çraddhäväl labhate jïänaà

tat-paraù saàyatendriyaù

jïänaà labdhvä paräà çäntim


[BG 4.39]


Translation :

A faithful man who is absorbed in transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses is eligible to achieve such knowledge, and having achieved it he quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.


Purport :

Such knowledge in Krishna consciousness can be achieved by a faithful person who believes firmly in Krishna. One is called a faithful man who thinks that simply by acting in Krishna consciousness he can attain the highest perfection. This faith is attained by the discharge of devotional service, and by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare, which cleanses one’s heart of all material dirt. Over and above this, one should control the senses. A person who is faithful to Krishna and who controls the senses can easily attain perfection in the knowledge of Krishna consciousness without delay.


Translation :

But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not obtain God Consciousness. For the doubting souls there is happiness neither in this world, nor in the next.


Doubt Is A Demon :

In these 2 slokas from the Bhagavad Gita , Bhagwan Shri Krishna is describing the simple method of achieving peace and happiness. To cultivate faith. Krishna tells us that faithful man who is absorbed in transcendental knowledge, who subdues his senses quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace, but ignorant and faithless persons, who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world, nor in the next. In the scripture, doubt is compared to a great demon because it is doubt that separates us from God. In fact, Arjuna, in the Gita, he was suffering so much because of doubt. We read how tears were flowing from his eyes; his hair was standing on end; his complexion turned pale white, his mouth became dry, his limbs were trembling. He who was so powerful, who could conquer even the greatest gods with his mighty Gandiva bow, he became so weakened due to doubt that he dropped even that, uncontrollably. In this condition, he approached Krishna and he called upon Krishna as Madhusudana.

Madhu was an asura. He appeared before the beginning of the creation. It is described that when Lord Brahma was creating this universe, he also had created the Vedas. The Vedas – tene brahma hådä ya ädi-kavaye muhyanti yat sürayaù [SB 1.1.1], that the Vedas were heard through the heart of Brahma and that sound vibration was stolen by the demon Madhu. So seeing this great condition of calamity, not only for himself, but for all others. Because, the greatest thing Lord Brahma has given to this universe is Vedic knowledge.


Purpose Of Creation :

He created the earth, he created the heavens and the hell and all species of life, but those are just places of residence by which we have to suffer the repetition of birth and death. Ultimately the whole purpose of this material creation is to learn how to purify our consciousness, develop love of God and never have to take birth again in this material world.

ä-brahma-bhuvanäl lokäù

punar ävartino ‘rjuna

mäm upetya tu kaunteya

punar janma na vidyate

[BG 8.16]

Krishna says from the highest planet in this material world, where the greatest pleasures are awarded, down to lowest, they are all ultimately places of misery. Because you have to die and at that time everything is taken away. But Krishna says, one who liberates himself from the bondage of material attachment and attains my abode, attains eternal peace. So this material world has been created specially to give facility for those who have misused their independence and want to enjoy separate from God, the opportunity to do so. But ultimately, the greatest gift of Lord Brahma is knowledge, Veda. Because this knowledge is the key that can liberate us from the cycle of birth and death and bring us back to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, in the kingdom of God, the spiritual world. And without knowledge, without Veda we simply live in doubt.


Darkness Brings Fear :

Doubt is compared to darkness. And because of darkness, there is fear and when there is fear there cannot be peace. Why is it that people are afraid to be out at night? Because they do not know what is before them, what is behind them, who is around them – it’s dark, it’s fearful. Because of it’s darkness we are in a complete state of doubt; where we are going, where we are coming from. Darkness and doubt are synonymous and light and knowledge are synonymous.

Light means to know, to see, to understand what is. Srila Prabhupada used to say that one definition of acharya, is one who knows what is what. One who knows the truth, one who is in light. And knowledge creates faith and where there is faith, there can be no distress, no unhappiness. Even if the most terrible apparent circumstance comes in your life, if you have faith you will welcome it with a grateful ecstatic heart. But we are not talking about blind faith, we are talking about faith based on truth. So Lord Brahma created a world which is essentially dark. Everything in this planet that we are living in is essentially dark. If it wasn’t for the sun, an outside force, we would be in total darkness. Our bodies simply emanate darkness. The earth itself emanates darkness. When the sun goes down, what do we have? Darkness. This is material world.

