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BG Chap 7 - The Lord gives faith to worship the demigods

The Lord seated in everyone’s heart, makes the faith of the demigod worshipper steady so that he could devote himself to the particular deity. It is not the devatās, pleased with being worshipped, who produce faith in worshipping the Supreme Lord in order to benefit their worshippers. The devatās cannot even produce faith in those people to worship the devatās. When those people desire to worship forms such as Sūrya, which are actually the forms of the Lord’s body since they are His vibhūtis, the Lord gives faith in those forms of devatās. The Lord inspires to worship the devatās and bestow the respective results of the worship of each devatā.

Why does the Lord give faith to worship the demigods? The demigod worshipper gets results of his worship, which are actually given by Kṛṣṇa, because the devatās arise from the body of the Lord. The Lord considers faith in the demigod is indirectly faith in His form. But still such worshippers cannot be liberated because they have not directly approached Lord Kṛṣṇa. If the Supreme Lord as Supersoul does not give such facilities as to worship the demigods to satisfy desires, then there is no meaning to independence. Therefore He gives everyone full independence—whatever one likes—but His ultimate instruction we find in the Bhagavad-gītā: one should give up all other engagements and fully surrender unto Him. That will make man happy.

BG Chap 7 - The different results worshiping demigods and Kṛṣṇa

Devotional service to the Supreme Lord and the worship of a demigod cannot be on the same platform, because worship of a demigod is material and devotional service to the Supreme Lord is completely spiritual. For the living entity who desires to return to Godhead, material desires are impediments. A pure devotee of the Lord is therefore not awarded the material benefits desired by less intelligent living entities, who therefore prefer to worship demigods of the material world rather than engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord.

The results obtained by the foolish, who worship the devas, are temporary. Kṛṣṇa gives them only temporary results not because He is unjust. Those who worship the devatās attain them as it is logical that a person attains what he worships. Thus if the devatās are temporary, how could their devotees be permanent, and thus the results obtained are temporary. The Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, is however eternal, and thus His devotees are eternal. Their bhakti and the results of their bhakti are all eternal. The devotees of the Lord attain His eternal, supreme planet.

If the demigods are parts of the body of the Lord, why do their worshipers get different results than by worshiping the Supreme Lord? Those who have scant intelligence consider only the particular devatā, not understanding that the devatā is part of the Lord’s body. They do not know that these demigods are different parts of the universal body of the Supreme Lord, and in their ignorance they believe that each and every demigod is a separate God and a competitor of the Supreme Lord. Thus they attain only scant, temporary results. Those who worship the devatā with the understanding that the devatā is part of the Lord’s body obtain eternal results. This is because the worshipers of devatās go to the devatās, who have limited enjoyment and life span. But the devotees of Kṛṣṇa attain Him, who is endowed with eternal, infinite form, qualities and powers.

BG Chap 7 - The foolish contention of the impersonalists

Having explained the worshippers of demigods as less intelligent (alpa medhasa), Kṛṣṇa next explains how the impersonalists have no intelligence (abuddhaya) at all. The impersonalists think that the impersonal Brahman has manifested an illusory form as Kṛṣṇa. They think the Lord was impersonal before and had now assumed a personality. They do not know the transcendental form and activities of Kṛṣṇa, which are eternal and supreme. Although they study the scriptures they do not know the truth about the Lord. This is evident from their blasphemy of the Lord when they claim the scriptures talk about two levels of reality and their labeling of the Lord as saguna and nirguna. Externally they pose as great rasika devotees but one can easily see thru their veil of cheating.

One who is favored by a slight mercy of the lotus feet of the Lord can understand Him. But those who speculate are unable to know Him even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years. The unintelligent think that the formless Brahman beyond the material world had taken birth as Kṛṣṇa in the house of Vasudeva with an illusory form. They do not know the form, qualities, birth and pastimes of the Lord are eternal and beyond māyā. The Lord has an eternal form of pure goodness. His birth is just an appearance, for although He is born He is eternal. The monistic contention that ultimate truth is formless and that form is imposed does not hold true. It is clearly stated here that it is not imposed. From the Bhagavad-gītā we can clearly understand that the forms of the demigods and the form of the Supreme Lord are simultaneously existing and that Lord Kṛṣṇa is sac-cid-ānanda, eternal blissful knowledge.

BG Chap 7 - The eternal Lord is not seen by everyone at all times

If the Lord has an eternal form and activities, why cannot He be seen by everyone at all times? The Lord is never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. He is covered by His internal potency and thus the foolish do not know Him, who is unborn and infallible. The Lord is always present with His associates, qualities and pastimes in some universe but just like the sun He is not visible to all, being covered by yogamāyā. If Mount Meru were present in the middle of the effulgent zodiac, then the sun would not be visible within the zodiac. In the same way, within Kṛṣṇa’s abodes, yogamāyā is always present. Thus Kṛṣṇa is not always visible to even those people who are presently dwelling in His abodes of Mathurā and Dvārakā. And the foolish people do not understand His Śyāmasundara form. Rejecting Him, the ocean of auspicious qualities, they worship impersonal Brahman.

