Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 5.16, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 16 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 5.16:

ज्ञानेन तु तद् अज्ञानं येषां नाशितम् आत्मनः ।
तेषाम् आदित्य-वज् ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत् परम् ॥ १६ ॥

jñānena tu tad ajñānaṃ yeṣāṃ nāśitam ātmanaḥ |
teṣām āditya-vaj jñānaṃ prakāśayati tat param
|| 16 ||

jñānena–by knowledge; tu–but; tat–that; ajñānam–ignorance; yeṣām–whose; nāśitam–is destroyed; ātmanaḥ–of the soul; teṣām–for those; āditya-vat–like the sun; jñānam–knowledge; prakāśayati–reveals; tat–that; param–Bhagavān, the transcendental Supreme Truth.

But for those whose ignorance has been destroyed by knowledge of Bhagavān, that knowledge, luminous like the sun, reveals the non-material, transcendental Absolute Truth, Śrī Bhagavān.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Just as Śrī Bhagavān’s deluding potency, the avidyā-śakti, covers the living entity’s knowledge, so His knowledge potency, the vidyā-śakti, destroys ignorance and reveals pure knowledge. Just as the sun’s rays dispel darkness and illuminate the earth, sky and other objects, similarly this knowledge destroys ignorance and illuminates transcendental knowledge. Therefore, the Lord neither binds nor liberates anyone. Rather, according to the qualities of material nature, it is only ignorance and knowledge that bind and liberate respectively. The tendency to enjoy or to initiate action is the cause of bondage. Similarly, detachment, peace and so forth are liberating. These are qualities of prakṛti. The Lord is only partly responsible for instigating action, because all the qualities of material nature become manifest due to His being the all-pervading Supersoul. For this reason, there is no possibility that the imperfections of partiality or cruelty exist in Him.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

According to his own ma-terial desires, the living entity acquires a body from the material nature, which is without beginning, and engages in karma. The Lord does not determine the living entity’s sinful or pious actions. Both the piety of the advancing sādhaka and the sin that degrades him occur as a result of his previous impressions. To punish the living entity, Śrī Bhagavān’s māyā-śakti covers his constitutional nature. The living entity then begins to identify his self with his body and subsequently considers that he is the doer of all his actions. The Lord can in no way be blamed for this condition of the jīva.

Māyā-śakti’s two functions, ignorance and knowledge, are instrumental in the bondage and liberation of the living entity, respectively.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.11.3) it is said:

vidyāvidye mama tanū viddhy uddhava śarīriṇām
mokṣa-bandha-karī ādye māyayā me vinirmite

O Uddhava, both ignorance (avidyā) and knowledge (vidyā) are functions of My māyā-śakti.

According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, here knowledge bestows liberation, and ignorance is the cause of bondage. Māyā is endowed with three faculties: the unmanifest three modes of material nature (pradhāna), ignorance (avidyā) and knowledge (vidyā).

The unmanifest material energy creates a designation for the living entity that is not real, although it appears to be so. Ignorance falsely superimposes such designations to be real, and by knowledge, such superimpositions are easily removed. Here, it must be properly understood that the gross and subtle bodily designations of the living entity, which are created by pradhāna, are not false. Rather, the concept of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ within both of them is false. In the Vedas and Upaniṣads, this is called vivarta, or illusion.

The natural ego of being the doer is eternally present within the Supreme Lord. Prakṛti is His inert, material potency. Simply by His glance, the function of the material nature (prakṛti) is instigated. Consequently, material nature is the secondary cause of the creation of the material world. The Lord is indeed its instigator, but only in an indirect, or partial, manner.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, “Knowledge is of two types: mundane (prākṛta) and transcendental (aprākṛta). Prākṛta, means ‘knowledge related with inert matter’ and is called avidyā, or the ignorance of the jīva. Transcendental knowledge, or aprākṛta-jñāna, is called vidyā. When the material knowledge of the jīva has been destroyed by spiritual knowledge, then that supreme spiritual knowledge awakens within and enlightens him about the supra-mundane Absolute Truth.”

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