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Śrīmad bhagavad gītā | Karma–Sanyasa yoga ~ Sarga 5 of 18

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Sarga (or) Chapter 5 of 18 : Karma–Sanyasa yoga

śloka (verses): 29

Abstract: Arjuna asks Krishna if it is better to forgo action or to act (“renunciation or discipline of action”). Krishna answers that both are ways to the same goal, but that acting in Karma yoga is superior.

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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Gitopadesh (Sanskrit: गीतोपदेश)

Introduction:

In chapter five Lord Krishna delineates the concepts of action with detachment and renunciation in actions explaining that both are a means to the same goal. Here He explains how salvation is attained by the pursuance of these paths. Thus this chapter is entitled: Action and Renunciation.

Sloka 5.1 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अर्जुन उवाच |
संन्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर्योगं च शंससि |
यच्छ्रेय एतयोरेकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम् ||५- १||

arjuna uvAcha |
sa.nnyAsaM karmaNA.n kR^iShNa punaryoga.n cha sha.nsasi |
yachchhreya etayorekaM tanme brUhi sunishchitam.h || 5-1 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.1

Anvaya: arjunah uvaca–Arjuna said; sannyasam–renunciation; karmanam–of all activities; krsna–O Krsna; punah–again; yogam–devotional service; ca–also; samsasi–You are praising; yat–which; sreyah–is beneficial; etayoh–of these two; ekam–one; tat–that; me–unto me; bruhi–please tell; suniscitam–definitely.

Translation: Arjuna said: O Krsna, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In this chapter Lord Krishna is removing all doubts regarding the application of action and the renunciation of action. He is declaring that moksa or liberation from the material existence is attained by the renunciants who has by virtue of their austerities have conquered the influences of the senses. In the previous chapter Lord Krishna instructed to destroy all doubts by the sword of knowledge taking to the path of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities. But previous to this Lord Krishna had instructed that renunciation of actions was more appropriate for one following the path of jnana yoga or cultivation of Vedic knowledge. Then again Lord Krishna instructed that the person delighting in their atma or eternal soul needs not to perform either karma yoga or jnana yoga. Now it needs to be determined is it possible for a person to simultaneously perform the renunciation of actions while at the same time performing actions and if not what is the superior path for one to embark upon. All these questions will be answered.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Hari OM! Because the Supreme Lord Krishna performs such wonderfully phenomenal activities known as lilas or pastimes, He attracts all the worlds. Thus He is know as Krishna the all attractive one. The Kurma Purana states: Oh Lord since You attract all the worlds by your extraordinary activities, enlightened beings who have realised the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence call you Krishna the all attracting one.

In this chapter Lord Krishna explains the equanimity of actions further expounding upon the themes from chapter four, verse 24: being content with what has naturally been ordained and chapter four, verse 15: performing actions in renunciation. The word sannnyasa or renunciation is being explained to answer the question if sannyasa is more propitious then the act of war is contrary to renunciation.

Now begins the summation.

Hari OM! In this chapter the attributes of renunciation and performance of actions are delineated. The compound words sannyasyam karmanam meaning renunciation of all actions significantly contains the word nyaasa denoting equanimity. Thus all actions are recommended to be renounced with equanimity inferring that both karma or performance of prescribed Vedic activities and sannyasa or renunciation of the rewards of prescribed Vedic activities can be performed simultaneously and hence the question to Lord Krishna for clarification.

Arjuna was a prince of the highest royal order that ruled India and the entire Earth as well. He was raised meticulously and comprehensively in the science of sanatan dharma or the principles of eternal righteousness as well as all matters regarding governance and diplomacy, war and conciliation. Due to this he was an adhikari or very qualified being. If the divine discourse of the Bhagavad-Gita was meant only for Lord Krishna to remove the lamentation of Arjuna then there world have been no need for Vedavyasa to record it in the Mahabharata. But in chapter four, verse two Lord Krishna reveals that although it was transmitted by parampara or disciplic succession it was lost on the Earth over the millenniums. Therefore Lord Krishna caused Arjuna to have lamentation as a pretext to reveal the Bhagavad-Gita to the world again and He made Arjuna the symbol of the individual consciousness of everyone to achieve knowledge of the ultimate reality on their quest of attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and thereby realising the ultimate supreme personality.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

In the fourth chapter karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities was delineated by Lord Krishna with special emphasis of it containing spiritual intelligence. In the third chapter it was shown that even those who follow the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge that karma yoga when performed as a matter of duty without attachment was preferable. This is because in jnana yoga the level of atma tattva or soul realisation contained within each action determines individual success; whereas karma yoga is easy to perform and does not depend on atma tattva for success. In this chapter karma yoga is examined in its efficacy of expeditiousness in achieving atma tattva in comparison to jnana yoga. Also will be illustrated how this should be performed and the eliminating the conception that one is the performer along with how jnana yoga is perceived from this standpoint.

Renunciation and the cultivation of Vedic knowledge is jnana yoga. The performance of prescribed Vedic activities is karma yoga. In chapter two Lord Krishna declared that karma yoga was worthy to be followed by those seeking moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence and as the mind was subsequently purified of all dross then jnana yoga would naturally be embarked upon bringing about atma tattva. But in chapters three and four Lord Krishna explained that karma yoga was preferable to even for onme qualified to perform jnana yoga and futhermore that karma yoga was sufficient in and of itself to achieve atma tattva without the help of jnana yoga. So the conclusion to be given is which of the two is absolutely superior and the best means to achieve atma tattva.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna previously presented karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire of rewards as a pre-eminent discipline but then stated that one in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge has no need to perform any action and then again He declared that the person who immersed in the atma or soul has no need to perform karma yoga or jnana yoga. In this situation it is difficult for an aspirant of moksa or liberation to determine if karma yoga or jnana yoga is more appropriate or is it possible to simultaneously perform both together. Lord Krishna had stated that one who performs actions as a matter of duty unattached without desire for rewards incurs no sinful reactions. Then again He had instructed that yagna or offerings of worship with spiritual intelligence is superior to yagnas performed with material ingredients because all actions culminate in knowledge. So because the paths appear conflicting and contrary to each other Lord Krishna is being requested to resolve the issue definitively.

Sloka 5.2 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
संन्यासः कर्मयोगश्च निःश्रेयसकरावुभौ |
तयोस्तु कर्मसंन्यासात्कर्मयोगो विशिष्यते ||५- २||

shrIbhagavAnuvAcha |
sa.nnyAsaH karmayogashcha niHshreyasakarAvubhau |
tayostu karmasa.nnyAsAtkarmayogo vishiShyate || 5-2 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.2

Anvaya: sri-bhagavan uvaca–the Personality of Godhead said; sannyasah–renunciation of work; karma-yogah–work in devotion; ca–also; nihsreyasa-karau–all leading to the path of liberation; ubhau–both; tayoh–of the two; tu–but; karma-sannyasat–in comparison to the renunciation of fruitive work; karma-yogah–work in devotion; visisyate–is better.

Translation: The Blessed Lord said: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of works.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The answer to the previous verse is being stated by Lord Krishna that renunciation of the rewards from one’s actions is the superior path. Lord Krishna does not prescribe karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities to one who is situated in atma tattva or soul realisation which is only to be known through study of the Vedic scriptures taught by a bonfide spiritual master from one of the four authorised sampradayas or channels of Vedic knowledge who is already situated in atma tattva. But for others who consider the physical body and the atma or soul to be all the same, these persons should practice karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities without desires and attachments as a means of achieving spiritual knowledge of the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Thus by the sword of knowledge eradicating all delusion and lamentation due to the clear discrimination of the difference between this temporary physical body and the eternal soul. When a person has achieved a state of purity and spiritual advancement by the practice of karma yoga, at that time one is qualified to begin performing renunciation of activities as the next step on the way to attaining atma tattva or soul realisation. So it has been established that both are necessary and must be performed in tandem in order to transcend samsara or the cycle of birth and death and attain moksa or liberation from the material existence. But between the two karma yoga is superior to the renunciation of actions.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The renunciation of the rewards of action recommended here is not the same as the acceptance of asceticism because of the statement that by renunciation of all dualities such as likes and dislikes, happiness and distress, success and failure are not sufficient in themselves if not accompanied by inner adoration of the Supreme Lord. This as well as austerities must be performed to qualify for th superior position of true sannyasa or renunciation from worldly activities.. Even though renunciation appears superior due to absence of actions it is seen that ascetics also have activities prescribed for their order. Therefore there is no other dharma or path of eternal righteousness in the world superior to the order of Tridandi Sannyasa which can only be awarded to a Vaisnava brahmin intiated into one of the four authorised Vedic sampradayas by a spiritual master already established in sannyasa. Such a person who is devoted to the Supreme Lord Krishna or His Vedically authorised avatars or incarnations is superior to all beings. This superiority results from being desireless and unattached in worldly, mundane affairs as well as being completely devoted to the Supreme Lord. If such adhikari or qualification is acquired then such a person is already a renunciate. In the Narada Purana is stated: When such accomplishment is acquired one achieves the state of renunciation from the rewards of actions directly, even before realising the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. This is not to imply that Lord Krishna is not pleased by a persons renunciation because the absence of desire and attachment to the rewards of actions is certainly an advanced state but rather this is to emphasise that renunciation of the rewards from one’s actions by itself is not enough to realise the Supreme Being without a sense of devotion along with it.

Now begins the summation.

A person can beneficially perform karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities as well as renunciation of the rewards of actions; but between the two karma yoga is preferable. Both are equally authorised and when karma yoga includes the renunciation of the rewards from one’s actions it becomes superior for without a sense of detachment and renunciation activities are influenced by the dualities of life such as success and failure and become a source of misery.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word sannyasa means renunciation denoting renunciation of the rewards of actions as well and therefore refers to jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge. Both jnana yoga and karma yoga or performing prescribed Vedic activities are competent to award atma tattva; but between the two karma yoga is the easier to perform and can in fact be performed with renunciation receiving benefits from both. This is Lord Krishna’s meaning.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

To answer the previous verse Lord Krishna states the word sannyasam karmanam or the renunciation of actions. The path of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic ativities and renunciation of the rewards from one’s actions both lead to atma tattva or soul realisation. But of the two karma yoga is superior.

Sloka 5.3 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ज्ञेयः स नित्यसंन्यासी यो न द्वेष्टि न काङ्क्षति |
निर्द्वन्द्वो हि महाबाहो सुखं बन्धात्प्रमुच्यते ||५- ३||

GYeyaH sa nityasa.nnyAsI yo na dveShTi na kAN^kShati |
nirdvandvo hi mahAbAho sukhaM bandhAtpramuchyate || 5-3 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.3

Anvaya: jneyah–should be known; sah–he; nitya–always; sannyasi–renouncer; yah–who; na–never; dvesti–abhors; na–nor; kanksati–desires; nirdvandvah–free from all dualities; hi–certainly; maha-baho–O mighty-armed one; sukham–happily; bandhat–from bondage; pramucyate–is completely liberated.

Translation: One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Exactly how is karma yoga or performance of prescribed Vedic activities superior to renunciation? To answer this question Lord Krishna praises the followers of karma yoga who also renounce the rewards of their actions. Those who are free from attachment and aversion and who perform yagna or offerings of worship to propitiate the Supreme Lord are to be known as renunciates. For one who is free from all dualities and has developed equanimity and purity of mind is easily free from samsara or the cycle of birth and death in the material existence.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The characteristics of sannyasa or renunciation of the rewards of actions is given here by Lord Krishna to emphasise the superiority of sannyasa in and of itself.

