Uddhava Gita

26th Oct 2004
Sudarshana devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.  

I was reading the Uddhava Gita in the 11th canto and was amazed how detailed is the conversation between the two most exalted personalities Sri Uddhava and Lord Sri Krishna. Sri Uddhava is asking so many beautiful questions and Lord Krishna also answers them so simply and systematically. In verses SB 11.19.28-32 Uddhava asks as many as twenty-nine questions and the Lord answers them in as many as 13 verses SB 11.19.33-45. I have jotted them down in the form of questions and answers for easy reading. I sincerely apologize for the long mail. 

Uddhava Gita

1. How many types of disciplinary regulations and regular daily duties are there? The following are the twelve primary disciplinary principles:

  • Non-violence (ahiṁsā)
  • Truthfulness (satya)
  • Not coveting or stealing the properties of others (asteyaṁ)
  • Detachment (asaṅga)
  • Humility (hrih)
  • Freedom from possessiveness (asañcayaḥ)
  • Trust in the principles of religion (āstikyam)
  • Celibacy (brahmacaryaṁ)
  • Silence (mauna)
  • Steadiness (sthairya)
  • Forgiveness (kṣamā)
  • Fearlessness (abhaya

The following are the twelve regular prescribed duties:

  • Internal cleanliness (śaucaṁ)
  • External cleanliness (śaucaṁ)
  • Chanting the holy names of the Lord (japaḥ)
  • Austerity (tapa)
  • Sacrifice (homa)
  • Faith (śraddhā)
  • Hospitality (ātithyaṁ)
  • Worship of Me (mad-arcanaṁ)
  • Visiting holy places (tīrtha-aṭanaṁ)
  • Acting and desiring only for the Supreme (para-artha-ihā)
  • Satisfaction (tuṣṭiḥ)
  • Service to the Spiritual master (ācārya-sevanam)

2. What is mental equilibrium (samāḥ)?

Absorbing the intelligence in Me constitutes mental equilibrium (śamo man-niṣṭhatā buddheḥ

3. What is self-control (damaḥ)?

Complete discipline of the senses is self-control (dama indriya saṁyamaḥ

4. What is the actual meaning of tolerance (titikṣā)?

Tolerance means patiently enduring unhappiness (titikṣā duḥkha-sammarṣaḥ

5. What is steadfastness (dhṛtiḥ)?

Steadfastness occurs when one conquers the tongue and genitals (jihvopastha-jayo dhṛtiḥ

6. What is Charity (dānaṁ)?

The greatest charity is to give up all aggression towards others (daṇḍa-nyāsaḥ paraṁ dānaṁ

7. What is austerity (tapaḥ)?

Renunciation of lust is understood to be real austerity (kāma-tyāgas tapaḥ smṛtam)   

8. What is heroism (śauryaṁ)?

Real heroism is to conquer one's natural tendency to enjoy material life (svabhāva-vijayaḥ śauryaṁ

9. How is reality to be described (satyaṁ)?

Reality is seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead everywhere (satyaṁ ca sama-darśanam

10. What is truth (ṛtaṁ)?

Truthfulness means to speak the truth in a pleasing way as declared by the sages (sunṛtā vāṇī  kavibhiḥ  parikīrtitā

11. What is Cleanliness (śaucaṁ)?

Cleanliness is detachment in fruitive activities (karmasv asaṅgamaḥ śaucaṁ

12. What is renunciation (tyāgaḥ)?

Renunciation is the sannyasa order of life (tyāgaḥ sannyāsa ucyate

13. What is wealth (dhanaṁ)?

The true desirable wealth for human beings is religiousness (dharma iṣṭaṁ dhanaṁ nṝṇāṁ

14. What is sacrifice (yajna)?

I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, am sacrifice (yajño ’haṁ bhagavattamaḥ

15. What is religious remuneration (dakṣiṇā)?

Religious remuneration is devotion to the acarya with the purpose of acquiring spiritual instruction (dakṣiṇā jñāna-sandeśaḥ)

16. What is strength (balam)?

Greatest strength is the pranayama system of breath control (prāṇāyāmaḥ paraṁ balam

17. What is opulence (bhagaḥ)?

Actual opulence is My own nature as the Personality of Godhead, through which I exhibit the six unlimited opulences (bhago ma aiśvaro bhāvo)

18. What is profit (lābhaḥ)?

The supreme gain in life is devotional service to Me (lābho mad-bhaktir uttamaḥ

19. What is the best education (vidya)?

Actual education is nullifying the false perception of duality within the soul (vidyātmani bhidā-bādho

20. What is actual humility (hrī)?

Real modesty is to be disgusted with improper activities (jugupsā hrīr akarmasu

21. What is real beauty (śrīḥ)?

Real beauty is to possess good qualities such as detachment (śrīr guṇā nairapekṣyādyāḥ) 

22. What are happiness and unhappiness (sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ)?

Real happiness is to transcend material happiness and unhappiness (sukhaṁ duḥkha-sukhātyayaḥ)

Real misery is to be implicated in searching for sex pleasure (duḥkhaṁ kāma-sukhāpekṣā

23. Who is learned and who is a fool (kaḥ paṇḍitaḥ kaḥ mūrkhaḥ)?

A wise man is one who knows the process of freedom from bondage (paṇḍito bandha-mokṣa-vit)

A fool is one who identifies with his material body and mind (mūrkho dehādy-ahaṁ-buddhiḥ

25. What are the true and false paths in life (kaḥ panthā utpathaś ca kaḥ)?

The real path in life is that which leads to Me (panthā man-nigamaḥ smṛtaḥ)

The wrong path is sense gratification by which consciousness is bewildered(utpathaś citta-vikṣepaḥ

26. What are heaven and hell (kaḥ svargo naraka kaḥ svit)?

Actual heaven is predominance of the mode of goodness (svargaḥ sattva-guṇodayaḥ)

Actual hell is the predominance of ignorance (narakas tama-unnāho

27. Who is a true friend and what is one's real home (ko bandhur uta kiṁ gṛham)?

I am everyone's true friend, acting as the spiritual master of the entire universe (bandhur gurur ahaṁ sakhe)

One's real home is the human body (gṛhaṁ śarīraṁ mānuṣyaṁ)

28. Who is a rich man and who is a poor man (ka ādya ko daridra)?

One who is enriched with good qualities is actually said to be rich (guṇāḍhyo hy āḍhya ucyate)

One who is unsatisfied in life is actually poor (daridro yas tv asantuṣṭaḥ

29. Who is wretched, and who is actual controller (kṛpaṇa ka ka ishvara)?

A wretched person is one who cannot control his senses (kṛpaṇo yo ’jitendriyaḥ)

One who is not attached to sense gratification is a real controller (guṇeṣv asakta-dhīr īśo) and one who attaches himself to sense gratification is the opposite, a slave (guṇa-saṅgo viparyayaḥ

Thus Uddhava, I have elucidated all of the matters about which you enquired. There is no need for a more elaborate description  of these good and bad qualities, since to constantly see good and bad is itself a bad quality. The best quality is to transcend material good and evil. 

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Sudarshana devi dasi.