ya evaḿ vetti puruṣaḿ
prakṛtiḿ ca guṇaiḥ saha
sarvathā vartamāno ’pi
na sa bhūyo ’bhijāyate
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 13.24
One who understands this philosophy concerning material nature, the living entity and the interaction of the modes of nature is sure to attain liberation. He will not take birth here again, regardless of his present position.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Clear understanding of material nature, the Supersoul, the individual soul and their interrelation makes one eligible to become liberated and turn to the spiritual atmosphere without being forced to return to this material nature. This is the result of knowledge. The purpose of knowledge is to understand distinctly that the living entity has by chance fallen into this material existence. By his personal endeavor in association with authorities, saintly persons and a spiritual master, he has to understand his position and then revert to spiritual consciousness or Krishna consciousness by understanding Bhagavad-gita as it is explained by the Personality of Godhead. Then it is certain that he will never come again into this material existence; he will be transferred into the spiritual world for a blissful eternal life of knowledge.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The results of this knowledge are stated in this verse. He who knows paramatma (purusam), prakrti or maya sakti (along with its qualities), and the jiva (indicated only by the world ca), does not take birth again, even though in this life he may be situated in all sorts of unfavorable circumstances (sarvatah vartamano ‘pi), such as being overcome by sleep and having uncontrolled mind or other such problems.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
13.24 He who ‘understands’, namely, knows truly with discrimination, the self to be thus, and also the Prakrti as having the aforesaid nature along with Sattva and other Gunas, whose nature will be later examined, is never born again, i.e., is never reborn conjointly with Prakrti again in ‘whatever state he may be placed,’ i.e., in whatever painful condition he may be placed in the bodies of divinities, men etc. The meaning is that at the time when the body ceases to exist, the self will attain the purified state characterised by boundless knowledge devoid of evil.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
One who comprehensively understands prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and realises the Purusa or the supreme being as an eternal manifestation of the Supreme Lord as paramatma or the Supreme soul and can discriminate the difference between the two is being praised by Lord Krishna. One who realises the liberating nature of the Purusa as a distinctly separate entity from the atma or immortal soul residing within the etheric heart of all living entities as the witness and monitor and can discriminate between it and the binding nature of interactions with prakriti along with the three gunas of goodness, passion and ignorance does not take birth in the material existence again. This means that regardless of their present physical manifestation in creation they are released from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and achieving moksa or liberation from material existence are no longer compelled to take physical birth in a womb again.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
In verse 21 purusa referred to the jiva or the embodied being. In verse 23 purusa refers to the Supreme Lord. Thus purusa can refer both to the Supreme and to the jiva when indicating the atma or immortal soul within. In other situations such an important conclusion is a contradiction but here it has been succinctly clarified. In the Saukarayan scripture is stated: The immortal, greater than the greatest is the Supreme Lord Krishna. It is His greatness alone that all the Vedic scriptures are engaged in serving and glorifying. Even appearing otherwise this is always the truth. No contradiction can ever be assumed because His transcendental qualities being eternal are never subject to rationalisation. Nor is there in any Vedic scripture any evidence of any contradiction given by the liberated sages and saints ever being seen. So neither by rationalisation nor from personal experience is any contradiction concerning the Supreme Lord existing. Therefore logic, reason and rationalisation can never disprove what has been established by the Vedic scriptures. If by rationalisation one attempts to hypothesise a supposition unsupported by the Vedic scriptures then it is not wisdom but speculative nonsense and must be completely rejected. In the same way anything proclaimed that obscures the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures must also be totally rejected.