Now begins the summation.

Characteristics of sannyasa are being described here such as being free from aversion and attraction and all dualities. Asceticism or the practice of tapasya or austerities is not what is meant here. What is meant here is the complete cessation of desire for the rewards of action as well as complete renunciation of the influence of all dualities such as happiness and distress which causes bondage in the world. So there is no contradiction in these two points.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

One who is following karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities and has achieved atma tattva or realisation of the soul will not desire anything else other than the bliss of the atma or soul. In this position one is almost oblivious of the external world and has no urge to crave or hate anything and thus is also able to endure the dualities seeing them all as the same. Such a person is known to be constantly situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge by every activity and is incessantly experiencing the bliss of the atma. Lord Krishna confirms that such a person easily performs karma yoga without effort and transcends samsara or the cycle of birth and death. That both karma yoga and the renunciation for the rewards of actions which is included in jnana yoga are both competent to give atma tattva is shown next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Until now Lord Krishna has been referring to yogis or those following the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness as being renunciates. Such a yogi should always be considered a renunciate as being impelled for spiritual knowledge is the only motivation of action and thus being free from the influence of all dualities such as attraction and repulsion, happiness and distress, such a yogi is not subject to likes and dislikes and is free from samsara or the cycle of birth and death easily without effort.

Sloka 5.4 audio recital in Sanskrit     

साङ्ख्ययोगौ पृथग्बालाः प्रवदन्ति न पण्डिताः |
एकमप्यास्थितः सम्यगुभयोर्विन्दते फलम् ||५- ४||

sAN^khyayogau pR^ithagbAlAH pravadanti na paNDitAH |
ekamapyAsthitaH samyagubhayorvindate phalam.h || 5-4 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.4

Anvaya: sankhya–analytical study of the material world; yogau–work in devotional service; prthak–different; balah–the less intelligent; pravadanti–say; na–never; panditah–the learned; ekam–in one; api–even; asthitah–being situated; samyak–complete; ubhayoh–of both; vindate–enjoys; phalam–the result.

Translation: Only the ignorant speak of karma-yoga and devotional service as being different from the analytical study of the material world [sankhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

So it can be understood that both karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desiring rewards includes renunciation of action as well when a person arrives at that realisation. Thus both paths can be practised in sequence according to a persons stage of spiritual development. The question of which one is factually superior is only applicable to the ignorant and misinformed as the discriminating and knowledgeable understand that the person who practices both thoroughly achieves the same result. The meaning Lord Krishna is intending is that they do not produce separate results.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Renunciation is certainly essential for the acquisition of spiritual wisdom which has been stated in Vedic scriptures as being impossible to acquire for one who is unable to relinquish enjoying the objects of the senses. If this is the case then how can it be assumed that renunciation is inferior to karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities. Therefore Lord Krishna is explaining that both are inherent in each other and not contradictory. One who observes a yagna or offerings of worship to propitiate the Supreme Lord and experiencing the smoke arising from the ghee and seed grains offered to the fire reflects that the yagna is not sanctified due to its being performed for desires of the rewards upon its completion. But for the same yagna being performed without desires but solely for the propitiation of the Supreme Lord is considered the highest wisdom. Those that think otherwise are not conversant with the Vedic scriptures and thus their speculations do not need to be considered.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

They are misinformed and not conversant with Vedic scriptures who think that karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities and jnana yoga the renunciation of rewards of actions by the cultivation Vedic knowledge give different results and do not both award atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Although karma yoga may go through the path of jnana yoga it may also independently achieve atma tattva by its own merit. So as long as an aspirant firmly adopts either path with determination they are assured of success. This is further expanded by Lord Krishna in the next verse.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

How renunciation can apply to the yogi or the follower of the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness who is performing karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities is being clarified here by Lord Krishna. The ignorant and uniformed mistakenly see these two paths as separate yielding divergent results; but this is not accepted by those who are self-realised as it has been seen that a person who determinedly follows either path achieves the same result.

Sloka 5.5 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यत्साङ्ख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते |
एकं साङ्ख्यं च योगं च यः पश्यति स पश्यति ||५- ५||

yatsAN^khyaiH prApyate sthAnaM tadyogairapi gamyate |
ekaM sAN^khya.n cha yoga.n cha yaH pashyati sa pashyati || 5-5 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.5

Anvaya: yat–what; sankhyaih–by means of Sankhya philosophy; prapyate–is achieved; sthanam–place; tat–that; yogaih–by devotional service; api–also; gamyate–one can attain; ekam–one; sankhyam–analytical study; ca–and; yogam–action in devotion; ca–and; yah–one who; pasyati–sees; sah–he; pasyati–actually sees.

Translation: One who knows that the position reached by means of renunciation can also be attained by works in devotional service and who therefore sees that the path of works and the path of renunciation are one, sees things as they are.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna now clarifies specifically that atma tattva or realisation of the soul is the result and that persons who practice renunciation of actions attains this same result as those that practice prescribed Vedic activities without desire for reward and thus for one who sees this similarity of result sees that both paths are actually one. The word yoga meaning the science if the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness denotes by the suffix api meaning also of one who is a practitioner of yoga.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Both invariably lead to the same result because due to performing actions with spiritual intelligence one achieves the same goal of atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Therefore even renunciates with spiritual wisdom should perform prescribed Vedic activities and grihastas or householders should cultivate knowledge of the resplendent Supreme Lord. Without spiritual intelligence one’s actions can never be properly established. Whereas performance of activities in spiritual intelligence without desire of rewards automatically leads one to renunciation. The person who performs actions with renunciation offering the results to the Supreme Lord attains the eternal Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. This blessed person should propitiate the Brahman in its more advanced and personal avatar manifestaion or incarnations such as Rama or Buddha and expansions such as Vishnu or Vasudeva; both categories which emanate from the Supreme Lord Krishna. The renunciate should offer propitiation by manasa or mentally offering flowers and meditating on the pranava or the primordial mantra OM. Moksa or liberation is assured for the desire free performers of prescribed Vedic activities, those firmly established in renunciation and those cognisant of the eternal Brahman. But even among these there is more bliss and satisfaction for those who perform actions to please the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His Vedic authorised avatar incarnations and expansions. Performance of prescribed Vedic activities without knowledge of Lord Krishna and His avatars is not laudable or commendable. Therefore only those actions performed in knowledge of Him are known to be actions performed in renunciation. Such actions as are performed by renunciates is called karma or actions based on spiritual intelligence. Kar is understood as action and ma is understood as wisdom. Thus even the grihastas or householders with wives and children and responsibility can also perform actions in renunciation if they possess this wisdom or spiritual intelligence. Thus there is no difference between renunciation and karma yoga or performing prescribed Vedic activities, if the actions are performed as a matter of duty with no desire for the rewards of the action. In the Vyasa Smriti it states that the distinction between a grihasta following karma yoga without desires and an ascetic renunciate without desire except for the regulations and constraints on the activities accepted by each.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The renunciates are followers of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge but the same goal is achieved by them upon realisation as the goal achieved by the followers of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities upon realisation. Lord Krishna is stating that one who comprehends that either of the methods leads to the same result is one who is in correct knowledge and such a person has spiritual intelligence.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The same result stated in the previous verse is atma tattva or realisation of the soul. This is achieved by both the follower of karma yoga or the performers of prescribed Vedic activities without attachment to the rewards as well as the follower who performs renunciation of actions to the Supreme Lord both attain the result of atma tattva. Thus one who sees by careful analysis that because both paths yield the same fruit they are actually the same is situated in true knowledge.

Sloka 5.6 audio recital in Sanskrit     

संन्यासस्तु महाबाहो दुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः |
योगयुक्तो मुनिर्ब्रह्म नचिरेणाधिगच्छति ||५- ६||

sa.nnyAsastu mahAbAho duHkhamAptumayogataH |
yogayukto munirbrahma nachireNAdhigachchhati || 5-6 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.6

Anvaya: sannyasah–the renounced order of life; tu–but; maha-baho–O mighty-armed one; duhkham–distress; aptum–afflicts one with; ayogatah–without devotional service; yoga-yuktah–one engaged in devotional service; munih–a thinker; brahma–the Supreme; na cirena–without delay; adhigacchati–attains.

Translation: Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy. The sages, purified by works of devotion, achieve the Supreme without delay.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The question may be raised that if persons practising karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desiring rewards have anyway to achieve atma tattva or realisation of the soul through renunciation it would be better to renounce actions right from the start. To alleviate this question Lord Krishna advises that it is very difficult and perilous to attempt this without performing karma yoga without desire for rewards beforehand because the mind will not have been purified. Contrarily the munir or elevated sage devoted to actions devoid of ego easily purifies their mind and realises the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence quickly in the same lifetime. This is why it is iterated that karma yoga is superior to renunciation of action because it can not be maintained without first performing karma yoga. That is why it is said by the author of the Varttika that: One even sees the minds of sannyasins or complete renunciates in abnegation agitated by material desirous and are externalised with thoughts polluted by contact with material nature, becoming careless, malicious, and quarrelsome.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is reconfirming that renunciation is advisable for equanimity of mind for without it the possibility of moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence will not manifest. The desire for sense objects and the motivation for rewards only leads to misery. Moksa itself is should be the goal of all endeavours as all other goals are of little importance as they are material and transitory and in one’s possession for only a limited time. The Padma Purana states: That except for the goal of moksa all other goals are not even worthy of consideration. When an effort is able to bestow superior results, the bestowal of inferior results is of no consequence. The primary effect of equanimity is renunciation thus the word munir is given meaning one who has renounced. Thus it is said that they alone are known as renunciates who are devoid of desire and anger.

Now begins the summation.

The means of moksa or liberation is said to be the state of equanimity and its effect is renunciation. That which is always first offered to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord for His pleasure is true renunciation and no other forms of renunciation are commendable. In the Agni Purana is stated: That without renouncing the desire of rewards for one’s actions whatever one might offer unto the Supreme Lord has no merit and the rewards received from all forms of renunciation contrary for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord are similar to the pleasures of hell. Hence it has been declared what is called renunciation know that to be equanimity. Since equanimity has been clarified to be of such paramount importance there is no need to emphasise it further.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna affirms that the aspirant who performs renunciation of the rewards of actions and the aspirant who practices jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge, for both of them atma tattva or realisation of the soul is difficult to achieve without the help of karma yoga or performing prescribed Vedic activities without desire for rewards. The compound words yoga-yuktah is one who has achieved communion with the ultimate consciousness by karma yoga or performing prescribed Vedic activities without attachment. The word munir or sagacious is one who is focused on meditating on the atma or soul. Such a muni easily traverses the path of karma yoga receiving atma tattva or realisation of the soul as well as realisation of the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. But the person who is inclined to perform jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge finds this path extremely difficult and hard to maintain. Because of this it takes an exceptionally long time to attain the atma by this discipline.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The question may be asked that if the path of karma yoga or prescibed Vedic activities without desiring rewards is anyway realised through the renunciation of action then why not start with renunciation of action in the beginning. To alleviate this doubt Lord Krishna replies that without karma yoga it is impossible to achieve purity of mind and in the absence of a pure mind it is very difficult and even perilous as the chance of disturbance and agitation are prevalent. Whereas the purified mind of the munir or elevated sage endowed with equanimity who practices karma yoga very soon perceives the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and achieves atma tattva or realisation of the soul as well.

