Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Few Words About Gita Jayanti

Hare Krishna,

In this issue we observe the celebration of the speaking of the Bhagavad-gita and a visit to Kurukshetra where it took place. But before visiting Kurukshetra, especially Jyotisar, the spot where the Gita was spoken, here is a description of how to worship the Bhagavad-gita, which anyone can do in their home. Many temples will also observe this special day, so you may also want to participate in some of the festivities there as well.

On the occasion of Gita Jayanti one should worship Bhagavad Gita book as follows:

1. Perform acamana
2. Offer Tulasi manjaris with sandalwood paste
3. Offer fragrant flower garland
4. Offer milk sweet with Tulasi leaf
5. Offer arotika (incense, ghee lamp, conch water)
6. Do parikrama of Gita book
7. Glorify Gita with prayers
8. Chant each Gita sloka
9. Conclusion of 18 chapters, offer dandavats to Gita, Bhagavan Sri Krsna, Arjuna, Sanjaya & Sri Gurudeva, begging them to accept your Gita jayanti puja.

Please note: Prayers for point 7 are as follows:

gita adhyaana-shilasya
pranayama-paraasya cha
naiva santi he paapani
purva janme kritani cha

If one reads Bhagavad-gita very sincerely and with all seriousness, then by the grace of Krsna, the reactions of his past misdeeds will
not act upon him.

mala nirmochanam pumsam
jala snanam dine dine
sakrid gitambhaasi snanam
samsara mala nashanam

One may cleanse himself daily by taking a bath in water, but if one takes a bath even once in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-gita, for him the dirt of material life is altogether vanquished.

gita sugita kartavya
kim anyaih shastra vistaraih
ya svyam padama nabhaayasa
mukha padmad vinih srita

Because Bhagavad-gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-gita

bharat amrita sarvasam
vishnor vaktrad vini sritam
gita gangodakam pitva
punar janma na vidyate

One who drinks the Ganges water attains salvation, so what to speak of one who drinks the nectar of Bhagavad-gita? Gita is the essential nectar of Mahabharata and is spoken by Krsna Himself, the original Visnu.

sarvo panishado gavo
dogdha gopala nandanah
partho vatsah sudhir bhokta
dugdham gita amritam mahat

This Gitopanishad is just like a cow and Krsna is a famous cowherd bow, who is milking this cow. Arjuna is just like a calf and learned scholars and pure devotees are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-gita.

ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam
eko devo devaki-putra eva
eko mantras tasya namani yani
karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva

Let there be one common scripture for the whole world - Bhagavad-Gita. Let there be one God only - Sri Krsna, one prayer only - chanting the Hare Krsna mahamantra, and let there be one work only - His pure devotional service.


KURUKSHETRA: Kurukshetra the holy pilgrimage in which 360 places of pilgrimage related to the Mahabharata can be seen. It is one of those holy towns that have borne the imprint of Lord Sri Krishna's footsteps. Kurukshetra is referred to as “Dharmakshetra” is the place in Haryana state in India where the epic Mahabharata battle took place between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Indian government has named the state as ‘Haryana’ which in local language means: ‘Hari ka ana’ (Lord Hari came here). Tradition holds that the great 18-day battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas as described in the pages of the epic Mahabharata, was fought on the plains of Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra lies on the Delhi-Ambala stretch of the National Highway 1. Kurukshetra has been a symbol of sanctity and holiness for centuries. A visit to this hallowed land of high religious and cultural significance is indeed a rewarding experience!

The founder of the land was King Kuru who practiced austere penance to make this land righteous that is why in the first verse of Bhagavad-Gita, Kurukshetra prefixed with an epithet Dharmakshetra.

History of Kurukshetra: This region - the holy circuit- comprises 48 kosas or 100 miles with a large number of temples and tanks of antiquity and traditions. It covered a wide area with present Panipat and north-west corner of Jind district in south and eastern part of Patiala district, in the west Saraswati and Yamuna rivers as its northern and eastern boundaries. King Kuru is said to have made this land a great centre of spiritual culture. The Puranic story about this land is very interesting and runs thus:

King Kuru selected this land on the bank of sacred river Saraswati for spiritual culture and cultivation of eight-fold virtues. King came here on his golden chariot and utilized its gold for making a plough for cultivation. He took bull of Siva and buffalo of Yama on loan and started ploughing the land. Indra, the king of heaven, came and asked Kuru as to what he was doing? King replied that he was preparing the land for growing eight-fold virtues of religious austerity (tapa), truth, forgiveness, kindness, purity, charity, yoga and continence (brahmacharya). Indra asked him to where he would get the seed of these virtues. King replied that the seed was in his possession. At this Indra laughed and went away.

