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śrī-bhagavān uvāca
abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhir
dānaṁ damaś ca yajñaś ca

svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam
ahiṁsā satyam akrodhas
tyāgaḥ śāntir apaiśunam
dayā bhūteṣv aloluptvaṁ

mārdavaṁ hrīr acāpalam
tejaḥ kṣamā dhṛtiḥ śaucam
adroho nāti-mānitā
bhavanti sampadaṁ daivīm

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor—these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

In the beginning of the Fifteenth Chapter, the banyan tree of this material world was explained. The extra roots coming out of it were compared to the activities of the living entities, some auspicious, some inauspicious. In the Ninth Chapter, also, the devas, or godly, and the asuras, the ungodly, or demons, were explained. Now, according to Vedic rites, activities in the mode of goodness are considered auspicious for progress on the path of liberation, and such activities are known as daivi prakriti, transcendental by nature. Those who are situated in the transcendental nature make progress on the path of liberation. For those who are acting in the modes of passion and ignorance, on the other hand, there is no possibility of liberation. Either they will have to remain in this material world as human beings, or they will descend among the species of animals or even lower life forms. In this Sixteenth Chapter the Lord explains both the transcendental nature and its attendant qualities and the demoniac nature and its qualities. He also explains the advantages and disadvantages of these qualities.

The word abhijatasya in reference to one born of transcendental qualities or godly tendencies is very significant. To beget a child in a godly atmosphere is known in the Vedic scriptures as Garbhadhana-samskara. If the parents want a child in the godly qualities they should follow the ten principles recommended for the social life of the human being. In Bhagavad-gita we have studied also before that sex life for begetting a good child is Krishna Himself. Sex life is not condemned, provided the process is used in Krishna consciousness. Those who are in Krishna consciousness at least should not beget children like cats and dogs but should beget them so that they may become Krishna conscious after birth. That should be the advantage of children born of a father and mother absorbed in Krishna consciousness.

The social institution known as varnashrama-dharma—the institution dividing society into four divisions of social life and four occupational divisions or castes—is not meant to divide human society according to birth. Such divisions are in terms of educational qualifications. They are to keep the society in a state of peace and prosperity. The qualities mentioned herein are explained as transcendental qualities meant for making a person progress in spiritual understanding so that he can get liberated from the material world.

In the varnashrama institution the sannyasi, or the person in the renounced order of life, is considered to be the head or the spiritual master of all the social statuses and orders. A brahmana is considered to be the spiritual master of the three other sections of a society, namely, the kshatriyas, the vaishyas and the shudras, but a sannyasi, who is on the top of the institution, is considered to be the spiritual master of the brahmanas also. For a sannyasi, the first qualification should be fearlessness. Because a sannyasi has to be alone without any support or guarantee of support, he has simply to depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one thinks, “After I leave my connections, who will protect me?” he should not accept the renounced order of life. One must be fully convinced that Krishna or the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His localized aspect as Paramatma is always within, that He is seeing everything and He always knows what one intends to do. One must thus have firm conviction that Krishna as Paramatma will take care of a soul surrendered to Him. “I shall never be alone,” one should think. “Even if I live in the darkest regions of a forest I shall be accompanied by Krishna, and He will give me all protection.” That conviction is called abhayam, fearlessness. This state of mind is necessary for a person in the renounced order of life.

