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BG Chap 9 - The impartial Lord who is partial

Is Kṛṣṇa partial in liberating the devotees but not the non-devotees? Kṛṣṇa is equal to all living beings. He neither hates nor favors anyone. As one surrenders, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates. All living beings are under the control of their karmas. The Lord is equal to all like the rain, which sprinkles water on all varieties of seeds. But those who worship Him with devotion are in Him, and He is also in them. There is nothing special about this since the whole universe exists within the Lord, and the Lord exists everywhere in the universe. Thus what Kṛṣṇa means is to whatever extent a person worships Him with devotion, He is attached to that person in a similar way. Those who please Him with hearing and other forms of bhakti exist in Him because of attraction to Him. He exists in them because of attraction to them.

The Lord’s love for the devotees is like the combination of jewels and gold, which mutually enhance each other, creating more beauty than either of the objects alone. Comparing Kṛṣṇa to a desire tree is only partially apt, for in the desire tree one does not see mutual affection and partiality. Though equal to all, the Lord does show partiality by having affection for those who take shelter of Him. Bhakti arises from the svarūpa śakti of the Lord, and so the affection the Lord has for His devotees is outstanding. This affection also arises from the Lord’s svarūpa, but this is not a fault but an ornament in the Lord. The affection for the devotee is an accomplished fact. The Lord does not have affection for the jñānī or the yogī, nor for the devotees of Śiva or Durgā.

BG Chap 9 - The nature of Kṛṣṇa's love for His devotee

The quality of being controlled by pure bhakti is Kṛṣṇa’s very nature and cannot be given up. Even if the devotee commits the most abominable action, the Lord still takes care of His devotee and make the devotee come up to the highest standard. Even if the most sinful person worships Him with no other desire than to please Him, the Lord considers such a person to be His devotee, as the devotee has fixed himself completely in the Lord. If a person addicted to violence, thievery, or adultery worships Kṛṣṇa, and worships no one but Kṛṣṇa, and does not follow any other process like karma or jñāna, he is still to be considered a devotee because of his devotee qualities. Not doing so is an offense and one disobeys the order of the Lord. Such a person should be considered a devotee in all respects, not just when He worships Kṛṣṇa. One should not see his bad qualities at all, for that person has made a splendid resolution that he would go to hell for his sinful actions but he would not give up dedicated worship of Kṛṣṇa. The moon though having spots on it is never defeated by darkness. Similarly a person having exclusive devotion to Lord Hari is still glorious even if he has serious contaminations.

Does this encourage one to act whimsically? One should not misunderstand that a devotee can act in all kinds of abominable ways and still considered saintly. This applies only to an accident due to the strong power of material connections. One who commits sin deliberately is committing the seventh offense against chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. What is described here is only the glory of bhakti and Kṛṣṇa’s partiality toward His unalloyed devotees. And a true devotee knows that he will be punished by the all merciful, partial Lord, for all his wrong doings.

BG Chap 9 - The devotee quickly becomes righteous

How can a sinful person be considered saintly, when the scriptures condemn him? The Kaṭha Upaniṣad (2.24) says that one who has not given up his sinful acts and not in control of his senses cannot attain the Lord even thru knowledge.

But this is applicable only to persons whose very nature is sinful. Kṛṣṇa says that one who worships Him exclusively, very quickly becomes righteous and becomes freed from contamination. The devotee is purified of his incidental sinful acts by Kṛṣṇa, who holds the devotee in His mind. The devotee quickly becomes steady in proper conduct. Continually repenting his previous acts, he attains complete cessation of all those sinful acts. Even if the devotee develops righteousness only in the future, still the righteousness exists right now in a subtle form. After taking medicine, though the effects of fever remain for some time, it is not considered serious. Due to bhakti, the devotee has a pure heart even during the stage of having tendency to commit sins.

BG Chap 9 - Kṛṣṇa's promise

Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna to declare to all that His devotee never perishes. Even if the devotee is sinful right till his death, he is not destroyed and at the time of death, he does not fall. If the smārtas do not consider such a person proper if he has not performed atonement rites, Kṛṣṇa with slight anger says that one should declare in the assembly of smārtas that His devotee, if he commits sinful acts out of negligence, will not be destroyed. Such a devotee will not become separated from Kṛṣṇa or attain misfortune. Remembrance of Kṛṣṇa is the most powerful atonement.

Why does Kṛṣṇa ask Arjuna to declare this instead of doing it Himself? Being affectionate to His devotee and not tolerating even a slight degradation of His devotee, Kṛṣṇa would under all circumstances uphold the declaration made by His devotee, whereas He could break His own promise and accept criticism. Just as, in breaking His own promise in fighting with Bhīṣma, He fulfilled Bhīṣma’s promise. Thus, hearing a declaration from His mouth, the materialistic disputers would laugh, but they would accept Arjuna’s declaration as written on stone. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa asks Arjuna to make the declaration.

