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Śrīmad bhagavad gītā | Karma yoga ~ Sarga 3 of 18

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Sarga (or) Chapter 3 of 18 : Karma yoga

śloka (verses): 43

Abstract: Krishna explains how performance of prescribed duties, but without attachment to results, is the appropriate course of action for Arjuna.

Audio Recitals:

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

Gitopadesh (Sanskrit: गीतोपदेश)


Introduction:

Chapter three establishes the fact by various points of view that the performance of prescribed duties is obligatory for everyone. Here Lord Krishna categorically and comprehensively explains how it is the duty of each and every member of society to carry out their functions and responsibilities in their respective stage of life according to the rules and regulations of the society in which one lives. Further the Lord explains why such duties must be performed, what benefit is gained by performing them, what harm is caused by not performing them. Plus what actions lead to bondage and what actions lead to salvation. All these points relating to duty have been described in great detail. Thus this chapter is entitled: The Eternal Duties of Human Beings.

Sloka 3.1 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अर्जुन उवाच |
ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन |
तत्किं कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव ||३- १||

arjuna uvAcha |
jyAyasI chetkarmaNaste matA buddhirjanArdana |
tatki.n karmaNi ghore mA.n niyojayasi keshava || 3-1||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.1

Anvaya: arjunah–Arjuna; uvaca–said; jyayasi–speaking very highly; cet–although; karmanah–than fruitive action; te–Your; mata–opinion; buddhih–intelligence; janardana–O Krsna; tat–therefore; kim–why; karmani–in action; ghore–ghastly; mam–me; niyojayasi–engaging me; kesava–O Krsna.

Translation: Arjuna said: O Janardana, O Kesava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Commencing in chapter two, verse eleven Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna that he is lamenting for what should not be grieved for. A pattern has been set in motion that gives a sense of discrimination between the soul and the physical body and has been instructed as a way to attain moksa or liberation. So jnana yoga or a requisite mentality towards the soul has been taught, now learn how to apply this in respect to requisite activities in karma yoga as was explained beginning in chapter two, verse thirty-nine. Although jnana yoga and karma-yoga have been explained in detail, the relationship between the two has not been established as to which is superior and which is subordinate. In regard to discrimination and the cultivation of spiritual knowledge and being informed that they lead one to moksa or liberation; Arjuna came to the conclusion that Lord Krishna valued this path to be superior to karma yoga or the path of actions. But if this was true then Arjuna was bewildered because he did not understand why Lord Krishna was urging him to engage in a ghastly, horrific war by repeatedly telling him to arise and fight
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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The ultimate purpose of the Bhagavad-Gita is to show in a clear and lucid manner that one-pointed loving devotion to the Supreme Being who is glorified and proclaimed in the Vedas is the singular and paramount goal to be attained by all human beings specifically and for all living beings in general. Who is proclaimed in the Upanisads as the singular goal to achieve by the aspirants for moksa or liberation from material existence. Who is declared in the Puranas as being destitute of all defiling characteristics such as avidya or nescience. This Supreme Being who is possessing boundless and unlimited magnificent and glorious attributes. Bhakti yoga or loving devotional service is exclusively only in relation to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised avatars or incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. In order to achieve full success in bhakti yoga it is essential to achieve atma tattva or realisation of one’s eternal soul. The atma or soul is one’s eternal nature beyond all material conceptions and is a necessary preliminary step. Atma tattva is ultimately attained by jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge from the Vedic scriptures which is generated by karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities without attachment. These prescribed Vedic activities are established on the foundation that the atma is eternal and can never be modified or destroyed as delineated so clearly by Lord Krishna in chapter two.

Brahma has stated that the acquisition of paravidya or the knowledge required to attain the Supreme Being is known as bhakti or loving devotion and that dahara-vidya or that this method of meditation is required to realise the Supreme Being, who resides within the etheric region of the heart. In the Chandogya Upanisad it is given that the realisation of the atma within one’s own heart is the first ancillary step by the God aspirant to attaining realisation of the Supreme Being Himself. Then the incorporeal and non-material reality of the atma and its eternal nature beyond the consciousness of waking, sleeping and dreaming is completely transcended. Thus does the phenomenal nature of the atma emerging from within the physical body, radiant in ineffable light shining in its natural and wonderous effulgence. In the Katha Upanisad this subject is also well elucidated as given in the following description: By perceiving paramatma which is the Supreme Soul existing simultaneously within all beings and then by discrimination obtained after realisation of the individual atma. The enlightened one delivers themselves from attraction and repulsion, joy and grief and all other dualities. Communion with the Supreme Soul is communion with the Supreme Being which is the goal to be attained through the discrimination derived directly from atma tattva. This confirms that atma tattva or realisation of the soul is an essential ingerdient and constituent component of the Supreme Being which is attained by bhakti or loving devotion. Another example is: Knowing the magnificent and all- pervading nature of paramatma the Supreme Soul, the enlightened one no longer grieves or laments which reveals the natural potency of the atma to relieve one of all mundane dross due to the influence of the material existence.

The eternal soul known as the atma is not gainable merely by hearing about it. Nor is it obtainable by discoursing about it nor is it attainable by meditating exclusively on it. The atma is attainable solely to those whom the atma alone elects to attain it. Whomsoever the atma selects as an act of sovereign grace alone the atma reveals itself to such a one. Who is such a one? It is none other than that person who has discriminatory wisdom as their charioteer, who has the reins of their mind controlling the steeds of the senses, who has the actual competence to achieve moksa or liberation and attain the coveted goal of loving devotion to the Supreme Lord.

So in conclusion what we have just presented in essence form is the ultimate purpose of the Bhagavad-Gita. From chapter three along with chapters four, five and six the path for the aspirant is given beginning with the very first question in this chapter. The means of cognition and the method of realisation along with the meditation required to achieve it will be delineated and forthcoming.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

So in review chapter one introduced the setting in which Arjuna’s grief and lamentation arose as an apparent cause for spiritual instructions from the Supreme Lord Krishna. Then in order to remove this grief and lamentation in chapter two Lord Krishna reveals the eternal nature of the soul, the discrimination between body and the soul, karma yoga, the path of actions without attachment, jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge and the restaint of the senses, taking refuge of the Lord, equaninity of mind and the attainment of moksa or liberation have all been delineated. Thus the essence of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita has been presented in chapter two in a condensed form. The remaining sixteen chapters should be understood to be an extension of the topics discussed in chapter two.

Here in this verse Arjuna is thinking that he was blamed earlier in chapter two, verse 11 for lamenting for those who should not be grieved for. He was subsequently tutored in jnana yoga, the path of knowledge to alleviate this error. Now Lord Krishna is presenting a way to allieviate this error from the point of view of karma yoga, the path of actions without attachment. In chapter two, verse thirty-nine he is told he has the right to perform actions but not to desire the fruit of action. In chapter two, verse forty-seven and forty-eight he is instructed not to be attached to inaction and perform duties with equanimity, respectively. Then in chapter two, verse fifty-three he is told how the mind becomes in this state. Then from verse fifty-five until the end of the chapter two Lord Krishna gives the proofs to show the superiority of the cultivation of spiritual knowledge which leads to the ultimate truth in the last verse of this chapter where once one having attained even at a second before death attains liberation from the material existence. But in spite of these instructions Arjuna was still being instructed to arise and fight. These seemingly contradictory instructions caused some confusion in Arjuna’s mind that he was anxious to have the omniscient and omnipotent supreme Lord Krishna dispel.
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Sloka 3.2 audio recital in Sanskrit     

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे |
तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् ||३- २||

vyAmishreNeva vAkyena buddhiM mohayasIva me |
tadekaM vada nishchitya yena shreyo.ahamApnuyAm.h || 3-2 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.2

Anvaya: vyamisrena–by equivocal; iva–as; vakyena–words; buddhim–intelligence; mohayasi–bewildering; iva–as; me–my; tat–therefore; ekam–only one; vada–please tell; niscitya–ascertaining; yena–by which; sreyah–real benefit; aham–I; apnuyam–may have it.

Translation: My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most beneficial for me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

We see Lord Krishna stating in chapter two, verse 31 that “There is no greater good fortune for a ksatriya warrior then to engage in a war for righteousness. So the superiority of actions has also being praised by Him. Due to the praising of both jnana yoga and karma yoga in a seemingly equal manner some conflict arises in Arjuna’s mind and he became confused. But still he is clear enough to understand that the Lord being compassionate is never really perplexing to His devotees; but it may appear so because of a lack of clarity. So Arjuna can perceive he is being seemingly bewildered and this is the underlying meaning of the verse. So Arjuna is beseeching Lord Krishna to clarify definitively which is the superior path of the two that gives blessedness and leads to final beatitude being moksa or liberation.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Hari Om! Previously it has been spoken that self-realisation of the soul is the gained by the means of spiritual knowledge. Lord Krishna after substantiating the cessation of activities with words of wisdom He now redirects Arjuna’s attention to the performance of actions. In chapter two, verse 49 the resplendent Lord Krishna had endorsed that cultivation of spiritual knowledge is by far superior to fruitive activities. So Arjuna is questioning why he is being urged to perform savage activities in warfare which is bereft of righteousness, if the attainment of wisdom is superior to performing actions.

Now the summation begins.

Hari Om! Wisdom and equanimity have been discussed. Now karma yoga the yoga of actions is being specifically explained in this chapter. Far inferior is action in the search of enquiry. Here the word yoga attached to karma-yoga is being utilised as a means of acquiring wisdom in the performance of actions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

What Arjuna is trying to ascertain from Lord Krishna is if the cultivation of spiritual knowledge is superior to performing physical activities for the attainment of liberation and if so then why should one engage in horrendous activities like war and killing. It is well known that jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge is the means to accomplish self-realisation of the soul. Karma yoga or performing physical activities without attachment leads one gradually to jnana yoga. This path of spiritual knowledge can be attained by with drawing all the senses along with the mind from the objects of the senses. If this is the case then Arjuna is wondering why he is not being instructed in the cessation of all physical activities; but instead he is being encouraged to fully use his mind and senses to engage in all of the violent and horrific activities that accompany warfare. Feeling confused by the conflicting instructions of with drawing the senses and the performance of actions, Arjuna now wants a single, unequivocal instruction to determine for certain exactly what course he should embark to achieve the highest good.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Although Arjuna was bewildered he could still understand that Lord Krishna valued the cultivation of spiritual knowledge as being superior to activities without attachment and he could also understand that if Lord Krishna was ordering him to fight this must be also for his betterement as well, The Lord did not specify which path Arjuna was qualified for as yet and thus Arjuna was in a dilemna and needed a clear, definitive instruction that would end his confusion. Arjuna is humbly requesting this with the underlying request that the most merciful and compassionate Supreme Lord should not bewilder the mind of one who is His surrenderd devotee.
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Sloka 3.3 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
लोकेऽस्मिन् द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ |
ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ||३- ३||

shrIbhagavAnuvAcha |
loke.asmin dvividhA niShThA purA proktA mayAnagha |
GYAnayogena sAN^khyAnA.n karmayogena yoginAm.h || 3-3 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.3

Anvaya: sri-bhagavan uvaca–the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; loke–in the world; asmin–this; dvi-vidha–two kinds of; nistha–faith; pura–formerly; prokta–were said; maya–by Me; anagha–O sinless one; jnana-yogena–by the linking process of knowledge; sankhyanam–of the empiric philosophers; karma-yogena–by the linking process of devotion; yoginam–of the devotees.

Translation: The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who realize the Self. Some are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional work.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna that he is looking at jnana yoga and karma yoga as two independent paths but He informs him that He has not stated this point of view. Lord Krishna has taught that both can give unadulterated devotion to the ultimate truth. Which yoga is superior or subordinate to the other is not a question as they each can attain the desired goal. They are two different paths to a singular destination suited to the ambiences of different aspirants. Lord Krishna, the omniscient one has explained very clearly in chapter two of the two classes of aspirants in the human race being the sinless of pure mind and the sinful of impure mind. Lord Krishna has explained that for purified minds jnana yoga or the yoga of knowledge is appropriate as in chapter two verse sixty-one states: the self controlled one sits in meditation on Him. But for minds not yet purified karma yoga or the yoga of action is more suitable as in chapter two verse thirty-one states there is no greater fortune for a ksatriya warrior than a righteous war. Therefore in respect to the two paths they are actually two stages of the same path separated only by purity and impurity of mind. You have already been taught the requisite state of mind conducive to realisation of the soul in jnana yoga now learn of it from the point of view of karma yoga.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Even though jnana yoga or the yoga of knowledge may appear to be superior to him, anyway due to Arjuna’s ineligibility he is only qualified for karma yoga, the yoga of actions. Hence karma yoga is being recommended for him. The Supreme Lord Krishna states loke in this world there exists two types of humans who follow these two paths. Those who renounce the ordained activities of family life and society, to fully contemplate and meditate on the ultimate truth like Sanaka referred to by the word sankyanam and those who adhere to the ordained guidelines of family life and society and yet glean knowledge like King Janaka referred to by the word yoginam. Both types are firmly situated in righteousness. Even though those who are eligible for karma yoga perform actions for the protection and benefit of the worlds as willed by the Lord are also deemed as yogis, men of equanimity. Lord Krishna is informing Arjuna that he is ineligible to perform activities of renunciation like Sanaka and others but he is eligible to perform auspicious activities for the benefit of the world like Kind Janaka and others. This is the purport of this verse.

It is observed that by following the will of the Supreme Lord Krishna through authorised disciplic succession and the ordained injunctions of the Vedic scriptures many rulers situated as yogis became men of knowledge although performing countless actions. An example of this is King Priyavrata who was emperor of the entire universe engaging in unlimited material activities in total knowledge as given in Srimad Bhagavatam V.I.XXIII

Now begins the summation.

The method which promotes spiritual knowledge is known as jnana yoga. Other methods are those which promote actions. The demi-gods as well as the renunciates are known as sankhyas because in them spiritual knowledge predominates actions. The demi-gods by dint of additional attributes even though engaged in the actions of universal management are more dominant in spiritual knowledge. Men of action even though possessing spiritual knowledge because of the predominance of activities are known as yogis. Without either spiritual knowledge or selfless actions neither could attain moksa or liberation. No being can even for a moment exist without performing actions and without spiritual knowledge one’s actions will never benefit one’s existence and lead it to the ultimate truth. This has been revealed in the Brahma Vaivartaka Purana.

The word nishta means deep faith, abidance in this under direction of authorised guru leads to liberation without fail. Actions performed under such authorised guidance causes an increase of bliss and a decrease in inauspicious actions. The scriptural statements of the Vedas such as: not by actions and not by progeny, are not contradictory. If contrarily statements like : not by abstention of action had been made then there could be occasion for contradiction. In the same way a similar approach towards jnana yoga and karma yoga should be accepted. In this verse the emphasis of the two paths is that spiritual knowledge must be inherent in both indicating that jnana yoga is more suitable for moksa.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that he has not clearly understood what has been previously spoken by Him. He tells Arjuna that in this world abounding in diversity there are two paths for two types of humans. Jnana yoga the path of knowledge and karma yoga the path of actions each suited to the capacities and qualifications of the type concerned. Not all humans in this world are born with the ambition for moksa or liberation. Neither are all humans able to embark upon the path of knowledge directly. But all humans must engage in actions at all times they cannot stop but they must perform these actions unattached without desiring any reward, perfecting them in the process as factual activities of divine worship. Then in fact all actions become divine activities as revealed forthcoming in chapter XVIII. verse forty-six worshipping God by one’s actions. Performing actions in this way humans evaporate the inauspicious qualities lurking in their minds and hearts and the senses give up their turbulence and become calm and peaceful. It has already been established in chapter II. verse forty-seven that there must be no anticipation of rewards as the reason for performing activities. When this platform has been attained then after one has risen in wisdom beyond the turmoils of the quest of satisfying one’s sense with sense objects then jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge is appropriate. In chapter II. verse fity-five Lord Krishna has stated when one gives up all desires, to confirm this point. Sankhya refers to spiritual knowledge or spiritual wisdom. Those who possess this are called sankhyas as real spiritual knowledge is the knowledge that leads to realisation of the atma or soul, firmly resides within them. Those who are ineligible not fit for this course due to their own inherent qualities are the yogis who are eligible for karma yoga the path of actions. So it can be seen that there is not even the slightest contradiction when it was asserted that for one who is beguiled by the objects and distractions of the phenomenal world, karma yoga is suitable for them and for those who are not beguiled and able to renounce these objects and distractions are suited for jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge.

It will next be shown that even if a wish for moksa or liberation arises still one may not be fully competent to experience the cultivation of knowledge by jnana yoga.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna’s reply begins with O sinless one infering that Arjuna is fit to be instructed. But as you are doubting understand that the Lord did not prescribe two unrelated paths, karma yoga the yoga of actions and jnana yoga the yoga of knowledge. Lord Krishna states that in this world these are the two paths aspirants can take which lead to moksa or liberation. But they both depend upon qualification as jnana yoga is suitable for one type of human being and karma yoga is suitable for another type. What has been presented in the previous chapter was from the point of view of jnana yoga.

There is a distinction to be found regarding qualification as there are yogis who have also cultivated knowledge while performing activities and realised the atma or soul by dint of their actions. Their minds becoming pure by meditation directly worshipping the Supreme Lord within their heart without desire for rewards as Lord Krishna states in chapter II verse sixty-one beginning with tani sarvani controlling all the senses. But those aspirants who have not acquired spiritual knowledge must purify their minds by the yoga of actions without desiring any reward. Then selfless actions like these can be utilised to cultivate the desire for spiritual knowledge. Lord Krishna states in chapter II verse forty-seven that we have the right to perform actions but not to desire the fruits.

One should not assume that the distinctions in qualification is merely the differences between the aspirants because one may have an entirely different nature according to the situation. An example of this is a person overcoming death in the form of negligence by performing actions designated to overcome nescience as given in the Isavasopanisad II the text states: overcoming death with nescience one attains liberation through knowledge which means removing the impurities of the mind with knowledge which is caused by nescience and attain liberation. Following this line of reasoning the purport is that one is not qualified for jnana yoga as long as the desire for liberation is present. Only when the mind has become purified and is completely free from all desires by performing karma yoga without any desire for reward does one become qualified. So for this reason the Supreme Lord Krishna has presented this twofold spiritual path.

In closing it should be understood that one who without performing karma yoga in their present life but is situated in jnana yoga cultivating spiritual knowledge, their purity of mind should be considered as a result of performing karma yoga in their previous birth and this is how they were able to attain jnana yoga so easily. Thus there is no contradiction in the presentation of the two in any way.
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Sloka 3.4 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते |
न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ||३- ४||

na karmaNAmanArambhAnnaiShkarmyaM puruSho.ashnute |
na cha sa.nnyasanAdeva siddhi.n samadhigachchhati || 3-4 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.4

Anvaya: na–without; karmanam–of the prescribed duties; anarambhat–nonperformance; naiskarmyam–freedom from reaction; purusah–man; asnute–achieve; na–nor; ca–also; sannyasanat–by renunciation; eva–simply; siddhim–success; samadhigacchati–attain.

