Connecting disciples of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
Upanishads are the most authoritative source of knowledge in understanding the Vedas. They deliver the essence of Vedic wisdom and therefore they are known as Vedantas. Vedantas means the final word of the Vedas. Vedas are the knowledge for the entire universe which came by disciplic succession from Krsna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, and Narada to Vyasa. There is no other scriptures that are older than the Vedas.
There are said to be more than 200 Upanishads, one of which, the Muktikā, gives a list of 108 Upanishads. Upanishads contain the essence of the Vedas taught by the celebrated teachers to their intimate disciples, therefore Upanishads mean, “to go near a teacher and learn from him submissively”; ‘upa’ meaning ‘near’, ‘hi’ means ‘down’ and ‘nishad’ means ‘to sit’. These teachers got this divine knowledge from their teachers, seniors and previous acaryas unadultered. Upanishads have their own style like, dialogue with questions and answers, narration and episodes, similes, metaphors and illustrations and symbolism.
And Bhagavat-gita is the essence of all the Upanishads. As mentioned in the Gita-mahatmya 6:
sarvo panishado gavo
dogdha gopala nandanah
partho vatsah sudhir bhokta
dugdham gita amritam mahat
All the Upanishads are the cows, the one who milks the cows is Krishna, Arjuna is the calf. Men of purified intellect (who reads as it is and follows the Bhagavat-gita) are the enjoyers; the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.
Bhagavat-gita was spoken 5000 years ago by the Supreme Lord Krishna to his intimate friend and devotee Arjuna at the battle field of Kuru-kestra. When grief striken Arjuna out of compassion refused to fight against his teachers, family members and friends, Lord Krishna has spoken this ultimate truth for the knowledge of Arjuna and for the benefit of everyone in this universe. Arjuna submissively inquired Krishna and got cleared all his doubts. At the end of this conversation Arjuna surrendered to Krishna which was the summum bonum of the discussion. After reading the Bhagavat-gita, one’s attitude should be surrendered to Krishna like Arjuna, and if it is otherwise, he hasn’t understood the Gita fully as it is. This conversation had taken place on the first day of the eighteen day battle between the pandava and the kuru families. This is the birth of Bhagavat-gita and this day is celebrated all over the world as Gita Jayanti.
In Bhagavat-gita, Krishna Himself says: vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo, vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham. By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas. Krsna is the ultimate truth of all the Vedas and Upanishads. He is Vedanta, the end of the search of the truth. One who realizes this is a very rare person. Instead of reading Vedas and swayed away from the truth, by the waves of karma kanda portions of it, one should simply take up Bhagavat-gita as it is to save his time, read it under the guidance of a spiritual master and follow his instructions to go back home back to Godhead in this lifetime.
For the universal peace and harmony, as said in the Gita-mahatmya 7:
ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam
eko devo devaki-putra eva
eko mantras tasya namani yani
karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva
In this present day, people are very eager to have one scripture, one God, one religion, and one occupation. So Therefore, ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam: let there be one scripture only, one common scripture, for the whole world—Bhagavad-gita. And Eko devo devaki-putra eva: let there be one God only for the whole world—Sri Krsna. Eko mantras tasya namani: And one hymn, one mantra, one prayer only—the chanting of His name: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva: And let there be one work only—the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.