Sloka 5.7 audio recital in Sanskrit     

योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः |
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते ||५- ७||

yogayukto vishuddhAtmA vijitAtmA jitendriyaH |
sarvabhUtAtmabhUtAtmA kurvannapi na lipyate || 5-7 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.7

Anvaya: yoga-yuktah–engaged in devotional service; visuddha-atma–a purified soul; vijita-atma–self-controlled; jita-indriyah–having conquered the senses; sarva-bhuta–to all living entities; atma-bhuta-atma–compassionate; kurvan api–although engaged in work; na–never; lipyate–is entangled.

Translation: One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Although by the application of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desiring rewards one may realise the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Still any actions performed after this may still keep one in bondage. Apprehending such a doubt Lord Krishna specifies that one who is pure in mind, who controls the senses and has realised the atma or soul and see that the atma resides in all living beings is able to perform no actions or countless actions and is not bound by any actions whether as an example for others or one’s natural functions.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

So the manner in which karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire is being explained by Lord Krishna. The Supreme Lord is present as paramatma or the omnipresent soul in all naturally conceived beings. One who attains perception of the Supreme Being within becomes aware the Supreme Being’s presence in all beings and thus becomes dear to all beings. This is emphasised by the words sarva bhutama which means all beings love such a person as they love themselves.

Now begins the summation.

Considering the Supreme Lord Krishna as the indwelling consciousness within the heart of all beings is the primary form of equanimity and knowing that all beings are under His control is knowing Him as the Supreme Being. In the Agni Purana it states: That one who knows the Supreme Lord is the indwelling consciousness within all beings has the understanding that He is the all pervading Lord of all beings.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

One who performs karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire for rewards is the one who factually fulfils the sacred canons of the Vedic scriptures which are actually the method of worshipping the Supreme Lord. By such worship one becomes visuddhatma or of purified intelligence and is vijitatma or of controlled mind being absorbed in such worship and by this absorption one is jitendriyah or of restrained senses. Such a person is sarva-bhutama or one who realising their own atma or soul and perceiving the atma in all beings as being the same atma existing within unlimited variegated forms. Such a person views all beings not by the manifest forms they exhibit in their lifetime; but rather the intrinsic nature of the eternal atma within which is the essential nature of all embodied beings. A person situated in this consciousness is never infatuated or deluded by the erroneous idea of thinking that a temporary material substance can ever by equated to the eternal soul. Such a person due to this understanding is never bound by actions although performing activities and in a relatively short time achieves atma tattva or realisation of the soul. As karma yoga has been declared to be easy to perform and soon to reach fulfilment, the means required to enable one to accomplish it Lord Krishna describes next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If it is postulated that the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is omnipresent and transcendental to prakriti or material nature then how is it that a person engaged in actions within prakriti possesses the same attributes? To answer this Lord Krishna affirms that those practising yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness while being engaged in actions with a pure mind, controlled senses and body and realising that the atma or soul exists equally within all beings is the well wisher of all beings, such a yogi having overcome the duality of activity and inertia is not bound by actions. The word yoga specifically establishes that such a person is a yogi and achieving purity treats all beings equally and thus becomes transcendental to prakriti and equal to the Brahman in its attributes. Having attained the Brahman, fully peaceful in mind, neither grieving or desiring equiposed in all situations and to all beings such a one obtains devotion to the Supreme. Thus the explanation given is quite appropriate.

Sloka 5.8 and 5.9 audio recital in Sanskrit     

नैव किञ्चित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् |
पश्यञ्शृण्वन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपञ्श्वसन् ||५- ८||

प्रलपन्विसृजन्गृह्णन्नुन्मिषन्निमिषन्नपि |
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ||५- ९||

naiva ki~nchitkaromIti yukto manyeta tattvavit.h |
pashyaJNshR^iNvanspR^ishaJNjighrannashnangachchhansvapa~nshvasan.h || 5-8 ||

pralapanvisR^ijangR^ihNannunmiShannimiShannapi |
indriyANIndriyArtheShu vartanta iti dhArayan.h || 5-9 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.8, 5.9

Anvaya: na–never; eva–certainly; kincit–anything; karomi–I do; iti–thus; yuktah–engaged in the divine consciousness; manyeta–thinks; tattva-vit–one who knows the truth; pasyan–seeing; srnvan–hearing; sprsan–touching; jighran–smelling; asnan–eating; gacchan–going; svapan–dreaming; svasan–breathing; pralapan–talking; visrjan–giving up; grhnan–accepting; unmisan–opening; nimisan–closing; api–in spite of; indriyani–the senses; indriya-arthesu–in sense gratification; vartante–let them be so engaged; iti–thus; dharayan–considering.

Translation: A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

That there is no contradiction in the statement that the follower of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire even though performing various activities is not affected or influenced is being clarified by Lord Krishna in these two verses. One engaged is this process of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness perceives themselves as separate from the activities of the body and that the senses reside in the very sense objects desired. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting are the functions of the organs of knowledge the eyes, ears, hands, nose and tongue. Moving is the function of legs, speaking the function of the mouth, sleeping the function of the mind, breathing the function of the vital force. So these are the distinctions which separate the body from the individual consciousness and thus it is not contradictory that one understands that one is not the doer of any action. The knowers of the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence being free from all conceptions of doership are not subject to reactions from their actions although performing so many activities. The Vedanta Sutra VI.I.XVI states that when knowledge of the Brahman is realised the result is the permanent eradication of all previous reactions and the inability to receive reactions for any subsequent actions. This is known because it is so declared many places in the Vedic scriptures one being the Mundaka Upanisad II.VIII.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna further clarifies renunciation in these two verses.

Now begins the summation.

How renunciation can become the form of equanimity is explained in these two verses. Energised solely by the all encompassing and pervading energy of the Supreme Lord a beings mind and body become active. The knowledge that no being is ever independent of the Supreme Lord is verily an essential and eternal truth.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

One who has realised the nature of the atma or soul knows the true nature of reality. Such a person reflects that through the senses of perception such as eyes and ears, the senses of action such as the voice, the pranas or life breaths, the physical body functions with all its corresponding objects; but factually I am separate as an individual consciousness from all these activities and virtually do not do any of these actions. The conception of doership is derived from contact with the senses which a living entity is coerced to accept from time immemorial due to past actions in past lives. But this doership is not an essential attribute of the atma and thus it is not necessary to accept. So I shall not accept it as being my essential nature. Thus does one situated in atma tattva or soul realisation reflect.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

How would the performer of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without attachment who has achieved atma tattva or realisation of the soul behave? Lord Krishna replies to this in these two verses. The yogi or one following the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness comprehends the reality that all bodily functions along with the senses are functioning independently and thus one is not subject to conceptions of doership. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching are the functions of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. When the eyes open and close does one think they are the opener and closer? In this way one should think for all actions one performs. Moving is the function of the legs, speaking of the mouth, pleasure of the generating organs and so forth. Breathing is a function of the vital force and includes all others as it sustains the entire body. Lord Krishna explains this exposition in the way of artha-krama or where the order of the meaning is more potent than patha-krama or textual position. The purport is that one should live their life free from the ego of I-ness and my-ness and conceptions of doership, knowing that all actions are the functions of the organs and senses and are independent from the individual consciousness.

Sloka 5.10 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः |
लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा ||५- १०||

brahmaNyAdhAya karmANi saN^ga.n tyaktvA karoti yaH |
lipyate na sa pApena padmapatramivAmbhasA || 5-10 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.10

Anvaya: brahmani–the Supreme Personality of Godhead; adhaya–resigning unto; karmani–all works; sangam–attachment; tyaktva–giving up; karoti–performs; yah–who; lipyate–is affected; na–never; sah–he; papena–by sin; padma-patram–lotus leaf; iva–like; ambhasa–in the water.

Translation: One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme God, is not affected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One who has yoked themselves to the consciousness of being the doer of their actions cannot help being contaminated by the reactions to such actions and on account of this their mind remains impure and hence they are far adrift from renunciation and are in a grave predicament. Apprehending such a situation Lord Krishna explains that one who dedicates and consummates all actions as offerings to the Supreme Lord without attachment to rewards is not affected by sinful reactions which are most abominable on account of their binding power to material nature


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Whosoever is properly situated in the state of equanimity is not affected by reactions due to karma yoga or the prescribed Vedic actions they perform. This means one does not desire the rewards of their actions but instead dutifully offers the results of all their actions unto the Supreme Lord. For the purpose of emphasising the method of performing this spiritual practice and for the sake of removing any impression of casualness the subject of renouncing the rewards of one’s actions is reiterated again and again by Lord Krishna.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word brahmany used here is referring to the Supreme Lord who is the antithesis to material matter. One who performs all activities reflecting that they relate to the functions of the body and senses and pertain exclusively to material matter and who knows that in reality the individual consciousness has nothing to do with it remains unaffected and uncontaminated from sinful reactions arising from misconceptions of the physical body being the atma or soul and the subsequent erroneous mentality that causes bondage to samsara or the endless cycle of birth and death in the material existence.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The question may arise that a person possessing the characteristics of the previous verse with a pure heart and controlled senses may be unaffected by reactions to actions; but how can those without such characteristics become unattached to desire for the rewards of actions. Lord Krishna answers this by instructing everyone to offer and dedicate all actions to the Supreme Lord. The desire for rewards of actions is the fundamental reason for all ego conceptions of being the physical body and the root cause of samsara or bondage in the cycle of birth and death which so viciously apprehends one. So desire for rewards should be immediately be given up so one will not be contaminated by sinful reactions.

Sloka 5.11 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि |
योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वात्मशुद्धये ||५- ११||

kAyena manasA bud.hdhyA kevalairindriyairapi |
yoginaH karma kurvanti saN^ga.n tyaktvAtmashuddhaye || 5-11 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.11

Anvaya: kayena–with the body; manasa–with the mind; buddhya–with the intelligence; kevalaih–purified; indriyaih–with the senses; api–even with; yoginah–Krsna conscious persons; karma–actions; kurvanti–they act; sangam–attachment; tyaktva–giving up; atma–self; suddhaye–for the purpose of purification.

Translation: The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence, and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

After previously stating that actions performed for the Supreme Lord as a matter of duty without desire for rewards do not bind one to samsara or the cycle of birth and death in material existence, Lord Krishna is illustrating how by bathing the body, meditating in the mind, reflecting with the intellect, hearing and narrating about the divine pastimes of the Supreme Lord and such activities are for the purification of the mind and lead to moksa or liberation from material existence.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna describes the activities of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities and how they should be performed to achieve purity of mind.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Completely devoid of all cravings for the rewards of one’s actions and endeavours even up to desiring entry to svargaloka or the heavenly spheres. Those who have indeed become accomplished in karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desiring rewards simply let their body, mind and senses perform their natural functions as instruments to effect atma-suddhi or self-purification which breaks the bonds of the past deeds which bind the atma to samsara or the cycle of birth and death. Karma yoga should be performed solely for this purpose and not for obtaining heavenly enjoyments in svargaloka.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna elaborating further states that those practising karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire perform all their actions free from attachment to sense objects and the hankerings for rewards of actions solely for the purification of the mind.

Sloka 5.12 audio recital in Sanskrit     

युक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम् |
अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते ||५- १२||

yuktaH karmaphalaM tyaktvA shAntimApnoti naiShThikIm.h .
ayuktaH kAmakAreNa phale sakto nibadhyate || 5-12 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.12

Anvaya: yuktah–one who is engaged in devotional service; karma-phalam–the results of all activities; tyaktva–giving up; santim–perfect peace; apnoti–achieves; naisthikim–unflinching; ayuktah–one who is not in Krsna consciousness; kama-karena–for enjoying the result of work; phale–in the result; saktah–attached; nibadhyate–becomes entangled.

