ahiḿsā kṣāntir ārjavam
anahańkāra eva ca
nityaḿ ca sama-cittatvam
etaj jñānam iti proktam
ajñānaḿ yad ato ’nyathā
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12
Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth—all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This process of knowledge is sometimes misunderstood by less intelligent men as being the interaction of the field of activity. But actually this is the real process of knowledge. If one accepts this process, then the possibility of approaching the Absolute Truth exists. This is not the interaction of the twenty-four elements, as described before. This is actually the means to get out of the entanglement of those elements. The embodied soul is entrapped by the body, which is a casing made of the twenty-four elements, and the process of knowledge as described here is the means to get out of it. Of all the descriptions of the process of knowledge, the most important point is described in the first line of the eleventh verse. Mayi cananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini: the process of knowledge terminates in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. So if one does not approach, or is not able to approach, the transcendental service of the Lord, then the other nineteen items are of no particular value. But if one takes to devotional service in full Krishna consciousness, the other nineteen items automatically develop within him. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12), yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. All the good qualities of knowledge develop in one who has attained the stage of devotional service. The principle of accepting a spiritual master, as mentioned in the eighth verse, is essential.
Even for one who takes to devotional service, it is most important. Transcendental life begins when one accepts a bona fide spiritual master. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, clearly states here that this process of knowledge is the actual path. Anything speculated beyond this is nonsense.
As for the knowledge outlined here, the items may be analyzed as follows. Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. The material conception of life makes us very eager to receive honor from others, but from the point of view of a man in perfect knowledge—who knows that he is not this body—anything, honor or dishonor, pertaining to this body is useless. One should not be hankering after this material deception. People are very anxious to be famous for their religion, and consequently sometimes it is found that without understanding the principles of religion one enters into some group which is not actually following religious principles and then wants to advertise himself as a religious mentor. As for actual advancement in spiritual science, one should have a test to see how far he is progressing. He can judge by these items.
Nonviolence is generally taken to mean not killing or destroying the body, but actually nonviolence means not to put others into distress. People in general are trapped by ignorance in the material concept of life, and they perpetually suffer material pains. So unless one elevates people to spiritual knowledge, one is practicing violence.
One should try his best to distribute real knowledge to the people, so that they may become enlightened and leave this material entanglement. That is nonviolence.
Tolerance means that one should be practiced to bear insult and dishonor from others. If one is engaged in the advancement of spiritual knowledge, there will be so many insults and much dishonor from others. This is expected because material nature is so constituted. Even a boy like Prahlada, who, only five years old, was engaged in the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, was endangered when his father became antagonistic to his devotion. The father tried to kill him in so many ways, but Prahlada tolerated him. So there may be many impediments to making advancement in spiritual knowledge, but we should be tolerant and continue our progress with determination.
Simplicity means that without diplomacy one should be so straightforward that he can disclose the real truth even to an enemy. As for acceptance of the spiritual master, that is essential, because without the instruction of a bona fide spiritual master one cannot progress in the spiritual science. One should approach the spiritual master with all humility and offer him all services so that he will be pleased to bestow his blessings upon the disciple.
Because a bona fide spiritual master is a representative of Krishna, if he bestows any blessings upon his disciple, that will make the disciple immediately advanced without the disciple’s following the regulative principles. Or, the regulative principles will be easier for one who has served the spiritual master without reservation.
Cleanliness is essential for making advancement in spiritual life. There are two kinds of cleanliness: external and internal. External cleanliness means taking a bath, but for internal cleanliness one has to think of Krishna always and chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This process cleans the accumulated dust of past karma from the mind.
Steadiness means that one should be very determined to make progress in spiritual life. Without such determination, one cannot make tangible progress. And self-control means that one should not accept anything which is detrimental to the path of spiritual progress. One should become accustomed to this and reject anything which is against the path of spiritual progress. This is real renunciation. The senses are so strong that they are always anxious to have sense gratification. One should not cater to these demands, which are not necessary. The senses should only be gratified to keep the body fit so that one can discharge his duty in advancing in spiritual life. The most important and uncontrollable sense is the tongue. If one can control the tongue, then there is every possibility of controlling the other senses. The function of the tongue is to taste and to vibrate. Therefore, by systematic regulation, the tongue should always be engaged in tasting the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna and chanting Hare Krishna. As far as the eyes are concerned, they should not be allowed to see anything but the beautiful form of Krishna. That will control the eyes. Similarly, the ears should be engaged in hearing about Krishna and the nose in smelling the flowers offered to Krishna. This is the process of devotional service, and it is understood here that Bhagavad-gita is simply expounding the science of devotional service. Devotional service is the main and sole objective. Unintelligent commentators on the Bhagavad-gita try to divert the mind of the reader to other subjects, but there is no other subject in Bhagavad-gita than devotional service.
