Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries of Ramanuja | Discourse 15

Chapter 15
Puruṣottama Yogaḥ
The Mystery of the Omnipresent Supreme Being

Summary of the Teaching

In the previous chapter the Supreme Lord Krishna expounded upon:

1) The jīva or embodied being’s relationship with matter - in both its subtle and physical forms –

due to attraction to sense objects and subsequent attachment and the karma or reactions to one's own actions thereof, along with the karma from the types of food one has eaten, determines the physical body one receives in the next life.

2) The manner in detail how the association with the three guṇas or modes of material nature keeps a jīva enslaved in material existence is given in verses 6 to 25.

3) The method by which a jīva is able to overcome and transcend the three guṇas and assume one's actual spiritual position of ātma tattva or soul realisation by bhakti yoga or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord.

Now in this chapter the most worshippable and resplendent Lord Krishna reveals His absolute dominion and sovereign glory over all creation and everything that is in it.

Creation is constituted by kṣara or transient souls in bondage and akṣara or eternally liberated souls. Both kṣara and akṣara constitute His spiritual form which constitutes the cosmic manifestation, but He is inconceivably distinctly different from both.

The Supreme Lord being the Supreme creator and controller of all, the source of all glorious attributes and wonderful qualities is a fountain of righteousness and the antithesis of all that is evil and demoniac.

For the elucidation of this eternal truth the Supreme Lord cites the Aśvattha or banyan tree as a metaphor to symbolise the material manifestation as a place of bondage and enslavement for the ātmas or immortal souls trapped as a jīva in samsāra or the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

How kṣara souls may escape from samsāra and become the akṣara souls is His glorious plan of evolution and it is enacted by the sword of knowledge which destroys the tree of materialism by the weapon of non-attachment.

śrībhagavan uvāca
ūrdhva mūlam adhaḥ śākham aśvatthaṃprāhur-avyayam |
chandāṃsi yasya parṇāni yastaṃveda sa vedavit || 1 ||

The Blessed Lord said:

1. They [the Vedas] speak of an indestructible Aśvattha tree with its roots above and branches below, the leaves of which are the injunctions; one who knows this knows the Vedas.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The state of samsāra is symbolised by the Aśvattha or banyan tree which in real life has its roots growing upwards and its branches growing downwards.

The indestructible nature of samsāra is symbolised in the second division of the Katha Upaniṣad III.I beginning urdhva mulo avak shakha which means:

“With roots upwards and branches downwards this primeval tree is everlasting”.

With roots upwards refers to our Brahma with four faces, the secondary creator who is situated above the seven worlds of Bhur, Bhuvah, Svaḥ, Mahaḥ, etc..

The branches downwards refer to all the denizens of creation in the form of humans, animals, birds, fish, plants, insects, etc.

The indestructible nature of this tree is due to its being avyayaḥ or everlasting like a river with no end and because as a tree it is impossible to uproot until one is weaned from sense gratification and material desires by the mercy of the Supreme Lords devotee and ātma tattva is achieved by His grace.

The word chandāṃsi refers to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures which are symbolised by the leaves which flourish or dwindle in proportion to the karma or reactions to the actions one accrues by adhering to or ignoring such provisions.

Leaves are very instrumental in preserving the longevity of trees.

Whoever is knowledgeable of this tree as just explained, comprehends the Vedic scriptures as the knowledge of non-attachment is the ways and means of uprooting this tree and allows one to achieve ātma tattva.

adhaścordhvaṃprasṛtās tasya śākhāḥguṇa-pravṛddhāviṣaya pravālāḥ|
adhaśca mūlāny-anusantatāni karmānubandhīni manuṣya-loke || 2 ||

2. Both above and below its branches spread out, nourished by the Guṇas, the shoots are the sense-objects, and their dependant roots extend downward in the mortal world resulting in acts which bind (karma).

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The branches on this Aśvattha tree symbolise all the jīvas or embodied beings that arise due to karma or reactions to actions.

The downward branches symbolise humans, animals, plants, etc. and the upward branches symbolise the 300 million devas administering universal management.

