Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 9.3, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 3 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 9.3:

अश्रद्दधानाः पुरुषा धर्मस्यास्य परन्तप ।
अप्राप्य मां निवर्तन्ते मृत्यु-संसार-वर्त्मनि ॥ ३ ॥

aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā dharmasyāsya parantapa |
aprāpya māṃ nivartante mṛtyu-saṃsāra-vartmani || 3 ||

aśraddadhānāḥ–faithless; puruṣāḥ–persons; dharmasya–of religiosity in the form of devotional service to Me; asya–of this; parantapa–O one who gives pain to his enemies; aprāpya–without attaining; mām–Me; nivartante–they return (wander); mṛtyu–and death; saṃsāra–of material existence; vartmani–on the path.

O Parantapa, those who have no faith in this dharma of devotional service to Me do not attain Me. They wander on the path of material existence, which is full of death.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Arjuna may raise the following doubt: “If this dharma of devotional service is so easily perfected, why do people remain in material existence?” In response to this, Śrī Bhagavān speaks this verse beginning with aśraddadhānāḥ. The word asya means ‘dharma in the form of devotional service’. Aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣāḥ means ‘people who lack faith in this’.

“The superiority of bhakti is established by the statements of the scriptures, but those who are faithless consider such glorification to be exaggeration. They reject this dharma due to atheistic tendencies. Even if someone renounces the path of bhakti and practises severe alternative measures to attain Me, he will not be successful. Instead, he will continuously wander on this path of material existence, which is fraught with death.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Even after hearing and being acquainted with the glories of bhakti as described here, some consider those glories an exaggeration and do not develop faith in bhakti. Such faithless persons, who do not adopt bhagavad-bhakti, are forced to take repeated births in this material world. Śraddhā (faith) is the root cause of bhakti. One can only attain Bhagavān, who is affectionate to his devotees, by bhakti. This is also confirmed in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.64) “śraddhāvān jana haya bhakti-adhikārī–those who are faithful are eligible for bhakti.”

Furthermore, it is said:

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 19.151)

In the course of wandering throughout this universe, that rare most fortunate living entity obtains the seed of the creeper of bhakti by the mercy of the bona fide spiritual master.

Śrī gurudeva infuses the desire to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa into the heart of the living entities. This desire is known as kṛṣṇa-sevā-vāsanā, and by it one attains transcendental faith (pāramārthika-śraddhā), which is the root cause of bhakti. Those who are faithless and unfortunate do not take shelter of this path of bhakti, which has been established in all scriptures. They try to attain Śrī Bhagavān by adopting other processes, such as performing one’s prescribed duties, cultivating knowledge or performing mystic yoga and austerities, but their whimsical attempts go in vain.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.12.9) states:

yaṃ na yogena sāṅkhyena dāna-vrata-tapo-’dhvaraiḥ
vyākhyā-svādhyāya-sannyāsaiḥ prāpnuyād yatnavān api

Even though one engages with great endeavour in mystic yoga, philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances, ritualistic sacrifices, teaching Vedic mantras to others, personal study of the Vedas, or the renounced order of life, still one cannot achieve Me.*

Furthermore, the essence of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.87.33) is as follows: “Those who abandon service to the lotus feet of śrī gurudeva, which is the primary support on the path of bhakti, and who desire to subdue their minds by yoga or other methods, are pursuing futile hopes. They fall down into the ocean of material existence, which is full of obstacles and various types of calamities.” Śrī Bhagavān has also explained this topic in great detail in Bhagavad-gītā 3.31 and 12.20.

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