Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 3.37, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 37 from the chapter 3 called “Karma-yoga (Yoga through the Path of Action)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 3.37:

श्री भगवान् उवाच–
काम एष क्रोध एष रजो-गुण-समुद्भवः ।
महाशनो महा-पाप्मा विद्ध्य् एनम् इह वैरिणम् ॥ ३७ ॥

śrī bhagavān uvāca
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ |
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā viddhy enam iha vairiṇam || 37 ||

śrī bhagavān uvāca–Śrī Bhagavān said; kāmaḥ eṣaḥ–this desire (to enjoy sense objects); krodhaḥ eṣaḥ–(transformed into) this wrath; rajaḥ-guṇa–the binding force of passion; samudbhavaḥ–which is born of; mahā-āśanaḥ–all devouring; mahā-pāpmā–extremely fearsome; viddhi–know; enam–this; iha–in this world; vairiṇam–the enemy.

Śrī Bhagavān said: This lust, the desire to enjoy sense objects, which indeed transforms into wrath, is born of passion. It is all-devouring and extremely fearsome. Know it to be the primary enemy of the living entities in this world.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Kāma, the desire for sense objects, invariably engages a person in sinful actions. Impelled by it, he acts sinfully. This lust appears in a different form as anger (krodha). This is directly seen. When the desire for sense objects is obstructed, it transforms into anger. This lust, which is born from the material mode of passion, gives rise to anger, which is in the mode of ignorance. One may ask, “Will a person’s passion for sense objects be satiated once his desires are fulfilled?” Śrī Bhagavān responds by saying, “mahā-śanah–it is all-devouring.”

In the Smṛtis it is said:

yat pṛthivyāṃ vrīhi-yavaṃ hiraṇyaṃ paśavaḥ striyaḥ
nālam ekasya tat sarvam iti matvā śamaṃ vrajet

All the grains, barley, gold, animals, women and so forth on Earth cannot satisfy the lust of even one man.

It is best to understand this and become content. According to the above statement of the Smṛtis, it is beyond a person’s ability to satisfy his lust, or kāma. Again, the question is raised, “If there is no possibility of controlling this lust by offering it its desired ends as a truce, then do we have to control it by pacifying it with sweet words, or bringing allies into our ranks to weaken it?” In response, Śrī Bhagavān says, “mahā-pāpmā–it is extremely formidable and difficult to control.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Lust and greed have been described as the prime enemies of those jīvas on the path toward liberation. Kāma, the desire to enjoy sense objects, is specifically the original enemy. Krodha, anger, is just one of its transformations. Lust has been described as mahāśan, ‘an enemy whose belly is never filled’.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.19.14) this is seen in the life history of Yayāti Mahārāja:

na jātu kāmaḥ kāmānām upabhogena śāṃyati
haviṣā kṛṣṇa-vartmeva bhūya evābhivardhate

By adding ghee to a fire, the fire becomes intensified. Similarly, by the fulfilment of lusty desires, one’s desires are intensified. They do not disappear.

yat pṛthivyāṃ vrīhi-yavaṃ hiraṇyaṃ paśavaḥ striyaḥ
na duhyanti manaḥ-prītiṃ puṃsaḥ kāma-hatasya te

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.19.13)

All the grains, barley, gold, animals, women and so forth on Earth cannot satisfy the lust of even one man.

An enemy is controlled by the four principles: appeasement (sāma), bribery (dāma), division [of power] (bheda) and punishment (daṇḍa). Here Śrī Bhagavān is explaining that this formidable enemy, lust, cannot be controlled by the principles of appeasement, bribery or dividing it to weaken its force. He is thus indicating that one should use the principle of punishment (daṇḍa) to control the desire for sense objects. This will be further clarified in the next verse. The enemy, lust, can be destroyed when one acquires the weapon of knowledge of the self (ātma-jñāna).

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