Translation: The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

How is it to be understood that performing the same actions some people are bound to material existence and others are released from material existence? The answer to this question is specifically being addressed by Lord Krishna. One who is equiposed and unmotivated by material desires of rewards is never bound by material nature; but the craving reward seeker obsessed with desire birth after birth is never released from material existence.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

For emphasising the qualifications of observing equanimity the merits and demerits are reiterated by Lord Krishna. The word yuktah meaning communion infers equanimity with a sense of renunciation.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word yuktah means united with renunciation. It can also denote not wanting any reward other than realisation of the atma or soul, both are meritorious and distinguished performance of actions. Such a person relinquishes the desire for rewards for actions and instead utilises all actions for the purpose of self purification soon attaining atma tattva or realisation of the soul and the eternal beatitude of moksa or liberation from the material existence. The word ayuktah means not united with renunciation and is unmeritorious and degraded. It can also denote desiring mundane material rewards not connected to the atma. Incited by cravings one lustfully desires the rewards of all actions. The actions of such a person perpetually binds them to captivity in samsara or the cycle of birth and death in material existence. Hence that person who is completely weaned from all attachment to the rewards of their actions is able to delegate all their actions as a product of material nature manifesting itself in form of the senses and their sense objects. This discernment facilitates the atma’s deliverance and redemption from material bondage. Next Lord Krishna will show how the agency of action can be designated to the physical body as an aggregate of matter.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Attachment to the rewards to be gained from one’s actions is the root cause for bondage to the perpetual cycle of birth and death in material existence. Lord Krishna presents this assertion with positive and negative examples. The aspirant for atma tattva or realisation of the soul who unmotivated by desires offers all actions unto the Supreme Lord attains moksa or liberation and everlasting peace. Whereas the person who performs actions never offering them to the supreme is contaminated with the blemish of selfish motives and the craving of rewards and is unable to relinquish the conception of ego and proprietorship thinking that they are the body and miserably failing by such mentality are bound tightly in material existence.

Sloka 5.13 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी |
नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन् ||५- १३||

sarvakarmANi manasA sa.nnyasyAste sukhaM vashI |
navadvAre pure dehI naiva kurvanna kArayan.h || 5-13 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.13

Anvaya: sarva–all; karmani–activities; manasa–by the mind; sannyasya–giving up; aste–remains; sukham–in happiness; vasi–one who is controlled; nava-dvare–in the place where there are nine gates; pure–in the city; dehi–the embodied soul; na–never; eva–certainly; kurvan–doing anything; na–not; karayan–causing to be done.

Translation: When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates [the material body], neither working nor causing work to be done.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna has expounded previously that for one who has not purified their mind karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire for rewards was best. This is because without a purified mind it is not possible to renounce actions internally as well and actions without desire are superior to renunciation of actions with internal desires. But the person who is self controlled and has purified their mind by discrimination, renouncing all thoughts and actions that distracts one atma tattva or realisation of the soul, such an embodied being completely free from false ego, devotes themselves to Vedic knowledge contentedly residing in the city of nine gates consisting of the seven gates in the head being two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, one mouth and the two gates below the navel being the organs of generation and excretion which comprise the nine gates of the physical body which is just like a city and which the self controlled person does not identify with. Merely by the absence of identifying oneself as the physical body one neither acts through their body or causes their body to act having no conception of proprietorship over it. Hence this is the differentiation from one who is an uncontrolled, impure minded person who always fails attempting to renounce, thwarted by their desires and harassed by their hankerings.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Again Lord Krishna emphasises renunciation of all actions by the mind especially the relinquishing of pride.

Now begins the summation.

By performing yagna or offerings of worship in propitiation to the Supreme Lord and meditation on the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and other such prescribed Vedic activities merit is acquired. Since in reality the atma or soul is not independent as such all actions performed are factually non-action. Just as respect to the father and mother is the duty of the children in the same way the living entities are subservient to the Supreme Lord through the propitiation to the atma is the duty of all humans. This is given in a treatise known as Pravritti. Thus it can be understood by one who comprehends their intrinsic dependence on the Supreme Lord is that it is solely by the mind that renunciation of desire for rewards duly manifests in one’s actions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Discerning in the mind that all authorship of any action resides within the physical body and is the cause by which the atma or soul within is compromised due to the reactions from past life activities. One can distinguish that authorship of actions are not an essential attribute of the atma and thus the embodied atma shall assign all actions to the authority of the physical body. Then remaining content, independent from the body one performs no action as a consequence of being a passenger residing within the body ceases to cause the body to act. The exact, true nature of the independent atma Lord Krishna reveals next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Persons full of selfish desires hankering for the rewards of their actions are tightly bound to the material existence by the actions of their bodies and senses impelled by the very desires they seek to gratify. While the aspirant for atma tattva or realisation of the soul although also involved in activities of the physical body realise they are undoubtedly different from the actions of the body and the senses. Such a person of controlled mind and sense organs is well aware that the ego and ideas of I-ness and my- ness revolve around the bodily conception so they never ignorantly think that the physical body is who they really are and hence understand that any doership is not of the nature of the atma or soul. So abandoning all fruitive and frivolous actions and residing contentedly in the city of nine gates known as the physical body which also has no ego sense possessed of two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, one generating organ and one organ for excretion totalling nine an embodied being is not bound to material existence by actions.

Sloka 5.14 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न कर्तृत्वं न कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः |
न कर्मफलसंयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते ||५- १४||

na kartR^itva.n na karmANi lokasya sR^ijati prabhuH |
na karmaphalasa.nyogaM svabhAvastu pravartate || 5-14 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.14

Anvaya: na–never; kartrtvam–proprietorship; na–nor; karmani–activities; lokasya–of the people; srjati–creates; prabhuh–the master of the city of the body; na–nor; karma-phala–with the results of activities; samyogam–connection; svabhavah–the modes of material nature; tu–but; pravartate–act.

Translation: The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The Vedic scriptures state that the Supreme Lord causes the one whom He wishes to rise up from this world perform meritorious actions and He causes one whom He wishes to cast down perform degraded actions which infers that it is by the will of the Supreme Lord that a person is directed to perform acts leading to merit and demerit. Apprehending such a doubt Lord Krishna clarifies this point in this verse and the next stating: prabhuh or the Supreme Lord does not create any agency in the world of beings, rather it is the embodied beings own individuals nature and the level of nescience and ignorance of the atma or soul that determines how they act out existence. As the energising source of all created beings the Supreme Lord Krishna engages all beings to be active and naturally disposed they gravitate to perform actions for the objects of their desires out of primeval nescience. But the Supreme Lord has no influence on their decision and no involvement in their actions.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Although the word prabhu may be used in addressing elevated personalities who are superior to all others. Here Lord Krishna is using it to mean the Supreme Lord declaring He is not responsible for the actions of living entities. The word loka means world and lokasya is refering to the people of the world.

Now begins the summation.

Even as the mandate for regency bequeathed by a king upon his son is limited; even so is the independence to perform actions bestowed by the Supreme Lord upon human beings limited as well. To dispel the doubt that human beings might be independent in their actions and consequential reactions regarding the righteous or unrighteous merits or demerits of such actions this verse is responding to. The answer is the Supreme lord does not inaugurate independence of action or initiate the consequential results of actions for any being. Otherwise it would have been unnecessary to include the word lokasya to denote people of the world. Even though the son of the king is ruling over a province of the kingdom and enjoying the fruits having limited independence from the king but he is still responsible for his actions and rulership. In the same way the actions performed by the embodied being and the resulting reactions are not caused by the dependence upon the Supreme Lord but by the results of one’s own activities. When a person believes they are the performer of actions they take on the responsibility of determining their destiny independent of the Supreme Lord and thus has to accept responsibility for suffering the consequences.

The Supreme Lord as the energising source of all creation impels all beings. This means He impels them by their svabhavas or natural propensity as given in the sloka or verse. All the impulses of the all living beings is induced and activated by the Supreme Lord by His internal potency. Only the Supreme Lord is independent. Everything else is dependent upon Him. Being completely independent within Himself and transcendental to prakriti or material nature, He has no connection with dualities or the three modes prakriti or the merits and demerits associated with actions. The intellect of humans being enveloped in ignorance since time immemorial is not aware of these eternal truths as given in the Varaha Purana.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the Lord of all by His natural propensity thus He is known as svabhava. He creates the heat of the sun and seeds the clouds with water causing rains and also stops the rain by His will. The power and majesty of the Supreme Lord is described in innumerable ways. His intrinsic qualities and attributes such as all power, all knowledge, renunciation and beauty. The ancient adage that without the sanction of the Supreme Lord not a leaf may fall nor a blade of grass grow is factual and all due to the potency of His intrinsic qualities and attributes. Creation is but His natural propensities manifesting with effusive activity. Statements in the Vedic scriptures like the above reveal nothing which is not His natural propensity nor His active or non-active attributes so no contradiction.

The inability to adequately describe the activities of the Supreme Lord has been explained already in the second chapter so it is not necessary to repeat it again. In the absence of the special attributes of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, other actions which are transcendental to material nature are not applicable to Him and thus need not to be attributed to Him although this reality is contrary to the erroneous, intemperate speculations of the sunyavadis or nihilists it need not be rebutted. The mere statement that the sunyvadis give that the Supreme Lord is without any special attributes or the statement that the mayavadis give that the Supreme Lord possess no attributes both establish the reality of His existence. The ability to communicate with every living being internally, the utility of the divine sound OM His personal sound manifestation that pervades all creation along with His effulgence known as the Brahman are all manifestations of His special attributes establishing the reality of His existence. Otherwise such attributes would have to be understood by supporting proofs and that would be defective in knowing Him and this is not the case. The Supreme Lord has the attribute of inconceivability. If this attribute of inconceivability is to be understood by the exclusion of His special attributes then such inconceivability must also be an attribute of His existence, otherwise any attempts to further comprehend His attributes will be defective. The word sarva meaning all and other descriptions do not categorically establish the reality of the Supreme Lord’s existence nor can all the evidences and proofs that have already been established prove His supremacy and existence. His attributes like the seven types of essence are perpetually established even when they are not perceivable. By His self-effulgence manifested into the Brahman, His existence is not easily established either; but His self-effulgence is specially accepted as an established fact due to it not being illuminated by any external source. The possessor of action and the performance of action are not contradictory by normal experience and knowledge and the object of knowledge cannot be experienced without the knower of knowledge. Therefore the erroneous hypothesis of the uninformed speculators does have any significance.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the sole performer of all actions, everything is under His control and subservient to Him. In the Paingi Scripture states that nothing can be accomplished without the Supreme Lord initiating the action.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word prabhu means master or ruler and the atma or soul representing an eternal portion of the Supreme Lord is the ruler of each physical body. By its eternal nature it is beyond the influence of actions and reactions and resides impervious to them in its own nature. This atma being the individual soul is not the originator in the material creation of the four categories of living entities: the demi-gods, human beings, the fauna or animal kingdoms and the flora or plant kingdom. The atma is also not subject to any activities of authorship emanating from these four categories, nor any connection to the resultant reactions of any activity such as descending into the animal species or ascending to the heavenly spheres and becoming a demi-god. What is it then that accomplishes all these activities? It is the very nature inherent within all beings which is the cause of all designations. By nature it is meant the samkaras or impressions from past lifetimes formatted by the reactions from the chain of activities generated since time immemorial. By nature it is also meant the illusion of authorship and the terminal habit of regarding the temporary physical body as a constitute of the eternal atma. Thus it can be clearly discerned that the essential nature of the atma being eternal has no interconnection to the authorship of actions or the doership of actions which are temporary and the products of association with material matter.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It was stated previously that the renunciate is not bound to reactions due to lack attachment but the ignorant desiring rewards are bound to reactions due to attachment. But who is virtuous and who is sinful when the actions of all beings is impelled by the Supreme Lord hence virtuous and sinful actions should go to Him. To this point Lord Krishna answers in this verse and the next that theSupreme Lord is not involved influencing any activities of the embodied beings, neither the pious or sinful activities nor any acceptance or involvement in the merits or demerits acquired by one’s activities. The word loka has two meaning in the Amarakosa Lexicon III.III.II one meaning is the world and the other is people which sometimes is synonymous as here. It is the nature of people, embodied beings which determines the degree of nescience constituted by actions engaged in and reactions accepted since time immemorial. The understanding is that it is the Supreme Lords external energy maya or the deluding illusory energy that directs the embodied being according to their degree of nescience from reactions to past life activities.

