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Śrīmad bhagavad gītā | Moksha–Sanyasa yoga ~ Sarga 18 of 18

Bhagavad-Gītā-15-desibantu

Sarga (or) Chapter 18 of 18 : Moksha–Sanyasa yoga

śloka (verses): 78

Abstract: In this chapter, the conclusions of previous seventeen chapters are summed up. Krishna asks Arjuna to abandon all forms of dharma and simply surrender unto him and describes this as the ultimate perfection of life.

Audio Recitals:

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

Gitopadesh (Sanskrit: गीतोपदेश)


Introduction:

In chapter eighteen Lord Krsishna sums up the conclusion of the previous chapters and describes the attainment of salvation by the paths of karma in chapters one through six and in jnana yoga section which are chapters thirteen through eighteen. The Lord explains that while doing so one must offer without reservation everything to God. The knowledge revealed gets progressively more and more confidential then in all the previous chapters. Thus this chapter is entitled: Final Revelations of the Ultimate Truth.

Sloka 18.1 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अर्जुन उवाच |

संन्यासस्य महाबाहो तत्त्वमिच्छामि वेदितुम् |
त्यागस्य च हृषीकेश पृथक्केशिनिषूदन ||१८- १||

arjuna uvAcha |

sa.nnyAsasya mahAbAho tattvamichchhAmi veditum.h |
tyAgasya cha hR^iShIkesha pR^ithakkeshiniShUdana || 18-1 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.1

Anvaya: arjunah uvaca–Arjuna said; sannyasasya–renunciation; maha-baho–O mighty-armed one; tattvam–truth; icchami–I wish; veditum–to understand; tyagasya–of renunciation; ca–also; hrsikesa–O master of the senses; prthak–differently; kesi-nisudana–O killer of the Kesi demon.

Translation: Arjuna said, O mighty-armed one, I wish to understand the purpose of renunciation [tyaga] and of the renounced order of life [sannyasa], O killer of the Kesi demon, Hrsikesa.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In order to ascertain exactly what is the final conclusion of all the teachings and instructions that have been imparted up until now; the Supreme Lord Krishna concisely summarises the entire Bhagavad-Gita in this concluding chapter by clearly distinguishing the difference between renunciation of actions caused by the impulses of desire and renunciation of the desire for rewards for one’s actions. In previous chapters Lord Krishna has elaborated on the mental renunciation of all actions in chapter 5, verse 13 as well as renunciation of actions through yoga or the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness in chapter 9, verse 28. He has also explained renouncing attachment to actions while renouncing their rewards in chapter 4, verse 20 and likewise explained the renunciation of the rewards resulting from actions in chapter 12, verse 11. It should be understood that the infinitely merciful and totally omniscient Supreme Lord Krishna never teaches or exemplifies contradictory knowledge. Whatever and wherever His divine lila or pastimes are manifesting they are always perfection and the epitome of dharma or eternal righteousness. Everything He does or expounds upon whether instructional or by example is always fully harmonious with the Vedas and in completely complimentary to the conclusions of all the Vedic scriptures. So to distinctly know the difference between renunciation of performing actions and to reconcile it harmoniously with renunciation for the results of actions is the poignant and penetrating question requested to be answered here.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Hari OM! In this final chapter the Supreme Lord Krishna summarises in brief all of the perennial principles and eternal truths that were presented in the previous 17 chapters and establishes the collective conclusion to all of them.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The preceding chapters 16 and 17 elaborated the following subjects by Lord Krishna: 1) The only means of achieving the four purusarthas or goals of human existence which are kama or pleasure, artha or wealth, dharma or righteousness and moksa or liberation from material existence which is the quintessence of them all is to adhere to and follow the ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures by the performance of yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship to the Supreme Lord Krishna, tapah or austerities and penance authorised in the Vedic scriptures and danam or charity to the Vaisnava Brahmins from one of the four bonafide sampradayas as revealed in Vedic scriptures. 2) That all Vedic rituals and observances are always predicated first with the pranava OM the transcendental sound vibration of the Supreme Lord denoting the first breath making this reverberating hum which the Sanskrit root is pranu. 3) The distinction of that representing the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and leading to moksa is symbolised by TAT and that representing prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence confering kama, artha and dharma is symbolised by SAT. 4) That yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord when devoid of any desires for rewards becomes successful 5) That those initiated Vaisnava brahmanas performing yagnas achieved their ordainment as a result of the prominence of sattva guna or mode of goodness permeating their character enhanced by the sole intake of only sattvic foods.

In this final chapter Lord Krishna concisely delineates the following subject matters: 1) Sannyasa the renunciation of action and tyaja the renunciation of actions rewards 2) The exact nature and mood of tyaja. 3) The comprehension that the Supreme Lord Krishna is the repository and agency of everything. 4) A description of the effects of the three gunas or modes of material nature illustrating that sattva guna alone leads to moksa or liberation from material existence and is thus the only guna worthy of cultivation. 5) How activities appropriated in the varnas or four caste system indicates the natural propensities of a jiva or embodied being based on karma or reactions to past actions are actually authorised acts of worship to the Supreme Lord accomplishing His attainment. 6) The quintessential conclusion of the divine discourse Srimad Bhagavad- Gita is that bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures is the paramount goal of all existence.

The question enquired about is the distinct difference between sannyasa and tyaja as well as their similarities. Both are subtle not easy to understand. Both are situated in renunciation and both lead to moksa. Literally sannyasa means putting away and literally tyaja means giving up. Sannyasa expresses abandonment of desires for actions and tyaja exhibits the abandonment for the rewards of actions. The Mundaka Upanisad III.II.VI beginning veda ta vijnano sunisch means: Those of restrained senses who lead a life of renunciation with Vedic knowledge achieve liberation. Not by action, not by wealth, not by progeny can this be achieved. Those enlightened jivas who have ascertained what is the essence of the Vedic scriptures and assimilating it within their hearts by renunciation dissolve all their karmas and achieve moksa and the final beatitude. In order to illustrate the nature of both sannyasa and tyaja and prove that they are one and the same Lord Krishna first corrects the misapprehension that they are different.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

This is the final chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and in it the Supreme Lord Krishna gives a concise synopsis of all the subjects presented in the previous 17 chapters. This He does in order to impress upon our memories the topics elaborated upon earlier and to clearly delineate how all conceptions harmoniously unite in the marvellous sublime beauty of the final conclusion. At the end of the last chapter it was explained that actions were only declared righteous if they were performed for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations revealed in Vedic scriptures. Such actions exclusively dedicated in chapter 17, verse 27 for His satisfaction alone are known as SAT and clearly denote that the desire for rewards is what is to be abandoned and not the activity. This was also confirmed earlier in chapter 12, verse 11 where Lord Krishna advises that controlling the mind one should relinquish the desire for the rewards of actions. Even earlier in chapter 5, verse 13 Lord Krishna had advised mentally renouncing all actions.

Why then do these two instructions seem contradictory and what is the correct understanding regarding the renunciation of all actions and the renunciation of desire for the receiving the rewards of actions? The true nature of abandonment of actions and the abandonment of the desire for rewards and the distinction between the two is what Lord Krishna will address. In this context it must be taken into consideration whether or not sannyasa or renunciation and tyaja or abandonment are actually different. The Mundaka Upanisad III.II.VI beginning veda tat vijnano sunisch meaning: Those who have purified themselves through renunciation and have ascertained and comprehended the Vedic scriptures will achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. Neither through actions, nor wealth, nor progeny but only by renunciation is immortality gained.

The evocatives mahabaho meaning mighty armed denotes Lord Krishna’s indomitable might and kesinisudana refers to His destroying a mighty demon. So He is requested to by His supreme power to destroy the misunderstanding of renunciation along with destroying the enemies on the battlefield. The evocative Hrsikesa acknowledges that Lord Krishna is the inner monitor of the mind and that only He can remove all doubts.

Sloka 18.2 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रीभगवानुवाच |

काम्यानां कर्मणां न्यासं संन्यासं कवयो विदुः |
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं प्राहुस्त्यागं विचक्षणाः ||१८- २||

shrIbhagavAnuvAcha |

kAmyAnA.n karmaNA.n nyAsaM sa.nnyAsaM kavayo viduH |
sarvakarmaphalatyAgaM prAhustyAgaM vichakShaNAH || 18-2 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.2

Anvaya: sri-bhagavan uvaca–the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; kamyanam–with desire; karmanam–activities; nyasam–renunciation; sannyasam–renounced order of life; kavayah–the learned; viduh–know; sarva–of all; karma–activities; phala–of results; tyagam–renunciation; prahuh–call; tyagam–renunciation; vicaksanah–the experienced.

Translation: The Supreme Lord said, To give up the results of all activities is called renunciation [tyaga] by the wise. And that state is called the renounced order of life [sannyasa] by great learned men.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna replied: Sages and those proficient in learning understand that renouncing and abandoning actions that fulfil desires found in the Vedic scriptures such as prescribed procedures for getting a son, or prescribed rituals for entering the heavenly planets is known as sannyasa and this includes renouncing all actions as well as their rewards. The spiritually enlightened declare that renouncing and relinquishing the desire for rewards of actions although performing daily and occasional prescribed duties and not renouncing the actions themselves is known as tyaja.

The question may arise that since no rewards are mentioned for regular and occasional prescribed duties how can there be renunciation of rewards that do not exist. It is as if a barren woman could give up her child. The answer to such a query is that although no specific rewards are declared in the Vedic scriptures, ordinances and injunctions such as: The sandhya vrata which is the chanting of sacred incantations three times daily must always duly be performed by initiated Vaisnava Brahmins and the Ekadasi vrata which is fasting from all grains and beans on the 11th day of the waxing and waning moon must always be observed by all human beings. Although ordinances and injunctions cannot inspire a undiscerning person to perform an activity which seems to have no purpose; yet if they are omitted or ignored it will be a cause for sinfulness and demerit. So according to the rule of parallel opposites it is understood that some merit must also be present in performing prescribed Vedic activities. It would not be reasonable to follow Prabhakara’s opinion that the injunction itself is self-sufficient and requires no result because that would be contrary to the law of karma or that of there is an equal reaction comprised from every action. Further more Vedic scriptures such as the Chandogya Upanisad II.XXIII.I beginning trayo dharma skandha yagno confirms that: Those who perform sacred Vedic rites attain to immortality. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad I.V.XVI beginning atha trayo vai a loka confirms that: By performing Vedic rituals and knowledge the higher realms are gained and the Maha Narayana Upanidad XXII.I declares that: By performance of Vedic rituals one is absolved from sins. This is why the spiritually evolved agree that the abandoning of the desire for rewards of actions is renunciation known as tyaja.

But then an argument could be raised that if one were to relinquish the desire for any reward there would be no inclination to perform the action. But this thinking is faulty and not accurate because all Vedic activities are for the general evolution of society and are meant to gradually produce the impulse for atma tattva or self-realisation. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad IV.IV.XXII beginning sa va esa mahanaja atma states: Vaisnava brahmanas realise the atma or immortal soul by study of the Vedic scriptures, through ritualistic propitiation and worship and by austerities which is renunciation of the objects of sense enjoyment. Hence it has been clarified that renunciation for the desires of rewards is what is to be abandoned as they keep one revolving in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and thus it is possible to perform all actions in such a renounced state and achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. Moksa may also be considered a desire but it is the internal desire of the intellect for a spiritual result and not the mundane desire for a material reward. Moksa is achieved by inclination of the intellect, by inspired faith, by reflection, introspection and meditation, by the cessation of identifying with the physical body, by discrimination between matter and spirit. Until one has reached this point, the relegation of prescribed duties for purification of the mind which are not antagonistic to devotion to the Supreme Lord while relinquishing the desire for rewards is essential and not the actual abandonment of actions. The Iso Upanisad verse II beginning kurvan neve ha karmani states: By performing Vedic activities one should not mind to live 100 years. That is because during this time the cessation of activities without the desire for rewards will manifest automatically as a natural process due to the internal inclination of the purified intellect which dissolves all impurities as the spring rain clouds depart after fulfilling their purpose. Lord Krishna has stated earlier in chapter 3, verse 17 that: One who delights in the atma, who is satisfied with the atma, who is content in the atma has no need to perform any duties. The great sage Vasisitha has explained that: The enlightened make no effort to renounce actions yet actions renounce them for the root of all actions is desire and desire is non-existent in the enlightened ones. One may also renounce actions due to the fact that actions impede and hinder the practice of meditation.

One should perform mundane actions until one develops distaste and then disgust for them. In the Srimad Bhagavatam XI.XIV.XXVIII beginning tasmad aswad abbhidhyanam Lord Krishna Himself explains that: One should give up all material processes for elevation which are like the meanderings of a dream and purify themselves by focusing the mind completely in the Supreme Lord. The precise reason for this instruction was given by Lord Krishna earlier in Srimad Bhagavatam XI.XIV.XXII beginning dharmah satya-dayopeto means: Righteous and spiritual activities performed sincerely as well as esoteric knowledge obtained by prodigious austerities cannot completely purify the consciousness if they are not endowed with devotion to the Supreme Lord. In this light even moksa is insignificant and never pursued or even thought about by the surrendered devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. So we have presented various examples from diverse angles of vision to answer this question adequately.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that the absence of prescribed Vedic actions which hold even a miniscule residue for rewards is renunciation known as sannyasa or relinquishing of actions. Tyaja is renunciation by abandoning the desire for rewards and not the prescribed actions themselves. Both sannyasa and tyaja are considered renunciation.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Some learned philosophers contend that sannyasa or renunciation is the abstention from performing activities for rewards. Other sophisticated sages assert that in sections of the Vedic scriptures pertaining to moksa or liberation from material existence that tyaja or renunciation means abandoning the rewards attached to Vedic activities whether they are namittika or regular duties or kamya or specific activities prescribed for specific results. The contention here is the predominance of one or the other points of view when in contradiction. Is sannyasa or abandonment of the activities for rewards alone sufficient or is tyaja the abandonment of desires for rewards the essential attribute to be embraced? Both appear to be plausible and both are situated in renunciation and both may be used synonymously and considered as renunciation. More clarity concerning this topic is presented by Lord Krishna in verses four, seven and twelve.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that some learned men of knowledge propound renunciation as sannyasa or abandoning all activities prescribed or otherwise motivated by desire for rewards. While other men of wisdom maintain that renunciation is tyaja or abandoning the desire for rewards and not relinquishing the prescribed Vedic activitiy.

Sloka 18.3 audio recital in Sanskrit     

त्याज्यं दोषवदित्येके कर्म प्राहुर्मनीषिणः |
यज्ञदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यमिति चापरे ||१८- ३||

tyAjya.n doShavadityeke karma prAhurmanIShiNaH |
yaGYadAnatapaHkarma na tyAjyamiti chApare || 18-3 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.3

Anvaya: tyajyam–must be given up; dosa-vat–as an evil; iti–thus; eke–one group; karma–work; prahuh–said; manisinah–of great thinkers; yajna–sacrifice; dana–charity; tapah–penance; karma–work; na–never; tyajyam–is to be given up; iti–thus; ca–certainly; apare–others.

Translation: Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive activities should be given up, but there are yet other sages who maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should never be abandoned.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The unintelligent propound that abandoning actions is what is meant by sannyasa or renunciation. The intelligent maintain that abandoning the desire for the rewards of actions is renunciation. In order to establish these two diverging views firmly the Supreme Lord Krishna states the word manisinah means the wise, the conscientious. The learned philosophers from the Sankhya philosophy which is based on mundane analysis are of the opinion that all defective actions are to be abandoned because they are produced by the agency of desire which promotes bondage in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and because they are contaminated by mundane impulses such as lust and violence. Even ritualistic actions accomplished by material means although without violence are prone to the possibility of causing some injury in some way.

The Vedic scriptures declare that: One should never kill a cow under any circumstances. This is an infallible prohibition. If one does so unlimited sins and immeasurable demerits are accrued and one will be forced to suffer in hell for as many millions of years as there are hairs on the physical body of every cow killed. Yet again there are references in the Vedic scriptures explaining how an animal may be slain, yet as the explanations pertain to two different subject matters they are not in confliction as cow killing is an all inclusive prohibition involving all cows, bulls and calves whereas the slaying of animals is a specific injunction of another type and does not annul the former. What is spoken by the Supreme Lord is anusvarava or infallible. What is revealed in the Vedic scriptures is anusvarava and the knowledge transmitted from the Vedic scriptures by the Vaisnava spiritual master is anusvarava.

The injunctions and ordinances prescribed in the Vedic scriptures although giving protection in temporal things and halt accruing demerits by abstaining from prohibited activities but this is quite ineffectual for achieving moksa or liberation from material existence because of being used in banal and mundane situations. The method of dissolving sins by various procedures such as the jytishtoma yagna or rituaistic propitiation and fire worship or candrayama fasting by the cycles of the moon is temporal, solely for physical and material gain and is accompanied by impurity, selfish motives and evil actions. There is also some gradation in the heavenly planets for one resulting from sinful actions that were absolved compared to one who never committed sinful actions at all.

Other learned philosophers such as those of the Mimamsaka philosophy or mundane rationalist declare that prescribed Vedic activities should never be abandoned. A Vedic injunction enjoins the performance of what has been prescribed for a particular aim to insure a specific result and benefits all involved. But a prohibition does not similarly denote that such action serves the purpose of something else but only that abstaining from such an act insures that no demerits will be accrued if the act is not committed. If this was true then even prohibited actions performed inadvertently or in ignorance would cease to be sinful and that is erroneous and not reality. Therefore among these two philosophies there is some contradiction. The Mimamsakas have a rule that when there is contradiction between two Vedic injunctions the specific one is more prominent then the general one and therefore annuls it. The Sankhyas analyse that there should be discrimination in interpreting the Vedic scriptures and although one injunction forbids killing and the another injunction permits killing they relate to different subject matter and there is no verification that sins are absent in ritualistic killing and following their rule of interpreting the Vedic texts the general rule is more prominent and annuls the specific rule.

It has been established that impurities and contamination are contained in killing; so for the Sankhyas although the performer of the action may receive some benefit such as gaining entry to the heavenly spheres it will shorten the duration of enjoying there due to the sin incurred of the slaying and soon afterwards one takes birth again in the worldly planets. Such reactions are also understood to be major impediments in the achievement of moksa or liberation from material existence. There is also a gradation in the results of different Vedic rituals. Some result in promotion to the heavenly spheres, some award kingship in the human spheres, some give sovereignty in the demoniac spheres but in all cases the results are only temporary and not permanent.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The word manisinah refers to the scholars of the sankhya or analytical school of thought who propound that renunciation is the abandonment of unrighteous actions due to possessing defects such as promoting desires or instigating violence. While others denoted by the words apare ca maintain the understanding that only the abandonment of the desire for rewards is renunciation. Both opinions have relevance and both opinions have been accepted as reasonable.

Now begins the summation.

Having referred to them as manisinah it is not appropriate to minimise their views but if inferior they should be given up. Thus a breach of etiquette is averted. The purport is to abandon actions with desires for rewards and all attachment to them. In the next verse Lord Krishna gives His absolute conclusion on this subject.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Kapila Muni the founder of the Sankhya philosophy which is based on analytical reason declares that since even prescribed Vedic activities have an aroma of desire for rewards attached to them and the resultant reactions keep one enslaved in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death in material existence. So even prescribed Vedic activities are fit to be abandoned by those aspirants striving for moksa or liberation from material existence. But those of the Mimamsaka philosophy who adhere to rationalistic thinking in interpreting the conclusions of the Vedic scriptures maintain that prescribed Vedic duties are not to be abandoned only the desires for rewards from such duties are in fact to be renounced.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Other erudite men of knowledge assert that since all activities contain an element of desire which are producive of bondage they should all be given up. While other wise men of discernment declare that prescribed Vedic duties such as yagna or ritualistic worship and propitiation, tapah or austerities and penance and danam or charity should never to be abandoned.

Sloka 18.4 audio recital in Sanskrit     

निश्चयं शृणु मे तत्र त्यागे भरतसत्तम |
त्यागो हि पुरुषव्याघ्र त्रिविधः सम्प्रकीर्तितः ||१८- ४||

nishchayaM shR^iNu me tatra tyAge bharatasattama |
tyAgo hi puruShavyAghra trividhaH samprakIrtitaH || 18-4 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.4

Anvaya: niscayam–certainty; srnu–hear; me–from Me; tatra–there; tyage–in the matter of renunciation; bharata-sat-tama–O best of the Bharatas; tyagah–renunciation; hi–certainly; purusa-vyaghra–O tiger among human beings; tri-vidhah–three kinds; samprakirtitah–is declared.

Translation: O best of the Bharatas, hear from Me now about renunciation. O tiger among men, there are three kinds of renunciation declared in the scriptures.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

After first explaining the two opposing views which are most prominent. The Supreme Lord Krishna now reveals the absolute conclusion to alleviate the confusion and conflicting opinions by declaring that renunciation is of three types. Although it is complicated and difficult to understand it should not be disregarded but should astutely understood with erudition as renunciation in tama guna the mode of ignorance, in raja guna the mode of passion and sattva guna the mode of goodness. This indicates that the renunciation of prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties is not appropriate as will be confirmed in the next verse.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

It is logically explained that even in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties one can exercise tyaja or renunciation in its threefold composite. Abandonment of these is not required. First is the lowest stage likened unto tama guna the mode of ignorance whereby in renunciation one performs activities as a matter of duty or a matter of righteousness without desire for rewards. This can be done by abandoning desires for material benefits or heavenly delights. Second is the intermediate stage likened unto raja guna the mode of passion whereby renunciation of activities abandons the identifying ego sense attached to it. Relinquishing such mentalities as this work was accomplished by me, I did it, this is mine and the rewards are mine. Thirdly is likened unto sattva guna the mode of goodness and is renunciation whereby one surrenders all rewards and results unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. One should be cognizant that He is the supreme absolute truth, the supreme controller and the ultimate reality and not think that we are the controllers in any way.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus after relegating various divergent views regarding renunciation which is complicated and difficult to comprehend. The Supreme Lord Krishna prepares to give His conclusion stating it has been established by the wise and erudite that renunciation is of three disntinct types characterised as topmost, intermediate and lowest.

Sloka 18.5 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यज्ञदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यं कार्यमेव तत् |
यज्ञो दानं तपश्चैव पावनानि मनीषिणाम् ||१८- ५||

yaGYadAnatapaHkarma na tyAjya.n kAryameva tat.h |
yaGYo dAnaM tapashchaiva pAvanAni manIShiNAm.h || 18-5 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.5

Anvaya: yajna–sacrifice; dana–charity; tapah–penance; karma–activities; na–never; tyajyam–to be given up; karyam–must be done; eva–certainly; tat–that; yajnah–sacrifice; danam–charity; tapah–penance; ca–also; eva–certainly; pavanani–purifying; manisinam–even of the great souls.

Translation: Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up but should be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The absolute conclusion is being prepared by Lord Krishna in this verse and the next beginning with: To the manisinam or wise who are discriminative, prescribed Vedic activities are products of sattva guna the mode of goodness and are sanctifying and lead to purification of the mind.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna emphasises that never under any circumstances are prescribed Vedic activities such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or penance and austerities and danam or charity to the Vaisnavas and brahmanas ever to be abdicated. They must be continuously performed all through the life some daily and others occasionally up until the moment of death. The reason for this is that prescribed Vedic activities situated purely in sattva guna or mode of goodness duly purify the performer and all involved especially those in varna asrama or the natural four divisions of society which are Vaisnava and Brahmin the spiritual class, ksatriya or royal and warrior class, vaisya or agricultural and commerce class and sudra the worker class. They also upgrade the general consciousness of the world in general. The performance of prescribed Vedic activities dissolves all impurities and eradicates the karmas or reactions to actions from past activities. The word manisinam means the wise, the conscientious, those whose consciousness is evolved in a spiritual sense. Such aspirants reflecting upon spiritual attainment throughout their lives are naturally in communion with the Supreme Lord at the moment of death.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna reveals His absolute conclusion by declaring that under no circumstances should prescribed Vedic activities be terminated. Activities such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or Vedic austerities and penance as well as danam or charity to Vaisnavas and Brahmins are sanctifying and purifying. They have been established at the beginning of creation to benefit all living entities and they elevate the minds of those aspirants who contemplate and meditate on the Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.6 audio recital in Sanskrit     

एतान्यपि तु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा फलानि च |
कर्तव्यानीति मे पार्थ निश्चितं मतमुत्तमम् ||१८- ६||

etAnyapi tu karmANi saN^ga.n tyaktvA phalAni cha |
kartavyAnIti me pArtha nishchitaM matamuttamam.h || 18-6 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.6

Anvaya: etani–all this; api–certainly; tu–must; karmani–activities; sangam–association; tyaktva–renouncing; phalani–results; ca–also; kartavyani–as duty; iti–thus; me–My; partha–O son of Prtha; niscitam–definite; matam–opinion; uttamam–the best.

Translation: All these activities should be performed without any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Prtha. That is My final opinion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the absolute conclusion is revealed that even prescribed Vedic activities which are sanctifying and purifying and are so essential are in fact to be performed as acts of devotion to the Supreme Lord without desire for recompense and without a sense of ego attached to them. They should be performed for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. If that consciousness has not been attained then they should be verily performed as a matter of duty. This is the best comprehensive conclusive view.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The different classes of prescribed Vedic activities are delineated. The types of yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or austerities and danam or charity have been classified in the previous chapter according to the three gunas or modes of material nature. Yet here Lord Krishna emphasises that all these activities should be forthrightly performed and never given up because such activities are sanctifying and purifying. Only the desire for rewards for such activities should be abandoned and not the activity itself. If this were not true then there would be contradiction with the hallowed revelations of Vedavyasa who stated that: An aspirant whether a married householder, a forest dweller or mountain recluse who is striving for moksa or liberation from material existence must perform prescribed Vedic activities for their own best welfare and interests. Yagna is the form of acquired wisdom, tapah is the form of acquired faith and danam is the form of acquired fearlessness. So they all should be always performed. The purport is that no one can permanently avoid activity it is not possible, but everyone can give up the desire for rewards from activities and that is actual renunciation.

Now begins the summary.

One should sincerely offer charity to the Vaisnavas and Brahmins according to one’s capacity. One should sincerely instruct spiritual knowledge to supplicants to the best of one’s ability and one should perform personal austerities according to one’s varnasrama or class and stage in life. A grihasta or householder of the vaisya or mercantile class has a different parameter for austerities then a brahmacari or celibate student of Vaisnava brahmanas or ordained spiritual order and their activities are very different. A ksatriya from the royal or warrior class may perform exceedingly extreme austerities such as fasting in desert heat or meditating in intense cold that would not appeal to a grihasta or brahmacari. Even a lowly sudra of the worker class may advance by doing some penance such as fasting and by speaking truthfully and serving the other three orders faithfully. Although one is born in various situations in life the true quality of a jiva or embodied being is inherent within and this is what determines one’s actual character in life. This theme will be examined more by Madhvacarya’s comments on verses 47 and 48.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Due to the fact that the performance of prescribed Vedic activities are sanctifying, purifying and lead to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. They should be performed daily and during special occasions throughout the whole life until the moment of death as a matter of joy or a matter of duty without desiring any reward and without any sense of ego involved. This is the final and best conclusion.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It might be submitted by an erudite enquirer that Lord Krishna Himself has stated that karma or reactions to action leads to the bondage of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death so can how can actions be sanctifying and purifying. To answer this Lord Krishna assures that absolutely such prescribed Vedic activities such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or austerities and danam or charity to the Vaisnavas and Brahmins as well as daily obligatory duties must be performed with firm conviction and full faith in the injunctions and ordinances of the Vedic scriptures; or else demerits, offenses and contamination will be incurred. But although these activities are not to be abdicated they must be performed without any sense of ego as the doer and without even the slightest desire for rewards. This can be accomplished either as a matter of duty or for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures.

Sloka 18.7 audio recital in Sanskrit     

नियतस्य तु संन्यासः कर्मणो नोपपद्यते |
मोहात्तस्य परित्यागस्तामसः परिकीर्तितः ||१८- ७||

niyatasya tu sa.nnyAsaH karmaNo nopapadyate |
mohAttasya parityAgastAmasaH parikIrtitaH || 18-7 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.7

Anvaya: niyatasya–prescribed duties; tu–but; sannyasah–renunciation; karmanah–activities; na–never; upapadyate–is deserved; mohat–by illusion; tasya–of which; parityagah–renunciation; tamasah–in the mode of ignorance; parikirtitah–is declared.

Translation: Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If, by illusion, one gives up his prescribed duties, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The three kinds of renunciation introduced previously are being explained by Lord Krishna in this verse and the next two. Renunciation of actions prompted by desire is proper since such actions assure bondage in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. But giving up prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties is not proper since those activities lead to moksa or liberation from material existence by purifying the mind. Therefore abstaining from these sanctifying Vedic activities arises from illusion and the conception to oppose what is prescribed in the Vedic scriptures is delusion. This delusion is understood to be clearly situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna reiterates that abandoning desire for the rewards of actions is what is to be relinquished and the true expression of renunciation. Merely giving up the actions is an erroneous display of foolishness with no benefit. The Padma Purana states: Those who give up the performance of prescribed Vedic activities, receiving no benefits will undoubtedly be forced to enter the dark and hellish nether worlds.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Prescribed Vedic activities are niyata or eternal. Some are daily duties such as chanting mantras or sacred incantations for the benefit of all creation at the three junctures of the day. Some are occasional duties such as fasting from all grains twice a month on ekadasi which is the 11th day of the waxing and waning moon. Still other prescribed Vedic activities such as a Vishnu yagna which is ritualistic propitiation and worship of the Supreme Lord are performed during extraordinary celebrations such as the installation of the vigraha or authorised deity form of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. Ceasing to performed such sanctifying and purifying Vedic activities which benefit all creation would be unrighteous and cause unimaginable degradation to humanity specifically and evolution in general. Lord Krishna already confirmed in chapter three, verse 8: That bodily sustenance cannot even be maintained without appropriate actions otherwise it is not possible. . Even if one is able to assimilate bodily sustenance from sunshine or by air alone as some elevated yogis do that is still performing action.

Food not first consecrated unto the Supreme Lord is considered sinful and such food produces delusion and bewilderment in thinking. It is confirmed in Chandogya Upanisad VI.V.IV beginning anna mayam hi somya mana states: The mind is verily composed from food. The purifying vestiges of sanctified food ingested after the performance of the holy yagna is capable of imparting sacred knowledge conducive to atma tattva or soul realisation. Cognition of the Supreme Lord and communion with Him is dependent upon internal and external purity which are mandatory pre-requisites. Purified food purifies the mind, a purified mind has the ability to access the esoteric spiritual reality that assures moksa or liberation from material existence. So the reality is that prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties are to be performed all throughout one’s life even up to the last day of departing the present existence as they guarantee one is able to fulfil the goals of human existence. So abstinence from performing them is not in one’s best interest. Those that desist, ignore, disregard and blaspheme are influenced by illusion and are locked in tama guna the mode of ignorance. For it has been traced by the enlightened that the idea of abstinence of prescribed Vedic activities was induced by tama guna and governed by illusion. Ignorance is that which is hostile to wisdom and exists as perverted knowledge. So abstaining from prescribed Vedic activities is in the category of perverted knowledge. Lord Krishna will illustrate this futher in verse 32.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna delineates the three types of renunciation associated with prescribed Vedic activities. Prohibited actions and acts of adharma or unrighteousness as well as any activity motivated by a desire other then the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord are undoubtedly to be abandoned. But renunciation of prescribed Vedic activities results in evil and inauspiciousness acts that propel one to hellish destinations. An example is not following ekadasi or fasting from all grains on the 11th day of the waxing and waning new moon and full moon. If one renounces this injunction one will certainly have to suffer in a hellish condition of life. So to disregard and ignore prescribed Vedic activities is not appropriate or advisable because these activities help to purify the mind. To relinquish what is benefical due to indifference, indiscretion or indiscrimination has been declared as situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance because such renunciation reveals the presence of inertia and nescience.

