". . .we belong to the Brahma-sampradāya, Madhvācārya-sampradāya. Gauḍīya..., Mādhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's spiritual master was Īśvara Purī. Īśvara Purī's spiritual master was Mādhavendra Purī. And Mādhavendra Purī belonged to the Madhvācārya-sampradāya. Therefore we present ourself belonging to the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. Similarly... From Brahmā, there is onesampradāya. Similarly, there is another sampradāya from Lord Śiva, Rudra-sampradāya. And there is another sampradāya, Kumāra-sampradāya. Kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ. That is Nimbārka-sampradāya. Similarly, there is another sampradāya from Lakṣmī, Śrī-sampradāya, Rāmānuja-sampradāya.
So we have to understand the philosophy through the sampradāya. Sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ. If you don't accept... In ordinary life also, in political field, to develop, one has to accept a party, this party or that Congress Party, or Jana-sanga Party, or this party. So the aim is the same. Aim is the same, to serve the country, to develop your country, but still, there are parties. Similarly, the aim is the same: to understand what is our relationship with God. But the development is made by different parties. So the parties are, must be bona fide. As Kṛṣṇa says, His party:
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
Kṛṣṇa said that "First of all, I described, I instructed this yoga system, bhakti-yoga system, Bhagavad-gītā, to Vivasvān, the sun-god, and the sun-god, whose name is Vivasvān..." The particular name is also given. It is not vague, that... At the present moment, the predominating Deity in the sun planet is called Vivasvān. So he spoke this Bhagavad-gītā philosophy to his son,vivasvān manave prā..., Manu. Manu is the original person of the human society. Manuṣya. Man. So Manu spoke to his son, Ikṣvāku. Mahārāja Ikṣvāku. He's the first person of the sūrya-vaṁśa.There are two kṣatriya families: one, candra-vaṁśa, coming from the Moon, and the other from the Sun, Vivasvān. So Mahārāja Ikṣvāku is the original personality in the sūrya-vaṁśa kṣatriyas in which Lord Rāmacandra appeared. So in this way, there is paramparā system.
If we want to understand the real fact, then we must receive from the paramparā system. Just like we have got our genealogical table. I understand my great-great-grandfather by the paramparā system. Not that I manufacture some name. No. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that imam, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam [Bg. 4.2]. The Bhagavad-gītā, knowledge must be received by the paramparā system, as it was spoken by Kṛṣṇa and as it has been received by the later ācāryas.Although there are different parties... Just like the Śrī-sampradāya, Brahma-sampradāya, Rudra-sampradāya. They are all in agreement that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All theseācāryas. They'll not say anything that "Because I belong to Brahma-sampradāya, I speak something else." No. We are all in agreement that kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. That is accepted.
So Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna: sa kāleneha yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa. "In due..., in course of time, thatparamparā system has been lost, or broken. Therefore," Kṛṣṇa said, "I am speaking the old truth unto you so that you begin the paramparā system again." So we have to accept Bhagavad-gītā by the paramparā system. Even the old system is broken, still, it is existing because Kṛṣṇa is speaking to Arjuna, and we have to understand Bhagavad-gītā as Arjuna understood. Then you are in the paramparā. And if you understand Bhagavad-gītā as some so-called scholar understands, then you are not understanding Bhagavad-gītā. You are understanding something nonsense, wasting your time.
This is the fact. If you try to understand Bhagavad-gītā as Arjuna understood... That is not difficult. Arjuna's understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gītā. So if you follow the footprints of Arjuna, then you are rightly understanding Bhagavad-gītā. But if you are following the footprints of some rascal, then you are not understanding Bhagavad-gītā. You are understanding something else. This is the secret. Here we have got so many commentaries on Bhagavad-gītā, as one thinks. As if Kṛṣṇa left Bhagavad-gītā to be commented by some rascals to understand! Why? He said Bhagavad-gītā clearly. Why it is to be interpreted by some rascals? Did Kṛṣṇa mean that "I leave Bhagavad-gītā ambiguous and some learned scholar will come. He will explain"? What is this nonsense? Everything is clear. Bhagavad-gītā, in the beginning it is said that
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
kim akurvata sañjaya
Now, why it should be interpreted that "Dharma-kṣetra means this, kuru-kṣetra means this,pāṇḍavāḥ means this"? Why? It is clear. Kurukṣetra still existing. Everyone knows. And that isdharma-kṣetra. Everyone knows. It is not known now. From the Vedic age. Kuru-kṣetre dharmam ācaret. Still people go there for performing ritualistic ceremonies. So Kurukṣetra is still there and it is dharma-kṣetra from time immemorial. Why it should be interpreted that "Kurukṣetra means this, and dharma-kṣetra means this"? Why? Where is the dictionary?
