Notes from A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Raja-Vidya: The King of Knowledge (1973)
1. The King of Knowledge
"This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed." (Bhagavad Gita 9.2)
According to Bhagavad-gita, the topmost knowledge (raja-vidya raja-guhyam) is Krishna consciousness ... Avyayam indicates that this knowledge is permanent.
Sri Krishna indicates that this king of knowledge is also happily performed. We can easily see that activities in Krishna consciousness are joyfully done. The process is very easily and happily done. Work in Krishna consciousness.
Sanatana knew a number of languages. "The general populace calls me highly educated," Sanatana told the Lord, "and I am such a fool that I actually believe them."
The Lord replied, "Why should you not think you're well educated? You're a great scholar in Sanskrit and Persian."
"That may be," Sanatana said, "but I do not know what I am."
This then, is the beginning of knowledge.
Out of 400,000 species of human beings, some are civilized.
Those who do believe in the scriptures are, by and large, attached to pious philanthropic activities. They believe that religion means yajna (sacrifice), dana (charity) and tapas (penance). One who engages in tapasya undertakes voluntarily very rigid regulations, such as brahmacari students (celibates) or sannyasis (renounced order) undertake.
But generally in this age people simply say that they belong to a religion.
Even if one is anxious to make spiritual progress, there are many pseudo-spiritual societies to take advantage of him.
Out of many thousands who are liberated, only one or two may understand what and who Krishna is.
"A great soul is very rare." (Bhagavad Gita 7.19)
The signs of liberation. (1) Very happy. (2) Not anxiety, not frets.
People are forgetful from time immemorial about their relationship with the Supreme Lord.
2. Knowledge Beyond Samsara
A devotee ... is satisfied by simply hearing of Krishna. Seeing may eventually be there, but hearing should not be considered any less important.
We must simply pray, "Krishna, please pick me up."
The sound Krishna and the original Krishna are the same. There are nine processes of devotional service recommended (hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, praying, serving, engaging as a servitor of the Lord, establishing friendly relations with the Lord, offering everything to the Lord). These are all easy to practice joyfully.
"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it. O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you perform, should be done as an offering unto Me." (Bhagavad Gita 9.26-27)
The foolish try to adjust to this world; the real problem is how to get out of it. "Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, ... but return to birth and death in this material world." (Bhagavad Gita 9.3)
A true religion must come from an authorized source.
Neither Moslem nor Hindu nor Christian ... is God.
3. Knowledge of Krishna's Energies
There are two kinds of energy material and spiritual. Jivas, or individual souls, belong to the superior energy of Krishna, but ... attracted to the material energy, they are called marginal energy.
Everything within the creation is resting on Krishna-shine.
If asked to show their universal form, they cannot do it. That is the difference between a pseudo god and the real God.
Faith ... is not a question of blindly believing.
Without spiritual touch, nothing can move ... we are all dependent upon Krishna, the Supreme Person.
We may think that because Krishna is maintaining the universe, He is struggling under its burden like Atlas. But this is not the case. "Everything that is created does not rest in Me ... Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, still My Self is the very source of creation." (Bhagavad Gita 9.5)
God is everywhere impersonally.
As our spirit is present within the body, the Lord is present within the universe as Paramatma.
4. Knowledge by Way of the Mahatmas, Great Souls
The process of Krishna consciousness is the process of training the senses.
We have to qualify ourselves through Krishna consciousness.
How is it possible to recognize God? He can be recognized through supernatural power [and] the eyes to see God.
The Supreme Lord is so vast that one cannot reach Him by mental speculation ... We have to wait until the sun reveals itself in the morning at sunrise.
Understanding Krishna to be the primal source of everything, how do the great souls act? Krishna Himself characterizes them in this way: "Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion." (Bhagavad Gita 9.14)
Those who are enamored by [bewitching] energy [do not] understand the ultimate aim of life. "Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated." (Bhagavad Gita 9.12)
Happiness in the material world has a beginning and an end. ... People ... do not realize that their senses will never be satisfied in this way.
[What about] establish ourselves in our proper identity as pure Brahman?
This process of kirtana (kirtayantah), always chanting the glories of the Lord, ... Kirtanam actually means "describing." We can describe with music, words, pictures, etc.
[Some] mahatmas [great souls] received the most confidential knowledge.
The representative of God or the incarnation of God never claims to be God but the servant of God.
5. Knowledge Through Disciplic Succession
If one wants to understand Bhagavad-gita, ... understand it as prescribed in Bhagavad- gita itself.
If we actually want to receive benefit from Bhagavad-gita, we ... have to ... understand the necessity of going through the ... authoritative sources.
It is not that Krishna is speaking Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna for the first time.
Battle had already been decided by the Supreme, that the people who were assembled on the battlefield were predestined never to return.
