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Śrīmad bhagavad gītā | Bhakti yoga ~ Sarga 12 of 18

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Sarga (or) Chapter 12 of 18 : Bhakti yoga

śloka (verses): 20

Abstract: In this chapter Krishna glorifies the path of devotion to God. Krishna describes the process of devotional service (Bhakti yoga). He also explains different forms of spiritual disciplines.

Audio Recitals:

in Sanskrit by Sri Vidyabhushana     
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in Telugu by Ghantasala     
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in English Unknown     
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गीतोपदेश

Gitopadesh (Sanskrit: गीतोपदेश)


Introduction:

In chapter twelve Lord Krishna extols the glory of devotion to God. Along with this he explains the different forms of spiritual disciplines and discusses the qualities of the devotees who by performing their activities in this way become very dear to Him. Thus this chapter is entitled: The Path of Devotion.

Sloka 12.1 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अर्जुन उवाच |

एवं सततयुक्ता ये भक्तास्त्वां पर्युपासते |
ये चाप्यक्षरमव्यक्तं तेषां के योगवित्तमाः ||१२- १||

arjuna uvAcha |

evaM satatayuktA ye bhaktAstvAM paryupAsate |
ye chApyakSharamavyaktaM teShA.n ke yogavittamAH || 12-1 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.1

Anvaya: arjunah uvaca–Arjuna said; evam–thus; satata–always; yuktah–engaged; ye–those; bhaktah–devotees; tvam–unto You; paryupasate–properly worship; ye–those; ca–also; api–again; aksaram–beyond the senses; avyaktam–unmanifested; tesam–of them; ke–who; yoga-vit-tamah–the most perfect.

Translation: Arjuna inquired: Which is considered to be more perfect, those who are properly engaged in Your devotional service, or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The twelfth chapter conclusively determines which of the following two paths is superior. The worship of the abstract impersonal and imperishable brahman which is the spritual substratum pervading all existence or personal devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna in His original, two armed form with personality, qualities and attributes. At the conclusion of chapter eleven Lord Krishna declared that one who performs all actions dedicated to Him and has only Him as the ultimate goal being exclusively devoted to Him attains Him. In various verses such as chapter 9, verse 31 Lord Krishna has ordered Arjuna with kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati which means declare it boldly that My devotee is never vanquished. This shows the inherent superiority of the devotees of Lord Krishna. Similarly the superiority of one who is devoted to knowledge has been given in chapter 7, verse 17 with tesam jnani nitya-yukty eka-bhaktir meaning one in knowledge of exclusive loving devotion is always in communion with Him. Such men of knowledge excel all others. Thus although both paths are exemplary Arjuna is requesting to know which of the two paths is superior being better suited for yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Hari OM! This chapter confirms that propitiation to the Supreme Lord Krishna is superior to the unmanifest, impersonal and imperishable brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Here Lord Krishna outlines the procedure of performing it. The procedure itself becomes the means for moksa or liberation from material existence. All who propitiate the brahman will also achieve moksa after having all their desires fulfilled. In the Agni section of the Sama Veda it states: Propitiating that which is superior to the eternal and beginningless brahman one achieves moksa from samsara or the endless cycle of birth and death. The words aksaram avyaktam refer to the indestructible, unmanifest supreme absolute or brahman whose steadfast worship eventually releases one from all constraints. So great is the result of propitiation in reference to this as revealed in the Vedas. Those who worship the goddess Sri Laksmi with four arms and hands, ever young, ever content, resplendent as the eternal consort of the Supreme Lord in the spiritual worlds being His sakti or spiritual feminine potency in the material worlds, endowed with the wealth of wisdom; such a being is blessed by the two-fold form of the Supreme Lord which manifest themselves both externally as an experience and internally within one’s heart.

This has been documented in other Vedic scriptures as well in the Puranas. Having started with the declaration in Rig Veda X.CXXV that: Sri Laksmi wanders wherever the different vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence of the Supreme Lord appear such as the Rudras, the Vasus, the Adityas, the Visva-devas etc. She is the gatherer of treasures and the empress of Lord Krishna’s direct expansion Narayana the Lord of all Vaikuntha, the eternal spiritual worlds and being the personal sakti of the Supreme Lord she also expands herself as the consort of each and every incarnation and expansion of Lord Krishna and thus also merits worship. Thus the demigods and elevated beings have established her worship in many places and homes to abide in, on the left side of the Supreme Lord. Through her alone all eat the food that feeds them as well as sees, breathes and hears the sound of the word outspoken, although they know it not and are unaware. Hear now one and all the truth as she declared it: The one who she benedicts excels above others and is most powerful becoming a sage, yogi or brahmana. It is by her energy that the bow of Rudra is bent and his arrows are propelled to strike and slay those who disrespect, despise and offend the devotees of the Supreme Lord. On the worlds summits she designates the powerful. Her home is in the waters of the casual ocean far, far beyond the material worlds and far beyond even the heavenly planets. Sri Laksmi the universal mother is majestic in her grandeur. One who pleases her is blest to become a Brahmin, opulent and wise. Because the Vedic scriptures state like this there may be some doubt as to whether Sri Laksmi has the capacity to grant moksa or liberation by the power of the Supreme Lord. To discern this subtle truth and for the sake of knowledge Arjuna uses the word evam meaning in which way.

Arjuna is requesting reassurance since experiencing the reality of Lord Krishna’s visvarupa or divine universal form, he was puzzled and unsure if avaktya or the unmanifest being the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence should be meditated on or should he meditate on prakriti the material substratum underlying physical existence which is the source of the three gunas or modes of material nature being tama or ignorance, raja guna or mode of passion and sattva guna or mode of goodness The word aksaram means eternal, absolute and Sri Laksmi is also eternal and absolute and prakriti arises completely out of her but the Supreme Lord is superior to all that. Then he is wondering should he not worship the atma or eternal soul within or should he just directly worship the Supreme Lord Krishna with loving devotion? The indestructible brahman is a direct reflection of the Supreme Lord and none other then He. Always being blissful He appears as Vasudeva and is all pervading. He is also paramatma the Supreme Soul within the etheric heart of all sentient beings. This has been given in chapter two. His form and qualities have been given in chapter three and meditation has subsequently been advised as the consequent activity.

Knowledge of the prodigious manifold forms of the Supreme Lord, His manifold expansions, His manifold incarnations, His visvarupa or divine universal form and the unlimited lilas or pastimes of them all begins the revelation that Lord Krishna is the immortal, eternal Lord of all lords, from whom everything emanates in existence and to whom all paths return back to Him. In the Sama Veda, Saukarayana section we find that Rudra the mind born son of Brahma approaches him and asks to know who is verily the ultimate goal of all existence, the eternally established, creator of all beings who bestows moksa or liberation upon the aspirants, the righteous and the noble. How does one meditate upon such a Supreme Being and how can one meditate upon a Supreme Being who is completely spiritual without any material qualities or attributes? Brahma replied it is verily the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the ultimate goal as well as the object of meditation by the aspirants and the granter of moksa. Of unlimited avatars or incarnations, expansions and manifestations, appearing in many colours surrounded by a golden hue. He verily is shining like the sun and should be meditated upon within the heart as a personality resembling a human the colour of a radiant dark blue sapphire with gentle smile and hands giving blessing surrounded by a golden hue. He is camouflaged by the brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and which emanates an impenetrable dazzling light throughout all creation which effectively covers His all pervading form. It is for this reason that He is also propitiates as avyaktam or immutable and aksaram or unmanifest because He cannot be perceived by material vision.

Now begins the summation.

Hari OM! Here is explained the means of achieving spiritual practice.

The immutable, unmanifest known as the brahman although without form by the will of the Supreme Lord arises from His sakti or spiritual, feminine potency known as Sri or Laksmi. For her propitiation an aspirant must leave home and for being initiated in tattva or knowledge about her one must approach and accept a spiritual master in her line. Whomsoever learns to propitiate her attains moksa. Thus the objective of both the aspirant and the guru are fulfilled. Those who propitiate Sri Laksmi, the consort of the Supreme Lord is His sakti which controls the material existence and is also known as Ambika, Agrya, Aupala, Hri and Sivdya are granted moksa, If Sri Laksm is pleased then the Supreme Lord becomes pleased also and if she is not pleased then the Supreme Lord remains unpleased as well.