Sloka 5.15 audio recital in Sanskrit     

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं न चैव सुकृतं विभुः |
अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः ||५- १५||

nAdatte kasyachitpApaM na chaiva sukR^itaM vibhuH |
aGYAnenAvR^itaM GYAnaM tena muhyanti jantavaH || 5-15 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.15

Anvaya: na–never; adatte–accepts; kasyacit–anyone’s; papam–sin; na–nor; ca–also; eva–certainly; su-krtam–pious activities; vibhuh–the Supreme Lord; ajnanena–by ignorance; avrtam–covered; jnanam–knowledge; tena–by that; muhyanti–are bewildered; jantavah–the living entities.

Translation: Nor does the Supreme Spirit assume anyone’s sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The sublime, transcendental Supreme Lord although the energiser and controller of all living beings in creation does not partake of the merits of piety or the demerits of sins from any living entity. The reason being He is all pervasive, omniscient, eternal and thus He is always completely fulfilled directing the living entities precisely according to their previous actions by His external potency known as Maya the inscrutable illusory energy.

A question may be raised that it is seen that the Supreme Lord is merciful to His devotees and blesses them; but is unmerciful to non-devotees and chastises them which denotes partiality. So how does this exemplify that He is always completely fulfilled. Lord Krishna clarifies this doubt with the word jnanam meaning knowledge. Cognisance is the intrinsic nature of a human being and without it discrimination cannot manifest and the knowledge that the Supreme Lord is equal to all will be enveloped in ignorance. Thus one enveloped in ignorance is unable to discern that chastisement from the Supreme Lord for sinful activities is also His mercy and a blessing as well. Because of misconceptions beings become deluded from time immemorial and attribute partiality to the Supreme Lord.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord being completely transcendental and independent to the material existence does not accept the pious merits or the sinful demerits of any human being and although He energises all of their activities He is never affected by them. This is because human beings are endowed with freewill and viveka or a sense of discrimination and this unlike the animals gives them a limited independence regarding their own actions and the choice of their activities. But when their sense of discrimination becomes shrouded by ignorance in the absence of Vedic knowledge their awareness becomes obscured and they become deluded and assume responsibility or authorship for their individual actions and thus they assume also the reactions that accompany their actions binding them tightly to samara or the cycle of birth and death. If by chance an awareness arises in their consciousness that they are enveloped and shrouded in the delusion of illusion they do not consider that they have the ability to change anything because they do not realise that it is Supreme Lord who initiates all actions. The resplendent Supreme Lord Krishna is like the sun in the sky illuminates His light on the noble and the vile, the sinful and the pious impartially. And as although sunlight touching the Earth is not affected by events that happen in the world similarly the Supreme Lord is not affected by the events which transpire in the life of human beings or any other being.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The atma or eternal soul never accepts anyone’s sins or mitigate anyone’s misery or suffering although the person may be dearly beloved. Nor does the atma take the pious merit and happiness which may come to a person that is hated. The atma is transcendental to material nature and not limited to the physical body. The atma knows not the relationship of the amity of friendliness nor the enmity of antagonism. All conceptions of friend and foe are material designations caused by vasana which is physical instincts created from material association. How then is it that the atma is thus shrouded by this vasana. Lord Krishna reveals that it is because of ignorance. It is ignorance which shrouds and obscures spiritual knowledge. Ignorance and nescience is that which is opposed to spiritual knowledge and wisdom. By the shrouding of ignorance due to reactions from past actions the consciousness of the atma becomes obscured and the intelligence compromised allowing the living entity to enter the perilous predicament of believing they are the enjoyer of the rewards of actions thereby recipients of the reactions. Thus by the karma or the reactions from attachment to actions one forges a material link in the appropriate physical body. This love of one’s body forges links with other bodies kindling a ironclad infatuation for the bodily conception. This infatuation maturing becomes vasana which constitutes the seed for further births in the material creation. This perpetuates more and more actions and reactions and infatuations for bodily connections and more seeds and more increased vasana which perpetually keeps an embodied being locked in the material existence engendering unlimited births and rebirths. Next Lord Krishna propounds the topic of spiritual intelligence.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna begins stating nadatte kasyacit papam meaning that He never accepts the sins of any being. He also never accepts the piety of any being either. So He is not connected to any merit or demerit they may incur by their actions. But as the energising principle of all creation naturally all beings are impelled according to their own natures by Him. If the Supreme Lord, the impeller of all beings is not involved in the doership and activities of the embodied beings and He is not a recipient of any of their merits and demerits then why is it that embodied beings perform actions that bind them to material existence. The word jnanam or knowledge denoting cognisance is used here. One’s natural cognisance and spiritual discrimination is enveloped in ignorance since time immemorial and so the embodied being is infatuated by delusion. Hence they perform sinful activities believing them to be good and when they receive severe repercussions as reactions for such sinful activities they blame the Supreme Lord for injustice or for being partial and by making offences they sink further into nescience.

Sloka 5.16 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः |
तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् ||५- १६||

GYAnena tu tadaGYAnaM yeShA.n nAshitamAtmanaH |
teShAmAdityavajGYAnaM prakAshayati tatparam.h || 5-16 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.16

Anvaya: jnanena–by knowledge; tu–but; tat–that; ajnanam–nescience; yesam–whose; nasitam–is destroyed; atmanah–of the living entity; tesam–their; aditya-vat–like the rising sun; jnanam–knowledge; prakasayati–discloses; tat param–Krsna consciousness.

Translation: When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna is emphasising that persons whose spiritual knowledge has become awakened do not become deluded in the material existence. They are able to discriminate between the mundane material knowledge and the divine spiritual knowledge by knowledge of the atma or soul and knowledge of the Supreme. This spiritual knowledge destroys all ignorance and manifests illumination of the Supreme Lord within the etheric heart of a human being just as the sun destroying darkness and illuminates all things.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Vedic knowledge alone destroys spiritual ignorance that is why Lord Krishna uses the word jnana or knowledge referring to knowledge of the Vedas which gives actual awareness of the ultimate reality. Here the word jnana denotes a supra-consciousness experience it does not mean expertise in intellectual empirical knowledge nor does it mean proficiency in mundane analytical knowledge.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Although the intelligence may be shrouded by the veil of ignorance still it has been seen that there are those whose consciousness becomes awakened upon receiving Vedic knowledge. The veil of ignorance is due to the endless mass of accumulated reactions to previous actions in incessant lifetimes since time immemorial. Atma tattva or realisation of the soul and soul related knowledge derived from the Vedic scriptures and imbibed from the teachings of the spiritual master increases virtue and quality in one’s daily life and is exceedingly pure. For this it is necessary to achieve innate extraordinary intelligence or supra-consciousness which becomes resplendent like the sun unlimited and expansive, illuminating all things by the reality of their exact nature. The word jnanam meaning by knowledge and atmanah denoting plurality of souls confirms that by such knowledge one realises the Supreme Being. It should not be contended that the plurality of unlimited atmas is upadhi or limited because no trace of limitation can exist once one’s ignorance has been dispelled by atma tattva. Spiritual intelligence in itself is an attribute of one who possesses and is dependent upon existence. The atma which is eternal is not an attribute and is independent in relation to existence. The analogy of the sun as an illuminator is to illustrate the relation between cognisance and cognition or the relationship between the knower and the known shown by the sun as the source of light and emanation of light. Hence it can be discerned that in samsara or the endless cycle of birth and death in the conditioned state there is extreme limitation due to karma or reactions to actions and in moksa or the emancipated state there is an absence of limitation due to a lack of karma..


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Knowledge is of two types mundane and transitory and transcendental and eternal; but why is it that all those whose minds have been enveloped in ignorance since time immemorial are so infatuated while others are able to free themselves from delusion? It is do to the Supreme Lords grace through the mercy of His devotee that those are able to free themselves from the infatuation of delusion. Only be the grace of the Supreme Lords devotee is one able to reverse the envelopment of ignorance constituted by the mindset fashioned from reactions to one’s actions and flow towards the eternal nature of the atma or soul which is realised by continuous reflection, contemplation and meditation upon the teachings of the Vedic scriptures received through the mouth of the spiritual master and the following of His instructions who has himself realised the essence of the Vedic scriptures and who has achieved atma tattva or realisation of the soul and has attained the Supreme Being which is completely transcendental to all things material and is like the rising of the sun illuminating the consciousness in all directions to those who have knowledge of . This is why such beings do not get infatuated and become deluded.

With the statement in the possessive case adityavit jnanam meaning true knowledge shining like the sun and the statement prakasayati tat param meaning reveals the supreme being, Lord Krishna refutes the adherents of absolute monism because it is not possible to have even an iota of contact with it because of the plural inference of the word atmanah meaning souls even after their ignorance is dispelled. This refutes those who deny that knowledge is different from its nature and also refutes those who propound oneness of the quality and the qualified trying to establish a relation with the knower and knowledge like light and its source. Because it is known that knowledge is distinctively different from the nature of the atma or soul. This infers that gross and subtle embodied beings created in the material existence due to reactions from past life activities obscures knowledge into a lesser quality like the light of a lamp is lessened when covered by a shaded glass although it does not change its nature. Contrarily when one has achieved atma tattva then in the state of moksa or liberation the destruction of the physical and subtle bodies reveals the knowledge of the atmas quality as the light of a lamp is more illuminating when the shaded glass cover is removed; yet there is no difference in its nature but only in its perception. As by the removal of the impurities obscuring a jewel allows its radiance to be seen; in the same way when the impurity of undesirable mundane qualities like lust and fruitiveness are removed and abandoned then the transcendental qualities of wisdom, renunciation and compassion reveal themselves in all their splendour. These qualities are always present without being created because they are eternally manifest as qualities of the atma.

Sloka 5.17 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तद्बुद्धयस्तदात्मानस्तन्निष्ठास्तत्परायणाः |
गच्छन्त्यपुनरावृत्तिं ज्ञाननिर्धूतकल्मषाः ||५- १७||

tad.hbuddhayastadAtmAnastanniShThAstatparAyaNAH |
gachchhantyapunarAvR^itti.n GYAnanirdhUtakalmaShAH || 5-17 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.17

Anvaya: tat-buddhayah–one whose intelligence is always in the Supreme; tat-atmanah–one whose mind is always in the Supreme; tat-nisthah–whose mind is only meant for the Supreme; tat-parayanah–who has completely taken shelter of Him; gacchanti–go; apunah-avrttim–liberation; jnana–knowledge; nirdhuta–cleanses; kalmasah–misgivings.

