dear ruler of the universal controllers, O Lord of Vaikuntha and almighty God of 
the universe, I am Your devotee, and because I love You I have no other shelter 
than You. Therefore please explain this to me.

My dear Lord, as the Absolute Truth You are transcendental to material nature, 
and like the sky You are never entangled in any way. Still, being controlled by 
Your devotees' love, You accept many different forms, incarnating according to 
Your devotees' desires.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Uddhava, a saintly person is merciful 
and never injures others. Even if others are aggressive he is tolerant and 
forgiving toward all living entities. His strength and meaning in life come from 
the truth itself, he is free from all envy and jealousy, and his mind is equal 
in material happiness and distress. Thus, he dedicates his time to work for the 
welfare of all others. His intelligence is never bewildered by material desires, 
and he has controlled his senses. His behavior is always pleasing, never harsh 
and always exemplary, and he is free from possessiveness. He never endeavors in 
ordinary, worldly activities, and he strictly controls his eating. He therefore 
always remains peaceful and steady. A saintly person is thoughtful and accepts 
Me as his only shelter. Such a person is very cautious in the execution of his 
duties and is never subject to superficial transformations, because he is steady 
and noble, even in a distressing situation. He has conquered over the six 
material qualities - namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and 
death. He is free from all desire for prestige and offers honor to others. He is 
expert in reviving the Krsna consciousness of others and therefore never cheats 
anyone. Rather, he is a well-wishing friend to all, being most merciful. Such a 
saintly person must be considered the most learned of men. He perfectly 
understands that the ordinary religious duties prescribed by Me in various Vedic 
scriptures possess favorable qualities that purify the performer, and he knows 
that neglect of such duties constitutes a discrepancy in one's life. Having 
taken complete shelter at My lotus feet, however, a saintly person ultimately 
renounces such ordinary religious duties and worships Me alone. He is thus 
considered to be the best among all living entities.

My devotees may or may not know exactly what I am, who I am and how I exist, but 
if they worship Me with unalloyed love, then I consider them to be the best of 

My dear Uddhava, one can give up false pride and prestige by engaging in the 
following devotional activities. One may purify oneself by seeing, touching, 
worshiping, serving, and offering prayers of glorification and obeisances to My 
form as the Deity and to My pure devotees. One should also glorify My 
transcendental qualities and activities, hear with love and faith the narrations 
of My glories and constantly meditate on Me. One should offer to Me whatever one 
acquires, and accepting oneself as My eternal servant, one should give oneself 
completely to Me. One should always discuss My birth and activities and enjoy 
life by participating in festivals, such as Janmastami, which glorify My 
pastimes. In My temple, one should also participate in festivals and ceremonies 
by singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and discussing Me with other 
Vaisnavas. One should observe all the regularly celebrated annual festivals by 
attending ceremonies, pilgrimages and making offerings. One should also observe 
religious vows such as Ekadashi and take initiation by the procedures mentioned 
in the Vedas, Pancaratra and other, similar literatures. One should faithfully 
and lovingly support the installation of My Deity, and individually or in 
cooperation with others one should work for the construction of Krsna conscious 
temples and cities as well as flower gardens, fruit gardens and special areas to 
celebrate My pastimes. One should consider oneself to be My humble servant, 
without duplicity, and thus should help to clean the temple, which is My home. 
First one should sweep and dust thoroughly, and then one should further cleanse 
with water and cow dung. Having dried the temple, one should sprinkle scented 
water and decorate the temple with mandalas. One should thus act just like My 
servant. A devotee should never advertise his devotional activities; therefore 
his service will not be the cause of false pride. One should never use lamps 
that are offered to Me for other purposes simply because there is need of 
illumination, and similarly, one should never offer to Me anything that has been 
offered to or used by others. Whatever is most desired by one within this 
material world, and whatever is most dear to oneself - one should offer that 
very thing to Me. Such an offering qualifies one for eternal life.

O saintly Uddhava, please know that you may worship Me in the sun, fire, 
brahmanas, cows, Vaisnavas, sky, wind, water, earth, individual soul and all 
living entities.

My dear Uddhava, one should worship Me within the sun by chanting selected Vedic 
mantras and by performing worship and offering obeisances. One may worship Me 
within fire by offering oblations of ghee, and one may worship Me among the 
brahmanas by respectfully receiving them as guests, even when uninvited. I can 
be worshiped within the cows by offerings of grass and other suitable grains and 
paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of the cows, and one may worship Me 
within the Vaisnavas by offering loving friendship to them and honoring them in 
all respects. Through steady meditation I am worshiped within the inner space of 
the heart, and within the air I can be worshiped by knowledge that prana, the 
life air, is the chief among elements. I am worshiped within water by offerings 
of water itself, along with other elements such as flowers and tulasi leaves, 
and one may worship Me within the earth by proper application of confidential 
seed mantras. One may worship Me within the individual living entity by offering 
food and other enjoyable substances, and one may worship Me within all living 
entities by seeing the Supersoul within all of them, thus maintaining equal 

Thus, in the previously mentioned places of worship and according to the 
processes I have described, one should meditate on My peaceful, transcendental 
form with four arms holding a conchshell, Sudarshana disc, club and lotus 
flower. In this way, one should worship Me with fixed attention.

One who has executed sacrificial performances and pious works for My 
satisfaction, and who thus worships Me with fixed attention, obtains unflinching 
devotional service unto Me. By the excellent quality of his service such a 
worshiper obtains realized knowledge of Me.

My dear Uddhava, I am personally the ultimate shelter and way of life for 
saintly liberated persons, and thus if one does not engage in My loving 
devotional service, which is made possible by associating with My devotees, then 
for all practical purposes, one possesses no effective means for escaping from 
material existence.

My dear Uddhava, O beloved of the Yadu dynasty, because you are My servant, 
well-wisher and friend, I shall now speak to you the most confidential 
knowledge. Please hear as I explain these great mysteries to you.

Chapter TWELVE Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, by associating with My 
pure devotees one can destroy one's attachment for all objects of material sense 
gratification. Such purifying association brings Me under the control of My 
devotee. One may perform the astanga-yoga system, engage in philosophical 
analysis of the elements of material nature, practice nonviolence and other 
ordinary principles of piety, chant the Vedas, perform penances, take to the 
renounced order of life, execute sacrificial performances and dig wells, plant 
trees and perform other public welfare activities, give in charity, carry out 
severe vows, worship the demigods, chant confidential mantras, visit holy places 
or accept major and minor disciplinary injunctions, but even by performing such 
activities one does not bring Me under his control.

In every yuga many living entities entangled in the modes of passion and 
ignorance gained the association of My devotees. Thus, such living entities as 
the Daityas, Raksasas, birds, beasts, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, Siddhas, 
Caranas, Guhyakas and Vidyadharas, as well as such lower-class human beings as 
the vaishyas, shudras, women and others, were able to achieve My supreme abode. 
Vrtrasura, Prahlada Maharaja and others like them also achieved My abode by 
association with My devotees, as did personalities such as Vrsaparva, Bali 
Maharaja, Banasura, Maya, Vibhisana, Sugriva, Hanuman, Jambavan, Gajendra, 
Jatayu, Tuladhara, Dharma-vyadha, Kubja, the gopis in Vrndavana and the wives of 
the brahmanas who were performing sacrifice.

The persons I have mentioned did not undergo serious studies of the Vedic 
literature, nor did they worship great saintly persons, nor did they execute 
severe vows or austerities. Simply by association with Me and My devotees, they 
achieved Me.

The inhabitants of Vrndavana, including the gopis, cows, unmoving creatures such 
as the twin arjuna trees, animals, living entities with stunted consciousness 
such as bushes and thickets, and snakes such as Kaliya, all achieved the 
perfection of life by unalloyed love for Me and thus very easily achieved Me.

Even though one engages with great endeavor in the mystic yoga system, 
philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances, ritualistic sacrifices, 
teaching of Vedic mantras to others, personal study of the Vedas, or the 
renounced order of life, still one cannot achieve Me.

The residents of Vrndavana, headed by the gopis, were always completely attached 
to Me with deepest love. Therefore, when My uncle Akrura brought My brother 
Balarama and Me to the city of Mathura, the residents of Vrndavana suffered 
extreme mental distress because of separation from Me and could not find any 
other source of happiness.

Dear Uddhava, all of those nights that the gopis spent with Me, their most 
dearly beloved, in the land of Vrndavana seemed to them to pass in less than a 
moment. Bereft of My association, however, the gopis felt that those same nights 
dragged on forever, as if each night were equal to a day of Brahma.

My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga trance merge into self-realization, 
like rivers merging into the ocean, and are thus not aware of material names and 
forms, similarly, the gopis of Vrndavana were so completely attached to Me 
within their minds that they could not think of their own bodies, or of this 
world, or of their future lives. Their entire consciousness was simply bound up 
in Me.

All those hundreds of thousands of gopis, understanding Me to be their most 
charming lover and ardently desiring Me in that way, were unaware of My actual 
position. Yet by intimately associating with Me, the gopis attained Me, the 
Supreme Absolute Truth.

Therefore, My dear Uddhava, abandon the Vedic mantras as well as the procedures 
of supplementary Vedic literatures and their positive and negative injunctions. 
Disregard that which has been heard and that which is to be heard. Simply take 
shelter of Me alone, for I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated 
within the heart of all conditioned souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, 
and by My grace be free from fear in all circumstances.

Shri Uddhava said: O Lord of all masters of mystic power, I have heard Your 
words, but the doubt in my heart does not go away; thus my mind is bewildered.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the Supreme Lord gives 
life to every living being and is situated within the heart along with the life 
air and primal sound vibration. The Lord can be perceived in His subtle form 
within the heart by one's mind, since the Lord controls the minds of everyone, 
even great demigods like Lord Shiva. The Supreme Lord also assumes a gross form 
as the various sounds of the Vedas, composed of short and long vowels and 
consonants of different intonations.

When sticks of kindling wood are vigorously rubbed together, heat is produced by 
contact with air, and a spark of fire appears. Once the fire is kindled, ghee is 
added and the fire blazes. Similarly, I become manifest in the sound vibration 
of the Vedas.

The functions of the working senses - the organ of speech, the hands, the legs, 
the genital and the anus - and the functions of the knowledge-acquiring senses - 
the nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears - along with the functions of the subtle 
senses of mind, intelligence, consciousness and false ego, as well as the 
function of the subtle pradhana and the interaction of the three modes of 
material nature - all these should be understood as My materially manifest form.

When many seeds are placed in an agricultural field, innumerable manifestations 
of trees, bushes, vegetables and so on will arise from a single source, the 
soil. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives life to all and 
is eternal, originally exists beyond the scope of the cosmic manifestation. In 
the course of time, however, the Lord, who is the resting place of the three 
modes of nature and the source of the universal lotus flower, in which the 
cosmic manifestation takes place, divides His material potencies and thus 
appears to be manifest in innumerable forms, although He is one.

Just as woven cloth rests on the expansion of lengthwise and crosswise threads, 
similarly the entire universe is expanded on the lengthwise and crosswise 
potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is situated within Him. The 
conditioned soul has been accepting material bodies since time immemorial, and 
these bodies are like great trees sustaining one's material existence. Just as a 
tree first blossoms and then produces fruit, similarly the tree of material 
existence, one's material body, produces the various results of material 

This tree of material existence has two seeds, hundreds of roots, three lower 
trunks and five upper trunks. It produces five flavors and has eleven branches 
and a nest made by two birds. The tree is covered by three types of bark, gives 
two fruits and extends up to the sun. Those lusty after material enjoyment and 
dedicated to family life enjoy one of the tree's fruits, and swanlike men in the 
renounced order of life enjoy the other fruit. One who with the help of the bona 
fide spiritual masters can understand this tree to be a manifestation of the 
potency of the one Supreme Truth appearing in many forms actually knows the 
meaning of the Vedic literature.

With steady intelligence you should develop unalloyed devotional service by 
careful worship of the spiritual master, and with the sharpened ax of 
transcendental knowledge you should cut off the subtle material covering of the 
soul. Upon realizing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you should then give up 
that ax of analytic knowledge.

Chapter THIRTEEN The Hamsa-avatara Answers the Questions of the Sons of Brahma

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The three modes of material nature, 
namely goodness, passion and ignorance, pertain to material intelligence and not 
to the spirit soul. By development of material goodness one can conquer the 
modes of passion and ignorance, and by cultivation of transcendental goodness 
one may free oneself even from material goodness.

When the living entity becomes strongly situated in the mode of goodness, then 
religious principles, characterized by devotional service to Me, become 
prominent. One can strengthen the mode of goodness by cultivation of those 
things that are already situated in goodness, and thus religious principles 

Religious principles, strengthened by the mode of goodness, destroy the 
influence of passion and ignorance. When passion and ignorance are overcome, 
their original cause, irreligion, is quickly vanquished. 

According to the quality of religious scriptures, water, one's association with 
one's children or with people in general, the particular place, the time, 
activities, birth, meditation, chanting of mantras, and purificatory rituals, 
the modes of nature become differently prominent.

Among the ten items I have just mentioned, the great sages who understand Vedic 
knowledge have praised and recommended those that are in the mode of goodness, 
criticized and rejected those in the mode of ignorance, and shown indifference 
to those in the mode of passion. 

Until one revives one's direct knowledge of the spirit soul and drives away the 
illusory identification with the material body and mind caused by the three 
modes of nature, one must cultivate those things in the mode of goodness. By 
increasing the mode of goodness, one automatically can understand and practice 
religious principles, and by such practice transcendental knowledge is awakened.

In a bamboo forest the wind sometimes rubs the bamboo stalks together, and such 
friction generates a blazing fire that consumes the very source of its birth, 
the bamboo forest. Thus, the fire is automatically calmed by its own action. 
Similarly, by the competition and interaction of the material modes of nature, 
the subtle and gross material bodies are generated. If one uses his mind and 
body to cultivate knowledge, then such enlightenment destroys the influence of 
the modes of nature that generated one's body. Thus, like the fire, the body and 
mind are pacified by their own actions in destroying the source of their birth.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Krsna, generally human beings know that material life 
brings great future unhappiness, and still they try to enjoy material life. My 
dear Lord, how can one in knowledge act just like a dog, an ass or a goat?

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, a person bereft of 
intelligence first falsely identifies himself with the material body and mind, 
and when such false knowledge arises within one's consciousness, material 
passion, the cause of great suffering, pervades the mind, which by nature is 
situated in goodness. Then the mind, contaminated by passion, becomes absorbed 
in making and changing many plans for material advancement. Thus, by constantly 
thinking of the modes of material nature, a foolish person is afflicted with 
unbearable material desires.

One who does not control the material senses comes under the control of material 
desires and is thus bewildered by the strong waves of the mode of passion. Such 
a person executes material activities, although clearly seeing that the result 
will be future unhappiness. 

Although the intelligence of a learned person may be bewildered by the modes of 
passion and ignorance, he should again carefully bring the mind under control. 
By clearly seeing the contamination of the modes of nature, he does not become 

A person should be attentive and grave and never lazy or morose. Mastering the 
yoga procedures of breathing and sitting properly, one should practice fixing 
the mind on Me at dawn, noon and sunset, and thus gradually the mind should be 
completely absorbed in Me. 

The actual yoga system as taught by My devotees, headed by Sanaka-kumara, is 
simply this: Having withdrawn the mind from all other objects, one should 
directly and appropriately absorb it in Me.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Keshava, at what time and in what form did You 
instruct the science of yoga to Sanaka and his brothers? I now desire to know 
about these things. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Once, the mental sons of Lord Brahma, 
namely, the sages headed by Sanaka, inquired from their father about the 
difficult subject matter of the supreme goal of yoga. 

The sages headed by Sanaka said: O Lord, people's minds are naturally attracted 
to material sense objects, and similarly the sense objects in the form of desire 
enter within the mind. Therefore, how can a person who desires liberation, who 
desires to cross over activities of sense gratification, destroy this mutual 
relationship between the sense objects and the mind? Please explain this to us.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, Brahma himself, who is 
born directly from the body of the Lord and who is the creator of all living 
entities within the material world, being the best of the demigods, seriously 
contemplated the question of his sons headed by Sanaka. The intelligence of 
Brahma, however, was affected by his own activities of creation, and thus he 
could not discover the essential answer to this question.

Lord Brahma desired to attain the answer to the question that was puzzling him, 
and thus he fixed his mind on Me, the Supreme Lord. At that time, in My form of 
Hamsa, I became visible to Lord Brahma.

Thus seeing Me, the sages, placing Brahma in the lead, came forward and 
worshiped My lotus feet. Then they frankly asked Me, "Who are You?"

My dear Uddhava, the sages, being eager to understand the ultimate truth of the 
yoga system, thus inquired from Me. Now please hear as I explain that which I 
spoke unto the sages. 

My dear brahmanas, if, when asking Me who I am, you believe that I am also a 
jiva soul and that there is no ultimate difference between us - since all souls 
are ultimately one without individuality - then how is your question possible or 
appropriate? Ultimately, what is the real situation or resting place both of 
yourselves and of Me?

If by asking Me "Who are You?" you were referring to the material body, then I 
must point out that all material bodies are constituted of five elements, namely 
earth, water, fire, air and ether. Thus, you should have asked, "Who are you 
five?" If you consider that all material bodies are ultimately one, being 
constituted essentially of the same elements, then your question is still 
meaningless, since there would be no deep purpose in distinguishing one body 
from another. Thus, it appears that in asking My identity, you are merely 
speaking words, without any real meaning or purpose.

Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other 
senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by 
a straightforward analysis of the facts.

My dear sons, the mind has a natural proclivity to enter into the material sense 
objects, and similarly the sense objects enter into the mind; but both this 
material mind and the sense objects are merely designations that cover the 
spirit soul, who is part and parcel of Me.

A person who has thus achieved Me by understanding that he is not different from 
Me realizes that the material mind is lodged within the sense objects because of 
constant sense gratification, and that the material objects are existing 
prominently within the material mind. Having understood My transcendental 
nature, he gives up both the material mind and its objects.

Waking, sleeping and deep sleep are the three functions of the intelligence and 
are caused by the modes of material nature. The living entity within the body is 
ascertained to possess characteristics different from these three states and 
thus remains us a witness to them.

The spirit soul is trapped in the bondage of material intelligence, which awards 
him constant engagement in the illusory modes of nature. But I am the fourth 
stage of consciousness, beyond wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. Becoming 
situated in Me, the soul should give up the bondage of material consciousness. 
At that time, the living entity will automatically renounce the material sense 
objects and the material mind.

The false ego of the living entity places him in bondage and awards him exactly 
the opposite of what he really desires. Therefore, an intelligent person should 
give up his constant anxiety to enjoy material life and remain situated in the 
Lord, who is beyond the functions of material consciousness.

According to My instructions, one should fix the mind on Me alone. If, however, 
one continues to see many different values and goals in life rather than seeing 
everything within Me, then although apparently awake, one is actually dreaming 
due to incomplete knowledge, just as one may dream that one has wakened from a 

Those states of existence that are conceived of as separate from the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead have no actual existence, although they create a sense of 
separation from the Absolute Truth. Just as the seer of a dream imagines many 
different activities and rewards, similarly, because of the sense of an 
existence separate from the Lord's existence, the living entity falsely performs 
fruitive activities, thinking them to be the cause of future rewards and 

While awake the living entity enjoys with all of his senses the fleeting 
characteristics of the material body and mind; while dreaming he enjoys similar 
experiences within the mind; and in deep dreamless sleep all such experiences 
merge into ignorance. By remembering and contemplating the succession of 
wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, the living entity can understand that he 
is one throughout the three stages of consciousness and is transcendental. Thus, 
he becomes the lord of the senses.

You should consider how, by the influence of My illusory energy, these three 
states of the mind, caused by the modes of nature, have been artificially 
imagined to exist in Me. Having definitely ascertained the truth of the soul, 
you should utilize the sharpened sword of knowledge, acquired by logical 
reflection and from the instructions of sages and Vedic literatures, to 
completely cut off the false ego, which is the breeding ground of all doubts. 
All of you should then worship Me, who am situated within the heart.

One should see that the material world is a distinct illusion appearing in the 
mind, because material objects have an extremely flickering existence and are 
here today and gone tomorrow. They can be compared to the streaking red line 
created by whirling a fiery stick. The spirit soul by nature exists in the 
single state of pure consciousness. However, in this world he appears in many 
different forms and stages of existence. The modes of nature divide the soul's 
consciousness into normal wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep. All such 
varieties of perception, however, are actually maya and exist only like a dream.

Having understood the temporary illusory nature of material things, and thus 
having pulled one's vision away from illusion, one should remain without 
material desires. By experiencing the happiness of the soul, one should give up 
material speaking and activities. If sometimes one must observe the material 
world, one should remember that it is not ultimate reality and therefore one has 
given it up. By such constant remembrance up till the time of death, one will 
not again fall into illusion.

Just as a drunken man does not notice if he is wearing his coat or shirt, 
similarly, one who is perfect in self-realization and who has thus achieved his 
eternal identity does not notice whether the temporary body is sitting or 
standing. Indeed, if by God's will the body is finished or if by God's will he 
obtains a new body, a self-realized soul does not notice, just as a drunken man 
does not notice the situation of his outward dress.

The material body certainly moves under the control of supreme destiny and 
therefore must continue to live along with the senses and vital air as long as 
one's karma is in effect. A self-realized soul, however, who is awakened to the 
absolute reality and who is thus highly situated in the perfect stage of yoga, 
will never again surrender to the material body and its manifold manifestations, 
knowing it to be just like a body visualized in a dream.

My dear brahmanas, I have now explained to you the confidential knowledge of 
Sankhya, by which one philosophically distinguishes matter from spirit, and of 
astanga-yoga, by which one links up with the Supreme. Please understand that I 
am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, and that I have appeared before 
you desiring to explain your actual religious duties.

O best of the brahmanas, please know that I am the supreme shelter of the yoga 
system, analytic philosophy, virtuous action, truthful religious principles, 
power, beauty, fame and self-control.

All superior transcendental qualities, such as being beyond the modes of nature, 
detached, the well-wisher, the most dear, the Supersoul, equally situated 
everywhere, and free from material entanglement - all such qualities, free from 
the transformations of material qualities, find their shelter and worshipable 
object in Me.

[Lord Krsna continued:l My dear Uddhava, thus all of the doubts of the sages 
headed by Sanaka were destroyed by My words. Fully worshiping Me with 
transcendental love and devotion, they chanted My glories with excellent hymns. 

The greatest of sages, headed by Sanaka Risi, thus perfectly worshiped and 
glorified Me, and as Lord Brahma looked on, I returned to My own abode.

Chapter FOURTEEN Lord Krsna Explains the Yoga System to Shri Uddhava

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Krsna, the learned sages who explain Vedic literature 
recommend various processes for perfecting one's life. Considering these 
varieties of viewpoint, my Lord, please tell me whether all these processes are 
equally important, or whether one of them is supreme.

