Chapter 14The Three Qualities of Material NatureVerse 3


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

After praising such wisdom and proclaiming the results of what He is about to teach to get the listener attentive, Lord Krishna declares the fundamental purport of the teachings that the emergence of all living entities from the combination of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and the purusa or the supreme being as eternal consciousness is that it derives itself from the Supreme Lord and is subservient and dependent upon Him. The brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is not limited by time and space and is the abode and cause of the expanding evolution of praktiti which is the womb Lord Krishna impregnates casting His seeds in the form of limitless atmas or immortal souls which accept unlimited forms as countless jivas or embodied beings. This He does by infusing the reflection of His supreme intelligence which causes the expansion and evolution of all creation. At the commencement of universal creation at the time of conception the Supreme Lord unites again with the corresponding body of each and every jiva. During universal dissolution all jivas were previously absorbed into Him. Now once again spawning them out He abides within each and every jivas heart as paramatma the all pervading supreme soul and is distinguished as the ksetrajna or the knower of the sphere of activity distinctly different from the ksetra or sphere of activity. The jivas are endowed by the impressions of the three gunas which are the modes of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience comprised in a kalpa or one day of Brahma, the accumulative actions of their previous 43,200,000 lifetimes for a human. These calibrated results are kept intact and correspondingly transferred into their new existence to reap the exact reactions to there actions thereof. From this dissertation the origins of all jivas from the secondary creator Brahma, the most evolved jiva down to the least evolved jiva such as a one celled amoeba can be succinctly comprehended and practically understood.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The mahat means that which cannot be limited brahma denotes the expansive material energy or prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence. This represents sakti or the feminine energy such as Sri, Bhu, Durga, etc. Saraswati, Uma and others are partial manifestations of Sri. The same is confirmed in the Kashayana scripture which states: Sri, Bhu and Durga are the three forms of illusion which binds the jivas or embodied beings in this world. Although Saraswati and Uma are only partial expansions of Sri in the Agama texts they to are sometimes referred to as Sri as well. The words mama yonir meaning womb confirms that the feminine sakti is existing to accept the seed of consciousness from the Supreme Lord and give birth to all life forms. In the Sharkarakshya texts it states: For giving birth by the Supreme Lord the goddess Sri, the great illusion is devoid of all suffering. Yet she along with the Supreme Lord displays herself as if suffering to delude the debased and ignoble. An example of this is the sorrow displayed by Rama for the suffering of Sita. Another example is the tolerance of Bhu as the personified goddess of the Earth which is but her reflection. So much destruction and misery takes place on Earth but she is incorruptible and even though she appears as the last of the five primary elements fire, water, air, ether she is the origin of them all. The Anabhimlan scripture states: She willingly accepts the servitude even though she is the matriarch of all the worlds. The Matsya Purana states that prakriti sometimes can be referred by mahat brahma due to her great benevolence and selfless service.

Now begins the summation.

According to the Shabda Nirnay the word yonir has three distinct meanings. One is the wife. The second is the female generative organ and the third is known as the cause. Here it means the wife because Lord Krishna states that in the womb He impregnates.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

Inanimate and inert earth, water, fire, air, ether along with manas or mind, buddhi or intelligence and ahankara or ego all constitute Lord Krishna's eightfold differentiated aspects of matter. But they only comprise His external energy and are inferior. The mahad-brahma signifies the infinite extension of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence by dint of its being the primal source of all variegations of species and subspecies which emanate thereof correspondingly in the forms of manas, buddhi and ahankara. Passages found in various Vedic scriptures sometime refer to prakriti in specific circumstances in the purview of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. An example is seen in the Mundaka Upanisad II.II.VII. beginning yah sarvajnah sarvavid which states: The Supreme Lord is omniscient and omnipotent and His glory is pervading through all of creation. He eternally dwells in Vaikuntha the eternal, transcendental spiritual worlds and simultaneously with the heart of every jiva or embodied being. The term garbha means seed as in embryo in the form of all the animate myriad trillions of atmas or immortal souls manifesting within the jivas en masse at the time of their appearance. So in the inanimate, womb like nature of prakriti the Supreme Lord casts the animate seeds in aggregate corresponding precisely to the exact finite number of atmas for every jiva in creation. The purport is that the Supreme Lord impregnates material nature with souls in the form of incalculable living enities that assume unlimited forms throughout material existence. The ksetrajna or knower of the field of activity uniting with the ksetra or field of activity. Thus are all jivas from Brahma down to a one-cell amoeba manifested by the combination of the aforementioned principles; generated by the will of the Supreme Lord. That such manifestation is actually and factually from the Supreme Lord will be given next.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Lord Krishna reveals that all jivas or embodied beings originate by the combination of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and the purusa or the supreme, eternal consciousness. But this combination is determined by the will of the Supreme Lord and is not an accidental or random event as the impersonalists of the Sankhya doctrine propound. The Supreme Lord is the cause of origin for all jivas or embodied beings and fully controls prakriti with its gunas or three modes of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. This primordial matter known as prakriti is greater then all its products and beyond the sway of space and time and is infinite because it is the ksetra or sphere of activity where the expansion and evolution of the jiva or embodied beings is able to manifest. The all pervading, omniscient Supreme Lord the source of both the animate and the inanimate reflected as stated in the Chandogya Upanisad VI.II.III beginning tad-aikshata vahu svam meaning: The Supreme Lord glanced upon prakriti and impregnated it for the evolution of innumerable jivas in totality. The manifestation of all jivas from Brahma to a one-celled amoeba is a combination of the sentient purusat and insentient prakriti. When the Supreme Lord perceives that the jiva having an absence of sattva is oblivious to the ksetrajna or knower of the sphere of activity and is in possession of the latencies of tamas and rajas desiring to reap the rewards of their past actions they are bonded to the lower potency known as the ksetra or sphere of activity in the form of an appropriate physical body..

Now Lord Krishna explains in brief the true nature of the ksetra the field of activity and the ksetra-jna the knower of the field. The relationship the ksetra has with the ksetra-jna and the consciousness which is established in Him. Knowledge of the ksetra means what type entity is embodied and the qualities are what modifications restricts it and what is its means of evolving itself through the interrelationship of matter and spirit. And of the ksetra-jna exactly what is the atma or eternal soul, who is the knower of the ksetra and what is its powers and potencies.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 14, verse 3 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 3

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