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 Bhagavadgītā (Bhagavad Gita): Chapter VII (Vijñānayoga)

Yoga of direct knowledge


 Introduction

Arjuna was properly taught by the Lord about Jñāna (Knowledge, in the sense of "indirect Knowledge", i.e. without direct experience) in the fourth chapter. Now, He will teach him about Vijñāna (direct Knowledge full of experience). Listen to His words...

Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me. Besides, although I have not written any commentary on each stanza, I have added my own notes when a more detailed explanation is needed. In addition, note that I will use inverted commas to delimit text only when the person speaking is not Sañjaya himself (the narrator). Therefore, the words spoken by Sañjaya will not be delimited by inverted commas or quotation marks.

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 Chapter 7: Vijñānayoga (Yoga of direct knowledge)

श्रीभगवानुवाच
मय्यासक्तमनाः पार्थ योगं युञ्जन्मदाश्रयः।
असंशयं समग्रं मां यथा ज्ञास्यसि तच्छृणु॥१॥

Śrībhagavānuvāca
Mayyāsaktamanāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjanmadāśrayaḥ|
Asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tacchṛṇu||1||

Venerable (śrī) Bhagavān (bhagavān)1 said (uvāca):
"Oh son of Pṛthā (pārtha)2, hear --lit. hear that-- (tad śṛṇu) how --i.e. in which manner-- (yathā), with (your) mind (manāḥ) fixed (āsakta) on Me (mayi), by practicing (yuñjan) Yoga (yogam)3 (and) taking refuge (āśrayaḥ) in Me (mad)4, you will fully know (samagram... jñāsyasi) Me (mām) without doubt (asaṁśayam)"||1||

1 Lit. "The Divine or Adorable One", or also "The Fortunate One", i.e. Lord Kṛṣṇa.
2 Epithet for Arjuna.
3 Madhusūdana explains: "... yogaṁ yuñjanmanaḥsamādhānaṁ ṣaṣṭhoktaprakāreṇa kurvan..." or "... (the phrase) 'yogaṁ yuñjan' (means) 'by perfectly concentrating the mind' in the manner described in the sixth (chapter of this scripture)'...". On the other hand, Rāmānuja interprets "yuñjan" (in "yogaṁ yuñjan") in this way: "... yoktuṁ pravṛttaḥ..." or "... by going to practice...". And Śaṅkarācārya has the same opinion as Madhusūdana.
4 Śrīdhara specifies: "... Madāśrayo'hamevāśrayo yasya| Ananyaśaraṇaḥ san|..." or "... (In the phrase) 'Mad-āśrayaḥ', (the word 'mad' means) 'Me alone', while 'āśrayaḥ' (is to be interpreted in the sense of a Bahuvrīhi compound as) 'whose refuge', (i.e. one whose refuge is Me alone). (In other words,) I am (his) unique refuge...". Bahuvrīhi compounds are a type of Sanskrit compound... oh well, a long story. Just trust me.
The great Baladeva declares: "... madāśrayo maddāsyasakhyādyekatamena bhāvena māṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ..." or "... (by the phrase) 'mad-āśrayaḥ' (it is meant to say that he) has taken refuge in Me by one of many (kinds of devotion) to Me such as 'dāsya' --the attitude of a servant--, 'sakhya' --the attitude of a friend--, etc...". There are many types of devotion to God such as those described. Other kinds of relationships to God are, for example: "vātsalya" --devotion to God as if He were a child--, or vice versa, i.e. "śānta" --pacific devotion to God as if He were a father-- and so forth.
Madhusūdana expresses: "... madāśrayo madekaśaraṇaḥ..." or "... 'mad-āśrayaḥ' (means) 'one whose only refuge is Me'...".
Rāmānuja says: "... madāśrayo madekādhāraḥ..." or "... 'mad-āśrayaḥ' (means) 'one whose only support is Me'...". And Śaṅkarācārya opines practically in the same way as Śrīdhara.


ज्ञानं तेऽहं सविज्ञानमिदं वक्ष्याम्यशेषतः।
यज्ज्ञात्वा नेह भूयोऽन्यज्ज्ञातव्यमवशिष्यते॥२॥

Jñānaṁ te'haṁ savijñānamidaṁ vakṣyāmyaśeṣataḥ|
Yajjñātvā neha bhūyo'nyajjñātavyamavaśiṣyate||2||

"I (aham) will declare (vakṣyāmi) to you (te) completely (aśeṣataḥ) this (idam) 'jñāna' --indirect knowledge-- (jñānam) along with 'vijñāna' --direct knowledge-- (sa-vijñānam)1, by knowing (jñātvā) which (yad) nothing else (na... anyat) is left (avaśiṣyate) here (iha)2 to be known (jñātvyam) again (bhūyas)"||2||

1 Śrīdhara shows the difference between "jñāna" and "vijñāna": "... Jñānaṁ śāstrīyaṁ vijñānamanubhavaḥ|..." or "... 'Jñāna' (is knowledge) taught in scriptures, (while) 'vijñāna' (is) experience...".