My dear Lord, You have clearly explained the process of unalloyed devotional 
service, by which a devotee removes all material association from his life, 
enabling him to fix his mind on You.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: By the influence of time, the 
transcendental sound of Vedic knowledge was lost at the time of annihilation. 
Therefore, when the subsequent creation took place, I spoke the Vedic knowledge 
to Brahma because I Myself am the religious principles enunciated in the Vedas.

Lord Brahma spoke this Vedic knowledge to his eldest son, Manu, and the seven 
great sages headed by Bhrgu Muni then accepted the same knowledge from Manu.

From the forefathers headed by Bhrgu Muni and other sons of Brahma appeared many 
children and descendants, who assumed different forms as demigods, demons, human 
beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Caranas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, 
Nagas, Kimpurusas, and so on. All of the many universal species, along with 
their respective leaders, appeared with different natures and desires generated 
from the three modes of material nature. Therefore, because of the different 
characteristics of the living entities within the universe, there are a great 
many Vedic rituals, mantras and rewards.

Thus, due to the great variety of desires and natures among human beings, there 
are many different theistic philosophies of life, which are handed down through 
tradition, custom and disciplic succession. There are other teachers who 
directly support atheistic viewpoints.

O best among men, the intelligence of human beings is bewildered by My illusory 
potency, and thus, according to their own activities and whims, they speak in 
innumerable ways about what is actually good for people.

Some say that people will be happy by performing pious religious activities. 
Others say that happiness is attained through fame, sense gratification, 
truthfulness, self-control, peace, self-interest, political influence, opulence, 
renunciation, consumption, sacrifice, penance, charity, vows, regulated duties 
or strict disciplinary regulation. Each process has its proponents.

All the persons I have just mentioned obtain temporary fruits from their 
material work. Indeed, the meager and miserable situations they achieve bring 
future unhappiness and are based on ignorance. Even while enjoying the fruits of 
their work, such persons are filled with lamentation.

O learned Uddhava, those who fix their consciousness on Me, giving up all 
material desires, share with Me a happiness that cannot possibly be experienced 
by those engaged in sense gratification.

One who does not desire anything within this world, who has achieved peace by 
controlling his senses, whose consciousness is equal in all conditions and whose 
mind is completely satisfied in Me finds only happiness wherever he goes.

One who has fixed his consciousness on Me desires neither the position or abode 
of Lord Brahma or Lord Indra, nor an empire on the earth, nor sovereignty in the 
lower planetary systems, nor the eightfold perfection of yoga, nor liberation 
from birth and death. Such a person desires Me alone.

My dear Uddhava, neither Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Lord Sankarsana, the goddess 
of fortune nor indeed My own self are as dear to Me as you are.

With the dust of My devotees' lotus feet I desire to purify the material worlds, 
which are situated within Me. Thus, I always follow the footsteps of My pure 
devotees, who are free from all personal desire, rapt in thought of My pastimes, 
peaceful, without any feelings of enmity, and of equal disposition everywhere.

Those who are without any desire for personal gratification, whose minds are 
always attached to Me, who are peaceful, without false ego and merciful to all 
living entities, and whose consciousness is never affected by opportunities for 
sense gratification - such persons enjoy in Me a happiness that cannot be known 
or achieved by those lacking such detachment from the material world.

My dear Uddhava, if My devotee has not fully conquered his senses, he may be 
harassed by material desires, but because of his unflinching devotion for Me, he 
will not be defeated by sense gratification.

My dear Uddhava, just as a blazing fire turns firewood into ashes, similarly, 
devotion unto Me completely burns to ashes sins committed by My devotees.

My dear Uddhava, the unalloyed devotional service rendered to Me by My devotees 
brings Me under their control. I cannot be thus controlled by those engaged in 
mystic yoga, Sankhya philosophy, pious work, Vedic study, austerity or 

Only by practicing unalloyed devotional service with full faith in Me can one 
obtain Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am naturally dear to My 
devotees, who take Me as the only goal of their loving service. By engaging in 
such pure devotional service, even the dog-eaters can purify themselves from the 
contaminationof their low birth.

Neither religious activities endowed with honesty and mercy nor knowledge 
obtained with great penance can completely purify one's consciousness if they 
are bereft of loving service to Me.

If one's hairs do not stand on end, how can the heart melt? And if the heart 
does not melt, how can tears of love flow from the eyes? If one does not cry in 
spiritual happiness, how can one render loving service to the Lord? And without 
such service, how can the consciousness be purified?

A devotee whose speech is sometimes choked up, whose heart melts, who cries 
continually and sometimes laughs, who feels ashamed and cries out loudly and 
then dances - a devotee thus fixed in loving service to Me purifies the entire 

Just as gold, when smelted in fire, gives up its impurities and returns to its 
pure brilliant state, similarly, the spirit soul, absorbed in the fire of 
bhakti-yoga, is purified of all contamination caused by previous fruitive 
activities and returns to its original position of serving Me in the spiritual 

When a diseased eye is treated with medicinal ointment it gradually recovers its 
power to see. Similarly, as a conscious living entity cleanses himself of 
material contamination by hearing and chanting the pious narrations of My 
glories, he regains his ability to see Me, the Absolute Truth, in My subtle 
spiritual form.

The mind of one meditating upon the objects of sense gratification is certainly 
entangled in such objects, but if one constantly remembers Me, then the mind is 
absorbed in Me.

Therefore, one should reject all material processes of elevation, which are like 
the mental creations of a dream, and should completely absorb one's mind in Me. 
By constantly thinking of Me, one becomes purified.

Being conscious of the eternal self, one should give up association with women 
and those intimately associated with women. Sitting fearlessly in a solitary 
place, one should concentrate the mind on Me with great attention.

Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is 
greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and 
intimate contact with those attached to women.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Krsna, by what process should one who 
desires liberation meditate upon You, of what specific nature should his 
meditation be, and upon which form should he meditate? Kindly explain to me this 
topic of meditation.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Sitting on a level seat that is not too 
high or too low, keeping the body straight and erect yet comfortable, placing 
the two hands on one's lap and focusing the eyes on the tip of one's nose, one 
should purify the pathways of breathing by practicing the mechanical exercises 
of puraka, kumbhaka and recaka, and then one should reverse the procedure 
(recaka, kumbhaka, puraka). Having fully controlled the senses, one may thus 
practice pranayama step by step.

Beginning from the muladhara-cakra, one should move the life air continuously 
upward like the fibers in the lotus stalk until one reaches the heart, where the 
sacred syllable om is situated like the sound of a bell. One should thus 
continue raising the sacred syllable upward the distance of twelve angulas, and 
there the omkara should be joined together with the fifteen vibrations produced 
with anusvara.

Being fixed in the omkara, one should carefully practice the pranayama system 
ten times at each sunrise, noon and sunset. Thus, after one month one will have 
conquered the life air. 

Keeping the eyes half closed and fixed on the tip of one's nose, being enlivened 
and alert, one should meditate on the lotus flower situated within the heart. 
This lotus has eight petals and is situated on an erect lotus stalk. One should 
meditate on the sun, moon and fire, placing them one after the other within the 
whorl of that lotus flower. Placing My transcendental form within the fire, one 
should meditate upon it as the auspicious goal of all meditation. That form is 
perfectly proportioned, gentle and cheerful. It possesses four beautiful long 
arms, a charming, beautiful neck, a handsome forehead, a pure smile and glowing, 
shark-shaped earrings suspended from two identical ears. That spiritual form is 
the color of a dark rain cloud and is garbed in golden-yellowish silk. The chest 
of that form is the abode of Shrivatsa and the goddess of fortune, and that form 
is also decorated with a conchshell, disc, club, lotus flower and garland of 
forest flowers. The two brilliant lotus feet are decorated with ankle bells and 
bracelets, and that form exhibits the Kaustubha gem along with an effulgent 
crown. The upper hips are beautified by a golden belt, and the arms are 
decorated with valuable bracelets. All of the limbs of that beautiful form 
capture the heart, and the face is beautified by merciful glancing. Pulling the 
senses back from the sense objects, one should be grave and self-controlled and 
should use the intelligence to strongly fix the mind upon all of the limbs of My 
transcendental body. Thus one should meditate upon that most delicate 
transcendental form of Mine.

One should then pull the consciousness back from all the limbs of that 
transcendental body. At that time, one should meditate only on the wonderfully 
smiling face of the Lord. 

Being established in meditation on the Lord's face, one should then withdraw the 
consciousness and fix it in the sky. Then giving up such meditation, one should 
become established in Me and give up the process of meditation altogether.

One who has completely fixed his mind on Me should see Me within his own soul 
and should see the individual soul within Me, the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. Thus, he sees the individual souls united with the Supreme Soul, just 
as one sees the sun's rays completely united with the sun.

When the yogi thus controls his mind by intensely concentrated meditation, his 
illusory identification with material objects, knowledge and activities is very 
quickly extinguished.

Chapter FIFTEEN Lord Krsna's Description of Mystic Yoga Perfections

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the mystic perfections 
of yoga are acquired by a yogi who has conquered his senses, steadied his mind, 
conquered the breathing process and fixed his mind on Me.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Acyuta, by what process can mystic perfection be 
achieved, and what is the nature of such perfection? How many mystic perfections 
are there? Please explain these things to me. Indeed, You are the bestower of 
all mystic perfections. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The masters of the yoga system have 
declared that there are eighteen types of mystic perfection and meditation, of 
which eight are primary, having their shelter in Me, and ten are secondary, 
appearing from the material mode of goodness.

Among the eight primary mystic perfections, the three by which one transforms 
one's own body are anima, becoming smaller than the smallest; mahima, becoming 
greater than the greatest; and laghima, becoming lighter than the lightest. 
Through the perfection of prapti one acquires whatever one desires, and through 
prakamya-siddhi one experiences any enjoyable object, either in this world or 
the next. Through ishita-siddhi one can manipulate the subpotencies of maya, and 
through the controlling potency called vashita-siddhi one is unimpeded by the 
three modes of nature. One who has acquired kamavasayita-siddhi can obtain 
anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit. My dear gentle Uddhava, 
these eight mystic perfections are considered to be naturally existing and 
unexcelled within this world.

The ten secondary mystic perfections arising from the modes of nature are the 
powers of freeing oneself from hunger and thirst and other bodily disturbances, 
hearing and seeing things far away, moving the body at the speed of the mind, 
assuming any form one desires, entering the bodies of others, dying when one 
desires, witnessing the pastimes between the demigods and the celestial girls 
called Apsaras, completely executing one's determination and giving orders whose 
fulfillment is unimpeded. 

The power to know past, present and future; tolerance of heat, cold and other 
dualities; knowing the minds of others; checking the influence of fire, sun, 
water, poison, and so on; and remaining unconquered by others - these constitute 
five perfections of the mystic process of yoga and meditation. I am simply 
listing these here according to their names and characteristics. Now please 
learn from Me how specific mystic perfections arise from specific meditations 
and also of the particular processes involved.

One who worships Me in My atomic form pervading all subtle elements, fixing his 
mind on that alone, obtains the mystic perfection called anima.

One who absorbs his mind in the particular form of the mahat-tattva and thus 
meditates upon Me as the Supreme Soul of the total material existence achieves 
the mystic perfection called mahima. By further absorbing the mind in the 
situation of each individual element such as the sky, air, fire, and so on, one 
progressively acquires the greatness of each material element.

I exist within everything, and I am therefore the essence of the atomic 
constituents of material elements. By attaching his mind to Me in this form, the 
yogi may achieve the perfection called laghima, by which he realizes the subtle 
atomic substance of time.

Fixing his mind completely in Me within the element of false ego generated from 
the mode of goodness, the yogi obtains the power of mystic acquisition, by which 
he becomes the proprietor of the senses of all living entities. He obtains such 
perfection because his mind is absorbed in Me.

One who concentrates all mental activities in Me as the Supersoul of that phase 
of the mahat-tattva which manifests the chain of fruitive activities obtains 
from Me, whose appearance is beyond material perception, the most excellent 
mystic perfection called prakamya.

One who places his consciousness on Visnu, the Supersoul, the prime mover and 
Supreme Lord of the external energy consisting of three modes, obtains the 
mystic perfection of controlling other conditioned souls, their material bodies 
and their bodily designations.

The yogi who places his mind in My form of Narayana, known as the fourth factor, 
full of all opulences, becomes endowed with My nature and thus obtains the 
mystic perfection called vashita.

One who fixes his pure mind on Me in My manifestation as the impersonal Brahman 
obtains the greatest happiness, wherein all his desires are completely 

A human being who concentrates on Me as the upholder of religious principles, 
the personification of purity and the Lord of Shvetadvipa obtains the pure 
existence in which he is freed from the six waves of material disturbance, 
namely hunger, thirst, decay, death, grief and illusion.

That purified living entity who fixes his mind on the extraordinary sound 
vibrations occurring within Me as the personified sky and total life air is then 
able to perceive within the sky the speaking of all living entities.

Merging one's sight into the sun planet and then the sun planet into one's eyes, 
one should meditate on Me as existing within the combination of sun and vision; 
thus one acquires the power to see any distant thing. 

The yogi who completely absorbs his mind in Me, and who then makes use of the 
wind that follows the mind to absorb the material body in Me, obtains through 
the potency of meditation on Me the mystic perfection by which his body 
immediately follows his mind wherever it goes.

When the yogi, applying his mind in a certain way, desires to assume a 
particular form, that very form immediately appears. Such perfection is possible 
by absorbing the mind in the shelter of My inconceivable mystic potency, by 
which I assume innumerable forms.

When a perfect yogi desires to enter another's body, he should meditate upon 
himself within the other body, and then, giving up his own gross body, he should 
enter the other's body through the pathways of air, as easily as a bee leaves 
one flower and flies into another.

The yogi who has achieved the mystic perfection called svacchanda-mrtyu blocks 
the anus with the heel of the foot and then lifts the soul from the heart to the 
chest, to the neck and finally to the head. Situated within the brahma-randhra, 
the yogi then gives up his material body and guides the spirit soul to the 
selected destination.

The yogi who desires to enjoy in the pleasure gardens of the demigods should 
meditate on the purified mode of goodness, which is situated within Me, and then 
the heavenly women, generated from the mode of goodness, will approach him in 

A yogi who has faith in Me, absorbing his mind in Me and knowing that My purpose 
is always fulfilled, will always achieve his purpose by the very means he has 
determined to follow.

A person who perfectly meditates on Me acquires My nature of being the supreme 
ruler and controller. His order, like Mine, can never be frustrated by any 

A yogi who has purified his existence by devotion to Me and who thus expertly 
knows the process of meditation obtains knowledge of past, present and future. 
He can therefore see the birth and death of himself and others.

Just as the bodies of aquatics cannot be injured by water, similarly, the body 
of a yogi whose consciousness is pacified by devotion to Me and who is fully 
developed in yoga science cannot be injured by fire, sun, water, poison, and so 

My devotee becomes unconquerable by meditating on My opulent incarnations, which 
are decorated with Shrivatsa and various weapons and are endowed with imperial 
paraphernalia such as flags, ornamental umbrellas and fans.

A learned devotee who worships Me through yoga meditation certainly obtains in 
all respects the mystic perfections that I have described.

For a sage who has conquered his senses, breathing and mind, who is self-
controlled and always absorbed in meditation on Me, what mystic perfection could 
possibly be difficult to achieve?

Learned experts in devotional service state that the mystic perfections of yoga 
that I have mentioned are actually impediments and are a waste of time for one 
who is practicing the supreme yoga, by which one achieves all perfection in life 
directly from Me.

Whatever mystic perfections can be achieved by good birth, herbs, austerities 
and mantras can all be achieved by devotional service to Me; indeed, one cannot 
achieve the actual perfection of yoga by any other means.

My dear Uddhava, I am the cause, the protector and the Lord of all mystic 
perfections, of the yoga system, of analytic knowledge, of pure activity and of 
the community of learned Vedic teachers.

Just as the same material elements exist within and outside of all material 
bodies, similarly, I cannot be covered by anything else. I exist within 
everything as the Supersoul and outside of everything in My all-pervading 

Chapter SIXTEEN The Lord's Opulence

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You are beginningless and endless, the Absolute 
Truth Himself, unlimited by anything else. You are the protector and life-giver, 
the destruction and creation of all things that exist.

My dear Lord, although it is difficult for the impious to understand that You 
are situated in all superior and inferior creations, those brahmanas who are 
actual knowers of the Vedic conclusion worship You in truth.

Please tell me of the perfections that great sages achieve by worshiping You 
with devotion. Also, kindly explain which of Your different forms they worship.

O my Lord, maintainer of all, although You are the Supersoul of the living 
entities, You remain hidden. Thus being bewildered by You, the living entities 
cannot see You, although You are seeing them.

O supremely potent Lord, please explain to me Your innumerable potencies, which 
You manifest on the earth, in heaven, in hell and indeed in all directions. I 
offer my humble obeisances at Your lotus feet, which are the shelter of all holy 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best of those who know how to 
inquire, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Arjuna, desiring to fight with his 
rivals, asked Me the same question that you are now posing.

On the Battlefield of Kuruksetra Arjuna thought that killing his relatives would 
be an abominable, irreligious activity, motivated only by his desire to acquire 
a kingdom. He therefore desisted from the battle, thinking, "I would be the 
killer of my relatives. They would be destroyed." Thus Arjuna was afflicted with 
mundane consciousness.

At that time I enlightened Arjuna, the tiger among men, with logical arguments, 
and thus in the front of the battle Arjuna addressed Me with questions in the 
same way that you are now inquiring. 

My dear Uddhava, I am the Supersoul of all living entities, and therefore I am 
naturally their well-wisher and supreme controller. Being the creator, 
maintainer and annihilator of all entities, I am not different from them.

I am the ultimate goal of all those seeking progress, and I am time among those 
who exert control. I am the equilibrium of the modes of material nature, and I 
am natural virtue among the pious. 

Among things possessing qualities I am the primary manifestation of nature, and 
among great things I am the total material creation. Among subtle things I am 
the spirit soul, and of things that are difficult to conquer I am the mind. 

Among the Vedas I am their original teacher, Lord Brahma, and of all mantras I 
am the three-lettered omkara. Among letters I am the first letter, "a," and 
among sacred meters I am the Gayatri mantra. 

Among the demigods I am Indra, and among the Vasus I am Agni, the god of fire. I 
am Visnu among the sons of Aditi, and among the Rudras I am Lord Shiva.

Among saintly brahmanas I am Bhrgu Muni, and I am Manu among saintly kings. I am 
Narada Muni among saintly demigods, and I am Kamadhenu among cows. 

I am Lord Kapila among perfected beings and Garuda among birds. I am Daksa among 
the progenitors of mankind, and I am Aryama among the forefathers. 

My dear Uddhava, among the demoniac sons of Diti know Me to be Prahlada 
Maharaja, the saintly lord of the asuras. Among the stars and herbs I am their 
lord, Candra (the moon), and among Yaksas and Raksasas I am the lord of wealth, 

I am Airavata among lordly elephants, and among aquatics I am Varuna, the lord 
of the seas. Among all things that heat and illuminate I am the sun, and among 
human beings I am the king.

Among horses I am Uccaishrava, and I am gold among metals. I am Yamaraja among 
those who suppress and punish, and among serpents I am Vasuki. 

O sinless Uddhava, among the best of snakes I am Anantadeva, and among those 
animals with sharp horns and teeth I am the lion. Among the social orders I am 
the fourth, or the renounced order of life, and among the occupational divisions 
I am the first, the brahmanas. 

Among sacred and flowing things I am the holy Ganges, and among steady bodies of 
water I am the ocean. Among weapons I am the bow, and of the wielders of weapons 
I am Lord Shiva.

Among residences I am Mount Sumeru, and of impervious places I am the Himalayas. 
Among trees I am the holy fig tree, and among plants I am those that bear 

Among priests I am Vasistha Muni, and among those highly situated in Vedic 
culture I am Brhaspati. I am Kartikeya among great military leaders, and among 
those advancing in superior ways of life I am the great personality Lord Brahma. 

Among sacrifices I am study of the Veda, and I am nonviolence among vows. Among 
all things that purify I am the wind, fire, the sun, water and speech. 

Among the eight progressive states of yoga I am the final stage, samadhi, in 
which the soul is completely separated from illusion. Among those desiring 
victory I am prudent political counsel, and among processes of expert 
discrimination I am the science of the soul, by which one distinguishes spirit 
from matter. Among all speculative philosophers I am diversity of perception.

Among ladies I am Shatarupa, and among male personalities I am her husband, 
Svayambhuva Manu. I am Narayana among the sages and Sanat-kumara among 

Among religious principles I am renunciation, and of all types of security I am 
consciousness of the eternal soul within. Of secrets I am pleasant speech and 
silence, and among sexual pairs I am Brahma.

Among the vigilant cycles of time I am the year, and among seasons I am spring. 
Among months I am Margashirsa, and among lunar houses I am the auspicious 

Among ages I am the Satya-yuga, the age of truth, and among steady sages I am 
Devala and Asita. Among those who have divided the Vedas I am Krsna Dvaipayana 
Vedavyasa, and among learned scholars I am Shukracarya, the knower of spiritual 

Among those entitled to the name Bhagavan I am Vasudeva, and indeed, you, 
Uddhava, represent Me among the devotees. I am Hanuman among the Kimpurusas, and 
among the Vidyadharas I am Sudarshana.

Among jewels I am the ruby, and among beautiful things I am the lotus cup. Among 
all types of grass I am the sacred kusha, and of oblations I am ghee and other 
ingredients obtained from the cow.

Among the enterprising I am fortune, and among the cheaters I am gambling. I am 
the forgiveness of the tolerant and the good qualities of those in the mode of 

Of the powerful I bodily and mental strength, and I am the devotional activities 
of My devotees. My devotees worship Me in nine different forms, among which I am 
the original and primary Vasudeva.

Among the Gandharvas I am Vishvavasu, and I am Purvacitti among the heavenly 
Apsaras. I am the steadiness of mountains and the fragrant aroma of the earth.

I am the sweet taste of water, and among brilliant things I am the sun. I am the 
effulgence of the sun, moon and stars, and I am the transcendental sound that 
vibrates in the sky. 

Among those dedicated to brahminical culture I am Bali Maharaja, the son of 
Virocana, and I am Arjuna among heroes. Indeed, I am the creation, maintenance 
and annihilation of all living entities. 

I am the functions of the five working senses - the legs, speech, anus, hands 
and sex organs - as well as those of the five knowledge-acquiring senses - 
touch, sight, taste, hearing and smell. I am also the potency by which each of 
the senses experiences its particular sense object. 

