Chapter 17The Threefold Divisions of Material ExistanceVerse 16


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 states that tapah or austerities of the mind in sattva guna or mode of goodness are serenity derived from self-satisfaction, tranquillity derived from the self-control of with drawing the mind from the senses, silence derived by constant meditation within, purity of heart derived from the absence of any deceitfulness in thoughts, words and conduct are all known as austerities of the mind in sattva guna.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The word saumyatvam means tranquility, gentleness. Maunya means the silence of reflecting internally as opposed to projecting externally. After achieving eligibility and qualification by spiritual knowledge from ever reflecting one is called a muni which is derived from the word maunya. The Balava scripture states: By the power of a muni's meditation reality is reflected and his realizations are reflected upon reality. Otherwise it would not be possible for a person to perform penance within the mind.

Now begins the summation.

By only performing authorized Vedic yagnas or acts of propitiation and worship to the Supreme Lord residence is gained in the temporary heavenly worlds. These worlds are incomparably beautiful and grant unlimited pleasure without the hindrances of old age and decrepitude or any sickness and disease. The heavenly kingdoms are inhabited by jivas or embodied beings who had desires for pleasure and opulence but still lived a pious life in their previous birth. They are similar to the demigods whose limitations exceded their capabilities and failed in their attempts to be pure devotees of Lord Krishna due to cravings for pleasure and sense enjoyment. Thus they gain the heavenly worlds and due to pious activities in the previous life and are exempt from suffering in the dark, hellish planets. But the jivas who enact rituals and ceremonies not authorized by the Vedic scriptures and who perform prohibited and sinful activities will descend to suffer in the dark, hellish planet without a doubt. They are those who were born in tama guna the mode of ignorance and performed degraded activities from the very beginning or may have started their lives situated in sattva guna or the mode of goodness but later due to bad association unfortunately degraded into raja guna the mode of passion and tama guna and performed depraved activities. Others perform activities not in harmony with their natures and after some time they fall back into their old habits. Performance of activities in harmony with one's natural attributes and nature gives the best results. Performing activities not in accordance with one's natural attributes and contrary to one's nature gives inferior results. That which gives the best results should be understood as being the natural attributes of a jiva and this will reflect in the inherent attributes one possesses.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The austerities of the mind are manah-prasadah or self satisfaction and serenity free from mental imbalances. The word saumyatvam means serenity and benevolence to others. Maunam is silence externally and reflecting internally. Atma-vinigrahah is self-controlling the mind to stay focused on realisation of the atma. Bhava-samsuddhih is purity within and purity of purpose. These austerities of mind are confirmed by Lord Krishna to be in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Now the austerities of the mind are given by Lord Krishna beginning with manah-prasada or tranquillity due to self satisfaction. Mental purity due to the absence of lust, anger and greed. Silence is avoidance of useless mundane conversations. Self-control is directing the mind away from unrighteous activities and focusing it on spiritual activities. Purity of heart is freedom from hankerings and desires for sense gratification. All these constitute austerities of speech in sattva guna the mode of goodness.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 17, verse 16 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 16

Copyright © Bhagavad-Gita Trust 1998-2015