Then he has to purify his existence. There are so many rules and regulations to be followed in the renounced order of life. Most important of all, a sannyasi is strictly forbidden to have any intimate relationship with a woman. He is even forbidden to talk with a woman in a secluded place. Lord Caitanya was an ideal sannyasi, and when He was at Puri His feminine devotees could not even come near to offer their respects. They were advised to bow down from a distant place. This is not a sign of hatred for women as a class, but it is a stricture imposed on the sannyasi not to have close connections with women. One has to follow the rules and regulations of a particular status of life in order to purify his existence. For a sannyasi, intimate relations with women and possession of wealth for sense gratification are strictly forbidden. The ideal sannyasi was Lord Caitanya Himself, and we can learn from His life that He was very strict in regards to women. Although He is considered to be the most liberal incarnation of Godhead, accepting the most fallen conditioned souls, He strictly followed the rules and regulations of the sannyasa order of life in connection with association with woman. One of His personal associates, namely Chota Haridasa, was associated with Lord Caitanya along with His other confidential personal associates, but somehow or other this Chota Haridasa looked lustily on a young woman, and Lord Caitanya was so strict that He at once rejected him from the society of His personal associates. Lord Caitanya said, “For a sannyasi or anyone who is aspiring to get out of the clutches of material nature and trying to elevate himself to the spiritual nature and go back home, back to Godhead, for him, looking toward material possessions and women for sense gratification—not even enjoying them, but just looking toward them with such a propensity—is so condemned that he had better commit suicide before experiencing such illicit desires.” So these are the processes for purification.

The next item is jnana-yoga-vyavasthiti: being engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. Sannyasi life is meant for distributing knowledge to the householders and others who have forgotten their real life of spiritual advancement. A sannyasi is supposed to beg from door to door for his livelihood, but this does not mean that he is a beggar.

Humility is also one of the qualifications of a transcendentally situated person, and out of sheer humility the sannyasi goes from door to door, not exactly for the purpose of begging, but to see the householders and awaken them to Krishna consciousness. This is the duty of a sannyasi. If he is actually advanced and so ordered by his spiritual master, he should preach Krishna consciousness with logic and understanding, and if one is not so advanced he should not accept the renounced order of life. But even if one has accepted the renounced order of life without sufficient knowledge, he should engage himself fully in hearing from a bona fide spiritual master to cultivate knowledge. A sannyasi, or one in the renounced order of life, must be situated in fearlessness, sattva-samsuddhi (purity) and jnana-yoga (knowledge).

The next item is charity. Charity is meant for the householders. The householders should earn a livelihood by an honorable means and spend fifty percent of their income to propagate Krishna consciousness all over the world. Thus a householder should give in charity to institutional societies that are engaged in that way. Charity should be given to the right receiver. There are different kinds of charity, as will be explained later on—charity in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Charity in the mode of goodness is recommended by the scriptures, but charity in the modes of passion and ignorance is not recommended, because it is simply a waste of money. Charity should be given only to propagate Krishna consciousness all over the world. That is charity in the mode of goodness.

Then as far as dama (self-control) is concerned, it is not only meant for other orders of religious society, but is especially meant for the householder. Although he has a wife, a householder should not use his senses for sex life unnecessarily. There are restrictions for the householders even in sex life, which should only be engaged in for the propagation of children. If he does not require children, he should not enjoy sex life with his wife. Modern society enjoys sex life with contraceptive methods or more abominable methods to avoid the responsibility of children. This is not in the transcendental quality, but is demoniac. If anyone, even if he is a householder, wants to make progress in spiritual life, he must control his sex life and should not beget a child without the purpose of serving Krishna. If he is able to beget children who will be in Krishna consciousness, one can produce hundreds of children, but without this capacity one should not indulge only for sense pleasure.

Sacrifice is another item to be performed by the householders, because sacrifices require a large amount of money. Those in other orders of life, namely brahmacarya, vanaprastha and sannyasa, have no money; they live by begging. So performance of different types of sacrifice is meant for the householders. They should perform agni-hotra sacrifices as enjoined in the Vedic literature, but such sacrifices at the present moment are very expensive, and it is not possible for any householder to perform them. The best sacrifice recommended in this age is called sankirtana-yajna. This sankirtana-yajna, the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, is the best and most inexpensive sacrifice; everyone can adopt it and derive benefit. So these three items, namely charity, sense control and performance of sacrifice, are meant for the householder.

Then svadhyaya, Vedic study, is meant for brahmacarya, or student life. Brahmacaris should have no connection with women; they should live a life of celibacy and engage the mind in the study of Vedic literature for cultivation of spiritual knowledge. This is called svadhyaya.

