Chapter 5Action and RenunciationVerse 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

As moksa or liberation from the material existence is the highest and most profound goal for the human species and as moksa is only achieved by renunciation of kama or lust and krodha or anger. For their greatest good it behoves all humans to staunchly resist these greatest enemies of the human consciousness known as kama and krodha. Lord Krishna is stating that a person must resist these powerful impulses to wantonly enjoy and neutralise the explosive urges of anger even when they manifest, kama arising from lasciviousness for enjoyment and krodha arising from frustration in getting enjoyment. Such symptoms are characterised by agitation of the mind, callousness in demeanour and aggressive selfish behaviour. A person desiring their own best welfare must resist these two evils so detrimental to human existence. Not only for a moment but steadfastly throughout life until death one must be established in equanimity, poised, centered and content. Another interpretation is that just as one who is bereft of life is able to withstand the impulses of passion even while being embraced by a devoted wife weeping and wailing in separation and also able to resist the urge of anger while being cremated on the funeral pyre; such a person who while alive is able to likewise withstand the impulses of kama and resist the urges of krodha are alone happy and contented. As once remarked by the exalted sage Vasistha of the Ramayana in days of yore: The physical body after life has departed from it feels neither pleasure or pain; if one is able to get it to behave in this way when life is in it then this will lead to moksa.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Lord Krishna is praising renunciation of desires in this verse emphasising that one who is capable of being equipoised and resist the onslaught of the senses arising from kama or lust and krodha or anger is a true renunciate. He also states iha eva meaning in this very life. If human beings in their life are unable to control their mind and senses and neutarlise the effects of kama and krodha then there is chance for them to ever achieve even Brahmaloka which is the topmost material planet and where everything is in sattva guna or the mode of pure goodness. The mastery of one's mind and senses is a prerequisite for higher existence.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The point Lord Krishna is emphasising is that even before the demise of the physical body if the aspirants for moksa or liberation follow this procedure they will meet with success. This means that whoever is able to gratefully glean any experience of the atma or soul and by this is able to thwart the onslaught of kama or lust and krodha or anger can be considered to be yuktah or in harmony with the Supreme Consciousness and qualified to perform yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness and by this becomes immersed in the bliss of the atma upon departing from the physical body.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

After expounding that desire and sense gratification are the sources of misery and suffering, Lord Krishna establishes that steadfast devotion to the eternal atma or soul is the source of eternal bliss. One may protest that without sensual pleasures life would have no taste. To refute the hyperbole of this mentality and to fortify the aspirants of moksa or liberation Lord Krishna strengthens the concept by the word sodhum meaning to tolerate or withstand. Withstand what? Withstand the impulses arising from kama or lust and krodha or anger. These impulses are very powerful and difficult like the strong current of a river. Kama is described as intense desire for sense objects which infatuate the mind due to increasing passion from seeing, hearing about or remembering objects of desire. Krodha is described as the modification of the mind in the form of anger caused by extreme situations of frustration in not obtaining the result of one's desires. The person who is able to tolerate this impulses and subsequently neutralise them by spiritual practices even before the end of life is a yogi or one who has perfected the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Such a being is spiritually situated and is undoubtedly joyful and content. Such persons and no others are qualified to accomplish the goal of human existence and succeed in the achievement of atma tattva or realisation of the eternal soul within all naturally created beings. One who slavishly always follows the urges of sensual pleasures, like an animal is unable to control their mind and therefore is unable to accomplish this goal.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 5, verse 23 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 23

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