The Brahmanda Prurana states: Sri Laksmi is known as avyaktam or unmanifest because prakriti or the material substratum underlying physical existence arises from her. She is also known as aksaram or immutable, the Supreme consciousness, the primal source, the refuge for all and the abiding one; but the Supreme Lord who empowers her is verily superior to her. So such propitiation to the avaktam is synonymous with propitiation to Sri Laksmi and the Supreme Lord. This has been asked by Arjuna for clarification of which path is more meritorious for attaining moksa. That which is abiding within is known as the immutable and never changing. This is clearly determined by such statements in the Vedic scriptures such as: That which who abides within, eternally, unlimited, all pervading, etc. These things clearly refer to the unmanifest consciousness. Otherwise such distinct queries such as who is to be propitiated and the method of propitiating Him and between the two which is superior would not have been asked. Those who consider propitiation to the abstract, indistinct, impersonal and imperishable brahman to be superior to direct loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord are verily deluded and far away from the actual tattva or conclusive truth.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

In the previous chapter the Supreme Lord Krishna, the possessor of all divine attributes as well as countless exalted qualities such as an ocean of mercy, compassion, affability, omniscience etc. and the source of all avatars or incarnations and expansions, being the ultimate object of worship to all who aspire for the path of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna; revealed His unlimited sovereign power of universal dominion in the form of His visvarupa or divine universal form after being requested by His devotee Arjuna. It has also been established that uninterrupted profound, sublime bhakti alone without cessation is the only possible way to realise the Supreme Lord in His ultimate nature and experience communion with Him. Now in this chapter the following three realities will be examined. 1) The inherent superiority of an aspirant performing bhakti involving meditation directly upon the Supreme Lord Himself as compared to meditation upon the atma or the eternal soul which only leads to atma tattva or realisation of the soul in order to attain the ultimate goal of all existence. This superiority of bhakti is measured in terms of absolute fulfilment of the ultimate goal and in the sublime felicity and bliss of performance. Bhakti or love of God is considered the fifth purusharthas above the other four ambitions of humans beings which are 1. Dharma or righteousness which consists of two parts first being the regular performance of Vedic activities and the second being performing actions which benefit all living entities such as freely providing fresh water and salt to all and protecting against all demoniac influences whenever they appear. 2. Artha or the righteous acquirement of wealth according to the Vedic scriptures without usury or deception. 3. Kama or enjoyment and pleasure in the material existence following the Vedic scriptures without perversion or degradation. 4. Moksa or liberation from material existence by atma tattva or liberation from material existence by bhakti realising the Supreme Lord direct. It should be noted that atma tattva is automatically an inherent part of bhakti and thus those blessed living entities who perform bhakti to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised avatars do not have to make any separate or special effort to achieve this. 2) The method of realising the Supreme Lord will be given in verse two. 3) The aksaram or abstract, impersonal unmanifest path examined in verses 3,4,5 is applicable for those who are inept and unqualified. This ineptitude and lack of qualification is due to the absence of humbly approaching a spiritual master from one of the four authorised Vaisnava sampradaya’s or empowerd lines of disciplic succession and after being accepted by him and initiated being taught the fundamentals of bhakti.

The superiority of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna is made manifest by the superiority of He, Himself being the object of such loving devotion. This maxim of superiority was briefly stated by Lord Krishna in chapter six verse 47 where He states : Those with firm faith in the Vedic scriptures describing super-excellent devotion to Him and with hearts full of love dedicate all their actions to Him are yuktatamah the most superior of all.

The words satata-yuktah meaning always engaged denotes ever devout towards the Supreme Lord being ever intent on communion with Him which is continuing the sentiments of the last verse in chapter 11. The words tvam paryupasate means direct worship of Lord Krishna and refers to deeming the Supreme Lord as the complete fulfilment of one’s every ambition and desire. The Supreme Lord, the perfect, infallible one, the Sovereign Lord of all creation and the refuge of all cosmic glories, possessing unlimited attributes of exalted qualities such as divinity, omniscience, compassion, omnipotence, etc. Such ones are thy eternal adorers and always your beloved.

Those other votaries are the worshippers of the abstract, impersonal, avyaktam or unmanifest and imperceptible. which is aksaram or imperishable. Such also reflect and contemplate upon the nature of the pratyagatma or individual soul which is imperishable also as well as being unmanifest in as much as it is indiscernible by the mind and imperceptible to any of the senses such as the eye or ear, etc.

Of these two classes of aspirants which one is superior and most suitable for performing yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Inferring which one would achieve their respective goals most expediently. In verse seven Lord Krishna gives the definitive reply in answer to this query by succinctly revealing the most expeditious way to attain the ultimate goal.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In the last verse of chapter 11 the prerequisite method of attaining the Supreme Lord Krishna is revealed as bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. In verse 20 of the eighth chapter Lord Krishna refers to the innermost self the atma or eternal soul which is avyaktah or unmanifest and imperceptible to eyes and other senses and any external means of proof except by the Vedic scriptures. This avyaktah is of a superior nature far beyond the aksaram or indestructible brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Continuing in verse 21 of chapter eight Lord Krishna states that the Vedic scriptures proclaim the brahman to be paramam gatim meaning the supreme destination.

Thus what can gained by achieving either of the two goals and which is more appropriate is what is being asked. Of the two ways described in chapter 8 and chapter 11 which is better? Which is the most easily achieved? What practitioners of which path are the best? With a desire to understand these things Arjuna requests Lord Krishna for clarification. The Supreme Lord’s devotees have their minds constantly fixed on Him. They adore His form, pastimes, attributes and qualities such as omniscience, omnipotence, infinite prowess, etc. Then there are those who adore as the supreme destination the abstract, impersonal, unmanifest brahman which cannot be perceived by anything material such as the mind and senses. Which of the two practitioners following different paths are the most elevated in yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness? They are called the most elevated because they are yoga-vittamah meaning the best knowers of yoga and because they know the best means for attaining the Supreme Lord they have achieved moksa or liberation from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

Sloka 12.2 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रीभगवानुवाच |

मय्यावेश्य मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते |
श्रद्धया परयोपेताः ते मे युक्ततमा मताः ||१२- २||

shrIbhagavAnuvAcha |

mayyAveshya mano ye mAM nityayuktA upAsate |
shraddhayA parayopetAH te me yuktatamA matAH || 12-2 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.2

Anvaya: sri-bhagavan uvaca–the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; mayi–unto Me; avesya–fixing; manah–mind; ye–one who; mam–unto Me; nitya–always; yuktah–engaged; upasate–worships; sraddhaya–with faith; paraya–transcendental; upetah–engages; te–they; me–Me; yukta-tamah–most perfect; matah–I consider.

Translation: The Blessed Lord said: He whose mind is fixed on My personal form, always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, is considered by Me to be most perfect.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In response to the question from verse one the Supreme Lord Krishna confirms that those endowed with faith who fix their consciousness on Him continuously and worship Him exclusively, performing all activities invariably for Him are yuktatamah the most superior.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The words avesya manah means focusing the mind and includes fixing the heart exclusively upon Lord Krishna otherwise if it is not exclusive something else may enter in and then it will not be possible for the Supreme Lord to be their only object of meditation. The word sraddha means firm faith and those so endowed eagerly and enthusiastically strive for divine communion with the Supreme Lord. Those who propitiate Lord Krishna in this way with mind and hearts absorbed totally in Him are His best devotees and yuktamamah the most superior of all as they joyfully and skilfully with great eclat and determination navigate themselves swiftly through the currents of life to attain eternal communion with the Supreme Lord.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna confirms that those who with firm faith focus their consciousness exclusively upon Him without cessation are yuktatamah or the most superior of all as they worship Him, who is an ocean of divine attributes and qualities such as omniscience, omnipotence, compassionate, noble, etc. continuously within their minds which by contemplating eradicates any blemishes and imperfections such devotee may still possess.

Sloka 12.3 and 12.4 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ये त्वक्षरमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तं पर्युपासते |
सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यञ्च कूटस्थमचलन्ध्रुवम् ||१२- ३||

सन्नियम्येन्द्रियग्रामं सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः |
ते प्राप्नुवन्ति मामेव सर्वभूतहिते रताः ||१२- ४||

ye tvakSharamanirdeshyamavyaktaM paryupAsate |
sarvatragamachintya~ncha kUTasthamachalandhruvam.h || 12-3 ||

sanniyamyendriyagrAmaM sarvatra samabuddhayaH |
te prApnuvanti mAmeva sarvabhUtahite ratAH || 12-4 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.3,12.4

Anvaya: ye–those; tu–but; aksaram–which is beyond the perception of the senses; anirdesyam–indefinite; avyaktam–unmanifested; paryupasate–completely engages; sarvatra-gam–all-pervading; acintyam–inconceivable; ca–also; kuta-stham–in the center; acalam–immovable; dhruvam–fixed; sanniyamya–controlling; indriya-gramam–all the senses; sarvatra–everywhere; sama-buddhayah–equally disposed; te–they; prapnuvanti–achieve; mam–unto Me; eva–certainly; sarva-bhuta-hite–all living entities’ welfare; ratah–engaged.

Translation: But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed and immovable–the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth–by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The question might arise why is not the impersonal path superior. Lord Krishna answers this in this verse and the next. Although those who contemplate, reflect upon, meditate on and worship the abstract, impersonal, imperishable brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence can eventually attain Lord Krishna as well; it is extremely difficult to do so. This is because the characteristics of the brahman are beyond the ability of the mind to comprehend. Why so? Because although it is a reality the brahman is avyaktam or devoid of material qualities and attributes. Thus it is acintyam or inconceivable and not possible to be conceptualized. It is anirdesyam or indescribable and cannot be expressed by words because it is unable to be conceived. Although it is sarvatra-gam or all pervading it is unmanifest possessing no form and cannot be perceived, As it is kuta-stham it is unchanging and thus never changing it is dhruvam or eternal and everlasting. The rest is clear.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

So it has been established that the devotees who with full faith focus their minds on the Supreme Lord Krishna and offer bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Him are the most superior. But what about the other votaries of the Vedic culture who follow the path of worshipping the imperishable brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is unmanifest being imperceptible? What are there rewards? This Lord Krishna elucidates in these two verses.

