Bhagavad Gita 16.11-12


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cintām aparimeyāḿ ca
pralayāntām upāśritāḥ
kāmopabhoga-paramā
etāvad iti niścitāḥ

āśā-pāśa-śatair baddhāḥ
kāma-krodha-parāyaṇāḥ
īhante kāma-bhogārtham
anyāyenārtha-sañcayān

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 16.11-12

They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.

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

The demoniac accept that the enjoyment of the senses is the ultimate goal of life, and this concept they maintain until death. They do not believe in life after death, and they do not believe that one takes on different types of bodies according to one’s karma, or activities in this world. Their plans for life are never finished, and they go on preparing plan after plan, all of which are never finished. We have personal experience of a person of such demoniac mentality who, even at the point of death, was requesting the physician to prolong his life for four years more because his plans were not yet complete. Such foolish people do not know that a physician cannot prolong life even for a moment. When the notice is there, there is no consideration of the man’s desire. The laws of nature do not allow a second beyond what one is destined to enjoy.

The demoniac person, who has no faith in God or the Supersoul within himself, performs all kinds of sinful activities simply for sense gratification. He does not know that there is a witness sitting within his heart. The Supersoul is observing the activities of the individual soul. As it is stated in the Upanishads, there are two birds sitting in one tree; one is acting and enjoying or suffering the fruits of the branches, and the other is witnessing. But one who is demoniac has no knowledge of Vedic scripture, nor has he any faith; therefore he feels free to do anything for sense enjoyment, regardless of the consequences.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Text 11: Until death (pralayantam) they take shelter of unlimited thoughts. They are convinced that the only purport of scripture (etavan iti niscitah) is let the senses enjoy sense objects and why worry about it.

Text 12: No commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

16.11 Those who are sure to die today or tomorrow ‘obsess themselves with cares’ in regard to objects the attainment of which is not possible even by the time of death. Likewise, they look upon ‘enjoyment of desires’ as their highest aim, viz., they regard the satisfaction of sensual enjoyments as the highest aim of human life. They are convinced that this is all, viz., they are assured that there is no value in human life greater than this.

16.12 They are ‘bound by hundreds of fetters of hope,’ viz., bound by hundreds of fetters in the form of hope. They are given over to ‘desire and anger,’ viz., they are intent solely on desire and anger. To satisfy their sensual desires, they endeavour for wealth through immortal means.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

The demoniac who are excessively greedy take on gargantuan undertakings in pursuing and increasing their avarice and power. Yet they are always full of anxiety and under pressure to maintain what they have gained and are filled with immense anxiety and constant worry which they carry with them to their very graves at the time of death. Lord Krishna explains that infatuated by illusion the demoniac incessantly pursue the objects of the senses foolishly thinking that this is the main goal of existence and that there is nothing else of more value. So to have the ability to fully exploit all forms of sense gratification the demoniac manipulate themselves surreptitiously into all areas of power and contrive to the utmost to control by deceptive, dishonest and despicable means as much wealth as possible. Such devious depravity is the demoniacs own undoing and they themselves are deceived and cheated by maya the illusory energy which makes them think what is false is real. Hence the demoniac shackle and bind themselves by their innumerable desires which enslaves them by their own expectations propelled by lust and greed. As the aphorism from sage Brihaspati states: Sensual enjoyment is detriment of men who consider the physical body the self, oblivious of the fact that the physical body is endowed with the atma or immortal soul.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

The demoniac constantly besiege themselves with insatiable desires that are very difficult to accomplish and then maintain. They are always harassed by expectations of success and worried about the threat of failure without discerningly considering the uncertainty of life and calculating the reality that death may come at any moment. The constant pursuit of power and wealth in order to enjoy unrestricted sense gratification is for them the only goal in material existence. They are absolutely convinced that there is nothing superior then the joy of sensual pleasure even if enjoyed over and over and over again without cessation. Hence the demoniac mentality itself holds the demoniac tightly in bondage by the innumerable expectations they harbour from the innumerable desires they are always hankering for as a result of extreme lust and greed. So Lord Krishna has clearly defined the characteristics of the demoniac who by deceptive, dishonest and despicable means surreptitiously manipulate themselves into positions of power and control and deliberately contrive by vile and unrighteous means to usurp the divine order and destroy creation.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

16.11 Upasritah, beset with; aparimeyam, innumerable; cintam, cares-worries that defy estimation of their limits!, i.e., constantly burdened with cares; pralayantam, which end (only) with death; kama-upabhoga-paramah, holding that the enjoyment of desirable objects is the highest goal-kama is derived in the sense of ‘that which is desired for’, viz sound etc.; considered their enjoyment to be the highest; having their minds convinced thus that this alone, viz the enjoyment of desirable objects, is the highest human goal; niscitah, feeling sure; iti, that; etavat, this is all-

16.12 Baddhah, bound, being impelled, being lured from all sides; asa-pasa-sataih, by hundreds of shackles in the from of hope-the hopes themselves are the shackles; by hundreds of these; kama-krodha-parayanah, giving themselves wholly to passion and anger, having passion and anger as their highest resort; ihante, they endeavour; artha-sancayan, to amass wealth; anyayena, through foul means, i.e. by stealing others’ wealth, etc.; kama-bhoga-artham, for the enjoyment of desirable objects-in order to enjoy desirable objects, not for righteous acts. Their intentions, too, are of this kind:

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

16.9-12 Etam etc. upto arthasancayam : Their anxiety ends only at the time of dissolution i.e. never ceases, becaue the rise and dissolution never end. This much alone : For them the highest goal to be achieved is but the gratification of desires, and when this (aim) is just ruined, there arises anger. Hence the Lord says ‘Devoted to their craving and anger’.

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

cintam aparimeyam ca
pralayantam upasritah
kamopabhoga-parama
etavad iti niscitah

asa-pasa-satair baddhah
kama-krodha-parayanah
ihante kama-bhogartham
anyayenartha-sañcayan

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

cintām — fears and anxieties; aparimeyām — immeasurable; ca — and; pralaya-antām — unto the point of death; upāśritāḥ — having taken shelter of; kāma-upabhoga — sense gratification; paramāḥ — the highest goal of life; etāvat — thus; iti — in this way; niścitāḥ — having ascertained; āśā-pāśa — entanglements in a network of hope; śataiḥ — by hundreds; baddhāḥ — being bound; kāma — of lust; krodha — and anger; parāyaṇāḥ — always situated in the mentality; īhante — they desire; kāma — lust; bhoga — sense enjoyment; artham — for the purpose of; anyāyena — illegally; artha — of wealth; sañcayān — accumulation.


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