Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 9.1, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 1 from the chapter 9 called “Raja-guhya-yoga (Yoga through the most Confidential Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 9.1:

श्री भगवान् उवाच–
इदं तु ते गुह्यतमं प्रवक्ष्याम्य् अनसूयवे ज्ञानं विज्ञान-सहितं यज् ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् ॥ १ ॥

śrī bhagavān uvāca
idaṃ tu te guhyatamaṃ pravakṣyāmy anasūyave
jñānaṃ vijñāna-sahitaṃ yaj jñātvā mokṣyase'śubhāt
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śrī bhagavān uvāca–the all-opulent Lord said; idam–this; tu–indeed; te–to you; guhyatamam–most confidential; pravakṣyāmi–I shall explain; anasūyave–free from faults (non-envious); jñānam vijñāna-sahitam–knowledge together with realized knowledge, i.e. which has the symptoms of exclusive and pure devotion; yat–which; jñātvā–knowing; mokṣyase–you shall be liberated; aśubhāt–from inauspiciousness, i.e. from this miserable cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra).

Śrī Bhagavān said: O Arjuna, because you are non-envious, I shall impart to you this most confidential knowledge, which has the characteristics of pure devotion and which bestows direct realization of Me. Such knowledge will liberate you from the miseries of the material world.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

This Ninth Chapter gives knowledge of Śrī Bhagavān’s opulences (aiśvarya). Such knowledge is desired by His devotees so they can favourably execute their service to Him. This chapter clearly describes the supremacy of pure devotion, or śuddha-bhakti.

In comparison to karma, jñāna and yoga, we find that bhakti is supreme. In the Seventh and Eighth Chapters we have explained the two types of bhakti: pradhānī-bhūtā (devotion that predominates over karma and jñāna) and kevalā (exclusive devotion). Of these two, kevalā-bhakti is extremely powerful, and unlike jñāna, it does not depend upon purity of heart. This in itself substantiates its supremacy. Knowledge of Bhagavān’s aiśvarya, or opulences, is necessary to perform kevalā-bhakti. Details of those opulences are given in this Ninth Chapter. The middle eight chapters (Six to Thirteen) are the essence of Bhagavad-gītā and all Vedic literature, and the Ninth and Tenth Chapters are the essence of these middle chapters. Śrī Bhagavān is glorifying the subject matter that will be defined in three consecutive verses, the first of which begins with the words idaṃ tu.

“Knowledge that is favourable for liberation, as described in the Second and Third Chapters, is called guhyam, confidential. Knowledge of the truth of Śrī Bhagavān, or bhagavat-tattva, which is essential for one who wishes to attain Me, is explained in the Seventh and Eighth Chapters. Such knowledge of the fundamental principles of devotion (bhakti-tattva) is more confidential, or guhyatara. Now in this chapter I shall explain that knowledge–along with the characteristics of pure devotion–which is most confidential, or guhyatama.”

Here the word jñāna should be understood to mean bhakti only. It does not refer to general jñāna, as delineated in the first six chapters. In the next verse, the word avyaya, eternal, has been used as an adjective for jñāna. By this, the word jñāna indicates bhakti only. This is because it refers to a transcendental entity. Thus, in this context, it does not indicate the jñāna previously mentioned, which although in the mode of goodness is not beyond the modes of nature.

In the verse aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā dharmasyāsya parantapa (Gītā 9.3), the word dharma means bhakti only. The word anasūyave means that this instruction is only for the non-envious, not others. Vijñāna-sahitam means, “I shall impart this instruction to you which leads to direct realization of Me. This will free you from the inauspicious bondage of material life, which is unfavourable to bhakti. With this knowledge, you will become free from all obstacles.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

In the Seventh and Eighth Chapters, Śrī Kṛṣṇa explained pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti (devotion that predominates over and is mixed with karma and jñāna), kevalā-bhakti (pure, exclusive devotion) and the difference between the two. In the present chapter, He is elucidating on the supremacy of kevalā-bhakti.

