Chapter 8Attainment of SalvationVerse 21


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

Lord Krishna now gives the evidence for His avyakta or unmanifest being aksara or imperishable having neither birth or destruction and impossible to be perceived by the mind and senses. The Mundaka Upanisad I.I.VII states: Similarly from the aksara this creation comes into being. The aksara is declared to be paramam gatim the supreme goal of human existence and the ultimate destination. The Katha Upanisad III.XI states: There is nothing higher than the Purusha. He is the ultimate reality and the paramam gatim. The proof of it being the supreme goal is verified by the words na nivarttante meaning one never returns again to the material worldsonce they attain Lord Krishna's supreme dhama or abode. The six causative case by the word mama meaning my is used in the sense of identity as when one states Rahu's head which is all that remains of Rahu, it means only that. Therefore Lord Krishna, Himself is the paramam gatim and no other. This is the purport.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The avyakta the unmanifest and aksara the indestructible is the resplendent Supreme Lord, Krishna Himself, upon whom attaining there is no more returning to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. The Garuda Purana states: The avyakta is the Supreme Lord Himself. It shows the use of the word dhama or abode as also denoting the resplendent form of the Supreme Lord. Showing that the resplendent Supreme Lord's form and abode are both indicated such are the confidential meanings understood by those of spiritual wisdom.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

Lord Krishna now reveals His superior conscious avyakta or unmanifest which is different in principle and substance then the unconscious avyakta or unmanifest of Brahma which is non-intelligent and operates according to set parameters. Lord Krishna's superior avyakta is characterised by eternality due to its possession atma tattva or soul realisation. Thus it is also characterised by jnana or consciousness. Avyakta is also known as indistinct because it beyond any perceptive faculty of the mind or senses to cognise it as a perceivable reality. The purport is that avyakta is a principle of self-consciousness and as such is completely unique in its nature. The word sanatanah meaning eternal because His supreior avyakta is not subject to combination and aggregation or resolution and disintegration and never disperses or dissipates when all the material elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether in there rudimental forms and derivative forms dissolve away although His superior avyakta abides within them. This is why the Vedic scriptures call it avyakta or indistinct as well as aksara or indestructible. Those steeped in the wisdom of the Vedic scriptures have declared that this is the paramam gatim or supreme exalted goal to be achieved. Lord Krishna previously mentioned aksara in verse three of this chapter and will later mention it again in chapters XII.III and XV.XVI.

The superior state of avyakta is where atma tattva or soul realisation abounds and when once reached immediately precludes forever the subjection to union with matter again as there is no more rebirth for reincarnation has been terminated. Lord Krishna specifies their destination with the words dhama paramam mama meaning His supreme personal abode of eternity, knowledge and bliss where all things reciprocate fully with Him and is the abode of the liberated beings. The word dhama also denotes luminosity as in the light of consciousness which is the primary attribute of the atma or soul. Thus Lord Krishna is indicating His paramam dhama as non-different from the infinite consciousness of the atma in contrast to the limited state of consciousness one possesses who is oblivious to the atma due to being deluded by the illusory material energy known as maya and cherishing the association of the senses with sense objects. The other avyakta where resides praktiti or the material substratum which contains all living entities and which is perishable is controlled by Lord Krishna as well through His manifestation as the eternal atma or soul within the etheric heart of all created beings throughout all existence. This is the abode of the non-liberated beings. From the superior avyakta there is no return to samsara the cycle of birth and death. The next verse will show how the goal of the jnani or knower of the Supreme Lord is the most sublime state of consciousness, more exalted than any other.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

This avyakta or unmanifest is beyond the perception of the mind and senses and is aksara or indestructible and contains the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. In the second chapter it was revealed that the atma or soul is indestructible as well. But aksara is known by those knowledgeable of the Vedic scriptures to be paramount, higher than the atma, the goal of the atma as verified in the Katha Upanisad I.II.XXIII: That the realised eternal soul is the Supreme Lords abode. The unrealised soul tainted by association with prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence. But His presence as the witness in the hearts of all living beings is to keep them always connected to Him, for the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad III:VII,XXII states: The Supreme Being has established Himself in the heart of all living entities. The same scripture in III.III.VII states: That paramatma the supreme soul which resides in the heart of all living entities is different from the individual atma or soul; yet the atma knows Hin not, He whose abode is the atma. It is the Supreme Lord who is installed in the hearts of all beings as the witness of all thoughts and actions. Attaining Him the individual atma is permanently divested of prakriti and they never return to the worlds of mortals as the cycle of birth and death is terminated. The purport is that atma tattva or realisation of the soul is very exalted but the paramam gatim or supreme goal is to attain the Supreme Lord Krishna in His dhama or abode and associate eternally with Him.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 8, verse 21 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 21

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