All the branches are part of prakṛti the material substratum pervading physical existence and all are nourished by the three guṇas or three modes of material nature, which are sattva or goodness, Rājas or passion and tamas or ignorance.

The sprouts on the branches symbolises desires for objects of the senses.

This Aśvattha tree has its roots in Brahma-loka the highest material planet and its branches end in the worlds of humans,

but there the humans are constantly creating new rootlets which are the karmas acquired from performing actions which are enjoined and prohibited in the Vedic scriptures.

The activities performed as jīvas while in bodies of humans exclusively results in higher level or lower level births:

By ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures the results are lower level births such as animals, reptiles, insects, plants.

The adherence to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures results in higher level births such as the devas and also human births which still affords a jīva the golden opportunity to spiritually evolve and grow; sometimes even achieving mokṣa or liberation from material existence in their very next lifetime.

na rūpam asyeha tathopalabhyate nānto na cādir naca saṃpratiṣṭhā|
aśvattham enaṃsuvirūḍha-mūlam asaṅga śastreṇa dṛḍheṇa chitvā|| 3 ||

3. Its form as such, is not perceived here, nor its end, nor its origin, nor its support. Having cut down this firmly rooted Aśvattha Tree with the strong axe of non-attachment,

tataḥpadaṃtat parimārgitavyaṃyasmin gatāna nivartanti bhūyaḥ|
tameva cādyaṃpuruṣaṃprapadye yataḥpravṛttiḥprasṛtāpurāṇī|| 4 ||

4. One should then seek that goal, attaining which one never returns. One should take refuge in that Primal Person from whom this ancient process emanated.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The jīvas or embodied beings immersed in samsāra or the perpetual cycle of birth and death are unable to comprehend this Aśvattha or banyan tree and its symbolism.

It is impossible for them to understand that this tree symbolising material existence has its root above in Satyaloka with Brahma

and its branches descending downwards are all the innumerable jīvas or embodied beings throughout all of creation

and that humans are its terminals from where there are branches spreading upwards as well determined by karma or reactions to actions based upon following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures,

which apply when one finally achieves a human form out of the millions of different plants, birds, fish and animal species.

As a human one is quickly indoctrinated into samsāra with the conceptions of I am. I am a man. I am a king. I am the son of this person. I am the wife of that person. I am beautiful. I am great, etc., etc.

Such “I am” conceptions keeps one locked in samsāra and causes one to be fully occupied with mundane concerns and worldly affairs appropriate to such conceptions.

Such persons look upon their bodily conceptions as their very self and are completely oblivious that they are factually eternal beings possessing an ātma or immortal soul.

They perceive not that they can gradually wean themselves from this ancient tree by renunciation of the three guṇas or modes of material nature and detachment from the objects of the senses.

Neither do they comprehend that the ātma is separate and distinct from the physical body. Nor can they differentiate that the ego is not the physical body and the ātma is not the ego.

Bewildered by illusion they believe what is unreal to be real and what is real they cannot perceive. The origin and source is unfathomable to them and so deluded they remain in ignorance.

This Aśvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jīva enslaved in samsāra can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses.

This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jīva and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation.

Demolishing this strong and durable Aśvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces dislike and disdain for sense gratification,

which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences, which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three guṇas or modes of material nature.

How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the guṇas which causes delusion be guaranteed?

Lord Krishna has already previously confirmed in chapter VII.VII: That there is nothing superior to Him. In chapter VII.XIV: That those who surrender unto Him alone can surmount the three guṇas.

In chapter IX, X: That material nature is operating under His control. In X.VIII: That He is the origin and source of all material and spiritual worlds.

So let glorious propitiation and devotion be given unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as He alone is the sole refuge of all living entities.

Inasmuch as all material impressions, instincts and influences arise from contact with the three guṇas proceeding from prakṛti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is controlled by Him,

it is logical to understand that by Him they can also be transcended.

The question that naturally comes to mind is “how?”.

The word prapadye means “surrender”.

