Gita 09.11 explained

Link to purport by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

Transcript of Bhakti-Shastri class on this verse by Chaitanya Charan

Bg 9.11

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
mama bhūta-maheśvaram

Word for word: 

avajānanti — deride; mām — Me; mūḍhāḥ — foolish men; mānuṣīm — in a human form; tanum — a body;āśritam — assuming; param — transcendental; bhāvam — nature; ajānantaḥ — not knowing; mama — My; bhūta— of everything that be; mahāīśvaram — the supreme proprietor.


Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.


Chapter 9 overview 

1-3: Developing kevalabhakti by knowledge about Krishna

4-10: Krishna’s inconceivable relationship with the material world

11-19: Those who understand Krishna in various ways

11-12: Impersonalists mistake Krishna’s body to be material

13-14: Kevalabhaktas

15: 3 types –ahangrahopasana, pratikopasana, vishvarupa-upasana

.16-19: vishvarupa-upasana

20-28: Kevalabhakti is far superior to demigod worship

29-34: Kevalabhakti elevates even the most fallen;

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā, the foolish people cannot understand Me. Srila Prabhupada translated avajānanti as deride so they deride Me what they deride mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam, they think actually He is descended in human form, so here the implication of mānuṣīṁ tanum is He has descended in form that is just like ours, so they says Krishna’s form is just like our form it is like human form, it is a material form, and they won’t understand paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto, they do not understand the paraṁ bhāva the transcendental nature what is the transcendental nature? mama bhūta-maheśvaram, that I am Lord of all existence, Bhuta,  maheśvaram, the word Mahesh is sometimes used for Lord Shiva but actually it is generic name Isha is controller and Maha is great so Mahesha is great controller, so maheśvaram is great controller, so Krishna is saying mama bhūta-maheśvaram, He is great controller of all the existence.

So this is very important verse, if look at the context of the previous verse was saying mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ, it is under my ādhyakṣhta the Prakriti is working and Sri Krishna is telling same thing as mama bhūta-maheśvaram, I am the Ishwara of all the existence.

Now the words here has specific and significant meanings let us look at them one by one 

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā

  1. Gyani–Knowledge -> Liberation (4.9), when we know Krishna properly that knowledge will lead to liberation this is talked about in famous verse BG 4.9, janma karma ca me divyam
                                    evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
                                    tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
                                    naiti mām eti so ’rjuna

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.


Knowledge leads to liberation.


  1. ajānanti: Ignorant. Opposite of jānanti is Ajananti, those who do not know about Krishna that is ignorance, now in one sense ignorance about Krishna is bad but actually misunderstanding or wrong understanding is worse than ignorance.


  1. avajānanti: Misunderstanding, avajānanti is to know opposite of what is right.

So we see that when Srila Prabhupada was sharing about Krishna in India most people thought that they know about Krishna and either they have conception of Krishna as cultural historical figure may be He gave some message but that is not very relevant in our modern progressive times.

Or impersonalist says that Krishna is a symbol of absolute truth, we have to go beyond Krishna to the unborn Krishna so this is avajānanti.

So Srila Prabhupada went to the west there people were ajānanti, there people know nothing about Krishna and we saw that they took up Krishna consciousness more easily so both are obstacles like ignorance and misunderstanding but often misunderstanding can be greater obstacle especially in terms of conceptual barriers it creates as first I have to erase the mental slate of what I know and then write fresh on it which requires more effort so of course in India the advantage is conceptually there is misunderstanding but culturally there was agreement people know about Krishna, people know about deity worship people know about Krishna’s pastimes and if they wanted to devote themselves to Krishna it is relatively easier for them so in west conceptually also it is difficult but because it was not having any misconceptions so they accepted what Prabhupada taught although culturally it was difficult because there culture was so radically tamasik at that time.

So this avajānanti leads to continued material existence and increased bondage so because of misunderstanding we can commit offences and these offences leads to suffering.

mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam – people who think that Krishna’s body is human 

paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto – So Krishna has used here ajānanto and avajānanti, what is the significance of that actually they misunderstand Me avajānanti māṁ, and ajānanto paraṁ bhāvam and they do not know that the transcendental nature, what is the transcendental nature? That actually God can be a person that absolute truth can have a form and still will be unlimited. How is that possible? That is the inconceivable power of God. He can have a form that fits in the lap of mother Yashoda but when He open the mouth within that whole universe can be seen. This is paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto, they do not know my transcendental nature so the problem with the impersonalist is they extrapolate from their limited material existence, they think matter means limitation, imperfection entanglement and they extrapolate that must apply to everything this is true for everything material but they equate material with form they think the form cause entanglement, the form cause bondage the form is limited therefore everything with form must be limited, so everything with matter is limited that is true but everything with form need not be limited as the spirit has the potential to be unlimited. 

