buddhir jñānam asammohaḥ
kṣamā satyaḿ damaḥ śamaḥ
sukhaḿ duḥkhaḿ bhavo ’bhāvo
bhayaḿ cābhayam eva ca
ahiḿsā samatā tuṣṭis
tapo dānaḿ yaśo ’yaśaḥ
bhavanti bhāvā bhūtānāḿ
matta eva pṛthag-vidhāḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5
Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the senses, control of the mind, happiness and distress, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy—all these various qualities of living beings are created by Me alone.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The different qualities of living entities, be they good or bad, are all created by Krishna, and they are described here.
Intelligence refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective, and knowledge refers to understanding what is spirit and what is matter. Ordinary knowledge obtained by a university education pertains only to matter, and it is not accepted here as knowledge. Knowledge means knowing the distinction between spirit and matter. In modern education there is no knowledge about spirit; they are simply taking care of the material elements and bodily needs. Therefore academic knowledge is not complete.
Asammoha, freedom from doubt and delusion, can be achieved when one is not hesitant and when he understands the transcendental philosophy. Slowly but surely he becomes free from bewilderment. Nothing should be accepted blindly; everything should be accepted with care and with caution. Ksama, tolerance and forgiveness, should be practiced; one should be tolerant and excuse the minor offenses of others. Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.
Control of the senses means that the senses should not be used for unnecessary personal enjoyment. There is no prohibition against meeting the proper needs of the senses, but unnecessary sense enjoyment is detrimental for spiritual advancement. Therefore the senses should be restrained from unnecessary use. Similarly, one should restrain the mind from unnecessary thoughts; that is called sama. One should not spend one’s time pondering over earning money. That is a misuse of the thinking power.
The mind should be used to understand the prime necessity of human beings, and that should be presented authoritatively. The power of thought should be developed in association with persons who are authorities in the scriptures, saintly persons and spiritual masters and those whose thinking is highly developed. Sukham, pleasure or happiness, should always be in that which is favorable for the cultivation of the spiritual knowledge of Krishna consciousness. And similarly, that which is painful or which causes distress is that which is unfavorable for the cultivation of Krishna consciousness. Anything favorable for the development of Krishna consciousness should be accepted, and anything unfavorable should be rejected.
Bhava, birth, should be understood to refer to the body. As far as the soul is concerned, there is neither birth nor death; that we have discussed in the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. Birth and death apply to one’s embodiment in the material world. Fear is due to worrying about the future. A person in Krishna consciousness has no fear because by his activities he is sure to go back to the spiritual sky, back home, back to Godhead. Therefore his future is very bright. Others, however, do not know what their future holds; they have no knowledge of what the next life holds. So they are therefore in constant anxiety. If we want to get free from anxiety, then the best course is to understand Krishna and be situated always in Krishna consciousness. In that way we will be free from all fear. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37) it is stated, bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat: fear is caused by our absorption in the illusory energy. But those who are free from the illusory energy, those who are confident that they are not the material body, that they are spiritual parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who are therefore engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Godhead, have nothing to fear. Their future is very bright. This fear is a condition of persons who are not in Krishna consciousness. Abhayam, fearlessness, is possible only for one in Krishna consciousness.
Ahimsa, nonviolence, means that one should not do anything which will put others into misery or confusion. Material activities that are promised by so many politicians, sociologists, philanthropists, etc., do not produce very good results because the politicians and philanthropists have no transcendental vision; they do not know what is actually beneficial for human society.
Ahimsa means that people should be trained in such a way that the full utilization of the human body can be achieved. The human body is meant for spiritual realization, so any movement or any commissions which do not further that end commit violence on the human body. That which furthers the future spiritual happiness of the people in general is called nonviolence.
Samata, equanimity, refers to freedom from attachment and aversion. To be very much attached or to be very much detached is not the best. This material world should be accepted without attachment or aversion. That which is favorable for prosecuting Krishna consciousness should be accepted; that which is unfavorable should be rejected. That is called samata, equanimity. A person in Krishna consciousness has nothing to reject and nothing to accept save in terms of its usefulness in the prosecution of Krishna consciousness.
