idaḿ tu te guhya-tamaḿ
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.1
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most confidential knowledge and realization, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
As a devotee hears more and more about the Supreme Lord, he becomes enlightened. This hearing process is recommended in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: “The messages of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are full of potencies, and these potencies can be realized if topics regarding the Supreme Godhead are discussed amongst devotees. This cannot be achieved by the association of mental speculators or academic scholars, for it is realized knowledge.”
The devotees are constantly engaged in the Supreme Lord’s service. The Lord understands the mentality and sincerity of a particular living entity who is engaged in Krishna consciousness and gives him the intelligence to understand the science of Krishna in the association of devotees. Discussion of Krishna is very potent, and if a fortunate person has such association and tries to assimilate the knowledge, then he will surely make advancement toward spiritual realization. Lord Krishna, in order to encourage Arjuna to higher and higher elevation in His potent service, describes in this Ninth Chapter matters more confidential than any He has already disclosed.
The very beginning of Bhagavad-gita, the First Chapter, is more or less an introduction to the rest of the book; and in the Second and Third chapters, the spiritual knowledge described is called confidential. Topics discussed in the Seventh and Eighth chapters are specifically related to devotional service, and because they bring enlightenment in Krishna consciousness, they are called more confidential. But the matters which are described in the Ninth Chapter deal with unalloyed, pure devotion. Therefore this is called the most confidential. One who is situated in the most confidential knowledge of Krishna is naturally transcendental; he therefore has no material pangs, although he is in the material world. In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu it is said that although one who has a sincere desire to render loving service to the Supreme Lord is situated in the conditional state of material existence, he is to be considered liberated. Similarly, we shall find in the Bhagavad-gita, Tenth Chapter, that anyone who is engaged in that way is a liberated person.
Now this first verse has specific significance. The words idam jnanam (“this knowledge”) refer to pure devotional service, which consists of nine different activities: hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping, praying, obeying, maintaining friendship and surrendering everything. By the practice of these nine elements of devotional service one is elevated to spiritual consciousness, Krishna consciousness. When one’s heart is thus cleared of material contamination, one can understand this science of Krishna. Simply to understand that a living entity is not material is not sufficient. That may be the beginning of spiritual realization, but one should recognize the difference between activities of the body and the spiritual activities of one who understands that he is not the body.
In the Seventh Chapter we have already discussed the opulent potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His different energies, the inferior and superior natures, and all this material manifestation. Now in Chapter Nine the glories of the Lord will be delineated.
The Sanskrit word anasuyave in this verse is also very significant. Generally the commentators, even if they are highly scholarly, are all envious of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the most erudite scholars write on Bhagavad-gita very inaccurately. Because they are envious of Krishna, their commentaries are useless. The commentaries given by devotees of the Lord are bona fide. No one can explain Bhagavad-gita or give perfect knowledge of Krishna if he is envious. One who criticizes the character of Krishna without knowing Him is a fool. So such commentaries should be very carefully avoided. For one who understands that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the pure and transcendental Personality, these chapters will be very beneficial.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The majestic aspect of the Lord as the object of worship, suitable for his servants, and the excellence of that pure devotee are described clearly in the ninth chapter.
Bhakti is superior to karma, jnana, yoga and other processes. As described in the seventh chapter, such bhakti is either pradhanibhuta or kevala. And amongst the types of bhakti, the supreme position of kevala bhakti, which is extremely powerful, not dependent of purity of heart or other elements like jnana, has clearly been shown.
The ninth chapter begins to speak about the powers of the Lord required as knowledge in performing that pure bhakti. The Gita is the essence of all scriptures, and essence of the Gita is the middle six chapters. The middle of those six chapters, the ninth and tenth chapters, is the further essence of the six chapters.
In three verses the Lord, praises what he will be describing in the chapter. The jnana which gives liberation described in the second, third and other chapters is guhya, or secret. The knowledge which I reveal in the seventh and eighth chapter, which is suitable for attainment of me, knowledge which is actually knowledge of Bhagavan, knowledge of bhakti, is guhyatara, more secret. In this chapter, I will speak to you knowledge about kevala, or suddha bhakti, which is by far guhyatama, most secret.
