Pradyumna: Translation: “Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvān is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?”
Prabhupāda: Hm. Where is book?
aparaṁ bhavato janma
paraṁ janma vivasvataḥ
katham etad vijānīyāṁ
tvam ādau proktavān iti
Arjuna knew it perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa, his friend, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But to clarify the matter for others…. Because those who are not devotee, they cannot understand Kṛṣṇa or Bhagavad-gītā. That we have explained in the previous verse. Kṛṣṇa says that “The subject matter of Bhagavad-gītā is a great mystery, rahasyam, but because you are My devotee and because You are My friend, therefore I am again, speaking to you the same yoga system which was long long, millions of years ago I spoke to the sun-god.” Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1]. It is lost now. Sa kāleneha yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa. “Because the paramparā system has been diverted or misused, therefore it is now lost. But still, I shall again repeat the same yoga system, which is very, very old, purāṇam. Although I spoke it first to Vivasvān, the sun-god…”
Vivasvān is the present sun-god, or the president. Just like you have got the president in your country. The Americans, they have got their president. Similarly, each and every planet has got its president. The present president is called Vivasvān. Of course, their duration of life is very, very great, greater than ours. But still they are also human being. They are also living being, having a different type of body. They can live in that sun planet although it is fiery. That I have already explained. (children talking) The children must not talk.
So Arjuna knew it perfectly well. “But as there are foolish men like me…” They cannot understand that Kṛṣṇa spoke this Bhagavad-gītā millions of years ago to the sun-god. We immediately say, “Oh, these are all story.” But it is not story. It is fact. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, to clarify the matter, Arjuna, to clarify matter to the fools like us, he’s asking this question that “My dear Kṛṣṇa, we are contemporary. As I am born some years ago, You are also born some years ago. We are cousin-brothers. So how can I believe that You spoke this science, or the yoga system of Bhagavad-gītā, to the sun-god?
Suppose if I say, “Just now I’m coming from sun planet and I talked with sun-god,” will you believe me? “Now, he’s talking nonsense. He’s coming from sun planet.” So this is possible to inquire by the layman because people understand, Kṛṣṇa is like us. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam, paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ [Bg. 9.11]. We accept Kṛṣṇa, general people…
Sometimes we do not accept. There are many so-called scholars, they say that: There was no Kṛṣṇa. It is all fictitious. There was no battlefield of Kurukṣetra. It is all fictitious.” They imagine their own meaning. But that is not the fact. Kṛṣṇa is also historical, at the same time, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These things cannot be understood unless one is a devotee. Therefore in the previous verse it has been said, bhakto ‘si. The mystery of Bhagavad-gītā can be opened, disclosed, to the devotees, not to the nondevotees. The nondevotees may speculate in their specific platform of activities, as politician or as mundane philosopher or mundane scientist, but that is not the fact. The fact should be learned from the devotees of Kṛṣṇa.
Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, and it is being accepted all over the world. We have the greatest sale of our edition, this Bhagavad-gītā. Just three months before I got report. In London, in two months, we sold about thirty thousand copies. And the trades manager of Macmillan Company, he has sent me letter that while the other editions, they’re diminishing, this edition is increasing by sale. Why? Because it is presented as it is, without any wrong interpretation. People are appreciating. This is a fact.
So people do not believe that Kṛṣṇa is a historical person, at the same time, He’s the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They think that He is a very learned man or a great politician, or a beautiful man. Like that. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam, paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ [Bg. 9.11]. They do not understand the background of Kṛṣṇa.
So this thing is being clarified by the question of Arjuna, aparaṁ bhavato janma. “You are born along with me. You are my contemporary.” And paraṁ janma vivasvataḥ. “And the sun-god, or the president of the sun, Mr. Vivasvān, he’s long long ago. How can I believe that you talked with him?” This is the question. Aparaṁ bhavato janma paraṁ janma vivasvataḥ, katham etad vijānīyām. “How I shall believe it?” Yes. This is possible, to inquire like that. Tvam ādau proktavān iti. “You first of all spoke this.” This is the difference between God and the living entity. The…. God does not forget. We forget. This answer will be in the next verse. Bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi. “I understand. I know everything.” In another place Kṛṣṇa…, that “I know the past, present, future.” That is knowledge.
