Chapter 4Approaching the Ultimate TruthVerse 13


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

Some beings perform actions with desire and others perform actions without desire. Thus the difference in actions although subtle can be discerned. Amongst the performers of actions without desire like the Vaisnavas and Brahmins there are further classifications such as uttama or superior, madhya or good and kanistha or average. How is it that Lord Krishna who is the originator of all these classifications be free from any partiality. The word catur-varnyam specifically denotes the four classes of Vedic culture only. The Brahmins or priestly class have a preponderance of sattva guna or mode of goodnes and having their mind and senses under control their duties are to spiritually guide mankind in righteousness. The ksatriya or royal warrior class possesses some sattva but have a preponderance of rajas guna or mode of passion and their duties are to protect dharma or righteousness from the influence of evil and to protect humanity from demoniac forces. The vaisya's possess some rajas but have a preponderance of tama-guna or mode of ignorance and their duties are farming, agriculture, trade and cow protection. The sudra or lower class possess only a preponderance for tama guna and their duty is to serve the three previous classes to earn their livelihood. So although Lord Krishna is the origin of them all it should be understood that He is not affected by any of them the reason being that He is immutable, imperishable, eternal and transcendental to prakriti or material nature.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Lord Krishna is the origin of the four classifications in Vedic culture as spoken here. Those of sattva guna or the mode of goodness are designated as Brahmins or priestly class. Those of mixed sattva guna and rajas guna or the mode of passion are known as ksatriyas or warrior class. Those mixed with rajas guna and tama guna or the mode of ignorance are the vaisyas or mercantile class and those in tama guna are the sudras or servant class. The actions of Lord always possess shama or tranquillity and dama or self- control in their performance thus even if He appears to do nothing He is the performer and if He appears to be the performer He is the non- performer of His actions. Even though He is the origin of the entire creation He has no desires and remains unattached. Thus it has been perceived that those who perform actions without desires, unattached to rewards have developed an attribute of the Lord.

Now begins the summation.

The four orders descending in purity from sattva guna to rajas guna to tama guna have been described here. Those in sattva guna are the Vaisnava devotees of the supreme Lord Krishna possessing tranquillity and self- control. All others as their sattva decreases are in tama guna in descending order. Thus sattva guna is determined by one's ability and capacity to be a devotee of Lord Krishna and the further away one is from this the deeper one is covered by tama guna . Thus this is the difference between them and occurs naturally due to their character and disposition. The differences and conditions acquired due to birth should be understood to be merely a designation as devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna has been seen to arise and manifest in all four orders of existence. Amongst some it is more potent and in others less so and even these differences happen naturally according to an individuals inherent attributes. Although the resplendent Supreme Lord reveals He is kartaram or the origin of all creation He also reveals He is akartaram or not originated from any source. He is independent in Himself and not created from anything. The adjective api used here is to show this special at tribute that there is no creator for Him.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The entire material manifestation from Brahma down to a blade of grass has been divided by Lord Krishna into the four-fold divisions in accordance to their natural dispositions and qualities. For humans they are brahmin or the priestly class, kshatriya the royal warrior class, vaisya the farmer and trading class and sudra the servant class. This is in conformance with their material natures being in goodness, passion or nescience which subsequently qualifies them for the type of occupation they engage in their life. Creation implies all the universes where He sustains and maintains as well causing them to manifest and unmanifest. Although He is the origin of all these activities He should be known as not being the doer. This is because the wondrous activities to be found in creation although originated from Lord Krishna do not bind him as He is not the doer. The wonderful variety of creation from demigods, humans, animal etc. are beings created by the effects of their own karma or present reactions to previous actions either by merits or demerits. In as much as one's own activities determines their karma activating what reward or punishment one will receive; then this is totally determined by each individual themselves and thus Lord Krishna is no way answerable to the reactions living entities bring upon themselves by their actions. There is another reason Lord Krishna is not the doer as well and that is all the embodied being assuming various and diverse forms get endowed with limbs and senses to enjoy material objects being interested in the rewards of their actions. Consequently pursuing this they trap themselves in samsara or the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. It is all of their own doing and Lord Krishna is not responsible for the desires the living entities choose to pursue. In the Vedanta-Sutras which are aphorisms exegetic of the 108 Upanisads by Vedavyasa it states in II.III.XXXIV that: The Supreme Lord can never be reproached for what seems to be partiality and injustice seen as rewards and punishments because the results for all human beings are determined solely by their actions. In the act of manifesting the creation Lord Krishna is the original source but the instrumental cause is prakriti or material nature itself and the determining factor for all beings is that they come into their various existences as a result of their own karma. Except for the will from the original source of Lord Krishna no other cause is needed to manifest myriad's of marvellous creations represented by unlimited and diverse variegated beings. This is because all embodied beings accept a form in accordance to the inherent primal force of their past karma.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

If not everyone worships Lord Krishna and so many more are worshipers of other religions and denominations then why is this unbalance so prevalent in society. This verse refers to the four orders of Vedic culture exclusively being the brahmins or priestly class, the ksatriya's or the royal and warrior class, the vaisya's or farming and trading class and the sudra or the servant classs. These were created according to the natural qualities of their prenatal disposition and classified accordingly to their corresponding birth. The Brahmins have the prenatal quality of sattva or goodness, the ksatriya's have the prenatal quality of rajas or passion being dominant and sattva being subordinate, the vaisya's have the prenatal quality of tama guna or ignorance with rajas being subordinate and the sudras have the prenatal quality of ignorance. Any other classification outside of these four cannot be claimed to be originated by Lord Krishna. Although Lord Krishna is the originator of these four orders He is not to be held accountable to the unbalance in society as this is due to the prenatal disposition of all beings based on their activities and subsequent reactions each life.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 4, verse 13 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 13

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