There exists subsidiary summation in the Vedic scriptures. It has been quoted that when one speaks the truth, even that becomes subsidiary knowledge. The Supreme Lord Krishna being the source of all is greater then the greatest and that alone is the truth. Like the reference previously to His being of blackish colour. If rationalisation and imagination are contradictory to the Vedic scriptures then both rationalisation and imagination should be understood as capable of misleading and erroneous because one who is not knowledgeable will be unaware of the true meaning. Whereas there is no possibility of ever being misguided by the Vedic scriptures as they are perfect and eternal. The opportunity for being misled is possible because so many people are completely oblivious to the purpose of human existence and totally unaware of the truth. Therefore concocted theories that there must be things contradictory to the Supreme Lord in the Vedas but somehow they were lost is ludicrous. Brahma himself has stated that there are neither any contradictory statements nor non- contradictory rationalisation in the Vedic scriptures. Therefore any references to non-duality between the Supreme Lord and the jiva or embodied being is contradictory and invalid. The Vedanta Sutras II.III.IIL reveal: To state that the jiva and the Supreme Lord are the same is most erroneous. In the Moksa Dharma the sage Janamejaya stated: Unlimited are the jivas but the Supreme Lord is one. The sage Visampayana stated: No one doubts the Supreme Lord is one without a second. Unlimited jivas are born from wombs but the Supreme Lord is self born and eternally endowed with the greatest qualities. Thus they are both different in nature and not at all like the dream state. Vedavyasa has written in Vedanta Sutras II.II.XXIX beginning vaidharmayaccha na svapnadivat meaning: The conceptions of the dream state are not real whereas the experiences from the waking state are real. This world is not an idea imagined like objects seen in a dream. Vedanta Sutra II.II.XXVIII states beginning nabhava upalavadheh meaning: Our perceptions and consciousness are the testament that the world exists and is not a mere illusion. In the Ayasa section it states: Since the world is subject to modification and always changing it is said to be like a dream; not that it is unreal like a dream. An example of always changing is like the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter.
It should be understood that it is not an error to meditate on aham brahmasi meaning I am the Brahman as being part of the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Because the Supreme Lord is the actual goal of the jiva and by doing so it does not imply sameness or becoming identical to the Supreme Lord and also because that is the factual nature of the atma or immortal soul. But know that this is not a principle method even though it does not contradict the Vedic reference of the jiva being a refelection. This is confirmed in the Madhuchanda Scripture which states: The reason the enlightened recommend jivas to become united with the Supreme Lord is because the atma has a similarity in quality but not quantity and thus is as a reflection. In the Agniveshya section meditation on aham brahmasi insures the result of sarupya moksa which is liberation into a spiritual form similar to four armed Vishnu. So one who achieves perfection in meditating on aham brahmasi is most assuredly situated in realisation of the brahman. The Vamana Purana even states that aham brahmasi means I am surrendered to the brahman. Thus being so surrendered I am similar unto the Supreme but not as if one is the Supreme. An example is one might say a man has the courage of a lion but that does not make that man a lion. The devotees surrendered to the Supreme Lord understand that the atma is a minute reflection of the Supreme Lord and that the atma is a portion of Him. Therefore the Supreme Lord is the master and we are serving Him in various wonderful ways. This is what the devotee meditates on.
Now begins the summation.
Those who perceive the purusa as being distinctly different from the jiva and yet a part of the jiva and can see prakriti as being two fold as both sentient and insentient and knows the distinctive qualities and attributes of all of them. Such persons will be liberated from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death in their present life time and promoted to the spiritual worlds not taking birth in material existence again.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna extols the glory of one who understands the reality of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence, the difference between the material and the spiritual, the atma or the localised, individual, immortal soul and paramatma the omniscient and omnipresent Supreme Soul present within every jiva. Understanding prakriti means knowing that the three gunas of goodness, passion and ignorance are the modifications of material nature which cause pleasure and pain in all jivas or embodied beings whether demigod, human or animal. When one has achieved realisation of the atma one can realise the Supreme Lord as paramatma and with unveiled realisation all sins are destroyed and one automatically attains moksa or liberation from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. The Chandogya Upanisad VIII.I confirms this beginning harih sum atha meaning : In the cavity of the etheric heart the atma and paramatma are residing next to each other; one should surely understand that they are what is paramount to be realised.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