Knowledge means, perfect knowledge means past, present, and future. There are many foretelling in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam about this Kali-yuga. They are stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Future…. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was written five thousand years ago. Still, what was stated at that time, they’re coming to be true. That is called śāstra. Past, present, and future. So Kṛṣṇa knows everything. Vedāhaṁ samatītāni [Bg. 7.26]. He says that “I know everything, past, present, and future.” That is perfect knowledge.
Why you are hankering after Kṛṣṇa? Because He is perfect. We are not perfect. We have got so many deficiencies. We commit mistake, we are illusioned, we cheat and our senses are imperfect. We cannot acquire knowledge by sense perception perfectly. So with so many imperfectness, if we try to become a teacher, then I am a cheater. I am not a teacher. We must know first of all. So we are receiving knowledge from Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead and with perfection of knowledge.
So here the matter is being clarified, and Kṛṣṇa is answering also that bahūni me janmāni vyatītāni. Kṛṣṇa appears…. Kṛṣṇa says, yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham [Bg. 4.7]. He comes on this planet or in this universe. When He comes in this universe, He comes on this planet. There are innumerable universes. Not one, but innumerable. So there is a rotation of Kṛṣṇa’s coming here.
Just like the sun rotates every twenty hours.[?] He’s visible in the morning. Just like here just now it is half past eight. At six o’clock in the morning the sun will be visible. Everyone can say. Any experienced man. This is not foretelling. By experience. Any child can say that “Tomorrow at six o’clock the sun will appear.” Similarly, the śāstras say, “At such and such time Kṛṣṇa will come.” One who knows. One who does not know, how he’ll say? But there are indications, “In Brahmā’s one day Kṛṣṇa appears on the Dvāpara-yuga.” So therefore Kṛṣṇa says, bahūni me janmāni. Bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna. “You have also passed many births, and I have also many times appeared, and because we are friends, we appear together. That is also fact.
But the difficulty is tāny ahaṁ veda. I know all those things, when I appeared last, what did I do, and when I shall again appear. These things known to Me. Tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi. Sarvāṇi, past, present, and future, I know everything. Na tvaṁ vettha parantapa. Although you are a great warrior, parantapa…” Parantapa means one who can get, one who can give trouble to the enemies. Paraṁ tapati. “So although you are a very great warrior, a great personality, but you cannot know this. You cannot know this. That is the difference between you and Me.”
That is the difference between God and the living entity. We had our past life, because dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13], we have changed our body. And we shall change this body also. after annihilation of this body…. Vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya [Bg. 2.22]. Old garments, old cloth, when it is too old, unuseable, then we give it up. We accept another new cloth. Similarly, when this body becomes unuseable, then we change our body. We get another new body. This is the way of transmigration of the soul. This is a fact.
dehino ‘smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
So dehāntara-prāptiḥ is there. But we have forgotten what I was in my last life. That I cannot say. Neither I can say what kind of body I am going to get next. That I cannot say. Our knowledge is so imperfect that we cannot say. But Kṛṣṇa can say past, present, and future. It is said here, tāny ahaṁ sarvāṇi. Everything. Sarvāṇi means, “I veda…” Sarvāṇi means past, present, and future.
Now we can derive conclusion that how is that? Kṛṣṇa appears like human being and we are also human being, the same two hands, two legs, one head. How is that He knows everything and I do not know? The conclusion should be derived like this, that we forget because we change our body. Just like I was a child, you were a child. Everyone of us. We did so many things in our childhood, but we have forgotten. With the change of the body, the activities of my past body is forgotten. This is a fact. Similarly when we change this body we get another body. We forget. But why Kṛṣṇa has not forgotten? That means He does not change His body. This should be the conclusion. This should be the conclusion from right, logical point of view. I forget because I change my body. Kṛṣṇa does not forget. He does not change His body. This should be the conclusion.
And Kṛṣṇa says also that sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā [Bg. 4.6]. “I appear and disappear by My own energy.” We are forced by the other energy. Just like I have got human body now. Now I shall have to change my body after my death. That change of body is not in my hand. Factually, it is in my hand, because according to karma, if I work nicely, then you get good body. And if you do not work nicely, then we get bad body. That we can understand from the śāstra. Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ [Bg. 14.18]. How we can understand? Śāstra-cakṣusā. You have to see through the śāstra. Otherwise, we have no eyes to see past, present, future.
Just like the astrology. Astrology, by calculation through the śāstra, astrological calculation can say what you were in your past life and what you will become in your next life. There is an astrological system. They can say like that. So through the śāstra, by right calculation, we can understand.