In the Bhagavat Purana, the attribute of imperceptibility has been ascribed to illusion because it is acintyam or inconceivable and incapable of being rationalized although it is able to be perceived by some advanced beings. The word aksaram is not referring directly to the Supreme Lord but rather to His impersonal unmanifest aspect known as the imperishable brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. In the very beginning there was neither existence or non-existence, there was neither superior elements or inferior elements. Then there existed only tamas or the obscurity of darkness and within this obscurity alone was the unmanifest, inconceivable, ever renewable and was none other then prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is imperceptible, possessing no distinctive atributes to distinguish her by.

Similarly it has been stated in the Moksa Dharma: That being supported by the attributes of the Supreme Lord, Sri Laxsmi is ever fresh and inaccessible to the senses. Beyond the mind, unborn, existing even after universal dissolution are her special subsidiary attributes. The Manu Samhita states that Sri Laxsmi is: Harmful to none, unaffected by time, without enmity to any, immutable, without loss of form, manifested in everything, performing every action, she is always existing, symbolizing the principles of tamas and inactivity, dormant during dissolution, beyond the scope of logic and reason, unknowable and passive in all activities.

Later in chapter 15, verse 16 Lord Krishna states: kutastho ‘ksara ucyate meaning those who are personal associates of the Supreme Lord are eternal and infallible like the atma or soul. The Rig Veda states: That which is abiding within that space is kutastho of an eternal nature. So Sri Laxsmi is eternal because she abides there within that space. The Gautama section of the Sama Veda states: The consort of the Supreme Lord is Sri Laxsmi and she is all pervading, immutable, inscrutable, the progenitor and support of creation the same as the Supreme Lord which is accomplished without any influence of rajas or passion. According to the Agni Purana as Sri Laxsmi is never leaving her place at the feet of the Supreme Lord, she is achala or stationary. The Narada Purana states that: Sri Laxsmi and the Supreme Lord are unperceivable, unmanifest and beyond the scope of the mind.

Now begins the summation.

It has been shown how the Supreme Lord and His sakti or spiritual feminine potency known as Sri Laxsmi are both unborn and eternal. When all else ceases to exist at the time of universal dissolution the Supreme Lord and His sakti being unaffected facilitate the next cycle to start creation anew. The Supreme Lord is called akshara the absolute and ultimate source of all. His sakti is called kshara who is limited to the extent that she remains dormant until the Supreme Lord begins creation. At that time the dual nature of the Supreme Lord and His sakti activates the creative energy by which such interaction causes the phenomena in the material nature for unlimited plethora’s of species, forms and names of beings pouring into existence. The internal unified form of the Supreme Lord and Sri Laxsmi are known as akshara and kshara and their external manifestations are know as Purusha the Supreme Personality and prakriti the material substratum pervading all physical existence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Those who are attracted to meditation and upasate or worship on the avyakta or the unmanifest, impersonal brahman being the spiritual substratum pervading all existence or are devoted to realising the imperishable nature of their atma or eternal soul which is indefinable by the mind and imperceptible find that both ways are completely impossible to be perceived by any of the senses. The phrase sarvatra-gam acintyam means all pervading and inconceivable, respectively. The understanding is that despite the atma or eternal soul being present in the etheric heart of every living entity everywhere in creation in the demigods, the humans, the animals, the fish, the plants etc. It is completely inconceivable how the total aggregate of all these trillions upon trillions of souls approaching even an infinite amount actually comprise the transcendental, spiritual body of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Not only is it not possible to conceive this, it is also impossible to imagine what such an infinite spiritual form would appear like so it is completely indescribable. Even if one achieved atma- tattva or soul realisation and were able to perceive the form of their individual atma it would not be of any consequence in conceiving by any stretch of the imagination such an infinite and phenomenal spiritual form. The word kutastham means stable or uniform denoting that essence which never changes in form regardless of the constant changing of bodies of all living beings every life, thus it is acalam or immutable because of its singular unmoving nature and thus dhruvam or everlasting. Along with this must be sanniyamyendriya-gramam meaning all the senses must be fully controlled and restrained from absorption in their accustomed sense objects. The phrase sarvatra sama-buddhayah means equanimity towards all living entities which manifests itself when the cognition of the atma residing in the etheric heart of all living entities being of variegated and diverse species seen specifically as consciousness although concealed by various forms becomes a reality. Firmly fixed in this understanding one automatically becomes sarva-bhuta-hite ratah or favourably disposed to the welfare of all living entities or it can mean well removed from wishing any enmity towards any jiva or embodied being, for enmity is a product engendered by false ego due to imagining gradations in the atma’s between jivas because of external differences in their physical bodies.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One should not consider that those votaries of the impersonal unmanifest brahman which is the spiritual substratum pervading all existence or seekers of the imperceptible atma or eternal soul who without requisite faith do not propitiate the Supreme Lord Krishna are in any way superior to those who perform bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Him. In these two verses Lord Krishna explains that even those adherents of the Vedic culture who are not His devotees that rigidly control their senses from pursuing their objects of attraction with equanimity of mind towards all because they behold everything as part of the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. This understanding makes them sympathetic to the well being of all jivas or embodied beings: plants, animals, humans and demigods while meditating incessantly upon the imperceptible atma or eternal soul within themselves and within all sentient beings. Such aspirants also reach unto the brahman and are released from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death achieving moksa or liberation from material existence. Because the atma is eternal it is imperishable and different from the physical body which is perishable. Because the atma has a spiritual form it is immutable and changeless whereas the physical body is changing from birth to death. The conclusion is that the votaries of the impersonal brahman who worship the imperishable unmanifest attain that which they meditate upon being the impersonal brahman which is the effulgence of the Supreme Lord’s energy and this affirms the ancient Vedic aphorism: As one worships the Supreme Lord so does one become.

Sloka 12.5 audio recital in Sanskrit     

क्लेशोऽधिकतरस्तेषामव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम् ||
अव्यक्ता हि गतिर्दुःखं देहवद्भिरवाप्यते ||१२- ५||

klesho.adhikatarasteShAmavyaktAsaktachetasAm.h |
avyaktA hi gatirduHkha.n dehavadbhiravApyate || 12-5 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.5

Anvaya: klesah–trouble; adhika-tarah–more troublesome; tesam–of them; avyakta–to unmanifested; asakta–being attached; cetasam–of those whose minds; avyakta–toward the unmanifested; hi–certainly; gatih duhkham–progress is troublesome; deha-vadbhih–of the embodiments; avapyate–achieve.

Translation: For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One may interject that if the followers of the abstract, impersonal and imperishable brahman also attain the Supreme Lord anyway then what is the superiority of personal loving devotion to Lord Krishna. Here the distinction is given that worshipping the abstract unmanifest, impersonal brahman is very difficult and requires excessive tribulation. This is because one who only contemplates something abstract and unmanifest can never envision what they are unable to perceive and thus the mind is not able to realise it and is only rarely achieved with great difficulty in a very complex way because for those identifying with the mind, body and senses, internal introspection which is required for atma-tattva or self-realisation is exceedingly difficult.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The original question at the commencement of this chapter was whether it was better to directly worship the Supreme Lord by bhakti or excluisve loving devotion or to worship the impersonal, unmanifest brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Herein Lord Krishna explains the difficulties of worshipping the impersonal, unmanifest brahman.

The path to reaching the unmanifest brahman is covered with difficulties. The word gati means the path or the way. The path adopted by the worshipers of the unmanifest brahman is very difficult. They must perform intense meditation, rigid restraint of the senses, compassion for all living entities, consistent purity in thought and actions, equanimity to the dualities such as censure and praise, joy and grief, pain and pleasure, etc; but to be successful it is essential that the grace of the Supreme Lord is betsowed. But without the grace of His sakti or spiritual feminine potency who is known as Sri Laxsmi and is represented by the unmanifest the grace of the Supreme Lord can not be possible and propitiation to her alone without Him displeases her and bequeaths no chance for realising the Supreme Lord and likewise no opportunity for moksa. This is true even if she is opulently worshipped. The worship of the unmanifest brahman does not focus on a personal form of the Supreme Lord possessing qulaities and attributes and by whose grace is required to receive the grace of Sri Laxsmi who in turn blesses the aspirant and bestows perception of the infinite unmanifest. This is why this path is so difficult. Yet and still if someone, somehow or other are graced by Sri Laxsmi due to association with or service to one of the Supreme Lords devotees, then facilitation to realisation of the Supreme Lord would immediately take effect and this is the most conducive means to achieve this. Thereafter those who exert effort in propitiating the unmanifest brahman will have the insight to properly propitiate the Supreme Lord as well and directly receive the desired result.

In the case of propitiating Sri Laxsmi, if there is any deficiency in the worship of her or defect in the aspirant such as rigid control of the senses, then she may not be pleased and will not bestow her grace. But regarding the Supreme Lord if anyone approaches Him directly through the spiritual master from one of the four authorised sampradaya’s or lines of disciplic succession then He being pleased provides His devotees with all conveniences and assistance required by His own initiative for facilitating their advancement to Him. In all other cases and situations the difficulties are unrelenting and increase. This is evidenced here by the words kleso’dhikaratas tesam meaning for them tribulations are much more.