So Brahma created this, just like the chief of state creates a prison house – to reform us. But the greatest gift, the greatest benediction that Krishna empowered Brahma to grant all of his children is the Vedas – knowledge, by which we can come out of doubt, we can become fearless and we can understand the real goal of life.


Asuras Control By Fear And Doubt :

And the asuras, they hate light. They cannot tolerate knowledge. They love fear and they want to keep every one in fear, so that they can control them. How did Hiranyakashipu controlled? Out of fear …that if you do not obey me, you die. I torture you. So many of the demoniac leaders of the world throughout history, they control people out of fear. They keep them in darkness. They don’t want them to hear the truth, because then everything is spoiled. And that is why we find throughout every religious tradition, wherever there is someone, purely and truly preaching the truth, they are persecuted because people in darkness, they cannot tolerate light of truth. It spoils all their plans for sense gratification. And the leaders hate this the most, because if this truth is understood by the masses no one will be afraid of them – they will have no power or control.


Lord Hayagriva :

So here we find this demon Madhu. Like an owl or like a bat they loved the night. They loved dark places. And they run away from the light – it’s painful for them. So similarly, from the very beginning of creation, this asura tried to destroy all facility for all humanity to understand the truth; so he stole Vedas. And at that time the Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnated in a beautiful, beautiful, magnificent incarnation of the name Hayagriva. He came with the face of a horse and he slayed the demon Madhu and restored the Vedas; and gave the foundation again to the world by which they can build faith.


Because Of Doubt You Question “God” / Scriptures :

Now within the Vedas we find when God appears, he appears in so many wonderful ways which are very much difficult for us to comprehend. And sometimes we become doubtful. This is the power of maya. The scripture is the word of God. By understanding the scripture, you can be delivered from all nescience. So the power of nescience or illusion – maya – her greatest weapon is doubt. When you doubt what is truth, then you really don’t have the determination to maintain true morality and follow the path of the goal of life. Therefore, doubt is the worst enemy. And we find that Krishna is here explaining that for the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor the next. When we read the scriptures, when we hear about the wonderful, wonderful pastimes of the Lord, sometimes our heart is filled with doubt. How is it that Hayagriva appeared. God appears with the head of a horse?

In the old testament, how is it possible that Moses under power of God, parted the Red sea and all the children of Israel were able to walk across it? Is that possible? Even many of the Jews and Christians, they give so many scientific explanations, that actually, we have archaeological evidence, that one time the tide became so low that they were able to do it and in this way we could justify that what it says in the Bible is true. They have to have some material explanation for the power of God.

And in the Quran we find, how when Haran and Ishmail, when they were walking through the desert, this is the forefathers of Mohammed and all the Arabs, they were starving of thirst and all of a sudden out of the desert, by the arrangement of God, a fresh water spring just came out to nourish them – just when they were about to die. How is that possible?

What to speak of in the Gita Krishna’s manifesting the universal form? He is manifesting a form in which all living beings are being devoured by His flaming mouths. This coming Thursday we are celebrating Govardhan puja, the day Krishna lifted the Govardhan hill with the little finger of his left hand, when he was only 7 years old.


Acintya Shakti :

Are these things possible? For God anything is possible. To have faith in achintya shakti, the inconceivable power of God, the unlimited nature of God’s opulence, that is the beginning of real spiritual knowledge. Even in this material world ordinary human beings can do so many things that seem unimaginable.