Tushti, satisfaction, means that one should not be eager to gather more and more material goods by unnecessary activity. One should be satisfied with whatever is obtained by the grace of the Supreme Lord; that is called satisfaction. Tapas means austerity or penance. There are many rules and regulations in the Vedas which apply here, like rising early in the morning and taking a bath. Sometimes it is very troublesome to rise early in the morning, but whatever voluntary trouble one may suffer in this way is called penance. Similarly, there are prescriptions for fasting on certain days of the month.
One may not be inclined to practice such fasting, but because of his determination to make advancement in the science of Krishna consciousness, he should accept such bodily troubles when they are recommended. However, one should not fast unnecessarily or against Vedic injunctions. One should not fast for some political purpose; that is described in Bhagavad-gita as fasting in ignorance, and anything done in ignorance or passion does not lead to spiritual advancement. Everything done in the mode of goodness does advance one, however, and fasting done in terms of the Vedic injunctions enriches one in spiritual knowledge.
As far as charity is concerned, one should give fifty percent of his earnings to some good cause. And what is a good cause? It is that which is conducted in terms of Krishna consciousness. That is not only a good cause, but the best cause. Because Krishna is good, His cause is also good. Thus charity should be given to a person who is engaged in Krishna consciousness. According to Vedic literature, it is enjoined that charity should be given to the brahmanas. This practice is still followed, although not very nicely in terms of the Vedic injunction. But still the injunction is that charity should be given to the brahmanas. Why? Because they are engaged in higher cultivation of spiritual knowledge. A brahmana is supposed to devote his whole life to understanding Brahman. Brahma janatiti brahmanah: one who knows Brahman is called a brahmana. Thus charity is offered to the brahmanas because they are always engaged in higher spiritual service and have no time to earn their livelihood.
In the Vedic literature, charity is also to be awarded to one in the renounced order of life, the sannyasi. The sannyasis beg from door to door, not for money but for missionary purposes. The system is that they go from door to door to awaken the householders from the slumber of ignorance. Because the householders are engaged in family affairs and have forgotten their actual purpose in life—awakening their Krishna consciousness—it is the business of the sannyasis to go as beggars to the householders and encourage them to be Krishna conscious. As it is said in the Vedas, one should awake and achieve what is due him in this human form of life. This knowledge and method is distributed by the sannyasis; hence charity is to be given to the renouncer of life, to the brahmanas, and similar good causes, not to any whimsical cause.
Yasas, fame, should be according to Lord Caitanya, who said that a man is famous when he is known as a great devotee. That is real fame. If one has become a great man in Krishna consciousness and it is known, then he is truly famous. One who does not have such fame is infamous.
All these qualities are manifest throughout the universe in human society and in the society of the demigods. There are many forms of humanity on other planets, and these qualities are there. Now, for one who wants to advance in Krishna consciousness, Krishna creates all these qualities, but the person develops them himself from within. One who engages in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord develops all the good qualities, as arranged by the Supreme Lord.
Of whatever we find, good or bad, the origin is Krishna. Nothing can manifest itself in this material world which is not in Krishna. That is knowledge; although we know that things are differently situated, we should realize that everything flows from Krishna.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Even those who are knowledgeable of scriptures cannot know about me by their intelligence. Because intelligence and other elements are generated from the material gunas like sattva, and though they all originate in me, in themselves they are not suitable for understanding about me who am beyond the gunas.