I am form, taste, aroma, touch and sound; false ego; the mahat-tattva; earth, 
water, fire, air and sky; the living entity; material nature; the modes of 
goodness, passion and ignorance; and the transcendental Lord. All these items, 
along with knowledge of their individual symptoms and the steady conviction that 
results from this knowledge, represent Me.

As the Supreme Lord I am the basis of the living entity, of the modes of nature 
and of the mahat-tattva. Thus I am everything, and nothing whatsoever can exist 
without Me.

Even though over a period of time I might count all the atoms of the universe, I 
could not count all of My opulences which I manifest within innumerable 

Whatever power, beauty, fame, opulence, humility, renunciation, mental pleasure, 
fortune, strength, tolerance or spiritual knowledge there may be is simply an 
expansion of My opulence.

I have briefly described to you all My spiritual opulences and also the 
extraordinary material features of My creation, which are perceived by the mind 
and defined in different ways according to circumstances.

Therefore, control your speaking, subdue the mind, conquer the life air, 
regulate the senses and through purified intelligence bring your rational 
faculties under control. In this way you will never again fall onto the path of 
material existence.

A transcendentalist who does not completely control his words and mind by 
superior intelligence will find that his spiritual vows, austerities and charity 
flow away just as water flows out of an unbaked clay pot.

Being surrendered to Me, one should control the speech, mind and life air, and 
then through loving devotional intelligence one will completely fulfill the 
mission of life.

Chapter SEVENTEEN Lord Krsna's Description of the Varnashrama System

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, previously You described the principles of 
devotional service that are to be practiced by followers of the varnashrama 
system and even ordinary, unregulated human beings. My dear lotus-eyed Lord, now 
please explain to me how all human beings can achieve loving service unto You by 
the execution of their prescribed duties.

My dear Lord, O mighty-armed one, previously in Your form of Lord Hamsa You 
spoke to Lord Brahma those religious principles that bring supreme happiness to 
the practitioner. My dear Madhava, now much time has passed, and that which You 
previously instructed will soon practically cease to exist, O subduer of the 

My dear Lord Acyuta, there is no speaker, creator and protector of supreme 
religious principles other than Your Lordship, either on the earth or even in 
the assembly of Lord Brahma, where the personified Vedas reside. Thus, my dear 
Lord Madhusudana, when You, who are the very creator, protector and speaker of 
spiritual knowledge, abandon the earth, who will again speak this lost 

Therefore, my Lord, since You are the knower of all religious principles, please 
describe to me the human beings who may execute the path of loving service to 
You and how such service is to be rendered. 

Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Shri Uddhava, the best of devotees, thus inquired 
from the Lord. Hearing his question, the Personality of Godhead, shri Krsna, was 
pleased and for the welfare of all conditioned souls spoke those religious 
principles that are eternal. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, your question is 
faithful to religious principles and thus gives rise to the highest perfection 
in life, pure devotional service, for both ordinary human beings and the 
followers of the varnashrama system. Now please learn from Me those supreme 
religious principles.

In the beginning, in Satya-yuga, there is only one social class, called hamsa, 
to which all human beings belong. In that age all people are unalloyed devotees 
of the Lord from birth, and thus learned scholars call this first age Krta-yuga, 
or the age in which all religious duties are perfectly fulfilled.

In Satya-yuga the undivided Veda is expressed by the syllable om, and I am the 
only object of mental activities. I become manifest as the four-legged bull of 
religion, and thus the inhabitants of Satya-yuga, fixed in austerity and free 
from all sins, worship Me as Lord Hamsa.

O greatly fortunate one, at the beginning of Treta-yuga Vedic knowledge appeared 
from My heart, which is the abode of the air of life, in three divisions - as 
Rig, Sama and Yajur. Then from that knowledge I appeared as threefold sacrifice.

In Treta-yuga the four social orders were manifested from the universal form of 
the Personality of Godhead. The brahmanas appeared from the Lord's face, the 
ksatriyas from the Lord's arms, the vaishyas from the Lord's thighs and the 
shudras from the legs of that mighty form. Each social division was recognized 
by its particular duties and behavior. 

The married order of life appeared from the loins of My universal form, and the 
celibate students came from My heart. The forest-dwelling retired order of life 
appeared from My chest, and the renounced order of life was situated within the 
head of My universal form.

The various occupational and social divisions of human society appeared 
according to inferior and superior natures manifest in the situation of the 
individual's birth.

Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, 
simple straightforwardness, devotion to Me, mercy and truthfulness are the 
natural qualities of the brahmanas. 

Dynamic power, bodily strength, determination, heroism, tolerance, generosity, 
great endeavor, steadiness, devotion to the brahmanas and leadership are the 
natural qualities of the ksatriyas. 

Faith in Vedic civilization, dedication to charity, freedom from hypocrisy, 
service to the brahmanas and perpetually desiring to accumulate more money are 
the natural qualities of the vaishyas.

Service without duplicity to the brahmanas, cows, demigods and other worshipable 
personalities, and complete satisfaction with whatever income is obtained in 
such service, are the natural qualities of shudras.

Dirtiness, dishonesty, thievery, faithlessness, useless quarrel, lust, anger and 
hankering constitute the nature of those in the lowest position outside the 
varnashrama system.

Nonviolence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for the happiness and welfare of all 
others and freedom from lust, anger and greed constitute duties for all members 
of society.

The twice-born member of society achieves second birth through the sequence of 
purificatory ceremonies culminating in Gayatri initiation. Being summoned by the 
spiritual master, he should reside within the guru's ashrama and with a self-
controlled mind carefully study the Vedic literature.

The brahmacari should regularly dress with a belt of straw and deerskin 
garments. He should wear matted hair, carry a rod and waterpot and be decorated 
with aksa beads and a sacred thread. Carrying pure kusha grass in his hand, he 
should never accept a luxurious or sensuous sitting place. He should not 
unnecessarily polish his teeth, nor should he bleach and iron his clothes.

A brahmacari should always remain silent while bathing, eating, attending 
sacrificial performances, chanting japa or passing stool and urine. He should 
not cut his nails and hair, including the armpit and pubic hair.

One observing the vow of celibate brahmacari life should never pass semen. If 
the semen by chance spills out by itself, the brahmacari should immediately take 
bath in water, control his breath by pranayama and chant the Gayatri mantra 

Purified and fixed in consciousness, the brahmacari should worship the fire-god, 
sun, acarya, cows, brahmanas, guru, elderly respectable persons and demigods. He 
should perform such worship at sunrise and sunset, without speaking but by 
silently chanting or murmuring the appropriate mantras. 

One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One 
should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative 
of all the demigods.

In the morning and evening one should collect foodstuffs and other articles and 
deliver them to the spiritual master. Then, being self-controlled, one should 
accept for oneself that which is allotted by the acarya.

While engaged in serving the spiritual master one should remain as a humble 
servant, and thus when the guru is walking the servant should humbly walk 
behind. When the guru lies down to sleep, the servant should also lie down 
nearby, and when the guru has awakened, the servant should sit near him, 
massaging his lotus feet and rendering other, similar services. When the guru is 
sitting down on his asana, the servant should stand nearby with folded hands, 
awaiting the guru's order. In this way one should always worship the spiritual 

Until the student has completed his Vedic education he should remain engaged in 
the ashrama of the spiritual master, should remain completely free of material 
sense gratification and should not break his vow of celibacy [brahmacarya].

If the brahmacari student desires to ascend to the Maharloka or Brahmaloka 
planets, then he should completely surrender his activities to the spiritual 
master and, observing the powerful vow of perpetual celibacy, dedicate himself 
to superior Vedic studies.

Thus enlightened in Vedic knowledge by service to the spiritual master, freed 
from all sins and duality, one should worship Me as the Supersoul, as I appear 
within fire, the spiritual master, one's own self and all living entities.

Those who are not married - sannyasis, vanaprasthas and brahmacaris - should 
never associate with women by glancing, touching, conversing, joking or 
sporting. Neither should they ever associate with any living entity engaged in 
sexual activities.

My dear Uddhava, general cleanliness, washing the hands, bathing, performing 
religious services at sunrise, noon and sunset, worshiping Me, visiting holy 
places, chanting japa, avoiding that which is untouchable, uneatable or not to 
be discussed, and remembering My existence within all living entities as the 
Supersoul - these principles should be followed by all members of society 
through regulation of the mind, words and body. 

A brahmana observing the great vow of celibacy becomes brilliant like fire and 
by serious austerity burns to ashes the propensity to perform material 
activities. Free from the contamination of material desire, he becomes My 

A brahmacari who has completed his Vedic education and desires to enter 
household life should offer proper remuneration to the spiritual master, bathe, 
cut his hair, put on proper clothes, and so on. Then, taking permission from the 
guru, he should go back to his home.

A brahmacari desiring to fulfill his material desires should live at home with 
his family, and a householder who is eager to purify his consciousness should 
enter the forest, whereas a purified brahmana should accept the renounced order 
of life. One who is not surrendered to Me should move progressively from one 
ashrama to another, never acting otherwise.

One who desires to establish family life should marry a wife of his own caste, 
who is beyond reproach and younger in age. If one desires to accept many wives 
he must marry them after the first marriage, and each wife should be of a 
successively lower caste.

All twice-born men - brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaishyas - must perform sacrifice, 
study the Vedic literature and give charity. Only the brahmanas, however, accept 
charity, teach the Vedic knowledge and perform sacrifice on behalf of others.

A brahmana who considers that accepting charity from others will destroy his 
austerity, spiritual influence and fame should maintain himself by the other two 
brahminical occupations, namely teaching Vedic knowledge and performing 
sacrifice. If the brahmana considers that those two occupations also compromise 
his spiritual position, then he should collect rejected grains in agricultural 
fields and live without any dependence on others.

The body of a brahmana is not intended to enjoy insignificant material sense 
gratification; rather, by accepting difficult austerities in his life, a 
brahmana will enjoy unlimited happiness after death.

A brahmana householder should remain satisfied in mind by gleaning rejected 
grains from agricultural fields and marketplaces. Keeping himself free of 
personal desire, he should practice magnanimous religious principles, with 
consciousness absorbed in Me. In this way a brahmana may stay at home as a 
householder without very much attachment and thus achieve liberation.

Just as a ship rescues those who have fallen into the ocean, similarly, I very 
quickly rescue from all calamities those persons who uplift brahmanas and 
devotees suffering in a poverty-stricken condition.

Just as the chief bull elephant protects all other elephants in his herd and 
defends himself as well, similarly, a fearless king, just like a father, must 
save all of the citizens from difficulty and also protect himself.

An earthly king who protects himself and all citizens by removing all sins from 
his kingdom will certainly enjoy with Lord Indra in airplanes as brilliant as 
the sun. 

If a brahmana cannot support himself through his regular duties and is thus 
suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a merchant and overcome his destitute 
condition by buying and selling material things. If he continues to suffer 
extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he may adopt the occupation of a 
ksatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in any circumstances become like a 
dog, accepting an ordinary master.

A king or other member of the royal order who cannot maintain himself by his 
normal occupation may act as a vaishya, may live by hunting or may act as a 
brahmana by teaching others Vedic knowledge. But he may not under any 
circumstances adopt the profession of a shudra. 

A vaishya, or mercantile man, who cannot maintain himself may adopt the 
occupation of a shudra, snd a shudra who cannot find a master can engage in 
simple activities like making baskets and mats of straw. However, all members of 
society who have adopted inferior occupations in emergency situations must give 
up those substitute occupations when the difficulties have passed. 

One in the grhastha order of life should daily worship the sages by Vedic study, 
the forefathers by offering the mantra svadha, the demigods by chanting svaha, 
all living entities by offering shares of one's meals, and human beings by 
offering grains and water. Thus considering the demigods, sages, forefathers, 
living entities and human beings to be manifestations of My potency, one should 
daily perform these five sacrifices.

A householder should comfortably maintain his dependents either with money that 
comes of its own accord or with that gathered by honest execution of one's 
duties. According to one's means, one should perform sacrifices and other 
religious ceremonies.

A householder taking care of many dependent family members should not become 
materially attached to them, nor should he become mentally unbalanced, 
considering himself to be the lord. An intelligent householder should see that 
all possible future happiness, just like that which he has already experienced, 
is temporary.

The association of children, wife, relatives and friends is just like the brief 
meeting of travelers. With each change of body one is separated from all such 
associates, just as one loses the objects one possesses in a dream when the 
dream is over.

Deeply considering the actual situation, a liberated soul should live at home 
just like a guest, without any sense of proprietorship or false ego. In this way 
he will not be bound or entangled by domestic affairs.

A householder devotee who worships Me by execution of his family duties may 
remain at home, go to a holy place or, if he has a responsible son, take 

But a householder whose mind is attached to his home and who is thus disturbed 
by ardent desires to enjoy his money and children, who is lusty after women, who 
is possessed of a miserly mentality and who unintelligently thinks, "Everything 
is mine and I am everything," is certainly bound in illusion.

"O my poor elderly parents, and my wife with a mere infant in her arms, and my 
other young children! Without me they have absolutely no one to protect them and 
will suffer unbearably. How can my poor relatives possibly live without me?" 

Thus, because of his foolish mentality, a householder whose heart is overwhelmed 
by family attachment is never satisfied. Constantly meditating on his relatives, 
he dies and enters into the darkness of ignorance.

Chapter EIGHTEEN Description of Varnashrama-dharma

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who desires to adopt the third 
order of life, vanaprastha, should enter the forest with a peaceful mind, 
leaving his wife with his mature sons, or else taking her along with him.

Having adopted the vanaprastha order of life, one should arrange one's 
sustenance by eating uncontaminated bulbs, roots and fruits that grow in the 
forest. One may dress oneself with tree bark, grass, leaves or animal skins.

The vanaprastha should not groom the hair on his head, body or face, should not 
manicure his nails, should not pass stool and urine at irregular times and 
should not make a special endeavor for dental hygiene. He should be content to 
take bath in water three times daily and should sleep on the ground. 

Thus engaged as a vanaprastha, one should execute penance during the hottest 
summer days by subjecting oneself to burning fires on four sides and the blazing 
sun overhead; during the rainy season one should remain outside, subjecting 
oneself to torrents of rain; and in the freezing winter one should remain 
submerged in water up to one's neck.

One may eat foodstuffs prepared with fire, such as grains, or fruits ripened by 
time. One may grind one's food with mortar and stone or with one's own teeth.

The vanaprastha should personally collect whatever he requires for his bodily 
maintenance, carefully considering the time, place and his own capacity. He 
should never collect provisions for the future.

One who has accepted the vanaprastha order of life should perform seasonal 
sacrifices by offering oblations of caru and sacrificial cakes prepared from 
rice and other grains found in the forest. The vanaprastha, however, may never 
offer animal sacrifices to Me, even those sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas.

The vanaprastha should perform the agnihotra, darsha and paurnamasa sacrifices, 
as he did while in the grhastha-ashrama. He should also perform the vows and 
sacrifices of caturmasya, since all of these rituals are enjoined for the 
vanaprastha-ashrama by expert knowers of the Vedas.

The saintly vanaprastha, practicing severe penances and accepting only the bare 
necessities of life, becomes so emaciated that he appears to be mere skin and 
bones. Thus worshiping Me through severe penances, he goes to the Maharloka 
planet and then directly achieves Me.

One who with long endeavor executes this painful but exalted penance, which 
awards ultimate liberation, simply to achieve insignificant sense gratification 
must be considered the greatest fool.

If the vanaprastha is overtaken by old age and because of his trembling body is 
no longer able to execute his prescribed duties, he should place the sacrificial 
fire within his heart by meditation. Then, fixing his mind on Me, he should 
enter into the fire and give up his body.

If the vanaprastha, understanding that even promotion to Brahmaloka is a 
miserable situation, develops complete detachment from all possible results of 
fruitive activities, then he may take the sannyasa order of life. 

Having worshiped Me according to scriptural injunctions and having given all 
one's property to the sacrificial priest, one should place the fire sacrifice 
within oneself. Thus, with the mind completely detached, one should enter the 
sannyasa order of life.

"This man taking sannyasa is going to surpass us and go back home, back to 
Godhead." Thus thinking, the demigods create stumbling blocks on the path of the 
sannyasi by appearing before him in the shape of his former wife or other women 
and attractive objects. But the sannyasi should pay the demigods and their 
manifestations no heed.

If the sannyasi desires to wear something besides a mere kaupina, he may use 
another cloth around his waist and hips to cover the kaupina. Otherwise, if 
there is no emergency, he should not accept anything besides his danda and 

A saintly person should step or place his foot on the ground only after 
verifying with his eyes that there are no living creatures, such as insects, who 
might be injured by his foot. He should drink water only after filtering it 
through a portion of his cloth, and he should speak only words that possess the 
purity of truth. Similarly, he should perform only those activities his mind has 
carefully ascertained to be pure.

One who has not accepted the three internal disciplines of avoiding useless 
speech, avoiding useless activities and controlling the life air can never be 
considered a sannyasi merely because of his carrying bamboo rods.

Rejecting those houses that are polluted and untouchable, one should approach 
without previous calculation seven houses and be satisfied with that which is 
obtained there by begging. According to necessity, one may approach each of the 
four occupational orders of society.

Taking the food gathered through begging, one should leave the populated areas 
and go to a reservoir of water in a secluded place. There, having taken a bath 
and washed one's hands thoroughly, one should distribute portions of the food to 
others who may request it. One should do this without speaking. Then, having 
thoroughly cleansed the remnants, one should eat everything on one's plate, 
leaving nothing for future consumption.

Without any material attachment, with senses fully controlled, remaining 
enthusiastic, and satisfied in realization of the Supreme Lord and his own self, 
the saintly person should travel about the earth alone. Having equal vision 
everywhere, he should be steady on the spiritual platform.

Dwelling in a safe and solitary place, his mind purified by constant thought of 
Me, the sage should concentrate on the soul alone, realizing it to be 
nondifferent from Me.

By steady knowledge a sage should clearly ascertain the nature of the soul's 
bondage and liberation. Bondage occurs when the senses are deviated to sense 
gratification, and complete control of the senses constitutes liberation.

Therefore, completely controlling the five senses and the mind by Krsna 
consciousness, a sage, having experienced spiritual bliss within the self, 
should live detached from insignificant material sense gratification. 

The sage should travel in sanctified places, by flowing rivers and within the 
solitude of mountains and forests. He should enter the cities, towns and 
pasturing grounds and approach ordinary working men only to beg his bare 

One in the vanaprastha order of life should always practice taking charity from 
others, for one is thereby freed from illusion and quickly becomes perfect in 
spiritual life. Indeed, one who subsists on food grains obtained in such u 
humble manner purifies his existence.

One should never see as ultimate reality those material things which obviously 
will perish. With consciousness free from material attachment, one should retire 
from all activities meant for material progress in this life and the next.

One should logically consider the universe, which is situated within the Lord, 
and one's own material body, which is composed of mind, speech and life air, to 
be ultimately products of the Lord's illusory energy. Thus situated in the self, 
one should give up one's faith in these things and should never again make them 
the object of one's meditation.

A learned transcendentalist dedicated to the cultivation of knowledge and thus 
detached from external objects, or My devotee who is detached even from desire 
for liberation - both neglect those duties based on external rituals or 
paraphernalia. Thus their conduct is beyond the range of rules and regulations.

Although most wise, the paramahamsa should enjoy life like a child, oblivious to 
honor and dishonor; although most expert, he should behave like a stunted, 
incompetent person; although most learned, he should speak like an insane 
person; and although a scholar learned in Vedic regulations, he should behave in 
an unrestricted manner.

A devotee should never engage in the fruitive rituals mentioned in the karma-
kanda section of the Vedas, nor should he become atheistic, acting or speaking 
in opposition to Vedic injunctions. Similarly, he should never speak like a mere 
logician or skeptic or take any side whatsoever in useless arguments.

A saintly person should never let others frighten or disturb him and, similarly, 
should never frighten or disturb other people. He should tolerate the insults of 
others and should never himself belittle anyone. He should never create 
hostility with anyone for the sake of the material body, for he would thus be no 
better than an animal.

The one Supreme Lord is situated within all material bodies and within 
everyone's soul. Just as the moon is reflected in innumerable reservoirs of 
water, the Supreme Lord, although one, is present within everyone. Thus every 
material body is ultimately composed of the energy of the one Supreme Lord.

If at times one does not obtain proper food one should not be depressed, and 
when one obtains sumptuous food one should not rejoice. Being fixed in 
determination, one should understand both situations to be under the control of 

If required, one should endeavor to get sufficient foodstuffs, because it is 
always necessary and proper to maintain one's health. When the senses, mind and 
life air are fit, one can contemplate spiritual truth, and by understanding the 
truth one is liberated.

A sage should accept the food, clothing and bedding - be they of excellent or 
inferior quality - that come of their own accord.

Just as I, the Supreme Lord, execute regulative duties by My own free will, 
similarly, one who has realized knowledge of Me should maintain general 
cleanliness, purify his hands with water, take bath and execute other regulative 
duties not by force but by his own free will.

A realized soul no longer sees anything as separate from Me, for his realized 
knowledge of Me has destroyed such illusory perception. Since the material body 
and mind were previously accustomed to this kind of perception, it may sometimes 
appear to recur; but at the time of death the self-realized soul achieves 
opulences equal to Mine.

One who is detached from sense gratification, knowing its result to be 
miserable, and who desires spiritual perfection, but who has not seriously 
analyzed the process for obtaining Me, should approach a bona fide and learned 
spiritual master.

Until a devotee has clearly realized spiritual knowledge, he should continue 
with great faith and respect and without envy to render personal service to the 
guru, who is nondifferent from Me.

One who has not controlled the six forms of illusion [lust, anger, greed, 
excitement, false pride and intoxication], whose intelligence, the leader of the 
senses, is extremely attached to material things, who is bereft of knowledge and 
detachment, who adopts the sannyasa order of life to make a living, who denies 
the worshipable demigods, his own self and the Supreme Lord within himself, thus 
ruining all religious principles, and who is still infected by material 
contamination, is deviated and lost both in this life and the next.

The main religious duties of a sannyasi are equanimity and nonviolence, whereas 
for the vanaprastha austerity and philosophical understanding of the difference 
between the body and soul are prominent. The main duties of a householder are to 
give shelter to all living entities and perform sacrifices, and the brahmacari 
is mainly engaged in serving the spiritual master.

A householder may approach his wife for sex only at the time prescribed for 
begetting children. Otherwise, the householder should practice celibacy, 
austerity, cleanliness of mind and body, satisfaction in his natural position, 
and friendship toward all living entities. Worship of Me is to be practiced by 
all human beings, regardless of social or occupational divisions.

One who worships Me by his prescribed duty, having no other object of worship, 
and who remains conscious of Me as present in all living entities, achieves 
unflinching devotional service unto Me.

My dear Uddhava, I am the Supreme Lord of all worlds, and I create and destroy 
this universe, being its ultimate cause. I am thus the Absolute Truth, and one 
who worships Me with unfailing devotional service comes to Me.

