Prema Rasa Siddhanta
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Prema Rasa Madira (Vol. I - III)
Prema Rasa Madira (Vol. I - III)Language :English
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The Essence of all Wisdom
Part - 1

Shri Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita: “Arjuna! I have disclosed some confidential knowledge, and also some very confidential knowledge to you. Now listen to the most confidential of all knowledge.” After hearing about the paths of karma, jnana and bhakti, Arjuna had not yet reached the point where he would be ready to fight the Mahabharat War and kill everyone as per Shri Krishna’s instruction. Arjuna did not have the courage to say, “I will fight not one, but ten Mahabharats; I will kill them all.” So God said to him: “Because you are very dear to Me, I will disclose to you the most confidential of all knowledge.”

Most acharyas have explained what Shri Krishna said to mean, “Renounce all dharma, or prescribed Vedic duties and surrender to Me alone.” Only Jagadguru Shankaracharya has explained it as: “Surrender to Me abandoning all types of Vedic duties and religiosity.” This commentary has been ridiculed by everyone; laymen and learned scholars alike. Why? Because it is understandable that Shri Krishna would say, “Abandon all types of religious duties and surrender to Me.” But what is the need of mentioning that adharma, religiosity must also be abandoned? Even fools know that adharma has to be renounced. This commentary by Shankaracharya just shows his obstinacy in not wanting to accept devotion to the Personal Form of God. The meaning he has given to this verse is so incorrect that even the common man laughs at this commentary. Pay close attention.

If Shri Krishna had intended to say dharma and adharma, both are to be abandoned, He would have used the umbrella term karma or all actions and said, “Renounce all types of actions and surrender to Me.”  Shankaracharya’s motive in saying dharma adharma was to recommend the renunciation of all karma. Shankaracharya was a sworn enemy of the path of karma and an advocate of karma sanyas. He would do anything to justify the abandonment of karma, and that is why he explained this verse in this way: “Surrender to Me renouncing all actions, dharma as well as adharma.”


An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
© Radha Govind Samiti

Part - 2

Even Madhusudan Sarasvati, who has boldly acknowledged himself as Shankaracharya’s disciple, and who  has admitted that his commentary on the Gita is in accordance with his Guru’s commentary, has criticised this interpretation. Even he could not tolerate the words of Shankaracharya and therefore proclaimed them wrong. It was not Shri Krishna’s intention for Arjuna to practice karma sanyas, and give up karma, or his duty as kshatriya. This is why Arjuna’s response to Shri Krishna’s instruction to surrender was: “O Shri Krishna! By Your grace, my illusion is gone, and I will now act according to Your instruction.” (Gita)

The entire world knows that Arjuna fought the battle, and did not take sanyas. If the verse had meant renunciation of all actions, Arjuna would have become a renunciate. Moreover, Arjuna was already saying in the first chapter, “I will not fight.” He was already willing to become a sanyasi. Then why did Shri Krishna give him all this lecture of the Gita? If, as Shankaracharya says, this verse means "renunciation of all actions," then Arjuna was already taking sanyas.  He had put down his weapon and that too at a time when Shri Krishna, along with the Pandavas, would have become an object of ridicule. If the Pandavas had no intention of fighting, they could have sent a message from home, “We just want peace.  Non-violence is the ultimate religious principle.” This is a Vedic principle. Had the Pandavas embraced it right from the onset, it would have passed off as greatness. But they had asked Shri Krishna for help, and the army was already on the battlefield. The opposing army was all prepared to fight.

The conches had sounded, indicating the start of the battle. Arjuna chose such a moment to say to Shri Krishna, “Place my chariot between the two armies.” (Gita) Shri Krishna, the charioteer, took the chariot to the middle of the battlefield. Arjuna inspected the enemy forces. Seeing his respected elders and teachers there, Arjuna was shaken and said, “I will not fight.” “But you knew beforehand whom you would be fighting: Dronacharya, Bheeshma, Kripacharya, and Ashvatthama. You knew beforehand that you would have to kill them to win. Has something new taken place?” But Arjuna put down his weapon, preferring the path of sanyas and refused to fight.  And he did not do it whimsically; he justified his decision.


