BG Chap 7 - The mūḍhas who do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa

Even the learned do not surrender unto Kṛṣṇa even though one attains liberation doing so. The wise like Brahmā, Śiva, Nārada and others surrender unto Kṛṣṇa, but those who only think themselves wise like the philosophers, scientists and others, do not. Those who know the meaning of scripture but are evil and who misuse knowledge do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Four types of people are devoid of piety – the foolish, the lowest of mankind, those whose knowledge is stolen by illusion and the demoniac- and thus they never surrender to Kṛṣṇa.

The mūḍhas are those who are grossly foolish, like hardworking beasts of burden. Most often, those who work very hard day and night to clear the burden of self-created duties say that they have no time to hear of the immortality of the living being. To such mūḍhas, material gains, which are destructible, are life's all in all-despite the fact that the mūḍhas enjoy only a very small fraction of the fruit of labor. The fool equal to an animal is the person pursuing enjoyment thru his work. Those who are condemned by fate avoid the nectarean topics of Lord Acyuta and listen instead to the impious narrations of materialists. The mūḍhas’ intelligence are dulled by fruitive work and they think Viṣṇu is like Indra, attainable by pious actions and Viṣṇu is like the jīvas controlled by karma. Those who follow the path of karma think that God has a material body.

BG Chap 7 - The Narādhamas who do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa

The civilized human beings are those who have regulative principles of social, political and religious life. Those who are socially and politically developed but who have no religious principles must be considered narādhamas. In the Gītā the Personality of Godhead clearly states that there is no authority above Him and that He is the Supreme Truth. The civilized form of human life is meant for man's reviving the lost consciousness of his eternal relation with the Supreme Truth, the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is all-powerful. Whoever loses this chance is classified as a narādhama. Narādhamas, having become civilized human beings by practicing devotional service for some time, later decide that devotional practices are impractical for achieving their aims in life and thus whimsically discard devotional service. The symptom of their being adhama, or the most fallen, is their intentional rejection of devotional service. Under the influence of māyā, the narādhamas, though attaining a high status by being born as brāhmaṇas, become the lowest of men by absorption in materialistic poetic works. Condemned by fate, they are averse to the nectarean activities of the Supreme Lord and listen to the impure narrations of ordinary men. They do not believe in God and just engage in material pursuits.

BG Chap 7 - The māyayāpahṛta-jñānāḥs who do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa

Those persons whose erudite knowledge has been nullified by the influence of māyā. In the Gītā, in plain and simple language, it is stated that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is none equal to or greater than Him. In fact, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is said to be not only the father of Brahmā but also the father of all species of life. He is the root of the impersonal Brahman and Paramātmā; the Supersoul in every entity is His plenary portion. He is the fountainhead of everything, and everyone is advised to surrender unto His lotus feet. Despite all these clear statements, the māyayāpahṛta-jñānāḥ deride the personality of the Supreme Lord and consider Him merely another human being. They do not know that the blessed form of human life is designed after the eternal and transcendental feature of the Supreme Lord. They often follow atheistic Sāṅkhya philosophy and think that creation is enacted by material nature. The Sāṅkhyas belittle Kṛṣṇa, even though His qualities of omniscience, omnipotence and being the creator of all and the bestower of liberation are proclaimed by thousands of revealed scriptures. Instead they whimsically propose that material nature is the creator of all and the bestower of liberation.

The reason that they raise hundreds of such faulty and deceptive arguments is simply the influence of māyā. Some people have the qualification of having studied scripture, but their knowledge has been stolen by illusion. That is to say, they think that only the Nārāyaṇa form of God residing in Vaikuṇṭha is the eternal object of attainment by devotional service, and the mere human forms of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma and so on are not. This is described in the words, ‘Fools deride Me when I appear in My human form.’ Even when those persons are apparently surrendering unto Kṛṣṇa, they actually are not surrendering to Him.

