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Śrīmad bhagavad gītā | Purusottama yoga ~ Sarga 15 of 18

Bhagavad-Gītā-15-desibantu

Sarga (or) Chapter 15 of 18 : Purusottama yoga

śloka (verses): 20

Abstract : Krishna identifies the transcendental characteristics of God such as, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Krishna also describes a symbolic tree (representing material existence), which has its roots in the heavens and its foliage on earth. Krishna explains that this tree should be felled with the “axe of detachment”, after which one can go beyond to his supreme abode.

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 fifteen Lord Krishna reveals the virtues, the glories and transcendental characteristics of God being omnipotenet, omniscient and omnipresent. Also He explains the pupose and value of knowing about God and the means by which He can be realized. Thus this chapter is entitled: Realization of the Ultimate Truth.

Sloka 15.1 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रीभगवानुवाच |

ऊर्ध्वमूलमधःशाखमश्वत्थं प्राहुरव्ययम् |
छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि यस्तं वेद स वेदवित् ||१५- १||

shrIbhagavAnuvAcha |

UrdhvamUlamadhaHshAkhamashvatthaM prAhuravyayam.h |
chhandA.nsi yasya parNAni yasta.n veda sa vedavit.h || 15-1 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.1

Anvaya: sri-bhagavan uvaca–the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; urdhva-mulam–with roots above; adhah–downwards; sakham–branches; asvattham–banyan tree; prahuh–said; avyayam–eternal; chandamsi–Vedic hymns; yasya–of which; parnani–the leaves; yah–anyone; tam–that; veda–knows; sah–he; veda-vit–the knower of the Vedas.

Translation: The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Without dispassion spiritual knowledge will not be able to manifest. Therefore the Supreme Lord Krishna clearly delineates the science of spiritual knowledge together with dispassion. In the last two verses of the previous chapter he has emphasized unwavering devotion unto the Supreme Lord which awards entrance into the consciousness of the eternal, imperishable brahman by His grace. But as it is impossible for one bereft of dispassion to ever achieve spiritual knowledge, the compassionate Supreme Lord first expounds the nature of this mundane material existence by the metaphor of asvattha or banyan tree with its roots upwards and its branches downwards and its leaves the Vedic aphorisms. The roots above refers to the root of all the eternal Supreme Lord and the imperishable atma or immortal soul. The branches downward refers to transitory living entities consisiting of the demigods headed by Brahma, who all have a finite span of life in material existence even if they live for millions and billions of years. Transitory is another meaning of asvattha and for the devotees of the Supreme Lord the material world may not last even unto tomorrow. That which lasts until tommorrow is known as stvattha so asvattha is that which will not last until tomorrow. It is avyayam or indestuctible because it is like a continuous stream although ever changing it never stops. The Katha Upanisad III.I beginning urdhva mulo avak shakha states: There is an ancient banyan tree whose roots are above and branches are below. Whose leaves are the Vedas refers to aphorisms in the Vedic scriptures which propound the activities which should be done and the activities which should not be done by human beings. The absolute authority of the Vedic scriptures establish the criteria for all living entities and confirms that this mundane tree provides sanctuary to all living beings by the results of their karmas or reactions to actions which can be compared to the shade of their leaves. One who comprehends this ancient banyan tree with this understanding is therefore spiritually knowledgeable and is praised as a knower of the teachings of the Vedic scriptures.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Hari OM! The nature of what is known as freedom or bondage in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death is delineated in this chapter by Lord Krishna. The word urdhva means above as in superior to. The Supreme Lord is the superior quality abiding in all virtues. He is superior principle residing within the atma or immortal soul. Urdhva means paramount in all respects. The word andhah means below and is base, mundane and even vile. The branches refer to the jivas or embodied beings who are subjected to transmigration in samsara and they include the demigods also headed by Brahma who lives for billions of years. Although asvattha refers to a banyan tree another meaning is everlasting in the sense that it exists in a continuous stream without changing even though innumerable myriads of jivas are coming and going incessantly. But their coming and going does not change its nature. Whatever form and function it had in the beginning of creation that form and function it will have at all times throughout creation. So that is why it is known as everlasting and indestructible. The word chamdamsi refers to the leaves of the tree which are the aphorisms of the Vedic scriptures which propunds what actions in life are to be performed and what activities are to be performed and the results of violating or adhering to the Vedic injunctions determines the karma or reactions to actions that one will have to experience in joy or misery. These reactions are like the fruits of a tree which can never come about without the leaves.

Now begins the summation.

Hari! Hari OM! What was briefly mentioned in chapter 13 is now elaborated upon by Lord Krishna with further clarification. The roots being distinctly above refer to the Supreme Lord as the universal tree even as the Earth representing prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence is the reflection of this tree. Attributes of consciousness represent the primary roots while non-consciousness are the secondary roots. Here the Vedic association of consciousness and unconsciousness as being similar to a tree is well known. The Earth like the demigods activates the conscious and the Supreme Lord becomes the stable and eternal root. The unconscious who are base and vile are put in bondage by a great sense of false ego get attracted by their senses and attached to the elements. The chamdamsi or leaves are the karma due to activity and the fruits are desires such as name, fame, wealth and moksa or liberation from material existence. Another meaning of chamdamsi is to unseal. Thus the words of the Vedic scriptures are called chandas or that which unseals the esoteric meaning of the eternal wisdom of the Vedas.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

In the previous chapter the Supreme Lord Krishna expounded upon: 1) The jiva or embodied beings relationship with matter in both its subtle and physical forms due to attraction to sense objects and subsequent attachment and the karma or reactions to one’s own actions thereof along with the karma from the types of food one has eaten determines the physical body one receives in the next life. 2) The manner in detail how the association with the three gunas or modes of material nature keeps a jiva enslaved in material existence is given in verses 6 to 25. 3) The method by which a jiva is able to overcome and transcend the three gunas and assume one’s actual spiritual position of atma tattva or soul realisation by bhakti yoga or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord.

Now in this chapter the most worshippable and resplendent Lord Krishna reveals His absolute dominion and sovereign glory over all creation and everything that is in it. Creation is constituted by kshara or transient souls in bondage and aksara or eternally liberated souls. Both kshara and akshara constitute His spiritual form which constitutes the cosmic manifestation but He is inconceivably distinctly different from both. The Supreme Lord being the Supreme creator and controller of all, the source of all glorious attributes and wonderful qualities is a fountain of righteousness and the antithesis of all that is evil and demoniac. For the elucidation of this eternal truth the Supreme Lord cites the Asvattha or banyan tree as a metaphor to symbolise the material manifestation as a place of bondage and enslavement for the atmas or immortal souls trapped as a jiva in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. How kshara souls may escape from samsara and become the akshara souls is His glorious plan of evolution and it is enacted by the sword of knowledge which destroys the tree of materialism by the weapon of non-attachment.

The state of samsara is symbolised by the asvattha or banyan tree which in real ilfe has its roots growing upwards and its branches growing downwards. The indestructible nature of samsara is symbolised in the second division of the Katha Upanisad III.I beginning urdhva mulo avak shakha which means: With roots upwards and branches downwards this primeval tree is everlasting. With roots upwards refers to our Brahma with four faces, the secondary creator who is situated above the seven worlds of Bhur, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahah, etc.. The branches downwards refer to all the denziens of creation in the form of humans, animals, birds, fish, plants, insects, etc. The indestructible nature of this tree is due to its being avyayan or everlasting like a river with no end and because as a tree it is impossible to uproot until one is weaned from sense gratification and material desires by the mercy of the Supreme Lords devotee and atma tattva is achieved by His His grace. The word chandamsi refers to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures which are symbolised by the leaves which flourish or dwindle in proportion to the karma or reactions to the actions one accrues by adhering to or ignoring such provisions. Leaves are very instrumental in preserving the longevity of trees. Whoever is knowledgeable of this tree as just explained comprehends the Vedic scriptures as the knowledge of non-attachment is the ways and means of uprooting this tree and allows one to achieve atma tattva.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

In the preceding chapter the Supreme Lord Krishna described the state of bondage the jiva or embodied being is forced to undergo due to being controlled by the three gunas or modes of material nature which keeps one revolving in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. At the end of the chapter He revealed that the only way to become eligible to overcome the three gunas was by bhakti yoga which is exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord. Indeed one who everyday consistently without cessation worships Lord Krishna with the yoga of exclusive devotion or also to any of His authoratative avatars or incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures, certainly becomes eligible for achieving the consciousness of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and attain the eternal association of the Supreme Lord in the immortal spiritual worlds.

Now in this chapter He speaks about the Supreme Lords position as paramount to all establishing Him as the highest being and as thus His original spiritual form is the quintessence of all worship along with His authorised avatars or incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. The Supreme Lords form is naturally situated in spiritual perfection endowed with infinite auspicious attributes and qualities far above His external energy prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and beyond the dualities of perishable and imperishable.

Lord Krishna elucidates that the imperishable atma or immortal soul is eligible for attaining the supreme consciousness of the brahman and that they are both direct portions of Himself and that only by exclusive devotion to the Supreme Lord is one able to remove the bondage of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death which is indicative of detachment from all other desires and pursuits. This is why in order to properly emphasise detachment the Supreme Lord uses the metaphor of the asvattha or banyan tree which represents material existence and speaks of detachment as the weapon cutting the knots of bondage asunder. One who perceives the reality that this asvattha tree which is transitory existence and which is declared in the Katha Upanisad II.III.I beginning urdhva mulo avak shakha meaning: This ancient tree with roots upwards and branches downwards is certainly transient. Such a tree appears imperishable due to its ever flowing current of samsara which dissolves with atma tattva or realisation of the soul. The beginning or source are the roots comprising the jiva’s or embodied being comprised of the three gunas or modes of material nature originating from prakriti which is the external energy of the primeval Supreme Lord and far above and beyond Brahma’s heavenly planet known as Satyaloka although it is the seventh and topmost planet in the material creation. But a devotee of Lord Krishna transcends all the material worlds and all the heavenly worlds and achieves the eternal spiritual worlds attaining association with the Supreme Lord. It is there in the form of the atma or the immortal soul that is the starting point of this asvattha tree representing material existence and acceptance of a material body by a jiva. With its branches upwards symbolises the fruits or rewards of karma or reactions to actions which are incurred by residence in one of the seven lower or seven higher totalling 14 worlds. Beginning with Satyaloka and descending down through seven worlds until reaching the seven subterranean worlds ending with Pataloka. The leaves are symbolised by the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. This is because a tree is nourished by its leaves and the jivas who follow the injunctions enjoined in the Vedic scriptures are also nourished by this tree and the tree itself prospers by the optional rituals performed by the jivas. The Apastambha Srauta Sutra X:II:I states: This asvattha tree of material existence is resorted to by humans full of desires for rewards in its shade in the form of fruitive actions.