Many things do not [seem to] come within the jurisdiction of logic. Mod
Although we cannot ourselves prove how large the sun is, we accept the verdict of astronomers.
If we do not accept Krishna as authority and take His words as they are, it does not have to be dogmatic; contrary to "admit that Krishna is Supreme Lord". [Changed]
At one time, Indra, the king of heaven, committed an offense at the feet of his spiritual master, and his spiritual master cursed him to take the birth of a hog. Thus the throne of the heavenly kingdom became empty as Indra went to earth to become a hog. Seeing the situation, Brahma came to earth and addressed the hog:
"Dear sir, you have become a hog on this planet earth. I have come to deliver you. Come with me at once."
But the hog replied: "Oh I cannot go with you. I have so many responsibilities my children, wife and this nice hog society."
Even though Brahma promised to take him back to heaven, Indra, in the form of a hog, refused. This is called forgetfulness.
6. Knowledge of Krishna's Appearances and Activities
God is very compassionate.
Krishna accepts the higher nature (prakrtim svam), not the inferior material nature.
We only have experience of this one universe.
Go for rendering service to the supreme living entity.
It helps us to become established in our true dharma - it is far from degrading. [With addition]
The world is so conceived that even if we make a very good arrangement, it will gradually deteriorate. American, a Christian, Hindu, etc. ... these designations should be abandoned if we at all want to become free.
"The Supreme personality of Godhead ... know[s] everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. [And] also know[s] all living entities." (Bhagavad Gita 7.26)
6. Knowledge as Faith in Guru and surrender to Krishna
By good work we may get a good birth in an aristocratic or wealthy family, and by bad work we may take birth even in the animal kingdom or in degraded human families, but in any case birth means bondage. The man in the mode of goodness becomes a first class prisoner.
In the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita Sri Krishna concludes that of all sacrifices, the best is the acquisition of knowledge. "The sacrifice of knowledge is greater than the sacrifice of material possessions. Son of Prtha, after all, the sacrifice of work culminates in transcendental knowledge." (Bhagavad Gita 4.33)
Knowledge is the best sacrifice.
Actually we have no idea how powerful we are as spiritual sparks ... we have the ability to travel wherever we want free of charge. We may rise very high in the sky, but if we have no shelter there, if we do not land on some planet, we will again fall down.
People are generally doubtful.
The beginning injunction of the Vedanta-sutra is: athato brahma jijnasa. "Now is the time to inquire about Brahman."
If I want to study Bhagavad-gita or Vedanta-sutra in order to make material improvement, it is not necessary ... One should first want to inquire about Brahman and then search out a master who has perfect vision of the Absolute Truth (jnaninas tattva-darsinah).
If we search to see who the father of our father is, and who his father is, and so on back, if it were somehow possible to trace our ancestry back through time, we would arrive at the Supreme Father,
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just go for Me." [Cf. Bhagavad Gita 18.66)
On the Bowery, there are so many drunkards lying in the street, and they're all thinking, "We are enjoying life." But those who are passing them by are thinking, "Oh how miserable they are."
We are like mischievous children, and therefore we must have spiritual engagement.
By becoming perfect in Krishna consciousness, knowledge and wisdom are found in due course of time.
Those who are hesitant in taking this path of knowledge have no chance.
Our nature is sac-cid-ananda, eternal, blissful and full of knowledge, yet this body is destined to die, and while it is existing it is full of ignorance and miseries. The senses are imperfect, and it is not possible to attain perfect knowledge through them
If one is able to factually answer the questions about the science of Krishna, he is the spiritual master,
This is the only qualification, and this science in essence is contained in Bhagavad- gita.
If we have the boat of perfect knowledge, ... we can cross the ocean very easily.
(Bhagavad Gita 4.36), it does not matter what we were in our past lives.
If we throw a bag of grain into the street, pigeons may come and eat four or five small grains and then go away.
There is a great necessity for this knowledge now.
In the Fourteenth Chapter Sri Krishna proclaims Himself to be the father of all beings, as pointed out previously (Bhagavad Gita 14.4). Bhagavad-gita is not meant for any particular party or nation but for everyone.
8. Action in Knowledge of Krishna
Krishna did not need any friends to play with Him, nor did He desire a single wife.
It is ... incumbent upon us to preach the method of Bhagavad-gita.
One who works for Krishna may appear to be working like anyone else in the material world,.
We should understand the distinctions between karma, akarma and vikarma.
We have to choose our course of action very carefully ... understand what work to do and what work to avoid.
"One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent ... although engaged in all sorts of activities." (Bhagavad Gita 4.18)
"From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place." (Bhagavad Gita 8.16)
Bhagavad-gita says that he is a learned man who can see everything on an equal level. "The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste)." (Bhagavad Gita 5.18)
Whenever we see any living entity we should think, "Here is a spirit soul."