So what is that? The total is that ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ. Those who are situation in the modes of goodness, brahminical qualification…. Satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā ārjavam, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.42]. If we remain perfectly a brāhmaṇa, truthful, clean, satyaṁ śaucaṁ śamaḥ, sense-controlling mind-controlling, satyaṁ śaucaṁ śamo damas titikṣā, tolerance: ārjava, simplicity; jñānam, full knowledge; vijñānam, application of knowledge in life; vijñānam, āstikyam, full knowledge of the Absolute Truth; āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.42], if we remain in this qualification, brahminical qualification, this is called sattva-sthā, situated in the sattva-guṇa. The rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa cannot conquer. In that situation you’ll be elevated to the higher planets. This is śāstra says.
Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthā madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ [Bg. 14.18]. And the middle planetary system, this earthly planet is the middle. Bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, up to Svargaloka. So if we remain in the modes of passion, then within these planets we may rotate.
And jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ. Those who are tāmasāḥ, because they have got very abominable characters…. The abominable character is described in the śāstra, sinful life. Illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. These are the four pillars of abominable life. Tamasi. The śāstra says, tamasi mā jyotir gamaya. So if we remain in this tamasi, then jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ. Adho gacchanti means lower planetary system or animal life , degraded life, abominable life, low grade life. We shall get.
This is the sum and substance. But we do not know…. Although we do not know, but the nature’s law will oblige me to accept a body like that. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa jantur dehopapattaye [SB 3.31.1]. We get another body according to the karma we are performing now. So Arjuna is a devotee. That has been explained in the previous…. Bhakto ‘si. Bhakto ‘si me sakhā ceti. Arjuna is not only a devotee, ordinary…. Not ordinary devotee but personal friend. Arjuna is personal friend of Kṛṣṇa. Bhakto ‘si sakhā ceti. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says tāni. Bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna. “You are My bhakta and personal friend; so whenever I appear, you also appear with Me.” Because he is bhakta. Bhakta, and Bhagavān, they must be together. That is the advantage of bhakta. Although he has got the frailty…. Because the living entity is the minute particle of God, mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7], therefore his intelligence, his power, is also very minute. But God’s power is unlimited. By unlimited power Kṛṣṇa knows the past, future, and present, everything perfectly. But our limited knowledge, we cannot know that. Therefore we have to receive knowledge from Kṛṣṇa. This is our position. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet, samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12].
So we have to approach either Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa’s representative. Then we can understand Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, simply by mental speculation, by so-called erudite scholarship, nobody can know.
panthās tu koṭi-śata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vāyor athāpi manaso muni-puṅgavānām
so ‘py asti yat-prapada-sīmny-avicintya-tattve
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Even…. Just like you go by airplane. This is air speed. There is another speed. Panthās tu koṭi-śata-vatsara-sampragamyo, vāyor athāpi manaso muni-puṅgavānām. There is another speed, mind speed. We have experience of the light speed, of the air speed, but we do not know what is the mind speed. Mind speed is so strong that within a second you can go many millions of miles. Within a second. And you can understand, if the mind speed is so strong, how much the speed of spirit is so strong. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. If you become fully conversant with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the result will be, tyaktvā deham, just giving up this body, just immediately after death…. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9].
Otherwise, those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, they will accept another material body. Immediately they’ll have to enter into the womb of a mother, particular mother. Daiva-netreṇa. As soon as decision is made by superior power that “This living entity has done such and such thing, he should be promoted or degraded. He should enter into such mother’s body through the semina of the father,” so immediately he’s given place in the material body of a mother.
But those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious, immediately they are transferred where Kṛṣṇa is there. This is the process. Immediately, by spiritual force…. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. Mām eti. “Immediately he comes to Me.” Kṛṣṇa is there.
Within this material world He’s also there. In some of the universes. There are innumerable universes, I have already explained. Somewhere He is there. So a devotee just after giving this body, giving up this body, immediately he is transferred to that universe where Kṛṣṇa is there. And when he’s trained up, then he is, again, he’s transferred to the Goloka Vṛndāvana, the spiritual sky. These are the description of Sanātana Gosvāmī in Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, how a living entity…
So in this way we are changing our body but because we are minute particle of Kṛṣṇa…. We have got qualities of Kṛṣṇa not cent percent. Seventy-eight percent. When they are perfect, so minute quantity, then we can also become a little more advanced than at the present moment. But not like Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is cent percent perfect. We can become minutely perfect, seventy-eight percent. These are all analyzed by the Gosvāmīs. So in the present stage, our conditioned stage, there is no comparison with Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of becoming Kṛṣṇa. The rascal foolish persons, they claim that they have become Kṛṣṇa. It is not possible. This is the defect, that we forget. They ask so many the incarnation of God, about his past life. They cannot speak.