Sloka 18.8 audio recital in Sanskrit     

दुःखमित्येव यत्कर्म कायक्लेशभयात्त्यजेत् |
स कृत्वा राजसं त्यागं नैव त्यागफलं लभेत् ||१८- ८||

duHkhamityeva yatkarma kAyakleshabhayAttyajet.h |
sa kR^itvA rAjasaM tyAgaM naiva tyAgaphalaM labhet.h || 18-8 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.8

Anvaya: duhkham–unhappy; iti–thus; eva–certainly; yat–that which; karma–work; kaya–body; klesa–troublesome; bhayat–out of fear; tyajet–gives up; sah–that; krtva–after doing; rajasam–in the mode of passion; tyagam–renunciation; na eva–certainly not; tyaga–renounced; phalam–results; labhet–gain.

Translation: Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome, or out of fear, is said to be in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

If one renounces actions out of fear of repercussions or due to inconvenience or bodily discomfort and gives up prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties such renunciation is understood to be clearly situated in raja guna or mode of passion. For pain and discomfort and its opposites pleasure and comfort are products of raja guna. Lord Krishna confirms that such jivas or embodied beings will definitely not derive the benefits of such renunciation in the form of purifying their minds and sanctifying their existence which are prerequisites for moksa or liberation from material existence.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Unless one is deluded, they will reject all that they see as nothing but misery. But misery in itself is a mental projection based upon angle of perception. It is because normally what is spoken of as affecting the physical body is considered to be separate from the mind that misery is merely a mental condition arising from an unwelcome reception. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying. The Shabda Nirnaya states: Aggravation should be known as an external phenomena having an external source; with proper discrimination this is apparent.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Undoubtedly prescribed Vedic activities are conducive to achieving moksa or liberation form material existence but as they also include penance and austerities they may cause discomfort, difficulty and even pain to accomplish. Sometimes fasting is required putting the physical body under duress causing fatigue which is agonising to the mind. Dreading such inconvenience one may limit themselves solely to the practice of astanga yoga with its numerous exercises, or pranayama maintaining strict breath control or sit for long hours in meditation to achieve moksa. All of these activities may have merit but if they keep one refraining from performing prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties then such abstention is known to be contrary to the conclusions of the Vedic scriptures and is situated in raja guna the mode of passion. The benefits that one thinks they are gaining by abstaining from prescribed Vedic activities to perform other works are factually never accrued. It is just a figment of the imagination like a mirage for without supplicating everything to the Supreme Lord Krishna through the medium of the bonfide spiritual master in disciplic succession it is not possible to receive His grace. This topic will be addressed further in verse 32.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna speaks of the renunciation characterised by raja guna or mode of passion. The phrase dukham eva can mean troublesome. One who is unhappy about executing their obligations and forsakes their duties due to discomfort or else performs them reluctantly with minimal exertion and effort will acquire no benefit or reap any reward for their endeavors. They are known to be situated in raga guna and such renunciation will bestow neither spirirtual knowledge nor advancement in spiritual life.

Sloka 18.9 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कार्यमित्येव यत्कर्म नियतं क्रियतेऽर्जुन |
सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा फलं चैव स त्यागः सात्त्विको मतः ||१८- ९||

kAryamityeva yatkarma niyataM kriyate.arjuna |
saN^ga.n tyaktvA phala.n chaiva sa tyAgaH sAttviko mataH || 18-9 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.9

Anvaya: karyam–must be done; iti–thus; eva–thus; yat–that which; karma–work; niyatam–prescribed; kriyate–performed; arjuna–O Arjuna; sangam–association; tyaktva–giving up; phalam–result; ca–also; eva–certainly; sah–that; tyagah–renunciation; sattvikah–in the mode of goodness; matah–in My opinion.

Translation: But he who performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all attachment to the fruit–his renunciation is of the nature of goodness, O Arjuna.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna concludes this exposition by stating that when prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory rites which are compulsory for all human beings such as following ekadasi which is fasting from all grains and beans on the 11th day during both the waxing and waning moon and is performed in knowledge as a matter of duty without any attachment or desire for rewards is known to be clearly situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness. The Skanda Purana beginning matraha pitraha caiva bhatraha guruha tatha ekadasyantu confirms that all who eat grains on ekadasi can never achieve liberation from material existence and attain communion with the Supreme Lord. So it is for the ultimate benefit of all human beings that it is compulsory not to eat grains on ekadasi and this axiom applies also to all the Vedic ordinances and injunctions.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

It should be understood and clearly comprehended that all prescribed Vedic activities both nitya or eternal and naimittika or occasional are obligatory duties for aspirants seeking moksa or liberation from material existence and communion with the Supreme Lord. These prescribed activities devolve into the specific duties varna and asrama or the stage and class one is situated in. This may be initiated by birth but it is established inherently and qualified by deeds. Actual renunciation is performing such prescribed Vedic activities free from egoism, without any attachment or desire for any rewards. This is real renunciation and is situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness where the source of spiritual realisation commences; properly situated in correct knowledge, untainted by delusion and free from illusion. This theme will appear again in verse 30.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna reveals renunciation characterised with the mode of goodness. Prescribed Vedic activities performed as karyam iti eva a sense of duty and tvaktya sangam abandoning attachment to receiving rewards for one’s actions and any and all ego sense are situated in sattva guna because they are performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord by the grace of the Vaisnava preceptor. This includes both daily activities and occasional activities. The purport is that activities performed with an intent of offering them to the Supreme Lord purifies the consciousness and bestows spiritual knowledge.

Sloka 18.10 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न द्वेष्ट्यकुशलं कर्म कुशले नानुषज्जते |
त्यागी सत्त्वसमाविष्टो मेधावी छिन्नसंशयः ||१८- १०||

na dveShTyakushalaM karma kushale nAnuShajjate |
tyAgI sattvasamAviShTo medhAvI chhinnasa.nshayaH || 18-10 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.10

Anvaya: na–never; dvesti–hates; akusalam–inauspicious; karma–work; kusale–in the auspicious; na–nor; anusajjate–becomes attached; tyagi–the renouncer; sattva–goodness; samavistah–absorbed in; medhavi–intelligent; chinna–cut up; samsayah–all doubts.

Translation: Those who are situated in the mode of goodness, who neither hate inauspicious work nor are attached to auspicious work, have no doubts about work.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The characteristics of one well established by renunciation in sattva guna or the mode of goodness is that they are permeated and saturated through and through with goodness. They are neither ruffled by disagreeable duties such as taking predawn bath in the cold of winter nor do they relish agreeable duties such as taking noon bath in the heat of summer. The reason is that the mentality of such a one is constant and steady and discriminative even if criticised and humiliated by others due to misunderstanding their state of equipoise endures. Those situated in sattva guna have even renounced the pleasures of heaven and the desire for liberation so what to say of paltry subjections to the painful and the temporary influence of the pleasurable? Therefore any doubts or queries due to incorrect understanding in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities regarding bodily comfort and bodily discomfort has been conclusively resolved.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The qualified aspirant would never shun or disregard prescribed Vedic activities merely because they contained an element of discomfort or difficulty. Such a qualified one would simply look at it as tapah or penance because the merit of meritorious austerities performed over the course of many lives are not to be wasted in the temporary enjoyments of the heavenly planets. The qualified aspirant who knows the fundamental principles of karma or reactions to actions and bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord, joyfully surrender all their actions without any desire for rewards for the satisfaction of Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. In this way one is not enslaved into bondage by karma because prescribed Vedic activities unto the Supreme Lord do not incur or accrue any karma whatsoever at any time in any situation or circumstance.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The aspirant who renounces both the desire for rewards as well as any ego- sense as the doer is fully in sattva guna the mode of goodness. Situated in correct knowledge and hence free from all doubts such a one is neither besieged by unrighteous acts nor relieved from righteous acts. Righteous acts are those that bestow positive reactions such as progeny, cows, entry into the heavenly planets, etc. An unrighteous act is that which one may accidentally or unintentionally commit that will accrue negative reactions such as misery, pain, entry to the hellish planets, etc. It should not be misconstrued that final emancipation applies to anyone who deliberately engages in unrighteous activities for the Katha Upanisad I,II.XXIV beginning na virato duscharitanna shanto states: One who has not desisted from evil unrighteous actions or who is of unrestrained mind can never achieve final emancipation even if one is a paragon of intellect and knowledge.

In as much as the ego-sense is absent there is no impetus to exhibit aversion or attraction for either one or the other and since all other goals have been relinquished and resigned with the exception of moksa or final emancipation from material existence and communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures then one is truly established in ultimate renunciation. Thus the conclusion is that relinquishing all ego-sense of authorship and abandoning any desire for rewards is actual renunciation and not mere abstention from actions.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that the aspirant who is imbued and saturated with sattva guna the mode of goodness has achieved spiritual knowledge by renunciation and possess discrimination regarding spirit and matter. The word medhavi means superior intelligence, which bequeathes upon one the faculty of retentive focus which gives the ability to comprehend the ultimate truth through any experience. Such a one neither abhors that which is undesirable nor seeks that which is desirable. Such a one does not avoid prescribed Vedic activities because they may cause discomfort such as: predawn bath daily in the cold of winter or following ekadasi by fasting from all grains on the 11th day of the waxing and waning moons and staying up all night chanting sacred incantations and meditating, etc. Such a one never gets attached to that which gives comfort and a sense of well being such as eating rich vegetarian foods, enjoying the pleasantness of beautiful environments, etc. The purport is that such a one is prepared to undergo comfort or discomfort in executing prescribed Vedic activities without attachment.

Sloka 18.11 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न हि देहभृता शक्यं त्यक्तुं कर्माण्यशेषतः |
यस्तु कर्मफलत्यागी स त्यागीत्यभिधीयते ||१८- ११||

na hi dehabhR^itA shakya.n tyaktuM karmANyasheShataH |
yastu karmaphalatyAgI sa tyAgItyabhidhIyate || 18-11||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.11

Anvaya: na–never; hi–certainly; deha-bhrta–of the embodied; sakyam–possible; tyaktum–to renounce; karmani–activities of; asesatah–altogether; yah tu–anyone who; karma–work; phala–results; tyagi–renouncer; sah–he; tyagi–the renouncer; iti–thus; abhidhiyate–it is said.

Translation: It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. Therefore it is said that he who renounces the fruits of action is one who has truly renounced.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It may be postulated that better than renunciation of the rewards of actions, it is better to simply renounce all actions; for then there is no distraction from meditation and contemplation and one can unhindered attain the joy of a stable, steadfast state of consciousness. In anticipation of this Lord Krishna explains the reality that no living entity can completely stop all actions entirely. No one ever remains inactive even for a moment as the heart is beating, the lungs are breathing, the pulse is pulsing, the eyes are blinking, the mind is reflecting, etc. etc. Therefore renouncing the desire for rewards is true renunciation.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that since it is impossible for any living entity to completely renounce actions entirely it is clear that renunciation of the desire for rewards of actions and all ego sense as the doer of actions is actual renunciation and not the mere cessation of activities.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

It should be clearly understood that whether confined to a physical body or a subtle body it is virtually impossible to entirely give up all action completely. In the physical body the heart is beating, the lungs are breathing, water must be drunk, some form of nourishment must be ingested. If it is a subtle body then sunshine must be absorbed or prana or energy must be assimilated. These things are indispensable for life in a physical or subtle body. Thus while residing in a physical body the observance of prescribed Vedic activities are essential and must be performed. It is the renouncing of desires for the rewards of actions that is factual renunciation and not the mere abandoning of activities. Such renunciation also includes idea of authorship and the bane of attachment. It may be argued that prescribed Vedic activities have rewards automatically associated with them such as entry to Svarga the heavenly planets so by such inseparable relationships they are clear incentives. This is also applicable to the merits accrued from nitya or daily duties and naimittika or occasional duties as well. These actions can be compared to planting a mango tree and the fruits can be considered the rewards thereof. But motivation for the rewards of actions opposed to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna and is inimical to moksa or liberation from material existence. Verily this is true. So all rewards whether or not desirable or undesirable must be renounced as only activities performed without motive and hankering for rewards are to be enacted and this is actual renunciation.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Some may conclude that if those imbued with sattva guna or the mode of goodness neither welcomes nor avoids actions conducive to happiness or unhappiness, then they should not indulge in any activities at all because anyway they are not desirous of rewards. Contrarily the very same activities if they are motivated by desire for rewards keep one enslaved in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. So to be safe it would be better to abandon all actions. Lord Krishna resolves this predicament in this verse by confirming that it is impossible for any jiva or embodied being in a gross or subtle body to completely stop all actions entirely. This is because there is always some activitiy operating for the maintenance of the subtle and physical body even if it is beyond the threshold of comsciousness. So in conclusion one who has relinquished the desire for rewards for their actions performing prescribed Vedic activities with bhakti or exclusive loving devotion or performing them as a matter of duty is designated as situated in actual renunciation and not the mere abstainer of actions.

Sloka 18.12 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अनिष्टमिष्टं मिश्रं च त्रिविधं कर्मणः फलम् |
भवत्यत्यागिनां प्रेत्य न तु संन्यासिनां क्वचित् ||१८- १२||

aniShTamiShTaM mishra.n cha trividhaM karmaNaH phalam.h |
bhavatyatyAginAM pretya na tu sa.nnyAsinA.n kvachit.h || 18-12 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.12

Anvaya: anistam–leading to hell; istam–leading to heaven; misram ca–or mixture; tri-vidham–three kinds; karmanah–work; phalam–result; bhavati–becomes; atyaginam–of the renouncer; pretya–after death; na tu–but not; sannyasinam–of the renounced order; kvacit–at any time.

Translation: For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of action–desirable, undesirable and mixed–accrue after death. But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such results to suffer or enjoy.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The result of renunciation of the desire for rewards is being stated by Lord Krishna. The threefold results of actions are disagreeable such as birth in the hellish planets resulting from sinful activities. Agreeable such as birth in the heavenly planets resulting from virtuous activities and mixed which is birth as a human resulting from both sinful and virtuous activities. But these destinations are only awarded to those who have not fully engaged in renunciation. Those jivas or embodied beings who are full of desires, after death in their next life they get the opportunity to pursue these desires, but these limitations never apply to those situated in renunciation. The word sannyasinam means fully renounced and includes both those who abandon the desire for the rewards of actions as well as those who abandon all actions. The purport is that sinful activities that would propel one to hellish planets are impossible for the aspirant situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness and since whatever rewards they would receive for their virtuous actions have been renounced and offered to the Supreme Lord none of the threefold results of actions would have any effect or influence on them.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Renunciation is being praised and is beneficial for all humanity regardless of status or class. But merely renouncing actions is not sufficient. For those enlightened by the light of spiritual wisdom and those aspirants serious about moksa or liberation from material existence the desire for any rewards in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities have been completely abandoned. For them the only goal is the eternal bliss of attaining communion with the Supreme Lord which is their hearts desire. Such enlightened ones perform activities not for the expectation of any rewards but out of compassion for the benefit of all created beings. The word sannyasinam means totally renounced and this denotes that one never performs activities associated with desire even if they are for the benefit of others. Such sannyasi’s or celibate monks in the renounced order along with sages, ascetics, rishi’s and paramahamsa’s who have already surrendered everything to the Supreme Lord are no longer associated with desires as is a normal human being and thus they take action by inaction. They have terminated all karma or reactions to actions and have transcended samskara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. They exist aloof from the world both internally and externally and wholly devote themselves to atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul and inner meditation on the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

There are three types of rewards that a jiva or embodied being accepts after death as a result of actions. They are anistam or hellish rewards in naraka the hellish planets, istam or godly rewards in svarga the heavenly realms and misram or human rewards in the material worlds. These results only bind those who have not renounced the desire for rewards for their actions expecting renumeration. The three types of renunciation to be abandoned are: the rewards of the actions, the attachment to the actions for the reward and the sense of authorship as the doer. If these three are relinquished then there is no bondage to any action. The word preyta means after death when in the next life the appropriate rewards will be reaped but it does not preclude that some results cannot be experienced even before death such as having a son or being exposed and that as such renunciation may still be applied even while receiving the results in life. But the emphasis is on renouncing the desires to receive rewards for one’s actions. Anyway even if there is some desire for rewards one should never under any circumstances peform any activity inimical to the Vedic scriptures, the Supreme Lord Krishna or His devotees the Vaisnavas.

It is undeniably true that prescribed Vedic activities are obligatory for everyone according to varnasrama or rank and status in life. This is confirmed by the fact that one is born automatically in a certain family, in a certain society, country, continent, planet, etc. based on the hankering for rewards in the previous life by which karma or reactions to actions were incurred awarding the results of one’s past life activities. Yet the very same prescribed activities performed without desire for rewards bestows completely different results. This is known as known as viniyogah prithaktva nyaya and is the justification of dispensation by appropriate application. The aspirant for moksa or liberation from material existence who does not desire any rewards is awarded something different then the furtive hankerer. As declared previously, by study of the Vedic scriptures, by yagna or ritual propitiation and worship, by tapah or austerities and by danam or charity the Vaisnava Brahmins seek to commune with the Supreme Lord. Hence the sannyasa or renunciation that is revealed in the Vedic scriptures is non-different from tyaja the renunciation of the desire for rewards, both which include absence of authorship and ego sense and no attachment. In this way prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory activities can be performed without reactions proving the reality that the cessation of all activity is not necessary neither is it feasible or even practical.

The manner of divesting from oneself conceptions of authorship thinking of oneself as the doer is to be situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness and assign authorship of all actions which conform to Vedic scriptures over to the Supreme Lord. From this correct determination arises the feeling of selflessness while performing actions and an absence of desire in actions performed. The Supreme Lord controls everything external through His agency of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and its triplicate agency of the three gunas or modes of material nature which impels all jivas or embodied beings to follow the impulses of the pranas or life airs and the natural propensities of the body they inhabit based upon karma or reactions to actions due to desire for rewards in previous lifetimes. Hence even the gratification of the senses such as appeasing one’s appetites and all activities which natures demands necessitates all belong to the Supreme Lord and not the individual. Surrendering all actions solely unto the Supreme Lord is the understanding aspirants are imbued with.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Others may speculate that just as milk products such as butter, cheese. cream and curds without thinking about them increasing the fat content of the body anyway increase bodily fat when eaten. Then likewise the performance of prescribed Vedic activities even without desire for any rewards would still yield rewards in the next life which would be obstacles in achieving moksa or liberation from material existence. So such aspirants should refrain from all actions. This conception is refuted by Lord Krishna as He clarifies that the result of those seeking rewards for actions are threefold. Those actions performed in righteousness are meritorious and they award birth in the heavenly spheres. Those actions performed unrighteously are unmeritorious leading to evil consequences and cause birth in the hellish planets and birth as animals. Those actions that are both a mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness cause one to take birth in the human realms. This applies only to those desirious of rewards for the actions they perform. For those who have renounced the desire for rewards completely they are not subject to the threefold births as there are no rewards for them to be attached to as obstacles for achieving moksa. Thus such righteous aspirants never indulge in unmeritorious conduct and hence no evil consequences are attached to them and as all their meritorious activities are already dedicated to the exclusive satifaction of the Supreme Lord, there is no possibilty of them being attached to their actions or any desire therof. So with this understanding there is no scope for any doubt about this matter.

Sloka 18.13 and 18.14 audio recital in Sanskrit     

पञ्चैतानि महाबाहो कारणानि निबोध मे |
साङ्ख्ये कृतान्ते प्रोक्तानि सिद्धये सर्वकर्मणाम् ||१८- १३||

अधिष्ठानं तथा कर्ता करणं च पृथग्विधम् |
विविधाश्च पृथक्चेष्टा दैवं चैवात्र पञ्चमम् ||१८- १४||

pa~nchaitAni mahAbAho kAraNAni nibodha me |
sAN^khye kR^itAnte proktAni siddhaye sarvakarmaNAm.h || 18-13 ||

adhiShThAnaM tathA kartA karaNa.n cha pR^ithagvidham.h |
vividhAshcha pR^ithakcheShTA daiva.n chaivAtra pa~nchamam.h || 18-14 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.13, 18.14

Anvaya: panca–five; etani–all these; maha-baho–O mighty-armed one; karanani–cause; nibodha–just understand; me–from Me; sankhye–in the Vedas; krta-ante–after performance; proktani–said; siddhaye–perfection; sarva–all; karmanam–actuated. adhisthanam–place; tatha–also; karta–worker; karanam ca–and instruments; prthak-vidham–different kinds; vividhah ca–varieties; prthak–separately; cestah–endeavor; daivam–the Supreme; ca–also; eva–certainly; atra–here; pancamam–five.

Translation: O mighty-armed Arjuna, learn from Me of the five factors which bring about the accomplishment of all action. These are declared in sankhya philosophy to be the place of action, the performer, the senses, the endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The question may be submitted how is it possible that one performing actions derives no reactions from their activities. Apprehending such a doubt Lord Krishna in order to exemplify that for one who has given up attachment to the reward of actions and who is free from the ego sense of I and mine there is no connection to reactions from any action. This he elaborates in this verse and the next four. He says to understand the meaning of His words, learn the five causes that are about to be given regarding the accomplishment and production of all actions. To imbibe the cessation of the conception as the doer of actions it is necessary to comprehend these five causes. So to emphasise them Lord Krishna states as declared etc. Here the word sankhya refers to Vedantic philosophy of analytical rationalism established by Kapila Deva, an empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord Krishna. That by which the atma or immortal soul is thoroughly known is declared sankhya or wisdom of the ultimate truth which is the final point and apex of all knowledge which is the ultimate conclusion found in the Vedic scriptures.

The five causes of all actions to manifest are the body, the ego which is the juncture of spirit and matter, the life airs which automatically function and pervade throughout creation, the senses such as the eyes which include the diety of the sun which presides over the eyes and also the other four senses with their presiding dieties and finally the inner ruler and controller of them all as the atma or soul which is powered by paramatma the Supreme Soul.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In this verse Lord Krishna again reiterates sannyasa or renunciation by abandonment of actions. The words sankhye kritante refers to the system of analysis established in the sankhya philosophy of analytical conclsion by Kapila-deva, who appeared as the son of Kardama Muni from the womb of Devahuti and who is an empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord Krishna. His is the original sankhya philosophy acknowledging the existence of the Supreme Lord as the goal and is in full accordance with the Vedic scriptures. It should not be confused by an imitation sankhya philosophy by a Kapila Muni which bases its precepts on analysis of matter and is atheistic, not accepting the reality of the Supreme Lord hence contrary to the Vedic scriptures and unacceptable.

The word adhisthanam means the body, the life airs, the ego, the senses, and their inner director the atma or immortal soul controlled by paramatma the Supreme Soul residing simultaneously in the individual etheric heart of all living entities. Paramatma is an effortless expansion of the Supreme Lord Krishna’s purusa avatar known as Ksisirodaksayi Vishnu. All embodied beings acesta refers to actions both involutary such as the heart beating and breathing as well as volutary actions such as using the hands to perform yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship of the Supreme Lord or utilising the mind to meditate upon the Supreme Lord. By such actions impressions are established which impel one towards the divine. The divine is transcendental and cannot be seen although the liberated can perceive it in their consciousness it is not visible. It has been said that the body, the life airs, the ego, the senses and the atma are the instruments of all activities with paramatma as the unseen controller of them all.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word sankhya means rational, analytical reasoning and refes to the sankhya philosophy established by Lord Krishna’s incarnation of Kapila Deva. The word kritante means deriving the perfect conclusion of the categorical and essential nature of all things based upon the tenents, ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. The five causes Lord krishna will reveal are component factors combining to manifest individual acts. The word nibodha meaning comprehend denotes that they must be contemplated and reflected upon. The absolute conclusion of the Vedic scriptures verily regards Lord Krishna’s expansion as paramatma the Supreme Soul existing simultaneously in the etheric heart of all living entities as the sole author of all acts. The body, the prana or life airs, the ego, the senses, the are the four instuments of the atma or individual soul which is powered by paramatma the Supreme Soul. Evidence confirming this is found in the Taittiriya Upanisad II.III.I beginning prana deva anu prananti meaning: That which is within the body is the prana and that which is seated within the body is the the atma and that which rules the immortal atma is paramatma.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna previously clarified that those who perform actions motivated by desire incarnate and take birth in either the heavenly, hellish or human worlds; but those who have renounced the desire for rewards are not subject to this karma or reactions to actions. Now in order to establish the fact that egoism and non-egoism are the cause of actions influenced by indiscrimination and discrimination, Lord Krishna revals the five factors which cojointly contribute to the accomplishment of all action. These five factors accomplish all actions and must be understood by the aspirants for moksa or liberation from material existence in order to achieve the discriminative knowledge that dissolves the sense of egoism while performing actions. These five factors to be presented will remove any doubt regarding the liberating or binding effects of actions. The Sankhya philosophy of analytical rationalism established by Kapila Deva an incarnation of Lord Krishna, explains these five factors in detail as a method of eradicating the effects of all actions. This method is by precise analytical ascertainment of the cause and effect of all actions. Such analysis includes atma the immortal soul, maya the illusory potency, prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence, paramatma the Supreme Soul etc. and illustrates how a jiva or embodied beings relationship with each liberates or binds one in the material existence and thus is understood to be included in Vedanta.

The five factors are the physical body, the five senses such eyes, ears, etc., the ego, the life airs which govern breathing and the atma the controller of them all. The Vedanta Sutra II.III.XXXIII beginning upadanat states: The atma of the jiva or embodied being at the death of the physical body takes the pranas along with it; therefore the atma is the controller. Some assert without any basis that the controller is the insentient ego but this opinion should be rejected based upon the evidence cited above. For how can the insentient ego be responsible for the physical body, the senses, the life airs and itself as well along with the atma. It is not possible for the insentient to control the sentient, The controller of the five factors is atma the individual immortal soul and the controller of all atmas simultaneously is paramatma the Supreme Soul residing with the atma within the etheric heart of all living entities. Srila Vedavyasa has confirmed this in Vedanta Sutras II.III.XXXXI beginning amso nana vyapadesa:The atma is vibhinamsa an infintessimal expansion of paramatma like the rays of the sun.

Sloka 18.15 audio recital in Sanskrit     

शरीरवाङ्मनोभिर्यत्कर्म प्रारभते नरः |
न्याय्यं वा विपरीतं वा पञ्चैते तस्य हेतवः ||१८- १५||

sharIravAN^manobhiryatkarma prArabhate naraH |
nyAyya.n vA viparItaM vA pa~nchaite tasya hetavaH || 18-15 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.15

Anvaya: sarira–body; vak–speech; manobhih–by the mind; yat–anything; karma–work; prarabhate–begins; narah–a person; nyayyam–right; va–or; viparitam–the opposite; va–or; panca–five; ete–all these; tasya–its; hetavah–causes.

Translation: Whatever right or wrong action a man performs by body, mind or speech is caused by these five factors.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The five causes heretofore enumerated are solely responsible for all actions. This includes everything done by the mind, speech and body. This is proven by the fact that all activities are either physical, audible or mental. So Lord Krishna confirms that whatever action one performs whether virtuous or sinful these five causes are responsible.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The actions enacted by mind, speech and body which are righteous and meritorious are those that are sanctioned by the Vedic scriptures. Those actions which are unrighteous and unmeritorious are those that are prohibited and those not prescribed in the Vedic scriptures.

In all actions of any nature whether pertaining to mind, speech or body the following are the five-fold cause. 1) Adhistathanam the physical body comprising the five elements of material creation. 2) Karta the jiva or embodied being endowed with the properties of intelligence and action giving the ability to think and act accordingly. 3) Karanam are the various organs such as eyes, ears etc. along with those of locomotion such as feet, hands, etc. endowed with functions of combining to produce actions. 4) Pranas is the vital airs which in the form of automatically breathing sustains life 5) Paramatma the Supreme Soul exists simultaneously within all jives as the witness and monitor and includes the atma or individual immortal soul.

That the jivas ability to perform activities is dependent upon paramatma but not influenced by Him is confirmed in Vedanta Sutra II.III.XXXX beginning krita prayatnapek shastu vihita prati siddha meaning: The Supreme Lord impels the jivas according to their nature and tendencies from previous activities and does not interfere in the freewill or invalidate the injunctions or ordinances of the Vedic scriptures in any way.

It might be speculated with an objection that if the jiva performance of action is dependent upon and is a consequence of paramatma then there is no need to be concerned about karma or reactions from actions. But this is an erroneous conception and not harmonious with the injunctions and interdictions of the Vedic scriptures. Paramatma grants the jiva a physical body and its organs to function by the powers inherent in them. All jives are empowered by and dependent upon paramatma without exception. The jivas thus equipped to function are factually dependent upon paramatma although they have been bequeathed freewill which is above instinctual animal behaviour and if they choose to utilise it they have the ability to determine and choose their actions and execute the appropriate effort for such to manifest. Internally within the etheric heart paramatma unbeknownst to the jiva is monitoring all thoughts and actions, sanctioning them silently by not interfering in the freewill of any jiva. The jiva in this sense is the secondary doer because of freewill and thus is subject to the mandatory results of karma or reactions to actions. Just as a heavy boulder requires the combined efforts of many people to move it yet the person for whom it is effected for derives the benefit or detriment of its removable. In the same manner the effort to accomplish an action although comprised of different elements, bestows the positive or negative results to the jiva who enacted the effort.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The five factors being the physical body, the life airs, the ego, the senses and the soul are invariably the cause of all actions. Lord Krishna now specifies that all actions performed by the mind, speech or body whether righteous as prescribed by the Vedic scriptures or unrighteous which are prohibited in the Vedic scriptures are caused by these five factors.

Sloka 18.16 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तत्रैवं सति कर्तारमात्मानं केवलं तु यः |
पश्यत्यकृतबुद्धित्वान्न स पश्यति दुर्मतिः ||१८- १६||

tatraivaM sati kartAramAtmAnaM kevalaM tu yaH |
pashyatyakR^itabuddhitvAnna sa pashyati durmatiH || 18-16 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.16

Anvaya: tatra–there; evam–certainly; sati–being; kartaram–of the worker; atmanam–the self; kevalam–only; tu–but; yah–anyone; pasyati–sees; akrta-buddhitvat–due to unintelligence; na–never; sah–he; pasyati–sees; durmatih–foolish.

Translation: Therefore one who thinks himself the only doer, not considering the five factors, is certainly not very intelligent and cannot see things as they are.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

So what then is to be concluded? Lord Krishna states that the five previously mentioned causes are responsible for all actions and one who due to ignorance from lack of knowledge from the spiritual master regarding the Vedic scriptures and in their folly regard themselves as the perpetrator of action instead of attributing all actions to the supreme absolute reality which is completely spiritual and free from all limiting adjuncts and not subject to material considerations are fools and deluded.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Here the word kevalam means solely. Those who in ignorance are unaware that all actions are enacted collectively by the five previously mentioned causes and erroneously thinks that the individual is the sole performer of any action are merely misguided fools of miniscule intelligence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

So because verily the jiva or embodied being is subject to the sanction of paramatma the Supreme Soul, one should never consider themselves as independent nor think of themselves as the doer of anything. Lord Krishna states that one who erroneously does so will be durmati one whose intelligence is perverted and deluded and thus bewildered is oblivious that other elements are the essential factors in manifesting all activities.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna explains that not withstanding the positive merits or negative demerits of actions performed by the mind, speech and body. One who is untrained, unrestrained and undeveloped is due to lack of instructions from the Vaisnava spiritual master who teaches the knowledge and import of the Vedic scriptures. Such ignorant and misguided fools who ignore the Vaisnava spiritual master who is always in the line of authorised disciplic succession from one of the four authorised sampradayas or channels of spiritual knowledge as confirmed in the Padma Purana and Garga Samhita; believe that they alone are the sole cause of their actions and not the five previously mentioned factors. Such miscreants are so deluded by this distorted mentality that they are oblivious to the fact that their very existence and everything else existing in creation is irrevocably dependent upon the Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.17 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यस्य नाहंकृतो भावो बुद्धिर्यस्य न लिप्यते |
हत्वाऽपि स इमाँल्लोकान्न हन्ति न निबध्यते ||१८- १७||

yasya nAha.nkR^ito bhAvo buddhiryasya na lipyate |
hatvA.api sa imA.NllokAnna hanti na nibadhyate || 18-17 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.17

Anvaya: yasya–of one who; na–never; ahankrtah–false ego; bhavah–nature; buddhih–intelligence; yasya–one who; na–never; lipyate–is attached; hatva api–even killing; sah–he; iman–this; lokan–world; na–never; hanti–kills; na–never; nibadhyate–becomes entangled.