False ego means accepting this body as oneself. When one understands that he is not his body and is spirit soul, he comes to his real ego. Ego is there. False ego is condemned, but not real ego. In the Vedic literature (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10) it is said, aham brahmasmi: I am Brahman, I am spirit. This “I am,” the sense of self, also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of “I am” is ego, but when the sense of “I am” is applied to this false body it is false ego.
When the sense of self is applied to reality, that is real ego. There are some philosophers who say we should give up our ego, but we cannot give up our ego, because ego means identity. We ought, of course, to give up the false identification with the body.
One should try to understand the distress of accepting birth, death, old age and disease. There are descriptions in various Vedic literatures of birth. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam the world of the unborn, the child’s stay in the womb of the mother, its suffering, etc., are all very graphically described. It should be thoroughly understood that birth is distressful. Because we forget how much distress we have suffered within the womb of the mother, we do not make any solution to the repetition of birth and death. Similarly at the time of death there are all kinds of sufferings, and they are also mentioned in the authoritative scriptures. These should be discussed. And as far as disease and old age are concerned, everyone gets practical experience. No one wants to be diseased, and no one wants to become old, but there is no avoiding these. Unless we have a pessimistic view of this material life, considering the distresses of birth, death, old age and disease, there is no impetus for our making advancement in spiritual life.
As for detachment from children, wife and home, it is not meant that one should have no feeling for these. They are natural objects of affection. But when they are not favorable to spiritual progress, then one should not be attached to them. The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness. If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four things will make one happy. One should train the members of his family in this way. The family members can sit down morning and evening and chant together Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If one can mold his family life in this way to develop Krishna consciousness, following these four principles, then there is no need to change from family life to renounced life. But if it is not congenial, not favorable for spiritual advancement, then family life should be abandoned. One must sacrifice everything to realize or serve Krishna, just as Arjuna did. Arjuna did not want to kill his family members, but when he understood that these family members were impediments to his Krishna realization, he accepted the instruction of Krishna and fought and killed them. In all cases, one should be detached from the happiness and distress of family life, because in this world one can never be fully happy or fully miserable.
Happiness and distress are concomitant factors of material life. One should learn to tolerate, as advised in Bhagavad-gita. One can never restrict the coming and going of happiness and distress, so one should be detached from the materialistic way of life and be automatically equipoised in both cases. Generally, when we get something desirable we are very happy, and when we get something undesirable we are distressed. But if we are actually in the spiritual position these things will not agitate us. To reach that stage, we have to practice unbreakable devotional service. Devotional service to Krishna without deviation means engaging oneself in the nine processes of devotional service—chanting, hearing, worshiping, offering respect, etc.—as described in the last verse of the Ninth Chapter. That process should be followed.
Naturally, when one is adapted to the spiritual way of life, he will not want to mix with materialistic men. That would go against his grain. One may test himself by seeing how far he is inclined to live in a solitary place, without unwanted association. Naturally a devotee has no taste for unnecessary sporting or cinema-going or enjoying some social function, because he understands that these are simply a waste of time. There are many research scholars and philosophers who study sex life or some other subject, but according to Bhagavad-gita such research work and philosophical speculation have no value. That is more or less nonsensical. According to Bhagavad-gita, one should make research, by philosophical discretion, into the nature of the soul. One should make research to understand the self. That is recommended here.
As far as self-realization is concerned, it is clearly stated here that bhakti-yoga is especially practical. As soon as there is a question of devotion, one must consider the relationship between the Supersoul and the individual soul. The individual soul and the Supersoul cannot be one, at least not in the bhakti conception, the devotional conception of life. This service of the individual soul to the Supreme Soul is eternal, nityam, as it is clearly stated. So bhakti, or devotional service, is eternal. One should be established in that philosophical conviction.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.11) this is explained. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam.