BG Chap 9 - Kṛṣṇa can be attained by everyone

Does the Lord only purify those who commit accidental sin? No, devotion to the Lord does not even consider the inherent faults of a person arising from his birth. Even those born in sinful situations such as women, vaiśyas, śūdras and even the outcastes, if they surrender to Kṛṣṇa, can attain Him. They can become completely freed of ignorance and become specially liberated by associating with devotees. The different kinds of people who are addicted to sinful acts such as the Kirāta, Hūṇa, Yavana, Khasa and others can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord. Others who are impure, who lie or have other bad qualities are also indicated here.

It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower and higher classes of people. In the material conception of life there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. Generally, the association of those born in sinful families is not accepted by the higher classes. But the process of devotional service is so strong that the pure devotee of the Supreme Lord can enable people of all the lower classes to attain the highest perfection of life. If people of lower classes can attain Kṛṣṇa, what can be said of the pure brāhmaṇas and the saintly kings? They are fortunate to be born in pure families, and with proper conduct they become devotees.

BG Chap 9 - Confidential instruction to go beyond the miserable world

This world is temporary and full of miseries, not habitable for any sane gentleman. This world is declared by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be temporary and full of miseries. By saying the world is temporary (anitya), Kṛṣṇa negates the idea that the world is false. This world is temporary, but there is another world, which is eternal. This world is miserable, but the other world is eternal and blissful.

The Lord urges Arjuna, a saintly king, to worship Him after giving up the desire to enjoy this impermanent world. Kṛṣṇa asks Arjuna to engage his mind in always thinking of the Lord, to become His devotee, offer obeisances to Him and worship Him. Absorbing the mind and body in Kṛṣṇa, one would certainly reach Him. The Lord teaches here pure bhakti. One should always think of Kṛṣṇa. It is not sufficient to work hard for Kṛṣṇa while our minds wander. The king’s servant is not a real devotee of the king because, besides being dedicated to the king, he is also dedicated to his wife and other things. One’s mind should always be fixed, like an uninterrupted flow of honey, on Kṛṣṇa, who has a complexion of blue lotus. One should be absorbed in worshipping the Lord’s form and offer respects to that form with intense prema.

Unscrupulous commentators divert the mind of the reader by saying that it is not to Kṛṣṇa, but to the unborn within Kṛṣṇa that one has to surrender. Such commentators do not know that there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa's mind and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is not an ordinary human being; He is Absolute Truth. His body, His mind and He Himself are one and absolute. This is stated in the Kūrma Purāṇa. But because the commentators do not know this science of Kṛṣṇa, they hide Kṛṣṇa and divide His personality from His mind or from His body. Although this is sheer ignorance of the science of Kṛṣṇa, some men make profit out of misleading people.

BG Chap 9 - Conclusion

The last verse of the ninth chapter (9.34), which is exactly in the middle of the Gītā, and which will be repeated practically verbatim at the end of the Gītā, is the most confidential and essential śloka. It is the essence of the essence of the essence and the most confidential of all knowledge: Become a pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

The chapter began with Kṛṣṇa saying that He would impart the most confidential knowledge. He concluded the chapter with the instruction that one become His devotee. In BG 18.64, He again says that He would impart the most confidential and supreme instruction, and in 18.65, He repeats what He said here in BG 9.34 almost verbatim. Thus there should be no doubt that the confidential of all instructions is to be attached to Kṛṣṇa in pure love.

In this chapter, bhakti, like Gaṅga, not considering who is suitable or unsuitable, and destroying all sins by its very touch, is alone considered to be the king of all secrets.

Thus ends Chapter 9 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 9 - The importance of Kṛṣṇa in this chapter