13.24 Sah yah, he who; vetti, knows, in the manner described; the purusam, Person, that Self possessed of the characteristics stated above, as ‘I myself (am That)’; and knows prakrtim, Nature as described above, which is characterized as ignorance; to have been eradicated by Knowledge, saha, along with; gunaih, the qualities which are its modifications; na abhijayate, will not be born; bhuyah, again-after the fall of this body of the man of realization, he does not become born again for (taking) another body, i.e. he does not take up another body; sarvatha api, in whatever way; vartamanah, he may live. From the word api it is understood that, it goes without saying that one who is firm in his own duty is not reborn. Objection: Though it has been said that there is absence of rebirth after the dawn of Knowledge, still is not illogical that actions done (in the present life) before the rise of Knowledge and those done subsequently, as also those done in the many past lives, should be destroyed without yielding their results? Hence there should be three births! For destruction of acquired merit is not logical, to the same extent as actions that have produced the present birth and are yielding their proper results (cannot be destroyed). Besides, it is not understood that actions have distinctions [Since all actions arise from ignorance, they are on the same level so far so they are opposed to Knowledge; i.e., there can be no such distinction among actions as ‘those which have started yielding results’ and ‘those that have not’.]. Therefore, the actions of the three kinds, without exception, will produce three births or they all collectively will produce one birth. Otherwise, if the acquired merits become destroyed, it will lead to loss of faith everywhere as well as to the purposelessness of scriptures. Therefore it has been illogical to say, ‘he will not be born again.’ Reply: No, for the burning away of all the actions of the man of knowledge has been stated in hundreds of Upanisadic texts such as: ‘And all one’s actions become dissipated’ (Mu. 2.2.8); ‘Anyone who knows (that supreme) Brahman, becomes Brahman’ (op. cit. 3.2.9); ‘For him the delay is for so long only (as he does not become freed)’ (Ch. 6.14.2); ‘As the fibres at the tip of a blade of reed (become completely burnt…,’ so) all actions ‘get completely burnt’ (op. cit. 5.24.3). Here too the burning of all actions has been stated in, ‘as a blazing fire reduces pieces of wood to ashes,…’etc. (4.37), and He will also say so (later) [See 18.66: ‘I shall free you from all sins,’ etc.-Tr.]. This accords with reason also. Verily, actions, which arise from the seed of evils [Klesas, evils-see note under 8.19-Tr.] like ignorance and desires, germinate the sprout of rebirth. Here also it has been said by the Lord in various places that actions which are associated with egoism and desire for results bear fruits, not the others. And there is also the verse: ‘As seeds burnt by fire do not germinate, so also the Self does not acquire another body due to evils that have been burnt by Knowledge (cf. Mbh. Va. 199. 107). Objection: It may be granted for the present that actions performed after the rise of Knowledge are burnt by Knowledge, since they coexist with Knowledge. But the burning away of actions done in this life prior to the rise of Knowledge and those done in the many past lives is not reasonable. Reply: No, because of the qualification, ‘all actions’ (4.37). Objection: May it not be that ‘all actions’ means those that are undertaken after Illumination? Reply: No, for there is no reason for the restriction (of the meaning). On the other hand, as for the statement, ‘just as actions that have produced the present birth and are already active in producing their results do not get dissipated even after Illumination, similarly it is not reasonable that actions which have not commenced producing their results should get dissipated,’-that is wrong. Objection: Why? Reply: Since they have already begun producing results, like an arrow that has been shot: As an arrow, freed earlier from a bow for hitting a target, even after piercing through the target comes to a stop only after falling down as a result of the dissipation of its initial momentum, similarly, actions that produced the (present) body verily continue, even after fulfilling the purpose of maintaining the body, to exist as before until the dissipation of their inherent tendencies. But, as that very arrow, when it has not acquired the momentum, needed for action, when it has not been shot even though fixed on the bow, can be withdrawn, similarly, actions which have not begun yielding their results may be rendered unproductive by Knowledge, even while existing in their receptacle. [The internal organ bearing the reflection of Consciousness.] Hence, it is established that , it has been reasonable to state that on the fall of the present body of an enlightened person, ‘He is not born again.’ Here are being presented these meditation etc. which are the alternative means for the realization of the Self:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
13.24 Ya evam etc. a men of Yoga who knows the Material Cause, the Soul, the Strands and their modifications in this manner i.e., by means of this above mentioned Brahman-perception which is in the form ‘All are identical with It’ – he is certainly emancipated eventhough he behaves in different ways i.e., in whatever manner [he chooses].
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
ya evam vetti purusam
prakrtim ca gunaih saha
sarvatha vartamano ’pi
na sa bhuyo ’bhijayate
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
yaḥ — anyone who; evam — thus; vetti — understands; puruṣam — the living entity; prakṛtim — material nature; ca — and; guṇaiḥ — the modes of material nature; saha — with; sarvathā — in all ways; vartamānaḥ — being situated; api — in spite of; na — never; saḥ — he; bhūyaḥ — again; abhijāyate — takes his birth.