na śocati na kāńkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiḿ labhate parām
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.54
One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
To the impersonalist, achieving the brahma-bhuta stage, becoming one with the Absolute, is the last word. But for the personalist, or pure devotee, one has to go still further, to become engaged in pure devotional service. This means that one who is engaged in pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord is already in a state of liberation, called brahma-bhuta, oneness with the Absolute. Without being one with the Supreme, the Absolute, one cannot render service unto Him. In the absolute conception, there is no difference between the served and the servitor; yet the distinction is there, in a higher spiritual sense.
In the material concept of life, when one works for sense gratification, there is misery, but in the absolute world, when one is engaged in pure devotional service, there is no misery. The devotee in Krishna consciousness has nothing for which to lament or desire. Since God is full, a living entity who is engaged in God’s service, in Krishna consciousness, becomes also full in himself. He is just like a river cleansed of all dirty water. Because a pure devotee has no thought other than Krishna, he is naturally always joyful. He does not lament for any material loss or aspire for gain, because he is full in the service of the Lord. He has no desire for material enjoyment, because he knows that every living entity is a fragmental part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and therefore eternally a servant. He does not see, in the material world, someone as higher and someone as lower; higher and lower positions are ephemeral, and a devotee has nothing to do with ephemeral appearances or disappearances. For him stone and gold are of equal value. This is the brahma-bhuta stage, and this stage is attained very easily by the pure devotee. In that stage of existence, the idea of becoming one with the Supreme Brahman and annihilating one’s individuality becomes hellish, the idea of attaining the heavenly kingdom becomes phantasmagoria, and the senses are like serpents’ teeth that are broken. As there is no fear of a serpent with broken teeth, there is no fear from the senses when they are automatically controlled. The world is miserable for the materially infected person, but for a devotee the entire world is as good as Vaikuntha, or the spiritual sky. The highest personality in this material universe is no more significant than an ant for a devotee. Such a stage can be achieved by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, who preached pure devotional service in this age.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
With the removal of all misconceptions or appearances (upadhi), one attains the state of brahman (brahma bhutah), by being in a state of uncovered consciousness. Because of the disappearance of the contamination of the gunas, he is said to be pure (prasanna) and he is the soul (atma). And because of absence of misconceptions of body, when he loses something he does not lament and when he fails to attain something he does not hanker for it (na socati na kanksati), unlike his previous state.
Like an innocent child, he regards all beings as equal whether good or bad without looking at the externals. With the cessation of jnana, like a fire which dies without fuel, he attains indestructible bhakti to me in the form of hearing chanting and other processes, arising after the cessation of jnana. Attainment of bhakti is through the action of my svarupa sakti, since bhakti alone does not disappear even with the disappearance of vidya and avidya, being different from the maya sakti. It is called param being far superior to jnana. Remaining after the disappearance of niskama karma, jnana and any other process, it surpasses all others, and is pure. Thus param is equal to the word kevalam.
Though bhakti was previously present in small proportion during practices such as jnana and vairagya, just in order to bring about liberation, bhakti was not clearly visible, being like the antaryami in all beings. Therefore the word attains (labhate) is the suitable word rather than produces, since it was already present within the person. Though mixed with a tangle of plants, which are impermanent, indestructible gold and jewels attain purity (kevalam) by being separated from those things. At this particular time, there is generally the attainment of prema bhakti in its complete form, rather than its other fruit, sayujya. Thus the phrase param bhakti also indicates prema bhakti in this verse.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.54 ‘Having realised the state of Brahman,’ means having got from revelation an understanding of the nature of the self as consisting of unlimited knowledge and of being a Sesa (subservient being) to Me. Subservience to Me has been posited in, ‘Know that which is other than this (Prakrti or lower Nature) to be the higher Prakrti of Mine’ (7.5). One who is ‘tranquil’ means one who is not contaminated by various forms of grief (the five Klesas of Yoga-sutras), and does not grieve about any being other than Myself, nor desires anything other than Myself. On the other hand, he becomes equally indifferent to all beings other than Myself as worthless as straw and attains supreme Bhakti for Me. He attains ‘supreme devotion’ to Me, which is of the form of an experience which makes Me dear beyond all description — Me the Lord of all, to whom creation, protection and dissolution of the universe is a sport, who is devoid of the slightest trace of evil, who is the sole seat of countless hosts of auspicious attributes which are excellent and unlimited; and who is the ocean of the elixir of beauty; who is the Lord of Sri; who is Lotus-eyed; and who is the self’s own Lord. Sri Krsna declares the fruits of this (devotion):