“Those who are actually knowers of the Absolute Truth know that the Self is realized in three different phases, as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.” Bhagavan is the last word in the realization of the Absolute Truth; therefore one should reach up to that platform of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus engage in the devotional service of the Lord. That is the perfection of knowledge.
Beginning from practicing humility up to the point of realization of the Supreme Truth, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, this process is just like a staircase beginning from the ground floor and going up to the top floor. Now on this staircase there are so many people who have reached the first floor, the second or the third floor, etc., but unless one reaches the top floor, which is the understanding of Krishna, he is at a lower stage of knowledge. If anyone wants to compete with God and at the same time make advancement in spiritual knowledge, he will be frustrated. It is clearly stated that without humility, understanding is not truly possible. To think oneself God is most puffed up. Although the living entity is always being kicked by the stringent laws of material nature, he still thinks, “I am God” because of ignorance. The beginning of knowledge, therefore, is amanitva, humility. One should be humble and know that he is subordinate to the Supreme Lord. Due to rebellion against the Supreme Lord, one becomes subordinate to material nature. One must know and be convinced of this truth.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The two knowers of the field, the jiva and paramatma, which are to be known by distinguishing them from the field just mentioned will be described in detail. The twenty factors to be used for gaining that knowledge are mentioned in five verses. Of these, eighteen are common to both the devotees and the jnanis. However the devotees zealously engage in the one element mentioned in the eleventh verse, mayi cananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini. The other seventeen items manifest automatically for those who engage in that one item. The bhaktas do not devote effort to the seventeen items individually. This is the tradition. The last two items are especially for the jnanis. The meaning of the items such as amanitva is clear, therefore no comments are given.
Sauca refers to both internal and external cleanliness. The smrti says:
saucam ca dvividham proktam bahyam abhyantaram tatha mrj-jalabhyam smrtam bahyam bhava-suddhis tathantaram
There are two types of cleanliness described, internal and external. External cleanliness is by water and earth. Internal cleanliness is purity of mind.
Anudarsanam means to observe constantly the detrimental effect
of sorrow, caused by birth, death, old age and disease.
Asakti means to give up affection for sons and others.
Anabhisvanga means of lack of identification with the happiness
and distress of sons and others.
Sama-cittatvam means to remain calm in the face of receiving either favorable or unfavorable treatment or events.
One should have bhakti, unmixed with karma, jnana, tapa or yoga (mayi ananya yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini), unto me, Syamasundara. The word ca here indicates that bhakti may also be performed with a slight mixture of jnana or other elements (jnana misra bhakti). The first, the unmixed type, will be executed by the devotees. The second type will be executed by the jnanis. Some devotees say however that this statement, being in the last six chapters, is for showing that just as ananya bhakti produces prema, it is also useful for realization of paramatma. And if the sentence refers only to jnanls, then the phrase ananya yogena means “by thinking of everything as atma.” Avyabhicarini means that one should do it daily. Madhusudana Sarasvati says the word avyabhicarini refers to bhakti which cannot be stopped by any means at all.
Adhyatma jnana means knowledge related to the atma. One should engage in that knowledge constantly (nityam), in order to maintain purity of the objects of meditation (adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam). One should always keep in mind one’s goal of moksa in ones cultivation of knowledge of truth (tattva-jnanartha-darsanam).
These twenty elements are the means of attaining knowledge of jiva and paramatma in a general way (jnanam here refers to the means of knowledge rather than knowledge itself). The special means of knowledge for realizing paramatma will be explained later. Doing the opposite of this, such as having pride instead of lack of pride, is called ignorance.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
13.8 ‘Amanitva’ means freedom from superiority complex towards eminent people. ‘Adambhitva’: ‘Dambha’ is the practice of Dharma for winning fame as a virtuous person; freedom from it is Adambhitva. ‘Ahima’ is absence of tendency to injure others by speech, mind and body. ‘Ksanti’ is the tendency of keeping the mind unmodified even when harmed by others. ‘Arjava’ means having a uniform disposition towards others in speech, mind and body. ‘Acaryopasana’ means being intent in prostrating, questioning, performing service etc., in regard to the teacher who imparts the knowledge of the self. ‘Sauca’ is the competence of the mind, speech and body, as enjoined by the Sastras, for the knowledge of the self and the means of this attainment. ‘Sthairya’ is possessing unshakable faith in the Sastras concerning the self. ‘Atma-vinigraha’ means the turning away from all objects that are different in nature from the self.
