Chapter 13The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate ConsciousnessVerse 5


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

The question may be raised as to whose elaborate teachings will Lord Krishna briefly summarise. Here it refers to rishis or holy sages such as Vasistha and Parasara etc. who have described it in various ways as objects of meditation and concentration of the cosmic mind and also what has been variously sung in propitiation to the Supreme Lord and the various yagnas or rites of propitiation offered to Him both daily and occasional is indicative of the brahman or spirirtual substratum pervading all existence. Upanisadic texts such as Taittriya Upanisad III.I state: That from which all these things are born. This indirectly describes the brahman. Whereas the Taittriya Upanisad II.I states: Existence, knowledge, infinity is the brahman. This defines the brahman and helps to attain it directly in its true essence. Other scriptures such as the Chandogya Upanisad VI.II.I and II state: This creation was only existence in the beginning. How can existence manifest from non-existence? Who would be able to inhale and live had not the joy of bliss existed in the ether of the heart? The Taittirya Upanisad II.VII states: It is this that verily bestows bliss. The words anyat and pranyat from the previous verse denote who would be able to perform the functions of apana or inhalation and exhalation resulting in vital force. Decisively establishing an indisputable explanation through a thesis of erudite and conclusive statements; whatever has been explained elaborately by sages and definitively in Vedic scriptures and is difficult of to summarise Lord Krishna will give the essence.

It is also possible to take the Brahma Sutra to mean the aphorism I.I.I which begins the scripture and states: Now therefore let us enquire into what is the brahman. What is descriptive of the brahman ascertains the nature of the brahman. Such aphorisms furnished with reasons embellish th understanding for example in Brahma Sutra I.I.V it states: On account of thinking the pradhana or material manifestation is not the primary cause as it is not based on the Vedic sriptures. Also the statement in Brahma Sutra I.I.XII stating: The atma or eternal soul consists of ananda or bliss. Though both emanating from the Supreme Lord the brahman is always put forth as being a separate potency from the atma on account that each has its exclusive function.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The tattva or conclusive truth regarding the ksetra or field of activity being matter and the ksetrajna being the knower or witness within the field of activity have been variously described by the rsis or holy sages such as Parasara and Vasistha. In the Visnu Purana II.XIII. verse LIXX beginning aham tvancha we find: O king of the Earth we are all derived of the 24 elelments by which embodied being en masse take the bodily shape corresponding to their attraction to the three gunas or modes of material nature. In verse LXX beginning karma vasya guna we find: Verily O king the three gunas of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance are dependent solely upon karma or reactions to one's own actions which are all the consequence of avidya or the absence of knowledge which is part of all creatures at birth. Yet in verse LXXI beginning atma suddho we find revealed: That the immortal soul is purely spiritual, imperishable, sublime, devoid of material qualities and distinctly different from prakriti or the material substratum pervading all physical existence.

Similarly the Visnu Purana II.XIII.IXC beginning pindah prithag meaning: The physical body characterised by face, head, hands and body is different from the embodied being then to which of these can one refer to as I or me. Again in II.XII.CII beginning kim tvam etat chirah meaning: Art thou thy head, or thy chest, or thy stomach or thy foot and the like O king or are thou thine? And in II:XII.CIII beginning samast avayavebhyam meaning: Distinct art thou O king from all thy bodily parts and being clever determine who is the I. Both these examples postulate that matter the physical body and the spirit soul are distinctly different from each other. Vasudeva meaning the Supreme Lord Krishna is eulogised in innumerable Vedic scriptures In the Visnu Sahasra verse CXXXVII beginning indiyani mano meaning: The senses, the manas, buddhi, ego, health, strength and spirit are all ensouled by Vasudeva, both the ksetra and ksetrajna.

Distinctly by various mantras of the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda the distinctions between the bodily nature and the spiritual soul nature are sublimely sung. An example is found in the Tattiriya Upanisad II.I.II beginning tasmad eva etasmadatmana akasah sambhutah meaning: From the atma or eternal soul verily akasa or space has manifested , from space ether has manifested, from ether has come air, from air has come fire, from fire has come water, from water has come earth, from earth has come plants, from plants has come food, from food comes all embodied species headed by the human species. Thus the nature of the physical body has been stated. As well the subtle principle of pranas or life airs and the even subtler principle of manas or the mind and intellect have been stated in conclusion. More than the principle of the manas is the supra-subtle principle of the vijnana-maya or the conscious soul and the source of all of the above is the Supreme Lord in His localised form as paramatma the Supreme Soul within all sentient beings and even more supra-subtle than even this is His transcendental body as the composite form of all atmas in all living entities known as ananda- maya as given in the Tattiriya Upanisad II.V.II beginning: tasyaisha eva sharira atma which is the witness and monitor of living entities.