The Sama Veda states in the Madhuchucanda section: That those who have bhakti or exclusive loving devotion for Lord Krishna have control of the mind, restraint of the senses, purity of behaviour, equanimity towards all living entities, compassion and humility. To them alone is Sri Laksmi elevated position as the eternal sakti of Lord Krishna realised and not by others. Being thus realised Sri Laksmi will grace these devotees of Lord Krishna and the devotees of any of His avatars or incarnations and expansions by meticulously removing all obstacles on their path of bhakti for Lord Krishna. Subsequently their performance of bhakti quickly attains fruit and without any hindrances they quickly attain communion with Him and by His grace attain eternal association with Him in the immortal spiritual worlds.

Similarly the Sama Veda states in the Ayasya section: That it is beneficial to propitiate the Supreme Lord by propitiating the grace of Sri Laksmi which bestows the grace of the Supreme Lord as well. It is not sufficient to propitiate Sri Laxsmi separate from the Supreme Lord as then neither of them are pleased and it is by the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord only that she and every other living being becomes eternally pleased so the proper etiquette must be observed. Following the proper etiquette even if there was some defect or laxity in such propitiation one would not fail to achieve success because Lord Krishna is the sole giver of moksa or liberation from material existence and by performing actions for His satisfaction everything else because exalted which is not possible by the strictest worship of the impersonal, unmanifest, brahman.

The Moksa Dharma quotes a conversation between Lord Krishna and Sri Laksmi where she states: Those who are enthusiastic for moksa will be devoted to worship of the Supreme Lord and that she is always established in those who are devoted to the sanatan dharma or the perrennial principles of righteousness, devoted to atma tattva or realisation of the soul, to those who have perceived the brahman and to those who are truthful, humble and charitable.

Superior to prakiti the material substratum underlying physical existence is the brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and superior to the brahman is atma tattva and superior to atma tattva is communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself. The Agnivesya section has clarified the same stating: Without beginning and without end is the brahman etrnally existing and the Supreme Lord is superior to even the brahman. Vedavyasa the author of Brahma Sutra has explained there that knowledge of the Supreme Lord alone is the only way to achieve moksa.

Now begins the commentary.

Although Vedavyasa has established the truth concerning the position of prakriti in Mahabharata He has rejected the ideas given in the Sankhya philosophy that the existence of prakriti is independent and He has proven by Vedic statements that prakriti is totally dependent upon the Supreme Lord. Similarly the Saukarayani scripture states: The one with form Sri Laxsmi is dearmost to the transcendental Supreme Lord and the cause of the existence of the worlds. By propitiating Sri Laxsmi always in adjunct to the Supreme Lord she becomes very pleased and bestows opulence and grandeur upon the propitiator much more expediently than the Supreme Lord Himself who is not so inclined to give these things. In the subsidary section of the Rig Veda it states: Knowing Sri Laxsmi of golden hue with lotus flowers in hands as the Supreme diety presiding over material nature enveloping everything one should propitiate her as the sakti of the Supreme Lord. By doing so she will grant the sincere and knowledgeable aspirant splendour and wealth that would not to be given by the Supreme Lord Himself,

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Whosoever devotes themselves to contemplation of the atma will certainly prapnuvanti or attain the Supreme Lord which means that by realisation of the atma is essentially realising an essence of the Supreme Lord which is like unto His essence as paramatma the Supreme Soul within the etheric heart of all living entities. This is what is affirmed later in chapter 14, verse 2 with the words mama sadharmyam agatah meaning endowed with a form similar to the Supreme Lords. The Mundaka Upanisad III.I,II,III beginning niranjanah paramam samyam states: Absolved from all sins one achieves sublime similarity with the Supreme Lord. Also in Mundaka Upanisad I.I-V beginning atha para yaya tad aksharam adhigamyate which means: Now that the higher science by which the aksara can be reached. Parabrahma or the Supreme Lord Himself is also designated by the word aksara for He is the source of all beings. That the Supreme Lord is known as Parabrahma is confirmed as distinct from the atma will be explained later in chapter 15, verse 17. But those who minds are attracted to avyakta the unmanifest, impersonal brahman, their tribulations and difficulties are great. This includes those who meditate upon the atma as well for the meditation of controlling the mind to think of all activities in relation to one’s individual atma without being able to imagine it in any way while performing physical and material activities is tantamount to great struggle and futile results.

It will be shown next how devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna are superior being better equipped by bhakti to attain communion with the Supreme Lord.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It could be surmised that if the worshippers of the avyakta or the unmanifest impersonal brahman being the spiritual substratum pervading all creation are also able to reach the Supreme Lord then why are the worshippers of the Supreme Lord considered superior and in what way do they differ from the others? Lord Krishna explains that asakta or attachment to seeking brahman gives benefits only with great difficulty and trail and tribulation because it is exceedingly difficult to imagine what to focus upon when it can not be perceived by the mind and senses. Also for one who is in the bodily conception of life bewildered by the ego and deluded by thinking they are the physical body it is impossible to ever realise the brahman or achieve pure devotion to the atma or eternal soul.

Sloka 12.6 and 12.7 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्परः |
अनन्येनैव योगेन मां ध्यायन्त उपासते ||१२- ६||

तेषामहं समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसारसागरात् |
भवामि नचिरात्पार्थ मय्यावेशितचेतसाम् ||१२- ७||

ye tu sarvANi karmANi mayi sa.nnyasya matparaH |
ananyenaiva yogena mA.n dhyAyanta upAsate || 12-6 ||

teShAmahaM samuddhartA mR^ityusa.nsArasAgarAt.h |
bhavAmi nachirAtpArtha mayyAveshitachetasAm.h || 12-7 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.6, 12.7

Anvaya: ye–one who; tu–but; sarvani–everything; karmani–activities; mayi–unto Me; sannyasya–giving up; mat-parah–being attached to Me; ananyena–without division; eva–certainly; yogena–by practice of such bhakti-yoga; mam–unto Me; dhyayantah–meditating; upasate–worship; tesam–of them; aham–I; samuddharta–deliverer; mrtyu–death; samsara–material existence; sagarat–from the ocean; bhavami–become; na cirat–not a long time; partha–O son of Prtha; mayi–unto Me; avesita–fixed; cetasam–of those whose minds are like that.

Translation: For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Prtha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Being so requested the Supreme Lord Krishna continues to reveal that unlike the path of the abstract, unmanifest, impersonalists which is dukham or miserable; His devotees are quickly delivered from mrtyu-samsara-sagarat or the deadly, never ending cycle of birth and death in the material existence and they attain atma-tattva or soul realisation by His grace. Those who mayi sannyasya mat-parah or dedicate all their activities to Lord Krishna and mayy avesita-cetasam or whose hearts are absorbed in thinking of Him without ananyenaiva or motives of exploitation and remuneration and who are surrendered in yogena or bhakti yoga exclusive in loving devotion are Lord Krishna’s true devotees who have no other goal or object of attention then Him and He personally delivers them from the endless, revolving cycle of transmigration promoting them to the eternal spiritual worlds.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Actions are of two types. One is worldly activities undertaken to maintain and progress the material existence of the physical body such as obtaining food and shelter and material development. The other is spiritual activities enjoined by the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures such as propitiation to the Supreme Lord, absence of violence to any living being, charity, etc. in short every act without an ulterior motive and without a hopeful gain. Whosoever being spiritual minded without any motive except for satisfying the Supreme Lord Krishna and without any desire of seeking anything in return from Him, who offer all their activities as devotion to Him, keeping Him alone as their sole goal and in one-pointed devotion focus their meditation on Him fully while worshipping Him in all their activities such as chanting His holy names, glorifying Him, offering prayers to Him, prostrating before His deity form, hearing about His lilas or divine pastimes, enlightening others about His glories, etc. as the be all and end all of all existence itself. To such devotees as these who always are in communion with Lord Krishna in their hearts and minds, He Himself personally becomes their saviour by being their samuddharta or deliverer from mrtyu-samsara-sagarat or the deadly ocean of the perpetual cycle of birth and death which is the principle barrier which stops the atma’s or eternal souls of all jivas or embodied from attaining Him when the end of each physical life has transpired.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna do not have to undergo any tribulations or difficulties in order to reach Him quickly. This is what He confirms in these two verses beginning with the words ye tu meaning but those who denotes those whose parents were conscious of Lord Krishna at the time of the infants very conception by which receiving such grace they were born devotees of the Supreme Lord or by destiny or karma being actions awarded based on previous actions, such beings acquire association of a pure devotee of Lord Krishna and are blessed by them. Such fortunate jivas or embodied beings depend exclusively upon the Supreme Lord because He is absolutely the ultimate goal to be attained above all others in every situation and in all circumstances. Such blessed beings are fully surrendered to the Supreme Lord, devoting their very lives for His complete satisfaction without motive or thought of recompense and reward for their activities. Even while engaged in worldly activities for preservation of bodily maintenance for self and family such as food and shelter as well as performing Vedically ordained activities according to varnasrama or the four social order of Vedic society such as propitiation to the Supreme Lord, charity, etc. such surrendered beings continuously remember Lord Krishna as their most beloved and single object of adoration, reflecting again and again incessantly over His rupa or divine form, His guna or divine qualities, His lilas or divine pastimes, His dhama or divine abode and madhurya or His divine transcendental sweetness. For such great souls Lord Krishna declares that He Himself becomes their saviour and personally delivers them from mrtyu-samsara-sagarat or the deadly ocean of the perpetual cycle of birth and death and this He declares that He does na cirat meaning without delay.

