You won't find the answers in today's educational institutions.

arjuna uvaca
prakrtim purusam caiva
viddhy anadi ubhav api
vikarams ca gunams caiva
viddhi prakrti-sambhavan

"Arjuna said: O my dear Krsna, I wish to know about prakrti[nature], purusa [the enjoyer], and the field and the knower of the field, and of knowledge and the object of knowledge." (Bhagavad-gita 13.1)

Srila Prabhupada

Arjuna wanted Krsna to answer six questions: What is prakrti,this material nature? Who is the purusa, the enjoyer of material nature? What is the ksetrathe field of activities? Who is theksetrajnathe one who is enjoying or acting on the field? And what is jnana, knowledge, and jneya, the object of knowledge?

So, Krsna replied, idam sariram kaunteya ksetram ity abhidhiyate"This body is the ksetra, the field of activities," andetad yo vetti tam prahuh ksetra-jnah iti tad-vidah: "The ksetra-jna is the one who knows this body." The first purpose of theBhagavad-gita is to teach us that we are not the body but the knower of the body. Generally everyone thinks, "I am this body." But that is not a fact. One should know, "I am not this body but rather the knower of the body."

For example, I am sitting on this seat. I am not this seat: I am the person sitting on this seat. Similarly, when somebody asks me what I am, if I identify myself as something having to do with this body, that is foolishness. In the sastra [scripture] it is said, yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke sva-dhih kalatradisu bhauma ijya-dhih yat-tirtha-buddhih salile na karhicij janesv abhijnesu sa eva go-kharah. Go means "cow," and kharah means "ass." So the person who identifies his body as his self is like a cow or an ass.

According to the Ayur-veda, the body is a bag of three elements: mucus, bile, and air. Or, we can easily understand that this body is made of flesh, bone, blood, urine, stool, and so on. If you analyze the body, you'll find that these are its ingredients. But only one who is ignorant would say that these ingredients are his self.

So, in spiritual life one must first understand fully, "I am not this flesh, blood, urine, and other things in this body. I am separate from them. I am a spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord." That is real knowledge.

All over the world education is being given to students, but this knowledge is absent from the educational institutions. Therefore everyone is identifying the body as the self and identifying things in relationship with the body as "mine." As the sastra says, sva-dhih kalatradisu bhauma-ijya-dhih: "Foolish men think that their wives and other relatives are theirs and that the land of their birth is worshipable."

At the present moment, throughout the whole world everyone is identifying himself with his body and worshiping the land in which his body was born. And persons in relationship with the body are thought to be kinsmen. But according to the sastra, anyone who thinks in this way is like an ass or a cow. Therefore, according to the Vedic literature, the present society is a civilization of cows and asses. In other words, it is an animalistic civilization.

No one can be happy in a society of animals. In the jungle there is always a struggle for existence, fighting between one animal and another. Still, compared to human society the jungle is peaceful. At present, throughout the whole world we have become less than the animals because people do not know who they are or what is the ultimate goal of their life. People do not know these things. Therefore to dispel this ignorance Arjuna inquires, "What is the field of activities and the knower of the field? What is knowledge, and what is the object of knowledge?"

So, first Krsna replies that this body (ksetrais our field of activities. There are different types of body-8,400,000 forms-which nature supplies according to our desire. And how does nature supply these forms? Krsna explains this in another place in the Bhagavad-gita [9.10]: mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram."Under My supervision, nature produces the bodies of all moving and nonmoving living entities."

The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart (isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati). Lord Krsna is situated both outside and inside everyone. We simply need to make our eyes perfect in order to see Him. Krsna is not impossible to see. He can be seen-but only by one who has the proper eyes to see Him. As the Brahma-samhita [5.38] says, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti / yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam: "Those who have developed Krsna consciousness, love of Godhead, can see the beautiful Supreme Personality of Godhead within their hearts."

Now, in the Brahma-samhita Krsna is described as acintya-guna-svarupam, "the reservoir of all inconceivable, transcendental qualities." We cannot conceive of Krsna's qualities. For example, in the Bhagavad-gita Krsna says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati tad aham bhakty-upahrtam asnami: "If one offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion, I will eat it." How is Krsna eating? That we cannot see. But He is eating. Therefore His qualities are acintya, inconceivable.

