The illustrations of Bhagavad-gita As It Is were painted by members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) 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 Gita that the picture illustrates.
Bhagavad-gita 1.1 Dhrtarastra is on the throne, and Sanjaya, his secretary, is describing what is happening on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. Because of Sanjaya’s mystic powers, the discourse on the battlefield between Krsna and Arjuna is revealed in his heart.
Bhagavad-gita 1.33-35 Draupadi, the wife of the Pandava brothers (Arjuna, Maharaja Yudhisthira, Bhima, Sahadeva and Nakula), is being disrobed by Duryodhana and Duhsasana, two sons of Dhrtarastra, after being lost to them in a gambling match. Dhrtarastra is sitting on the throne. Krsna is becoming Draupadi’s infinite robe to save her from being seen naked by the assembly. Because of this incident and other offenses to the Pandavas, Krsna wanted the battle to take place and the miscreants to be killed.
Bhagavad-gita 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.
Bhagavad-gita 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. Similiarly, 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.
Bhagavad-gita 3.12 Devotees are pictured engaging in sankirtana-yajna. 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), Vivasvan (the sun-god) and Vayu (the god of air). At the right is Laksmi, the goddess of fortune.
Bhagavad-gita 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.
Bhagavad-gita 4.7 In the center square, Krsna is shown in His original two-handed form, holding a flute. Surrounding Him are ten of His eternal incarnations, pictured in the order in which they appear in the material world, beginning clockwise from the lower left-hand corner.
Matsya, the fish incarnation, is saving the Vedas.
Kurma, the tortoise incarnation, is holding the hill on His back.
Varaha, the boar incarnation, is fighting with the demon Hiranyaksa.
Nrsimhadeva, the lion incarnation, is killing the demon Hiranyakasipu.
Vamanadeva, the dwarf incarnation, is begging some land from King Bali.
Parasurama is killing the demoniac ksatriyas.
Lord Ramacandra is going off into exile with His wife, Sita, and brother, Laksmana.
Krsna is lifting Govardhana Hill, and beside Him is His brother Balarama.
Lord Kalki is riding on His horse, killing all the demons and thus liberating them.
Bhagavad-gita 4.8 Krsna’s uncle, Kamsa, is being killed by the Lord, Balarama, Krsna’s brother, is standing on Krsna’s right. Behind Krsna are His parents, Devaki and Vasudeva, who were imprisoned by Kamsa but are here freed by their son. This scene takes place in Kamsa’s wrestling arena in Mathura province.
Bhagavad-gita 4.11 At the top Krsna 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 Krsna personally by painting His transcendental form. Next, an impersonalist, by his meditation, is merging with the brahmajyoti, the spiritual effulgence emanating from the Lords 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.
Bhagavad-gita 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 sankhya-yogi engages in the analytical study of matter and spirit. After some time he realizes the Lord (the forms of Radha and Krsna include all other forms of the Lord) within his heart, and then he engages in devotional service.
Bhagavad-gita 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 Garuda, who is standing behind her, to threaten the ocean into giving up the eggs.
Bhagavad-gita 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.
Bhagavad-gita 7.4-5 Spirit soul sustains the material universe of earth, water, fire, etc. (represented as the body). The subtle body-mind, intelligence and fales ego-is represented by the red dot on the forehead. The soul is seated in the heart of the gross body.
Bhagavad-gita 7.15-16 At the top Laksmi-Narayana 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.
Bhagavad-gita 8.21 Krsna brings His thousands of surabhi cows back home from the fields at the end of the day.
Bhagavad-gita 9.11 The fools mock the humanlike form of Lord Krsna, but the devotee offers his obeisances. Behind Krsna are Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and the entire cosmic manifestation-all working under Krsna’s direction.
Bhagavad-gita 10.41 A sampling of Krsna’s infinite manifestations, both in the spiritual and material worlds. Outer circle (clockwise beginning from the upper left-hand corner): Indra carrying the thundrebolt, the Himalayas, Lord Siva with the Ganges River in his hair, the moon, the horse Ucchaihsrava, the transcendentalom, Kapila, Rama, flower-bearing Spring, Kamadhuk, Arjuna, Vyasadeva, Prahlada, the shark, Vasuki, Skanda, Varuna, Yamaraja, the lion, Kuvera, Agni and Airavata. Inner circle, clockwise (beginning from four-headed Lord Brahma sitting on the lotus flower): Brahma, Narada, Garuda, the sun, the ocean, Lord Visnu, Ananta, and the chanting of the holy names-Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Bhagavad-gita 11.50 After showing Arjuna His universal form, Krsna shows him His four-handed Narayana 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 Narayana.
Bhagavad-gita 15.1-3 Krsna and His eternal consort, Radharani, are shown in Their eternal abode, Goloka Vrndavana. 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.
Bhagavad-gita 15.6 The huge lotus is the original spiritual planet, Goloka Vrndavana, the abode of Radha and Krsna. The spiritual effulgence around this planet is the brahmajoyti, which is the ultimate goal of the impersonalists. Within the universal brahmajoyti are innumerable spiritual planets which are dominated by plenary expansions of Lord Krsna 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 Maha Visnu, lies down in the water within the mahat-tattva, which is called the Causal Ocean. Maha Visnu enters each universe as Garbhodakasayi Visnu and lies in the Garbha Ocean on the serpentine Sesa incarnation. From His navel a lotus stem sprouts, ad d on the lotys, Brahma, the Lord of the universe, is born. Brahma 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.
Bhagavad-gita 15.8 Top section: On the left, a boy is dancing before the Deities of Radha-Krsna. The result of such devotional consciousness is shown on the right, where he is dancing with Krsna as a playmate in the Lord’s spiritual abode. Second section: On the left a man is offering charity to a brahmana; 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 women with lust. This bestial consciousness carries him to a dog’s body.
Bhagavad-gita 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 toward Sri Radha-Krsna. The other man embraces the demoniac qualities by accepting the garland offered by Maya, Krsna’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 Maya, and gliding towards hell.
Bhagavad-gita 17.4 On the top, three demigods, Vivasvan, Brahma and Lord Siva, are being worshipped by their respective devotees. Just below a man is worshipping a famous mundane personality. At the bottom, women are worshipping a tree which is inhabited by a ghost, and a man is worshipping the tomb of a dead man.
Bhagavad-gita 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 adiquate. These are the five causes for success, and the opposite are the five causes 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.