Translation: Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Therefore until the light of knowledge dawns within a completely purified mind prescribed actions in the Vedic scriptures must be performed for purification by the different castes in various stages of life called varna- asrama. This is what Lord Krishna is explaining here. Otherwise due to a lack of purity in the mind spiritual knowledge will not manifest. This is the purport. In the Brihad IV.IV.XXII it states: The renunciates realising the Supreme Lord became liberated. So it can be understood that renunciation leads to moksa or liberation. But there might arise the question that if moksa is the result of renunciation then what is the need for actions? Apprehending such a doubt the verse states na ca sannyasanad eva meaning not only by renunciation. The import is that renunciation alone is not sufficient in itself to attain moksa if there is not sufficient spiritual knowledge accompanying it.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The actions Lord Krishna is referring to in this verse are the ordained actions prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. By the abstention of ordained actions or by the renunciation of ordained actions one will not ever be able to achieve moksa or liberation. By the cultivation of spiritual knowledge only is liberation possible. This is the purport. Why is this so? Because of the word purusah in the verse meaning person. The jiva or living entity is enclosed in a subtle body along with a corporal body. If by abstention of action moksa was possible then it would be available to inanimate things as well. Neither by the abstention of actions or the absence of reactions from the renunciation of actions will liberation come into effect.

The effects we are experiencing in the present life are reactions both positive and negative caused by our innumerable actions in previous lives. It is not that all the reactions have been terminated at birth, Males up to the end of 14 years and females up to the end of 10 years complete their life span of the effects of prior activities from past births. Living entities are capable of innumerable actions even in a single lifetime and each of these actions may be the cause of a future birth or even result in many future lives. Contrarily by performing even a single action one can receive a human life which is the culmination and conclusion of all one’s remaining lives. Thus accumulation of actions can never end indefinitely.

The Brahma Purana states that: The primordial world is eternal and so are the effects of actions. Therefore how can there be release from actions without realisation of the Supreme Lord? If the primordial world came about by accident without any relation ship with casual actions then how could there be any relationship between human beings and the primordial world? The state of being liberated can only be achieved by one who is completely free from all desires including the desire for liberation. All desires are manifesting as appropriate and inappropriate actions. Factually it is the absence of desires that result in the state of liberation. Actions performed without desire for rewards with spiritual consciousness contribute to the fulfilment of liberation. When fulfilment is achieved one attains the ultimate consciousness and liberation is automatically included. By performing actions in this manner a living being becomes verily a being of non-action. Renunciation is relinquishing the desire for rewards attached to appropriate actions as Lord Krishna explains later in chapter XVIII verse two kamyanam karmanam nyasam meaning the renouncing of fruitive activities. Performing actions in spiritual consciousness without desire leads to liberation. For one who has become effulgent, purified by actions performed in spiritual consciousness, renunciation appears in their heart. Only one with a pure heart, free from desire and attachment is known as one situated in spiritual knowledge. Just as one seeing delightful things in a dream does not let that interfere for a moment the pleasures of daily life. For such a one there is no clarity in the principles nor faith in the Vedic injunctions.

A counterpoint may be raised that if the absence of desire for reward is the means for moksa then why not give up actions altogether giving no opportunity for the fruits to manifest. This opinion is neutralised in the verse by na ca sannyasanad eva meaning not only by renunciation. So it should be understood that not by mere absence of desires or even the absence of actions that liberation can be achieved but the performance of actions without desire for reward is the essential ingredient to understand.

It should be understood that renunciation is primarily for deep meditation and reflection of the resplendent Supreme Lord. This way is not suitable for those in the grihasta ashram or householder life with wife and children and who must be engrossed daily in so many material functions to provide for their family. But in later life when the children are grown the householder who by dint of actions has acquired a meditative mind can also become eligible for renunciation and please the Lord. The Supreme Lord is exceedingly pleased by those who practice renunciation. In the Narayanakshara Kalpa it is said that: Among all initiations the one that is made in the stage of renunciation is the topmost and most pleasing to the Supreme Lord. The demi-gods and many well known great and pious kings of yore in India while performing myriad’s of actions for universal management and world order always kept their minds focused on the Supreme. Therefore even when they were engaged in activities their minds never wavered from Him and the Supreme Lord Krishna was pleased.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Neither by not performing the activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures nor by abandoning them once they were begun does one attain the qualification to perform jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. This is because that actions when performed as worship for the Supreme Lord for His satisfaction alone with no desire or expectation for any reward leads to perfection and without this consciousness one is not qualified for jnana yoga. For in jnana yoga exclusive attention is devoted to atma-nistha deep faith in knowledge and meditation of the soul. This is only possible for one who has relinquished all desires and expectations fully. It is not possible for one who is still mired in the pursuit of fruitive activities, burdened with sins from previous lives and for one who has never worshipped Lord Krishna with love and devotion with no anticipation of reward.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It has been established that activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures performed without anticipation of rewards are conducive for spiritual developement. Without this inner consciousness one is not qualified for jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Many may wish for moksa or liberation and attempt to renounce the world prematurely but they do not reach perfection only by such renunciation. This is verified in the verse by the words na eva sanyasanat meaning not merely by renunciation. So it should be understood that without purity of mind and adequate spiritual knowledge a person even though appearing to be a renunciate actually has not properly qualified themselves for jnana yoga in spite of appearances.
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Sloka 3.5 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् |
कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः ||३- ५||

na hi kashchitkShaNamapi jAtu tiShThatyakarmakR^it.h |
kAryate hyavashaH karma sarvaH prakR^itijairguNaiH || 3-5 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.5

Anvaya: na–nor; hi–certainly; kascit–anyone; ksanam–even a moment; api–also; jatu–even; tisthati–stands; akarma-krt–without doing something; karyate–forced to work; hi–certainly; avasah–helplessly; karma–work; sarvah–everything; prakrti-jaih–out of the modes of material nature; gunaih–by the qualities.

Translation: All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The renunciation of actions factually means not being attached to them. It does not mean actually giving them up, as that is impossible. Nobody neither a wise man or a fool under any circumstances can refrain from actions for a moment. The reason Lord Krishna is stating is that all are compelled to act forced by one’s likes and dislikes influenced by one’s attachments and aversions arising out of prakriti, material nature and designated by one’s past life activities.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

That it is impossible to renounce every single action one makes is what’s being clarified here

Now begins the summation.

Actions are spoken of as two-fold in the Paingi scripture. Actions that are dependent upon a cause and and actions which are independent of any cause. The actions that are dependent upon a cause are due to the influence of prakriti, material nature. Independent actions are only manifesting from the Supreme Lord. Therefore the words karyate he avasah means to perform activities fully dependent, this dependence is on the Supreme Lord Krishna. The scriptures also further clarify that ah means the all pervasive Brahman.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

No living being in the material existence can remain inactive even for a moment without initiating or pursuing some activity or another. If one should steadfastly determine to perform absolutely nothing, still one would be compelled into action by the qualities of the the three gunas being sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance, all from prakriti, material nature. The effects of these have sprung into existence from one’s past life activities. Thus by adhering to karma yoga the yoga of actions without desires one’s accumulated sins will gradually dissolve and then mastery over the gunas and prakriti is achieved. At this time the mind has become pure and one becomes qualified for jnana yoga. Otherwise as Lord Krishna states anyone attempting to pursue jnana yoga in lieu of this is a charlatan and all their attempts is merely a charade.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It should not be speculated that one is entitled to the fruits of one’s actions simply because it is impossibe to fully renounce all actions. To empasise this point Lord Krishna states vimudh-atma meaning one ignorant of the soul. A fool or a wise person can appear inactive without engaging in worldly affairs or Vedic activities. So the sense here is that prakriti, material nature is propelling one to act based on the effects of one’s past actions which are attached to the root of the physical and subtle body. Therefore the conclusion is that one should first purify themselves by performing karma yoga which is actions without desires as prescribed in the Vedas which destroys sins which hinder spiritual development before embarking on the path of jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge.
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Sloka 3.6 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन् |
इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते ||३- ६||

karmendriyANi sa.nyamya ya Aste manasA smaran.h |
indriyArthAnvimUDhAtmA mithyAchAraH sa uchyate || 3-6 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.6

Anvaya: karma-indriyani–the five working sense organs; samyamya–controlling; yah–anyone who; aste–remains; manasa–by mind; smaran–thinking; indriya-arthan–sense objects; vimudha–foolish; atma–soul; mithya-acarah–pretender; sah–he; ucyate–is called.

Translation: One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The unqualified renunciate who in ignorance attempts to perform jnana yoga the cultivation of spiritual knowledge is being censored now. In a strong sense Lord Krishna states: that fool who by forcefully restraining the senses under the pretext of meditation but is inwardly reflecting on the objects of the senses is a cheat and a charlatan. Being impure the mind of such an impostor lacks the tranquillity and lucidity to practice such meditation.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Whosoever without first unburdening themselves of all their sins, who without having first gained mastery of their senses and without having first achieved self-control of the mind. If such a person pretends to strives for atma-tattva or self-realisation of the soul, with their thoughts dwelling on sense objects due to attachment for them instead of focusing on the eternal soul. Then the conduct of such a one is duplicious and false and they are a charlatan. Any person acting in this way is only deceiving themselves by their own deception and surely will never succeed in realising the eternal soul.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If actions themselves are dependent upon the organs of the senses such as eyes, nose, ears etc., then how can one practice to control them. One who is able to restrain their body from sense objects still may find their mind attached to sense objects. This is due to impurities caused by passion and desires from past lifetimes. Such a person is called a charlatan. The sense is that the mind cannot be free from attachment to sense objects because of an absence of perfection in karma yoga by performing actions without desire thereby destroying the myriads of sins collected from time immemorial. Until and unless this has been achieved knowers of the Vedic scriptures call such a one a hypocrite or charlatan and all the efforts of such a charlatan although appearing as a renouncer is of no use for moksa or liberation.
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Sloka 3.7 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन |
कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः स विशिष्यते ||३- ७||

yastvindriyANi manasA niyamyArabhate.arjuna |
karmendriyaiH karmayogamasaktaH sa vishiShyate || 3-7 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.7

Anvaya: yah–one who; tu–but; indriyani–senses; manasa–by the mind; niyamya–regulating; arabhate–begins; arjuna–O Arjuna; karma-indriyaih–by the active sense organs; karma-yogam–devotion; asaktah–without attachment; sah–he; visisyate–by far the better.

Translation: On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna reveals that a person performing karma yoga, actions performed without attachment to the rewards is superior to the cheating renunciate spoken of in the previous verse. That person who performs their actions with the mind offering them to the Supreme Lord is properly performing karma yoga by which their mind gradually becomes purified and they develop spiritual knowledge.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna previously spoke of the pretensions of the pretenders renouncing all actions with great effort by forcefully subjugating the desires of the mind. Now to show the predominant role of the mind in influencing our thoughts He uses the word manasa remembering in mind. Karma yoga the yoga of actions is suitable according to the stage of development one is in. One should not think that karma yoga is only for the grihastas or householders because by the word manasa it is asserting that karma yoga can also be used by renunciates as well.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Controlling the senses by strength of mind, utilising them to assist in achieving attma tattva by performing the prescribed duties given in the Vedic scriptures according to the natural attributes found within their character by the natural disposition of their natural impulses, then that person although performing karma yoga the yoga of actions is superior to the performer of jnana yoga the yoga of cultivating knowledge inasmuch as falsely performing jnana yoga with duplicity is far inferior to performing karma yoga with sincerity.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

So the one performing actions without attachment is the best even the married householder who gradually through his actions controls his mind and senses is far superior to such a false renunciate. By diverting the senses from sense objects by control of the mind one becomes eligible for contemplation of the self which when unattached to the desire for anything, gradually leads one to be qualified for meditation on the atma or soul. So it is clear that the discipline of karma yoga the practice of selfless actions is essential for spiritual development.
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Sloka 3.8 audio recital in Sanskrit     

नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः |
शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः ||३- ८||

niyata.n kuru karma tvaM karma jyAyo hyakarmaNaH |
sharIrayAtrApi cha te na prasid.hdhyedakarmaNaH || 3-8 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.8

Anvaya: niyatam–prescribed; kuru–do; karma–duties; tvam–you; karma–work; jyayah–better; hi–than; akarmanah–without work; sarira–bodily; yatra–maintenance; api–even; ca–also; te–your; na–never; prasiddhyet–effected; akarmanah–without work.

Translation: Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One should perform the duties prescribed in the Vedic scriptures appropriate for ones stage in life. The daily duties like praying, meditating and worshipping are being referred to by Lord Krishna. Action is superior to inaction for by abstention from action none of these activities can be accomplished. What to say of those, if one fails to take actions even the maintenance of their physical body will not be possible.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

One should perform the actions that are appropriate to one’s varna or status and ashram or stage in life. In Vedic culture there are four varnas: brahmin the priestly class, kshatriya the royalty and warrior class, vaishya the farmers and businesss classes and sudra the workers and servants of the previous three classes. In Vedic culture there are also four ashrams: bramacharya which is celibate student life, grihasta which is married family life, vanaprastha which is semi-retired householder life and sannyasa which is complete renunciation of worldy life for meditation on God. Due to changing times and the unseemly mixture of different varnas people no longer adhere exclusively to the natural duties of their ashram as prescribed by the Vedas. This was even happening over 5000 years ago at the end Dvarpara yuga. In the Mahabharata we see King Yudhisthira noting that it was becoming exceedingly difficult to determine the varna of people due to the mixture of different classes. Therefore it is only by conduct and attributes that one can judge what class one belongs to and not simply by what varna one was born into and this conduct is determined by actions. Unless and until the impulse arises for one to surrender themselves in full service and devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna then both varna and ashram apply in society. But after surrendering in devotion varnashram is no longer applicable or required.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The word nityatam can refer to eternal, regular or even daily. An act is eternal if it is connected to the atma which is the eternal soul. Actions merely connected to prakriti or the material nature are a persistent inheritance from one’s past activities in the unknown past. Thus to perform actions comes easily as a natural phenomena and not subject to the inherent dangers of possessing an impure mind or the lack of sense control associated the with jnana yoga, the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Therefore Lord Krishna is urging Arjuna to perform karma yoga or actions without attachment as in his case it is superior to cultivating knowledge. A-karma is non-action which implies cultivating knowledge by the abstention of activities. But it is known that it is not possible to completely achieve the actionless state. Even for the followers of jnana yoga the path of karma yoga is superior because in jnana yoga one must follow a path one is naturally not accustomed, is difficult to practice, fraught with the risk of dominant senses and also which does not flow as an inherent tendency like the path of karma yoga where actions follow the natural locomotion of the body in the course of daily activities.

Further it will be shown that even one who is liberated by atma- tattva realisation of the eternal soul; still may be involved in so many activities, performing actions without attachment or as a matter of duty. Thus even atma-tattva can be connected to material activities transforming them to spiritual activities. Hence karma yoga can be superior in this way. What can be inferred about the superiority of karma yoga over jnana yoga will be evident to one who is actually engaged in practising jnana yoga.

But an alternative argument could be alright suppose one is determined to abstain from all actions, then how does one expect to maintain their bodily existence which depends on eating and sleeping and washing and exercising etc. and by which the body is very helpful and useful in practising jnana yoga. The maintenance of one’s physical body is absolutely essential to complete the course charted in life until one achieves their goal. The way in which one maintains their body is by actions such as labour by rightful means to acquire funds for performing worship to God by offerings of food which are subsequently imbued with spiritual potency and by partaking of the remnants of such foods solely for bodily sustenance each day maintain their bodies.

In the Chandogya Upanisad VII.XXVI.II we find: It is by the purity of food that one’s mind becomes purified. When the mind is purified one attains access to the eternal soul dwelling within the heart.

Thus if one desires to desist from all activities how will their mind become purified and how will their bodily needs be maintained? Thus it is obvious that one who practices jnana yoga in order to maintain their bodily existence must still continue performing the daily and occasional duties prescribed in the Vedas until they reach their goal. The same as if one practised karma yoga. Also in karma yoga the contemplation of atma-tattva is also included in the conceptions that I am not my body perfoming actions and I am not the actual doer of any actions. So for all these reasons karma yoga is preferably recommended to jnana yogis.

So the conclusion is for Arjuna to desist and practice karma yoga.

But if it is still postulated that actions such as the acquiring of funds involves the my-ness of this is my money and the I-ness of I have earned this by the strength of my mind and the power of my faculties and that these efforts must cause bondage Lord Krishna refutes this argument in the next verse.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One should note that by the use of tvam Lord Krishna is asserting that Arjuna should be detached from his actions and perform his duty. Action is superior to inaction because by performing actions prescribed in the Vedic scriptures according to one’s occupation and stage in life because accumalated sins are destroyed that one has acquired in past lives. Realistically not performing actions is also not practical because without actions one is not able even to maintain the physical body. The particle api means even and refers to what else more should be clarified.
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Sloka 3.9 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः |
तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्गः समाचर ||३- ९||

yaGYArthAtkarmaNo.anyatra loko.aya.n karmabandhanaH |
tadartha.n karma kaunteya muktasaN^gaH samAchara || 3-9 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.9

Anvaya: yajna-arthat–only for the sake of Yajna, or Visnu; karmanah–work done; anyatra–otherwise; lokah–this world; ayam–this; karma-bandhanah–bondage by work; tat–Him; artham–for the sake; karma–work; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; mukta-sangah–liberated from association; samacara–do perfectly.

Translation: Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Everyone in the world is locked and bound to the material existence by actions. The renunciates state that: since all actions lead to bondage they should not be performed. But refuting this Lord Krishna states yagna-artaht that sacrifices done for the Supreme Lord without expectation of reward are exempt from bondage. This is confirmed in the Tattitrya Samhita I.VII.XXXXIV that sacrifice is non-different from the Supreme Lord. But for all other actions not sanctioned by worship to Him and not offered to Him the result is bondage. Therefore actions should be performed in this way without desires with firm faith and dedication to the Supreme Lord.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Living entities are bound to the material existence by their actions. This bondage by actions is spoken of very clearly in the Vedic scriptures. Here Lord Krishna states yagna-arthat meaning actions that are performed as an offering for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord without desiring reward are the only actions which are free from bondage. This is the purport. Lord Krishna also states mukta-sangah meaning free from attachment which is the qualifying statement. Inappropriate are actions that crave desires due to attachment. Appropriate are actions that are free from desires and attachment. All actions should be performed as a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord and no sacrifice should ever be performed with an intention for reward. These statements and others are given in the Upanisads.

Now begins the summary.

The statements of living entities being bound to material nature by their actions refers to actions which are contrary to divinity and righteousness as delineated in Vedic scriptures. Jaya is a name given to the resplendent Supreme Lord and this name means glory. According to the Barkashruti in the word Jaya the Ya signifies yagna. Therefore yagna is the performance of the prescribed activities given in the Vedic scriptures for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Instead of working hard to acquire funds for self gratification endeavours which causes one to bound in the material existence. Activities performed as an offering to the Supreme Lord known as yagna or sacrifice should be performed which are not bound to the material nature. Lord Krishna uses the word sanga which means attachment this means that attachment will be there when the action is undertaken for self service but as an offering to the Supreme Lord one is free from such ulterior motivations. All activities when done as an offering to the Supreme Lord with anticipating any reward become consecrated through yagna or acts of worship done for the pleasure of atma-purusha, the Supreme Lord internally within the heart and externally pervading all existence. The Supreme Lord recognising such devotion will mitigate all the sins and the merits from such offered actions which bind one to receiving punishment or rewards since time immemorial and neutralising them direct one from inside, and following this path with very little difficulty one can achieve self-realisation. It is now shown that all persons of every segment of society without exception must nourish themselves by food offered as yagna consecrated worship exclusively and that sins are imbibed by all those who do not do so.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

As is revealed in many passages in the Vedic scriptures that: One who has realised the effulgent Supreme Lord becomes free from all bondage. The smrti scriptures also state that jivas, living entities are bound by actions and declare that all actions are ropes of bondage. So Arjuna might postulate why he is being motivated to execute actions. Anticipating this Lord Krishna states in this verse: yagna-arthat meaning acts of sacrifice. Everyone is bound by their actions but the actions that are prescribed in the Vedic scriptures as an offerring to the Supreme Lord cause no bondage. Actions performed according to the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures is declared as sacrifice and verily is non-different from the Supreme Lord Himself. So with firm faith and proper procedure one should do their duty for the sake of the Supreme and make it an offerring without attachment as propitiation to the Supreme Lord.
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Sloka 3.10 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः |
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक् ||३- १०||

sahayaGYAH prajAH sR^iShTvA purovAcha prajApatiH |
anena prasaviShyadhvameSha vo.astviShTakAmadhuk.h || 3-10 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.10

Anvaya: saha–along with; yajnah–sacrifices; prajah–generations; srstva–creating; pura–anciently; uvaca–said; praja-patih–the Lord of creatures; anena–by this; prasavisyadhvam–be more and more prosperous; esah–certainly; vah–your; astu–let it be; ista–all desirable; kama-dhuk–bestower.