Categorically as well the distinct characteristics by which the ksetra and ksetrajna exist and their manifestation by the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is revealed in many places in the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda.

Also the Vedanta Sutra verses reveal in its sublimely concise aphorisms the nature of the brahman and its relationship with the Supreme Lord. It is also called the Sariraka Sutras because of its conclusive authoritative judgement on these esoteric topics. For example in Vedanta Sutra II.III.I beginning no viyadasruteh meaning: The akasha or space is eternal because there is no Vedic evidence contrary to this and thus all decisions regarding the nature of the ksetra are formulated also in this way. Another example is seen in II.III.XVIII beginning utcrantigatyagatinam meaning: The jiva or embodied soul is infinitesimal because the Vedic scriptures state that it goes out of an old body and returns to a new body. The atma or eternal soul is superlatively conscious and such a reality formulates decisions regarding the ksetrajna. But in verse II.III.XXXX beginning kritaprayatnapekshastu vihita pratisiddha meaning: The Supreme Lord impels all jivas to act in accordance with the nature and tendency of their own self enacted previous actions and effects. Everything is under the complete control and total dominion of the Supreme Lord but He does not interfere with the freewill of the jiva although He is certainly the supreme soul of living entities. So the evidence of the ksetra and ksetrajna have been copiously expounded in various Vedic scriptures in numerous ways but now Lord Krishna will describe the same in a lucid and concise manner.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

It is fine that the reality concerning the ksetra will be described in brief but the need may arise for further evidence in detail. Anticipating such queries Lord Krishna confirms that it is also eulogised by rsibhih the sages such as Vasistha and Parasara and is revealed in the Vedic scriptures in various precise and concise ways. The Taittriya Upanisad II.I states: Verily is the Supreme Lord the essence of food. The person consisting of food is the physical body of the jiva or embodied being, then the next is the breath followed by the mind. Further in verse II.IV it states: Verily after that within of the mind which consists of intellect there exists the atma or eternal soul which consists of consciousness. This is the nature of the jiva. These facts have been stated explicitly by Vedavyasa in the Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas and and conclusively proven in Vedanta Sutras. All the conclusions from the Vedic scriptures are harmonious and clear to the Vaisnava devotees and the pandits or scholars in the Vedic culture as well. The Vedanta Sutras reveals the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and the ultimate truth in an abbreviated form yet it is more exact and profound. The Vedas reveal it in explicit detail and the Upanisads reveal its nature, attributes and glories very elaborately. An aphorism is defined as concise, precise, unequivocal, understandable, eternal and free from illusion. The Vedanta Sutras are aphorisms on the investigation and knowledge of the atma or eternal soul and the ultimate truth.

It should not be assumed that the Vedanta Sutras discuss only about the brahman because that is not the case, for in order to impart knowledge of the brahman the atma, the jiva and the Supreme Lord must also be discussed as well, along with the invariable attributes of omnipresence, sustenance, purity, maintenance, etc. These things could not be comprehended correctly without understanding their relationship to the Supreme Lord. Neither could they be propounded properly without defining their relationship with the atma which is fully controlled and dependent and mercifully graced by the Supreme Lord. So descriptions of the embodied soul and its origin, nature and function are very beneficial regarding knowledge of the brahman and there is no contradiction anywhere in the Vedic scriptures in any way. For example ether is known not to be created as it is not stated it is in the Vedic scriptures. This is confirmed in Vedanta Sutras II.III.I. Also the atma being eternal is not created because no Vedic scripture has stated thus. The individual atma is the knower and omniscient as confirmed in Vedanta Sutras II.III.XVII. So for both examples the effect is established by understanding the cause. So this topic has been well spoken of in detail both generally and specifically of ksetra and the ksetra-jna but now Lord Krishna will concisely explain it further.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 13, verse 5 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 5

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