Tapas, or austerity, is especially meant for the retired life.One should not remain a householder throughout his whole life; he must always remember that there are four divisions of life—brahmacarya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. So after grihastha, householder life, one should retire. If one lives for a hundred years, he should spend twenty-five years in student life, twenty-five in householder life, twenty-five in retired life and twenty-five in the renounced order of life. These are the regulations of the Vedic religious discipline. A man retired from household life must practice austerities of the body, mind and tongue. That is tapasya. The entire varnashrama-dharma society is meant for tapasya. Without tapasya, or austerity, no human being can get liberation. The theory that there is no need of austerity in life, that one can go on speculating and everything will be nice, is recommended neither in the Vedic literature nor in Bhagavad-gita. Such theories are manufactured by show-bottle spiritualists who are trying to gather more followers. If there are restrictions, rules and regulations, people will not become attracted. Therefore those who want followers in the name of religion, just to have a show only, don’t restrict the lives of their students, nor their own lives. But that method is not approved by the Vedas.

As far as the brahminical quality of simplicity is concerned, not only should a particular order of life follow this principle, but every member, be he in the brahmacari ashrama, grihastha ashrama, vanaprastha ashrama or sannyasa ashrama. One should be very simple and straightforward.

Ahimsa means not arresting the progressive life of any living entity. One should not think that since the spirit spark is never killed even after the killing of the body there is no harm in killing animals for sense gratification. People are now addicted to eating animals, in spite of having an ample supply of grains, fruits and milk. There is no necessity for animal killing. This injunction is for everyone. When there is no alternative, one may kill an animal, but it should be offered in sacrifice. At any rate, when there is an ample food supply for humanity, persons who are desiring to make advancement in spiritual realization should not commit violence to animals. Real ahimsa means not checking anyone’s progressive life. The animals are also making progress in their evolutionary life by transmigrating from one category of animal life to another. If a particular animal is killed, then his progress is checked. If an animal is staying in a particular body for so many days or so many years and is untimely killed, then he has to come back again in that form of life to complete the remaining days in order to be promoted to another species of life. So their progress should not be checked simply to satisfy one’s palate. This is called ahimsa.

Satyam. This word means that one should not distort the truth for some personal interest. In Vedic literature there are some difficult passages, but the meaning or the purpose should be learned from a bona fide spiritual master. That is the process for understanding the Vedas.

Shruti means that one should hear from the authority. One should not construe some interpretation for his personal interest. There are so many commentaries on Bhagavad-gita that misinterpret the original text. The real import of the word should be presented, and that should be learned from a bona fide spiritual master.

Akrodha means to check anger. Even if there is provocation one should be tolerant, for once one becomes angry his whole body becomes polluted. Anger is a product of the mode of passion and lust, so one who is transcendentally situated should check himself from anger. Apaisunam means that one should not find fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life. Hri means that one should be very modest and must not perform some act which is abominable. Acapalam, determination, means that one should not be agitated or frustrated in some attempt. There may be failure in some attempt, but one should not be sorry for that; he should make progress with patience and determination.

The word tejas used here is meant for the kshatriyas. The kshatriyas should always be very strong to be able to give protection to the weak. They should not pose themselves as nonviolent. If violence is required, they must exhibit it. But a person who is able to curb down his enemy may under certain conditions show forgiveness. He may excuse minor offenses.

Saucam means cleanliness, not only in mind and body but in one’s dealings also. It is especially meant for the mercantile people, who should not deal in the black market. Nati-manita, not expecting honor, applies to the shudras, the worker class, which are considered, according to Vedic injunctions, to be the lowest of the four classes. They should not be puffed up with unnecessary prestige or honor and should remain in their own status. It is the duty of the shudras to offer respect to the higher class for the upkeep of the social order.