Thus, one who has purified his existence by execution of his prescribed duties, 
who fully understands My supreme position and who is endowed with scriptural and 
realized knowledge, very soon achieves Me. 

Those who are followers of this varnashrama system accept religious principles 
according to authorized traditions of proper conduct. When such varnashrama 
duties are dedicated to Me in loving service, they award the supreme perfection 
of life.

My dear saintly Uddhava, I have now described to you, just as you inquired, the 
means by which My devotee, perfectly engaged in his prescribed duty, can come 
back to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Chapter NINETEEN The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: A self-realized person who has 
cultivated scriptural knowledge up to the point of enlightenment and who is free 
from impersonal speculation, understanding the material universe to be simply 
illusion, should surrender unto Me both that knowledge and the means by which he 
achieved it.

For learned, self-realized philosophers I am the only object of worship, the 
desired goal of life, the means for achieving that goal, and the settled 
conclusion of all knowledge. Indeed, because I am the cause of their happiness 
and their freedom from unhappiness, such learned souls have no effective purpose 
or dear object in life except Me.

Those who have achieved complete perfection through philosophical and realized 
knowledge recognize My lotus feet to be the supreme transcendental object. Thus 
the learned transcendentalist is most dear to Me, and by his perfect knowledge 
he maintains Me in happiness.

That perfection which is produced by a small fraction of spiritual knowledge 
cannot be duplicated by performing austerities, visiting holy places, chanting 
silent prayers, giving in charity or engaging in other pious activities.

Therefore, My dear Uddhava, through knowledge you should understand your actual 
self. Then, advancing by clear realization of Vedic knowledge, you should 
worship Me in the mood of loving devotion.

Formerly, great sages, through the sacrifice of Vedic knowledge and spiritual 
enlightenment, worshiped Me within themselves, knowing Me to be the Supreme Lord 
of all sacrifice and the Supersoul in everyone's heart. Thus coming to Me, these 
sages achieved the supreme perfection. 

My dear Uddhava, the material body and mind, composed of the three modes of 
material nature, attach themselves to you, but they are actually illusion, since 
they appear only at the present, having no original or ultimate existence. How 
is it possible, therefore, that the various stages of the body, namely birth, 
growth, reproduction, maintenance, dwindling and death, can have any relation to 
your eternal self? These phases relate only to the material body, which 
previously did not exist and ultimately will not exist. The body exists merely 
at the present moment.

Shri Uddhava said: O Lord of the universe! O form of the universe! Please 
explain to me that process of knowledge which automatically brings detachment 
and direct perception of the truth, which is transcendental, and which is 
traditional among great spiritual philosophers. This knowledge, sought by 
elevated personalities, describes loving devotional service unto Your Lordship.

My dear Lord, for one who is being tormented on the terrible path of birth and 
death and is constantly overwhelmed by the threefold miseries, I do not see any 
possible shelter other than Your two lotus feet, which are just like a 
refreshing umbrella that pours down showers of delicious nectar.

O almighty Lord, please be merciful and uplift this hopeless living entity who 
has fallen into the dark hole of material existence, where the snake of time has 
bitten him. In spite of such abominable conditions, this poor living entity has 
tremendous desire to relish the most insignificant material happiness. Please 
save me, my Lord, by pouring down the nectar of Your instructions, which awaken 
one to spiritual freedom.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, just as you are now 
inquiring from Me, similarly, in the past King Yudhisthira, who considered no 
one his enemy, inquired from the greatest of the upholders of religious 
principles, Bhisma, while all of us were carefully listening. 

When the great Battle of Kuruksetra had ended, King Yudhisthira was overwhelmed 
by the death of many beloved well-wishers, and thus, after listening to 
instructions about many religious principles, he finally inquired about the path 
of liberation. 

I will now speak unto you those religious principles of Vedic knowledge, 
detachment, self-realization, faith and devotional service that were heard 
directly from the mouth of Bhismadeva. 

I personally approve of that knowledge by which one sees the combination of 
nine, eleven, five and three elements in all living entities, and ultimately one 
element within those twenty-eight.

When one no longer sees the twenty-eight separated material elements, which 
arise from a single cause, but rather sees the cause itself, the Personality of 
Godhead - at that time one's direct experience is called vijnana, or self-

Commencement, termination and maintenance are the stages of material causation. 
That which consistently accompanies all these material phases from one creation 
to another and remains alone when all material phases are annihilated is the one 

From the four types of evidence - Vedic knowledge, direct experience, 
traditional wisdom and logical induction - one can understand the temporary, 
insubstantial situation of the material world, by which one becomes detached 
from the duality of this world.

An intelligent person should see that any material activity is subject to 
constant transformation and that even on the planet of Lord Brahma there is thus 
simply unhappiness. Indeed, a wise man can understand that just as all that he 
has seen is temporary, similarly, all things within the universe have a 
beginning and an end.

O sinless Uddhava, because you love Me, I previously explained to you the 
process of devotional service. Now I will again explain the supreme process for 
achieving loving service unto Me.

Firm faith in the blissful narration of My pastimes, constant chanting of My 
glories, unwavering attachment to ceremonial worship of Me, praising Me through 
beautiful hymns, great respect for My devotional service, offering obeisances 
with the entire body, performing first-class worship of My devotees, 
consciousness of Me in all living entities, offering of ordinary, bodily 
activities in My devotional service, use of words to describe My qualities, 
offering the mind to Me, rejection of all material desires, giving up wealth for 
My devotional service, renouncing material sense gratification and happiness, 
and performing all desirable activities such as charity, sacrifice, chanting, 
vows and austerities with the purpose of achieving Me - these constitute actual 
religious principles, by which those human beings who have actually surrendered 
themselves to Me automatically develop love for Me. What other purpose or goal 
could remain for My devotee?

When one's peaceful consciousness, strengthened by the mode of goodness, is 
fixed on the Personality of Godhead, one achieves religiosity, knowledge, 
detachment and opulence.

When consciousness is fixed on the material body, home and other, similar 
objects of sense gratification, one spends one's life chasing after material 
objects with the help of the senses. Consciousness, thus powerfully affected by 
the mode of passion, becomes dedicated to impermanent things, and in this way 
irreligion, ignorance, attachment and wretchedness arise.

Actual religious principles are stated to be those that lead one to My 
devotional service. Real knowledge is the awareness that reveals My all-
pervading presence. Detachment is complete disinterest in the objects of 
material sense gratification, and opulence is the eight mystic perfection, such 
as anima-siddhi.

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Krsna, O chastiser of the enemies, please tell 
me how many types of disciplinary regulations and regular daily duties there 
are. Also, my Lord, tell me what is mental equilibrium, what is self-control, 
and what is the actual meaning of tolerance and steadfastness. What are charity, 
austerity and heroism, and how are reality and truth to he described? What is 
renunciation, and what is wealth? What is desirable, what is sacrifice, and what 
is religious remuneration? My dear Keshava, O most fortunate one, how am I to 
understand the strength, opulence and profit of a particular person? What is the 
best education, what is actual humility, and what is real beauty? What are 
happiness and unhappiness? Who is learned, and who is a fool? What are the true 
and the false paths in life, and what are heaven and hell? Who is indeed a true 
friend, and what is one's real home? Who is a rich man, and who is a poor man? 
Who is wretched, and who is an actual controller? O Lord of the devotees, kindly 
explain these matters to me, along with their opposites.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Nonviolence, truthfulness, not coveting 
or stealing the property of others, detachment, humility, freedom from 
possessiveness, trust in the principles of religion, celibacy, silence, 
steadiness, forgiveness and fearlessness are the twelve primary disciplinary 
principles. Internal cleanliness, external cleanliness, chanting the holy names 
of the Lord, austerity, sacrifice, faith, hospitality, worship of Me, visiting 
holy places, acting and desiring only for the supreme interest, satisfaction, 
and service to the spiritual master are the twelve elements of regular 
prescribed duties. These twenty-four elements bestow all desired benedictions 
upon those persons who devotedly cultivate them. 

Absorbing the intelligence in Me constitutes mental equilibrium, and complete 
discipline of the senses is self-control. Tolerance means patiently enduring 
unhappiness, and steadfastness occurs when one conquers the tongue and genitals. 
The greatest charity is to give up all aggression toward others, and 
renunciation of lust is understood to be real austerity. Real heroism is to 
conquer one's natural tendency to enjoy material life, and reality is seeing the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead everywhere. Truthfulness means to speak the truth 
in a pleasing way, as declared by great sages. Cleanliness is detachment in 
fruitive activities, whereas renunciation is the sannyasa order of life. The 
true desirable wealth for human beings is religiousness, and I, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, am sacrifice. Religious remuneration is devotion to the 
acarya with the purpose of acquiring spiritual instruction, and the greatest 
strength is the pranayama system of breath control.

Actual opulence is My own nature as the Personality of Godhead, through which I 
exhibit the six unlimited opulences. The supreme gain in life is devotional 
service to Me, and actual education is nullifying the false perception of 
duality within the soul. Real modesty is to be disgusted with improper 
activities, and beauty is to possess good qualities such as detachment. Real 
happiness is to transcend material happiness and unhappiness, and real misery is 
to be implicated in searching for sex pleasure. A wise man is one who knows the 
process of freedom from bondage, and a fool is one who identifies with his 
material body and mind. The real path in life is that which leads to Me, and the 
wrong path is sense gratification, by which consciousness is bewildered. Actual 
heaven is the predominance of the mode of goodness, whereas hell is the 
predominance of ignorance. I am everyone's true friend, acting as the spiritual 
master of the entire universe, and one's home is the human body. My dear friend 
Uddhava, one who is enriched with good qualities is actually said to be rich, 
and one who is unsatisfied in life is actually poor. A wretched person is one 
who cannot control his senses, whereas one who is not attached to sense 
gratification is a real controller. One who attaches himself to sense 
gratification is the opposite, a slave. Thus, Uddhava, I have elucidated all of 
the matters about which you inquired. There is no need for a more elaborate 
description of these good and bad qualities, since to constantly see good and 
bad is itself a bad quality. The best quality is to transcend material good and 

Chapter TWENTY Pure Devotional Service Surpasses Knowledge and Detachment

Shri Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Krsna, You are the Supreme Lord, and thus 
the Vedic literatures, consisting of positive and negative injunctions, 
constitute Your order. Such literatures focus upon the good and bad qualities of 

According to Vedic literature, the superior and inferior varieties found in the 
human social system, varnashrama, are due to pious and sinful modes of family 
planning. Thus piety and sin are constant points of reference in the Vedic 
analysis of the components of a given situation - namely the material 
ingredients, place, age and time. Indeed, the Vedas reveal the existence of 
material heaven and hell, which are certainly based on piety and sin.

Without seeing the difference between piety and sin, how can one understand Your 
own instructions in the form of Vedic literatures, which order one to act 
piously and forbid one to act sinfully? Furthermore, without such authorized 
Vedic literatures, which ultimately award liberation, how can human beings 
achieve the perfection of life?

My dear Lord, in order to understand those things beyond direct experience - 
such as spiritual liberation or attainment of heaven and other material 
enjoyments beyond our present capacity - and in general to understand the means 
and end of all things, the forefathers, demigods and human beings must consult 
the Vedic literatures, which are Your own laws, for these constitute the highest 
evidence and revelation.

My dear Lord, the distinction observed between piety and sin comes from Your own 
Vedic knowledge and does not arise by itself. If the same Vedic literature 
subsequently nullifies such distinction between piety and sin, there will 
certainly be confusion.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, because I desire that 
human beings may achieve perfection, I have presented three paths of advancement 
- the path of knowledge, the path of work and the path of devotion. Besides 
these three there is absolutely no other means of elevation.

Among these three paths, jnana-yoga, the path of philosophical speculation, is 
recommended for those who are disgusted with material life and are thus detached 
from ordinary, fruitive activities. Those who are not disgusted with material 
life, having many desires yet to fulfill, should seek perfection through the 
path of karma-yoga.

If somehow or other by good fortune one develops faith in hearing and chanting 
My glories, such a person, being neither very disgusted with nor attached to 
material life, should achieve perfection through the path of loving devotion to 

As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his 
taste for devotional service by shravanam kirtanam visno one has to act 
according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions.

My dear Uddhava, a person who is situated in his prescribed duty, properly 
worshiping by Vedic sacrifices but not desiring the fruitive result of such 
worship, will not go to the heavenly planets; similarly, by not performing 
forbidden activities he will not go to hell.

One who is situated in his prescribed duty, free from sinful activities and 
cleansed of material contamination, in this very life obtains transcendental 
knowledge or, by fortune, devotional service unto Me.

The residents of both heaven and hell desire human birth on the earth planet 
because human life facilitates the achievement of transcendental knowledge and 
love of Godhead, whereas neither heavenly nor hellish bodies efficiently provide 
such opportunities.

A human being who is wise should never desire promotion to heavenly planets or 
residence in hell. Indeed, a human being should also never desire permanent 
residence on the earth, for by such absorption in the material body one becomes 
foolishly negligent of one's actual self-interest.

A wise person, knowing that although the material body is subject to death it 
can still award the perfection of one's life, should not foolishly neglect to 
take advantage of this opportunity before death arrives. 

Without attachment, a bird gives up the tree in which his nest was constructed 
when that tree is cut down by cruel men who are like death personified, and thus 
the bird achieves happiness in another place.

Knowing that one's duration of life is being similarly cut down by the passing 
of days and nights, one should be shaken by fear. In this way, giving up all 
material attachment and desire, one understands the Supreme Lord and achieves 
perfect peace.

The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically obtained 
by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement. This human body 
can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having the spiritual master as 
the captain and the instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable 
winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human 
being who does not utilize his human life to cross the ocean of material 
existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.

A transcendentalist, having become disgusted and hopeless in all endeavors for 
material happiness, completely controls the senses and develops detachment. By 
spiritual practice he should then fix the mind on the spiritual platform without 

Whenever the mind, being concentrated on the spiritual platform, is suddenly 
deviated from its spiritual position, one should carefully bring it under the 
control of the self by following the prescribed means.

One should never lose sight of the actual goal of mental activities, but rather, 
conquering the life air and senses and utilizing intelligence strengthened by 
the mode of goodness, one should bring the mind under the control of the self.

An expert horseman, desiring to tame a headstrong horse, first lets the horse 
have his way for a moment and then, pulling the reins, gradually places the 
horse on the desired path. Similarly, the supreme yoga process is that by which 
one carefully observes the movements and desires of the mind and gradually 
brings them under full control.

Until one's mind is fixed in spiritual satisfaction, one should analytically 
study the temporary nature of all material objects, whether cosmic, earthly or 
atomic. One should constantly observe the process of creation through the 
natural progressive function and the process of annihilation through the 
regressive function.

When a person is disgusted with the temporary, illusory nature of this world and 
is thus detached from it, his mind, guided by the instructions of his spiritual 
master, considers again and again the nature of this world and eventually gives 
up the false identification with matter.

Through the various disciplinary regulations and the purificatory procedures of 
the yoga system, through logic and spiritual education or through worship and 
adoration of Me, one should constantly engage his mind in remembering the 
Personality of Godhead, the goal of yoga. No other means should be employed for 
this purpose.

If, because of momentary inattention, a yogi accidentally commits an abominable 
activity, then by the very practice of yoga he should burn to ashes the sinful 
reaction, without at any time employing any other procedure.

It is firmly declared that the steady adherence of transcendentalists to their 
respective spiritual positions constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a 
transcendentalist neglects his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of 
piety and sin, sincerely desiring to give up all past association with sense 
gratification, is able to subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature 

Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all 
material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but 
still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain 
happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is 
sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense 
gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such 

When an intelligent person engages constantly in worshiping Me through loving 
devotional service as described by Me, his heart becomes firmly situated in Me. 
Thus all material desires within the heart are destroyed.

The knot in the heart is pierced, all misgivings are cut to pieces and the chain 
of fruitive actions is terminated when I am seen as the Supreme Personality of 

Therefore, for a devotee engaged in My loving service, with mind fixed on Me, 
the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation is generally not the means of 
achieving the highest perfection within this world.

Everything that can be achieved by fruitive activities, penance, knowledge, 
detachment, mystic yoga, charity, religious duties and all other means of 
perfecting life is easily achieved by My devotee through loving service unto Me. 
If somehow or other My devotee desires promotion to heaven, liberation, or 
residence in My abode, he easily achieves such benedictions.

Because My devotees possess saintly behavior and deep intelligence, they 
completely dedicate themselves to Me and do not desire anything besides Me. 
Indeed, even if I offer them liberation from birth and death, they do not accept 

It is said that complete detachment is the highest stage of freedom. Therefore, 
one who has no personal desire and does not pursue personal rewards can achieve 
loving devotional service unto Me.

Material piety and sin, which arise from the good and evil of this world, cannot 
exist within My unalloyed devotees, who, being free from material hankering, 
maintain steady spiritual consciousness in all circumstances. Indeed, such 
devotees have achieved Me, the Supreme Lord, who am beyond anything that can be 
conceived by material intelligence.

Persons who seriously follow these methods of achieving Me, which I have 
personally taught, attain freedom from illusion, and upon reaching My personal 
abode they perfectly understand the Absolute Truth. 

Chapter TWENTY-ONE Lord Krsna's Explanation of the Vedic Path

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who give up these methods for 
achieving Me, which consist of devotional service, analytic philosophy and 
regulated execution of prescribed duties, and instead, being moved by the 
material senses, cultivate insignificant sense gratification, certainly undergo 
the continual cycle of material existence.

Steadiness in one's own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas 
deviation from one's position is considered impiety. In this way the two are 
definitely ascertained.

O sinless Uddhava, in order to understand what is proper in life one must 
evaluate a given object within its particular category. Thus, in analyzing 
religious principles one must consider purity and impurity. Similarly, in one's 
ordinary dealings one must distinguish between good and bad, and to insure one's 
physical survival one must recognize that which is auspicious and inauspicious.

I have revealed this way of life for those bearing the burden of mundane 
religious principles.

Earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five basic elements that constitute 
the bodies of all conditioned souls, from Lord Brahma himself down to the 
nonmoving creatures. These elements all emanate from the one Personality of 

My dear Uddhava, although all material bodies are composed of the same five 
elements and are thus equal, the Vedic literatures conceive of different names 
and forms in relation to such bodies so that the living entities may achieve 
their goal of life.

O saintly Uddhava, in order to restrict materialistic activities, I have 
established that which is proper and improper among all material things, 
including time, space and all physical objects.

Among places, those bereft of the spotted antelope, those devoid of devotion to 
the brahmanas, those possessing spotted antelopes but bereft of respectable men, 
provinces like Kikata and places where cleanliness and purificatory rites are 
neglected, where meat-eaters are prominent or where the earth is barren, are all 
considered to be contaminated lands.

A specific time is considered pure when it is appropriate, either by its own 
nature or through achievement of suitable paraphernalia, for the performance of 
one's prescribed duty. That time which impedes the performance of one's duty is 
considered impure.

An object's purity or impurity is established by application of another object, 
by words, by rituals, by the effects of time or according to relative magnitude.

Impure things may or may not impose sinful reactions upon a person, depending on 
that person's strength or weakness, intelligence, wealth, location and physical 

Various objects such as grains, wooden utensils, things made of bone, thread, 
liquids, objects derived from fire, skins and earthy objects are all purified by 
time, by the wind, by fire, by earth and by water, either separately or in 

A particular purifying agent is considered appropriate when its application 
removes the bad odor or dirty covering of some contaminated object and makes it 
resume its original nature.

The self can be cleansed by bathing, charity, austerity, age, personal strength, 
purificatory rituals, prescribed duties and, above all, by remembrance of Me. 
The brahmana and other twice-born men should be duly purified before performing 
their specific activities.

A mantra is purified when chanted with proper knowledge, and one's work is 
purified when offered to Me. Thus by purification of the place, time, substance, 
doer, mantras and work, one becomes religious, and by negligence of these six 
items one is considered irreligious.

Sometimes piety becomes sin, and sometimes what is ordinarily sin becomes piety 
on the strength of Vedic injunctions. Such special rules in effect eradicate the 
clear distinction between piety and sin.

The same activities that would degrade an elevated person do not cause falldown 
for those who are already fallen. Indeed, one who is lying on the ground cannot 
possibly fall further. The material association that is dictated by one's own 
nature is considered a good quality.

By refraining from a particular sinful or materialistic activity, one becomes 
freed from its bondage. Such renunciation is the basis of religious and 
auspicious life for human beings and drives away all suffering, illusion and 

One who accepts material sense objects as desirable certainly becomes attached 
to them. From such attachment lust arises, and this lust creates quarrel among 

From quarrel arises intolerable anger, followed by the darkness of ignorance. 
This ignorance quickly overtakes a man's broad intelligence.

O saintly Uddhava, a person bereft of real intelligence is considered to have 
lost everything. Deviated from the actual purpose of his life, he becomes dull, 
just like a dead person.

Because of absorption in sense gratification, one cannot recognize himself or 
others. Living uselessly in ignorance like a tree, one is merely breathing just 
like a bellows.

Those statements of scripture promising fruitive rewards do not prescribe the 
ultimate good for men hut are merely enticements for executing beneficial 
religious duties, like promises of candy spoken to induce a child to take 
beneficial medicine.

Simply by material birth, human beings become attached within their minds to 
personal sense gratification, long duration of life, sense activities, bodily 
strength, sexual potency and friends and family. Their minds are thus absorbed 
in that which defeats their actual self-interest.

Those ignorant of their real self-interest are wandering on the path of material 
existence, gradually heading toward darkness. Why would the Vedas further 
encourage them in sense gratification if they, although foolish, submissively 
pay heed to Vedic injunctions?

Persons with perverted intelligence do not understand this actual purpose of 
Vedic knowledge and instead propagate as the highest Vedic truth the flowery 
statements of the Vedas that promise material rewards. Those in actual knowledge 
of the Vedas never speak in that way.

Those who are full of lust, avarice and greed mistake mere flowers to be the 
actual fruit of life. Bewildered by the glare of fire and suffocated by its 
smoke, they cannot recognize their own true identity.

My dear Uddhava, persons dedicated to sense gratification obtained through 
honoring the Vedic rituals cannot understand that I am situated in everyone's 
heart and that the entire universe is nondifferent from Me and emanates from Me. 
Indeed, they are just like persons whose eyes are covered by fog.

Those who are sworn to sense gratification cannot understand the confidential 
conclusion of Vedic knowledge as explained by Me. Taking pleasure in violence, 
they cruelly slaughter innocent animals in sacrifice for their own sense 
gratification and thus worship demigods, forefathers and leaders among ghostly 
creatures. Such passion for violence, however, is never encouraged within the 
process of Vedic sacrifice.