In VII.XIV is stated prapadyante or have surrendered. In this verse a variant is stated as prapadye yata which by the grammatical rules of Panini can be interpreted as meaning - by a mere step of surrendering unto Him –

spiritual impressions, instincts and influences are activated and awaken in such a one. They will manifest as spontaneous impulses arising with frequency in the heart and dispel all nescience.

They are ancient - because they embody the collective consciousness of all the Mumukṣas or achievers of Mokṣa or liberation from material existence since time immemorial,

who surrendered and took refuge of the Supreme Lord Krishna or His authorised incarnation and expansion as revealed in Vedic scriptures and were released forever from the bondage of samsāra.

nirmāna mohājita saṅga doṣāadhyātma nityāvinivṛtta kāmāḥ|
dvandvair vimuktāḥsukha-duḥkha saṃjñāir gacchanty-amūḍhāḥpadam-avyayam tat || 5 ||

5. Free from delusions, having conquered the affliction of attachment, constant in the [contemplation of the] Self, having rejected desires and been liberated from the pairs of contrasts known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded attain that immutable goal.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Those blessed jīvas or embodied beings who have relinquished such illusions as love for things not related to the ātma or immortal soul, attain unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as their saviour.

The evils of desire and attachment captivate one by sense gratification, bewildered by the three guṇas or modes of material nature.

Those that surmount this are:

1) nirmāna mohan means free from pride and false ego conception of being their body

2) adhyātma-nityah means those engrossed in the eternal knowledge of the ātma

3) vinivṛtta kāmāḥ means totally free from lusty desires by only desiring the ātma

4) vimukta dvandvair means completely liberated from conceptions of dualities.

Those that achieve the above attain avyayam padam or the eternal supreme transcendental state by ātma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul and its unlimited intelligence characterised by it infinitely expanded consciousness.

To those whose faith in the Supreme Lord Krishna is bona fide by acceptance of a spiritual guru in authorised disciple succession

and whose devotion is absolute due to the mercy of the spiritual master and receiving knowledge of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord.

Then Lord Krishna Himself initiates the previously mentioned four attributes and their success is effected solely by His grace. Then they are all easily traversed until perfection comes and the goal is reached.

na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ|
yad gatvāna nivartante taddhāma paramaṃmama || 6 ||

6. That supreme realm of Mine, after reaching which they do not return again [to Samsāra], is not illumined by the sun nor the moon, nor the fire.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The light of illumination which manifests from the ātma or immortal soul is what Lord Krishna is referring to here as well.

As His transcendental spiritual body consists of the ātmas of all jīvas or embodied beings, He, His name, His abode and His pastimes are all illuminating. No sun or moon or fire can illuminate this; for it is spiritual wisdom that gives the light of consciousness.

External luminosity is only able to dissolve the obscurity that intervenes between the senses perceiving their objects.

What reveals the ātma is called yoga or the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness.

Antagonistic to yoga is karma which are subsequent reactions to previous actions –

and to conquer this formidable opponent which gains strength from every action performed; one must fully surrender unto the Supreme Lord and accept Him as one's only refuge.

That all illuminating light emanates from Him, it is a part of His splendour as a power from Him. The sublime supremacy of this all illuminating light consists of its potency and efficiency in lighting the consciousness by spiritual wisdom.

Sunlight no matter how bright, although capable of travelling for millions and billions of miles through space is never able to internally effect illumination in the consciousness as it is only an external phenomena.

mamaivāṃśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtas sanātanaḥ|
manaṣ ṣaṣṭhān-īndriyāṇi prakṛtisthāni karṣati || 7 ||

7. An everlasting part of Myself, having become the Jīvātman in the mortal world, acquires the [five] senses, and the mind which is the sixth, and abides in Prakṛti.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The ātma or immortal soul within all jīvas or embodied beings constitutes an eternal portion of Lord Krishna and thus is also eternal.

Yet because the jīva is inextricably enmeshed in material existence from time immemorial it is enslaved by the nescience of its own karma or reactions to actions and revolves incessantly in samsāra the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

Precisely based on this karma a jīva is forced to accept a suitable body such as a deva, human, animal etc., attracting with it five senses and a mind exactly appropriate to maximising the chances of survival for such a jīva.