13.9 ‘Absence of desire’ with regard to sense-objects means dispassion towards all objects different from the spiritual self by the constant awareness of the evil in them. ‘Absence of egotism’ means freedom from the misconception that the self is the body, which is in reality different from the self. This is only an illustration standing for other misconceptions too. It indicates freedom from the feeling of possession towards things which do not belong to one. ‘Perception of evil in birth, death, old age, disease and sorrow’ means the constant contemplation on the inevitable evil of birth, death, old age and sorrow while in the body.
13.10 ‘Non-attachment’ means freedom from attachment to things other than the self. ‘Absecne of clinging’ to son, wife, home and the like means absence of excessive affection for these beyond the limits allowed by the Sastras. ‘Constant even-mindedness’ to all desirable and undesriable events means the state of freedom from joy and grief with regard to occurrences springing from desire.
13.11 ‘Constant devotion’ means devotion with a single end, namely, Myself the Lord of all; ‘remaining in places free from people’ means having no love for crowds of people.
13.12 ‘Adhyatma-jnana’ is the knowledge that pertains to the self. Reflection for the attainment of knowledge of the truth, namely, being always intent in the thought having for its object the knowledge of the truth. ‘Knowledge’ is that by which the self is realised. The meaning is that it is the means for the knowledge of the self. The group of attributes mentioned before, beginning with modesty etc., are those that are favourable for the knowledge of the self in association with the body. All the evolutes of Ksetra, which are different from those mentioned above, constitute ignorance, as they are antagonistic to the knowledge of the self. Now, the nature of Ksetrajna, characterised as the knower in the stanza, ‘He who knows it’ (13.1), is examined:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Now in order to elucidate at length the purely spiritual ksetra-jna as the object to be realised and its distinct difference from the previously described ksetra; Lord Krishna will enumerate in these five verses the means and path to realisation of the ksetra-jna beginning with the word amanitvam meaning humility not seeking recognition, adambhitvam means to be without pride, ahimsa is not causing pain to other living beings, ksanti is tolerance in the face of insults, arjava is uprightness and straightforwardness, acaryapasana means unreserved and unmotivated service to the Vaisnava spiritual master, sauca means purity both internal and external. In the Sandilya Upanisad beginning saucam ca dvividham prohitam refers to two types of purity. External purity is obtained by rubbing earth and water while internal purity is obtained by purification of the mind. The word sthairya means steadfastness on the path of righteousness by one who has accepted it, atma-vinigraha or control over the body and the senses which uncontrolled hinder realisation of the atma or immortal soul, vairagya indriyartha means renunciation of sense objects, ahankarah means relinquishing false ego and identification of the physical body as the self, dukha-dosa-anudarsanam means dispassion by pondering the misery of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death in material existence, asakti means equipoise and non-attachment to wife, sons and other loved ones, anabhisvanga means remaining even minded to s what life gives whether evil or excellence befalls one, sama-citta means to avoid both happiness or distress by temporary external circumstances. The compound words avyabhicarini bhakti means unwavering, unalloyed loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna and realising the atma in all living beings, vivekta- desa-sevitam is fondness for performing austerities in solitary places, aratir jana-samsadt means indifference to mundane topics and mundane association. The words adhyatma-jnana nityatvam means always interested in spiritual knowledge and self-realisation and atma-tattva or knowledge of the immortal soul within. Continuously reflecting, contemplating and engaging one’s total being in understanding the purpose and goal of human existence by comprehending the precise significance of various verses and conceptions in the Vedic scriptures to learn and realise the ultimate truth and upon achieving moksa or liberation from material existence to further attain the ultimate consciousness and eternal association with the Supreme Lord which is the highest apex of all existence. Thus these 20 virtues that have been described by Lord Krishna constitute the essence of knowledge for their attributes are the means which opens the way to this highest existence. Whatever is contrary to these 20 virtues of renowned excellence should always be rejected as it is understood to be ignorance and emphatically antagonistic to truth. This has been confirmed in by gone ages by great sages and seers such as Vyasa, Vasistha and Parasara.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