An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj 
© Radha Govind Samiti  

Part - 3

“Shri Krishna, I accept Your superior capability, so pardon my impertinence. It seems wrong to me to kill these people who are my elders. And even if I ignore the fact that they are my relatives and kill them thinking them to be my enemies, I will be doing something wrong. I am a mighty warrior, the wielder of the Gandiv bow, and I have You on my side. These people are sure to be killed, and then their wives will become widows.” (Shri Krishna replied) “Yes, yes, if you fight the war, they will become widows. Not just a few hundred, or a few thousand, but millions of them.” “O Shri Krishna! If these women become unprotected, many of them will become unchaste. This will result in unwanted children. Why should I incur this sin for the sake of procuring a kingdom? I do not care for a kingdom.” Presenting this logic, Arjuna boldly announced his decision to take sanyas.

But this was not pleasing to Shri Krishna. He started His Gita lecture in which He explained the nature of the soul, karma, jnana, sankhya, Vedanta and yoga. He summarised the entire body of scriptures, but then seeing that Arjuna had not understood, He said: “I will now reveal the most confidential knowledge.” This was said at the end, in the eighteenth chapter. If this verse meant that Arjuna should take sanyas, then what was the need to give such a long lecture when Arjuna was ready to be a sanyasi right at the beginning? And at the end of the Gita, when Arjuna responded, “I will fight,” Shri Krishna should have rectified him, “I am trying to get you to take sanyas and avoid fighting.” Quite obviously, this verse is instructing Arjuna not to give up action, but to fight the battle. It should be obvious to everyone how much Shankaracharya has twisted the meaning of this verse to support his viewpoint.  

What does Shankaracharya mean by mentioning sanyas? What does he mean by renouncing all actions? If this is what Shri Krishna had meant, He would have said to Arjuna, “You fool!  You don’t understand anything.” If this verse means, “Become a sanyasi; do not fight the battle,” Arjuna would have said immediately, “Maharaj! Why such a long lecture, when I was already willing to renounce the battlefield?”


An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj 
© Radha Govind Samiti  
 

Part - 4

I have explained in many different ways  – I think even the simplest person will understand – that Shankaracharya has taken such liberties in interpreting this verse as meaning, “Renounce all karma and surrender to Me alone.” Another point is that the idea of renouncing all dharmas goes against Shankaracharya. Why?  Because he follows the path of dharma. He has not renounced dharma, and so this verse was going against him, and this is the reason why he deliberately misinterpreted this verse, thinking that innocent people may thereby accept his viewpoint of abandoning all actions. You may think, “Shankaracharya was a sanyasi; he did not follow any dharma.”  But remember, even sanyas is within dharma.  

There are four stages of life included in varnashrama dharma and they are: Brahmacharya, or celibate student life, Grihasth or married family life, Vanaprasth or the stage when husband and wife practice detachment while living together, and Sanyas or renounced life.  There are many Vedic rules prescribed for a sanyasi. For example, he must shave his head, discard his sacred thread, not come close to fire, keep a staff in his hand, not stay more than one day in anyone’s home, and so on. There are many very strict rules and regulations to be followed by a sanyasi. At present, there is not one sanyasi in the whole of India who follows the rules of sanyas properly. If you were to question a sanyasi, “Are you living a life governed by the Vedic duties prescribed for a sanyasi?” he will have no answer.

So sanyas is also within dharma.  Therefore, if Shankaracharya had interpreted the verse correctly, he would have had to renounce his sanyas dharma and surrender to Shri Krishna. Then how could he justify the opposition of the path of karma in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras and the Gita?  This is why he deliberately misinterpreted the verse. But the fact is that without surrender to Shri Krishna, neither the sanyasi, nor the grihastha, the vanaprastha, brahmachari or any other adherent of dharma can attain the ultimate goal.  


An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj 
© Radha Govind Samiti  
 

Part - 5

No matter what dharma one follows, he will have to surrender to God. The word eva has been used in the Gita, which implies “only”. “Only he who surrenders to Me, can free himself from the bondage of maya.” Some modern interpretations of the Gita maintain that Arjuna was representing all souls, and this is why Shankaracharya has interpreted the verse in the way that he has. But this is not so. Why? Well, it is stated very clearly. Shri Krishna says: “Arjuna, you are dear to Me.” Such words would not be used for a representative of the entire human race. Further, He says: "I am speaking for your personal benefit.” This is addressed to Arjuna directly and to souls in general.  