The conclusion is that by continuously offering their hearts and minds in uninterrupted bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna, He becomes indebted to them so much so that He personally goes and rescues them from samsara, the perpetual cycle of birth and death and promotes them to the immortal spiritual worlds to eternally share in exclusive blissful communion with Him

Sloka 12.8 audio recital in Sanskrit     

मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय |
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशयः ||१२- ८||

mayyeva mana Adhatsva mayi buddhi.n niveshaya |
nivasiShyasi mayyeva ata Urdhva.n na sa.nshayaH || 12-8 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.8

Anvaya: mayi–unto Me; eva–certainly; manah–mind; adhatsva–fix; mayi–upon Me; buddhim–intelligence; nivesaya–apply; nivasisyasi–you live; mayi–unto Me; eva–certainly; atah urdhvam–thereafter; na–never; samsayah–doubt.

Translation: Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Since Lord Krishna has revealed that He quickly redeems His devotees from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death then one without delay should focus their minds upon Him exclusively in full cognisance directing the intellect which is determinate to absorb itself in the Supreme Lord. Acting in this way by His grace one will receive spiritual knowledge empowering one to join in communion with Him in this very life and after death be transported to the immortal spiritual worlds for all eternity of this there is no doubt.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Inasmuch as the Supreme Lord Krishna is the paramount of all and the ultimate achievement being the highest possible attainment for all living entities throughout creation, one should dedicate themselves exclusively for His satisfaction so He will become easily and swiftly attained by His desire. Let thy manas or mind and buddhim or spiritual intelligence be fully reposed in the Supreme Lord remembering Him always and let thy heart be full of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion for Him. Thus when the mind has been trained and disciplined and the heart has been infused with divine love then urdhvam meaning after this life, one will reside with Him eternally in the spiritual worlds. Lord Krishna emphasises this as reality with the words na samsayah meaning without a doubt.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna Himself is the savior of His surrendered devotees who exclusively perform bhakti or loving devotion to Him. He rescues them from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death devouring all in material existence and bestows upon them His own nature of endless bliss. Here Lord Krishna is instructing Arjuna to act as His devotees do. By focusing His mind on the Supreme Lord alone, which is the most auspicious abode for the mind, He is adored and beloved by His devotees and the Lord of all lords. One should establish their intellect decisively and resolve in their mind that the Supreme Lord Krishna is the paramount object of worship and the ultimate goal to be attained. With the mind and intellect absorbed in the Supreme Lord one will certainly abide with Him in His eternal spiritual abode at the end of this flickering physical existence along with countless others of similar determination and sharing in communion with Him will not be separated from the Supreme Lord ever again.

Sloka 12.9 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अथ चित्तं समाधातुं न शक्नोषि मयि स्थिरम् |
अभ्यासयोगेन ततो मामिच्छाप्तुं धनञ्जय ||१२- ९||

atha chittaM samAdhAtuM na shaknoShi mayi sthiram.h |
abhyAsayogena tato mAmichchhAptuM dhana~njaya || 12-9 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.9

Anvaya: atha–if, therefore; cittam–mind; samadhatum–fixing; na–not; saknosi–able; mayi–upon Me; sthiram–fixed; abhyasa–practice; yogena–by devotional service; tatah–therefore; mam–Me; iccha–desire; aptum–to get; dhanam-jaya–O Arjuna.

Translation: My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulated principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way you will develop a desire to attain to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

If one is however unable to focus their consciousness on the Supreme Lord Krishna in unmotivated devotion in a steady manner then there is an easier method to reach Him and that is to gently bring the distracted mind back to focus on Lord Krishna everytime it seeks to wander and roam towards other objects and ideas. Again and again continuously one must seek and strive to attain Him through this yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the utlimate consciousness by constantly attempting to remember of the Supreme Lord.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

If one is unable to focus their mind steadily on the Supreme Lord Krishna without distraction and interruption then one should continuously endeavour to perform abhyasa yoga which is repeatedly fixing the mind on the Supreme Lord while simultaneously restraining oneself from all worldly affairs. Reflecting on Lord Krishna being the quintessence of all wonderful qualities and exalted attributes such as love, beauty, compassion, sweetness, wisdom, majesty, courage, valour, etc. while realising that He alone is the Supreme Lord of the spiritual kingdom and the material worlds being the ultimate source and the ultimate goal of all things at the same time being the antithesis and antidote of all that is demoniac and unrighteous. True endeavour for the Supreme Lord is bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna. By remembering and meditating constantly on Him in this way, steadiness and equanimity of mind is achieved and one will directly realise themselves how to attain Him.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna presents an alternative method for those who have not the equanimity of mind to continuously think of Him without distraction. He instructs to strive to remember Him while restraining the mind from pursuing worldly affairs through repeated practice of meditating on His divine glories such as His infinite beauty, sweetness, power, compassion etc. or by chanting His holy names with affection and blissfully singing hymns to His glories. The particle atha meaning and if emphasises there is another option.

Sloka 12.10 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अभ्यासेऽप्यसमर्थोऽसि मत्कर्मपरमो भव |
मदर्थमपि कर्माणि कुर्वन्सिद्धिमवाप्स्यसि ||१२- १०||

abhyAse.apyasamartho.asi matkarmaparamo bhava |
madarthamapi karmANi kurvansiddhimavApsyasi || 12-10 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.10

Anvaya: abhyase–in practice of; api–even; asamarthah–unable; asi–you are; mat-karma–My work; paramah–supreme; bhava–you become; mat-artham–for My sake; api–even though; karmani–work; kurvan–performing; siddhim–perfection; avapsyasi–achieve.

Translation: If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

If one is not able to perform steady practice in attempting to remember Him with regularity then one should be solely dedicated to rituals and ceremonies that please the Supreme Lord Krishna such as fasting from all grains on ekadasi which is the 11th day of the waxing moon and the 11th day of the waning moon. Celebrating on His appearance day of Janmastami in the month of Kanya or Augest -September with pomp and splendour and celebrating the appearance days of all of His avat?rs or authorised incarnations and expansions such as Rama or Narasimhadeva or Vamana which occur throughout the year. By going on pilgrimage to the holy places in India where the Supreme Lord and His avat?rs exclusively performed Their pastimes on Earth. Also by performing sankirtana or the congregational chanting of Lord Krishna’s holy names. All these activities please the Supreme Lord very much and by performing them for His satisfaction will award liberation to the sincere aspirant if they have accepted a spiritual master in disciplic succession from one of the four authorised samprad?ya’s as revealed in Vedic scriptures.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

If one is still unable to constantly endeavour to perform repeated concentration upon Lord Krishna then one should at least try to perform activities in His service whenever possible such as cow protection, construction of Vedic temples to house His deity forms, maintaining flower gardens for His worship, cultivation of fruit and vegetable gardens for His service, etc. Also in included in these activities is visiting His holy pastime places and hearing about them, perambulating His holy dhama or abodes in India, prostrating before Him, singing and dancing in glory to Him, etc. All these activities for Lord Krishna should be performed with causeless, ardent affection in bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. Performing such activities exclusively for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord prepares the mind for constant remembrance and subsequent fixed focus on Him without deviation.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If one is unable to even consistently endeavour to remember Lord Krishna while restraining the mind from pursuing the objects of the senses then He offers an easier method which is to perform activities dedicated to Him such as chanting His holy names, singing hymns of praise to Him alone and with others, constructing temples for His deity forms, cultivating Tulasi gardens for His worship, growing flowers and vegetables for His service, cow protection, offering dhupa or incense, dhipa or ghee lamps, puspa or flowers, circumambulation of His holy pastime places and dhama’s or abodes, etc. By perfoming such actions for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna one’s mind will become steady and soon be able to fix its focus exclusively upon the Supreme Lord and subsequent realisation of Him will manifest within the heart.

Sloka 12.11 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अथैतदप्यशक्तोऽसि कर्तुं मद्योगमाश्रितः |
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ||१२- ११||

athaitadapyashakto.asi kartuM madyogamAshritaH |
sarvakarmaphalatyAgaM tataH kuru yatAtmavAn.h || 12-11 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.11

Anvaya: atha–even though; etat–this; api–also; asaktah–unable; asi–you are; kartum–to perform; mat–unto Me; yogam–devotional service; asritah–refuge; sarva-karma–all activities; phala–result; tyagam–renunciation; tatah–therefore; kuru–do; yata-atma-van–self-situated.

