balaḿ balavatāḿ cāhaḿ
kāmo ’smi bharatarṣabha
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 7.11
I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna].
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The strong man’s strength should be applied to protect the weak, not for personal aggression. Similarly, sex life, according to religious principles (dharma), should be for the propagation of children, not otherwise. The responsibility of parents is then to make their offspring Krishna conscious.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
I am the strength of the strong, not displayed out of anger or used with the desire to maintain to ones own lifestyle. 1 am lust not contrary to dharma, directed towards one’s wife only for the production of children.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
7.8 – 7.11 All these entities with their peculiar characteristic are born from Me alone. They depend on Me; inasmuch as they constitute My body, they exist in Me alone. Thus I alone exist while all of them are only My modes.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Rajas or passion is an active desire for things unattained. Attachment though is a passive emotion of the mind which incites the thirst for more of a desired object after already experiencing it. So when Lord Krishna states: kama-raga-vivarjitam meaning devoid of passion and attachment He is explaining the nature of His strength. He is the serene, sublime strength which empowers one to regularly perform their spiritual duties without deviation or cessation. He is also the passion which is never contrary to sanatan dharma or eternal righteousness and which is beneficial in marriage and having a son by one’s wife.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Being completely devoid of desires and attachments Lord Krishna is eternally full and powerful in strength. This is His natural propensity and contains no rajas or passion. Since He bestows strength similar to His like He did with the five Pandavas, He is balam balavatam or the strength of the strong. Since ba symbolises strength and la symbolises bliss, He is the bliss of strength Himself.
It is primarily the unchecked desires for sensual enjoyments that causes the diminution of piety and morality; but these desires are not detrimental if they are attuned to sanatan dharma or eternal righteousness. The Supreme Lord resides in all desires that are not contrary to sanatan dharma; but he never resides in any action that is contrary to righteousness. Therefore the Supreme Lord Krishna even while abiding in everything still has the capacity to remain distinct from them although as the Supreme Lord He encompasses all.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna continues explaining His subtle qualities that He is the strength of the mighty performing their individual duties devoid of passion and attachment. He is the energy of sexual desire for procreation which is not contrary to virtue and righteousness and does not conflict with the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. Passion is the unabated craving to get a not yet obtained object with the thought to enjoy it. Attachment is the mental conditioning which after obtaining and enjoying an object makes one cling to the conception that such an object must always remain and continued to be enjoyed.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
7.11 I am the balam, strength, ability, virility; balavatam, of the strong. That strength, again, is kama-raga-vivarjitam, devoid of passion and attachment. Kamah is passion, hankering for things not at hand. Ragah is attachment, fondness for things acquired. I am the strength that is devoid of them and is necessary merely for the maintenance of the body etc., but not that strength of the worldly which causes hankering and attachment. Further, bhutesu, among creatures; I am that kamah, desire-such desires as for eating, drinking, etc. which are for the mere maintenance of the body and so on; which is dharma-aviruddhah, not contrary to righteousness, not opposed to scriptural injunctions; bharatarsabha, O scion of the Bharata dynasty. Moreover,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
7.10-11 Bijam etc. Balam etc. The seed : the subtle prime cause. The strength, free from desire and attachment : It is of the nature of vigour and is capable of supporting all that exist. Deire : the Will, which is nothing but Pure Consciousness and which is not opposed to any of the attributes (its objects) like pot, cloth etc. For, the Will, because it is the [conscious] energy of the Bhagavat, is immanent in all and nowhere is it opposed, eventhough it is being differentiated (i.e. the wills or desires are classified) on account of its attributes like pot, cloth etc., which are [only] accidental. Thus the wise, because they are devoted to this Will, are of the nature of Pure Consciousness. That has been said also in the Sivopanisad as – ‘[A man of wisdom] would concentrate his mind on the Will or [Self] Consciousness that arises’. (VB, 98) [Here in this quotation] that arises means ‘that has just risen but has not yet spread outside.’ Ignoring this way of interpretation [of the Gita passage] some interpret it so as to bring out the idea ‘He would enjoy the group of the three, not hindering mutually’. These (commentators) are ignorant of the customs (karma) sanctioned by the traditions; yet they interpret the secret about the Absolute ! No doubt they deserve [our] salutation.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
balam balavatam caham
kamo ’smi bharatarsabha
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
balam — strength; bala-vatām — of the strong; ca — and; aham — I am; kāma — passion; rāga — and attachment; vivarjitam — devoid of; dharma-aviruddhaḥ — not against religious principles; bhūteṣu — in all beings; kāmaḥ — sex life; asmi — I am; bharata-ṛṣabha — O lord of the Bhāratas.