Viśvanātha opines: "Tatra madbhakterāsaktibhūmikātaḥ pūrvamapi me jñānamaiśvaryamayaṁ bhavet| Taduttaraṁ vijñānaṁ mādhuryānubhavamayaṁ bhavet|..." or "Though formerly 'jñāna' or 'knowledge' about Me has to do with My sovereignty or lordship since devotion to Me in him --in a seeker-- is in the stage of 'āsakti' --lit. devotedness, attachment--, afterward there appears 'vijñāna', which consists of the experience of 'mādhurya' --lit. sweetness--...". The stage of "āsakti" is that in which a seeker has already learnt from the scriptures and his own teacher of the absolute sovereignty and supremacy of the Lord. Thus, he begins to develop a real bhāva or emotion as regards the Lord from hearing about His stories and pastimes. In short, he commences to feel attachment to the Lord Himself. "Āsakti" leads to "bhāva" or "real love for the Lord". Afterward, the devotee gradually goes through other stages of devotion. The highest stage is known as Mādhurya, in which he experiences the Lord as his Lover. The kinds of stages in the devotional path is a complex topic for a mere explanatory note as the present one. Besides, there are various ways to classify them. Anyway, what is clear here is that Viśvanātha specifies that "jñāna" is knowledge of His sovereignty, which is generally gotten from scriptures and teacher, but "vijñāna" is a direct experience of love for Him in the highest sense of word. No doubt that "vijñāna" is superior to "jñāna" then.

Śaṅkarācārya says that "vijñāna" is "svānubhava" or "the experience of the Self". Well, the commentators seem to come to an agreement in that "jñāna" is "indirect knowledge", while "vijñāna" is "direct knowledge", i.e. "experience", despite the different characteristics "vijñāna" may have according to the path followed by a particular commentator.
2 The term "iha" (lit. here) is interpreted by Śrīdhara as "śreyomārge" or "on the path of real good and welfare". And according to Baladeva: "śreyovartmani" or "on the way leading to real good and welfare".


मनुष्याणां सहस्रेषु कश्चिद्यतति सिद्धये।
यततामपि सिद्धानां कश्चिन्मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः॥३॥

Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścidyatati siddhaye|
Yatatāmapi siddhānāṁ kaścinmāṁ vetti tattvataḥ||3||

"Among thousands (sahasreṣu) of human beings (manuṣyāṇām), somebody (kaścid) strives after (yatati) Perfection (siddhaye), (but) even (api) out of the ones who strive after (yatatām) (and duly) succeed (siddhānām) (only) someone --i.e. only one being-- (kaścid) knows (vetti) Me (mām) really (tattvatas)1"||3||

1 Śrīdhara explains this stanza in detail. Now I will translate his commentary in its entirety as it is worth the effort: "Madbhaktiṁ vinā tu yajjñānaṁ durlabhamityāha manuṣyāṇāmiti| Asaṅkhyātānāṁ jīvānāṁ madhye manuṣyavyatiriktānāṁ śreyasi pravṛttireva nāsti| Manuṣyāṇāṁ tu sahasreṣu madhye kaścideva puṇyavaśātsiddhaya ātmajñānāya prayatate| Prayatnaṁ kurvatāmapi sahasreṣu kaścideva prakṛṣṭapuṇyavaśādātmānaṁ vetti| Tādṛśānāṁ cātmajñānāṁ sahasreṣu kaścideva māṁ paramātmānaṁ matprasādena tattvato vetti| Tadevamatidurlabhamapi yajjñānaṁ tubhyamahaṁ vakṣyāmītyarthaḥ||3||" or "'But without devotion to Me that knowledge is difficult to be attained', thus (the Lord) said '(among thousands) of human beings'. Among the innumerable living beings, apart from the human beings, there is no prosecution of Śreyas --real good and welfare, from a spiritual viewpoint-- at all. However, among thousands of human beings only somebody --i.e. only one-- strives after Perfection, i.e. Self-knowledge, on account of his virtues. (Still,) even among thousands striving after (that Goal), only somebody knows (his own) Self due to (his) virtues of a superior nature. And among thousands of such knowers of the Self, only somebody truly knows Me, the Supreme Self, by means of My favor. Thus, I will declare to you that knowledge which is even extremely difficult to be attained. This is the sense||3||"

The commentaries of Viśvanātha and Baladeva practically agree with that of Śrīdhara, but they describe all in a devotional manner. For example, Viśvanātha describes the expression "māṁ vetti tattvataḥ" as "māṁ śyāmasundarākāraṁ tattvato vetti sākṣādanubhavati" or "'he knows Me really'; ('Me' indicates) 'the form of Śyāmasundara', (and 'knows' points out that he) experiences (that form of Mine) in person". Śyāmasundara is an epithet of Lord Kṛṣṇa which literally means "Dark and Beautiful".

The sage Rāmānuja specifies that "manuṣyāṇām" --of human beings-- in the stanza is not referring to "ordinary human beings" but "śāstrādhikārayogyās" or "people who are fit for studying the subject matters dealt with in the scriptures".


भूमिरापोऽनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च।
अहङ्कार इतीयं मे भिन्ना प्रकृतिरष्टधा॥४॥

Bhūmirāpo'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhireva ca|
Ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtiraṣṭadhā||4||

"This (iyam) eightfold (aṣṭadhā) Prakṛti (prakṛtiḥ)1 of Mine (me) is divided into (bhinnā): 'earth (bhūmiḥ), water (āpas), fire (analaḥ), air (vāyuḥ), ether --i.e. space-- (kham), mind (manas), intellect (buddhiḥ) and (eva ca) ego (ahaṅkāraḥ... iti)'"||4||

1 Śrīdhara says, after describing the eightfold Prakṛti: "... Anena prakāreṇa me prakṛtirmāyākhyā śaktiraṣṭadhā bhinnā vibhāgaṁ prāptā|..." or "... In this way is divided (or) partitioned My Prakṛti, viz. the Power known as Māyā --Illusion--, which is eightfold...". As this commentator follows Advaitavedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta), he identifies Prakṛti with Māyā or Illusion. Anyway, according to Dvaitavedānta (dualistic Vedānta), Prakṛti is real and not illusory, and the source of all matter. Dvaitavedānta divides all into three portions, as it were: Lord, individual souls (also called higher Prakṛti by Kṛṣṇa in the next stanza) and Prakṛti (lower Prakṛti or Prakṛti plainly). Thus, the individual souls are exactly in the middle of the spiritual and material worlds.


अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम्।
जीवभूतां महाबाहो ययेदं धार्यते जगत्॥५॥

Apareyamitastvanyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām|
Jīvabhūtāṁ mahābāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat||5||

"This (iyam) (is) the lower (Prakṛti) (aparā). However (tu), apart from this (inferior Prakṛti) (itas), oh big-armed one (mahā-bāho)1, know (viddhi) My (me) other (anyām) Prakṛti (prakṛtim), which is higher (parām), consists (bhūtām) of 'Jīva-s' --individual souls, i.e. living beings-- (jīva) (and) by which (yayā) this (idam) world (jagat) is upheld (dhāryate)2"||5||

1 Epithet for Arjuna.
2 In Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta (qualified non-dualistic Vedānta) there are three realities named "Tattvatraya", viz. Cit or living beings, Acit or inanimate things, and Īśvara or the Supreme Lord. The living beings are also called "Jīva-s" in this system. Acit would be the lower Prakṛti, while Cit or Jīva the higher Prakṛti. There is another way to see the things in qualified non-dualistic Vedānta: Jaḍa (inert) and Ajaḍa (not inert). Cit (living beings) and Īśvara (the Lord) are Ajaḍa, while Acit (the lower Prakṛti) is Jaḍa.

Both in Viśiṣṭādvaita and in Dvaita (dualistic Vedānta), the Jīva-s or living beings (i.e. the souls) are classified as follows: Nitya (the ones who are eternally liberated), Mukta (those who have attained liberation) and Baddha (bound). There are subtle differences in the way that both systems define what a Jīva or living being is, of course. On the other hand, in Advaitavedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta), Jīva is an upādhi or limiting attribute of Ātmā (the Self), i.e. Ātmā is turned into Jīva, as it were, due to the illusory power of Māyā. Oh well, a complex subject, no doubt about it. All in all, what you have to understand is that, more or less, in the three types of Vedānta-s, three realities are always around: matter, living being and the Lord. Each of those systems explains the nature and relationship between such realities in different ways, obviously.

According to Rāmānuja (the founder of Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta), the lower Prakṛti (viz. Acit) is "bhogya" or "something to be enjoyed", while the higher Prakṛti is formed from Jīva-s (living beings or Cit) who are the "bhoktā-s" or enjoyers of the previous lower Prakṛti. In the last portion of his commentary, he writes: "... yayedamacetanaṁ kṛtsnaṁ jagaddhāryate||5||" or "... by which this entire inanimate world is upheld||5||". The word "acetanam" (inanimate) is significant, because the world is in itself inert (i.e. Acit) according to Rāmānuja. This is his interpretation of the last words of Lord Kṛṣṇa in this fifth stanza.

Viśvanātha, a follower of Dvaitavedānta (dualistic Vedānta) agrees with Rāmānuja in that the world is essentially "acetanam" or "inanimate" (inert). On the other hand, Advaitavedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta) also uses the term "acetanam" but just to describe the phenomenon called "the world". This world is considered neither real nor unreal, because its source (viz. Māyā) has such a nature. OK, a long story again.

But what it is really interesting is how the Lord unifies the three types of Vedānta in this stanza. Listen up: a) In Dvaitavedānta (dualistic Vedānta), the Jīva or living being (i.e. the soul) is regarded as a spark from a Great Fire known as "the Lord". This spark is similar to the Lord in kind but not in magnitude, i.e. it can never fully attain the status of the Lord Himself. b) In Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta (qualified non-dualistic Vedānta), the Jīva is inseparable from the Lord but is not Him essentially, just as the light is an attribute inseparable from the flame of a candle despite it is not the flame itself. Thus, the soul is inseparable from the Divine but at the same time it depends on Him completely. c) In Advaitavedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta), Jīva or soul is a reflection of Ātmā or Self, as it were. The soul is essentially Ātmā or Self, who is real, but due to the machinations of Māyā (Illusion or Ignorance), it becomes, apparently, an entity living in bondage. Through adequate knowledge, such an illusion is dissipated and the soul becomes conscious of its essential nature (i.e. Ātmā).