BG Chap 7 - The asuras who do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa

This class is openly atheistic. Some of them argue that the Supreme Lord can never descend upon this material world, but they are unable to give any tangible reasons as to why not. There are others who make Him subordinate to the impersonal feature, although the opposite is declared in the Gītā. Envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the atheist will present a number of illicit incarnations manufactured in the factory of his brain. Such persons, whose very principle of life is to decry the Personality of Godhead, cannot surrender unto the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Jarāsandha is an example of an asura. Although he had knowledge (jñāna), he hated Kṛṣṇa and even wanted to kill Him. The asuras try to obliterate Kṛṣṇa’s personal form with bad logical arguments such as insisting on visible proof or on the evidence that His form is visible. The asuras say that the Absolute is pure spirit, without any qualities, form, activities or thoughts. In the same manner as asuras try to shoot arrows at Kṛṣṇa’s personal form, the source of all bliss, the Māyāvādīs attack His personal form, which is proven in śruti to be the eternal embodiment of living spirit. The Māyāvādīs thus try to destroy His personal form with their arguments. The reason for such a mentality arising in them is, again, simply the influence of māyā.

BG Chap 7 - The four types of people who worship Kṛṣṇa

Those who are learned and who engage in their varṇāśrama duties worship the Lord. These souls are not pure devotees but are pious. They can be elevated to pure devotional service by the association of a pure devotee.

(a) ārta – the distressed. They desire relief from suffering like sickness and other material calamities. Gajendra is an example. (b) jijñāsu – the curious. They desire knowledge of the nature of ātmā distinct from the body or knowledge of scriptures with grammar. Śaunaka is an example who approached the Lord to become self realized. (c) arthārthī – desirer of wealth. They desire kingdom and enjoyment in this life and the next with land, money, women etc. They approach Kṛṣṇa and not the demigods. Dhruva is an example. (d) jñānī – the knowledge seeker. The jñānī already knows his self as ātmā and the Lord as Paramātmā. He is niṣkāma because he approaches Kṛṣṇa to gain knowledge and not for fulfilling material desires. Śuka and the Kumāras are examples. Whoever among the four types receives the mercy of the Lord becomes qualified for pure bhakti.

There is also a fifth kind: the appearance of pure bhakti from the very beginning stage, such as Nārada in his previous life, who attained knowledge by the mercy of devotees and developed vaidhi-bhakti step by step.

In this connection it is interesting to note Thakur Bhaktivinode’s enumeration in the
first chapter of Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta of the various general motivations people have to try to please the Lord:

1) Bhaya — out of fear.
2) Āśā — for satisfying material aspirations.
3) Kartavya-buddhi — out of a sense of duty (literally,
“a mentality of what should be done”).
4) Rāga — out of genuine
attraction for the Lord.

BG Chap 7 - Three types of bhakti

(1) Kevala or pure bhakti

This was described in the beginning of this chapter (7.1) and will also be described by the Lord later. The result of pure bhakti is that one becomes an associate of the Lord with dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or mādhurya prema.

(2) Pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti

The four types of pious people described before qualify for pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti, in which bhakti is the main component.

(a) Karma-miśra-bhakti

The first three types are sakāma devotees. They have karma-miśra-bhakti because they ask Kṛṣṇa to satisfy their material desires. The inquisitive is placed between the distressed and the desirer of wealth because of the hope that these two types will develop inquisitiveness in the future. The result of this bhakti is attainment of the respective desires (deliverance from suffering, attainment of scriptural knowledge, gain of material benefits). And after that, because of the superior nature of their object of worship (the Lord), those devotees attain liberation in the form of sālokya with predominance of happiness and powers. And there is no fall down as in the case of exhausting enjoyment in svarga as a result of karma.

(b) Jñāna-miśra-bhakti

The fourth type (jñānī) has jñāna miśra bhakti, and the result is śānta rati (bhāva), as in the case of Sanaka and others. Sometimes, because of exceptional mercy of the Lord and his devotee, the result of jñāna miśra bhakti is the supreme position of prema, as in the case of Śukadeva. If sakāma bhakti (the first three types) becomes niṣkāma, the result is jñāna miśra bhakti. Sometimes, those who have jñāna or karma miśra bhakti attain prema in dāsya and higher rasas on their own, because of influence of association with devotees in previous lives. However, that prema is predominated by a mood of reverence.