Now Srila Prabhupada quoted twice from Brahma Samhita in the purport, īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ and Sat-chit-ananda so the emphasis is on Krishna has form, also SP has quoted from (Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad,  Sac-cid-ānanda-rūpāya kṛṣṇāya, So Krishna has a form which is sat-Cid-Ananda, rupaya it is a very explicit word no doubt about it.

Again from Gopal Tapani Upanishad: Tam ekaṁ govindam: “You are Govinda, the pleasure of the senses and the cows.” Sac-cid-ānanda-vigraham: “And Your form is transcendental, full of knowledge, bliss and eternality.”

There is no one like you and you are sat-cid-ananda vigraha, 

Gopal Tapani Upanishad is one of 100 upanishad it glorifies Lord Gopal and establishes his divinity and supremacy.


SP Purport: They do not know that Kṛṣṇa’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.


Impersonalist has a conception that knowledge and bliss is impersonal but actually these are manifested in concentrated personal form e.g. a cream on cake is generally defused but sometimes in birthday cake they make a toy out of cream so that entire toy is cream only. So in same way Absolute Truth is defused as brahman everywhere but the same Absolute Truth is concentrated in His Sat-Cid-Ananda form which is a personal form. So what impersonalist think that bliss and knowledge has to be defused it is concentrated also. So as a toy can be made of cream similarly Krishna body is fully transcendental Sat-Cid-Ananda.


SP Purport: 

First Chapter, when the sages headed by Śaunaka inquired about the activities of Kṛṣṇa, they said:

kṛtavān kila karmāṇi
saha rāmeṇa keśavaḥ
ati-martyāni bhagavān
gūḍhaḥ kapaṭa-māṇuṣaḥ

“Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with Balarāma, played like a human being, and so masked He performed many superhuman acts.”

So kṛtavān kila karmāṇi, kila karmāṇi, performed amazing activities, saha rāmeṇa keśavaḥ, So Rama refers here to Balram Ji and Keshava, is Lord Krishna, so along with Balram Ji, Keshava performed many pastimes, ati-martyāni bhagavān, so Bhagavan is Supreme Lord, all attractive supreme person, ati-martyāni, He is situated beyond one who are destined for death, from all living beings but how does He do His activities? gūḍhaḥ kapaṭa-māṇuṣaḥ, Gudhah, it was confidential, it was secret. It appears as He was concealing, He was deluding, He is bewildering.

SP Purport: SB 10.3.46 babhūva prākṛtaḥ śiśuḥ: He became just like an ordinary child, an ordinary human being, so babhūva means became prākṛtaḥ śiśuḥ, that absolute truth, who are manifested as four handed Vishnu, in the chamber in front of Devaki and Nanda Maharaj He became like an ordinary child prākṛtaḥ śiśuḥ.

SP Purport: In the Eleventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated that Arjuna prayed to see Kṛṣṇa’s form of four hands (tenaiva rūpeṇa catur-bhujena).

He manifested Chatur Bhuja rupam. Virat Rupa then Chatur Bhuj Rupa and then after that mānuṣaṁ rūpam, He manifested human like form.

So what is the problem in mānuṣaṁ rūpam? The problem is avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā, mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam when we take shelter of someone that something is different from us.

So generally that which gives shelter and take shelter are different e.g. rich-poor, strong-weak, tree-man, so the idea is absolute truth which is impersonal He is talking shelter of a human like material form that is the notion of the impersonalists but here Krishna is telling and BG is telling this is the form He eternally have He doesn’t take shelter of this form. So he is not taken Ashraya of this form but this is his eternal sat-cid-ananda form, sat-cid-ananda rupaya, Krishna rupaya from Gopal Tapani Upanishad.

SP Purport: Ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmāvasthitaḥ sadā: “The Supreme is present in every living entity.”

So we should respect all living entities not only Deity in the temple that is Kanishta platform, the context of this verse is not to say that AT (absolute Truth) is defused in the heart of all living beings. 

So SP took avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā in two ways here one is they deride personal form of Lord and they deride deity which is also an object of worship.

End of transcription.

Author: Vallabhi

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