Chapter 14The Three Qualities of Material NatureVerse 18


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

Now Lord Krishna explains the various destinations of those situated in the three gunas or modes of material nature. Those who are predominantly in sattva guna or the mode of goodness ascend and can obtain according to the degree of excellence birth in the human worlds, the worlds of the Gandharvas who are the celestial singers and musicians. The worlds of the anscestors, the worlds of the demigods on up unto Satyaloka the world of Brahma which is the highest material realm. In the preceding examples the happiness that is experienced in each succeeding sphere is 100 times more potent than the preceding worlds. Those who are predominantly in raja guna or mode of passion, being overwhelmed by desires and attachment are only born again in the worlds of humans. Those who are predominantly in the darkness of tama guna or the mode of ignorance descend into lower existences taking birth according to the sinful deeds they committed in one of the 28 fiery hellish planets such as Tamisra reserved for those who steal anothers wealth and property or Rauvara the planet reserved for those who killed, sold, cooked or ate the flesh of animals.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

Now Lord Krishna reveals that those who are situated in sattva guna or the mode of goodness ascend upward in spiritual devlopement and eventually achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. Those who are situated in raja guna or the mode of passion have the desire for rewards for thecause of actions engage in activities that give them the results they wish to exploit and enjoy. Maintaining this mentality they engage fully in such fruitive activities life after life and are born again and again to engage in more and more works. Hence since it insures a constant reoccurrence of material births it is full of misery. Those who are situated in tama guna or the mode of ignorance are engaged in degenerative behaivior and descend downwards doing more and more despicable inhuman activities. Such beings development is in retrograde and after becoming the lowest types of humanity such as cannibals and perverts of beastiality they sink into the animal species themselves. After that due to the reactions from their heinious activitie they become worms and maggots and then they even descend into the lowest of plants to become stationary creepers and fungus.So Lord Krishna has revealed how the jiva or embodied being rises in evolution and how it descends. All those who adopt and maintain a strict vegetarian diet as detailed in chapter 6, verse 17 and chapter 17 verse 8 and who perform activities as a matter of duty without impetus for rewards gradually become fully situated in sattva guna and eventually ascend performing all activities for the satifaction for the Supreme Lord.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Now Lord Krishna speaks of the ascending stationary and descending spirals that He already began in verses 14 and 15. Those situated in sattva guna or the mode of goodness ascend to the heavenly spheres including the wordls of the ancestors, the worlds of the demigods etc. up onto Satyaloka the planet of Brahma. There by performing pious activities in the association of liberated beings they gradually perfect themselves and are freed from material existence and not subjected to accept samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Those situated in raja guna or mode of passion who seeking rewards desire the pleasures of the heavens perform rituals to obtain such. After enjoying the temporary rewards for their endeavors and their punya or merits have been exhausted, they again are forced to suffer samsara over and over again due to greed for desires and attachment to pleasures of the flesh. Those situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance, whose consciousness is full of inertia and nescience and enveloped in darkness.They are full of degraded desires and degenerative impulses whose reactions caues them to sink deep into one of the 28 fiery hellish worlds such as Tamisra reserved for stealers of others wives and property and Raurava reserved for the killers, sellers, cookers and eaters of animals. Anyone who is a killer or eater of cows will definitely have Rauvara as their hellish destination where having received abundant punishment and suffering appropriate to their self induced previous sinful activities, they will take birth in the animal species as a dog, or pig, or even in lower species as an insect or worm.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 14, verse 18 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 18

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