The essence is that this tree of material existence is rooted in prakriti comprised of the three gunas or modes of material nature. Its branches are the fourteen material worlds which provide pleasure and enjoyments based on the performance of meritorious deeds. Its leaves are the Vedic scriptures by whose injunctions when followed lead to its growth and allow its performers to enjoy their rewards for all the innumerable and uncountable jivas from Brahma downwards. Thus the tree is transitory by nature but appears everlasting because of its perpetual flowing in samsara and because it is only by knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna and bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Him which is all jivas natural, constitutional position and an eternal activity; that this tree can be transcended. This esoteric wisdom is verily the essence of the Vedic scriptures and one who comprehends and realises this in reality is factually a knower of the Vedas.

Sloka 15.2 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अधश्चोर्ध्वं प्रसृतास्तस्य शाखा
गुणप्रवृद्धा विषयप्रवालाः |
अधश्च मूलान्यनुसन्ततानि
कर्मानुबन्धीनि मनुष्यलोके ||१५- २||

adhashchordhvaM prasR^itAstasya shAkhA
guNapravR^iddhA viShayapravAlAH |
adhashcha mUlAnyanusantatAni
karmAnubandhIni manuShyaloke || 15-2 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.2

Anvaya: adhah–downward; ca–and; urdhvam–upward; prasrtah–extended; tasya–its; sakhah–branches; guna–modes of material nature; pravrddhah–developed; visaya–sense objects; pravalah–twigs; adhah–downward; ca–and; mulani–roots; anusantatani–extended; karma–according to work; anubandhini–bound; manusya-loke–in the world of human society.

Translation: The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are the objects of the senses. This tree also has roots going down, and these are bound to the fruitive actions of human society.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The branches of this ancient banyan tree are the perishable jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the secondary creator who lives for trillions of years down to humans who may live for a hundred years down to an insect that may live only for some hours. All regardless of their span of life have their limiting adjuncts and restricted effects and represent the branches of this tree. Of those jivas who have the inclination for evil and demoniac activities their births will be in the reptile and insect species. Those jivas who are oblivious to their divine nature and act like beasts will correspondingly take birth in the animal kingdom and those jivas of virtuous and pious nature nature will take birth among the Brahmins, Vaisnavas and demigods. All jivas constitute the unlimited branches of this ancient banyan tree represented in the mundane material existence. Furthermore it should be understood that they are nutured by the three gunas or modes of goodness, passion and nescience according to their qualifications and propensities. The tips of the branches are the senses and the innumerable sprouts and shoots are the sense objects. The roots are spread out above and below with the central primary tap root representing the Supreme Lord alone with the roots below representing desires for enjoyment and the roots above representing subtle impressions of past enjoyments. The effects of such are specifird by the words karma anubandhani which refers to actions according to the proclivity to perform righteous or unrighteous activities which results in corresponding reactions some positive, some benign and some negative. When past reactions eventually have been finally exhausted the jiva once more takes birth in the world of humans directly related to the influence of the subtle impressions accumalated from enjoyments experienced in the previous lives and worlds which are the subtle motivating impetus for the inclinations and propensity to experience these activities again. The ability to experience these actions is limited to the worlds of humans alone and so Lord Krishna states manusya-loke meaning the world of men.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Since the unmanifest atma or immortal soul exists in an impreceptible sub- atomic form within the bodies of all jivas or embodied beings, they are described as spread upwards and downwards. The attributes are the modes of material nature, the three gunas of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. The pleasurable experiences are the sprouts and desires are the buds. The main central root is the divine resplendence representing the Supreme Lord and the subsidary roots are the results acquired due to following righteousness or unrighteousness. This is described in the Ballava section.

In this ancient asvattha or banyan tree representing material existence the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence as manifestation of the Supreme Lord is the primary and central root. The subsidary root is prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and the three gunas are its attributes. The elements earth, water, fire, air and ether are the branches and the leaves are the Vedic hymns. The demigods who administer universal management are the smaller branches and human beings are the twigs. From adherance or rejection of the injunctions and prohibitions defined in the Vedic scriptures do sweet and bitter fruits results which are the karmas or reactions to the previous actions one has performed. Righteous actions bestow pleasant rewards and unrighteous actions bestow unpleasant rewards. This ancient banyan tree rewards liberation and bondage as well depending upon the merit of righteousness enacted. It also has fruits, branches and roots that are unmanifest as well as those that are apparent and manifest. This does not otherwise come to happen neither does it not come not to happen. This means that the cause is enveloped in the effect and that the effect is containing the cause. In this way as a tiny seed contains an entire tree and a tree contains a tiny seed the roots and the branches are intertwined eternally.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The branches on this asvattha tree symbolise all the jivas or embodied beings who arise due to karma or reactions to actions. The downward branches symbolise humans, animals, plants, etc. and the upward branches symbolise the 300 million demigods administering universal management. All the branches are part of prakriti thematerial substratum pervading physical existence and all are nourished by the three gunas or three modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. The sprouts on the branches symbolises desires for objects of the senses. This asvattha tree has its roots in Brahma-loka the highest material planet and its branches end in the worlds of humans but there the humans are constantly creating new rootlets which are the karmas acquired from performing actions which are enjoined and prohibited in the Vedic scriptures.The activities performed as jivas while in bodies of humans exclusively results in higher level or lower level births. By ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures the results are lower level births such as animals, reptiles, insects, plants. The adherance to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures results in higher level births such as the demigods and also human births which still affords a jiva the golden opportunity to spiritually evolve and grow; sometimes even achieving moksa or liberation from material existence in their very next lifetime.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Describing the roots and branches of the asvattha or banyan tree allegorically to symbolise material existence. Lord Krishna further explains that the branches that rise upwards symbolise the higher level jivas or embodied beings such as the demigods and humans. The branches that turn downwards are lower level jivas such as animals, birds, fish and plants. The roots extend upwards to Satya loka the highest material planet of Brahma and extends downwards also into the worlds of humans where innumerable new sub-roots manifest which are the karma or reactions to actions performed by every human. The twigs are impressions from past desires and the sprouts are the desired sense objects. All parts of this tree are within prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and are nourished by the three gunas or modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience. Those lower level jivas who have degenerated into various forms of demoniac entities due to performing evil activities to others as well as degraded activities unto themselves inevitably sink into the fiery hellish worlds for aeons and aeons of atonement. Contrarily the higher level jivas who adhered to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Veidc scriptures receive meritorious births in the heavenly worlds of the demigods. Possessing the nature of good or evil each jivas karma binds them in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and is manifested in manusya the worlds of humans.

The purport is that after exhaustion of all karma and its residue of the jiva enjoying ecstatically in the heavenly worlds or suffering in misery in the hellish worlds due to either following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. One is rewarded after death by performing meritorious deeds or punished by performing degraded deeds during each human lifetime in pursuit of pleasure and sense gratification. After hundreds of thousands of such lifetimes these desires for pleasure become deep rooted tendencies that causes subtle impressions to be imprinted upon the subtle body of the jiva who takes birth in the worlds of humans. These impressions are so resolute that subconsciously the jiva craves and seeks the same pleasures enjoyed in the previous life and performs the same and similar activities in which they had achieved fulfillment before.

Sloka 15.3 and 15.4 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न रूपमस्येह तथोपलभ्यते
नान्तो न चादिर्न च सम्प्रतिष्ठा |
अश्वत्थमेनं सुविरूढमूलं
असङ्गशस्त्रेण दृढेन छित्त्वा ||१५- ३||

ततः पदं तत्परिमार्गितव्यं
यस्मिन्गता न निवर्तन्ति भूयः |
तमेव चाद्यं पुरुषं प्रपद्ये |
यतः प्रवृत्तिः प्रसृता पुराणी ||१५- ४||

na rUpamasyeha tathopalabhyate
nAnto na chAdirna cha sampratiShThA |
ashvatthamenaM suvirUDhamUlaM
asaN^gashastreNa dR^iDhena chhittvA || 15-3 ||

tataH padaM tatparimArgitavyaM
yasmingatA na nivartanti bhUyaH |
tameva chAdyaM puruShaM prapadye .
yataH pravR^ittiH prasR^itA purANI || 15-4 ||



Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.3, 15.4

Anvaya: na–not; rupam–form; asya–of this tree; iha–in this; tatha–also; upalabhyate–can be perceived; na–never; antah–end; na–never; ca–also; adih–beginning; na–never; ca–also; sampratistha–the foundation; asvattham–banyan tree; enam–this; su-virudha–strongly; mulam–rooted; asanga-sastrena–by the weapon of detachment; drdhena–strong; chittva–by cutting; tatah–thereafter; padam–situation; tat–that; parimargitavyam–has to be searched out; yasmin–where; gatah–going; na–never; nivartanti–comes back; bhuyah–again; tam–to Him; eva–certainly; ca–also; adyam–original; purusam–the Personality of Godhead; prapadye–surrender; yatah–from whom; pravrttih–beginning; prasrta–extended; purani–very old.

Translation: The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or where its foundation is. But with determination one must cut down this tree with the weapon of detachment. So doing, one must seek that place from which, having once gone, one never returns, and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything has began and in whom everything is abiding since time immemorial.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The reality of this asvattha or ancient banyan tree having its roots above and branches below is not perceivable by jivas or embodied beings habitating material existence in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death for 43,200,000 lifetimes that transpire for a human in one day of Brahma. Neither can its end be discerned or its beginning determined. It is unlimited and its continuity and how it exists is unknown. Since this tree is extremely difficult to uproot and surmount and is also the actual cause of all suffering, a spiritually knowledegable living entity should sever all ties from this tree by the weapons of nonattachment and dispassion and strive for attaining atma tattva or realisation of their immortal soul. Enunciated clearly having severed all ties to this deep rooted and all encompassing tree with the powerful discriminative weapon of renunciation which consists of relinquishing all concepts of ego such as I and mine and instead see oneself as belonging fully to the Supreme Lord Krishna in complete communion with Him, who is the ultimate source from where this tree has arisen. Upon realising the Supreme Lord one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence and is no longer subject to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. In conclusion one must wholeheartedly seek communion with the Supreme Lord and take full shelter of Him by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

This ancient asvattha or banyan tree represents material existence but it is not perceivable yet it is seen to have been established. The word adi means beginning and anta means the end which refer to the Supreme Lord. The Bhagavad Purana states: The Supreme Lord is the beginning, the end and the middle as well. The Moksa Dharma states: The Supreme Lord has neither beginning nor ending, more the demigods and seers cannot penetrate. The compound word asanga-sastrena means the wisdom of non-attachment arising from association with Vaisnava devotees of the Supreme Lord. With the sword of detachment sharpened by meditation on the wisdom of renunciation. By this method the world does not become a place of bondage. By knowledge of the Vedic scriptures and practice the knowledge of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence will be revealed to one. It is confirmed in the Vedic scriptures that: Meditation verily is the way and the means for discrnment and detachment. Such a one will not be bound although others will.

