Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 7.20, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 20 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 7.20:

कामैस् तैस् तैर् हृत-ज्ञानाः प्रपद्यन्तेऽन्य-देवताः ।
तं तं नियमम् आस्थाय प्रकृत्या नियताः स्वया ॥ २० ॥

kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante'nya-devatāḥ |
taṃ taṃ niyamam āsthāya prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā
|| 20 ||

kāmaiḥ–lusty desires, such as for wealth; taiḥ taiḥ–by their various; hṛta-jñānāḥ–those whose knowledge is stolen; prapadyante–worship; anya-devatāḥ–other gods; tam tam–the various; niyamam–regulations; āsthāya–practising; prakṛtyā–nature; niyatāḥ–controlled; svayā–by their own.

Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires, such as the desire for wealth, try to eliminate their distress by following the rules of worship of a particular demigod who can fulfil their desires. Thus being controlled by their own nature, they worship such demigods.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

“Very well, I have understood that even those with material desires, such as the distressed, become somewhat successful by performing worship of You, but what is the destination of those distressed persons who worship the demigods for relief from their miseries?” In response to this, Śrī Bhagavān is speaking this verse beginning with kāmais taiḥ and the next three verses. “Those who think that the demigods, such as the sun-god Sūrya, can immediately remove miseries like disease and that Śrī Viṣṇu cannot have lost their intelligence. They remain bound by their own nature, and it is that ill-nature which keeps them from surrendering to Me.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Intelligent and fortunate persons who are still influenced by various types of desires try to satisfy their desires by worshipping Parameśvara Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When they have fulfilled their desires, they gradually lose interest in such enjoyment by His mercy and can worship Him.

In this regard, the following verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.10 and 5.19.26) are worth contemplating:

akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā mokṣa-kāma udāradhīḥ
tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena yajeta puruṣaṃ param

Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], desirous of all fruitive results, or seeking liberation, one should try to worship the Supreme Person for complete perfection, culminating in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.*

yaiḥ śraddhayā barhiṣi bhāgaśo havir niruptam iṣṭaṃ vidhi-mantra-vastutaḥ
ekaḥ pṛthaṅ-nāmabhir āhuto mudā gṛhṇāti pūrṇaḥ svayam āśiṣāṃ prabhu

In India [Bhārata-varṣa], there are many worshippers of the demigods, the various officials appointed by the Supreme Lord, such as Indra, Candra and Sūrya, all of whom are worshipped differently. The worshippers offer the demigods their oblations, considering the demigods part and parcel of the whole, the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts these offerings and gradually raises the worshippers to the real standard of devotional service by fulfilling their desires and aspirations. Because the Lord is complete, He offers the worshippers the benedictions they desire even if they worship only part of His transcendental body.*

As a result of being averse to Kṛṣṇa, fools and unfortunate persons remain bound by the modes of passion and ignorance and think that the demigods can fulfil their desires quickly. They therefore worship various unimportant demigods according to their individual natures in an attempt to satisfy their various material cravings. Thus the perishable fruits they seek are soon attained.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “Those such as the distressed are averse to Me as long as their impurities remain, but when they are freed from material impurities, they naturally perform bhakti to Me. Those who take shelter of My transcendental form, however, do not become averse to Me, even though they may be full of desires. I free them from all their material motivations within a short time. Conversely, those who are averse to Me lose their spiritual intelligence and, being impelled by their material hankerings, they worship particular demigods who can quickly award the trivial objects of their desires. They do not love Me, the eternal, beautiful Śyāmasundara, the embodiment of all spiritual existence, because they are driven away from Me by their lower natures, which are in the modes of ignorance (tāmasika) and passion (rājasika), and they worship particular demigods, following whatever insignificant rules are favourable to such worship.”

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