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Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four – Transcendental Knowledge

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This Chapter explains transcendental knowledge such as the impermanence of material existence and the permanence of Krsna’s presence.

The History of the Gita

To carry on our studies it is important to understand that the Gita was spoken at least 120,400,000 years ago and has been existing for 2 million years.

To pass the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita – Krsna consciousness through generations it was needed to establish the disciple succession to maintain its purpose.

According to Gita, Lord Krsna is the authority accepted by all. He is transcendental because He is above the influence of time and space.

In this chapter, Krsna explains to Arjuna that we had many lives (reincarnations) but we can’t remember them however Krsna remembers his life.

The difference between Krsna’s body and the Human Body

The living entity forgets everything due to his change of body, but Krsna remembers because he does not change. There is no distinction between His body and Himself.

The living entity has no fixed body but transmigrates from one to another. Krsna does not do that. When he appears, He does in the same original body in His original eternal form, with two hands holding a flute.

He takes His birth and ordinary living but his body does not deteriorate like a material body. Krsna grows from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and never grows old like us. Although He is the oldest person in the whole creation – past, present and future. Neither His body nor intelligence ever deteriorates or changes.

His appearance and disappearance are like the sun when it rises. The sun is always in the sky, however, we just see it in some parts of the day.

Why Krsna Appears and Disappears in this World

When there is a decline in religious practice it is time for Krsna to descend. The whole purpose of the mission of Krsna incarnation is to arouse Krsna consciousness everywhere.

Buddha is the incarnation of Krsna who appeared when materialism was high and people were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas. It is said that Krsna incarnates every Millennium.

Principles have been laid down in the Vedas and they are the laws of Krsna. The highest principle is to surrender unto Him only, and nothing more.

How to attain the abode of the Lord

The devotee, by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and the activities of the Lord, attains the abode of Krsna after ending his life.

Lucas: To simply “know the Lord” is not enough. Devotion is a path of action. One must be living in Krsna consciousness through his life. This means by performing actions of austerity, detachment and sacrifice can one realize the Lord. One must understand that in the context of Bhagavad Gita, knowing the Lord means to realize Him through said actions.

The devotee who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and Krsna and does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation.

Therefore his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed.

It is very difficult for a materialist person to understand and accept the personal nature of Lord Krsna. Materialists are so attached to mundane illusions that they cannot imagine how Krsna can be a person and has a transcendental body. By transcendental body, it means imperishable, full of knowledge, and eternally blissful.

In the materialist concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance, and miserable. They are fearful of understanding the truth and prefer to choose that everything is ultimately void.

To get rid of the material concept of life, one has to take complete shelter from the Lord and follow the disciplines and regulative principles of devotional life.

The Three Stages of Material Consciousness

To move from material thinking and existence is a long process where One has to work to entangle the following:

1- Attachment to material life

2- Fear of a spiritual personal identity

3- Conception of the void that arises from frustration in life

The last stage of devotional life is called the transcendental love of Godhead.

Lia: Through the texts, there is a constant message that One has to find a bonafide guide or guru to reach full liberation. Who are the bonafide guides? How One can trust someone as a guru?

Lucas: I would say in searching for a guru, in simple terms, the one aspect you have to look for is humility in which the guru acknowledges that he too is merely a servant of God and that he gets his knowledge from the Vedic texts.

Everyone is searching for Krsna in different aspects of His manifestations but Krsna is only fully realized by His pure devotees.

Worshipping Demigods

We briefly study the worshipping demigods in previous chapters and there is additional information in this chapter as well.

In the Bhagavad Gita, it says that foolish people worship the Demigods because they want immediate results. They get the results but do not know that these results are temporary. These people are not interested in Krsna’s consciousness for the permanent solution to the hardships of material existence.

The Demigods are powerful living entities appointed b the Supreme Lord for the maintenance and supervision of all material functions like heating, watering, and lighting of the Universe.

Those who are interested in material benefits worship the demigods by various sacrifices according to the Vedic Rituals.