The purport is that with the weapon of detachment one should sever ties with everything except the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorised avatars or divine incarnations and expansions. The Moksa Dharma states: When on surrenders unto the Supreme Lord one does not suffer or grieve. Neither is one born, nor does one die. Such a one is verily situated in the brahman. Only one who has been graced by the blessing of the Supreme Lord can be elligible to become qualified to attain this. The describibng of the means of severing attachment have been given for the sake of an aspirant receiving the Supreme Lord grace. No other shelter or refuge exists in all creation other than the Supeme Lord Krishna and this fundamental understanding must be realised. Since this material existence is like a horse with an unstable gait it is known as unsteady. That it is immutable is because samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death is like a stream and endless until one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence. This liberation is determined by detachment. The firm conviction that the Supreme Lord is transcendental to everything in the physical existence is the knowledge gained from the destruction of this ancien banyan tree. The Vedic aphorism neti neti meaning it is not this, it is not that clarifies what is the unmanifest. Realising that the Supreme Lord Krishna is the seperate and distinct from all else is what makes Him clearly superior and paramount. He is the primal Supreme Lord, the only progenitor. All created beings including Brahma, Shiva, Indra and all the 300 million demigods are nothing but emantions from Him like rays of sunlight from the sun.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The jivas or embodied beings immersed in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death are unable to comprehend this asvattha or banyan tree and its symbolism. It is impossible for them to understand that this tree symbolising material existence has its root above in Satyloka with Brahma and its branches descending downwards are all the innumerable jivas or embodied beings throughout all of creation and that humans are its terminals from where there are branches spreading upwards as well determined by karma or reactions to actions based upon following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures which apply when one finally achieves a human form out of the millions of different plants, birds, fish and animal species. As a human one is quickly indoctrinated into samsara with the conceptions of I am. I am a man. I am a king. I am the son of this person. I am the wife of that person. I am beautiful. I am great, etc., etc. Such I am conceptions keeps one locked in samsara and causes one to be fully occupied with mundane concerns and worldly affairs appropriate to such conceptions. Such persons look upon their bodily conceptions as there very self and are completely oblivious that they are factually eternal beings possessing an atma or immortal soul. They perceive not that they can gradually wean themselves from this ancient tree by renuciation of the three gunas or modes of material nature and detachment from the objects of the senses. Neither do they comprehend that the atma is seperate and distinct from the physical body. Nor can they differentiate that the ego is not the physical body and the atma is not the ego. Bewildered by illusion they believe what is unreal to be real and what is real they cannot perceive. The origin and source is unfathomable to them and so deluded they remain in ignorance.

This asvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jiva enslaved in samsara can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses. This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jivas and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation. Demolishing this strong and durable asvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces disike and disdain for sense gratification which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the gunas which causes delusion be guaranteed?

Lord Krishna has already previously confirmed in chapter VII.VII: That there is nothing superior to Him. In chapter VII.XIV: That those who surrender unto Him alone can surmount the three gunas. In chapter IX, X: That material nature is operating under His control. In X.VIII: That He is the origin and source of all material and spiritual worlds. So let glorious propitiation and devotion be given unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as He alone is the sole refuge of all living entities. Inasmuch as all material impressions, instincts and influences arise from contact with the three gunas proceeding from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is controlled byHim. It is logical to understand that by Him they can also be transcended. The question that naturally comes to mind is how? The word prapadye means surrender. In VII.XIV is stated prapadyante or have surrendered. In this verse a variant is stated as prapadye yatah which by the gramatical rules of Panini can be interpreted as prapadye iyatah meaning by a mere step of surrendering unto Him spiritual impressions, instincts and influences are activated and awaken in such a one. They will manifest as spontaneous impulses arising with frequency in the heart and dispel all nescience. They are ancient because they embody the collective consciousness of all the mumukshas or achievers of moksa or liberation from material existence since time immemorial, who surrendered and took refuge of the Supreme Lord Krishna or His authorised incarnation and expansion as revealed in Vedic scriptures and were released forever from the bondage of samsara.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna is explaining that knowledge of this asvattha or banyan tree which symbolises material nature is very rarely understood and not by many. What its roots and branches represent, described as all the jivas or embodied beings is not perceived but by a few in this world. It has neither a beginning nor an end as its stream of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth amd death is continuous. It is very difficult to fathom from a human perspectuive on Earth. Does it begin for each jiva at birth? Does it end when a jiva disentangles themselves from material nature by detachment? Is it relative to the individual or is it collective? From what position is it operating: beginning, middle or end? So from all these suppositions it can be understood that this tree is beyond perception of the five mundane senses and the mind. To terminate this firmly rooted and durable asvattha tree in the form of material existence with its ardent desires for name, fame, wealth and family which link to the evils of birth, old age, disease and death for everyone; is a very serious and extremely difficult task to accomplish. Yet it can be overcome by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna which insures detachment from the objects of the senses and sensual pleasures. One desirous of their own best interests and highest good will by the sharp intellect of discrimination and the formidable weapon of dispassion abandon all desires for sense gratification which are products of the three gunas or modes of material nature. Succeeding by knowledge and effort one should then diligently strive for the Supreme state of consciousness for once attaining one is no longer subject to samsara and never again returns to the material worlds.

The question in mind is how can this be accomplished? Lord Krishna has already confirmed previously in chaper VII.XIV: That although His maya or illusory potency in the material existence is almost impossible to overcome, those who prapadye or surrender unto Him are able to transcend it. This means by completely making Him their sole refuge they activate the inherent divine potency abiding within the atma or immortal soul of all jivas. This divine potency is eternally on standby waiting for the jiva to turn away from the external mundane world and look internally for the atma within one’s heart. The Supreme Lord Krishna has made all provisions for this activation to immeadiately come into effect the very moment one fully surrenders unto Him or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions. How wonderful! How merciful is the Supreme Lord Krishna. Without His mercy, without His grace through His bonafide representative, the spiritual master in authorised disiplic succession as revealed in the Vedic scriptures, it is totally impossible to be released from samsara and achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. Those blessed spiritual beings who take complete shelter in the Supreme Lord transcend this world and go to the eternal spiritual worlds never to return again. As for all the others they are recycled byck into the material existence incessantly and subject to the Supreme Lords eight-fold potencies of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and false ego which comprises prakriti or the physical substratum pervading physical existence as the Supreme Lord Himself has stated in VII.IV.

Sloka 15.5 audio recital in Sanskrit     

निर्मानमोहा जितसङ्गदोषा
अध्यात्मनित्या विनिवृत्तकामाः |
द्वन्द्वैर्विमुक्ताः सुखदुःखसंज्ञैर्-
गच्छन्त्यमूढाः पदमव्ययं तत् ||१५- ५||

nirmAnamohA jitasaN^gadoShA
adhyAtmanityA vinivR^ittakAmAH |
dvandvairvimuktAH sukhaduHkhasa.nGYair\-
gachchhantyamUDhAH padamavyayaM tat.h || 15-5 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.5

Anvaya: nih–without; mana–respect; mohah–illusion; jita–having conquered; sanga–association; dosah–faulty; adhyatma–spiritual; nityah–eternity; vinivrtta–associated; kamah–lust; dvandvaih–with duality; vimuktah–liberated; sukha-duhkha–happiness and distress; samjnaih–named; gacchanti–attains; amudhah–unbewildered; padam–situation; avyayam–eternal; tat–that.

Translation: One who is free from illusion, false prestige, and false association, who understands the eternal, who is done with material lust and is freed from the duality of happiness and distress, and who knows how to surrender unto the Supreme Person, attains to that eternal kingdom.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna describes other means of attaining the Supreme goal. The absence of pride, delusion and false identification of the ego. The cessation of illusionary attachments to sons, family, dynasty, species, planet, etc. Enthusiasm for spiritual pursuits and knowledge of the atma the immortal soul. Free from the pangs of desire and ignorance, surpassing the dualistic conceptions of pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness, heat and cold. Such a one attains the transcendental spiritual worlds in Vaikuntha and beyond and attains the eternal association of the Supreme Lord

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

In this verse Lord Krishna describes other means of attaining the Supreme state.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Those blessed jivas or embodied beings who have relinquished such illusions as love for things not related to the atma or immortal soul attain unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as their saviour. The evils of desire and attachment captivates one by sense gratification bewilderd by the three gunas or modes of material nature. Those that surmount this are: 1) nirmana mohan means free from pride and false ego conception of being their body 2) adhyatma-nityah means those engrossed in the eternal knowledge of the atma 3) vinivrtta-kamah means totally free from lusty desires by only desiring the atma 4) vimukta dvandvair means completely liberated from conceptions of dualities Those that achieve the above attain avyayam padam or the eternal supreme transcendental state by atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul and its unlimited intelligence characterised by it infinitely expanded consciousness.

To those whose faith in the Supreme Lord Krishna is bonafide by acceptance of a spiritual guru in authorised disciplic succession and whose devotion is absolute due to the mercy of the spiritual master and receiving knowledge of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord. Then Lord Krishna Himself initiates the previously mentioned four attributes and their success is effected solely by His grace. Then they are all easily traversed until perfection comes and the goal is reached.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Anticipating that a spiritually intelligent aspirant would wish to know what type of jivas or embodied beings are able to attain the eternal spiritual worlds, Lord Krishna reveals that one who is free from pride and infatuation, who is undeluded by material nature due to discriminative knowledge of the atma or immortal soul and the physical body, understanding that they are distinctly different. Who have conquered the tenacious vice of attachment. Who have overcome feelings of passion and repugnance. Who are free from false ego imagining they are the physical body. Whose mundane cravings and worldy desires have altogether ceased to exist and who have surpassed the dualities of material existence such as pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappines, cold and hot attraction and aversion. Who are situated in atma tattva or realisation of the soul and are in perpetual communion with the atma. Those possessing all these attributes achieve the imperishable Supreme state for they perceive the the actual nature of the atma and receiving unveiled knowledge direct from within they are able to attain the Supreme Lord Krishna eternally.