But because one has got some whims, he wants to fulfill his whims on the authority ofBhagavad-gītā, he interprets in a different way. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is, without nonsensically interpreting. Therefore it is being effective. Before me, many swamis went to the Western countries to preach this Bhagavad-gītā. Not a single person became a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Not a single person. There is not in the history. And now Bhagavad-gītā is being presented as it is, thousands are becoming devotee of Kṛṣṇa. This is the secret. People give me credit that "Swamiji, you have done wonderful. Nobody could do it." I am not a wonderful man. Neither I do know anything magic. I have presented Bhagavad-gītā as it is. That's all. This is the secret. Anyone can do that. You present the thing as it is. Don't adulterate it. Then it will be accepted. Just likeparamānna, kṣīra. Kṣīra is very nice food, but if you adulterate it with some grains of sand, it is spoiled. It is spoiled.
So that was being done. Bhagavad-gītā is the science of God, the spiritual science. But it was being adulterated by so many grains of sands. So people could not understand it. We do not presentBhagavad-gītā with some adulteration. Kṛṣṇa says, bhakto 'si priyo 'si arjuna. Kṛṣṇa is instructing Arjuna to begin the paramparā system because the paramparā system was supposed to be broken. People misunderstood. Or some way or other, it was broken. As it is going on now also.
So Kṛṣṇa said that "I shall speak to you this same old philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā again." "Why unto me?" Why Kṛṣṇa selected Arjuna? There are many others, learned scholars. Now, Kṛṣṇa says,bhakto 'si priyo 'si. Kṛṣṇa was a military man, er, Arjuna was a military man. He was not a Vedantist. He was a gṛhastha, not even a sannyāsī.
Why Kṛṣṇa selected to instruct Arjuna as the disciple of the renovated paramparā system? That is also spoken by Kṛṣṇa: bhakto 'si priyo 'si me[Bg. 4.3], rahasyam etad uttamam: "Because you are My dear friend, because you are My devotee, you can understand the mysteries of Bhagavad-gītā." Kṛṣṇa did not select a so-called Vedantist to understand Bhagavad-gītā. Because Arjuna was not a Vedantist. He was a military man. He's not supposed to become a great philosopher. He was a gṛhastha. But the real qualification is to become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Then one can understand what is Bhagavad-gītā. Not by so-called knowledge. No. Knowledge is not perfect unless one understands Kṛṣṇa. That is not knowledge. That is still illusion.
Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. Māṁ prapadyate: "He surrenders unto Me." Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ [Bg. 7.19]. When one understands Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, as everything, as the origin of everything, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1], then his knowledge is perfect. And so long he's hovering here and there, without any understanding of Kṛṣṇa, his knowledge is not perfect. That perfection of knowledge is attained, as it is described by Kṛṣṇa: bahūnāṁ janmanām ante [Bg.7.19]."
(Excerpt from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada given in Ahmedabad, India December 8, 1972)
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
The living entity, while executing devotional service or transcendental rituals after many, many births, may actually become situated in transcendental pure knowledge that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate goal of spiritual realization.
In the beginning of spiritual realization, while one is trying to give up one's attachment to materialism, there is some leaning towards impersonalism, but when one is further advanced he can understand that there are activities in the spiritual life and that these activities constitute devotional service.
Realizing this, he becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrenders to Him. At such a time one can understand that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa's mercy is everything, that He is the cause of all causes and that this material manifestation is not independant from Him. He realizes the material world to be a perverted reflection of spiritual variegatedness and realizes that in everything there is a relationship with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Thus he thinks of everything in relation to Vāsudeva, or Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such a universal vision of Vāsudeva precipitates one's full surrender to the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the highest goal. Such surrendered great souls are very rare.
This verse is very nicely explained in the Third Chapter of Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad: "In this body there are powers of speaking, of seeing, of hearing, of mental activities, etc. But these are not important if not related to the Supreme Lord. And because Vāsudeva is all-pervading and everything is Vāsudeva, the devotee surrenders in full knowledge." (Cf. Bhagavad-gītā 7.17 and 11.40)
(Verse and Purport from The Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 edition by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)