Chapter 7Knowledge of the Ultimate TruthVerse 13


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

Why is it that the people of this Earth are unaware of the Supreme Lord and His potencies. It is being stated that the whole world is deluded by the three gunas being the modes of goodness, passion and nescience which influence a person to act respectively in righteousness, passion and ignorance. Therefore the people of this world are unable to recognise that the Supreme Lord Krishna is transcendental to and unaffected by the three gunas being their source and therefore immutable and immaculate. Neither are they able to fathom His paramount position at the apex of divinity completely superior to all other gods.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Why does Arjuna know and is not deluded will be explained by this verse. To show Himself as the source of the three gunas being the modes of goodness, passion and nescience, Lord Krishna uses the word mayair meaning of mine. In regard to the Supreme Lord can be understood in three ways; as relating to the atma or soul, as relating to modification and as relating to effulgence. It is not used as illusion here as He speaks of gunamayair meaning My attributes being the three gunas which originate from Him. His actions apply to His nature as well for one's nature is compatible with one's actions. This is mentioned in the Vyasa Yoga. The word bhavair means conditions and refers to through objects. Objects become perceived by their attributes and by this they are seen. The word idam meaning this is used to show that the wise are not deluded. Those who recognise their own bodies as consisting of the three gunas and who think that Lord Krishna transcendental body is also similarly formed are certainly deluded persons. In the Vyasa Yoga a similar comparison is made as follows: After seeing the physical body of Brahma and other demi-gods possessing attributes; if one believes that the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord is similar to theirs such a person is completely deluded in bondage. The words ebhyah param means above and beyond, referring to the attributes. When referring to the Supreme Lord of transcendental form it means He is superior to the three gunas.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

Everything existing in creation, abounding in objects animate and inanimate is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Krishna. At appointed and periods it emanates from Him and at appointed periods it emanates back into Him. Everything is existent within Him alone, forming His transcendental body, covering all the universes which He ensouls with the life force. Thus Lord Krishna alone is eternally existent both in potential and in manifestation for He is both the cause and the effect. For all things are constitute as parts of His body and are related to Him as adjuncts. Whether the Supreme Lord Krishna is considered to be the cause as the Sovereign Lord; or the effect as the possessor of innumerable hosts of glorious attributes and myriads of marvellous qualities; or in many other descriptions it should be consummately comprehended that He is the most superior above all things and designations and that there is not a second who is qualified to be so characterised.

But the world in general does not know Lord Krishna's exalted position which is far beyond tribhir guna the three modes of material nature being goodness, passion and ignorance. The world does not realise His Supreme position as the possessor of multitudes of extraordinary blessed attributes and as such knows Him not as that supreme bliss and joy without which nothing can exist and which constitutes the life of all created beings. The word avyayam means imperishable this is synonymous with infinite and eternal. Although He is all this, the beings of creation consisting of demi- gods, humans, animals, aquatics and plant life are all oblivious to it and completely beguiled by the trivial and fascinated by the ephemeral in the form of objects appearing as physical bodies and subtle senses adopted to furnish enjoyments for the utilisation of pleasure according to the dispensations doled out from previous impressions of old karmas or reactions from past activities. Due to these impediments the world in general is not able to know Him.

If reflecting Arjuna were to ask: How is it possible that Lord Krishna who surpasses every joy and delight that material existence is capable of offering, whose immeasurable beatitude, eternality and immutability are gloriously effulgent is not perceived by the world? And if Arjuna were to further ask: How is it possible that desire and attachment arises in the hearts of embodied souls for the same repetitive pleasures over and over again without satiation to the point of redundancy?