Translation: In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Visnu, and blessed them by saying, “Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things.”

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

So we see that not only Lord Krishna is stating this but also according to Prajapati or Brahma the creator of all material beings, that one who performs actions is superior to one who performs no actions. This is being explained in this and the next three verses. The words saha-yagnah-prajah means all progeny in existence in general but specifically the brahmans and ksatriyas who perform worship according to the Vedic scriptures. Verily remembering Lord Krishna and chanting His holy names is yagna or worship and by such sacrifice mankind will flourish and prosper. Here the word yagna means the time sacrificed to do the daily duties offered to the Supreme Lord and other obligatory activities such as following Ekadasi. Although there is no question of praising work that is done with desires it still exhibits that in general actions are better than inertness and lassitude which are more objectionable.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

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Ramanuja’s Commentary

In the Vedic scriptures the term Prajapati is unrestrictedly designated to the Supreme Lord Krishna, or any of duly authorised avatars or incarnations such as Narayana lord of all creation or Jagannatha lord of the universes. In the beginning of creation the Supreme Lord reflected on the plight of the living entities entangled in matter from time immemorial. These living entities were destitute of name, form and a distinction between one another as they were dormant within a portion of the Supreme Lords potency. Possessing an eternal soul they had the ability to fulfill great goals but they languishing inert like latent substances.

In this case Prajapati refers to Brahma, a duly authorised Guna avatar of the Supreme Lord who while reflecting on them out of His infinite mercy and for the sake of their ultimate redemption, inspired Brahma to project them into the material manifestation. Brahma worshipped the Supreme Lord as sacrifice and thus inaugurated the institution of yagna which will fulfill all ones highest ambitions granting moksa or libeartion in the spiritual worlds. How this will manifest will be further explained in the next verse.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna reveals the words of Prajapati or Brahma the creator of the forms and categories of material beings and the arranger of the material manifestation. Here it states that one desiring liberation should perform selfless actions with the thought of appeasement and propitiation to the Supreme Lord. Now Lord Krishna is infering that he teaches this knowledge of propitiatiopn to His devotees only. This is because Brahma has given facilty for beings other than the devotees to worship in appeasement lesser gods such as the demi-gods. Thus after Brahma created mankind he instructed the three twice born classes of brahmins, ksatriyas and vaisyas to perform selfless actions in the spirit of worship of the Supreme Lord and this will be for you sacrifice. Sacrifing the desires for reward and attachment to the results and in this way mankind will flourish and prosper. The actual understanding is that this spirit of sacrifice perfromed with faith acording to ones status and stage in life will bequeath all auspiciousness in this life and the next life. Such instructions for such wishfulfilling actions and the confusion that might arise to due to them from statements of non- attachment earlier in this chapter in verses four, seven and seventeen as well as refering to delighting in the atma or soul in this chapter in verses three and nineteen is empasising different approaches to the same goal based on qualification so there is no contradiction.
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Sloka 3.11 audio recital in Sanskrit     

देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः |
परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ ||३- ११||

devAnbhAvayatAnena te devA bhAvayantu vaH |
parasparaM bhAvayantaH shreyaH paramavApsyatha || 3-11 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.11

Anvaya: devan–demigods; bhavayata–having pleased; anena–by this sacrifice; te–those; devah–the demigods; bhavayantu–will please; vah–you; parasparam–mutual; bhavayantah–pleasing one another; sreyah–benediction; param–the supreme; avapsyatha–do you achieve.

Translation: The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

How does the sacrifice yield desired enjoyments? Lord Krishna answers this here. By yagna or worship and appeasement one pleases the devas or demi- gods, who in turn please the offerer with prosperity and abundance. Thus mutually gratifying each other both humans and the devas will be happy and attained the highest good.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that by yagna which is worship and appeasement of the devas or demi-gods who are His universal administrators of the material existence and who constitute His body and of whom He is the atma or soul within. Later in chapter IX.xxiv beginning with aham hi sarva we will see Him confirm that He is the sole enjoyer and rewarder of all yagnas. So let the demi-gods of whom Lord Krishna is the atma be worshipped so they will grant all prayers of prosperity and abundance. In this way by mutually offering services mankind shall reap its summum bonum and highest beatitude.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

To answer the question how will yagna or worship fulfill one’s prayers Lord Krishna reponds that the devas or demi-gods nourished by the oblations offered will in turn mutually reciprocate fulfilling all one’s prayers with properity and abundance. Gratifying each other as such human and deva will all attain the fulfillment of their desires.
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Sloka 3.12 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः |
तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः ||३- १२||

iShTAnbhogAnhi vo devA dAsyante yaGYabhAvitAH |
tairdattAnapradAyaibhyo yo bhuN^kte stena eva saH || 3-12 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.12

Anvaya: istan–desired; bhogan–necessities of life; hi–certainly; vah–unto you; devah–the demigods; dasyante–award; yajna-bhavitah–being satisfied by the performance of sacrifices; taih–by them; dattan–things given; apradaya–without offering; ebhyah–to the demigods; yah–he who; bhunkte–enjoys; stenah–thief; eva–certainly; sah–is he.

Translation: In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], supply all necessities to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering them to the demigods in return, is certainly a thief.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna reveals the positive results in performing yagna or worship to the devas or demi-gods in receiving prosperity and abundance and the negative results in not first offering what one is about to partake to the demi-gods in reciprocation. Therefore one who enjoys food which was originally placed on Earth by the demi-gods and which mankind uses for their life preservation and sustenance without offering it first to them in yagna or worship is a thief . This is for ordinary people. For duly initiated Brahmins in one of the four authorised disciplic successions the five daily yagnas must be performed as well.

1) Brahma yagna- Study of the Vedic scriptures 2) Pitri yagna- Offering vegetarian foods to the anscestors 3) Deva yagna- Offering of oblations to the demi-gods 4) Bhuta yagna- Offering blessings to all created being 5) Nri yagna- Showing hospitality to any guest that comes by
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The words yagna-bhavitah means honoured by worship. The worship of pleasing the demi-gods in which Lord Krishna also resides as the atma or soul will confer on those whose perform it whatever prosperity and abundance they have prayed for. This means that by receiving these things as such one is able to worship the demi-gods and receive from them perpetually by offerings and worship to them with regularity.

But if one should try to enjoy the gifts granted by them without first offering them back beforehand then such a person is a thief for misappropriating what was not sanctioned by the act of yagna or appeasement. Stena eva sah means one is certainly a thief. A thief is one who executes chaurya or larceny. The definition of larceny is the intention of or act of one to misappropriate property for oneself for the use of which they have no right which factually belongs to others.

Thus to one of this nature and this description there is not only forfeiture and exemption from moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death but there will also be suffering for these sins in the infernal regions of the hellish planets described in Canto V of the Bhagavat Purana. This same subject is further explained in the next verse .


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Evaluating the previous verse Lord Krishna points out the offense in not performing yagna or worship and first offering of the fruits of yagna.before enjoying them. One who enjoys before first offering worship and appeasement and prayers is undoubtedly a thief and will be punished like a thief at the end of their life by Yamaraja the minister of death.
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Sloka 3.13 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः |
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात् ||३- १३||

yaGYashiShTAshinaH santo muchyante sarvakilbiShaiH |
bhuJNjate te tvaghaM pApA ye pachantyAtmakAraNAt.h || 3-13 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.13

Anvaya: yajna-sista–food taken after performance of yajna; asinah–eaters; santah–the devotees; mucyante–get relief from; sarva–all kinds of; kilbisaih–from sins; bhunjate–enjoy; te–they; tu–but; agham–grievous sins; papah–sinners; ye–those; pacanti–prepare food; atma-karanat–for sense enjoyment.

Translation: The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Therefore it can be understood that those humans who perform yagna or worship to the Supreme Lord Krishna are pre-eminent among the human species and not others. This is shown by the word santah meaning they are saintly and virtuous. Those who accept food after first offering it to the Supreme Lord are freed from the sins acquired from the five areas in the home causing harm to any living entity. They are: the mortar and pestle where sometimes extremely small bugs are accidentally killed, the grindstone where microscopic amoebas inside of the seeds are ground to death, the fireplace where sometimes crawling things come into when the fire is out only to be burned to death when the fire is lt, the waterpot where sometimes insects fly into and drown and the broom which while sweeping dirt and dust from the house might also sweep ants and such in such a way as to cause their demise. These are the five areas of harm in the home causing accidental death to harmless creatures as confirmed in the Manu Samhita III. 68. Those sinful wretches who do not first offer what they eat to the Supreme Lord are not freed from any of these sins but they are punished for them and verily day by day they eat only sin. On account of these sins multiplying daily they have no opportunity to attain heaven.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In a very rational way Lord Krishna is praising the saintly performers of yagna by means of worship and offerings and censoring those who fail to perform such yagna. In the previous three verses and this one Lord Krishna has elucidated the science of yagna. The Purusha Sukta in the Rig Veda we see that Brahma the first born is the Purusha offering himself as worship and oblations for the benefit and welfare of creation. By Brahma inaugurating the act of yagna, the perennial principles of existence or dharma were established for all the worlds. Thus by ordaining dharma the Supreme Lord Krishna through his representative Brahma has given mankind the purpose, the objective and the methodology of yagna. One in wisdom should follow in the footsteps of Brahma and offer to the Supreme Lord there very self and essence as an act of worship in yagna.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Those who prepare food from funds honestly acquired with the sole objective of worshipping the Supreme Lord Krishna who resides as the soul within themselves as well as within all the demi-gods and every living entity; and those who only partake of such duly consecrated food become absolved of all sins accumulated over iniquity subatomic and atomic impending the completion and fulfilment of self realisation of the atma or soul. But those sinful wretches who do not first offer to the Supreme Lord what was gifted to them and instead prepare and eat it appropriating it for theirselves verily eat only sin. The word agham meaning sin denotes their will be grave consequences for such sins. Ignorant of the path to atma- tattva or self realisation of the soul, such degraded persons perpetually eat sinful food insuring a hellish destination in their next life. It should be understood that everything is connected to yagna or worship in this world and the next, from both the point of view of sastra or Vedic scripture and from inference. It should also be clearly understood that the observance of yagna is essential for benefit and welfare of all mankind and that its omission purposefully or accidental is counter productive for the entire human race and is fraught with sinfulness and dire consequences.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Therfore those that only eat food that has been offered in yagna or worship are faultless and no other. This Lord Krishna is confirming with the word santah meaning saintly and virtuous. Those who perform yagna become absolved of all sins produced from the daily use of the five utensils in the home used by householders in the cooking and preparing of foods. Such sins are produced from the non-performance of the injunction of yagna and from the performance of the prohibited action. These are serious hindrances in attaining heaven. The five acts if piety performed by the twice born brahmins are mandatory, beginning with Brahma Yagna or Vedic study, offering worship to God, homage to the anscestors, feeding of animals and welcoming and feeding chance guests. These five acts of piety neutralise all sins contracted by the five areas of destuction in the home being the pestle, the grindstone, the fireplace, the waterpot and the broom. Manu Samhita III. 69-71 confirms all sins from these five actions are duly nullified by the five previous acts of piety.
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Sloka 3.14 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः |
यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः ||३- १४||

annAdbhavanti bhUtAni parjanyAdannasambhavaH |
yaGYAdbhavati parjanyo yaGYaH karmasamudbhavaH || 3-14 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.14

Anvaya: annat–from grains; bhavanti–grow; bhutani–the material bodies; parjanyat–from rains; anna–of food grains; sambhavah–are made possible; yajnat–from the performance of sacrifice; bhavati–becomes possible; parjanyah–rains; yajnah–performance of yajna; karma–prescribed duties; samudbhavah–born of.

Translation: All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Because it is due to actions that the Earth keeps revolving, actions should be performed. This Lord Krishna is emphasising in this verse and the next two verses with the words bhavanti bhutani meaning beings are born. They are born from food turned into semen., that food was created from rains that resulted from yagna or worship and that worship was performed by actions and from the efforts of those was accomplished. This is the meaning. In the Manu Samhita III.76 it states that the ghee or clarified butter duly offered into the sacrificial fire ascends to the sun and from that the sun manifests clouds full of rain. From rain results the growth of food and from food humans come into existence from the semen of males fertilising the eggs females.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Actions are born from the Vedas because the Vedas prescribe yagna or worship and appeasement and the performance of yagna is done by actions. The Vedas arose out of the breath of the Supreme Brahman. This is noted by the word brahmaksara which means the supreme immutable Vedas which was the medium by which the knowledge of the ultimate reality was revealed. Otherwise how could the Supreme Brahman which is inconceivable, without a beginning and an end and complete within Himself ever been known. The word aksara in brahmaksara means the ultimate reality denoting the Supreme Lord. When a primary meaning has been identified it is not proper to accept a secondary meaning as is often the case due to forgotten traditions. Insentient objects cannot manifest by themselves they must be created. The magnitude of actions in creation, the unlimited resources of elements and the awesome manifestation of time indicate inconceivable powers. Since the material worlds are but reflections of the spiritual worlds all actions in material existence emanate outwards with the energy of the Supreme Lord as the source. This does not directly include the actions exhibited by sentient beings using free will only the underlying energy that empowers them.

The word aksarani refers to the eternality of the Supreme Lord. The eternal Vedas have Him for their source. Because He is eternal the Vedas are eternal as well. There would be a flaw in anyone thinking that the Vedas were created because they could not have been so without prior knowledge. They are eternally manifest and the Vedic scriptures reveal that they were exhaled by the breath of the Supreme Being. Exhaling is a natural phenomena without any effort required indicating that the Vedas manifested from the spiritual worlds without any conscious effort, this is the inference meant here.

In view of being eternal the statements of being created have to be understood from the point of view of manifesting within material existence or perception of such not that it was actually created for the first time. An example of this is the treatise Shatapatha Brahmana which is said to have been created by Yagnavalkya. How is it possible for any part of the eternal Vedic scriptures to be created by anyone? Yagnavalkya blessed by the Supreme achieved a high level of attainment and received it within his mind from the spiritual plane and transcribed it onto palm leaves for posterity.

A statement clarified after deliberation is superior to one spoken without contemplation. The Vedic scriptures are the source of origin, thus the statement in Brahma Sutras I.I.III that the Vedas are the evidence that Brahma is the creator. In the previous verse I.I.II the word janmadyasya is used meaning from whom were created is the evidence which can be quoted. These verses do not suggest that the Vedas were born from Brahman nor do they infer the Brahman was the cause of the Vedas. The creating of the material worlds by the Brahman from the five basic elements given to him of water, earth, air, fire and ether does not preclude the creation of the Vedas nor would it be correct to assume that the Vedas were created this way. The creation of a most wonderful world is in no way superior to the eternal emanations of the Vedas. This also does not lead to the conclusion that the Brahman is omniscient even though the manifestation of the Vedas is omniscient. Therefore the eternal Vedas coming from the spiritual worlds are themselves the proof and the word aksara confirms this. So Brahman is revealed through yagna and Brahman is revealed through Vedic scriptures and the Vedas eternally establish yagna throughout the material creation. From knowledge of the Vedas and performance of yagna living entities prosper and flourish. This is the eternal cycle.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna has thus pointed out the virtues of performing yagna or worship according to the Vedic injunctions and the demerits incurred by ignoring the Vedic prohibitions and failing to perform yagna. He points out the folly of non- performance of yagna in verses 14, 15 and 16 beginning annad bhananti meaning food strengthens living beings. All beings have evolved from and waxed strong from foods. Production of food is dependent on rain and rain is dependent on yagna which is dependent upon the activities performed by the Brahmins as prescribed in the Vedas. This is the chanting of Vedic mantras by Brahmins and their offering the oblations such as ghee or clarified butter and seed grain such as sesame into the sacred fire. In Manu Samhita III.76 it has been presented in another way: the oblations offered into the fire ascend to the sun, from the sun comes clouds and rain, from rainfall food is grown and from food beings come into existence.
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Sloka 3.15 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम् |
तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम् ||३- १५||

karma brahmodbhava.n viddhi brahmAkSharasamudbhavam.h |
tasmAtsarvagataM brahma nityaM yaGYe pratiShThitam.h || 3-15 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.15

Anvaya: karma–work; brahma–Vedas; udbhavam–produced from; viddhi–one should know; brahma–the Vedas; aksara–the Supreme Brahman (Personality of Godhead); samudbhavam–directly manifested; tasmat–therefore; sarva-gatam–all-pervading; brahma–transcendence; nityam–eternally; yajne–in sacrifice; pratisthitam–situated.

Translation: Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

So it is explained very clearly that actions originate from the prescribed instructions of the Vedic injunctions and these actions put forth to accomplish these actions are called yagna or worship and appeasement. Brahman clearly refers to the Vedas here and the Vedas come from the Supreme Brahman, the imperishable source of Brahman, the Supreme Lord Krishna. The Brihad II.IV.X states that the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda etc. are the infinite breath of the Supreme. So comprehending this, the knowledge found within the Vedas and the performance of the injunctions and instructions is certainly for humanities highest good. As the Supreme is attained by yagna it is known to rest in yagna. Therefore it should be understood that the imperishable Supreme Brahman although all-pervading, eternally, always resides in yagna. Also as action is the basis of the worlds revolving therefore Brahman known through the Vedas although all pervading, by the use of mantras chanted by brahmins and Vaisnavas with explanations of Vedic scriptures as well as historical examples; it can be clearly perceived that yagna is connected to all events of the past that originated and reached maturity and fulfilment by worship or appeasement as well as all existing things in the present that flourish and prosper whether for short or long duration. All these things were successful only due to yagna or worship and appeasement. So the idea here is that the injunctions of the Vedas are mandatory for the benefit of all living entities and that yagna should always be performed everyday of ones life.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It should be known that actions have its origins in the Brahman meaning the Vedas. Lord Krishna by stating the Brahman wants to emphasise the all-pervading substratum of all existence that is revealed by the Vedas and transforming from the mantras of the Vedas, the actions prescribed by the Vedas, the forces of nature, sun and clouds and rain, food and living beings. Although nature is seen as a force of action actually it is supported fully by the underlying energy of the Supreme Brahman. Actions though appearing to have a force of their own are only manifested through the instrument of matter in humans it is the physcial body. The Vedas as has been described earlier emanated from the imperishable Supreme Brahman, Lord Krishna. The words sarva-gatam means all-pervading or indestructible. This is indicative of the Supreme Brahman as well as the soul within every living entity. The soul is known to be indestructible and all pervading. Through the auspices of the soul the physical body through the manifestations of nature partakes of food and gains strength becoming fit for performing actions authorised by the Vedas. The word udbhavan meaning originates from is used to illustrate that this fitness comes from the source from which one manifests from. Even nature is only able to operate from the substratum through the utilisation of sun, rain, wind, fire etc. and by no other means. Therefore the all pervading and indestructible atma or soul utilises a physical body which is its substratum in the same way as the material nature to perform actions and that without a physical body performing the activities prescribed in the Vedas, then yagna or worship is not possible.
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Sloka 3.16 audio recital in Sanskrit     

एवं प्रवर्तितं चक्रं नानुवर्तयतीह यः |
अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ स जीवति ||३- १६||

evaM pravartita.n chakraM nAnuvartayatIha yaH |
aghAyurindriyArAmo moghaM pArtha sa jIvati || 3-16 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.16

Anvaya: evam–thus prescribed; pravartitam–established by the Vedas; cakram–cycle; na–does not; anuvartayati–adopt; iha–in this life; yah–one who; agha-ayuh–life full of sins; indriya-aramah–satisfied in sense gratification; mogham–useless; partha–O son of Prtha (Arjuna); sah–one who does so; jivati–lives.

