Chapter 13The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate ConsciousnessVerse 24


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

One who comprehensively understands prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and realises the Purusa or the supreme being as an eternal manifestation of the Supreme Lord as paramatma or the Supreme soul and can discriminate the difference between the two is being praised by Lord Krishna. One who realises the liberating nature of the Purusa as a distinctly separate entity from the atma or immortal soul residing within the etheric heart of all living entities as the witness and monitor and can discriminate between it and the binding nature of interactions with prakriti along with the three gunas of goodness, passion and ignorance does not take birth in the material existence again. This means that regardless of their present physical manifestation in creation they are released from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and achieving moksa or liberation from material existence are no longer compelled to take physical birth in a womb again.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

In verse 21 purusa referred to the jiva or the embodied being. In verse 23 purusa refers to the Supreme Lord. Thus purusa can refer both to the Supreme and to the jiva when indicating the atma or immortal soul within. In other situations such an important conclusion is a contradiction but here it has been succinctly clarified. In the Saukarayan scripture is stated: The immortal, greater than the greatest is the Supreme Lord Krishna. It is His greatness alone that all the Vedic scriptures are engaged in serving and glorifying. Even appearing otherwise this is always the truth. No contradiction can ever be assumed because His transcendental qualities being eternal are never subject to rationalisation. Nor is there in any Vedic scripture any evidence of any contradiction given by the liberated sages and saints ever being seen. So neither by rationalisation nor from personal experience is any contradiction concerning the Supreme Lord existing. Therefore logic, reason and rationalisation can never disprove what has been established by the Vedic scriptures. If by rationalisation one attempts to hypothesise a supposition unsupported by the Vedic scriptures then it is not wisdom but speculative nonsense and must be completely rejected. In the same way anything proclaimed that obscures the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures must also be totally rejected.

There exists subsidiary summation in the Vedic scriptures. It has been quoted that when one speaks the truth, even that becomes subsidiary knowledge. The Supreme Lord Krishna being the source of all is greater then the greatest and that alone is the truth. Like the reference previously to His being of blackish colour. If rationalisation and imagination are contradictory to the Vedic scriptures then both rationalisation and imagination should be understood as capable of misleading and erroneous because one who is not knowledgeable will be unaware of the true meaning. Whereas there is no possibility of ever being misguided by the Vedic scriptures as they are perfect and eternal. The opportunity for being misled is possible because so many people are completely oblivious to the purpose of human existence and totally unaware of the truth. Therefore concocted theories that there must be things contradictory to the Supreme Lord in the Vedas but somehow they were lost is ludicrous. Brahma himself has stated that there are neither any contradictory statements nor non- contradictory rationalisation in the Vedic scriptures. Therefore any references to non-duality between the Supreme Lord and the jiva or embodied being is contradictory and invalid. The Vedanta Sutras II.III.IIL reveal: To state that the jiva and the Supreme Lord are the same is most erroneous. In the Moksa Dharma the sage Janamejaya stated: Unlimited are the jivas but the Supreme Lord is one. The sage Visampayana stated: No one doubts the Supreme Lord is one without a second. Unlimited jivas are born from wombs but the Supreme Lord is self born and eternally endowed with the greatest qualities. Thus they are both different in nature and not at all like the dream state. Vedavyasa has written in Vedanta Sutras II.II.XXIX beginning vaidharmayaccha na svapnadivat meaning: The conceptions of the dream state are not real whereas the experiences from the waking state are real. This world is not an idea imagined like objects seen in a dream. Vedanta Sutra II.II.XXVIII states beginning nabhava upalavadheh meaning: Our perceptions and consciousness are the testament that the world exists and is not a mere illusion. In the Ayasa section it states: Since the world is subject to modification and always changing it is said to be like a dream; not that it is unreal like a dream. An example of always changing is like the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter.

It should be understood that it is not an error to meditate on aham brahmasi meaning I am the Brahman as being part of the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Because the Supreme Lord is the actual goal of the jiva and by doing so it does not imply sameness or becoming identical to the Supreme Lord and also because that is the factual nature of the atma or immortal soul. But know that this is not a principle method even though it does not contradict the Vedic reference of the jiva being a refelection. This is confirmed in the Madhuchanda Scripture which states: The reason the enlightened recommend jivas to become united with the Supreme Lord is because the atma has a similarity in quality but not quantity and thus is as a reflection. In the Agniveshya section meditation on aham brahmasi insures the result of sarupya moksa which is liberation into a spiritual form similar to four armed Vishnu. So one who achieves perfection in meditating on aham brahmasi is most assuredly situated in realisation of the brahman. The Vamana Purana even states that aham brahmasi means I am surrendered to the brahman. Thus being so surrendered I am similar unto the Supreme but not as if one is the Supreme. An example is one might say a man has the courage of a lion but that does not make that man a lion. The devotees surrendered to the Supreme Lord understand that the atma is a minute reflection of the Supreme Lord and that the atma is a portion of Him. Therefore the Supreme Lord is the master and we are serving Him in various wonderful ways. This is what the devotee meditates on.

Now begins the summation.

Those who perceive the purusa as being distinctly different from the jiva and yet a part of the jiva and can see prakriti as being two fold as both sentient and insentient and knows the distinctive qualities and attributes of all of them. Such persons will be liberated from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death in their present life time and promoted to the spiritual worlds not taking birth in material existence again.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The word evam means in this way refers to the manner previously described. One must intelligently comprehends the nature of the purusah or manifeatation of the Supreme Lord Krishna and prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and understand the three components of prakriti known as the gunas which are the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance which are inclusive of everything in material existence. They will be fully elaborated on in the next chapter. The word sarvatha means in any way or condition and refers to whatever physical body one finds themselves forced to accept whether demigod, human, demon, etc due to the dictate of karma or reactions to actions. Na sa bhuya abhijayate means never takes birth again, never coerced to enter a womb again, never forced to take a material form again. This means that at the time the physical body ceases to exist the atma or immortal soul will be realized as the eternal essence of the jiva or embodied being and moksa or liberation from material existence will be achieved promoting one to the everlasting spiritual worlds never again subject to birth and death.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Now Lord Krishna extols the glory of one who understands the reality of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence, the difference between the material and the spiritual, the atma or the localised, individual, immortal soul and paramatma the omniscient and omnipresent Supreme Soul present within every jiva. Understanding prakriti means knowing that the three gunas of goodness, passion and ignorance are the modifications of material nature which cause pleasure and pain in all jivas or embodied beings whether demigod, human or animal. When one has achieved realisation of the atma one can realise the Supreme Lord as paramatma and with unveiled realisation all sins are destroyed and one automatically attains moksa or liberation from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. The Chandogya Upanisad VIII.I confirms this beginning harih sum atha meaning : In the cavity of the etheric heart the atma and paramatma are residing next to each other; one should surely understand that they are what is paramount to be realised.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 13, verse 24 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 24

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