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Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 16, Verse 24

Chapter 16: The Divine And Demoniac Natures
Verse: 24
tasmac chastram pramanam te
jnatva sastra-vidhanoktam
karma kartum iharhasi

One should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.

This verse gives the conclusion of the chapter. Those who are fixed in the Vedas are gradually elevated to the supreme destination. Those who act whimsically and condemned to an hellish existence. There are two primary reasons that adherence to the Vedas is stressed to such a great extend. Firstly, since they come from the Lord, they are perfect and free from the four defects present in all embodied beings (imperfect senses, illusion, cheating propensity and fallibility). Secondly, the nature of the senses is to enjoy. Without the scriptures, every one would simply seek for their own sense gratification, thus committing abominable acts. The prescriptions and prohibitions in the scriptures are meant to control the pushings of the senses and allow for regulated enjoyment while making spiritual progress.

Srila Prabhupada explains that while adherence to the Vedas will undoubtedly provide the path of gradual elevation there is another path – one that is much easier to follow and provides rapid elevation – the path of devotional service. He explains, "If one understands Krishna from the Bhagavad-gita and becomes situated in Krishna consciousness, engaging himself in devotional service, he has reached the highest perfection of knowledge offered by the Vedic literature. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu made this process very easy: He asked people simply to chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord and eat the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Deity. One who is directly engaged in all these devotional activities is to be understood as having studied all Vedic literature. He has come to the conclusion perfectly."

Please read the Sanskrit Verse and the Prabhupada's Purport.


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