Translation: My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Therefore as it is the Supreme Lord, Himself who originally emanated the eternal Vedas and set in motion the cycle of prescribed actions to allow living beings the opportunity to attain the highest benefit from yagna or worship. If human beings do not make the effort to perform and adhere to yagna then their whole human life is in vain. This is what Lord Krishna is conveying here. The Vedas are the actual words of the Supreme Lord, by understanding and following the Vedic scriptures one can begin to understand and follow the Supreme Lord. From the breath of the Supreme Lord comes the Vedas, from the Vedas the predilection of humans to perform actions, from yagna these actions are accomplished, from accomplishment comes rains, from rains food, from food human beings are born from semen and eggs and thus again the cycle begins again with the predelection of humans to perform actions. One who does not keep this covenant and follow this cycle of yagna which is revolving eternally in the material existence, set themselves apart from the spiritual reality and are living a sinful life daily from morning to night. For such persons rejoice solely in their senses and sense objects alone and not in actions performed in worshipping the one from whom they originated from, the Supreme Lord. Therefore the meaning is uselessly they live their lives in vain.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

For being the cause of vegetation growing clouds are known as parjanya or rain bringers . Actions are performed due to yagna or worship and all actions flow from and towards the Supreme as Lord Krishna is omniscient and omnipresent. Even though He is eternal He can be known by his aksara potency known as the Vedic scriptures. Yagna is performed by sound, sound vibration is an attribute of all creatures who in turn eat food that was produced by rains falling from clouds manifested by the power of the sun. This is the cycle of yagna that the Supreme Lord is eternally established in. This cycle was set in motion at the dawn of creation by the grandsire Brahma. Whoever does not maintain and perpetuate this cycle which is beneficial to all created beings becomes sinful and degraded and performs activities counter productive to the perseverance of all life and must suffer in the darkest regions of the hellish planets as described in Canto V of the Bhagavat Purana.

Now begins the summation.

For renunciants yagna or worship may be performed by the recitation and repetition of mantras. For those living as forest recluses the austerities endured are themselves the yagna. For householders the performance of all recommended activities as prescribes in the Vedic scriptures. For brahmacaris the study of the Vedas, celibacy, introspection and service to guru. Fearlessness, charity and the development of atma-tattva or knowledge of the eternal soul are applicable to all of the above. For forest dwellers charity is sharing of food being roots and fruits and wild vegetables to those in need. For the householder charity is donating wealth to worthy recipients in need. But all these actions should be extremely austere and frugal. In the Narada Purana the three activities known as yagna, charity and austerities are prescribed for everyone.

The words Brahman denoting the fundamental spiritual substratum pervading all existence and aksara meaning Vedas should be understood to be distinct from each other with the Vedas revealing knowledge of both. having a separate but connected function
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

From food all creatures procreate and from rain food is produced. The whole world is witness to this. As for the evidence that yagna or worship causes rainfall sastra or the Vedic scriptures give proof. In Manu Samhita III.76 we find that oblations properly offered into the sacred fire ascend upwards to the sun, and from the sun rain clouds are produced. Actions such as earning funds are accomplished by the physical body when actions utilise such wealth following the prescribed injunction of the Vedas then the result is yagna. The word Brahma here denotes the universal body as an aggregate of all material particles. The word aksara means indestructible or imperishable in the verse brahma-aksara refers to the eternal jiva- atma, the individual soul. It is the jiva-atma who monitors the body and gives it consciousness and impels it nourish itself through food and water, fortifying it to engage in the prescribed actions of the Vedas. Hence the physical body which serves as the medium for actions is said to manifest from the all prevasive universal body of the Brahman. Thus the physical body itself is the essential item which every votary of yagna must possess and is the indispensable prerequisite for the performance of yagna.

So from actions comes yagna, from yagna rain, from rainfall food and from food embodied beings. This cycle was set into motion by the Supreme Lord Krishna at the beginning of creation. This cycle is never ending and was designed to exist perpetually providing all necessities for the embodied beings allowing them to prosper and flourish, Whoever is born on this Earth whether they are performers of actions or contemplators of the ultimate truth, the Supreme Brahman; if they fail to adhere to and follow and adhere to this cycle leads a sinful life for the simple reason that they fail to even support and preserve their own embodied existence by sanctifying it with the daily food remnants eaten that was first offered in yagna.

The word agha-ayuh means full of sin, this can be either that one’s life is committed to making sins or that one is living a life perpetuated by sin or it can even mean both. In this way such a sinner becomes an indriyaramah or one who only seeks delights in the beguiling garden of the senses using their valuable human life only for the pursuit of pleasure, a slave under the control of sense delights. Therefore such a one never takes delight in the soul and is the antithesis of an atmaramah or one who delights in the garden of the atma or soul.

Food eaten that was not first sanctified by being consecrated in yagna or offering of worship beforehand ignites rajas or passions in one and incites tamas or darkness of intellect. A person in whom these dispositions are prominent becomes hostile to achieving an even rudimental spiritual illumination let alone atma-tattva or self-realisation of the soul. Such a hostile person only finds pleasure in pursuing pleasure to gratify their senses.

Blessed with the gift of a human body which is suitable for offering Divine worship in yagna and which therefore which must be nourished with sanctified food duly consecrated so ones actions fulfill there purpose. If one errs and fails to honour and respect this eternal cycle given in the Vedic injunctions, then all there hopes for spiritual realisation will not be fulfilled and all their efforts are destined to failure. There complete life was lived in vain.

So from this it can be understood that the necessity for the actions of yagna as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures are essential and indispensable for the different varnas or castes and asramas or stages of society. Only that person who has attained moksa or complete liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material nature is under no obligation to in any way whatsoever to perform any activity due to the fact that the achievement of atma-tattva self-realisation of the soul has already been attained.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

What is to be determined by this verse? What should be understood is that in the beginning of creation Lord Krishna Himself entered into each and every living entity as the imperishable atma or soul to monitor the evolution of all living beings and to accomplish the goals of the freewill exercised by every individual soul who previously had been merged within his internal potency. Thus by inspiring Brahma to project them into the material manifestation they were created into innumerable names and forms and expressions. The Brahmins were manifested from the head of the Supreme Brahman and thus they were able to perform actions these actions were performance of yagna or worship and then rains, food and living beings arose. All human beings have the right to perform spiritual activities according to qualification; but those who instead choose to shun this responsibility and disrespect all of creation which provides all necessities, by not performing yagna has verily disconnected themselves from the spiritual reality that the Supreme Lord Himself established for the benefit of all living beings. Thus day by day such a living entity is increasing their sins by being deluded into thinking they are independent and do not need to satisfy the chance guest, the ancestors, the demigods and the Supreme Brahman. Thus by daily feeding one’s body food which was not consecrated by being offered in yagna that unfortunate person human life is in vain. The purport is that even death is better than living for such a person as this.
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Sloka 3.17 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः |
आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ||३- १७||

yastvAtmaratireva syAdAtmatR^iptashcha mAnavaH |
Atmanyeva cha santuShTastasya kAryaM na vidyate || 3-17 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.17

Anvaya: yah–one who; tu–but; atma-ratih–takes pleasure; eva–certainly; syat–remains; atma-trptah–self-illuminated; ca–and; manavah–a man; atmani–in himself; eva–only; ca–and; santustah–perfectly satiated; tasya–his; karyam–duty; na–does not; vidyate–exist.

Translation: One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illuminated in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated–for him there is no duty.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Having prescribed the path of prescribed actions for attaining purity of mind for the ignorant now Lord Krishna now explains in this verse and the next that actions are not necessary for one who is spiritually developed in attma-tattva or knowledge of the eternal soul. This is because such a person has actually realised their eternality and are enraptured solely by their soul experiencing unlimited bliss in every moment completely free from all external desires for pleasure and enjoyment; such a one on this platform has no more duties to perform. This is the meaning to be understood.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The word indriyani-ramo in the previous verse indicates one who constantly seeks to revel in the garden of senses objects. It is not possible for such a person to achieve atma-tattva or soul realisation. In this verse trupti means satisfied by how things come on their own accord, and the word santustah means completely content. The delight which arises from being satisfied is complete contentment. In any other thing sufficient delight is derived but the Supreme delight is only found in connection with the Supreme Lord. One who has attained atma-tattva is no longer delighted by external affairs, such a person is self satisfied internally for only the one who finds self realisation within is contented. Nothing else will be the cause of joy for them and their satisfaction and contentment is based solely on their realisation of their eternal soul within and the glories of the Supreme Lord.

Thus for one who has attained atma-tattva the performance of the prescribed injunctions of the Vedic scriptures is not necessary or required. For one who is self realised is also self satisfied and there is no action that needs to be performed as a self realised being is completely transcendent to the dualities and all ego consciousness. But for one who is established in awareness of bodily consciousness it is mandatory that prescribed actions from the Vedic scriptures are duly performed. Such ordained actions are actually for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord and naturally what is to be expected in all circumstances. are purifying and very blissful. This has been explained in the Pancaratra.

Factually in all situations relating to the Supreme Lord eternal delight and rapture occurs. In all other cases where there is sufficiency of satisfaction alone there is no suggestion of eternal delight. Having spoken seperately atmany eva ca santustah meaning completely satisfied solely in the soul Lord Krishna emphasises the paramount importance of atma-tattva. Also it can be seen that performance of actions dictates there must be a concept of time such as when did it take place and how long did the action take etc. Thus only one who is aware of bodily consciousness is the necessity of performing prescribed actions needed.

In this world only human beings have the potential to achieve atma- tattva. Thus only mankind can attain this consciousness and become spiritually liberated. The word manava means mankind from the root word manu. Self satisfied means only satisfied in the Supreme Self. Thus being satisfied in atma-tattva or soul realisation one is also simultaneously satisfied in the Supreme Self residing within every living entity. Thus the statement one who completely delights in the Supreme Lord for that person there is no necessity for performing the prescribed actions of the Vedic scriptures. They have already achieved the goal of human existence.

Thus begins the summation.

Words used like satisfaction and contentment are used as synonyms to emphasise satisfaction and contentment in the Supreme Self within. One who receives the grace of the Supreme Lord Krishna is completely satisfied because of the grace of Lord Krishna and one who being completely satisfied by the grace of Lord Krishna is known to have attained moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. This has been given in the Agni Purana.

The word rati means delight and the word ananda means bliss. They are used to illustrate satisfaction and contentment respectively in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities. Priti or love is two-fold, love in friendship while performing actions or love in servitude while performing actions. This is given in the Shabda Nirnaya. The word santosha meaning satisfaction and the word trupti meaning contentment are used alternatively as apoorti or emphasising incompleteness.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In this way Lord Krishna has explained that those who possess endless desire for the enjoyment of sense objects must offer the food they eat in yagna or worship to purify themselves to to be able to perform prescribed Vedic activities according to one’s qualification for the optimal benefit to themselves and by which actions assist the efficacy of the world, universe and all of creation. Now Lord Krishna is describing that the person who having achieved atma-tattva or soul realisation and is freed from all material desires is faultless even by not performing prescribed Vedic actions. But the particle tu emphasises the huge difference between the person with desires who pursues sense enjoyments delighting in the five senses of touch, taste etc. and the opposite sex; and the person without desires who takes delight only in the bliss of their eternal soul and the Supreme Lord. For such a self realised soul who has already attained the goal of human existence no ordinances of the Vedic scripture are required by them.
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Sloka 3.18 audio recital in Sanskrit     

नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृतेनेह कश्चन |
न चास्य सर्वभूतेषु कश्चिदर्थव्यपाश्रयः ||३- १८||

naiva tasya kR^itenArtho nAkR^iteneha kashchana |
na chAsya sarvabhUteShu kashchidarthavyapAshrayaH || 3-18 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.18

Anvaya: na–never; eva–certainly; tasya–his; krtena–by discharge of duty; arthah–purpose; na–nor; akrtena–without discharge of duty; iha–in this world; kascana–whatever; na–never; ca–and; asya–of him; sarva-bhutesu–in all living beings; kascit–any; artha–purpose; vyapasrayah–taking shelter of.

Translation: A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the reason for the previous verse is being explained in this verse by Lord Krishna and that is that such a spiritually advanced person has already passed the test achieving atma-tattva or soul realisation which is the ultimate goal of human existence. So such a one being irrevocably anchored in spiritual consciousness without any worldly ego consciousness has no actions to perform and thus has no merits or demerits attaching themselves; for such a person has transcended all injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. Yet it is seen in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad I.IV.X that the demi-gods do not like that men attain divine knowledge. So it has been recorded that the demi-gods put obstacles on the path of moksa or liberation to block one’s success. So for preventing such obstacles the demi-gods should be worshipped by ritualistic activities. Anticipating some doubt Lord Krishna declares that a liberated being in atma-tattva or soul realisation has not to depend upon any living being from Brahma who was the creator of the material manifestation down to an inanimate microbe. Thus no need to perform any action and the demi-gods are powerless to affect and influence the failure of a liberated being because such a person in atma-tattva has already transcended the material manifestation. This is the meaning of text I.IV.X quoted above. The obstacles put in one’s path from the demi-gods are exclusively in relation to a human aspiring for moksa or liberation and such obstacles are only possible before atma- tattva is attained never after as after that person is above and beyond their jurisdiction.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

For one situated is atma-tattva or soul realisation if one were to chant the Vedic mantras while performing yagna or worship there would be no greater or similar happiness other than the delight one having communion internally with their eternal soul. Also for a person so transcendentally situated there are no demerits accruing to such a one for not performing the prescribed actions in the Vedic scriptures due to samadhi or being rapt in meditation on the soul within. During samadhi there would be no danger of incurring any demerits for any offense or merits for any benefits for any being. Only whatever benefit one receives from direct darshan or perception of the Supreme Lord Krishna within his heart will be obtained during samadhi of such a person. If by knowledge alone there would not be any diminution in merits then that would also be the case for Arjuna who was instructed to perform actions on the side of dharma or righteousness. For a person who has attained self-realisation and moksa or liberation and is in the state of samadhi meditating blissfully on the soul within. Such a person is considered by Vedic authorities to be doing a very great thing similar to performing a great action like saving the world from destruction. Consequently it is indicated by understanding of prarabda karma or acquired results of activities that the performance of great actions are due to the will of the Supreme Lord.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna has declared previously that the performer of yagna prospers and flourishes and the ommiter of yagna fails to prosper and flourish but now He confirms that in this world the knower of atma-tattva or soul realisation has no need for prosperity or necessity for performing any action precsribed in the Vedas; nor is there any fault or defect in the ommision of any such action. What is done or what is not done is all the same to the perfectly equiposed realised being because such a person is indifferent to everything except the eternal soul within which is the only medium to the Supreme Lord. Thus completely satisfied within such a person has no dependance on any living being including the demi-gods. The purport is that such a person depends on nothing from anyone because such a person has no desire for anything from any being.
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Sloka 3.19 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर |
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः ||३- १९||

tasmAdasaktaH satataM kAryaM karma samAchara |
asakto hyAcharankarma paramApnoti pUruShaH || 3-19 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.19

Anvaya: tasmat–therefore; asaktah–without attachment; satatam–constantly; karyam–as duty; karma–work; samacara–perform; asaktah–nonattached; hi–certainly; acaran–performing; karma–work; param–the Supreme; apnoti–achieves; purusah–a man.

Translation: Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Activities are unnecessary for one situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation; but all others must perform the prescribed injunctions of the Vedic scriptures according to qualification. This is compulsory. Furthermore Lord Krishna is stating that one should be unattached to the results but perform actions as duty requires. There are regular activities such as being vegetarian and fasting on Ekadasi and there are occasional activities like offerings to one’s ancestors once a year. But for all activities one must remain unattached and by doing so one attains spiritual insights which purifies the mind, leading to the highest attainment of moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Only one situated in the state of atma-tattva or soul realisation is not required to perform activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. So Lord Krishna is indicating to Arjuna that since he is not established in this state he should perform actions as a matter of duty.

Now begins the summation.

For all those who have not achieved atma-tattva and are not situated in moksa or liberation, the performance of prescribed actions of the Vedic scriptures is mandatory according to qualification. Therefore the need for desireless, unattached actions is necessary. For those who are attached performance of actions exclusively to please the Supreme Lord are the best. Arjuna had not attained moksa at that time; but he and his brothers the Pandava’s were certainly well endowed in wisdom being knowledgeable of the path to atma-tattva and were dedicated to pleasing the Supreme Lord and following all the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. The differences in consciousness between the righteous Pandavas and the liberated ones was not that big; but the Pandavas still needed to perform actions while the liberated ones had no actions to perform.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The person who is neither in need of karma yoga the path of action or jnana yoga the path of cultivating spiritual knowledge is naturally one who is situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation. To such a person the atma or soul and the Supreme Lord are the only objects of attention and one is completely content within by them. No satisfaction that is felt in any other situation such as eating delicious foods or drinking nectarian beverages can compare with the satisfaction that the atma gives. Neither beautiful scents, nor beautiful music nor the experience of beautiful panorama’s can compare either with the bliss of the atma. To that person whose focus, whose attention, whose inspiration, whose support, whose everything is emanating from the atma. What need is there to perform prescribed Vedic activities to attain atma-tattva? Such a person is already situated in atma-tattva and has attained moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. So such a person has no need to perform prescribed Vedic activities. Both karma yoga and jnana yoga are paths for those whose minds need to be diverted and directed from the material illusion to the spiritual reality. But once one who has achieved atma-tattva there is no need to resort to any external assistance any longer. Any action such a one performs is not bound to the material nature as cause and effect due to the reality that such a person is always performing every action while in blissful contemplation and meditation on the wonders of the atma. Performing actions in this state is easy and bereft of any danger as in the case of jnana yoga furthermore sets a good example for the welfare of the world following the path of the Supreme Spirit in all beings. In this verse the word karyam means duty bound and the word asaktah means unattached. So one should perform prescribed Vedic actions in karma yoga as a matter of duty without attachment to the results until atma-tattva is achieved. In this way karma yoga is performed without ego centred conceptions of the self as the doer

Because karma yoga is recommended even to those in jnana yoga great Maharishi’s and rulers of great wisdom such as King Janaka also achieved atma-tattva and attained moksa solely by karma yoga performing actions following the prescribed injunctions of the Vedas. This illustrates that the aspirant for moksa who is not qualified to tread the path of jnana yoga can still achieve the highest attainment through karma yoga. Furthermore it has also been shown that there are some advantages in performing prescribed Vedic activities in karma yoga even for one qualified to tread the path of jnana yoga. In the next verse another aspect of karma yoga will be shown as the inevitable duty of a specifically distinguished and qualified class of people in society.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

A person who is interested in attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation must perform activities without desire unattached to the results. The reason being that one without desires has their mind focused on the Supreme Lord and such direction leads to spiritual knowledge. So Lord Krishna is emphasising this point that while performing prescribed Vedic actions in this way without attachment, with the consciousness directed towards the Supreme Lord, naturally purity of mind developes and then spiritual knowledge after which the highest moksa or liberation from the material existence is attained
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Sloka 3.20 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः |
लोकसंग्रहमेवापि सम्पश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि ||३- २०||

karmaNaiva hi sa.nsiddhimAsthitA janakAdayaH |
lokasa.ngrahamevApi sampashyankartumarhasi || 3-20 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.20

Anvaya: karmana–by work; eva–even; hi–certainly; samsiddhim–perfection; asthitah–situated; janaka-adayah–Janaka and other kings; loka-sangraham–educating the people in general; eva–also; api–for the sake of; sampasyan–by considering; kartum–to act; arhasi–deserve.