Lord Krishna answers with the words mama maya duratyaya explaining that His illusory energy is very difficult to surmount. In as much as this His maya or illusion permeates His prakriti or material substratum through the three gunas or modes of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance; so it is extremely difficult to overcome. The total material manifestation is under its sway and influenced by it. It is daivi meaning divine and is created by Lord Krishna for the purpose of sport as is deduced from the root word div meaning to play. Its designation by the term maya is on account of its potency to produce phenomenal effects in the gross material existence albeit depending upon the breadth of one's knowledge. These phenomenal effects are even manifested from the spiritual worlds as in the case of Lord Krishna dispatching His intrepid and impervious Sudarsana Cakra or fiery transcendental disc to shield and protect the physical body of His devotee Prahlad causing the 1000 incantation manifestations to fail to harm him one after the other. They are also analogous to the brahmastra's or mantra governed missles and arrows discharged in battle by regal ksatriya's or the royal warrior class as were exhibited in the Battle of Kurushetra. They are also sometimes manifested in the evil magic of the asuras meaning literally those without light and the sorcery of the rakshasas which are human eating demons and fiends.

The term maya never signifies what is false. The term mayair is applied to that which is able to produce real impressions upon another's imagination albeit individual or collective. The effect is certainly real although the cause is definitely illusory. Like a magician by the art of conjuring produces marvellous effects upon the minds of those witnessing by means of incantations; so that when mayair designates a producer of real effects which are not false, the word maya denotes the incantation by which the manifestion was effected. Wherever the term maya is found to be used it invariably means that which has the ability of activating phenomenal and marvellous material effects and is universally accepted. An example is a crate of Chinese fireworks is just another crate of dry goods lying in a warehouse; but when activated by someone knowledgeable at night it produces marvellous and real effects in the sky. Whenever the word maya is used to suggest the illusion of non-reality instead of a real impression upon the mind then such application is only figurative and subordinate to the universal understanding which is not to be usurped by the figurative understanding. When one reads 100 lances fought in battle it means the 100 men who carry the lances. So like this in this way the word maya should be understood. This maya of the Supreme Lord which is capable of producing sublime and marvellous effects which permeates the entire material creation is the only maya to be considered as any other is but figurative or metaphorical. The Svetasvatara Upanisad states: mayan-tu prakritim vidyat mahinan-tu mahesvaram which means prakriti the material substratum then prakriti is to be apprehended by the word maya and mahesvaram or the Supreme Lord by the word mayi. It is the responsibilty of maya to veil the true nature of the Supreme Lord from the miscreants and unqualified and to lure such beings to constantly chase after the desire for sense gratification. Hence all the worlds are beguiled and bewildered by the intrepid effect of maya from the time they are born and thus fail to recognise the magnificent splendour and wonderous glories of the Supreme Lord Krishna who is eternity, knowledge and bliss personified of immeasurable transcendental nature.

The next verse will give the means of deliverance and redemption to alleviate this situation.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Why is it that billions of humans do not recognise Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord and controller of all and the cause and source of all creation? And even those who do know about Lord Krishna being the Supreme Lord of all, how do they still remain a transmigratory soul every lifetime forced to accept a new physical body? To answer these questions Lord Krishna explains: sarvam idam jagat mohitam meaning the entire creation is deluded. This is due to the influence of the three gunas or modes of goodness possessing discrimination and righteousness, mode of passion possessing pride and desire and the mode of ignorance possessing inertia and degradation. These three modes infatuates all living entities causing their higher consciousness to be veiled and inaccessible. Thus it is not possible for billions of human beings as well as other living entities to recognise Lord Krishna's, imperishable, paramount position above all creation. Although in an impersonal sense human beings are able to recognise and relate to portions of Lord Krishna's power, majesty and superiority by their conceptions of a supreme being or supreme controller, o as a totally independent power; but these humans are unable to relate that these attrinutes apply exclusively to Lord Krishna, who is the ultimate reality. Also these humans are unable to perceive that He manifests and incarnates in the material worlds in His eternal spiritual body which is immutable and not subject to decay or modification and He does this for the welfare of His devotees. The conclusion is that all these billions of human beings do not recognise Lord Krishna as He factually is possessed of eternal, transcendental attributes and divine qualities. Hence they all are unable to attain His divine potency which enables them to free themselves from samsara or the endless cycle of birth and death and thus remaining in bondage are reborn again and again indefinitely.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 7, verse 13 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 13

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