Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 2.41, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 41 from the chapter 2 called “Sankhya-yoga (Yoga through distinguishing the Soul from the Body)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.41:

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिर् एकेह कुरु-नन्दन ।
बहु-शाखा ह्य् अनन्ताश् च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् ॥ ४१ ॥

vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana |
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca buddhayo'vyavasāyinām || 41 ||

vyavasāya-ātmikā–of a resolute nature; buddhiḥ–intelligence; ekā–one-pointed; iha–on this path of bhakti;kuru-nandana–O child of the Kurus; bahu-śākhāḥ–many-branched;hi–certainly; anantāḥ–endlessly; ca–and; buddhayaḥ–the intelligence; avyavasāyinām–of the irresolute (opposed to bhakti).

O son of the Kuru dynasty, the resolute intelligence of those who are on this path of bhakti is one-pointed, but the intelligence of those who are averse to bhakti branches endlessly.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Of all types of intelligence, intelligence that is aimed at bhakti-yoga is supreme. Bhagavān explains this by speaking the above verse beginning with vyavasāya: “Resolute intelligence in bhakti-yoga is one-pointed.” He describes the mood of one who possesses such intelligence as follows: “The instructions that my gurudeva has given me about śravaṇam, kīrtanam, smaraṇam, pāda-sevanam, etc. of Śrī Bhagavān are my spiritual practice, my perfection and my very life. I am unable to relinquish them in either the stage of practice (sādhana) or in the stage of perfection (sādhya). My single desire and only engagement is to follow those instructions. Besides this, I have no other desire or engagement, even in my dreams. There is no loss for me, whether I attain happiness or misery by following them, or whether my material life is destroyed or not.” This type of resolute intelligence is possible only in pure bhakti, which is free from hypocrisy and cheating.

It is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.28):

tato bhajeta māṃ prītaḥ, śraddhālur dṛḍha-niścayaḥ

Knowing that all perfection is achieved through bhakti alone, a man of resolute faith will perform bhajana of Me, with devotion.

Only by bhakti can intelligence become one-pointed. Śrī Bhagavān elaborates on this by referring to that which has many branches (bahu-śākhāḥ). Because there are unlimited desires in karma-yoga, the intelligence that is applied to it is also of unlimited types. Similarly, because in karma-yoga there are unlimited varieties of sādhana, or practices, it has unlimited branches. In the initial stage of jñāna-yoga, one fixes one’s intelligence in selfless action, to purify the heart. When the heart is purified, the practitioner fixes his intelligence in the renunciation of fruitive action, or karma-sannyāsa. Having attained this stage, one then fixes one’s intelligence in knowledge, or jñāna. When one realizes that even jñāna is unsuccessful and unable to grant service to the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān, one fixes one’s intelligence in bhakti. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.19.1) it is said, “jñānaṃ ca mayi sannyasetjñāna must also be offered to Me.”

According to the above statement of Śrī Bhagavān, after attaining the stage of jñāna, one has to fix one’s intelligence in the renunciation of jñāna. Therefore, intelligence is of unlimited varieties. Since karma, jñāna and bhakti all ought to be performed, their branches are also unlimited.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

Of the three types of buddhi-yoga karma, jñāna and bhakti–only that intelligence (buddhi) which is related to pure bhakti-yoga is supreme. The exclusive aim and object of the primary form of bhakti-yoga is Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and that intelligence which is related only to Him is called aikāntikī or ananyā (one-pointed or exclusive). The practitioners of such exclusive devotion are free from the desires for mundane enjoyment and liberation; thus they are non-duplicitous and their intelligence resolute. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.28) as follows: “They resolutely think, ‘Even if there are millions of obstacles in the performance of my bhajana, even if I lose my life, if I have to go to hell because of offences or if lust overpowers me, I can never give up bhakti, whatever the circumstance may be. I will not perform jñāna and karma, even if Lord Brahmā himself orders me to. Under no circumstances can I give up bhakti.’ Only this type of determination can be called unflinching, or niścayātmikā buddhi.”

Due to lack of such exclusive niṣṭhā in Bhagavān, a person’s intelligence remains engaged in karma-yoga and jñana-yoga. His intelligence is called many-branched because of a variety of aims and objectives, such as the pleasures in this world or the next that are related to profit (lābha), adoration (pūjā) and distinction (pratiṣṭhā). His intelligence is filled with unlimited desires.

According to the Vaiṣṇava spiritual masters, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself is the non-dual, original, Supreme Absolute Reality. He is called nirguṇa due to His being simultaneously beyond the material qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance and also endowed with all transcendental qualities such as opulence, sweetness, compassion and affection for His devotees. However, modern people who are uneducated and bereft of tattva-jñāna and whose intelligence is covered by illusion, consider brahma, the Absolute Truth, to be without transformations (nirvikāra), without variety (nirviśeṣa) and untainted (nirañjana). They accept Him as being beyond the modes of nature, in a mundane sense only.

They consider the pastime incarnations (līlā-avatāras) of the Lord to be the impersonal brahma but covered by māyā, and that His form and His qualities such as compassion are illusory and therefore material like their own. They say that by worshipping brahma endowed with material qualities (saguṇa-brahma), their hearts will gradually become purified and they will become one with the impersonal brahma devoid of material qualities (nirguṇa-brahma).

The establishment of such conclusions is as useless as trying to strike the sky, because scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gītā, which describe the transcendental form and characteristics of Śrī Bhagavān, refute this despicable concept in every regard. Therefore, pure devotion to the transcendental Absolute Reality, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is endowed with all transcendental qualities, is called nirguṇā-bhakti. In Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī’s commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.29.11), he explains nirguṇā-bhakti to be of one kind only, one-pointed (aikāntika). Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.29.7–10) that because sakāma-bhakti is performed with various material desires, it has unlimited branches such as tāmasika-sakāma-bhakti, materially motivated devotion mixed with the material mode of ignorance.

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