bhāva-saḿśuddhir ity etat
tapo mānasam ucyate
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 17.16
And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purification of one’s existence are the austerities of the mind.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
To make the mind austere is to detach it from sense gratification. It should be so trained that it can be always thinking of doing good for others. The best training for the mind is gravity in thought. One should not deviate from Krishna consciousness and must always avoid sense gratification. To purify one’s nature is to become Krishna conscious. Satisfaction of the mind can be obtained only by taking the mind away from thoughts of sense enjoyment. The more we think of sense enjoyment, the more the mind becomes dissatisfied. In the present age we unnecessarily engage the mind in so many different ways for sense gratification, and so there is no possibility of the mind’s becoming satisfied. The best course is to divert the mind to the Vedic literature, which is full of satisfying stories, as in the Puranas and the Mahabharata. One can take advantage of this knowledge and thus become purified. The mind should be devoid of duplicity, and one should think of the welfare of all. Silence means that one is always thinking of self-realization. The person in Krishna consciousness observes perfect silence in this sense. Control of the mind means detaching the mind from sense enjoyment. One should be straightforward in his dealings and thereby purify his existence. All these qualities together constitute austerity in mental activities.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
No commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
17.16 Serenity of mind, viz., absence of wrath etc., practice of benevolence, viz., the direction of the mind for the good of others, silence, viz., contorl of speech by the mind; self-control, viz., focusing the activity of the mind on the object of contemplation; purity of mind, viz., absence of thought about subjects other than the self — these constitute the austerity of the mind.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna states that tapah or austerities of the mind in sattva guna or mode of goodness are serenity derived from self-satisfaction, tranquillity derived from the self-control of with drawing the mind from the senses, silence derived by constant meditation within, purity of heart derived from the absence of any deceitfulness in thoughts, words and conduct are all known as austerities of the mind in sattva guna.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The word saumyatvam means tranquility, gentleness. Maunya means the silence of reflecting internally as opposed to projecting externally. After achieving eligibility and qualification by spiritual knowledge from ever reflecting one is called a muni which is derived from the word maunya. The Balava scripture states: By the power of a muni’s meditation reality is reflected and his realizations are reflected upon reality. Otherwise it would not be possible for a person to perform penance within the mind.
Now begins the summation.
By only performing authorized Vedic yagnas or acts of propitiation and worship to the Supreme Lord residence is gained in the temporary heavenly worlds. These worlds are incomparably beautiful and grant unlimited pleasure without the hindrances of old age and decrepitude or any sickness and disease. The heavenly kingdoms are inhabited by jivas or embodied beings who had desires for pleasure and opulence but still lived a pious life in their previous birth. They are similar to the demigods whose limitations exceded their capabilities and failed in their attempts to be pure devotees of Lord Krishna due to cravings for pleasure and sense enjoyment. Thus they gain the heavenly worlds and due to pious activities in the previous life and are exempt from suffering in the dark, hellish planets. But the jivas who enact rituals and ceremonies not authorized by the Vedic scriptures and who perform prohibited and sinful activities will descend to suffer in the dark, hellish planet without a doubt. They are those who were born in tama guna the mode of ignorance and performed degraded activities from the very beginning or may have started their lives situated in sattva guna or the mode of goodness but later due to bad association unfortunately degraded into raja guna the mode of passion and tama guna and performed depraved activities. Others perform activities not in harmony with their natures and after some time they fall back into their old habits. Performance of activities in harmony with one’s natural attributes and nature gives the best results. Performing activities not in accordance with one’s natural attributes and contrary to one’s nature gives inferior results. That which gives the best results should be understood as being the natural attributes of a jiva and this will reflect in the inherent attributes one possesses.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Now the austerities of the mind are given by Lord Krishna beginning with manah-prasada or tranquillity due to self satisfaction. Mental purity due to the absence of lust, anger and greed. Silence is avoidance of useless mundane conversations. Self-control is directing the mind away from unrighteous activities and focusing it on spiritual activities. Purity of heart is freedom from hankerings and desires for sense gratification. All these constitute austerities of speech in sattva guna the mode of goodness.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
17.16 Manah-prasadah, tranquillity of mind, making the mind free from anxiety; saumyatvam, gentleness-that which is called kindliness of spirit, [Kindliness towards all, and also not entertaining any evil thought towards anybody.] a certain condition of the mind resulting in calmness of the face, etc.; maunam, reticence-since even the control of speech follows from the control of mind, therefore the cause is implied by the effect; so maunam means control of the mind; [Or, maunam may mean thinking of the Self, the attitude of a meditator. The context being of ‘mental austerity’, reticence is explained as control of the mind with regard to speech.] atma-vinigrahah, withdrawal of the mind-withdrawal of the mind in a general way, from everything; maunam (control of the mind) is the mind’s withdrawal with regard to speech alone; this is the distinction-; bhava-samsuddhih, purity of heart, absence of trickery while dealing with others; iti etat, these are; what is ucyate, called; manasam, mental; tapah, austerity. How the above-described bodily, verbal and mental austerities undertaken by poeple are divided into three classes-of sattva etc.-is being stated:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
17.14-16 Deva – etc. upto manasam ucyate : Honesty : uprightness, i.e., the courage regarding what needs no hiding. Which is true : This is explained by ‘Which is pleasant and beneficial’. Pleasant : at the time of [hearing] that speech. And beneficial : something in future. This type of speech, but not merely speaking what actually happened, is called ‘speaking the truth’. Purity of thought : ‘Thought’ denotes intention; its highest purity.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
bhava-samsuddhir ity etat
tapo manasam ucyate
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
manaḥ-prasādaḥ — satisfaction of the mind; saumyatvam — being without duplicity towards others; maunam — gravity; ātma — of the self; vinigrahaḥ — control; bhāva — of one’s nature; saḿśuddhiḥ — puriﬁcation; iti — thus; etat — this; tapaḥ — austerity; mānasam — of the mind; ucyate — is said to be.