Chapter 13The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate ConsciousnessVerse 17


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

Although the Supreme Lord Krishna known as Parabrahma, is the source of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and appears to be divided in all beings and things animate and inanimate. He is actually avibhaktam or undivided by His being both the cause and the effect of all living entities and all creation although it gives the illusion of being manifold. He is the creator, sustainer and annihilator of all living entities in the entire cosmic manifestation and all of creation.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

By the Supreme Lord Krishna who is known as Parabrahma intrinsic potency as the source of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence it is devoid of all divisions abiding everywhere within all creatures, demigods, humans etc. But to the spiritually unaware there appears to be divisions and differences due to variegation of forms. What Lord Krishna has stated in verse two of this chapter that those who are knowledgeable of the ksetra-jna are spiritually enlightened about the atma or immortal soul existing equally within all living entities distinctly separate from the physical body although resideing within the etheric heart of all sentient beings. When textural quotes are read as I am a demigod, I am a man, etc. it is only referring to the body, the physical form shrouding the atma due to karma the resultant reactions from past life activities. To comprehend the atma as a distinct, separate immortal entity can be discerned by reflection and contemplation inasmuch as the atma provides the support for the aggregate combination of the five fundamental elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether which in varying degrees make up the physical body. So Parabrahma is known as bhuta-bhartr the maintainer of all beings as distinguished from the maintained. Since Parabrahma exists after the time of universal destruction He is known as grasisnu the annihilator of the material elements as distinguished from the annihilated. Because Parabrahma is the causer of transformations He is known as prabha-visnu the creator of universal manifestation as distinguished from the created. Inasmuch as no such properties are ever present in a dead body it can be correctly concluded that mere matter possessed ksetra or field of activity is never capable of being the maintainer, the annihilator or the creator whereas the ksetra-jna is capable.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Although appearing to be vibhaktam or divided it is factually avibhaktam undivided but very difficult to discern and be recognised. It is the sole object worthy of knowing and appears as unlimited forms as if it were divided. Yet for those who are spiritually enlightened and have realised atma-tattva knowledge of the immortal soul they can comprehend this mystery of Lord Krishna known as Parabrahma who is the source of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and which is the sustainer and nourisher of all living beings and is known as the ksetra-jna the knower of all fields of activity. The Chandogya Upanisad VII.XXVI.II beginning tasta ha va etasyaivam pashyata states: One who perceives, comprehends and realises the ontology of the Supreme Lord Krishna knows very well the atma.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 13, verse 17 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 17

Copyright © Bhagavad-Gita Trust 1998-2015