Sloka 15.6 audio recital in Sanskrit     

न तद्भासयते सूर्यो न शशाङ्को न पावकः |
यद्गत्वा न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम ||१५- ६||

na tadbhAsayate sUryo na shashAN^ko na pAvakaH |
yadgatvA na nivartante taddhAma paramaM mama || 15-6 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.6

Anvaya: na–not; tat–that; bhasayate–illuminates; suryah–the sun; na–nor; sasankah–the moon; na–nor; pavakah–fire, electricity; yat–where; gatva–going; na–never; nivartante–comes back; tat dhama–that abode; paramam–supreme; mama–My.

Translation: That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The attributes of the spiritual worlds are briefly delineated by Lord Krishna. The sun, moon, fire are not required to illuminate it as it is naturally self-lluminating. Once attained a jiva or embodied being never returns to the transitory material existence and is no longer enslaved by the bondage of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. As the Supreme Lords abode is transcendental and beyond the scope of material existence it is not subject to the dualities and defects of material nature and is eternally perfect in every way.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The light of illumination which manifests from the atma or immortal soul is what Lord Krishna is referring to here as well. As His transcendntal spiritual body consists of the atmas of all jivas or embodied beings, He, His name, His abode and His pastimes are all illuminating. No sun or moon or fire can illuminate this; for it is spiritual wisdom that gives the light of consciousness. External luminiousity is only able to dissolve the obscurity that intervenes between the senses perceiving their objects.What reveals the atma is called yoga or the individual conciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Antagonistic to yoga is karma which are subsequent reactions to previous actions and to conquer this formidable opponent which gains strength from every action performed; one must fully surrender unto the Supreme Lord and accept Him as one’s only refuge. That all illuminating light emanates from Him, it is a part of His splendour as a power from Him. The sublime supremacy of this all illuminating light consists of its potency and efficiency in lighting the consciousness by spiritual wisdom. Sunlight no matter how bright, although capable of travelling for millions and billions of miles through space is never able to internally effect illumination in the consciousness as it is only an external phenomena.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna briefly explains some characteristics of that imperishable Supreme state, His eternal abode. There the light of the sun or the moon or fire is not necessary because His eternal abode is self-illuminating and self-effulgent without any association with material existence and always beyond the darkness of nescience. This is confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad III.VIII beginning: veda hametam purusam meaning: The Supreme Lord, more resplendent then the sun, illuminates all within and without, only by realising Him is a jiva or embodied being able to transcend samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death, there is no other possibility. The usage of the word mama meaning my dispels any illusions of seperation or seperate identity of His abode. It is not an independent entity nor is it non-different from Him. The Supreme Lord’s eternal abode is a portion of His divine potency.

Sloka 15.7 audio recital in Sanskrit     

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः |
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ||१५- ७||

mamaivA.nsho jIvaloke jIvabhUtaH sanAtanaH |
manaHShaShThAnIndriyANi prakR^itisthAni karShati || 15-7 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.7

Anvaya: mama–My; eva–certainly; amsah–fragmental particles; jiva-loke–world of conditional life; jiva-bhutah–the conditioned living entity; sanatanah–eternal; manah–mind; sasthani–six; indriyani–senses; prakrti–material nature; sthani–situated; karsati–struggling hard.

Translation: The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The query may arise that if when attaining the Supreme Lord Krishna’s eternal abode the jiva or embodied being does not return to material existence then at the time of pralaya or dissolution when all jivas are merged into His manifestation of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence they become one essence as confirmed in the Chandogya Upanisad VI.IX.II beginning te yatha tatra na vivekamlabhante meaning: As the pollen of different flowers forms the essence of honey and lose their individual identities in the same manner all jivas lose their individual existences when they merge into the brahman although they know not in their varigated forms from whence they have come forth. If this is the case then who really is a transmigrating jiva. Apprehending such a query Lord Krishna describes a samsarin or transmigrating jiva in this verse and the next four. Lord Krishna explains that an eternal portion of Himself is within the etheric heart of every jiva in existence in the form of paramatma the eternal, omnipresent supreme soul which exists next to the atma or individual immortal soul as a witness. The jiva although eternal in essence having an eternal portion of the Supreme Lord, through ignorance and false identification of the physical body becomes a samsarin drawn by the desires and attachments of the previous existence to suffer or enjoy as precisely dictated by karma or the reactions to actions performed in past lives. This is accomplished on the subtle plane by a specifc and unique algorithm for every jiva along with senses, mind and vital force which involuntarily draws them back down into mundane existence on the physical plane automatically adjusting the karma and tabulating the merits or demerits from the exact same position by which they were merged at the time of pralaya. So although it is true that all jivas attain the state of the Supreme Lords brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. At the time of dissolution they are unconscious of it and of the Supreme Lord due to being covered in ignorance, over burdened with the impressions of past lives and overwhelmed by the karma of the previous life. Thus with such consciousness they only qualify to attain His transitory external nature of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and not His eternal transcendental nature as brahman. Therefore such jivas revolve in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death due to ignorance of their eternal nature and attachment to the desires and sense objects. But for one situated in atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord there is never mandatory return to material existence.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains a manifestation of His divine form. Due to the atma or immortal soul although distinctly different is similar in quality to the Supreme Lord it is sometimes spoken of as a partial manifestation. The Supreme Lord when enveloping the physical body, energises the five senses and activates the mind relative to prakriti the material substratum pevading physical existence. The statement that the mind is drawn toards sound may give rise to the misnomer that the jiva or embodied being is independent. Lord Krishna clarifies this in the very next verse..

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The atma or immortal soul within all jivas or embodied beings constitutes an eternal portion of Lord Krishna and thus is also eternal. Yet because the jiva is inextricably emeshed in material existence from time immemorial it is enslaved by the nescience of its own karma or reactions to actions and revolves incessantly in samsara the perpetrual cycle of birth and death. Precisely based on this karma a jiva is forced to accept a suitable body such as a demigod, human, animal etc., attracting with it five senses and a mind exactly appropriate to maximising the chances of survival for such a jiva. But when the jiva through association of the Vaisnava spiritual master becomes enlightened from hearing his unequivocal instructions and surrenders fully unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as one’s only refuge then Lord Krishna Himself releases the jiva from the bondage of samsara and the jiva becomes situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation. Other than taking exclusive shelter of Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic sciptures it is impossible for the jiva which is very much handicapped in terms of intelligence and potency to achieve moksa or liberation. This is due to the heavy burden of unresolved karma attached to the jiva that they must carry with them life after life. But all actions performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord have no karma attached to them. This is the difference.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

It might be asked that since the attributes and potencies manifesting from the Supreme Lord Krishna are His eternal portions; then why does the atma or immortal soul which also manifests from Him and is an eternal portion subject to the forced incarceration of transmigration. Lord Krishna clarifies this point by stating that finite reflections cannot be proved of having eternality neither that they are beginningless . This is because they are generated due to accessories and adjuncts such as water reflecting the sunlight. The sun is always present but it may be obscured by clouds and then again there is no reflection at all during night. Because the sun is perceived externally by reflection it is known to exist but to peceive the atma in its eternal state it must be perceived internally. In this way due to limitations of the jiva or embodied being, there are some conditions which cannot be seen, experienced or perceived attached to realising the atmas eternality which is beyond the purview of the mind and senses. Thus the atma cannot be proved by reflection. One in nescience and ignorance by the obscuration of knowledge is unable to ever understand the atma or comprehend its infinite nature; so how can one imagine its reflection. Contrarily if the finite nature of the atma is accepted the atma still cannot be proved as a reflection because of the established doctrine confirmed in the Mundaka Upanisad III.I.IX beginning: eso anuratma cetasi veditavyo meaning: The atma or immortal soul is infinitesimal and difficult to realise but when one achieves spiritual enlightenment by self- realisation the atma shines within the etheric heart. Also the Vedanta Sutras II.III.XVIII beginning utcranti gat yagatinam states: The atma is infintesimal, sub-atomic and able to pass in and out from body to body. Also in II.III.XXII beginning guna dva lokavat meaning: The atma resides in the heart but by its potency of consciousness pervades all the body like candle light pervading a room. So although the individual soul is eternal it is infintesimal; but paramatma the Supreme soul is eternal, unlimited and infinite.

The conclusion is that if an adjunct is infinite it can not be reflected because it is beyond perception. Thus any conception of the atma being a reflecion of the Supreme Lord is illusion and would be like considering the suns rays to be a reflection of the sun. Such ideas and conceptions are false and delusory and contradict Vedic scriptures. So whenever Lord Krishna speaks of His portion or His potency, it always denotes eternality as every part of Him is eternal and is not a seperate entity or consciousness. Lord Krishna already declared in chapter 7, verse 5 that he has an internal and external nature. Although the power and the powerful appear as seperate energies they cannot exist independent of each other even though eternally exemplifying unity in diversity as is evidenced by the jiva or embodied being, which is confined to inhaling air or water as the case may be in various organisms. The jiva has been bewildered by the latent tendncy of enjoying sense objects since time immemorial and subsequently ensnared by their actions to the law of karma or reactions to actions from such material enjoyment and exploitation by the five senses which awards every jiva the appropriate body to inhabit corresponding to what one eats and what reactions one has acquired in te form of the effect called the indivual flase ego.

Those not fully situated in spiritual knowledge have the opinion that the atma is the highest self and that it only appears limited due to the covering of nescience which is like ether appearing limited in a pitcher. When the limiting adjuncts are no longer in contact with each other then the ether is perceived without limitations and in the same way when the adjunct of nescience is removed the true nature of the atma is revealed. But this supposition is directly refuted in this verse by the word sanatana meaning eternal because it is a part of Lord Krishna. The singular usage of the compound words jiva-bhuta refers to the category of jiva and includes all jivas in every dimension throughout all creation.

Sloka 15.8 audio recital in Sanskrit     

शरीरं यदवाप्नोति यच्चाप्युत्क्रामतीश्वरः |
गृहीत्वैतानि संयाति वायुर्गन्धानिवाशयात् ||१५- ८||

sharIra.n yadavApnoti yachchApyutkrAmatIshvaraH |
gR^ihItvaitAni sa.nyAti vAyurgandhAnivAshayAt.h || 15-8 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.8

Anvaya: sariram–body; yat–as much as; avapnoti–gets; yat–that which; ca–also; api–virtually; utkramati–gives up; isvarah–the lord of the body; grhitva–taking; etani–all these; samyati–goes away; vayuh–air; gandhan–smell; iva–like; asayat–from the flower.

