Shrimad Bhagavad Gita As It Is -Shri Shrimad A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Attaining the Supreme
Chapter 8: Verse-28
vedesu yajnesu tapahsu caiva dänesu yat punya-phalam pradistam
A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. Simply by performing devotional service, he attains all these, and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode.
This verse is the summation of the Seventh and Eighth chapters, which particularly deal with krsna consciousness and devotional service. One has to study the Vedas under the guidance of the spiritual master and undergo many austerities and penances while living under his care. A brahmacäri has to live in the home of the spiritual master just like a servant, and he must beg alms from door to door and bring them to the spiritual master. He takes food only under the master’s order, and if the master neglects to call the student for food that day, the student fasts. These are some of the Vedic principles for observing brahmacarya. After the student studies the Vedas under the master for a period from five to twenty years, he may become a man of perfect character. Study of the Vedas is not meant for the recreation of armchair speculators, but for the formation of character. After this training, the brahmacäri is allowed to enter into household life and marry. When he is a householder, he has to perform many sacrifices so that he may achieve further enlightenment. He must also give charity according to the country, time and candidate, discriminating among charity in goodness, in passion and in ignorance, as described in Bhagavad-gita. Then after retiring from household life, upon accepting the order of vänaprastha, he undergoes severe penances—living in forests, dressing with tree bark, not shaving, etc. By carrying out the orders of brahmacarya, householder life, vänaprastha and finally sannyäsa, one becomes elevated to the perfectional stage of life. Some are then elevated to the heavenly kingdoms, and when they become even more advanced they are liberated in the spiritual sky, either in the impersonal brahmajyoti or in the Vaikuntha planets or Krsnaloka. This is the path outlined by Vedic literatures.
- vedesu=in the study of the Vedas; yajnesu=in the performances of yajna, sacrifice; tapahsu=in undergoing different types of austerities; ca=also; eva=certainly; dänesu=in giving charities; yat=that which; punya-phalam=result of pious work; pradistam=indicated; atyeti=surpasses; tat sarvam=all those; idam=this; viditvä=knowing; yogi=the devotee; param=supreme; sthänam=abode; upaiti=achieves; ca=also; ädyam=original.