Chapter 5Action and RenunciationVerse 15


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 sublime, transcendental Supreme Lord although the energiser and controller of all living beings in creation does not partake of the merits of piety or the demerits of sins from any living entity. The reason being He is all pervasive, omniscient, eternal and thus He is always completely fulfilled directing the living entities precisely according to their previous actions by His external potency known as Maya the inscrutable illusory energy.

A question may be raised that it is seen that the Supreme Lord is merciful to His devotees and blesses them; but is unmerciful to non-devotees and chastises them which denotes partiality. So how does this exemplify that He is always completely fulfilled. Lord Krishna clarifies this doubt with the word jnanam meaning knowledge. Cognisance is the intrinsic nature of a human being and without it discrimination cannot manifest and the knowledge that the Supreme Lord is equal to all will be enveloped in ignorance. Thus one enveloped in ignorance is unable to discern that chastisement from the Supreme Lord for sinful activities is also His mercy and a blessing as well. Because of misconceptions beings become deluded from time immemorial and attribute partiality to the Supreme Lord.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The Supreme Lord being completely transcendental and independent to the material existence does not accept the pious merits or the sinful demerits of any human being and although He energises all of their activities He is never affected by them. This is because human beings are endowed with freewill and viveka or a sense of discrimination and this unlike the animals gives them a limited independence regarding their own actions and the choice of their activities. But when their sense of discrimination becomes shrouded by ignorance in the absence of Vedic knowledge their awareness becomes obscured and they become deluded and assume responsibility or authorship for their individual actions and thus they assume also the reactions that accompany their actions binding them tightly to samara or the cycle of birth and death. If by chance an awareness arises in their consciousness that they are enveloped and shrouded in the delusion of illusion they do not consider that they have the ability to change anything because they do not realise that it is Supreme Lord who initiates all actions. The resplendent Supreme Lord Krishna is like the sun in the sky illuminates His light on the noble and the vile, the sinful and the pious impartially. And as although sunlight touching the Earth is not affected by events that happen in the world similarly the Supreme Lord is not affected by the events which transpire in the life of human beings or any other being.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The atma or eternal soul never accepts anyone's sins or mitigate anyone's misery or suffering although the person may be dearly beloved. Nor does the atma take the pious merit and happiness which may come to a person that is hated. The atma is transcendental to material nature and not limited to the physical body. The atma knows not the relationship of the amity of friendliness nor the enmity of antagonism. All conceptions of friend and foe are material designations caused by vasana which is physical instincts created from material association. How then is it that the atma is thus shrouded by this vasana. Lord Krishna reveals that it is because of ignorance. It is ignorance which shrouds and obscures spiritual knowledge. Ignorance and nescience is that which is opposed to spiritual knowledge and wisdom. By the shrouding of ignorance due to reactions from past actions the consciousness of the atma becomes obscured and the intelligence compromised allowing the living entity to enter the perilous predicament of believing they are the enjoyer of the rewards of actions thereby recipients of the reactions. Thus by the karma or the reactions from attachment to actions one forges a material link in the appropriate physical body. This love of one's body forges links with other bodies kindling a ironclad infatuation for the bodily conception. This infatuation maturing becomes vasana which constitutes the seed for further births in the material creation. This perpetuates more and more actions and reactions and infatuations for bodily connections and more seeds and more increased vasana which perpetually keeps an embodied being locked in the material existence engendering unlimited births and rebirths. Next Lord Krishna propounds the topic of spiritual intelligence.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Lord Krishna begins stating nadatte kasyacit papam meaning that He never accepts the sins of any being. He also never accepts the piety of any being either. So He is not connected to any merit or demerit they may incur by their actions. But as the energising principle of all creation naturally all beings are impelled according to their own natures by Him. If the Supreme Lord, the impeller of all beings is not involved in the doership and activities of the embodied beings and He is not a recipient of any of their merits and demerits then why is it that embodied beings perform actions that bind them to material existence. The word jnanam or knowledge denoting cognisance is used here. One's natural cognisance and spiritual discrimination is enveloped in ignorance since time immemorial and so the embodied being is infatuated by delusion. Hence they perform sinful activities believing them to be good and when they receive severe repercussions as reactions for such sinful activities they blame the Supreme Lord for injustice or for being partial and by making offences they sink further into nescience.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 5, verse 15 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 15

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