Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 7.1, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 1 from the chapter 7 called “Vijnana-Yoga (Yoga through Realization of Transcendental Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 7.1:

श्री भगवान् उवाच–
मय्य् आसक्त-मनाः पार्थ योगं युञ्जन् मद्-आश्रयः ।
असंशयं समग्रं मां यथा ज्ञास्यसि तच् छृणु ॥ १ ॥

śrī bhagavān uvāca
mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṃ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ |
asaṃśayaṃ samagraṃ māṃ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu
|| 1 ||

śrī bhagavān uvāca–the Supreme Lord said; mayi–to Me; āsakta-manāḥ–with mind attached; pārtha–O Arjuna, son of Pṛthā; yogambhakti-yoga; yuñjan–by practising; mad-āśrayaḥ–taking shelter of Me; asaṃśayam–free from doubt; samagram–completely; mām–Me; yathā–how; jñāsyasi–you shall know; tat–that; śṛṇu–just hear.

Śrī Bhagavān said: O Pārtha, now hear how you will know Me in full by practising bhakti-yoga with your mind attached to Me, taking full shelter of Me alone and being free from all doubt.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

kadā sadānanda-bhuvo mahāprabhoḥ kṛpāmṛtābdheścaraṇau asrayāmahe
yathā yathā projhitamukti tatpathā bhaktyadhvanā premasudhā-mayāmahe

When will I attain the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the shelter of eternal bliss and an ocean of mercy? Having given up the processes of material enjoyment and liberation and taking shelter of the path of bhakti, when will I become qualified to taste the nectar of prema?

This Seventh Chapter describes the various opulences of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the supreme object of worship. It also describes the four types of people who worship Him and the four types of people who do not.

The first six chapters describe the processes of jñāna and yoga, both of which result in liberation (mokṣa) and which initially depend on selflessly offering the results of one’s prescribed duties to Bhagavān, to purify the heart.

Now, the next set of six chapters describes various types of bhakti-yoga, beginning with bhakti mixed with karma, jñāna and so on. There is also a description of destinations (types of liberations) attained by the practitioners of niṣkāma-karma-yoga and sakāma-karma, such as sālokya–achieving the same planet as the Lord. Most prominently, there is a description of the process of bhakti-yoga, which is independent of karma, jñāna, etc., and which grants that particular liberation in which one becomes a loving associate of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

As it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.32):

yat karmabhir yat tapasā jñāna vairāgyataś ca yat

Simply by practising bhakti-yoga, My devotee easily attains in full whatever auspicious results can be achieved by performing karma (prescribed duties), tapasya (austerities) and jñāna, or by developing detachment and renunciation, practising yoga, giving in charity and performing other auspicious activities.

Even if one does desire the destination of residing in the heavenly planets, achieving mokṣa (liberation) or attaining Vaikuṇṭha, one can attain them easily by bhakti-yoga. It is clear from these statements that bhakti is supremely independent. Bhakti is quite capable of granting the fruits of those processes even if one does not separately perform them. Bhakti-yoga is easy to perform but difficult to attain.

It is said in Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (3.8), “tam eva viditvāti mṛtyum eti–one can transcend death when one attains knowledge of Him (Parameśvara), through jñāna.” This statement may cause one to doubt whether one can attain liberation merely by bhakti, without having jñāna. In response, Śrī Bhagavān says, “Do not raise such an objection.” Tam eva, one can only transcend death by knowing Paramātmā (tat-padārtha), in other words, by directly realizing Him. One cannot attain freedom from death merely by knowing the living entity (tvaṃ-padārtha), material nature (prakṛti) or any other entity. This is the import of this statement from the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad.

The only way to taste sugar candy is with the tongue; it cannot be tasted with the eyes or ears. Similarly, bhakti is the only way to realize Parabrahma. Brahma, or transcendence, is beyond the material modes, so it is only possible to attain transcendence with the help of bhakti, since bhakti is also beyond the material modes. Knowledge of the self, which is free from identification with the body and so forth, is in the mode of goodness, so it cannot enable one to attain brahma.

Bhaktyāham ekayā grāhyaḥ–I am attained only by one-pointed bhakti” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.14.21). “Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti–only by bhakti can the jīva specifically know My svarūpa and transcendental nature” (Gītā 18.55).

Śrī Bhagavān says, “I will establish My personal specific nature and attributes by these two statements.”

Jñāna and yoga are well known as the means to attain mukti, but they can only fulfil this function by the influence of guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti, or bhakti mixed with the material modes of nature. When they are bereft of devotion, jñāna and yoga are incapable of giving that result.

There are scriptural statements that establish that jñāna and yoga are ineffective without bhakti. Moreover, in the above statement from Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, the word eva, or ‘only’, has been used before the word viditvā, or ‘knowing’. In other words, it is not a fact that liberation is attained by knowledge (jñāna) alone. This implies that it is possible to attain liberation, or mokṣa, by knowing Paramātmā, and sometimes it is possible even without knowing Him. Liberation is attained by knowledge of Paramātmā, which is beyond the modes and which is generated from bhakti, and sometimes liberation can be attained solely by bhakti, even without knowledge of Paramātmā. This meaning is also conveyed by the statement from the Upaniṣads previously quoted.

