Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 4.1, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 1 from the chapter 4 called “Jnana-Yoga (Yoga through Transcendental Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 4.1:

श्री भगवान् उवाच–
इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवान् अहम् अव्ययम् ।
विवस्वान् मनवे प्राह मनुर् इक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत् ॥ १ ॥

śrī bhagavān uvāca
imaṃ vivasvate yogaṃ proktavān aham avyayam |
vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave'bravīt || 1 ||

śrī bhagavān uvāca–Śrī Bhagavān said; imam–this; vivasvate–unto the sun-god; yogam–science of yoga;proktavān–instructed; aham–I; avyayam–imperishable; vivasvān–Vivasvān, the sun-god; manave–unto Manu (the father of mankind); prāha–told it; manuḥ–Manu; ikṣvākave–unto Ikṣvāku; abravīt–spoke.

Śrī Bhagavān said: I instructed this eternal science of yoga to the sun-god Vivasvān, who instructed it to Manu. Manu then instructed it to Ikṣvāku.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

In the Fourth Chapter, Śrī Bhagavān explains the reasons for His appearance, the eternal nature of His birth and activities, and the superiority of transcendental knowledge (jñāna) in the form of study of the Vedas. The path of spiritual advancement through transcendental knowledge (jñāna-yoga), which is the objective of selflessly performing one’s prescribed duties (niṣkāma-karma), is glorified in this verse beginning with imam, as well as in the next chapter.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

In every manvantara, an incarnation of Manu appears, the initial manvatara being Svāyambhuva Manu. The first person to receive instructions on jñāna-yoga in the current Vaivasvata-manvantara was Manu’s father, Vivasvān, the sun-god. In this verse, Śrī Bhagavān introduces the concept of a sampradāya, a bona fide succession of self-realized spiritual masters. Without this unbroken spiritual lineage, neither jñāna-tattva nor bhakti-tattva can manifest in their pure form in the material world. This disciplic succession is also known as āmnāya-paramparā. Only by this disciplic line are the gravity, antiquity and significance of the subject specifically proven. It is seen that in India, even the common people have faith in the ancient disciplic lineage and are devoted to it. That guru-paramparā, or disciplic succession, which bestows complete knowledge of bhagavat-tattva, is called āmnāya, or sampradāya. Mantras that are not received from a bona fide sampradāya are fruitless. In this present age of Kali, there are four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas: (1) Śrī (Lakṣmī), (2) Brahmā, (3) Rudra and (4) Sanaka, or the four sons of Brahmā known as the Kumāras. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all four sampradāyas. Only from Śrī Kṛṣṇa does real knowledge of the Supreme Person flow into this material world. “Dharmaṃ tu sākṣād bhāgavat-praṇītam–real religion comes directly from Śrī Bhagavān” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.3.19).

As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa first instructed this knowledge to Vivasvān, the sun-god, who then instructed Manu. Manu in turn gave these divine instructions to Ikṣvāku. Thus the system of disciplic succession, or guru-paramparā, is an ancient and reliable tradition that ensures the continuation of the sampradāya, or lineage. By it, divine knowledge has been preserved to the present day. Whenever this line is broken, Śrī Bhagavān again arranges for it to manifest in the material world. Exalted pure devotees, or mahā-bhāgavatas, such as Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa and others in the guru-paramparā of the Brahma-Mādhva-Gauḍīya sampradāya, realized this divine knowledge and instructed the common people on it through their realized commentaries. Unless a person is properly situated in this disciplic succession, he can never understand the real import of Bhagavad-gītā, even if he is highly qualified in terms of material knowledge.

It is important to protect oneself from self-made commentators; otherwise, realization of the true meaning of Bhagavad-gītā will not be possible. Although milk is pure and nourishing, when it has been touched by the lips of a snake, it acts like poison. Similarly, topics of Śrī Hari are supremely purifying for the material world, but when they are recited by non-devotees such as impersonalists or those who consider the body to be the self, hearing such topics becomes the cause of one’s destruction. In this connection, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has also said, “māyāvādī-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa–if one hears the commentary of the impersonalists, everything is destroyed” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 6.169).

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