Ordinary Magicians :

  1. Mystic yogis, magicians. There are magicians – I have heard, when I was on an air plane, once coming to India they showed a video of this famous magician. And he had about 5,000 people standing at the Hudson Bay or whatever it is, where the Statue of Liberty is. And right before everybody’s eyes he actually made the Statue of Liberty disappear and they were standing only a 100 meters away, and Statue of Liberty is a huge statue; so many storeys high. But he just waived his hand, and it just disappeared. And even from air planes, it couldn’t be seen, and helicopters and they couldn’t figure out how he did it. And everybody was afraid it was gone, they were struck with wonder. And then he waived his hand again, and it appeared. It’s just an ordinary magician. What to speak of magicians who have mystic powers.
  2. There’s a story, Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur tells. One beautiful story to explain the power of the illusory energy of God, and the power of God’s mystical potencies. And there he explains how once, a king and a queen, they invited a magician and his family to perform for them. It was a celebration day and they wanted to enjoy nice fun. So, the magician and his family performed so many supernatural tricks, that the king and all of his royal court were so happy to see this. They were just laughing and struck with wonder and in the end they were just so so happy that the queen wanted to give a gift, so she took off her own golden necklace with jewels on it and gave it to magician’s wife. And upon receiving this they were very grateful. But the children, she had two sons, they were two sons, husband and wife. They said, ‘Mother please let us play with this nice necklace’. And she said, ‘No, no’. They said, ‘Please! Please’. They were begging, pleading. So finally she gave it to one of them, and they started playing and they were having nice time and the way children are, after playing for a few minutes one of them wanted it for himself. The other said, well if you want it for yourself, I want it for myself. And they started fighting over it. And they were fighting and they began screaming and yelling at each other and they became so angry, that they both drew swords and simultaneously cut each other’s heads off. The heads fell to the ground. Meanwhile, the wife when she saw, my God! My two children are dead and it’s all my fault, because I gave them that golden necklace. She picked up one of the swords and cut her own head off. And the magician, when the magician’s wife, after she was dead, the magician said, look my wife and my children, they are dead; what is the use of me living. So he took the sword and cut off his head. So the magician’s whole family was laying there dead. Blood all over the court of the royal throne. And the king and the queen and all of their ministers, they were shocked, they were horrified – how inauspicious!! So they had their servants pick up the bodies, put them in river and wash the floors and that night they couldn’t even sleep; they were having terrible dreams, rolling. What an inauspicious, horrible thing has happened in our kingdom today. They couldn’t get it off their minds, they were suffering very bad.  And then the next day a messenger came with a note and it said, ‘By the way, I am that magician and I want to thank you, for the nice gift that you gave me for the first performance. But, did you not liked the second performance, where we all killed ourselves, because you gave us no gift for that. If you care to give me a gift for that, you come to my house – this is my address.’ Then the king and the queen, they took a royal entourage. They were very happy – may be they are still alive; can this be true? They brought all gifts, they came to the house and there was the man, his wife, his two children, smiling, greeting the king, holding the necklace saying ‘O you are so kind, thank you very much’.These are just ordinary human beings that can do things like this, with a little bit of mystic power. And even just a few decades ago, here in India there was a very great, famous magician. He was from Calcutta. His name was P.C. Sarkar. And he was very well known. So one time he was performing and he invited all the big big people of Calcutta. And this is time when India was under British rule. He invited the governor, the vice-governor. He invited the royal family of Britain, that happened to be in Calcutta at the time and all the big political dignitaries. And he said, I will perform a wonderful magical show for you 4 o’clock sharp. So they came, and of course the British, they were very conscientious of the time. In America, there are some people joke about India, calling it Indian Standard Time which means if you say 4:00, it means 6:30. But for the British, it was not like that. If you invite them at 4, you better be ready at 4. So they were there at 4 o’clock. P.C. Sarkar didn’t come. Soon it was 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, they were looking at their watches, they were becoming angry. By 5 o’clock they were thinking we are going to kill this man, we are going to imprison him, he is insulting the dignity of the royal family and the whole hierarchy of our empire by this insult. So just after 5, he walked in very casually chewing pan and he said, ‘So, I am glad you are all here’.

And they were yelling, screaming, ‘You rascal! You non-sense! You offender! You blasphemer!’.

He said, ‘What’s wrong, why are you yelling at me?’.

‘Because you are an hour late’.

Hour late? He looked at his clock. He said, ‘I am right on time, it’s 4 o’clock. Look at your watches.’