Translation: One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not entangled, though he kills men in this world, is not the slayer. Nor is he bound by his actions.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the question which may arise in the minds of the spiritually intelligent is that being appraised of the pervasive scope of actions who is the sagacious person who cannot be tainted by actions? Lord Krishna addresses this question by stating that one who is free from the notion of I is free from the conception of I am the doer. In other words free from ideas of egoism which regard the body as the self and considers the self as the controller due to the performance of actions within the physical body one is untainted by all actions. Therefore one whose understanding is refined due to not being polluted by attachment to any action and without considering any action as agreeable or disagreeable is never tainted or influenced by any action. Such an evolved jiva or embodied being has realised that the atma or immortal soul as distinctly different from the physical body and immersed in this consciousness of relating solely to the atma thus perceives within themselves as performing no action; neither is such a jiva bound to any karma or reactions from any actions. Therefore due to internal purification of consciousness and intuitive realisation that perceives all activities of the mind, speech and body in relationship to the transcendental atma one is not bound by the restrictions of material nature. What to say of one who dedicates their mind, speech and body to the Supreme Lord. It has been confirmed by Lord Krishna long before in chapter 5, verse 10 that one who offers all there actions unto the Supreme Lord are not tainted by pious or sinful reactions.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

One who by knowledge has determined that they are not the actual performer of any action are not bound by the karma or reactions to any action. Only one who thinks that they are the physical body and the performer of actions are bound to the karma of actions.

Now begins the summation.

Realising that the Supreme Lord Krishna only is independent and it is He upon whom all others depend upon and that the jiva or embodied being is never independent under any circumstances in any stage of existence are aware that all jivas according to tartamya or gradation from Brahma the secondary creator who is the most evolved being in material creation down to an insignificant ant are perishable along with material existence itself. Whereas those who are unaware of their total dependence upon the Supreme Lord Krishna for their very existence come to possess the characteristics of demons born to perpetrate destruction. They are never receptive to the ultimate truth of the Vedic scriptures, neither are they performers of righteousness, nor are they ever entitled to moksa or freedom from material existence and samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. One who is conscious that they are fully dependent upon the Supreme Lord will not be affected by any defects for they will not possess the attitude that they are the doer of anything. This is the special dispensation that such consciousness bequeaths. Whose intellect is not polluted refers to those cognisant who fully dependent upon the Supreme Lord perform actions without attachment according to their prescribed duty in varnasrama the Vedic social structure of society. Those who imagine themselves independent of the Supreme Lord even if performing prescribed duties cannot be considered fully righteous due to their ignorance of Him. Hence there will be some defects and demerits accrued in their activities.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word ahankarah means the ego and refers to one who thinks themselves the doer of actions. It is an erroneous figment of the mind that illusorily attaches itself to one’s own self the conviction that: I myself am doing such and such action. This false notion arises out of identification with the false ego and infatuation to a bodily conception. Such notion and conceptions are completely absent in those of spiritual intelligence who have surrendered themselves to the Supreme Lord. The words na lipyate means not attached to the rewards of actions. Since one of spiritual intelligence understands that they are never independent they realise that the rewards from their actions is not of their concern. Hence they do not consider themselves the doer and are solely dependent upon the Supreme Lord. Whose intelligence has been refined in this manner is known to be purified and untainted. The inference is that although one may perform innumerable activities they perform them not because they are bereft of considering themselves the doer they are not subject to be a recipient to receive the consequent merits or demerits resulting from any action. This highly evolved consciousness of being fully dependent upon the Supreme Lord and never considering oneself as the doer of any action arises out of a jiva or embodied being prevalence of sattva guna the mode of goodness. Therefore it is a virtuous trait and worthy of acquisition to be cultured and implemented. Next the differentiation of actions resulting from interaction and influences of the three gunas or modes of material nature will be examined by Lord Krishna in detail to illustrate from where the inducement and incentive to perform actions arises.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus after describing that the indiscrimate and unfortunate jiva or embodied being who think of themselves merely as a material body and erroneously believe they are the independent doer of actions are ignorant and of perverse, distorted understanding that pollutes their mentality. Whereas a person bereft of egoism possessed of proper understanding is not tainted with the evil consequence of karma which binds one so perniciously to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. One whose mind has been purified through association with the Vaisnvas and instructions from the Vedic scriptures from hearing the words of the Vaisnava spiritual master no longer consider themselves the doer of actions nor are they ever attached to the desire of rewards for their actions. Such evolved beings have resolved that everything is completely dependent upon the Supreme Lord who is sustaining and energising everything and is the sole isvara the controller of all existence. Thus one has no conceptions of I will do or this is mine or I will achieve, etc. and so forth. One who has achieved the true nature of the atma the immortal soul automatically realises their eternal connection to the Supreme Lord Krishna. Such a blessd one is not affected by material activities or influenced by worldly conceptions. If a situation arises on its own accord where such a one must perform actions they never think of themselves as the doer but consider that the Supreme Lord is the doer of everything. Thus they are not fettered to actions and subsequently are not coerced to accept the resultant karma which forces one to experience the merits or demerits of actions.

Sloka 18.18 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना |
करणं कर्म कर्तेति त्रिविधः कर्मसंग्रहः ||१८- १८||

GYAnaM GYeyaM pariGYAtA trividhA karmachodanA |
karaNaM karma karteti trividhaH karmasa.ngrahaH || 18-18 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.18

Anvaya: jnanam–knowledge; jneyam–objective; parijnata–the knower; tri-vidha–three kinds; karma–work; codana–impetus; karanam–the senses; karma–work; karta–the doer; iti–thus; tri-vidhah–three kinds; karma–work; sangrahah–accumulation.

Translation: Knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower are the three factors which motivate action; the senses, the work and the doer comprise the threefold basis of action.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

By revealing the threefold impulses that manifest action and the threefold agents that forms the basis of actions; Lord Krishna establishes the point that the atma or immortal soul which is of an exclusively spiritual nature without material qualities and attributes has absolutely no connection with the cause, the basis and the rewards of actions which are all by products of the three gunas or modes of material nature. Knowledge is the cognizance to obtain a desired result. The knowable is the effort that achieves the result. The knower is the one possessing such knowledge and the means to achieve it. If one translates the word codana to mean impetus then these threefold impulses are the impetus by which all actions are enacted. If the word codana is interpreted to mean scriptural injunctions as the 8th century philosopher Kumarilla Bhatta has given, then the meaning would be that all injunctions in respect to actions are enacted dependent upon the threefold basis which is derived from the three gunas. In chapter two, verse 45 Lord Krishna has already stated that the Vedic scriptures proscribe subjects that are of the three gunas. So it should be understood that the basis of actions are the instrument which is the best means for effecting knowledge, the action that achieves the goal and the agent who performs the action. The words karma sangrahah mean that which epitomises action. In other words the triad consisting of the instrument, the action and the agent form the basis of action. Knowledge, the knowable and the knower are the subsidiary factors which support the basis of action indirectly.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

It is clarified that for those who understand the purport of this verse the desire for expectation and reward would not arise due to not seeing themselves as the doer and performer. Having described the primary threefold impetus as the basis of actions, the Supreme Lord Krishna explains the consequential threefold subsequent actions. Here the word sangrahah meaning foundation infers the consequential results that accumulated from the basis of actions. This also confirms with the Rig Veda statements: Relying on knowledge, the act of knowing and the knower all scriptural injunctions and ordinances become established. The cause, the performance and the performer factually constitute what is action. Even by the non-performance of action one becomes eligible to be qualified by hearing instructions from the Vaisnava spiritual master, by study of the Vedic scriptures and by the mercy bequeathed by devotion to the Supreme Lord. Thus the intention of bhakti exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord following the ordinances of the Vedic scriptures and the instructions of the Vaisnava spiritual master is the ultimate action for as one intends even so it is performed by the Supreme Lords grace. Thus actions that are dedicated to the Spreme Lord are bhakti and such performance factually becomes nimitta a procedure. Yet even in normal circumstances no one is actually the doer and it is only due to the misconceptions of bodily identification and egoism that one erroneously assumes that they are the performer. Since humans are endowed with freewill and self determination and have more independence then all other living entities on the Earth; humans alone are eligible and capable to reflect and appropriately act upon the injunctions, ordinances and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. Since this reality is established by experience no additional proofs are adduced to here.

Now begins the summation.

The Supreme Lord energises the entire creation and all jivas or embodied beings by His Supreme omniscient consciousness. The jivas respective to their manifested form assume the attributes of knower, knowing and knowledge similar to the Supreme Lord. As all jivas possess an atma or immortal soul which is eternal this is the similarity to the Supreme Lord which gives them eternality. But the jiva will not be able to access this eternality and achieve moksa or liberation from material existence until they have achieved realisation of the atma existing within the etheric heart. Failing this they will not become free from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and must reincarnate perpetually in variegated material forms according to each jiva’s individual karma or reactions to actions enacted in the previous lifetime. So in such situations there is no concluding finality.

Yet who is there in the world who does not experience that attitude of: I have done this, I have achieved that? Therefore without such conceptions how can we know that we exist? So how can there be any difference in the concepts of: I know and I exist? The answer is that when one perceives the eternal quality of the atma as distinctly different from the physical body the forms of different bodies ceases to be consequential and the essence of the atma is understood as the essential part. The words karma sangraha meaning foundation of actions refers to the fivefold factors constituting all action. The Supreme Lord by His omnipotence, by His omniscience, by His omnipresence and by His independence controls all creation through the threefold manner described. The jiva performs actions due to the influence of previous karma that determines the attributes, characteristics and form one incarnates into.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The threefold activities that are the motivating force of all actions are itemised now. 1) Jnanam means knowledge of the activity. 2) Jneyam means knowing how the activity is to be accomplished. 3) Parijnata means the knower who performs the activity. These three activities are prerequisite and are the impetus which impels one to perform prescribed Vedic activities for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Contrarily they are also the impetus to enact mundane activities for personal gratification. Among these three activities jneyam is comprised of three subdivisions and explained in context of the Vedas are: 1) karanam how the activity becomes reality such as by donations of wealth or materials. 2) karma or engagement in the act itself such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation. 3) karta the agent who performs the action or initiates the action to be performed.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna reaffirms that one who is free from egoism and the notions of I did this and I did that is not bound by actions and there consequent reactions. The state of egolessness is the result of a preponderance of sattva guna the mode of goodness and such affinity is the doorway leading to spiritual knowledge. So in order to present the threefold types of action and their performance He speaks of knowledge infering about the action, the object of knowledge, the qualified agent, the prescribed procedure, the knower of the ritual to the Supreme Lord and the perfomer thereof. These threefold factors of knowledge, the knowable and the knower form the basis that motivates all actions in the form of initiating actions, instructing actions and directing actions, etc. It has been declared by the 8th century pandit Kumarila Bhatta who was responsible for defeating innumerable propounders of impersonalistic conceptions of the Supreme Lord: That directing, instructing and enjoining are all of the same idea. The action as the object of knowledge is also threefold. As mantras or sacred incantations are the most effacious means for invoking and propitaiating the Supreme Lord, ass the hands are the most effective instruments for offering oblations to the Supreme Lord and as the sruk or ladle is the most effective instrument for pouring ghees or clarified butter in the sacred fire. In the same way the Vedic ritual is accomplished by the actions of the performer of the action who is merely an instrument alsol and not the actual doer as the previously explained factors factually constitute all actions.

Sloka 18.19 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ज्ञानं कर्म च कर्ताच त्रिधैव गुणभेदतः |
प्रोच्यते गुणसङ्ख्याने यथावच्छृणु तान्यपि ||१८- १९||

GYAnaM karma cha kartAcha tridhaiva guNabhedataH |
prochyate guNasaN^khyAne yathAvachchhR^iNu tAnyapi || 18-19 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.19

Anvaya: jnanam–knowledge; karma–work; ca–also; karta–worker; ca–also; tridha–three kinds; eva–certainly; guna-bhedatah–in terms of different modes of material nature; procyate–is said; guna-sankhyane–in terms of different modes; yatha-vat–as they act; srnu–hear; tani–all of them; api–also.

Translation: In accordance with the three modes of material nature, there are three kinds of knowledge, action, and performers of action. Listen as I describe them.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The question of what subsequently transpires as a result is explained as knowledge. In the science of the three gunas or modes of material nature they are described according to their influence and effects. In the Sankhya philosophy of analytical reasoning by Kapila-deva an incarnation of Lord Krishna, it is declared that knowledge, action and agent are of only three types according to the distinction of whether they are situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness, raja guna the mode of passion or tama guna the mode of ignorance. Knowledge which will be described is also of only three types. The emphasis of only used twice regarding the three types negates any conceptions of the jiva or embodied being as independent from the influence of the gunas in any way. Previously the various binding nature of the three gunas has been described. The 14th chapter: verse six explains how sattva guna captivates the jiva by attachment to happiness and knowledge, verse seven explains how raja guna binds the jiva by infatuation and covetousness and verse eight explains how tama guna enslaves the jiva by slothfulness and forgetfulness. In chapter 17, verse 4 it is explained that those in sattva guna worship the demigods who are in charge of universal maintenance such as Brahma or Shiva. Those in raja guna worship Durga, Kali, yaksas which are entities extremely lusty and raksasas which are blood drinking demons. While those in tama guna worship ghosts and spirits. Later it has been declared that one should strive exclusively for sattva guna discarding raja and tama guna and that one should only partake of vegetarian foods in sattva guna which are pure, wholesome, energising and invigorating. Such foods are milk products from the cow, fruits, grains and vegetables.

In order to reinforce and emphasise that action, its factors and rewards are related explicitly in the context of the gunas as they all are totally of a material nature arising from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and have no connection to the atma or immortal soul which is of an exclusive spiritual nature. This difference is to be noted.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna reiterates the path of sadhana or spiritual development and will explains in the next three verses the distinctions between the three gunas or modes of material nature. The science of attributes is the expertise in distinguishing the attributes and is clarified in the Sankhya philosophy of analytical deduction by Kapila-deva an incarnation of Lord Krishna.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Knowledge is understanding the action to be performed. The effort is the means and method to perform the action and included with the agent as the performer of the action. The phrase guna-sankhya refers to the Sankhya philosophy of analytical deduction by Lord Krishna’s incarnation of Kapila- deva, which describes the characteristics of the three gunas or modes of material nature and their relationship to knowledge and agent as described in the next three verses.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna describes the characteristics of the threefold factors of knowledge, the knowable and the knower on the basis of the three gunas or modes of material nature. Knowledge as the object of all actions can be explained as that which gives knowledge. The knowable is one who knows the means by which the action is accomplished. The knower is the one performing the action. These three are the essential elements and their characteristics and functions have been substantiated in the philosophy of Sankhya or analytical knowledge by Lord Krishna’s avatar of Kapila-deva and will be elaborated upon in the next three verses.

Sloka 18.20 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सर्वभूतेषु येनैकं भावमव्ययमीक्षते |
अविभक्तं विभक्तेषु तज्ज्ञानं विद्धि सात्त्विकम् ||१८- २०||

sarvabhUteShu yenaikaM bhAvamavyayamIkShate |
avibhakta.n vibhakteShu tajGYAnaM viddhi sAttvikam.h || 18-20 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.20

Anvaya: sarva-bhutesu–in all living entities; yena–by whom; ekam–one; bhavam–situation; avyayam–imperishable; iksate–does see; avibhaktam–undivided; vibhaktesu–in the numberless divided; tat–that; jnanam–knowledge; viddhi–know; sattvikam–in the mode of goodness.

Translation: That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all existences, undivided in the divided, is knowledge in the mode of goodness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains the threefold nature of knowledge commencing with sattva guna or mode of goodness. The knowledge by which one perceives in all jivas or embodied beings, the one immutable, undivided, imperishable and eternal atma or immortal soul existing within all from the highest demigod Brahma the secondary creator down to immovable entities which are distinguishable from each other is situated in sattva guna.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The single reality pervading all existence is the Supreme Lord Krishna the creator, maintainer and energiser of all existence. All creation is situated within Him and He is also within every atom of creation. Living entities in the state of bondage or liberation, they are all under His jurisdiction but those who have achieved moksa or liberation from material existence are promoted to the eternal spiritual worlds. The Supreme Lord although manifesting and residing within unlimited variegated forms simultaneously in an all pervading way; yet He distinctly separate from every jiva or embodied being of all gradations. Those jivas whose gradation is material such as trees are distinct unique amongst themselves such as Palm trees, mango trees, apple trees, etc. which although manifesting from the Supreme Lord’s potencies are all distinctly different from the Supreme Lord. This is the knowledge of distinctive characteristics and when developed into wisdom is situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness from whence arises moksa.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

In varna-asrama or the divisions of society the Brahmins comprise the spiritual heiarchy, the ksatriyas the royal and warrior class, the vaisyas the farmer and mercantile class and the sudra the worker class serving the previous three. The other four divisions are brahmacari or celibate student life, grihasta or married householder life, vanaprastha or separation from wife and family and sannyasa or complete renunciation from society and exclusive devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. There are all variances in appearance within these eight divisions such as tall, strong, attractive, delicate, etc. Yet one who sees the one undivided, spiritual reality of the atma or immortal souls existing equally within all jivas or embodied beings and perceives that they are all inconceivably indivisible although manifesting individually sharing collectively in eternality is firmly situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness. One who sees the atma as indestructible and unchangeable within the destructible and changeable physical body and who although performing variegated prescribed activities in any capacity has comprehended that they are not the actual doer and also have no interest in the rewards of actions is situated in sattva guna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna speaks of three types of knowledge determined by the three gunas or modes of material nature beginning with sattva guna or mode of goodness. One who while performing activities perceives the one undivided, immutable and imperishable nature in the form of the atma or immortal soul residing within all jivas or embodied beings simultaneously such as demigods, humans, animals, spirits, etc. which are merely exhibiting unlimited varieagated forms according to species and genre is one who is firmly situated in sattva guna.

Sloka 18.21 audio recital in Sanskrit     

पृथक्त्वेन तु यज्ज्ञानं नानाभावान्पृथग्विधान् |
वेत्ति सर्वेषु भूतेषु तज्ज्ञानं विद्धि राजसम् ||१८- २१||

pR^ithaktvena tu yajGYAnaM nAnAbhAvAnpR^ithagvidhAn.h |
vetti sarveShu bhUteShu tajGYAnaM viddhi rAjasam.h || 18-21 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.21

Anvaya: prthaktvena–because of division; tu–but; yat jnanam–which knowledge; nana-bhavan–multifarious situations; prthak-vidhan–differently; vetti–one who knows; sarvesu–in all; bhutesu–living entities; tat jnanam–that knowledge; viddhi–must be known; rajasam–in terms of passion.

Translation: That knowledge by which a different type of living entity is seen to be dwelling in different bodies is knowledge in the mode of passion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the nature of knowledge in raja guna or mode of passion is explained by Lord Krishna. The knowledge where one imagines all jivas or embodied beings as distinct, possessing different atmas or souls diversely conditioned by pleasure and happiness and pain and suffering is situated in raja guna.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

That knowledge which is contrary to the Vedic scriptures and the antithesis to the omnipotent absolute authority of the Supreme Lord Krishna is known to be situated in raja guna the mode of passion. The words nana-bhavan mean multiplicity of natures. Those who are oblivious that the Supreme Lord is the one underlying reality pervading all creation, simultaneously existing within the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being in existence; are situated in raja guna.

Now begins the summation.

If one is unaware of the Supreme Lord Krishna’s unparalleled position as the absolute sovereign ruler of all existence, or is bewildered about His indomitable, paramount position or thinks that any other god can manifest creation or are influenced by inferior concepts, doctrines and philosophies concerning creation, the jiva and the Supreme Lord; such erroneous and fallacious thinking devoid of a connection to reality impels one to obstinately and belligerently try to justify and validate their illusory belief systems. Such fools of miniscule knowledge and misguided intelligence are unable to mount a rational argument supporting their viewpoint and odiously cling to their bogus suppositions and faulty claims.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word prthaktvena means separate individuality alluding to differences in appearance between jivas or embodied beings. The words nana-bhavan refers to plurality of substance in falsely surmising that the atma varies in quality or quantity with the variance of the physical body inhabited by the jiva or to wrongly conclude that the atma varies in size and potency according to the body it is in. This mentality is indicative of those situated in raja guna the mode of passion and includes those desirous of receiving rewards for their actions.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

That knowledge which has been characterised with raja guna the mode of passion cognises the manifold existence of the jiva or embodied being as related to physical bodies, seeing division in difference of forms, species, genre, etc. Establishing criteria based on bodily conception and oblivious to the true reality of the omnipresent atma or immortal soul such jivas are undeniably rooted in raja guna. The particle tu meaning however indicates that raja guna inferior to sattva guna.

Sloka 18.22 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यत्तु कृत्स्नवदेकस्मिन्कार्ये सक्तमहैतुकम् |
अतत्त्वार्थवदल्पं च तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ||१८- २२||

yattu kR^itsnavadekasminkArye saktamahaitukam.h |
atattvArthavadalpa.n cha tattAmasamudAhR^itam.h || 18-22 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.22

Anvaya: yat–that which; tu–but; krtsna-vat–all in all; ekasmin–in one; karye–work; saktam–attached; ahaitukam–without cause; atattva-artha-vat–without reality; alpam–very meager; ca–and; tat–that; tamasam–in the mode of darkness; udahrtam–is spoken.

Translation: And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna explains that knowledge in tama guna or mode of ignorance is limited to the singular idea of bodily conception as if the physical body is the actual identity of the jiva or embodied being. Animals which are driven by instinct are possessed with this ignorance. But believing that the physical body is the be all an end all is not consciousness and is fallacious and irrational without any connection to reality. Therefore such a misconception is irrelevant and inconsequential because of possessing an extremely limited scope of existence and hence produces paltry and meagre results. Such knowledge is in tama guna.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Obstinately clinging to one’s limited viewpoint without considering the vision of others is a symptom of tama guna the mode of ignorance. Also if one supposes that after acquiring wisdom and thereafter achieving moksa or liberation from material existence that a jiva or embodied is independent when in reality even a liberated being is completely dependent and subservient to the Supreme Lord, this conception would be a great offence and cause demerits. Again assuming that nothing exists beyond the jiva or embodied being and what one perceives is illusory and unmeritorious. What need then is there to emphasise the fact that the acquisition of illogical hypothesis and untenable suppositions is a source of great degradation.

Now begins the summation.

Irrational consciousness obtained from distorted and perverse conceptions far removed from perceptions of the ultimate truth have no benefit for anyone in this life or the next and are fully situated in tama guna. There is an aphorism that knowledge must be received from a proper source in the proper order. This being the case there is no necessity in itemising degraded and depraved conceptions. The cause for such degradation of consciousness is miniscule knowledge and limited understanding which consequently develops acute unawareness. For a jiva to think of themselves as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent on the same level as the Supreme Lord or entertain the illusion that they are the same as the Supreme Lord is the height of folly and completely devoid of all rationality and common sense. Such erroneous conclusions which stem from irrational consciousness deprives actual knowledge of its elevated position and is always immersed in tama guna. It is seen that those who follow teachings, beliefs, doctrines and philosophies opposed to the eternal and imperishable Vedic scriptures are primarily mayavadis or impersonalists whose religions are designed in such a way that they are bereft of any actual conception of the Supreme Lord to comprehend and so they either follow a creationist conception without purpose or a concoct a supreme being without qualities and attributes.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

One who clings to a single activity in a stagnant and obstinate manner such as the worship of an impersonal conception of God and considers that such an insignificant activity has the highest perfection in existence to the exclusion of all other possibilities and not considering any other conception as tenable and in stagnation ceases to develop and grow is the epitome of one shackled in tama guna. The word ahaitakam means irrational, without reason, imagining that which gives meagre results to give great results. The words attatva-arthavat means devoid of reality, without substantiation of the Vedic scriptures. The word alpan means limited in scope and relates to foolish, trivial pagan acts such as worshiping ghosts and spirits for material power. So thus showing how the three gunas or modes of material nature have a direct effect on the knowledge possessed by the performer of any action; Lord Krishna will next expound upon their direct influence upon actions themselves.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

That knowledge which mechanically clings to the stagnating mentality that there is nothing better than their conception, that there is nothing more to discover, that there is no other path but theirs. Who perform the most trivial types of worship merely for their own selfish goals. Who worship impersonal conceptions of God without qualities and attributes. Who worship pagan forms symbolising God. Who worship ghosts, spirits, goblins and demons. Who irrationally dedicate their lives to such mundane delusions without any tangible objective while foolishly imagining they are accomplishing results of great import. Such jivas or embodied beings are inescably enslaved in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Sloka 18.23 audio recital in Sanskrit     

नियतं सङ्गरहितमरागद्वेषतः कृतम् |
अफलप्रेप्सुना कर्म यत्तत्सात्त्विकमुच्यते ||१८- २३||

niyataM saN^garahitamarAgadveShataH kR^itam.h |
aphalaprepsunA karma yattatsAttvikamuchyate || 18-23 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.23

Anvaya: niyatam–regulative; sanga-rahitam–without attachment; araga-dvesatah–without love or hatred; krtam–done; aphala-prepsuna–without fruitive result; karma–acts; yat–which; tat–that; sattvikam–in the mode of goodness; ucyate–is called.

Translation: As for actions, that action in accordance with duty, which is performed without attachment, without love or hate, by one who has renounced fruitive results, is called action in the mode of goodness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the three fold influences of the three gunas or modes of material nature in respect to actions will be described by Lord Krishna in three verses. Actions that are prescribed and ordained in the Vedic scriptures and performed as a matter of duty without attachment and without conceptions of attraction, such as love of one’s family nor repulsion such as hatred of one’s enemies and are devoid of the desire for coveting rewards; such actions are known to be situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In chapter three, verse 30 Lord Krishna spoke of surrendering all actions with mind fixed on the Supreme Lord. This is because not performing actions according to duty, time and circumstance will cause demerits and give obstacles. Thus the performance of prescribed Vedic activities with the results surrendered unto the Supreme Lord due to knowing and appreciating His sublime magnificence as the creator of all is known as regulated duties in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Now begins the summation.

The statement in verse thirty of fixating the consciousness should be understood in meditating on the principle form of the Supreme Lord one is attracted to. The act of surrendering all actions to the Supreme Lord is such that consciousness is fixed blissfully without cessation. Such actions of communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures is known by the enlightened as situated fully in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna uses the word niyatma meaning consistency and refers to the regulated performance of prescribed Vedic activities as a matter of duty according to varnasrama the position and status one is situated in society. The words sanga-rahitam means free from attachment and egoism that one is the doer. The words araga-dvestha mean devoid of attraction to fame, power and an enjoying nature as well as void of aversion for defeat, failure and obscurity. Acts performed without a mentality of attraction and aversion are without vanity and ego and bereft of desire for phala or rewards and are firmly situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Having described the three types of action dependent upon the knowledge possessed by the performer in each of the three gunas or modes of material nature. Lord Krishna now presents the actions of prescribed Vedic activities beginning with sattva guna the mode of goodness. Those actions that are ordained by the Vedic scriptures as obligatory, that are performed as a matter of duty without attachment, that are executed without an egoic sense of being the doer, that are performed without desire for rewards in the form of name, fame, wealth, honor, adoration, etc. Such actions are deemed by the wise as being situated in sattva guna.

Sloka 18.24 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यत्तु कामेप्सुना कर्म साहंकारेण वा पुनः |
क्रियते बहुलायासं तद्राजसमुदाहृतम् ||१८- २४||

yattu kAmepsunA karma sAha.nkAreNa vA punaH |
kriyate bahulAyAsaM tadrAjasamudAhR^itam.h || 18-24 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.24

Anvaya: yat–that which; tu–but; kama-ipsuna–with fruitive result; karma–work; sa-ahankarena–with ego; va–or; punah–again; kriyate–performed; bahula-ayasam–with great labor; tat–that; rajasam–in the mode of passion; udahrtam–is said to be.

Translation: But action performed with great effort by one seeking to gratify his desires, and which is enacted from a sense of false ego, is called action in the mode of passion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna asserts that actions that are pompous and ostentatious or possessed of egoism and conceit or enacted expressly with the desire and purpose of coveting rewards or that is executed with great effort and difficulty are declared to be situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Continuing Lord Krishna affirms that actions done to acquire rewards and which are escorted with conceit and attended by ahankarena or egoism, thinking that one is the actual doer and desirous of everyone to know and which is accomplished only after great endeavour and expenditure of effort is of the nature of raja guna the mode of passion.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that actions that involve excessive effort and cause stress and strain from the conception to the completion. Actions that are executed with the expectation of enjoyment and rewards. Actions that are motivated by vanity, conceit and egoism as well as desire for recognition. Such actions are known to be situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

Sloka 18.25 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अनुबन्धं क्षयं हिंसामनपेक्ष्य च पौरुषम् |
मोहादारभ्यते कर्म यत्तत्तामसमुच्यते ||१८- २५||

anubandha.n kShayaM hi.nsAmanapekShya cha pauruSham.h |
mohAdArabhyate karma yattattAmasamuchyate || 18-25 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.25

Anvaya: anubandham–future bondage; ksayam–destruction; himsam–violence; anapeksya–without consideration of consequences; ca–also; paurusam–distressing to others; mohat–by illusion; arabhyate–begun; karma–work; yat–which; tat–that; tamasam–in the mode of ignorance; ucyate–is said to be.

Translation: And that action performed in ignorance and delusion without consideration of future bondage or consequences, which inflicts injury and is impractical, is said to be action in the mode of ignorance.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing Lord Krishna affirms that action which are undertaken under delusion without consideration of the good and evil consequences that will follow from such action, without evaluation of its worth; which incurs unreasonable expenditure in time, energy or resources, which causes injury to oneself and to others and is pointless to pursue is situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word mohat means in illusion, deluded. The word ksaya means loss referring to loss of time, energy and expenditure. The word anubandham meaning consequences is not considering the consequences of one’s actions and paurusam meaning capacity denotes oblivious to whether or not one has the capability to complete it. The word himsa meaning violence denotes causing injury to others. Lord Krishna reiterates that such endeavours engaged in foolish delusion are locked in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Those actions that are undertaken through the defect of not knowing that absolutely everything is under the complete control of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Those actions that are engaged in without considering the consequences of good or evil for them or determining as to whether or not one is capable of accomplishing them. Those actions that cause harm to others and to oneself and that are merely a waste of time, energy and expenditure. Such actions are invariably situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Sloka 18.26 audio recital in Sanskrit     

मुक्तसङ्गोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वितः |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योर्निर्विकारः कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ||१८- २६||

muktasaN^go.anaha.nvAdI dhR^ityutsAhasamanvitaH |
sid.hdhyasid.hdhyornirvikAraH kartA sAttvika uchyate || 18-26 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.26

Anvaya: mukta-sangah–liberated from all material association; anaham-vadi–without false ego; dhrti-utsaha–with great enthusiasm; samanvitah–qualified in that way; siddhi–perfection; asiddhyoh–failure; nirvikarah–without change; karta–worker; sattvikah–in the mode of goodness; ucyate–is said to be.