Translation: Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna follows the approved adage of citing previous historical examples such as King Janaka the father of Sita who was Rama’s wife. King Janaka by prescribed Vedic activities purified his mind and consciousness and achieved perfection; but after becoming situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation still King Janaka performed prescribed Vedic activities for the purification of the world and felt bliss. So one should not think that after realisation it is not worthy to purify others for the welfare of all created beings as it is still beneficial. Also people seeing such a great king as Janaka performing sacred actions also became inspired to follow his example. To the contrary those wallowing in material nature in the mode of ignorance fail to perform Vedic actions are ruined in this life and the next..
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

For further emphasis to the previous verse Lord Krishna now gives historical references of men of actions who attained atma-tattva or soul realisation while performing actions. It also infers that by performing prescribed actions of the Vedic scriptures in an unattached manner one gains wisdom. It should not be assumed that actions alone are sufficient without possessing wisdom. King Janaka was reknown throughout Bharata now known as India as a king of great wisdom. He and others were very well established in spiritual intelligence.

Even in other instances there exists no disparity for the path of atma- tattva. Wherever it has been stated that for liberation visits to sacred rivers and holy tirthas or by leaving one’ body in Prayag or by taking bath at Kuruksetra during the solar eclipse. When these places are praised the liberation referred to is solely for the absolution of one’s sins and demerits only. Because whenever any of these famous places are mentioned then atma-tattva must be mentioned as well because it is the primary basis for liberation. Without atma-tattva the state of moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death is not possible. Liberation in places like Prayag is recommended because a holy place can greatly assist one in achieving the ultimate attainment; but still the foundation of spiritual wisdom is essential. So the statements eulogising the Ganges and other holy rivers and places are not in any way contradictory to the reality required of achieving atma-tattva for the attainment of moksa. This information has also been confirmed by Vedavyasa in the Narada Purana where it is written that visits to sacred rivers and holy places for the performance of rituals is for the simple minded people and also to attract those who are bewildered; but liberation is possible only by realising the Supreme Lord as Paramatma the supersoul within and not otherwise, there is no other path. Therefore atma-tattva or soul realisation is the only path to moksa and there is no other way possible.

Now begins the summation.

King Janaka and other great men renowned for their wisdom performed countless prescribed Vedic activities according to their status in society yet still reached perfection in atma-tattva and attained moksa in their lives. Even after attaining moksa they performed Vedic activities for the benefit and welfare of the world and to inspire others to also perform prescribed Vedic actions for the balance and maintenance of the world. For one who is not a person of wisdom such activities performed leads to purification and for one who is a person of wisdom such activities lead to the bliss of pleasing the Supreme Lord and the fulfilment of the bliss of moksa.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If the counterpoint is posed to the previous verse that desireless unattachment should be performed for the purity of the mind and that when spiritual knowledge arises one may abandon prescribed Vedic activities; because otherwise there will be no chance for liberation to one always engaged in actions as stated in the Mundakaya Upanisad I.II.XII: One will be bound by the very actions they perform.

In anticipation of such a counterpoint Lord Krishna confirms the authority of previous examples. By referring to King Janaka and by using in the instrumental case the words karmana eva meaning solely by performing actions as given in Panini I:II:LXV it clearly indicates that it is through actions and not by abandoning actions that King Janaka and others like Asvapati achieved the highest goal of moksa or liberation. So one who is knowledgeable of these things must perform their duties to achieve the goal.

If another counterpoint is posed that a person devoted to spiritual knowledge duly purifies their mind and then attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation is free from rebirth and is liberated; so what is the necessity to perform further prescribed Vedic injunctions. Lord Krishna anticipating this point replies that one should consider the welfare of the people in general and perform prescribed actions to protect and inspire them as well as for the maintenance of world order and the preservation of creation. That is why one should still perform prescribed Vedic activities.
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Sloka 3.21 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः |
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ||३- २१||

yadyadAcharati shreShThastattadevetaro janaH |
sa yatpramANaM kurute lokastadanuvartate || 3-21 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.21

Anvaya: yat–whatever; yat–and whichever; acarati–does he act; sresthah–a respectable leader; tat–that; tat–and that alone; eva–certainly; itarah–common; janah–person; sah–he; yat–whichever; pramanam–evidence; kurute–does perform; lokah–all the world; tat–that; anuvartate–follow in the footsteps.

Translation: Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

How the performance of prescribed Vedic actions acts as an incentive to the masses is what Lord Krishna is emphasising here. That line of reasoning that great personalities accept as authoritative people will also follow.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The great personalities naturally set the example for the common man to follow in the manner in which they speak and in the way in which they act. This is Lord Krishna’s meaning.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

So understanding that the whole Earth benefits from the performance of prescribed Vedic activities, one should act altruistically not for themselves but for the welfare of the world. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying. The word sresthah means great personality expert in the conclusions of the Vedas. Whatever actions such a great person performs others will try to follow. It may be that a certain activity should be performed on a special day. The common people will wait to see how a great person takes the initiative on such an action and then they will follow suit. Hence the great personalities should always act in an exemplary manner to set the standard for the world. In this way they inspire everyone to perform prescribed Vedic actions according to the qualification of one’s varna or caste in life and one’s asrama or stage in life. If one fails to do this by neglect or omission one commits sin by omitting to help benefit the welfare of the world by their example and the consequence will be one will fall down from the path they achieved after many lifetimes.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

How Lord Krishna performing actions helps the maintenance of the world is explained here. Whatever actions a great personality performs is accepted by the common people as the path to follow due to their looking up to people in positions of leadership, royalty and fame etc. Why should they think this way when it is a known fact that the Vedic scriptures are the authority on all aspects of life? They think this way because they do not rely on the scriptures they depend upon the actions ot the visibly prominent in society to base their judhements. So whatever a prominent member of society postualtes whether it is Vedic or concocted the ignorant not being knowlegeable will undoubtedly follow correct or not.
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Sloka 3.22 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन |
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि ||३- २२||

na me pArthAsti kartavyaM triShu lokeShu ki~nchana |
nAnavAptamavAptavyaM varta eva cha karmaNi || 3-22 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.22

Anvaya: na–not; me–Mine; partha–O son of Prtha; asti–there is; kartavyam–any prescribed duty; trisu–in the three; lokesu–planetary systems; kincana–anything; na–no; anavaptam–in want; avaptavyam–to be gained; varte–engaged; eva–certainly; ca–also; karmani–in one’s prescribed duty.

Translation: O son of Prtha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything–and yet I am engaged in work.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In this regard Lord Krishna is using Himself as an example citing that fact that as the creator of all the worlds He has nothing to gain as He controls everything and yet He still performs His transcendental pastimes completely in line with the Vedic scriptures to benefit the welfare of all beings and the world.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna is clarifying His position by stating that there is no performance of any prescribed Vedic action required of Him; yet and still He performs actions for the benefit of the world. So in the same way Arjuna should perform prescribed actions for maintaining world order and offering the results of the actions to the Supreme Lord. This has been revealed in the Krishna Samhita. By sustenance, by maintenance and by destruction the Supreme Lord has nothing to gain. Without any objective whatsoever the Supreme Lord Krishna according to His creative impulse performs all actions perpetually throughout all of creation. Just as a person who is extremely happy may spontaneously sing and dance to express their special pleasure in the same way the Supreme Lord performs all actions to express His consciousness which is perpetually in a state of Supreme Bliss.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is declaring that in all the three worlds if He by His Supreme Will were to be present in the guise of a human or demi-god or whatever He desired there would of course be no activity He would be bound to perform as He is the maintainer of all the worlds and the Supreme Lord all prescribed activities in the Vedic scriptures are for His pleasure and satisfaction solely. Yet even when he appears in His original two armed form or in any of His scriptural authorised incarnations, Lord Krishna still applies Himself in all kinds of actions for the ultimate benefit and welfare for all the worlds.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna is clarifying that He is not only giving this instruction but that He follows the performance of prescribed Vedic activities as well for the welfare of the world. Although He is the Supreme Lord of all with no need to attain what He already possesses still Lord Krishna performs Vedic activities in His form or the form of any of His authorised incarnations to set the example and so that all the worlds will beneftit.
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Sloka 3.23 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ||३- २३||

yadi hyahaM na varteya.n jAtu karmaNyatandritaH |
mama vartmAnuvartante manuShyAH pArtha sarvashaH || 3-23 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.23

Anvaya: yadi–if; hi–certainly; aham–I; na–do not; varteyam–thus engage; jatu–ever; karmani–in the performance of prescribed duties; atandritah–with great care; mama–My; vartma–path; anuvartante–would follow; manusyah–all men; partha–O son of Prtha; sarvasah–in all respects.

Translation: For, if I did not engage in work, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

This verse continues the theme of the previous verse that if Lord Krishna did not perform prescribed Vedic actions with vigilance and attention when the need arose then lesser great personalities would follow His example and it would bring ruin to the world.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna appeared as the son of King Vasudeva from the Vrishni dynasty, the foremost of the righteous. If Lord Krishna was to fail to perform prescribed Vedic activities then so many lesser personalities would follow in His footsteps thinking that is the standard. Lord Krishna is stating that He would be at fault for leading them falsely in the wrong way.
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Sloka 3.24 audio recital in Sanskrit     

उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका न कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम् |
सङ्करस्य च कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः ||३- २४||

utsIdeyurime lokA na kuryA.n karma chedaham.h |
saN^karasya cha kartA syAmupahanyAmimAH prajAH || 3-24 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.24

Anvaya: utsideyuh–put into ruin; ime–all these; lokah–worlds; na–do not; kuryam–perform; karma–prescribed duties; cet–if; aham–I; sankarasya–of unwanted population; ca–and; karta–creator; syam–shall be; upahanyam–destroy; imah–all these; prajah–living entities.

Translation: If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

What would happen then? Lord Krishna states that the world would degenerate and decay due to the absence of prescribed Vedic activities and that He would be the cause of the pollution of traditional values of the masses and the destruction of society.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

If Lord Krishna of infallible will, the Supreme Lord of all, and in whose control the entire phenomenal display of the total material creation is created, maintained and preserved by His inconceivable potency; if He were not to conduct Himself seriously and omit to perform prescribed Vedic activities for the benefit of all the worlds then others seeing Lord Krishna’s indifference would also conduct themselves indifferently following His example.

When Lord Krishna took birth, seemingly as a human being, as the son of the great righteous King Vasudeva, he conducted Himself in all ways and manners as appropriate for his position in society as a prince of the royal ksatriya or warrior class. If Lord Krishna acted otherwise all mankind would begin to imitate Him thinking that such actions were virtuous, the worthy actions, of a worthy son from a worthy father, the righteous King Vasudeva. In this way Lord Krishna is explaining that if He failed to perform Vedic activities mankind following His example would be led in a negative way into a hellish perdition unable to purify themselves enough so they could achieve atma-tattva or soul realisation. This would be considered as a very serious offence and Lord Krishna would be at fault. By not setting the example of what is righteous and by not following the traditions and customs established by performing the activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures then all humanity would deviate from righteousness and become totally lost. If Lord Krishna failed to respect the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures then all the world would take that to be the standard of righteousness and the final verdict. There would soon ensue the mixing of classes and a mixture of moral and immoral standards in the class of pure and righteous people, leading to the complete degradation of society. Lord Krishna is stating that if He failed to follow and perform the Vedic injunctions then it would be the cause of the destruction of society. This is the purport. Also if Arjuna who was world famous for never having been defeated in battle and who was the brother of King Yudhisthira famed for his righteousness; if Arjuna refused to fight and protect dharma or righteousness then many other worthy and noble ksatriya’s who were protectors of dharma might folow his example and also renounce their prescribed duties and refuse to protect righteousness then this would bring destruction to the world balance and ruination to the welfare of the people. Thus it can be understood that for specially qualified people prescribed Vedic activities must be performed for the benefit of the entire human race and the welfare of the world.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It is proper that people who follow the example of Lord Krishna are correct in their actions as He is omniscient and the creator of all. But because He is the Lord of all what would be wrong if He was not to engage Himself in actions. Explaining this Lord Krishna uses the words ime lokah utsideyuh meaning the inhabitants of all the worlds will be destroyed. If Lord Krishna, the Supreme Lord and foremost on the path in knowledge of yoga or the uniting of the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness; if He would refrain from performing prescribed Vedic activities, people would follow His example and refrain from performing such actions also and they would deviate from their duty and deviate from dharma or righteousness. Then Lord Krishna would be to blame as by the example of renouncing actions is not inspiring and beneficial for the worlds. When the duties of society are ommitted there is confusion in society and such confusion leads to a lax in moral standards resulting in the mixture of different castes and unwanted children. The purport is that great harm would be caused to the people and socitey if Lord Krishna were to refrain from actions and so He always performs responsible actions for the welfare and benefit of the world.
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Sloka 3.25 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत |
कुर्याद्विद्वांस्तथासक्तश्चिकीर्षुर्लोकसंग्रहम् ||३- २५||

saktAH karmaNyavidvA.nso yathA kurvanti bhArata |
kuryAdvidvA.nstathAsaktashchikIrShurlokasa.ngraham.h || 3-25 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.25

Anvaya: saktah–being attached; karmani–prescribed duties; avidvamsah–the ignorant; yatha–as much as; kurvanti–do it; bharata–O descendant of Bharata; kuryat–must do; vidvan–the learned; tatha–thus; asaktah–without attachment; cikirsuh–desiring to; loka-sangraham–leading the people in general.

Translation: As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In this verse the topic of the previous two verse is being concluded with Lord Krishna confirming that those great souls who have attained atma- tatva or soul realisation should perform prescribed Vedic actions for the benefit of the world out of compassion. As the ignorant perform actions being attached to the rewards contrarily one situated in atma-tattva should unattached perform Vedic activities solely for the welfare of the world.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

So one established as a person of spiritual wisdom should also perform prescribed Vedic actions without attachment in order to guide the masses down the path of virtue to redemption. Those devoid of knowledge of the Upanisads work with attachment engrossed totally in their actions. But the person of spiritual wisdom being able to discriminate between the atma or soul and the physical body is not perplexed and should act in an exemplary manner that inspires the public to perform prescribed Vedic actions as a matter of duty without attachment for the good of society. This what Lord Krishna means in this verse.
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Sloka 3.26 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम् |
जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान्युक्तः समाचरन् ||३- २६||

na buddhibheda.n janayedaGYAnA.n karmasaN^ginAm.h |
joShayetsarvakarmANi vidvAnyuktaH samAcharan.h || 3-26 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.26

Anvaya: na–do not; buddhi-bhedam–disrupt the intelligence; janayet–do; ajnanam–of the foolish; karma-sanginam–attached to fruitive work; josayet–dovetailed; sarva–all; karmani–work; vidvan–learned; yuktah–all engaged; samacaran–practicing.

Translation: Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action, they should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It may be put forth that if one feels compassion for the ignorant one should give them knowledge of atma-tattva or soul realisation which is the highest. Lord Krishna neutralises this argument by stating na vicalayet tan meaning on should not try to impart knowledge to them. The ignorant should not be influenced to refrain from performing their duties by superior instructions about the atma or soul that they are not qualified to understand. The spiritually wise in Vedic knowledge should inspire the ignorant to perform their duties with attentiveness and care. If the minds of the ignorant become disturbed and unsettled then they may lose faith in working altogether and with actions stopped and knowledge not rising the ignorant would lose out in both ways.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word avidvamsah means ignorant, the ignorance referred to is all those who are not knowledgeable of atma-tattva or soul realisation. Those who have desires and are attached to performing actions to obtain the fruits of such desires are unable to approach the jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Others being more sober are only fit to follow karma yoga the path of prescribed Vedic actions as their means to achieve atma- tattva. Let the wise act and behave like one performing karma yoga performing prescribed Vedic actions even if they have no interest in the results of their actions and are qualified for jnana yoga and even if they have knowledge of atma-tattva. For such a person is naturally great and is looked up to by all the world and should always conduct themselves in an exemplary manner by performing prescribed Vedic activities according to qualification. By this mankind will be cognisant of what is proper and improper in society. Actions of this nature can only be accomplished by one performing karma yoga.

The ignorant are conditioned to desires of fruitive activities being fully attached to gaining results and are incapable of adopting the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. A person of wisdom should not unhinge the minds and disturb the equilibrium of ordinary people pursuing their dreams of material acquisitions in karma yoga by preaching the superior path of jnana yoga which they are incapable of following. What a person of wisdom must do is set an example by their actions and perform prescribed Vedic activities in karma yoga showing the ignorant by their example that without desire and being unattached to the results it is sufficient to achieve atma-tattva. By setting the example in this manner the great souls inspires the whole society to perform righteous activities so that eventually their minds will be come purified of all dross and they will become competent to advance in spiritual life and attain atma-tattva. The difference between how a person of wisdom performs karma yoga and how the ignorant acts in karma yoga and the reason why will be explained in the next verse.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

As a person who falls in the mud is stained by the mud in the same way an ignorant person attached to the rewards of their actions is stained with having to receive negative reactions. Lord Krishna is stating that a person of Vedic spiritual wisdom should impart knowledge to them but in a simplified way knowing that the ignorant are lacking in purity of mind and are not qualified to perform prescribed Vedic activities one of spiritual wisdom should not disturb their equilibrium and confuse them with superior teachings as this will only acerbate their self esteem. The spiritually wise should merely encourage the ignorant to continuously perform their daily activities as a matter of duty without attachment and also perform occasional duties on special occasions in the same spirit as well.
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Sloka 3.27 audio recital in Sanskrit     

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः |
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ||३- २७||

prakR^iteH kriyamANAni guNaiH karmANi sarvashaH |
ahaN^kAravimUDhAtmA kartAhamiti manyate || 3-27 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.27

Anvaya: prakrteh–of material nature; kriyamanani–all being done; gunaih–by the modes; karmani–activities; sarvasah–all kinds of; ahankara-vimudha–bewildered by false ego; atma–the spirit soul; karta–doer; aham–I; iti–thus; manyate–thinks.

