Chapter 8Attainment of SalvationVerse 4


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 perishable or destructible living entities with corporeal characteristics like the physical body is the same for all beings and therefore known as adhibhuta or of the material substratum. The cosmic being who resides in the center of the solar orb, the ruler of the 330 million demigods and all other dieties who are merely parts of His supreme being is known as adhidaiva the source of the demigods. The Supreme Lord Krishna is indeed the creator of the first embodied being and the first cause of all beings, existing before creation itself. He residing as the indwelling monitor within all sentient beings is known as adhiyagna the presiding deity of all propitiation in worship as the first acceptor of all actions and thoughts and the bestower of the rewards for actions. He is called the Purusha the original being. The answer to the question how from verse 2 is given in this verse. It can be discerned that paramatma the supreme soul and indwelling monitor within all living entities is uniquely different from the individual soul due to qualities like omniscience and non-attachment. The Mundaka Upanisad III.I.I states: Two birds of beautiful plumage closely united in friendship reside together in the same tree. One bird eats of the sweet fruits on the tree while the other watches but does not eat. By addressing Arjuna as deha bhrtam vara or the best of embodied beings, Lord Krishna is indicating that he too can realise paramatma the supreme soul by the method of discernment of one's individual actions and the evaluation of the results. When one is dependent upon the Supreme Lord one activities are successful and are never contrary to dharma or eternal righteousness but when one acts in independence from the Supreme Lord whatever activities which may appear to be successful by worldly standards are inherently contrary to dharma.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The nature which elevates and is useful to all creatures both the jivas or embodied beings along with their physical bodies is adhibhuta which pertains to material nature. Its mutable characteristic is physical objects subject to dissolution. The nature of dissolution is included within the nature of the unmanifest. The Skanda Purana confirms that the Supreme unmanifest merges into space at the time of the end of creation. From the Supreme Lord manifested prakriti or the material substratum and from prakriti arise the three fold gunas being sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. The modifications of the three gunas are verily the cause of creation in the material existence. Because of His abidance as paramatma the Supreme Soul in the pur or city known as the physical body of all living entities, the Supreme Lord Krishna is known as Purusa the original being. Directing and elevating all the 330 million demigods throughout myriad of universes He is known as Sankarsana the primal creator and He is Lord of all adhidaivam and the paramount principle of divinity.

Being the ultimate enjoyer of all propitiation and worship He is known as adhiyagna the goal of all worship and bestower of all rewards for such worship. Because the offerings of ghee or clarifed butter and havi or grain seeds are offered into the sacrificial fire, the demigod Agni in charge of fire is also sometimes called adhiyagna and this is why Lord Krishna uses the word dehe meaning residing in the physical body, which excludes Agni and denotes only Himself, who alone is the exclusive enjoyer of all yagnas and and recepient of all austerities. Those knowers of the essence of the Vedic scriptures realise the Supreme Lord Krishna's paramount position, even the intelligent worshippers of other gods can comprehend this fact. Humans praise that which grants benedictions, the Supreme Lord who is the presiding deity of all gods. For whom is the spiritual world permanent? For whom is the most meritorious status? To clarify such queries Lord Krishna clarifies the dharma or eternal righteousness of moksa or liberation.

Even when it is established that the resplendent Lord Krishna is the ultimate enjoyer of all worship and propitiation answering the question of who; how this is manifested yet remains to be known and that is by paramatma the Supreme Soul within the heart of all living entities monitoring their activities and thoughts as the adhiyagna the Lord of all worship and propitiation. The word atra meaning within is used as an adjective before dehe meaning the body to denote that it is not His spiritual body which He is referring too but His manifested form as paramatma within all sentient beings. There is nothing within the transcendental spiritual body of Lord Krishna that is separate from Him or different from Him in any way,The brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence is but a fraction of His potency. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the One to be inquired about and realized through the transcendental medium of the Vedic scriptures. To eliminate any doubts about regarding His absolute position, Lord Krishna emphasizes that He alone is not only the one to be propitiated and worship but that He, Himself is the adhiyagna in the form of the indwelling monitor witnessing all activities.

The Gita Kalpa states: The Supreme Being dwelling within the physical body of all sentient beings is known as adhiyagna. Creation is a natural propensity of the Supreme Lord. It is the manifestation of His Divine will. Adhibhuta is the manifestation of temporary physical forms in the material existence. The jivas or embodied beings are a manifestation of adhyatma. The Supreme Lord's expansions such as Sankarsana or Hiranyagarbha are known as adhidaivam. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the Lord of all gods even Narayana the Lord of the spiritual worlds in Vaikuntha is an expansion of Lord Krishna. The Skanda Purana states: That which is dwelling within exercising complete authority over the atma or soul is called adhyatmam. That which is external and separate from the physical body is called adhidaivam. Everything else which is different are the cause of gross, physical creatures therefore such activity is known as adhibutam. The Maha Kurma Purana states: Adhyatma is that which being beneficial to the pure atma or soul extends unto the bodily limit. That which becomes useful to the jivas along with their physical bodies and other gross elements is adhibhutam. Beyond the scope of maya or illusory impressions superimposed upon the mind which is beneficial to divinity is adhidaivam. Now begins the summation.