Translation: The worker who is free from all material attachments and false ego, who is enthusiastic and resolute and who is indifferent to success or failure, is a worker in the mode of goodness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The threefold qualities of the performer of actions is now described by Lord Krishna beginning with sattva guna the mode of goodness. One who performs an action devoid of attachment, free from egoism, equipoise in success or failure, with steadiness, fortitude and enthusiasm is deemed situated in sattva guna.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna describes the threefold effects of the three gunas or modes of material nature on a performer of activity beginning with sattva guna the mode of goodness. 1) muktah-sangah is free from attachment and exempt from desires for results. 2) anaham-vadi is free from egoism as the doer and hence devoid of pride. 3) dhrti is fortitude and determination in surmounting all odds for accomplishment. 4) utsaha is enthusiasm and zeal in undertaking prescribed Vedic activities. The words siddhy-asiddhyor nirvikarah means equipoise in success or failure of all activities, realising that all results are under the auspices of karma or reactions to actions and the ultimate will of the Supreme Lord. Such consciousness is situated in sattva guna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Of the three objects worth knowing Lord Krishna speaks of the performer of actions in the three gunas or modes of material nature commencing with sattva guna the mode of goodness. One who is free from the desire for rewards of actions is free from attachment to actions. Such a one has dissolved their ego involving the performance of actions. Although possessing enthusiasm and determination they are equipoised and not agitated by the infamy of failure or ecstatic by the adulation of success. Those possessing such attributes are invariably situated in sattva guna.

Sloka 18.27 audio recital in Sanskrit     

रागी कर्मफलप्रेप्सुर्लुब्धो हिंसात्मकोऽशुचिः |
हर्षशोकान्वितः कर्ता राजसः परिकीर्तितः ||१८- २७||

rAgI karmaphalaprepsurlubdho hi.nsAtmako.ashuchiH |
harShashokAnvitaH kartA rAjasaH parikIrtitaH || 18-27 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.27

Anvaya: ragi–very much attached; karma-phala–to the fruit of the work; prepsuh–desiring; lubdhah–greedy; himsa-atmakah–and always envious; asucih–unclean; harsa-soka-anvitah–complicated, with joy and sorrow; karta–such a worker; rajasah–in the mode of passion; parikirtitah–is declared.

Translation: But that worker who is attached to the fruits of his labor and who passionately wants to enjoy them, who is greedy, envious and impure and moved by happiness and distress, is a worker in the mode of passion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One who performs actions with an obsession to profit, who desires only to reap rewards, who is covetous of others possessions. Who is greedy and malevolent, enacting unrighteous acts against others for material gain including killing. Who is unclean internally and externally. Who is elated by success but despondent in failure. Such a one is irrevocably situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna describes the nature of one performing activities in raja guna the mode of passion. One who is ragi zealously ambitious in seeking fame, power, wealth, etc. One who is prepsuh always hankering for recompense and reward. One who is asucih or impure and greedy, envious and unrighteous causing injury to others by mental and physical cruelty. Such a one who is never in equipoise, who rejoices at success but is depressed by failure is indisputably known to be situated in raja guna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who is attached to actions due to craving for rewards, who is impelled by sense gratification, who is envious of others, who is greedy, unrighteous and prone to cruelty from an oppressive nature inhibiting the welfare of others. Who is joyful gaining benefit but sorrowful at incurring loss. Such a one is undeniably situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

Sloka 18.28 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अयुक्तः प्राकृतः स्तब्धः शठो नैष्कृतिकोऽलसः |
विषादी दीर्घसूत्री च कर्ता तामस उच्यते ||१८- २८||

ayuktaH prAkR^itaH stabdhaH shaTho naiShkR^itiko.alasaH |
viShAdI dIrghasUtrI cha kartA tAmasa uchyate || 18-28 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.28

Anvaya: ayuktah–without reference to scriptural injunctions; prakrtah–materialistic; stabdhah–obstinate; sathah–deceitful; naiskrtikah–expert in insulting others; alasah–lazy; visadi–morose; dirgha-sutri–procrastinating; ca–also; karta–worker; tamasah–in the mode of ignorance; ucyate–is said to be.

Translation: And that worker who is always engaged in work against the injunction of the scripture, who is materialistic, obstinate, cheating and expert in insulting others, who is lazy, always morose and procrastinating, is a worker in the mode of ignorance.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One who performs actions inconsistently, who is careless, who is vulgar, who insults others, who is pretentious and indolent, who procrastinates unable to timely accomplish what one boasted, who has an acute lack of discrimination. Such a one is unremittingly situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The compound word dirgha-sutri means procrastinating but it also infers dirgha-suchi given to calumny of pointing out the past defects of others. The Amarakosa also states that one who exposes the mistakes of others from the past is called dirgha-sutri.

Now begins the summation.

According to the Shabda Tattva, one who follows the procedures for prescribed Vedic activities but due to not being consequent, procrastinates and does not commence it at the proper time is known as dirgha-sutri.

The activity that is required to be performed at an auspicious time but is delayed and hence missed the mark also indicates the meaning of dirgha- sutri which includes indolence and incompetence. Although procrastination is accurate it also includes indolence, for even if one is inspired to perform prescribed Vedic activities there is some impediment and obstacles in accomplishing them. This is the result of obscuration of vision and lack of cognizance of the Supreme Lord Krishna’s paramount position. So even one with the potential for great achievements, due to bewilderment, despondency and laziness fails to reap the benefits for not performing the proper activity at the proper time. Such a one is undeniably situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

One who is unqualified not having the requisite competence to perform prescribed Vedic activities. Who is prakritah or mundane and hence vulgar, vile and unrefined. Who is stabhah indolent, lethargic and unmotivated to engage in spiritual activities. Who is sathah or wicked having a predilection for evil and sorcery. Who is lazy, morose and deceitful. Who is dirgha-sutri rancorously insulting of others from envy and harbouring deep, dark vengeance against them. Such a one is unremittingly situated in tama guna the mode of passion.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One lacking in self control and devoid of piety, who is vain, vile and vulgar an. Who identifies with mundane material nature without discriminative knowledge. Who is deceitful, lethargic and morose. Who is offensive to others and who procrastinates in doing what is expected. Such unfortunates are indisputably situated intama guna the mode of ignorance.

Sloka 18.29 audio recital in Sanskrit     

बुद्धेर्भेदं धृतेश्चैव गुणतस्त्रिविधं शृणु |
प्रोच्यमानमशेषेण पृथक्त्वेन धनञ्जय ||१८- २९||

buddherbhedaM dhR^iteshchaiva guNatastrividhaM shR^iNu |
prochyamAnamasheSheNa pR^ithaktvena dhana~njaya || 18-29 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.29

Anvaya: buddheh–of intelligence; bhedam–differences; dhrteh–of steadiness; ca–also; eva–certainly; gunatah–by the modes of material nature; tri-vidham–the three kinds of; srnu–just hear; procyamanam–as described by Me; asesena–in detail; prthaktvena–differently; dhananjaya–O winner of wealth.

Translation: Now, O winner of wealth, please listen as I tell you in detail of the three kinds of understanding and determination according to the three modes of nature.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It should be noted that by the description of the three previous performers the threefold knower is also described and by the description of the threefold actions the threefold knowable is described and by the description of the threefold influences their natures are also described. Next Lord Krishna explains the threefold distinctions of intellect and determination.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The threefold characteristics have been described by the knowledge of the action to be done, by the method of the action to be done and by the performer of the action done. Next the threefold nature of buddhi or intelligence and dhriti or determination which are the essential factors for ascertaining what is truth and what is reality. Buddhi is the intelligent function of intellect that ascertains existence. Dhriti is the steadfast resolve that stands for righteousness in accomplishing the objective. Next Lord Krishna will illustrate the three gunas or modes of material natures influence upon them both.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus Lord Krishna has described the threefold characteristics of action, its knowledge and the performer of actions based upon the the three gunas or modes of material nature. Next He will speak of buddhi or intellect and dhriti or determination also based on the influence of the three gunas. Both are essential in the ascertainment of truth and reality and worldly parlance and require clarity and reason in the case of buddhi as well as patience and forebearance applying to dhriti.

Sloka 18.30 audio recital in Sanskrit     

प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च कार्याकार्ये भयाभये |
बन्धं मोक्षं च या वेत्ति बुद्धिः सा पार्थ सात्त्विकी ||१८- ३०||

pravR^itti.n cha nivR^itti.n cha kAryAkArye bhayAbhaye |
bandhaM mokSha.n cha yA vetti buddhiH sA pArtha sAttvikI || 18-30 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.30

Anvaya: pravrttim–deserving; ca–also; nivrttim–not deserving; ca–and; karya–work; akarye–reaction; bhaya–fearful; abhaye–fearlessness; bandham–obligation; moksam ca–and liberation; ya–that which; vetti–knows; buddhih–understanding; sa–that; partha–O son of Prtha; sattviki–in the mode of goodness.

Translation: O son of Prtha, that understanding by which one knows what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, what is binding and what is liberating, that understanding is established in the mode of goodness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that those whose buddhi or intellect is situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness possess the understanding due to refined intelligence that has a natural inclination towards righteousness and abstinence from unrighteousness. They are resolute and comprehend that righteous actions lead to moksa or liberation from material existence and unrighteous actions lead to the bondage of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Innately their consciousness is aware of what is to be done and what is not to be done according to time, place and circumstance. Such consciousness should be understood as the agency and the doer is but the instrument. This can be understood by the question: Is there enough wood to cook the food? Although it is not the wood that does the cooking it is the fire. So the agent is like the wood utilised as the instrument and the fire is like the consciousness represented as the agency.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

1) pravrttinca is actions performed under the auspices of dharma or righteousness 2) nivrittinca is refraining from actions opposed to dharma which gives liberation 3) karya-akarye is knowing what is appropriate according to time, place and circumstance whether adhering to pravrittinca or nivrittinca 4) bhaya-abhaye is fear stemming from not adhering to the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures and fearlessness is by observing the ordinances of the Vedic scriptures 5) bandha is samsara or enslavement in the perpetual cycle of birth and death 6) moksa is liberation from material existence and release from samsara

Lord Krishna is affirming the essentials of those whose buddhi or intellect is situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness as only they have the ability to realise these points.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna speaks about the three types of intellect due to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. He begins first by describing one situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness by explaining that buddhi or intellect that correctly determines the righteous paths of action which accomplish three of the four goals of human existence: kama or enjoyment, artha or wealth, dharma or righteousness excluding moksa or liberation which is strived for when one in the final stage of life has achieved renunciation from actions. Fear is not knowing what is to be done and fearless is knowing what is to be done according to time, place and circumstances. Samsara is bondage to the perpetual cycle of birth and death. The cause of bondage is attachment to the pleasures of sense gratification. The cause of moksa is detachment from the pleasures of sense gratification. The word buddhi meaning intellect denotes the word vetti meaning understanding by which ther is comprehension and is universally known to that effect. So there is no contradiction about the two in this light. It is like stating the sword severed the demons head but it means that someone wielding the sword severed the demons head.

Sloka 18.31 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यया धर्ममधर्मं च कार्यं चाकार्यमेव च |
अयथावत्प्रजानाति बुद्धिः सा पार्थ राजसी ||१८- ३१||

yayA dharmamadharma.n cha kArya.n chAkAryameva cha |
ayathAvatprajAnAti buddhiH sA pArtha rAjasI || 18-31 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.31

Anvaya: yaya–by which; dharmam–principles of religion; adharmam–and irreligion; ca–and; karyam–work; ca–also; akaryam–what ought not to be done; eva–certainly; ca–also; ayatha-vat–not perfectly; prajanati–knows; buddhih–intelligence; sa–that; partha–O son of Prtha; rajasi–in the mode of passion.

Translation: And that understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done, that imperfect understanding, O son of Prtha, is in the mode of passion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna explains that the buddhi or intellect of those who have erroneous conceptions of theism and atheism and do not comprehend what is righteousness and what is unrighteousness and what they entail and have no understanding of what should be done and what should not be done according to time, place and circumstance assuming wrongly what they think they know is incorrect are situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Deviation in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities or concocting additions to them is against the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. They along with abstaining from performing prescribed Vedic activities are undeniably situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna explains that the buddhi or intellect of those situated in raja guna the mode of passion are unable to discern between the two types of dharma or righteousness given in the previous verse or their opposite of adharma or unrighteousness which subjects one to inappropriate actions according to time, place and circumstances.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna explains that buddhi or intellect of one situated in raja guna the mode of passion distorts reality and misunderstands what is right and what is wrong, what should be done and what should not be done. Performing action at the wrong time, in the wrong place, in the wrong way. What is prohibited they engage in and what is ordained they abstain from.

Sloka 18.32 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अधर्मं धर्ममिति या मन्यते तमसावृता |
सर्वार्थान्विपरीतांश्च बुद्धिः सा पार्थ तामसी ||१८- ३२||

adharma.n dharmamiti yA manyate tamasAvR^itA |
sarvArthAnviparItA.nshcha buddhiH sA pArtha tAmasI || 18-32 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.32

Anvaya: adharmam–irreligion; dharmam–religion; iti–thus; ya–which; manyate–thinks; tamasa–by illusion; avrta–covered; sarva-arthan–all things; viparitan–the wrong direction; ca–also; buddhih–intelligence; sa–that; partha–O son of Prtha; tamasi–the mode of ignorance.

Translation: That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Partha, is in the mode of ignorance.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna asserts that those whose buddhi or intellect is situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance are enveloped in darkness with a mentality whose understanding is distorted. They are unable to discriminate between what is real and what is false. What is to be done and what should not be done. Embracing inferior conceptions that are devoid of actual knowledge. They desire what ought to be rejected and reject what ought to be desired hence their delusion increases.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna states that the buddhi or intellect of those in tama guna or mode of ignorance are enveloped in the darkness of consciousness. What they perceive is a distortion of reality. They think what is worthy is worthless and what is worthless is worthy, what is fact is fiction and what is fiction is fact what is inferior is superior and what is superior they consider inferior. They are easily led astray having no grasp of truth and no scope for what is real and what is unreal and thus endlessly they revolve in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death..

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now the influence on buddhi or intellect of one situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance is described by Lord Krishna. That intellect which is enveloped in ignorance and warped by distortion. Which considers the highest reality as an insignificant entity. Who understands the Supreme absolute truth to be lower than an abstract, impersonal conception. That considers the conditioned jiva to be erqual to the Supreme Lord. To imagine the Supreme Lord who ioverflowing with all divine qualities, attributes and potencies to be on the same platform as all other gods. Who negate the eternal and imperishable Vedic scriptures for some impermanent, temporal religious texts applicable for limited time. Who cannot tell what is real in this world and who thinks what is unreal is real.Who are unable to fathom that the Supreme Lord in one with and different from His creation simulataneously. Such a one is unavoidably situated in tama guna.

Sloka 18.33 audio recital in Sanskrit     

धृत्या यया धारयते मनःप्राणेन्द्रियक्रियाः |
योगेनाव्यभिचारिण्या धृतिः सा पार्थ सात्त्विकी ||१८- ३३||

dhR^ityA yayA dhArayate manaHprANendriyakriyAH |
yogenAvyabhichAriNyA dhR^itiH sA pArtha sAttvikI || 18-33 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.33

Anvaya: dhrtya–determination; yaya–by which; dharayate–is sustained; manah–mind; prana–life; indriya–senses; kriyah–activities; yogena–by yoga practice; avyabhicarinya–without any break; dhrtih–such determination; sa–that; partha–O son of Prtha; sattviki–in the mode of goodness.

Translation: O son of Prtha, that determination which is unbreakable, which is sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and thus controls the mind, life, and the acts of the senses, is in the mode of goodness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Although consciousness has many functions such as desire and aversion, it is buddhi intellect and dhriti determination which lead to righteousness and happiness whereas their absence leads to unrighteousness and despair. Of the various functions of the consciousness buddhi and dhriti are the chief ones that determine the others and so the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature have been specifically explained in this light by Lord Krishna.

The threefold influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature beginning with sattva guna mode of goodness on dhrita or determination is illustrated by unwavering concentration upon the goal to be achieved by the aid of yoga or the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness by meditation and breathing exercises known as pranayama by which the senses are brought under complete control and directed to focus fully upon the goal. Such dhrita possessed by a jiva or embodied being is situated in sattva guna.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The potency of unwavering meditation and pranayama or breath control by which one enables and directs all the energies of the mind and controls the senses is an auxillary of yoga the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and is the only means of moksa or liberation from material existence. Bhakti yoga is exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of authorised avatars or incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. This is absolutely the only way one may be freed from the enslavement of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. There is no other alternative. Bhakti is glorious and sanctified, bestowing beatific bliss upon the performer and blessings upon all creation and is the only means for attaining the ultimate goal of all existence. On who has cast all other conceptions and designations far away and exclusively engages in bhakti yoga to the Supreme Lord with their mind, senses and body has their dhriti or determination situated fully in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Of the three types of dhriti or determination influenced by the three gunas or modes of material existence, Lord Krishna first begins with sattva guna the mode of goodness. The proposed activity which is unwavering in its resolve, focused in mind one pointedly without deviation or cessation by utilising the yoga of meditation and pranayama or breath control to direct the function of the senses such dhriti is invariably situated in sattva guna.

Sloka 18.34 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यया तु धर्मकामार्थान्धृत्या धारयतेऽर्जुन |
प्रसङ्गेन फलाकाङ्क्षी धृतिः सा पार्थ राजसी ||१८- ३४||

yayA tu dharmakAmArthAndhR^ityA dhArayate.arjuna |
prasaN^gena phalAkAN^kShI dhR^itiH sA pArtha rAjasI || 18-34 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.34

Anvaya: yaya–by which; tu–but; dharma-kama-arthan–for religiosity and economic development; dhrtya–by determination; dharayate–in such terms; arjuna–O Arjuna; prasangena–for that; phala-akanksi–desiring fruitive results; dhrtih–determination; sa–that; partha–O son of Prtha; rajasi–in the mode of passion.

Translation: And that determination by which one holds fast to fruitive result in religion, economic development and sense gratification is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The dhrita or determination whereby a jiva or embodied being is attached to actions in a stable and steady manner only due to desires for rewards of pleasure and hopes for recompense of wealth is designated by Lord Krishna as dhrita situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The dhrita or determination that is influenced by raja guna the mode of passion is motivated by desire for rewards and desires for kama or enjoyment and artha or wealth and hopes for dharma or righteousness keeps the impetus activated. For these are the means by which one interacts in life using the mind, senses and physical body; but the rewards that are reaped are only material and temporary. Moksa or liberation form material existence is never able to be achieved if one is motivated for rewards for their actions. So Lord Krishna has confirmed that activities which engage the mind, senses and body for the purpose of recompense and rewards is situated totally in raja guna and although may achieve kama, artha and dharma such activities can never bestow moksa.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna describes the dhriti or determination that is influenced by raja guna the mode of passion. The proposed activity which is engaged in for the purpose of reaping the rewards of worldly enjoyments and material possessions, which is executed with the conception that one is the doer and which one is attached to and zealous of such dhriti is undeniably situated in raja guna.

Sloka 18.35 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यया स्वप्नं भयं शोकं विषादं मदमेव च |
न विमुञ्चति दुर्मेधा धृतिः सा पार्थ तामसी ||१८- ३५||

yayA svapnaM bhayaM shokaM viShAdaM madameva cha |
na vimu~nchati durmedhA dhR^itiH sA pArtha tAmasI || 18-35 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.35

Anvaya: yaya–by which; svapnam–dream; bhayam–fearfulness; sokam–lamentation; visadam–moroseness; madam–illusion; eva–certainly; ca–also; na–never; vimuncati–is liberated; durmedha–unintelligent; dhrtih–determination; sa–that; partha–O son of Prtha; tamasi–in the mode of ignorance.

Translation: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness, and illusion–such unintelligent determination is in the mode of darkness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The dhrita or determination whereby a jiva or embodied being due to acute lack of intelligence is unable to abandon sleep, fear, grief, dejection and delusion is declared by Lord Krishna as situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

One who exhibits dhriti or determination yet follows dharma or righteousness in a haphazard way sometimes adhering and sometimes opposing is situated in raja guna the mode of passion and one who is so deluded that they are unable to discriminate between what is real and what is unreal, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate and what is beneficial and what is detrimental is situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance. Fear, lamentation and dejection which are the indication of delusion are the by products. Exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord is known as bhakti and is situated exclusively in sattva guna the mode of goodness. Because bhakti is transcendental and not mundane it is virtuous and blissful. What is recommended by the Vaisnava’s, saintly sages and learned elderly as well as what is prescribed in the Vedic scriptures is always considered undeniably to be situated in sattva guna and whatever is done contrary to this is in raja guna and whatever repudiates this in tama guna. This is well corroborated in the Bhagavat Purana. The Padma Purana states that by the grace of the Supreme Lord one becomes internally elated and such elation becomes luminous.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word svapnam means slumber inferring slothfulness. Madam is the delusion of enjoying sense objects. The dharmedah or unintelligent fools do not oppose their mind from allowing their senses to buffet then hither and thither in pursuit of sense gratification. They even sanction such treatment to satisfy their desires. The terms bhayam or dread, sokam or grief and nisadam or dejection are the by products of this delusion and those who occupy their time and energy and waste their invaluable human life as such Lord Krishna confirms are indispensably situated in tama guna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna explains that dhriti or determination situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance is dominated by evil and wickedness whose discriminatory faculties are focused on demoniac activities prohibited in the Vedic scriptures such as cow killing which they will not abandon on their own volition. Due to constant speculation reality for them is a fog of doubts and despondency acerbated by fears and grief and uncertainty.

Sloka 18.36 and 18.37 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सुखं त्विदानीं त्रिविधं शृणु मे भरतर्षभ |
अभ्यासाद्रमते यत्र दुःखान्तं च निगच्छति ||१८- ३६||

यत्तदग्रे विषमिव परिणामेऽमृतोपमम् |
तत्सुखं सात्त्विकं प्रोक्तमात्मबुद्धिप्रसादजम् ||१८- ३७||

sukhaM tvidAnI.n trividhaM shR^iNu me bharatarShabha |
abhyAsAdramate yatra duHkhAnta.n cha nigachchhati || 18-36 ||

yattadagre viShamiva pariNAme.amR^itopamam.h |
tatsukhaM sAttvikaM proktamAtmabuddhiprasAdajam.h || 18-37 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.36, 18.37

Anvaya: sukham–happiness; tu–but; idanim–now; tri-vidham–three kinds; srnu–hear; me–from Me; bharata-rsabha–O best amongst the Bharatas; abhyasat–by practice; ramate–enjoyer; yatra–where; duhkha–distress; antam–end; ca–also; nigacchati–gains. yat–that which; tat–that; agre–in the beginning; visam iva–like poison; pariname–at the end; amrta–nectar; upamam–compared to; tat–that; sukham–happiness; sattvikam–in the mode of goodness; proktam–is said; atma–self; buddhi–intelligence; prasada-jam–satisfactory.

Translation: O best of the Bharatas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of happiness which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress. That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The threefold expressions of sukham or happiness influenced by the three gunas or modes of material nature are now explained by Lord Krishna beginning with sattva guna the mode of goodness. The happiness which is not sudden and direct like sense gratification but is tempered and disciplined due to relishing affection by its devotion and practice by which one rejoices when arriving at the state of cessation of all pain and misery. This happiness which appears in the beginning to be difficult and painful like poison due to establishing its independence from the mundane mind and senses; but in the end it is amrta-upamam just like nectar. Such consciousness is atma-buddhi of the nature of the soul and is serene and sublime. Having relinquished and abandoned the impurities of raja guna the mode of passion and tama guna the mode of ignorance such sukham becomes pristine and pure. This sukham is invariably situated in sattva guna.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The aforementioned descriptions of knowledge, action, performer, etc. are all utilised for the purpose and intention of obtaining happiness as influenced by the three gunas or modes of material nature. Now Lord Krishna reveals that the sukham or happiness that one becomes habituated to by constant endeavour gradually deriving exquisite pleasure at the cessation of misery with the termination of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Such sukham is achieved by industrious effort right from its very commencement with the yoga of meditation and pranayama breathing exercises which bring the mind and senses under control. The singular, unique nature of such sukham never having been experienced seems to be like venom in the beginning, but in the end after a lifetime of devotional practice its unique, sublime nature becomes just like nectar. Such happiness arises solely from atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul. The consciousness of one which is absorbed in the atma is one who can realise the atma. The bliss of tranquillity and serenity is experienced within after all conceptions and designations have been renounced except the atma. It is by such renunciation that the atma is perceived and its ananda or bliss experienced and it is this ananda that awards the highest happiness and such sukham is like nectar and situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus after presenting how the three gunas or modes of material nature influence knowledge, action, agent, intellect and determination; Lord Krishna elaborates upon the three types of sukham or happiness aspired for by every human being because all of the aforementioned factors are enacted for the sake of receiving happiness. Now the three forms of sukham will be explained to reveal what is to be embraced and what is to be avoided. The sukham by which one experiences unabated pleasure by consistent practice of devotion, meditation and adoration of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures is situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness. Such sukham is unhampered by the pangs of sense gratification and the attraction for sense objects and its temporary illusions of pleasure. Hence that which in the beginning by practice of detachment, restraint, renunciation, austerities, meditation, etc. appear to be like poison but at the end when they have been perfected are just like nectar, extremely delicious. By meditation on the Supreme Lord Krishna and constantly focused internally on the atma r immortal soul one stays established in sattva guna. The serenity and equanimity one derives from such sukham is like an elixir to the purified mind arising from abandonment of desire and cessation of passion, greed and infatuation that are the by products of raja guna the mode of passion and tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Sloka 18.38 audio recital in Sanskrit     

विषयेन्द्रियसंयोगाद्यत्तदग्रेऽमृतोपमम् |
परिणामे विषमिव तत्सुखं राजसं स्मृतम् ||१८- ३८||

viShayendriyasa.nyogAdyattadagre.amR^itopamam.h |
pariNAme viShamiva tatsukhaM rAjasaM smR^itam.h || 18-38 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.38

Anvaya: visaya–objects of the senses; indriya–senses; samyogat–combination; yat–which; tat–that; agre–in the beginning; amrta-upamam–just like nectar; pariname–at the end; visam iva–like poison; tat–that; sukham–happiness; rajasam–in the mode of passion; smrtam–is considered.

Translation: That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The sukham or happiness that arises innately due to the interaction of the five senses: eyes, ears, noses, tongue and body with the objects of the senses, which seems just like nectar in the beginning but after constant repetition over and over again unlimitedly becomes like poison in the end causing pain and discomfort in the present life and the next life Lord Krishna declares is situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The sukham or happiness of those who enjoy the objects of the senses and take great pleasure in sense gratification Lord Krishna states which seems like nectar in the beginning but which in the end after incessant repetition and habitual engagement seems to be just like a potion of poison when detected too late that such activities are a guaranteed premium paid reservation for samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death is situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The sukham or happiness that is derived from sense gratification by the contact with the objects of the senses such as sexual and sensual bodily enjoyments, although seeming to be like nectar in the beginning when it is fresh and newly experienced but later after habitual repetition over and over again continuously throughout one’s life it becomes just like venom yielding unhappiness in this world and the next. Such activities are for begetting children in the grihasta ashram or married life and perpetuating the species otherwisw such activites keep on in bondage and and hence are deplorable. Such sukham Lord Krishna confirms as situated in raja guna the mode of passion.

Sloka 18.39 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यदग्रे चानुबन्धे च सुखं मोहनमात्मनः |
निद्रालस्यप्रमादोत्थं तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ||१८- ३९||

yadagre chAnubandhe cha sukhaM mohanamAtmanaH |
nidrAlasyapramAdottha.n tattAmasamudAhR^itam.h || 18-39 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.39

Anvaya: yat–that which; agre–in the beginning; ca–also; anubandhe–by binding; ca–also; sukham–happiness; mohanam–illusion; atmanah–of the self; nidra–sleeping; alasya–laziness; pramada–illusion; uttham–produced of; tat–that; tamasam–in the mode of ignorance; udahrtam–is said to be.

Translation: And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The sukham or happiness which in the beginning from the first moment is deluded and also at the end is deluded arising from slothfulness, lassitude, and foolishness and neglecting what needs to be done and accomplished, Lord Krishna asserts is situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

That sukham or happiness which enthrals the jiva or embodied being both at the beginning and as well at the end even after the habitual, repetitive experience exhibits its true nature of enslavement and bondage to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death is affirmed by Lord Krishna as tama guna the mode of ignorance. The word mohanam means delusion and is the obscuration of the true nature of reality. Nidra or slumber denotes unconsciousness which can transpire even while engaging in an act of enjoyment. Alasya is slothfulness, the lassitude which comes from habitually dulled senses and which certainly contributes to dullness of mind. Pramada is inattention to what is required and is connected to dullness of mind. So the delusive nature of nidra, alasya and pramada are all situated firmly in tama guna and along with the characteristics of raja guna are very detrimental to the aspiring jiva.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

That sukham or happiness which stupefies the jiva or embodied being by making perception of reality obscure. Which seems to be like nectar in the beginning as well as in the end and which is supported by slothfulness, indolence, folly and delusion is declared by Lord Krishna as situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Sloka 18.40 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न तदस्ति पृथिव्यां वा दिवि देवेषु वा पुनः |
सत्त्वं प्रकृतिजैर्मुक्तं यदेभिः स्यात्त्रिभिर्गुणैः ||१८- ४०||

na tadasti pR^ithivyA.n vA divi deveShu vA punaH |
sattvaM prakR^itijairmukta.n yadebhiH syAttribhirguNaiH || 18-40 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.40

Anvaya: na–not; tat–that; asti–there is; prthivyam–within the universe; va–or; divi–in the higher planetary system; devesu–amongst the demigods; va–or; punah–again; sattvam–existence; prakrti-jaih–under the influence of material nature; muktam–liberated; yat–that; ebhih–by this; syat–so becomes; tribhih–by three; gunaih–modes of material nature.

Translation: There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from the three modes of material nature.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Summing up what has not been specifically mentioned in the previous chapters the Supreme Lord Krishna reveals that there is no jiva or embodied being in a subtle body, physical body or etheric body anywhere in material existence throughout all creation that is free from the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature which arise from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence. No where in existence is any living entity in all of creation exempt from this reality.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

On Earth, on other worlds, in the higher celestial spheres and the lower demoniac planets, in all of creation from the highest material being known as Brahma down to a simple plant; there is no living entity anywhere in material existence that is exempt from the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature which arise from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence. Yet as the Vedic scriptures confirm by tyaga or renunciation one is released from the enslavement of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and achieves moksa or liberation from material existence. As the means to moksa the tyaga does not differ from the meaning sannyasa symbolises which is also renunciation. Both mean the same and do not consider themselves the doer; but tyaga renounces the desire for rewards for actions and sannyasa renounces all actions. 1) Renunciation of rewards 2) Renunciation of thinking one is the doer 3) Renunciation for recognition for actions These three are realised by knowing that all is accomplished solely by the grace of the Supreme Lord Krishna alone and no other. This elevated state of consciousness can only be perceived under the dominating influence of sattva guna the mode of goodness and never raja guna the mode of passion or tama guna the mode of ignorance. In order to give credence and inspire regard for sattva guna that it is most worthy to be cultivated Lord Krishna had to show the demerits and deficiencies of raja and tama guna as well.

Now that the complex elaboration of the three gunas and their influence on the previously mentioned subjects by modifying them to manifest natural expression among the various classes of society while conforming to their individual and collective levels and classifications of existence. This will be illustrated to exemplify that all activities pertaining to moksa are of the nature of transcendence and are actually performed for the Supreme Lord. When such is invariably the case the actions performed themselves become the goal assuring communion with the Supreme Lord will be attained. How this is to be lucid and comprehensible will be revealed next.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus concluding His exposition on the threefold influences of the three gunas or modes of material nature the Supreme Lord Krishna reveals that there is no jiva or embodied being in a subtle body, physical body or etheric body in any species including human, demigod and demoniac in the material worlds, heavenly spheres or demoniac planets everywhere in creation that are exempt from the influence of the three gunas arising from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is a manifested potency of the Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.41 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशां शूद्राणां च परन्तप |
कर्माणि प्रविभक्तानि स्वभावप्रभवैर्गुणैः ||१८- ४१||

brAhmaNakShatriyavishA.n shUdrANA.n cha parantapa |
karmANi pravibhaktAni svabhAvaprabhavairguNaiH || 18-41 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.41

Anvaya: brahmana–the brahmanas; ksatriya–the ksatriyas; visam–the vaisyas; sudranam–the sudras; ca–and; parantapa–O subduer of the enemies; karmani–activities; pravibhaktani–are divided; svabhava–own nature; prabhavaih–born of; gunaih–by the modes of material nature.