In these five verses Lord Krishna defines the quintessential qualities and attributes to achieve the means to fulfil the highest purpose of human existence. Realisation of these 24 essential principles means knowledge through the experience of living them in conjunction with the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the object of attainment for these essential principles and is the ultimate goal to be attained. Realisation through experience equates to imbibing and living these 20 principles. That by which things become realised is known as knowledge. Thus knowledge is known to be a means of realisation. Emphasis on jnana or knowledge is herein given as the goal for self-realisation.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Having described the characteristics of the ksetra or field of activity, Lord Krishna enumerates the attributes that are required to qualify for knowledge of the nature of ksetra-jna or knower of the field of activity. The absence of desire for honour and the absence of pride imply both reverence for the Supreme Lord and absence of hypocrisy. Thus a person becomes righteous by only performing pious activities in accordance with the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. Such a person automatically follows ahimsa or non-violence to any living being by thought, word or deed and possesses tolerance towards others with an unperturbed mind even if they are antagonistic. Straightforwardness without duplicity is another quality found in such a person and of paramount importance is rendering unmotivated devotion to the spiritual master who illuminates the path and guides the disciple to transcendental knowledge. The Mundaka Upanisad I.II.XII beginning parikshya lokan karmachitan declares: Accept an acarya or spiritual preceptor who is learned and established in the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. A preceptor is only a spiritual master when his knowledge is established in the Vedic scriptures, when he is pureof heart, when he has received Vaisnava initiation in a bonafide parampara or discipliic succession from an acarya devotee of Lord Krishna or any of His avatars or authorised incarnations, when he has learned sacred rituals and holy mantras from such a preceptor, when he is devoted to chanting the Supreme Lord Krishna’s holy names and when he has full unwavering faith in the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures as taught by his spiritual master and the knowledge of these truths is exemplified in his everyday life. Only such an exemplary person is qualified to be an acarya or spiritual master.
Purity both externally in the body by earth and water and internally in the mind by discrimination, removing the mental impurities which pollute the consciousness. This gives equipoise of mind in perturbing situations and obstacles on the path of moksa or liberation from material existence and also gives control over the body, mind and senses, keeping them from impetuously rushing down wrong paths prohibited by the Vedic injunctions. Acquiring a dispassion of disinterest in the sights and sounds of this world and even for the lure of delights in the heavenly planets. Absence identifying the body with soul and lack of false ego with concepts of I- ness and my-ness; or believing one is superior in some way arising from any transitory material conception such as believing one special because one comes from a noble and distinguished lineage. Without spiritual development these conceptions have no value. Reflecting continuously on the suffering and misery of material existence which is unavoidable because inherent in birth is the inevitable old age, disease and death and the perpetuity of this life after life. The Chandogya Upanisad VIII.XII.I beginning maghavanmartyam va idam states: Verily every jiva or embodied being is subject to pleasure and pain. Verily there is no exemption from pleasure and pain for any being while they are embodied. Verily when one is not incorporeal in a physical body pleasure and pain are not experienced. Avoidance of overly attachment to wife, sons and family members as well as wealth, home and property. Not agitated or unperturbed by lifes reversals, equipoise in favourable and unfavourable circumstances.
To have unwavering and unalloyed exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna and to worship His transcendental form both externally in the temple and internally within the heart. Fondness for living in secluded and holy places and avoidance of worldly minded people uninterested in spiritual matters with no attraction to the Supreme Lord. Because association with saintly persons is essential for spiritual development it is indispensable for one seeking to advance their spiritual life. There is an ancient dialogue between the sage Cyavana instructing King Nahusa where he tells him: One should associate with saintly persons. One should hear instructions from saintly persons. One should indulge in discussions with saintly persons and make friendships only with them; but never with the wicked who should be avoided completely. Association with saintly persons is the medicine to remove the disease of materialism but association with the wicked is just like poison.