Translation: If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

If one is still unable to fulfil the practices of steadfast devotion to Lord Krishna, or succeed in repeated training of a distracted mind to remember the Supreme Lord with regularity or are even not able to perform occasional rituals and ceremonies propitiation to Him then Lord Krishna gives the sagacious advice to take complete refuge in Him alone with controlled senses, performing one’s Vedically authorised activities according to time and circumstances solely as an offering to Him without desire for rewards. If one desires even the slightest reward either subtle such as prestige and recognition or gross such as wealth and position, one’s actions can never manifest as bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna and without bhakti there will be for certain a reaction and the need for a subsequent attempt to neutralise it by obligatory rites such as Agnihotra. The following is what is meant by surrender: All I can do is to perform all activities under the command of the Supreme Lord according to my ability with the guidance of guru, Vaisnavas and sastra or Vedic scriptures; but the results whether visible or invisible are all in the hands of the Supreme Lord. If one who is Lord Krishna’s devotee, renounces the desire for rewards and lives their life fully surrendered to Him, leaving all responsibility for even their daily maintenance unto Him, He will protect them and they by His grace will attain eternal communion with Him.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In this verse Lord Krishna shows that for His devotees there are no obstacles and impediments in their way at all by demonstrating the alternatives. It has been stated in the Saukarayan scripture: What value is the worship of the avyaktam or the impersonal unmanifest for those who propitiate the Supreme Lord Krishna? Also the Moksa Dharma also reiterates this theme stating: Rejecting all other gods and deities, those devotees who perform bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna are indeed the most superior. The reason being that the performance of bhakti is performed exclusively for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord without any expectation of any rewards because Lord Krishna Himself is their only goal and attainment of Him is all they desire.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

With a view of attaining communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna, His devotees enthusiastically perform bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Him. When the followers of this path who are always reflecting and reminiscing about His nama, rupa, guna, lila, dhama find themselves due to adverse circumstances unable to perform all their activities for Him alone by which association with Him in loving communion would surely manifest; then let them launch on the path of aksaram or the imperishable and eruditely contemplate the nature of the atma or eternal soul as delineated in chapter two which would gradually fructify into bhakti eventually if the prerequisite condition to renounce the desire for the rewards of all one’s actions was accomplished, then atma tattva or soul realisation is insured. The word yatatmavan means of controlled mind which denotes a mind that has been trained to perform activities without desiring for rewards in the intangible form of prestige and recognition or the tangible form of gain and position. It is only to such a one entirely free from all thoughts and desires of compensation and calculation, cleansed of all sins will the Supreme Lord Krishna be their total object of affection and love. Such a person will focus the fullness of all of their love on Lord Krishna as their sole ultimate goal. All their actions are actually forms of Lord Krishna’s worship as they are performed for His satisfaction or as a matter of duty without craving for any rewards. Meditation on the atma results in the obliteration of all obstacles and impediments and the eradication of avidya or ignorance and confers realisation of the atma as being eternal and purely spiritual in totality and essentially a part of Lord Krishna’s internal nature. When this communion has been experienced then love of God erupts in the heart and becomes a natural occurrence. This topic will be further delineated in chapter 18, verses 53 and 54.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If one finds themselves unable to even perfom activities of propitaion to Lord Krishna in a regular manner then there is an easier method to approach Him for His devotees and that is with a controlled mind renounce the results of one actions and not desire for rewards for what one does. This infers not hankering for the results of performing obligatory rites like fasting from all grains on Ekadasi which is the 11th day of the waxing and waning or the performance of occasional rites such as celebrating festival days of the Supreme Lord with pomp and splendour. The purport is to perform all one’s activities without desiring any rewards for the actions. By doing this the mind becomes pure because it is not contaminated by fruitive desires. This will bestow spiritual knowledge and then bhakti or exclusive loving devotion and Lord Krishna’s direct realisation in due course of time.

Sloka 12.12 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते |
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् ||१२- १२||

shreyo hi GYAnamabhyAsAjGYAnAd.hdhyAnaM vishiShyate |
dhyAnAtkarmaphalatyAgastyAgAchchhAntiranantaram.h || 12-12 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.12

Anvaya: sreyah–better; hi–certainly; jnanam–knowledge; abhyasat–by practice; jnanat–better than knowledge; dhyanam–meditation; visisyate–especially considered; dhyanat–from meditation; karma-phala-tyagah–renunciation of the results of fruitive action; tyagat–by such renunciation; santih–peace; anantaram–thereafter.

Translation: If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The renunciation of the rewards of actions is being praised. Knowledge based on Vedic teachings coupled with guidance by guru gives direct realisation of the Supreme Lord Krishna and is superior to even great endeavour without realisation of Him. Meditation based on realisation of Lord Krishna is superior to knowledge of Him. The Mukunda Upanisad III.I.VIII states: Through meditation on the Supreme Lord one realises the absolute. Such a state of meditation naturally leads to lack of desire and renunciation of the rewards of actions which continually practised bestows by Lord Krishna’s grace moksa or liberation from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death in the material existence.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Knowledge is superior to performance of an activity without proper knowledge. Still better is meditation with divine knowledge rather than mere knowledge by itself. In the Abhimlan section of the Sama Veda is stated: Better is divine knowledge then mere meditation. Better is the meditation associated with divine knowledge rather then mere knowledge alone because from this comes atma tattva or realization of the soul and the Supreme peace. Along with meditation karma-phala-tyagas or renunciation of the rewards of actions, is also praised and is essential to spiritual success otherwise one would not be qualified. So divine knowledge also associated with renunciation is also recommended. But superior to even renunciation of the rewards of actions is complete equanimity to all actions. So wisdom is the determining factor for the method implemented and is naturally based on qualification and level of development. Renunciation has been expounded upon in previous chapters but now it is being elucidated as an adjunct with meditation. The Gaupavana section states: Superior to meditation without renunciation is meditation with renunciation. It is logical that the importance of renunciation should be deemed worthy of application to meditation for superior to meditation with knowledge is meditation with knowledge exhibiting renunciation of the rewards of meditation for this leads to complete equanimity regarding all actions. Otherwise it could never be possible to achieve peace of mind if one failed to renounce the desire for results and was always hankering for rewards and this is what is being affirmed by Lord Krishna. The Kashayana section states: Superior to meditation with knowledge is non-attachment to performing actions for rewards and the renunciation of the rewards of actions coupled with bhakti or exclusive devotion to the Supreme Lord. Not by renunciation alone is moksa or liberation from material existence possible neither is it possible by meditation with renunciation. It only manifests when they both are in association with bhakti to the Supreme Lord Krishna through the medium of the spiritual master from one of the four authorised sampradayas or empowered channels of disciplic succession as revealed in Vedic scriptures. Otherwise it would be like praising renunciation and meditation by themselves and that is not correct for the reality is that only by bhakti is success guaranteed. An example is that in battle soldiers fight for the kingdom and win the war but the success is deemed attributed to the efforts of the king alone, bhakti is like this.

Now begins the summation.

One who exclusively propitiates the Supreme Lord Krishna considering all other gods as merely aspects of His potencies and thus subservient to Him are known as undeviated and undistracted. Lord Krishna has already confirmed that the rewards solicited from all other gods are only temporary and not eternal because they themselves are not on the eternal platform. Here a query might arise regarding the worship of Sri Laxsmi because she is so inseparable from the Supreme Lord and now this doubt will be specially clarified. When one offers bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord by japa or chanting His holy names or by prayers, or by worship or by singing and praising His glories etc. Then it should be understood that these activities are initiated from within by Sri Laxsmi for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. When one firsts worships other gods and then worships the Supreme Lord it should be understood that there is an acute lack of bhakti and while pleasing to other gods is not acceptable by Sri Laxsmi for it was not performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord even if one offers the Supreme Lord the complete rewards received for worshipping the demigods. The activity may be big or small but the Supreme Lord only accepts it if the intention is 100% for His exclusive satisfaction alone. So in conclusion all one’s activities should be intended as an offering to the Supreme Lord because from such activities realization dawns and renunciation of the rewards of action arises and liberation from material existence manifests and the Supreme peace is attained.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

