Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 5.14, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 14 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 5.14:

न कर्तृत्वं न कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः ।
न कर्म-फल-संयोगं स्वभावस् तु प्रवर्तते ॥ १४ ॥

na kartṛtvaṃ na karmāṇi lokasya sṛjati prabhuḥ |
na karma-phala-saṃyogaṃ svabhāvas tu pravartate || 14 ||

na–not; kartṛtvam–tendency to act; na karmāṇi–nor the actions; lokasya–of a person; sṛjati–creates; prabhuḥ–Parameśvara, the Supreme Lord; na–nor; karma-phala–with the fruits of action; saṃyogam–connection; svabhāvaḥ–their own acquired nature; tu–only; pravartate–enacts.

The Supreme Lord has neither created the individuals’ tendency to act, nor the actions themselves, nor the resultant fruits. All this is performed by their acquired nature, the nature impelled by the ignorance, or illusion, that has covered them since time immemorial.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Someone may question Bhagavān’s partiality. He may consider, “Throughout the material world, which God created, it is seen that jīvas consider themselves the doers of action and the enjoyers of the fruits of action. If the jīva truly has no implicit tendency to act as the doer, it would seem that the Supreme has created this tendency and forced it upon him. If this is so, then it means that He carries the defect of being partial and without mercy.”

In response to this, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “No, no, no. Na kartṛtvam.” He has used the word na three times to stress and emphatically refute this point. He has neither created the consciousness of being the doer, nor has He created the karma in the form of prescribed duties, nor the result of those prescribed duties, which is sense enjoyment. It is only the conditioned nature of the living entity–in other words, his ignorance since time immemorial–that induces him to think of himself as the performer of action.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

“The jīvas are not initiators of their own actions.” One should not conclude from this statement that the jīvas’ every action is inspired by the Supreme Lord. If this were the case, He would possess defects such as being biased and cruel. Furthermore, Bhagavān is not the agent who unites the jīva with the results of his actions. This union occurs only because of the jīva’s ignorance from time immemorial. The external, material energy in the form of ignorance activates the acquired nature of the jīva. Only those jīvas who possess such a conditioned nature, which is born of ignorance, are engaged in action by the Supreme Controller, Parameśvara. He Himself does not create the initiative within the living entities to act or not act.

Vaiṣamya-nairghṛṇye doṣair na sāpekṣatvāt tathā hi darśayati–the Supreme Person is neither cruel nor unjust, for the individual souls suffer or enjoy according to their own karma” (Brahma-sūtra 2.1.34). According to this sūtra, the Supreme Lord is completely free from such defects as being biased or cruel.

It is mentioned in the Vedas that, just as spirit (brahma) is without beginning, the jīvas’ impressions, which are the result of their previous actions, are also without beginning. The jīvas’ actions create impressions, and the Supreme Lord simply engages them in activities according to these impressions. Thus it is illogical to say that the Supreme has the defect of partiality. “Sad eva saumyedam–O gentle one, in the beginning the Supreme Personality of Godhead alone existed” (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.2.1).

The Bhaviṣya Purāṇa also states, “It is only according to the living entities’ impressions from their past actions that Śrī Viṣṇu engages them in mundane activities. Since the living entities’ impressions are without beginning, the Supreme Lord is not guilty of any defect.”

Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa explains in his Govinda-bhāṣya, “Someone may conclude that since the Supreme Lord engages a jīva in action according to the jīva’s past impressions of his actions, we can conclude that the Lord is also not independent but also under the influence of karma. The response is, ‘No, this is not correct, since in reality even karma exists under His control.’ The Lord engages the jīva in action according to the nature he has acquired since time immemorial. Although the Lord can change this nature, He never does. Thus, in all circumstances, He is free from partiality.”

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