Translation: The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

An argument may be put forth that if the person situated in knowledge of the Vedas also has to perform actions then what is the difference between the ignorant and the wise? Lord Krishna apprehending such a doubt explains the difference between the two in this verse and the next. All actions are impelled by prakriti or material nature through the gunas being the three modes of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience and these are experienced by the mind when the senses make contact with sense objects. Thus the ignorant person believes that they are the doer of the actions because the false ego has accepted the physical body as the self and deluded by this egoism has superimposed the senses over the self in illusion.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The difference between the actions of a person of wisdom and those who are ignorant is explained now. The person of wisdom recognises that the whole material existence is operating under the auspices of the three gunas or the modes of material nature being goodness, passion and nescience. From gunas comes the word gunataih which indicates one who is influenced by their senses. This is the symptom of one who is in ignorance is that they are controlled by their senses. The sense are on a lower platform then prakriti or material nature and are influenced by the three gunas. The one who is in ignorance is dominated by the senses assuming that they are doer and cause of their actions and thus stricken with false ego they perform all actions with desires and attachment. That person of wisdom recognises that all actions are but the result of the interaction of the three gunas and material nature and remaining free of desires and attachment performs all actions as a matter of duty. This is what Lord Krishna conveys here.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

A question may be raised that the spiritually wise may sometimes perform actions that are also performed by the ignorant then what is the difference? Lord Krishna clarifies this point with the word prakriteh meaning the material nature which is impelling actions through the medium of the three gunas being the modes of prakriti known as sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience. One who is perplexed by false ego believes that they are the physical body and that the physical body is the doer of all their actions.

On the scriptural authority of the Vedas the atma or soul is the doer but this is fully experienced only when moksa or liberation from material existence is attained. The impressions of the atma filter through the medium of the physical body in proportion to the purity of the mind. In Brahma Sutra II.III.XXXIII we see in the verse that the atma is the doer. Yet because the knowledge of a person in ignorance is limited the filtering process is negligible and they perceive their physical body as the doer of all their actions when in actuality all actions are performed by the interaction of material nature, the three gunas and the false ego. Because of this the ignorant whose minds are completely bewildered by false ego believe falsely that they are their bodies and that they are the doer of their actions.
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Sloka 3.28 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः |
गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा न सज्जते ||३- २८||

tattvavittu mahAbAho guNakarmavibhAgayoH |
guNA guNeShu vartanta iti matvA na sajjate || 3-28 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.28

Anvaya: tattva-vit–the knower of the Absolute Truth; tu–but; maha-baho–O mighty-armed one; guna-karma–works under material influence; vibhagayoh–differences; gunah–senses; gunesu–in sense gratification; vartante–being engaged; iti–thus; matva–thinking; na–never; sajjate–becomes attached.

Translation: One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is explaining that the person situated in Vedic wisdom knows that the atma or soul is not the same as the physical body and the senses. Such a person knows the distinction between the two and realises the actions performed are not of the atma and knowing they are only the temporary manifestation of prakriti or material nature, does not become attached to the actions or there results. Such a person comprehends that the senses reside in the mind and are transferred to the sense objects by thought impulses and are connected to the atma.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Knowing the difference between prakriti or material nature and the gunas being the modes of goodness, passion and nescience and their influence of the senses, Lord Krishna declares is a tattva-vit or a person of Vedic knowledge. The word gunesu is referring to the sense objects and their attributes such as form. The attributes that arise from the impulses of the atma or soul are known as primary and they are without reactions and do not bind one to samsara the cycle of birth and death.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

In respect of the three gunas or modes of material nature being sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. That person who is blinded by false ego and bewildered by material nature believes they themselves are the root cause and sole determining factor of all actions they engage in. In the previous verse the word ahankara means bewildered by ego identification or misidentifying the body to be the atma or soul. Such a person is situated in nescience thinking that the interactions of the three gunas in the physical body are the actions of the atma, such a one foolishly considers that they are the doer of their actions. But the tattva- vit or knower of the truth is competent in discerning in all activities the properties and influences of the three gunas as they manifest themselves through one’s actions. Whoever becomes proficient in discerning the manifestation of the three gunas in all actions will not commit the error of thinking that they through their body are the doer.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

That person of Vedic spiritual wisdom who knows the exact distinction between prakriti or material nature and the gunsa or the modes of goodness, passion and nescience; along with there agents the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching does not get attached to them understanding that one ever one thinks, speaks or does is but a modification of prakriti projected through the gunas and such a person is not beguiled into thinking that they are the doer of their actions. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying.
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Sloka 3.29 audio recital in Sanskrit     

प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढाः सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु |
तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत् ||३- २९||

prakR^iterguNasammUDhAH sajjante guNakarmasu |
tAnakR^itsnavido mandAnkR^itsnavinna vichAlayet.h || 3-29 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.29

Anvaya: prakrteh–impelled by the material modes; guna-sammudhah–befooled by material identification; sajjante–become engaged; guna-karmasu–in material activities; tan–all those; akrtsna-vidah–persons with a poor fund of knowledge; mandan–lazy to understand self-realization; krtsna-vit–one who is in factual knowledge; na–may not; vicalayet–try to agitate.

Translation: Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

When Lord Krishna states that one should not disturb the minds, He is referring to the ignorant, all those who are still deluded by prakriti or the material nature and the three gunas or the modes of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience. One who is situated in the wisdom of Vedic knowledge should not unbalance the equilibrium of the ignorant who although attached to the results of actions are at least doing their daily duties.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The attributes of nature are those that are abducted by the senses thus delusion arises and the conception of false ego enjoying the sense objects impels a reaction. Lord Krishna uses the word guna-karmasu means the reactions from actions influenced by the modes of goodness, passion and nescience. Auditory and visual sense objects capture the attention of the senses being the ear and eye respectively and bring like or dislike to the mind. It should be understood that the impulses that come from the sense objects are secondary attributes and they have reactions and bind one to samsara the cycle of birth and death.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The misinformed make attempts for atma-tattva or soul realisation but due to their ignorance of the true nature of the atma or soul and because of their acute identification with the physical body and the senses they are obstructed in their attempts by the influences of the three gunas being the mode of goodness, passion and nescience. Such a person is quickly brought under the control of the gunas by their association with sense objects and cannot divert these natural tendencies towards atma-tattva. Thus they are not qualified for jnana yoga or the cultivation of knowledge but are only competent for karma yoga or performing prescribed Vedic activities.

The person situated in Vedic wisdom in jnana yoga after observing the meager capacities of the ignorant masses with their sluggish understanding should not attempt to convert them to jnana yoga from their easy to perform path of karma yoga. This is because it would be dangerous for the ignorant to give up the path of karma yoga to follow the path of jnana yoga when they are in no way qualified to do so. Leaving the path of karma yoga and unable to follow the path of jnana yoga they would having nothing and be at a loss in their lives. The conclusion is that one situated in Vedic wisdom and is a prominent leading figure in society should also perform prescribed Vedic activities in karma yoga even though such a person is a knower of atma-tattva. By acting in this way and performing Vedic activities without attachment lesser men will follow his example and perform in a like manner.

It has been shown earlier in this chapter that even for jnana yogis the path of karma yoga is preferable, hence persons of Vedic wisdom who are leaders in society should also tread the path of karma yoga as beacons of light for the masses in the world. The method of performing karma yoga by understanding that the atma is distinct from the physical body and thus ascribing the activities of the senses to be from the influences of the gunas has been thoroughly described.

One should contemplate and reflect on the atma and its essential nature which is purely spiritual. The atma performs no material activity but has association with actions through the gunas due to the conjunction with prakriti. Thus in association with prakriti there is doer ship with the atma and without association there is none. The next verse will explain the relationship between the senses and the gunas in regards to the Supreme Lord who is omniscient and omnipresent. Paramatma who is the Supreme Soul of all living entities evidenced by the fact that every individual soul constitutes His eternal, transcendental, spiritual body and are His eternal parts and parcels.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In this way after presenting the distictions between one who is spiritually wise in Vedic knowledge and those who are acting in ignorance; Lord Krishna gives the sober caution not to unsettle the minds of the ignorant, for they being completely infatuated by prakriti or material nature are totally attached to all their actions thinking always that they are performing a particular action for the express purpose of being able to enjoy a particular delight. They are unable to perform actions as a matter of duty without desiring rewards. So the spiritually wise should not deviate the ignorant from their duties even if these duties are completely fruitive without any spiritual benefit because at least they are performing actions and administering superior knowledge to them may cause them to refrain from their duties altogether. Eventually in the course of their lifetime there will be a glimmer of comprehension of the utter futility for attachment for such actions.
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Sloka 3.30 audio recital in Sanskrit     

मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा |
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ||३- ३०||

mayi sarvANi karmANi sa.nnyasyAdhyAtmachetasA |
nirAshIrnirmamo bhUtvA yudhyasva vigatajvaraH || 3-30 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.30

Anvaya: mayi–unto Me; sarvani–all sorts of; karmani–activities; sannyasya–giving up completely; adhyatma–with full knowledge of the self; cetasa–consciousness; nirasih–without desire for profit; nirmamah–without ownership; bhutva–so being; yudhyasva–fight; vigata-jvarah–without being lethargic.

Translation: Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

So it has been shown that even those in jnana yoga or the cultivating of spiritual knowledge should perform prescribed Vedic activities. But as for Arjuna who was not situated in jnana yoga and had not achieved atma-tattva or soul realisation; the only alternative for him was to perform actions in karma yoga or activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures according to qualification. The word sannyasa means renounce. What is to be renounced? Lord Krishna is explaining to Arjuna to renounce all actions for himself and instead to dedicate all his actions as yagna or worship as an offering to the Supreme Lord. One should try to be guided by the Lord in every action they perform. One should think that they are being guided by the Supreme Lord at all times. Relinquishing both desire and attachment and thereby being free from any ego conceptions of I-ness or my-ness and any conceptions of ownership; one should cheerfully perform all actions for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. In this way Lord Krishna is instructing Arjuna to free himself from delusion and to fight banishing all lamentation.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The words adhytma-cetasa means in one’s mind offer all actions within to paramatma or the supersoul of the Supreme Being. Here Lord Krishna is giving the conclusion by instructing that one should dedicate all actions to Him alone eradicating all deluded concepts that one is the doer of any actions. Sannyasya means renouncing all activities that are not dedicated to the Supreme Being. The word nirmamah means without any ego sense of attachment. Those situated in the spiritual wisdom of the Vedas dedicate all their actions as well as their thoughts to paramatma within, without attachment.

Now begins the summation.

The jivas or the subatomic living entity existing as consciousness within every living being is certainly not the doer of any action. The Supreme Lord Krishna through the medium of prakriti or material nature is the doer. Yagna or worship adoring Him is verily the essence of all actions. Even the yagna offered to Him is only possible His mercy and grace alone and not otherwise. Devotion to the Supreme Lord is its own reward and bequeaths His mercy and grace perpetually. Performance of yagna to the Supreme Lord Krishna is exclusively the ordained activity to be performed for all human beings, as well as to any of His authorised incarnations such as Rama, Vishnu or Narasimhadeva as revealed in the Vedic scriptures. Only the Supreme Lord alone is an independent performer of actions. All beings are impelled by Him but He is impelled by nothing. Dependence upon Him and Him alone is the ordained action. The actions of the jivas are fraught with modifications due to being constantly influenced by the gunas known as the modes of goodness, passion and nescience. It is stated in the Brahma Tarka that one should always understand the performance and non-performance of actions as differentiated between the Supreme Lord, the jiva and prakriti. In the Shabda Nirnaya prakriti or material nature is to be understood in some instances as the jivas inclination, in other instances as the gunas and yet in special cases because of His creation potency the Supreme Lord Himself can be so understood. By inclination the jiva is three fold consisting of the best, the worst and the intermediate. The best are the devas or demi-gods, the worst are the asuras or demons and the humans are intermediate. There will never be any change in the disposition or modification in the inclinations of any of the three. The devas will always act noble and godly, the demons will always act ignoble and ungodly and humans will always show qualities vacillating between both. Some humans due to receiving spiritual association will exhibit the noble qualities of the devas and other humans receiving degraded influences will exhibit the ignoble qualities of the asuras.

The jivas who are devas are qualified for moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death, the jivas who are intermediates are qualified for primordial life and the jivas who are asuras are only qualified for eternal darkness. The redemption of each is achieved only by each following there positive inclination. In the absence of a positive inclination the path of the three continues endlessly. Because there is eternal continuity in our primordial world by the will of Lord Krishna the cycle is endless. The knowledge of the asuras who are degraded is always distorted. The knowledge of the mortal human intermediates is mixed, influenced by the three gunas. The knowledge of the essential principles and conclusions of the Vedic scriptures and devotion for Lord Krishna is reserved for the demi-gods and the higher order of human beings such as Vaisnava’s and brahmana’s and liberated yogis.

All jivas being subservient to the Supreme Being each perform activities according to their natural attributes. Paramatma or the supersoul within monitors the actions performed by every jiva according to each’s natural inclination. The deluded believe that they are the cause and sole performer of all their actions; but those situated in spiritual Vedic wisdom are aware that the senses are energised by the will of the Supreme Being and interact with the three gunas within the prakriti totally dependent upon Him. These jivas realising they have no independent actions exceedingly please the Supreme Being by there devotion.

The deluded jivas by the influence of their own attributes consider themselves to be knowledgeable and independent from the Supreme Being. The deluded do not consider that their actions or attributes are dependent on anything except themselves. Being unqualified by their ignorance they never become illuminated with the light of wisdom. In the Prakasa Samhita it is stated : That the deluded of impure minds can never conceive the truth of the ultimate reality and attain perception of the Supreme Being residing within. The deluded possibly could be convinced about it in their minds with strong arguments founded in logic; but never in their hearts so deluded by maya or illusion are they.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Dedicate thy mind and all activities to the Supreme Being in the heart represented by the eternal atma or soul within all living beings. The word nirasih means desireless. Being free from desires and free from hankering for the rewards of all actions while evicting all vanity. The word nirmamah means without a sense of ego. Prohibiting all ego constructs of I- ness and my-ness and relieved from the fever of mental delusion, discharge the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures according to your qualification at once as a matter of duty without attachment. In this Lord Krishna is instructing the warrior prince Arjuna how he should fight his enemies.

The words adhyatma-cetasa means with the mind absorbed in the atma within the heart. One’s thoughts should be focused on the nature of the soul, its attributes and qualities as delineated previously in chapter two, verses 13 – 25. There are many scriptures that reveal some of the attributes of the atma. In the Taittiriya Upanisad we find: Enveloped within the interior of the heart, the ruler of all beings, the eternal Supersoul, the origin of all. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad we find: He who is residing in the atma, He who is interior to the atma, He whom the atma knows not, He whom the atma knows not, He who rules from the interior of the atma, He who is the indwelling monitor, He who is the giver of immortality, He whose body constitutes the atma of all living beings, He who is the knower of all and is the inner guide to all.

Therefore we see that by inference that the Supreme Lord Krishna is revealing that since He is the atma within all living beings and that also the atma within all created beings constitute His eternal, transcendental body and derive all their energy from Him; then it is natural that one should dedicate all their actions to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Being as an act of yagna or worship.

One should very reverently reflect that one’s atma is a part of the Supreme Lord and therefore He is within me and I am within Him. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the Lord and Master of all. It is He alone who causes acts of yagna to be performed by me to Him and therefore I am His instrument. Therefore no conceptions of I-ness or my-ness, or authorship can be accepted by me for any actions that are performed. Thus I will be free from the fever of mental delusion fuelled by the fire of illusion.

The Paramapurusa is the Supreme Being and Sarveshvara is the Supreme Controller. In the Svetavatara Upanisad VI.VII we find: Let us take complete shelter of the Omnipotent Supreme Lord, the Supreme Lord over all lords, the Supreme Ruler of all rulers, the Supreme Master of all masters. The word isvaratva means lordship and the word niyantritva means ruler and the word patitva means master denoting the relationship between the Supreme Lord and His servitors. In the Narayana Upanisad we find: He is the Supreme Lord of the universe. In the Brahma Samhita V.I we find isvarah parama krishna which means that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Controller.

Arjuna was also reflecting on how he would become free from the myriad’s of sins about to be committed by him in the battle for all the warriors he would be slaying. Now he is being instructed to cheerfully begin the fray performing his prescribed duties as yagna or worship in karma yoga or the path of prescribed Vedic activities without attachment according to the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. By dedicating oneself according to the edicts of the Vedic scriptures one is actually worshipping the Supreme Being and the person who performs their activities in this ordained manner is automatically exempt from all reactions as the Supreme Being Himself accepts their actions of offerings as His own and accepting complete responsibility of His surrendered devotee factually frees them from bondage. Thus the quintessence of all the Upanisads has been duly given.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

From the beginning of this chapter the necessity of performing actions without desire and attachment has been shown. That such actions are essential for the avoidance of bondage in the cycle of birth and death as well as being beneficial for maintaining world order has also been illustrated. But how in the world is all this possible one might wonder. Lord Krishna out of compassion declares that by dedicating all prescribed Vedic activities exclusively to Him with the consciousness absorbed in His localised manifestation the atma or soul within the heart one will realise and experience these things without fail. One must think that the eternal atma is causing all one’s actions and that one is not the independent doer. Therefore dedicate all one’s actions to the Supreme Being, free from desire and attachment whether they are physical, mental, material or spiritual while renouncing all ego conceptions of I and mine. Then the all-pervading, omniscient and omnipotent Supreme Lord will accept your offering and free you from samsara the endless cycle of birth and death. The purport herein is that one should perform the prescribed activities enjoined in the Vedic scriptures as a matter of duty. The results being purity of mind, freedom from attachment and maintenance of world order. Accordingly it was Arjuna’s duty to fight and this is what Lord Krishna is propounding to him about.
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Sloka 3.31 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ये मे मतमिदं नित्यमनुतिष्ठन्ति मानवाः |
श्रद्धावन्तोऽनसूयन्तो मुच्यन्ते तेऽपि कर्मभिः ||३- ३१||

ye me matamidaM nityamanutiShThanti mAnavAH |
shraddhAvanto.anasUyanto muchyante te.api karmabhiH || 3-31 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.31

Anvaya: ye–those; me–My; matam–injunctions; idam–this; nityam–eternal function; anutisthanti–execute regularly; manavah–humankind; sraddha-vantah–with faith and devotion; anasuyantah–without envy; mucyante–become free; te–all of them; api–even; karmabhih–from the bondage of the law of fruitive action.

Translation: One who executes his duties according to My injunctions and who follows this teaching faithfully, without envy, becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The advantage of performing prescribed Vedic activities is being stated by Lord Krishna. Those situated in karma yoga or performing prescribed Vedic actions that have faith in the pristine teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita and perform these instructions in their daily lives, without blaspheming the teachings by thinking that they are incorrect and unnecessary will also gradually be freed from all reactions which cause bondage in the material worlds the same as the person situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word manavah means men. It is derived from Manu the father of mankind, who wrote the Manu Samhita which are the guidelines for the human race. Thus all mankind as the descendants of Manu are followers of Vedic scriptures. The great personalities like Manu contemplating and reflecting on the Vedas determine what is the main import of the Vedas, which is precisely the formulised will of the Lord act accordingly to this inner directive.

There are persons who although unable to practice the prescribed injunctions enjoined in the Vedic scriptures still have faith and believe in the tenets inculcated therein. There are others who although not fully understanding and believing still do not doubt the veracity and authority of the Vedic scriptures.

All these three classes of mankind shall be redeemed and delivered from the vast aggregate of past sins accumulated since time immemorial that keeps one locked in bondage to the material existence. Lord Krishna uses the words te api meaning they also to emphasise that these even those not fully believing if they remain passive and do not blaspheme they are also entitled to absolution from past sins which is the cause of bondage and gradually attain moksa or deliverance from the cycle of birth and death.

