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"Bhagavad-gita As It Is"
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
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Bhagavatam Tenth Canto Part One” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
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Preface
Originally I wrote Bhagavad-gétä As It Is in the form in which it is
presented now. When this book was first published, the original manuscript
was, unfortunately, cut short to less than 400 pages, without illustrations and
without explanations for most of the original verses of the Çrémad
Bhagavad-gétä. In all of my other books—Çrémad-Bhägavatam, Çré Éçopaniñad,
etc.—the system is that I give the original verse, its English transliteration,
word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents, translations and purports. This
makes the book very authentic and scholarly and makes the meaning
self-evident. I was not very happy, therefore, when I had to minimize my
original manuscript. But later on, when the demand for Bhagavad-gétä As It Is
considerably increased, I was requested by many scholars and devotees to
present the book in its original form. Thus the present attempt is to offer the
original manuscript of this great book of knowledge with full paramparä
explanation in order to establish the Kåñëa consciousness movement more
soundly and progressively.
Our Kåñëa consciousness movement is genuine, historically authorized,
natural and transcendental due to its being based on Bhagavad-gétä As It Is. It
is gradually becoming the most popular movement in the entire world,
especially amongst the younger generation. It is becoming more and more
interesting to the older generation also. Older gentlemen are becoming
interested, so much so that the fathers and grandfathers of my disciples are
encouraging us by becoming life members of our great society, the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In Los Angeles many fathers
and mothers used to come to see me to express their feelings of gratitude for
my leading the Kåñëa consciousness movement throughout the entire world.
Some of them said that it is greatly fortunate for the Americans that I have
started the Kåñëa consciousness movement in America. But actually the
Copyright © 1998 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Int'l. All Rights Reserved.
original father of this movement is Lord Kåñëa Himself, since it was started a
very long time ago but is coming down to human society by disciplic
succession. If I have any credit in this connection, it does not belong to me
personally, but it is due to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace Oà
Viñëupäda Paramahaàsa Parivräjakäcärya 108 Çré Çrémad Bhaktisiddhänta
Sarasvaté Gosvämé Mahäräja Prabhupäda.
If personally I have any credit in this matter, it is only that I have tried to
present Bhagavad-gétä as it is, without any adulteration. Before my
presentation of Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, almost all the English editions of
Bhagavad-gétä were introduced to fulfill someone’s personal ambition. But our
attempt, in presenting Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, is to present the mission of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa. Our business is to present the will of
Kåñëa, not that of any mundane speculator like the politician, philosopher or
scientist, for they have very little knowledge of Kåñëa, despite all their other
knowledge. When Kåñëa says, man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäjé mäà
namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], etc., we, unlike the so-called scholars, do not say that
Kåñëa and His inner spirit are different. Kåñëa is absolute, and there is no
difference between Kåñëa’s name, Kåñëa’s form, Kåñëa’s qualities, Kåñëa’s
pastimes, etc. This absolute position of Kåñëa is difficult to understand for any
person who is not a devotee of Kåñëa in the system of paramparä (disciplic
succession). Generally the so-called scholars, politicians, philosophers, and
svämés, without perfect knowledge of Kåñëa, try to banish or kill Kåñëa when
writing commentary on Bhagavad-gétä. Such unauthorized commentary upon
Bhagavad-gétä is known as Mäyäväda-bhäñya, and Lord Caitanya has warned us
about these unauthorized men. Lord Caitanya clearly says that anyone who
tries to understand Bhagavad-gétä from the Mäyävädé point of view will
commit a great blunder. The result of such a blunder will be that the misguided
student of Bhagavad-gétä will certainly be bewildered on the path of spiritual
guidance and will not be able to go back to home, back to Godhead.
Our only purpose is to present this Bhagavad-gétä As It Is in order to guide
the conditioned student to the same purpose for which Kåñëa descends to this
planet once in a day of Brahmä, or every 8,600,000,000 years. This purpose is
stated in Bhagavad-gétä, and we have to accept it as it is; otherwise there is no
Copyright © 1998 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Int'l. All Rights Reserved.
point in trying to understand the Bhagavad-gétä and its speaker, Lord Kåñëa.
Lord Kåñëa first spoke Bhagavad-gétä to the sun-god some hundreds of millions
of years ago. We have to accept this fact and thus understand the historical
significance of Bhagavad-gétä, without misinterpretation, on the authority of
Kåñëa. To interpret Bhagavad-gétä without any reference to the will of Kåñëa is
the greatest offense. In order to save oneself from this offense, one has to
understand the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He was
directly understood by Arjuna, Lord Kåñëa’s first disciple. Such understanding
of Bhagavad-gétä is really profitable and authorized for the welfare of human
society in fulfilling the mission of life.
The Kåñëa consciousness movement is essential in human society, for it
offers the highest perfection of life. How this is so is explained fully in the
Bhagavad-gétä. Unfortunately, mundane wranglers have taken advantage of
Bhagavad-gétä to push forward their demonic propensities and mislead people
regarding right understanding of the simple principles of life. Everyone should
know how God, or Kåñëa, is great, and everyone should know the factual