(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 May 2015, Sydney, Australia, Sunday Feast Lecture, Bhagavad-gita 7.20)

We should read the Bhagavad-gita with a certain amount of introspection and a certain amount of reflection. We have to think about it and not just read…

“Are you reading Gita?”
(Indian accent) “Ah, yes, yes, yes. I am reading Gita too much. Every day, fifteen minutes. Jaya. Pakka. Every day. Never fail. Ah, yes. Very good.”
“But are you thinking about it? How many minutes are you thinking about it?”
“Thinking about it? What kind of question is that? I am reading.”
“Now you must think. Fifteen minutes reading then fifteen hours of thinking and the rest you can sleep.”

reading bhagavad gitaThat means when we are awake, we need to think according to the Gita otherwise, what is the point of reading? It is not a ritual. “I am reading the Gita, fifteen minutes everyday. Mind switched off just reading, kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ… I am reading. Too much. Very quickly also. You also reading… and thinking? We never think. Oh my God, thinking. We do not do that! Eating, sleeping, mating, no thinking. Not on the list. Sorry! It is not there.” (laughter)

So this is the issue, we do not think! But the Bhagavad-gita is exactly the book for thinking, for contemplation. The whole purpose of the Gita is contemplation, to think about it! Therefore there is something called lectio divina, contemplated reading or reading sastra in a way where we are deeply trying to understand what this verse is trying to tell me? What is the message for me here, “Those, whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires.”

I did not know that intelligence could be stolen. Did you? Never thought of that. Intelligence stolen? And by who?

Intelligence gets stolen by material desires, by working for the material desires day and night, kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante ‘nya-devatāḥ (Bhagavad-gita 7.20). Yes, there is a verse from Srila Rupa Goswami which describes the senses and we have to see that the senses are pushing and let us imagine it for a moment.

Say I have desk with many telephones on it and then, “Ring, ring, ring, ring.”


“This is your tongue speaking. Are we going to eat something? I mean this Swami is talking forever but how about the sabji and puris? Are they coming already or what? I mean it is time for the sabji and puri.”

“Yes, yes, Mr. Tongue. Of course, just now coming. Please have a little patience but we are making the arrangements urgently and as soon as it is there, we will definitely go for the sabjis and puris.”

“Okay, okay.”

“Ring, ring, ring, ring.”


“The ears. Can we switch to the other channel please? Something else. This has been going on too long. Something different, if possible, yes. Please switch, as soon as possible, to the other channel.”

“Yes, yes. Of course, of course. Yes. Yes.”

Oops. The red phone.


“Hello, hello.”


“This is your genitals speaking. It is weekend now and what more do I need to say. It is our time. Have you understood?”

“Yes, of course. Definitely. Absolutely. Whatever you say, I will bring.”

And then we bring. We bring the senses whatever the senses want. We work so hard to fulfil it. We will never say no to their demands and in the end, what will the senses say to us? The senses are totally, totally not grateful at all. They will say, “Is that all? Is that all you brought? Bring more, right now! You brought ice-cream but it is the wrong flavour! Go back! Bring more. There is no chocolate crunchies.”

Like this, the senses are never satisfied, kamadinam kati na katidha palita durnidesas tesam jata mayi na karuna na trapa nopasantih (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 2.16). They have no mercy, na karuna na trapa nopasantih. They are merciless, the senses! They drive us. We bring them what they want and they are still not satisfied.

So back to the verse, “Those whose intelligence be stolen by material desires.” That means the intelligence works for the senses. We bring more and more to the senses and the senses are still not satisfied.

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