Chapter 13The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate ConsciousnessVerse 23


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 transmigratory existence of the Purusa or manifestation of the Supreme Lord as paramatma or the Supreme soul is not of itself but is due to lack of discrimination and knowledge by the jiva or embodied being regarding their relationship to prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence. To illuminate this point Lord Krishna proceeds to describe the essential nature of the Purusa. The words purusah parah means the Supreme Lords localised expansion of paramatma the supreme immortal soul within the etheric heart of all living entities. Although residing in the physical body which is a part of prakriti; yet the Purusa is distinctly different and not associated with the attributes and qualities of prakriti being beyond physical existence and transcendental to the material manifestation. The reasons for this Lord Krishna gives by revealing that the Purusa is upadrsta the witness, anumanta the ordainer, bhartta the sustainer and bhokta the nourisher, all which confirm the Purusa as a distinctly independent entity. This Svetasvatara Upanisad VI.XI beginning eko devah sarvabhutesu states: The Supreme Lord free from all mundane and material qualities is the indwelling monitor of all living entities, it is He who ordains all actions for all living entities and it is He who is the ultimate ruler of all. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the ruler of even Brahma and Shiva and is revealed in the Vedic scriptures as Parabrahma the Supreme Being and Paramatma the Supreme Soul. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad IV.IV.XXII beginning sa va mahanaja atma means: The Supreme Lord is the supreme ruler of all beings, the Lord of all beings and the protector of all beings. He is the sole catalyst that keeps all creations, dimensions, universes and worlds calibrated and in synch with each other. Lord Krishna confirms this with the word mahesvarah meaning the supreme controller.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Here the Supreme Lord Krishna is revealing the predominant characteristics of the purusa. The word upadrasta the intimate witness, the monitor. The word anumanta means the ordainer, the one who impartially sanctions. For the jiva or embodied being to be subjected to birth in elevated and degraded wombs is only due to its attraction to associate with the attributes of elevated and degraded actions. But the independent cause is ultimately the Supreme Lord who as the monitor perceives all thoughts and actions and sanctions the jivas to exercise their minute independence. Because the Supreme Lord is within the heart of all living beings, the overseer of all living entities, the monitor of all actions, He is referred to as the witness. Although the jivas are minutely able to exercise their independence according to their own volition and development within the material existence. It is the Supreme Lord who empowers the consciousness and energises their minds to accomplish this and so He is referred to as the sanctioner. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the omnipotent ruler and controller of all creation. All of His authorised incarnations as verified in Vedic scriptures share these qualities with Him in various degrees. So the Supreme Lord declaring that He abides within all fields signifies that He abides within every living being, within all aspects, within all dimensions and within all manifestations of creation. This confirms that He and He alone is anumanta.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The purusah or the manifestation of the Supreme Lord Krishna transcends both the body and the mind dwelling within all sentient beings as paramatma the Supreme Soul and is upadrasta or the impartial witness who by means of the will directs the operations pertaining to the physical body and anumanta or sanctions the activities performed by all jivas or embodied beings that lead to joy and grief in pursuing activities in material existence. Thus by virtue of ruling, supporting and guiding the jivas the purusah is the Mahesvarah the Supreme controller of the physical body, the senses and the mind of all jivas. The conjunctive particle api meaning also refers to the epithet of great lord which denotes that as far as the body is concerned it applies to paramatma as well. The phrase purusah parah means that the Supreme Being as paramatma is to be differentiated and separate due to its unlimited omnipresence within all jivas, from the atma or individual soul which is localised within each jiva. Although both are immortal and possess the omniscient propensities of infinite cognizance and divine consciousness.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Now Lord Krishna reveals the distinct difference between paramatma the omnipresent and omniscient Supreme Soul which exists within the heart of all living beings next to the atma or localised, immortal soul located within each and every living entity. What then is paramatma's real nature. He describes it by the word upadrasta or impartial witness and as the witness monitors the different stages and transformations of the mind and body. He describes it as well by the word anumanta meaning the sanctioner who approves and accepts the qualities of the mind and the functions of the body. He again describes it by the word bharta or the supporter because for a jiva to progress in material existence the mind and body must be sustained and protected. Although paramatma resides within the etheric heart of the physical body next to the atma, they are both purely spiritual being distinct from the physical body and transcendent to material existence. He describes it also as being mahesvarah bor the supreme controller because it also monitors, sanctions, supports and controls all the demigods who are responsible for universal maintenance throughout creation.

The essence is that the jiva or embodied being is the ksetra-jna or knower of the field of activity is referred to as the highest self because factually it the best part of the body, mind and senses and most important because it is connected to the atma the innermost self which can comprehend and realise all things. This is confirmed in the Taittiriya Upanisad II.IV.I beginning yato vacho nivartante which reveals: The Supreme Lord is the innermost witness residing in the etheric heart of every jiva.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 13, verse 23 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 23

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