Just as a foolish businessman gives up his real wealth in useless business 
speculation, foolish persons give up all that is actually valuable in life and 
instead pursue promotion to material heaven, which although pleasing to hear 
about is actually unreal, like a dream. Such bewildered persons imagine within 
their hearts that they will achieve all material blessings.

Those established in material passion, goodness and ignorance worship the 
particular demigods and other deities, headed by Indra, who manifest the same 
modes of passion, goodness or ignorance. They fail, however, to properly worship 

The worshipers of demigods think, "We shall worship the demigods in this life, 
and by our sacrifices we shall go to heaven and enjoy there. When that enjoyment 
is finished we shall return to this world and take birth as great householders 
in aristocratic families." Being excessively proud and greedy, such persons are 
bewildered by the flowery words of the Vedas. They are not attracted to topics 
about Me, the Supreme Lord.

The Vedas, divided into three divisions, ultimately reveal the living entity as 
pure spirit soul. The Vedic seers and mantras, however, deal in esoteric terms, 
and I also am pleased by such confidential descriptions.

The transcendental sound of the Vedas is very difficult to comprehend and 
manifests on different levels within the prana, senses and mind. This Vedic 
sound is unlimited, very deep and unfathomable, just like the ocean.

As the unlimited, unchanging and omnipotent Personality of Godhead dwelling 
within all living beings, I personally establish the Vedic sound vibration in 
the form of omkara within all living entities. It is thus perceived subtly, just 
like a single strand of fiber on a lotus stalk.

Just as a spider brings forth from its heart its web and emits it through its 
mouth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself as the reverberating 
primeval vital air, comprising all sacred Vedic meters and full of 
transcendental pleasure. Thus the Lord, from the ethereal sky of His heart, 
creates the great and limitless Vedic sound by the agency of His mind, which 
conceives of variegated sounds such as the sparshas. The Vedic sound branches 
out in thousands of directions, adorned with the different letters expanded from 
the syllable om: the consonants, vowels, sibilants and semivowels. The Veda is 
then elaborated by many verbal varieties, expressed in different meters, each 
having four more syllables than the previous one. Ultimately the Lord again 
withdraws His manifestation of Vedic sound within Himself.

The Vedic meters are Gayatri, Usnik, Anustup, Brhati, Pankti, Tristup, Jagati, 
Aticchanda, Atyasti, Atijagati and Ativirat.

In the entire world no one but Me actually understands the confidential purpose 
of Vedic knowledge. Thus people do not know what the Vedas are actually 
prescribing in the ritualistic injunctions of karma-kanda, or what object is 
actually being indicated in the formulas of worship found in the upasana-kanda, 
or that which is elaborately discussed through various hypotheses in the jnana-
kanda section of the Vedas.

I am the ritualistic sacrifice enjoined by the Vedas, and I am the worshipable 
Deity. It is I who am presented as various philosophical hypotheses, and it is I 
alone who am then refuted by philosophical analysis. The transcendental sound 
vibration thus establishes Me as the essential meaning of all Vedic knowledge. 
The Vedas, elaborately analyzing all material duality as nothing but My illusory 
potency, ultimately completely negate this duality and achieve their own 

Chapter TWENTY-TWO Enumeration of the Elements of Material Creation

Uddhava inquired: My dear Lord, O master of the universe, how many different 
elements of creation have been enumerated by the great sages? I have heard You 
personally describe a total of twenty-eight - God, the jiva soul, the mahat-
tattva, false ego, the five gross elements, the ten senses, the mind, the five 
subtle objects of perception and the three modes of nature. But some authorities 
say that there are twenty-six elements, while others cite twenty-five or else 
seven, nine, six, four or eleven, and even others say that there are seventeen, 
sixteen or thirteen. What did each of these sages have in mind when he 
calculated the creative elements in such different ways? O supreme eternal, 
kindly explain this to me.

Lord Krsna replied: Because all material elements are present everywhere, it is 
reasonable that different learned brahmanas have analyzed them in different 
ways. All such philosophers spoke under the shelter of My mystic potency, and 
thus they could say anything without contradicting the truth.

When philosophers argue, "I don't choose to analyze this particular case in the 
same way that you have," it is simply My own insurmountable energies that are 
motivating their analytic disagreements.

By interaction of My energies different opinions arise. But for those who have 
fixed their intelligence on Me and controlled their senses, differences of 
perception disappear, and consequently the very cause for argument is removed.

O best among men, because subtle and gross elements mutually enter into one 
another, philosophers may calculate the number of basic material elements in 
different ways, according to their personal desire.

All subtle material elements are actually present within their gross effects; 
similarly, all gross elements are present within their subtle causes, since 
material creation takes place by progressive manifestation of elements from 
subtle to gross. Thus we can find all material elements within any single 

Therefore, no matter which of these thinkers is speaking, and regardless of 
whether in their calculations they include material elements within their 
previous subtle causes or else within their subsequent manifest products, I 
accept their conclusions as authoritative, because a logical explanation can 
always be given for each of the different theories.

Because a person who has been covered by ignorance since time immemorial is not 
capable of effecting his own self-realization, there must be some other 
personality who is in factual knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart 
this knowledge to him.

According to knowledge in the material mode of goodness, there is no qualitative 
difference between the living entity and the supreme controller. The imagination 
of qualitative difference between them is useless speculation.

Nature exists originally as the equilibrium of the three material modes, which 
pertain only to nature, not to the transcendental spirit soul. These modes - 
goodness, passion and ignorance - are the effective causes of the creation, 
maintenance and destruction of this universe.

In this world the mode of goodness is recognized as knowledge, the mode of 
passion as fruitive work, and the mode of darkness as ignorance. Time is 
perceived as the agitated interaction of the material modes, and the totality of 
functional propensity is embodied by the primeval sutra, or mahat-tattva.

I have described the nine basic elements as the enjoying soul, nature, nature's 
primeval manifestation of the mahat-tattva, false ego, ether, air, fire, water 
and earth.

Hearing, touch, sight, smell and taste are the five knowledge acquiring senses, 
My dear Uddhava, and speech, the hands, the genitals, the anus and the legs 
constitute the five working senses. The mind belongs to both these categories.

Sound, touch, taste, smell and form are the objects of the knowledge-acquiring 
senses, and movement, speech, excretion and manufacture are functions of the 
working senses.

In the beginning of creation nature assumes, by the modes of goodness, passion 
and ignorance, its form as the embodiment of all subtle causes and gross 
manifestations within the universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead does not 
enter the interaction of material manifestation but merely glances upon nature.

As the material elements, headed by the mahat-tattva, are transformed, they 
receive their specific potencies from the glance of the Supreme Lord, and being 
amalgamated by the power of nature, they create the universal egg. 

According to some philosophers there are seven elements, namely earth, water, 
fire, air and ether, along with the conscious spirit soul and the Supreme Soul, 
who is the basis of both the material elements and the ordinary spirit soul. 
According to this theory, the body, senses, life air and all material phenomena 
are produced from these seven elements.

Other philosophers state that there are six elements - the five physical 
elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) and the sixth element, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead. That Supreme Lord, endowed with the elements that He has 
brought forth from Himself, creates this universe and then personally enters 
within it.

Some philosophers propose the existence of four basic elements, of which three - 
fire, water and earth - emanate from the fourth, the Self. Once existing, these 
elements produce the cosmic manifestation, in which all material creation takes 

Some calculate the existence of seventeen basic elements, namely the five gross 
elements, the five objects of perception, the five sensory organs, the mind, and 
the soul as the seventeenth element. 

According to the calculation of sixteen elements, the only difference from the 
previous theory is that the soul is identified with the mind. If we think in 
terms of five physical elements, five senses, the mind, the individual soul and 
the Supreme Lord, there are thirteen elements.

Counting eleven, there are the soul, the gross elements and the senses. Eight 
gross and subtle elements plus the Supreme Lord would make nine. 

Thus great philosophers have analyzed the material elements in many different 
ways. All of their proposals are reasonable, since they are all presented with 
ample logic. Indeed, such philosophical brilliance is expected of the truly 

Shri Uddhava inquired: Although nature and the living entity are 
constitutionally distinct, O Lord Krsna, there appears to be no difference 
between them, because they are found residing within one another. Thus the soul 
appears to be within nature and nature within the soul.

O lotus-eyed Krsna, O omniscient Lord, kindly cut this great doubt out of my 
heart with Your own words, which exhibit Your great skill in reasoning.

From You alone the knowledge of the living beings arises, and by Your potency 
that knowledge is stolen away. Indeed, no one but Yourself can understand the 
real nature of Your illusory potency.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best among men, material nature and 
its enjoyer are clearly distinct. This manifest creation undergoes constant 
transformation, being founded upon the agitation of the modes of nature.

My dear Uddhava, My material energy, comprising three modes and acting through 
them, manifests the varieties of creation along with varieties of consciousness 
for perceiving them. The manifest result of material transformation is 
understood in three aspects: adhyatmic, adhidaivic and adhibhautic.

Sight, visible form and the reflected image of the sun within the aperture of 
the eye all work together to reveal one another. But the original sun standing 
in the sky is self-manifested. Similarly, the Supreme Soul, the original cause 
of all entities, who is thus separate from all of them, acts by the illumination 
of His own transcendental experience as the ultimate source of manifestation of 
all mutually manifesting objects.

Similarly, the sense organs, namely the skin, ears, eyes, tongue and nose - as 
well as the functions of the subtle body, namely conditioned consciousness, 
mind, intelligence and false ego - can all be analyzed in terms of the threefold 
distinction of sense, object of perception and presiding deity.

When the three modes of nature are agitated, the resultant transformation 
appears as the element false ego in three phases - goodness, passion and 
ignorance. Generated from the mahat-tattva, which is itself produced from the 
unmanifest pradhana, this false ego becomes the cause of all material illusion 
and duality.

The speculative argument of philosophers - "This world is real," "No, it is not 
real" - is based upon incomplete knowledge of the Supreme Soul and is simply 
aimed at understanding material dualities. Although such argument is useless, 
persons who have turned their attention away from Me, their own true Self, are 
unable to give it up.

Shri Uddhava said: O supreme master, the intelligence of those dedicated to 
fruitive activities is certainly deviated from You. Please explain to me how 
such persons accept superior and inferior bodies by their materialistic 
activities and then give up such bodies. O Govinda, this topic is very difficult 
for foolish persons to understand. Being cheated by illusion in this world, they 
generally do not become aware of these facts.

Lord Krsna said: The material mind of men is shaped by the reactions of fruitive 
work. Along with the five senses, it travels from one material body to another. 
The spirit soul, although different from this mind, follows it. 

The mind, bound to the reactions of fruitive work, always meditates on the 
objects of the senses, both those that are seen in this world and those that are 
heard about from Vedic authority. Consequently, the mind appears to come into 
being and to suffer annihilation along with its objects of perception, and thus 
its ability to distinguish past and future is lost.

When the living entity passes from the present body to the next body, which is 
created by his own karma, he becomes absorbed in the pleasurable and painful 
sensations of the new body and completely forgets the experience of the previous 
body. This total forgetfulness of one's previous material identity, which comes 
about for one reason or another, is called death.

O most charitable Uddhava, what is called birth is simply a person's total 
identification with a new body. One accepts the new body just as one completely 
accepts the experience of a dream or a fantasy as reality.

Just as a person experiencing a dream or daydream does not remember his previous 
dreams or daydreams, a person situated in his present body, although having 
existed prior to it, thinks that he has only recently come into being.

Because the mind, which is the resting place of the senses, has created the 
identification with a new body, the threefold material variety of high, middle 
and low class appears as if present within the reality of the soul. Thus the 
self creates external and internal duality, just as a man might give birth to a 
bad son.

My dear Uddhava, material bodies are constantly undergoing creation and 
destruction by the force of time, whose swiftness is imperceptible. But because 
of the subtle nature of time, no one sees this. 

The different stages of transformation of all material bodies occur just like 
those of the flame of a candle, the current of a river, or the fruits of a tree.

Although the illumination of a lamp consists of innumerable rays of light 
undergoing constant creation, transformation and destruction, a person with 
illusory intelligence who sees the light for a moment will speak falsely, 
saying, "This is the light of the lamp." As one observes a flowing river, ever-
new water passes by and goes far away, yet a foolish person, observing one point 
in the river, falsely states, "This is the water of the river." Similarly, 
although the material body of a human being is constantly undergoing 
transformation, those who are simply wasting their lives falsely think and say 
that each particular stage of the body is the person's real identity

A person does not actually take birth out of the seed of past activities, nor, 
being immortal, does he die. By illusion the living being appears to be born and 
to die, just as fire in connection with firewood appears to begin and then cease 
to exist.

Impregnation, gestation, birth, infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, old age 
and death are the nine ages of the body. 

Although the material body is different from the self, because of the ignorance 
due to material association one falsely identifies oneself with the superior and 
inferior bodily conditions. Sometimes a fortunate person is able to give up such 
mental concoction.

By the death of one's father or grandfather one can surmise one's own death, and 
by the birth of one's son one can understand the condition of one's own birth. A 
person who thus realistically understands the creation and destruction of 
material bodies is no longer subject to these dualities.

One who observes the birth of a tree from its seed and the ultimate death of the 
tree after maturity certainly remains a distinct observer separate from the 
tree. In the same way, the witness of the birth and death of the material body 
remains separate from it.

An unintelligent man, failing to distinguish himself from material nature, 
thinks nature to be real. By contact with it he becomes completely bewildered 
and enters into the cycle of material existence.

Made to wander because of his fruitive work, the conditioned soul, by contact 
with the mode of goodness, takes birth among the sages or demigods. By contact 
with the mode of passion he becomes a demon or human being, and by association 
with the mode of ignorance he takes birth as a ghost or in the animal kingdom.

Just as one may imitate persons whom one sees dancing and singing, similarly the 
soul, although never the doer of material activities, becomes captivated by 
material intelligence and is thus forced to imitate its qualities.

The soul's material life, his experience of sense gratification, is actually 
false, O descendant of Dasharha, just like trees' appearance of quivering when 
the trees are reflected in agitated water, or like the earth's appearance of 
spinning due to one's spinning his eyes around, or like the world of a fantasy 
or dream.

For one who is meditating on sense gratification, material life, although 
lacking factual existence, does not go away, just as the unpleasant experiences 
of a dream do not.

Therefore, O Uddhava, do not try to enjoy sense gratification with the material 
senses. See how illusion based on material dualities prevents one from realizing 
the self.

Even though neglected, insulted, ridiculed or envied by bad men, or even though 
repeatedly agitated by being beaten, tied up or deprived of one's occupation, 
spat upon or polluted with urine by ignorant people, one who desires the highest 
goal in life should in spite of all these difficulties use his intelligence to 
keep himself safe on the spiritual platform.

Shri Uddhava said: O best of all speakers, please explain to me how I may 
properly understand this. 

O soul of the universe, the conditioning of one's personality in material life 
is very strong, and therefore it is very difficult even for learned men to 
tolerate the offenses committed against them by ignorant people. Only Your 
devotees, who are fixed in Your loving service and who have achieved peace by 
residing at Your lotus feet, are able to tolerate such offenses.

Chapter TWENTY-THREE The Song of the Avanti Brahmana.

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Mukunda, the chief of the Dasharhas, having thus 
been respectfully requested by the best of His devotees, Shri Uddhava, first 
acknowledged the fitness of his servant's statements. Then the Lord, whose 
glorious exploits are most worthy of being heard, began to reply to him. 

Lord Shri Krsna said: O disciple of Brhaspati, there is virtually no saintly man 
in this world capable of resettling his own mind after it has been disturbed by 
the insulting words of uncivilized men.

Sharp arrows which pierce one's chest and reach the heart do not cause as much 
suffering as the arrows of harsh, insulting words that become lodged within the 
heart when spoken by uncivilized men. 

My dear Uddhava, in this regard a most pious story is told, and I shall now 
describe it to you. Please listen with careful attention.

Once a certain sannyasi was insulted in many ways by impious men. However, with 
determination he remembered that he was suffering the fruit of his own previous 
karma. I will narrate to you his story and that which he spoke.

In the country of Avanti there once lived a certain brahmana who was very rich 
and gifted with all opulences, and who was engaged in the occupation of 
commerce. But he was a miserly person - lusty, greedy and very prone to anger.

In his home, devoid of religiosity and lawful sense gratification, the family 
members and guests were never properly respected, even with words. He would not 
even allow sufficient gratification for his own body at the suitable times. 

Since he was so hardhearted and miserly, his sons, in-laws, wife, daughters and 
servants began to feel inimical toward him. Becoming disgusted, they would never 
treat him with affection. 

In this way the presiding deities of the five family sacrifices became angry at 
the brahmana, who, being niggardly, guarded his wealth like a Yaksa, who had no 
good destination either in this world or the next, and who was totally deprived 
of religiosity and sense enjoyment. 

O magnanimous Uddhava, by his neglect of these demigods he depleted his stock of 
piety and all his wealth. The accumulation of his repeated exhaustive endeavors 
was totally lost.

Some of the wealth of this so-called brahmana was taken away by his relatives, 
My dear Uddhava, some by thieves, some by the whims of providence, some by the 
effects of time, some by ordinary men and some by government authorities.

Finally, when his property was completely lost, he who never engaged in 
religiosity or sense enjoyment became ignored by his family members. Thus he 
began to feel unbearable anxiety. 

Having lost all his wealth, he felt great pain and lamentation. His throat 
choked up with tears, and he meditated for a long time on his fortune. Then a 
powerful feeling of renunciation came over him.

The brahmana spoke as follows: O what great misfortune! I have simply tormented 
myself uselessly, struggling so hard for money that was not even intended for 
religiosity or material enjoyment. 

Generally, the wealth of misers never allows them any happiness. In this life it 
causes their self-torment, and when they die it sends them to hell.

Whatever pure fame is possessed by the famous and whatever praiseworthy 
qualities are found in the virtuous are destroyed by even a small amount of 
greed, just as one's attractive physical beauty is ruined by a trace of white 

In the earning, attainment, increase, protection, expense, loss and enjoyment of 
wealth, all men experience great labor, fear, anxiety and delusion. 

Theft, violence, speaking lies, duplicity, lust, anger, perplexity, pride, 
quarreling, enmity, faithlessness, envy and the dangers caused by women, 
gambling and intoxication are the fifteen undesirable qualities that contaminate 
men because of greed for wealth. Although these qualities are undesirable, men 
falsely ascribe value to them. One desiring to achieve the real benefit of life 
should therefore remain aloof from undesirable material wealth.

Even a man's brothers, wife, parents and friends united with him in love will 
immediately break off their affectionate relationships and become enemies over a 
single coin. 

For even a small amount of money these relatives and friends become very 
agitated and their anger is inflamed. Acting as rivals, they quickly give up all 
sentiments of goodwill and will reject one at a moment's notice, even to the 
point of committing murder. 

Those who obtain human life, which is prayed for even by the demigods, and in 
that human birth become situated as first-class brahmanas, are extremely 
fortunate. If they disregard this important opportunity, they are certainly 
killing their own self-interest and thus achieve a most unfortunate end.

What mortal man, having achieved this human life, which is the very gateway to 
both heaven and liberation, would willingly become attached to that abode of 
worthlessness, material property?

One who fails to distribute his wealth to the proper shareholders - the 
demigods, sages, forefathers and ordinary living entities, as well as his 
immediate relatives, in-laws and own self - is maintaining his wealth simply 
like a Yaksa and will fall down.

Discriminating persons are able to utilize their money, youth and strength to 
achieve perfection. But I have feverishly squandered these in the useless 
endeavor for further wealth. Now that I am an old man, what can I achieve? 

Why must an intelligent man suffer by his constant vain efforts to get wealth? 
Indeed, this whole world is most bewildered by someone's illusory potency. 

For one who is in the grips of death, what is the use of wealth or those who 
offer it, sense gratification or those who offer it, or, for that matter, any 
type of fruitive activity, which simply causes one to again take birth in the 
material world? 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, who contains within Himself all 
the demigods, must be satisfied with me. Indeed, He has brought me to this 
suffering condition and forced me to experience detachment, which is the boat to 
carry me over this ocean of material life.

If there is any time remaining in my life, I will perform austerities and force 
my body to subsist on the bare necessities. Without further confusion I shall 
pursue that which constitutes my entire self-interest in life, and I shall 
remain satisfied within the self. 

Thus may the presiding demigods of these three worlds kindly show their mercy 
upon me. Indeed, Maharaja Khatvanga was able to achieve the spiritual world in a 
single moment.

Lord Shri Krsna continued: His mind thus determined, that most excellent Avanti 
brahmana was able to untie the knots of desire within his heart. He then assumed 
the role of a peaceful and silent sannyasi mendicant. 

He wandered about the earth, keeping his intelligence, senses and life air under 
control. To beg charity he traveled alone to various cities and villages. He did 
not advertise his advanced spiritual position and thus was not recognized by 

O kind Uddhava, seeing him as an old, dirty beggar, rowdy persons would dishonor 
him with many insults. 

Some of these persons would take away his sannyasi rod, and some the waterpot 
which he was using as a begging bowl. Some took his deerskin seat, some his 
chanting beads, and some would steal his torn, ragged clothing. Displaying these 
things before him, they would pretend to offer them back but would then hide 
them again. 

When he was sitting on the bank of a river about to partake of the food that he 
had collected by his begging, such sinful rascals would come and pass urine on 
it, and they would dare to spit on his head. 

Although he had taken a vow of silence, they would try to make him speak, and if 
he did not speak they would beat him with sticks. Others would chastise him, 
saying, "This man is just a thief." And others would bind him up with rope, 
shouting, "Tie him up! Tie him up!" 

They would criticize and insult him, saying, "This man is just a hypocrite and a 
cheat. He makes a business of religion simply because he lost all his wealth and 
his family threw him out." 

Some would ridicule him by saying, "Just see this greatly powerful sage! He is 
as steadfast as the Himalaya Mountains. By practice of silence he strives for 
his goal with great determination, just like a duck." Other persons would pass 
foul air upon him, and sometimes others would bind this twice-born brahmana in 
chains and keep him captive like a pet animal. 

The brahmana understood that all his suffering - from other living beings, from 
the higher forces of nature and from his own body - was unavoidable, being 
allotted to him by providence.

Even while being insulted by these low-class men who were trying to effect his 
downfall, he remained steady in his spiritual duties. Fixing his resolution in 
the mode of goodness, he began to chant the following song.

The brahmana said: These people are not the cause of my happiness and distress. 
Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planets, my past work, or time. 
Rather, it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates 
the rotation of material life. 

The powerful mind actuates the functions of the material modes, from which 
evolve the different kinds of material activities in the modes of goodness, 
ignorance and passion. From the activities in each of these modes develop the 
corresponding statuses of life.

