Chapter 14The Three Qualities of Material NatureVerse 19


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

Having briefly explained something about the many manifestations of the mundane worlds due to the conjunction of the three gunas or modes of material nature which arise from prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence; Lord Krishna emphasises how moksa or liberation from material existence comes from careful discerment of them. The gunas have transformed themselves into the mind, intellect, etc- One should realise the fact that the gunas are actually performing all one's actions and that the atma or immortal soul is different from and far beyond the gunas and is actually the monitor, the witness of all thoughts and actions. Such a person realising these thing attains the Supreme Lord.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

One who perceives the Supreme Lord as the one from where prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and the gunas the three modes of material nature arise from although distinct from Him. Know that He alone is the performer of all actions. Not only by observing that the Supreme Lord, the initiator of all actions is different from the gunas but also by seeing Him superior to everything such a one attains the consciousness of the Supreme Lord. The eternal consort of the Supreme Lord is Laxmi, the goddess of fortune known as Sri. A minute part of her is prakriti and so also is prakriti's by products of sattva, rajas and tamas or goodness, passion and ignorance respectively. At the time of universal creation due to her great luminousity Sri is known as sat or eternal existence and because of her illumination Sri is known as tva. Sri is known as Bhu-devi the Earth because in the process of creation she is the creative enterprice and by this impulse Sri is also called Rajas. Since she manifests as the whole Earth Sri is known as Bhumi and by.her deluding potency which obscures the minds of the jivas or embodied beings she is known as Durga or Tamas. The unliberated humans are thus controlled by these three and the demigods are controlled directly by Sri herself and she binds them. Her expansions of Bhu-devi binds the humans and her expansion of Durga binds the demons to material existence. Yet if any of them by chance get the opportunity receive the mercy of a Vaisnava devotee of Lord Krishna and understand that He alone is the Supreme Lord of all, then they achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. The Visnu Purana states:That until the jiva or embodied being realises that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord of all they remain like animals in human form. Thus the Supreme Lord Krishna should always be remembered and never forgotten.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

Thus by eating foods situated in sattva guna or the mode of goodness such as milk, cream, butter, fruits, rice, grains and vegetables and performing activities exclusively for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His 55 authorised avatars or incarnations and do this never considering renumeration or rewards has been duly delineated by Lord Krishna Himself. Then all traces and residue of raja guna or mode of passion and tama guna or mode of ignorance will be completely dissolved and eradicated. When the aspirant becomes knowledgeable in the mechanisms of the three gunas or modes of material nature and realises that they actually are performing all actions themselves according to their respective qualities,then they see that they are not the doer but only the observer. When such a one further perceives the localised atma or immortal soul within the etheric heart as being eternally a part of paramatma or the Supreme Soul within the etheric heart of all sentient beings everywhere in creation; then one attains a state of consciousness like unto the Supreme Lord. The understanding is that the atma or immortal soul is eternal and transcendental to all aspects of material nature and thus free from any influence or karma or reactions to actions that may come to the jiva or embodied being due to its association with the three gunas within material existence. The atma itself is of the nature of infinite expanding consciousness. All atmas are feminine and when the atma is thus realised then a jiva qualifies to have eternal association in the spiritaual worlds with Lord Krishna. This is what He means by the words mad bhavan meaning attains a consciousness like Mine. So in conclusion after cognising and realising the absolute nature of the actionless atma which is completely beyond the purview of the material the assocaiation of the Supreme Lord is attained.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Thus the definitions, characteristics, and types of bondage caused by the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature; which locks the jivas or embodied beings within the material existence has been definitively deleneated by Lord Krishna. All this was referring to His statement in chapter 13, verse 22 beginning purusa prakriti that the jivas infatuation with material nature is the sole cause of their imprisonment. But now He speaks of communion with Him, the ultimate attainment of all. In verse two of this chapter Healready revealed that those who take refuge in this knowledge He is giving achieve communion with Him. First one must engage themselves in eating only vegetarian foods which are in sattva guna or the mode of goodness and are beneficial for spiritual developement. Then one must rise above the qualities of raja guna or mode of passion which is full of desires and attachments and overcome the influence of tama guna or mode of ignorance which causes inertia, perverst and distorting reality. Then one will perceive that the three gunas are the doer and the motivating factors that impel the jivass to perform actions predicated upon samskaras or impulses from previous births. The atma or immortal soul is totally transcendental to prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and also of course to its by products the three gunas. In the state of bondage all actions are determined by the three gunas but they do not contaminate the jivas inherent eternal nature which is beyond them as their influence endures only as long as the activity lasts. When due to the predominance of sattva guna the heart finally becomes pure and tranquil the jiva by knowledge of atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul becomes detached from even the qualities of sattva guna which are unnecessary and such a one becomes established in the atma and free from the misery of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 14, verse 19 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 19

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