All these twenty-six qualifications mentioned are transcendental qualities. They should be cultivated according to the different statuses of social and occupational order. The purport is that even though material conditions are miserable, if these qualities are developed by practice, by all classes of men, then gradually it is possible to rise to the highest platform of transcendental realization.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

In the sixteenth chapter, the deva and demon qualities as well as the results of these two conditions will be described.

Remembering that the fruits of the asvattha tree of samsara had not been describe in the last chapter after mentioning them, the Lord in this chapter describes the fruits of the tree which are of two varieties: those which cause liberation and those which cause bondage. First, he describes those giving liberation in three verses.

Abhayam means freedom from the fear of “How will I live being alone in the forest without wife and children?”

Sattva samsuddhih means purity of consciousness. Jnana yoga vyavasthitah means being completely familiar with the methods of attaining jnana, for example lack of pride, mentioned in chapter thirteen. Dana means to distribute food or other items of one’s enjoyment to others. Dama means controlling the external senses. Yajna means worship of the Lord. Svadhyaya means studying or reciting the Vedas. The other items after this are clear. Tyaga means to give up possessiveness of wife, children and other things. Aloluptam means absence of greed.

These twenty six items belong to the person born at a moment indicating sattvika nature.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

16.1 The Lord said — ‘Fear’ is the pain arising from the awareness of the cause which brings about pain in the form of either dissociation from the objects of attainment or association with the objects of aversion. The absence of this is ‘fearlessness’. ‘Purity of mind’ is the condition of Sattva, viz., the state of the internal organ being untouched by Rajas and Tamas. ‘Devotion to meditation on the knowledge (of the self)’ is firm adherence to the discrimination between the pure nature of the self and Prakrti. ‘Alms-giving’ is the giving away of one’s wealth earned through right means to the deserving. ‘Self-control’ is the practice of withdrawal of the mind from sense-objects. ‘Worship’ is the performance of the fivefold duties (sacrifices) etc., of life in the spirit of worship of the Lord without attachment to the fruits. The ‘study of the Vedas’ is devotion to the Vedic study with the conviction that all the teachings of the Vedas deal with the Lord, with His glorious nature and with the mode of worshipping Him. ‘Austerity’ is the practice of penances like Krchra, Candrayana, vow on the twelfth day of the lunar fortnight, etc., which foster capability for performing acts pleasing to the Lord. ‘Uprightness’ consists of the oneness of thought, word and deed in one’s dealings with others.

16.2 ‘Non-injury’ is abstaining from injury to others. ‘Truth’ is communication by words of what one knows for certain and what is conducive to the good of others. ‘Freedom from anger’ is the absence in oneself of the mental state, which, if permitted, leads to injury to others. ‘Renunciation’ is the abandonment of everything that is contrary to the good of the self. ‘Tranquillity’ is practice of controlling the senses from their propensity towards sense-objects. ‘Not-slandering others’ means refraining oneself from speech that may cause evil to others. ‘Compassion to all beings’ means one’s incapacity to stand the suffering of others. ‘Aloluptvam’ means freedom from desire for sense-objects. ‘Gentleness’ means absence of harshness, and being worthy of associating with the good. ‘Sense of shame’ is shrinking from doing what should not be done. ‘Acapalam’ means being unattracted by objects enjoyable by the senses even when they are at hand.

16.3 Tajah, vigour, not the brightness of the skin; ksama, forgiveness, absence of internal perturbation when offened or assulated-absence of anger has been explained by us as the calming down of a perturbed mind; thus, forgiveness and absence of anger are distinguished; dhrtih, fortitude, a particular function of the mind which removes the tedium of the body and organs when they become exhausted, and being rejuvenated by which the body and organs do not feel any fatigue; saucam, purity-is of two kinds: external, with the help of earth and water; and internal, the cleanliness of mind and intellect, the absence of such impurities as trickery, attachment, etc.; purity of these two kinds; adrohah, freedom from malice, absence of the desire to injure others, absence of hatred; na-atimanita, absence of haughtiness-too much self-esteem (mana) is atimanah; one having that is atimani; its abstract form is atimanita; absence of that, na-atimanita, i.e., absence of the feeling of one’s being too honourable. These (qualities) beginning with fearlessness and ending with this, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, bhavanti, are; (the qualities) abhijatasya, of one destined to have;-what kind of nature?-the daivim, divine; sampadam, nature-of one destined to have divine attributes, of one who is worthy of the excellence of the gods, i.e., of one who would be illustrations in future. Thereafter, the demoniacal nature is now being stated:

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

In order to discern the reality that jivas or embodied beings who fully renounce demoniac activities and exclusively engage in divine activities are awarded moksa or liberation from material existence and to grant the ability to clearly distinguish between the two; the Supreme Lord Krishna describes first the divine qualities and then the demoniac.

At the conclusion of chapter 15 Lord Krishna explained that one realising the eternal spiritual truths stated their is situated in actual wisdom and accomplished in all duties both eternal and occasional. Now in this chapter Lord Krishna is clarifying by qualities exactly who is a recipient of this knowledge and established in wisdom and who is not. He first describes the qualities of those jivas or embodied beings situated within the divine nature possessing divine qualities and then He describes those jivas situated within the demoniac nature possessing demoniac qualities. It is only after the goal of an accomplishment has been ascertained that an assessment of the requirements and who is qualified for it can be determined. As the old adage from sage Kumarila Bhatta has foretold: Only after a load has been weighed can it be determined who is fit to carry it.

So as the goal being the recipient of knowledge has been determined; the divine qualities that characterise an aspirant who is qualified are now being enumerated in these three verses beginning with abhayam meaning fearlessness, for in knowing one is eternal there is nothing to ever be afraid of. Other qualities are purity of heart, complete serenity of mind, steady absorption in knowledge of yoga or the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Charity is sharing with others what is valuable to oneself. Self control of the mind, the senses and the organs of action. Performing and taking part in ritualistic activities which propitiate and glorify the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His incarnations or expansions which are authorised in Vedic scriptures. Receiving instructions from the spiritual master and studying of the Vedic scriptures, singing Vedic hymns, chanting repetitively Vedic mantras or sacred incantations. Austerity and temperance in the habits and activities the physical body engages in. Enacting all activities without duplicity or deception. The word ahimsa means abstaining from injuring others by thought, word or deed. The one exception to this rule is when one’s life and dependents are in danger.

Truthfulness is relating the facts as they are and not as one wants them to be perceived. Absence of anger is calmness within the mind without agitation even when rebuked, attacked or in the process of defending oneself. Tyagah is renunciation of possessions and thus natural generosity. Tranquillity is complete control of the mind. Freedom from slander is absence of envy and retaliation. Compassion is kindness to all living beings especially when they are in distress. Non-covetousness is self satisfaction with what one has been allotted in life. Gentleness is absence of cruelty or harshness. Modesty is shyness in decorum and hesitancy in even the thought of wrong doing. Absence of fickleness is the avoidance of frivolous activities. Boldness is courage in asserting what is truth and defending righteousness. Forgiveness is not becoming upset by humiliation. Fortitude is steadying the mind when under great duress. Purity is external and internal cleanliness. The lack of conceit is absence of thinking of oneself egotistically. These 26 qualities related by Lord Krishna are characterised by one who is situated in the divine nature and thus qualified to attain association with the Supreme Lord and His devotees.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Hari OM! The Supreme Lord Krishna elaborately describes the qualities of the divine nature and then describes the demoniac nature to clearly distinguish between the two. The meritorious qualities of the divine nature which follows the nature of Brahma who as the secondary creator manifested all creatures is self evident. The emphasis is on the word tapasya meaning austerity. Adherence to brahminical qualities and attributes is itself an austerity. Ahimsa is non-violence to any being. Animosity is the intent to cause injury to others, it is the defect pointed out in rulers and military commanders. The Amarakosa dictionary mentions this as well. Kings and emperors ruling without fear by the strength of their might proudly regard all others as inferior. This is said to be arrogance. Tyagah is renunciation of possessiveness such as obsession with position, family, wealth, etc. The word ksama meaning tolerance is the state of mind which forgives and refrains from harming those who have caused harm.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

In the thirteenth chapter it was revealed that bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna is the topmost way to inevitably achieve moksa or liberation from material existence by the guaranteed attainment of the Supreme Lord. Also it was disclosed that knowledge of the atma or immortal soul is true knowledge of the ksetrajna or knower of the field of activity and that the contact of the gunas or the three modes of material nature which are goodness, passion and ignorance keep one enslaved in the transmigratory disease of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death.

