Chapter 7Knowledge of the Ultimate TruthVerse 16


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

Only those who are virtuous and righteous have the qualification for devotion to the Supreme Lord. There are four categories of such qualified beings according to differences in their virtue. Those who performed virtuous deeds in previous lives worship Lord Krishna and fall into four categories: 1) artto are those distressed such as persecuted by disease. If they performed virtuous activities in past lives then they will have the opportunity to worship Lord Krishna otherwise they will be limited to worshipping minor gods and formless illusionary gods. 2) atharthi are the seekers of wealth who desire to have full facility for enjoyment in this life and their next. If they performed virtuous deeds in their past lives then they too will have the opportunity to worship Lord Krishna. 3) jijnasuh are those who desire self realisation to end the cycle of birth and death. If they performed virtuous actions in their past lives they will also have the opportunity to worship Lord Krishna. 4) jnanis are those who have achieved atma tattva or realisation of the soul and know the Supreme Lord. If they have performed virtuous activities in their past lives then they will have the opportunity of advancing further and worshipping Lord Krishna.

It should be understood that aspirants in all four categories will be forced to experience endless reincarnation until one finally evolves to attainment of devotion to Lord Krishna.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

Only humans who are sukritino meaning righteous and virtuous surrender to the Supreme Lord Krishna becoming exclusively devoted to Him. Such humans are of four classes distinguished by their different grades of virtue. In the order they are given each succeeding class is more superior to the preceding one due to being more elevated and exalted making it more meritorious. The four are:

artto are those impoverished and distressed after losing all wealth and power and desires to have the Supreme Lord recover it for them and re- instate it.

atharthi are those who having never enjoyed power and fortune desire the Supreme Lord to give them the ability to acquire them.

jijnasur are the seekers of self-realisation who are anxious to know the atma or soul in its state separate from matter for the benefit of escaping transmigration the cycle of birth and death and pray to the Supreme Lord for the benediction to discover this.

jnani are the seekers of knowledge concerning the Supreme Lord who realise that the atma is essentially characterised by its being an eternal ingredient of the Supreme Lord residing within all embodied beings. Such a one considers the Supreme Lord as their goal of life and attainment of Him the fulfilment of all ambitions.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

The righteous and virtuous worship the Supreme Lord with faith and devotion. What Lord Krishna is saying is that four types of virtuous humans who have accumulated merit from righteous deeds from previous lives worship Him according to the gradation of the merits.

1) artto are those afflicted by problems such as disease or enemies. If one has enough accumulated merit then they will have the opportunity to worship the Supreme Lord to alleviate their distress. Examples of this from Vedic scriptures were the many pious kings imprisoned by King Jarasandha who prayed to the Supreme Lord to be delivered and Lord Krishna rescued them. Also Queen Draupadi prayed to Lord Krishna for succour when she was being disrobed at the Kaurava assembly hall under the insistence of Duryodhana and Lord Krishna protected her honor. The elephant king Gajendra was seized by a terrible crocodile and just before succumbing he prayed to the Supreme Lord for aid and was saved and last but not least when Shiva gave the head exploding benediction to the demon Vkra who immediately began pursuing him to test it then Shiva took shelter of Lord Krishna who terminated the demons life. All these are examples of those whose previous merit qualified them to pray to the Supreme Lord. Otherwise not having sufficient merit they would only be able to pray to Rudra or Ganesh or Kali or even some impersonal phantasm god. 2) jijnasur or liberation seekers like Videha, Mucukunda and King Yadu also had enough acquired merit from prvious lives to qualify for worship of the Supreme Lord. 3) artharthi or the seekers of wealth who desire to regain the rulership, position of power and enjoyments from which they had before and became deprived. Examples of these from Vedic scriptures are Dhruva, Sugriva and Vibhisana. The worship of these three is tinged with selfish motivations but as soon as their wishes were fulfilled they achieved moksa or liberatiion from material existence and overcame the cycle of birth and death. 4) jnani's or those of spiritual wisdom who have no selfish motives are endowed with discriminative intelligence from ascertaining the reality of the atma or soul and its relationship as an eternal portion of the Supreme Lord. They also achieve moksa but they continue on to worship the Supreme Lord joining Him in His eternal pastimes. Great beings of this calibre are the Kumaras, Narada Muni, Sukadeva, Bhishma and Uddhava.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 7, verse 16 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 16

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