Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 4.8, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 8 from the chapter 4 called “Jnana-Yoga (Yoga through Transcendental Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 4.8:

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्म-संस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥ ८ ॥

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṃ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām |
dharma-saṃsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge
|| 8 ||

paritrāṇāya–for the protection; sādhūnām–of My (one-pointed) devotees; vināśāya–for the destruction; ca–and; duṣkṛtām–of evil-doers; dharma-saṃsthāpana–establishing religion; arthāya–for the purpose; sambhavāmi–I appear; yuge yuge–in every age.

To protect My unalloyed devotees, to annihilate the wicked and to firmly establish religion, I appear in every age.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

“O Arjuna, a question may arise in your heart regarding the need for Me to appear, when saintly kings, highly learned brāhmaṇa sages and My devotees are capable of rectifying the decline of religion and the increase of irreligion. Listen to My answer. Although it is true that they can do this work, I personally appear in order to perform acts that are impossible for others. To explain this, I have spoken this verse beginning with paritrāṇāya. Paritrāṇāya (protecting the saintly devotees) refers to protecting the acutely eager hearts of My exclusive, one-pointed devotees who are suffering from an intense hankering to take darśana of Me. Just to remove that suffering I manifest Myself. Duṣkṛtām means that I appear to annihilate Rāvaṇa, Kaṃsa, Keśī and the other demons who give pain to My devotees and who cannot be killed by anyone else. Dharma-saṃsthāpanārthāya means that I advent in order to perfectly establish the supreme, eternal religion, which is endowed with the characteristics of bhajana, meditation, service to Me, the congregational chanting of the holy name and so forth. It is impossible for others to do this. Yuge yuge means that I appear in every yuga (age) or kalpa (day of Lord Brahmā). Although I punish the miscreants, one should not assume that I am guilty of being biased. By killing these miscreants with My own hands, I protect them from going to hell for their sinful deeds, and I deliver them from material existence. You should consider this punishment to be My mercy.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Śrī Bhagavān establishes varṇāśrama-dharma by transmitting His potency into the hearts of His prominent saintly devotees in the royal and brahminical orders. However, Bhagavān Himself descends for three reasons: (1) to pacify the afflictions of those devotees who are suffering in separation from Him, (2) to kill demons like Kaṃsa who strongly oppose the saintly persons and who cannot be killed by others, and (3) to propagate the message of pure devotion.

While defining the word avatāra, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda writes, “avatāraś ca prākṛta-vaibhave’vataraṇam iti–Śrī Bhagavān’s descent to this material creation is known as avatāra.”

Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has elucidated on the same point in different words: “aprapañcāt prapañce’vataraṇaṃ khalv avatāraḥ–Bhagavān’s descent from His unmanifest eternal abode to the mundane plane is called avatāra.”

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is avatārī, the origin of unlimited avatāras. He is therefore called Svayam Bhagavān, the Original Supreme Person who has no cause other than Himself. His avatāras are of six types: (1) puruṣa-avatāra, (2) guṇa-avatāra, (3) līlā-avatāra, (4) manvantara-avatāra, (5) yuga-avatāra and (6) śaktyāveśa-avatāra. This is all stated in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, Chapter Twenty.

There are four ages, or yugas: Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.20), it is stated that Kṛṣṇa appears in all of them:

kṛtaṃ tretā dvāparaṃ ca kalir ity eṣu keśavaḥ
nānā-varṇābhidhākāro nānaiva vidhinejyate

One day of Lord Brahmā’s life span is called a kalpa. There are fourteen different incarnations of Manu called manvantaras in each kalpa. There are one thousand catur-yugas (complete cycles of the four ages) in one day of Brahmā. According to the calculations of human solar years, one day of Brahmā equals 4,320,000,000 years. Three hundred and sixty such days make one year of Brahmā, and Brahmā lives for one hundred such years.

Although Bhagavān kills the wicked demons, He remains aloof from their faults. In other words, He is free from the imperfection of being biased; His killing them is only an exhibition of His mercy upon them. Commenting on the verse ajasya janmotpatha-nāśanāya (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.1.44), Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura writes, “Although Bhagavān is unborn (aja), He descends to annihilate and liberate the demons, who impede the path of truth.”

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī has also commented in a similar manner:

lālane tāḍane mātur nākāruṇya yathārbhake
tadvad eva maheśasya niyantur guṇa-doṣayoḥ

Just as an affectionate mother is not considered hard-hearted or harsh if she chastises her child in the course of raising and caring for him, the Supreme Lord, Parameśvara, is also not cruel when He disciplines the jīvas to bring out their good qualities and diminish their bad ones.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has quoted Śrī Kṛṣṇa as follows: “I establish varṇāśrama-dharma by infusing My potency into the royal and brahminical saints who are devoted to Me. However, in order to protect My foremost pure devotees from non-devotees, there is a need for My incarnations to appear. Thus appearing as the yuga-avatāra, the incarnation for each age, I protect the saintly devotees. By eliminating the wicked demons, I redress the decline in religion, and by preaching the limbs of bhakti, such as hearing (śravaṇa) and chanting (kīrtana), I establish the eternal religion of the living entities.

“‘I descend in every age.’ From this statement, one should under stand that I also descend in Kali-yuga, and in My incarnation as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, I will establish that extremely rare prema, the eternal religion of divine love, solely by the process of chanting the holy name. This incarnation has no other purpose, and therefore, it is the greatest incarnation of all. Even so, I will remain concealed from the common man. My pure devotees will naturally be attracted to Me, and you, Arjuna, will realize this when you appear with Me in that age. The most wonderful feature of this hidden avatāra, who delivers the people of Kali-yuga, is that I reform the miscreants’ wicked natures by blessing them with divine love through the chanting of the holy name (nāma-saṅkīrtana). I do not reform them by completely annihilating them, as I did in My previous incarnations.”

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