They all looked at their watches, and it was 4 o’clock!! This was in the newspapers. He was just an ordinary man.


If Mere Mortals Can Do Such Things, What’s Impossible for God :

If God can empower just a little man to do things like this, what is it that God cannot do? Therefore, when we read the scriptures, and we read about how Krishna, when he was just a little baby on the lap of Mother Yashoda, opened his mouth and showed that within his mouth contained the entire universe. Now, your child cannot do that. When you look in the mouth of your child you just see saliva, but when you see in Krishna’s mouth, you can see the entire creation. Why should we doubt? Is there anything God cannot do? If you could float all these planets, keep them in orbit since time immemorial for billions and billions of years, then you could also lift Govardhan hill with the little finger of your left hand. He could also marry 16,108 wives and live with all of them simultaneously. You could also reveal the universal form, but if you cannot then don’t think you are God. And don’t think you ever could be God because God is always God. God never forgets that he is God. If He did, forgetfulness will be greater than God, so we should worship forgetfulness as the Supreme. We are infinitesimal parts of Krishna. We are anu, which means we are little portions of Krishna, but he is vibhu. He is the infinite complete whole – the cause of all causes, sarva karana karanam.

bahünäà janmanäm ante

jïänavän mäà prapadyate

väsudevaù sarvam iti

sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù

[BG 7.19]

Krishna tells us that when you really come to the platform of true knowledge, you will understand that, I am the cause of all causes and all that is. And upon knowing this you naturally, out of love, aspire to surrender to Me. And that is the real goal of life. But the greatest, most vicious enemy to this goal of life is doubt.


Most Powerful weapon – “Sound Vibration” :

Therefore, Arjuna addresses Krishna as Madhusadana. Because Madhu was that person that tried to keep everyone in the darkness of doubt and he was a demon. And Arjuna is saying that the same demon is causing doubt within my own heart and is causing me too much pain and bewilderment; please Krishna you kill Madhu, kill the demon of doubt within my heart. And how did Krishna killed the demon of doubt within Arjuna’s heart? Through the most powerful of all weapons. What is that? Sound vibration. Through transcendental sound even the mountains of doubt, fear, illusion, lust, anger, pride, envy, greed – they all can be dispelled. The word of God is the most powerful thing in all of existence. Arjuna heard the Gita from Krishna and that transcendental sound vibration completely enlightened him and brought him to the purified platform of the Absolute Truth and knowledge of the Absolute Truth.

And we find throughout history, this is how spiritual knowledge, this is how enlightenment, is always imparted – through spiritual sound. Jesus spoke to his disciple and his written word is still inspiring his disciples and his followers – through sound vibration. Mohammed heard through the Angel Gabriel the truth, he wrote it into the Quran and that sound vibration is still enlightening those of the Islamic faith, to this day. Buddha spoke in Sarnath, the Deer Park near Varanasi, and his disciples wrote down what he spoke, the Dhammapada. And to this day that sound vibration is the force, that enlightens his disciples. Krishna spoke the Gita to Arjuna.


Medicine – Hear From A Great Soul :

That sound vibration enlightened the heart of Arjuna. At the very end of the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says, ‘So now what is your position Arjuna?’ and Arjuna says, ‘Now all my doubts are dispelled. Now I am convinced, now I am enlightened, now I am ready to fight. I am ready to do anything. I am Your surrendered servant.’

sarva-dharmän parityajya

mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja

ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo

mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù

[BG 18.66]

Krishna says, abandon all varieties of religion, just surrender to Me. But how did He bring Arjuna to that platform of surrender? Through sound vibration. Maharaja Parikshit, in the greatest of all the scriptures, the Srimad Bhagavatam, how is he enlightened? Through the powerful weapon of sound vibration emanating from the lotus mouth of Shukadeva Goswami. Hearing from the great souls is the medicine that heals us from the disease of doubt and illusion.


