Bhagavad Gita Tutorial: Chapter 2 verse 2 – The significance of the specific words “Bhagavan Uvaca”

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

śrī bhagavān uvāca

kutas tvā kaśmalam idam

visame samupasthitam

anārya-justam asvargyam

akīrti-karam arjuna

[Bg. 2.2]

Translation

“The Supreme Person, Bhagavān, said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.”

So in this verse Vyāsadeva is writing. Of course, the speaking is through Sanjaya, but the original writer is Vyāsadeva. In other ślokas he writes “arjuna uvāca”, “sanjaya uvāca”, like that. Similarly, he could write here “krishna uvāca”. He could write. But, he’s writing bhagavān uvāca. So by this writing, it is established that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrī-bhagavān uvāca. He cannot be equal with Arjuna or Sanjaya or anybody else. Asammaurdhva. Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is supreme. Nobody is equal to Him, nobody is higher than Him. Everyone is lower. That is the meaning of Bhagavān. Nobody can claim “I am Bhagavān.” But nowadays there are so many rascals, they are claiming that everyone is Bhagavān. So is Vyāsadeva mistaken?

Indra, the king of Heaven, worshiping Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Actually, these Māyāvādī philosophers, they are such great rascals they sometimes say like that, that Vyāsadeva is also mistaken. They have got the audacity to say (that about) Vyāsadeva, who is accepted as an incarnation of Nārāyana, who has given us the Vedic literature – so many books he has given – the Vedas, the Purānas, the Mahābhārata, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Vedānta-sūtra. Everything is given by Vyāsadeva in writing, and we accept that he is the incarnation of Nārāyana. Mahāmuni-krte – He is Vyāsa-muni, but He is also mahāmuni-krte. So there cannot be any mistake in the words of Vyāsadeva.

This is the difficulty if one does not come through the channel of disciplic succession. So they are in so many ways mistaken. Vyāsadeva is above all this. He is not an ordinary writer, material description or material name and faith. He cannot be mistaken. As Bhagavān, Krishna cannot be mistaken, similarly, Vyāsadeva, incarnation of Bhagavān, he also cannot be mistaken. Nor the devotee of Krishna can be mistaken. The devotee of Krishna does not say anything as his own opinion. He never says. What Krishna says, he says. He (the devotee) may be not perfect, but what Krishna has said, that is perfect. […]

So here it is said, bhagavān uvāca. Vyāsadeva does not say that “krishna uvāca.” If he would have said, “Krishna,” then people would have misunderstood. He’s directly speaking bhagavān uvāca, “the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” So anyone who is impersonalist, how can he understand Bhagavad-gītā? Bhagavān means person. Bhagavān is not impersonal. The Absolute Truth is manifested in three features: Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān. Brahman is the beginning, impersonal. Sarvam khalv idam brahma. Because… Just like fire. Fire is burning somewhere, but its heat and light is impersonal. Suppose here is a big fire. Just like we have got the fireplace. That is in one corner. But you are feeling heat in the whole room. That heat is impersonal. But the fireplace, where there is blazing fire, that is personal. So impersonal conception is the offshoot of the person. That will be explained in the Thirteenth Chapter: mayā tatam idam sarvam [Bg. 9.4]. Krishna says that “Everyone, everywhere I am spread. I exist everywhere.” How does He exist? By His energy. That energy is impersonal. But the Supreme Person, He’s not impersonal. He’s a person. Therefore it is said, śrī-bhagavān uvāca.

Bhagavān means who is full with six kinds of opulence, aiśvarya: the richest, the most famous, the most learned, the most beautiful, the most strong, and the most renounced. He’s Bhagavān. So Bhagavān is the ultimate understanding of the Absolute Truth. Just like when you feel temperature… Just like we feel temperature from the sunshine, heat. And light. The sun is giving heat and light. We enjoy the light and heat. But if you trace wherefrom this heat and light is coming, then you go to the sun planet. That is localized. That is not impersonal. And again, if you enter into the sun planet, then you will see the sun-god, Vivasvan. So, we should not conclude final simply by heat and light.

So Brahman understanding, the impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth, is imperfect understanding, partial understanding. It is not full understanding. Full understanding is Bhagavān. Therefore it is stated here, śrī-bhagavān uvāca. There cannot be any mistake. That is final.

[An excerpt from a lecture delivered in London on August 3, 1973]

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