According to Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, said: “Listen again, O mighty-armed Arjuna, because you are my dear friend, for your benefit I shall speak to you further, giving knowledge that is better than what I have already explained.”
The word ‘Bhagwan’ is explained thus by Parasara Muni: One who is full in six opulences—strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation—is Bhagwan. While Krishna was present on this earth, He displayed all six opulences. Therefore, great sages like Parasara Muni have all accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality.
Now Krishna instructs Arjuna in more confidential knowledge of His opulences and His work. Previously, beginning with the seventh chapter, the Lord has already explained His different energies and how they are acting. In this chapter of Gita, He explains His specific opulences to Arjuna. He tells Arjuna about His manifestations and various opulences.
The more one hears about the Supreme God, the more one becomes fixed in devotional service. One should always hear about the Lord in the association of devotees; that will enhance one’s devotional service. Discourses in the society of devotees can take place only among those who are really anxious to be in Krishna consciousness. Others cannot take part in such discourses.
The Lord clearly tells Arjuna that because Arjuna is very dear to Him, for his benefit such discourses are taking place. This is a relative world because everything’s existence is dependent on its relationship with something else. Transcendental knowledge is knowledge which reawakens our natural innate understanding of Krishna, who is the source of all that exists. To be transcendental means to go beyond the illusory conditions of relativity.
Whatever we see around us, it is not very difficult to understand how it came into existence, from where it came into existence and who put it into existence. We are all coming from the same basic source. Those who have some common connection to those persons who brought about our physical being, they are called our relatives. Krishna declares in Bhagavad Gita that beyond all relative truth there is an Absolute Truth. He says:
Sarva karana karanam
bahünäa janmanäm ante
jïänavän mäa prapadyate
väsudevau sarvam iti
sa mahätmä su-durlabhau
One who after many many births of understanding and so many varieties of knowledge, both mundane as well as spiritual, when he becomes a great soul, realises that Krishna, who is the absolute truth, is the cause of all causes. That is the culmination of knowledge—when one comes to the platform of perfect knowledge, he knows that Krishna is the source of everything.
Whatever we learn—even in our schools and in our occupations—we should be conscious of the fact that Krishna is the source of all of this and ultimately all of this is meant to be brought back to its source. Just like the ocean evaporates, and it goes into the atmosphere and becomes cloud. And then that cloud is the water of the ocean and is blown by the wind. And it falls way up high from the Himalayas.
And it falls down, it freezes, it turns to ice, becomes glacier, and then it melts, and then it becomes the Ganga or Yamuna. Of course, we understand that the original source of the Ganga and Yamuna is the water from the lotus feet of Krishna. But still this is also happening. And when these rivers begin to flow, they flow thousands and thousands of miles, and ultimately they go back into the ocean, the source of the water.
In the same way, all knowledge, everything that exists, comes from Krishna. And even in this world, we may utilise so much of what Krishna has given us. Because factually all material knowledge comes from Krishna. But we should utilise it, like the holy rivers, to bring it back to its source—the ocean ‘Karunasindhu’, the ocean of mercy, Krishna. That is bhakti. That is yoga. That is real knowledge—How to utilise everything for the purpose of Krishna Consciousness.
All your learning in college is so much of ignorance. Why? Because if we don’t understand its source, or its purpose, it is ignorance. But when we understand the source of everything, the source of this body, the source of this brain, the source of the sky, the source of the earth, the source of the oceans, the source of everything that exists—it is nothing but Krishna.
Krishna says, “All things in this spiritual world and all things in the material world are coming from me alone. And the wise, who know this worship me with affection.”
Krishna says, “I am the source of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” You cannot even remember your own name without Krishna. Every time you wake up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you may take bath, you cannot even remember how to brush your teeth from one day to another unless Krishna gives you that remembrance.
And if Krishna takes away the remembrance we have seen people cannot do anything. Krishna has given us our intelligence, He has given us our brain, He is within our heart, He is giving us life, He is giving us breath. So this is the beginning of knowledge: to understand how God is the source of everything that exists.
Real knowledge is to offer everything in the service of Krishna. And to know how to utilise everything for the pleasure of that Lord who is the source of everything. And that is the process that is given in the Gita. The author is the spiritual leader of ISKCON