Translation: When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is now stating the results of such worship. Those who are fixed and resolute in this spiritual knowledge, whose conviction is unwavering and steady, whose one aim is that, whose mind is centered in that, whose only refuge is that and that alone. Whose sins have been dissolved by atma tattva or realisation of the soul and by the grace of the atma one achieves moksa or liberation and attains the Supreme Lord.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna declares the means to attain that supra-conscious awareness that illuminates one’s intelligence and leads directly to moksa or liberation from material existence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna uses the compound word tad-buddhayas meaning intelligence in the Supreme is referring to those who have their intelligence, intellect and consciousness fixed in meditation of atma tattva or realisation of the soul. The compound word tad-atmanas means with mind in the Supreme refers to those who make the atma or soul the singular focus of loving reflection. The intellect is merely the machinations of the mind but consciousness includes emotion which facilitates loving devotion within the heart. The compound word tad-nisthas means those who have complete faith in the Supreme refers to those who enthusiastically follow the Vedic culture and perform all that is necessary to attain the Supreme. The compound word tat- parayanah means those whose sole noble aim is devotion to the atma. The cultivation of Vedic knowledge gradually developes consciousness and removes all taint and dross. Those possessing the before stated qualifications when perfecting them attain the atma which is irrevocable and which when once realised insures there is no reverting back to conditioned and restrictive levels of consciousness which are of the nature of nescience and ignorance.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The question may be raised when does true knowledge of the spiritual reality reveal itself? Lord Krishna describes this beginning with the words tad buddhayas meaning when one’s intelligence is focused in Him and whose sinful reactions have been eradicated by spiritual knowledge. The purport is just as one shrouded in ignorance suffers samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. One who by the strength of mind has perceived the atma or soul within is no longer affected by this transmigratory existence full of all types of evil and is untouched by the characteristics of samsara.

Sloka 5.18 audio recital in Sanskrit     

विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि |
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिताः समदर्शिनः ||५- १८||

vidyAvinayasampanne brAhmaNe gavi hastini |
shuni chaiva shvapAke cha paNDitAH samadarshinaH || 5-18 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.18

Anvaya: vidya–education; vinaya–gentleness; sampanne–fully equipped; brahmane–in the brahmana; gavi–in the cow; hastini–in the elephant; suni–in the dog; ca–and; eva–certainly; sva-pake–in the dog-eater (the outcaste); ca–respectively; panditah–those who are so wise; sama-darsinah–do see with equal vision.

Translation: The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the question may arise being what kind of persons are those who achieve moksa or liberation? Lord Krishna uses the word panditah or the wise. Who are the wise? Those with the inner eye of wisdom who perceive the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence in things that appear dissimilar. The example of a humble, learned brahmin and an outcaste dogeater shows dissimilarity in conduct and the examples of a cow and an elephant show dissimilarity in species but the spiritually awakened sees all with equal vision.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Due to this supra-conscious awareness illuminating one’s intelligence atma tattva or realisation of the soul is attained and once this happens then one realises the soul, as a manifestation of the Supreme Lord existing equally in all living beings. This is purport Lord Krishna is giving in this verse.

Now begins the summation.

Even though there are external differences in the forms among embodied beings including humans, aquatics, animals and plants, the Supreme Lord Krishna is ever present in each and every being as a witness energising them all as the Supreme Soul and from whom a minuscule portion comprises the eternal individual soul.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The name Brahmana refers to the saintly and spiritual class in India possessed of moral conduct and Vedic knowledge. The mention along with them of a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcaste person who eats dog is to illustrate the great differences in the physical bodies of all the various species of life in which the embodied atma or soul resides in. The variegated appearances of different species of life is due to prakriti or material nature not the atma. The compound word sama-darsinah meaning equal vision is how those in atma tattva or soul realisation regard all the atmas residing in unlimited bodies as being equal due to the atmas essential nature of being eternal and of being an infinitesimal part of the Supreme Lord Krishna.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna uses the word panditah meaning wise or learned, for those who perceive the reality as it is and beholds the nature of the atma or soul equally in all beings. From a Brahmin endowed with spiritual knowledge and a cow the best of all animals both being in the mode of goodness as well as a dog and an outcaste person of the lowest order, all are seen with an equal vision. The purport is that the apparent unevenness between the highest and the lowest is the characteristics of their bodily designation which is the product of material nature but never reflective of the eternal, pure state of the atma. Such a wise being always perceives the intrinsic nature of the soul as it is, unaffected by the degradation of any bodily conception.

Sloka 5.19 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः |
निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद् ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः ||५- १९||

ihaiva tairjitaH sargo yeShA.n sAmye sthitaM manaH |
nirdoShaM hi samaM brahma tasmAd.h brahmaNi te sthitAH || 5-19 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.19

Anvaya: iha–in this life; eva–certainly; taih–by them; jitah–conquered; sargah–birth and death; yesam–of those; samye–in equanimity; sthitam–so situated; manah–mind; nirdosam–flawless; hi–certainly; samam–in equanimity; brahma–the Supreme; tasmat–therefore; brahmani–in the Supreme; te–they; sthitah–are situated.

Translation: Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

An argument may come that one who views equally things that are unequal do what is forbidden in the Vedic scriptures; so how can they be known as wise. Gautama has said that one should treat equals and unequals with difference and equality respectively for when equals are not honoured in the same manner as each other and unequals are honoured in the same way as equals then one reaps demerits in this life and the next. Lord Krishna responds to this with the words ihaeva meaning in this very life exemplifies that it possible in this very existence to achieve the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and conquer samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. But who is able to achieve this? Lord Krishna declares that those whose minds are established in equanimity, The reason being that the Brahman is equal and constant thus those with equal vision towards all have partaken of the quality of the Brahman. The statement by Gautama of reaping demerits is only true before one has realised the Brahman throughout every aspect of creation.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna is praising those evolved beings who have achieved equanimity of mind.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word ihaiva means even here in this very life while engaged in karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities followed by the words jitah sargo meaning conquers creation in the form of terminating samsara or the endless cycle of birth and death in the material existence. This is the result for one situated in the equanimity of perceiving the atma or soul as equal in all living entities, they become fixed in the atma itself. Then one becomes established in the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is indeed victory over samsara. Lord Krishna’s purport is that those who have realised the eternal atma within themselves and within all living entities are indeed enligtened beings and have attained moksa or liberation from material existence. How one performing karma yoga becomes eligible to achieve this apex ascending omniscience of atma perception is revealed next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Just as it is impossible for one in a room full of smoke to avoid being affected and influenced; similarly for one existing in this transmigratory world of birth and death it is impossible to avoid being affected and influenced. So how then is it possible to remain untouched in this strange world of continuous rebirth into new physical bodies? Lord Krishna uses the words ihaiva in this very life to emphasise that those who have equal vision by perception of the atma or eternal soul residing equally in all beings partake of its eternal transcendental nature and thus have ended the cycle of transmigration and are untouched by reactions to actions which hurls one incessantly into the material existence. Those who are bewildered and infatuated with delusion experience this world as unfathomable and become recipients of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Those who achieve atma tattva or realisation of the soul and perceive the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence as well attain victory over rebirth into this transmigratory world and moksa or liberation from the material existence.

The atma or soul has been declared to be imperishable having indestructible attributes. It is always untouched by qualities of the physical body and the subtle body and is unmodifiable and eternal. Although the atma exists in the bodies of all types of beings and this includes demi-god, human, animal, plant and fish; the atma or soul is never present within a genetically created clone, neither can the atma ever be artificially manipulated to reside in the body of a genetically created clone.

Sloka 5.20 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न प्रहृष्येत्प्रियं प्राप्य नोद्विजेत्प्राप्य चाप्रियम् |
स्थिरबुद्धिरसम्मूढो ब्रह्मविद् ब्रह्मणि स्थितः ||५- २०||

na prahR^iShyetpriyaM prApya nodvijetprApya chApriyam.h |
sthirabuddhirasammUDho brahmavid.h brahmaNi sthitaH || 5-20 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.20

Anvaya: na–never; prahrsyet–rejoice; priyam–pleasant; prapya–achieving; na–does not; udvijet–agitated; prapya–obtaining; ca–also; apriyam–unpleasant; sthira-buddhih–self-intelligent; asammudhah–unbewildered; brahma-vit–one who knows the Supreme perfectly; brahmani–in the transcendence; sthitah–situated.

Translation: A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, unbewildered, and who knows the science of God, is to be understood as already situated in Transcendence.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The characteristics of one who has attained the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence are being given now by Lord Krishna. Such a person is completely equipoise and not elated by what is pleasing nor dejected by what is displeasing. Such a persons mind is fixed in transcendence because one is free from the infatuation of delusion.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In the remaining verses of chapter five Lord Krishna explains renunciation, equanimity of actions and wisdom all together.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Agreeable and disagreeable situations occur in accordance to the physical body one happens to dwell in and the karma or reactions to past life actions an embodied being is subjected to which both exemplify the grave risks of material existence. A person who would seek to scale the heights of spiritual knowledge should remain equiposed at all times and not feel elation at receiving something agreeable nor feel dejection at receiving something disagreeable. How is this possible? It is possible for one who is sthira-buddhir meaning steadfast intelligence. Such a person plants his mind and will in the stability of the atma or soul. The word asammudho means not subject to delusion. If one is sammudho they are inflicted with delusion in the form of confusing the stable eternal atma with the unstable temporary body. How can one escape this delusion? If a person is brahma- vid or a knower of the spiritual substratum pervading all existence from instruction and brahmani sthitah or perceiving and experiencing the spiritual substratum pervading all existence every moment. The meaning Lord Krishna is conveying is that those who receive instructions from the bonafide spiritual preceptor in one of the four authorised sampradayas or line of disciplic succession shall learn the exact nature and means of attainment of the eternal atma. This is brahma-vid. Such a one through diligent and sincere application of this spiritual knowledge always remembering and honouring the spiritual preceptor who mercifully gave such knowledge. In due course of time one will achieve atma tattva or realisation of the soul and in such an elevated position one will blissfully commune internally with the eternal atma and the eternal spiritual preceptor as well and from thenceforth nothing in the external world will ever again be perceived as being agreeable or being disagreeable.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus it is established that the cause of triumph over samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death is absolute equanimity of perception by beholding the reality that the eternal soul is equally situated in all naturally created beings. One who is also equiposed regarding the dualities and not elated by obtaining something pleasant thinking how lucky am I nor dejected by receiving something unpleasant thinking how unfortunate am I. Such a person endowed with firm resolution reflects that: I will steadfastly cross over the ocean of samsara through the knowledge of atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Such a person is free from all doubts and infatuation with delusion which is merely a tendency of the mind. Such a person becomes a knower of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence after being instructed by a living knower of the Brahman. Such a person lives their life immersed in the atma or soul which is of the same absolute nature of the Brahman.