After king had cultivated land for several days, Visnu appeared before him and asked as to what he was doing? King replied in the same manner as he had done when questioned by Indra. Visnu asked Kuru to give Him the seed and that He would sow it for him. At this Kuru put forward his right arm and the same was cut into 1000 pieces with the Chakra of Visnu and sown in the field. In the same way king Kuru’s left arm, his 2 legs and then his head were offered by him to Visnu for sowing.

This act of Kuru pleased Visnu very much and He blessed him. Indra also appeared at this stage and told that he was very much pleased with his sacrifice and told him to ask for any boon from him. Kuru there-upon begged of him 2 boons: one, that this land would forever remain a holy land named after himself, and the other, that anyone dying here would get relieved of cycle of birth and death irrespective of his sins or virtues. Thus King Kuru with wealth of his state and his austerities established at Kurukshetra an extensive institution of spiritual culture for humanity as a whole.

Sripad Madhavacharya, a great Vaishnava acarya, who is also the third son of Vayu (after Hanuman and Bhima) visited here around 1250 AD. During his visit he dug-up a certain piece of land in Kurukshetra and found the mace (club/gada) used by Bhima on the battle of Kurukshetra. Later after showing this to his disciples he again kept back the gada to the place where Bhima originally kelp it after the battle.


JYOTISAR: This is the exact spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita. Is the most important place to be seen because there is a Banyan tree in this place under which Krishna explained Bhagavad-Gita 5000 years back to Arjuna - his greatest friend and devotee. There is a board placed on the tree in which is written “The immortal banyan tree witness of the celestial song Bhagavad-Gita”. In fact this place is named as the “Gitopadesh sthal - place where the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken”.

The tree is full of birds and squirrels which adds to the mystic aura of that place. This place is eternally peaceful despite amidst coming and going of pilgrims throughout the day. Doing the Parikrama or Circumambulation of the tree is considered as a very auspicious. There is also a small chariot in a glass and marble case below the banyan tree where one can see Krishna and Arjuna speaking to each other. 

There is also another chariot nearby much bigger entirely in glass casing where both Krishna and Arjuna are seated. In the same courtyard of the Geethopadesh sthal is a Ved Pathshala, rooms containing different characters of Mahabharata like Ganga mata, Bhismadeva, Krishna-Arjuna etc… There is also an ancient Siva temple which is sheltered by the Banyan Tree. This temple is a witness to foreign invasions. Then there are also several other temples for other divinities. There is a small water body in front of theGeetopadesh sthal. Jyotisar lies on Pehowa road, 5 km from Kurukshetra.

BHAGAVAD-GITA: Bhagavad-Gita is also known as Gitopanisad. It is the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most importantUpanisads in Vedic literature. The spirit of Bhagavad-Gita is mentioned in Bhagavad-Gita itself, which is, Bhagavad-Gita should be accepted ‘as it is’ directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker of Bhagavad-Gita is Lord Sri Krishna. He is mentioned on every page ofBhagavad-Gita as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. 

The word Bhagavan designates that Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as is confirmed by all great acaryas (spiritual masters) like Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge. The Lord Himself also establishes Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad-Gita, and He is accepted as such in the Brahma-samhita and all the Puranas,especially the Srimad-Bhagavatam, known as the Bhagavata Purana (Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam). Therefore we must takeBhagavad-Gita as it is directed by the Personality of Godhead Himself.

The purpose of Bhagavad-Gita is to deliver mankind from the nescience of material existence. Every man is in difficulty in so many ways, as Arjuna was in difficulty. Arjuna surrendered unto Sri Krishna, and consequently this Bhagavad-Gita was spoken. Not only Arjuna, but every one of us is full of anxieties because of this material existence. Our very existence is in the atmosphere of nonexistence. Actually we are not meant to be threatened by nonexistence. Our existence is eternal. But somehow or other we are put into asat. Asat refers to that which does not exist.

Out of so many human beings who are suffering, there are a few who are actually inquiring about their position, as to what they are, why they are put into this awkward position and so on. Unless one is awakened to this position of questioning his suffering, unless he realizes that he doesn’t want suffering but rather wants to make a solution to all suffering, then one is not to be considered a perfect human being. 

Humanity begins when this sort of inquiry is awakened in one’s mind. In the Brahma-sutra this inquiry is called, Athato brahma jijnasa. Every activity of the human being is to be considered a failure unless he inquires about the nature of the Absolute. Therefore those who begin to question: -- why they are suffering or where they came from and where they shall go after death are proper students for understanding Bhagavad-Gita. The sincere student should also have a firm respect for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a student was Arjuna.