What was iterated previously is spoken again in this verse for the sake of illuminating the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Because in the fist verse the adjective tad meaning that is used in front of brahman indicates that it alone is the foundation of the other terms. Furthermore when words accompanying yagna are referred to as the elements inherent in objects which are useful adhibhutas for physical beings then such things should be understood as being beneficial for attaining knowledge and realization of the Supreme Lord exclusively and no other purpose. Why then should there be any doubt about the brahman? When it has been understood that the source of the imperishable and immutable brahman is the Supreme Lord Krishna alone all doubts are dispelled. What was iterated previously is being spoken again to remove any doubts from the ignorant and unintelligent. Again for the removal of doubt, those who think the unmanifest one is manifest like a normal jiva also have their doubts dispelled again as before in chapter VII.XXIV clarified.

Here is this separate question, that which is immutable and unmanifest is given for the clarification of the nature of gradation of the aspirants, having made reference in verse three to aksaram paramam the supreme immutable being of Lord Krishna dwelling within the heart of all sentient beings everywhere. So the paramount position of the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorized incarnations and expansions has been given exalted status and the subservience of all other gods has been established. Since it has been declared that Lord Krishna that He is both the ultimate recipient of yagna as well as the supreme yagna itself, there may be possible doubts whether or not He is the same or different from it. To remedy this indecision He declares that He is the indweller of all creatures and He also becomes the material cause or inspiration to perform the yagna as well.

The Tattva Viveka scripture states: As the indwelling monitor in the bodies of all sentient beings the Supreme Lord Krishna is known as adhiyagna. He alone in His all pervasive omnipresent aspect is celebrated as the brahman and as such is the lord of all yagnas. As paramatma He is known as the Supreme Soul. The creation of jivas or embodied beings as well as gross, physical elements are exclusive activities of the Supreme Lord. Since jivas are superior to all creatures they are also known as adhibhuta. The Supreme Divinity of all divinities is the Supreme Lord Krishna and is known as adhidaivata the lord of all lords, that is why Sri Laksmi the goddess of fortune established Herself in His heart. So to dispel any doubts and answer the question what is the form of adhiyagna this verse was spoken.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

By the word adhibhutam or those things pertaining to physical objects sought after by aisvaryarthis or fortune seekers are those things of a perishable nature including the supra subtle principles of sound, sight, smell etc. which are latent in their elements of ether, fire, earth etc and develop therefrom into their support system being the senses. All these things must certainly be comprehended and contemplated by them.

The word adhidaivatam refers to the purusha or the ultimate, original supreme being whose status is superior and elevated above the 330 million demigods and all other celestials and lesser divinities and gods as well. This is the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the possessor and enjoyer of all the supramundane enjoyments of rare and equisite delights of His transcendental senses of sound and sight etc as the ultimate recipient of all yagna or worship and propitiation, even more then that experienced in the heavenly planets by Indra and Brahma. The aivaryarthis or fortune seekers must meditate on the purusha as the Supreme Being and ultimate enjoyer of all the subtle transcendental delights and this is what is called knowing the adhidaivatam.

The adhiyagna denotes the Supreme Lord Krishna, Himself. It is He as the indwelling monitor in all the demigods and other gods and all sentient beings and whose total aggregate of atmas or eternal souls constitute His transcendental, spiritual body and as such He receives first worship and propitiation from all yagnas. Thus as the adhiyagna he is the indwelling monitor established in the heart of all beings and He is the one whom the three classes of devotees have to realise and meditate upon as a maha yagna or great offering in all their nitya and namaitta or eternal and occasional acts of worship.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

In this verse Lord Krishna answers three questions. He confirms that adhibhuta is all perishable objects existing of the material substratum, specific transformations like ether, the manifestations of sound, light etc. as well as every other element. He further reveals that the total aggregate of all embodied atmas or souls as well as the presiding deity over all atmas who is Brahma the first embodied being and the foremost creator of embodied beings are all adhidaiva. This includes the demigods in charge of universal management such as Surya in charge of the sun, Vayu in charge of wind, Varuna in charge of water, etc. Referring to the person who performs the yagna or propitiation and worship, Lord Krishna is the adhiyagna the propagator of all action and the ultimate recipient of all offerings. Any offerings performed in the world are accomplished by the help of one's body wherein resides the Supreme Lord as the eternal atma and indwelling monitor. Thus the Supreme Lord is presiding over the performer of yagna because being dependent they are supported and sustained by Him and thus yagna should always be performed in propitiation to Him. Lord Krishna is the presiding deity of all yagna. He is the bestower of rewards for all actions and the enjoyer of the rewards of all sacrifices. He is residing in the bodies as the inner witness of all the demigods as well, who are the individual deities presiding over general and occasional yagnas. In this way Lord Krishna has delineated the terms adhibhuta, adhidaiva and adhiyagna, explaing them comprehensively for the sake of imparting knowledge so those who earnestly aspire can achieve the ultimate destination.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 8, verse 4 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 4

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