Finally constant devotion to atma tattva or knowledge of the soul. That true knowledge regarding the soul that is entirely different from the physical body. Observing the Supreme Lord everywhere in everything as the means to surmount ignorance and gain endless bliss from liberation by His eternal communion. The 20 attributes declared in these verses are known to be knowledge and are the wisdom by which the Supreme Ultimate Truth can be realised. Whatever is contrary to these 20 attributes is known as ignorance and is destructive of wisdom leading to the Supreme Ultimate Truth and should by all means in every situation be avoided.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
13.8 Amanitvam, humility-the quality of a vain person is manitvam, boasting about oneself; the absence of that is amanitvam. Adambhitvam, unpretentiousness- proclaming one’s own virtues is dambhitvam; the absence of that is adambhitvam. Ahimsa, non-injury, absence of cruely towards creatures; ksantih, for-bearance, remaining undisturbed when offened by others; arjavam, sincerity, uprightness, absence of crookedness; acarya-upasanam, service of the teacher, attending on the teacher who instructs in the disciplines for Liberation, through acts of service etc.; saucam, cleanliness-washing away the dirt from the body with earth and water, and internally, removing the ‘dirt’ of the mind such as attachment etc. by thinking of their opposites; sthairyam, steadiness, perseverance in the path to Liberation alone; atma-vinigrahah, control of the aggregate of body and organs which is referred to by the word ‘self’, but which is inimical to the Self; restricting only to the right path that (aggregate) which naturally strays away in all directions. Further,
13.9 Vairagyam, non-attachment, the attitude of dispassion; indriya-arthesu, with regard to objects of the senses, viz sound etc., with regard to seen or unseen objects of enjoyment; eva ca, and also; anahankarah, absence of egotism, absence of pride; janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosa-anudarsanam, seeing the evil in birth, death, old age, diseases and miseries-seeing the evil in each one of them from ‘birth’ to ‘miseries’. The evil in birth consists in lying in the womb and coming out of it; seeing, i.e. thinking, of it. Similarly, thinking of the evil in death; so also, seeing in old age the evil in the form of deprivation of intelligence, strength and vigour, and becoming an object of contempt. In the same way, thinking of the evil in diseases like headtache etc.; so also with regard to miseries arising from causes physical, natural and supernatural. Or, duhkha-dosa may mean the miseries themselves which are evil. Seeing, as before, that (evil in the form of miseries) in birth etc.-birth is miserable, death is miserable, old age is miserable, diseases are miserable. Birth etc. are miserable because they cause misery; not that they are miseries in themselves. [Birth etc. are perceivable events, and as such are not miseries in themselves.] Thus, when one thinks of the evil in the form of miseries in birth etc. dispassion arises with regard to the pleasures in the body, organs and objects. From that follows the tendency of the organs towards the indwelling Self for the realization of the Self. The seeing of the evil in the form of misery in birth etc. is called Knowledge because it thus becomes a cuase of the rise of Knowledge. Moreover,
13.10 Asaktih, non-attachment-attachment means merely the kind for things arising from association; the absence of that is asaktih; and anabhisvangah, absence of fondness-abhisvangah, is in fact a special kind of attachment consisting of the idea of self-identification; as for instance, thinking ‘I myself am happy,’ or, ‘I am sorrowful,’ when somebody else is happy or unhappy, and thinking ‘I live’, or, ‘I shall die,’ when some- body else lives or dies-With regard to what? In answer the Lord says: putra-dara-grhadisu, with regard to sons, wives, homes, etc. From the use of ‘etc.’ (it is understood that this fondness is) even with regard to others who are liked very much-retinue of sevants and so on. And since both these (absence of attachment and fondness) lead to Knowledge, therefore they are called Knowledge. And nityam, constant; sama-cittatvam, equanimity of mind, mental equipoise;-with regard to what?-ista-anista-upapattisu, the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable; mental equipoise with regard to them, always, without exception. One does not become happy on the attainment of the desirable, nor does he become angry on the attainment of the undesirable. And that constant equanimity of mind which is of this kind is Knowledge Further,