(3) Guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti

A third type of bhakti, guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti (processes in which bhakti is subsidiary) is seen in the karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs, who predominantly desire results for their actions (bhukti and mukti). Because of the lack of predominance of bhakti, and instead with a predominance of karma, jñāna or yoga, it is not classified as bhakti. As things should be classed by predominance of quality, these are classed as karma, jñāna and yoga, and the practitioners are not classed as bhaktas, but as karmīs, jñānīs or yogīs. The result of sakāma karma is svarga, the result of niṣkāma karma is jñāna yoga, and the result of jñāna and aṣṭāṅga yoga is nirvāṇa mokṣa, impersonal liberation.

BG Chap 7 - The best among the four types who approach the Lord

The jñānī who is constantly engaged in pure bhakti is the best. Such a jñānī is very dear to the Lord and the Lord is very dear to him. By practice of jñāna, he has brought his mind under control. Having given up desires such as getting relief from suffering, getting wealth or getting knowledge of ātmā, he serves the Lord constantly (nitya yukta). The others engage in service as long as they attain their desires. The jñānī has unmotivated devotion only to Kṛṣṇa (eka-bhakti). Therefore the jñānī is the best. He worships the Lord not out of fear that his jñāna will be ineffective without bhakti. Unlike other jñānīs, who have predominantly jñāna, this jñānī has great attachment to bhakti and cannot give up Lord Śyāmasundara in the stage of sādhana or in the stage of perfection. The word atyartha (excessively) indicates that he limits himself only to love of Kṛṣṇa, since the Lord is endowed with qualities like omniscience and unlimited powers, which no one can completely describe. And this jñānī is the object of affection for Kṛṣṇa, according to the rule: as they surrender to Me I respond accordingly. (BG 4.11). The jñānī referred here is not the one who abandons bhakti to pursue jñāna but the jñāna-miśra-bhakta.

BG Chap 7 - All types of devotees are dear to Kṛṣṇa

The three types of sakāma devotees (karma-miśra) are dear to the Lord. Those who worship the Lord, accepting the things they had desired, are dear to the Lord because they give their affection to Him. But the jñānī does not desire anything, either svarga or mokṣa. Thus he is like the soul of the Lord. He is firmly fixed in attaining the Lord as Śyāmasundara and not His impersonal aspect. This jñānī (jñāna-miśra) is considered by the Lord as His own self.

Does this mean the Lord is non different from the jīva who is a jñānī?
No, this is not so because this is not the goal of worship for this jñānī. There are contrary statements made elsewhere of difference between jīva and the Lord even in the state of liberation. The jñānī is called the Lord’s ātmā only because of the Lord’s extreme affection for him. The word ātmā also means the mind and so this would mean that the Lord’s mind thinks of the jñānī constantly.

But the kevala bhakta is considered by the Lord to be dearer than His very self. Kṛṣṇa confirms in Bhāgavatam (11.14.15) that neither Brahmā, Śiva, Saṅkarṣaṇa or the goddess of fortune or His own self are as dear to Him as His great devotee Uddhava. And Uddhava considered the gopis to be on a higher plane when he desired to get the dust from their feet. And that's why the Lord says He cannot repay the love of the gopis.

The person desiring destruction of suffering and the person desiring attainment of happiness are of two kinds: those interested in short-term solutions and those interested in long-term solutions, If a person wants a long-term solution, a deeper solace from grief or a deeper type of happiness, he will become a jijñāsuḥ, inquiring after truth in pursuit of his relief from suffering or attainment of happiness. The order of persons is reversed in the Gītā – the jijñāsuḥ should be placed after the ārtaḥ and arthārthī. Then there are three types of jñānīs: those with knowledge of the Lord’s powers, those with knowledge of the Lord’s sweetness, and those with knowledge of both.

The sukṛtinaḥ refers to possessing good fortune of gaining faith by association with great devotees, which causes impressions of bhakti. The first three types may or may not have that sukṛti. If they happen to have sukṛti, then they worship the Lord. In the case of jñānī, however, it is certain he has sukṛti, because he can only become knowledgeable of the Lord from such sukṛti. Thus he definitely worships the Lord. (Kṛṣṇa had said that the four types of people are sukṛtinaḥ. But Jīva Gosvāmī is saying that only the jñānī certainly has sukṛti. The reason could be that the other three may have some sukrṭi so that they approach Kṛṣṇa but not the good fortune of the mercy of the devotees. They simply worship the Lord to fulfill their desires – destruction of suffering, attaining happiness and satisfying their curiosity. Even the long term practitioners – the jijñāsuḥ – are only inquiring into the truth about permanent relief from suffering and gaining happiness. And if all these three types get the mercy of devotees, then they really start worshipping the Lord like the jñānīs).