Ancient Siva temple witness to foreign invasions
Ancient Siva temple witness to foreign invasions is a tree in the compound of “Jyotisar”, the Geetopadesh Shtal is witness of so many foreign attacks.

at Main Bazaar ISKCON Kurukshetra Temple


Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

BHISMA KUNDA and BAN GANGA at Dayalpur Village, Kurukshetra:
BHISMA KUNDA: This is the place where the great grandsire of Kuru dynasty, Bhismadeva, was shot down by Arjuna in a volley of arrows with Shikhandi in front of him and Bhisma refusing to fight. Bhismadeva was down and lying on a ned of arrows called ‘sharashayya’, waiting for his death at the most auspicious time called Uttarayana. Following the advice of Lord Sri Krishna, all the Pandavas headed by Yudhisthira Maharaj arrived at the spot where he learned the science of Raja-dharma.


BHISMA KUNDA - Bhisma was shot down by Arjuna in this place
Deities of Bhismadeva, Pandavas and Lord Sri Krishna nearby at Bhisma Kunda Temple.

BAN GANGA: During the course of discussions between Bhismadeva and Yudhisthira Maharaj, Bhismadeva asked for water, and Arjuna shot an arrow on the ground from which emanated the sacred Ganga water which flowed into Bhisma’s mouth like a jet that quenched his thirst. This body of water is called ‘Ban Ganga’ which means that the Ganga that emanated with the shot of a ‘Ban’ (arrow).

This is the lake from which Ganges emanated after Arjuna shot an arrow at the ground after Bhismadeva requested him to give water while lying on Sharashayya. Besides the Ban Ganga is a very tall and huge figure of Hanuman.


BRAHMA SAROVARA: Lord Brahma is said to have created the earth here. This is a huge lake the size of 5 football stadiums put together where people do “Pitr tarpan” for the betterment of the souls of their dead near and dear. Performing pitr tarpan on the day of Amavasya is considered to be very auspicious. A lot of people come to take bath there on that day. There are so many temples situated along a strip of land extending right into the middle of the huge pond including a huge beautiful black chariot with Krishna and Arjuna.

Among the holiest of water tanks in India, the Brahma Sarovara is an important place to visit in Kurukshetra. This is a vast water body. In the centre of the tank stands the Sarveshwar Mahadev Temple looking like a lotus. The eastern section of the tank is 1800 ft long and 1500 ft wide while the western section is a square of 1500 ft length and 1500 ft breadth. The tank is 15 ft deep. This large water body is edged with 20 ft wide platforms, stairs and a 40 ft wide `parikarma'. In this section, a number of meditation chambers have been built for the convenience of pilgrims. A dip in the Sarovar bears the sanctity of performing Ashwamedha Yajna. The months of November and December are the time when migratory birds flock around Brahma Sarovar and add an exhilarating environmental setting to the sanctity of the place. The tank lies about 3 km from the railway station. A number of temples lie in close vicinity of this holy water body.

On the northern banks of Brahma Sarovara sits a Radha-Krishna temple of the Gaudiya Math, the institution founded by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The Gaudiya Math temple was built to commemorate the reunion between Radha and Krishna that took place at Kurukshetra five thousand years ago.


Samanta Pancaka: Kurukshetra is known as Samanta Pancaka ("five lakes") because here Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, made five lakes from the blood of ksatriyas he killed. (Lord Parasurama purged the earth of wicked kings and warriors twenty-one times.) Srila Prabhupada said that the blood later turned into water. One of the lakes is called Sannihit ("assembly"). On the new-moon day all the holy places personified are said to assemble in the lake. At the time of a solar eclipse, pilgrims are first led to Sannihit Lake, known as an abode of Lord Visnu.

Karnavadha: Karnavadha is a long trench where the wheels of Karna's chariot were stuck before Arjuna killed him.

Parasar/Dvaipain: Parasara Muni, the father of Srila Vyasadeva, had his asrama here, about twenty-five miles south of the town of Thaneswar. Duryodhana hid in the lake here after running away from battle at the end of the Mahabharata war. He came out of the water when the Pandavas challenged him to fight.

Chakravyuha: At Chakravyuha, 8kms south of Thaneswar, the general Dronacarya organized his army in the shape of a discus (cakra). It is also where Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, was killed.

Dadhichi Tirtha: At Dadhichi Tirtha, on the bank of the Sarasvati, the sage Dadhici had his asrama long ago. Srimad-Bhagavatamrelates that Indra once asked Dadhici to give his bones to be made into a weapon for fighting the demons. Dadhici complied with the request and gave up his life.

This is the bye-pass for Kurukshetra on the highway connecting Delhi.
Several modes of transportation are available from here for seeing in and around Kurukshetra.
Kurukshetra town is 4km and Jyotisar is 9km from here.

