Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 5.1, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 1 from the chapter 5 called “Karma-sannyasa-yoga (Yoga through Renunciation of Action)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 5.1:

अर्जुन उवाच–
सन्न्यासं कर्मणां कृष्ण पुनर् योगं च शंससि ।
यच् छ्रेय एतयोर् एकं तन् मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम् ॥ १ ॥

arjuna uvāca
sannyāsaṃ karmaṇāṃ kṛṣṇa punar yogaṃ ca śaṃsasi |
yac chreya etayor ekaṃ tan me brūhi suniścitam || 1 ||

arjuna uvāca–Arjuna said; sannyāsam–renunciation; karmaṇām–of actions; kṛṣṇa–O Kṛṣṇa; punaḥ–thereafter; yogam–of karma-yoga; ca–and; śaṃsasi–You are praising; yat–which; śreyaḥ–auspicious; etayoḥ–of these two; ekam tat–that one; me–for me; brūhi–please tell; suniścitam–positively.

Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, after first praising the renunciation of action, You are now praising niṣkāma-karma-yoga, action offered to Bhagavān without attachment to its fruit. Please tell me definitively which of these two is auspicious for me.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Karma has been described as being superior to jñāna in order to encourage ignorant people to perform their prescribed duty properly and thus ultimately achieve unswerving perfection in knowledge. This Fifth Chapter explains knowledge of the Absolute Truth (tat-padārtha) and the characteristics of those whose nature is even-tempered. After hearing the last two verses of the previous chapter, Arjuna has become doubtful, thinking that Kṛṣṇa has contradicted Himself, and in this verse beginning with sannyāsaṃ karmaṇām, he poses a question: “In the verse yoga-sannyasta (Gītā 4. 41), You spoke of the renunciation of prescribed duties, or karma-sannyāsa, which appears when knowledge comes by worshipping Bhagavān by selflessly offering Him the fruits of one’s work (niṣkāma-karma-yoga). In the verse tasmad ajñāna (Gītā 4.42), You have again spoken about niṣkāma-karma-yoga. But the renunciation of action and the yoga of selfless action are opposite in nature, like moving and non-moving entities. It is not possible for a person to perform them simultaneously. Should a jñānī renounce his prescribed duty or should he worship the Supreme Lord by selflessly offering Him the fruit of that duty? I have not understood Your intention on this subject and am asking You to please tell me for certain which of these two is auspicious for me.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

In the Second Chapter, Śrī Kṛṣṇa instructed Arjuna how to perform niṣkāma-karma-yoga in order to attain knowledge that dispels ignorance. In the Third Chapter, He explained that when one has attained knowledge of the self (ātma-jñāna), there is no need to engage in one’s prescribed duties (karma), because karma-yoga is included in jñāna-yoga. It is a sign of ignorance to consider jñāna to be separate from karma. Upon concluding this, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa went on to say in the Fourth Chapter that to attain steadiness in transcendental knowledge, by which one obtains knowledge of the self (ātma-jñāna), it is appropriate to first adopt niṣkāma-karma-yoga, selflessly offering the fruit of one’s work to Bhagavān. Arjuna knows that these topics are very difficult to grasp, and he is inquiring from Kṛṣṇa as if ignorant, so that common people may easily understand. Initially, Kṛṣṇa declared the renunciation of prescribed duty, or jñāna-yoga, to be superior. Now, however, He is again giving instructions on niṣkāma-karma-yoga. Arjuna has said, “Since these instructions are contradictory, it is impossible for someone to follow both at once; it is as impossible as simultaneous movement and stillness, or light and darkness. Please can you tell me clearly which of these two will bring me auspiciousness?” This is Arjuna’s fifth question.

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