Translation: The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now the science of transmigration of the atma or immortal soul from jiva to jiva or embodied being is explained. When the postive and negative karma or reactions to actions that one has performed has been calculated and tabulated along with the types of food one has eaten throughout their life a jiva obtains birth in an appropriate womb and acquires a new body taking along with it in a subtle body the mind and the senses from the previous body. This can be understood by the analogy Lord Krishna gives of a breeze transporting to another location the fragrances of the flowers it has come into contact with. So the subtle body of the jiva containing the mind and the senses transports itself from body to body.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

When a jiva or embodied being due to the mercy of the Vaisnava spiritual master, attains the auspiciousness of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna at that time the Supreme Lord Himself as paramatma the Supreme Soul inconceivably resides simultaneously within the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being commences to direct the actions of that blessed disciple of His servitor, the Vaisnava spiritual master, who guides and instructs through his words and actions. Although the Supreme Lord is continuously entering and departing each and every womb along with every jiva and atma, he does not desire any recompense for this. In the Moksa Dharma known also as the Mahabharata it is stated: Even though the jiva witnesses the temporal emotions, merits and demerits and knows what is ultimately beneficial it is powerless to oppose them. Even though moving hither and thither to the four corners of the planet, enjoying here and suffering there, all actions are actually energised by the Supreme Lord. Even when conquering and winning if one considers themselves a great personality, factually they are only performing as ordained by the Supreme Lord. Even as a vehicle controlled by someone moves a passenger from one location to another. In the same manner the jiva transmigrates from one body to another controlled by the potency of the Supreme Lord.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Whatever body a jiva or embodied being is subjected to reside in and whatever body they depart from; the atma or immortal soul is automatically accompanied by the five senses and the mind. Lord Krishna explains this process as similar to a breeze which picks up the scents of flowers carrying them through through the air from one location to another.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

When and how the mind and senses accompany the jiva or embodied being in the process of transmigration from one body at the time of death to another at the time of conception is clarified by Lord Krishna. The purport is that wherever the jiva departs from a body and whenever it is compeled to accept another body the atma or immortal soul migrating from one body to another, arrives with the subtle forms of the mind and senses in tact to perform their functions through the physical body which has been allotted due to karma or reactions to previous actions. The Supreme Lord clarifies this with the analogy of the wind carrying the scents of flowers to various locations.

Sloka 15.9 audio recital in Sanskrit     

श्रोत्रं चक्षुः स्पर्शनं च रसनं घ्राणमेव च |
अधिष्ठाय मनश्चायं विषयानुपसेवते ||१५- ९||

shrotra.n chakShuH sparshana.n cha rasanaM ghrANameva cha |
adhiShThAya manashchAyaM viShayAnupasevate || 15-9 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.9

Anvaya: srotram–ears; caksuh–eyes; sparsanam–touch; ca–also; rasanam–tongue; ghranam–smelling power; eva–also; ca–and; adhisthaya–being situated; manah–mind; ca–also; ayam–this; visayan–sense objects; upasevate–enjoys.

Translation: The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, tongue, and nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna enumerates the senses and the purpose they accompany the jiva or embodied being. Presiding over the external sense organs the jiva utilises the eyes, the nose, the ears, etc. as well as the internal organ which is the mind to experience and enjoy sense objects such as sound, taste and touch.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Through the medium of prakriti, the spiritual substratum pervading physical existence, by the gunas or three modes of material nature, the jiva or embodied being experiences the instruments of the senses in pursuance of enjoyment. Like when one plays upon the stringed vina it is played factually for the Supreme Lords pleasure alone. But the Supreme Lord enjoys only those attributes and qualities which are auspicious and righteous. What is inauspicious and unrighteous is only enjoyable by the demons and those who are evil. Such inauspiciousness and unrighteousness is never pleasing to Lord Krishna. This can be understood by the following analogy. Darkness is existing but the moment the sun appears darkness disappears so the sun has no opportunity to experience darkness. In the same way the Supreme Lord never has an occasion to experience what is not auspicious and righteous.

Now begins the summation.

The Supreme Lord Krishna enjoys through the senses the auspicious, propitious activities ordained in Vedic scriptures. Although the resplendent Supreme Lord is completely blissful and satified in every way He experinces these things like participating in a sporting manner.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna manifesting as the atma is the master of prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence from which generates the gunas or three modes of material nature from whence arise the senses . The atma or immortal soul rules the senses as they are designed to function experiencing through them the enjoyable delights of their appropriate objects such as sights and sounds.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna further clarifies what objects accompany the senses such as the sense of sight, the sense of hearing, etc. The atma or immortal soul dwelling in the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being experiences hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, touching as well as thinking through the mind. It also experiences the functions of the vital organs such as breathing of the lungs and beating of the heart along with the organs of locomotion.

Sloka 15.10 audio recital in Sanskrit     

उत्क्रामन्तं स्थितं वापि भुञ्जानं वा गुणान्वितम् |
विमूढा नानुपश्यन्ति पश्यन्ति ज्ञानचक्षुषः ||१५- १०||

utkrAmantaM sthitaM vApi bhu~njAnaM vA guNAnvitam.h |
vimUDhA nAnupashyanti pashyanti GYAnachakShuShaH || 15-10 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.10

Anvaya: utkramantam–quitting the body; sthitam–situated in the body; va api–either; bhunjanam–enjoying; va–or; guna-anvitam–under the spell of the modes of material nature; vimudhah–foolish persons; na–never; anupasyanti–can see; pasyanti–one can see; jnana-caksusah–one who has the eyes of knowledge.

Translation: The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

One may wonder do not all humans recognise the atma or immortal soul within as distinct and different from the physical body? Lord Krishna is addressing such a query here. The bewilderd and deluded do not recognise the atma residing within the etheric heart of their own physical body is experiencing prakriti, the material substratum pervading physical existence through the gunas, the three modes of material nature by utilising the senses. Hence they are incapable of perceiving the atma departing from the physical body and likewise cannot perceive that the atma exists equally in all jivas as well. But Lord Krishna confirms that those realised in spiritual intelligence can perceive the atma.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

How one does not perceive and how one is able to perceive is examined by Lord Krishna.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word vimudha used by Lord Krishna means the ignorant, the fools, those who misconceive the outer, corporeal body to be the atma or immortal soul and who do not perceive that the atma is conjoined with matter, bound to limited conditions of space and time in various forms of existence as jivas or embodied beings exist. Such bewildered jivas never can detemine how the atma enters or how it departs with an embodied being. Neither can it ascertain how although abiding within it is distinctly different from the jiva nor understand how the atma is experiencing that which the jiva enjoys. Yet those who are jnana-caksusah or endowed with spiritual wisdom and enlightened realisation can perceive the atma existing in its essential nature within their own etheric heart and within the etheric heart of every jiva.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Those who are ignorant and unevolved are not able to discriminate between the atma or immortal soul and the physical body. Hence lacking the spiritual intelligence they are completely oblivious of the reality that the atma is distinctly different from the body and the senses even though it is experiencing the senses when dwelling within the body, or when transmigrating from the body or when entering a new body as human, demigod or animal due to the influence of the gunas or three modes of material nature and the resultant tribulation of karma or reactions to actions. But those with spiritual intelligence, possessing the eye of wisdom acquired through devotion and knowledge of the Vedic scriptures as taught by the Vaisnava spiritual preceptor will naturally realise both the eternal atma and the transcendental Supreme Lord in reality as having no material qualities in any respect.

Sloka 15.11 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यतन्तो योगिनश्चैनं पश्यन्त्यात्मन्यवस्थितम् |
यतन्तोऽप्यकृतात्मानो नैनं पश्यन्त्यचेतसः ||१५- ११||

yatanto yoginashchainaM pashyantyAtmanyavasthitam.h |
yatanto.apyakR^itAtmAno nainaM pashyantyachetasaH || 15-11 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.11

Anvaya: yatantah–endeavoring; yoginah–transcendentalists; ca–also; enam–this; pasyanti–can see; atmani–in the self; avasthitam–situated; yatantah–although endeavoring; api–although; akrta-atmanah–without self-realization; na–does not; enam–this; pasyanti–can see; acetasah–undeveloped mind.

Translation: The endeavoring transcendentalist, who is situated in self-realization, can see all this clearly. But those who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try to.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

It is extremely difficult to perceive the atma or immortal soul within one’s etheric heart even if endeavoring with acute discrimination and focused attention. Only some are able to succeed while others who strive do not. The pure yogis who have mastered the science of meditation and completed control of the senses, who assiduously strive for self- realisation, after great effort perceive the atma residing within thier own physical body and distinctly different from it. Whereas those who have not mastered the science of meditation, who have not managed to control the mind, who are of impure thoughts, who are unable to curb the impetuous impulses of the senses; hence are deluded, bewildered and spiritually deficient will be unable to perceive the atma no matter how hard they strive by study and practice.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Those who assiduously strive will perceive the atma or immortal soul after achieving spiritual intelligence. It is not enough to become complacent or be satisfied after acquiring equanimity of mind from meditation and reflection. One must continuously strive with great faith in the teachings of the spiritual preceptor until the goal is finally attained. Otherwise there is always a possibility of contamination of the mind due to the influences of the gunas or three modes of material nature. The word akritatmano means those of impure mind and as such they will be unable to perceive the atma although possessing sufficient intelligence. A classic example of this is Ravana.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Preserverance of the aspirant is the persistence essential to insure success once has fully resorted to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna. By cultivating this path they purify their minds and hearts by yoga or the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. They then realise the true nature of the atma residing within the etheric heart of the physical body and perceive it distinctly different from the body. But if their efforts even if industrous are devoid of sufficient faith in the spiritual preceptor and unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Lord and thus spiritually impotent and feeble minded, then they are handicapped and incapable of atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Hence they do not perceive it. Although the light of the sun, the moon, lightning and fire are powerful antidotes to removing darkness, they are limited to removing only external darkness and they have this power due to their empowerment by the divine consciousness of the Supreme Lord which has the capacity to remove the darkness of ignorance in the phenomenal world externally and the darkness of ignorance within the consciousness of the jiva internally.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The atma or immortal soul is extremely difficult to perceive but the aspirant who continuously strives to achieve it through focused concentration and meditation will realise the atma enshrined within their etheric heart but distinctly different from the physical body. The ignorant enslaved by desires and sense gratification have no qualification for spiritual pursuits as they are bewildered by the ostentatious encumbrances of the false ego and pursuing mundane goals in the phenomenal world they are completely oblivious to the existence of the atma.