The Four Divisions of Human Society – According to Bhagavad Gita

transcendental knowledge hinduism

These divisions were created by the Lord for the systematic development of Krsna’s consciousness. Such symptoms of life, according to the different modes of material nature are described in chapter 18 of Bhagavad Gita. A person in Krsna’s consciousness is above the Brahmans when they reach the knowledge of Krsna and become a Vaisnava.

Human beings are subjected to the reactions of their past good or bad activities. The Lord gives them the proper facilities for such activities and the regulation of the modes of nature, but He is never responsible for their past and present activities.

The four orders of human life are so arranged that one may become perfect in spiritual life.

The difference between Action and Inaction – Transcendental Knowledge

transcendental knowledge

Action in Krsna consciousness has to be executed in accordance with the examples of previous bonafide devotees.

One has to follow the leadership of authorized persons who are in a line of disciple succession. Lord Krsna decided to instruct Arjuna directly so anyone who follows in the footsteps of Arjuna is certainly not bewildered.

Only actions performed in Krsna’s consciousness can deliver a person from the entanglement of material existence.

One has to learn that every living entity is an eternal servitor of the Lord and has to act in Krsna consciousness and achieve transcendental knowledge.

Lia: In simple words what is the act in Krsna’s consciousness?

Krsna consciousness

Lucas: Detached work and devotion. To do things but not take delight pleasures or penance suffering in either success or failure.

Lia: Bhagavad Gita says that we need to associate with the authorities in Krsna Consciousness and learn the secrets from them. Who are they? Where to find them?

Lucas: They are the gurus. The ideal would be to have a personal guru. But due to the current circumstances in the world at the moment (2020), if you follow a guru it is your responsibility to act as he teaches.

Lia: Would be easier to know what acts we have to perform.

Lucas: There are different paths. For example, bhakti-yoga (devotional service) and karma-yoga (detached work).

Lia: Why are we not told the truth from when we were born?

Lucas: Because we would not understand. The truth of this nature must be realized through actions.

When a person is acting in Krsna consciousness he performs his activities for Krsna. He does not enjoy or suffer any effects of work without a desire for personal sense gratification.

What is Akarma?

express yourself in art

Akarma means without reaction to work.

The sense of eternal servitorship to Krsna makes one immune to all sorts of reactionary elements of work.

Lia: When do we know we are doing our prescribed duties? Or doing the work we should be doing?

Lucas: Do as your guru instructs and follow the instructions of the Vedas

Lia: So, is it wrong to “enjoy” activities such as painting?

Lucas: This is different. As long as you are expressing yourself and do not have a concern for fame or money. In the least, a person should not let the wants for money be their drive. Whatever drives someone to arts should be an immaterial expression. For example, if 1000 come to see an exhibition or no one, you should feel the same as it did not matter.

This means abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities.

By doing everything for Krsna, acting out of pure love for Krsna, and having no attraction for the results the One is free from the bondage of actions.

Also, not being attached to personal maintenance or anxious to secure or protect things in his possessions.

Lucas: Do what needs to be done.

Lia: How do you know what needs to be done?

Lucas: Not letting the emotions cloud your visions. You will know what are your duties, or get a better idea when you free yourself from the illusion of fickle emotions (temporary sadness or happiness). If you are clouded by your emotions you don’t see and consequently don’t do things correctly.

One who does his duties to the best of his ability and leaves everything to Krsna is free from resultant reactions of good or bad. This is a sign of karma, the real aspect of Vikarma.

Lia: Would this be understood as being a “robot”, living in a matrix where you have to do things without liking?

Lucas: No. It is exactly the opposite of being a robot. This is because you are becoming more human in the spiritual sense. You are no longer bound to the emotions that come and go as they please. Instead, you experience the bliss of being in the presence of the Divine through knowledge and action.

Lia: So we are a “servant of God” and we will just be free from suffering when we understand, accept, and do the prescribed actions to us.

