Appreciation for Srimad Bhagavad-gita and Krishna’s grant of freedom.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj



When I joined Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math I was given one year to spend full-time for reading. I was first impressed with Srimad Bhagavad-gita. That is my first book in missionary life. Before that I read so many material books, but after I joined the Math the first book of knowledge that came to me was Bhagavad-gita, and my teacher was Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad. When I was with Srila Guru Maharaj he would teach me—Guru Maharaj was always teaching me something, his nature was like that, to discuss something with someone—and when I was in Kolkata Prabhupad would teach me.

The first impression that came to me about Srimad Bhagavad-gita was that such a clean and clear conception, as is presented there, is not given anywhere else. Krishna Himself fearlessly, in a very determined and simple way, gives all His teachings in Gita. No one has said, “I am God”, but without hesitation Krishna says, “I am God. You are my friend; I am God. You do not know; I know. Everything that I know you cannot know, because you have a human brain and I am always infallible. Nasato vidyate bhavo nabhavo vidyate satah (Bg 2.16): I am not entering into anything and not coming out from anything. I am in My own position.” I have not seen this type of clean and clear conception anywhere else.

If anyone will read Bhagavad-gita the first impression they will get is how Krishna fearlessly, openly, and without hesitation has told everything: “I am.” It is very difficult to find this type of mentality anywhere else. Then you must believe it. If you do not believe it that is another matter. But you must believe it, and Krishna knows you must believe. But Krishna is always in a neutral position, and always talking on a neutral platform.

Finally Krishna also says, “I have given you freedom, and I will not take back your freedom. When I have once given it I will not take it back.” Bhismadev’s conception is like that. Bhismadev kept five arrows, and promised, “With these five arrows I shall kill the five Pandavas tomorrow.”

Krishna wanted to steal these arrows, so He asked Yudhisthir, “Go and say to Bhismadev, ‘Before the battle began I went to you and you gave me your boon, ‘Vijayi bhava, you be victorious’. You take back your boon. You gave a benediction that I will get victory, but now I am asking you to take back your benediction.’” Yudhisthir did this, and Bhisma asked, “Why?” Yudhisthir said, “Because if you will not die, how will we get victory? And no one can kill you, so it is not possible that I shall get victory. If you will not die, victory will not come to me, and no one can kill you, so victory will not come. Then why did you give that benediction? You should take it back.”

Bhismadev said, “Who has said this, Krishna? Krishna is very clever. Anyhow, what I have once given I cannot take back. I will give you some clue about my death.” Then he said, “I shall not fight with a woman or anyone who was a woman in a previous life.” Yudhisthir considered whether Draupadi needed to come on the battlefield or not; Draupadi knew how to fight. Then he asked Bhismadev, “Do you want to bring Draupadi on the battlefield?” Bhisma smiled and said, “You are foolish, go back to Krishna, He will tell you everything. You cannot understand, you are foolish. I shall not say anything more. Krishna sent you, so go back to Krishna.”

Then Krishna said, “Yes, what Pitamaha, Grandfather Bhisma, has said is true: Sikhandi was a woman in his previous life, and this life she received a man’s body, after changing bodies with a demigod. Bhisma will not fight with Sikhandi, so make him your senapati, your general, today. He will be the general today and Arjuna will protect him. He can kill Pitamaha. Pitamaha cannot kill Sikhandi because he will not shoot him, but Sikhandi can shoot Pitamaha.” This is the policy Krishna gave.

When once given, it will not be taken back: Krishna’s nature is like that. Krishna has given freedom to all jiva-souls and will not take it back. You can question, why has Krishna given this freedom? Krishna knows everything, so why has He given us freedom? The main reason that Krishna has given freedom is so that you can make very nice food for Krishna’s enjoyment. Krishna has given a tongue, and the tongue can taste. The tongue can taste sweet, sour, chili, or bitter; you can taste everything through your tongue. The tongue has that capacity. This is the tongue’s freedom, and with that freedom you can taste so much opulent prasadam. Similarly, with your freedom you have the choice to make so many free services. You can choose so many services freely. Krishna has given that freedom to you.

You want to enjoy with your freedom, and that is foolishness: you cannot enjoy, because you are not the Enjoyer. Enjoyment will come to you in the other way, by offering enjoyment to Krishna. Use your freedom properly, and you will have no difficulty.


Spoken in August 1999.