Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 15.16, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse Verse 15.16 from the chapter 15 called “Purushottama-toga (Yoga through understanding the Supreme Person)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 15.16:

द्वाव् इमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश् चाक्षर एव च ।
क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूट-स्थोऽक्षर उच्यते ॥ १६ ॥

dvāv imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca |
kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭa-stho'kṣara ucyate
|| 16 ||

dvau–two; imau–these; puruṣau–persons; loke–within the (fourteen planetary systems of this) world; kṣaraḥ–the fallible; ca–and; akṣaraḥ–the infallible; eva–only; ca–and; kṣaraḥ–the fallible; sarvāṇi–all; bhūtāni–(moving and non-moving) living entities; kūṭa-sthaḥ–the unchangeable personality (brahma);akṣaraḥ–infallible; ucyate–it is said.

In the fourteen planetary systems, two beings are famous: the fallible and the infallible. All moving and non-moving living entities are said to be fallible, and the immutable person (kūṭa-stha) is called infallible (akṣara).

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

“Since it is I alone who know all the Vedas, I will speak their essence in brief. Listen carefully.” Śrī Bhagavān thus speaks this and the next two verses beginning here with dvāv imau.

In this universe, consisting of fourteen planetary systems, there are two conscious puruṣas (beings). Who are they? In answer to this, Śrī Bhagavān says, “He who fails to act according to his constitutional identity is kṣara-jīva, the fallible living entity, and He who never falls from His own svarūpa is akṣara-brahma, the imperishable and infallible entity.” The Śrutis say, “Brāhmaṇas, who know brahma, the Supreme Spirit, call Him akṣara.” Also in the Smṛtis, only brahma is referred to as akṣara: akṣaraṃ brahma paramam.

To specifically explain the meanings of the words kṣara and akṣara, Śrī Bhagavān again says sarvāṇi bhūtāni. It is only due to ignorance, which has existed since time immemorial, that the living entity fails to act in accordance with his original, spiritual identity. Being bound by his karma, he wanders throughout all species of life, from Lord Brahmā down to the non-moving beings. However, the second puruṣa is akṣara (infallible) and kūṭa-stha (unchanging). According to the Amara-koṣa, kūṭa-stha means ‘one whose eternal svarūpa never changes but always remains the same’.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “If you say that prakṛti, material nature, is one, then you, Arjuna, have actually understood. But you may have not understood how many conscious puruṣas there are. In that case, listen. In reality, there are only two types of puruṣas in this world: fallible (kṣara) and infallible (akṣara). The conscious living entities emanating as Śrī Bhagavān’s separated parts (vibhinnāṃśa) are kṣara-puruṣa. The living entity is known as such because he is taṭastha, or marginal, by nature; thus he has the tendency to fall from his constitutional position. The infallible personal expansions of the Lord, svāṃśa-tattva, never fall from Their svarūpa. They are called akṣara-puruṣa.” Another name for akṣara-puruṣa is kūṭa-stha-puruṣa (the unchangeable personality).

There are three manifestations of this unchangeable person:

(1) Brahma–the akṣara-puruṣa who pervades the entire universe upon creating it and who is the negative aspect of the manifested universe. Brahma is not an independent truth.

(2) Paramātmā–the partial manifestation of transcendence and the refuge and indwelling witness of the conscious jīva within the material universe. Since He is related only to the universe, He, also, is not an independent truth.

(3) Śrī Bhagavān–the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, or bhagavat-tattva, is the third manifestation of kūṭa-stha. This will be explained in the eighteenth verse.

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