Although present along with the struggling mind within the material body, the 
Supersoul is not endeavoring, because He is already endowed with transcendental 
enlightenment. Acting as my friend, He simply witnesses from His transcendental 
position. I, the infinitesimal spirit soul, on the other hand, have embraced 
this mind, which is the mirror reflecting the image of the material world. Thus 
I have become engaged in enjoying objects of desire and am entangled due to 
contact with the modes of nature. 

Charity, prescribed duties, observance of major and minor regulative principles, 
hearing from scripture, pious works and purifying vows all have as their final 
aim the subduing of the mind. Indeed, concentration of the mind on the Supreme 
is the highest yoga. 

If one's mind is perfectly fixed and pacified, then tell me what need does one 
have to perform ritualistic charity and other pious rituals? And if one's mind 
remains uncontrolled, lost in ignorance, then of what use are these engagements 
for him? 

All the senses have been under the control of the mind since time immemorial, 
and the mind himself never comes under the sway of any other. He is stronger 
than the strongest, and his godlike power is fearsome. Therefore, anyone who can 
bring the mind under control becomes the master of all the senses. 

Failing to conquer this irrepressible enemy, the mind, whose urges are 
intolerable and who torments the heart, many people are completely bewildered 
and create useless quarrel with others. Thus they conclude that other people are 
either their friends, their enemies or parties indifferent to them.

Persons who identify with this body, which is simply the product of the material 
mind, are blinded in their intelligence, thinking in terms of "I" and "mine." 
Because of their illusion of "this is I, but that is someone else," they wander 
in endless darkness. 

If you say that these people are the cause of my happiness and distress, then 
where is the place of the soul in such a conception? This happiness and distress 
pertain not to the soul but to the interactions of material bodies. If someone 
bites his tongue with his own teeth, at whom can he become angry in his 

If you say that the demigods who rule the bodily senses cause suffering, still, 
how can such suffering apply to the spirit soul? This acting and being acted 
upon are merely interactions of the changeable senses and their presiding 
deities. When one limb of the body attacks another, with whom can the person in 
that body be angry?

If the soul himself were the cause of happiness and distress, then we could not 
blame others, since happiness and distress would be simply the nature of the 
soul. According to this theory, nothing except the soul actually exists, and if 
we were to perceive something besides the soul, that would be illusion. 
Therefore, since happiness and distress do not actually exist in this concept, 
why become angry at oneself or others?

And if we examine the hypothesis that the planets are the immediate cause of 
suffering and happiness, then also where is the relationship with the soul, who 
is eternal? After all, the effect of the planets applies only to things that 
have taken birth. Expert astrologers have moreover explained how the planets are 
only causing pain to each other. Therefore, since the living entity is distinct 
from these planets and from the material body, against whom should he vent his 

If we assume that fruitive work is the cause of happiness and distress, we still 
are not dealing with the soul. The idea of material work arises when there is a 
spiritual actor who is conscious and a material body that undergoes the 
transformation of happiness and distress as a reaction to such work. Since the 
body has no life, it cannot be the actual recipient of happiness and distress, 
nor can the soul, who is ultimately completely spiritual and aloof from the 
material body. Since karma thus has no ultimate basis in either the body or the 
soul, at whom can one become angry?

If we accept time as the cause of happiness and distress, that experience still 
cannot apply to the spirit soul, since time is a manifestation of the Lord's 
spiritual potency and the living entities are also expansions of the Lord's 
spiritual potency manifesting through time. Certainly a fire does not burn its 
own flames or sparks, nor does the cold harm its own snowflakes or hail. In 
fact, the spirit soul is transcendental and beyond the experience of material 
happiness and distress. At whom, therefore, should one become angry?

The false ego gives shape to illusory material existence and thus experiences 
material happiness and distress. The spirit soul, however, is transcendental to 
material nature; he can never actually be affected by material happiness and 
distress in any place, under any circumstance or by the agency of any person. A 
person who understands this has nothing whatsoever to fear from the material 

I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed 
in the service of the lotus feet of Krsna. This was approved by the previous 
acaryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead.

Lord Shri Krsna said: Thus becoming detached upon the loss of his property, this 
sage gave up his moroseness. He left home, taking sannyasa, and began to travel 
about the earth. Even when insulted by foolish rascals he remained unswerved 
from his duty and chanted this song.

No other force besides his own mental confusion makes the soul experience 
happiness and distress. His perception of friends, neutral parties and enemies 
and the whole material life he builds around this perception are simply created 
out of ignorance.

My dear Uddhava, fixing your intelligence on Me, you should thus completely 
control the mind. This is the essence of the science of yoga. 

Anyone who listens to or recites to others this song of the sannyasi, which 
presents scientific knowledge of the Absolute, and who thus meditates upon it 
with full attention, will never again be overwhelmed by the dualities of 
material happiness and distress.

Chapter TWENTY-FOUR The Philosophy of Sankhya

Lord Shri Krsna said: Now I shall describe to you the science of Sankhya, which 
has been perfectly established by ancient authorities. By understanding this 
science a person can immediately give up the illusion of material duality.

Originally, during the Krta-yuga, when all men were very expert in spiritual 
discrimination, and also previous to that, during the period of annihilation, 
the seer existed alone, nondifferent from the seen object.

That one Absolute Truth, remaining free from material dualities and inaccessible 
to ordinary speech and mind, divided Himself into two categories - the material 
nature and the living entities who are trying to enjoy the manifestations of 
that nature.

Of these two categories of manifestation, one is material nature, which embodies 
both the subtle causes and manifests products of matter. The other is the 
conscious living entity, designated as the enjoyer.

When material nature was agitated by My glance, the three material modes - 
goodness, passion and ignorance - became manifest to fulfill the pending desires 
of the conditioned souls.

From these modes arose the primeval sutra, along with the mahat-tattva. By the 
transformation of the mahat-tattva was generated the false ego, the cause of the 
living entities' bewilderment.

False ego, which is the cause of physical sensation, the senses, and the mind, 
encompasses both spirit and matter and manifests, in three varieties: in the 
modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.

From false ego in the mode of ignorance came the subtle physical perceptions, 
from which the gross elements were generated. From false ego in the mode of 
passion came the senses, and from false ego in the mode of goodness arose the 
eleven demigods.

Impelled by Me, all these elements combined to function in an orderly fashion 
and together gave birth to the universal egg, which is My excellent place of 

I Myself appeared within that egg, which was floating on the causal water, and 
from My navel arose the universal lotus, the birthplace of self-born Brahma.

Lord Brahma, the soul of the universe, being endowed with the mode of passion, 
performed great austerities by My mercy and thus created the three planetary 
divisions, called Bhur, Bhuvar and Svar, along with their presiding deities. 

Heaven was established as the residence of the demigods, Bhuvarloka as that of 
the ghostly spirits, and the earth system as the place of human beings and other 
mortal creatures. Those mystics who strive for liberation are promoted beyond 
these three divisions.

Lord Brahma created the region below the earth for the demons and the Naga 
snakes. In this way the destinations of the three worlds were arranged as the 
corresponding reactions for different kinds of work performed within the three 
modes of nature. 

By mystic yoga, great austerities and the renounced order of life, the pure 
destinations of Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka are attained. But by 
devotional yoga, one achieves My transcendental abode.

All results of fruitive work have been arranged within this world by Me, the 
supreme creator acting as the force of time. Thus one sometimes rises up toward 
the surface of this mighty river of the modes of nature and sometimes again 

Whatever features visibly exist within this world - small or great, thin or 
stout - certainly contain both the material nature and its enjoyer, the spirit 

Gold and earth are originally existing as ingredients. From gold one may fashion 
golden ornaments such as bracelets and earrings, and from earth one may fashion 
clay pots and saucers. The original ingredients gold and earth exist before the 
products made from them, and when the products are eventually destroyed, the 
original ingredients, gold and earth, will remain. Thus, since the ingredients 
are present in the beginning and at the end, they must also be present in the 
middle phase, taking the form of a particular product to which we assign for 
convenience a particular name, such as bracelet, earring, pot or saucer. We can 
therefore understand that since the ingredient cause exists before the creation 
of a product and after the product's destruction, the same ingredient cause must 
be present during the manifest phase, supporting the product as the basis of its 

A material object, itself composed of an essential ingredient, creates another 
material object through transformation. Thus one created object becomes the 
cause and basis of another created object. A particular thing may thus be called 
real in that it possesses the basic nature of another object that constitutes 
its origin and final state.

The material universe may be considered real, having nature as its original 
ingredient and final state. Lord Maha-Visnu is the resting place of nature, 
which becomes manifest by the power of time. Thus nature, the almighty Visnu and 
time are not different from Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth.

As long as the Supreme Personality of Godhead continues to glance upon nature, 
the material world continues to exist, perpetually manifesting through 
procreation the great and variegated flow of universal creation.

I am the basis of the universal form, which displays endless variety through the 
repeated creation, maintenance and destruction of the planetary systems. 
Originally containing within itself all planets in their dormant state, My 
universal form manifests the varieties of created existence by arranging the 
coordinated combination of the five elements.

At the time of annihilation, the mortal body of the living being becomes merged 
into food. Food merges into the grains, and the grains merge back into the 
earth. The earth merges into its subtle sensation, fragrance. Fragrance merges 
into water, and water further merges into its own quality, taste. That taste 
merges into fire, which merges into form. Form merges into touch, and touch 
merges into ether. Ether finally merges into the sensation of sound. The senses 
all merge into their own origins, the presiding demigods, and they, O gentle 
Uddhava, merge into the controlling mind, which itself merges into false ego in 
the mode of goodness. Sound becomes one with false ego in the mode of ignorance, 
and all-powerful false ego, the first of all the physical elements, merges into 
the total nature. The total material nature, the primary repository of the three 
basic modes, dissolves into the modes. These modes of nature then merge into the 
unmanifest form of nature, and that unmanifest form merges into time. Time 
merges into the Supreme Lord, present in the form of the omniscient Maha-purusa, 
the original activator of all living beings. That origin of all life merges into 
Me, the unborn Supreme Soul, who remains alone, established within Himself. It 
is from Him that all creation and annihilation are manifested.

Just as the rising sun removes the darkness of the sky, similarly, this 
scientific knowledge of cosmic annihilation removes all illusory duality from 
the mind of a serious student. Even if illusion somehow enters his heart, it 
cannot remain there.

Thus I, the perfect seer of everything material and spiritual, have spoken this 
knowledge of Sankhya, which destroys the illusion of doubt by scientific 
analysis of creation and annihilation.

Chapter TWENTY-FIVE The Three Modes of Nature and Beyond

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best among men, please listen as I 
describe to you how the living entity attains a particular nature by association 
with individual material modes.

Mind and sense control, tolerance, discrimination, sticking to one's prescribed 
duty, truthfulness, mercy, careful study of the past and future, satisfaction in 
any condition, generosity, renunciation of sense gratification, faith in the 
spiritual master, being embarrassed at improper action, charity, simplicity, 
humbleness and satisfaction within oneself are qualities of the mode of 
goodness. Material desire, great endeavor, audacity, dissatisfaction even in 
gain, false pride, praying for material advancement, considering oneself 
different and better than others, sense gratification, rash eagerness to fight, 
a fondness for hearing oneself praised, the tendency to ridicule others, 
advertising one's own prowess and justifying one's actions by one's strength are 
qualities of the mode of passion. Intolerant anger, stinginess, speaking without 
scriptural authority, violent hatred, living as a parasite, hypocrisy, chronic 
fatigue, quarrel, lamentation, delusion, unhappiness, depression, sleeping too 
much, false expectations, fear and laziness constitute the major qualities of 
the mode of ignorance. Now please hear about the combination of these three 

My dear Uddhava, the combination of all three modes is present in the mentality 
of "I" and "mine." The ordinary transactions of this world, which are carried 
out through the agency of the mind, the objects of perception, the senses and 
the vital airs of the physical body, are also based on the combination of the 

When a person devotes himself to religiosity, economic development and sense 
gratification, the faith, wealth and sensual enjoyment obtained by his endeavors 
display the interaction of the three modes of nature.

When a man desires sense gratification, being attached to family life, and when 
he consequently becomes established in religious and occupational duties, the 
combination of the modes of nature is manifest.

A person exhibiting qualities such as self-control is understood to be 
predominantly in the mode of goodness. Similarly, a passionate person is 
recognized by his lust, and one in ignorance is recognized by qualities such as 

Any person, whether man or woman, who worships Me with loving devotion, offering 
his or her prescribed duties unto Me without material attachment, is understood 
to be situated in goodness. 

When a person worships Me by his prescribed duties with the hope of gaining 
material benefit, his nature should be understood to be in passion, and one who 
worships Me with the desire to commit violence against others is in ignorance. 

The three modes of material nature - goodness, passion and ignorance - influence 
the living entity but not Me. Manifesting within his mind, they induce the 
living entity to become attached to material bodies and other created objects. 
In this way the living entity is bound up.

When the mode of goodness, which is luminous, pure and auspicious, predominates 
over passion and ignorance, a man becomes endowed with happiness, virtue, 
knowledge and other good qualities.

When the mode of passion, which causes attachment, separatism and activity, 
conquers ignorance and goodness, a man begins to work hard to acquire prestige 
and fortune. Thus in the mode of passion he experiences anxiety and struggle. 

When the mode of ignorance conquers passion and goodness, it covers one's 
consciousness and makes one foolish and dull. Falling into lamentation and 
illusion, a person in the mode of ignorance sleeps excessively, indulges in 
false hopes, and displays violence toward others. 

When consciousness becomes clear and the senses are detached from matter, one 
experiences fearlessness within the material body and detachment from the 
material mind. You should understand this situation to be the predominance of 
the mode of goodness, in which one has the opportunity to realize Me. 

You should discern the mode of passion by its symptoms - the distortion of the 
intelligence because of too much activity, the inability of the perceiving 
senses to disentangle themselves from mundane objects, an unhealthy condition of 
the working physical organs, and the unsteady perplexity of the mind. 

When one's higher awareness fails and finally disappears and one is thus unable 
to concentrate his attention, his mind is ruined and manifests ignorance and 
depression. You should understand this situation to be the predominance of the 
mode of ignorance. 

With the increase of the mode of goodness, the strength of the demigods 
similarly increases. When passion increases, the demoniac become strong. And 
with the rise of ignorance, O Uddhava, the strength of the most wicked 

It should be understood that alert wakefulness comes from the mode of goodness, 
sleep with dreaming from the mode of passion, and deep, dreamless sleep from the 
mode of ignorance. The fourth state of consciousness pervades these three and is 

Learned persons dedicated to Vedic culture are elevated by the mode of goodness 
to higher and higher positions. The mode of ignorance, on the other hand, forces 
one to fall headfirst into lower and lower births. And by the mode of passion 
one continues transmigrating through human bodies.

Those who leave this world in the mode of goodness go to the heavenly planets, 
those who pass away in the mode of passion remain in the world of human beings, 
and those dying in the mode of ignorance must go to hell. But those who are free 
from the influence of all modes of nature come to Me. 

Work performed as an offering to Me, without consideration of the fruit, is 
considered to be in the mode of goodness. Work performed with a desire to enjoy 
the results is in the mode of passion. And work impelled by violence and envy is 
in the mode of ignorance.

Absolute knowledge is in the mode of goodness, knowledge based on duality is in 
the mode of passion, and foolish, materialistic knowledge is in the mode of 
ignorance. Knowledge based upon Me, however, is understood to be transcendental.

Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in 
the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of 
ignorance, and residence in a place where I reside is transcendental.

A worker free of attachment is in the mode of goodness, a worker blinded by 
personal desire is in the mode of passion, and a worker who has completely 
forgotten how to tell right from wrong is in the mode of ignorance. But a worker 
who has taken shelter of Me is understood to be transcendental to the modes of 

Faith directed toward spiritual life is in the mode of goodness, faith rooted in 
fruitive work is in the mode of passion, faith residing in irreligious 
activities is in the mode of ignorance, but faith in My devotional service is 
purely transcendental. 

Food that is wholesome, pure and obtained without difficulty is in the mode of 
goodness, food that gives immediate pleasure to the senses is in the mode of 
passion, and food that is unclean and causes distress is in the mode of 

Happiness derived from the self is in the mode of goodness, happiness based on 
sense gratification is in the mode of passion, and happiness based on delusion 
and degradation is in the mode of ignorance. But that happiness found within Me 
is transcendental. 

Therefore material substance, place, result of activity, time, knowledge, work, 
the performer of work, faith, state of consciousness, species of life and 
destination after death are all based on the three modes of material nature. 

O best of human beings, all states of material being are related to the 
interaction of the enjoying soul and material nature. Whether seen, heard of or 
only conceived within the mind, they are without exception constituted of the 
modes of nature. 

O gentle Uddhava, all these different phases of conditioned life arise from work 
born of the modes of material nature. The living entity who conquers these 
modes, manifested from the mind, can dedicate himself to Me by the process of 
devotional service and thus attain pure love for Me.

Therefore, having achieved this human form of life, which allows one to develop 
full knowledge, those who are intelligent should free themselves from all 
contamination of the modes of nature and engage exclusively in loving service to 

A wise sage, free from all material association and unbewildered, should subdue 
his senses and worship Me. He should conquer the modes of passion and ignorance 
by engaging himself only with things in the mode of goodness. 

Then, being fixed in devotional service, the sage should also conquer the 
material mode of goodness by indifference toward the modes. Thus pacified within 
his mind, the spirit soul, freed from the modes of nature, gives up the very 
cause of his conditioned life and attains Me.

Freed from the subtle conditioning of the mind and from the modes of nature born 
of material consciousness, the living entity becomes completely satisfied by 
experiencing My transcendental form. He no longer searches for enjoyment in the 
external energy, nor does he contemplate or remember such enjoyment within 

Chapter TWENTY-SIX The Aila-gita

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having achieved this human form of 
life, which affords one the opportunity to realize Me, and being situated in My 
devotional service, one can achieve Me, the reservoir of all pleasure and the 
Supreme Soul of all existence, residing within the heart of every living being.

A person fixed in transcendental knowledge is freed from conditioned life by 
giving up his false identification with the products of the material modes of 
nature. Seeing these products as simply illusion, he avoids entanglement with 
the modes of nature, although constantly among them. Because the modes of nature 
and their products are simply not real, he does not accept them.

One should never associate with materialists, those dedicated to gratifying 
their genitals and bellies. By following them one falls into the deepest pit of 
darkness, just like a blind man who follows another blind man. 

The following song was sung by the famous emperor Pururava. When deprived of his 
wife, Urvashi, he was at first bewildered, but by controlling his lamentation he 
began to feel detachment.

When she was leaving him, even though he was naked he ran after her just like a 
madman and called out in great distress, "O my wife, O terrible lady! Please 

Although for many years Pururava had enjoyed sex pleasure in the evening hours, 
still he was not satisfied by such insignificant enjoyment. His mind was so 
attracted to Urvashi that he did not notice how the nights were coming and 

King Aila said: Alas, just see the extent of my delusion! This goddess was 
embracing me and held my neck in her grip. My heart was so polluted by lust that 
I had no idea how my life was passing. 

That lady cheated me so much that I did not even see the rising or setting of 
the sun. Alas, for so many years I passed my days in vain!

Alas, although I am supposed to be a mighty emperor, the crown jewel of all 
kings on this earth, just see how my bewilderment has rendered me a toy animal 
in the hands of women!

Although I was a powerful lord with great opulence, that woman gave me up as if 
I were no more than an insignificant blade of grass. And still, naked and 
without shame, I followed her, crying out to her like a madman. 

Where are my so-called great influence, power and sovereignty? Just like an ass 
being kicked in the face by his she-ass, I ran after that woman, who had already 
given me up. 

What is the use of a big education or the practice of austerities and 
renunciation, and what is the use of studying religious scriptures, of living in 
solitude and silence, if, after all that, one's mind is stolen by a woman?

To hell with me! I am such a fool that I didn't even know what was good for me, 
although I arrogantly thought I was highly intelligent. Although I achieved the 
exalted position of a lord, I allowed myself to be conquered by women as if I 
were a bullock or a jackass.

Even after I had served the so-called nectar of the lips of Urvashi for many 
years, my lusty desires kept rising again and again within my heart and were 
never satisfied, just like a fire that can never be extinguished by the 
oblations of ghee poured into its flames. 

Who but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lies beyond material perception 
and is the Lord of self-satisfied sages, can possibly save my consciousness, 
which has been stolen by a prostitute? 

Because I allowed my intelligence to become dull and because I failed to control 
my senses, the great confusion in my mind did not go away, even though Urvashi 
herself gave me wise counsel with well-spoken words.

How can I blame her for my trouble when I myself am ignorant of my real, 
spiritual nature? I did not control my senses, and so I am like a person who 
mistakenly sees a harmless rope as a snake.

What is this polluted body anyway - so filthy and full of bad odors? I was 
attracted by the fragrance and beauty of a woman's body, but what are those so-
called attractive features? They are simply a false covering created by 

One can never decide whose property the body actually is. Does it belong to 
one's parents, who have given birth to it, to one's wife, who gives it pleasure, 
or to one's employer, who orders the body around? Is it the property of the 
funeral fire or of the dogs and jackals who may ultimately devour it? Is it the 
property of the indwelling soul, who partakes in its happiness and distress, or 
does the body belong to intimate friends who encourage and help it? Although a 
man never definitely ascertains the proprietor of the body, he becomes most 
attached to it. The material body is a polluted material form heading toward a 
lowly destination, yet when a man stares at the face of a woman he thinks, "What 
a good-looking lady! What a charming nose she's got, and see her beautiful 

What difference is there between ordinary worms and persons who try to enjoy 
this material body composed of skin, flesh, blood, muscle, fat, marrow, bone, 
stool, urine and pus? 

Yet even one who theoretically understands the actual nature of the body should 
never associate with women or with men attached to women. After all, the contact 
of the senses with their objects inevitably agitates the mind. 

Because the mind is not disturbed by that which is neither seen nor heard, the 
mind of a person who restricts the material senses will automatically be checked 
in its material activities and become pacified.

Therefore one should never let his senses associate freely with women or with 
men attached to women. Even those who are highly learned cannot trust the six 
enemies of the mind; what to speak, then, of foolish persons like me. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having thus chanted this song, Maharaja 
Pururava, eminent among the demigods and human beings, gave up the position he 
had achieved in the planet of Urvashi. His illusion cleansed away by 
transcendental knowledge, he understood Me to be the Supreme Soul within his 
heart and so at last achieved peace. 

An intelligent person should therefore reject all bad association and instead 
take up the association of saintly devotees, whose words cut off the excessive 
attachment of one's mind. 

My devotees fix their minds on Me and do not depend upon anything material. They 
are always peaceful, endowed with equal vision, and free from possessiveness, 
false ego, duality and greed. 

O greatly fortunate Uddhava, in the association of such saintly devotees there 
is constant discussion of Me, and those partaking in this chanting and hearing 
of My glories are certainly purified of all sins.