Anyway, beyond those three viewpoints regarding Jīva (living being or soul), Lord Kṛṣṇa says: "... yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat||5||" or "... by which this world is upheld||5||". In other words, Jīva is what sustains this "acetanam" or "inanimate" world. Without the presence of Jīva, this world could not remain. So, by emphasizing that Jīva is the cause for the existence of the material universe, the Lord unifies the three points of view maintained by the three kinds of Vedānta. Thus, each of these systems may postulate different definitions for the entity known as "Jīva" (living being or soul), but they have to agree with each other in that the "Jīva" portion of this Creation upholds the world.


एतद्योनीनि भूतानि सर्वाणीत्युपधारय।
अहं कृत्स्नस्य जगतः प्रभवः प्रलयस्तथा॥६॥

Etadyonīni bhūtāni sarvāṇītyupadhāraya|
Ahaṁ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayastathā||6||

"Become aware (upadhāraya) that "all (sarvāṇi) things --animate and inanimate-- (bhūtāni)1 have this --i.e. lower and higher Prakṛti-s-- (etad) for their source (yonīni... iti)". I (aham) (am) the origin (prabhavaḥ) as well as (tathā) the dissolution (pralayaḥ) of the entire (kṛtsnasya) universe (jagataḥ)"||6||

1 Śrīdhara makes clear what "bhūtāni" means here: "... Sthāvarajaṅgamātmakāni sarvāṇi bhūtāni..." or "... All 'bhūta-s' or inanimate and animate things --i.e. objects and living beings--...". Viśvanātha and Baladeva agree with Śrīdhara. Rāmānuja gives a more elaborate explanation: "... brahmādistambaparyantānyuccāvacabhāvenāvasthitāni cidacinmiśrāṇi sarvāṇi bhūtāni..." or "... all 'bhūta-s' or mixture of Cit --living beings-- and Acit --inanimate things-- which abide in high and low states from Brahmā --the Creator-- down to a clump of grass...".

Śaṅkarācārya does not explain the meaning of "bhūtāni sarvāṇi", but he writes a beautiful summary of the meaning of the entire stanza at the end of his commentary: "... Prakṛtidvayadvāreṇāhaṁ sarvajña īśvaro jagataḥ kāraṇamityarthaḥ||6||" or "... I, the omniscient Lord, (am) the Cause of the world by means of the two Prakṛti-s. This is the sense||6||".


मत्तः परतरं नान्यत्किञ्चिदस्ति धनञ्जय।
मयि सर्वमिदं प्रोतं सूत्रे मणिगणा इव॥७॥

Mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyatkiñcidasti dhanañjaya|
Mayi sarvamidaṁ protaṁ sūtre maṇigaṇā iva||7||

"On winner of wealth (dhanañjaya)1, there is nothing whatsoever (na anyat kiñcid asti) superior (parataram) to Me (mattaḥ)2. All (sarvam) this (idam) is strung together (protam) on Me (mayi) like (iva) pearls (maṇi-gaṇāḥ) on a thread (sūtre)3"||7||

1 Epithet for Arjuna.
2 It is easy to understand that there is no Reality superior to the Supreme Lord. Still, I will quote the Śaṅkarācārya's comment as a synthetic explanation of what Kṛṣṇa expressed: "... Mattaḥ parameśvarātparataramanyatkāraṇāntaraṁ kiñcinnāsti na vidyate'hameva jagatkāraṇamityartho he dhanañjaya|..." or "... There is no other cause whatsoever higher than Me, the Supreme Lord. I am the cause of the world alone, this is the sense, oh winner of wealth...". In this commentary, Śaṅkarācārya makes clear that the word "anyat" in the stanza means "kāraṇāntaram" (other cause), while the expression "na asti" is "na vidyate" (there is not).
3 The explanation given by Rāmānuja on the last line of the stanza is really elucidating: "... Sarvamidaṁ cidacidvastujātaṁ kāryāvasthaṁ kāraṇāvasthaṁ ca maccharīrabhūtaṁ sūtre maṇigaṇavadātmatayāvasthite mayi protamāśritam|..." or "... All this which constitutes My Body, viz. what has been born of the realities of Cit --living beings or souls-- and Acit --inanimate things--, whose states are cause and effect (respectively) --Cit is the cause and Acit is the effect--, is strung on Me like pearls on a string, i.e. (all this) depends upon Me, the One who remains as (its) Self...". Cit is the higher Prakṛti formed from infinite souls or Jīva-s, while Acit is the lower Prakṛti appearing in the form of inert things.

Viśvanātha specifies the meaning of "sarvamidam" in the stanza: "... Sarvamidaṁ cijjaḍātmakaṁ jagat..." or "... All this world composed of Cit --Jīva-s or souls, i.e. the higher Prakṛti-- and Jaḍa --inert matter, viz. the lower Prakṛti--...". Oh well, the meaning is absolutely clear in my opinion.


