Bhagavad-gītā As It Is
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Original 1972 Edition - Macmillan Publishing - Collier Books
Bhagavad-gītā As It Is
The illustrations of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is were painted by members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness working under the personal direction of the author, their spiritual master, In the following descriptive index, the numbers in boldface type which follow each plate number refer to the chapter and verse of the Gītā that the picture illustrates.
Plate 1 1.1 Dhṛtarāṣṭra is on the throne, and Sañjaya, his secretary, is describing what is taking place on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Because of Sañjaya’s mystic powers, the discourse on the battlefield between Krsna and Aijuna is revealed in his heart.
Plate 2 1.3 Dronācārya is seated in his tent, and Duryodhana is pointing to the two armies outside.
Plate 3 1.3 A view of the military phalanx on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. The chariot of Krsna and Arjuna is in the midst of the two armies.
Plate 4 1.14 Kṛṣṇa blows His transcendental conchshell to herald the battle. Arjuna is seen in the background.
Plate 5 1.26-29 Arjuna laments upon seeing his relatives standing opposed to him in battle. Kṛṣṇa, smiling, is ready to console His friend by His transcendental teachings.
Plate 6 1.33-35 Draupadī, the wife of the Pāṇḍava brothers (Arjuna Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma, Sahadeva and Nakula), is being disrobed by Duryodhana and Duḥśāsana, two sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, after being lost to them in a gambling match. Dhṛtarāṣṭra is sitting on the throne. Kṛṣṇa is becoming Draupadī’s infinite robe to save her from being seen naked by the assembly. Because of this incident and other offenses to the Pāṇḍavas, Kṛṣṇa wanted the battle to take place and the miscreants to be killed.
Plate 7 2.11 A devotee of the Lord comes upon a man lying dead on the ground and beside him two other men in conditions of bodily misery.
Plate 8 2.13 The conditioned spirit soul is seen changing bodies from childhood to youth to old age to death and then into the womb of another mother. Verse 22 is also illustrated by this same picture. Above, a man is changing garments, and below the soul is changing bodies.
Plate 9 2.13 The many, many frames on a reel of movie film, when seen consecutively, appear as one picture on the screen, although there are actually many different pictures. Similarly, we see a man as localized (above), but actually his body is changing at every second. All this is happening without the notice of the viewer. However, the soul within the heart (seen as a sparkling star) does not change; he remains eternally the same.
Plate 10 2.22 The bird on the left is captivated by the fruits of the tree, while the friendly bird on the right acts as witness. Similarly, the embodied living entity enjoys or suffers the fruits of his material activities, while the friendly Supersoul acts as witness and waits for His friend to turn to Him.
Plate 11 2.62-63 The path of destruction of the conditioned soul’s intelligence due to the dictation of the senses and mind is portrayed.
Plate 12 3.10 Lord Caitanya, wearing yellow robes, leads thousands of followers in the congregational chanting of the holy names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. His four associates are:
a) Nityānanda Prabhu, wearing purple robes, at Lord Caitanya’s immediate right.
b) Advaita Prabhu, wearing white robes, at Nityānanda’s immediate right.
c) Gadādhara Pandit at Lord Caitanya’s immediate left.
d) Śrīvāsa Pānflit at Gadādhara’s immediate left.
Plate 13 3.12 Devotees are pictured engaging in saṣkīrtana-yajña. Above the clouds are the demigods, and above them the Lord, who is pleased by the singing of His holy names. The demigods are, left to right, Candra (the moon-god), Indra (the god of rain), Vivasvān (the sun-god) and Vāyu (the god of air). At the far right is Laksmī, the goddess of fortune.
Plate 14 3.37-39 The living entity in the center is being enveloped by fiery lust. The analogy in verse 38 is illustrated here. At the top is fire covered by smoke, symbolizing human life. At the bottom left is a mirror covered by dust, symbolizing animal life. At the bottom right is an embryo covered by the womb, symbolizing tree and plant life.
Plate 15 4.1 At the top, Kṛṣṇa teaches the science of Bhagavad-gītā to Vivasvān, the sun-god. Below, Vivasvān teaches his son, Manu, and in the circle at the right, Manu teaches his son, Iksvāku.