The jñānī worships Kṛṣṇa alone with indifference to varṇāśrama and to knowledge of oneness of jīva and Brahman. Being an uttama-bhakta he is very devoted to Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa is also devoted to Him. The first three types of devotees after many births gains knowledge of the Lord and surrenders unto Him.

Viśvanātha Cakravartī says that Gajendra, being greedy to attain the sweetness of the Lord, gave up his desire to get relief from suffering and then became a pure devotees. The sages headed by Śaunaka gave up their desire to know about Svarga and other topics thru the association with Sūta and became pure devotees. Dhruva, by the mercy of Nārada and the Lord gave up his desire to attain kingdom and became a pure devotee. The Kumāras by the mercy of the Lord gave up the desire for liberation and became pure devotees.

BG Chap 7 - After many births the jñānī becomes qualified

The jñānī, seeing Vāsudeva everywhere, after many births, surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa. Such a person attains the Lord thru association with devotees. That jñānī who is a devotee has a steady mind and is very rare. Out of thousands, one person may know the Lord in truth. But the kevala or ekānta bhakta is very, very rare. Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa says the three types of devotees (other than the jñānī), by the power of performing bhakti to Kṛṣṇa, after experiencing the highest happiness from material pleasures for many lives, finally in one birth find these pleasures distasteful. By association with saintly persons they gain knowledge of the Lord’s svarūpa and surrender unto Kṛṣṇa. These three devotees become jñānīs after many births and attain Kṛṣṇa. One has to rise to the platform of niṣkāma and then from that level fully surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Bhakti is rare even among jñānīs and its development usually takes a long time. Association with pure devotees quickens the process, because by association one hears and chants about Kṛṣṇa, whose glories are the essence of transcendental knowledge.

The jñānī understands that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva, is everything. All things in existence depend on Kṛṣṇa for their manifestation and continued existence in those forms. What is dependent for its form and continued existence on Him, is designated as Himself. In Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the prāṇa is designated as the voice and eye, because those things are all dependent on prāṇa for preservation of their forms. Since all things in existence are pervaded by Vāsudeva, Vāsudeva is everything. Vāsudeva is everything in the sense that everything is dependent on Him. Arjuna confirms later in chapter 11 of the Gītā that since Kṛṣṇa covers everything and thus He is everything.

Kṛṣṇa had already mentioned in BG 7.12 that all states of sattva, rajas and tamas come from Him but He is not touched by the material guṇas. Having shown difference between matter and Himself, it appears here He again states non-difference by saying vāsudeva sarvam iti. This is resolved by explaining that He is not different from matter and is still different from it, just as the sun is different from its rays and also one with them. Brahmā has stated in SB 2.7.50 that there is nothing other than the Lord in all existence. Arjuna clarifies that since the Lord is spread everywhere and therefore He is everything. Thus non-difference and difference must be the meaning because it is said that one who possesses knowledge that everything is Vāsudeva surrenders unto Him. Surrender or prapatti is a process of bhakti. By saying Vāsudeva is everything, Kṛṣṇa confirms that He alone should be worshipped, by pointing out knowledge of Himself (which He did previously with His vibhūtis), that He alone exists inside and outside everything, but is also beyond the guṇas of prakṛti.

BG Chap 7 - The nature of those who surrender to demigods

The ärta, arthärté and jijïäsuù after many births by the mercy of devotees gain sukåti and surrender unto Kåñëa. Others who do not have such sukåti continue on the path of birth and death and surrender unto the demigods.

Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow various rules under the control of their low natures. The sakāma bhaktas worship Kṛṣṇa, who respond to them. But people with no intelligence and have desires, worship the devatās to remove their suffering and gain immediate happiness. They think devatās like Sūrya immediately give relief from afflictions like sickness, whereas Viṣṇu will not. In fact, Kṛṣṇa does fulfill the desires of His devotees and He simultaneously purifies their hearts. The nature of the less intelligent is such that it makes them opposed to surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. Such people continue to take birth. The worshipers of demigods are motivated by small desires and do not know how to reach the supreme goal, but a devotee of the Supreme Lord is not misguided.