रसोऽहमप्सु कौन्तेय प्रभास्मि शशिसूर्ययोः।
प्रणवः सर्ववेदेषु शब्दः खे पौरुषं नृषु॥८॥

Raso'hamapsu kaunteya prabhāsmi śaśisūryayoḥ|
Praṇavaḥ sarvavedeṣu śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu||8||

"Oh son of Kuntī (kaunteya)1, I (aham) am (asmi) the taste (rasaḥ) in water (apsu)2, the radiance (prabhā) in the moon (śaśi) (and) the sun --sūrya-- (sūryayoḥ)3, the Praṇava --i.e. the sacred Om̐-- (praṇavaḥ) in all (sarva) Veda-s (vedeṣu)4, the sound (śabdaḥ) in the ether --space-- (khe)5, (and) manhood or virility (pauruṣam) in men (nṛṣu)6"||8||

1 Epithet for Arjuna.
2 Śrīdhara comments: "... Apsu raso'haṁ rasatanmātrarūpayā vibhūtyā tadāśrayatvenāpsusthito'hamityarthaḥ|..." or "... I am the taste in water by means of the power whose nature is Rasa-tanmātra. (Thus,) by resorting to that (Rasa-tanmātra), I remain in water. This is the sense...". The Tanmātra-s are the subtle elements from which arise the gross elements such as space, air, fire, water and earth. There is five Tanmātra-s: Śabda (sound-as-such), Sparśa (touch-as-such), Rūpa (color-as-such), Rasa (flavor-as-such) and Gandha (odor-as-such). The expression "as such" can be understood by analyzing the word Tanmātra itself. It means "merely (mātra) that (tad)", i.e. the Tanmātra-s are the patterns through which one can distinguish the different sounds, touches, colors, flavors and odors. So, e.g. Rasa-tanmātra is flavor-as-such, viz. it is merely that by which one can distinguish the tastes. All in all, without the presence of the five patterns one could not perceive all those sounds, touches, etc. at all.

Baladeva agrees with the viewpoint of Śrīdhara here.
3 According to Madhusūdana and Śrīdhara, "prabhā" is "prakāśa" or "effulgence".
4 Śrīdhara expresses: "... Sarveṣu vedeṣu vaikharīrūpeṣu tanmūlabhūtaḥ praṇava oṅkāro'smi|..." or "... In all Veda-s (appearing) in (their) form Vaikharī, I am Praṇava, viz. the syllable Om̐, which is the root of those (very Veda-s)...". Though there are three Praṇava-s really --Om̐, Hrīm̐ and Hūm̐--, this word stands for Om̐ traditionally. There are four speech levels: Parāvāk, Paśyantī, Madhyamā and Vaikharī. On one hand, Parāvāk (lit. supreme speech) is the stage in which the sound (vācaka) and the object (vācya) that is denoted by such a sound are in absolute unity. On the other hand, Vaikharī is the stage in which vācaka and vācya are completely separated. Vaikharī is the gross speech, i.e. the one expressed by the physical tongue. When Śrīdhara speaks of "In all Veda-s (appearing) in (their) form Vaikharī", he is speaking of the Veda-s as scriptures manifested in the gross stage. In other words, he is talking about the Veda-s as scriptures you can hear, read and recite by means of your gross senses. In Parāvāk, the sound of the Veda-s and the truths denoted by such a sound cannot be separated at all. OK, this is a long and complex topic and without real "vijñāna" or "direct knowledge in the form of experience", one will always fail to understand its real purport. Thus, enough of this for now.

Viśvanātha says: "... Praṇava oṅkāraḥ sarvavedakāraṇam|..." or "... Praṇava, i.e. the syllable Om̐, is the cause of all Veda-s...".
5 Baladeva expresses: "... Khe nabhasi śabdastanmātralakṣaṇo'ham|..." or "... I am the sound in 'kha' or ether --space--, viz. (I am) characterized by the (respective) Tanmātra or subtle element --i.e. Śabda-tanmātra or sound-as-such--...". To understand what Baladeva has declared, read the previous note 2. And Śrīdhara says more or less the same thing as Baladeva. Madhusūdana follows the same standpoint too.
6 Śrīdhara says: "... Nṛṣu puruṣeṣu pauruṣamudyamamasmi|..." or "... I am 'pauruṣam' --lit. manhood or virility-- or strenuous and continued effort in men, i.e. in the people...". Then, Śrīdhara declares that manhood or virility is synonymous with "udyama" or "strenuous and continued effort", in the sense of "the act of striving after". Baladeva opines as Śrīdhara, but he adds "phalavān" (fructiferous), i.e. "a 'udyama' bearing fruits".

In turn, the great Śaṅkarācārya gives a different opinion in the last portion of his commentary: "... Tathā pauruṣaṁ puruṣasya bhāvaḥ pauruṣaṁ yataḥ pumbuddhirnṛṣu tasminmayi puruṣāḥ protāḥ||8||..." or "... In like manner, (I am) 'pauruṣa' in men, i.e. the state of (being) a man, from which (emerges) the notion or idea of (being) a man. Men are contained or established in Me who am that ('pauruṣa' or manhood in them)...". Of course, by "men" the author is referring to the human beings as a whole.