Plate 16 4.7 In the center square, Kṛṣṇa is shown in His original twohanded form, holding a flute. Surrounding Him are ten of His eternal incarnations, pictured in the order in which they appeared in the material world, beginning clockwise from the lower left-hand corner.
a) Matsya, the fish incarnation, is saving the Vedas.
b) Kūrma, the tortoise incarnation, is holding the hill on His back.
c) Varāha, the boar incarnation, is fighting with the demon Hiraṇyākṣa.
d) Nṛsiṁhadeva, the lion incarnation, is killing the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu.
e) Vāmanadeva, the dwarf incarnation, is begging some land from King Bali.
f) Paraśurāma is killing the demoniac kṣatriyas.
g) Lord Rāmacandra is going off into exile with His wife, Sītā, and brother, Lakṣmaṇa.
h) Kṛṣṇa is lifting Govardhana Hill, and beside Him is His brother, Balarāma.
i) Lord Buddha.
j) Lord Kalki is riding on His horse, killing all the demons and thus liberating them.
Plate 17 4.8 Kṛṣṇa’s uncle, Kamsa, is being killed by the Lord. Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa’s brother, is standing on Kṛṣṇa’s right. Behind Kṛṣṇa are His parents, Devakī and Vasudeva, who were imprisoned by Kamsa but are here freed by their son. This scene takes place in Kamsa’s wrestling arena in Mathurā province.
Plate 18 4.11 At the top Kṛṣṇa is dancing with His purest devotees as a lover. On the lotus petals the Lord is reciprocating with His devotees as a son, as a friend and as a master. Below left, a devotee in the material world is associating with Kṛṣṇa personally by painting His transcendental form. Next, an impersonalist, by his meditation, is merging with the brahmajyoti, the spiritual effulgence emanating from the Lord’s body. On the right a mystic yogi is walking on the water. On the far right a fruitive worker is receiving the fruits of his labor.
Plate 19 5.4-6 Above, a devotee is engaged in various devotional activities for the Deities (authorized incarnations of the Lord, who comes in this form to accept our service). Below, a sāṣkhya-yogī engages in the analytical study of matter and spirit. After some time he realizes the Lord (the forms of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa include all other forms of the Lord) within his heart, and then he engages in devotional service. The end is the same—devotional service.
Plate 20 5.18 A sage sees the Supersoul accompanying the sparklike individual soul in each body.
Plate 21 6.11-14 The goal of yoga is seen as Viṣṇu in the yogī’s heart.
Plate 22 6.24 The little sparrow is shown here trying to drink up the ocean to retrieve her eggs. Because of her determination, Lord Visnu has sent Garuḍa, who is standing behind her, to threaten the ocean into giving up the eggs.
Plate 23 6.34 The chariot of the body. The five horses represent the five senses (tongue, eyes, ears, nose and skin). The reins, the driving instrument, symbolize the mind, the driver is the intelligence, and the passenger is the spirit soul.
Plate 24 6.47 Śyāmasundara, the object of the ideal yogī’s meditation.
Plate 25 7.4-5 Spirit soul sustains the material universe of earth, water, fire, etc. (represented as the body). The subtle body—mind, intelligence and false ego—is represented by the red dot on the forehead. The soul is seated in the heart of the gross body.
Plate 26 7.15-16 At the top Laksml-Nārāyaṇa are shown in the Lord’s transcendental abode. Below are four kinds of miscreants who do not surrender to God and four kinds of pious men who turn to Him in devotional service.
Plate 27 8.21 Kṛṣṇa brings His thousands of surabhi cows back home from the fields at the end of the day.
Plate 28 9.11 The fools mock the humanlike form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, but the devotee offers his obeisances. Behind Kṛṣṇa are Mahā-Visnu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and the entire cosmic manifestation—all working Under Kṛṣṇa’s direction.
Plate 29 10.12-13 Arjuna offers prayers to Kṛṣṇa.
Plate 30 10.41 A sampling of Kṛṣṇa’s infinite manifestations, both in the spiritual and material worlds. Outer circle, clockwise (beginning from the upper left-hand corner): Indra carrying the thunderbolt, the Himalayas, Lord Siva with the Ganges River in his hair, the moon, the horse Ucchaiḥśravā, the transcendental om, Kapila, Rāma, flower-bearing Spring, Kāmadhuk, Arjuna, Vyāsadeva, Prahlāda, the shark, Vāsuki, Skanda, Varuṇa, Yamarāja, the lion, Kuvera, Agni and Airāvata. Inner circle, clockwise (beginning from four-headed Lord Brahmā sitting on the lotus flower): Brahmā, Nārada, Garuḍa, the sun, the ocean, Lord Viṣṇu, Ananta, and the chanting of the holy names—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Plate 31 11.13 Kṛṣṇa’s universal form is displayed to Arjuna. Still the Lord does not lose His original eternal identity. He remains seated on the chariot with Arjuna.