Pehowa: It is an ancient town not far from Kurukshetra has been a centre of pilgrimage for ages. It is on the, left bank of the sacred Saraswati, 12 km from Thanesar. Pehowa was built sometime in 882 AD although an inscription on a temple claims that it was actually built in 895 AD. The town derives its name from King Prithu. On the death of his father, the King sat on the bank of river Saraswati, offering water to all visitors. As a result, the place came to be known as Prithudaka or Prithu's pool. The town which he afterwards built on the spot was called by the same name. With time, the town of Prithu came to be called Pehowa. Today, it is an ancient place of great sanctity, where prayer and `pind daan' for ancestors is believed to grant redemption from the cycle of birth and death.

What is Bhagavad-Gita?
The subject of the Bhagavad-Gita entails the comprehension of 5 basic truths: Isvara (the Supreme Lord), jiva (the living entity),prakrti (nature), kala (eternal time) and karma (activity) are all explained in the Bhagavad-Gita. Out of these five, the Lord, the living entities, material nature and time are eternal. The manifestation of prakrti may be temporary, but it is not false. Some philosophers say that the manifestation of material nature is false, but according to the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita, this is not so. However, the karma,is not eternal. We are suffering or enjoying the results of our activities from time immemorial, but we can change the results of ourkarma, or our activity, and this change depends on the perfection of our knowledge. We are engaged in various activities. Undoubtedly we do not know what sort of activities we should adopt to gain relief from the actions and reactions of all these activities, but this is also explained in the Bhagavad-Gita.

When we are materially contaminated, we are called conditioned. False consciousness is exhibited under the impression that I am a product of material nature. This is called false ego. One who is absorbed in the thought of bodily conceptions cannot understand his situation. Bhagavad-Gita was spoken to liberate one from the bodily conception of life. One must become free from the bodily conception of life; that is the preliminary activity for the transcendentalist. One who wants to become free, who wants to become liberated, must first of all learn that he is not this material body. Mukti means liberation from the contaminated consciousness of this material world and situation in pure consciousness. All the instructions of Bhagavad-Gita are intended to awaken this pure consciousness. Purified consciousness means acting in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. This is the whole sum and substance of purified consciousness. Consciousness is already there because we are part and parcel of the Lord, but for us there is the affinity of being affected by the inferior modes. But the Lord, being the Supreme, is never affected. That is the difference between the Supreme Lord and the small individual souls.

What is this consciousness? This consciousness is “I am.” Then what am I? In contaminated consciousness “I am” means “I am the lord of all I survey. I am the enjoyer.” The world revolves because every living being thinks that he is the lord and creator of the material world. Material consciousness has two psychic divisions. One is that I am the creator, and the other is that I am the enjoyer. But actually the Supreme Lord is both the creator and the enjoyer, and the living entity, being part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, is neither the creator nor the enjoyer, but a co-operator. He is the created and the enjoyed. For instance, a part of a machine cooperates with the whole machine; a part of the body cooperates with the whole body. The hands, legs, eyes, and so on are all parts of the body, but they are not actually the enjoyers. The stomach is the enjoyer. The legs move, the hands supply food, the teeth chew, and all parts of the body are engaged in satisfying the stomach because the stomach is the principal factor that nourishes the body’s organization. Therefore everything is given to the stomach. One nourishes the tree by watering its root, and one nourishes the body by feeding the stomach, for if the body is to be kept in a healthy state, then the parts of the body must cooperate to feed the stomach. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the enjoyer and the creator, and we, as subordinate living beings, are meant to cooperate to satisfy Him. This cooperation will actually help us, just as food taken by the stomach will help all other parts of the body. If the fingers of the hand think that they should take the food themselves instead of giving it to the stomach, then they will be frustrated. The central figure of creation and of enjoyment is the Supreme Lord, and the living entities are co-operators. By cooperation they enjoy.

We shall find, therefore, in Bhagavad-Gita that the complete whole is comprised of the supreme controller, the controlled living entities, the cosmic manifestation, eternal time and karma, or activities, and all of these are explained in this text. All of these taken completely form the complete whole, and the complete whole is called the Supreme Absolute Truth. The complete whole and the complete Absolute Truth are the complete Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. All manifestations are due to His different energies. He is the complete whole. It is also explained in the Gita that impersonal Brahman is also subordinate to the complete Supreme Person (brahmano hi pratisthäham). Brahman is more explicitly explained in the Brahma-sutra to be like the rays of the sunshine. The impersonal Brahman is the shining rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Impersonal Brahman is incomplete realization of the absolute whole, and so also is the conception of Paramatma. In the 15th Chapter it shall be seen that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Purusottama, is above both impersonal Brahman and the partial realization of Paramatma. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is called sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. The Brahma-samhita begins in this way: isvarah paramah Krishnah sac-cid-änanda-vigrahah/ anadir ädir govindah sarva-karana-karanam. “Govinda, Krishna, is the cause of all causes. He is the primal cause, and He is the very form of eternity, knowledge and bliss.” Impersonal Brahman realization is the realization of His sat (eternity) feature. Paramatma realization is the realization of sat-cit (eternal knowledge). But realization of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is realization of all the transcendental features: sat, cit and änanda (eternity, knowledge, and bliss) in complete vigraha (form).