Further, Shri Krishna says: “You come and seek shelter in Me. I will protect you from all sins.” So it is not being said to Arjuna as a representative of the individual souls, but to him personally. Arjuna accepted it as such and fought the battle. This proves that this verse means, “Surrender to God,” and not “renunciation of action.” 

Shankaracharya has said one more thing that is quite amusing. He says, “Arjuna was not eligible for the path of knowledge, since he was attached to the world. This is why he was asked to fight.” Now consider this! Arjuna and his brothers had borne great difficulties. They had been banished to the jungle; they had tolerated the abuse of King Virat as his servants; they had lived incognito for years and years. Still Arjuna opted for the help of Shri Krishna alone, without weapons. He could only have done this if he had knowledge of who Shri Krishna was. Before the battle of Mahabharat, both Arjuna and Duryodhana approached Shri Krishna for help. When Shri Krishna found out that both Arjuna and Duryodhana were coming to see Him in Dvarika, he pretended to be asleep.  

Arjuna entered the room, paid his obeisance and sat near Shri Krishna’s lotus feet. Duryodhana also came. When he saw that Shri Krishna was asleep, he sat down near His pillow. Kings have their pride after all. How could Duryodhana sit beside the feet? When Shri Krishna opened His eyes, He first noticed Arjuna was sitting beside His lotus feet. “Arjuna,” He asked, "what brings you here?” Duryodhana interjected, “I am also here.” “Oh! You are here also. Namaste, namaste.”  Since He saw Arjuna first, Shri Krishna asked him: "You get the first choice. Tell me what it is that you want.” Duryodhana objected, “No, I should get the first choice.” Both Arjuna and Shri Krishna consented.  


An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj 
© Radha Govind Samiti  
 

Part - 6

Shri Krishna said: “On one side will be my eighteen army units. On the other side I will fight, but without weapons.” Duryodhana asked for the eighteen army units of Shri Krishna. This is what he had come for. Arjuna was pleased because he had wanted Shri Krishna, even unarmed, in the first place.  

Now just think. On the one side were only the five Pandavas and their wife Draupadi, and on the other side, so many mighty warriors like Bheeshma, Karna, Dronacharya, Kripacharya and Ashvatthama. Not one of them could have been defeated by the Pandavas, if it were not for the trickery of Shri Krishna. Bheeshma, Karna and Dronacharya could not have been killed merely by the arrows of Arjuna’s Gandiva bow. It was the cunning of Shri Krishna in each of these encounters that led to their deaths. Somewhere He arranged for someone to beg for Karna’s armor and earrings; elsewhere He got someone’s chariot wheel stuck; somewhere He ordered someone to shot with the arrow from behind. He told Yudhishtira to shout out loudly, “Ashvatthama is no more.” Dronacharya asked, “Which Ashvatthama, man or elephant?” When Yudhishtira gave the reply, Shri Krishna blew His conch so as to prevent Dronacharya from hearing the answer. In other words, He used every trick possible just so the Kauravas would get killed.

Thus, the Pandavas happily opted for the weaponless Shri Krishna despite the great trouble they were in. The reason being that they were fully aware of who Shri Krishna was. If they had not known, they would have objected to the choices given by Shri Krishna, preferring to fight without any help from Him. Angrily they would have said, “We will fight the Kauravas on our own, no matter how powerful they are,” or they would have said, “What partiality Shri Krishna is displaying! He is offering Himself without weapons to one party, while to the other He is giving his fully-equipped army. Fine! We do not want anything from Him,” or else they would have refused to fight the battle. But no, these five Pandavas and Draupadi were absolutely delighted to have Shri Krishna on their side. This indicates that they knew Shri Krishna to be God even before attaining the knowledge of the Gita.  

It is widely known that Arjuna and Shri Krishna are descensions of Nara and Narayana (the twin brother incarnation). How did Shankaracharya have the audacity to say that Arjuna was not a fit candidate for sanyas!  


An English translation of a discourse originally given in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj 
© Radha Govind Samiti  
 



The Essence of all Wisdom (Cont.) >>