Intelligence is capable of discerning the fine meaning of things. Knowledge (jnana) refers to the ability to distinguish between atma and non-atma. Non-bewilderment means to be devoid of perplexity. These three qualities, though they appear to bring about knowledge of me, are not causes of that knowledge. As well, the other states seen in people mentioned here do not arise on their own (they come from me). Tolerance (ksama), to speak the truth (satyam), control of the external senses (dama), and control of the internal sense (sama) are sattvika. Happiness is sattvika and sorrow is tamasika. Birth and death, types of sorrow, and fear, are tamasika. Fearlessness arising from knowledge is sattvika, but if it arises from rajas or tamas, it is rajasika or tamasika. Non-violence and seeing others as ones self (samata) are sattvika. Satisfaction, if unconditional is sattvika, and if conditional, is rajasika. Austerity and charity, if unconditional, are sattvika and if conditional, are rajasika. Fame and infamy are similarly either sattvika or rajasika. All these arise from my energy. Because of the non-difference of the energy and the source of energy, it is said they arise from me (mattah).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
10.4 – 10.5 ‘Intelligence’ is the power of the mind to determine. ‘Knowledge’ is the power of determining the difference between the two entities — non-sentient matter and the individual self. ‘Non-delusion’ is freedom from the delusion of perceiving as silver the mother-of-pearl etc., which are different from silver etc., previously observed. ‘Forbearance’, is a non-disturbed state of mind, even when there is a cause for getting disturbed. ‘Truth’ is speech about things as they are actually seen, and meant for the good of all beings. Here, the working of the mind in conformity with the ideal is intended, because the context is with reference to the working of the mind. ‘Restraint’ is the checking of the outgoing organs from their tendency to move towards their objects and generate evil. ‘Self-control’ is the restraint of the mind in the same manner. ‘Pleasure’ is the experience of what is agreeable to oneself. ‘Pain’ is th experience of what is adverse. ‘Exaltation’ is that state of elation of the mind caused by experiences which are agreeable to oneself. ‘Depression’ is the state of mind caused by disagreeable experiences. ‘Fear’ is the misery which springs from the perception of the cause of future sufferings. ‘Fearlessness’ is the absence of such feelings. ‘Non-violence’ is avoidance of being the cause of sorrow to others. ‘Equability’ is to become equable in mind whether good or bad befalls and to look upon with the same equanimity on what happens to oneself, friends and enemies. ‘Cheerfulness’ is the natural disposition to feel pleased with everything seen. ‘Austerity’ is the chastising of the body by denying to oneself pleasures, as enjoined by the scriptures. ‘Beneficence’ is giving to another what contributes to one’s own enjoyment. ‘Fame’ is the renown of possessing good qualities. ‘Infamy’ is notoriety of possessing bad qualities. The workings of the mind which are in accordance with fame and infamy must be understood here, because it is the subject-matter of the context. Austerity and beneficence are to be understood in the same way. All these mental faculties — these functioning of the mind — resulting either in activity or inactivity, are from Me alone, i.e., are dependent on My volition. Sri Krsna declares: ‘Thos agents who direct the creation, sustentation etc., of all beings, have their activity dependent on My Will.’
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna position as the Supreme Lord of all lords and the Supreme controller of all beings is made clear in this verse and the next two beginning with the words buddhir jnanam which is the ability to discriminate between the supra subtleties of eternal spirit in juxtaposition to temporary matter. Discrimination is a mental skill which allows one to differentiate between what has value and is essential and what is non-essential of no value. Absence of bewilderment regarding the Supreme Lord is not being deluded. The word ahimsa means non-violence to any living being. Refraining from causing injury to others by word, thought or actions is what is implied here. The word danam means charity and is the donation of wealth earned by honest means to a worthy person. All of the aforementioned qualities in these two verses are but different dispositions of human beings along with their opposites and arise solely from the potency of the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
