by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words
The Bhagavad-gita Verse 9.29, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 29 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 9.29:
समोऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु न मे द्वेष्योऽस्ति न प्रियः ।
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम् ॥ २९ ॥
samo'haṃ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo'sti na priyaḥ |
ye bhajanti tu māṃ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu cāpy aham || 29 ||
samaḥ–seeing equally; aham–I am; sarva-bhūteṣu–all living beings; na–not; me–for Me; dveṣyaḥ–worthy of hatred; asti–there is; na–not; priyaḥ–dear; ye–who; bhajanti–worship; tu–however; mām–Me; bhaktyā–with devotion; mayi–in Me; te–they; teṣu–in them [I am attached to them in the same way as they are attached to Me]; ca–and; api–also; aham–I.
I am equally disposed to all living beings and am neither inimical nor partial to anyone. But as those who serve Me with devotion are attached to Me, I, too, am bound by affection for them.
Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā
Arjuna may say, “O Kṛṣṇa, You bring only Your bhaktas to You by liberating them, but You do not bring the non-devotees. This means that You are also partial, since Your doing this is an expression of attachment and envy.” In response, Śrī Bhagavān speaks this verse beginning with samo’ham, in which He says, “No, no, I am equal to all. The bhaktas live in Me and I also live in them.” According to this explanation, the whole universe is in Bhagavān and Bhagavān is also in the whole universe. This shows no partiality. The statement ye yathā māṃ prapadyante tāṃs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (Gītā 4.11) means, “I reciprocate with all according to the intention with which they surrender to Me, and I worship them accordingly. In whichever way the devotees are attached to Me, I, who exist in them, am attached to them in a similar way.” This should be understood.
In this regard, the example of a wish-fulfilling tree can be given for a partial understanding of this point. Those who desire the tree’s fruit take shelter of it, but in reality they are not attached to the tree at all; they are only attached to its fruit. Moreover, the wish-fulfilling tree does not become attached to those who take shelter of it, nor does it hate those who have enmity towards it. However, unlike a completely impartial wish-fulfilling tree, Bhagavān kills the enemies of His devotees with His own hands. As Bhagavān said of Prahlāda, “When Hiraṇyakaśipu acts inimically towards Prahlāda, I will certainly destroy him, despite his becoming powerful by the boons of Brahmā.”
Some commentators give a different explanation of the word tu in this verse. “This partiality in the form of affection for His devotees (bhakta-vātsalya) is always the Lord’s ornament; it is not a defect.” In this way, Kṛṣṇa is celebrated for His affection for His devotees, not for the jñānīs or yogīs. Just as it is natural for a person to be affectionately inclined toward his own servant and not toward the servants of others, Bhagavān has affection for His devotees and not for the devotees of Rudra or Durgā-devī.
Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti
The following objection may be raised: “By giving special liberation to His devotees, Bhagavān bestows upon them love-filled service to His lotus feet, but He does not do this with the non-devotees. Is this not symptomatic of the defect of partiality, which arises from attachment and envy?” In response to this, it is stated that He has equal vision. He does not hate anybody nor is anyone especially dear to Him. He creates and maintains humans and other living beings according to their karma. Somebody may say that while maintaining the living entities according to their karma, He gives happiness to one, misery to someone else and liberation, or mokṣa, to another, so does this not indicate the defect of partiality arising from attachment and envy?
The answer to this is found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.17.22) wherein it is said:
He is equal to all living beings. There is nobody who is dear or not dear to Him. Since a detached person has no attraction to sense pleasure, how can he become angry when his sense pleasure is disturbed?
This is also seen in the next verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.17.23):
tathāpi tac-chakti-visarga eṣāṃ sukhāya duḥkhāya hitāhitāya
bandhāya mokṣāya ca mṛtyu-janmanoḥ śarīriṇāṃ saṃsṛtaye’vakalpate
Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original performer of action, He Himself is not the cause of the living entity’s happiness, distress, bondage or liberation. It is only māyā which governs the karmic results of the living entity’s sin and piety and becomes the cause of his birth and death, happiness and distress.
Because there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, it is true that the activities of Bhagavān’s external potency, the māyā-śakti, will also be seen as His own work. Yet one cannot attribute the defect of partiality to Him, because the results a living entity receives for his actions are in accordance with his own acts.
While commenting on this verse, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura gives the example of the sun and the owl. The sunlight is miserable for the owl, for the kumuda flower (night lily) and for certain other entities, but it is pleasing for the cakravāka bird and the lotus flower. One cannot accuse the sun of having the defect of partiality. In the same way, Bhagavān’s external potency awards results according to the living entity’s actions. One cannot attribute to Him the defect of partiality simply because of this.
In this context, one should also deliberate upon the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (8.5.22):
For Śrī Bhagavān, there is no one to be killed, no one to be protected, no one to be neglected and no one to be worshipped. Nonetheless, for the sake of creation, maintenance and annihilation, in accordance with a specific time, He accepts different forms in either the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance.
This is Bhagavān’s general principle for all jīvas, but in the present Gītā verse, He explains a special principle with the word tu. “Those who follow the limbs of bhakti, such as śravaṇa and kīrtana, and engage in worship of Me are extremely attached to Me and become situated in Me. And I, who am the Supreme Controller, also become situated in them, with devotion.”
According to the principle of a gem and gold, the gem produces the gold. Similarly, by the grace of Bhagavān, bhakti appears in one’s heart. Bhagavān also is devoted to His bhaktas. As Śukadeva Gosvāmī says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.86.59), “bhagavān bhakta-bhaktimān–the Supreme Lord is devoted to His devotees.” It is also stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (8.16.14), “tathāpi bhaktaṃ bhajate maheśvaraḥ–in the same way that devotees are attached to Maheśvara Kṛṣṇa, He is also attached to His devotees.” This is the special quality of mutual love. It is written in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.55), “visṛjati hṛdayaṃ na yasya sākṣād–such premī-bhaktas who have bound Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet with the ropes of love are never given up by Him.” This verse describes that just as their internal relationship is mentioned, their external relationship is also established.
This relationship is confirmed in Ādi Purāṇa:
Bhagavān says, “Devotees are My guru, and I am the guru for the devotees. Wherever the devotees go, I also go there.”
A wish-fulfilling tree gives fruits according to the mood of those who have taken shelter of it; and it does not give results to those who have not taken that shelter. In the same way, although He is impartial, Bhagavān differentiates between those who take shelter of Him and those who do not, by giving them different results. The speciality of Śrī Kṛṣṇa over and beyond the wish-fulfilling tree is that the wish-fulfilling tree does not become subordinate to those who take shelter of it, whereas Kṛṣṇa becomes subordinate to His bhaktas. Therefore, one can only see the qualities of friendship, hatred and indifference in Him in relationship to bhakti. Well-known examples are His friendly relationship with Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and His indifference toward Durvāsā and others who were envious. It is a fact that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is equal to all, but what is more important is that He favours His bhaktas. Of all His qualities, this particular quality is a special ornament. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā and other scriptures give evidence of this.