sariram yad avapnoti
yac capy utkramatishvarah
vayur gandhan ivasayat
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 15.8
The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Here the living entity is described as ishvara, the controller of his own body. If he likes, he can change his body to a higher grade, and if he likes he can move to a lower class. Minute independence is there. The change his body undergoes depends upon him. At the time of death, the consciousness he has created will carry him on to the next type of body. If he has made his consciousness like that of a cat or dog, he is sure to change to a cat’s or dog’s body. And if he has fixed his consciousness on godly qualities, he will change into the form of a demigod. And if he is in Krishna consciousness, he will be transferred to Krishnaloka in the spiritual world and will associate with Krishna. It is a false claim that after the annihilation of this body everything is finished. The individual soul is transmigrating from one body to another, and his present body and present activities are the background of his next body. One gets a different body according to karma, and he has to quit this body in due course. It is stated here that the subtle body, which carries the conception of the next body, develops another body in the next life. This process of transmigrating from one body to another and struggling while in the body is called karshati, or struggle for existence.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In dragging around the senses, what does the jiva do? When the jiva, the master of his senses (isvarah), accepts a body and leaves the body, he goes away, taking these senses along with the subtle body. This is like the wind taking the fragrances with its subtle elements from the re
ceptacles of fragrance (asayat), such as garlands or sandalwood, and going elsewhere.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
15.8 Whatever body It acquires, and from whatever body It departs, the lord of the senses, i.e., the self, goes on Its way taking with It the senses with the subtle elements, just like the wind carrying scents from place to place. Just as the wind takes away scents with subtle parts from flower-garlands, sandal, musk and the rest from their places and moves elsewhere — so does the self. What are these senses? Sri Krsna explains:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Now the science of transmigration of the atma or immortal soul from jiva to jiva or embodied being is explained. When the postive and negative karma or reactions to actions that one has performed has been calculated and tabulated along with the types of food one has eaten throughout their life a jiva obtains birth in an appropriate womb and acquires a new body taking along with it in a subtle body the mind and the senses from the previous body. This can be understood by the analogy Lord Krishna gives of a breeze transporting to another location the fragrances of the flowers it has come into contact with. So the subtle body of the jiva containing the mind and the senses transports itself from body to body.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
When a jiva or embodied being due to the mercy of the Vaisnava spiritual master, attains the auspiciousness of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna at that time the Supreme Lord Himself as paramatma the Supreme Soul inconceivably resides simultaneously within the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being commences to direct the actions of that blessed disciple of His servitor, the Vaisnava spiritual master, who guides and instructs through his words and actions. Although the Supreme Lord is continuously entering and departing each and every womb along with every jiva and atma, he does not desire any recompense for this. In the Moksa Dharma known also as the Mahabharata it is stated: Even though the jiva witnesses the temporal emotions, merits and demerits and knows what is ultimately beneficial it is powerless to oppose them. Even though moving hither and thither to the four corners of the planet, enjoying here and suffering there, all actions are actually energised by the Supreme Lord. Even when conquering and winning if one considers themselves a great personality, factually they are only performing as ordained by the Supreme Lord. Even as a vehicle controlled by someone moves a passenger from one location to another. In the same manner the jiva transmigrates from one body to another controlled by the potency of the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
When and how the mind and senses accompany the jiva or embodied being in the process of transmigration from one body at the time of death to another at the time of conception is clarified by Lord Krishna. The purport is that wherever the jiva departs from a body and whenever it is compeled to accept another body the atma or immortal soul migrating from one body to another, arrives with the subtle forms of the mind and senses in tact to perform their functions through the physical body which has been allotted due to karma or reactions to previous actions. The Supreme Lord clarifies this with the analogy of the wind carrying the scents of flowers to various locations.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
15.8 Yat, when; isvarah, the master of the aggregate of the body etc., the individual soul; utkramati, leaves the body, then he draws. Thus, the second quarter of the verse is treated first for the sake of consistency. [When the soul leaves the body, then it draws the organs (see previous verses) from that body. In this way, the second quarter of the present verse is treated first, because going to another body follows the leaving of the earlier one.-M.S.] Ca api, and even; yat, when; it avapnoti, assumes a body other than the earlier one; then, grahitva, taking; etani, these, the organs with the mind as their sixth; samyati, he leaves, goes away totally [Samyak, totally-without returning in any way to the earlier body.-M.S.] Like what? In reply the Lord says: iva, as; vayuh, the wind (carries away); gandhan, odours; asayat, from their receptacles-flowers etc. Which, again, are those (organs)?
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
15.8 Sariram etc. Attains to : seizes. Goes up : abandones along with them. Just as the wind, going everywhere reaches an abode of rest made of earth and carrying away thence an odour enters just with that into another place, in the same way does the individual Soul together with the octad of cities. So far the association of the individual Soul with them ( the sense organs etc.) at both the stages of creation and of withdrawal has been described. Now it is being decided that It acts only in association with them even at the stage of existence which consists of acts like standing, sitting, contemplating etc. and which is a stage of receiving objects-
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
sariram yad avapnoti
yac capy utkramatisvarah
vayur gandhan ivasayat
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śarīram — the body; yat — as; avāpnoti — gets; yat — as; ca api — also; utkrāmati — gives up; īśvaraḥ — the lord of the body; gṛhītvā — taking; etāni — all these; saḿyāti — goes away; vāyuḥ — the air; gandhān — smells; iva — like; āśayāt — from their source.