Translation: Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by their qualities of work, O chastiser of the enemy, in accordance with the modes of nature.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It could be postulated that if everything physical such as actions, agent, agency, rewards, etc. are comprised of the three gunas or modes of material nature then how is it possible for jivas or embodied beings to achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. In order to resolve such speculations and concisely describe the essence of the entire Bhagavad-Gita which illustrates that jivas can achieve moksa by knowledge from the Vedic scriptures taught by the spiritual preceptor and the grace of the Supreme Lord derived from performing prescribed Vedic activities according to qualification as a matter of duty or worshipping the Supreme Lord Krishna with bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.

Now Lord Krishna commences a new theme with this verse explaining that the duties of the different classes of Vedic society such as brahmana or priestly class, ksatriya or royal and warrior class, vaisya or agricultural and mercantile class as well as sudra or menial worker class which is the only one not qualified to take part in any Vedic activity as they serve the other three classes. The duties enjoined for all the classes are clearly delineated and itemised with distinct divisions. The typical duties of all the four classes will be described according to the predominating influence of the three gunas which manifest the corresponding nature determined by the tendencies acquired in past lives and the impressions from the attendant karma or reactions to actions. The brahmins have a predominance of sattva guna, the ksatriya’s a predominance of raja guna with a little sattva guna, the vaisyas with raja guna mixed with tama guna and the sudras with a predominance tama guna and a little raja guna.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The word sattvam in the previous verse means the living entities. Those who have achieved moksa or liberation from material existence are not held captive by the three gunas or modes of material nature and are like demigods upon the Earth. Although they move freely in the material worlds they are not bound by the defects of the material worlds just as Vaisnava devotees living in a city are not bound by the sinful activities of the residents of the city. Among those situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance, the ones most despicable are those who obscure the truth from the rest of humanity hindering them from developing and evolving. These evil ones follow the path of darkness and sorcery and offer sacrifices and pay homage to demons for material gains. These demons are situated in raja guna the mode of passion and are very powerful in the material existence manipulating societies, religions, species, planets and even galaxies; but spiritually these demons are just like retarded cripples with no access to sattva guna the mode of goodness and subsequently higher consciousness. Any human who is situated in sattva guna is impervious to them and cannot be influenced or obstructed by the demons nefarious delusions.

The most advanced among all humans are the Vaisnava Brahmins who by their internal potency acquired by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures, have the ability to free themselves from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and can guide others to do the same.

Now begins the summation.

Among the pure ones situated in sattva guna are those known as paramahamsa or one completely absorbed internally in relishing the sublime nectar of the holy names of Lord Krishna realising that He is fully present when His transcendental names are chanted and sung. Parivrajacarya or one who joyously travels extensively preaching the sublime glories of Lord Krishna everywhere they go. Bahudaka or one who dedicates their life to making pilgrimage exclusively to the holy places in India where Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations performed their pastimes. Kuticaka or one who practices renunciation in seclusion continuously reflecting upon the Supreme Lord and learning to depend only upon the Supreme Lord for everything. These four are the divisions in the fully renounced order of life known as sannyasi which can only be awarded to males who have been initiated as Vaisnava Brahmins in one of the four authorised sampradayas or channels of disciplic succession and none other. Brahmacari or those in celibate devotion throughout their lives. Vanaprastha can be male or female and is when husband and wife sever all physical connection and embrace only spiritual activities for the performance of bhakti to the Supreme Lord. All of the preceding are completely celibate. The grihasta ashram is not celibate and consists of married householder devotees who perform some devotion amidst taking care of family obligations. These four main divisions listed in descending order become decreasingly less situated in pure sattva guna and to the degree that there is exposure to external influences one becomes subjected to raja guna the mode of passion.

Paramahamsa’s are known by their tranquillity, self-control and inherent righteousness. The demigods such as Brahma, Surya, Ganesh, etc. even though extremely passionate rarely exhibit any signs of passion because even when engaged in passionate acts their minds are constantly in communion with the Supreme Lord. As far as others are concerned due to the fluctuating nature of their minds their actions are usually equated with raja guna the mode of passion; yet when their minds are fixed upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord then they too can be considered situated in sattva guna. Inquiry into the eternal principles of the Vedic scriptures and performing prescribed ritualistic activities are the special attributes of the brahmacari’s aspiring for the ultimate truth. Assuming familial activities, maintaining a wife, producing children are the symptoms of the grihastas. Becoming detached, giving up attachment to grown children and residence along with all conceptions of father, mother, wife, husband and wholly reflecting on the Supreme Lord are the expressions of vanaprasthas. For the sannyasi’s the absolute equanimity expressed towards all living entities is the symbol of their advanced development.

The Brahmins although situated firmly in sattva guna may possess a small degree of raja guna and ksatriyas though anchored in raja guna could have some qualities of sattva guna such as righteousness as was exemplified by King Yudisthira of the Pandavas. Vaisyas are mixed with both raja and tama gunas could have some slight amount of sattva guna even sudras if exposed to good association might be found to have a percentage or two of sattva guna. Amongst those who are devoted to the Lord Krishna such natural distinctions are obvious as they are effulgent from within being empowered by the Supreme Lord. Even those born in non-brahmin dynasties such as meat eating mleechas and dog eating candelas as well as barbarians and other outcastes if they are purified by association with devotees and initiated by a bonafide spiritual master from one of the four authorised sampradayas then they are situated in sattva guna and entitled to be a devotee of the Supreme Lord. Yet those who although born in Brahmin families and perform prescribed Vedic activities are sceptical of the supremacy of Lord Krishna over all other gods are situated or consider other gods as equal to or superior to Lord Krishna are situated in raja and tama gunas. While those who do not know the supremacy of Lord Krishna and are indifferent to Him are situated in tama guna.

The pitris or anscestors, the gandharvas or celestial musicians and singers, the ancient ascetics and the demigods are all situated in sattva guna and influenced by the three gunas with each one more superior then the previous one. The demigods, Indra the king of the heavenly planets, Brahma the secondary creator of the material existence and Shiva the destroyer are also situated in sattva guna, each progressively superior to the previous one. Effulgent amongst even the effulgent is Sri Laksmi, the expanded shakti or feminine energy of every incarnation of the Supreme Lord Krishna simultaneously as an eternal reality. Such progressive gradation exists even after moksa is attained and everyone is eternally blissful. Although the three gunas being material do not exist in the spiritual worlds. After moksa when one attains the spiritual worlds the gradation can be determined by how extensive the bliss is that one expresses and by the location where one is exhibiting this bliss such as Vaikuntha or Svetadvipa, etc.

Among the best of jivas situated in tama guna are those who are neutral and indifferent to the Supreme Lord Krishna. The best of those in raja guna are those who utilise their power and wealth for the service of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Since all jivas possess an atma or immortal soul, they are all to some degree or other connected to sattva guna it is just that some are more obscured then others. Some are so obscured that there is no sattva guna visible. All are differentiated in classification according to the predominance of one of the three gunas. Commencing with the attributes of sattva guna every jiva can become qualified for moksa from Brahma downwards. Spiritual intelligence and wisdom only manifests from sattva guna that is why it is stated in the Vedic scriptures that from sattva guna arises spiritual wisdom and those who have perfected such wisdom are candidates for redemption and achieve moksa and those who have failed descend in darkness to lower existences while those who have neither perfected or failed remain suspended in samsara for another lifetime.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word svabhava means one’s inherent nature. This inherent nature arises from samskaras or past impressions and karma or reactions from past actions and is the root cause of determining birth as a Brahmin. The three gunas or modes of material nature arising from prakriti or the material substratum pervading all existence are determined by karma and samskaras as well. The predominating attribute of the Brahmins or spiritual class is sattva guna the mode of goodness. The predominating characteristic of the ksatriya or administrative class is raja guna the mode of passion. The predominating characteristic of the vaisyas or mercantile class is tama guna mixed with raja guna and the predominating characteristic of the sudras is only tama guna. Duties and responsibilities vary according to position and status in society as assigned by the Vedic scriptures. It is the Vedic scriptures which defines what qualities are possessed by Brahmins and what are the duties proper to their status as well as what occupations they may engage in. This Vedic directive applies to the other orders in society as well.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna having concluded an elaborate exposition on the three gunas or modes of material nature and how they influence the jivas or embodied beings; entitling those who are conscious of what is eternally in their best interest to aspire for moksa or liberation from material existence by wholeheartedly cultivating the qualities of sattva guna the mode of goodness. Now a point of contention may be raised that if all jivas are categorised in one of the three modes according to which one is predominant then a jiva for example possessing the virtues that would situate one in sattva guna would have to enjoy the equisite happiness of the heavenly planets with all of the rapturous but transitory pleasures of the celestial demigods and moksa will have eluded them. In such a situation how will they be delivered from samsara th perpetual cycle of birth and death and attain the bliss of moksa. In order to respond to such a question, Lord Krishna specifically introduces the inherent qualifications of the Brahmins as ordained by Vedic scriptures along with the natural duties that are established upon the differentiated degrees of goodness that one possesses. This applies to raja and tama gunas as well according to varnasrama or the status and stage of lfe in which one is situated, In order to to establish that the prescribed Vedic activities enjoined in the Vedic scriptures are by nature dominated by sattva guna if performed without self motivation for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord then as such they confer tranquillity, wisdom and devotion which all lead to moksa and heralds the imminent attainment of communion with the Supreme Lord.

The Brahmins the priestly class, the ksatriyas or royal warrior class and the vaisya’s the mercantile and agricultural class are all spoken of in unison because they only have the right to initiation making them qualified to study the Vedic scriptrures, engage in yagnas or ritualistic propitiation and worship. Whereas the sudra or servant class are mentioned separately as they have not the qualification for initiation and study of the Vedic scriptures but all are factually the product of their own innate natures.

To study the Vedic scriptures and perform yagna the prerequisite of initiation essential and required. A sudra is a fourth class citizen who may perform unauthorised activities without sin because they are only once born from the womb not twice born by the spiritual master. It is prohibited in the Vedic scripture to initiate a sudra. If done it will bring calamity upon the spiritual master, his dynasty and the whole kingdom. There are direct references in the Vedic scriptures prohibiting sudras from initiation. Such passages as: The sudra carries the dead body to the cremation ground that is a sudra and if a sudra hears a mantra his ears should be filled with wax, if he recites a mantra his tongue should be cut out and if he memorises a mantra his life should be taken. So it can be understood that in ancient times the prohibitions of a sudra were strictly enforced.

But examples are cited in Vedic scriptures attesting to the fact that if it is discered that a sudra possesses the innate qualities of sattva guna then even he can be eligible to receive initiation if this has been ascertained by the bonafide spiritual master.

There is a famous example in the Javalaopanisad of even an outcaste which is lower then a sudra humbly begging for initiation at the feet of the sage Gautama Rishi who perfunctionarily asked him who his father was. The outcaste boy did not know who his father was and told Gautama Rishi that he would have to ask his mother and come back. When he returned he confessed that his mother had told him that she had slept with many men before he was born and so she could not verify who his father was. Yet as unsavoury as the story was because the outcaste boy had told the truth Gautama Rishi was pleased and told him that total honesty is an undeniable virtue of sattva guna thus qualifying him to receive initiation and immeadiately ordered him to shave his head, take full bath and put on clean cloth, whereby Gautama Rishi initiated him.

The innate characteristic of the Brahmins is predominance of sattva guna. That of a ksatriya is a predominance of raja guna with some sattva guna. That of a vaisya is an equal portion of raja guna and tama guna and that of a sudra is a predominance of tama guna with a little raja guna.

Sloka 18.42 audio recital in Sanskrit     

शमो दमस्तपः शौचं क्षान्तिरार्जवमेव च |
ज्ञानं विज्ञानमास्तिक्यं ब्रह्मकर्म स्वभावजम् ||१८- ४२||

shamo damastapaH shauchaM kShAntirArjavameva cha |
GYAnaM viGYAnamAstikyaM brahmakarma svabhAvajam.h || 18-42 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.42

Anvaya: samah–peacefulness; damah–self-control; tapah–austerity; saucam–purity; ksantih–tolerance; arjavam–honesty; eva–certainly; ca–and; jnanam–knowledge; vijnanam–wisdom; astikyam–religiousness; brahma–of a brahmana; karma–duty; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature.

Translation: Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness–these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The natural duties of a brahmin or priestly class are given by Lord Krishna. Serenity is control of the mind. Self-control is controlling the impulses of the external senses. Purity is internal and external cleanliness. Forbearance is forgiveness. Straightforwardness means without duplicity. Knowledge is understanding the Vedic scriptures. Realisation is experiencing direct cognition. Faith is the conviction that the Supreme Lord Krishna is the supreme controller of all. All these duties of brahmins are born of their nature in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The natural duties appropriate for the Brahmins the priestly class are the following: 1) Samah is control of the inner sense the mind. 2) Damah is restraint of the external senses. 3) Tapas is austerity of the body as prescribed in Vedic scriptures like fasting. 4) Saucam is purity, sanctifying oneself to perform Vedic ordained duties. 5) Ksantih is forbearance, maintaining composure from provocation of others. 6) Arjavam is uprightness, expressing to others what one thinks without duplicity. 7) Jnanam is knowledge of the Vedic scriptures. 8) Vijnanam is realising the conclusions of the Vedic scriptures. 9) Astikam is absolute, irreversible faith the veracity of the Vedic scriptures which is impervious to any attempt to dissuade it. Such a resolute conviction is aware that: A) the Supreme Lord Krishna is the ultimate creator, maintainer and sustainer of all creation and that He is localised within every living being throughout all existence as Paramatma the omnipresent, supreme soul and that His all pervasive impersonal aspect is the Brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and that His personal sound frequency is the transcendental sound vibration OM. B) The Supreme Lord Krishna and any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures is the indomitable antithesis to all that is evil and unrighteous. C) The Supreme Lord Krishna and His incarnations possess unlimited, glorious attributes and resplendent qualities such as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, full power, full beauty, full cognizance, full renunciation, full opulence etc. which are eternal and transcendental.

D) The Supreme Lord Krishna is the sole object to be known in Vedic scriptures. E) He is the sole cause of all creation. F) He is the sole foundation of all creation. G) He is the Supreme controller of all creation. H) All prescribed Vedic activities enjoined to perform are variations of His worship I) Worshipped as such He confers blessings on humans according to their deeds.

This reality has already been evidenced in verses throughout Srimad Bhagavad-Gita like: In chapter 5, verse 29: One who understands that Lord Krishna is the supreme controller of all achieves liberation. In chapter 7, verse 6: Lord Krishna is the sole cause of creation and destruction of all existence and in verse 7: There is nothing superior to Lord Krishna. All creation is dependent upon Him. In chapter 10 verse 3: One who knows Lord Krishna is the supreme controller of all the worlds is not deluded among mortals and in verse 8: The wise know that Lord Krishna is the source of both the material and the spiritual worlds. In chapter 15 verse 15: Lord Krishna is the supreme soul within the heart of all living entities by the Vedas alone He is to be known and coming in chapter 18 verse 46: As everything is pervaded by Him, one attains perfection from performing prescribed Vedic activities to Lord Krishna. In this way this topic has been well evidenced.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna first elaborates on the duties of Brahmins according to their respective natures based upon the inherent quality of sattva guna the mode of goodness. Control of the mind and senses, engaging in austerities such as fasting and restraint as enjoined in Vedic scriptures, external purity by being physically clean and internal purity by free of desire and animosity. Forgiving those who have been ungrateful and hateful, devoid of duplicity having mutual concordance in body, speech and mind. Firm, unshakeable faith in the Vedic scriptures. Knowledge of what is real and what is illusory. Realisation of the essence of the Vedic scriptures by understanding the actual non-contradictory conclusions of the seemingly contradictory anomalies in various Vedic scriptures. Such are the duties of Brahmins.

Sloka 18.43 audio recital in Sanskrit     

शौर्यं तेजो धृतिर्दाक्ष्यं युद्धे चाप्यपलायनम् |
दानमीश्वरभावश्च क्षात्रं कर्म स्वभावजम् ||१८- ४३||

shaurya.n tejo dhR^itirdAkShya.n yuddhe chApyapalAyanam.h |
dAnamIshvarabhAvashcha kShAtraM karma svabhAvajam.h || 18-43 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.43

Anvaya: sauryam–heroism; tejah–power; dhrtih–determination; daksyam–resourcefulness; yuddhe–in battle; ca–and; api–also; apalayanam–not fleeing; danam–generosity; isvara–leadership; bhavah–nature; ca–and; ksatram–ksatriya; karma–duty; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature.

Translation: Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work for the ksatriyas.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The natural duties of a ksatriya or royal warrior class is given by Lord Krishna. Heroism, valour, boldness, intrepidness, stableness, dexterity, fearlessness, and majesty are born of their nature in raja guna the mode of passion. Additional qualities of the ksatriyas are generosity, liberality and leadership and are of the nature of sattva guna the mode of goodness.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna describes the natural duties of ksatriya the royal governing warrior class. 1) sauryam is bravery, valour and intrepidness in conflict without hesitation. 2) tejah is courageous, fiery nature that does not back down. 3) dhritih is endurance to persevere in an endeavour despite difficulties. 4) daksyam is adroitness, dexterity the ability to adjust in th execution of duties. 5) apalyanam is absence of cowardice even in the case of life or death. 6) danam is benevolence, generosity to others in need. 7) isvara-bhavah the capacity to lead and govern dependents.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The duties of ksatriyas or royal, warrior class according to their inborn qualities situated in raja guna the mode of passion are enumerated by Lord Krishna. Prowess and valour charcterised by fearless against all adversaries. Majesty is the reality of never being subjugated by others. Steadfastness is the absence of anxiety even in dangerous situations. Dexterity is skilfully fulfilling any action without hesitation even if death is an option. Generosity is donation to the pious and saintly. Rulership is protecting society from the encroachment of evil and unrighteousness.

Sloka 18.44 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कृषिगौरक्ष्यवाणिज्यं वैश्यकर्म स्वभावजम् |
परिचर्यात्मकं कर्म शूद्रस्यापि स्वभावजम् ||१८- ४४||

kR^iShigaurakShyavANijya.n vaishyakarma svabhAvajam.h |
paricharyAtmakaM karma shUdrasyApi svabhAvajam.h || 18-44 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.44

Anvaya: krsi–plowing; go–cows; raksya–protection; vanijyam–trade; vaisya–vaisya; karma–duty; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature; paricarya–service; atmakam–nature; karma–duty; sudrasya–of the sudra; api–also; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature.

Translation: Farming, cow protection and business are the qualities of work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The duties of both the vaisyas or mercantile agricultural class and the sudras or servant class is explained by Lord Krishna. Cow raising and protecting and agricultural cultivation as well engaging in buying and selling of products and goods are duties of vaisyas born of the nature of raja guna or mode of passion mixed with tama guna or mode of ignorance. The duties of sudras is loyal service to the other three classes and receiving sustenance for their livelihood from them and is born of the nature of tama guna.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The natural duties allocated to the vaisyas or agricultural, mercantile class are: 1) krishi or farming. 2) go-raksa or cow raising and cow protecting 3) vanijyam or acts of commerce and trade endorsed by the Vedic scriptures. The natural duties of sudras or worker class are amenable service to the upper 3 classes.

Thus by defining the duties of the four classes in Vedic culture the necessary performance of prescribed Vedic activities and the appropriate participation of each of the four classes is implied. For example in yagna or ritualistic performance of propitiation and worship the Brahmins will perform the ceremony, the ksatriya will donate wealth, the vaisyas will supply the ingredients such as ghee or clarified butter and cow products, the sudras will serve the ksatriyas and vaisyas.

The Brahmins being naturally endowed with sattva guna the mode of goodness are allotted with samah or self control of the mind which bestows the purity required to perform Vedic rituals and ceremonies. Although qualified for initiation this was not allocated to ksatriya and vaisyas due to they having a preponderance of raja guna mode of passion and tama guna mode of ignorance which is not compatible with samah.

The Brahmins exemplify by example the teachings of the Vedic scriptures instructing others the proper way to live a human existence according to the status of life they are in. The ksatriyas duty is to righteously govern and protect the citizens of the country. The vaisyas duty is cow protection and cultivating food for the population. The sudras duty is to do all the menial services for a fair compensation, necessary for the upper three classes to discharge their duties expediently and efficiently.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna reiterates the duties of the vaisyas the farmer mercantile class. Cow raising and cow protecting, tilling the land for crops, trading and selling for business are the duities of vaisyas. Industrious service to the other three classes for fair recompense is the duty of sudras the worker class.

The Manu Samhita, chapter one,verses 88-91 confirm: Study of the Vedic scriptures, teaching of the Vedic scriptures, performing Vedic rituals, officiating as priests for ksatriyas and vaisyas initiated in Vedic culture, giving gifts and accepting donations are the duties of Brahmins. Protection of the citizenry, supporting and organising Vedic rituals, study of the Vedic scriptures, righteousness in ruling and giving donations to the Brahmin are the duties of ksatriyas. Protecting and raising of cows, study of the Vedas, agriculture, gift making, buying and trading are duties of vaisyas. Only one service was ordained for sudras the worker class and that was to ungrudgingly serve the three upper social orders.

The qualities of controlling the mind and senses, physical restraint of the body, etc. are commonly prescribed for all aspirants of moksa or liberation, they are naturally present in Brahmins due to being inherently predominated by sattva guna. The Vedic scriptures cite examples that others due to samskaras or previous impressions may also be situated in sattva guna as well if possessing truthfulness, forgiveness, non-violence, humility, etc. and the various qualities of sattva guna. This is apparent.

Sloka 18.45 audio recital in Sanskrit     

स्वे स्वे कर्मण्यभिरतः संसिद्धिं लभते नरः |
स्वकर्मनिरतः सिद्धिं यथा विन्दति तच्छृणु ||१८- ४५||

sve sve karmaNyabhirataH sa.nsiddhi.n labhate naraH |
svakarmanirataH siddhi.n yathA vindati tachchhR^iNu || 18-45 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.45

Anvaya: sve–own; sve–own; karmani–in work; abhiratah–following; samsiddhim–perfection; labhate–achieves; narah–a man; sva-karma–by his own duty; niratah–engaged; siddhim–perfection; yatha–as; vindati–attains; tat–that; srnu–listen.

Translation: By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

How the acquisition of knowledge is achieved is being stated by Lord Krishna. Fully engaged in duty by devotion to performing the prescribed Vedic activities according to what is ordained by one’s particular class in society according to qualification one obtains fitness for advancing in knowledge. The following verse will delineate by what method a sincere aspirant engaged daily in executing their prescribed duties gains knowledge of the ultimate truth.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Every human achieves samsiddham or self-realisation by perfectly executing their own natural prescribed duty according to qualification as ordained by Vedic scriptures. How this is accomplished is explained next by Lord Krishna.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who performs the natural prescribed duties as ordained by the Vedic scriptures according to qualification accomplihes the four goals of human existence which are: kama or enjoyment, artha or wealth, dharma or ighteousness and moksa or liberation from material existence. By devotion and wholehearted commitment to performing one’s natural duty the highest perfection is achieved in the form of self-realisation. It may be submitted that so many perform their duties perfectly and yet still do not achieve the highest perfection, this is seen to be true. But the reason for not achieving self-realisation is that they have not yet developed devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna wholeheartedly. That is why success eluded them. So this is how the natural duties of a human should be conducted.

Sloka 18.46 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यतः प्रवृत्तिर्भूतानां येन सर्वमिदं ततम् |
स्वकर्मणा तमभ्यर्च्य सिद्धिं विन्दति मानवः ||१८- ४६||

yataH pravR^ittirbhUtAnA.n yena sarvamidaM tatam.h |
svakarmaNA tamabhyarchya siddhi.n vindati mAnavaH || 18-46 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.46

Anvaya: yatah–from whom; pravrttih–the emanation; bhutanam–of all living entities; yena–by whom; sarvam–all; idam–this; tatam–is pervaded; sva-karmana–in his own duties; tam–Him; abhyarcya–by worshiping; siddhim–perfection; vindati–achieves; manavah–a man.

Translation: By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The method described is that by worshipping the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised avatars or incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures is through the medium of one’s own prescribed duty while knowing that from Him proceeds the activities of all jivas or embodied beings and by whom all existence is created and permeated one has achieved perfection in their life.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

It is natural that those spiritually intelligent human beings who worship the source of their very existence, Lord Krishna who is the root, the foundation from whence all creation originates and by whom all existence is pervaded will certainly receive His grace and achieve the perfection of self-realisation. The Supreme Lord’s position has already been established in chapter 7, verses 6 and 7 where Lord Krishna confirms: He alone is the origin of all as well as the demise of all. There is nothing superior to Lord Krishna for all creation depends upon Him. In chapter 9, verse 4 He states: In an unperceivable manner He pervades all existence yet everything is in Him but He is not in it. In chapter 9, verse 10 He states: That His external energy manifests all moving and stationary jivas or embodied beings according to His direction and in chapter 10, verse 8 He reveals: That every aspect of creation, maintenance and existence as well as the Vedic scriptures has Him alone as the sole source. Such examples are unique to Lord Krishna exclusively and unprecedented.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The perfection of self-realisation is only obtained in perfection from worshipping the Supreme Lord and offering everything one possesses to Him. This can be also done by following one’s natural duties without deviation as ordained in Vedic scriptures. All jivas or embodied beings manifested from Lord Krishna who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and who created, maintains and sustains everything in all creation which is all permeated solely by Him.

Sloka 18.47 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वभावनियतं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम् ||१८- ४७||

shreyAnsvadharmo viguNaH paradharmAtsvanuShThitAt.h |
svabhAvaniyataM karma kurvannApnoti kilbiSham.h || 18-47 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.47

Anvaya: sreyan–better; sva-dharmah–one’s own occupation; vigunah–imperfectly performed; para-dharmat–another’s occupation; suanusthitat–perfectly done; svabhava-niyatam–prescribed duties according to one’s nature; karma–work; kurvan–performing; na–never; apnoti–achieve; kilbisam–sinful reactions.

Translation: It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Prescribed duties, according to one’s nature, are never affected by sinful reactions.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The reason Lord Krishna emphasises its better to perform one’s own duty imperfectly then another’s duty perfectly is because the defective performance of one’s own duty is superior in merit to the performance of another’s duty perfectly executed. This is to reinforce in Arjuna the futility of concocting any notions that living on alms as a mendicant beggar which is the duty of Brahmins is superior then his duty of fighting. Begging is not the path for him to take as it is inferior in terms of merit then fighting in battle and dispatching the enemy which is Arjunas natural duty. By following one’s own natural path no sin is incurred.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

To adhere to one’s own natural path of dharma or righteousness is what is being emphasised by Lord Krishna here. It is not as if one must follow the path of another. Everyone is entitled to perform those activities that are appropriate for their rank and station in life in constituting their propitiation to the Supreme Lord; but one must eliminate all sense of doership and desire for rewards. Such karma yoga or actions facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute expressed in visible activities which conform to the inherent nature of the individual manifest easily and naturally. Thus karma yoga performed in this manner is factually one’s own path of dharma albeit destitute of merit. By another’s dharma is meant jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute by knowledge which depending on time and circumstance may or may not be helpful. Perfection in jnana yoga demands the consistent ability to completely control the mind and conquer the senses which is a lifetime endeavour and fraught with danger of lapses in constancy. So karma yoga is more fortuitous as the risks are minimal and chances for succeeding are greater even though jnana yoga is on a superior platform. A jiva or embodied being ensconced in a physical body with an appropriate mind and senses finds it normal to act in accordance with the natural impulses instigated by the senses. This is karma yoga and fulfilling activities in this manner if they do not contradict the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures or disregard the prohibitions thereof incur no sin, for actions speak for themselves. Whereas in jnana yoga once control of the mind and mastery of the senses has been achieved they must be kept controlled and mastered otherwise one will fall down from their position and subjected again to mundane desires and the influence of objects the senses which propels one to sin and locks one in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. So by clearly elucidating the fact that karma yoga is indeed safer and more sure of success, Lord Krishna further corroborates what He previously had promulgated in chapter three.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Because the natural propensity inherent within is always accurate it behoves one to perform prescribed Vedic activites unto the Supreme Lord as this leads to the highest perfection. Such activities should be performed consistently for securing one’s own best interests. This Lord Krishna alludes to with the sreyan meaning better for it is better to perform one’s own duty with the intention to propitiate the Supreme Lord even if devoid of merit or deficient in some way; it is still superior to performing the duties of another even if done exemplary. The performance of duties not sanctioned for one in the Vedic scriptures is risky and fraught with danger is susceptible to sin; but in the performance of one’s own natural prescribed duty no sin is incurred.

Sloka 18.48 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सहजं कर्म कौन्तेय सदोषमपि न त्यजेत् |
सर्वारम्भा हि दोषेण धूमेनाग्निरिवावृताः ||१८- ४८||

sahajaM karma kaunteya sadoShamapi na tyajet.h |
sarvArambhA hi doSheNa dhUmenAgnirivAvR^itAH || 18-48 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.48

Anvaya: saha-jam–born simultaneously; karma–work; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; sa-dosam–with fault; api–although; na–never; tyajet–to be given up; sarva-arambhah–any venture; hi–certainly; dosena–with fault; dhumena–with smoke; agnih–fire; iva–as; avrtah–covered.

Translation: Every endeavor is covered by some sort of fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work which is born of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of fault.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

If however according to the philosophy of sankhya or analytical reasoning the idea of performing the duty of another is appealing because it is superior to the degradation of killing someone it should be pointed out although superior it is still fraught with the chance of great demerits if performed improperly. So with this in mind one should never abandon their own natural path which is ordained by one’s inherent nature from past life actions, even if it is attended with inauspiciousness. All actions and activities yielding visible and invisible results are always accompanied by some defect or other demerit as fire is enveloped by its attendant smoke. Hence by regardless of the smoke the fire is used to remove darkness, cook food and alleviate cold; in the same way by the meritorious parts of all activities alone are to be accepted for the purification of the mind. This is what Lord Krishna means.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forbearance, righteousness, wisdom, knowledge and faith are the natural characteristics found to be the inherent attributes of Brahmins and Vaisnavas. Some of the attributes such as righteousness and wisdom are found in a lesser extent in ksatriyas of the royal, warrior class and in special cases powerful emperors such as Yudhisthira Maharaja who ruled the entire Earth possessed these attributes even equal to that of the Brahmins. King Janaka was renown for possessing great wisdom and forbearance as well as righteousness. King Kartavirya was known to be a saintly seer with knowledge of past, present and future. The ksatriyas in general are courageous, steadfast, fearless, resourceful and righteous. The vaisyas or agriculture and mercantile class are less restrained and austere then the ksatriyas due to always being involved in activities of profit and gain supplying society with the staples of life. Because of their service to others sudras or the menial class are serving the three higher classes. If a sudra is found to possess superior qualities then based on such exemplary attributes he may become qualified to receive initiation and become a Vaisnava Brahmin. Contrarily if one born in a Brahmin family exhibits degraded qualities such a meat eating and wine drinking they have lost their caste and should be known as a sudra. Among humans those that follow righteousness and purity which are divine attributes, follow the path of God.

Now begins the summation.

It is acknowledged that when each class performs their prescribed Vedic activities some attributes from another class have been known to manifest. For example a ksatriya may possess the attributes of serenity and self- restraint for in their absence propitiation to the Supreme Lord is not possible. Devotional activities unto the Supreme Lord require serenity of mind and restraint of the senses to be considered actual worship. This conforms to the earlier maxim that yagna or ritualistic activities of propitiation along with tapah or austerities and danam or charity should never be abandoned. The mind must be tranquil and the senses must be controlled and combined with purity, austerity and righteousness glorifies a ksatriya and are most appropriate and praiseworthy such as Emperor Yudisthira Maharaja’s immense wisdom and self restraint or like King Janaka’s exemplary equanimity and serenity. Yet the prime duty of ksatriyas is ruling and protecting the citizenry and so to be fearless in times of war never fleeing from the battlefield until victory is secured is what is exceptional and praiseworthy.