Sloka 5.21 audio recital in Sanskrit     

बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्मा विन्दत्यात्मनि यत्सुखम् |
स ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मा सुखमक्षयमश्नुते ||५- २१||

bAhyasparsheShvasaktAtmA vindatyAtmani yatsukham.h |
sa brahmayogayuktAtmA sukhamakShayamashnute || 5-21 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.21

Anvaya: bahya-sparsesu–in external sense pleasure; asakta-atma–one who is not so attached; vindati–enjoys; atmani–in the self; yat–that which; sukham–happiness; sah–that; brahma-yoga–concentrated in Brahman; yukta-atma–self-connected; sukham–happiness; aksayam–unlimited; asnute–enjoys.

Translation: Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure or external objects but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The reason why a person is free from delusion and has there mind fixed in transcendence is now being given by Lord Krishna. The word sparsesu means sense pleasures and those attached to them are called spharsa. But one whose mind is unattached and is withdrawn internally ceases to crave, yearn and desire for indulging in the objects of the senses. Such a person attains the sublime and serene bliss that is the nature of the atma or soul. Having attained the wonder of atma tattva or realisation of the soul one continuously identifies with the Brahman by being immersed in this consciousness and experiences never ending bliss.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In this verse Lord Krishna again clarifies yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and how this relates to equanimity of actions. Without any other desires internal or external only the person who relishes and revels in the atma or eternal soul is alone eligible for realisation of the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and the bliss accompanying it. The communion of the atma is the same as the communion of the Brahman for they both possess the same eternal nature and the only way this communion can be attained is through mediation of yoga and no other way.

Now begins the summary.

So it can be understood that if even by remembrance of the potencies of the Supreme Lord so much happiness can be gained then what can be said for one who devotes themselves wholeheartedly to the Supreme Lord in a concentrated manner.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna describes the reality for the person who desists from attachments to anything except the atma or eternal soul and who derives all pleasures exclusively from their internal relationship with the atma relinquishing all desires for sensuous material enticements and instead delighting in brahma-yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness by realising the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Such a person attains sukham- aksayam or imperishable happiness. Next it will be illustrated how desire for material sense gratification can be easily abandoned.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If a person is inclined to attachment to sensual pleasures they will never have the opportunity to experience the transcendental bliss of the realisation of the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. But a question may be raised what happiness can a person derive from life if they have introverted their senses and are averted to sense objects. Lord Krishna states the compound words sukham-aksayam meaning unlimited happiness is what such persons attains for with disconnection to the senses and objects of the senses a natural detachment arises which frees one from worldly desires allowing one to focus within on the eternal atma or eternal soul where one tastes boundless joy and experiences unlimited bliss. In the moksadharma section of the Mahabharata it states that: The pleasures of the senses in this world and the joys of heavenly pleasures cannot be compared to even 1/16th part of the pleasure one derives from renouncing the desire for material sense gratification. This is the essential component that paves the way for perceiving the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, atma tattva or realisation of the soul and moksa or liberation from the material existence and cognition of the ultimate truth of the Supreme Being.

Sloka 5.22 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगा दुःखयोनय एव ते |
आद्यन्तवन्तः कौन्तेय न तेषु रमते बुधः ||५- २२||

ye hi sa.nsparshajA bhogA duHkhayonaya eva te |
AdyantavantaH kaunteya na teShu ramate budhaH || 5-22 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.22

Anvaya: ye–those; hi–certainly; samsparsa-jah–by contact with the material senses; bhogah–enjoyments; duhkha–distress; yonayah–sources of; eva–certainly; te–they are; adi–beginning; anta–end; vantah–subject to; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; na–never; tesu–in those; ramate–takes delight; budhah–the intelligent person.

Translation: An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

For achieving renunciation, desire for enjoyment of the senses is detrimental and censured.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word samsparsaja means contact of the senses with their objects this precipitates anticipation for material pleasures which gives the illusion of happiness by such contact which actually are but a source of misery, pain and suffering. Lord Krishna is stating that because they are temporary having a time of beginning and a time of ending, contact with sense objects is shunned by those of spiritual intelligence who know such contacts are of a transitory nature.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It can be understood how a person being free from desires is no longer attached to sensual pleasures and focusing within and realising the atma or eternal soul is able to experience unlimited bliss. But the question which may be raised is how can one become unattached to the desire for sensual pleasures from the very beginning? Lord Krishna explains that all pleasures in the material world have a beginning and an end. When pleasures are first enjoyed they give an acute illusion of happiness but due to indomitable time when such pleasures come to an end as they all must they are the cause of acute misery. For this reason the spiritually intelligent who are endowed with the faculty of discriminative knowledge do not indulge in sense pleasures knowing them to be temporary and binding.

Sloka 5.23 audio recital in Sanskrit     

शक्नोतीहैव यः सोढुं प्राक्शरीरविमोक्षणात् |
कामक्रोधोद्भवं वेगं स युक्तः स सुखी नरः ||५- २३||

shaknotIhaiva yaH soDhuM prAk{}sharIravimokShaNAt.h |
kAmakrodhodbhavaM vegaM sa yuktaH sa sukhI naraH || 5-23 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.23

Anvaya: saknoti–able to do; iha eva–in the present body; yah–one who; sodhum–to tolerate; prak–before; sarira–body; vimoksanat–give up; kama–desire; krodha–anger; udbhavam–generated from; vegam–urge; sah–he; yuktah–in trance; sah–he; sukhi–happy; narah–human being.

Translation: Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is a yogi and is happy in this world.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

As moksa or liberation from the material existence is the highest and most profound goal for the human species and as moksa is only achieved by renunciation of kama or lust and krodha or anger. For their greatest good it behoves all humans to staunchly resist these greatest enemies of the human consciousness known as kama and krodha. Lord Krishna is stating that a person must resist these powerful impulses to wantonly enjoy and neutralise the explosive urges of anger even when they manifest, kama arising from lasciviousness for enjoyment and krodha arising from frustration in getting enjoyment. Such symptoms are characterised by agitation of the mind, callousness in demeanour and aggressive selfish behaviour. A person desiring their own best welfare must resist these two evils so detrimental to human existence. Not only for a moment but steadfastly throughout life until death one must be established in equanimity, poised, centered and content. Another interpretation is that just as one who is bereft of life is able to withstand the impulses of passion even while being embraced by a devoted wife weeping and wailing in separation and also able to resist the urge of anger while being cremated on the funeral pyre; such a person who while alive is able to likewise withstand the impulses of kama and resist the urges of krodha are alone happy and contented. As once remarked by the exalted sage Vasistha of the Ramayana in days of yore: The physical body after life has departed from it feels neither pleasure or pain; if one is able to get it to behave in this way when life is in it then this will lead to moksa.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is praising renunciation of desires in this verse emphasising that one who is capable of being equipoised and resist the onslaught of the senses arising from kama or lust and krodha or anger is a true renunciate. He also states iha eva meaning in this very life. If human beings in their life are unable to control their mind and senses and neutarlise the effects of kama and krodha then there is chance for them to ever achieve even Brahmaloka which is the topmost material planet and where everything is in sattva guna or the mode of pure goodness. The mastery of one’s mind and senses is a prerequisite for higher existence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The point Lord Krishna is emphasising is that even before the demise of the physical body if the aspirants for moksa or liberation follow this procedure they will meet with success. This means that whoever is able to gratefully glean any experience of the atma or soul and by this is able to thwart the onslaught of kama or lust and krodha or anger can be considered to be yuktah or in harmony with the Supreme Consciousness and qualified to perform yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and by this becomes immersed in the bliss of the atma upon departing from the physical body.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

After expounding that desire and sense gratification are the sources of misery and suffering, Lord Krishna establishes that steadfast devotion to the eternal atma or soul is the source of eternal bliss. One may protest that without sensual pleasures life would have no taste. To refute the hyperbole of this mentality and to fortify the aspirants of moksa or liberation Lord Krishna strengthens the concept by the word sodhum meaning to tolerate or withstand. Withstand what? Withstand the impulses arising from kama or lust and krodha or anger. These impulses are very powerful and difficult like the strong current of a river. Kama is described as intense desire for sense objects which infatuate the mind due to increasing passion from seeing, hearing about or remembering objects of desire. Krodha is described as the modification of the mind in the form of anger caused by extreme situations of frustration in not obtaining the result of one’s desires. The person who is able to tolerate this impulses and subsequently neutralise them by spiritual practices even before the end of life is a yogi or one who has perfected the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Such a being is spiritually situated and is undoubtedly joyful and content. Such persons and no others are qualified to accomplish the goal of human existence and succeed in the achievement of atma tattva or realisation of the eternal soul within all naturally created beings. One who slavishly always follows the urges of sensual pleasures, like an animal is unable to control their mind and therefore is unable to accomplish this goal.

Sloka 5.24 audio recital in Sanskrit     

योऽन्तःसुखोऽन्तरारामस्तथान्तर्ज्योतिरेव यः |
स योगी ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं ब्रह्मभूतोऽधिगच्छति ||५- २४||

yo.antaHsukho.antarArAmastathAntarjyotireva yaH |
sa yogI brahmanirvANaM brahmabhUto.adhigachchhati || 5-24 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.24

Anvaya: yah–one who; antah-sukhah–happy from within; antah-aramah–active within; tatha–as well as; antah-jyotih–aiming within; eva–certainly; yah–anyone; sah–he; yogi–mystic; brahma-nirvanam–liberated in the Supreme; brahma-bhutah–self-realized; adhigacchati–attains.

Translation: One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One does not achieve moksa or liberation merely by subduing the urges of passion and anger. One must possess other characteristics as well. Lord Krishna reveals that one must be situated in atma tattva or realisation of the soul, revelling internally by this cognition, realising that real rejoicing is internal and not otherwise and so whose consciousness in incessant attention is constantly relishing the experience of the atma or soul residing inside the etheric heart within. Such a persons consciousness does not waste its attention on frivilous pursuits and mundane matters that have no connection to the Supreme Being and such a person alone becomes established in the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and becomes qualified for the Supreme Consciousness.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The qualities of a person possessing spiritual intelligence are delineated in the subsequent verses. The word antararamas means one who enjoys within denoting the atma or soul. True happiness is derived through the removal of all obstacles and impediments which obstruct access to the atma. Here it is alluded to as antar-jyotir or illuminated within. The resplendent Supreme Lord Krishna Himself is the source of all illumination indwelling as the internal light within of all beings as the atma. Even though all naturally created beings have this inner light only those of spiritual intelligence who are cognisant of it are referred to here. Those who are situated in samadhi or extreme internal meditation have no awareness of external matters. Even by seeing various activities in life they are unaffected within their consciousness and remain fixed and hence the pleasures which humans enjoy through the senses such as touching, hearing, tasting etc. do not affect such a person for the pleasure they derive is from the destruction of desires. In the Narada Purana it is stated that: Since Lord Krishna is self luminous His illumination abides internally and thus the cause of all internal happiness abides internally as well starting with perception of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence.

Now begins the summation.

Abidance in the Brahman is factual otherwise there would be contradiction that one has to still reach the state of the Brahman. The internal happiness derived is due to one perceiving the Brahman within.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The words yo’ntah-sukho means one who internally happy by atma tattva or realisation of the eternal soul. This happens after one has neutralised and evaporated all desire for external pleasure of objects of the senses. The word antararamas is one who delights internally meaning that atma tattva has the capacity ba its inherent qualities to enhance spiritual bliss. One who is thus illumined from within by the eternal atma is a yogi or one following the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and such a being is situated in the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and surely achieves moksa or liberation from the material existence.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

After instructing about withstanding the impulses of kama or lust and krodha or anger Lord Krishna reveals the confidential means of achieving atma tattva or realisation of the soul and moksa or liberation from material existence by the compound word antah-jyotih which means illuminated within. One who finds delight internally within and not externally in the fleeting pleasures of material existence which are so difficult to acquire and sustain. Such a person engaged in performing meditation on the atma or soul without any vestige of maya or illusion experiences bliss identifying exclusively with the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is of the pure nature of the atma.

