Chapter 5Action and RenunciationVerse 14


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 Vedic scriptures state that the Supreme Lord causes the one whom He wishes to rise up from this world perform meritorious actions and He causes one whom He wishes to cast down perform degraded actions which infers that it is by the will of the Supreme Lord that a person is directed to perform acts leading to merit and demerit. Apprehending such a doubt Lord Krishna clarifies this point in this verse and the next stating: prabhuh or the Supreme Lord does not create any agency in the world of beings, rather it is the embodied beings own individuals nature and the level of nescience and ignorance of the atma or soul that determines how they act out existence. As the energising source of all created beings the Supreme Lord Krishna engages all beings to be active and naturally disposed they gravitate to perform actions for the objects of their desires out of primeval nescience. But the Supreme Lord has no influence on their decision and no involvement in their actions.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Although the word prabhu may be used in addressing elevated personalities who are superior to all others. Here Lord Krishna is using it to mean the Supreme Lord declaring He is not responsible for the actions of living entities. The word loka means world and lokasya is refering to the people of the world.

Now begins the summation.

Even as the mandate for regency bequeathed by a king upon his son is limited; even so is the independence to perform actions bestowed by the Supreme Lord upon human beings limited as well. To dispel the doubt that human beings might be independent in their actions and consequential reactions regarding the righteous or unrighteous merits or demerits of such actions this verse is responding to. The answer is the Supreme lord does not inaugurate independence of action or initiate the consequential results of actions for any being. Otherwise it would have been unnecessary to include the word lokasya to denote people of the world. Even though the son of the king is ruling over a province of the kingdom and enjoying the fruits having limited independence from the king but he is still responsible for his actions and rulership. In the same way the actions performed by the embodied being and the resulting reactions are not caused by the dependence upon the Supreme Lord but by the results of one's own activities. When a person believes they are the performer of actions they take on the responsibility of determining their destiny independent of the Supreme Lord and thus has to accept responsibility for suffering the consequences.

The Supreme Lord as the energising source of all creation impels all beings. This means He impels them by their svabhavas or natural propensity as given in the sloka or verse. All the impulses of the all living beings is induced and activated by the Supreme Lord by His internal potency. Only the Supreme Lord is independent. Everything else is dependent upon Him. Being completely independent within Himself and transcendental to prakriti or material nature, He has no connection with dualities or the three modes prakriti or the merits and demerits associated with actions. The intellect of humans being enveloped in ignorance since time immemorial is not aware of these eternal truths as given in the Varaha Purana.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the Lord of all by His natural propensity thus He is known as svabhava. He creates the heat of the sun and seeds the clouds with water causing rains and also stops the rain by His will. The power and majesty of the Supreme Lord is described in innumerable ways. His intrinsic qualities and attributes such as all power, all knowledge, renunciation and beauty. The ancient adage that without the sanction of the Supreme Lord not a leaf may fall nor a blade of grass grow is factual and all due to the potency of His intrinsic qualities and attributes. Creation is but His natural propensities manifesting with effusive activity. Statements in the Vedic scriptures like the above reveal nothing which is not His natural propensity nor His active or non-active attributes so no contradiction.

The inability to adequately describe the activities of the Supreme Lord has been explained already in the second chapter so it is not necessary to repeat it again. In the absence of the special attributes of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, other actions which are transcendental to material nature are not applicable to Him and thus need not to be attributed to Him although this reality is contrary to the erroneous, intemperate speculations of the sunyavadis or nihilists it need not be rebutted. The mere statement that the sunyvadis give that the Supreme Lord is without any special attributes or the statement that the mayavadis give that the Supreme Lord possess no attributes both establish the reality of His existence. The ability to communicate with every living being internally, the utility of the divine sound OM His personal sound manifestation that pervades all creation along with His effulgence known as the Brahman are all manifestations of His special attributes establishing the reality of His existence. Otherwise such attributes would have to be understood by supporting proofs and that would be defective in knowing Him and this is not the case. The Supreme Lord has the attribute of inconceivability. If this attribute of inconceivability is to be understood by the exclusion of His special attributes then such inconceivability must also be an attribute of His existence, otherwise any attempts to further comprehend His attributes will be defective. The word sarva meaning all and other descriptions do not categorically establish the reality of the Supreme Lord's existence nor can all the evidences and proofs that have already been established prove His supremacy and existence. His attributes like the seven types of essence are perpetually established even when they are not perceivable. By His self-effulgence manifested into the Brahman, His existence is not easily established either; but His self-effulgence is specially accepted as an established fact due to it not being illuminated by any external source. The possessor of action and the performance of action are not contradictory by normal experience and knowledge and the object of knowledge cannot be experienced without the knower of knowledge. Therefore the erroneous hypothesis of the uninformed speculators does have any significance.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is the sole performer of all actions, everything is under His control and subservient to Him. In the Paingi Scripture states that nothing can be accomplished without the Supreme Lord initiating the action.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The word prabhu means master or ruler and the atma or soul representing an eternal portion of the Supreme Lord is the ruler of each physical body. By its eternal nature it is beyond the influence of actions and reactions and resides impervious to them in its own nature. This atma being the individual soul is not the originator in the material creation of the four categories of living entities: the demi-gods, human beings, the fauna or animal kingdoms and the flora or plant kingdom. The atma is also not subject to any activities of authorship emanating from these four categories, nor any connection to the resultant reactions of any activity such as descending into the animal species or ascending to the heavenly spheres and becoming a demi-god. What is it then that accomplishes all these activities? It is the very nature inherent within all beings which is the cause of all designations. By nature it is meant the samkaras or impressions from past lifetimes formatted by the reactions from the chain of activities generated since time immemorial. By nature it is also meant the illusion of authorship and the terminal habit of regarding the temporary physical body as a constitute of the eternal atma. Thus it can be clearly discerned that the essential nature of the atma being eternal has no interconnection to the authorship of actions or the doership of actions which are temporary and the products of association with material matter.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

It was stated previously that the renunciate is not bound to reactions due to lack attachment but the ignorant desiring rewards are bound to reactions due to attachment. But who is virtuous and who is sinful when the actions of all beings is impelled by the Supreme Lord hence virtuous and sinful actions should go to Him. To this point Lord Krishna answers in this verse and the next that theSupreme Lord is not involved influencing any activities of the embodied beings, neither the pious or sinful activities nor any acceptance or involvement in the merits or demerits acquired by one's activities. The word loka has two meaning in the Amarakosa Lexicon III.III.II one meaning is the world and the other is people which sometimes is synonymous as here. It is the nature of people, embodied beings which determines the degree of nescience constituted by actions engaged in and reactions accepted since time immemorial. The understanding is that it is the Supreme Lords external energy maya or the deluding illusory energy that directs the embodied being according to their degree of nescience from reactions to past life activities.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 5, verse 14 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 14

Copyright © Bhagavad-Gita Trust 1998-2015