Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 18.14, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse Verse 18.14 from the chapter 18 called “Moksha-yoga (the Yoga of Liberation)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 18.14:

अधिष्ठानं तथा कर्ता करणं च पृथग्-विधम् ।
विविधाश् च पृथक् चेष्टा दैवं चैवात्र पञ्चमम् ॥ १४ ॥

adhiṣṭhānaṃ tathā kartā karaṇaṃ ca pṛthag-vidham |
vividhāś ca pṛthak ceṣṭā daivaṃ caivātra pañcamam
|| 14 ||

adhiṣṭhānam–the body; tathā–also; kartā–the doer (the soul and dull matter bound together by the knot of the false ego); karaṇam–the senses; ca–and; pṛthak–distinct; vidham–various; vividhāḥ–manifold; ca–and; pṛthak–distinct; ceṣṭāḥ–activities (such as the actions of the incoming and outgoing breaths); daivam–the indwelling witness, the Supersoul; ca eva atra–certainly amidst these other causes; pañcamam–the fifth.

The body, the doer, the senses, the various types of endeavours, and in the midst of them, the indwelling prompter (Antaryāmī), are the five causes of action mentioned in Vedānta.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Śrī Bhagavān now enumerates those causes of action. Adhiṣṭhānam means the body, and kartā (the agent, or doer) refers to the knot of false ego, which ties the conscious soul to inert matter. Karaṇam means ‘the senses such as the eyes and ears’, pṛthag-vidham means ‘various types of endeavours’, that is, the function of the life-airs such as the incoming and outgoing breath, and daivam means ‘Antaryāmī, the indwelling prompter of everyone’. These are the five causes of action.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

The five causes of action mentioned in the previous verse are explained here in detail. It should be understood that the word adhiṣṭhānam in this verse means ‘this body’, for action can only be performed when a conditioned soul becomes embodied. The soul situated in this body is called the doer, because it is he who performs action (karma), even though in reality the pure soul has nothing to do with action. Due to his false ego only, he thinks himself the doer, and in this way he becomes the enjoyer of the results of his action.

Therefore, the soul is called both the knower and the doer. This is also mentioned in the Śrutis: “eṣa hi draṣṭā sraṣṭā–it is actually the soul who sees and acts” (Praśna Upaniṣad 4.9). The Vedānta-sūtra also states, “jño’ta eva–the soul is truly the knower” (Brahma-sūtra 2.3.17), and “karttā śāstrārthavattvāt–the jīvātmā is understood as the doer, as confirmed in scripture” (Brahma-sūtra 2.3.31). All these statements substantiate the above conclusion. The senses are the instruments used to perform action. The soul accomplishes various types of work only with the help of the senses. Each activity involves a separate endeavour, but each activity depends on the sanction of Parameśvara, who is situated within everyone’s heart as a witness, friend and controller. Therefore, Parameśvara alone is the supreme cause. Those who are inspired by an exalted, perfected personality who is fully conversant with scriptural conclusions, and also by Parameśvara, are able to ascertain what action is obligatory for them and what is not. Thus they engage in the performance of bhakti and very quickly attain the supreme destination. They are not bound by the reactions of their good or bad deeds.

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