Out of mercy, the Lord is visible only to His devotees. To the non-devotees, He is covered by māyā engaged in yoga – that energy by which bewilderment of the materialists takes place. The yoga māyā also acts as yoga in making the impossible possible in relation to the Lord’s acintya powers. Thus the word yoga-māyā can be used to indicate the material māyā or the spiritual māyā according to the context. The unintelligent do not know the Lord, who is without change: His form, powers, omniscience and other qualities are unchanging in their natures. When Kṛṣṇa was present there were only a few people who could understand Him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the assembly of Kurus, when Śiśupāla spoke against Kṛṣṇa's being elected president of the assembly, Bhīṣma supported Him and proclaimed Him to be the Supreme God. Similarly, the Pāṇḍavas and a few others knew that He was the Supreme, but not everyone. He was not revealed to the nondevotees.

Is the Lord in ignorance because He is covered by māyā? No, the Lord is not corrupted by māyā, who is subservient to Him, who arises from His powers, and who serves Him from a distance. Therefore Kṛṣṇa knows all things in the past, present and future, but no one knows Him. Even among millions of jñānīs, one who knows Kṛṣṇa is very rare. Even Lord Śiva, the most omniscient person cannot know the Lord completely because the Lord is covered by either māyā or yogamāyā according to the qualification of the person. If Kṛṣṇa, the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, were māyā, material, as the impersonalists consider Him to be, then like the living entity He would change His body and forget everything about His past life. Anyone with a material body cannot remember his past life, nor can he foretell his future life, nor can he predict the outcome of his present life; therefore he cannot know what is happening in past, present and future. Unless one is liberated from material contamination, he cannot know past, present and future.

BG Chap 18 - The brahma-bhūta platform

One situated on that platform, having realized the soul, becomes joyful, and does not lament nor hankers for anything except the Lord. He looks upon all beings as equal. In that state he attains pure bhakti toward Kṛṣṇa. To the impersonalist, achieving the brahma-bhūta stage, becoming one with the Absolute, is the last word. But for the personalist, or pure devotee, one has to go still further, to become engaged in pure devotional service. This means that one who is engaged in pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord is already in a state of liberation, called brahma-bhūta, oneness with the Absolute. Without being one with the Supreme, the Absolute, one cannot render service unto Him. When one realizes his ātmā, and thus becomes situated in the brahma-bhūta platform, he is free from the contamination of the guṇas. Because of absence of misconceptions of the body, when he loses something, he does not lament, and when he fails to attain something, he does not hanker for it. Like an innocent child, he regards all beings as equal whether good or bad. He considers all entities, high or low, other than the Supreme Lord, to be equal. At this stage, one attains paraṁ bhakti. This is confidential knowledge as explained by the Lord.

After attainment of the brahma-bhūta stage of freedom from material conceptions, devotional service begins by one's hearing about the Lord. Having realized the Lord in terms of form, qualities and powers in truth by bhakti, one joins the Lord in His kingdom by that same bhakti. Bhakti alone is the cause of both realizing the Lord and joining Him. Understanding Kṛṣṇa in truth by pure bhakti, taking that bhakti alone, one joins Him. It is said in Vedānta (4.1.12) that even in liberation bhakti still exists: āprāyaṇāt tatrāpi hi dṛṣṭam: after liberation (āprāyaṇāt) even then (tatrāpi) in liberation, bhakti continues to exist because this is seen from scriptural statements (hi dṛṣṭam).

BG Chap 7 - The living entities bewilderment and release from māyā

At the beginning of the creation of this universe, all the jīvas become bewildered by desire for objects favorable to the senses, and hatred for things which obstruct the pleasure of the senses. All living beings are born into delusion, bewildered by dualities arising from desire and hate. They are bewildered by the illusions of dualities concerning respect and disrespect, happiness and distress, and woman and man. Due to desire and hate, the ignorant person wants to become one with the Supreme Lord and envies Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The bewilderment arises in the current life by impressions of attachment and hatred which existed in the previous lives. Thus one who knows the Lord is very rare.

Who would qualify for bhakti if every living being is born into delusion? Those who have destroyed their sins thru the fortunate, merciful glance of the great souls, those who have performed pleasing actions which gained the mercy of the great souls, worship the Lord. Such people develop a predominance of sattva-guṇa and diminished tamo-guṇa. The result is decrease in illusion. Then by associating with devotees, they become completely free of sins by worship of the Lord. They become steady in their worship, having attained true knowledge. The servants of Viṣṇu wander about in the world in order to purify the living entities. Pious persons are qualified to take to devotional service because their piety attracts a pure devotee’s mercy. Thus one should not consider puṇya-karma to be the cause of bhakti, but association of devotees alone is the cause. Puṇya-karmas are dependent on kevala-bhakti and here the word ‘puṇya’ means pleasing.