Sloka 15.12 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यदादित्यगतं तेजो जगद्भासयतेऽखिलम् |
यच्चन्द्रमसि यच्चाग्नौ तत्तेजो विद्धि मामकम् ||१५- १२||

yadAdityagataM tejo jagadbhAsayate.akhilam.h |
yachchandramasi yachchAgnau tattejo viddhi mAmakam.h || 15-12 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.12

Anvaya: yat–that which; aditya-gatam–in the sunshine; tejah–splendor; jagat–the whole world; bhasayate–illuminates; akhilam–entirely; yat–that which; candramasi–in the moon; yat–that which; ca–also; agnau–in the fire; tat–that; tejah–splendor; viddhi–understand; mamakam–from Me.

Translation: The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of this whole world, comes from Me. And the splendor of the moon and the splendor of fire are also from Me.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In the previous four verses the Supreme state of Lord Krishna has been described as well as confirmation that those who constantly endeavor can achieve it and will never again be subject to the enslavement of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Also anticipating any doubt of the transmigration of the atma or immortal soul, Lord Krishna has categorically and unequivocably identified it as eternal and distinctly different from the perishable physical body. Now in this verse and the next three the omnipotent nature of the Supreme Lord Krishna will be revealed beginning with the various kinds of natural light that exist in material existence. The factual understanding is that it is by the light of consciousness from the Supreme Lord that the sun, the moon, lightning and fire receive their luminousity and effulgence as they are solely illuminated by the Supreme Lord and thus a part of His potency.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna reveals more pertinent details and facts about His omnipotent attributes.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

All the lights which illuminate all the worlds such as suns, moons, lighning, fire reflect the light of consciousness bestowed by the Supreme Lord Krishna as integral parts of creation. His effulgence was bestowed upon them being pleased by their service of universal management and by the propitiation from their personified forms such as Surya the demigod in charge of the sun, Agni the demigod in charge of fire, Soma the demigod in charge of the moon, etc.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Previously Lord Krishna has delineated the dual nature of the jiva or embodied being as either liberated or in bondage and the means to free oneself from the captivity of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Now in this verse and the next three He reveals some of His divine glories. Here He illustrates that the sun, moon and fire are all part of His divine glory as their illumination manifests from Him and assist in the maintenance and preservation of creation. He explains them as a portion of His effulgence to show that they are but a portion of Him. The Supreme Lord being pleased by their competence and service in the material worlds has enhanced them with His effulgence acccording to their capacity.

Sloka 15.13 audio recital in Sanskrit     

गामाविश्य च भूतानि धारयाम्यहमोजसा |
पुष्णामि चौषधीः सर्वाः सोमो भूत्वा रसात्मकः ||१५- १३||

gAmAvishya cha bhUtAni dhArayAmyahamojasA |
puShNAmi chauShadhIH sarvAH somo bhUtvA rasAtmakaH || 15-13 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.13

Anvaya: gam–the planets; avisya–entering; ca–also; bhutani–living entities; dharayami–sustaining; aham–I; ojasa–by My energy; pusnami–nourishing; ca–and; ausadhih–all vegetables; sarvah–all; somah–the moon; bhutva–becoming; rasa-atmakah–supplying the juice.

Translation: I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing Lord Krishna states that He enters into every particle of earth with His energy, prevading over all the Earth with His prowess and supports all moving and non-moving jivas or embodied beings. He, Himself is the luminousity of moonlight which nourishes all herbs and crops such as rice, fruits an grains.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The word gam stated by Lord Krishna means Earth and within the earth.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The word gam means earth and denotes the Earth. The word ojasa means indomitable potency. Lord Krishna enters into every atom of the Earth by this potency and supports all mobile and stationary jivas or embodied beings by this potency. He also manifests the energy of the moon whose nature is ambrosial and which nourishes all plants, vegetables, fruits and herbs, yielding crops such as rice and grains.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The all pervading potency of Lord Krishna is in the Earth by which He permeates sustaining and nourishing all movable and immovable jivas or embodied beings by His ojasa or irresistable potency and bmanifesting as the ambrosial nectar of the moon he nourishes all plant life such as herbs, vegetables, fruits and grains.

Sloka 15.14 audio recital in Sanskrit     

अहं वैश्वानरो भूत्वा प्राणिनां देहमाश्रितः |
प्राणापानसमायुक्तः पचाम्यन्नं चतुर्विधम् ||१५- १४||

aha.n vaishvAnaro bhUtvA prANinA.n dehamAshritaH |
prANApAnasamAyuktaH pachAmyanna.n chaturvidham.h || 15-14 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.14

Anvaya: aham–I; vaisvanarah–by My plenary portion as the digesting fire; bhutva–becoming; praninam–of all living entities; deham–body; asritah–situated; prana–outgoing air; apana–down-going air; samayuktah–keep balance; pacami–digest; annam–foodstuff; catuh-vidham–four kinds of.

Translation: I am the fire of digestion in every living body, and I am the air of life, outgoing and incoming, by which I digest the four kinds of foodstuff.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing on Lord Krishna affirms that His potency is vaisvanara or the digestive fire within the physical body that combing with the prana or exhalation and the apana or inhalation digests the four types of food eaten by jivas or embodied beings which are chewed, sucked, licked or drank. The first is that which is chewed by masticating the food into small pieces so it can be swallowed such as bread and vegetables. Next is that which can be licked by the tongue and swallowed without chewing like honey or molasses. After is that which can be sucked like the juice within sugarcane and finally is that which can be swallowed without chewing such as soups and liquid beverages. Hence they are all different.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna discloses that He is abiding in the physical body as the fire of digestion known as vaisvanarah assisting in the sustenance of all jivas or embodied beings.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna declares that He is vaisvanara the digestive fire which joins together with the vital breaths of prana or exhalation and apana or inhalation. Together they digest in the stomach the four kinds of food which are foods that are khadva or chewed, soshva or sucked, lehya or licked and peya or drank. In these last three verses Lord Krishna is specifying integral functions of the jivas or embodied beings and of the Earth that are manifestations of His opulent glories. The expressions that He becomes the light of the sun, moon and fire etc. are meant to indicate the predicated relationship that theses object have in regard to Him. That fact that such realtionships exist in reference to all things is substantiated in the next verse.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna abides within the physical bodies of all jivas or embodied beings as vaisvanara the digestive fire which joining with the vital airs of prana or exhalation and apana or inhalation, digest the four kinds of food that are chewed, sucked, licked and drank. This is also confirmed in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad V.IX.I beginning ayamagnirvaisvanaro yo ayamantah puruse meaning: From the purusa or Supreme Lord comes the fire of digestion known as vaisvanara by which food that is eaten is digested.

Sloka 15.15 audio recital in Sanskrit     

सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि सन्निविष्टो
मत्तः स्मृतिर्ज्ञानमपोहनञ्च |
वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यो
वेदान्तकृद्वेदविदेव चाहम् ||१५- १५||

sarvasya chAhaM hR^idi sanniviShTo
mattaH smR^itirGYAnamapohana~ncha |
vedaishcha sarvairahameva vedyo
vedAntakR^idvedavideva chAham.h || 15-15 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.15

Anvaya: sarvasya–of all living beings; ca–and; aham–I; hrdi–in the heart; sannivistah–being situated; mattah–from Me; smrtih–remembrance; jnanam–knowledge; apohanam ca–and forgetfulness; vedaih–by the Vedas; ca–also; sarvaih–all; aham–I am; eva–certainly; vedyah–knowable; vedanta-krt–the compiler of the Vedanta; veda-vit–the knower of the Vedas; eva–certainly; ca–and; aham–I.

Translation: I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Continuing further the Supreme Lord Krishna confirms that He is situated simultaniously within the etheric hearts of all jivas or embodied beings as the internal monitor. The Supreme Lord is cognizant of hundreds of millions of lifetimes for every jivas and from Him comes memory concerning things remembered as well as knowledge and the loss of knowledge regarding things experienced by the senses. Some are stored within the collective consciousness and others are accessible directly within the individual consciousness. He is the originator of the Vedas and thus possessing all knowledge He is the promulgator of the Vedas exclusively through His four authorised channels of disciplic succession which lead directly back to Him as revealed in the Vedic scriptures. The Supreme Lord alone is to be known only through the eternal authority of the Vedic scriptures.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Here the words vedais ca sarvam refers to the conclusions of the Vedic scriptures. The words vedanta-krt refers to Lord Krishnas avatar or incarnation of Vedavyasa the author of the Vedas, Puranas and Vedanta Sutras which all elucidate the absolute, ultimate truth.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna’s manifestation of Himself as paramatma the Supreme Soul situated within the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being next to His expansion of the atma or individual immortal soul. The heart is the exclusive, absolute center from where all consciousness radiates. It is also the factual center from where all impulses and frequencies originate both active and passive. The Brihadaranya Upanisad V.VI.I beginning manomayo ayam puruso states: One meditating should perceive the resplendent Supreme Lord the ruler and lord of all within the heart of the size of a grain of rice. The Chandogya Upanisad VIII.I beginning harih sum atha yadidamasmin states: Within the jiva or embodied being in the inner sanctorum of the heart abides the atma or immortal soul which is an infintesimal portion of paramatma. Hence from the Supreme Lord comes all memory remembered from past experience. All wisdom accruring from factual true perception and inference. Intuitive knowledge related exclusively to the authority of the Vedic scriptures and meditation which expands the consciousness. Contrarily also from the Supreme Lord comes the antithesis of the above which are loss of memory, speculative reasoning, erroneous hypothesis, conjectural suppositions and deprivation of consciousness.