People with less intelligence consider the Supreme Truth to be impersonal, but He is a transcendental person, and this is confirmed in all Vedic literatures. Nityo nityänäm cetanas cetananam. (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13) As we are all individual living beings and have our individuality, the Supreme Absolute Truth is also, in the ultimate issue, a person, and realization of the Personality of Godhead is realization of all of the transcendental features in His complete form. The complete whole is not formless. If He is formless, or if He is less than any other thing, then He cannot be the complete whole. The complete whole must have everything within our experience and beyond our experience, otherwise it cannot be complete. The complete whole, Personality of Godhead, has immense potencies (paräsya saktir vividhaiva sruyate). How Krishna is acting in different potencies is also explained in Bhagavad-Gita. This phenomenal world or material world in which we are placed is also complete in itself because the twenty-four elements of which this material universe is a temporary manifestation, according to Sankhya philosophy, are completely adjusted to produce complete resources which are necessary for the maintenance and subsistence of this universe. There is nothing extraneous, nor is there anything needed. This manifestation has its own time fixed by the energy of the supreme whole, and when its time is complete, these temporary manifestations will be annihilated by the complete arrangement of the complete. There is complete facility for the small complete units, namely the living entities, to realize the complete, and all sorts of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the complete. SoBhagavad-Gita contains the complete knowledge of Vedic wisdom.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, worship of different demigods or rendering service to them is not approved. It is stated in the 7th Chapter, 20th verse: “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” Here it is plainly said that those who are directed by lust worship the demigods and not the Supreme Lord Krishna. When we mention the name Krishna, we do not refer to any sectarian name. Krishna means the highest pleasure, and it is confirmed that the Supreme Lord is the reservoir or storehouse of all pleasure. We are all hankering after pleasure. Ananda-mayo ’bhyäsat (Vedanta sutra 1.1.12). The living entities, like the Lord, are full of consciousness, and they are after happiness. The Lord is perpetually happy, and if the living entities associate with the Lord, cooperate with Him and take part in His association, then they also become happy.

In the 15th Chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, the real picture of the material world is given. Here the material world is described as a tree whose roots are upwards and branches are below. If one stands on the bank of a river or any reservoir of water, he can see that the trees reflected in the water are upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward. Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. The material world is but a shadow of reality. In the shadow there is no reality or substantiality, but from the shadow we can understand that there are substance and reality. In the desert there is no water, but the mirage suggests that there is such a thing as water. In the material world there is no water, there is no happiness, but the real water of actual happiness is there in the spiritual world. The Lord suggests that we attain the spiritual world in the following manner (Bhagavad-Gita 15.5): Thatpadam avyayam, or eternal kingdom, can be reached by one who is nirmäna-moha. What does this mean? We are not the body, but the spirit soul, and realizing this is the first stage in spiritual realization. We are associated with the three modes of material nature (tamo-guna, rajo-guna, sato-guna), but we must become detached through devotional service to the Lord. If we are not attached to devotional service to the Lord, then we cannot become detached from the modes of material nature. Designations and attachments are due to our lust and desire, our wanting to lord it over the material nature. As long as we do not give up this propensity of lording it over material nature, there is no possibility of returning to the kingdom of the Supreme, the sanätana-dhama. That eternal kingdom, which is never destroyed, can be approached by one who is not bewildered by the attractions of false material enjoyments, who is situated in the service of the Supreme Lord. One so situated can easily approach that supreme abode. One must desire and hanker after that supreme kingdom, for when one attains that kingdom, he does not have to return to this material world.

Next, one may raise the question of how one goes about approaching that abode of the Supreme Lord. Information of this is given in the 8th Chapter. “Anyone who quits his body, at the end of life, remembering Me, attains immediately to My nature; and there is no doubt of this.” [Bhagavad-Gita 8.5] One must remember the form of Krishna; if he quits his body thinking of this form, he surely approaches the spiritual kingdom. The Supreme Being is sac-cid-änanda-vigraha [Brahma Samhita 5.1]-that is, His form is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. Our present body is not sac-cid-änanda. It is asat, not sat. It is not eternal; it is perishable. It is not cit, full of knowledge, but it is full of ignorance. We have no knowledge of the spiritual kingdom, nor do we even have perfect knowledge of this material world, where there are so many things unknown to us. The body is also nirananda; instead of being full of bliss it is full of misery. All of the miseries we experience in the material world arise from the body, but one who leaves this body thinking of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at once attains a sac-cid-ananda body. The Bhagavad-Gita 8.6 also explains the general principle that makes it possible to enter the spiritual kingdom simply by thinking of the Supreme at the time of death: “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his present body, in his next life he will attain to that state without fail.” “Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time continue your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” (Bhagavad-Gita 8.7). He does not advise Arjuna simply to remember Him and give up his occupation. No, the Lord never suggests anything impractical. If he doesn’t practice remembering Krishna while he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Krishna at the time of death. Lord Caitanya also advises this. He says, kirtaniyah sada harih: [Caitanya Caritamrita adi 17.31] one should practice chanting the names of the Lord always. The names of the Lord and the Lord are non-different. So Lord Krishna’s instructions to Arjuna to “remember Me” and Lord Caitanya’s injunction to “always chant the names of Lord Krishna” are the same instruction. There is no difference, because Krishna and Krishna’s name are non-different. Therefore we have to practice remembering the Lord always, 24 hours a day, by chanting His names and moulding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.

