Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
çré bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Lord said; mayi—unto Me; äsakta-manäù—mind attached; pärtha—O son of Påthä; yogam—self-realization; yuïjan—so practicing; mat-äçrayaù—in consciousness of Me (Kåñëa consciousness); asaàçayam—without doubt; samagram—completely; mäm—unto Me; yathä—as much as; jïäsyasi—you can know; tat—that; çåëu—try to hear.
Now hear, O son of Påthä [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.
In this Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä, the nature of Kåñëa consciousness is fully described. Kåñëa is full in all opulences, and how He manifests such opulences is described herein. Also, four kinds of fortunate people who become attached to Kåñëa, and four kinds of unfortunate people who never take to Kåñëa are described in this chapter.
In the first six chapters of Bhagavad-gétä, the living entity has been described as nonmaterial spirit soul which is capable of elevating himself to self-realization by different types of yogas. At the end of the Sixth Chapter, it has been clearly stated that the steady concentration of the mind upon Kåñëa, or in other words Kåñëa consciousness, is the highest form of all yoga. By concentrating one's mind upon Kåñëa, one is able to know the Absolute Truth completely, but not otherwise. Impersonal brahmajyoti or localized Paramätmä realization is not perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth because it is partial. Full and scientific knowledge is Kåñëa, and everything is revealed to the person in Kåñëa consciousness. In complete Kåñëa consciousness one knows that Kåñëa is ultimate knowledge beyond any doubts. Different types of yoga are only steppingstones on the path of Kåñëa consciousness. One who takes directly to Kåñëa consciousness automatically knows about brahmajyoti and Paramätmä in full. By practice of Kåñëa consciousness yoga, one can know everything in full—namely the Absolute Truth, the living entities, the material nature, and their manifestations with paraphernalia.
One should therefore begin yoga practice as directed in the last verse of the Sixth Chapter. Concentration of the mind upon Kåñëa the Supreme is made possible by prescribed devotional service in nine different forms, of which çravaëam is the first and most important. The Lord therefore says to Arjuna, "tat çåëu," or "Hear from Me." No one can be a greater authority than Kåñëa, and therefore by hearing from Him one receives the greatest opportunity for progress in Kåñëa consciousness. One has therefore to learn from Kåñëa directly or from a pure devotee of Kåñëa—and not from a nondevotee upstart, puffed up with academic education.
In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam this process of understanding Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is described in the Second Chapter of the First Canto as follows:
çåëvatäà sva-kathäà kåñëaù puëya-çravaëa-kértanaù
hådyantaùstho hy abhadräëi vidbunoti suhåt satäm.
nañöa-präyeñv abhadreñu nityaà bhägavata-sevayä
bhagavaty uttama-çloke bhaktir bhavati naiñöhiké.
tadä rajas-tamo-bhäväù käma-lobhadayaç ca ye
ceta etair anäviddhaà sthitaà sattve prasédati.
evam prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti-yogataù
bhagavat-tattva-vijïänaà mukta-saìgasya jäyate.
bhidyate hådaya-granthiç chidyante sarva-saàçayäù
kñéyante cäsya karmäëi dåñöa evätmanéçvare.
"To hear about Kåñëa from Vedic literatures, or to hear from Him directly through the Bhagavad-gétä,
is itself righteous activity. And for one who hears about Kåñëa, Lord Kåñëa, who is dwelling in everyone's heart, acts as a best-wishing friend and purifies the devotee who constantly engages in hearing of Him. In this way, a devotee naturally develops his dormant transcendental knowledge. As he hears more about Kåñëa from the Bhägavatam
and from the devotees, he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. By development of devotional service one becomes freed from the modes of passion and ignorance, and thus material lusts and avarice are diminished. When these impurities are wiped away, the candidate remains steady in his position of pure goodness, becomes enlivened by devotional service and understands the science of God perfectly. Thus bhakti-yoga
severs the hard knot of material affection and enables one to come at once to the stage of 'asaàçayaà samagram,'
understanding of the Supreme Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead." (Bhäg. 1.2.17
Therefore only by hearing from Kåñëa or from His devotee in Kåñëa consciousness can one understand the science of Kåñëa.