Whoever hears, chants and respectfully takes to heart these topics about Me 
becomes faithfully dedicated to Me and thus achieves My devotional service.

What more remains to be accomplished for the perfect devotee after achieving 
devotional service unto Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth, whose qualities are 
innumerable and who am the embodiment of all ecstatic experience?

Just as cold, fear and darkness are eradicated for one who has approached the 
sacrificial fire, so dullness, fear and ignorance are destroyed for one engaged 
in serving the devotees of the Lord.

The devotees of the Lord, peacefully fixed in absolute knowledge, are the 
ultimate shelter for those who are repeatedly rising and falling within the 
fearful ocean of material life. Such devotees are just like a strong boat that 
comes to rescue persons who are at the point of drowning. 

Just as food is the life of all creatures, just as I am the ultimate shelter for 
the distressed, and just as religion is the wealth of those who are passing away 
from this world, so My devotees are the only refuge of persons fearful of 
falling into a miserable condition of life.

My devotees bestow divine eyes, whereas the sun allows only external sight, and 
that only when it is risen in the sky. My devotees are one's real worshipable 
deities and real family; they are one's own self, and ultimately they are 
nondifferent from Me.

Thus losing his desire to be on the same planet as Urvashi, Maharaja Pururava 
began to wander the earth free of all material association and completely 
satisfied within the self.


Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O master of the devotees, please explain to me 
the prescribed method of worshiping You in Your Deity form. What are the 
qualifications of those devotees who worship the Deity, on what basis is such 
worship established, and what is the specific method of worship?

All the great sages repeatedly declare that such worship brings the greatest 
benefit possible in human life. This is the opinion of Narada Muni, the great 
Vyasadeva and my own spiritual master, Brhaspati. 

O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on this process of Deity worship first 
emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they were spoken by the great Lord Brahma 
to his sons, headed by Bhrgu, and by Lord Shiva to his wife, Parvati. This 
process is accepted by and appropriate for all the occupational and spiritual 
orders of society. Therefore I consider worship of You in Your Deity form to be 
the most beneficial of all spiritual practices, even for women and shudras. 

O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords of the universe, please explain to 
Your devoted servant this means of liberation from the bondage of work. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no end to the 
innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I shall explain 
this topic to you briefly, one step at a time.

One should carefully worship Me by selecting one of the three methods by which I 
receive sacrifice: Vedic, tantric or mixed.

Now please listen faithfully as I explain exactly how a person who has achieved 
twice-born status through the relevant Vedic prescriptions should worship Me 
with devotion.

A twice-born person should worship Me, his worshipable Lord, without duplicity, 
offering appropriate paraphernalia in loving devotion to My Deity form or to a 
form of Me appearing upon the ground, in fire, in the sun, in water or within 
the worshiper's own heart. 

One should first purify his body by cleansing his teeth and bathing. Then one 
should perform a second cleansing by smearing the body with earth and chanting 
both Vedic and tantric mantras. 

Fixing the mind on Me, one should worship Me by his various prescribed duties, 
such as chanting the Gayatri mantra at the three junctures of the day. Such 
performances are enjoined by the Vedas and purify the worshiper of reactions to 
fruitive activities. 

The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties - stone, wood, 
metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels.

The Deity form of the Lord, who is the shelter of all living entities, can be 
established in two ways: temporarily or permanently. But a permanent Deity, 
having been called, can never be sent away, My dear Uddhava.

The Deity that is temporarily established can optionally be called forth and 
sent away, but these two rituals should always be performed when the Deity is 
traced upon the ground. Bathing should be done with water except if the Deity is 
made of clay, paint or wood, in which cases a thorough cleansing without water 
is enjoined.

One should worship Me in My Deity forms by offering the most excellent 
paraphernalia. But a devotee completely freed from material desire may worship 
Me with whatever he is able to obtain, and may even worship Me within his heart 
with mental paraphernalia.

In worshiping the temple Deity, my dear Uddhava, bathing and decoration are the 
most pleasing offerings. For the Deity traced on sacred ground, the process of 
tattva-vinyasa is most dear. Oblations of sesame and barley soaked in ghee are 
the preferred offering to the sacrificial fire, whereas worship consisting of 
upasthana and arghya is preferred for the sun. One should worship Me in the form 
of water by offering water itself. Actually, whatever is offered to Me with 
faith by My devotee - even if only a little water - is most dear to Me.

Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy Me if they are offered by 
nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant offering made by My loving 
devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice presentations of fragrant 
oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered with love.

After cleansing himself and collecting all the paraphernalia, the worshiper 
should arrange his own seat with blades of kusha grass whose tips point 
eastward. He should then sit facing either east or north, or else, if the Deity 
is fixed in one place, he should sit directly facing the Deity.

The devotee should sanctify the various parts of his body by touching them and 
chanting mantras. He should do the same for My Deity forms and then with his 
hands he should clean the Deity of old flowers and the remnants of previous 
offerings. He should properly prepare the sacred pot and the vessel containing 
water for sprinkling.

Then, with the water of that proksaniya vessel he should sprinkle the area where 
the Deity is being worshiped, the offerings that are going to be presented, and 
his own body. Next he should decorate with various auspicious substances three 
vessels filled with water.

The worshiper should then purify those three vessels. He should sanctify the 
vessel holding water for washing the Lord's feet by chanting hrdayaya nama, the 
vessel containing water for arghya by chanting shirase svaha, and the vessel 
containing water for washing the Lord's mouth by chanting shikhayai vasat. Also, 
the Gayatri mantra should be chanted for all three vessels. 

The worshiper should meditate upon My subtle form - which is situated within the 
worshiper's own body, now purified by air and fire - as the source of all living 
entities. This form of the Lord is experienced by self-realized sages in the 
last part of the vibration of the sacred syllable om.

The devotee conceives of the Supersoul, whose presence surcharges the devotee's 
body, in the form corresponding to his realization. Thus the devotee worships 
the Lord to his full capacity and becomes fully absorbed in Him. By touching the 
various limbs of the Deity and chanting appropriate mantras, the devotee should 
invite the Supersoul to join the Deity's form, and then the devotee should 
worship Me.

The worshiper should first imagine My seat as decorated with the personified 
deities of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence and with My nine 
spiritual energies. He should think of the Lord's sitting place as an eight-
petaled lotus, effulgent on account of the saffron filaments within its whorl. 
Then, following the regulations of both the Vedas and the tantras, he should 
offer Me water for washing the feet, water for washing the mouth, arghya and 
other items of worship. By this process he achieves both material enjoyment and 

One should worship, in order, the Lord's Sudarshana disc, His Pancajanya 
conchshell, His club, sword, bow, arrows and plow, His musala weapon, His 
Kaustubha gem, His flower garland and the Shrivatsa curl of hair on His chest. 

One should worship the Lord's associates Nanda and Sunanda, Garuda, Pracanda and 
Canda, Mahabala and Bala, and Kumuda and Kumudeksana. 

With offerings such as proksana one should worship Durga, Vinayaka, Vyasa, 
Visvaksena, the spiritual masters and the various demigods. All these 
personalities should be in their proper places facing the Deity of the Lord.

The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as opulently as his assets 
permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, ushira root, camphor, kunkuma and 
aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns, such as the anuvaka known as 
Svarna-gharma, the Mahapurusa-vidya, the Purusa-sukta and various songs of the 
Sama Veda, such as the Rajana and the Rohinya.

My devotee should then lovingly decorate Me with clothing, a brahmana thread, 
various ornaments, marks of tilaka and garlands, and he should anoint My body 
with fragrant oils, all in the prescribed manner.

The worshiper should faithfully present Me with water for washing My feet and 
mouth, fragrant oils, flowers and unbroken grains, along with incense, lamps and 
other offerings. 

Within his means, the devotee should arrange to offer Me sugar candy, sweet 
rice, ghee, shaskuli [rice-flour cakes], apupa [various sweet cakes], modaka 
[steamed rice-flour dumplings filled with sweet coconut and sugar], samyava 
[wheat cakes made with ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices], yogurt, 
vegetable soups and other palatable foods.

On special occasions, and daily if possible, the Deity should be massaged with 
ointment, shown a mirror, offered a eucalyptus stick for brushing His teeth, 
bathed with the five kinds of nectar, offered all kinds of opulent foods, and 
entertained with singing and dancing.

In an arena constructed according to scriptural injunctions, the devotee should 
perform a fire sacrifice, utilizing the sacred belt, the sacrificial pit and the 
altar mound. When igniting the sacrificial fire, the devotee should bring it to 
a blaze with wood piled up by his own hands. 

After spreading kusha grass on the ground and sprinkling it with water, one 
should perform the anvadhana ritual according to the prescribed rules. Then one 
should arrange the items to be offered as oblations and should sanctify them 
with water from the sprinkling vessel. The worshiper should next meditate upon 
Me within the fire.

The intelligent devotee should meditate upon that form of the Lord whose color 
is like molten gold, whose four arms are resplendent with the conchshell, disc, 
club and lotus flower, and who is always peaceful and dressed in a garment 
colored like the filaments within a lotus flower. His helmet, bracelets, belt 
and fine arm ornaments shine brilliantly. The symbol of Shrivatsa is on His 
chest, along with the glowing Kaustubha gem and a garland of forest flowers. The 
devotee should then worship that Lord by taking pieces of firewood soaked in the 
sacrificial ghee and throwing them into the fire. He should perform the ritual 
of aghara, presenting into the fire the various items of oblation drenched in 
ghee. He should then offer to sixteen demigods, beginning with Yamaraja, the 
oblation called svisti-krt, reciting the basic mantras of each deity and the 
sixteen-line Purusa-sukta hymn. Pouring one oblation after each line of the 
Purusa-sukta, he should utter the particular mantra naming each deity. 

Having thus worshiped the Lord in the sacrificial fire, the devotee should offer 
his obeisances to the Lord's personal associates by bowing down and should then 
present offerings to them. He should then chant quietly the mula-mantra of the 
Deity of the Lord, remembering the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality, 

Once again he should offer the Deity water for washing His mouth, and he should 
give the remnants of the Lord's food to Visvaksena. Then he should present the 
Deity with fragrant perfume for the mouth and prepared betel nut. 

Singing along with others, chanting loudly and dancing, acting out My 
transcendental pastimes, and hearing and telling stories about Me, the devotee 
should for some time absorb himself in such festivity.

The devotee should offer homage to the Lord with all kinds of hymns and prayers, 
both from the Puranas and from other ancient scriptures, and also from ordinary 
traditions. Praying, "O Lord, please be merciful to me! "he should fall down 
flat like a rod to offer his obeisances. 

Placing his head at the feet of the Deity, he should then stand with folded 
hands before the Lord and pray, "O my Lord, please protect me, who am 
surrendered unto You. I am most fearful of this ocean of material existence, 
standing as I am in the mouth of death." 

Praying in this way, the devotee should respectfully place upon his head the 
remnants I offer to him. And if the particular Deity is meant to be sent away at 
the end of the worship, then this should be performed, the devotee once again 
placing the light of the Deity's presence inside the light of the lotus within 
his own heart. 

Whenever one develops faith in Me - in My form as the Deity or in other bona 
fide manifestations - one should worship Me in that form. I certainly exist both 
within all created beings and also separately in My original form, since I am 
the Supreme Soul of all.

By worshiping Me through the various methods prescribed in the Vedas and 
tantras, one will gain from Me his desired perfection in both this life and the 

The devotee should more fully establish My Deity by solidly constructing a 
temple, along with beautiful gardens. These gardens should be set aside to 
provide flowers for the regular daily worship, special Deity processions and 
holiday observances.

One who offers the Deity gifts of land, markets, cities and villages so that the 
regular daily worship and special festivals of the Deity may go on continually 
will achieve opulence equal to My own.

By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by 
building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by 
worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahma, and by 
performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like 
My own. 

But one who simply engages in devotional service with no consideration of 
fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever worships Me according to the process I 
have described will ultimately attain pure devotional service unto Me.

Anyone who steals the property of the demigods or the brahmanas, whether 
originally given to them by himself or someone else, must live as a worm in 
stool for one hundred million years. 

Not only the performer of the theft but also anyone who assists him, instigates 
the crime, or simply approves of it must also share the reaction in the next 
life. According to their degree of participation, they each must suffer a 
proportionate consequence.

Chapter TWENTY-EIGHT Jnana-yoga

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One should neither praise nor criticize 
the conditioned nature and activities of other persons. Rather, one should see 
this world as simply the combination of material nature and the enjoying souls, 
all based on the one Absolute Truth.

Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the qualities and behavior of others 
will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in 
illusory dualities.

Just as the embodied spirit soul loses external consciousness when his senses 
are overcome by the illusion of dreaming or the deathlike state of deep sleep, 
so a person experiencing material duality must encounter illusion and death.

That which is expressed by material words or meditated upon by the material mind 
is not ultimate truth. What, therefore, is actually good or bad within this 
insubstantial world of duality, and how can the extent of such good and bad be 

Although shadows, echoes and mirages are only illusory reflections of real 
things, such reflections do cause a semblance of meaningful or comprehensible 
perception. In the same way, although the identification of the conditioned soul 
with the material body, mind and ego is illusory, this identification generates 
fear within him even up to the moment of death.

The Supersoul alone is the ultimate controller and creator of this world, and 
thus He alone is also the created. Similarly, the Soul of all existence Himself 
both maintains and is maintained, withdraws and is withdrawn. No other entity 
can be properly ascertained as separate from Him, the Supreme Soul, who 
nonetheless is distinct from everything and everyone else. The appearance of the 
threefold material nature, which is perceived within Him, has no actual basis. 
Rather, you should understand that this material nature, composed of the three 
modes, is simply the product of His illusory potency.

One who has properly understood the process of becoming firmly fixed in 
theoretical and realized knowledge, as described herein by Me, does not indulge 
in material criticism or praise. Like the sun, he wanders freely throughout this 

By direct perception, logical deduction, scriptural testimony and personal 
realization, one should know that this world has a beginning and an end and so 
is not the ultimate reality. Thus one should live in this world without 

Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, it is not possible for this material existence 
to be the experience of either the soul, who is the seer, or of the body, which 
is the seen object. On the one hand, the spirit soul is innately endowed with 
perfect knowledge, and on the other hand, the material body is not a conscious, 
living entity. To whom, then, does this experience of material existence 

The spirit soul is inexhaustible, transcendental, pure, self-luminous and never 
covered by anything material. It is like fire. But the nonliving material body, 
like firewood, is dull and unaware. So in this world, who is it that actually 
undergoes the experience of material life?

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: As long as the foolish spirit soul 
remains attracted to the material body, senses and vital force, his material 
existence continues to flourish, although it is ultimately meaningless.

Actually, the living entity is transcendental to material existence. But because 
of his mentality of lording it over material nature, his material existential 
condition does not cease, and, just as in a dream, he is affected by all sorts 
of disadvantages.

Although while dreaming a person experiences many undesirable things, upon 
awakening he is no longer confused by the dream experiences.

Lamentation, elation, fear, anger, greed, confusion and hankering, as well as 
birth and death, are experiences of the false ego and not of the pure soul.

The living entity who falsely identifies with his body, senses, life air and 
mind, and who dwells within these coverings, assumes the form of his own 
materially conditioned qualities and work. He is designated variously in 
relation to the total material energy, and thus, under the strict control of 
supreme time, he is forced to run here and there within material existence.

Although the false ego has no factual basis, it is perceived in many forms - as 
the functions of the mind, speech, life air and bodily faculties. But with the 
sword of transcendental knowledge, sharpened by worship of a bona fide spiritual 
master, a sober sage will cut off this false identification and live in this 
world free from all material attachment.

Real spiritual knowledge is based on the discrimination of spirit from matter, 
and it is cultivated by scriptural evidence, austerity, direct perception, 
reception of the Puranas' historical narrations, and logical inference. The 
Absolute Truth, which alone was present before the creation of the universe and 
which alone will remain after its destruction, is also the time factor and the 
ultimate cause. Even in the middle stage of this creation's existence, the 
Absolute Truth alone is the actual reality.

Gold alone is present before its manufacture into gold products, the gold alone 
remains after the products' destruction, and the gold alone is the essential 
reality while it is being utilized under various designations. Similarly, I 
alone exist before the creation of this universe, after its destruction and 
during its maintenance.

The material mind manifests in three phases of consciousness - wakefulness, 
sleep and deep sleep - which are products of the three modes of nature. The mind 
further appears in three different roles - the perceiver, the perceived and the 
regulator of perception. Thus the mind is manifested variously throughout these 
threefold designations. But it is the fourth factor, existing separately from 
all this, that alone constitutes the Absolute Truth.

That which did not exist in the past and will not exist in the future also has 
no existence of its own for the period of its duration, but is only a 
superficial designation. In My opinion, whatever is created and revealed by 
something else is ultimately only that other thing.

Although thus not existing in reality, this manifestation of transformations 
created from the mode of passion appears real because the self-manifested, self-
luminous Absolute Truth exhibits Himself in the form of the material variety of 
the senses, the sense objects, the mind and the elements of physical nature.

Thus clearly understanding by discriminating logic the unique position of the 
Absolute Truth, one should expertly refute one's misidentification with matter 
and cut to pieces all doubts about the identity of the self. Becoming satisfied 
in the soul's natural ecstasy, one should desist from all lusty engagements of 
the material senses. 

The material body made of earth is not the true self; nor are the senses, their 
presiding demigods or the air of life; nor is the external air, water or fire or 
one's mind. All these are simply matter. Similarly, neither one's intelligence, 
material consciousness nor ego, nor the elements of ether or earth, nor the 
objects of sense perception, nor even the primeval state of material equilibrium 
can be considered the actual identity of the soul. 

For one who has properly realized My personal identity as the Supreme Godhead, 
what credit is there if his senses - mere products of the material modes - are 
perfectly concentrated in meditation? And on the other hand, what blame is 
incurred if his senses happen to become agitated? Indeed, what does it mean to 
the sun if the clouds come and go?

The sky may display the various qualities of the air, fire, water and earth that 
pass through it, as well as such qualities as heat and cold, which continually 
come and go with the seasons. Yet the sky is never entangled with any of these 
qualities. Similarly, the Supreme Absolute Truth is never entangled with the 
contaminations of goodness, passion and ignorance, which cause the material 
transformations of the false ego.

Nevertheless, until by firmly practicing devotional service to Me one has 
completely eliminated from his mind all contamination of material passion, one 
must very carefully avoid associating with the material modes, which are 
produced by My illusory energy.

Just as an improperly treated disease recurs and gives repeated distress to the 
patient, the mind that is not completely purified of its perverted tendencies 
will remain attached to material things and repeatedly torment the imperfect 

Sometimes the progress of imperfect transcendentalists is checked by attachment 
to family members, disciples or others, who are sent by envious demigods for 
that purpose. But on the strength of their accumulated advancement, such 
imperfect transcendentalists will resume their practice of yoga in the next 
life. They will never again be trapped in the network of fruitive work.

An ordinary living entity performs material work and is transformed by the 
reaction to such work. Thus he is driven by various desires to continue working 
fruitively up to the very moment of his death. A wise person, however, having 
experienced his own constitutional bliss, gives up all material desires and does 
not engage in fruitive work.

The wise man, whose consciousness is fixed in the self, does not even notice his 
own bodily activities. While standing, sitting, walking, lying down, urinating, 
eating or performing other bodily functions, he understands that the body is 
acting according to its own nature. 

Although a self-realized soul may sometimes see an impure object or activity, he 
does not accept it as real. By logically understanding impure sense objects to 
be based on illusory material duality, the intelligent person sees them to be 
contrary to and distinct from reality, in the same way that a man awakening from 
sleep views his fading dream.

Material nescience, which expands into many varieties by the activities of the 
modes of nature, is wrongly accepted by the conditioned soul to be identical 
with the self. But through the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, My dear 
Uddhava, this same nescience fades away at the time of liberation. The eternal 
self, on the other hand, is never assumed and never abandoned.

When the sun rises it destroys the darkness covering men's eyes, but it does not 
create the objects they then see before them, which in fact were existing all 
along. Similarly, potent and factual realization of Me will destroy the darkness 
covering a person's true consciousness. 

The Supreme Lord is self-luminous, unborn and immeasurable. He is pure 
transcendental consciousness and perceives everything. One without a second, He 
is realized only after ordinary words cease. By Him the power of speech and the 
life airs are set into motion.

Whatever apparent duality is perceived in the self is simply the confusion of 
the mind. Indeed, such supposed duality has no basis to rest upon apart from 
one's own soul.

The duality of the five material elements is perceived only in terms of names 
and forms. Those who say this duality is real are pseudoscholars vainly 
proposing fanciful theories without basis in fact.

The physical body of the endeavoring yogi who is not yet mature in his practice 
may sometimes be overcome by various disturbances. Therefore the following 
process is recommended.

Some of these obstructions may be counteracted by yogic meditation or by sitting 
postures, practiced together with concentration on controlled breathing, and 
others may be counteracted by special austerities, mantras or medicinal herbs. 

These inauspicious disturbances can be gradually removed by constant remembrance 
of Me, by congregational hearing and chanting of My holy names, or by following 
in the footsteps of the great masters of yoga.

By various methods, some yogis free the body from disease and old age and keep 
it perpetually youthful. Thus they engage in yoga for the purpose of achieving 
material mystic perfections.

This mystic bodily perfection is not valued very highly by those expert in 
transcendental knowledge. Indeed, they consider endeavor for such perfection 
useless, since the soul, like a tree, is permanent, but the body, like a tree's 
fruit, is subject to destruction.

Although the physical body may be improved by various processes of yoga, an 
intelligent person who has dedicated his life to Me does not place his faith in 
the prospect of perfecting his physical body through yoga, and in fact he gives 
up such procedures.

The yogi who has taken shelter of Me remains free from hankering because he 
experiences the happiness of the soul within. Thus while executing this process 
of yoga, he is never defeated by obstacles.


Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Acyuta, I fear that the method of yoga described 
by You is very difficult for one who cannot control his mind. Therefore please 
explain to me in simple terms how someone can more easily execute it. 

O lotus-eyed Lord, generally those yogis who try to steady the mind experience 
frustration because of their inability to perfect the state of trance. Thus they 
weary in their attempt to bring the mind under control.

Therefore, O lotus-eyed Lord of the universe, swanlike men happily take shelter 
of Your lotus feet, the source of all transcendental ecstasy. But those who take 
pride in their accomplishments in yoga and karma fail to take shelter of You and 
are defeated by Your illusory energy.

My dear infallible Lord, it is not very astonishing that You intimately approach 
Your servants who have taken exclusive shelter of You. After all, during Your 
appearance as Lord Ramacandra, even while great demigods like Brahma were vying 
to place the effulgent tips of their helmets upon the cushion where Your lotus 
feet rested, You displayed special affection for monkeys such as Hanuman because 
they had taken exclusive shelter of You.

