Ch 7 VERSE 24

अव्यक्तं व्यक्तिमापन्नं मन्यन्ते मामबुद्धयः ।

परं भावमजानन्तो ममाव्ययमनुत्तमम् ॥२४॥


avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ

manyante mām abuddhayaḥ

paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto

mamāvyayam anuttamam


avyaktam—nonmanifested; vyaktim—personality; āpannam—achieved; manyante—think; mām—unto Me; abuddhayaḥ—less intelligent persons; param—supreme; bhāvam—state of being; ajānantaḥ—without knowing; mama—My; avyayam—imperishable; anuttamam—the finest.


Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.

avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ

manyante mām abuddhayaḥ

paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto

mamāvyayam anuttamam


“Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.”

Whenever I read this verse, and some of the other verses about the nature of Krishna, I always remember when I was a young brahmacari, a monk, living in India about 40 plus years ago. I was dressed in monk attire, robes, and I was traveling on a train; and after a few hours I wanted to stretch my legs, so I walked to the area in between the carriages so I could stand up and walk around a little. And some gentleman had seen me walking down the aisle, and so he jumps up and follows me down to the end of the carriage and introduces himself very politely, and asks me, what exactly am I? And so I introduced myself as a devotee of Krishna, endeavoring in my life to actually become a real devotee.

And his response to me was, “Oh, Krishna! Yes I am knowing Krishna and much, much more.” And I thought that was hilarious. And it kind of astonished me that somebody could make such a statement, because in spite of my ignorance, and in spite of my youth, I had come to recognize that, based on the authority of my Gurudeva, on the authority of our great and illustrious lineage, and of the Vedas themselves, that Sri Krishna was established as being the Original Personality of Godhead, which is something that will be addressed in this particular verse that we’re reading.

And so the idea that somebody could think that they know Krishna, “and much, much more,” is a clear indication of their massive state of ignorance, because there is nothing beyond Krishna, and therefore what they think they know about Krishna is very little, or even perhaps nothing.

So I’ve made a few notes here. I have a few notes, and I’ll just read some of it.

“When Krishna personally appeared on this planet 5000 years ago and displayed His various pastimes, many people did not recognize Him as being the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Of course some people may ask, “Well why? Wouldn’t it be obvious to everyone?” And the answer is, No, that in the presence of the Supreme Lord one will see what they choose. According to a person’s state of consciousness they will be either aware, or in ignorance, of who this personality is. It actually requires spiritual vision to see God. It is not by my power or anything.  And so this is like an incredibly important point.

“Some considered that He was an ordinary person, or a prince, or simply the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. Some considered him to be a great sage, or saintly person. In present times many people think the same thing, but the great Vedic authorities such as Narada (Narada Muni), Asita, Devala and Vyasa, all proclaim Krishna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead is confirmed by all the great acharyas like Sankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbark, Visnu Swami, etc, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge who have resided in India since time immemorial.”

“The Lord Himself also establishes Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead within this Bhagavad-gita, and He is accepted as such in the Brahma-Samhita and all of the Puranas, especially the Bhagavata Purana or the Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is a statement, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam, which points to Him being the actual Personality of Godhead, the original Personality of Godhead.

“After hearing the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna himself also declares that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Bhagavad-gita should really be studied in a spirit of devotion, as it is advised by Arjuna, by Sri Krishna Himself. One should not think that they are somehow equal to Krishna, or they should not think that Krishna is an ordinary or a special personality, not even a great personality. Lord Krishna is, in reality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

So the reality is that not everyone, of course, as we’ve mentioned, recognizes Krishna as the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Person. The worshipers of the devata, or the demigods, they do not recognize Him. So you’ll see many people in India that take to the worship of other personalities: Brahma, Indra, Siva, Muruga, Ganesha etc, they often do not recognize that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They see him as being on the same level with the lower gods, the demigods whom they worship.

Another reality is, even those who make some study of the Vedas may not come to know Krishna in truth. This is confirmed by Lord Brahma himself, the actual creator of this universe in which we are residing. In the Bhagavata Purana, Lord Brahma prayed to Lord Krishna. He said,

“My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years.”

So the amount of time and effort that one puts into studying, it simply makes one a scholar or scholarly, but it doesn’t provide one with an actual understanding or vision of the truth. And it is because of this principle, that we’ve mentioned many times in the course of this little study that we’re doing, that by the ascending process, by my efforts and endeavor, my scholarship, for instance, I cannot come to know the highest truth, for it is greater than me. And the only way I can come to know it, is if it is shown to me. And this is confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad, where it states,

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

 And of course, we—this faith that has been spoken of here and translated this way is referenced within the actual verse by the term bhakti, that one who has an attitude of both devotion, of faith, of surrender and service, it is only when one is acting in this very pleasing way will the Lord manifest Himself and all truths. Otherwise, one cannot possibly come to know these things, just by their own scholarship, by their power of their mind.

This is also confirmed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakur, the great spiritual teacher in our lineage, where he states,  in commenting on this verse,

“Thus apart from my devotees—”

and he’s paraphrasing what Krishna is saying—

“’Thus apart from my devotees, everyone else is foolish regarding knowledge of Me.’ With this intention he speaks this verse.

