Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 7.16, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 16 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 7.16:

चतुर्-विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन ।
आर्तो जिज्ञासुर् अर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ ॥ १६ ॥

catur-vidhā bhajante māṃ janāḥ sukṛtino'rjuna |
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
|| 16 ||

catur-vidhāḥ–four kinds; bhajante–worship; mām–Me; janāḥ–persons situated in regulated life; sukṛtinaḥ–of pious; arjuna–O Arjuna; ārta–the distressed (by disease, enemies and fear); jijñāsuḥ–the inquisitive (desirous of self-realization); artha-arthī–the seeker of bodily happiness, heavenly enjoyment and wealth; jñānī–the man in knowledge; ca–and; bharata-ṛṣabha–best of the dynasty of Bharata.

O best of the Bharata dynasty, there are four types of pious men who perform worship of Me: the distressed (ārta), the inquisitive (jijñāsu), the seeker of wealth (arthārthī) and the man of wisdom (jñānī).

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

“Who, then, performs worship of You?” In response to this question, Śrī Bhagavān speaks this verse beginning with catur-vidhā. “Sukṛta refers to those who worship Me and who follow the rules and regulations of varṇāśrama-dharma. Ārta refers to persons afflicted with distress such as disease and who worship Me for relief. Jijñāsu means ‘those who worship Me, desiring ātma-jñāna (knowledge of the self) or scholarly knowledge of the scriptures through grammar’. Arthārthī refers to those who worship Me with a desire for enjoyment in this world, such as possession of land, elephants, horses, beautiful women, gold or enjoyment in the celestial planets. Jñānīs with pure hearts also worship Me. Of these four, the first three are householders who have fruitive desires, and the fourth group consists of renunciants who perform selfless action (niṣkāma sannyāsīs).

These four types of persons are eligible to perform pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti, the process wherein bhakti predominates over karma, jñāna and so forth. The first three perform bhakti mixed with karma (karma-miśrā-bhakti), and the fourth performs bhakti mixed with jñāna (jñāna-miśrā-bhakti). Later, in the verse sarva-dvārāṇi saṃyamya (Gītā 8.12.), bhakti mixed with yoga (yoga-miśrā-bhakti) will be explained. However, kevalā-bhakti, which is devoid of karma or jñāna, is explained in the beginning of the Seventh Chapter: mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha (Gītā 7.1). Kevalā-bhakti will also be delineated later in two verses: ananya-cetāḥ satatam (Gītā 8.14) and mahātmānas tu māṃ pārtha (Gītā 9.13).

In the middle six chapters of the Gītā (Chapters 7–12), Śrī Bhagavān has explained two types of bhakti: pradhānī-bhūtā (in which bhakti predominates over karma and jñāna) and kevalā (exclusive bhakti). In a third process, guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti, bhakti is present to some extent but is predominated by karma, jñāna and so forth. This is the process that karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs perform simply to attain perfection in their respective endeavours. It cannot be called bhakti because karma, jñāna and so forth predominate and not bhakti herself. According to prādhānyena vyapadeśā bhavanti, the logic by which something is named after its predominating element, the different varieties of guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti are qualified either as karma, jñāna or yoga. These processes are not categorized as bhakti because bhakti is not predominant.

The result of sakāma-karma is the heavenly planets, and the result of niṣkāma-karma is jñāna. The result of jñāna and yoga is liberation (nirvāṇa-mokṣa). Now, the result of the two types of bhakti, pradhānī-bhūtā and kevalā, are being explained.

In pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti, those who are distressed (ārta), those who aspire for knowledge (jijñāsu) and those who seek wealth (arthārthī) perform bhakti mixed with karma (karma-miśrā-bhakti). They are therefore called sakāma-bhaktas, or devotees who desire the fruits of their actions. The only result of this type of bhakti is the fulfilment of one’s material desires. Due to the superior nature of the object of their endeavour (bhakti), they finally attain sālokya-mukti, in which they achieve the same planet as the Supreme Lord, which is characterized by a predominance of happiness and majesty (aiśvarya). They do not fall down like a karmī does after enjoying in the heavenly planets. This is stated later on: yānti mad-yājino’pi mām (Gītā 9.25).

The result of the fourth type, bhakti mixed with jñāna (jñāna-miśrā-bhakti) is superior to that of karma-miśrā-bhakti. Those who practise it attain devotion to the Lord in a mood of neutrality, śānta-rati, such as the four Kumāras, headed by Sanaka. By the special mercy of Śrī Bhagavān and His devotees, this type of bhakti culminates in attaining the super-excellent result of prema, which is seen in people like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. When karma-miśrā-bhakti is selflessly performed, it results in jñāna-miśrā-bhakti, the result of which has just been explained.