But when the jīva through association of the Vaiṣṇava spiritual master becomes enlightened from hearing his unequivocal instructions and surrenders fully unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as one's only refuge

then Lord Krishna Himself releases the jīva from the bondage of samsāra and the jīva becomes situated in ātma-tattva or soul realisation.

Other than taking exclusive shelter of Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures it is impossible for the jīva which is very much handicapped in terms of intelligence and potency to achieve Mokṣa or liberation.

This is due to the heavy burden of unresolved karma attached to the jīva that they must carry with them life after life.

But all actions performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord have no karma attached to them. This is the difference.

śarīraṃyad avāpnoti yaccāpy-utkrāmat-īśvaraḥ|
gṛhītvaitāni saṃyāti vāyur-gandhān ivāśayāt || 8 ||

8. Whatever body the ruler (Jīvātman) acquires and from whatever body it departs, it proceeds, taking with it these sense-faculties as the wind carrying fragrance from their places [in flowers].

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Whatever body a jīva or embodied being is subjected to reside in and whatever body they depart from; the ātma or immortal soul is automatically accompanied by the five senses and the mind.

Lord Krishna explains this process as similar to a breeze which picks up the scents of flowers carrying them through the air from one location to another.

śrotraṃcakṣuḥsparśanaṃca rasanaṃghrāṇam eva ca |
adhiṣṭhāya manaścāyaṃviṣayān upasevate || 9 ||

9. Presiding over the ear, the eye, the sense of touch, the tongue, the nose, and the mind, it experiences these objects of the senses.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna manifesting as the ātma is the master of prakṛti the material substratum pervading physical existence from which generates the guṇas or three modes of material nature from whence arise the senses.

The ātma or immortal soul rules the senses as they are designed to function experiencing through them the enjoyable delights of their appropriate objects such as sights and sounds.

utkrāmantaṃsthitaṃvāpi bhuñjānaṃvāguṇān-vitam |
vimūḍhānānupaśyanti paśyanti jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ|| 10 ||

10. The deluded do not perceive it [the Jīvātman] conjoined with the Guṇas when departing or staying or experiencing —only the enlightened ones see.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word vimūḍhā used by Lord Krishna means the ignorant, the fools, those who misconceive the outer, corporeal body to be the ātma or immortal soul

and who do not perceive that the ātma is conjoined with matter, bound to limited conditions of space and time in various forms of existence as jīvas or embodied beings exist.

Such bewildered jīvas never can determine how the ātma enters or how it departs with an embodied being.

Neither can it ascertain how, although abiding within it, is distinctly different from the jīva nor understand how the ātma is experiencing that which the jīva enjoys.

Yet those who are jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ or endowed with spiritual wisdom and enlightened realisation can perceive the ātma existing in its essential nature within their own etheric heart and within the etheric heart of every jīva.

yatanto yoginaścainaṃpaśyanty-ātmany-avasthitam |
yatanto’pyakṛtātmāno nainaṃpaśyantyacetasaḥ|| 11 ||

11. The striving practitioners of Yoga behold It (the ātman) abiding within themselves, but, strive as they may, those of unrefined mind, devoid of intelligence, perceive it not,

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Perseverance of the aspirant is the persistence essential to insure success once has fully resorted to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

By cultivating this path they purify their minds and hearts. They then realise the true nature of the ātma residing within the etheric heart of the physical body and perceive it distinctly different from the body.

But if their efforts, even if industrious, are devoid of sufficient faith in the spiritual preceptor and unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Lord and thus spiritually impotent and feeble minded, then they are handicapped and incapable of ātma tattva or realisation of the soul.

Hence they do not perceive it.