So this is the qualification of God. He knows past, present and future. And those who are false God, they cannot say. That is not possible. This is the test. They are claiming, falsely claiming. But God means, He knows. His body does not change. Past…. He knows past, present, future means His body does not change.
Why He does not change? That is described in the śāstra. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ [Bs. 5.1]. Vigrahaḥ means body, form. This transcendental form is made of sac-cid-ānanda. Sac-cid-ānanda. Sat means eternal, eternity. Oṁ tat sat. So sat, cit. Cit means full of knowledge. Full of knowledge here, tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi. This is called cit. He knows everything, past, present and future. Sat, cit, and ānanda. You see Kṛṣṇa’s form here, ānanda. He’s enjoying. This is real Kṛṣṇa’s form. He is always enjoying. Ānandamayo ‘bhyāsāt in the Vedānta-sūtra it is said. He’s ānandamaya. Kṛṣṇa, real form…
The Kṛṣṇa’s form in the battlefield of Kurukṣetra, that is not Kṛṣṇa’s real form. That is Kṛṣṇa’s Vāsudeva form. Kṛṣṇa expands Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha, in that say. So this is a great science, Kṛṣṇa science. If you are interested, there are books you can study and you can understand what is Kṛṣṇa. Janma karma (ca) me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]. So everyone should try to understand Kṛṣṇa in truth. But people do not try to understand.
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
Tattvataḥ means truth. That is very difficult. Kṛṣṇa says, out of many millions of persons, one tries to become siddha. Siddha means perfect. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. When one knows that “I am not this material body, I am spirit soul, I am eternal servant of God, Kṛṣṇa,” that is perfection. So this, for this perfection, out of many millions of persons, one becomes perfect. One who knows.
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
So this is also very difficult to become brahma-bhūtaḥ. We are now jīva-bhūtaḥ. But people are not interested to become brahma-bhūtaḥ or devotee of Kṛṣṇa. They are interested to continue this material way of life, changing the body. They do not know. They think this body is all in all, but that is not the fact. That is the first instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. You have to change your body, as you are already changing. These are stated there. So yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ [Bg. 7.3]. Even those who are siddha… There are many big, big sannyāsīs, impersonalists. They cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. It is a fact. They consider Kṛṣṇa as ordinary human being. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ [Bg. 9.11]. So it is very difficult to understand Kṛṣṇa. But if you want to understand Kṛṣṇa, try to understand Kṛṣṇa from Kṛṣṇa, not otherwise. Then you will understand Kṛṣṇa.
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
And how that process can be perfect? That is also explained. Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ [Bg. 18.55]. Again tattvataḥ. So we have to understand Kṛṣṇa tattvataḥ, in truth. So here is one explanation, that although Kṛṣṇa appeared like human being, He is not a human being. He’s the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And the test is that He knows everything. That is described in the Vedānta-sūtra. Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ sva-rāṭ [SB 1.1.1]. He’s abhijñaḥ. He’s fully conversant with all knowledge.
And wherefrom He got knowledge? Sva-rāṭ. Sva-rāṭ means independently. In the Vedas it is said, svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca.
na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate
na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate
parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca
[Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport]
Svābhāvikī. He doesn’t require to tax His brain how to do things. Immediately He desires, everything is done. That is Kṛṣṇa. Immediately what He wants, as soon as. Sa aikṣata. As soon as He glanced over the material nature, there was creation. These are the Vedic statements.
Therefore here, to inquire about Kṛṣṇa, to clarify the matter, that what is Kṛṣṇa. Because He is all-powerful, all-cognizant, fully conversant, sva-rāṭ, therefore He could speak millions of years ago to the sun-god. This is not story. This is fact. To clarify this matter, Arjuna inquired from Kṛṣṇa, “How can I believe it?” And the answer is next verse, that “We, you, you and Me, both of them took many many times our birth, but you have forgotten because you are a living being and I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I have not forgotten. This is the difference between you and Me.”
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa
“Although you are a very great warrior, you can conquer over your enemies, but you can become…. You cannot become equal to Me.” That is the difference between a living entity and Kṛṣṇa. Thank you very much. (end)