’sädhu-saìga’, ‘sädhu-saìga’—sarva-çästre kaya

lava-mätra sädhu-saìge sarva-siddhi haya

[CC Madhya 22.54]

By associating with sadhus, the doors to liberation are opened.


mahat-seväà dväram ähur vimuktes

tamo-dväraà yoñitäà saìgi-saìgam

[SB 5.5.2]

That by associating with great souls and hearing from them, the doors to liberation are opened, but by associating and hearing from those persons who are too much attached to the illusions and mirages of all this world, the doors to deeper and deeper ignorance in life are opened wide.


Even Mundane Sound Has Some Power :

Revolutions, take overs the great empires – how do they take place? Through the power of sound vibration, propaganda. When I was young, living in the United Stated in the 1960s, we saw how the whole young generation, on a mass scale, revolted against the established society, and what this brought about? The music – sound vibration. The musicians were singing about revolution, some were singing about higher consciousness, some were singing about anti-war and through this propaganda, everyone’s hearts changed and turned. This is the power of mundane sound. How did Hitler become the power of Germany? He would speak and his speaking had such powerful propaganda, that that sound vibration turned everyone towards him. And he engaged people in doing things, that they regretted for the rest of their lives.


Transcendental Sound Vibration :

How powerful is spiritual sound. Therefore, the Vedas are explained to be shabda brahma. The great Vedas are the sound vibration of God Himself. And the two forms of the Vedas are Shruti and Smriti. What does Shruti means? To hear. When Jesus was speaking, he said ‘For those who have ears, hear’. And Krishna, until he saw Arjuna was truly humble and anxious to hear the truth, Krishna didn’t bothered saying a word to him. This is the most critical and essential part of our spiritual life. To open our ears, open our minds, open our hearts, to hear transcendental sounds from transcendental sources. It is described in the second canto of the Bhagavatam; the third canto – I am sorry – how Krishna creates this world. He creates it all on the basis of sound vibration. And even in the Bible, in the beginning with the word sound. And that great acharyas, Srila Haridasa Thakur, he taught us on the basis of all the great revealed scriptures of the world, that there is no more effective and powerful means of destroying the demons of doubts, within our hearts than the chanting of the Holy Names of God and the association of His devotees – Sravanam, kirtanam, Vishnu. And on his samadhi mandir, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, he wrote that, ‘He reasons ill who thinks that Vaishnavas, great devotees, die. They live forever through the sound vibration of their teachings and their example.’ On the spiritual level sound is non-different that what that sound represents. When we say the word Krishna, we are in the Divine presence of Krishna.


How To Approach B.G :

When we read the Bhagavad Gita, we are factually sitting on the chariot next to Arjuna hearing from Krishna. Bhagavad Gita is not meant to be understood as some historical, philosophical doctrine. In the schools and the colleges often they study the Bhagavad Gita in this way – something historical, some ancient philosophy to entertain their mind and perhaps they could learn some practical ways of applying these teaching to modern day life. But this is not how to approach Bhagavad Gita. When you approach Bhagavad Gita you have to do it in the footsteps of Arjuna. If you really want to hear the sound, you have to put yourself next to him, listening to Krishna.  Because factually it is the Paramatma within your heart speaking through the scripture to you directly and personally through sound vibration.


Hear & Chant :

Therefore, it is explained in the second canto of the Bhagavatam – tasmad bharata – that Shukadeva Goswami explains to Maharaja Parikshit that the greatest, most important means of attaining the ultimate goal of life is to hear about, chant and remember, through that process of hearing and chanting the personality of Godhead. And through the process of submissively hearing sound vibration and chanting transcendental sound one attains a fearless state, free from darkness, free from doubt, free from the bewilderment of the accepting and rejecting nature of the mind. The heart is by nature full of faith and love, but it is now obscured by the dark cloud of our contaminated mental condition. And it is transcendental sound that removes these anarthas, these unwanted things from within.

When we chant the Holy Names Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare, which is called the Mahamantra – the greatest, most powerful incarnation of God within sound, especially recommended in this age of Kali Yuga. Through attentively chanting the Holy Names and through attentively hearing the teachings of the Lord, that is all that is required to utterly purify our hearts and minds and bring us to that highest position beyond liberation of spiritual love.

Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.