In these two verses Lord Krishna clarifies that everything manifests and evolves solely from Him alone. He begins this discourse with the words buddhir jnanam meaning the ability to discriminate between the supra subtleties of eternal spirit in juxtaposition to temporary matter. Jnanam indicates awareness. The Amarakosa dictionary states that discrimination between performance and non-performance of actions is spiritual intelligence and that awareness is the inner wisdom. The word damah is restraint of the senses. The word samah is control over the mind devoting it to the Supreme Lord. The word tustis means contentment. Contentment is satisfaction within. Also it is has been stated that contentment is understanding the transitory limitations of sense objects and the temporary nature of material existence.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna continues to confirm His Supreme Lordship and absolute dominion over all that exists in creation this verse and the next two beginning with the words buddhir jnanam asammohah. Buddhir spiritual intelligence to determine what is real and what is unreal. Jnanam is the power of discrimination regarding the atma or eternal soul and temporary physicality. Asammohah is the absence of illusion about the spiritual goal. Ksama is tolerance even in situations where agitation is natural. Satyam is the truthfulness of relating about something as it exactly is. Damah is restraint of the senses withdrawing the sense organs from sense objects. Samah is control of the mind keeping it away from unproductive unrighteous thinking and having it focused on the Supreme Lord. Sukham is joyful and duhkham is sorrowful. Bhavah is evolution and abhavah is dissolution. Bhayam is fear of oncoming difficulties and abhayam is free from fear. Ahimsa is abstaining from harming any being by mind, speech and body. Samata is not succumbing to passion and hatred. Tustih is feeling contentment from whatever comes on its own accord. Tapah is voluntary austerities for spiritual purposes according to the Vedic scriptures and will be more clearly enunciated in chapter VIII.XIV-XVII. Danah is offering honestly earned funds to an auspicious person, in an auspicious place at an auspicious time. Yaso is the recognition arising from appreciation of possessing righteous virtues like compassion and generosity. So like this these qualities and their opposites are the individual traits of all humans and which all emanate to them from the Supreme Lord alone, in accordance to their respective actions and merits.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
10.5 Buddhih, intelligence-the power of the internal organ to know of things which are subtle etc. Indeed, people talk of a man possessed of this (power) as intelligent. Jnanam, wisdom-knowledge of entities such as the Self etc. Asammohah, non-delusion-proceeding with discrimination with regard to things that are to be known as they present them-selves. Ksama, forgiveness-unperturbability of the mind of one who is abused or assulted. Satyam, truth-an utterance regarding what one has seen, heard, and felt oneself, communicated as such to others for their understanding, is said to be truth. Damah, control of the external organs. Samah, control of the internal organs. Sukham, happiness. Duhkham, sorrow. Bhavah, birth; and its opposite abhavah, death. And bhayam, fear; as also its opposite abhayam, fearlessness. Ahimsa, non-injury-non-cruely towards creatures. Samata, equanimity. Tustih, satisfaction-the idea of sufficiency with regard to things acquired. Tapah, austerity-disciplining the body through control of the organs. Danam, charity-distribution (of wealth) according to one’s capacity. Yasah, fame-renown arising from righteousness. On the contrary, ayasah is infamy due to unrighteousness. (These) prthak-vidhah, different; bhavah, dispositions-intelligence etc. as described; bhuanam, of beings, of living bengs. bhavanti, spring; mattah, eva, from Me alone, [This is said in the sesne that none of these dispositions can exist without the Self.] from God, in accordanced with their actions. Moreover,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
10.1-5 The subject-matter that has been indicated in the previous nine chapters – the same in being detailed here in this chapter by citing individual instances. That is why [the Bhagavat] says ‘Yet again etc.’ (10.X, 1). He thus indicates ‘Hear the subject matter, which has already been related to you, but which once again being explained in order to make it clear’. Arjuna too says in the sequel likewise ‘Tell me once again etc.’ (10.X, 18). This is the purport of [this] chapter. Other items are clear by mere reciting. Hence, why to repeat them ? However, whatever is doubtful that shall be decided [then and there]. Bhuyah etc. upto prthagvidhah. Steadiness is that which induces one.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
buddhir jñanam asammohah
ksama satyam damah samah
sukham duhkham bhavo ’bhavo
bhayam cabhayam eva ca
ahimsa samata tustis
tapo danam yaso ’yasah
bhavanti bhava bhutanam
matta eva prthag-vidhah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
buddhiḥ — intelligence; jñānam — knowledge; asammohaḥ — freedom from doubt; kṣamā — forgiveness; satyam — truthfulness; damaḥ — control of the senses; śamaḥ — control of the mind; sukham — happiness; duḥkham — distress; bhavaḥ — birth; abhāvaḥ — death; bhayam — fear; ca — also; abhayam — fearlessness; eva — also; ca — and; ahiḿsā — nonviolence; samatā — equilibrium; tuṣṭiḥ — satisfaction; tapaḥ — penance; dānam — charity; yaśaḥ — fame; ayaśaḥ — infamy; bhavanti — come about; bhāvāḥ — natures; bhūtānām — of living entities; mattaḥ — from Me; eva — certainly; pṛthak-vidhāḥ — variously arranged.