The preceding attributes apply to ksatriyas, the attributes of vaisyas are cow raising and cow protection along with farming and mercantile affairs. For the sudras it is loyal service to the other three classes for acquiring sustenance. Brahmins of course study and teach the Vedas, perform yagnas and receive donations. These are the perennial principles established by the Supreme Lord but do not apply to others outside the pantheon of Vedic culture.

Valour, courage, fearlessness, dexterity, resourcefulness, etc. are to be found primarily in ksatriyas, some Brahmins possess such qualities as well, vaisyas may show a little from them in times of adversity and in sudras they hardly exist at all. The Brahmins may exhibit such attributes according to situation but it is not for the sake of livelihood but rather to set an example for society and educate the noble minded. Educating society according to dharma the eternal principles of righteousness is the principle activity of the Vaisnavas and Brahmins to the ksatriyas and vaisyas who learn from them. The sudras are prohibited from studying the Vedic scriptures and thus their duty is to offer service to the other classes as a donation or for renumeration.

Sometimes in extraordinary circumstance due to the force and rapidity of events even the natural attributes have to abandoned and the enactment of contrary activities must be enacted in emergency for example to save one’s very life. Other times even those opposed to prescribed Vedic activities participate for their best interests and benefit. Yet for the spiritually qualified and evolved yagnas, tapah and danam must never be abandoned by the Vaisnavas and Brahmins as they are most auspicious and no other acts are more propitious.

Confiscating wealth obtained by unrighteous means, disciplining the disobedient, destroying parasitical economic power, imposing punishment and executions for heinous transgressions are the signs of the mighty and are enforced exclusively under the jurisdiction of the ksatriyas. The mleechas or low caste meat eaters and other outcastes who are not followers of the Vedic culture should be properly governed by the ksatriyas according to a minimum standard of adherence.

The Vaisnavas and Brahmins can punish their disciples without causing any bodily injury. The disciples who have voluntarily accepted the position as celibate student to learn the knowledge of the eternal Vedic scriptures and have been accepted by a Vaisnava spiritual master will learn their lesson and continue serving the guru. Teachers and relatives can administer punishment also ithout bodily harm according to the degree of the infraction. If a teacher is found to be defective due to following questionable activities then one should dispense with his services and according to applicable laws cancel the engagement. If an ordinary teacher unknowingly challenges one who is superior to him then this should be brought to his attention. They should be firmly disciplined but not abandoned as that would be offensive. Those teachers who are devoted to the Supreme Lord should never be abandoned or penalised as this would be opposed to righteousness. Disciples never have the right to criticise or chastise the Vaisnava spiritual master who gave one initiation into Krishna bhakti. Even if famous persons are seen performing activities contrary to the Vedic scriptures they should not be punished if such actions do not interfere with the mission of the spiritual master.

In times of adversity Brahmins may performed occupations ordained for ksatriyas or even vaisyas. But the sudras are never permitted to perform the occupations of the ksatriyas or Brahmins. Ksatriyas in adversity may perform the occupation of a vaisya and in extreme cases even the rites of the Brahmins but they are prohibited to beg for their food. Vaisyas in times of adversity may only accept the occupations of sudras and no other and become carpenters or blacksmiths, etc. which are known as the occupations of sudras. The sudras sometimes must accept the occupation of vaisyas but they are prohibited from any endeavour to study the Vedic scriptures. In times of greatest adversity a ksatriya may offer service to the Brahmins or otther well to do ksatriyas but they should never offer obeisance to their feet. It is not that such acts of a ksatriya are unworthy or ignoble for performed expressly for the purpose of concealing oneself incognito it is equal to even the activities of the Brahmins. The most meritorious actions are those sanctioned and ordered by the Vaisnava spiritual master, who are all followers of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His avatars or authorised incarnations and expansions revealed in Vedic scriptures. It is much more meritorious to follow the spiritual masters commands rather then to remain neutral not opposing him.

Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva has stated that by the powerful arms of the ksatriyas and the spiritual wisdom and devotion to the Supreme Lord of the Vaisnava Brahmins, then the protection and evolution of the world is secured.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The conclusion Lord Krishna gives for this subject is that actions that are initiated naturally and easily executed and are beset with no difficulties should be done even if there may be some fault or defect. The inner purport is that even those situated in jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute by knowledge, they too should adopt the path of karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute by actions. All endeavours in the material world are accompanied by some sort of fault or defect and all living beings must perform actions to exist but the following of one’s own natural path is not in the least difficult or beset with unpredictable dangers. Whereas the standard of jnana yoga being higher the possibility of mistake and the chance of defect is greater as well as the demerit incurred. So karma yoga is encouraged.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It may be postulated that if prescribed Vedic activities qualify one for moksa or liberation from material existence then one should abandon deeds which are violent and lethal and strive exclusively for moksa. Lord Krishna refutes this conception with the word sahajam or according to one’s natural propensity. One should never relinquish their own ordained duty in favour of anothers because all endeavours are tainted by some defect or blemish just as fire is tainted by smoke. Although dispelling darkness and cold by providing heat and light fire is accompanied by smoke which burns the eyes and irritates the nose, similarly in the quest for moksa there will be some difficulties and irritations but without clarity of intention and purity of heart it will not be possible for moksa to be achieved. Hence on should perfom their natural duty with the intention to propitiate the Supreme Lord according to qualification and relinquish all desires for rewards. When the heart becomes pure then all imperfections are dissolved and dissappear. So by worshipping the Supreme Lord following one’s own natural prescribed duty one attains self-realisation and achieves moksa. The Isa Upanisad, verse 11 beginning vidyam cavidyam ca yas states: One who knows what is nescience and what is transcendence can overcome samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

Sloka 18.49 audio recital in Sanskrit     

असक्तबुद्धिः सर्वत्र जितात्मा विगतस्पृहः |
नैष्कर्म्यसिद्धिं परमां संन्यासेनाधिगच्छति ||१८- ४९||

asaktabuddhiH sarvatra jitAtmA vigataspR^ihaH |
naiShkarmyasiddhiM paramA.n sa.nnyAsenAdhigachchhati || 18-49 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.49

Anvaya: asakta-buddhih–unattached intelligence; sarvatra–everywhere; jita-atma–control of the mind; vigata-sprhah–without material desires; naiskarmya-siddhim–perfection of non-reaction; paramam–supreme; sannyasena–by the renounced order of life; adhigacchati–attains.

Translation: One can obtain the results of renunciation simply by self-control and by becoming unattached to material things and disregarding material enjoyments. That is the highest perfectional stage of renunciation.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Anticipating that the question may arise of how it is practically possible to accept only the positive and reject the negative, Lord Krishna responds by stating that one whose mentality is unfettered to anything mundane and material, devoid of attachment. Whose mind has conquered the false lure of desires and attraction to the objects of the senses. Who is bereft of egotism and is renounced and situated fully in sattva guna the mode of goodness; such a one achieves no reaction to actions, purity of mind and hence absence of activities. Although such a one may perform actions in actuality it is non-action because there is no conception as the doer. Chapter five verse 8 has already stated: That one who knows the absolute truth understands that they factually are not the doer and verse 13 states: The self controlled being who renounces all actions in their mind remains tranquil and serene and is considered to be topmost.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Perfection in renunciation entails relinquishing all desires for rewards thereof which is perfect equanimity. Perfection in renunciation of actions is abandoning all actions not connected to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that when buddhi or spiritual intelligence is unfettered meaning unattached to desires and rewards and the mind is controlled and senses conquered, with no conceptions of doership, established in renunciation even while performing prescribed Vedic activities one attains the supreme serene state of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord by dhyana or meditation in communion with Him internally as well as propitiation to Him with one’s physical body externally such as japa or chanting His divine, holy names in ecstasy and promulgating His glories everywhere one goes throughout creation. By the wonderfulness of bhakti the mind and senses are already controlled and conquered quite easily and have surpassed the limits of jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by knowledge.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Perfection in the form of absolute knowledge is performing propitiation unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as ordained in Vedic scriptures in accordance to ones’s own natural propensity. Now He presents the resultant rewards with the words: One whose mind is unfettered and free from attachment to anything, whose senses are totally subdued and completely under control, whose desires and cravings have all evaporated and cease to exist; such a one can reach the Supreme state of perfection. This Supreme state is the highest devotion and is flowing and constant like the purifying flow of the celestial river Ganges, in the form of constant meditation and continuous remembrance of the divine form, divine qualities, divine sweetness and divine pastimes of the effulgent Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.50 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सिद्धिं प्राप्तो यथा ब्रह्म तथाप्नोति निबोध मे |
समासेनैव कौन्तेय निष्ठा ज्ञानस्य या परा ||१८- ५०||

siddhiM prApto yathA brahma tathApnoti nibodha me |
samAsenaiva kaunteya niShThA GYAnasya yA parA || 18-50 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.50

Anvaya: siddhim–perfection; praptah–achieving; yatha–as; brahma–the Supreme; tatha–so; apnoti–achieves; nibodha–try to understand; me–from Me; samasena–summarily; eva–certainly; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; nistha–stage; jnanasya–of knowledge; ya–which; para–transcendental.

Translation: O son of Kunti, learn from Me in brief how one can attain to the supreme perfectional stage, Brahman, by acting in the way I shall now summarize.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The manner by which such renunciation attains the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is by pristine spiritual knowledge. Lord Krishna is requesting to hear and learn from Him how this can be accomplished.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

How and by what means perfection is reached and the consciousness of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is achieved is given in the next three verses. This perfection is the epitome of spiritual wisdom.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The perfection achieved by consistent performance of karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by prescribed Vedic activities allows one to attain dhyana or meditation on Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures with bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. Lord Krishna is inviting one to learn how, in what manner and by what conduct one attains the the atma or immortal soul and the pure, consciousness of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence which are the two manifestations of the Supreme Lord who is the paramount of attainment and the goal of all endeavours.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna in order to clearly establish that the Supreme state of highest devotion is the eternal cause of internal communion with the Supreme Lord explains the process. The Supreme Lord specifically emphasises that only by exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord is highest devotion of the Supreme state achieved. This is the paramount goal and ultimate attainment and it is eternally transcendent and infinite in nature. In the Bhagavat Purana, Canto 11, chapter 13, verse 14 beginning etavan yoga adisto is stated: The yoga system taught by Lord Krishna’s devotees such as the Kumaras is withdrawing the mind from external objects and focusing it on the Supreme Lord. In the Visnu Purana the Prince Prahlad exclaims to the avatar or incarnation of Lord Krishna known as Narasinghadeva that: Just as the beloved has ardent love for the lover such is the depth of love that he wishes to have in his heart for the Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.51 to 18.53 audio recital in Sanskrit     

बुद्ध्या विशुद्धया युक्तो धृत्यात्मानं नियम्य च |
शब्दादीन्विषयांस्त्यक्त्वा रागद्वेषौ व्युदस्य च ||१८- ५१||

विविक्तसेवी लघ्वाशी यतवाक्कायमानसः |
ध्यानयोगपरो नित्यं वैराग्यं समुपाश्रितः ||१८- ५२||

अहंकारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं परिग्रहम् |
विमुच्य निर्ममः शान्तो ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ||१८- ५३||

bud.hdhyA vishuddhayA yukto dhR^ityAtmAnaM niyamya cha |
shabdAdInviShayA.nstyaktvA rAgadveShau vyudasya cha || 18-51 ||

viviktasevI laghvAshI yatavAkkAyamAnasaH |
dhyAnayogaparo nitya.n vairAgya.n samupAshritaH || 18-52 ||

aha.nkAraM balaM darpa.n kAmaM krodhaM parigraham.h |
vimuchya nirmamaH shAnto brahmabhUyAya kalpate || 18-53 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.51 to 18.53

Anvaya: buddhya–by the intelligence; visuddhaya–fully purified; yuktah–such engagement; dhrtya–determination; atmanam–self; niyamya–regulated; ca–also; sabda-adin–the sense objects, such as sound, etc.; visayan–sense objects; tyaktva–giving up; raga–attachment; dvesau–hatred; vyudasya–having laid aside; ca–also; vivikta-sevi–living in a secluded place; laghu-asi–eating a small quantity; yata-vak–control of speech; kaya–body; manasah–control of the mind; dhyana-yoga-parah–always absorbed in trance; nityam–twenty-four hours a day; vairagyam–detachment; samupasritah–taken shelter of; ahankaram–false ego; balam–false strength; darpam–false pride; kamam–lust; krodham–anger; parigraham–acceptance of material things; vimucya–being delivered; nirmamah–without proprietorship; santah–peaceful; brahma-bhuyaya–to become self-realized; kalpate–is understood.

Translation: Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little and who controls the body and the tongue, and is always in trance and is detached, who is without false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and who does not accept material things, such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Endued with purified intelligence of a nature secured in sattva guna or mode of goodness, tenacious control of the mind insuring that one’s purified intelligence is constant and steady. Relinquishing all desires for sense objects and abandoning the ever fickle dualities of likes and dislikes such a one is qualified to realise the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Such an aspirant will sequester themselves in a pure, remote location such as forest or mountain. Restraining speech, the impulses of the mind and the impetus of the body, always devoted to the practice of yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord which comes from reflection, contemplation and meditation upon the Supreme Lord Krishna constantly striving in this endeavour with firm dispassion so that it remains constant and unbroken. Rejecting the egoism of the delusion that one is the doer and controller which gives the illusion that one is free from worldly attachment. Rejecting all things superfluous which are inclined to lead one away from spiritual pursuits. Rejection of objects of the senses and the desire to enjoy them even if they appear unsolicited. Thus one who has steadfastly arrived at this state has become totally tranquil and serene having achieved supreme peace and such a one is qualified to realise the brahman.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is stating that by imbibing and actualising these attributes one assumes the nature of brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Buddhi is spiritual intelligence the consciousness which exclusively focuses on the atma. Manas refers to the mind, senses and body which acting in such a way discourages desires for sense gratification and encourages reflection on the Supreme Lord. Vairagyam-samipasritah means renouncing the objects which the senses hanker for and indifference to mundane pursuits. It is while chasing such pursuits that occasionally friendship or enmity transpires so ceasing from these pursuits would free one from raga-dvesau attraction and repulsion. Vivikta-sevi is seeking solitude in remote places aloof from disturbances to meditation. Moderation in eating and sleeping. Dhyana- yoga means internally performing continuous bhakti or exclusive loving devotional service unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His avatars or incarnations and expansions as authorised in Vedic scriptures. Gradually increasing aversion towards anything that is not connected to the atma or immortal soul and the Supreme Lord. Ahankaram is egoistic conceptions that considers the body to be all in all and cannot discern that they are not their physical body. Balam is lust for power, darpan is vain conceit which is derived from it and nirmanam is the notion one possesses what is not one’s own. Santah is tranquillity peacefulness, the serenity of bliss acquired by constant reflection and meditation upon the Supreme Lord qualifies one to achieve realisation of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and and achieving moksa or liberation from material existence attains atma tattva or soul realisation and enters into the bliss of communion with the Supreme Lord.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that one endowed with spiritually purified intelligence is naturally predominated with sattva guna the mode of goodness. The classification of higher and lower living entities is determined by the degree in which the mind is controlled and the senses are restrained. The mind is controlled by not indulging in positive or negative thoughts and illusory conceptions and the control of the senses is neutrality towards them without aversion or attraction towards their objects. By living in pure and remote place, exercising a light, vegetarian diet, moderation of speech, mind and body, three times daily meditating on the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord morning, noon and evening in full dispassion, completely eradicating all egoism and conceptions that one is the physical body. Lack of craving bodily sense gratification and soliciting pleasure of the senses, absence of amassing excessive possessions and freedom from mental disturbances bestows the tranquillity and peace of mind to qualify an aspirant to realise the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading al existence which is transcendental to material nature and situated on the spiritual platform is pure and impeccable without any defect or blemish.

Sloka 18.54 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचति न काङ्क्षति |
समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु मद्भक्तिं लभते पराम् ||१८- ५४||

brahmabhUtaH prasannAtmA na shochati na kAN^kShati |
samaH sarveShu bhUteShu madbhakti.n labhate parAm.h || 18-54 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.54

Anvaya: brahma-bhutah–being one with the Absolute; prasanna-atma–fully joyful; na–never; socati–laments; na–never; kanksati–desires; samah–equally disposed; sarvesu–all; bhutesu–living entities; mat-bhaktim–My devotional service; labhate–gains; param–transcendental.

Translation: One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The result of remaining steadfast in realisation of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is that serenity and tranquillity is the natural state of mind which is unperturbed by what may have been lost as well as devoid of desires over what is yet to be gained for such an unwavering mind does not identify itself with the physical body or concern itself with mundane pursuits. Hence exhibiting equipoise to all jivas or embodied beings due to the absence of distractions arising from obsession and aversion such a one attains supreme devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna in the form of perceiving that He is existing as paramatma the omniscient all pervading super soul in every jiva.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna gives further characteristics of the spiritually qualified. The words brahma-bhutah means comprehending the eternal nature of the atma or immortal soul, the infinite nature of its consiousness and its essential relationship with the Supreme Lord. This essential relationship consists in realising that one is dependent upon the Supreme Lord in every aspect of existence and to be grateful to Him for everything. The word prasanna means pure hearted, lucid and clear internally, uncluttered by turbid and painful experiences. Na socati means does not grieve. Na kanksati means does not crave. Since all the love that such an aspirant feels is totally and exclusively for the Supreme Lord. The only grief such an aspirant ever experiences is separation from Lord Krishna and the only craving such an aspirant ever experiences is communion with Lord Krishna. Samah means equanimity and as such looks at all jivas or embodied beings equally, knowing the atma resides equally in all. It also can manifest as an attitude of indifference to anything not related directly to the Supreme Lord, avoiding mundane actions and shunning worldly attachments. Mad- bhaktim means exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna in the form of sublime and exquisite bliss occasioned by the atmas rapturous communion with Him, the Supreme Lord of all lords. The sole creator of the cosmic manifestation, its evolutions, progressions and dissolutions. Who is the absolute antithesis to all that is evil. Who is the root source of all creation and the depository of boundless, unlimited and glorious illustrious attributes and qualities. Who is united with Sri Laksmi the goddess of fortune. Who is the epitome of beauty and the sovereign of every jiva being the source of every atma. Lord Krishna is the supreme attainment, transcendental, all pervading, omnipotent, omniscient, far beyond material nature.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna expounds upon the characteristics of one who has become qualified for realising the state of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. One who has experienced the wisdom derived from the manifestation of pure knowledge and is of cheerful mind without any desire for sense objects, who neither greives what is lost or craves for what is unachieved, who due to inner satisfaction resulting from perception of the atma or immortal soul, regards a clod of earth, a stone and a lump of gold as all the same and looks at all jivas or embodied beings with the same equanimity. Such a one is not a friend to those who praise and honor him; nor an enemy to those who criticise and ridicule him. Such ones attain supreme state known as bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord. Bhakti is the supreme perfection of all knowledge. The famous verse in Bhagavat Purana I.VII.X beginning atmaramas ca munayo meaning: All types of liberated beings who delight in communion with the immortal soul and are free from material bondage; still eagerly desire to render bhakti unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. This confirms that Lord Krishna has transcendental qualities and divine attributes so wonderful that even those who have achieved moksa or liberation from material existence are still enthused to worship and serve Him. Liberated beings referred to are the four Kumaras led by Sanandana. In this way explaining the highest platform as that of one who renders bhakti unto the Supreme Lord with total purity of heart who is established in atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul. Devoid of these qualifications it is not possible to realise the state of the brahman in which one perceives all jivas in a state of perfect equanimity. In the absence of realising the state of brahman it is imposiible to become established in atma tattva and devoid of atma tattva is is impossible to achieve the supreme destination and attain communion with the Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.55 audio recital in Sanskrit     

भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान्यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः |
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम् ||१८- ५५||

bhaktyA mAmabhijAnAti yAvAnyashchAsmi tattvataH |
tato mAM tattvato GYAtvA vishate tadanantaram.h || 18-55 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.55

Anvaya: bhaktya–by pure devotional service; mam–Me; abhijanati–one can know; yavan–as much as; yah ca asmi–as I am; tattvatah–in truth; tatah–thereafter; mam–Me; tattvatah–by truth; jnatva–knowing; visate–enters; tat-anantaram–thereafter.

Translation: One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It is by this supreme devotion that one becomes qualified to truly understand the Supreme Lord Krishna. The understanding derived is as to the nature of the Supreme Lord such as omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc. His attributes of sat eternal existence, cit unlimited consciousness and ananda endless bliss. His qualities of mercy, compassion, equanimity to all and others similar. Thus realising something of His true nature one perceives Him residing within the heart and obtains then and there moksa or liberation from material existence which bequeaths the attainment of actual communion with Him.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The manner in which after reaching perfection and assuming the nature of brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence is through bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. In verse 54 brahma-bhutah means assuming one’s intrinsic divine nature and as such one is tranquil, serene, humble and egoless. The Maha Varaha Purana states: With the eradication of all sins and demerits subsequently renouncing the desire for sense objects one proceeds progressively towards the Supreme Lord Krishna by the transcendental medium of devotion. For one who has realised the Supreme Lord even while in a physical body there is a progressive increase of spiritual wisdom even after attaining moksa or liberation from material existence.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word abhijanati means really knowing Lord Krishna. Perceiving who He is in essence by His essential attributes which manifests as glorious qualities of all creation. It is by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna which constitutes the eternal nature of the atma or immortal soul which subjectively initiates the quest to realise the Supreme Lord life after life until success is achieved by His discovery within the etheric heart of the atma from whence communion with Him commences. This knowledge of discovering the Supreme Lord consists of the atma envisioning Lord Krishna as He eternally is with a sparkling blackish complexion, two armed, dressed in golden cloth, bedecked with peacock feather, glorified by gunga mala, smiling charmingly while holding a flute to His lips. This vision is His original and eternal form and is rarely seen by even liberated jivas or embodied beings. More commonly seen is His four armed expansion as Ksirodakasayi Vishnu who resides in every living entity individually in the abode of the etheric heart of all jivas. Still others may envision any of His avatars or incarnations and expansions revealed in Vedic scriptures that they are surrendered to such as Rama or Narasinghadeva or even the visvarupa or universal form described in chapter 11. Once the vision has been obtained by intense love and devotion one attains communion with that very form of the Supreme Lord Krishna that one dedicated their life to. is devoted to and immediately is borne aloft to by such intense love and devotion. The word tatah refers to bhakti as the sole cause and means which verily constitutes the only way in reality to effect communion and attainment to the Supreme Lord. This was clearly and equivocally stated in chapter 11, verse 54 beginning bhaktya tv ananyaya meaning: That only by exclusive, loving devotion the Supreme Lord can be known.

The fruition of naimittika or daily prescribed Vedic activities as well as nitya or occasional prescribed Vedic activities with renunciation of desires for rewards performing every activity as an offering to the Supreme Lord in worship has been concisely elaborated. That the same fruition accompanies activities of kamya or craving when performed in the same manner in relationship to the Supreme Lord will be confirmed next.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Bhakti or exclusive loving devotion itself manifests the Supreme Lord and by bhakti alone He is revealed. Lord Krishna is bound by the love and devotion of His devotees. Bhakti is superior to everything and is the infallible means of attaining eternal communion with Him. Only by bhakti is it possible to comprehend the reality of Lord Krishna as He is, who He is and what He is in reality. Free from doubts, false knowledge and illusion by understanding His unlimited divine attributes and His endless divine qualities. One becomes blissfully attached to Him through the causeless mercy of His devotee and attaining His grace worships Him exclusively with love and devotion. Such a devotee is always with Him and never away from Him. Lord Krishna being completely subdued by fervent love and devotion never leaves the presence of such a devotee nor does the devotee ever leave Lord Krishna’s presence. Every second of the day In all aspects of life such a devotee is worshipping Him sometimes internally and sometimes externally and thus he abides in the Supreme Lord and the the Supreme Lord abides in him. They are never apart from each other. This has been confirmed In chapter six, verse 30 which states: One who sees the Supreme Lord in everything and sees everything in the Supreme Lord is never separated from Him.

Sloka 18.56 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सर्वकर्माण्यपि सदा कुर्वाणो मद्व्यपाश्रयः |
मत्प्रसादादवाप्नोति शाश्वतं पदमव्ययम् ||१८- ५६||

sarvakarmANyapi sadA kurvANo mad.hvyapAshrayaH |
matprasAdAdavApnoti shAshvataM padamavyayam.h || 18-56 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.56

Anvaya: sarva–all; karmani–activities; api–although; sada–always; kurvanah–performing; mat–under My; vyapasrayah–protection; mat–My; prasadat–mercy; avapnoti–achieves; sasvatam–eternal; padam–abode; avyayam–imperishable.

Translation: Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna is now concluding the topic of obtaining moksa by taking full refuge in the Supreme Lord even while performing prescribed Vedic activities daily and occasionally. Even if one still has the residue of desires while performing such activities but take sole refuge in the Supreme Lord not seeking mundane material gains from the demigods and not striving for entry into the heavenly planets. Such an aspirant will receive the grace of the Supreme Lord and by their exclusive devotion to Him and attain His eternal association in the transcendental spiritual worlds.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Concluding this theme Lord Krishna again reiterates the performance of sadhana or internal propitiation. One should take complete shelter in Him offering Him all actions ordained in the Vedic scriptures. It should not be misconstrued that one can offer actions that are not sanctioned by the Vedic scriptures for that would be an abomination. Only demons and the most degraded of living entities would devilishly conspire to contrive such a travesty. In the phrase sarva-karmany api meaning all types of activities, the conjunction api meaning although denotes that without surrender and devotion to the Supreme Lord no actions should be offered to Him.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

All prescribed Vedic activities even the ones that are performed out of kamya or craving a result, if offered as worship of the Supreme Lord with full faith in Him understanding that He alone is the Supreme controller will inevitably attain the Supreme state of eternal communion with Lord Krishna which is sasvatam timeless and avyayam infinte.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus the results of communion with the Supreme Lord have been elaborated upon by Lord Krishna. This is established through perfecting the performance of prescribed Vedic activities as a natural duty selflessly without any egoistic conceptions or any desire for rewards. Now He reveals that the results for those who are performing prescribed Vedic activities in this way taking sole refuge in the Supreme Lord Krishna as the only goal to be attained and only reward to be sought after even while embroiled in worldly associations and mundane activities will still by His Grace attain immutable, imperishable, eternal communion with Him.

Sloka 18.57 audio recital in Sanskrit     

चेतसा सर्वकर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्परः |
बुद्धियोगमुपाश्रित्य मच्चित्तः सततं भव ||१८- ५७||

chetasA sarvakarmANi mayi sa.nnyasya matparaH |
buddhiyogamupAshritya machchittaH satataM bhava || 18-57 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.57

Anvaya: cetasa–by intelligence; sarva-karmani–all kinds of activities; mayi–unto Me; sannyasya–giving up; mat-parah–My protection; buddhi-yogam–devotional activities; upasritya–taking shelter of; mat-cittah–consciousness; satatam–twenty-four hours a day; bhava–just become.

Translation: In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Renunciation factually means surrendering all thoughts and actions unto the Supreme Lord Krishna, regarding Him as the highest attainment, most important reality, the very essence of one’s life and the actual purpose of existence. Resorting to yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by discrimination of spiritual intelligence while performing activities in every aspect of life one fixes their mind in devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna exclusively. In this way every activity is an oblation of devotion unto the Supreme Lord.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna confirms in this verse that those devotees who are versed in karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by actions, bhakti yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by exclusive loving devotion, jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by knowledge and those who although not so expert have anyway fully surrendered to Him are on the same platform there is no difference if all ordained actions are offered with a feeling of surrender solely to Him. Such consciousness will also cause a modification in the cessation of random thought waves that arise uninvited. The equanimity of the intellect means control of the mind and snses.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna and His manifestations are constantly in the thoughts of His devotees in His impersonal form as the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, as paramatma the Supreme Soul pervading within the etheric hearts of all living entities simultaneously and in His original two armed blackish form bedecked with peacock feather and attended by flute as well as in His authorised incarnations and expansions. Dedicating all efforts and actions unto the Supreme Lord with devotion considering Him as the sole goal and ultimate reward constitutes the essence of consciousness and the apex of attainment.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If one is unable to practice detachment by themselves then one should mentally dedicate all actions to the Supreme Lord entrusting them to Him as the doer and offer all prescribed Vedic activities as well as all worldly activities in renunciation. This includes surrendering all ordinances, injunctions and prohibitions as well as one’s daily mundane duties along with the resultant hopes, aspirations and rewards unto the Supreme Lord who becomes the only goal. One who after due reflection makes this resolve has perceived that Lord Krishna is the supreme reality to attain.

Sloka 18.58 audio recital in Sanskrit     

मच्चित्तः सर्वदुर्गाणि मत्प्रसादात्तरिष्यसि |
अथ चेत्त्वमहंकारान्न श्रोष्यसि विनङ्क्ष्यसि ||१८- ५८||

machchittaH sarvadurgANi matprasAdAttariShyasi |
atha chettvamaha.nkArAnna shroShyasi vinaN^kShyasi || 18-58 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.58

Anvaya: mat–My; cittah–consciousness; sarva–all; durgani–impediments; mat–My; prasadat–My mercy; tarisyasi–you will overcome; atha–therefore; cet–if; tvam–you; ahankarat–by false ego; na–not; srosyasi–do not hear; vinanksyasi–then lose yourself.

Translation: If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditional life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now hear what will follow from such efforts. By fixing the mind on the Supreme Lord Krishna, by His grace any and all difficulties will be resolved whatever they may be; for such an aspirant all worldly troubles are overcome even if they seem to be insurmountable. Yet it should be clearly understood that if someone chooses to disregard or ignore the eternal teachings of the Vedic scriptures and out of egoism and self- conceit fall prey to the delusion that acting contrary to the Vedic scriptures is better. Then the disastrous result would be that they would commit sinful activities and fail the purpose of their existence. Subsequently at the time of death they would be hurled to the hellish worlds to suffer and rot in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Offering one’s mind and heart in total surrendered unto the Supreme Lord along with all actions all worldly obstacles and impediments shall be overcome by His grace. But if one acts contrary to these unequivocal instructions choosing to abide with erroneous ideas of knowing what is better then the Vedic scriptures and instead disregard the instructions that the Supreme Lord is giving. Then one will be assured of certain failure for verily there is no one superior to Lord Krishna amongst all the infinite myriad of created beings nor is there any other creator other then He.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If one takes full shelter of the Supreme Lord with the mind fixed on Him while performing every activity. All obstacles and difficulties by His grace will be overcome. But if out of pride or vanity one disregards the instructions of the Supreme Lord Krishna thinking that one knows better then the eternal wisdom of the Vedic scriptures which originated from Him. Then one is doomed and will be deprived of the four goals of human existence: kama or enjoyment, artha or wealth, dharma or righteousness and moksa or liberation from material existence. One will thus be forced to continue to rot in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

Sloka 18.59 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यदहंकारमाश्रित्य न योत्स्य इति मन्यसे |
मिथ्यैष व्यवसायस्ते प्रकृतिस्त्वां नियोक्ष्यति ||१८- ५९||

yadaha.nkAramAshritya na yotsya iti manyase |
mithyaiSha vyavasAyaste prakR^itistvA.n niyokShyati || 18-59 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.59

Anvaya: yat–therefore; ahankaram–false ego; asritya–taking shelter; na–not; yotsye–shall fight; iti–thus; manyase–think; mithya esah–this is all false; vyavasayah te–your determination; prakrtih–material nature; tvam–you; niyoksyati–will engage you.