 पुण्यो गन्धः पृथिव्यां च तेजश्चास्मि विभावसौ।
जीवनं सर्वभूतेषु तपश्चास्मि तपस्विषु॥९॥

Puṇyo gandhaḥ pṛthivyāṁ ca tejaścāsmi vibhāvasau|
Jīvanaṁ sarvabhūteṣu tapaścāsmi tapasviṣu||9||

"I am (asmi... asmi) the sweet (punyaḥ) fragrance (gandhaḥ) of the earth (pṛthivyām)1 as well as (ca... ca) brightness (tejas) in fire (vibhāvasau)2, life (jīvanam) in all (sarva) beings (bhūteṣu)3 and (ca) austerity (tapas) in the ascetics (tapasviṣu)4"||9||

1 Śrīdhara gives a different interpretation for the term "puṇya" in the stanza. Listen up: "... Puṇyo'vikṛto gandho gandhatanmātram| Pṛthivyā āśrayabhūto'hamityarthaḥ|..." or "... 'Puṇya' (means) 'avikṛta' or 'unchanged, remaining in its natural condition' --i.e. not artificial--, (while) 'gandha' (is) the Gandha-tanmātra. I, in the form of the earth, am the support. This is the sense...". For more information about Tanmātra-s, read the note 2 in the previous stanza.

Madhusūdana also says that 'puṇya' is 'avikṛta' (unchanged, remaining in its natural condition), but he adds "surabhi" (sweet-smelling). In short: "the natural and sweet fragrance". Śaṅkarācārya opines the same thing as Madhusūdana. On the other hand, both Baladeva and Viśvanātha follow the viewpoint of Śrīdhara.
2 Viśvanātha declares: "... Tejaḥ sarvavastupācanaprakāśanaśītatrāṇādisāmarthyarūpaḥ sāraḥ|..." or "... 'Tejas' or brightness is the power or energy that is capable of cooking and illuminating all things, protecting from coldness, etc....". Śrīdhara's gloss is clear too: "... Tathā vibhāvasāvagnau yattejo duḥsahā sahajā dīptistadaham|..." or "... In the same way, I am that irresistible and natural brilliance or 'tejas' which is in 'vibhāvasu', i.e. in fire...". The rest of commentators agree with these two viewpoints for the most part, as the meaning is simple to describe.
3 The great Baladeva specifies that "jīvanam" is "āyus" (life). Śrīdhara gives a different interpretation: "... Sarvabhūteṣu jīvanaṁ prāṇadhāraṇavāyurahamityarthaḥ|..." or "... I am 'jīvana' in all beings, viz. the vital air sustaining the breath of life. This is the sense...". In turn, Madhusūdana "seems" to integrate the opinions of Baladeva and Śrīdhara into one sentence, but he does not: "... Sarvabhūteṣu sarveṣu prāṇiṣu jīvanaṁ prāṇadhāraṇamāyurahamasmi|..." or "... I am 'jīvana' in all 'bhūta-s' or living beings, i.e. the vital power sustaining the breath of life|...". As "āyus" means both "life" and "vital power", Madhusūdana chose to use "āyus" in the sense of "vital power" because to translate "the life sustaining the breath of life" would be redundant. Thus, he uses the word "āyus" as Baladeva does but the sense is different. In short, Madhusūdana follows the Śrīdhara's viewpoint.

Śaṅkarācārya expresses: "... Tathā jīvanaṁ sarvabhūteṣu yena jīvanti sarvāṇi bhūtāni tajjīvanam|..." or "... Likewise, (I am) 'jīvanaṁ sarvabhūteṣu' (o) 'that life by which all beings live'...". All right.
4 Baladeva defines "tapas" or "austerity", at the end of his commentary, as follows: "... tapo dvandvasahanam||9||" or "... austerity (is) patient endurance of the pairs of opposites||9||".

Śaṅkarācārya opines: "... Tapaścāsmi tapasviṣu tasmintapasi mayi tapasvinaḥ protāḥ||9||" or "... 'And I am austerity in the ascetics', i.e. the ascetics are established in Me who am that austerity||9||". The rest of commentators adds some other explanations, but all in all, they all agree with one another. Well, it is enough.


बीजं मां सर्वभूतानां विद्धि पार्थ सनातनम्।
बुद्धिर्बुद्धिमतामस्मि तेजस्तेजस्विनामहम्॥१०॥

Bījaṁ māṁ sarvabhūtānāṁ viddhi pārtha sanātanam|
Buddhirbuddhimatāmasmi tejastejasvināmaham||10||

"Know (viddhi) Me (mām) to be the eternal (sanātanam) Seed (bījam) of all (sarva) beings (bhūtānām)1, oh son of Pṛthā (pārtha)2. I (aham) am (asmi) the intelligence (buddhiḥ) of the intelligent (buddhimatām)3 (and) the boldness (tejas) of the bold (tejasvinām)4"||10||