Plate 32 11.50 After showing Arjuna His universal form, Kṛṣṇa shows him His four-handed Nārāyaṇa form in which He presides over all the spiritual planets. Then He changes to His two-handed form to show everyone that He is the source of the universe and the source of Nārāyaṇa.
Plate 33 12.6-7 Kṛṣṇa is riding towards the devotee on Garuḍa, His feathered carrier, in order to lift him out of the ocean of birth and death.
Plate 34 14.14, 15, 18 Life in the higher planetary system, life in the society of human beings and life in the animal kingdom are portrayed.
Plate 35 15.1-3 Kṛṣṇa and His eternal consort, Rādhārāṇī, are shown in Their eternal abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana. The upside-down tree below Them is the banyan tree, representing the material world, which is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. The demigods are on the top branches, the human beings are on the middle branches, and the animals are on the lower branches. On the right, a man is disentangling himself from the tree by cutting it with the weapon of detachment.
Plate 36 15.6 The huge lotus is the original spiritual planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana, the abode of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. The spiritual effulgence around this planet is the brahmajyoti, which is the ultimate goal of the impersonalists. Within the unlimited brahmajyoti are innumerable spiritual planets which are dominated by plenary expansions of Lord Kṛṣṇa and inhabited by ever-liberated living beings. Sometimes a spiritual cloud overtakes a corner of the spiritual sky, and the covered portion is called mahat-tattva, or the material sky. The Lord, as Mahā-Viṣṇu, lies down in the water within the mahat-tattva, which is called the Causal Ocean. While Lord Viṣṇu sleeps, innumerable universes generate from His breathing and float all over the Causal Ocean. Mahā-Viṣṇu enters each universe as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and lies in the Garbha Ocean on the serpentine Śeṣa incarnation. From His navel a lotus stem sprouts, and on the lotus, Brahmā, the lord of the universe, is born. Brahmā creates all the living beings in different shapes in terms of their desires within the universe. He also creates the sun, moon and other demigods.
Plate 37 15.8 Top section: On the left, a boy is dancing before the Deities of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. The result of such devotional consciousness is shown on the right, where he is dancing with Kṛṣṇa as a playmate in the Lord’s spiritual abode. Second section: On the left a man is offering charity to a brāhmana; on the right he has taken the body of a demigod and is enjoying heavenly delights. Third section: A man is eating meat and other abominable foods; in his next life he is seen in the body of a hog who eats anything and everything. Bottom section: A man is approaching a woman with lust. This bestial consciousness carries him to a dog’s body.
Plate 38 16.5, 21 Two men (standing where the stairway makes its turn) are being offered both liberation and bondage. One man looks upward, following the spiritual master who points towards Śrī Rādhā- Kṛṣṇa. The other man embraces the demoniac qualities by accepting the garland offered by Māyā, Kṛṣṇa’s illusory energy. Drawn by ropes which are held by the personifications of lust, greed and anger, he follows her down the steps. At the bottom he is reaching for Māyā, and gliding towards hell.
Plate 39 16.10-18 A sample of the demoniac qualities is illustrated here.
Plate 40 17.4 On the top, three demigods, Vivasvān, Brahmā and Lord Śiva, are being worshiped by their respective devotees. Just below, a man is worshiping a famous mundane personality. At the bottom, women are worshiping a tree which is inhabited by a ghost, and a man is worshiping the tomb of a dead man.
Plate 41 18.14 Endeavor means energy which is employed. For anything one does there must be some activity; that is the endeavor. The place must be favorable, the activities must be authorized, the doer (the man who is acting) must be expert, the instruments must be fit, and the help from the Supersoul must be adequate. These are the five causes for success, and the opposite are the five factors for failure.
Here a man is conducting business. If he goes to the marketplace it will be very nice, since there are so many customers. Similarly, one looking for spiritual life goes to where there are devotees and associates with them. One must go to a particular type of place for a particular type of activity, and the person acting must be well versed, or expert, just like an expert salesman whose method of business is bona fide. The senses must be in order, to guard against cheating, hear offers, etc. Above all is the help from Supersoul, who dictates in such a way that everything is successful, spiritually or materially. Among the five factors portrayed here, the endeavor is the business which is being conducted.
Plate 42 18.41-46 While engaged in their prescribed duties, these four representatives of the four social orders (varṇas) are thinking of Lord Kṛṣṇa and offering Him the results of their work.
Plate 43 18.65 Gopala Kṛṣṇa, the beautiful original form of the Lord.
Plate 44 18.78 Arjuna’s illusion is now gone, and he is acting according to Kṛṣṇa’s instructions. Kṛṣṇa, the driver of countless universes, is driving the chariot of Arjuna.