How is this possible? The äcäryas give the following example. If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a woman other than his wife, then the attachment is to be considered very strong. One with such an attachment is always thinking of the loved one. The wife who is thinking of her lover is always thinking of meeting him, even while she is carrying out her household chores. In fact, she carries out her household work even more carefully so her husband will not suspect her attachment. Similarly, we should always remember the supreme lover, Sri Krishna, and at the same time perform our material duties very nicely. A strong sense of love is required here. If we have a strong sense of love for the Supreme Lord, then we can discharge our duty and at the same time remember Him. But we have to develop that sense of love. Arjuna, for instance, was always thinking of Krishna; he was the constant companion of Krishna, and at the same time he was a warrior. Krishna did not advise him to give up fighting and go to the forest to meditate.

Bhagavad-Gita is a treatise which is especially meant for the devotee of the Lord. There are 3 classes of transcendentalists, namely thejnani, the yogi and the bhakta, or the impersonalist, the meditator and the devotee. Bhagavad-Gita is instructed to Arjuna especially because Arjuna was a devotee of the Lord, a direct student of Krishna. Therefore Bhagavad-Gita is best understood by a person who has qualities similar to Arjuna’s. That is to say he must be a devotee in a direct relationship with the Lord. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he also has a direct relationship with the Lord. Arjuna was in a relationship with the Lord as friend. Of course there is a gulf of difference between this friendship and the friendship found in the material world. This is transcendental friendship, which cannot be had by everyone. Of course everyone has a particular relationship with the Lord, and that relationship is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. But in the present status of our life, not only have we forgotten the Supreme Lord, but we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Every living being, out of the many, many billions and trillions of living beings, has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. That is called svarupa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarupa, and that stage is called svarupa-siddhi - perfection of one’s constitutional position.

Lord Krishna descends specifically to re-establish the real purpose of life when man forgets that purpose. Actually we are all swallowed by the tigress of nescience, but the Lord is very merciful upon living entities, especially human beings. To this end He spoke the Bhagavad-Gita, making His friend Arjuna His student.

Millions of pilgrims and tourist throng to the town during the Solar Eclipse to have the privilege of having a dip in the sacred tanks Brahma Sarovar and Sannihit Sarovar. A holy dip in these tanks during the eclipse gives the merit of performing 1000 Ashawamedha Yajnas. It is said that in the Sannihit Sarovar during this time all the sacred places & pilgrimages assemble there by and thus one directly gets the merits of all the sacred places at one particular place.

Lord Sri Krishna along with his family came from Dvaraka to participate in the fair of solar eclipse at Kurukshetra. People from all over India too assembled at the sacred place as also the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, Akrura, Vasudeva, Ugrasena and others. From Vrindavana the gopis also came to have sacred bathe in the tanks of Kurukshetra. Krishna was a child when he left Vrindavana thus after a long time the gopis could see Krishna at Kurukshetra. Krishna and Balarama warmly embraced their parents. They were also hugged by Rohini and Yasoda.

“The gopis saw their beloved Krishna at Kurukshetra after a long separation. They secured and embraced Him in their hearts through their eyes, and they attained a joy so intense that not even perfect yogis can attain it. The gopis cursed the creator for creating eyelids that interfered with their vision."
- Caitanya-Caritamrta Adi-lila 4.153 & Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10 Chapter 82

Why read Bhagavad-Gita As It Is?

Recently an American lady asked me [Srila Prabhupada] to recommend an English translation of Bhagavad-Gita. Of course in America there are so many editions of Bhagavad-Gita available in English, but as far as I have seen, not only in America but also in India, none of them can be strictly said to be authoritative because in almost every one of them the commentator has expressed his own opinions without touching the spirit of Bhagavad-Gita as it is.

Bhagavad-Gita must be taken or accepted as it is directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker of Bhagavad-Gita is Lord Sri Krishna. He is mentioned on every page of Bhagavad-Gita as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. Of course the word Bhagavan sometimes refers to any powerful person or any powerful demigod, and certainly here Bhagavan designates Lord Sri Krishna as a great personality, but at the same time we must know that Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as is confirmed by all great äcäryas (spiritual masters) like Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka Svami, Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge in India.