The unintelligent think that the formless brahman beyond the material world (avyaktim) has taken birth as Myself in the house of Vasudeva (vyaktim) with an illusory form. What is visible is just an illusory form. This is because they do not know My transcendental state. They do not know that My form, birth, activities and pastimes are beyond maya (mama param bhavam). What type of state is this? It is eternal (avyayam) and most excellent (anuttamam).”

So Srila Vishvanatha Thakur is addressing the impersonal philosophy of advaita vada, the philosophy put forward by Sankaracharya, who say that ultimately there is no reality to form, that spiritual existence is formless, it is without quality. This idea is incorrect. Sankaracharya and his followers put forward the idea that Brahman has manifested as Krishna, in a temporary form, for the purpose of trying to save others. This will be disproven by Krishna himself in a verse that we will read later on.

What is not understood is that some—or what has been misinterpreted, is that there is material form, and there is spiritual form. There are material qualities, and there are such things as spiritual qualities. And when it says that the Supreme is devoid of form and quality, it is referencing material form and material quality; for the highest spiritual truth, Sri Krishna has spiritual form and spiritual qualities. And there is so much evidence in the Vedas pointing to this reality and explaining it.

So I’ll just read from a commentary by Sridhara Swami, who is a very ancient spiritual authority from another lineage than ours, but who is accepted by all the great spiritual masters as being a very important spiritual authority. He states,

“One may wonder if the concerted effort to ingratiate oneself to a lesser god or demigod of one’s choice, is the same concerted effort as offering one’s devotion to the Supreme Lord; yet the result is so obviously a vast difference in rewards; then why doesn’t everyone worship Lord Krishna exclusively and abandon the worship of all other inferior gods. This question is answered by the word ajanantah meaning oblivious.”

 So this is a reference to a word in the verse which I’ll just draw your attention to here.

“They are unaware of Lord Krishna being totally transcendental to the material existence and beyond the phenomena of this phenomenal creation and regard His different avatars or incarnations as manifestations of prakriti or the material substratum comprising all existence.”

“His Supreme Nature is eternal, immutable and unsurpassed. Therefore, those who view the Supreme Lord whose form is made of pure spiritual energy – and who, by His will, assumes various forms according to schedule for the protection of all the worlds and the devotees – to be the same and equal to the material bodies of demigods, which are acquired and fashioned as a result of reactions from previous activities, is completely in ignorance. Such dull-witted beings are incapable of worshiping the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorized incarnations.”

So this was rather scathing critique by the ancient teacher Sridhara Swami, drawing this massive distinction between the demigods, or the devas, devata, who are factually jivas, with the exception being Lord Siva.

Lord Siva is his own unique spiritual existence. He is a manifestation of Godhead, who has become—or come into contact with tama guna. Amongst the three guna avatars, Brahma, Visnu and Siva, Brahma is in charge of the quality of the raja guna, the mode of passion, Lord Visnu is in charge of sattva guna, and Lord Siva is in charge of the mode of ignorance, or tama guna. And it is said because of his performing this function there has been a transformation of that absolute spiritual nature. And the example is given, if I take milk—and Lord Brahma was the one who used this example–if one takes milk and converts it to yogurt, we know that it is still made of milk and has many of the qualities of milk but it can never become milk again, whereas milk can still be milk, and yogurt as well.

So, with the exception of Lord Siva, all of the demigods, the devas, are jivas, but they have been empowered to perform extraordinary functions for the purpose of managing the affairs of the universe. The bodies that they receive are a product of karma; and if one tries to make a comparison between them and Sri Krishna one is considered to be very fallen.

As we mentioned in the last verse that we studied, the proponents of Advaita Vedanta, this impersonal philosophy, they deny the transcendental nature of Krishna’s form or His body. But we have so many references within the Vedas that counter that idea. In a verse just a little prior to the one that we are reading now, Krishna has stated:

“Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible.”

So this verse describes the transcendental position; and the verse that we’re currently reading, which I will just read again for you in a minute or two, clearly indicate the transcendental nature of Krishna’s form, and how His form is completely non-different than Himself.

The reality is that the jiva, all spiritual beings, even the Supreme Spiritual Being, have form. This is called swarupa, one’s own transcendental nature and form. The idea that form is a material quality is incorrect. It is true that the material energy in this world is impersonal, and it is a single energy which assumes limitless forms. It appears in so many ways.

I use the example— and if we look at just on an atomic level—of course the Vedas deal with a level that’s even lower than that, meaning a deeper level­­— but if we look at on an atomic level, there is only one type of proton, one type of neutron, one type of electron. But when you take those same components, and assemble it differently, it can take on what appears to us to be chocolate, and desirable and tasty, or exactly the same substance can be transformed into dog faeces, which is disgusting and smelly.

This is the nature of the material energy. Spiritual energy, spiritual form, is not like that. The nature, the eternal nature of spiritual form has to be understood and realized for one to achieve the highest form of self-realization and God-realization.

And so just reading this verse that we’re studying one more time,

“Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme.”

So this is an extremely important point. And if one is to come to actually fully understand and realize the Bhagavad-gita, as it actually is, not according to some interpretation, but what is plainly being stated, then this is the conclusion that one will come to. And this is the understanding that one needs in order to come to the highest spiritual experience.

Thank you very much.