Chapter 13The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate ConsciousnessVerse 32


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

It may be further postulated that differentiation of the atma or immortal soul is inevitable due to karma or reactions to actions arising from its connection to the physical body which results in happiness, misery, etc. as the jiva or embodied being transmigrates continuously in material existence; so how can there be equalness and sameness? Lord Krishna addresses this doubt by explaining that paramatma the Supreme Soul is without a beginning, without material attributes, transcendental, immutable, imperishable. Therefore paramatma although residing in a physical body which has a beginning and is perishable, possessive of attributes and subject to karma it paramatma is unaffected by the result of any action as it only monitors and never acts.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Lord Krishna explains that there is no annihilation for paramatma or the Supreme Soul as it is not material but completely spiritual and eternally existing. Normally material things are subject to disintegration and are subject to the decaying effects of time. But this is not applicable to paramatma which has no relationship to material nature and is never implicated or affected by the activities of the jiva or embodied being. The word nirgunatvat means the absence of qualities and attributes this denotes that paramatma has no material qualities and material attributes due to being completely spiritual.

Now begins the summation.

The jiva is established in the physical body. The Supreme Lord is His localised expansion as paramatma is causing the jivas to sleep at regulated intervals and is giving illumination to them. Yet the Supreme Lord remains without sleep and is full of illumination. The jivas established within the physical bodies identify themselves as their body. Yet the Supreme Lord even though dwelling within each and every physical body all over creation never identifies with the physical body. Experiencing pleasure and pain in the physical body makes one become attached to it. Due to the absence of the material and presence of the spiritual the Supreme Lord has no attachment to the physical body of any jiva.

Because the Supreme Lord is eternal, without any beginning and is devoid of any material attributes, qualities or accruements. The Supreme Lord is always distinctly exalted and superior to all jivas who are always subject to birth and the three fold miseries of old age, disease and death. Everything is created completely from the Supreme Lord alone, who is one without a second. Yet He is totally neutral and impartial to His creation. Even though residing within the physical body as paramatma of every jiva the Supreme Lord is witnessing all the activities performed. Yet no merits or demerits are attached to Him. This is the true purport of the ancient aphorism of neti neti meaning not this, not this.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

So now the eternal, omniscient and all pervading nature of paramatma or the Supreme Soul is being revealed by Lord Krishna as being totally distinct from the physical body of the jiva or embodied being. Although residing within the exhaustible physical body which is perishable, paramatma is inexhaustible and imperishable due to it being anaditivat of eternality. It is infinite in time and infinite beyond time. It is nirgunatvat or possessing no material qualities or attributes and neither performs any actions nor is affected or implicated by any actions the physical body performs. Next it will be explained how the paramatma although having constant association within the physical body is not degraded by any of the bodily properties.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

It may be comprehended that paramatma the all pervading Supreme Soul as well as the localised atma or the immortal individual soul are both distinctly different from prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence. It may also be understood that it is only by the medium of prakriti that bodies and senses manifest and cause the jiva or embodied being to engage in activities which gives karma or reactions to actions. But the question may be raised that if paramatma and the atma have such intimate contact with the physical body which is experiencing joy and grief as it performs unlimited activities; then how are they both not affected, implicated and contaminated by such enactments and remain only the witness and monitor. Anticipating such a query Lord Krishna answers that they are both anaditvan nirgunatvat meaning eternal without beginning and possessing no material qualities or attributes whatsoever. Imperishable the knower of the sphere of activity, supreme because they are transcendental to prakriti and everything material including the physical body, mind and intellect which is in specific illustrative examples sometimes referred to as the self. Whatever has manifested from prakriti possesses the three gunas or goodness, passion and nescience and are perishable. This comprises the scope of prakriti but paramtama and the atma are not implicated by the physical body or influenced by its modifications thereof and therefore are only monitoring all thoughts and actions as the witness.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 13, verse 32 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 32

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