Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge
avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
avajänanti—deride; mäm—Me; müòhäù—foolish men; mänuñém—in a human form; tanum—body; äçritam—assuming; param—transcendental; bhävam—nature; ajänantaù—not knowing; mama—Mine; bhüta—everything that be; maheçvaram—supreme proprietor.
Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.
From the other explanations of the previous verses in this chapter, it is clear that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although appearing like a human being, is not a common man. The Personality of Godhead, who conducts the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the complete cosmic manifestation, cannot be a human being. Yet there are many foolish men who consider Kåñëa to be merely a powerful man and nothing more. Actually, He is the original Supreme Personality, as is confirmed in the Brahma-saàhitä (içvaraù paramaù kåsëaù); He is the Supreme Lord.
There are many éçvaras, controllers, and one appears greater than another. In the ordinary management of affairs in the material world, we find some official or director, and above him there is a secretary, and above him a minister, and above him a president. Each of them is a controller, but one is controlled by another. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is said that Kåñëa is the supreme controller; there are many controllers undoubtedly both in the material and spiritual world, but Kåñëa is the supreme controller (éçvaraù paramaù kåñëaù), and His body is sac-cid-änanda, non-material.
Material bodies cannot perform the wonderful acts described in previous verses. His body is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. Although He is not a common man, the foolish deride Him and consider Him to be a man. His body is called here mänuñém because He is acting just like a man, a friend of Arjuna's, a politician involved in the Battle of Kurukñetra. In so many ways He is acting just like an ordinary man, but actually His body is sac-cid-änanda-vigraha-eternal bliss and knowledge absolute. This is confirmed in the Vedic language also (sac-cid-änanda-rüpäya kåñëäya): "I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, who is the eternal blissful form of knowledge." There are other descriptions in the Vedic language also. Tam ekaà govindam: "You are Govinda, the pleasure of the senses and the cows." Sac-cid-änanda-vigraham: "And Your form is transcendental, full of knowledge, bliss and eternality."
Despite the transcendental qualities of Lord Kåñëa's body, its full bliss and knowledge, there are many so-called scholars and commentators of Bhagavad-gétä who deride Kåñëa as an ordinary man. The scholar may be born an extraordinary man due to his previous good work, but this conception of Çré Kåñëa is due to a poor fund of knowledge. Therefore he is called müòha, for only foolish persons consider Kåñëa to be an ordinary human being because they do not know the confidential activities of the Supreme Lord and His different energies. They do not know that Kåñëa's body is a symbol of complete knowledge and bliss, that He is the proprietor of everything that be and that He can award liberation to anyone. Because they do not know that Kåñëa has so many transcendental qualifications, they deride Him.
Nor do they know that the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this material world is a manifestation of His internal energy. He is the master of the material energy. As has been explained in several places (mama mäyä duratyayä), He claims that the material energy, although very powerful, is under His control, and whoever surrenders unto Him can get out of the control of this material energy. If a soul surrendered to Kåñëa can get out of the influence of material energy, then how can the Supreme Lord, who conducts the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the whole cosmic nature, have a material body like us? So this conception of Kåñëa is complete foolishness. Foolish persons, however, cannot conceive that the Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, appearing just like an ordinary man, can be the controller of all the atoms and of the gigantic manifestation of the universal form. The biggest and the minutest are beyond their conception, so they cannot imagine that a form like that of a human being can simultaneously control the infinite and the minute. Actually although He is controlling the infinite and the finite, He is apart from all this manifestation. It is clearly stated concerning His yogam aiçvaram, His inconceivable transcendental energy, that He can control the infinite and the finite simultaneously and that He can remain aloof from them. Although the foolish cannot imagine how Kåñëa, who appears just like a human being, can control the infinite and the finite, those who are pure devotees accept this, for they know that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore they completely surrender unto Him and engage in Kåñëa consciousness, devotional service of the Lord.
There are many controversies amongst the impersonalists and the personalists about the Lord's appearance as a human being. But if we consult Bhagavad-gétä and Çrémad-Bhägavatam, the authoritative texts for understanding the science of Kåñëa, then we can understand that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not an ordinary man, although He appeared on this earth as an ordinary human. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, First Canto, First Chapter, when the sages inquire about the activities of Kåñëa, it is stated that His appearance as a man bewilders the foolish. No human being could perform the wonderful acts that Kåñëa performed while He was present on this earth. When Kåñëa appeared before His father and mother, Vasudeva and Devaké, He appeared with four hands, but after the prayers of the parents, He transformed Himself into an ordinary child. His appearance as an ordinary human being is one of the features of His transcendental body. In the Eleventh Chapter of the Gétä also it is stated, tenaiva rüpeëa etc. Arjuna prayed to see again that form of four hands, and when Kåñëa was thus petitioned by Arjuna, He again assumed His original form. All these different features of the Supreme Lord are certainly not those of an ordinary human being.
Some of those who deride Kåñëa, who are infected with the Mäyävädé philosophy, quote the following verse from the Çrémad-Bhägavatam
to prove that Kåñëa is just an ordinary man: ahaà sarveñu bhüteñu bhütätmävasthitaù sadä:
"The Supreme is present in every living entity." (Bhäg. 3.29.21
We should better take note of this particular verse from the Vaiñëava äcäryas
like Jéva Gosvämé instead of following the interpretation of unauthorized persons who deride Kåñëa. Jéva Gosvämé, commenting on this verse, says that Kåñëa, in His plenary expansion as Paramätmä, is situated in the moving and the nonmoving entities as the Supersoul, so any neophyte devotee who simply gives his attention to the arca-mürti,
the form of the Supreme Lord in the temple, and does not respect other living entities is uselessly worshiping the form of the Lord in the temple. There are three kinds of devotees of the Lord, and the neophyte is in the lowest stage. The neophyte devotee gives more attention to the Deity in the temple than to other devotees, so Jéva Gosvämé warns that this sort of mentality should be corrected. A devotee should see that Kåñëa is present in everyone's heart as Paramätmä; therefore every body is the embodiment or the temple of the Supreme Lord, and as such, as one offers respect to the temple of the Lord, he should similarly properly respect each and every body in whom the Paramätmä dwells. Everyone should therefore be given proper respect and should not be neglected.
There are also many impersonalists who deride temple worship. They say that since God is everywhere, why should one restrict himself to temple worship? But if God is everywhere, is He not in the temple or in the Deity? Although the personalist and the impersonalist will fight with one another perpetually, a perfect devotee in Kåñëa consciousness knows that although Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality, He is all-pervading, as is confirmed in the Brahma-saàhitä. Although His personal abode is Goloka Våndävana and He is always staying there, still, by His different manifestations of energy and by His plenary expansion, He is present everywhere in all parts of the material and spiritual creation.