Sloka 5.25 audio recital in Sanskrit     

लभन्ते ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृषयः क्षीणकल्मषाः |
छिन्नद्वैधा यतात्मानः सर्वभूतहिते रताः ||५- २५||

labhante brahmanirvANamR^iShayaH kShINakalmaShAH |
chhinnadvaidhA yatAtmAnaH sarvabhUtahite ratAH || 5-25 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.25

Anvaya: labhante–achieve; brahma-nirvanam–liberation in the Supreme; rsayah–those who are active within; ksina-kalmasah–who are devoid of all sins; chinna–torn off; dvaidhah–duality; yata-atmanah–engaged in self-realization; sarva-bhuta–in all living entities; hite–in welfare work; ratah–engaged.

Translation: One who is beyond duality and doubt, whose mind is engaged within, who is always busy working for the welfare of all sentient beings, and who is free from all sins, achieves liberation in the Supreme.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Sages or saintly and holy men of purified minds who have true vision are known to be devoted to the welfare of all living entities. This has been seen to be a characteristic of compassion in them and becoming immersed in the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence they attain moksa or liberation from the material existence.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Once a person sins have been eradicated then these are the things which transpire. As such demerits diminish the feeling of alienation from the atma or soul also diminishes. Lord Krishna uses the words chinna-dvaitha meaning uprooting concepts of dualism such as pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, success and failure etc. which give rise to doubts and delusions. How are they to be uprooted? By the sword of knowledge in the form of renouncing all desires for sense gratification and perceiving the atmas distinctive nature along with the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. The eternal atma which evaporates all alienation is omniscient, knowing past, present and future. Therefore by atma tattva or realisation of the soul one is able to enact their individual consciousness attain communion with the ultimate consciousness and with all doubts removed realise that the destruction of the alienation from the individual atma and the distinctive nature of paramatma or the Supreme Soul reveal two completely different realities.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The compound word chinna-dvaidha means those who are no longer influenced by dualities such as pleasure and pain, praise and ridicule, acceptance and rejection. The word yatatmanah means those who have conditioned their minds to focus on the atma or soul. The words sarva-bhuta-hite-ratih means those who always wish for all living beings the same happiness and righteousness as they would wish for themselves. The word rsayah refers to the saintly sages who are focused and intent on obtaining atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Those of this category abandon all impurities that are opposed to atma realisation and by doing so they shortly attain the bliss of the atma. That the eternal atma is very accessible and can be easily reached Lord Krishna will explain next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The spiritually intelligent saintly beings who perform the before stated instructions, who perceive things with discrimination and chant Vedic authorised mantras, who have refrained from all sinful actions leading to inevitable reactions by the practice of selfless actions without desire or attachment, whose doubts have been vanquished by the sword of spiritual knowledge and who mercifully are active for the benefit of all living entities. Lord Krishna reveals that such beings attain freedom from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death by realisation of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence.

Sloka 5.26 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् |
अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम् ||५- २६||

kAmakrodhaviyuktAnA.n yatInA.n yatachetasAm.h |
abhito brahmanirvANaM vartate viditAtmanAm.h || 5-26 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.26

Anvaya: kama–desires; krodha–anger; vimuktanam–of those who are so liberated; yatinam–of the saintly persons; yata-cetasam–of persons who have full control over the mind; abhitah–assured in the near future; brahma-nirvanam–liberation in the Supreme; vartate–is there; vidita-atmanam–of those who are self-realized.

Translation: Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Moreover sannyasins or celibate brahmins who have fully accepted the renounced order for life completely withdrawing from external perceptions in the material world for devotion to the Supreme Lord when being free from kama or lust and krodha or anger and achieving atma tattva or realisation of the soul they achieve in this life the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and moksa or liberation from the material existence as well.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

This verse conveys the relative ease by which sannyasis or celibate brahmins exclusively devoted to the Supreme Lord Krishna can achieve the unparalleled bliss of atma tattva or soul realisation as well as the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

To those aspirants free from kama or lust and krodha or anger who are yatinam or renounced sannyasis who are celibate brahmins devoting themselves exclusively to the service of the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorised incarnations. Such being perceiving the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence realise moksa or liberation from material existence everywhere in every action. Now the subject of karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities which has as its aim atma tattva or soul realisation is now concluded.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

There is still another group of human beings who experience an even higher level of experience. They are the yatis or sannyasis those who have given up wife, children, occupation, all they have and give everything to serve the lotus feet of the servant of the servant of the Supreme Lord Krishna. For such enlightened renunciates moksa or liberation is present every where they go in everything they do.

Sloka 5.27 and 5.28 audio recital in Sanskrit     

स्पर्शान्कृत्वा बहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरे भ्रुवोः |
प्राणापानौ समौ कृत्वा नासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ ||५- २७||

यतेन्द्रियमनोबुद्धिर्मुनिर्मोक्षपरायणः |
विगतेच्छाभयक्रोधो यः सदा मुक्त एव सः ||५- २८||

sparshAnkR^itvA bahirbAhyA.nshchakShushchaivAntare bhruvoH |
prANApAnau samau kR^itvA nAsAbhyantarachAriNau || 5-27 ||

yatendriyamanobuddhirmunirmokShaparAyaNaH|
vigatechchhAbhayakrodho yaH sadA mukta eva saH || 5-28 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.27, 5.28

Anvaya: sparsan–external sense objects, such as sound, etc.; krtva–keeping; bahih–external; bahyan–unnecessary; caksuh–eyes; ca–also; eva–certainly; antare–within; bhruvoh–of the eyebrows; prana-apanau–up-and down-moving air; samau–in suspension; krtva–doing so; nasa-abhyantara–within the nostrils; carinau–blowing; yata–controlled; indriya–senses; manah–mind; buddhih–intelligence; munih–the transcendentalist; moksa–liberation; parayanah–being so destined; vigata–discarded; iccha–wishes; bhaya–fear; krodhah–anger; yah–one who; sada–always; muktah–liberated; eva–certainly; sah–he is.

Translation: Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils–thus controlling the mind, senses and intelligence, the transcendentalist becomes free from desire, fear and anger. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In verse twenty-four of this chapter Lord Krishna stated that a yogi attains the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Now the method of that yoga or science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness is now described in brief. External sense objects enter the mind when one thinks about them, so one must not think about them. Fixing the gaze up between the eyebrows is done to focus them because if the eyes are fully closed then the mind may fall asleep and if the eyes are wide open they may look here and there at objects, so in order to avoid both these defects one focuses the gaze with eyes half closed between the eyebrows or the tip of the nose. Suspending the breath means to harmonise the prana outgoing breath with the apana or incoming breath until they both become suspended and by the control of breath the mind and senses become controlled. Such a person who has moksa or liberation as their only aim are indeed always free from the material existence even while living in the material world.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In these two verses Lord Krishna describes the perfected method of meditaion for achieving atma tattva or realisation of the soul and moksa or liberation from material existence. The method commences by turning inward with the mind away from all external sense objects associated with sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Then one fixes the vision internally between the eyebrows while simultaneously slowly restraining the inward and outward breaths until they merge into one and pause themselves of their own accord in the state know as kumbhaka.

Now begins the summation.

The one who has not received moksa or liberation while aspiring for moksa nevertheless has acquired qualities aspiring for moksa. Thus human beings acquiring the qualities of moksa acquire spiritual knowledge and eventually achieve moksa by this spiritual knowledge.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Stopping all activities of the external senses prepares one to qualify for practising meditation. Sitting in an erect posture, focusing the eyes half closed between the eyebrows or the tip of the nose, equalising the breath until suspended rendering the mind and sense incapable of moving to any other location except to the atma or soul. Due to fulfilling the above meditation one is automatically freed from desire, fear and doubts. Whose sole goal and aim is moksa or liberation. Determinedly intent on achieving atma tattva or soul realisation such a person is considered to be liberated even before fully accomplishing the goal as it is a certainty it will be achieved. The ease which this karma yoga or selfless performance of prescribed Vedic activities with its nitya or daily duties and its naimitika or occasional duities having yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness will next be revealed.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In preceding verses Lord Krishna has indicated that a yogi can attain the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and moksa or liberation as well Now He presents in brief the method of meditation to achieve this. The five sense objects sight, sound, taste, touch and smell enter the mind through the five gates of the physical body being the eyes, ears, tongue, hands and nose. All of them must be dextrously avoided so they exert no influence. The eyes must be half closed focused within on the point between the eyebrows. If they are wide open they may be distracted by external objects and if they are fully closed one may fall asleep. The breath must be regulated and controlled until gently and effortlessly with constant practice the breath becomes suspended automatically controlling the mind and senses. Such a reflective and determined person intent on attaining moksa even while steadfastly practising such austerities is liberated in that very life.

Sloka 5.29 audio recital in Sanskrit     

भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् |
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ||५- २९||

bhoktAraM yaGYatapasA.n sarvalokamaheshvaram.h |
suhR^idaM sarvabhUtAnA.n GYAtvA mA.n shAntimR^ichchhati || 5-29 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 5.29

Anvaya: bhoktaram–beneficiary; yajna–sacrifices; tapasam–of penances and austerities; sarva-loka–all planets and the demigods thereof; maha-isvaram–the Supreme Lord; su-hrdam–benefactor; sarva–all; bhutanam–of the living entities; jnatva–thus knowing; mam–Me (Lord Krsna); santim–relief from material pangs; rcchati–achieves.

Translation: The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the question may arise as to how one may achieve moksa or liberation from material existence by merely controlling the mind and senses in this way? Lord Krishna spoke this verse to confirm that moksa is attained by knowledge and not merely by control of the mind and senses. The words jnatva mam which means knowing Lord Krishna as sarva-loka mahesvaram or the sovereign lord of all the worlds and knowing Lord Krishna as suhrdam sarva- bhutanam the benevolent well-wisher of all living beings. This knowledge is essential and one who comprehends this knowledge along with performing yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness becomes qualified to attain moksa.

I bow down to the Supreme Lord Krishna who thus removed the thorn of doubt regarding cultivation of knowledge and selfless actions by prescribing the combination of the two in proper sequence.


Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna has revealed the confidential purpose of meditation and the method of attaining moksa or liberation from material existence in this verse.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Knowing Lord Krishna to be bequeather of all rewards for all actions. The sovereign lord of all existence. The intimate friend within all beings and wellwisher of all beings attains moksa or liberation from material existence. What this means is that if karma yoga or the selfless practice of prescribed Vedic activities and are the sum total of all duties are performed consciously as offerings of worship to Lord Krishna then this in itself is enough to grant moksa. This is the easiest and most practical as it is so simple to do. Moreover who would not be inclined to offer such service to a dear friend especially when this friend is such a universal benefactor existing within and without every living being throughout all of creation.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus the entire scope of selfless actions such as yagnas offerings of worship to the Supreme Lord, various practices of austerities along with processes of augmenting knowledge culminates in to equanimity, detachment from worldliness and atma tattva or realisation of the soul. These results are not attained independently but must come through true accurate knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna, who is the sole bestower of all rewards and the sovereign ruler of all existence and who is neutrally the benevolent well wisher of all living entities such a knowledgeable being attains realisation of the final beatitude and moksa or liberation from material existence. This realisation will be further spoken of by Lord Krishna in chapter fifteen.

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