[ref: Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Introduction]


Sumati Morarji, who in 1965 gave Srila Prabhupada free passage to America on her steamship Jaladuta, remembered meeting Srila Prabhupada at Kurukshetra for the first time during the 1950s. Srila Prabhupada was sitting under a tree, chanting Hare Krishna maha-mantra on beads. Sensing that he was a distinguished sadhu, Sumati Morarji approached him. She was impressed with his humility and devotion, and she mentioned this when Srila Prabhupada went to see her in Bombay to ask her help in getting to America.

In October 1970, Srila Prabhupada was traveling to Amritsar by train with a group of disciples. As the train arrived in Kurukshetra station, he said, "Just here, Lord Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita five thousand years ago. People say that it does not exist, that it's a mythological place, a symbol of the field of the body and the senses. They say it is an allegorical place. But here we are at the Kurukshetra station."

As he spoke, the sun was setting, and a bright orange sky shone over the flat land. "How can they say Kurukshetra is not a real place?" he continued. "Here it is before us, and it has been a historical place for a long, long time."

"I think we shall go to Kurukshetra"
September 22, 1974
(ref. "What is the Difficulty" book by His Grace Srutakirti Dasa, chapter 119)
Srila Prabhupada lived his life in an exemplary manner as demonstrated by the following incident that took place on September 22, 1974.

During the previous six weeks while staying in Vrindavana, he had been very ill with an intermittent temperature of 103 to 105 degrees. For weeks, he ate only some pieces of orange and a few grapes. Twenty-four hour kirtans were being performed by concerned disciples worldwide. He said his ailment could not be cured by medicine because the illness was due to 80% of the leaders in ISKCON who were not strictly following the rules and regulations. In spite of his condition, he had one overwhelming desire, to preach Krishna Consciousness.

As soon as he began to recover, he left Vrindavana to visit other centres in India. His first stop was Delhi where he planned to rest for one day before continuing to Kolkata and on to Mayapur. The devotees were always enthusiastic to receive him. Soon after arriving in Delhi, he was asked to speak on the Bhagavad-Gita in Kurukshetra.

Srila Prabhupada replied, "These meetings are useless. These people will never accept Krishna. What is the use of going out there and talking? It would be a waste of my time." We were relieved that he did not want to take such a difficult ride in the hot summer so soon after such a serious illness.

As the conversation progressed, he said he would consider accepting the invitation and thus take the opportunity to preach. He very sweetly told us to deliberate on the matter and advise him as to what we thought was the best course of action. Taking into consideration his fragile condition, we all thought the long trip would be too stressful.

Srila Prabhupada often gave us the chance to serve in this way. It was very sweet how he engaged us. He always remained independent, but allowed us to meditate on taking care of him.

His secretary discussed the matter with other GBC men and sannyasis. They again concluded that Srila Prabhupada was still too weak to take a long automobile drive to and from Kurukshetra. Initially, Srila Prabhupada agreed with them.

Around 2 pm, I heard his bell ring. I went into the room and offered obeisances. He instructed, "Get everyone." Disciples entered the room eager to hear from their spiritual master who said, "I think we shall go to Kurukshetra. This is my duty. I cannot give up this opportunity to preach. It won't be so difficult. We can leave in the morning before sunrise. The ride will be about two hours." Then looking at everyone with the compassion of a pure devotee he asked rhetorically, "Is that all right?" Brahmananda Maharaja, his secretary said, "If that is what you want Srila Prabhupada, we can arrange everything."

Srila Prabhupada arrived in Kurukshetra in the scorching heat with a few disciples. The host took the group on a short tour to visit some nearby temples and then to the guest quarters. Later Srila Prabhupada was escorted to the pandal and seated in the midst of several so-called sadhus, many with beards and long hair. They were eager for him to be present for they all knew that he was famous all over the world.

They appreciated Srila Prabhupada's vapu manifestation but feared his vani, so consequently they weren't eager to have him speak, knowing his reputation as a no-nonsense Krishna-bhakta. Srila Prabhupada looked glorious sitting among them, like the full moon among so many twinkling stars.

As the various speakers pontificated, Srila Prabhupada sat impatiently listening to their rhetoric as they talked in Hindi and English about unity, understanding and religious tolerance. With heightened emotions, Srila Prabhupada sat in a chair with his jaw clenched and foot tapping on the stage. He became angrier at each passing moment, as the speakers talked of peace and dharma. The mutual admiration society of pseudo sadhus continued praising one another with delight. They revelled in the coming together of so many holy persons, to bring about the undertaking of a new temple there.