Sometimes, a person who is performing bhakti mixed with karma or jñāna attains prema in servitorship and other moods, due to his intense desire, which is developed by the association of devotees who have that same mood. That prema, however, is predominated by awe and reverence. The result of pure devotion (otherwise called śuddha-bhakti, ananyā-bhakti, akiñcana, uttamā-bhakti and so forth), which is free from jñāna and karma and which has various limbs of practice, is that one attains the position of one of Kṛṣṇa’s loving associates in the mood of a servant, a friend and so on. Many commentaries on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam substantiate this. The concept of ultimate perfection in the performance of bhakti, known as sādhya-bhakti, has also been briefly explained in this commentary.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Śrī Kṛṣṇa as saying, “It is generally not possible for miscreants (duṣkṛta) to perform bhajana of Me, because they are not on the path of gradually developing their consciousness. Sometimes, however, such people attain service to Me by chance. Among those with piety (sukṛti) who lead a regulated life, four types are qualified to perform bhajana of Me.

“Those who are engaged in fruitive activities remember Me when they are afflicted by some misery. They are called ārta, the distressed. Even those who are bereft of piety sometimes remember Me when in distress.

“The foolish (mūḍha), who adhere to morality as described in the previous verse, engage in the gradual process of inquiring about tattva-jñāna, categorical knowledge of the Truth. By this, they feel the necessity of accepting the existence of the Supreme Lord. Since He is the object of their inquisitiveness, they gradually remember Me.

Narādhamas, the lowest among mankind, take up bhakti and then later discard it. They gradually become dissatisfied with their concept of an ethical controller and come to realize the real controller of morality. They then become regulated devotees, and since they turn to Me to fulfil their desired goals, they are known as arthārthī, or those desirous of wealth.

“When the jīva realizes that knowledge of brahma and Paramātmā is incomplete, he takes shelter of pure knowledge of Me. The covering of māyā is then removed, and knowing himself to be My eternal servant, he accepts My full shelter.

“Those who are distressed have the defect of possessing various desires; those who are inquisitive have the defect of bondage to moralistic knowledge; the seekers of wealth have the defect of striving to attain the celestial heavenly planets;and the jñānīs, who think that bhagavat-tattva (fundamental truths in relation to Supreme Lord) is temporary, have the defect of wanting to merge into brahma. When these impurities are removed, these four types of persons become eligible to perform pure bhakti. As long as these impurities exist in them, their pure bhakti is considered to be mixed with another process (pradhānī-bhūtā). They attain kevalā-, akiñcinā- or uttamā-bhakti when their contaminations are completely removed.”

The word sukṛti used in this verse means ‘piety that is generated from following the principles of varṇa and āśrama’. Such pious persons, whose bhakti is mixed with another process, engage in service to Bhagavān in four ways.

The first three are examples of karma-pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti.

(1) Ārta: the kings who were captured by Jarāsandha, and Gajendra, who was caught by a crocodile.

(2) Jijñāsu: Śaunaka and other ṛṣis who were inquisitive about ātma-jñāna.

(3) Arthārthī: those such as Dhruva, who sought wealth.

The fourth is an example of jñāna-pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti.

(4) Jñānī: the four Kumāras are in this category.

Pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti is defined as that karma, jñāna and yoga in which bhakti predominates, or in other words, where karma, jñāna and yoga are subordinate to bhakti.

Kevalā-bhakti is defined as follows:

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṃ jñāna-karmādy-anāvrṭam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu śīlanam bhaktir uttamā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11)

Uttama-bhakti is performed when a person is free from all desires except to render service to Kṛṣṇa, when his intelligence is completely free from an impersonal conception of the Truth and from affinity to nitya (regular) and naimittika (causal, or occasional) karma, yoga, tapasya, etc., and when he renders service to Kṛṣṇa in a favourable way.

Guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti is defined as that process in which karma, jñāna, and yoga predominate, not bhakti. When bhakti is only practised to assist in the attainment of the heavenly planets or liberation, then such activity is merely called karma, jñāna is called jñāna, and yoga is called yoga. Such karma, jñāna and yoga are not pure bhakti but bhakti predominated by the modes of nature. Guṇī-bhūtā-bhakti is not considered to be in the category of bhakti because bhakti is not predominant.

In conclusion, therefore, bhakti is of two types: kevalā and pradhānī-bhūtā. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has given detailed explanations of bhakti-tattva in his Sārārtha-darśinī commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. For this information, one should consult the following verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: ātmārāmaś ca munayo (1.7.10), ṛte’rthaṃ yat pratīyeta (2.9.34), muktānām api siddhānām (6.14.5), yāvan nṛkāya-ratham (7.15.45) and ye’nye’ravindākṣa (10.2.32).

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