The next verse tells the fate of the blasphemers and non-observers of this edict.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Up until this verse Lord Krishna presented the point of view that prescribed Vedic activities will not incur any fault if performed in yagna or worship in dedication to the Supreme Lord. This is because the doership of all souls are dependant solely on the Supreme Being as is confirmed in hundreds of scriptural verses from the Vedic scriptures such as: He is the soul of all. He the controller of all has entered inside each of them. He verily causes those to perform great works whom He intends to liberate from this world. Such passages are found in the Brhandaranyaka Upanisad and others. Now Lord Krishna points out the virtues in those who follow the pristine teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita accepting them as perfect with full faith without finding fault in performing actions without desires and attachment or blaspheming the speaker by critcising the idea of performing actions free from ego consciousness or speculating how can it be possible that by performing these instructions one becomes free from bondage of all actions and the cycle of birth and death. The teachings and instructions of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita are the essence and conclusion of all Vedic Scriptures and are given for the highest benefit of all mankind.
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Sloka 3.32 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ये त्वेतदभ्यसूयन्तो नानुतिष्ठन्ति मे मतम् |
सर्वज्ञानविमूढांस्तान्विद्धि नष्टानचेतसः ||३- ३२||

ye tvetadabhyasUyanto nAnutiShThanti me matam.h |
sarvaGYAnavimUDhA.nstAnviddhi naShTAnachetasaH || 3-32 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.32

Anvaya: ye–those; tu–however; etat–this; abhyasuyantah–out of envy; na–do not; anutisthanti–regularly perform; me–My; matam–injunction; sarva-jnana–all sorts of knowledge; vimudhan–perfectly befooled; tan–they are; viddhi–know it well; nastan–all ruined; acetasah–without Krsna consciousness.

Translation: But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna gives the defects in not believing and following prescribed Vedic activities. Those who are inimical to the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita and are antagonistic to the injunction of the Vedas that all activities should be performed in yagna or worship for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Such people should be known as fools and lacking in discrimination and all of their activities contrary to this are doomed to failure.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In these verses Lord Krishna is speaking about the merits one receives from following the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. Those who perform prescribed Vedic activities with renunciation gradually achieve moksa or liberation by jnana yoga the path of cultivating Vedic knowledge. Who then can calculate the position of one who has attained atma-tattva or soul realisation. Now karma yoga the path of performing prescribed Vedic actions is not given as another medium of attainment. Renunciation and dedication of one’s actions are solely for the sake of realising the Supreme Being only. For realisation of the Supreme Being, liberation does not depend upon one particular path. In the Narayana Shataksara it is stated that: All paths may or may not award moksa to the dedicated aspirant treading upon them depending upon their level of renunciation in the performance of unattached actions. But renunciation by itself, not being dependent upon anything else is capable of awarding moksa to those who fully perform it. Therefore the contention that jnana yoga and karma yoga alone are sufficient to award moksa is not correct.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is revealing the eternal truth that He is the atma or soul within all beings in existence, be they human, animal, aquatic, plant, demi- gods or any other species of life that was not cloned. He is the maintainer, sustainer and monitor of all beings through the medium of the atma and all of its impulses come from Him. All souls emanate from the Supreme Lord and because of Him are completely spiritual and eternal. All the souls of all the living beings in creation everywhere in creation as a total aggregate comprise the form of the Supreme Lord’s eternal, transcendental spiritual body. Whoever does not avail themselves and conformably act to this eternal truth, or take this eternal truth seriously in earnest, or who deems unnecessary and not worth the effort, this person should be understood to be completely destitute of knowledge and unable to evolve spiritually and are incapable of achieving atma tattva or knowledge of the soul become lost. Spiritual intelligence is what determines the light of knowledge in the material existence. In the absence of spiritual knowledge, darkness and ignorance prevails and knowledge becomes erroneous and defective. Thus it has been illustrated that doership transpires due to the union of prakriti or material nature and the physical body being influenced by the gunas or modes of goodness, passion and nescience and this is dependent ultimately upon the Supreme Lord.

Reflecting in this manner it can be ascertained that karma yoga or the path of performing prescribed Vedic actions is appropriate for one performing jnana yoga or the path of cultivating Vedic knowledge as well. Karma yoga is appropriate on account of it being easy to perform, exempt from the danger of failure and requires no assistance from other methods in its application. Contrarily jnana yoga is difficult to practice, susceptible to failure and must perform some karma yoga anyway in order to maintain health and vigor which is essential for body maintenance if one is to perform any yoga at all. Also it has been pointed out how it is necessary for a person of distinction situated in Vedic wisdom to set an example to inspire the common man for the benefit and welfare of the world.

What difficulties and dangers are fraught for the performers of jnana yoga are now explained in the remainder of this chapter.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna points out that those persons who disrespect and ignore and refuse to follow the edicts and injunctions of the Bhagavad-Gita that are for the benefit of all mankind are fools, bereft of spiritual knowledge and in such a state of ignorance all their activities are fruitless and they hopelessly revolve in the cycle of birth and death, birth and death, birth and death, ad infinitum.
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Sloka 3.33 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सदृशं चेष्टते स्वस्याः प्रकृतेर्ज्ञानवानपि |
प्रकृतिं यान्ति भूतानि निग्रहः किं करिष्यति ||३- ३३||

sadR^isha.n cheShTate svasyAH prakR^iterGYAnavAnapi |
prakR^iti.n yAnti bhUtAni nigrahaH kiM kariShyati || 3-33 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.33

Anvaya: sadrsam–accordingly; cestate–tries; svasyah–in one’s own nature; prakrteh–modes; jnana-van–learned; api–although; prakrtim–nature; yanti–undergo; bhutani–all living entities; nigrahah–suppression; kim–what; karisyati–can do.

Translation: Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It may be submitted that if follow the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita yields so much why isn’t everyone following their prescribed duties, free from desires and attachment. Lord Krishna answers that even a person of Vedic wisdom acts according to the nature received from samskara or impressions from past life actions. One always follows without fail their own disposition and nature. So it goes without saying that an ignorant person is even more dominated by their nature and will act ignorantly in all matters. So understanding in this light what can restraint of the senses accomplish with prakriti or material nature being so powerful? This is the meaning.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

A question may be raised that if it is so beneficial to follow the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita then why is not everyone following them. Lord Krishna explains that it is according to their own nature determined by samskaras or impressions from past lifetimes and because of the influence of prakriti or material nature interacting with the three gunas, or the modes of goodness, passion and nescience.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

That person situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom is very knowledgeable with the Vedic declarations regarding the distinct difference between the atma or soul and prakriti or material nature. Such a person is also completely aware of the fact that the atma should be the sole object of their contemplation and meditation. But despite this knowledge it is seen that due to the deep influence of samskaras or impressions from past life activities, they are carried along by their subsequent nature which forces them to be act in the current of their natural tendencies and they find themselves preoccupied with various material pursuits enjoying assorted material sense objects. The reason is that living entities become indoctrinated and content with whatever relationship they establish in their environment. In other words whatever habits they form from their association with prakriti they continue to maintain and persistently follow. With the overpowering influence of these deep rooted habits how can the words of the Vedic scriptures impose restraint on such a person? One is helplessly carried away by the forceful current of past life actions and impressions.

The objects of the senses are perceived through the sense organs. For example hearing is perceived by the ears through sound, seeing is perceived by the eyes through sight, smelling is perceived by the nose through smells and so on. For each of the senses one has affection and the desire to enjoy through them. But the same senses operate depending upon attraction or aversion to sense objects. For sense objects that are pleasing one has attraction for pleasure and for sense objects that are displeasing one has aversion to displeasure. All these habits are conditioned from ancient predilections of past life reminisces. Such dualities of attraction and aversion obstructs one who would want to succeed in jnana yoga by subjugating their sense. These dualities which can be understood as different degrees of love and hate, hold a person in an iron grip and forcefully drive them to commit actions that are in conformance with the attributes of one of the three gunas of goodness, passion or nescience which one’s nature adheres to from past life impressions. Thus one is being constantly diverted from the real purpose of human existence, that of atma tattva or realisation of the soul and their precious human life is wasted pursuing sense objects.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If such a hopeless situation exists as given in the previous verse why does everyone not follow the sublime teachings of Bhagavad-Gita? Why are so many living entities hostile and antagonistic to the Bhagavad-Gita’s pristine instructions? In answer to this Lord Krishna states that all creatures follow accordingly to whatever nature they have attained and that nature shapes their actions. This nature is acquired from activities performed in past lives which ripen in this life as impressions of positive of negative acts. Even persons of wisdom in Vedic knowledge do not act contrary to their own natures. So what to say of the ignorant? They must follow there nature also acting in ignorance. The purport is that although it may be possible for such persons to abandon desires and attachment, the necessary purity of mind does not manifest to evoke feelings of dedication to the Supreme Lord Krishna and His impeccable treatise of Bhagavad-Gita.
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Sloka 3.34 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ |
तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ ||३- ३४||

indriyasyendriyasyArthe rAgadveShau vyavasthitau |
tayorna vashamAgachchhettau hyasya paripanthinau || 3-34 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.34

Anvaya: indriyasya–of the senses; indriyasya arthe–in the sense objects; raga–attachment; dvesau–also detachment; vyavasthitau–put under regulations; tayoh–of them; na–never; vasam–control; agacchet–one should come; tau–those; hi–certainly; asya–his; paripanthinau–stumbling blocks.

Translation: Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

If a persons inclination is dependent solely on their nature influenced by the three gunas or the modes of goodness, passion and nescience within prakriti or material nature then the question may arise what is the need for the injunctions and prohibitions in the Vedic scriptures? What Lord Krishna is emphasising here is that the attraction and aversion for each of the senses towards various sense objects is already established and fixed. This is why the word indriyasya is repeated twice to affirm this. Hence in accordance to this fixed relationship there is the inclination. Yet the Vedic scriptures declare that a person should not be influenced by dualities like attraction and aversion, agreeable and disagreeable because they are obstacles on the path of one seeking moksa or liberation. By stimulating attraction and aversion from the remembrance of various sense objects, prakriti forcibly engages an unwary person in sense gratification, like being dragged into a deep current. But the Vedic scriptures instruct one to offer all actions in yagna or worship to the Supreme Lord which will neutralise the dualities of attraction and aversion for sense objects and absolve one from all reactions. Exactly like a person safely taking refuge in a boat before entering a deep current.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The senses are constantly being motivated by the force of attraction and aversion. Although Lord Krishna is emphasising the effect of restraining the senses is known to be temporary only still by His mentioning it opens the possibility that restraint may have an influence in dampening desires if engaged in regularly with determination and it might develop a lasting effect. Of course samskaras or past life impressions have a deep rooted influence on all living entities even in the case of Brahma and others but there is still the possibility to modify the situation by practising restraint of the senses in a regulated manner.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna confirms that a person who embarks upon the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom should never fall again under the influence of dualities as they work against one and undermines all one’ efforts. The dualities of love and hate, attraction and aversion are a persons most invincible enemies and they completely frustrate all one’s attempts for success and higher understanding.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If everyone must act according to their nature and no living being is void of their nature then the purpose of teaching the Vedic scriptures by the spiritual master could be deemed futile and unecessary. To clarify this point Lord Krishna repeats the word indriyasya twice to emphasise that for all the senses. Attraction to sweet tastes to the tongue which are pleasurable or the aversion to foul smells of the nose which are unpleasurable are all fixed and automatically happenning in accordance with samskaras or past life latent impressions in regard to all the senses. One who is fortunate to hear through the ears the holy words of the Vedic scriptures from the spiritual master should never come under the influence of attaction and aversion because they are two great obstacles on the path of moksa or liberation form material existence. These two obstacles take an aspirant from the path leading to moksa and deviate them to the false path of desires, attachment and the enjoyment of sense objects and are exactly like two bandits who guide a traveller down a dark road and then rob them of all their wealth. Contrarily when when a policeman sees a traveller in the clutches of a bandit he rescues him and guides him the correct way; similarly the spiritual master teaching the Vedic scriptures rescues an aspirant from being under the influence of the dualities of attraction and aversion and guides them in the right path of offering one’s actions as yagna or worship to the Supreme Lord which is the best and surest way to attain moksa. So teaching the Vedic scriptures by the spiritual master is never futile to the contrary it is highly beneficial and essential.
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Sloka 3.35 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः ||३- ३५||

shreyAnsvadharmo viguNaH paradharmAtsvanuShThitAt.h |
svadharme nidhana.n shreyaH paradharmo bhayAvahaH || 3-35 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.35

Anvaya: sreyan–far better; sva-dharmah–one’s prescribed duties; vigunah–even faulty; para-dharmat–from duties mentioned for others; svanusthitat–than perfectly done; sva-dharme–in one’s prescribed duties; nidhanam–destruction; sreyah–better; para-dharmah–duties prescribed for others; bhaya-avahah–dangerous.

Translation: It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One should engage themselves in their duties overriding one’s normal inclinations which are even seen to be in the natures of animals. One maybe would like to switch their duties for anothers but it is very risky that the duties one was never trained for would be as successful as the duty that one was well versed in. Engaging in ones own duty one possesses the correct inner mentality to accomplish it; but for engagment in another’s duty the correct inner mentality would not be present even if the external action was performed perfectly. There might be worry or indecision and questions regarding some aspects of another’s duty and unresolved these would lead to inner conflict which is very detrimental for one’s consciousness and atma tattva or soul realisation. This is Lord Krishna’s meaning.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In this verse Lord Krishna is emphasising the fact that one should perform the duties one is authorised to do according to one’s station and rank in society. Arjuna was a royal prince educated and trained by the strength of his might to uphold and protect dharma or righteousness and although war enacts terrible suffering it was necessary and was appropriate for Arjuna to engage in it.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

For obvious reasons the performance of one’s own dharma or righteous duties according to karma yoga or actions performed according to prescribed Vedic injunctions is the best course to follow even if they do not possess great virtues. One’s own duties are easy and natural to discharge in karma yoga and unattended with risk. Whereas that person performing jnana yoga or the path of cultivating Vedic knowledge which is most excellent; but who is beguiled by prakriti or material nature finds it extremely difficult to achieve success. Although the path of jnana yoga is shorter than the path of karma yoga there are many dangers accosting the path of jnana yoga. The path of karma yoga is performed by one most easily as it naturally befits the person performing it. Even if death comes before one has the opportunity to fulfill life’s purpose and attain moksa or liberation form the cycle of birth and death, still one’s progress is not impeded by any obstacle even death as one’s merits are applied to the next life and they are born in a situation where they can easily pick up the thread from where they left off in the last life and continue on. Whereas one who although beguiled by prakriti attempts to practice jnana yoga anyway is surrounded by danger and obstacles on their path which deter one from easily adopting and putting into practice the cultivation of Vedic wisdom.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It should not be presumed that a person abstaining from a negative direction to pursue the ascetic life of non- violence, meditation, virtuousness and self-satisfaction seems superior for worshipping the Supreme Lord. What is therefore the purpose of a warrior’s duty to perform cruel deeds upon the battlefield in pursuit of victory and self-preservation. Anticipating such a doubt Lord Krishna states it is better to follow one’s own duties according to station and rank in life as enjoined by the Vedic scriptures. Because to perform another’s duty is not authorised in the Vedic scriptures and being prohibited is fraught with dangers. According to te scriptural injunction: One who exempts themselves from their prescribed actions as enjoined in the Vedic scriptures, is never qualified to perform the prescribed actions of a higher station. Such actions is prohibited.
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Sloka 3.36 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अर्जुन उवाच |
अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुषः |
अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजितः ||३- ३६||

arjuna uvAcha |
atha kena prayukto.ayaM pApa.n charati pUruShaH |
anichchhannapi vArShNeya balAdiva niyojitaH || 3-36 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.36

Anvaya: arjunah uvaca–Arjuna said; atha–hereafter; kena–by what; prayuktah–impelled; ayam–one; papam–sins; carati–acts; purusah–a man; anicchan–without desiring; api–although; varsneya–O descendant of Vrsni; balat–by force; iva–as if; niyojitah–engaged.

Translation: Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna has stated in verse thirty-four that one should not come under the influence of attraction and aversion. Arjuna considering this to be impossible poses this question as it is seen that a person who is able to restrain and control their senses through discrimination can at any moment revert back to committing sinful activities. So Arjuna is enquiring is about the main cause for such flagrant inconsistency in people.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

There exists numerous reasons why a person is impelled to sinful activities. Here the word atha denotes which others. Some are desire and anger. Arjuna wants to know which is the strongest impetus in provoking one to do unrighteous acts and which should by all means be avoided in order of priority.

Now begins the summation.

After the Supreme Lord the demi-gods are the most powerful mediums of influence. Now Arjuna wants to know what other influences are next in importance.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Arjuna wants to know from Lord Krishna exactly what ii is that forcibly impels a person embarking on the path of jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom to go against their better judgement and engage in sinful activities.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

By stating another’s duty is fraught with danger Lord Krishna was indicating that fear of hellish births wa the fear in question. Arjuna understood this; but now he is enquiring if there is another reason sins are committed. It is known that sins lead one to hell and no fear is greater then the fear of going to hellish regions; so what is it that compels beings to commit sins even against their better judgement as though driven by force.
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Sloka 3.37 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः |
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ||३- ३७||

shrIbhagavAnuvAcha |
kAma eSha krodha eSha rajoguNasamudbhavaH |
mahAshano mahApApmA vid.hdhyenamiha vairiNam.h || 3-37 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.37

Anvaya: sri-bhagavan uvaca–the Personality of Godhead said; kamah–lust; esah–all these; krodhah–wrath; esah–all these; rajah-guna–the mode of passion; samudbhavah–born of; maha-asanah–all-devouring; maha-papma–greatly sinful; viddhi–know; enam–this; iha–in the material world; vairinam–greatest enemy.