In chapter 14 was explained the characteristics of the three gunas along with their attributes and the types of bondage associated with each as well as the conclusion that by transcending them one achieves the supreme state of consciousness.

In chapter 15 was described the destruction of the tree of material bondage with the weapon of wisdom sharpened by detachment. The knowledge that all jivas or embodied beings whether in bondage or liberated are both aspects of the Supreme Lord. The sun and fire, etc. are the Supreme Lords divine opulence. The Supreme Lord is beyond both the perishable and the imperishable and one who realises His transcendence and His supreme, paramount position surrenders joyfully as His exclusive devotee understanding all that needs to be known and becomes completely satisfied.

Now in order to establish the criteria for determining which jivas or embodied beings are appropriate to receive the confidential and esoteric teachings presented in chapter 15, the Supreme Lord Krishna elaborates first on the qualities of the divine nature and then on the qualities of the demoniac nature in order to enable a clear ability to distinguish between them both. Previously in chapter nine He has alluded to those of demoniac nature in verse 11: The ignorant blaspheme the Supreme Lord considering Him to be only human and in verse 12: Ignorant fools so deluded become atheists and adopt the fiendish mentality of the demoniac. Also in chapter nine Lord Krishna referred to those of divine nature in verse 13: The great souls devote themselves exclusively unto the Supreme Lord knowing He is the eternal origin of all, belong to the divine nature and in verse 14: Endeavouring with great determination the great souls perpetually worship the Supreme Lord with exclusive loving devotion.

As such the conclusion is apparent and clear that demoniac influences are to be rejected and divine endowments are to be cultivated. The demoniac mentality is the root cause of perpetual hellish conditions in material existence and should be completely abandoned and avoided. Whereas the divine qualities are the root cause of moksa or liberation from material existence and should be wholeheartedly embraced.

Now Lord Krishna describes the divine qualities which are prerequisite to qualify for bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord beginning with absolute fearlessness meaning completely unworried by the apprehension of present or future miseries. Total purity of heart means free from passion and hatred. Constant absorption of the mind in meditation means established is self-realisation. Danam or charity is donating to a worthy recipient what has been gained honestly by one’s own efforts. Damah is control of the senses, withdrawing the mind from the outward flow towards sense objects. Yagna is propitiation and ritualistic worship of the Supreme Lord in the form of chanting mantras, learning the Vedas or performing fire ceremonies as given in chapter three, verses13 and 14. Svadahyah is study of the Vedas by receiving confidential instructions from the spiritual master concerning the glories of the names, divine pastimes, attributes, and associates of the Supreme Lord and His eternal abode. Tapah is penance and is the practice of pure austerities such as fasting and meditation. Arjavam is the simplicity of not being complicated in mind and dealings. Ahimsa is non-violence to any living entity by thought, word or action. An exception to this is in the protection of one’s own life and the lives of others. Satyam is truthfulness and means not distorting the facts while speaking plainly what is beneficial for others. Akrodah means the absence of anger which is a result of frustrated greed and lust. Tyagah is renunciation or absence of attachment to the senses and sense objects. Santih is complete tranquillity and control of the mind and senses. Apaisanunam is abstaining from malicious gossip and fault finding. Daya is mercy and compassion to all living entities. Aloluptvam means freedom from avarice and greed. The addition of the p to this word is in accordance with the Vedic rules of grammar by Panini. Hrih is modesty or respectful decorum for righteousness, a sense of indecency in performing frivolous activities and a feeling of shame at the thought of prohibited activities. Acapalam is determination unshakable fortitude even in adversity. Tejah means strength or the power to aid those needing protection. Saucam means cleanliness internal and external. Ksama is forgiveness amd means the absence of anger towards one’s offenders. Natimanita is lack of all desire for honor and prestige. So these qualities can be recognised as naturally endowed with divine virtues and attributes. Those who embrace and follow the instructions and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures are naturally endowed with these qualities as they are adhering to the Supreme Lord’s decrees and thus every action they perform is in propitiation to the Lord Krishna.