A jaundiced tongue cannot taste the sweetness of sugar candy, but if one continues to take it, one’s disease will be cured, and the taste of sugar candy will be relished again. There is no doubt about it. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.59), Śrī Uddhava says, “Nectar always grants immortality, even if one tastes it without knowledge.” Similarly, a person may be ignorant of his svarūpa, but if he constantly performs bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he is granted his desired result. It is also said of Śrī Nārāyaṇa in the Mokṣa-dharma, “A person who has taken shelter of Śrī Nārāyaṇa need not perform the sādhana by which one attains the four goals of life: dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa. Indeed, he attains these goals, even without practising those sādhanas.”

It is also said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.32–33), “Whatever is achieved by following one’s prescribed duty and performing austerities, My devotees attain easily by bhakti-yoga.” Moreover, it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.16.44), “Simply by hearing Your holy name once, even a low born caṇḍāla (eater of dog flesh) is liberated from the material world.” These statements establish that one can only attain liberation by practising bhakti. Furthermore: “Of all yogīs, the best is he who performs bhajana with great faith in his heart” (Gītā 6.47). By this statement, Śrī Bhagavān also indicates a special characteristic of those who worship Him: their minds are fixed on Him and they have faith in His devotees. One may raise the question, “What type of devotee is eligible to have both knowledge (jñāna) and realization (vijñāna) of Śrī Bhagavān?” This verse beginning with mayy āsakti and also the next verse, are spoken in response to this question.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.42) states, “When a person takes food, he experiences satisfaction, nourishment and the removal of hunger, all at the same time. Similarly, one who performs bhajana of Śrī Bhagavān achieves devotion, realization of Bhagavān and detachment from this world, simultaneously.”

“It is noteworthy that one who eats only one mouthful of food experiences neither satisfaction nor nourishment. Satisfaction and nourishment are experienced only by one who eats a full meal. In the same way, although one in the initial stages of bhajana has some realization of Me, only one who has become situated on the platform of deep attachment, or āsakti, and whose mind is attached to My Śyāmasundara form, which is adorned with yellow cloth, realizes Me in reality. You can know Me in this way only.

“Please hear how one can realize Me directly and what type of yoga grants this. One can become My exclusive devotee (ananya-bhakta) even without the help of jñāna, karma, etc., by gradually becoming united with Me, eventually taking complete shelter of Me.”

In this verse, the word asaṃśayam indicates a doubt about the possibility of attaining nirviśeṣa-brahma, and samagram indicates that the realization of that svarūpa is incomplete.

This will be stated later, in the Gītā (12.5):

kleśo’dhikataras teṣām avyaktāsakta-cetasām
avyaktā hi gatir duhkhaṃ dehavadbhir avāpyate

Those who fix their mind on the impersonal nirguṇa-brahma have to undergo great miseries. It may be difficult for an embodied living entity to attain that unmanifest nature.

In other words, there is a doubt as to whether one can attain the impersonal nirviśeṣa-brahma-svarūpa. In the present verse, however, Śrī Bhagavān is declaring, “This doubt does not exist in regard to bhakti-yoga to Me, because My devotees always realize Me, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who am parabrahma-tattva, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Moreover, brahma, the worshipable object of the jñānīs, is only My glorious effulgence. In My Matsya avatāra, I said to King Satyavrata, ‘By following My instructions, you will also come to know My glories, which are manifested in your heart by śabda-brahma, the sound representation of Parabrahma’ (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 8.24.38). And in the Gītā (14.27) I have said: ‘I am the shelter, or basis, of nirviśeṣa-brahma.’ Therefore, knowledge of My nirviśeṣa-svarūpa is not complete. Compared to knowledge of My Śrī Kṛṣṇa Śyāmasundara form, it is only partial.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “O Pārtha, in the first six chapters, I explained jñāna and aṣṭāṅga-yoga. These are paths to attain liberation, and they require the help of niṣkāma-karma-yoga to purify the heart. In the second set of six chapters, I am explaining bhakti-yoga. Please listen. With your mind steadfast in attachment to Me, having taken complete shelter of Me by practising bhakti-yoga, you will attain thorough knowledge of Me. There is no doubt about this.

“Knowledge of nirviśeṣa-brahma is incomplete because it denies knowledge of the qualities of the personal feature of the Absolute (saviśeṣa-jñāna). One attains the featureless nirviśeṣa conception by negating material variety. My nirviśeṣa-brahma nature manifests as the object of this featureless conception, which is not beyond the modes of material nature. This is because it merely transcends physical and mental knowledge and is therefore limited to knowledge in the mode of goodness. Bhakti is a special function that is transcendental to the modes of nature. My form is also nirguṇa–beyond material nature–and can only be seen by a living entity whose eyes are nirguṇa, having been uncovered by the process of nirguṇa-bhakti.”

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