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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bhagavad Gita stresses bhakti over other paths

Some people argue that Prabhupada misinterpreted Bhagavad Gita in the sense that the verses are translated to suit bhakti. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna speaks about karma, gnana, yoga and bhakti and hence all paths are as good as other paths. This is their argument. But such criticisms are indications that people read Bhagavad Gita for other purposes and not for surrendering to Krishna.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna speaks similar Gita to Uddhava entitled Uddhava Gita. There, Uddhava asks Krishna this very type of question. Uddhava asks that dear Krishna you have referenced many paths, which is the ultimate one? Krishna clearly says that bhakti is the ultimate path. Krishna continues to Uddhava that I speak so many other things besides just bhakti to cater to the different needs of the people. Keep in mind, as Supreme Being, it is the desire of Krishna to attract all souls and not just who are disposed towards bhakti. So the only way to do that is to offer different platforms from where one can elevate one’s self from that platform to bhakti.

If we carefully read the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, Krishna uses superlative degree whenever He talks about bhakti. He does not use superlative degree when Krishna speaks about karma or gnana or yoga. This is an indication that not all paths are the same and negates the common man’s criticism. If we stress on one point versus the other means not all points are equal. Similarly Krishna stresses that only through bhakti (none other) can one reach Him. Now if all paths were equal He could have said by any path one can reach me but He does not thus clearly placing bhakti above karma, gnana and yoga.

If the speaker of a book is meant to be the central figure of the book thus attracting everyone to the central figure, then it is clear as daylight that Krishna is the central figure of Bhagavad Gita and He wants all those who read Bhagavad Gita to be attracted to Him and He also says that I am attracted fully "only" through bhakti. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada as the translator staying true to the central figure of Bhagavad Gita Krishna through out the entire eighteen chapters focuses on bhakti as the essential ingredient to access that central figure Krishna.

If, however, we “do not” want to approach the central figure of Bhagavad Gita (i.e. Krishna) and we have ulterior motives, then other paths will seem attractive to us. However, those who read Bhagavad Gita with an open mind keeping aside material considerations and selfish motivations, will surely recognize that bhakti to Krishna is the ultimate path and through bhakti only can one solve man’s timeless problem of struggle for existence in this material world.

note: bhakti here refers to pure bhakti (not mixed)

Hare Krishna

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