Translation: If you do not act according to My direction and do not fight, then you will be falsely directed. By your nature, you will have to be engaged in warfare.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In a chastising mood the Supreme Lord Krishna states that indulging in ideas not sanctioned by the Vedic scriptures is egotistic vanity and disregarding the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures is delusion. As confirmed earlier the jiva or embodied being is not a free agent. It is subject to the three gunas or modes of material nature which are governed by prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence. A ksatriya or warrior is situated in raja guna the mode of passion. The influence of raja guna is so strong that by its potency a ksatriya will be compelled to fight by their own volition.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is referring to the powerful influence of three gunas or modes of material nature that manifests from prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence which is the external potency of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. The brahman is the impersonal aspect of the Supreme Lord Krishna. So in this way the Supreme Lord is the absolute power behind all actions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna in a chastising mood reinforces the theme that if out of ahankara or egoism the delusion of ignoring His instructions is entertained and assumption of independence is embraced and one decides to artificially oppose their own natural path disregarding His mandate to the contrary. Such independent resolve will end in disappointment due to the reality that the predominant guna or mode of material nature will compel one to act in spite of all resistance. The mode itself will coerce one to acquiescence beyond their control.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna gives the caution that one should not be deluded and think that they are in any way independent of the Supreme Lord. If due to false ego one thinks that they are the independent doer of their actions and take the decision to go against their own natural propensity it would be in vain. Lord Krishna’s external energy is prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence. From prakriti arises the three gunas or modes of material nature which adjusts itself automatically to the karma or reactions to actions acquired by the different activities a jiva or embodied being performs in countless lifetimes. Changing to the appropriate guna based on such actions the guna itself will compel one to act according to its dictates and any opposition will be futile.

Sloka 18.60 audio recital in Sanskrit     

स्वभावजेन कौन्तेय निबद्धः स्वेन कर्मणा |
कर्तुं नेच्छसि यन्मोहात्करिष्यस्यवशोपि तत् ||१८- ६०||

svabhAvajena kaunteya nibaddhaH svena karmaNA |
kartuM nechchhasi yanmohAtkariShyasyavashopi tat.h || 18-60 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.60

Anvaya: svabhava-jena–by one’s own nature; kaunteya–O son of Kunti; nibaddhah–conditioned; svena–by one’s own; karmana–activities; kartum–to do; na–not; icchasi–like; yat–that; mohat–by illusion; karisyasi–you will act; avasah–imperceptibly; api–even; tat–that.

Translation: Under illusion you are now declining to act according to My direction. But, compelled by your own nature, you will act all the same, O son of Kunti.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing such chastisement Lord Krishna further expands the previous theme by explaining that the nature and impressions experienced in past lives is the cause of birth for everyone. So birth as a ksatriya or warrior is no different. Valour, courage, fearlessness are the qualities of ksatriyas as enumerated previously are a natural part of a ksatriyas constitution and cannot be thwarted. So if out of illusion a ksatriya thinks that they can go against their natural tendencies they are deluded.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

It is a natural tendency for the ksatriyas or royal warriors to be heroically predisposed to fight for a righteous cause. In the case of mohat out of delusion having the false notion to abstain from fulfilling their natural duty so strong is it that one will definitely be compelled to plunge into battle even against one’s own will when one has been hurled the bitter sting of insults and deprecations of cowardice from one’s opponents. Indeed all jivas or embodied beings are bound by the indomitable laws of karma or reactions from past actions assuming various physical bodies to invariably adhere to the influence of the predominant guna or mode of material nature.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Continuing the previous theme Lord Krishna affirms that actions which are one’s natural duty which due to illusion one is not willing do, will in spite of that compel one to do so by the predominating guna or mode of material nature which will coerce one to do them anyway. In this present situation a ksatriya warrior is naturally possesses valour, courage and a heroic tempermant and are situated in raja guna the mode of passion. This is not random but follows a thread from previous births. A ksatriya cannot tolerate even the slightest ridicule or insult. So upon hearing the raucous insults about his bravery and the degrading insults to his manhood dispaging his prowess from the opposing enemy a ksatriya cannot refrain from avenging their honor in battle iregardless the odds.

Sloka 18.61 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ईश्वरः सर्वभूतानां हृद्देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति |
भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ||१८- ६१||

IshvaraH sarvabhUtAnA.n hR^iddeshe.arjuna tiShThati |
bhrAmayansarvabhUtAni yantrArUDhAni mAyayA || 18-61 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.61

Anvaya: isvarah–the Supreme Lord; sarva-bhutanam–of all living entities; hrt-dese–in the location of the heart; arjuna–O Arjuna; tisthati–resides; bhramayan–causing to travel; sarva-bhutani–all living entities; yantra–machine; arudhani–being so placed; mayaya–under the spell of material energy.

Translation: The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In the two preceding verses the subservience of all jivas or embodied beings to prakriti or the material substratum pervading all existence have been given according to the viewpoint of sankhya or analytical reasoning. Now Lord Krishna declares the conclusion in this verse and the next. As has been confirmed in many of the Vedic scriptures, within the etheric heart of all jivas abides the Supreme Lord as paramatma the Supreme Soul who monitors the thoughts and activities of all living entities. The Svetasvatara Upanisad VI.XI beginning eko devah sarva bhutesu states: The Supreme Lord who is one without a second abides in the core of the heart in all created beings as the indwelling monitor. The Briharanyaka Upanisad III.VII.XIII beginning yah sarvesu bhutesu tisthan states: The Supreme Soul abides within all beings yet He is different from all beings. Whom beings do not know. Whose creations all beings are: Who controls all beings. Who is the inner ruler of all beings as well as the inner controller of all beings. How this is to be understood is inconceivable but by His illusory energy known as maya all beings are revolving in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death engaged in a myriad of activities. The jivas who identify with the physical body are kept revolving life after life in material existence. The jivas who identify with the Supreme Lord have the chance to transcend this by His grace.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Isvarah is the all pervading Supreme Lord as the indwelling monitor within hrid dese the core of the heart which is the source of all consciousness, the basis of all actions pravritti or passive and nivritti or energetic. The Supreme Lord abides simultaneously in the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being in a subatomic form known as paramatma the Supreme Soul. Once so installed the Supreme Lord activates, energises and animates the physical body of the jiva or embodied being. Maya the external illusory potency bombasts and buffets the jivas interminably in the material existence in accordance to and consistent with the guna or mode of material nature which is predominate. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad III.VI.XV beginning yah sarvesu bhutesu tisthan states: The Supreme Lord abides in all beings and controls all living entities internally.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Before Lord Krishna spoke of doership as dependent upon material nature and the three gunas or modes of material nature that one is endowed with. This was in line with the samkhya philosophy of analytical reasoning. Now He confirms that all jivas or embodied beings are under the total control of the Supreme Lord based upon the Vedic scriptures. The Taittiriya Upanisad III.IX.II beginning sa yascayam purushe states: The Supreme Lord residing on that plane ot transcendent eternity is the same Supreme Lord that resides within the core of the etheric heart of all jivas o embiodied beings. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad III.VIII.IX beginning etasya va aksharasya states: Verily by the Supreme Lords command the sun and moon maintain their fixed positions, the heavens and Earth keep ther respective position, the seconds, minutes, hours, days, nights, weeks, months and years all maintain their relative posions. The Supreme Lord is the ultimate controller of everything animate and inanimate which are acting under His external energy prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence from whence arise three gunas or modes of material nature which determines all actions based upon the karma or reactions to previous good and evil actions enacted in a physical body and five senses which is likened unto a machine. The purport is that just as a puppet master controls his puppets so does the Supreme Lord control the jivas.

Sloka 18.62 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तमेव शरणं गच्छ सर्वभावेन भारत |
तत्प्रसादात्परां शान्तिं स्थानं प्राप्स्यसि शाश्वतम् ||१८- ६२||

tameva sharaNaM gachchha sarvabhAvena bhArata |
tatprasAdAtparAM shAntiM sthAnaM prApsyasi shAshvatam.h || 18-62 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.62

Anvaya: tam–unto Him; eva–certainly; saranam–surrender; gaccha–go; sarva-bhavena–in all respects; bharata–O son of Bharata; tat-prasadat–by His grace; param–transcendental; santim–in peace; sthanam–abode; prapsyasi–you will get; sasvatam–eternal.

Translation: O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Taking full shelter of the Supreme Lord Krishna in every way is what is being emphasised here. Since every jiva or embodied being in all of creation is anyway totally dependent upon the Supreme Lord for their very existence whether they know it or not. It is not at all unreasonable, acknowledging this, for the spiritually intelligent to surrender completely in total unconditional refuge in Him with all their mind, with all their heart and with all their soul. Then only by His Grace they shall attain the supreme, everlasting, eternal abode in the spiritual worlds and eternal communion with Him.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

This empirical statement tat prasadat means by His Grace. It should be understood that Lord Krishna is referring to His Grace as that of any of His avatars or incarnations and expansions as authorised in Vedic scriptures. They all as a part of Lord Krishna abide as paramatma the supreme soul within the heart of all jivas or embodied beings. Any part of the whole is imbued with the whole. So Lord Krishna’s three aspects of the brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence, paramatma and bhagavan which is His original eternal two armed spiritual form which includes all of His avatars in many different forms. So this verse should be understood empirically as well. Clarifying this point further an example is given from Mahabharata that states: Dronam prati Bhima vacanavat which means: Bhima said that Drona was a father to Him. Bhima’s actual father was King Pandu but he spoke empirically to illustrate that the affection he received from Drona was like from a father. This is the gist of it.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

With all thy mind, with all thy heart and with all thy soul swiftly surrender unto the Supreme Lord Krishna taking full refuge in Him alone. It is He who is the Supreme controller, the Lord of all lords, the Supreme goal and ultimate attainment. Who out of His causeless mercy for all jivas or embodied beings and the incomparable love He has for His beloved devotees so much so that He, the Supreme Lord of all even condescended to accept the position of chariot driver for His dear devotee. So everyone should earnestly seek Him as their sole refuge adhering to His unsurpassable teachings manifested in the injunctions and ordinances of the Vedic scriptures and by following His unequivocal instructions in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. By doing so one will by His Grace be able to transcend maya the illusory energy, surpassing the ocean of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and at last achieve the peace that passes all understanding attaining the Supreme state of communion with the Supreme Lord, that immortal state of eternal empyrean from which there is no return to material existence.

Throughout the Vedic scriptures these points are confirmed. The Chandogya Upanisad III.XIII.VII beginning atha yad atah paro divo states: The resplendent Supreme Lord shines forth effulgently above the universe, beyond the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, transcending all worlds. The Katha Upanisad I.III.IX beginning vijnanas arathiryastu states: One can cross the ocean of samsara and reach the everlasting, eternal abode of the Supreme Lord, the final resort. In the Taittriya Upanisad III.X.III beginning yasah iti pashusu jyotiriti states: The Supreme Lord’s divine splendour is apparent in every aspect of creation whether phenomenal or celestial such as the splendour of the cows, the light of the stars, the bliss of the generative organ for procreation, etc. But when one meditates upon Lord Krishna as the supreme worship able divinity then one obtains Him and the immortal state of eternal empyrean.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

If it is practically impossible for one to achieve moksa or liberation from material existence and attain the eternal spiritual worlds of the Supreme Lord. How is it realistic to aspire for it? To answer this query Lord Krishna declares to exclusively seek refuge in the Supreme Lord alone and nothing else. The Supreme Lord is the creator, protector, maintainer and sustainer of all. He compassionately revealed Srimad Bhagavad-Gita for the benefit of all living entities. Lord Krishna is extremely affectionate to His devotees. Out of His great magnamity and affection He even accepted the position as chariot driver for His dear devotee. By adhering to His dictates as given in the Vedic scriptures and devotedly following His instructions one achieves assured success in life and attains unparalleled bliss in communion with Him in the eernal spiritual worlds which are beyond time, death and all material designations.

Sloka 18.63 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया |
विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु ||१८- ६३||

iti te GYAnamAkhyAtaM guhyAd.hguhyataraM mayA |
vimR^ishyaitadasheSheNa yathechchhasi tathA kuru || 18-63 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.63

Anvaya: iti–thus; te–unto you; jnanam–knowledge; akhyatam–described; guhyat–confidential; guhya-taram–still more confidential; maya–by Me; vimrsya–by deliberation; etat–that; asesena–fully; yatha–as you; icchasi–you like; tatha–that; kuru–perform.

Translation: Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Concluding the essential teachings of the entire Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, the Supreme Lord Krishna declares that the most confidential and esoteric wisdom has been disclosed by Him in this treatise revealing how the jiva or embodied being attains eternal communion with the Supreme Lord which is the purpose and goal of human existence. This divine discourse was disclosed out of compassion and benevolence to all creation by Lord Krishna who is omniscient and extremely gracious. There is no knowledge more beneficial and valuable than Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. There is no knowledge higher or superior to Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. It should be well reflected upon and deeply contemplated and then one should act accordingly.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Since the word jnanam or knowledge is linked to guhyataram meaning most confidential it denotes wisdom the conclusion of knowledge which is indispensable to an aspirant and the most valuable for it is the final conclusion for the entire Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. Lord Krishna instructs to examine, analyse and contemplate the teachings of the three paths known as karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by actions. Bhakti yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by exclusive loving devotion and by jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by empirical knowledge. After thoroughly reflecting on how each may be implemented into the reality of daily life one should harmonise them and act accordingly.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Preparing to bestow His Grace, Lord Krishna extols the teachings of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita that have been imparted and concluded the instructions with a summary of what He has revealed thus far regarding renunciation, devotion, action and knowledge. Now He gives the instruction to contemplate and reflect upon the three paths of karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by action, bhakti yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by exclusive loving devotion and jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by knowledge. After examining the teachings thoroughly and considereing carefully resolve accordingly the manner in which they are to be implemented into reality.

Sloka 18.64 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सर्वगुह्यतमं भूयः शृणु मे परमं वचः |
इष्टोऽसि मे दृढमिति ततो वक्ष्यामि ते हितम् ||१८- ६४||

sarvaguhyatamaM bhUyaH shR^iNu me paramaM vachaH |
iShTo.asi me dR^iDhamiti tato vakShyAmi te hitam.h || 18-64 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.64

Anvaya: sarva-guhya-tamam–the most confidential of all; bhuyah–again; srnu–just hear; me–from Me; paramam–the supreme; vacah–instruction; istah asi–you are very dear to Me; me–of Me; drdham–very; iti–thus; tatah–therefore; vaksyami–I am speaking; te–for your; hitam–benefit.

Translation: Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

For those due to some unexplainable obstacle or impediment who are unable to reflect on the profound and sublime teachings of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita in its entirety, the Supreme Lord Krishna will reveal the essence of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita in verses 65 and 66. Although confidential teachings have been collectively revealed throughout the preceding 17 chapters. Now Lord Krishna will reveal the most concise form of the teachings that consolidates them all. Graciously He commands sarva-guhytamam bhuyah srnu meaning: Hear again My most confidential teachings. But now He will bequeath the consummate conclusion of all conclusions in their purest essence. Why does the Supreme Lord bestow this? Because He considers the reality of how dear His devotees existing in the turbulent and unstable material existence are so beloved by Him. For this reason He reveals the absolute essential teachings in the next two verses for the ultimate benefit of His loving devotees. Some anvaya’s interpret drdham hitam as most beneficial. Others interpret drdhamati as of firm resolve; but we interpret drdham istah as extremely dear which is how a beloved is.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Among the three paths mentioned in the previous verse: bhakti yoga or facilitating communion by exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised avatars or incarnations and expansions according to Vedic scriptures is considered the most exalted and pre- eminent and thus it is the most confidential. Because Lord Krishna is extremely affectionate to His devotees who have Him alone as their sole refuge, He will mercifully reveal in the next two verses the absolute conclusion and final essence of the entire divine discourse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In order to dissolve the need to summarise the scriptural texts of the entire Simad Bhagavad-Gita which is poignant and deep in meaning. The Supreme Lord Krishna out of magnanimous compassion refined it to its essence with the words sarva guhyataman the most confidential of all. This ultimate essence He will reveal in the next two verses. It may be wondered why is Lord Krishna emphasising that the ultimate essence is so much more confidential then all the other previous confidential teachings. It is to illustrate just how dear and precious his beloved devotees are to Him. So He Himself most benevolently reveals the essence which is the very heart and soul of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita for the ultimate benefit and perpetual welfare of His devotees.

Sloka 18.65 audio recital in Sanskrit     

मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु |
मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोऽसि मे ||१८- ६५||

manmanA bhava madbhakto madyAjI mA.n namaskuru |
mAmevaiShyasi satya.n te pratijAne priyo.asi me || 18-65 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.65

Anvaya: mat-manah–thinking of Me; bhava–just become; mat-bhaktah–My devotee; mat-yaji–My worshiper; mam–unto Me; namaskuru–offer your obeisances; mam–unto Me; eva–certainly; esyasi–come; satyam–truly; te–to you; pratijane–I promise; priyah–dear; asi–you are; me–Mine.

Translation: Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the essence of all confidential knowledge contained in Srimad Bhagavad- Gita will be revealed by the Supreme Lord. Dedicate your mind to Lord Krishna. Be solely devoted to Lord Krishna. Give humble obeisance to Lord Krishna. Offer joyful propitiation to Lord Krishna. Living life in this way one will surely attain direct communion with Him by the spiritual wisdom bestowed by His Grace. One should not have any doubts about this for it is reality. Lord Krishna is extremely affectionate to His surrendered devotees. That is why He personally promises this eternal benediction which bequeaths both the purpose and the goal of material existence for the highest benefit of His devotees for all times.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna reveals the essence, the most confidential of all knowledge within Srimad Bhagavad Gita which will secure permanent release from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death, guarantee moksa or liberation from material existence and propel spiritual ascendance unto eternal communion with the Supreme Lord.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Manmana bhava is a divine command that means to always have Lord Krishna completely and blissfully in one’s thoughts, to absorb oneself in Him. This is also established in the Vedic scriptures where we find in the Taittiriyaranyaka Upanisad III.XII beginning vedaham etam stating: The Resplendent Supreme Lord more radiant then thousands of suns is realised by absorbing the mind in Him by meditation. Realising Him Him one attains moksa liberation from material existence. There exists no other path to immortality. This devotional absorption in Lord Krishna is of such magnitude and intensity that its meditation becomes a vision and the vision becomes an ever flowing current of devotion that is so vivid that the experience actually enters the realm of reality.

Mad-bhakta is to offer all one’s loving emotions to Lord Krishna enthralled by love overflowing with enthusiasm, exuberance and excitement.

Mad-yagi is to worship Lord Krishna with love. To install Him in one’s heart as their personal worshipable diety. Such worship is the performance of the entire services that a liege administers to His sovereign on a daily basis upon waking untill sleeping. Yagi comes from yajana which is synonymous with pujana or worship and denotes aradhanam the most equisite loving worship. Therefore it is not a mere dry, formal observation of ceremonial ritual enacted out of duty. It is love flowing from the heart. It is a testament of devotion from the eternal svarupa or one’s immortal spiritual form. Mad yagi should be interpreted as offering one’s self to Lord Krishna as a brother, as a parent or as a beloved with a heart full of love.

Mam namaskuru is to enshrine Lord Krishna in the heart with the utmost, love, devotion and faith. Namas comes from namanam meaning obeisance. Such obeisance is not a mere habitual genuflexion; but a sublime expression of sincere gratitude and humility that constitutes an emotion of love felt internally.

If a blessed devotee of Lord Krishna arrives at this exalted vista of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion then the Supreme Lord will not hesitate to have their eternal individual association with Him in the immortal spiritual worlds. This is the truth that He Himself promises. It should never be interpreted as being just a metaphor or mere flowery prose. Such a hypothesis would not be genuine and incorrect.

Wherever there is a heart that has so much love for Lord Krishna then there is as much love from Lord Krishna back to them. Lord Krishna’s love is such that He finds it impossible to bear the separation from such surrendered and dedicated devotees and therefore without delay He personally brings them to Him directly in their eternal spiritual body even while their physical body is concluding its last life in material existence.

So it should be clearly and emphatically understood that the Supreme Lord Krishna’s solemn promise to His surrendered devotees is the total truth and nothing other than truth for which He pledges to vouch safe for His devotees for all eternity.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna reveals the secret with the instruction to fix the mind upon Him. Concentrate upon Him with one-pointed focused in bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. This instruction is to be practically applied by dedicating all actions prescribed by the ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures unto Him. Whatever prescribed Vedic activitiy offered to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His avatars or incarnations and expansions as revealed in the Vedic scriptures is considered devotion which will lead to direct communion with Him eternally. It should not be erroneously misconstrued that one can offer actions that are prohibited in the Vedic scriptures as that would be inconscienable and offensive. It is seen that followers of Kali Ma offer meat to her in sacrifice; but if some ignornant fool offered meat to Lord Krishna they would be condemned to suffer in hellish condition for such a great offense as it is prohibited to offer Him at any time under any circumstances foods that are not in sattva guna the mode of goodness and flesh from any source is always in tama guna the mode of ignorance.

Worshipping the Supreme Lord exclusively by prescribed Vedic activities in the form of offering material possessions, or in the form of executing tapah or austerities or as simple as performing the blessed and purifying Ekadasi vrata which is fasting twice a month from all grains on the 11th day of the waxing and waning moons and which grants unalloyed devotion to Lord Krishna.

For offering worship with material things such as pure cow ghee, gold, silver, marble, etc. is possible only if one is wealthy; but even if one is poor Lord Krishna will happily accept a fruit, a flower or just pure water from His devotees according to their capacity. Offerings in the form of austerities forebearing hunger and thirst, cold and heat, etc. in the natural course of following one’s own prescribed Vedic duties. The offerings of yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord are the repitition of sacred mantras, exercises controlling the breath, the mind and the senses along with asanas or postures. The offerings of wisdom are reciting and chanting the verses of the Upanisads, the Puranas, Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, Vishnu-Saharanama the Thosand Names of Vishnu, etc. The offering of learning is studying and learning and for those more qualified teaching the meaning and conclusion of the Vedic sciptures to others.

Now in order to avoid any complacency Lord Krishna instructs to bow down to Him with regularlity fully with all the eight limbs of the body touching the ground for men. For women it should be only the knees, head and hands touching the ground as a womens breast should never touch the floor. So dedicated a devotee will advance by means of such devotion. The perfomance of millions of ritualistic ceremonies cannot compare to the results Lord Krishna’s devotees receive from bhakti. To receive the full result one should have concentrated devotion with undivided attention to Lord Krishna alone. Although the Supreme Lord is extremely difficult to propitiate even by Brahma, Shiva and the demigods who often consider themselves independent; but to His surrendered devotees He is so easy to please that even with only fresh water He is amply satified if it is offered with devotion.

After investigating and scrutinising the Vedic scripture intensely and reflecting and pondering over them repeatedly the consensus concluded by the wise and sagacious is that one should concentrate their mind and energies on meditating on the nama or name, rupa or form, guna or qualities and lila or divine pastimes of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Always remembering Him and never forgetting Him attain immortality. The sage Medhavi stated in Moksa Dharma: I am that enlightened person, non-violent, true to the self, with senses controlled, free from passion and anger, equipoised and tranquil and in this way I shall overcome death like the immortals. Undoubtedly one should abandon anything internal or external which causes attachment in the mind and distracts it from meditating fully on the Supreme Lord and remain blissfully absorbed in this state until the final moment of death. The muktas or liberated souls who have achieved this state while still alive have declared that if one can control the mind in this way after some time it locks and one is free to establish themselves in the atma or immortal soul within the etheric heart which gives liberation granting direct communion with the Supreme Lord.

The misguided and malicious atheists of mundane intelligence and degraded impulses, such deluded living entities are unable to behold the wide open gateway to moksa or liberation from material existence that is accessible to all humanity. All their endeavours and attempts to understand the inconceivable is for them in vain because they have eternally cursed themselved for denying the existence of the magnanimous and compassionate almighty Supreme Lord.

Sloka 18.66 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ||१८- ६६||

sarvadharmAnparityajya mAmekaM sharaNaM vraja |
ahaM tvA sarvapApebhyo mokShayiShyAmi mA shuchaH || 18-66 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.66

Anvaya: sarva-dharman–all varieties of religion; parityajya–abandoning; mam–unto Me; ekam–only; saranam–surrender; vraja–go; aham–I; tvam–you; sarva–all; papebhyah–from sinful reactions; moksayisyami–deliver; ma–not; sucah–worry.

Translation: Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the Supreme Lord Krishna reveals the conclusion to the essence of all knowledge. That which is the most confidential of all that is confidential is being revealed. Relinquishing all conceptions of religiosity by indomitable faith that complete salvation and redemption will come naturally through bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His incarnations and expansions as authorised in Vedic scriptures. By this determined conviction that nothing else is required or necessary other then surrendering totally to Him the Supreme Lord Himself personally promises moksa or liberation to such devotees.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna reveals the conclusion to the essence of all knowledge. The most confidential of all knowledge that is confidential. Sarva-dharma parityagya means renouncing all conceptions of what one thinks or imagines religiosity to be. This does not mean to renounce righteousness for righteousness to all jivas or embodied beings is always attuned and in harmony with the Supreme Lord. The ultimate goal of all religious and spiritual conceptions is communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna. To achieve this one must first have realisation of their atma or immortal soul within the etheric heart. After surrendering and taking exclusive refuge in Him alone one is blessed by the Supreme Lord and by His grace, He, Himself will accomplish this for His devotee.

Now begins the summation.

Knowing the absolute paramount position of the Supreme Lord Krishna as the creator, maintainer, protector and sustainer of all creation; one who is spiritually intelligent should incessantly attune themselves to adoring Him by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion. Then with such commitment of mind, speech and actions which is more precious and excellent than any other, one should surrender themselves completely unto Him thru the bonafide Vaisnava spiritual master in one of the four authorised sampradayas or channels of disciplic succession as revealed in Vedic scriptures. Awareness like knowing one is under the express care of the Supreme Lord and that He will always protect one in all situations, arises on its own like flowers in spring. Such awareness is known to be the result of saranagati or complete surrender.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The phrase sarva-dharmam parityajya means renouncing all conceptions and methods of religiosity completely. Whatever is authorised in Vedic scriptures as righteous may be utilised in worship and propitiation to the Supreme Lord by karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by prescribed Vedic actions, by bhakti yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by exclusive loving devotion or by jnana yoga facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by spiritual knowledge. But all other methods and conceptions must be renounced and relinquished along with phala tyaga or expectation of rewards, karma tyaga or identifying oneself as the owner of the result and kartritva or believing oneself to be the author of the act. The phrase mam ekam saranam vraja means to take exclusive shelter in the Supreme Lord Krishna understanding that He is the most worthy, most desirable and most worshipable of all that exists. That this is the quality of renunciation warranted in the Vedic scriptures that is required was evidenced by the Supreme Lord in the beginning of this chapter. In verse 4 He stated: Hear the truth about renunciation which is threefold. In verse 9 He stated: Actions are deemed as renunciation in sattva guna the mode of goodness when desire for rewards are abandoned. In verse 11 He stated: One is known as renounced who renounces the rewards for actions. Lord Krishna is promising His devotees that He will personally redeem and deliver from all sins His devotee who lives their life in the manner just explained. This includes sins of commission and sins of omission that accumulated over uncountable lifetimes from time immemorial. Past sins are immense burdens and obstacles in achieving moksa or liberation from material existence. Then to assure that what He has stated is a surety He states ma sucah meaning there is no need to despair.

Another interpretation is that Lord Krishna consoles His devotees who may be stricken with grief by the thought of so many sins committed and omitted in countless past lives. For karma yoga and jnana yoga there is no restrictions in performing actions and acquiring knowledge respectively; but for bhakti yoga which is exclusive, personal loving devotion unto Lord Krishna or any of His authorised avatars or incarnations and expansions such as Rama, Vamana, Narasingha, etc. to be performed all ones sins must be entirely dissolved and one must have great love for the Supreme Lord as well. A devotee may have great love for the Supreme Lord but eradicating all one’s sins is another matter. There are only two ways to eradicate all sins. Either by the acceptance of the Vaisnava spiritual master in authorised disciplic succession who takes all one’s sins and transfers them upwards to his guru who transfers them upwards to his guru and so forth and so on all the way back to Lord Krishna who personally dissolves them all immediately is one way. The other way is by personal effort. Reflecting on all the sins one has accumulated since the beginning of time and then not even the committed sins but only just the omitted sins like not fasting from grains on Ekadasi when all sins of the world enter grains on the 11th day of the new and full moons is enough for a devotee to become quite dismayed. In a human lifetime of Earth it is not possible to exhaust by expiatory rituals and austerities all the sins hoarded over innumerable lifetimes. There is not enough time so contemplating their lack of qualification a sincere devotee would despair. To console His devotees Lord Krishna omnisciently understands that to eradicate all the myriad of sins accumulated over unlimited lives by expiatory ceremonies would be futile in the short span of life a human being has. Such ceremonies are difficult to conduct successfully, are costly and time consuming and so any chance of successfully eradicating all one’s sins in this way is out of the question. To alleviate this difficulty Lord Krishna reveals the solution which grants success in order to be able to embark upon bhakti yoga is to exclusively take complete refuge in Him. There is no cost whatsoever for admission. The Supreme Lord who is the creator, maintainer, protector and sustainer of the total creation, most magnanimously and compassionately gives exclusive shelter to those who seek Him exclusively and irrevocably promises to eradicate all one’s sins which are the awesome barriers prohibiting one from communion with the Supreme Lord and the ambrosial bliss of bhakti.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The essence of this instruction by Lord Krishna is to surrender all prescribed Vedic actions and duties to Him without considering merits or demerits. Actual devotion is full faith and loving devotion in the Supreme Lord. Dedicating oneself completely and all that one has unto the Supreme Lord in a continuous flow like the perpetual and powerful flow of the river Ganga fully satisfies and please the Supreme Lord. This is the most natural and effacious duty for all living entities to simply surrender all that they are, all that they have to their creator, the Supreme Lord Krishna. All actions that follow the injunctions and ordinances of the Vedic scriptures are propitiation and worship of the Supreme Lord; but to follow His direct instruction which is the conclusion of all the Vedic scriptures is the highest and most exalted form of devotion. As is confirmed in Katha Upanisad I.II.XXII beginning nayam atma pravacanena meaning: Communion with the Supreme Lord is obtained only by those who the Supreme Lord Himself chooses out of His own perogative. It is without question that such an exalted one can only be a devotee of the Supreme Lord for none other then His devotees are dearer to Him in the worlds as given in Skanda Purana, Reva-khanda. So it is adequately established with evidence thoughout Srimad Bhagavad-Gita from a multitude of Vedic scriptures that bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna is the highest attainment and prime goal for all living entities.

Sloka 18.67 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इदं ते नातपस्काय नाभक्ताय कदाचन |
न चाशुश्रूषवे वाच्यं न च मां योऽभ्यसूयति ||१८- ६७||

idaM te nAtapaskAya nAbhaktAya kadAchana |
na chAshushrUShave vAchya.n na cha mA.n yo.abhyasUyati || 18-67 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.67

Anvaya: idam–this; te–you; na–never; atapaskaya–one who is not austere; na–never; abhaktaya–one who is not a devotee; kadacana–at any time; na–never; ca–also; asusrusave–one who is not engaged in devotional service; vacyam–to be spoken; na–never; ca–also; mam–unto Me; yah–anyone; abhyasuyati–envious.

Translation: This confidential knowledge may not be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Having thus revealed the essence of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and the conclusion of all knowledge, Lord Krishna gives the mandate for disseminating His divine discourse. Srimad Bhagavad-Gita should never be instructed to those devoid of austeritites, to those who do not follow prescribed Vedic activities and who are not on the path of devotion. Nor should one instruct those who are not humble or respectful to the spiritual preceptor and the Vaisnava devotees and is averse to serving them. Never should it even be mentioned to those sinful miscreants who are malicious and envious of Lord Krishna attributing His eternal spiritual form as mortal and thus blaspheme Him.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

This absolute essence and eternal conclusion should never be disclosed to those who are not devotees. Those who are not submissive. Who are without faith, who are not austere of uncontrolled senses and unclean mind. Who are not committed. Who are insincere. Who show disrespect to the Vaisnavas and the spiritual master. These should never be instructed Srimad Bhagavad- Gita.

