Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of Iskcon, writes that Bhagavad Gita 11.55 is the essence of Bhagavad Gita.
Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 11.55, “My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being – he certainly comes to Me.”
Here Krishna has given us a process following which we can attain him. In fact, Krishna is giving a guarantee that we will go back to him. So, Srila Prabhupada calls this verse the essence of Bhagavad Gita.
Let us discuss how we can apply this formula given by Krishna in our personal life and attain the ultimate goal of our life.
All work should be done in relationship with Krishna
We all have to work for living but we should not be attached to the results of our work. We should know that Krishna is the proprietor of everything. It implies that Krishna is the enjoyer of the fruits of our work. So, all the results of our work should be offered to Krishna. Srila Prabhupada explains, “No work should be done by any man except in relationship to Kṛṣṇa. This is called kṛṣṇa-karma. One may be engaged in various activities, but one should not be attached to the result of his work; the result should be done only for Him.” Bhagavad Gita 11.55 purport.
Whatever activities we do we should do it in relationship with Krishna. Doing activities in relationship with Krishna also means we should do only those activities which is authorized in the scriptures. Any activity which is against the sastric injunctions should be given up. So, we should not choose those occupation to earn money which break the four regulative principles like no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxication and no illicit sex.
As a practicing devotee, you and I should do work for the pleasure of Krishna. We should not be attached to the fruits of our work. And we have to make sure that we do not do anything which is not authorized in the scriptures.
Earned money should be used to serve Krishna
Most of the devotees are householders, grihastas. A grihasta has to work outside and earn money. But we should be careful that we do not use the earned money for personal enjoyment. Money belongs to Krishna, so it should be used to serve Krishna. Krishna should always be the centre of our life.
Our house is Krishna’s house, so we should make it a temple of Lord Krishna
The house you and I live in does not belong to us. Krishna owns it and has presently allowed you and me to live there. Since the house belongs to Krishna, so it should be converted into a temple of Lord Krishna. We should have a nice and big altar of Lord Krishna in the house, which I have currently. We should worship the Lord daily with love and devotion as per the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. Altar should be clean. The altar and the Lord should be decorated beautifully with colourful flowers. At home we should cook nice food items for the Lord and should offer him with love and devotion.
Daily we should chant Krishna’s holy names and perform kirtan at home. Also we should make sure that our family members become devotees of Lord Krishna. And we should do our best to engage them in devotional life.
Visit the temple regularly, serve the deities and the devotees
It is also important that we should regularly visit the nearby Iskcon temples and do service there. Based on our capacity, we should also donate money to the temple which will help the temple in serving the Lord and in spreading Krishna Consciousness.
Attaining Krishna should be the only and ultimate goal of our life
Krishna should be our only worshipable Lord and our only goal should be to attain love of Krishna and return to the spiritual abode of Lord Krishna. To attain Krishna, we should engage in the nine process of devotional life especially hearing and chanting the Lord’s names. Srila Prabhupada has given us a process by which we can constantly engage in hearing and chanting. For this, it is important that we regularly associate with the devotees of Krishna.
However, we may come across those people also who are not devotees of Krishna especially at our workplace or in our neighbourhood. But we should make sure that we have only working relationship with them not heart to heart relationship. We should not waste our time in discussing mundane topics with them like of politics, sports or movies. But instead, we should have a desire to always associate with the devotees of Krishna. And in that association, we should discuss Krishna Conscious subject matters and help each other in advancing in spiritual life.
One important aspect is that we should strictly avoid those who are against Krishna Consciousness like mayavadis, agnostics and those who speak ill of Krishna. Their company will spoil our consciousness.
Serving the humanity by spreading Krishna Consciousness
I should do my best to share Krishna with others. Making people Krishna Conscious is the greatest welfare activity. All are suffering in this world because they have forgotten Krishna. All the problems like economic problem, social problem, political problem is there because people do not live as per the rules and regulations of Vedic scriptures. Once a person becomes a devotee of Krishna and start living Krishna Conscious life then all the problems will disappear.
Srila Prabhupada explains, “A Kṛṣṇa conscious person knows that if a man is suffering it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one’s neighbor from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord.” Bhagavad Gita 11.55 purport
Following the footsteps and guidelines of Srila Prabhupada we should preach the message of Krishna. This is the best way to serve the society and the humanity. This will bring peace and bliss everywhere.
The ultimate essence of Bhagavad Gita is to take complete shelter of Krishna. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, appeared in this world to give this message to us. He has given us a process in Bhagavad Gita 11.55 by which we can purify our heart and return back to Krishna. If we engage in the service of Krishna as prescribed by Krishna without any motive and enjoying mentality then we will attain complete perfection.
In conclusion we can say, “the essence of Bhagavad Gita is to know Krishna, to serve Krishna and to return back to Krishna.”