1 Śrīdhara specifies that "sarvabhūtānām" means "sarveṣāṁ carācarāṇāṁ bhūtānām" or "of all beings, movable and immovable --e.g. animals and plants--". Madhusūdana says practically the same thing, but he uses another expression "sthāvarajaṅgamānām" or "of immovable and movable". On the other hand, according to the sublime Śrīdhara, the word "bījam" or "Seed" means "sajātīyakāryotpādanasāmarthyam" or "the capacity of generating homogenous effects". The homogeneous effects are the manifestations arising from that eternal Seed. These manifestations are homogeneous because they are of the same kind in having the same Seed as their source. In other words, their essence is the same in all of them. Hence, they are homogeneous despite their different appearances. And according to Baladeva: "... pradhānākhyaṁ sarvabījam..." or "... the Seed of all is called Pradhāna --i.e. Prakṛti or the source of the material universe--..." Read the stanza 4 for more information. Madhusūdana says that the Lord is a Seed because He is the Cause or Kāraṇa. Śaṅkarācārya adds the term "praroha", i.e. He is Prarohakāraṇa or the Germinating Cause (of this universe). I added "of this universe" to strengthen the structure of the expression.
2 Epithet for Arjuna.
3 Śaṅkarācārya interprets this phrase in the following manner: "... Kiñca buddhirvivekaśaktirantaḥkaraṇasya buddhimatāṁ vivekaśaktimatāmasmi|..." or "... Besides, I am 'buddhi', the power of discernment of the inner (psychic) organ, of the intelligent, i.e. of the ones who have (such a) power of discernment...". In short, in the opinion of the great Śaṅkarācārya, "buddhi" is the intellect, one of the four constituents of the antaḥkaraṇa or inner (psychic) organ. The other three are, according to Advaitavedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta): ego, mind and cít or consciousness.

Baladeva says: "... Buddhiḥ sārāsāravivekavatī|..." or "...Buddhi is that which discerns between what is essential and what is not...". On the other hand, Śrīdhara declares: "... Tathā buddhimatāṁ buddhiḥ prajñāhamasmi|..." or "... So also, I am 'buddhi' of the intelligent, viz. (their) 'prajñā' or 'wisdom'...". In turn, Madhusūdana gives a clear definition too: "... Kiñca buddhistattvātattvavivekasāmarthyaṁ tādṛśabuddhimatāmahamasmi|..." or "... Besides, I am 'buddhi' in such intelligent people, i.e. (their) capacity to discern between truth and untruth...". Oh well, I translated "buddhi" as "intelligence" in the stanza, which is also valid, in order to attempt integrating all these opinions into one word.
4 Most commentators practically coincide in their opinions. For example, Śrīdhara declares in the last part of his commentary: "... Tejasvināṁ pragalbhānāṁ tejaḥ pragalbhatām||10||" or "... 'Tejas' (is) the boldness of the 'tejasvī-s' or bold ones||10||". Madhusūdana expands the explanation at the end of his commentary on the present stanza: "... Tathā tejaḥ prāgalbhyaṁ parābhibhavasāmarthyaṁ paraiścānabhibhāvyatvaṁ tejasvināṁ tathāvidhaprāgalbhyayuktānāṁ yattadahamasmi tejorūpe mayi tejasvinaḥ protā ityarthaḥ||10||" or "... Likewise, I am that 'tejas' or boldness, i.e. the capacity to subjugate others and not to be subjugated by others, which (belongs to) the 'tejasvī-s', viz. those who are endowed with that kind of boldness. (Such) 'tejasvī-s' or bold people are established in Me who am of the nature of 'tejas' --boldness--||10||".

Baladeva agrees with Madhusūdana fully: "... Tejaḥ prāgalbhyaṁ parābhibhavasāmarthyaṁ parānabhibhāvyatvaṁ ca||10||" or "... 'Tejas' is boldness, i.e. the capacity to subjugate others and not to be subjugated by others||10||". Śaṅkarācārya says the same thing as well: "... Tejaḥ prāgalbhyaṁ tadvatāṁ tejasvināmaham||10||" or "... I am 'tejas' or boldness of the 'tejasvī-s', viz. the ones who are endowed with that (boldness)||10||". Enough!


बलं बलवतां चाहं कामरागविवर्जितम्।
धर्माविरुद्धो भूतेषु कामोऽस्मि भरतर्षभ॥११॥

Balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ kāmarāgavivarjitam|
Dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu kāmo'smi bharatarṣabha||11||

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ये चैव सात्त्विका भावा राजसास्तामसाश्च ये।
मत्त एवेति तान्विद्धि न त्वहं तेषु ते मयि॥१२॥

Ye caiva sāttvikā bhāvā rājasāstāmasāśca ye|
Matta eveti tānviddhi na tvahaṁ teṣu te mayi||12||

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त्रिभिर्गुणमयैर्भावैरेभिः सर्वमिदं जगत्।
मोहितं नाभिजानाति मामेभ्यः परमव्ययम्॥१३॥

Tribhirguṇamayairbhāvairebhiḥ sarvamidaṁ jagat|
Mohitaṁ nābhijānāti māmebhyaḥ paramavyayam||13||

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दैवी ह्येषा गुणमयी मम माया दुरत्यया।
मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेतां तरन्ति ते॥१४॥

Daivī hyeṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā|
Māmeva ye prapadyante māyāmetāṁ taranti te||14||