Lucas: If this is what one wishes, they are to be servants of the Lord.

Lia: Are there other paths to them? Is there another option?

Lucas: This will be described briefly later in the book.

The Material Entanglement – Misery and Happiness

duality of life misery

By working, we would not be affected by sinful reactions. When the mind and intelligence are fully controlled we are part of the Supreme.

We move as a part of a machine. A Krsna-conscious man maintains himself by his work just to remain fit for action in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

He is therefore immune to all the reactions of his endeavours. A Krsna-conscious person is fully engaged in self-realization and does not require unfair means of accumulating money.

So he is not contaminated by such material sins.

A Krsna Conscious person neither begs nor borrows but works honestly and is satisfied with whatever is obtained by his own honest labor.

For the service of the Lord Krsna conscious person can participate in any kind of action without being disturbed by the duality of the material world: misery and happiness.

The Krsna conscious person is above duality because he does not hesitate to act in any way for the satisfaction of Krsna. (doing what Krsna prescribed)

Therefore he is steady both in success and in failure.

These signs are visible when one is fully in transcendental knowledge.

Lia: This is really a big step for mankind as people are always worried about trying to survive, paying bills, etc. It is hard to detach completely, especially when people have children or others to care for.

Lucas: One should do their prescribed duty and see to it that is if fulfilled. Not let freckly emotions get in the way of fulfilling their duties.

When you are fully Krsna consciousness you are free from dualities and contaminations of the material modes. You become liberated because you know your constitutional position in your relationship with Krsna and your mind cannot be pulled away from Krsna’s consciousness. Consequently achieving transcendental knowledge.

 “Aware of Krsna all the time”

The resultant reactions to all such work certainly merge into transcendence and one does not suffer material effects.

Contribution to Spiritual Activities

illusion maya

A conditioned soul entangled in material contamination has to get out of such an environment. The way out is Krsna’s consciousness. The more the activities of the material world are performed in Krsna consciousness, the more the atmosphere becomes spiritualized by complete absorption.

When the person is covered by illusion (Maya) or sense of gratification, it is called material.

This material veil can be removed by Krsna consciousness by offering for the sake of Krsna consciousness.

What is Krsna Consciousness?

Krsna conscious is a process of converting the illusionary consciousness into Brahman, or the Supreme.

It is when the mind is fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness (Samadhi/trance). Anything done in such transcendental consciousness is called Yajna, or sacrifice for the Absolute. It all becomes one with the Absolute. That is the method of Krsna consciousness.



Hearing is the basic principle of understanding. The pure Krsna conscious engages in chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. He restrains himself from the vibrations of material sounds, and his hearing is engaged in the transcendental sound vibrations of Hare Krsna.

Hatha-Yoga (physical yoga) is recommended for controlling the senses and for advancement in spiritual realization. The practice involves controlling the airs within the body so as to preserve the direction of their passage.

Hatha-Yoga will not make you a Krsna conscious but help to control the senses and to lead to enlightenment.

A Krsna-conscious person, however, being always situated in the transcendental loving of service of the Lord, automatically becomes the controller of the senses.

His senses, being always engaged in the service of Krsna, have no chance of becoming otherwise engaged.

At the end of life, he is naturally transferred to the transcendental plane of Lord Krsna, raised to the platform of liberation.

Senses Controlling

This subject has been already studied in the previous chapter. So there is additional information here.

Reducing the eating process is very helpful in the matter of sense control. Without a sense of control, there is no possibility of getting out of the material entanglement.

Sense gratification is the root cause of material existence; therefore unless and until one is situated on a platform apart from sense gratification, there is no chance of being elevated to the eternal platform of full knowledge, full bliss, and full life.

Types of Sacrifice

sacrifices in Krsna conciousness

1- Sacrifice of one’s possessions

2- Study of the Vedas / Philosophical doctrines

3- Performance of the Yoga system

The common aim of all is to control the senses. These actions help one to become cleansed of the sinful reactions of material existence. Consequently, by this advancement in life, he becomes happy and opulent in this life and at the end, he enters into the eternal Kingdom of God.