If the performance of activities for the Supreme Lord is merely an exercise ordered by the mind for the body to enact then in no way can it be considered bhakti or exclusive loving devotion as it being merely a dictate of the mind has no connection to the heart and without passing through the heart there is no possibility of accessing the consciousness of the atma or eternal soul. The mind however great it may be has no qualification or eligibility to access the atma. Thus it would behove an aspirant to pursue the next alternative and attempt to develop atma tattva or soul realisation as instructed by Lord Krishna in verses III. IV and V of this chapter. If after prolonged practice and attempts if atna tattva does not arise because of a lack of inner spiritual development or due to an unstable mind easily distracted or because of weakness in controlling the senses then one should adopt themselves to the contemplation and reflection of the atma as delineated in chapter two as the next alternative. If even this is to difficult to execute with regularity then one should perform activities that please the Supreme Lord and renounce the desire for rewards for it. Such activities are associating with His devotees and rendering service to them, celebrating the appearance days of Him and His avatars or incarnations and fasting from all grains on ekadasi which is the 11th day of the waxing and waning moon. Performing activities in this way without any interest in receiving rewards and benefits will result in the absence of all reactions and thus the cessation of all sins. Thereafter one will achieve peace of mind and from there one becomes a candidate for practising contemplation of the atma. In conclusion aspirants who are inept at performing bhakti are encouraged to perform simpler methods which will step by step gradually bring one up to that platform. Thus alternative methods applicable for the inept who wish to evolve themselves have been succinctly enumerated.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If those seeking moksa or liberation from material existence would wish to develop bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna which is characterised by completely focusing the mind and the intellect in meditation upon Him alone which is the essential prerequisite for attaining the Supreme Lord. Yet if there is ineligibility in this regard Lord Krishna has compassionately given in descending order alternate methods each succeeding one easier than the preceding one such as continuous practice of thinking exclusively of Him, perform regularly actions of devotion and at least relinquish the desire for the rewards of one’s actions. Now we see that He extols and praises renunciation of rewards because it bestows purity of mind and combined with bhakti leads one directly to the Supreme Lord. Superior is knowledge of Vedic scriptures acquired from the teachings at the feet of the spiritual master. Atma tattva or soul realisation is superior to meditation and the Svetasvatara Upanisad I.III states: After passing through abstraction and meditation those who achieved atma tattva perceived the innate power of the Supreme Lord concealed within His own qualities. Atma tattva is not achieved by meditation upon the abstract; but by meditation upon the Supreme Lord combined with renunciation for the rewards of actions atma tattva is certainly achieved and the best means to enhance one’s spiritual development. This is because by renouncing the desire for reward for one’s activities one no longer is forced to accept the reactions for one’s actions and sins are no longer accrued. Thus one achieves the Supreme peace. Lord Krishna has already explained in chapter two, verse 55 that the renunciation of all desires and cravings of the mind bestows the highest bliss and that one who has achieved this is considered to be sthita-prajna or self realised because one’s satisfaction comes from the bliss of the atma or eternal soul within. The Katha Upanisad VI.XIV states: When all the desires lodged in one’s heart have been given up and released then a mortal being becomes immortal and realises the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence.

Sloka 12.13 and 12.14 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च |
निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ||१२- १३||

सन्तुष्टः सततं योगी यतात्मा दृढनिश्चयः |
मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ||१२- १४||

adveShTA sarvabhUtAnAM maitraH karuNa eva cha |
nirmamo nirahaN^kAraH samaduHkhasukhaH kShamI || 12-13 ||

santuShTaH satataM yogI yatAtmA dR^iDhanishchayaH |
mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktaH sa me priyaH || 12-14 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.13, 12.14

Anvaya: advesta–nonenvious; sarva-bhutanam–for all living entities; maitrah–friendly; karunah–kindly; eva–certainly; ca–also; nirmamah–with no sense of proprietorship; nirahankarah–without false ego; sama–equally; duhkha–distress; sukhah–happiness; ksami–forgiving; santustah–satisfied; satatam–always; yogi–engaged in devotion; yata-atma–self-controlled; drdha-niscayah–with determination; mayi–upon Me; arpita–engaged; manah–mind; buddhih–intelligence; yah–one who; mat-bhaktah–My devotee; sah me priyah–he is dear to Me.

Translation: One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me–he is very dear to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The characteristics of Lord Krishna’s devotees which quickly lead to divine grace are now being elucidated in seven verses beginning with advesta-sarva- bhutanam meaning devoid of malice towards anyone, is non-envious of anyone and benevolent towards everyone, free from concepts of possessiveness and ideas of ego consciousness as well as free from false identification of being the physical body, compassionate to the unfortunate, always forgiving, content and cheerful with loss or gain, tolerant, equipoise in happiness or distress, satisfied with what comes by its own accord, firmly resolved in the teachings of the spiritual master about the Supreme Lord, one is contemplative and dedicating their mind, intellect and heart to the Supreme Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna confirms that the qualities He is describing are applicable to yo mad-bhaktah which means His exclusive devotee. The word advesta means free from hatred for any being at any time. Maitrah means benign and showing good will to all, both well-wishers and ill-wishers by the understanding that they are merely following the tendencies of the impulse imparted to them by the Supreme Lord in relation to one’s own good and bad actions. Karunah means compassionate, to be sympathetic towards the sufferings of others, friend and foe alike. Nirmamah means devoid of sentiments of possessiveness and ego related conceptions mine-ness regarding the physical body, family and associated relationships and objects. Nirahankarah means free from the false conception of thinking one’s self to be the physical body and consequently unaffected by the dualities of material existence such as pain and pleasure, praise and ridicule, joy and grief, etc. all based upon the mentality of the mind. Ksami means tolerant, to be unaffected by external incidents such as physical accidents or catastrophes. Santustah means always content with whatever comes along by its own accord for the purpose of bodily sustenance. Satatam yogi is one who always engages themselves to the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness in loving devotion to the Supreme Lord. Satatam means always and has two meaning: one is to be continuously and perpetually engaged in bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna at every moment and two is to engage in this bhakti to Lord Krishna in all ways meaning in every possibility and facet of one’s life. Yatatma means the ability to govern and control the workings of the mind. Drdha-niscayah means firmly resolved in the knowledge of the Vedic scriptures regarding the immortality of the atma or eternal soul and the Supreme Lord and irrevocably established in bhakti to the Lord Krishna. Arpita-mano-buddhir means who dedicates their intelligence and consciousness to the Supreme Lord by performing activities dedicated to Him without desire for recompense. Then when the Supreme Lord Krishna is worshipped in this way He would Himself guide one internally to achieve atma tattva or realisation of the soul and attain communion with Him. One who possesses all these qualities is very dear to Supreme Lord Krishna and is me priyah or the recepient of His love.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explained in the previous verse that by following renunciation for the rewards of actions one achieves the Supreme peace. Now explaining further He declares that His devotee who has become renounced should also possess the virtues given in seven verses beginning with advesta sarva- bhutanam meaning free from enmity towards any living being. One reflects that all misfortunes are due to their past karma or reactions from one’s own actions. One is also karuna or compassionate to those in need and is nirmamo or free from possessiveness of even relatives and nirahankarah or ego sense from even one’s physical body and things other than the atma or eternal soul. Who is dukha-sukha or even minded and self-satisfied in happiness or distress with whatever comes of its own accord. Who is ksami or tolerant and drdha-niscaya meaning firmly resolved and resolutely determined to fully follow the teachings of the spiritual master and the Vedic scriptures and perform bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna. One who has ceased to pursue the desires of the senses and mental tendencies of the mind and has instead directed their consciousness internally to the atma in the heart surrendering their mind and intelligence to the Supreme Lord Krishna verily worship Him and are very dear to Him.

Sloka 12.15 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यस्मान्नोद्विजते लोको लोकान्नोद्विजते च यः |
हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैर्मुक्तो यः स च मे प्रियः ||१२- १५||

yasmAnnodvijate loko lokAnnodvijate cha yaH |
harShAmarShabhayodvegairmukto yaH sa cha me priyaH || 12-15 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.15

Anvaya: yasmat–from whom; na–never; udvijate–agitates; lokah–persons; lokat–persons; na–never; udvijate–disturbed; ca–also; yah–anyone; harsa–happiness; amarsa–distress; bhaya–fear; udvegaih–with anxiety; muktah–freed; yah–who; sah–anyone; ca–also; me–Mine; priyah–very dear.

Translation: He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

From whom the world gets no disturbance and to whom is never disturbed by the world, to who is free from mundane pleasure is free from attachment and to who is free from elation is free from desire and to who is free from jealousy is free from envy at another’s gain. Fear is terror coming from apprehension from danger. Anxiety is the agitation of the mind because of it. Lord Krishna’s devotee who is free from all these things is very dear to Him.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

That person who by their actions do not become a cause of fear or trouble in their life and causing no affliction to the world has no cause to feel afflicted by the world. As no elements of antagonism exist in such a one, no action received from the world can be taken as being aggression at any time. One who is free from giving or receiving joy and grief to any being who is free from all conceptions of being the bestower of anything or the recipient of anything is very dear to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who is not an annoyance or disturbance to anyone or anything and who also does not feel any annoyance or disturbance from anybody or anything, being antagonistic to no one is equal to all and thus freed from the mental fluctuations of elation, intolerance, fear and anxiety is very dear to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Sloka 12.16 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अनपेक्षः शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथः |
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ||१२- १६||

anapekShaH shuchirdakSha udAsIno gatavyathaH |
sarvArambhaparityAgI yo madbhaktaH sa me priyaH || 12-16 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.16

Anvaya: anapeksah–neutral; sucih–pure; daksah–expert; udasinah–free from care; gata-vyathah–freed from all distress; sarva-arambha–all endeavors; parityagi–renouncer; yah–anyone; mat-bhaktah–My devotee; sah–he; me–Me; priyah–very dear.

Translation: A devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result, is very dear to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The word anapeksah or independent means free from expectations and indifferent to things that have even come on their own accord. Sucih or clean denotes both external cleanliness of the physical body and internal cleanliness of mind. Daksah means expert and infers lack of laziness. Udasinah or impartial means not taking sides. Gata-vyathah or untroubled means free from anguish. The phrase sarva-arambha-parityagi means renouncing all endeavours that are opposed to devotion. Such a devotee of Lord Krishna possessing these qualities is very dear to Him.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word anapeksah or indifference means aloof to external objects being solely attracted to the atma or eternal soul within. Sucih or purity means sustaining the body by nourishing oneself by sanctified foods as ordained in the Vedic scriptures. Daksah or expert means proficiency in performing the Vedic injunctions and ordinances. Udasinah or unconcerned means uninterested in matters that are not eternal. Gata-vyathah or free from agitation means unaffected by experiencing the dualities of pleasure and pain, joy and grief , etc. while performing one’s Vedic enjoined duties. Parityagi or fully renounced means one who has given up all endeavours unconnected to the Supreme Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who craves for nothing and remains unattached to the worldly objects which come unsolicited of their own accord, who is cleansed within and without, who is expert in applying the teachings of the Vedic scriptures and performing the obligatory rites, who is indifferent to mundane matters and unconcerned about insult or praise while renouncing all conceptions of doership in all undertakings except those that increase bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord is very dear to Lord Krishna.