Although the light of the sun, the moon, lightning and fire are powerful antidotes to removing darkness, they are limited to removing only external darkness

and they have this power due to their empowerment by the divine consciousness of the Supreme Lord which has the capacity to remove the darkness of ignorance in the phenomenal world externally and the darkness of ignorance within the consciousness of the jīva internally.

yadādityagataṃtejo jagad bhāsayate’khilam |
yaccandramasi yaccāgnau tat tejo viddhi māmakam || 12 ||

12. That light that is in the sun, which illumines the whole universe, and that which is in the moon and in fire, know that light to be Mine.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

All the lights which illuminate all the worlds such as suns, moons, lightning, fire reflect the light of consciousness bestowed by the Supreme Lord Krishna as integral parts of creation.

His effulgence was bestowed upon them being pleased by their service of universal management and by the propitiation from their personified forms such as Surya the deva in charge of the sun, Agni the deva in charge of fire, Soma the deva in charge of the moon, etc.

gām āviśya ca bhūtāni dhārayāmy-aham ojasā|
puṣṇāmi cauṣadhīḥsarvāḥsomo bhūtvārasātmakaḥ|| 13 ||

13. And pervading the earth I support all beings by My power. I nourish all herbs by becoming the Moon full of nectar.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word gām means earth and denotes the Earth. The word ojas means indomitable potency.

Lord Krishna enters into every atom of the Earth by this potency and supports all mobile and stationary jīvas or embodied beings by this potency.

He also manifests the energy of the moon whose nature is ambrosial and which nourishes all plants, vegetables, fruits and herbs, yielding crops such as rice and grains.

ahaṃvaiśvānaro bhūtvāprāṇināṃdeham āśritaḥ|
prāṇāpāna samāyuktaḥpacāmyannaṃcaturvidham || 14 ||

14. Becoming the Vaishvānara Agni, I function within the bodies of all living beings. In association with the Prāṇa and the Apāna, I digest the four kinds of food.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna declares that He is vaiśvānara - the digestive fire - which joins together with the vital breaths of prāṇa or exhalation and apāna or inhalation.

Together they digest in the stomach the four kinds of food which are foods that are khadva or chewed, soshva or sucked, lehya or licked and peya or drank.

In these last three verses Lord Krishna is specifying integral functions of the jīvas or embodied beings and of the Earth that are manifestations of His opulent glories.

The expressions that He becomes the light of the sun, moon and fire etc. are meant to indicate the predicated relationship that theses object have in regard to Him. That fact that such relationships exist in reference to all things is substantiated in the next verse.

sarvasya cāhaṃhṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥsmṛtir jñānam apohanaṃca |
vedaiśca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedānta-kṛd vedavid eva cāham || 15 ||

15. And I am located in the hearts of all. From Me come memory, knowledge and their absence also. Indeed, I alone am that which is to be known from all the Vedas. I bring about the fruition of the rituals of Vedas; I alone am the knower of the Vedas.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna's manifestation of Himself as paramātma the Supreme Soul situated within the etheric heart of every jīva or embodied being next to His expansion of the ātma or individual immortal soul.

The heart is the exclusive, absolute centre from where all consciousness radiates. It is also the factual centre from where all impulses and frequencies originate, both active and passive.

The Brihadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad V.VI.I beginning manomayo ayam puruso states:

“One meditating should perceive the resplendent Supreme Lord, the ruler and lord of all, within the heart of the size of a grain of rice.”

The Chāṇḍogya Upaniṣad VIII.I beginning harih sum atha yadidamasmin states:

“Within the jīva or embodied being in the inner sanctorum of the heart abides the ātma or immortal soul which is an infinitesimal portion of paramātma”.

Hence from the Supreme Lord comes all memory remembered from past experience and all wisdom accruing from factual true perception and inference, Intuitive knowledge related exclusively to the authority of the Vedic scriptures and meditation which expands the consciousness.

Contrarily also from the Supreme Lord comes the antithesis of the above, which are loss of memory, speculative reasoning, erroneous hypothesis, conjectural suppositions and deprivation of consciousness.

The Supreme Lord is to be known by the exclusive authority of the Vedic scriptures. He is the ātma within all jīvas, the witness, the monitor, the inner guide.

The terms found in the Vedas of devas, humans, demons, etc. are alluding to the jivātmā or individual immortal soul within the myriad of variegated forms of embodied beings.