Other examples of sacrifices for a certain type of perfection in the material world/higher status of life some people engage to are:

1-Charity work

2- Don’t shave for months

3- Don’t eat certain foods

4- Don’t eat twice a day

5- Don’t leave home

6- Hatha Yoga

7- Travel to sanctified places of pilgrimage

8- Studies of different Vedic literature (Upanisads and Vedanta Sutras)

Existence in the material world is due to the multiple reactions to our sinful lives. Ignorance is the cause of sinful life, and sinful life is the cause of one’s dragging on in material existence.

The human form of life is the only loophole by which one may get out of this entanglement.

The Vedas point out the paths of religion, economic comfort, regulated sense of gratification, and the means to get out of the miserable condition entirely.

Perfection is achieved by the performance of Yajna (sacrifice) which leads to transcendental knowledge.

The highest kind of happiness that a man can achieve is to be promoted to the spiritual planets by the practice of Krsna consciousness.

A life of Krsna consciousness is therefore the solution to all the problems of material existence.

The different types of sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas are to suit the different types of workers. They work with the mind, body, or intelligence.

All sacrifices of work culminate in transcendental knowledge. However, without the elevation of knowledge, sacrifices are simply material activities.

The path of spiritual realization – Transcendental Knowledge

The path for spiritual realization is difficult. Lord Krsna advises us to approach a bona fide spiritual master in the line of disciple succession from the Lord Himself.

The self-realized soul should be able to pass the test of a spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding.

The result of receiving knowledge is learning that all living beings are part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.

Some think that we have nothing to do with Krsna. This sense of an existence separated from Krsna is called Maya (illusion).

Although we are separated parts of Krsna, we are nevertheless not different from Him.

The Gita teaches that a living being, as Krsna’s eternal servitor, cannot be separated from Krsna. As part of the Supreme, the living being has a purpose to fulfil.

We forget this purpose (transcendental service of the Lord) when we incarnate in different bodies. But when one is engaged in transcendental service through Krsna consciousness, one becomes liberated from this illusion.

Lia: So, what Gita teaches us is that if we are 100% Krsna conscious in all that we do, we are fulfilling our purpose.

This means, that being Krsna conscious is understanding, and accepting that we are an eternal part of the Supreme and we serve Him. Therefore we should not complain about our duties/work.

Lucas: If one does wish to be free from suffering and take refuge in the Godhead them Krsna consciousness is the way.

When we think we are separated from Krsna and giving up such shelter, we become deluded by the material energy.

“Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge,

you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries”

Ignorance is the cause of our bondage and knowledge is the cause of our liberation.

When we are situated in transcendental knowledge we don’t need to search for peace elsewhere, for he enjoys peace within himself as Krsna consciousness.

Clean one’s heart of all material dirt by chanting:

“Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”

A person who is faithful to Krsna, changing and believing firmly in Krsna, and controls the senses can easily attain perfection in the knowledge of Krsna’s consciousness without delay.

chanting birds


Sanatana-Yoga are eternal activities performed by the living entity. This yoga has 2 divisions of sacrificial actions:

1- Sacrifice of one’s material possessions

2- Knowledge of self (pure spiritual activity)

2.1 Understanding of one’s self constitutional position

2.2 Truth regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Ignorance can be removed by the gradual acceptance of the principles of Krsna consciousness.

Krsna consciousness awakens activities – Transcendental Knowledge

1- Sacrifices to Demigods

2- Sacrifices to Brahman

3- Celibacy

4- Household life

5- Controlling the senses

6- Practicing mystic yoga

7- Penance

8- Forgoing material possessions

9- Studying the Vedas

10- Partaking of a social institution called Varnasrama-dharma

However, the important factor for transcendental knowledge is self-realization.

“You are not going to that path if you are not ready. You have an eternity to get ready”

Go to Chapter Three here.

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