The Supreme Lord is to be known by the exclusive authority of the Vedic scriptures. He is the atma within all jivas, the witness, the monitor, the inner guide. The terms found in the Vedas of demigod, humans, demons, etc. are alluding to the jivatma or individual immortal soul within the myriad of varieagated forms of embodied beings. The compound word vedanta-krt refers directly to Lord Krishna’s avatara or incarnation of Vedavyasa who compiled the Vedas and divided them into four divisions. It also denotes the performance of Vedic enjoined rituals. The antonym antah also means the end which infers the fruits, the results of such rituals. He is the sole bequeather of all the fruits promised in the Vedic scriptures. This was previously touched upon in chapter seven verses 21 and 22 where Lord krishna confirms that in whatever form one chooses to worship the Supreme Lord, He renders there faith firm and they obtain the wishes they yearned for from Him alone. He is also the supreme knower of the Vedic scriptures for they originated from Him to guide and teach jivas about Himself. Whosoever understands the Vedic scriptures otherwise then what has been instructed by Lord Krishna in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita factually has no knowledge of it at all. This is due to their understanding and comprehension being influenced by under faulty assumptions and erroneous suppositions. The Vedic scriptures must be understood exclusively in light of the comprehensive and full authority of the Bhagavad-Gita.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna affirmed that sun, the moon and fire which accomplish universal well being are His divine vibhutis or opulences . He previously revealed that the entire creation comprised of the sentient and non-sentient are fully dependent upon Him; yet He is completely independent. He inspires cosmic intelligence, He is worth knowing through the Vedas and is the precceptor of all as He is situated equally within the etheric heart of all jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the most evolved sentient being to the least evolved sentient being. He is the witness, the monitor and inner controller of every jiva. Memory of things experienced and true knowledge arising from accurate perception of contact with the senses comes from Him as well as the rationalisation faculty of faulty knowledge and loss of memory and knowledges also flow from Him. The Supreme Lord Krihsna is paramount to all and thus essential to know because everything manifests from Him and because He manifests Himself within all etheric hearts as the immortal part of every jiva. All the 33 million demigods who supervise universal management in trillions of unlimited universes throughout all material creation are expansions of His vibhutis and dependent solely upon Him such as Vayu the wind god, Agni the god of fire, Surya the sun god, etc. The Mahabharata confirms some worship the Supreme Lord as the sun, the moon, the wind, fire, the life breath, the infinite, the absolute. All the luminaries of the worlds, all the sovereigns of creation, the three sacrificial fires, the five daily austerities, all are verily the Supreme Lord Krishna. But this material creation comprises only one fourth or 25 percent of His unlimited potency. The remaining three quarters or 75 percent compries the eternal unlimited spiritual worlds. We offer praises to Him, the eternal repository of all praises. The Vedas glorify Lord Krishna. Propitiations of ghee and grains are offerred by the Vaisnavas and Brahmins to Him sanctifying the sacred fire. Throughout the Vedas, the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; Lord Krishna is glorified in the beginning, the middle and the end. The Katha Upanisad I.II.XV beginning sarve veda yat padamamanvati states: The Supreme Lord is whom all the Vedas declare and for whom all austerities are performed. His personal sound vibration is OM, the all encompassing sound frequency of the Supreme Lord Krishna.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the absolute authority on the Vedas, the deciding authority on the contrary statements of the Vedas when they appear contradictory to each other due to varying angles of vision while expounding on various, diverse topics. He is the eternal, universal guru and the propounder of the philosophy of the Vedic scriptures. As the originator of the Vedic scriptures He has imbued them with the ultimate import and no one can fathom this and know the meaning of the Vedic scriptures without His grace. One becomes a knower of the Vedic scriptures when through the grace of Lord Krishna one realises the reality that the Vedic scriptures originated from Him to guide and protect those in material creation to return to Him. Those who who are not graced by the Supreme Lord can never fathom and discover the import of the Vedic scriptures even if they are reknowned scholars and erudite professors who give detailed discourses on them. This is because they are not devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is the absolute, original establisher and ultimate authority on the Vedas and there are none qualified to expound upon any aspect of the Vedic scriptures contrary to that which has been directly revealed, declared and instructed by Him, His authorised avataras or incarnations and expansions as confirmed in Vedic scriptures and by His devotees in authorised disciplic succession who have received His grace. An example of this is the devotee Prahlad receiving the grace of Lord Krishna through His avatara known as Narasinghadeva who rescued His devotee from death nine times.

Sloka 15.16 audio recital in Sanskrit     

द्वाविमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश्चाक्षर एव च |
क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूटस्थोऽक्षर उच्यते ||१५- १६||

dvAvimau puruShau loke kSharashchAkShara eva cha |
kSharaH sarvANi bhUtAni kUTastho.akShara uchyate || 15-16 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.16

Anvaya: dvau–two; imau–in this (world); purusau–living entities; loke–in the world; ksarah–fallible; ca–and; aksarah–infallible; eva–certainly; ca–and; ksarah–the fallible; sarvani–all; bhutani–living entities; kuta-sthah–in oneness; aksarah–infallible; ucyate–is said.

Translation: There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world every entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world every entity is called infallible.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna is expounding that there are only two types of beings in all the worlds. They are the perishable jivas or embodied beings and the imperishable atmas or immortal souls which is well documented in the Vedic scriptures and known by those enlightened. The perishable consists of all jivas beginning with Brahma, the demigods, humans, animals, fish all the way down to the immovable jivas in forms of trees, plants,etc. The ignorant commonly refer to the word person in respect to bodies only but this conception is not completely accurate. The word aksarah means immutable, infallible or that which is not subject to change and which does not perish when the physical body perishes and is the eternal soul.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Only two types of livining entities exist in creation. They are the ksarah or perishable and the aksarah or imperishable. That which is designated as a jiva or embodied being is known as perishahable, from Bahma to a blade of grass all are subject to limited transitory existences. The singular form of the word atma or immortal soul denotes the totality of all jivas as a category inasmuch as they all possess the atma and are all bound to material nature. The word aksarah meaning infallible, imperishable refers to the freed jiva who is situated in its own eternal, essential nature and not bound by material nature. The word kutasthah means immutable, constant in regard to its lack of associaion with material nature having no connection to the physical plane. The singular use of this word denotes all jivas collectively who are liberated from material nature. It should be understood that such jivas are innumerable as Lord Krishna has revealed previously in chapter 4, verse 10 that many purifying themselves by knowledge and meditation have achieved the supreme, liberated state.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna explains that in all creation there are only two types of beings in existence. The ksarah or perishable and the aksarah or imperishable. The word ksarah denotes the mutable physical body which is formed by the ingestion of food and is occupied by a sentient being. Similarly the word aksarah denotes an immutable presence, eternal and immortal. Both words are used in the singular sense because they each comprise a category. All jivas or embodied beings in existence whether in physical or subtle bodies from Brahma down to a blade of grass are temporary and transitory and form the category of the perishable. The atma or immortal soul resding within the etheric heart of every jiva is infallible and eternal and it forms the category of the imperishable.

Sloka 15.17 audio recital in Sanskrit     

उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युधाहृतः |
यो लोकत्रयमाविश्य बिभर्त्यव्यय ईश्वरः ||१५- १७||

uttamaH puruShastvanyaH paramAtmetyudhAhR^itaH |
yo lokatrayamAvishya bibhartyavyaya IshvaraH || 15-17 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.17

Anvaya: uttamah–the best; purusah–personality; tu–but; anyah–another; parama–the supreme; atma–self; iti–thus; udahrtah–is said; yah–one who; loka–of the universe; trayam–the three divisions; avisya–entering; bibharti–maintaining; avyayah–inexhaustible; isvarah–the Lord.

Translation: Besides these two, there is the greatest living personality, the Lord Himself, who has entered into these worlds and is maintaining them.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

Here Lord Krishna shows the reason why the two types of beings persihable and impesihable were described in the previous verse for transcendental to both is the Supreme Lord, Himself. In the Vedic scriptures He is described as Parama the supreme and as Atma the eternal soul. Combined they become Paramatma the Supreme Soul which is different from the temporary impersihable as well as distinct from the immortal individual atma which is infintesimal, eternal consciousness. The Supreme Lord Krishna expands as the three Purusa Avataras of Vishnu who are Karanadaksayi Vishnu laying upon the unlimited casual ocean in yoga nidra or internal meditation, creating trillions upon trillions of universes which emmante unlimitedly from His pores during one exhalation.. They are ruled by His expansion of Garbodayaksayi Vishnu who served by Laksmi-devi, rules each universe and expands as all the avataras or incarnations throughout creation who manifest in various universes according to time, circumstances and schedule. From Garbodayaksayi Vishnu is expanded Ksisrodaksayi Vishnu who enters into the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being in all of existence as Paramatma; maintaining and sustaining each and every jiva throughout all creation as one undivided reality.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna expounds upon the supreme soul which is transcendent to both ksarah or fallible and the aksarah or infallible respectively as the conditioned and the liberated. This supreme soul is designated as paramatma in all the Vedic scriptures. The very epithet of parama meaning exaltedly supreme reveals that paramatma is distinctly unique and different from even the atma or immortal soul. All the atmas collectively in all of creation comprise the spiritual form of paramatma which penetrates all creation sustaining and maintaining it. The word loka means world and because it is written as lokyate it refers to the three classifications of worlds. One of them is achetana the inanimate worlds. Two is buddha- chetana or the animate worlds mixed with the inanimate worlds. Three is the unlimited and eternally liberated spiritual worlds. It is these three categories of worlds and all the jivas or embodied beings upon them that the Supreme Lord Krishna pervades and permeates, maintains and sustains by the fact that all the worlds are originally generated by Him. As the soveriegn creator of all creation this makes Him distinctly different from everything else yet at the same time a part of it. Because He alone is infinite it can be comprehended that only He can be distinctly different from the finite consisting of the inanimate, the animate, the jivas in bondage and those who have achieved liberation.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Lord Krishna refers again to the Supreme Lord whom is the ultimate goal to attain and the most worthy and whose divine opulence is expressed as the sun and the moon. He explains that the Supreme Lord is transcendental and different from both ksarah or perishable and aksarah or imperishable. The Supreme Lord is indestructible, eternal and infallible. He is the highest reality, the ultimate controller of prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence as well as the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Having integrated Himself as paramatma the Supreme soul within the etheric heart of each and every jiva or embodied being; the Supreme Lord maintains and sustains them along with all of creation.

Sloka 15.18 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपि चोत्तमः |
अतोऽस्मि लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः ||१५- १८||

yasmAtkSharamatIto.ahamakSharAdapi chottamaH |
ato.asmi loke vede cha prathitaH puruShottamaH || 15-18 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.18

Anvaya: yasmat–because; ksaram–the fallible; atitah–transcendental; aham–I; aksarat–from the infallible; api–better than that; ca–and; uttamah–the best; atah–therefore; asmi–I am; loke–in the world; vede–in the Vedic literature; ca–and; prathitah–celebrated; purusa-uttamah–as the Supreme Personality.