Our conception of eating is that we can eat through the mouth. Whatever eatables are offered to us, we pick them up and put them into our mouth. This is our process of eating. But because Krsna is acintya, inconceivable, His eating process is different from ours. As stated elsewhere in the Brahma-samhita, angani yasya sakalendriya-vrtti-manti. "Every limb of His body can work as any other limb." With our eyes we can see; if we close our eyes we cannot see. But even if Krsna closes His eyes, He can see everything with His hand. Now, this is inconceivable.

So, we offer the food to Krsna, and He eats it by seeing it. He can eat through His eyes, just as we can eat through our mouth. Then you may argue, "If He has eaten the food, why is it lying as it was offered in the beginning?" That is answered in the Isopanisad[Invocation]: purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate"If the complete whole is taken from the complete whole, still the complete whole remains." In other words, Krsna can take the whole plate of food, but still the whole plate remains. That is His inconceivable, transcendental quality.

Krsna consciousness is a great science, a spiritual science. Unfortunately, we have no educational system to understand this spiritual science. Especially in this age, everything is godlessness. Therefore people are not happy. The purpose of this Krsna consciousness movement is to make people happy by teaching them how to become Krsna conscious. That is our mission.

Similarly, that is the mission of all devotees, such as Arjuna. Arjuna is Krsna's personal friend; he always lives with Krsna. There cannot be any ignorance on the part of Arjuna. But still he asks questions just for our benefit. And Krsna answers his questions.

Why should Krsna's answers be taken so seriously? Because He is the supreme authority, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we receive knowledge from the supreme authority, then it is perfect knowledge. Suppose you get some knowledge from your superior, one who is more educated than you, more experienced. Then you accept that knowledge as authoritative. In this material world there may be somebody who is authoritative, but he cannot be the ultimate authority. The ultimate authority is Krsna (isvarah paramah krsnah).

So, if we receive knowledge from the ultimate authority, our knowledge is perfect. And if we receive secondhand knowledge from the ultimate authority, that is also good. "Secondhand knowledge" is knowledge from one who has received knowledge from Krsna and who repeats what he has received. That knowledge is also perfect. But one who speculates "It may be like that, it may be like this" that knowledge is imperfect.

In the modern world all knowledge is speculative, hypothetical. There is no perfect knowledge. So if you want to be in perfect knowledge, you have to take knowledge from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. And Krsna is delivering that knowledge in the form of Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna is asking questions so that people may receive perfect knowledge from Krsna and thus perfect their lives.

Now, Arjuna asked Krsna, "What is jnana knowledge?" And Krsna answered, "To know the body and the owner of the body that is knowledge." In the ordinary sense, if you understand that this is a house and that the proprietor of the house is such-and-such gentleman, then your knowledge is perfect. Similarly, if we understand what this body is and who the proprietor of this body is, then our knowledge is perfect.

Krsna says that one proprietor of this body is the soul, but that there is another proprietor. For example, there is an occupier of a house and also an owner. There are so many tenants in every apartment house in Bombay, but there is also a proprietor of each house. Similarly, in this body we are not actually the proprietor: we are simply the occupier.

Suppose I give you my motorcar to use. You are not the proprietor: you are the occupier, or driver. The owner is different. Similarly, Krsna says, ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi: "Indirectly I am the proprietor of the body." That is why Krsna's name is Hrsikesa. Hrsika means "senses," and isa means "controller." This body is made of senses, and the actual proprietor of the senses is Krsna, Hrsikesa.

We are given our senses to use. For example, we are using our hand. But if the hand is paralyzed for some reason or other, we cannot repair it. This is not possible. Because the proprietor has withdrawn the power of the hand to act, it is no longer workable, although I may claim that it is my hand. Actually, it is not my hand; it is Krsna's hand. That is knowledge. As long as we are thinking "I am this body" or "This is my body," we are not in perfect knowledge. When you understand that your body is actually Krsna's body, then you are in perfect knowledge.

