Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 3.39, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 39 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 3.39:

आवृतं ज्ञानम् एतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्य-वैरिणा ।
काम-रूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन च ॥ ३९ ॥

āvṛtaṃ jñānam etena jñānino nitya-vairiṇā |
kāma-rūpeṇa kaunteya duṣpūreṇānalena ca
|| 39 ||

āvṛtam–covered; jñānam–knowledge of discrimination; etena–by this; jñāninaḥ–of the wise (living entity); nitya-vairiṇā–by his eternal enemy; kāma-rūpeṇa–in the form of lust; kaunteya–O Arjuna; duṣpūreṇa–never to be satisfied; analena–like fire; ca–also.

O Arjuna, the true knowledge of the wise living entity is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust. This lust burns like fire and can never be satiated.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Lust is indeed ignorance for all jīvas, as Śrī Bhagavān is explaining in this verse beginning with āvṛtam. The desire to enjoy the sense objects has been described as the eternal enemy; therefore, it must be destroyed by all means. Understand that kāma-rūpa (the form of lust) means that ignorance is non-different from lust. It is indeed ignorance that envelops the real nature of the jīva. Here the word ca has been used to mean ‘like’. Just as fire cannot be satiated by pouring ghee on to it, similarly, lust cannot be fulfilled by enjoying the sense objects.

It is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.19.14):

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

Fire is not satiated by ghee; rather it increases. Similarly, by enjoying sense objects, the thirst for sense enjoyment increases more and more. It does not become pacified.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Lust is the root cause of lamentation and distress and has been compared to fire:

kāmānalaṃ madhu-lavaiḥ śamayan durāpaiḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.9.25)

Lust can never be satisfied by enjoying the sense objects. It is like a fire that cannot be extinguished by drops of honey in the form of momentary satisfaction.

evaṃ gṛheṣv abhirato viṣayān vividhaiḥ sukhaiḥ
sevamāno na cātuṣyad ājya-stokair ivānalaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.6.48)

The sage Saubhari Muni was not able to attain peace by profusely enjoying sense objects, just as fire is not pacified when drops of ghee are poured on it.

sevato varṣa-pūgān me urvaśyā adharāśavam
na tṛpyaty ātma-bhūḥ kāmo vahnir āhutibhir yathā Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam

Even after I had served the so-called nectar of the lips of Urvaśī for many years, within my heart my lusty desires kept rising again and again and were never satisfied, just like fire, which can never be extinguished by the oblations of ghee poured into its flames.*

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “This lust is indeed ignorance for the jīvas and is their eternal enemy. It covers the conscious jīvas like an overwhelming fire. Just as I, Śrī Bhagavān, am a conscious being, similarly the jīva is also a conscious entity. The difference between My nature and that of the jīva is that I am infinitely conscious and omnipotent, whereas the jīva is atomically conscious and can only act because of the energy I give him. The eternal occupation of the jīva is to be My eternal servant. This is called prema, or niṣkāma-jaiva-dharma, the eternal, selfless, unalloyed function of the living entity. Every conscious being, by his constitutional nature, is endowed with free will. It is therefore by his own free will that he is My eternal servant. According to the degree to which he properly uses this free will, he can act as My eternal servant. The misuse of that pure free will is called ignorance (avidyā) or lust (kāma). Those jīvas who do not serve Me by correctly using their free will have to accept lust, an enjoying mood, which is the perverted form of the jīvas’ pure state, prema. As they become more and more covered by degrees of this lust, they gradually become like inert matter. This is called karma-bandhana, the bondage of the living entity due to karma. It is also called saṃsāra-yātanā, the journey of agonizing birth and death.”

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