The conclusive understanding is that those possessing divine qualities will undoubtedly achieve the Supreme state because they are born endowed with these qualities.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

16.1 Abhayam, fearlessness; sattva-samsuddhih, purtiy of the mind (sattva), mentally avoiding fraud, trickery, falsehood, etc. in dealings, i.e., honest behaviour; jnana-yoga-vyavasthitih, persistence in knowledge and yoga-jnana means knowledge of such subjects as the Self, learnt from scriptures and teachers; yoga means making those things that have been learnt matters of one’s own personal experience through concentration by means of withdrawl of the organs etc.; persistence, steadfastness, in those two, knowledge and yoga;-this [This-refers to all the three from 'fearlessness' to 'persistence in knowledge and yoga'.] is the principal divine characteristic which is sattvika (born of the sattva quality). That nature which may occur in persons competent in their respective spheres, [Persons treading the path of Jnana-yoga or Karma-yoga have sattvika qualities. Some of the qualities mentioned in the first three verses occur only in the former, whereas the others are found in both or only in the latter.-Tr.]-that is said to be their sattvika attribute. Danam, charity, distribution of food etc. according to one’s ability; and damah, control of the external organs-the control of the internal organ, santih, will be referred to later; yajnah, sacrifices-Agnihotra etc. sanctioned by the Vedas, and sacrifices in honour of gods and others [Others: Those in honour of the manes, humans and other beings. Brahma-yajna, the fifth sacrifice, is referred to separately by svadhyaya.] sanctioned by the Smrtis: svadhyayah, study of the Rg-veda etc. for unseen results; tapah, austerity, those concerning the body, etc., which will be stated (17.14-16); arjavam, rectitude, straigthforwardness at all times-. Further,

16.2 Ahimsa, non-injury, abstaining from giving pain to creatures; satyam, truthfulness, speaking of things as they are, without unpleasantness and prevarication; akrodhah, absence of anger, control of anger that might result when offened or assulatd by others; tyagah, renunciation, monasticism-for, charity has been mentioned earlier; santih, control of the internal organ; apaisunam, absence of vilification-paisunam means backbiting; its absence is apaisunam; daya, kindness; bhutesu, to creatures in distress; aloluptvam, non-conveteousness, absence of excitement of the organs in the presence of objects; mardavam, gentleness, absence of hard-heartedness; hrih, modesty;; acapalam, freedom from restlessness, absence of unnecessary use of organs such as speech, hands and feet-. Besides,

16.3 Tajah, vigour, not the brightness of the skin; ksama, forgiveness, absence of internal perturbation when offened or assulated-absence of anger has been explained by us as the calming down of a perturbed mind; thus, forgiveness and absence of anger are distinguished; dhrtih, fortitude, a particular function of the mind which removes the tedium of the body and organs when they become exhausted, and being rejuvenated by which the body and organs do not feel any fatigue; saucam, purity-is of two kinds: external, with the help of earth and water; and internal, the cleanliness of mind and intellect, the absence of such impurities as trickery, attachment, etc.; purity of these two kinds; adrohah, freedom from malice, absence of the desire to injure others, absence of hatred; na-atimanita, absence of haughtiness-too much self-esteem (mana) is atimanah; one having that is atimani; its abstract form is atimanita; absence of that, na-atimanita, i.e., absence of the feeling of one’s being too honourable. These (qualities) beginning with fearlessness and ending with this, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, bhavanti, are; (the qualities) abhijatasya, of one destined to have;-what kind of nature?-the daivim, divine; sampadam, nature-of one destined to have divine attributes, of one who is worthy of the excellence of the gods, i.e., of one who would be illustrations in future. Thereafter, the demoniacal nature is now being stated:

