Ramayana recitation was in progress. After the whole seven cantos were recited someone asked the speaker. “Can I ask you a question?”


“Whose father is Sita?”

The entire audience erupted in laughter. It is obvious that anyone hearing the story of Rama, even in a superficial way, would immediately understand that Sita is a feminine name and that she was the consort of Lord Rama.

In a similar way, not only common people, but even erudite scholars, read and analyze the Bhagavad gita and when someone asks them about the explanation of verse 66 in the eighteenth chapter, they plainly state, “It is not the personal Krsna to whom we have to give ourselves up utterly but the Unborn, Beginningless, Eternal, who speaks through Krsna.”

Outwardly, it appears that Lord Krsna is praised for being a conveyor of transcendental knowledge of the highest caliber. But actually this statement portrays envy of Krsna and gross ignorance about His personality. It is alright to claim that a particular political or business leader tried to instill spiritual values through his political or business career and hence should be glorified as such. But with respect to Lord Krsna’s divine form there is no within or without: Krsna is non different from His body.

The statement  “It is not the personal Krsna to whom we have to give ourselves up utterly but the Unborn, Beginningless, Eternal who speaks through Krsna” was made by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, a great scholar and the former Vice President of India. Srila Prabhupada made a very interesting observation regarding taking this issue against such a renowned personality. He puts it plainly:

“We have not the slightest intention of confronting a world famous philosopher like Dr. Radhakrishnan with arguments, yet on the brahmacari’s repeated request we have to scrutinize the text and point out the discrepancies. We have great respect for Dr. Radhakrishnan, not only because he is the vice president of our country but also because of his scholarship and his position as an erudite master of Hindu philosophy. Furthermore, he is faithful to the brahminical tradition he hails from and is a follower of the Mayavada school. Going by the oft quoted dictum that it is better to have a learned enemy than a foolish friend, I feel encouraged in this matter. An intelligent opponent will present reasonable rebuttals, but an ignorant friend may bring about disaster with his floundering. Therefore we feel no compunction about strongly arguing against the points Dr. Radhakrishnan makes in his Bhagavad gita commentary.”

In complete contrast to this conclusion is the statement made by an illiterate brahmana from South India. During Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s South India tour, He visited the temple of Lord Ranganatha in Srirangam. He noticed one brahmana daily poring over the text of the Bhagavad gita. Sometimes he even showed deep emotions. Therefore Lord Caitanya asked him about the reason for being so emotional. The poor fellow replied that he was just trying to obey the orders of his spiritual master. He was ordered to read the Gita everyday even though he was not able to properly read it. Lord Caitanya was very happy to see his determination. But then He asked that if the brahmana cannot understand the text then how emotions can affect him. The brahmana replied that as soon as he sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, acting as a menial servant of His devotee, Arjuna, he cannot check his tears and he is simply swayed by a wave of ecstatic emotions. Immediately, Lord Caitanya embraced this illiterate brahmana and proclaimed him to be the real authority in understanding the Bhagavad gita.  (Syamananda Dasa)