स्वर्गश्चैवापवर्गश्च नान्योऽर्थो मदृते प्रिय: ॥ २ ॥
svārtho hetuś ca sammataḥ
svargaś caivāpavargaś ca
nānyo ’rtho mad-ṛte priyaḥ
jñāninaḥ — of a learned self-realized philosopher; tu — indeed; aham — I; eva — alone; iṣṭaḥ — the object of worship; sva-arthaḥ — the desired goal of life; hetuḥ — the means for achieving the goal of life; ca — also; sammataḥ — the settled conclusion; svargaḥ — the cause of all happiness in elevation to heaven; ca — also; eva — indeed; apavargaḥ — freedom from all unhappiness; ca — also; na — not; anyaḥ — any other; arthaḥ — purpose; mat — Me; rte — without; priyaḥ — dear object.
For learned, self-realized philosophers I am the only object of worship, the desired goal of life, the means for achieving that goal, and the settled conclusion of all knowledge. Indeed, because I am the cause of their happiness and their freedom from unhappiness, such learned souls have no effective purpose or dear object in life except Me.
In the previous verse Lord Kṛṣṇa stated that one should ultimately surrender unto Him that knowledge by which the material world is seen as illusion. Material attachments are certainly problems for the living entities, since they are diseases of the spirit soul. One who has contracted a skin disease that causes terrible itching gains only flickering relief by scratching the unbearable sores. If he does not scratch he suffers greatly, but by scratching, even though there is an instantaneous sensation of pleasure, unbearable misery follows as the itching increases. Real happiness is not found in scratching one’s skin infections but rather in becoming free from such disease. Conditioned souls are harassed by many illusory desires, and in desperation they try to gratify their senses through the hopeless scratching processes of illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. They further try to gain relief through material society, friendship and love, but the result is unbearable suffering. Real happiness is to eliminate completely the itching disease of material desire. Since material desire is a disease of the soul, one must acquire knowledge to treat this disease and eliminate it. Such therapeutic knowledge is essential as long as one is diseased, but when one is fully healthy, such technical medical knowledge is no longer interesting to the healthy person, and he may leave such knowledge to the doctors. Similarly, in the advanced stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness one need not think continually of one’s personal problems but may rather think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, with love and devotion. Lord Kṛṣṇa advises in the previous verse that one should eliminate one’s personal problems through technical knowledge of illusion. After giving up constant meditation on such problems, one can then become a lover of God. Lord Kṛṣṇa certainly guides each and every sincere devotee internally within the heart and externally through the bona fide spiritual master. In this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa gradually trains His sincere devotees to give up their irrational attachment to dead matter. Once freedom has been achieved, a devotee begins to seriously cultivate his relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa in the spiritual sky.
One may falsely think that just as at a certain stage of advancement one ceases to concentrate on technical, analytic knowledge of illusion, so, at another stage one may give up loving devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. To nullify such speculation Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa here states in various ways that He is the supreme eternal goal of all truly learned human beings. Indeed, the most prominent scholars within the universe are the sages, such as the four Kumāras, who accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as their only worshipable object. Because they have discovered that they are eternal fragmental portions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, they are not interested in fruitive activities and mental speculation. Lord Kṛṣṇa awards celestial bliss and freedom from anxiety to His sincere followers, who have no purpose or beloved object in life other than the Lord.