However if one is sincere and trying to serve the Vaisnavas and the Vaisnava spiritual master either directly as an aspiring disciple or indirectly as a humble aspirant. Then this confidential revelation may be disclosed to them; if the Vaisnava spiritual master perceives that they have the potential to be a devotee. The word kadacana meaning should never affirms the point that in absence of devotion to the Supreme Lord one is not qualified to receive this confidential knowledge. The Shabdha Nirnaya scripture states that the word ca can be used as to one or as the conjunction and. Similarly in order to emphasize non-disclosure to one who is envious or blasphemes the Supreme Lord or His devotees the conjunction ca has been utilised. One who in the pantheon of devotees is envious and blasphemous is more evil then one who is not a devotee at all.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

As this science of immortality is exceeding esoteric and confidential, Lord Krishna gives the mandate as to those whom Srimad Bhagavad-Gita should never be imparted to. 1) atapaskaya means one who does not exercise control of their senses 2) na abhaktaya means one who is not a devotee of Lord Krishna or any of His incarnations and expansions. A deeper interpretation is that it should never be given to one who has no love for Lord Krishna or any of His incarnation and expansions. Even if one is aspiring to receive initiation as a Vaisnava Brahmin; yet if one is devoid of loving devotion to Lord Krishna then the confidential teachings of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita should be restricted from them until qualified. 3) susrusave means one who’s averse to submissive reverence to the spiritual guru 4) abhyasuyati means one who is envious and blasphemous to the Supreme Lord.

To these four types of jivas or embodied beings Srimad Bhagavad-Gita should never be disclosed. For whatever they would hear about the Supreme Lords glories and potencies would make such vile miscreants offensive in their attitude and actions.

The differences of case employed in the ablative form a-tapaskaya, a- bhaktaya etc. to the nominative form yo mam etc. is to emphasise the exceedingly despicable characteristics of those who are abhyasuyati who are just like poison vipers. The exposure of the wicked is more imperious then the laudation of the virtuous as the wicked are most degraded.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

After elaborating on Srimad Bhagavd-Gita as the essence of all the Vedic scriptures Lord Krishna speaks of the particulars of who is qualified to receive this most sacred science. It should never be imparted to one who is not a devotee, who is without control of mind, body, speech and senses, to one who disregards their own natural duties according to status and qualification, to one who has no reverence for the spiritual preceptor and to the Supreme Lord even if practicing austerities. Who is averse to serving the spiritual master and the devotees of the Supreme Lord and never, ever to one who is envious and blasphemous of Lord Krishna.

By the rule of parallel opposites the understanding is that Srimad Bhagavad- Gita may be instructed by a devotee to one who practices austerities, who is devoted to the spiritual preceptor, who is willing to serve the devotees and who wholeheartedly loves Lord Krishna without finding fault with anybody.

Sloka 18.68 audio recital in Sanskrit     

य इदं परमं गुह्यं मद्भक्तेष्वभिधास्यति |
भक्तिं मयि परां कृत्वा मामेवैष्यत्यसंशयः ||१८- ६८||

ya idaM paramaM guhyaM madbhakteShvabhidhAsyati |
bhaktiM mayi parAM kR^itvA mAmevaiShyatyasa.nshayaH || 18-68 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.68

Anvaya: yah–anyone; idam–this; paramam–most; guhyam–confidential; mat–Mine; bhaktesu–amongst devotees of; abhidhasyati–explains; bhaktim–devotional service; mayi–unto Me; param–transcendental; krtva–having done; mam–unto Me; eva–certainly; esyati–comes; asamsayah–without doubt.

Translation: For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One who imparts the sublime, confidential wisdom of the divine discourse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to the devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna has in His own words, rendered the topmost devotion to Him and without fail will attain communion with Him eternally in the spiritual realms.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

One who reveals this glorious exposition of the most profound and confidential knowledge in all existence known as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to the devotees of Lord Krishna will have their own devotion to the Supreme Lord multiplied and will attain His eternal communion. This is absolutely certain.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One who establishes a forum for Srimad Bhagavad-Gita giving the text as well as elaborate explanations of the meaning doing this for the enlightenment of the devotees and not to receive honor or prestige; but only to please the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee who does this service disseminating this knowledge to the devotees is serving the interests of Lord Krishna fully and will surely attain His communion. The mentioning of the word bhaktesu means Lord Krishna’s devotees denoting that only by exclusive devotional service is one chosen to reside in the Supreme Lords eternal dhama or abode. The Katha Upanisad II.XXII beginning nayam atma pravachanena meaning: That devotee whom the Supreme Lord chooses by His own sweet will is the one who will attain Him. So it is established that loving devotion is what is essential to recive the Supreme Lords grace even with the absence of austerities and such a devotee is qualified to approach the Supreme Lord based on bhakti alone. So devotion is established as the only essential ingredient to attract the attention of the Supreme Lord. The understanding is that although determination and ritualistic Vedic knowledge are noteworthy and exemplary they only bestow residence in the transitory heavenly planets and never the eternal spirirtual realms because they do not have the potency to attract the Supreme Lord whose devotees are not subjected to results of a temporary nature but to results of an eternal nature. That is the difference in devotion and empirical knowledge.

Sloka 18.69 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न च तस्मान्मनुष्येषु कश्चिन्मे प्रियकृत्तमः |
भविता न च मे तस्मादन्यः प्रियतरो भुवि ||१८- ६९||

na cha tasmAnmanuShyeShu kashchinme priyakR^ittamaH |
bhavitA na cha me tasmAdanyaH priyataro bhuvi || 18-69 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.69

Anvaya: na–never; ca–and; tasmat–therefore; manusyesu–among mankind; kascit–anyone; me–My; priya-krt-tamah–more dear; bhavita–will become; na–nor; ca–and; me–My; tasmat–than him; anyah–other; priya-tarah–dearer; bhuvi–in this world.

Translation: There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing further Lord Krishna confirms that there is no human more pleasing or dearer to Him any where in creation which according to the Bhagavat Purana comprises 400,000 species of human beings; then the devotee of His who reveals Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to His devotees. Nor will there be anyone more dear or pleasing to Him in the future.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna affirms that there has never been in the past a human being out of all humanity who was more dear to Him then one who promulgates Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to His devotees; nor will they ever be one dearer to Him in the future. Priya-krttamah means pleases more by their actions. This extolling of the qualities of His exalted servitor is to illustrate the immense divide between the devotees of the Supreme Lord and those who are not devotees of the Supreme Lord.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna now reveals why one who serves Him in the previous way certainly attains communion with Him and that is because among all the 400,000 species of human beings in the material creation as confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam none is more exalted and dear to Lord Krishna then the devotee who imparts the knowledge of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to His devotees and none will ever be more exalted and dear to Him in the future.

Sloka 18.70 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अध्येष्यते च य इमं धर्म्यं संवादमावयोः |
ज्ञानयज्ञेन तेनाहमिष्टः स्यामिति मे मतिः ||१८- ७०||

adhyeShyate cha ya imaM dharmya.n sa.nvAdamAvayoH |
GYAnayaGYena tenAhamiShTaH syAmiti me matiH || 18-70 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.70

Anvaya: adhyesyate–will study; ca–also; yah–he; imam–this; dharmyam–sacred; samvadam–conversation; avayoh–of ours; jnana–knowledge; yajnena–by sacrifice; tena–by him; aham–I; istah–worshiped; syam–shall be; iti–thus; me–My; matih–opinion.

Translation: And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation worships Me by his intelligence.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The result that manifests to one who studies Srimad Bhagavad-Gita is being revealed by Lord Krishna. One who sings this holy and blessed divine discourse which is overflowing with righteousness in the anustap meter or chants its verses to oneself or to others contemplating will be considered by Lord Krishna as jnana yagnena or propitiation and worship directly to Him and is the best of all worship. Even if someone is reciting the chapters and verses without fully understanding the meaning; yet hearing it from inside the etheric heart as paramatma the Supreme Soul the Supreme Lord will accept it as pure propitiation and worship of Him. Just as in everyday life if someone calls out one’s name, one will go to that person and enquire what they want even if hardly known. In the same way Lord Krishna approaches that someone who chants or sings the verses of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. This is not mere conjecture. It has been proven with evidence with the story of Ajamila who called out to his son Narayana which happens also to be a name of the Supreme Lord at the moment of death and pleasing the servants of the Supreme Lord was saved from a hellish existence. So there should be no doubt about this.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna has resolved and made it eternal by speaking it, that whenever His devotee adhyesyate studies the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita; He will accept it as an offering consider Himself served in jnana-yagnena as direct propitiation and worship unto Him. Such propitiation and worship is what is inculcated in this divine discourse where by its transcendental potency a mere reciting of the verses equates to offering direct propitiation and worship unto the Supreme Lord which He affirms He accepts.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna declares that whoever studies Srimad Bhagavad-Gita under the tutelage of the spiritual preceptor and learns its purport from him; by this act Lord Krishna accepts it as propitiation to Him if the form of wisdom as He previously affirmed in chapter 4, verse 28 with the words svadhyaya-jnana-yajnah ca or propitiation by study of the Vedic scriptures. So worship of the Supreme Lord is accomplished by study and discussion of the purports, yet His devotee who simply chants or sings only the verses, because they are faithfully eulogising Him they are pleasing Him and are dearmost due to aurally hearing from themselves of His gloriesl. Just as a common person may sing a song extolling the virtues of some great personality; such a great personality hearing it will be come most pleased and that common person will become dear to them. So in this way Lord Krishna is affirming that just by reciting the verses of Srimad Bhagavad- Gita one will become dear to Him as one will be glorifying Him by doing so.

Sloka 18.71 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रद्धावाननसूयश्च शृणुयादपि यो नरः |
सोऽपि मुक्तः शुभाँल्लोकान्प्राप्नुयात्पुण्यकर्मणाम् ||१८- ७१||

shraddhAvAnanasUyashcha shR^iNuyAdapi yo naraH |
so.api muktaH shubhA.NllokAnprApnuyAtpuNyakarmaNAm.h || 18-71 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.71

Anvaya: sraddha-van–faithful; anasuyah ca–and not envious; srnuyat–does hear; api–certainly; yah–who; narah–a man; sah–he; api–also; muktah–being liberated; subhan–auspicious; lokan–planets; prapnuyat–attains; punya-karmanam–of the pious.

Translation: And one who listens with faith and without envy becomes free from sinful reactions and attains to the planets where the pious dwell.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing further Lord Krishna affirms that even one who merely hears another reciting Srimad Bhagavad-Gita is totally released from all sins as well; if they have listened with sincerity and humility.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Furthermore Lord Krishna confirms that one with faith in Him, without malice and envy, who even hears verses from Srimad Bhagavad-Gita from His devotee is sufficient to free one from the sins obstructing one from beginning bhakti exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord by which one will become a muktah liberated being. Just to hear this divine discourse from the Supreme Lords devotee is enough to be released from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Such a blessed one will join the ranks of the Supreme Lords devoted servitors abiding eternally in the imperishable spiritual realms.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Even if one does not recite it themselves but listens to others reciting Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. Such a person who appreciates the words of Lord Krishna and has faith in them and is not critical of a faulty pronunciation or imperfect meter. Such a person from merely hearing this divine discourse will enter the joyous heavenly spheres at the cessation of life.

Sloka 18.72 audio recital in Sanskrit     

कच्चिदेतच्छ्रुतं पार्थ त्वयैकाग्रेण चेतसा |
कच्चिदज्ञानसम्मोहः प्रनष्टस्ते धनञ्जय ||१८- ७२||

kachchidetachchhrutaM pArtha tvayaikAgreNa chetasA |
kachchidaGYAnasammohaH pranaShTaste dhana~njaya || 18-72 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.72

Anvaya: kaccit–whether; etat–this; srutam–heard; partha–O son of Prtha; tvaya–by you; eka-agrena–with full attention; cetasa–by the mind; kaccit–whether; ajnana–ignorant; sammohah–illusion; pranastah–dispelled; te–of you; dhananjaya–O conqueror of wealth (Arjuna).

Translation: O conqueror of wealth, Arjuna, have you heard this attentively with your mind? And are your illusions and ignorance now dispelled?

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna is requesting to know if His divine discourse known as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita was fully comprehended and assimilated. It can be discerned by the tenor of the question that if all delusion and ignorance has still not been dissolved completely; then He is prepared to explain it again to His devotee.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna asks two questions: Has His divine discourse known as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita spoken by Him been fully comprehended with focused attention and has it dispelled the dark delusion of ignorance. Ajnana sammohah means dark delusion of ignorance.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

By inquiring whether or not the knowledge imparted was fully ascertained and comprehended, Lord Krishna is illustrating the role of the spiritual preceptor by exemplifying their duties. A bonafide spiritual preceptor can only be found in one the four authorised sampradayas: Brahma, Sri, Rudra and Kummara sampradayas as revealed in Vedic scriptures. Such an exalted spriritual master will instruct his disciples until he is absolutely sure that their ignorance has been entirely dispelled. The inner meaning is that in chapter 2, verse 9, due to delusion, Arjuna said that he would not fight in the battle. Lord Krishna is subtley implying that if such delusion has not been eradicated then He is prepared to instruct him again.

Sloka 18.73 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अर्जुन उवाच |

नष्टो मोहः स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत |
स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देहः करिष्ये वचनं तव ||१८- ७३||

arjuna uvAcha |

naShTo mohaH smR^itirlabdhA tvatprasAdAnmayAchyuta |
sthito.asmi gatasandehaH kariShye vachanaM tava || 18-73 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.73

Anvaya: arjunah uvaca–Arjuna said; nastah–dispelled; mohah–illusion; smrtih–memory; labdha–regained; tvat-prasadat–by Your mercy; maya–by me; acyuta–O infallible Krsna; sthitah–situated; asmi–I am; gata–removed; sandehah–all doubts; karisye–I shall execute; vacanam–order; tava–Your.

Translation: Arjuna said, My dear Krsna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Being blessed by the Supreme Lord, joyfully declares that his delusion about th atma or immortal soul has been dispelled and terminated as he has now achieved realisation of his eternal nature by the grace of the Lord Krishna. Therefore Arjuna stands up on the battlefield free from doubt and clear about his dharma or eternal righteous to execute his duties as a ksatriya or royal warrior and follow the commands of the Supreme Lord.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The words tvat prasadan means by your grace. By the grace of Lord Krishna all illusion was dispelled. The word tvat is derived from tvatvam meaning eternal spiritual verities. The word smriti means wisdom, enlightenment concerning the absolute nature of tvatvam. By the Supreme Lord’s Grace this was bestowed. Smriti consists in knowing that the atma or immortal soul is distinct from matter, that the atma is different in nature from matter, that the atma is cognizant and existing equally in all jivas or embodied beings including humans, animals, fish, plants etc. and that the atma is an infinitesimal, eternal part of the Supreme Lord Krishna is dependent upon Him, under His direction and always in allegiance to Him. Smriti also consists in knowing that Lord Krishna is the sole origin of all creation, duration and dissolution of the complete material existence and all its myriad of unlimited variegated beings. Knowing that He is the opposing antithesis to all that is evil. Knowing that He is the almighty ocean of illustrious attributes such omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, unrivalled power, wisdom, beauty, wealth, fame and renunciation. In knowing that Lord Krishna is He that is described so gloriously as the goal of the Vedic scriptures and in knowing that He is knowable by the Vedic scriptures. Smriti consists in knowing that Lord Krishna can only be attained by bhakti exclusive loving devotion unto Him. Such an exalted position is only achieved by knowledge of lower and higher, what is the ultimate and what is the minimal, what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected. Tvatvam the eternal spiritual verities are to be embraced all else is to be discarded.

The word moha means illusion, the obfuscation of absolute knowledge for perverted knowledge. Moha is also infatuation with the physical body believing it to be the actual self instead of just a vehicle for the jiva or embodied being Moha is also delusory misconceptions about the nature of karma reactions from actions, the nature of nitya or the eternal prescribed Vedicduties and the nature of naimittika the occasional prescribed Vedic duties. Erroneously thinking that devotional activities to the Supreme Lord lead to bondage. Illusion is distorted knowledge which gives rise to false conceptions of relationships to family, friends, race, country, planet, etc. It also gives false conceptions to the limitations of individual freewill. Distorted knowledge perpetually manifests distorted knowledge. By the Supreme Lords Grace all such delusions, doubts and misconceptions have been dispelled.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna is addressed as acyuta meaning infallible one. This is because the omniscient Lord Krishna is cognizant of all His previous incarnations over trillions and trillions of years but Arjuna could not even remember his previous life where Lord Krishna was Narayana and he was Nara and both were celibate sages. The purport is that Arjuna was already self-realised in the previous life but this knowledge disappeared in the present life. Now it was revived again by the knowledge of Srimad Bhagavad- Gita imparted by the grace of Lord Krishna. The vocative acyuta denotes the reality that by Lord Krishna’s grace, His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence as the supreme sovereign, the paramount controller and the sole creator, maintainer, protector and sustainer of all existence.

Sloka 18.74 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सञ्जय उवाच |

इत्यहं वासुदेवस्य पार्थस्य च महात्मनः |
संवादमिममश्रौषमद्भुतं रोमहर्षणम् ||१८- ७४||

sa~njaya uvAcha |

ityahaM vAsudevasya pArthasya cha mahAtmanaH |
sa.nvAdamimamashrauShamadbhutaM romaharShaNam.h || 18-74 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.74

Anvaya: sanjayah uvaca–Sanjaya said; iti–thus; aham–I; vasudevasya–of Krsna; parthasya–of Arjuna; ca–also; maha-atmanah–two great souls; samvadam–discussing; imam–this; asrausam–heard; adbhutam–wonder; roma-harsanam–hair standing on end.

Translation: Sanjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two great souls, Krsna and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Thus Sanjaya having been given inner vision by Vedavyasa, having narrated to King Dhritarastra of the Kauravas the divine discourse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita spoken by Lord Krishna; resumes the thread of the narration by stating that he found the divine dialogue to be adbhutam or astonishing and rama-harsanam or causing the hair on his body to stand on end in horripilation.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The use of the name Vasudeva the son of Vasudeva in referring to Lord Krishna denotes how the Supreme Lord deigns to manifest His completely spiritual body in human form with a father and mother like any other human in order to conceal His supreme divinity. The use of the word Partha refers to Arjuna as the son of Pritha who is Vasudeva’s sister and Lord Krishna’s paternal aunt. This relationship illustrates how deeply and dearly Lord Krishna loves all His creation. The word mahatma meaning great soul refers to Lord Krishna being paramatma the supreme soul existing simultaneously in the etheric hearts of every living entity. It can also refer to Arjuna who heeding the advice and instructions of Lord Krishna has become eminently wise in tvatvam eternal spiritual verities.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In this way Sanjaya narrated the complete divine discourse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and linking it to himself remarks how amazing it was and how astounded he was by directly witnessing it. The adjective mahatma meaning great souls refers to Lord Krishna as well as all His devotees.

Sloka 18.75 audio recital in Sanskrit     

व्यासप्रसादाच्छ्रुतवानेतद्गुह्यमहं परम् |
योगं योगेश्वरात्कृष्णात्साक्षात्कथयतः स्वयम् ||१८- ७५||

vyAsaprasAdAchchhrutavAnetadguhyamahaM param.h |
yogaM yogeshvarAtkR^iShNAtsAkShAtkathayataH svayam.h || 18-75 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.75

Anvaya: vyasa-prasadat–by the mercy of Vyasadeva; srutavan–heard; etat–this; guhyam–confidential; aham–I; param–the supreme; yogam–mysticism; yoga-isvarat–from the master of all mysticism; krsnat–from Krsna; saksat–directly; kathayatah–speaking; svayam–personally.

Translation: By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Krsna, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now Sanjaya describes how he was able to describe the events on the battlefield many miles away. Vedavyasa gave him inner vision to see the whole battle in detail internally. By this inner vision which Vyasadeva bestowed, Sanjaya was able to see and hear Lord Krishna and every word He spoke in this divine discourse, this supreme doctrine, this ultra confidential treatise. As well Sanjaya could see by his inner vision all the events that transpired everywhere on the battlefield simultaneously. Sanjaya heard Srimad Bhagavad-Gita directly from the holy mouth of the Supreme Lord Krishna.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The phrase vyasa-prasadat means by the grace of Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa the author of Vedanta Sutras, the Puranas, Mahaharata, etc. This grace gave Sanjaya celestial vision and clairaudience to directly see and hear all that transpired on the battlefield and thus he was able to recite verbatim the divine discourse spoken by Lord Krishna known as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita exactly as Lord Krishna originally revealed it.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Sanjaya explains that he received the mercy of clairaudience and celestial vision from Vedavyasa, the author of Vedanta Sutras, Mahabharata, the Puranas, etc. Sanjaya considers himself most blessed by hearing Lord Krishna speak the divine discourse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Sloka 18.76 audio recital in Sanskrit     

राजन्संस्मृत्य संस्मृत्य संवादमिममद्भुतम् |
केशवार्जुनयोः पुण्यं हृष्यामि च मुहुर्मुहुः ||१८- ७६||

rAjansa.nsmR^itya sa.nsmR^itya sa.nvAdamimamadbhutam.h |
keshavArjunayoH puNyaM hR^iShyAmi cha muhurmuhuH || 18-76 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.76

Anvaya: rajan–O King; samsmrtya–remembering; samsmrtya–remembering; samvadam–message; imam–this; adbhutam–wonderful; kesava–Lord Krsna; arjunayoh–and Arjuna; punyam–pious; hrsyami–taking pleasure; ca–also; muhuh muhuh–always, repeatedly.

Translation: O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krsna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Remembering, reflecting and reminiscing over and over again on this astounding divine discourse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita by the Supreme Lord Krishna causes Sanjaya to be wonderstruck and joyous.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The wonderous and amazing recitation of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita by Lord Krishna directly heard and seen by Sanjaya by clairaudience and celestial vision sanctified and rejuvenated him. Reminiscing on this divine discourse over and over again he became increasingly ecstatic and thrilled.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Sanjaya elaborates on his extreme blessedness by expressing the joyous and ecstatic emotions he feels and experiences by continuously remembering Lord Krishna’s divine discourse, Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Sloka 18.77 audio recital in Sanskrit     

तच्च संस्मृत्य संस्मृत्य रूपमत्यद्भुतं हरेः |
विस्मयो मे महान् राजन्हृष्यामि च पुनः पुनः ||१८- ७७||

tachcha sa.nsmR^itya sa.nsmR^itya rUpamatyadbhutaM hareH |
vismayo me mahAn.h rAjanhR^iShyAmi cha punaH punaH || 18-77 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.77

Anvaya: tat–that; ca–also; samsmrtya–remembering; samsmrtya–remembering; rupam–form; ati–great; adbhutam–wonderful; hareh–of Lord Krsna; vismayah–wonder; me–my; mahan–great; rajan–O King; hrsyami–enjoying; ca–also; punah punah–repeatedly.

Translation: O King, when I remember the wonderful form of Lord Krsna, I am struck with even greater wonder, and I rejoice again and again.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

When Sanjaya reflects on the immaculate and amazing, wonderous and astounding visvarupa or universal form He is inundated by waves of ecstasy.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The phrase rupam atyadbhutam refers to the phenomenal visvarupa or universal form exhibited by Lord Krishna on the battlefield that was described in chapter 11 which Sanjaya had observed in astonishment by the power of his celestial vision. The more he remembered this amazing and astonishing visvarupa the more rapturous and ecstatic he became by its transcendental magnificence. Marvelling in wondrous ecstasy he is incessantly inundated by waves of rapture.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Recollecting the phenomenal vision of Lord Krishna’s fantastic visvarupa universal form, Sanjaya is inundated with waves of indescriable ecstatsy.

Sloka 18.78 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यत्र योगेश्वरः कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धरः |
तत्र श्रीर्विजयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नीतिर्मतिर्मम ||१८- ७८||

yatra yogeshvaraH kR^iShNo yatra pArtho dhanurdharaH |
tatra shrIrvijayo bhUtirdhruvA nItirmatirmama || 18-78 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 18.78

Anvaya: yatra–where; yoga-isvarah–the master of mysticism; krsnah–Lord Krsna; yatra–where; parthah–the son of Prtha; dhanuh-dharah–the carrier of the bow and arrow; tatra–there; srih–opulence; vijayah–victory; bhutih–exceptional power; dhruva–certain; nitih–morality; matih mama–is my opinion.

Translation: Wherever there is Krsna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The internal intention Sanjaya is implying with this statement is that the dynasty of the Kauravas should give up all hopes of winning the battle and rulership of the entire Earth. Wherever Lord Krishna is present together with Arjuna then prosperity, victory, opulence and righteousness will also be present. The word dhruva means firmly established and qualifies that the preceding qualities are guaranteed. Sanjaya is subtly implying that it is not too late for the Kauravas even on the brink of war, to lay down their weapons and take refuge of Lord Krishna by sharing the kingdom with the Pandavas. All Arjuna and His four brothers requested in the whole Earth was 5 provinces, one for each brother. The wicked King Duryodhana of the Kauravas retorted that he would not grant them land enough to fit on the top of a needle. But now they had to fight to the death for the single rulership of the total Earth. So the implied advice to save the dynasty fell on deaf ears.

One who is devoted to Lord Krishna easily achieves moksa or liberation from material existence and release from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. This is acquired by His Grace through knowledge of His personal bestowal to all jivas or embodied beings the atma or immortal soul which insures continuity in existence and gives the opportunity to return to spiritual existence. This factually is the essential teaching of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita without having comprehended the final conclusion cannot be appreciated.

Bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord is the most potent and efficacious means to achieve liberation and combined with knowledge of the atma is the essential intermediate step to attain eternal communion with the Supreme Lord. It cannot be stated logically and is quite unreasonable that knowledge is the same as devotion; for just to have knowledge of something does not preclude that one will have devotion for it. Lord Krishna has already given examples. In chapter 10 verse 10 He states: Those devoted to Him receive the grace by which they can ascend to Him. In chapter 13, verse 18 He states: That b devotion His devotees becomes qualified to attain Him. In chapter 18 verse 55 He states: That only by devotion can He be truly known. The Vedic scriptures also confirm this. The Svetasvatara Upanisad VI.XV beginning eko hanso bhuvanas yasya states: Only by knowing the Supreme Lord as He is may one transcend the cycle of birth and death. This theme is found confirmed in the Vedas, the Upanisads and the Puranas alike. The conclusion summed up appropriately in verse XXIII of the same Upanisad beginning yasya deve para bhaktiryatha states: That only by bhakti to the Supreme Lord Krishna and devotion to the spiritual preceptor who delivered one to Lord Krishna will the eternal spiritual truths shine illustriously within the heart of such a surrendered servitor. Therefore it is established that only by bhakti can communion with the Supreme Lord by attained.

With the understanding bequeathed by the Supreme Lord has this commentary on Srimad Bhagavad-Gita been composed. May the Supreme Lord Krishna who is intrinsically filled with bliss be pleased by this. This commentary entitled Subodhini has been written by the celibate monk in the renounced order known as Sridhar Swami. He has placed on it the glory that is worthy of its due by receiving the foot dust of the blessed Supreme Lord Krishna.

Does a person who desires to recover jewels lying on the bottom of the sea futilely attempt to bail out the ocean with the palms of his hands or does he get an able bodied captain and a ship. In the same way does a person who desires to understand the ultimate truths revealed in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita by relying on the strength of his own intellect. Therefore the absolute conclusion is that one must first be accepted by a Vaisnava spiritual master and learn submissively from him in order to be able to comprehend and understand this supreme science spoken by Lord Krishna known as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna declares that there is no human more exalted then He who devotes his life disseminating the teachings of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to His devotees and explains the meaning of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to others. By these words the topmost gradation of human beings has been elucidated. This applies specially to all human species and specifically to the demigods in the heavenly planets.

The spiritual potency of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita is so sublime and phenomenal that even by aurally hearing this science recited by a devotee of Lord Krishna leads to moksa or liberation from material existence and release from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Knowledge of the atma or immortal soul and its eternal relationship with Lord Krishna increases one’s individual consciousness exponentially. Even those who have achieved moksa still derive the greatest pleasure from listening to it explained from the mouth of a devotee and those devotees who are imbued with a life of austerity and devotion it becomes like aural nectar. The demigods in the heavenly planets whose minds are greatly enhanced know the entire Srimad Bhagavad-Gita by memory get immense pleasure from singing it as a divine song in the anustup meter consisting of 32 syllables per measure. Their is no greater pleasure or joy then derived from discoursing on Srimad Bhagavad- Gita’s chapters, verses or even half a verse.

Full body prostrated obeisance unto the Supreme Lord Krishna, the dearest and most precious of all that is dear and precious. He alone is the embodiment of all wonderful attributes and superlative qualities, having no defects and He bestows nityananda eternal bliss. The Supreme Lord Krishna is endowed with sat eternal existence, cit unlimited consciousness and ananda or endless bliss. He is always the recipient of glorification and worship from Brahma, Shiva, Laksmi, Surya the sungod, Vayu the god of wind and others.

There have been three forms of Vayu who have appeared in the last three yugas or ages. Their appearances are of mystical confidential context. First in Treta Yuga was Hanuman the servitor of Lord Rama who discovered the whereabouts of Sita-devi and originally spoke the Ramayana prior to Valmiki as well devastating the demoniac armies of Ravana. Second in Dvarpara Yuga was Bhima of the Pandavas who following the commands of Lord Krishna destroyed the demoniac Kaurava dynasty which was inimical to dharma or eternal righeouness. Third in Kali Yuga is the sage known as Madhvacarya who put the mayavadis impersonalist into flight by composing this commentary propounding the glorious Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and eulogising the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The name yogesvara attributed to Lord Krishna means the ultimate lord of all yogas or all prescribed Vedic activities that lead directly to communion with the Supreme Lord who is the sole bestower of all dispensations, benedictions and rewards for all endeavours appropriate to the qualification of the aspirant and the quality of the action after the accumulative karma or reactions to all actions in all forms of previous existences sentient or insentient have been calculated and tabulated throughout all creation. One time one existed as a demigod, another time as a demon, aother time as an animal, another time as a human all forms of life are dependent upon the actions performed in the previous life. All are subject to diversities of existence. They have their beginning and they have an ending. Only the Supreme Lord who is eternally spiritual in His form, nature and qualities being completely transcendental to material existence along with His liberated associates and servitors, who first realising the atma or immortal soul they achieved moksa or liberation and subsequently attained eternal communion with the Supreme Lord.

Wherever Lord Krishna and Arjuna are present and whenever they are glorified by thinking about them, or reading about them, or speaking about them, or hearing about them, then at that very place will be srih or opulence, vijaya or victory, bhutih or opulence and niti or righteousness.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the absolute controller and self sustaining, independent sovereign of all, the most worthy of adoration, worship and propitiation, the bestower of all blessing and benedictions and the creator, maintainer, protector and sustainer of all creation. The intelligent aspirant desiring their own best welfare should completely surrender unto Him accepting Him alone as their only refuge.

I bow down to the Supreme Lord Krishna, the origin of all creation, the ultimate source and the ultimate goal, who out causeless compassion and merciful magnaminity for His devotees, manifested a ship in the form of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to save His devotees who are drowning in the ocean of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

I seek refuge in the Supreme Lord Krishna, who as an incarnation assumed the form of the swan Hamsa to transmit the eternal spiritual knowledge of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to Sanaka and his brothers who subsequently empowered His Holiness Nimbadityacarya the establisher of the Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya.

His Holiness Nimbadityacarya wrote a deep and profound commentary on Srimad Bhagavad-Gita; but his commentary was so esoteric and complex that I, Keshava Kashmiri acquiring spiritual wisdom by devout meditation on his holy feet have received inspired insight into his purports with the purpose of simplifying the explanation while illuminating the meaning. Hence my commentary clearly enlightens his purports in this way and is factually a commentary on His Holiness Nimbadityacarya’s commentary on Srimad Bhagavad- Gita.

Now this commentary known as the Enligtener of the Principles of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita has been completed by Dig Vijaya Sri Bharati Keshava Kashmiri Bhattacarya…..OM Sri Krishnarpanam astu.

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