The compound word vedānta-kṛt refers directly to Lord Krishna's avatāra or incarnation of Vedavyāsa who compiled the Vedas and divided them into four divisions. It also denotes the performance of Vedic enjoined rituals.

The antonym antaḥ also means the end, which infers the fruits, the results of such rituals. He is the sole bequeather of all the fruits promised in the Vedic scriptures.

This was previously touched upon in chapter seven verses 21 and 22 where Lord Krishna confirms that in whatever form one chooses to worship the Supreme Lord, He renders their faith firm and they obtain the wishes they yearned for from Him alone.

He is also the supreme knower of the Vedic scriptures for they originated from Him to guide and teach jīvas about Himself.

Whosoever understands the Vedic scriptures otherwise then what has been instructed by Lord Krishna in Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gita factually has no knowledge of it at all.

This is due to their understanding and comprehension being influenced by faulty assumptions and erroneous suppositions.

The Vedic scriptures must be understood exclusively in light of the comprehensive and full authority of the Bhagavad-Gita.

dvāvimau puruṣau loke kṣarāścākṣara eva ca |
kṣaraḥsarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭastho’kṣara ucyate || 16 ||

16. There are two kinds of Selves (puruṣas) mentioned [in the Veda] —the perishable (kṣara) and the imperishable (akṣara). All beings are the perishable and the imperishable is [also] called the immutable (Kūṭasthā).

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Only two types of living entities exist in creation. They are the kṣara or perishable and the akṣara or imperishable.

That which is designated as a jīva or embodied being is known as perishable, from Brahmā to a blade of grass all are subject to limited transitory existences.

The singular form of the word ātma or immortal soul denotes the totality of all jīvas as a category inasmuch as they all possess the ātma and are all bound to material nature.

The word akṣara meaning infallible, imperishable refers to the freed jīva who is situated in its own eternal, essential nature and not bound by material nature.

The word Kūṭasthā means immutable, constant, in regard to its lack of association with material nature having no connection to the physical plane. The singular use of this word denotes all jīvas collectively who are liberated from material nature.

It should be understood that such jīvas are innumerable as Lord Krishna has revealed previously in chapter 4, verse 10 that many purifying themselves by knowledge and meditation have achieved the supreme, liberated state.

uttamaḥpuruṣas-tvanyaḥparamātmety-udāhṛtaḥ|
yo loka-trayam-āviśya bibharty-avyaya īśvaraḥ|| 17 ||

17. Distinct from these is the Supreme Person, described as the Supreme Self [in the Vedas], He who pervading the threefold universe, supports it as the Immutable One and the Lord.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Now Lord Krishna expounds upon the supreme soul which is transcendent to both kṣara or fallible and the akṣara or infallible respectively as the conditioned and the liberated. This supreme soul is designated as paramātma in all the Vedic scriptures.

The very epithet of parama meaning “exaltedly supreme” reveals that paramātma is distinctly unique and different from even the ātma or immortal soul.

All the ātmas collectively in all of creation comprise the spiritual form of paramātma which penetrates all creation sustaining and maintaining it.

The word loka means “world” and because it is written as lokyate it refers to the three classifications of worlds:

One of them is achetanā - the inanimate worlds. Two is buddha- chetanā or the animate worlds mixed with the inanimate worlds. Three is the unlimited and eternally liberated spiritual worlds.

It is these three categories of worlds and all the jīvas or embodied beings upon them that the Supreme Lord Krishna pervades and permeates, maintains and sustains by the fact that all the worlds are originally generated by Him.

As the sovereign creator of all creation this makes Him distinctly different from everything else yet at the same time a part of it.

Because He alone is infinite it can be comprehended that only He can be distinctly different from the finite consisting of the inanimate, the animate, the jīvas in bondage and those who have achieved liberation.

yasmāt-kṣaram-atīto’ham akṣarād-api cottamaḥ|
ato’smi loke vede ca prathitaḥpuruṣottamaḥ|| 18 ||

18. Because I transcend the perishable and am also higher than the imperishable, I am declared to be the Supreme Being (Puruṣottama) in the Smṛti and the Veda.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The reality of the Supreme Lord Krishna is transcendent to both the kṣara or perishable, which includes all jīvas or embodied beings, as well as akṣara or imperishable including all the ātmas or immortal souls.