Sloka 12.17 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यो न हृष्यति न द्वेष्टि न शोचति न काङ्क्षति |
शुभाशुभपरित्यागी भक्तिमान्यः स मे प्रियः ||१२- १७||

yo na hR^iShyati na dveShTi na shochati na kAN^kShati |
shubhAshubhaparityAgI bhaktimAnyaH sa me priyaH || 12-17 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.17

Anvaya: yah–one who; na–never; hrsyati–takes pleasure; na–never; dvesti–grieves; na–never; socati–laments; na–never; kanksati–desires; subha–auspicious; asubha–inauspicious; parityagi–renouncer; bhakti-man–devotee; yah–one who; sah–he is; me–Mine; priyah–dear.

Translation: One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The devotee of Lord Krishna who neither rejoices on receiving what is pleasant or laments at receiving what is displeasing, who neither grieves at that which is lost or hankers after that which is yet to be obtained, who habitually renounces the desire for rewards for all actions and who is full of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion for the Supreme Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna’s devotee who is not exultant upon obtaining things which cause joy in mortals, who hates nothing, who grieves not over things that cause grief to mortals such as the death of family members, loss of wealth etc., who craves nothing being desireless for anything in the material existence, who renounces both pious and impious acts knowing they both result in bondage to karma or reactions to actions. Such a devotee is very dear to Lord Krishna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who neither rejoices upon receiving something delightful nor despairs in receiving something that is not a delight, no laments when the delightful object is lost, nor desires to possess it again and who renounces both positive and negative actions which bind one to karma or reactions to actions with positive and negative consequenses; such a devotee of Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.

Sloka 12.18 amd 12.19 audio recital in Sanskrit     

समः शत्रौ च मित्रे च तथा मानापमानयोः |
शीतोष्णसुखदुःखेषु समः सङ्गविवर्जितः ||१२- १८||

तुल्यनिन्दास्तुतिर्मौनी सन्तुष्टो येन केनचित् |
अनिकेतः स्थिरमतिर्भक्तिमान्मे प्रियो नरः ||१२- १९||

samaH shatrau cha mitre cha tathA mAnApamAnayoH |
shItoShNasukhaduHkheShu samaH saN^gavivarjitaH || 12-18 ||

tulyanindAstutirmaunI santuShTo yena kenachit.h |
aniketaH sthiramatirbhaktimAnme priyo naraH || 12-19 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.18, 12.19

Anvaya: samah–equal; satrau–to the enemy; ca–also; mitre–to friends; ca–also; tatha–so; mana–honor; apamanayoh–dishonor; sita–cold; usna–heat; sukha–happiness; duhkhesu–distress; samah–equipoised; sanga-vivarjitah–free from all association; tulya–equal; ninda–defamation; stutih–repute; mauni–silent; santustah–satisfied; yena–somehow; kena–or other; cit–if; aniketah–having no residence; sthira–fixed; matih–determination; bhakti-man–engaged in devotion; me–My; priyah–dear; narah–a man.

Translation: One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One who is impartial to friend and foe alike and is free from the influence of dualities such as honour and dishonour, pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, who is unattached to anything other than bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna, who is satisfied with what comes unsolicited of its own accord, who is firm in equanimity, of controlled speech and confidence in the teachings of the Vedic scriptures is very dear to Lord Krishna

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In the previous verse Lord Krishna speaks that His devotee who is subhasubha parityagi meaning fully renouncing the results of pious and impious actions and their derivatives of merits or demerits. The special attribute being parityagi or full renunciation. In this verse there may appear to be repetition in speaking of freedom from duality such as pleasure and pain, joy and grief, praise and censure etc. but this is to emphasise the equanimity that comes from renunciation. When something is repeated its importance is being asserted to emphasise its value and to remind His devotees that renunciation of the desire for rewards is essential.

Now begins the summation.

Full renunciation is renouncing the performance of all actions that do not support bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna. This can also mean renouncing all actions that do not please Lord Krishna. For example Lord Krishna is not pleased by pride but He is pleased by humility. He is not pleased by one who seeks recompense for their devotion to Him but He is pleased by one seeks no reward for their devotion to Him.

One who does not desire anything except bhakti is known as truly renouncing all actions and the results of all actions as both pious and impious activities result in karma or good and bad reactions from past actions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The absence of hate towards any being in general has already iterated by Lord Krishna in verse 13 of this chapter with the word advesta meaning free of hatred but that is in a general sense towards every being. The equanimity mentioned here is of a more profound nature that of keeping one’s equanimity when seeing one in front of them face to face. The word aniketah means unattached to home or fixed residence due to being firmly attached to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord. Equally balanced in praise and censure, happiness and misery, pleasure and pain etc. Such a devotee of the Supreme Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who is impartial to friend and foe alike, free from the influence of passion and hatred as well as honour and disgrace, who remain balanced in heat and cold, pleasure and pain and is free from attachment to anything not supportive of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna, who is given to silence being of controlled speech, is content with whatever comes along unsought by its own accord without attachment to a fixed residence, of sober and stable mind and determinate in the teachings of the Vedic scriptures, such a devotee of Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.

Sloka 12.20 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ये तु धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते |
श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रियाः ||१२- २०||

ye tu dharmyAmR^itamidaM yathoktaM paryupAsate |
shraddadhAnA matparamA bhaktAste.atIva me priyAH || 12-20 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 12.20

Anvaya: ye–one who; tu–but; dharma–of religion; amrtam–nectar; idam–this; yatha–as; uktam–said; paryupasate–completely engage; sraddadhanah–with faith; mat-paramah–taking the Supreme Lord as everything; bhaktah–devotees; te–such persons; ativa–very, very; me–Me; priyah–dear.

Translation: He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Dharma or eternal righteousness is amrtam or nectarian, together with their derivatives are being now concluded. They are called nectarian because they lead to immortality. Those devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna who follow and practice the spiritual principles of eternal righteousness with faith and determination while taking full refuge in Him as the ultimate goal of attainment are very dear to Lord Krishna.

In conclusion the worship of the abstract, unmanifest, impersonal aspect of the Supreme Lord is extremely difficult to succeed and is only finally achieved after the greatest of efforts. A person blessed with spiritual intelligence should embark upon the easier and noble path of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Collating all the previous recommendations Lord Krishna concludes this chapter. Dharma is eternal righteousness and is infused by the Supreme Lord Krishna and anything pertaining to Him is also dharma. Reflection upon Him is dharma, worship of Him is dharma, glorification of Him is dharma. Also study of the Vedic scriptures which originate from Him is dharma. Dharma is conducive to meditation upon the Supreme Lord which has the power to terminate samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death and therefore dharma is known to be immortal. The word sraddadhanah means endowed with faith. The root of sraddha or faith is srad which means being receptive. Those who are receptive to the revelations of the Vedic scriptures are sraddadhanah.

Now begins the summation.

Casting away all things undesirable which do not lead to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna, such a devotee becomes very dear to Him. Collating and applying all of the recommendations given in these past seven verses His devotee becomes especially dear to Lord Krishna. Bhakti is completely independent and alone is considered the goal. Dharma is considered the means and primary path leading to bhakti.. That which is an instrument of bhakti is also a part of bhakti. Thus the means dharma guides one to the goal of bhakti. Thus the path of immortal bhakti can be approached by following dharma.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The path of dharma or eternal righteousness which is holy and that which is amritam is immortal is known as bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna and is the means as well as the goal. This was briefly emphasised in verse two of this chapter with the nitya-yuktas upasate meaning engaged in constant devotional worship were yuktatamah or the most superior of all. Whosoever devotes themselves to this transcendental path of bhakti as enumerated in the previous seven verses is a true devotee of Lord Krishna and very dear to Him.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna has categorically presented the essential virtues to be cultivated for His devotee desiring to serve Him with bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. Now He concludes this chapter with the affirmation that bhakti is the paramount path of dharma or eternal righteousness and immortality. Amrtam infers nectar of the gods which leads to immortality. Those devotees with firm faith whose sins have been eradicated by performing renounced activities for thousands of previous births and who are imbued with the virtues given in the previous seven verses take to the path of bhakti with their minds completely focused upon Lord Krishna as the be all of their existence. This was alluded to in verse two of this chapter with mayy-avesya mano meaning absorb themselves fully in thoughts of Him and in verse seven mat-parah meaning take full refuge in Him alone. In ye tu meaning and of all those persons the particle tu denotes that this last instruction takes precedence and is superior to all the individual virtues described in the previous seven verses. Such devotees of His who resolutely follow the righteous and noble path of bhakti are without a doubt the most dear to Him of all.

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