Srila Prabhupada sat still like a lion about to pounce and finally, without any introduction, he stood and began to roar in Hindi. We, the disciples, could understand some of what he was said. "sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam sarai:iam vraja, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo, moksayisyami ma suca." The lecture was short, fiery and conclusive and at the end, Srila Prabhupada walked back to the car with his disciples. Everyone scattered and began leaving the assembly.

After getting into the car, Srila Prabhupada turned to us and said enthusiastically, "So, you could understand the lecture? I spoke in Hindi, but, you could understand some?" We all smiled broadly, feeling his pleasure and said, "We understood the purport of what you were saying."

"Yes!" he said, "This is all nonsense. These people, they will never get anywhere because they do not accept Krishna. This is their business. This is their idea. Here in India, they try to make unity, but they never accept Krishna. Why they speak of Bhagavad-Gita? You shouldn't speak of Bhagavad-Gita unless you are accepting Krishna." Chuckling, he continued, "How you are in the land of Krishna, Kurukshetra, where Krishna spoke on the battlefield to Arjuna, and not one person has mentioned Krishna? You are talking about Bhagavad-Gita ...talking about Kurukshetra ...Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita ...Krishna was here in Kurukshetra ...and not one of you mentioned anything about Krishna." He enthusiastically defended his dear-most Lord and we were proud to follow in his transcendental footsteps.

Srila Prabhupada, you accepted so much inconvenience to spread the glories of Krishna. In spite of illness, advanced age and extreme heat you pushed on. Your incredible feat at Kurukshetra was punctuated by a severe typhoon. As our car drive on, huge Eucalyptus trees fell in front of us, uprooted onto the road, I wondered how the storms were devastating the pandal back at Kurukshetra. Krishna guided you, Srila Prabhupada safely through torrential rains and manoeuvred your car through many obstacles on the road. It was a dramatic conclusion to a successful day.

It was your pleasure to fight triumphantly for Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. You always relished speaking about Krishna, your dear-most friend. In this way, you are most dear to the Lord.

On December 1, 1975, Srila Prabhupada went to Kurukshetra with several disciples. Before returning to Delhi, he decided to visit a less developed area of Kurukshetra called Jyotisar, the actual place where Lord Krishna had spoken the Bhagavad-Gita. Srila Prabhupada walked about and thoroughly inspected the area. After ten minutes he asked the devotees what they thought of it. Everyone expressed enthusiasm about the place, which they sensed as spiritually vibrant. A deep, timeless wisdom and serenity seemed to permeate the atmosphere. Srila Prabhupada told the devotees that ISKCON should build a temple of Krishna and Arjuna there.

In 1996, the Srila Prabhupada Centennial year, devotees made a special effort to obtain a parcel of land in Jyotisar. By the grace of Krishna and Arjuna they succeeded in acquiring six acres, just a hundred yards away from the spot where the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken. In April 1998, the governor of Haryana presided over the ceremony dedicating the ground for the temple. Also during the Srila Prabhupada Centennial year, a prominent square in the town of Kurukshetra was named after Srila Prabhupada: Bhaktivedanta Swami Chowk.


Once, when Krishna was preparing to go to Kurukshetra at the time of a solar eclipse, He invited the gopis (cowherd girls) and other residents of Vrindavana to meet Him at Kurukshetra. When He had left Vrindavana in His youth, He had promised to return very soon. But He had been away for a long time (about a hundred years), so out of intense spiritual love, the residents of Vrindavana had always felt ecstatic longing to see Him again. The residents of Dwarka arrived at Kurukshetra on chariots; the residents of Vrindavana (a simple cowherd village), on ox carts. Because the families of Vrindavana and Dwarka were related, a joyful reunion took place.

Of all the residents of Vrindavana, the leading gopi, Srimati Radharani, had felt the pangs of separation from Krishna more than anyone else. She and the other gopis were determined to bring Krishna back to Vrindavana. The loving exchange between Krishna and the gopis at Kurukshetra is the esoteric meaning behind the festival known as Rathayatra ("Festival of the Chariots"). So whenever the devotees put on Lord Jagannatha Rathayatra in cities around the world, they are proclaiming the glories of Kurukshetra.

Directions to reach Kurukshetra: Kurukshetra is 2 hour journey from New Delhi by Train and about 3½ by Bus. While travelling by bus there is a stop called “Pipli” on Kurukshetra by-pass. From there catch an auto-rickshaw to reach ISKCON Main Bazaar temple (6 km) and then see the holy places with the assistance from the local devotees, or at a nominal cost one can take the auto-rickshaw to visit all the important places to be seen in and around Kurukshetra.

Sridham Vrindavan to Kurukshetra is about 5-6 hour journey by train via Mathura-New Delhi route. From New Delhi railway station a number of trains run daily throughout the day between Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Amritsar routes which stop at Kurukshetra. Ticket reservation is essential. Tickets can be booked from any railway ticketing agent in India. More information:

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