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The result of remaining steadfast in realisation of the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is that serenity and tranquillity is the natural state of mind which is unperturbed by what may have been lost as well as devoid of desires over what is yet to be gained for such an unwavering mind does not identify itself with the physical body or concern itself with mundane pursuits. Hence exhibiting equipoise to all jivas or embodied beings due to the absence of distractions arising from obsession and aversion such a one attains supreme devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna in the form of perceiving that He is existing as paramatma the omniscient all pervading super soul in every jiva.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna expounds upon the characteristics of one who has become qualified for realising the state of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. One who has experienced the wisdom derived from the manifestation of pure knowledge and is of cheerful mind without any desire for sense objects, who neither greives what is lost or craves for what is unachieved, who due to inner satisfaction resulting from perception of the atma or immortal soul, regards a clod of earth, a stone and a lump of gold as all the same and looks at all jivas or embodied beings with the same equanimity. Such a one is not a friend to those who praise and honor him; nor an enemy to those who criticise and ridicule him. Such ones attain supreme state known as bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord. Bhakti is the supreme perfection of all knowledge. The famous verse in Bhagavat Purana I.VII.X beginning atmaramas ca munayo meaning: All types of liberated beings who delight in communion with the immortal soul and are free from material bondage; still eagerly desire to render bhakti unto the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures. This confirms that Lord Krishna has transcendental qualities and divine attributes so wonderful that even those who have achieved moksa or liberation from material existence are still enthused to worship and serve Him. Liberated beings referred to are the four Kumaras led by Sanandana. In this way explaining the highest platform as that of one who renders bhakti unto the Supreme Lord with total purity of heart who is established in atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul. Devoid of these qualifications it is not possible to realise the state of the brahman in which one perceives all jivas in a state of perfect equanimity. In the absence of realising the state of brahman it is imposiible to become established in atma tattva and devoid of atma tattva is is impossible to achieve the supreme destination and attain communion with the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.54 Brahma-bhutah, one who has become Brahman, attained Brahman through the above process; and prasanna-atma, [Prasada means the manifestation of the supreme Bliss of the Self as a result of the total cessation of all evils. Prasanna-atma is one who has attained this in the present life itself.] has attained the blissful Self, the indwelling Self; na, does not; socati, grieve-does not lament for the loss of something or the lack of some quality in oneself; nor kanksati, desire. By saying ‘he does not grieve nor desire’, this nature of one who has attained Brahman is being restated. For it does not stand to reason that in the case of a knower of Brahman there can be any hankering for something unattained. Or, (in place of kanksati) teh reading may be na hrsyati, does not become elated. Becoming samah, the same; sarvesu bhutesu, towards all being-i.e., he verily judges what is happiness and sorrow in all beings by the same standard as he would apply to himself (cf. 6.32); but the meaning is not ‘seeing the Self alike in all beings’, for this will be spoken of in (the next verse), ‘Through devotion he knows Me’-; he, the one who is of this kind and steadfast in Knowledge, labhate, attains; param, supreme; madbhaktim, devotion to Me, to the supreme Lord; (he attains) devotion which is described as Knowledge, as the ‘fourth’ in, ‘…four classes of people…adore Me’ (7.16). Then,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
18.41-60 Brahmana – etc. upto avasopitat. Surely the intrinsic nature of the Brahmanas etc., does not voilate what has been difined (above) by way of classifying their duties. Therefore, as far as you are concerned, you have the intrinsic quality of the Ksatriya (warrior), and your nature i.e., intrinsic quality, does, without fail, assume the part of the inciter of yourself, even though you don’t like it. For, a person who acts simply being incited by that (natural condition), there is the strong bondage of the merit or demerit. Therefore, perform actions following the means of correct knowledge, taught by Me. In that case, the bondage would disappear. The intention of the principal sentence (statement of the entire passage under study) is to help to get this idea. The meaning of the subordinate sentences (statements) is evident. Briefly (verse 50) : in short. Knowledge : i.e. the one which has been explained earlier. Nistha conveys, avoiding verbal jugglary, the meaning ‘what has been determined’. He who is endowed with intellect totally pure etc. : All this has been almost explained already. Hence, no more trouble is taken [to comment upon it].
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
brahma-bhūtaḥ — being one with the Absolute; prasanna-ātmā — fully joyful; na — never; śocati — laments; na — never; kāńkṣati — desires; samaḥ — equally disposed; sarveṣu — to all; bhūteṣu — living entities; mat-bhaktim — My devotional service; labhate — gains; parām — transcendental.