He is celebrated and glorified as Puruṣottama the Supreme Being.

The word loke obviously means worlds but due to its proximity to vede meaning the Vedas it can refer to the smṛiti such as the Vishnu Purāṇa V.XVII.XXXIII which states:

“Incarnations of Puruṣottama descending from Vishnu are without a beginning, middle or end”.

An example from śruti is the Chāṇḍogya Upaniṣad VIII.XII.III beginning: evamevaisa samprasado asma charirat samuthaya param states:

“Achieving liberation the soul attains a glorious effulgent form revelling in its position at the feet of the Supreme Being.”

So in conclusion loke vede can mean that the Supreme Lord celebrated as Puruṣottama is glorified in both sections of the Vedic scriptures known as śruti and smriti and it can mean that He is glorified in all the worlds.

yo mām-evam asammūḍho jānāti puruṣottamam |
sa sarva-vid bhajati māṃsarva bhāvena bhārata || 19 ||

19. Whoever, being free from all delusion, understands Me thus to be the highest Purusha —knowing all, he worships me in every way.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Whosoever who has developed and evolved their consciousness to become spiritually intelligent enough to realise Lord Krishna's paramount supreme position as the creator, maintainer, sustainer and pervader of all that exists,

knows everything essential which means everything that is to be known as the means to attain Him by the fact that one knows.

Such a one serves the Supreme Lord in every way - which means whatever ways of worship have been ordained to attain Him - such a one has accomplished them by dint of this service.

By realising Lord Krishna thus as Puruṣottama the Supreme Being of all beings and devoted exclusively to Him one is assured His love and protection - the same which may be gained by various activities of service and worship to Him that are revealed in the Vedic scriptures.

Thus this aforementioned knowledge of Puruṣottama has been duly eulogised.

iti guhyatamaṃ śāstram idam uktaṃmayā’nagha |
etad buddhvābuddhimān syāt kṛtakṛtyaśca bhārata || 20 ||

20. Thus, O sinless one, has this most mysterious doctrine been imparted by Me. By understanding this, O Arjuna one will become truly wise and will have fulfilled all duties.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The Supreme Lord Krishna considering Arjuna to be of a divine nature and a worthy recipient revealed the revelation of His aspect of Puruṣottama - the absolute Supreme Being - which is the confidential secret of all secrets.

One who knows this shall become perpetually spiritually enlightened; acquiring all the attributes and wisdom, which one aspiring to attain Lord Krishna will possess.

Such a one will have accomplished all works and duties and the result of every activity needed to attain Lord Krishna by renunciation and penance will in fact be acquired.

This chapter which gives complete knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna's aspect of Puruṣottama that has been substantiated by the Vedic scriptures is alone sufficient to accomplish what is stated in this verse –

That this spiritual knowledge in itself is enough to manifest spiritual enlightenment and all that arises from it without having direct contact with the Supreme Being known as Puruṣottama as that is not a requirement for success.

Chapter 15 has clearly delineated an explicit explanation of the three fundamentals of all existence which are Īśvara the Supreme Lord, cit or sentient consciousness and acit or insentient matter, which combined delivers a complete comprehensive solution to the meaning and mystery of existence throughout creation.

(This is the ontological thesis of Śrī Rāmānuja's qualified monism philosophy of Viśiṣṭādvaita-veda which states that although all the energies of the Supreme Lord are one they each retain their individuality.)

hariḥ oṃ tatsat
iti śrīmad bhagavad gītāsūpaniṣatsu
brahma-vidyāyāṃ
yoga-śāstre śrīkṛṣṇārjuna saṃvāde puruṣottama yogo nāma
pañcadaśo’dhyāyaḥ

Thus in the Upanishads of the Glorious Bhagavad Gita
The science of the Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga
The dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna
Ends the fourteenth discourse entitled
“The Mystery of the Omnipresent Supreme Being”