It is not that Krsna is the proprietor of only the human bodies. There are 8,400,000 different types of body, and Krsna is the proprietor of every one of them. That is also explained in the Fourteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita [14.4]: sarva-yonisu kaunteya . . . aham bija-pradah pita "I am the seed-giving father in all species of life." The father gives the seed, and the mother gives the body. Similarly, Krsna, the supreme father, has given the seed of every living being, and material nature has supplied the body.

So, Krsna has given us this body through the agency of material nature. This body is just like a machine (yantrarudhani mayaya).We are seated in this machine, and we are traveling under the influence of maya, Krsna's illusory energy. We are wandering throughout the whole creation. Sometimes we are getting a human body, sometimes the body of a demigod, sometimes the body of a rich man, sometimes the body of a poor man, sometimes the body of a cat, sometimes a dog, sometimes a tree, a plant, or an aquatic. This is our position.

Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [2.13], dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara/ tatha dehantara-praptih: "Aswe are changing our body at every moment from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth, and from youth to old age we similarly get another body at death." But we do not know that we are going to get another body in our next life. We think that this body is all in all that there is no rebirth.

Therefore the knowledge contained in Bhagavad-gita is required how we have gotten this body, and how we can get a better body in our next life. This is real knowledge, not the knowledge of how to eat, how to sleep, and how to have sex. That knowledge is there in the animals (ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca). Where to find one's food, where to sleep, how to have sex, how to defend oneself these things animals also know. So if we devote our time only to these four principles of bodily want, then we are no better than the cats and dogs.

Real knowledge begins when I know what I am, what this body is, and why I am suffering. We should ask, "I want to Supreme Authority happy; so why am I always afflicted with so many kinds of suffering?" This is the genuine question. But people have become so foolish that they do not inquire into how to make a solution to their suffering, how to solve the problems of life. They are blind, and they are being led by blind men (andha yathandhair upaniyamanah).

People hope that by making some arrangement in this material world, they will be happy. But that is not possible. The people in Europe and America have made sufficient material arrangements for living very happily, but they are still disappointed, confused.

So, materially you cannot be happy. You must first have full knowledge of what you are, what your body is, and who the supreme controller of both is. Then you'll be happy; then your life is successful. But if you live like the cats and dogs, trying to adjust things like the cats and dogs, you will waste your life. Therefore kindly try to understand the Bhagavad-gita, which is full of knowledge given by the perfect source, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

There is no deficiency in knowledge given by the Supreme Lord. In knowledge received from imperfect persons, there must be deficiencies because all imperfect persons are subject to four defects: their senses are imperfect, they make mistakes, they become illusioned, and they have a tendency to cheat. From people with so many defects you cannot get perfect knowledge. You have to receive knowledge from the perfect person the Supreme Lord or His bona fide representative. Then your life will be successful.

Therefore Arjuna is putting so many questions to Krsna in the Thirteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita. Especially in this chapter Krsna answers the questions What is this body? and Who is the knower of the body? In the third verse Krsna says, ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi: I am also the knower of each body." The Mayavada [impersonalistic] philosophers say that there is only one spirit within the body. No, there are two the individual soul and Krsna.

The individual living soul is the occupier of his body, but Krsna is the proprietor. And Krsna has an interest in every body. He is like a landlord. A landlord has many houses. Suppose I occupy one of his houses. Then I will have an interest in that particular house. But the landlord has an interest in all his houses. Similarly, Krsna has an interest not only in my body or your body but in each and every body in every species of life (sarva yonisu). These things are to be understood very clearly.

Krsna is related not only with the human society but also with the animal society, the dog society, the cat society, the demigod society, the aquatic society, the tree society, the plant society, the insect society. Everywhere Krsna is present as the Paramatma, the Supersoul.

So this subject matter is very interesting. Of course, theBhagavad-gita is the ABC's of spiritual knowledge. Unfortunately, people are neglecting even the ABC's. So it is our duty to propagate the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita. We are doing our best, and we wish that everyone, especially Indians, should cooperate with this movement.

Thank you very much.