Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 18.61, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse Verse 18.61 from the chapter 18 called “Moksha-yoga (the Yoga of Liberation)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 18.61:

ईश्वरः सर्व-भूतानां हृद्-देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति ।
भ्रामयन् सर्व-भूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ॥ ६१ ॥

īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṃ hṛd-deśe'rjuna tiṣṭhati |
bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā
|| 61 ||

īśvaraḥ–the indwelling Paramātmā; sarva-bhūtānām–of all beings; hṛt-deśe–in the area of the heart; arjuna–O Arjuna; tiṣṭhati–is situated; bhrāmayan–causing to travel; sarva-bhūtāni–all living beings; yantra-ārūḍhāni–(as if) mounted upon machines [the 8,400,000 species]; māyayā–by His illusory energy.

O Arjuna, the indwelling Supersoul is situated in the heart of all living beings. By His illusory potency, He is causing them to wander in the cycle of birth and death, as if they are mounted on a machine.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

Śrī Bhagavān is now giving His own conclusion, having explained, in the previous two verses, the opinion of the svabhāvavādīs, those who believe that everyone acts according to the tendencies born of their natures. Śrī Nārāyaṇa, the indwelling witness of all, resides within the living entities. Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (3.6.3) states that He resides within the earth, but the earth does not know Him. The earth is His body and by residing within the earth, He controls and moves it. The Śrutis also state: “Śrī Nārāyaṇa pervades everything that is seen or heard in this universe and anything that is within it or beyond it.”

From these Vedic statements, it is established that Īśvara is situated within the heart as the indwelling, all-seeing Supersoul. What does He do there? In response to this, Śrī Bhagavān says, “By His māyā-śakti, He engages all living entities in various activities, making them wander within this material world.” Just as a puppeteer pulls strings to manoeuvre puppets, māyā similarly controls the living entities. Yantrārūḍhāni also means ‘jīvas who are situated in various bodies’.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

Parameśvara is the indwell-ing Supersoul of the entire moving and non-moving world. This was stated previously in the Gītā (15.15): “sarvasya cāhaṃ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo–I am seated within everyone’s heart; all remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness come from Me alone.”

The Śrutis also say:

eko devaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu gūḍhaḥ sarva-vyāpī sarva-bhūtāntarātmā
karmādhyakṣaḥ sarva-bhūtādhivāsaḥ sākṣī cetā kevalo nirguṇaś ca

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (6.11)

He is omnipresent and omnipotent. Under His control, the living entity is wandering throughout this material world, riding the machine of the subtle and gross body made by the illusory potency.

Some think that Īśvara, the Supreme Lord, controls all beings and prompts their actions. They conclude, ‘Therefore, all of our good and bad actions are inspired by Him.’ They think that the living entity is just like a puppet, so instead of him receiving the results of all his good and bad works, Īśvara alone should, and in fact does, receive the results. This understanding is completely wrong. The word yantrārūḍhāni should be properly understood. Māyā gives the living entities who are averse to Bhagavān a subtle and a gross body, according to the impressions created by their previous actions, which have accumulated since time immemorial. The living entity wanders throughout the cycle of karma, in bodies he receives in accordance with his previous actions. This takes place by the inspiration of Īśvara and under the control of māyā. Īśvara does not directly engage the conditioned souls in action. Because the conditioned soul does not want to give up his independence completely and be controlled by Bhagavān, he does not receive this good fortune.

Thus, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu clearly states in Śri Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 20.117):

kṛṣṇa bhūli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha
ataeva māyā tāre deya saṃsāra-duḥkha

The living entity has forgotten Kṛṣṇa since time immemorial; thus māyā gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.

Parameśvara merely acts as a witness to such rebellious living entities, and through māyā He makes them undergo the results of all their good and bad activities. But He does not remain indifferent like a witness toward His devotees. Rather, He engages them in serving Him. This is His great mercy.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “I alone am situated in the heart of all living beings as Paramātmā, and Paramātmā is indeed the controller and master of all. Īśvara gives the jīvas the fruit of whatever action they perform. Just as an object rotates on a machine, similarly, the living entities continue to wander in the material world, as arranged by the all-controlling quality of Īśvara. According to your previous action, you will continue to function according to your nature by the inspiration of Īśvara.”

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