Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 16.20, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse Verse 16.20 from the chapter 16 called “Daivasura-sampada-yoga (Yoga through discerning Divine and Demoniac Qualities)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 16.20:

आसुरीं योनिम् आपन्ना मूढा जन्मनि जन्मनि ।
माम् अप्राप्यैव कौन्तेय ततो यान्त्य् अधमां गतिम् ॥ २० ॥

āsurīṃ yonim āpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani |
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yānty adhamāṃ gatim || 20 ||

āsurīm–demoniac; yonim–births; āpannāḥ–receiving; mūḍhāḥ–those fools; janmani janmani–birth after birth; mām–Me; aprāpya–not attaining; eva–certainly; kaunteya–O son of Kuntī; tataḥ–then; yānti–go; adhamām–the vilest; gatim–destination.

O son of Kuntī, accepting birth after birth in the demoniac species, such fools can never attain Me, and so they descend further into the lowest and most vile destinations.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Mām aprāpyaiva means that by not attaining Me they fall to a degraded species of life. However, when I appear at the end of Dvāpara-yuga, in the twenty-eighth catur-yuga of Vaivasvata Manu, those such as Kaṃsa who envy Me will attain liberation upon coming before Me. I, who am an ocean of unlimited compassion, bestow that rare liberation attained in the matured stage of bhakti-miśra-jñāna, knowledge mixed with devotion, even to sinners such as Kaṃsa. It is said in the prayers of the Personified Vedas in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.87.23), ‘O Prabhu! Simply by constantly thinking of You, Your enemies have attained the same Supreme Absolute Reality as the great sages fixed in yoga who worship You by residing in a solitary place, completely controlling their breath, mind, senses and so forth.’ Thus My supremacy, as described earlier, is established.” This is also found in a verse from Laghu-Bhāgavatāmṛta, which states that, as long as those who envy Kṛṣṇa do not attain Him, they remain in a degraded species of life. This is very clear.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

In the nineteenth verse, Śrī Kṛṣṇa said that He throws people who are envious of sādhus and who are cruel, being the most degraded of human beings, into miserable demoniac species of life. From this statement, someone may question Bhagavān’s behaviour and say that He is not impartial, but quite the opposite. However, although Īśvara is able to do anything and everything, “karttum akarttum anyathā karttum samarthaḥ–the Lord can do or undo anything He chooses to,” usually the living entity tastes the results of his own activities. Therefore, sinful people, who are opposed to the Vedas, the devotees and Bhagavān, must enter demoniac species of life again and again, to undergo the result of their actions. Due to repeated demonic births, they do not get a chance to become free from their offences. If the offences and sins that are committed in human life are not atoned for in human life, a person does not get the chance to clear them when he goes to the lower species, such as birds and beasts. A birth in all species except the human species is only meant for reaping the results of past karma.

In this regard, Śrīla Madhusūdana Sarasvatī writes:

ihaiva naraka-vyādheś cikitsāṃ na karoti yaḥ
gatvā nirauṣadhaṃ sthānaṃ sarujaḥ kiṃ kariṣyati

If a person cannot cure the disease of sinking to hellish life while living in this human body, what will he do when he goes to where no remedy exists, namely, a lower species of life?

God, or Īśvara, is never partial. This was explained in detail earlier. Here, one should note that those such as Hiraṇyakaśipu, Hiraṇyākṣa, Rāvaṇa, Kumbhakarṇa, Śiśupāla and Dantavakra took birth in kṣatriya dynasties because they were cursed to do so. In that birth, they directly opposed Bhagavān’s incarnations such as Śrī Nṛsiṃha, Śrī Varāha, Śrī Rāma and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, considering Them to be their enemies. But because they were killed by these incarnations, they attained an auspicious destination and abandoned their demoniac nature. Those who were killed specifically by Śrī Kṛṣṇa attained the highest destination. Furthermore, it should be noted that all of these personalities had faith in the Vedas and Vedic activities, and all had performed Vedic sacrifices. They indirectly believed in a supreme controller, the time factor and the Supreme Lord.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s supremacy over all incarnations of the Lord, His glorious position and His specific quality of bestowing the highest liberation upon anyone He kills is thus established. When the demons, who are envious of Bhagavān, are killed by incarnations other than Kṛṣṇa Himself, they attain immense enjoyment in the heavenly planets and other places, or they take birth in a high-class family. But when they are killed personally by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the source of all incarnations, they attain liberation, or mukti, achieving either a form similar to the Lord’s (sārūpya), residence on the same planet with the Lord (sālokya), opulences like those of the Lord (sārṣṭi) or close association with the Lord (sāmīpya). They may even attain service to Him as one of His associates. Therefore, Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone is said to be the fountainhead of all incarnations: “ete cāṃśa-kalāḥ puṃsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayaṃ–all the incarnations mentioned are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the original Personality of Godhead” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.3.28). Kṛṣṇa even awarded Pūtanā the position of His wet nurse. And when He descended in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He bestowed pure love for Bhagavān on Jagāi, Madhāi and Chānd Kāzī.

In the phrase mām aprāpyaiva, Kṛṣṇa Himself is expressing this deep secret with the word eva, which means ‘certainly’. “It is certain that as long as a person does not attain Me or the path that leads to Me, there is no chance of his being completely liberated from miserable material life.”

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