BG Chap 7 - The fourth type of devotee with desires

Previously three types of devotees with desires (karma-miśra-bhaktas) - the distressed, the curious and the desirer of wealth - surrendering to Kṛṣṇa and becoming successful were described The worshippers of devatās (also sakāma) fall down. The fourth kind strives for freedom from birth and death, and takes refuge in the Lord. Such a person knows Brahman, the jīva, who is present as the controller of the body, impressions which stick to the jīva, and the force of karma upon the jīva. Desiring only freedom from birth and death, they worship the Lord’s Deity, by offering respects and other actions to Him. They know about the impressions which cause the jīva to act and the results of such actions (karma). By worshipping the Lord’s form they realize the objects of realization (Brahman, adhyātma, and karma) and attain liberation, but do not bring the Lord under control or become objects of His affection. Only persons who perform activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are actually entitled to be called Brahman, because they are actually endeavoring to reach the Kṛṣṇa planet. Such persons have no misgivings about Kṛṣṇa, and thus they are factually Brahman.

BG Chap 7 - Knowing Kṛṣṇa at the time of death

Those who know Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, to be the governing principle of the material manifestation (adhibhūta), of the demigods (adhidaiva), and of all methods of sacrifice (adhiyajña), can know the Lord even at the time of death. Thus Kṛṣṇa directs the knowledge, desires and service of many kinds of people toward His lotus feet. Those who develop such knowledge of the Lord by the influence of devotion to Him maintain that knowledge even at the time of death, and that knowledge is never destroyed. It is not like the intelligence of others, established by karma, which varies according to the bodies. Those who know the Lord along with the gross material bodies of the jīvas (adhibhūta), the universal form (adhidaiva) and Paramātmā (adhiyajña), thru the association of devotees, know the Lord even at the time of death.

BG Chap 7 - Chapter Summary

Six types of devotees were enumerated in this chapter – kevala bhakta (verse 1), three sakāma bhaktas (verse 16), jñāna-miśra-bhakta (verse 16) and mokṣa-kāma-bhakta (verse 29). These devotees, who know the truth about the Lord, cross over māyā. Many subjects have been discussed in this chapter: the man in distress, the inquisitive man, the man in want of material necessities, knowledge of Brahman, knowledge of Paramātmā, liberation from birth, death and diseases, and worship of the Supreme Lord. However, he who is actually elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not care for the different processes. He simply directly engages himself in activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and thereby factually attains his constitutional position as an eternal servitor of Lord Kṛṣṇa. In such a situation he takes pleasure in hearing and glorifying the Supreme Lord in pure devotional service. He is convinced that by his doing so, all his objectives will be fulfilled. This determined faith is called dṛḍha-vrata, and it is the beginning of bhakti-yoga, or transcendental loving service. That is the verdict of all scriptures. This Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā is the substance of that conviction. The six items – Brahman, adhyātma, karma, adhibhūta, adhidaiva and adhiyajña) – will be explained in the next chapter by Kṛṣṇa.

Thus ends Chapter 7 of Bhagavad gita culled from 'Bhagavad gita As it is' by Srila Prabhupada, 'As they surrender' by Bhurijana Prabhu, 'Sarartha Varsini' by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and 'Gita Bhusana' by Baladeva Vidyabhusana.

BG Chap 7 - The importance of Kṛṣṇa in this chapter

7.1 – Mind on Kṛṣṇa - mayī āsakta-manāḥ - with mind deeply attached to me
7.3 – To know Kṛṣṇa - kaścin mām vetti tattvataḥ – hardly one knows me in truth
7.6 – To understand Kṛṣṇa - know that all things have their origin in these 2 energies and know that I am the origin and dissolution of the universe - upadhāraya (know or understand)
7.10 – To know Kṛṣṇa - As the seed of all beings, know me to be the eternal – bījam mām sarva bhūtānām viddhi (to know) pārtha sanātanam
7.14 – Coming to Kṛṣṇa - mām eva ye prapadyante – those who surrender to me can cross over māyā
7.15 – Coming to Kṛṣṇa -na mām duṣkrtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante – miscreants do not surrender to me
7.19 – Taking refuge in Kṛṣṇa – jñānavān mām prapadyate – the knowledgeable seeks refuge in me
7.23 – Coming to Kṛṣṇa -mad-bhaktā yānti mām – my devotee comes to me
7.29 - Taking refuge in Kṛṣṇa – mām āśritya yatanti ye – Those who have taken shelter of me
7.30 – Exhorting souls to remember Kṛṣṇa – Those who know Kṛṣṇa as the principle of material manifestation, of the demigods, and of all sacrifice can know Him even at the time of death. –prayāṇa-kāle api ca mām te vidur yukta-cetasaḥ