13.11 Ca, and; avyabhicarini, unwavering-not having any tendency to deviate; bhaktih, devotion; mayi, to Me, to God; ananya-yogena, with single-minded concentration, with undivided concentration-ananyayogah is the decisive, unswerving conviction of this kind: ‘There is none superior to Lord Vasudeva, and hence He alone is our Goal’; adoration with that. That too is Knowledge. Vivikta-desa-sevitvam, inclination to repair into a clean place-a place (desa) naturally free (vivikta) or made free from impurity etc. and snakes, tigers, etc.; or, place made solitary (vivikta) by being situated in a forest, on a bank of a river, or in a temple; one who is inclined to seek such a place is vivikta-desa-sevi, and the abstract form of that is vivikta-desa-sevitvam. Since the mind becomes calm in places that are indeed pure (or solitary), therefore meditation on the Self etc. occurs in pure (or solitary) places. Hence the inclination to retire into clean (or solitary) places is called Knowledge. Aratih, lack of delight, not being happy; jana-samadi, in crowd of people-an assemblage, a multitude of people without culture, lacking in purity and immodest-, (but) not (so) in a gathering of pure and modest persons since that is conducive to Knowledge. Hence, lack of delight in an assembly of common people is Knowledge since it leads to Knowledge. Besides,
13.12 Adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam, steadfastness in the knowledge of the Self: adhyatma-jnanam is the knowledge of the Self, etc.; constant dwelling in that is nityatvam. Tattva-jnanartha-darsanam, contemplating on the Goal of the knowledge of Reality: Tattva-jnanam is that (realization of Truth) which arises from the fruition of application to the disciplines like humility etc. which are the means to knowledge. Its Goal (artha) is Liberation, the cessation of mundane existence. Contemplation (darsana) on that is tattva-jnana-artha-darsanam. For, when one engages in contemplation on the result of the knowledge of Reality, one gets the urge to undertake the disciplines which are its means. Etat, this-those that have been stated from ‘humility’ etc. to ‘contemplation on the Goal of the knowledge of Reality’; proktam, is spoken of; iti, as; jnanam, Knowledge, because they are meant to lead one to Knowledge. Ajnanam, ignorance; is yat, that which is; anyatha, other; atah, than this-what has been stated above. Contrarily, arrogance, pretentiousness, cruelty, revenge, insincerity, etc. are to be known as ignorance so that, since they are the cause of the origination of worldly existence, they can be avoided. To the question as to what is to be known through the aforesaid Knowledge, the Lord says, ‘I shall speak of that which is to be known,’ etc. Objection: Do not humility etc. constitute yama and niyama [See fn. on p. 239.-Tr.]? The Knowable is not known through them. For humility etc. are not seen to determine the nature of anything. Moreover, everywhere it is observed that whatever knowledge reveals its own object, that itself ascertains the nature of that object of knowledge (the knowable). Indeed, nothing else is known through a knowledge concerning some other object. As for instance, fire is not known through the knowledge of a pot. Reply: This is not a defect, for we have said that they are called ‘Knowledge’ because they lead one to Knowledge, and because they are auxiliary causes of Knowledge.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
13.8-12 Amanitvam etc. upto anyatha. [Devotion] with me Yoga of non-difference etc. : a conviction, ‘There exists nothing else different from the Mighty Lord, the Supreme Soul,’ – a conviction, which allows no difference and is itself a Yoga, i.e. a devotion in the form of this conviction. Hence this never fails. For, either the desires that are considered to be causes for failure are absent, or those desires which are of the form of mind-modifications, are completely absorbed in Him alone. The above may be borne in mind in all [other] cases too. What is opposed to this is [conducive to] wrong knowledge : such as pride and others. That which is to be known by this knowledge is described [as] –
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
ahimsa ksantir arjavam
anahankara eva ca
nityam ca sama-cittatvam
etaj jñanam iti proktam
ajñanam yad ato ’nyatha
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
amānitvam — humility; adambhitvam — pridelessness; ahiḿsā — nonviolence; kṣāntiḥ — tolerance; ārjavam — simplicity; ācārya-upāsanam — approaching a bona ﬁde spiritual master; śaucam — cleanliness; sthairyam — steadfastness; ātma-vinigrahaḥ — self-control; indriya-artheṣu — in the matter of the senses; vairāgyam — renunciation; anahańkāraḥ — being without false egoism; eva — certainly; ca — also; janma — of birth; mṛtyu — death; jarā — old age; vyādhi — and disease; duḥkha — of the distress; doṣa — the fault; anudarśanam — observing; asaktiḥ — being without attachment; anabhiṣvańgaḥ — being without association; putra — for son; dāra — wife; gṛha-ādiṣu — home, etc; nityam — constant; ca — also; sama-cittatvam — equilibrium; iṣṭa — the desirable; aniṣṭa — and undesirable; upapattiṣu — having obtained; mayi — unto Me; ca — also; ananya-yogena — by unalloyed devotional service; bhaktiḥ — devotion; avyabhicāriṇī — without any break; vivikta — to solitary; deśa — places; sevitvam — aspiring; aratiḥ — being without attachment; jana-saḿsadi — to people in general; adhyātma — pertaining to the self; jñāna — in knowledge; nityatvam — constancy; tattva-jñāna — of knowledge of the truth; artha — for the object; darśanam — philosophy; etat — all this; jñānam — knowledge; iti — thus; proktam — declared; ajñānam — ignorance; yat — that which; ataḥ — from this; anyathā — other.