By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
So just try to understand how much people were advanced in the previous ages. The Bhagavad-gītā talks took place between Krishna and Arjuna in the battlefield just on the verge of the battle’s beginning. So how much time could they spare? Utmost, half an hour – not more than that. So within half an hour, this Bhagavad-gītā was taught to Arjuna, and he could understand it, and then he agreed to fight (nasto mohah smrtir labdhā… karisye vacanam tava – Bg. 18.73) Just imagine how advanced he was in education and learning! At the present moment big, big scholars and big, big theologians are reading Bhagavad-gītā for years after years but they cannot understand it.
After reading Bhagavad-gītā, they are accusing Krishna as immoral. One professor in Oxford University, who is a teacher of Bhagavad-gītā, has written a book. His conclusion is that Krishna is immoral. That means the professor could not understand Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā cannot be understood by any demon or third-class man. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Krishna said to Arjuna that: “I am speaking to you the same Bhagavad-gītā [Bg. 4.1], science of God, which I spoke millions of years ago to the sun-god because the paramparā is lost. And I have picked you because you are my very dear friend and bhakta (devotee) – bhakto ‘si me priyo ‘si me(Bg. 4.3).”
So Bhagavad-gītā is not meant for the demons, or the abhaktas. The first condition is that he must be a devotee of Krishna. Then it will be revealed. Otherwise it is not possible. Nāham prakāśah sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvritah [Bg. 7.25]. Na mām duskrtino mūdhā prapadyante narādhamāh [Bg. 7.15].
So if one is devotee of Krishna, he can understand Bhagavad-gītā very easily. Just like Arjuna understood within half an hour. But, others cannot understand. In one sense, the people at that time were so educated and advanced, that they could talk about the Absolute Truth and understand within half an hour. There was no need of books in those days. People had such sharp memories. If they heard it once from the spiritual master they would never forget. With the advancement of Kali, so many things will reduce. One of them is that the memory will be reduced. People will be weaker, there will be no more mercy, the brain will not be so powerful or sharp. These things are described in the śāstra. So we cannot even imagine what kind of brain Arjuna possessed.
Another thing is that this Bhagavad-gītā is part of Mahābhārata. And the Mahābhārata was written for strī-śūdra-dvija-bandhūnām trayi na śruti-gocarāh [SB 1.4.25]. Strī means woman. śūdra means labourer and dvija-bandhu means an unqualified person born in a high family, i.e. born in a brāhmana, ksatriya, or vaiśya family, but he is not a qualified brāhmana or ksatriya. He is called dvija-bandhu, the friend of the twice-born.
The brāhmanas (priests), ksatriyas (warriors) and vaiśyas (merchants) are twice-born. One birth is given by father and mother and another birth is given by the spiritual master and by Vedic knowledge. The Vedic knowledge is mother and the spiritual master is the father. Therefore, they are called dvija, twice born.
Whereas dvija-bandhūnām are those who are not actually twice born but born in the family of dvijas. One may become a son of a high-court judge, but that does not mean he’s also high-court judge. But now they are professing, “Because my father is brāhmana, therefore I am also brāhmana.” No. That was not accepted earlier. Your father may be brāhmana, but if you are not qualified brāhmana, you cannot be called a brāhmana. You can be called dvija-bandhu.
So this Mahābhārata was written for women, dvija-bandhus and the śūdras.strī-śūdra-dvija-bandhūnām trayi na śruti gocarāh “Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahābhārata for women, laborers and friends of the twice-born.” [SB 1.4.25].
It is very difficult for women, dvija-bandhus and the śūdras to understand the Vedic literatures directly because they have no advanced knowledge or education. Therefore the same Vedic knowledge was described in the Mahābhārata in history form. Because it is history and everyone is interested in reading history, so through history, the Vedic knowledge was imparted. Therefore, Mahābhārata is called the fifth Veda. There are four Vedas – Sama, Yajur, Rik, Atharva. And Mahābhārata is fifth Veda. It is meant for this stri, śūdra and dvija-bandhu.
And Bhagavad-gītā is within the Mahābhārata. So actually the Bhagavad-gita was meant for the less intelligent class of men. But, at the present moment, the highest intelligent class of men cannot understand. Just see the difference. Formerly, 5000 years, this was meant for the less intelligent class of men, and we have deteriorated so much that the so-called highest intelligent class of men cannot understand this Bhagavad-gītā. And he is posted as a professor in the Oxford University.
So this class of men are leading the society. The third-class and fourth-class men have become leaders. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāh [SB 7.5.31] – practically blind men are leading the society. Therefore, the world is in hellish condition. We can perceive that. So at the present moment, comparing the social status 5000 years ago… According to Darwin’s theory, 5000 years ago, men were uncivilized. Now according to Darwin, this literature is written by uncivilized men. Just see! Such highly intellectual writings and Darwin infers that they were uncivilized. “But now they have become civilized,” – that is Darwin’s theory. Mankind is now making progress, according to him.
Therefore, at the present moment, the whole generation is covered with ignorance and darkness. It has no clear knowledge. And without clear knowledge, whatever we do, that is simply embezzlement. That’s all. It is not very correctly understood. Therefore we have no correct knowledge, no correct activities, and, and the result is narakayaiva – hellish.