Kevalā-bhakti does not depend on purification of the heart. Bhakti can mercifully enter the heart of even those who are extremely abominable and who are gripped by all types of anarthas, turning such persons into supremely pure, highly exalted mahā-bhāgavatas, who are worshipful for the whole world. Bhakti is very powerful in her own right.

The spiritual knowledge explained in Chapters Two and Three, which is helpful in attaining liberation, is confidential, or guhya. The more confidential knowledge of Bhagavān (guhyatara) described in Chapters Seven and Eight causes the rise of bhakti. The present chapter describes knowledge related to pure, exclusive devotion. This knowledge is most confidential, or guhyatama. Only with the help of this most confidential knowledge can one attain freedom from the inauspiciousness of this world. “This most confidential knowledge, which is related to pure bhakti, can bestow direct realization of Me.” Vijñāna means ‘to comprehend and obtain realization of that knowledge which is related to Śrī Bhagavān’.

Śrī Bhagavān said to Brahmā:

jñānaṃ parama-guhyaṃ me yad vijñāna-samanvitam
sarahasyaṃ tad-aṅgaṃ ca gṛhāṇa gaditaṃ mayā

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.31)

Knowledge of Me is non-dual, absolute and highly confidential. Although non-dual, it has four eternal divisions: jñāna (knowledge of My svarūpa), vijñāna (realization of Me), rahasya (pure, loving devotion, or prema-bhakti, for Me) and tad-aṅga (the means to attain Me, the practice of bhakti). The living entity cannot understand this with his limited intelligence. He can only realize it by My mercy. My svarūpa is composed of jñāna. And vijñāna, or realization of Me, is one’s relationship with Me through bhakti. The living entity is My rahasya, and the material nature (pradhāna) is all that is accessory to My svarūpa (jñāna-aṅga). The eternal non-duality, as well as the confidential eternal difference between these four principles, is due to My inconceivable potency.

Bhagavān also spoke this to Uddhava, His most dear devotee:

athaitat paramaṃ guhyaṃ śṛṇvato yadu-nandana
su-gopyam api vakṣyāmi tvaṃ me bhṛtyaḥ suhṛt sakhā

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.11.49)

O Yadu-nandana (Uddhava), please hear this most confidential knowledge. Although it is extremely confidential, I will speak it to you because you are My servant and well-wishing friend.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.8), Śrī Śaunaka and other saints requested Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī to explain such realized confidential truths:

vetthaṃ tvaṃ saumya tat sarvaṃ tattvatas tad-anugrahāt
brūyuḥ snigdhasya śiṣyasya guravo guhyam apy uta

The previous spiritual authorities have also explained these extremely confidential secrets to disciples of an affectionate nature.

Here also, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is imparting this most confidential knowledge to Arjuna, knowing that his heart is free from envy and hatred and filled with affection. The purport is that this confidential knowledge is instructed by a genuine spiritual master, who is fully conversant with tattva, only to the type of disciple previously mentioned.

A similar instruction is given in Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (6.22–23):

vedānte paramaṃ guhyaṃ purā-kalpe pracoditam
nāpraśāntāya dātavyaṃ nāputrāya siṣyāya vā punaḥ
yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

The highly confidential principle of worship of Bhagavān is the essence of Vedānta. In ancient times, Śrī Bhagavān illuminated the heart of Śvetāśvatara Ṛṣi with this same knowledge, being pleased by his worship. Therefore, although this instruction is not for one who is not a pure devotee, it can be bestowed upon a sober son or disciple who is a devotee of Bhagavān. This instruction should not be imparted to anyone else, even if one is moved by affection for that person.

All the confidential meanings of the Śrutis fully illuminate the heart of that sādhaka–that great soul, or mahātmā–who has supreme devotion to Bhagavān and equally to his gurudeva. In this context, it is worth contemplating Bhagavad-gītā 18.54–58.

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