Translation: Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and the infallible, and because I am the greatest, I am celebrated both in the world and in the Vedas as that Supreme Person.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

In this verse the Supreme Lord Krishna confirms His position as Purusottama the Supreme Being of all existence by His validation of transcendence to both the ksarah or perishable and aksarah or imperishable; along with all jivas or embodied beings in bondage as well as those liberated from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Therfore throughout creation and in the Vedic scriptures He is celebrated and reknown as Purusottama. The Brihadaranya Upanisad V.VI.I beginning manomayo-ayam puruso states: The resplendent supreme being is the ruler and lord of all governing all that exists.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The reality of the Supreme Lord Krishna’s transcendence to both the ksarah or perishable which includes all jivas or embodied beings as well as aksarah or imperishable including all the atmas or immortal souls. He is celebrated and gloridied as Purusottama the Supreme Being. The word loke obviously means worlds but due to its proximity to vede meaning the Vedas it can refer to the smriti’s such as the Vishnu Purana V.XVII.XXXIII which states: Incarnations of Purusottama descending from Vishnu are without a beginning, middle or end. An example from sruti is the Chandogya Upanisad VIII.XII.III beginning: evamevaisa samprasado asma charirat samuthaya param states: Achieving liberation the spiritsoul attains a glorious effulgent form revelling in its position at the feet of the Supreme Being. So in conclusion loke vede can mean that the Supreme Lord celebrated as Purusottama is glorified in both sections of the Vedic scriptures known as sruti and smriti and it can mean that He is glorifeied in all the worlds.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

One may not comprehend that the Supreme Being and Lord Krishna are the same because of the fact that Lord Krishna, Himself refers to the Supreme being as interpenetrating all the worlds. To remove any vestiges of misunderstanding Lord Krishna construes this verse with the etymological expression of the preceeding verse with Himself in the first person singular stating: Since I am transcendental to ksarah which is the perishable, the insentient, material nature as well as transcendental to aksarah the imperishable, the eternal, the atma or immortal soul; the Supreme Lord is known as Purusottama the Supreme Being. The Svetasvatara Upanisad VI.XVI beginning sa vishva krid vishva avid atma states: The Supreme Being is the creator of everything as well as the knower of everything. He is also the absolute controller of everything. He is the cause of liberation from material existence by the jivas or embodied beings and it is due to aversion to Him that jivas are entangled in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. The Vishnu Sahasranama, verse 16 is states that the Supreme Lord is paramount among all beings. The Puranas glorify Him as the Supreme Sovereign of all that exists and the Narada Pancaratra states: O Supreme Lord as you are the Supreme Being you must save me for I am extremely unfortunate drowning in the ocean of material existence. In this way Lord Krishna is known in the world and in the Vedic scriptures as Purusottama.

Sloka 15.19 audio recital in Sanskrit     

यो मामेवमसम्मूढो जानाति पुरुषोत्तमम् |
स सर्वविद्भजति मां सर्वभावेन भारत ||१५- १९||

yo mAmevamasammUDho jAnAti puruShottamam.h |
sa sarvavidbhajati mAM sarvabhAvena bhArata || 15-19 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.19

Anvaya: yah–anyone; mam–unto Me; evam–certainly; asammudhah–without a doubt; janati–knows; purusa-uttamam–the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sah–he; sarva-vit–knower of everything; bhajati–renders devotional service; mam–unto Me; sarva-bhavena–in all respects; bharata–O son of Bharata.

Translation: Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is to be understood as the knower of everything, and He therefore engages himself in full devotional service, O son of Bharata.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The unequivocal result of one who is cognizant of the Supreme Lord Krishna’s eternal and paramount position as th ultimate reality is that they no longer are subject to delusion and illusion offerring in all respects themselves and everything they possess unto Him exclusively in propitiation and worship expressing the quintessential truth of all existence.

There is no commentary for this verse. Awaiting contributions.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

Whosoever who has developed and evolved their consciousness to become spiritually intelligent enough to realise Lord Krishna’s paramount supreme position as the creator, maintainer, sustainer and pervader of all that exists knows everything essential which means everything that is to be know as the means to attain Him by the fact that one knows. Such a one serves the Supreme Lord in every way which means whatever ways of worship have been ordained to attain Him such a one has accomplished them by dint of this service. By realising Lord Krishna thus as Purusottama the Supreme Being of all beings and devoted exclusively to Him one is assured His love and protection the same which may be gained by various activities of service and worship to Him that are revealed in the Vedic scriptures. Thus this aforementioned knowledge of Pususottama has been duly eulogised.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Now Lord Krishna declares the results one acquires by knowing Him as the ultimate, absolute, paramount supremacy to all that exists. Those who are not subject to illusion and delusion, who can discriminate between between the physical body and the atma or immortal soul and have realised that He is Purusottama the Supreme being. These are the jivas or embodied beings that are all knowing for they have perceived the essence as well as the goal of all existence. This is confirmed in the Chandogya Upanisad III.XIV.VI beginning sarvakarmi sarvakamah sarvagandhah sarvarash meaning: The Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, the supreme divinity, possessing all transcendental qualities and endowed with glorious, blissful accruements, whose immanence is all pervading. In chapter 7, verse 7 Lord Krishna has already revealed that there is nothing higher then Him. Thus the spiritually evolved propitiate and worship Lord Krishna with bhakti or exclusive loving devotion by speech with prayers to Him, by voice with songs of hommage to Him, by sacred actions dedicated to Him and by a mind totally absorbed in love for Him. Except for the Supreme Lord Krishna who exists within the innermost etheric heart of all jivas or embodied beings as Paramatma the Supreme Soul: there is none else more worthy of adoration then Him. It is stated in the Moksa Dharma known as the Mahabharata that the demigods take refuge in Shiva, who in turn takes shelter of Brahma, who in turn takes refuge in the Supreme Lord; but the Supreme Lord Krishna takes refuge in nothing. The knowers of the ultimate truth do not worship Brahma, Shiva, the demigods or any other god because they cannot equate to the paramount position of the Supreme Lord Krishna in any way. Neither is it possible for any of them to bestow the unequivocal, absolute knowledge that Lord Krishna bequeaths in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Sloka 15.20 audio recital in Sanskrit     

इति गुह्यतमं शास्त्रमिदमुक्तं मयानघ |
एतद्बुद्ध्वा बुद्धिमान्स्यात्कृतकृत्यश्च भारत ||१५- २०||

iti guhyatamaM shAstramidamuktaM mayAnagha |
etadbud.hdhvA buddhimAnsyAtkR^itakR^ityashcha bhArata || 15-20 ||


Show Translation, Anvaya and Commentaries: Sloka 15.20

Anvaya: iti–thus; guhya-tamam–the most confidential; sastram–revealed scripture; idam–this; uktam–disclosed; maya–by Me; anagha–O sinless one; etat–this; buddhva–understanding; buddhi-man–intelligent; syat–one becomes; krta-krtyah–the most perfect; ca–and; bharata–O son of Bharata.

Translation: This is the most confidential part of the Vedic scriptures, O sinless one, and it is disclosed now by Me. Whoever understands this will become wise, and his endeavors will know perfection.

Commentaries of the four authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

Sridhara Swami’s Commentary:

The subject matter of this chapter has been concluded. In a very concise way the Supreme Lord Krishna has revealed this most secret and esoteric doctrine and expanded it in full within these 20 verses. Whosoever learns and practices this doctrine becomes truly emlightened and accomplished in all their duties and responsibilities. So it goes without saying that Arjuna who has been instructed by Lord Krishna and understands this doctrine will be victorious in the battle of Kuruksetra as all his duties and responsibilities can be considered accomplished. The resplendent Supreme Lord Krishna having cut asunder the mundane tree of materialistic existence at the root revealed the results by His unequivocal teachings of the ultimate truth.

Madhvacarya’s Commentary:

Brahma, Shiva, demi-gods such as Indra, Surya, Agni, Vayu and all other jivas or embodied beings are ksarah or perishable. Everything that arises from prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence is impermanent and subject to destruction. Everything that arises from the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence is aksarah or imperishable and of an eternal nature. This includes all atma’s or immortal souls. But the Supreme Lord Krishna along with all of His avatars or incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures are all transcendental and distinctly different to both the ksarah or aksarah. The word kuta-sthah spoken earlier in verse 16 means the eternal associates of the Supreme Lord such as Sri Laxsmi-devi, who is also of an eternal nature as the shakti or feminine potency of the Supreme Lord always in direct service of Lord Krishna who is known as Purusottama the Supreme Being.

Ramanuja’s Commentary:

The Supreme Lord Krishna considering Arjuna to be of a divine nature and a worthy recepient revealed the revelation of His aspect of Purusottama the absolute Supreme Being which is the confidential secret of all secrets. One who knows this shall become perpetually spiritually enlightened; acquiring all the attributes and wisdom by which one aspiring to attain Lord Krishna will possess. Such a one will have accomplished all works and duties and the result of every activity needed to attain Lord Krishna by renunciation and penance will in fact be acquired.

This chapter which gives complete knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna’s aspect of Purusottama that has been substantiated by the Vedic scriptures is alone sufficient to to accomplish what is stated in this verse. That this spiritual knowledge in itself is enough to manifest spiritual enlightenment and all that arises from it without having direct contact with the Supreme Being known as Purusottama as that is not a requirement for success.

Chapter 15 has clearly delineated an explicit explanation of the three fundamentals of all existence which are Isvara the Supreme Lord, cit or sentient consciousness and achit or insentient matter which combined delivers a complete comprehensive solution to the meaning and mystery of existence throughout creation. This is the ontological thesis of Sri Ramanuja’s qualified monism philosophy of Visisthadvaita-veda which states that although all the energies of the Supreme Lord are one they each retain their individuality.

Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary:

Thus in this chapter the Supreme Lord Krishna summarised the import of the Vedas, the Puranas and all Vedic scriptures. Extolling this sacred topic which He expanded upon in a concise way as the confidential secret of all secrets in the revelation of His aspect of Purusottama the Supreme Being. Simultaneously He has also given a gloss in an abridged form of the essence of the complete Bhagavad-Gita. In conclusion he has declared that those who have embraced this knowledge will become spiritually enlightened and achieve their topmost well being. They have actually accomplished everything they needed to accomplish because after attaining the knowledge of Lord Krishna as the absolute Supreme Being there is nothing left needing to be accomplished. The vocative Bharata referring to Arjuna’s illustrious heritage implies that he as His devotee will surely attain these things without fail and that not only he but anyone not inimical to Lord Krishna who embraces this knowledge can become spiritually enlightened and fully satisfied as well.

I take full refuge in the Supreme Lord Krishna, He who is the most worthy of knowing and the goal of the Vedas, who in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita became the spiritual master and taught the conclusions of the Vedic scriptures. Who is totally different and distinct from both ksarah the perishable and aksarah the imperishable being transcendental to them although both originate from Him. He is omnipotent, ominisicent and omni-present and whose divine opulences such as trillions of luminous suns are unlimited.

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