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न मां दुष्कृतिनो मूढाः प्रपद्यन्ते नराधमाः।
माययापहृतज्ञाना आसुरं भावमाश्रिताः॥१५॥

Na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ|
Māyayāpahṛtajñānā āsuraṁ bhāvamāśritāḥ||15||

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चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन।
आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ॥१६॥

Caturvidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ sukṛtino'rjuna|
Ārto jijñāsurarthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha||16||

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 तेषां ज्ञानी नित्ययुक्त एकभक्तिर्विशिष्यते।
प्रियो हि ज्ञानिनोऽत्यर्थमहं स च मम प्रियः॥१७॥

Teṣāṁ jñānī nityayukta ekabhaktirviśiṣyate|
Priyo hi jñānino'tyarthamahaṁ sa ca mama priyaḥ||17||

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उदाराः सर्व एवैते ज्ञानी त्वात्मैव मे मतम्।
आस्थितः स हि युक्तात्मा मामेवानुत्तमां गतिम्॥१८॥

Udārāḥ sarva evaite jñānī tvātmaiva me matam|
Āsthitaḥ sa hi yuktātmā māmevānuttamāṁ gatim||18||

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बहूनां जन्मनामन्ते ज्ञानवान्मां प्रपद्यते।
वासुदेवः सर्वमिति स महात्मा सुदुर्लभः॥१९॥

Bahūnāṁ janmanāmante jñānavānmāṁ prapadyate|
Vāsudevaḥ sarvamiti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ||19||

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कामैस्तैस्तैर्हृतज्ञानाः प्रपद्यन्तेऽन्यदेवताः।
तं तं नियममास्थाय प्रकृत्या नियताः स्वया॥२०॥

Kāmaistaistairhṛtajñānāḥ prapadyante'nyadevatāḥ|
Taṁ taṁ niyamamāsthāya prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā||20||

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यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्तः श्रद्धयार्चितुमिच्छति।
तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम्॥२१॥

Yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥ śraddhayārcitumicchati|
Tasya tasyācalāṁ śraddhāṁ tāmeva vidadhāmyaham||21||

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स तया श्रद्धया युक्तस्तस्याराधनमीहते।
लभते च ततः कामान्मयैवः विहितान्हितान्॥२२॥

Sa tayā śraddhayā yuktastasyārādhanamīhate|
Labhate ca tataḥ kāmānmayaivaḥ vihitānhitān||22||

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अन्तवत्तु फलं तेषां तद्भवत्यल्पमेधसाम्।
देवान्देवयजो यान्ति मद्भक्ता यान्ति मामपि॥२३॥

Antavattu phalaṁ teṣāṁ tadbhavatyalpamedhasām|
Devāndevayajo yānti madbhaktā yānti māmapi||23||

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 अव्यक्तं व्यक्तिमापन्नं मन्यन्ते मामबुद्धयः।
परं भावमजानन्तो ममाव्ययमनुत्तमम्॥२४॥

Avyaktaṁ vyaktimāpannaṁ manyante māmabuddhayaḥ|
Paraṁ bhāvamajānanto mamāvyayamanuttamam||24||

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नाहं प्रकाशः सर्वस्य योगमायासमावृतः।
मूढोऽयं नाभिजानाति लोको मामजमव्ययम्॥२५॥

Nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yogamāyāsamāvṛtaḥ|
Mūḍho'yaṁ nābhijānāti loko māmajamavyayam||25||

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वेदाहं समतीतानि वर्तमानानि चार्जुन।
भविष्याणि च भूतानि मां तु वेद न कश्चन॥२६॥

Vedāhaṁ samatītāni vartamānāni cārjuna|
Bhaviṣyāṇi ca bhūtāni māṁ tu veda na kaścana||26||

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इच्छाद्वेषसमुत्थेन द्वन्द्वमोहेन भारत।
सर्वभूतानि संमोहं सर्गे यान्ति परन्तप॥२७॥

Icchādveṣasamutthena dvandvamohena bhārata|
Sarvabhūtāni saṁmohaṁ sarge yānti parantapa||27||

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येषां त्वन्तगतं पापं जनानां पुण्यकर्मणाम्।
ते द्वन्द्वमोहनिर्मुक्ता भजन्ते मां दृढव्रताः॥२८॥

Yeṣāṁ tvantagataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇyakarmaṇām|
Te dvandvamohanirmuktā bhajante māṁ dṛḍhavratāḥ||28||

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जरामरणमोक्षाय मामाश्रित्य यतन्ति ये।
ते ब्रह्म तद्विदुः कृत्स्नमध्यात्मं कर्म चाखिलम्॥२९॥

Jarāmaraṇamokṣāya māmāśritya yatanti ye|
Te brahma tadviduḥ kṛtsnamadhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam||29||

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साधिभूताधिदैवं मां साधियज्ञं च ये विदुः।
प्रयाणकालेऽपि च मां ते विदुर्युक्तचेतसः॥३०॥

Sādhibhūtādhidaivaṁ māṁ sādhiyajñaṁ ca ye viduḥ|
Prayāṇakāle'pi ca māṁ te viduryuktacetasaḥ||30||

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 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

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