Translation: The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The answer to Arjuna’s previous question is now being answered by Lord Krishna. The main cause for such flagrant behaviour is kama or lust. Also krodha or anger is spoken about but it is actually instigated by lust as well. This is because when kama is unable to satisfy its desires then immediately it takes the form of krodha. This kama is born from rajas guna or the mode of passion. This indicates that when there is an increase of sattva guna or the mode of goodness then kama will be decreased proportionately. It should be clearly understood that kama and krodha are formidable enemies on the path of moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Both kama and krodha must be terminated by the method Lord Krishna prescribes in the next verses; for it is definitely not appropriate to try to appease either of them as it is useless to try to pacify kama because it has an insatiable appetite and is never satisfied and it is also useless to appease krodha because it is has a terribly temperament and is unpredictably sinful.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The influence which is the most powerful and destructive on human beings is kama or lust followed by krodha or anger which arises from frustrated desires. Those who hypothesise contrarily are not cognisant of the subtle difference involved in the mixture of the two. Therefore it can be understood that without desire there is no opportunity for anger to manifest and indeed it does not. Since there are many causes of anger it is called mahashanah or great devourer. Since anger becomes the cause of committing abominable actions it is called mahapaapma or great sinner and because it is counter productive to all human goals of righteousness it is called mahavairi or great adversary.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The most powerful obstruction in their pursuit of jnana yoga or the path of cultivating Vedic knowledge is kama or lust. The intense addiction to enjoy sense objects. This addiction is fueled by past habits such as remembering senses enjoyed or by senses frustrated in the attempt to satisfy one’s desires. Because the person is helplessly attached to the attraction and aversion of the three gunas or goodness , passion and nescience which are constantly fluctuating the mind and senses influencing all beings. This kama is a most powerful enemy and exerting its power compels a person to enter into its province of sense delights in pursuit of pleasure. Then if by chance while in the pursuit of sense delights one’s desires are thwarted or frustrated then this same lust transforms itself into intense krodha or anger. Enacting sinful actions in the attempt to satisfy one’s frustrated senses even if futilely and prepared to perpetrate even violent acts against anyone that thwarts in any way the gratification of their senses. It should be known that kama and krodha arise from rajas guna or the mode of passion and it is a very hostile adversary to those who are engaged in jnana yoga.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is explicitly confirming that the root cause and great impeller of sins is kama or lust known to forcefully compel one’s senses to race impetuously towards objects of the senses. But kama’s subordinate krodha or anger is also the cause of many evils like violence. When lust is impeded and desires are frustrated it is anger that replaces lust in another form. Hence krodha is also a form of kama and both arise out of rajas guna or the mode of passion. This suggests that by increasing sattva guna or the mode of goodnes the effects of rajas guna can be decreased and subsequently the power of desires is less. Because controlling desires one controls lust and controlling lust one controls anger. There is no other way. Thus one should not miss that they are inteconnected and try to control each seperately. But kama is extremely difficult to control once it has been activated because it is insatiable and it does not become tranquil after even enjoying wealth, pleasure of the flesh, kingdoms and even the whole world; to the contrary its desires increases exactly as a fire increases when oil is poured on it, it rages out of control and so it is an extremely evil propensity and when impeded it explodes into anger destroying all in its path like a horrific forest fire.
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Sloka 3.38 audio recital in Sanskrit     

धूमेनाव्रियते वह्निर्यथादर्शो मलेन च |
यथोल्बेनावृतो गर्भस्तथा तेनेदमावृतम् ||३- ३८||

dhUmenAvriyate vahniryathAdarsho malena cha |
yatholbenAvR^ito garbhastathA tenedamAvR^itam.h || 3-38 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.38

Anvaya: dhumena–by smoke; avriyate–covered; vahnih–fire; yatha–just as; adarsah–mirror; malena–by dust; ca–also; yatha–just as; ulbena–by the womb; avrtah–is covered; garbhah–embryo; tatha–so; tena–by that lust; idam–this; avrtam–is covered.

Translation: As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The inimical nature of kama or lust is being illustrated here by Lord Krishna giving three clear examples, concluding that spiritual knowledge is completely covered by kama as well.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The atma or soul is not perceivable by a human being. Why is this so? It is because the atma is enveloped within and when the senses are excited kama or lust manifests itself explosively completely covering the atma and that is why kama is such a formidable adversary. Kama so thickly covers the atma that it cannot be perceived and Lord Krishna gives three examples to emphasise this.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is giving the three examples to indicate the varying degrees of kama or lust and that everyone is immersed in kama in some way that this is the situation in the world. How kama envelopes the mind and the intellect is coming next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna being more explicit here affirms that spiritual knowledge relating to one’s best interests is neutralised by this eternal, insatiable enemy known as kama or lust.
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Sloka 3.39 audio recital in Sanskrit     

आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा |
कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन च ||३- ३९||

AvR^itaM GYAnametena GYAnino nityavairiNA |
kAmarUpeNa kaunteya duShpUreNAnalena cha || 3-39 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.39

Anvaya: avrtam–covered; jnanam–pure consciousness; etena–by this; jnaninah–of the knower; nitya-vairina–eternal enemy; kama-rupena–in the form of lust; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; duspurena–never to be satisfied; analena–by the fire; ca–also.

Translation: Thus, a man’s pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the inimical nature of kama or lust is being made even more explicit by Lord Krishna. It is the discriminative faculty of knowledge that is covered by kama. To the ignorant while enjoying sense objects kama itself is the cause of pleasure; but the subsequent reaction will be inimical. To the person situated in Vedic wisdom who understands that they will receive a subsequent reaction, then kama is a cause of pain even while trying to enjoy. Therefore kama is understood to be an eternal enemy. Moreover even if supplied with delightful sense objects of enjoyment it is never enough because kama is insatiable and when it is not satisfied kama turns to krodha or anger and that leads to grief and affliction just like a forest fire burning everything in its path. So from these statements its eternal inimical nature towards all beings has been declared.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

One on the path of jnana yoga knows from the Vedic scriptures that moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death can never manifest itself until first attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation. When such is the case for persons of wisdom what can be said for persons of meagre intelligence. The word kama-rupena means in the form of lust. This indicates that only with great pain and difficulty is lust ever fulfilled. The word duspurena means never satisfied. This indicates that kama or lust is an eternal adversary. Even the position of Indra in the heavenly realms is born of this kama that is to be the king of all the celestials; yet even while trying to achieve the position of Indra, the position of Brahma is sought because kama is never satisfied and it is more exalted to be the ruler of the material worlds then the king of the celestials and so forth and so on. The word analena means like a fire which denotes the burning fire of kama which is never satisfied and insatiable. It is said that kama covers the atma as smoke covers fire, As dust prevents one from seeing a reflection in the mirror this kama prevents one from perceiving their atma and as the womb imprisons the embryo it is kama which keeps a person imprisoned in the material existence. This is Lord Krishna’s meaning.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The intellect of one who even has understanding of atma tattva or soul realisation becomes clouded by the eternal enemy known as kama or lust and which generates fascination and excitement for enjoying the objects of the senses. The word duspurena means insatiable, it can never be satisfied. It constantly hungers for sense gratification even if it is inaccessible to get and impossible to have still kama yearns for it. It is anala or inexhaustible as nothing ever completely satisfies kama permanently. When the object of its desires has been acquired and the senses fully gratified then at once kama wants more and looks for something new. It is never satisfied. In what way kama utilises itself to envelope the atma or soul Lord Krishna reveals next.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna illustrates the inimical nature of kama or lust with three lucid examples concluding that discriminatory knowledge of even basic right and wrong and even common sense is completely neutralised by the influence of kama causing one to act in base and degraded ways. The ignorant though are always pursuing kama because they derive pleasure while enjoying the sense objects afterwards when they feel the pain of the reaction they are forced to accept they may see kama as an enemy. The person situated in Vedic wisdom sees kama as an enemy from the beginning even while contemplating enjoying the action and later if they actually consumate the action then they know a painful reaction is forthcoming. Thus for those of Vedic wisdom kama is known as being an eternal enemy.
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Sloka 3.40 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते |
एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् ||३- ४०||

indriyANi mano buddhirasyAdhiShThAnamuchyate |
etairvimohayatyeSha GYAnamAvR^itya dehinam.h || 3-40 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.40

Anvaya: indriyani–the senses; manah–the mind; buddhih–the intelligence; asya–of the lust; adhisthanam–sitting place; ucyate–called; etaih–by all these; vimohayati–bewilders; esah–of this; jnanam–knowledge; avrtya–covering; dehinam–the embodied.

Translation: The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

By revealing the locations of where kama or lust is stationed Lord Krishna is indicating the means to defeat kama. As desire arises from contact with sense objects by seeing, hearing, touching etc. the mind is agitated and a determined effort to enjoy arises and lust manifests itself from within the mind completely overpowering the intellect and the discriminatory faculties and a person is controlled and deluded, forced to be a slave of their sense..
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Now the locations where the enemy kama or lust is given by Lord Krishna. The senses becoming excited agitates the mind and the mind becoming excited envelopes the intellect with this kama..
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The senses, the mind and the intellect which controls the discriminatory faculty, is where kama or lust covertly resides and exercises its dominion over the atma or soul. Through kama the senses, the mind and the intellect become addicted to craving for sense objects. Kama seizes hold of the embodied beings and beguiles them by clouding the intellect and then kama covers and envelopes the atma or soul of that being in many ways and who subsequently becomes kama’s slave doing anything to gratify its senses and is plunged into the prison garden of sense objects. This is what Lord Krishna is stating here.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

By revealing the locations where kama or lust covertly resides Lord Krishna indicates that there is a method of controlling it. The senses infatuate the mind, the mind infatuates the intellect and the intellect enveloped by kama loses all discriminatory powers and succumbs to the pursuance of gratifying one’s senses in sensual pleasures. This infatuation reverses the delight in cultivation of Vedic knowledge and causes a person to chase the delights of sense objects and strives mightily to satisfy every one of them.
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Sloka 3.41 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तस्मात्त्वमिन्द्रियाण्यादौ नियम्य भरतर्षभ |
पाप्मानं प्रजहि ह्येनं ज्ञानविज्ञाननाशनम् ||३- ४१||

tasmAttvamindriyANyAdau niyamya bharatarShabha |
pApmAnaM prajahi hyenaM GYAnaviGYAnanAshanam.h || 3-41 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.41

Anvaya: tasmat–therefore; tvam–you; indriyani–senses; adau–in the beginning; niyamya–by regulating; bharata-rsabha–O chief amongst the descendants of Bharata; papmanam–the great symbol of sin; prajahi–curb; hi–certainly; enam–this; jnana–knowledge; vijnana–scientific knowledge of the pure soul; nasanam–the destroyer.

Translation: Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna gives the antidote to avoid being controlled by kama or lust. For the novice practitioner the advice is to immediately by strength of mind control the sense in the very beginning before being deluded. For one more advanced knowledge of Vedic scriptures can assist one in evading being controlled by kama. For one even more advanced knowledge of the atma or soul and one’s true position can protect one from the ravages of kama. Or it can also denote accepting a spiritual master who is transcendant to kama and receiving relevant instructions to fortify oneself or by means of meditation on the Supreme Lord. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad IV.IV.XXI it states: The intelligent aspirant’s understanding should achieve intuitive knowledge.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

By controlling the stations where kama or lust resides it can be eradicated but Lord Krishna is giving special instructions that kama must be restrained within the senses at the very beginning well before they are able to make contact with the objects of the senses.

Now begins the summation.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the maintainer and energiser of everything in creation. His authorised avatars and expansions are His parts and parcels. All other Gods without any exception are mere subsidiaries of His expansions and these other gods descend downwards from Brahma. Demons and asuras or those possessing no inner light are continuously being degraded by kama and mixed with their arrogance arouse great evil. The demoniac are the most deluded and degraded of all living beings. The least influenced by kama like smoke covering fire are the noble and righteous beings. The next more influenced by kama like dust covering a mirror are those of mixed natures sometimes aware of their actions and sometimes not. The most influenced by kama like an embryo imprisoned in the womb are the are demonic who are great evil doers. Like Agni or fire kama is also all devouring that is why it called analena or fire. Therefore kama residing in the senses it can be restrained and destroyed only by the weapon of Vedic wisdom. Kama envelopes the mind and intellect prior to atma tattva or soul realisation; but even after atma tattva is achieved it has been seen that kama is so powerful that it is able to exert its influence as kama is never satiated and thus vigilance is still required before moksa or complete release from the material existence has been attained.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

One who is interested in qualifying for jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge must restrain the natural out going tendency of the five senses from pursuing sense objects. But the mighty enemy kama or lust covertly causes dissent in the enquiring of atma tattva or realisation of the soul and contrarily causes enthusiasm for procuring the delights of the senses. One understanding that the senses operate in their own natural sphere within the physical body, directs them to perform the appropriate occupational duties according to ones rank and station in life in karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities and thus the senses are constrained. Lord Krishna thus gives the key to vanquishing this great enemy known as kama which is so terrible and which destroys both jnana or spiritual knowledge and vijnana or spiritual wisdom.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna explains how to restrain kama or lust which is so terrible and destructive to the consciousness and development of a human being and which is the root of all evils because it obscures true knowledge arising from the teachings of the spiritual master which lead to inner wisdom which arises from meditation and reflection on the Supreme Lord. One must withdraw the senses away from the sense objects at the very beginning before they have contact and remain resolute with a steady mind.
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Sloka 3.42 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः |
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धेः परतस्तु सः ||३- ४२||

indriyANi parANyAhurindriyebhyaH paraM manaH |
manasastu parA buddhiryo buddheH paratastu saH || 3-42 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.42

Anvaya: indriyani–senses; parani–superior; ahuh–is said; indriyebhyah–more than the senses; param–superior; manah–the mind; manasah–more than the mind; tu–also; para–superior; buddhih–intelligence; yah–one who; buddheh–more than the intelligence; paratah–superior; tu–but; sah–he.

Translation: The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.
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There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

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Ramanuja’s Commentary

The five senses are the main impediments to spiritual development and are arranged in a hostile formation against it. As long as the senses are primarily occupied in the pursuit of pleasure and delight in sense objects the realisation of the atma or soul will never manifest. Yet the mind although fickle is capable of controlling the senses but if the mind is also inclined to enjoy the senses and is filled with thoughts of the same then realisation of the atma will also never manifest. But the intellect is superior even to the mind as it possesses the discriminative faculty. This means that the mind may be tranquil but if the intellect is inclined towards the channels of sense activities then there will be a perversion in one’s intelligence and no possibility again for realisation of the atma. To show the order of gradation is Lord Krishna’s intention. A question may be posed what if all three being the senses, the mind and the intellect were tranquil and passive? The unvarying answer is that kama or lust which arises from desires, covertly resides deep within the heart and is always craving for sense gratification. This kama is so powerful that it will assert its mastery over them all and domineering them will have them fully pursuing the objects of the senses for sense gratification in the phenomenal world obscuring the light of knowledge and the realisation of the atma. That which is the most powerful with its domain in the spiritual phenomena is the atma and is designated by the pronoun sah.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains the priority of the faculties’ humans possess starting from the physical body to the senses to the mind to the intellect to the atma or soul. The senses are superior to the physical body because if the senses are agitated they will transfer this agitation to the physical body and knowledge will not arise in the mind. The mind is superior to the senses and can stop them but if the mind is intent on sense gratification then knowledge will not arise. The intellect is superior to the senses and the mind but if the senses are passive and the mind is not agitated; then if the intellect decides contrary and is inclined to enjoy, it will overrule the senses and the mind and directs them both to pursue pleasure. So knowledge will not arise there as well but when the senses are withdrawn from the sense objects this impulse subsides. So what is more powerful then the intellect? We see that it is kama or lust that is greater. All these things happen in regard to physical activity. The mind becomes clouded and the intellect is obscured by kama and reflects and contemplates actions that will gratify the senses veiling the true knowlegde of the atma. This confirms that kama is the greatest enemy of the human being because it obscures knowledge of the eternal atma or soul.
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Sloka 3.43 audio recital in Sanskrit     

एवं बुद्धेः परं बुद्ध्वा संस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना |
जहि शत्रुं महाबाहो कामरूपं दुरासदम् ||३- ४३||

evaM buddheH paraM buddhvA sa.nstabhyAtmAnamAtmanA |
jahi shatruM mahAbAho kAmarUpaM durAsadam.h || 3-43 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 3.43

Anvaya: evam–thus; buddheh–of intelligence; param–superior; buddhva–so knowing; samstabhya–by steadying; atmanam–of the mind; atmana–by deliberate intelligence; jahi–conquer; satrum–the enemy; maha-baho–O mighty-armed one; kama-rupam–the form of lust; durasadam–formidable.

Translation: Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus–by spiritual strength–conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas


Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now this topic is being concluded. Modifications such as desire which is instigated by the senses and agitates the body and lust which is inflamed by the sense objects and overpowers the mind are both only operating under the intellect. But the atma or soul is not subject to modification and is the witness to all these changes. Thus realising the atma which is transcendental to all these one should control the sense by the atma, steer the mind by the atma and direct the intellect by the atma. Although kama or lust is extremely difficult to conquer and exerts very powerful activity with firm conviction and determination one must completely terminate and eradicate this most pernicious enemy in the form of kama and free oneself from the ravages of delusion.

Worshipping the spiritual masters in disciplic succession whom with devotion through the performance of prescribed Vedic activities have attained moksa or liberation and have attested that the eternally blissful Supreme Lord Krishna, the originator of all should be propitiated through all activities.
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Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The method of destroying the great enemy known as kama or lust is learned through the knowledge of Vedic scriptures received by the words of the spiritual master. Controlling the five senses is the key step allowing one to benefit from this Vedic knowledge. Without restraint of the senses one has no possibility of conquering kama. The senses are superior to the physical body, the mind is superior to senses, the intellect is superior to the mind and the atma or soul is superior to the intellect. Moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death is not possible from studying various verses in diverse Vedic scriptures in different contexts. In the Gunopasamhara section of Brahma Sutras it is stated that the Supreme Lord should be meditated upon after recollecting in the mind the entire range of attributes and qualities possessed by the Supreme Lord. In the Vedas which are apaurusaheya which means not of human origins and also in the Mahabharata and Garuda Purana it is stated that: Whatever attributes have been revealed in the Vedic scriptures regarding the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorised incarnations and whoever is able to actually perceive Him realising these attributes in their hearts, in such persons alone does bhakti or devotion become established and never to others.

Therefore the Supreme Lord Krishna should be understood to be superior to everything as He existed before the creation of everything. One who fully understands this and acts in accordance with this understanding is eligible for moksa and never others. The previous verse is not referring to the living being because the words bhudher yah paratas tu sah mean: that which is superior to the intellect is the atma. This is because the desire for sense gratification is overcome by atma tattva or soul realisation and also without perceiving the Supreme Being how will the living being expect to overcome kama. Thus it is clear that knowledge pertaining to the Supreme Lord is what is important. The word atmanam means the mind and the word atmana means the intellect and they are for realising the atma.

Now begins the summation.

Among living beings the demigods are superior to humans. Indra is the chief of the demigods. Shiva the presiding deity of the mind and ego is superior to Indra. Above Shiva is Brahma the presing diety of the intellect and discrimination. Superior to Brahma are all the avatars expansions of Lord Krishna in the spiritual realms and superior to them is the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself. There is nothing equal or superior to Krishna. Knowing the order of gradation and destroying the powerful enemy of kama at the very root one becomes qualified for moksa and attain the spiritual worlds of Lord Krishna which are imperceptible to the vision and conception of humans. An important purpose of Vedic scriptures is to show the order of gradation. The function of the higher deity cannot be performed by a lower deity. To show their area of predominance they each have their respective places and assigned function. In some cases a deity on a lower level is seen to be relegating the duties of a higher level; but this can be understood in the same way that a son sometimes relegates the duties of a father. The Shabda Nirnaya states: traditionally the use of such similes repeatedly are able to convey the conclusive meaning for comprehension. The Brahma Tarka states: that where similar examples are repeated the similarity of their meanings is understood and becomes conclusive from continuous hearing.
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Ramanuja’s Commentary

So it should understood that kama or lust is able to dominate even the intellect and thus is antagonistic to jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic spiritual knowledge. So one must with firm resolve restrain the senses right from the very beginning and keeping the mind resolutely established in the atma or soul, destroy this powerful enemy known as kama eradicating it at the very root.


Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now in conclusion Lord Krishna establishes the fact that one should try to their utmost to destroy the powerful enemy known as kama or lust. Knowing that kama is the mightiest enemy one must by withdrawing the senses, keeping the mind steady and the intellect resolute in sattva guna the mode of goodness then slay this enemy kama which will attack your mind and senses in various ways causing one to fall into delusion before oen becomes powerless to resist. Kama is extremely difficult to overpower and is tenacious and formidable yet if one dedicates all actions to Lord Krishna with their mind fixed on Him they can overcome it. So knowledge of Vedic wisdom and meditation on the Supreme Lord are combined the pancea to neutralise kama from its location in the senses, mind and intellect and then destroy the great enemy known as kama. This path of selfless action unattached without conception of rewards should be practiced according to one’s capacity and knowledge as a means of gradually achieving renunciation.
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