Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verses 12.3-4, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse Verses 12.3-4 from the chapter 12 called “Bhakti-yoga (Yoga through Pure Devotional Service)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verses 12.3-4:

ये त्व् अक्षरम् अनिर्देश्यम् अव्यक्तं पर्युपासते ।
सर्वत्र-गम् अचिन्त्यं च कूटस्थम् अचलं ध्रुवम् ॥ ३ ॥
सन्नियम्येन्द्रिय-ग्रामं सर्वत्र सम-बुद्धयः ।
ते प्राप्नुवन्ति माम् एव सर्व-भूत-हिते रताः ॥ ४ ॥

ye tv akṣaram anirdeśyam avyaktaṃ paryupāsate |
sarvatra-gam acintyaṃ ca kūṭastham acalaṃ dhruvam
|| 3 ||
sanniyamyendriya-grāmaṃ sarvatra sama-buddhayaḥ |
te prāpnuvanti mām eva sarva-bhūta-hite ratāḥ
|| 4 ||

ye–those who; tu–but; akṣaram–the imperishable spirit; anirdeśyam–beyond description; avyaktam–without any material form and qualities; paryupāsate–they worship; sarvatra-gam–all-pervading; acintyam–beyond mundane logic; ca–and; kūṭa-stham–homogeneous, existent in all phases of time; acalam–unmoving, without the six symptoms of living beings such as growth; dhruvam–eternal; sanniyamya–controlling; indriya-grāmam–the group of senses; sarvatra–in all situations; sama-buddhayaḥ–being equally disposed; te–they; prāpnuvanti–obtain; mām–Me; eva–certainly; sarva-bhūta–of all living beings; hite–to the welfare; ratāḥ–being attached.

But those who worship My indescribable, unmanifest, all-pervading, inconceivable, immutable, eternal and featureless brahma-svarūpa, while controlling their senses, maintaining equal vision in all situations and engaging in activities for the welfare of all beings, also attain Me alone.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

“Those who worship My impersonal feature (nirviśeṣa-brahma-svarūpa) are inferior to My devotees.” In order to establish this principle, Śrī Bhagavān speaks these two verses beginning with ye tu. Akṣara means that brahma cannot be described in words because it is unmanifest, formless (avyaktam), all-pervading (sarvatra-ga) and eternal (dhruvam). It is not subject to transformation (acalam), but it exists uniformly at all times (kūṭa-stham). And it cannot be comprehended by logic (acintya). The phrase mām eva means, “They attain Me alone. In other words, there is no difference between that imperishable (akṣara) brahma and Me.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Śrī Bhagavān says, “Those who, with controlled senses and equal vision, engage in activities for the welfare of all jīvas and worship My imperishable, indescribable and unmanifest impersonal feature, ultimately attain Me only after performing troublesome sādhana.” From the verse brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham (Gītā 14.27), it is understood that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the very foundation and shelter of nirviśeṣa-tattva. Therefore, the worshippers of nirviśeṣa-brahma also indirectly take shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the shelter of all worshipable Realities (upāsya-tattva), and He Himself is the supreme worshipable object. Other worshipful tattvas, such as Śrī Rāmacandra, Śrī Nārāyaṇa, Śrī Nṛsiṃhadeva and nirviśeṣa-brahma, all depend on Śrī Kṛṣṇa for Their very existence. Those worshippers who have taken shelter of the other dependent worshipful Truths are certainly also under the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. All worshipable Realities are dependent on kṛṣṇa-tattva, having Him as Their origin.

Even so, among the worshipable Realities mentioned here, the first three are one in tattva, but from the perspective of rasa, there is a gradation. Similarly, there is also a gradation among the worshippers who have taken shelter of these subordinate Realities. Brahma is the effulgence of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s limbs, an incomplete manifestation of Kṛṣṇa’s aspect of knowledge (cid-aṃśa). Therefore, those who achieve nirviśeṣa-brahma, or impersonal liberation, are indirectly taking shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone. They do not, however, experience the bliss of serving Him with love. For this reason, even if Śrī Kṛṣṇa offers His devotees the various types of liberation, such as merging with Him (sāyujya), they do not accept them.

This is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.29.13):

sālokya-sārṣṭi-sāmīpya-sārūpyaikatvam apy
uta dīyamānaṃ na gṛhṇanti vinā mat-sevanaṃ janāḥ

Without service to Me, My devotees will not accept the forms of liberation known as sālokya (living on the same planet as the Lord), sārṣṭi (having similar opulence to the Lord’s), sāmīpya (always being near to the Lord) and sārūpya (having a similar form as the Lord)–what to speak of merging with Him in impersonal liberation–even if they are offered to them.

Some consider worship of the unmanifest Reality to be superior to the worshipping the form of Śyāmasundara Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is composed of eternality, knowledge and bliss. However, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is personally explaining very clearly the superiority of His exclusive devotees over those who worship the formless nirviśeṣa-brahma. Furthermore, some persons think, “How can worship of brahma not be superior, since it is full of difficulty and perfected over a long period of time?” They consider that of the two types of brahma–one with features (saguṇa) and one without features (nirguṇa)–nirguṇa-nirākāra-brahma is the original and superior tattva. They think that common people are unable to perform worship of nirguṇa-brahma because it is troublesome, whereas the worship of the personal saguṇa-brahma is easily performed; anyone can do it.

It is necessary to understand that these conceptions are completely erroneous. Kṛṣṇa alone is the original tattva. Brahma-tattva is dependent on Him and is simply the effulgence of His bodily limbs. In the Gītā (15.18), Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself has declared that as the Supreme Personality Himself, He is superior to akṣara (the fallible) and kuṭastha (the infallible).

Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa and other commentators on the Gītā explain akṣara-svarūpa (the imperishable entity) to mean jīva-svarūpa (the individual soul). Śrī Rāmānujācārya also explains it to mean ‘the individual soul’, but uses the expression pratyag-ātma (literally, ‘each soul’).

The Supreme Person, Parabrahma, has been clearly described as different from akṣara-svarūpa and kuṭastha. In this regard, one should refer to the Gītā (15.16–17): “kūṭa-stho’kṣara ucyate–the immutable person (kūṭa-stha) is called akṣara (infallible)” and “uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ–there is another transcendental personality.”

Moreover, worshippers of brahma, infinite spirit, also consider the jīva alone to be brahma: “jīvo brahmaiva nāparaḥ–the jīva is none other than brahma”. They say that when the ignorance of the jīva is dispelled, the brahma-jñānī becomes brahma. It is not stated in any scripture that the jīva, even if he reaches the stage of brahma, attains the nature of Parabrahma, the Supreme Spirit. Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone is Parabrahma. This has been established in various statements in Śruti and Smṛti. In the Vedānta, also, it is stated that the living entity never attains the stage of Parabrahma.

One should always keep in mind that the attributes of Bhagavān described in scripture, such as His possessing qualities (saguṇa), a form (sākāra) and complete uniqueness (saviśeṣa) are transcendental and fully conscious. Therefore, Śrī Bhagavān is simultaneously both with features (saguṇa) and without material features (nirguṇa). Saguṇa and nirguṇa are not two separate tattvas but two aspects of the same tattva.

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