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

16.1-5 It has been stated [at the end of the last chapter] that ‘by understanding this’ etc. The thing called ‘understanding’ comes to be [in the following] manner : After the knowledge, born from hearing [the scriptures etc.], there arises a thought-process consisting of the logical analysis, deliberation and deep meditation that take the form ‘This (what is taught in the scriptures etc.) is like this’. The above thought-process is of the nature of investigation, critical examination and judgement. From this thought-process one gains a good knowledge of a well practised from i.e., a contemplation of that object, free from the humiliation (influence) of different category. When this is gained, understanding is achieved Hence, it will be declared : ‘By critically examining in this way fully, act as you please’. (Ch. XVIII, 63). Here, only the preceptor and the scripture are mainly capable of creating the scriptural knowledge. But in producing reasoning, deliberation and meditation the main cause is the capacity to examine critically a thing and it is a special attribute of the pupil and it is an important one. Therefore, with an idea that this is in Arjuna and with an intention to add a preparatory note to the purposeful statement ‘By critically examining this, [act as you please]‘; the Bhagavat, the preceptor, says ‘Fearlessness etc.’ The Ignorance, born of the Tamas (Stand) occupies the devilish side. This is repelled (or removed) by the well augmented wisdom that takes hold of the divine part. This is the nature of things [under question] ‘You (Arjuna) have taken refuge in the divine part viz., wisdom, born of the Sattva (Strand). Therefore shirking off the internal Ignorance in the nature of delusion, you should undertake the action, that has the sanction of the scriptures and that is of the nature of eradicating the external foe having the form of ignorance.’ Thus commences the [present] chapter. Hence – Abhayam etc., upto pandava. These are the identification marks of a person of divine parts. [Hence] they are clearly identified. Self-restraint : subduing the sense organs. Thought-lessness : the perfarmance of action without examining the antecedent and the sequel; its absence is the absence of thought-lessness. Vital power : the act of casting away [all] limitations by taking hold energy in the Self. [All] this is the divine wealth and this is for your total emancipation, as it destroys craving. Therefore, don’t get sorrow like ‘Having killed brothers etc., how can I (Arjuna) enjoy pleasure ?’ [The idea of] the rest [of passage] is clear.

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
abhayam sattva-samsuddhir
danam damas ca yajñas ca

svadhyayas tapa arjavam
ahimsa satyam akrodhas
tyagah santir apaisunam
daya bhutesv aloluptvam
mardavam hrir acapalam

tejah ksama dhrtih saucam
adroho nati-manita
bhavanti sampadam daivim
abhijatasya bharata

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

sri-bhagavan uvaca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; abhayam — fearlessness; sattva-sa?suddhi? — puri?cation of one’s existence; jñana — in knowledge; yoga — of linking up; vyavasthiti? — the situation; danam — charity; dama? — controlling the mind; ca — and; yajña? — performance of sacri?ce; ca — and; svadhyaya? — study of Vedic literature; tapa? — austerity; arjavam — simplicity; ahi?sa — nonviolence; satyam — truthfulness; akrodha? — freedom from anger; tyaga? — renunciation; santi? — tranquillity; apaisunam — aversion to fault-?nding; daya — mercy; bhute?u — towards all living entities; aloluptvam — freedom from greed; mardavam — gentleness; hri? — modesty; acapalam — determination; teja? — vigor; k?ama — forgiveness; dh?ti? — fortitude; saucam — cleanliness; adroha? — freedom from envy; na — not; ati-manita — expectation of honor; bhavanti — are; sampadam — the qualities; daivim — the transcendental nature; abhijatasya — of one who is born of; bharata — O son of Bharata.

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