9.3 – Not achieving Kṛṣṇa, the faithless return to the path of death
9.4 – Kṛṣṇa pervades the universe and all beings rest on Him but He does not rest upon them
9.5 – Kṛṣṇa supports all beings and not resting on beings He causes creation
9.6 – To understand Kṛṣṇa - all beings rest on me – sarvāṇ bhūtāni māt-sthānīty upadhāraya
9.7 – At the end of the universe, all beings enter Kṛṣṇa. He sends them back at the beginning of another cycle.
9.8 – By Kṛṣṇa’s will the cosmic order is created and annihilated
9.9 – Kṛṣṇa is not attached to these actions
9.10- Material nature works under Kṛṣṇa’s direction
9.11 – The foolish misunderstand Kṛṣṇa’s human form without knowing His supreme nature.
9.13 – Mind on Kṛṣṇa - bhajanty ananya-manaso – serving with their minds focused on none other
9.14 – How yoga is construed with bhakti - nitya-yuktā upāsate – always absorbed in yoga they worship me
9.15 – Some worship Kṛṣṇa with the sacrifice of knowledge
9.16 – Kṛṣṇa is the form of sacrifice – the ritual, the sacrifice, the oblation etc
9.17 – Kṛṣṇa is the father, mother, creator and grandfather of the universe.
9.17 – Kṛṣṇa is syllable om, and the three Vedas
9.18 – Taking refuge in Kṛṣṇa - nivāsaḥ śaraṇam suhṛt – I am the abode, the refuge and dear friend
9.19- Kṛṣṇa gives heat, sends forth rains
9.19 – Kṛṣṇa is immortality and also death
9.20 – Those who worship Him with sacrifice seeks passage to the celestial realm
9.22 – Meditating on Kṛṣṇa - ananyāś cintayanto mām – Meditating on none other than Me
9.23 – Those who worship other gods worship Kṛṣṇa alone but in a wrong way
9.24 – Kṛṣṇa is the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices
9.25 – Coming to Kṛṣṇa - mad-yājino api mām – those who sacrifice for me come to me
9.26 – Kṛṣṇa accepts the simplest offering given with devotion
9.27 – All activities can be dedicated to Kṛṣṇa as an offering
9.28 – Coming to Kṛṣṇa - vimukto mām upaiṣyasi – Liberated, you shall come to me
9.29 – Even though He is neutral, Kṛṣṇa is specially inclined towards His devotee
9.30 – Even the greatest sinner is considered saintly if He has no goal other than Kṛṣṇa
9.31 – One who offers love to Kṛṣṇa is never lost
9.32 – Taking refuge in Kṛṣṇa - mām hi pārtha vyapāśritya – those who take shelter of me
9.33 – One has to engage in loving service to Kṛṣṇa having come to this miserable world
9.34 – Mind on Kṛṣṇa - man-manā – be mindful of me
9.34 – Coming to Kṛṣṇa - mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam – being absorbed in me, you will come to me
9.34 – How yoga is construed with bhakti - mām evaiśyasi yuktvaivam – you will come to me having absorbed your self in yoga

BG Chap 10 - Vibhūti yoga - the powers of the Lord

In the previous chapters, Kṛṣṇa described bhakti along with intermittent descriptions of His powers. The powers of the Lord knowing which, one understands that the Lord is worthy of worship have been described starting from the seventh chapter. The Lord’s aiśvarya (extraordinary power), a cause of bhakti, is further supported in this chapter with a detailed description of the Lord’s vibhūtis. When a devotee understands Kṛṣṇa’s greatness in detail, he feels increased gratitude for his good fortune of being able to reciprocate intimately with such a great and powerful Lord.

The ṛṣis speak indirectly and the Lord is also fond of indirect statements. The Bhāgavatam says that the Vedic seers and mantras deal in esoteric terms, and that Kṛṣṇa is pleased by such confidential descriptions. The knowledge He is giving now is also somewhat difficult to comprehend. So Kṛṣṇa decides to explain things again. What He is about to speak is even superior to what was spoken before, and Kṛṣṇa speaks this to cause astonishment in Arjuna and give him benefit in the form of producing and increasing his devotion to the Lord. And Kṛṣṇa speaks to Arjuna although he is already knowledgeable because Arjuna is filled with prema and thus would take pleasure in Kṛṣṇa’s words as if drinking nectar. Even a fraction of knowledge about Kṛṣṇa’s otherwise unknowable position inspires us to serve Him.

BG Chap 10 - The difficulty in knowing Kṛṣṇa

It is very difficult to know Kṛṣṇa that even the devatās and the great ṛṣis do not know about His extraordinary powers, since He is the source of the devas and the ṛṣis. Kṛṣṇa can be known only by His mercy. We cannot know Kṛṣṇa by our own limited abilities, but only when He reveals Himself to us. One should not think that the demigods cannot understand Kṛṣṇa because of their absorption in material pleasure, since even the sages, who are detached from sense gratification, cannot also know Him. The dangerous Māyāvādīs, in the garb of rasika devotees, who impose their limitations on Kṛṣṇa, cannot know the independent nature of the Lord.

Viśvanātha Cakravarti explains prabhavam (na me viduḥ sura-gaṇāḥ prabhavaṁ na maharṣayaḥ) to mean Kṛṣṇa’s birth from Devakī, which the devas and ṛṣis cannot understand. The word prabhavam also means opulences – the extent of Kṛṣṇa’s unlimited dazzling forms, qualities and powers – which the devas such as Brahmā or the ṛṣis such as Sanaka cannot understand. This is because Kṛṣṇa is their origin, the first cause in all ways, the cause of their appearance and the bestower of their intelligence and other qualities. Kṛṣṇa existed eternally before everything else. The conception of God as some ruling power or as the impersonal Brahman can be reached by persons who are in the inferior energy of the Lord, but the Personality of Godhead cannot be conceived unless one is in the transcendental position. Because most men cannot understand Kṛṣṇa in His actual situation, out of His causeless mercy He descends to show favor to such speculators.