Who, then, could dare reject You, the very Soul, the most dear object of 
worship, and the Supreme Lord of all - You who give all possible perfections to 
the devotees who take shelter of You? Who could be so ungrateful, knowing the 
benefits You bestow? Who would reject You and accept something for the sake of 
material enjoyment, which simply leads to forgetfulness of You? And what lack is 
there for us who are engaged in the service of the dust of Your lotus feet?

O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully 
express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged 
lifetime of Brahma, for You appear in two features - externally as the acarya 
and internally as the Supersoul - to deliver the embodied living being by 
directing him how to come to You.

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Thus questioned by the most affectionate Uddhava, Lord 
Krsna, the supreme controller of all controllers, who takes the entire universe 
as His plaything and assumes the three forms of Brahma, Visnu and Shiva, began 
to reply, lovingly displaying His all-attractive smile. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I shall describe to you the 
principles of devotion to Me, by executing which a mortal human being will 
conquer unconquerable death. 

Always remembering Me, one should perform all his duties for Me without becoming 
impetuous. With mind and intelligence offered to Me, one should fix his mind in 
attraction to My devotional service.

One should take shelter of holy places where My saintly devotees reside, and one 
should be guided by the exemplary activities of My devotees, who appear among 
the demigods, demons and human beings.

Either alone or in public gatherings, with singing, dancing and other 
exhibitions of royal opulence, one should arrange to celebrate those holy days, 
ceremonies and festivals set aside specially for My worship. 

With a pure heart one should see Me, the Supreme Soul within all beings and also 
within oneself, to be both unblemished by anything material and also present 
everywhere, both externally and internally, just like the omnipresent sky.

O brilliant Uddhava, one who thus views all living entities with the idea that I 
am present within each of them, and who by taking shelter of this divine 
knowledge offers due respect to everyone, is considered actually wise. Such a 
man sees equally the brahmana and the outcaste, the thief and the charitable 
promoter of brahminical culture, the sun and the tiny sparks of fire, the gentle 
and the cruel.

For him who constantly meditates upon My presence within all persons, the bad 
tendencies of rivalry, envy and abusiveness, along with false ego, are very 
quickly destroyed.

Disregarding the ridicule of one's companions, one should give up the bodily 
conception and its accompanying embarrassment. One should offer obeisances 
before all - even the dogs, outcastes, cows and asses - falling flat upon the 
ground like a rod.

Until one has fully developed the ability to see Me within all living beings, 
one must continue to worship Me by this process with the activities of his 
speech, mind and body.

By such transcendental knowledge of the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, 
one is able to see the Absolute Truth everywhere. Freed thus from all doubts, 
one gives up fruitive activities. 

Indeed, I consider this process - using one's mind, words and bodily functions 
for realizing Me within all living beings - to be the best possible method of 
spiritual enlightenment. 

My dear Uddhava, because I have personally established it, this process of 
devotional service unto Me is transcendental and free from any material 
motivation. Certainly a devotee never suffers even the slightest loss by 
adopting this process.

O Uddhava, greatest of saints, in a dangerous situation an ordinary person 
cries, becomes fearful and laments, although such useless emotions do not change 
the situation. But activities offered to Me without personal motivation, even if 
they are externally useless, amount to the actual process of religion.

This process is the supreme intelligence of the intelligent and the cleverness 
of the most clever, for by following it one can in this very life make use of 
the temporary and unreal to achieve Me, the eternal reality.

Thus have I related to you - both in brief and in detail - a complete survey of 
the science of the Absolute Truth. Even for the demigods, this science is very 
difficult to comprehend.

I have repeatedly spoken this knowledge to you with clear reasoning. Anyone who 
properly understands it will become free from all doubts and attain liberation. 

Anyone who fixes his attention on these clear answers to your questions will 
attain to the eternal, confidential goal of the Vedas - the Supreme Absolute 

One who liberally disseminates this knowledge among My devotees is the bestower 
of the Absolute Truth, and to him I give My very own self. 

He who loudly recites this supreme knowledge, which is the most lucid and 
purifying, becomes purified day by day, for he reveals Me to others with the 
lamp of transcendental knowledge. 

Anyone who regularly listens to this knowledge with faith and attention, all the 
while engaging in My pure devotional service, will never become bound by the 
reactions of material work. 

My dear friend Uddhava, have you now completely understood this transcendental 
knowledge? Are the confusion and lamentation that arose in your mind now 

You should not share this instruction with anyone who is hypocritical, atheistic 
or dishonest, or with anyone who will not listen faithfully, who is not a 
devotee, or who is simply not humble. 

This knowledge should be taught to one who is free from these bad qualities, who 
is dedicated to the welfare of the brahmanas, and who is kindly disposed, 
saintly and pure. And if common workers and women are found to have devotion for 
the Supreme Lord, they are also to be accepted as qualified hearers. 

When an inquisitive person comes to understand this knowledge, he has nothing 
further to know. After all, one who has drunk the most palatable nectar cannot 
remain thirsty. 

Through analytic knowledge, ritualistic work, mystic yoga, mundane business and 
political rule, people seek to advance in religiosity, economic development, 
sense gratification and liberation. But because you are My devotee, whatever men 
can accomplish in these multifarious ways you will very easily find within Me.

A person who gives up all fruitive activities and offers himself entirely unto 
Me, eagerly desiring to render service unto Me, achieves liberation from birth 
and death and is promoted to the status of sharing My own opulences. 

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing these words spoken by Lord Krsna, and having 
thus been shown the entire path of yoga, Uddhava folded his hands to offer 
obeisances. But his throat choked up with love and his eyes overflowed with 
tears; so he could say nothing. 

Steadying his mind, which had become overwhelmed with love, Uddhava felt 
extremely grateful to Lord Krsna, the greatest hero of the Yadu dynasty. My dear 
King Pariksit, Uddhava bowed down to touch the Lord's lotus feet with his head 
and then spoke with folded hands.

Shri Uddhava said: O unborn, primeval Lord, although I had fallen into the great 
darkness of illusion, my ignorance has now been dispelled by Your merciful 
association. Indeed, how can cold, darkness and fear exert their power over one 
who has approached the brilliant sun?

In return for my insignificant surrender, You have mercifully bestowed upon me, 
Your servant, the torchlight of transcendental knowledge. Therefore, what 
devotee of Yours who has any gratitude could ever give up Your lotus feet and 
take shelter of another master? 

The firmly binding rope of my affection for the families of the Dasharhas, 
Vrsnis, Andhakas and Satvatas - a rope You originally cast over me by Your 
illusory energy for the purpose of developing Your creation - is now cut off by 
the weapon of transcendental knowledge of the self.

Obeisances unto You, O greatest of yogis. Please instruct me, who am surrendered 
unto You, how I may have undeviating attachment to Your lotus feet. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, take My order and go 
to My ashrama called Badarika. Purify yourself by both touching and also bathing 
in the holy waters there, which have emanated from My lotus feet. Rid yourself 
of all sinful reactions with the sight of the sacred Alakananda River. Dress 
yourself in bark and eat whatever is naturally available in the forest. Thus you 
should remain content and free from desire, tolerant of all dualities, good-
natured, self-controlled, peaceful and endowed with transcendental knowledge and 
realization. With fixed attention, meditate constantly upon these instructions I 
have imparted to you and assimilate their essence. Fix your words and thoughts 
upon Me, and always endeavor to increase your realization of My transcendental 
qualities. In this way you will cross beyond the destinations of the three modes 
of nature and finally come back to Me. 

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Thus addressed by Lord Krsna, whose intelligence 
destroys all the suffering of material life, Shri Uddhava circumambulated the 
Lord and then fell down, placing his head upon the Lord's feet. Although Uddhava 
was free from the influence of all material dualities, his heart was breaking, 
and at this time of departure he drenched the Lord's lotus feet with his tears. 

Greatly fearing separation from Him for whom he felt such indestructible 
affection, Uddhava was distraught, and he could not give up the Lord's company. 
Finally, feeling great pain, he bowed down to the Lord again and again, placed 
the slippers of his master upon his head, and departed.

Thereupon, placing the Lord deeply within his heart, the great devotee Uddhava 
went to Badarikashrama. By engaging there in austerities, he attained to the 
Lord's personal abode, which had been described to him by the only friend of the 
universe, Lord Krsna Himself.

Thus Lord Krsna, whose lotus feet are served by all great yoga masters, spoke to 
His devotee this nectarean knowledge, which comprises the entire ocean of 
spiritual bliss. Anyone within this universe who receives this narration with 
great faith is assured of liberation. 

I offer my obeisances to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original and 
greatest of all beings, Lord Shri Krsna. He is the author of the Vedas, and just 
to destroy His devotees' fear of material existence, like a bee He has collected 
this nectarean essence of all knowledge and self-realization. Thus He has 
awarded to His many devotees this nectar from the ocean of bliss, and by His 
mercy they have drunk it.

Chapter THIRTY The Disappearance of the Yadu Dynasty

King Pariksit said: After the great devotee Uddhava left for the forest, what 
did the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the protector of all living beings, do 
in the city of Dvaraka?

After His own dynasty met destruction from the curse of the brahmanas, how could 
the best of the Yadus give up His body, the dearmost object of all eyes?

Once their eyes were fixed upon His transcendental form, women were unable to 
withdraw them, and once that form had entered the ears of the sages and become 
fixed in their hearts, it would never depart. What to speak of acquiring fame, 
the great poets who described the beauty of the Lord's form would have their 
words invested with transcendentally pleasing attraction. And by seeing that 
form on Arjuna's chariot, all the warriors on the battlefield of Kuruksetra 
attained the liberation of gaining a spiritual body similar to the Lord's.

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Having observed many disturbing signs in the sky, on the 
earth and in outer space, Lord Krsna addressed the Yadus assembled in the 
Sudharma council hall as follows.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O leaders of the Yadu dynasty, please 
note all these terrible omens that have appeared in Dvaraka just like the flags 
of death. We should not remain here a moment longer.

The women, children and old men should leave this city and go to Shankhoddhara. 
We shall go to Prabhasa-ksetra, where the river Sarasvati flows toward the west.

There we should bathe for purification, fast, and fix our minds in meditation. 
We should then worship the demigods by bathing their images, anointing them with 
sandalwood pulp, and presenting them various offerings. 

After performing the expiatory rituals with the help of greatly fortunate 
brahmanas, we will worship those brahmanas by offering them cows, land, gold, 
clothing, elephants, horses, chariots and dwelling places. 

This is indeed the appropriate process for counteracting our imminent adversity, 
and it is sure to bring about the highest good fortune. Such worship of the 
demigods, brahmanas and cows can earn the highest birth for all living entities. 

Having heard these words from Lord Krsna, the enemy of Madhu, the elders of the 
Yadu dynasty gave their assent, saying, "So be it." After crossing over the 
ocean in boats, they proceeded on chariots to Prabhasa. 

There, with great devotion, the Yadavas performed the religious ceremonies 
according to the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, their 
personal Lord. They also performed various other auspicious rituals. 

Then, their intelligence covered by Providence, they liberally indulged in 
drinking the sweet maireya beverage, which can completely intoxicate the mind.

The heroes of the Yadu dynasty became intoxicated from their extravagant 
drinking and began to feel arrogant. When they were thus bewildered by the 
personal potency of Lord Krsna, a terrible quarrel arose among them. 

Infuriated, they seized their bows and arrows, swords, bhallas, clubs, lances 
and spears and attacked one another on the shore of the ocean. 

Riding on elephants and chariots with flags flying, and also on donkeys, camels, 
bulls, buffalos, mules and even human beings, the extremely enraged warriors 
came together and violently attacked one another with arrows, just as elephants 
in the forest attack one another with their tusks. 

Their mutual enmity aroused, Pradyumna fought fiercely against Samba, Akrura 
against Kuntibhoja, Aniruddha against Satyaki, Subhadra against Sangramajit, 
Sumitra against Suratha, and the two Gadas against each other. 

Others also, such as Nishatha, Ulmuka, Sahasrajit, Shatajit and Bhanu, 
confronted and killed one another, being blinded by intoxication and thus 
completely bewildered by Lord Mukunda Himself. 

Completely abandoning their natural friendship, the members of the various Yadu 
clans - the Dasharhas, Vrsnis and Andhakas, the Bhojas, Satvatas, Madhus and 
Arbudas, the Mathuras, Shurasenas, Visarjanas, Kukuras and Kuntis - all 
slaughtered one another. 

Thus bewildered, sons fought with fathers, brothers with brothers, nephews with 
paternal and maternal uncles, and grandsons with grandfathers. Friends fought 
with friends, and well-wishers with well-wishers. In this way intimate friends 
and relatives all killed one another. 

When all their bows had been broken and their arrows and other missiles spent, 
they seized the tall stalks of cane with their bare hands. 

As soon as they took these cane stalks in their fists, the stalks changed into 
iron rods as hard as thunderbolts. With these weapons the warriors began 
attacking one another again and again, and when Lord Krsna tried to stop them 
they attacked Him as well. 

In their confused state, O King, they also mistook Lord Balarama for an enemy. 
Weapons in hand, they ran toward Him with the intention of killing Him. 

O son of the Kurus, Krsna and Balarama then became very angry. Picking up cane 
stalks, They moved about within the battle and began to kill with these clubs. 

The violent anger of these warriors, who were overcome by the brahmanas' curse 
and bewildered by Lord Krsna's illusory potency, now led them to their 
annihilation, just as a fire that starts in a bamboo grove destroys the entire 

When all the members of His own dynasty were thus destroyed, Lord Krsna thought 
to Himself that at last the burden of the earth had been removed. 

Lord Balarama then sat down on the shore of the ocean and fixed Himself in 
meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Merging Himself within 
Himself, He gave up this mortal world. 

Lord Krsna, the son of Devaki, having seen the departure of Lord Rama, sat down 
silently on the ground under a nearby pippala tree. 

The Lord was exhibiting His brilliantly effulgent four-armed form, the radiance 
of which, just like a smokeless fire, dissipated the darkness in all directions. 
His complexion was the color of a dark blue cloud and His effulgence the color 
of molten gold, and His all-auspicious form bore the mark of Shrivatsa. A 
beautiful smile graced His lotus face, locks of dark blue hair adorned His head, 
His lotus eyes were very attractive, and His shark-shaped earrings glittered. He 
wore a pair of silken garments, an ornamental belt, the sacred thread, bracelets 
and arm ornaments, along with a helmet, the Kaustubha jewel, necklaces, anklets 
and other royal emblems. Encircling His body were flower garlands and His 
personal weapons in their embodied forms. As He sat He held His left foot, with 
its lotus-red sole, upon His right thigh. 

Just then a hunter named Jara, who had approached the place, mistook the Lord's 
foot for a deer's face. Thinking he had found his prey, Jara pierced the foot 
with his arrow, which he had fashioned from the remaining iron fragment of 
Samba's club.

Then, seeing that four-armed personality, the hunter became terrified of the 
offense he had committed, and he fell down, placing his head upon the feet of 
the enemy of the demons. 

Jara said: O Lord Madhusudana, I am a most sinful person. I have committed this 
act out of ignorance. O purest Lord, O Uttamashloka, please forgive this sinner. 

O Lord Visnu, the learned say that for any man, constant remembrance of You will 
destroy the darkness of ignorance. O master, I have wronged You! 

Therefore, O Lord of Vaikuntha, please kill this sinful hunter of animals 
immediately so he may not again commit such offenses against saintly persons.

Neither Brahma nor his sons, headed by Rudra, nor any of the great sages who are 
masters of the Vedic mantras can understand the function of Your mystic power. 
Because Your illusory potency has covered their sight, they remain ignorant of 
how Your mystic power works. Therefore, what can I, such a low-born person, 
possibly say? 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Jara, do not fear. Please get 
up. What has been done is actually My own desire. With My permission, go now to 
the abode of the pious, the spiritual world. 

So instructed by the Supreme Lord Krsna, who assumes His transcendental body by 
His own will, the hunter circumambulated the Lord three times and bowed down to 
Him. Then the hunter departed in an airplane that had appeared just to carry him 
to the spiritual sky. 

At that time Daruka was searching for his master, Krsna. As he neared the place 
where the Lord was sitting, he perceived the aroma of tulasi flowers in the 
breeze and went in its direction. 

Upon seeing Lord Krsna resting at the foot of a banyan tree, surrounded by His 
shining weapons, Daruka could not control the affection he felt in his heart. 
His eyes filled with tears as he rushed down from the chariot and fell at the 
Lord's feet. 

Daruka said: Just as on a moonless night people are merged into darkness and 
cannot find their way, now that I have lost sight of Your lotus feet, my Lord, I 
have lost my vision and am wandering blindly in darkness. I cannot tell my 
direction, nor can I find any peace. 

[Shukadeva Gosvami continued:] O foremost of kings, while the chariot driver was 
still speaking, before his very eyes the Lord's chariot rose up into the sky 
along with its horses and its flag, which was marked with the emblem of Garuda. 

All the divine weapons of Visnu rose up and followed the chariot. The Lord, 
Janardana, then spoke to His chariot driver, who was most astonished to see all 

O driver, go to Dvaraka and tell Our family members how their loved ones 
destroyed one another. Also tell them of the disappearance of Lord Sankarsana 
and of My present condition.

You and your relatives should not remain in Dvaraka, the capital of the Yadus, 
because once I have abandoned that city it will be inundated by the ocean. 

You should all take your own families, together with My parents, and under 
Arjuna's protection go to Indraprastha. 

You, Daruka, should be firmly situated in devotion to Me, remaining fixed in 
spiritual knowledge and unattached to material considerations. Understanding 
these pastimes to be a display of My illusory potency, you should remain 

Thus ordered, Daruka circumambulated the Lord and offered obeisances to Him 
again and again. He placed Lord Krsna's lotus feet upon his head and then with a 
sad heart went back to the city. 

Chapter THIRTY-ONE The Disappearance of Lord Shri Krsna

Shukadeva Gosvami said: Then Lord Brahma arrived at Prabhasa along with Lord 
Shiva and his consort, the sages, the Prajapatis and all the demigods, headed by 

The forefathers, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas and great serpents also came, 
along with the Caranas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Kinnaras, Apsaras and relatives of 
Garuda, greatly eager to witness the departure of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. As they were coming, all these personalities variously chanted and 
glorified the birth and activities of Lord Shauri [Krsna]. 

O King, crowding the sky with their many airplanes, they showered down flowers 
with great devotion. 

Seeing before Him Brahma, the grandfather of the universe, along with the other 
demigods, who are all His personal and powerful expansions, the Almighty Lord 
closed His lotus eyes, fixing His mind within Himself, the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead.

Without employing the mystic agneyi meditation to burn up His transcendental 
body, which is the all-attractive resting place of all the worlds and the object 
of all contemplation and meditation, Lord Krsna entered into His own abode.

As soon as Lord Shri Krsna left the earth, Truth, Religion, Faithfulness, Glory 
and Beauty immediately followed Him. Kettledrums resounded in the heavens and 
flowers showered from the sky.

Most of the demigods and other higher beings led by Brahma could not see Lord 
Krsna as He was entering His own abode, since He did not reveal His movements. 
But some of them did catch sight of Him, and they were extremely amazed. 

Just as ordinary men cannot ascertain the path of a lightning bolt as it leaves 
a cloud, the demigods could not trace out the movements of Lord Krsna as He 
returned to His abode.

A few of the demigods, however - notably Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva - could 
ascertain how the Lord's mystic power was working, and thus they became 
astonished. All the demigods praised the Lord's mystic power and then returned 
to their own planets.

My dear King, you should understand that the Supreme Lord's appearance and 
disappearance, which resemble those of embodied conditioned souls, are actually 
a show enacted by His illusory energy, just like the performance of an actor. 
After creating this universe He enters into it, plays within it for some time, 
and at last winds it up. Then the Lord remains situated in His own 
transcendental glory, having ceased from the functions of cosmic manifestation.

Lord Krsna brought the son of His guru back from the planet of the lord of death 
in the boy's selfsame body, and as the ultimate giver of protection He saved you 
also when you were burned by the brahmastra of Ashvatthama. He conquered in 
battle even Lord Shiva, who deals death to the agents of death, and He sent the 
hunter Jara directly to Vaikuntha in his human body. How could such a 
personality be unable to protect His own Self?

Although Lord Krsna, being the possessor of infinite powers, is the only cause 
of the creation, maintenance and destruction of innumerable living beings, He 
simply did not desire to keep His body in this world any longer. Thus He 
revealed the destination of those fixed in the self and demonstrated that this 
mortal world is of no intrinsic value.

Anyone who regularly rises early in the morning and carefully chants with 
devotion the glories of Lord Shri Krsna's transcendental disappearance and His 
return to His own abode will certainly achieve that same supreme destination. 

As soon as Daruka reached Dvaraka, he threw himself at the feet of Vasudeva and 
Ugrasena and drenched their feet with his tears, lamenting the loss of Lord 

Daruka delivered the account of the total destruction of the Vrsnis, and upon 
hearing this, O Pariksit, the people became deeply distraught in their hearts 
and stunned with sorrow. Feeling the overwhelming pain of separation from Krsna, 
they struck their own faces while hurrying to the place where their relatives 
lay dead. 

When Devaki, Rohini and Vasudeva could not find their sons, Krsna and Rama, they 
lost consciousness out of anguish.

Tormented by separation from the Lord, His parents gave up their lives at that 
very spot. My dear Pariksit, the wives of the Yadavas then climbed onto the 
funeral pyres, embracing their dead husbands. 

The wives of Lord Balarama also entered the fire and embraced His body, and 
Vasudeva's wives entered his fire and embraced his body. The daughters-in-law of 
Lord Hari entered the funeral fires of their respective husbands, headed by 
Pradyumna. And Rukmini and the other wives of Lord Krsna - whose hearts were 
completely absorbed in Him - entered His fire.

Arjuna felt great distress over separation from Lord Krsna, his dearmost friend. 
But he consoled himself by remembering the transcendental words the Lord had 
sung to him.

Arjuna then saw to it that the funeral rites were properly carried out for the 
dead, who had no remaining male family members. He executed the required 
ceremonies for each of the Yadus, one after another. 

As soon as Dvaraka was abandoned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the 
ocean flooded it on all sides, O King, sparing only His palace.

Lord Madhusudana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is eternally present in 
Dvaraka. It is the most auspicious of all auspicious places, and merely 
remembering it destroys all contamination. 

Arjuna took the survivors of the Yadu dynasty - the women, children and old men 
- to Indraprastha, where he installed Vajra as ruler of the Yadus. 

Hearing from Arjuna of the death of their friend, my dear King, your 
grandfathers established you as the maintainer of the dynasty and left to 
prepare for their departure from this world. 

A person who with faith engages in chanting the glories of these various 
pastimes and incarnations of Visnu, the Lord of lords, will gain liberation from 
all sins. 

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