By the word jnana or knowledge, one should understand that it means only bhakti, not the well known jnana mentioned in the first six chapters. In the second verse, by using the adjective avyayam or indestructible, it must be understood that this knowledge is beyond the gunas. It is bhakti, which is beyond the gunas, not the jnana mentioned earlier, which is in sattva guna. In verse 3, the word dharma means only bhakti as well. I will teach this most secret bhakti to you, to one who is not hostile or selfish (anasuyave). This indicates that there is a rule that bhakti is taught only to one who is not selfish or inimical. I will teach you this bhakti (jnana), extending up to direct realization of me (vijnana sahitam), by which bhakti you will be freed from rebirth, or freed from all obstacles to bhakti (asubhat).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.1 The Lord said — I will declare to you, who does not cavil, this most mysterious knowledge called Upasana, which is of the nature of Bhakti, together with special knowledge, namely, the distinguishing knowledge of how it differs from other meditations. The import is this: You have heard of My eminence, which is distinct in kind from all other forms of greatness and is unlimited in its modes. You must have been convinced that it can be so only and not otherwise. To you whose mind is thus prepared, I shall declare that knowledge by acquiring which, and making which your way of life, you will be emancipated from all evil that hinders you from attaining Me.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
In the previous chapter Lord Krishna has established that the Supreme Lord can only be attained by bhakti or pure loving devotion. Now in this chapter the Supreme Lord’s most marvelous and phenomenal glories will be expounded. Lord Krishna having first explained in the seventh and eighth chapters how the Supreme Lord is easily attainable solely by bhakti alone and by no other means is it possible, He delineates the incomprehensible glory and extraordinary power of pure loving devotion. Lord Krishna uses the word anasuvaye meaning one who is not subject to envy and malice which He specifies is Arjuna and He also uses the compound word vijnana-sahitam meaning direct realisation of Him. Lord Krishna is infinitely merciful. One who through the greatest ignorance finds any fault in the Supreme Lord, thinking that He is not expounding the factual reality and thinking that He is repeatedly expounding His own greatness in this treatise and merely glorifying Himself is a gross offender. To neutralise the possibility of such foolish mentalities Lord Krishna emphasises what is to come by a metaphor with the word guhyatamam meaning most secret treasure. Factual knowledge about spiritual matters is confidential. Even more confidential than that is knowledge about the atma or the eternal soul which resides within the subtle and physical body of all sentient beings. But the most confidential knowledge is actual knowledge about the Supreme Lord which is the greatest mystery and by achieving realisation of one is never again subjected to maya or illusory impressions superimposed upon the mind and is immediately liberated from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and attains the immortal spiritual worlds in eternal association with Him.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
In the seventh and eighth chapters Lord Krishna described: 1) The paramount position of the Supreme Lord. 2) The various types of devotees of the Supreme Lord. 3) Bhakti or pure loving devotion as the only way to attain the Supreme Lord. 4) That atma tattva or soul realisation is a prerequisite for attaining the Supreme Lord. 5) Only the devotees who have achieved the above attain liberation and the Supreme Lord. 6) Those who lack sufficient knowledge and soul realisation are reborn again and again.
In this chapter Lord Krishna begins revealing confidential information about the Supreme Lord as well as the glory and extraordinary power of the devotees. Now in order to express the greatness of spiritual knowledge and to censure those in ignorance with little or no faith in Him; Lord Krishna uses the word anasuyave meaning to those without envy and duplicity He will reveal this guhyatamam or confidential knowledge. The wisdom of righteousness by which the atma or soul is known as distinct from the physical body which is even more confidential and the most confidential of all is knowledge about the Supreme Lord because such wisdom is only attained solely by pure, loving devotion which gives direct perception of the Supreme Lord in reality. Once this wisdom is incorporated into one’s everyday life experience, wisdom of the Supreme Lord, His method of worship and the daily regulated practice that follows such wisdom frees one from the dross and impurities o material existence and removes all the obstacles and things antagonistic to attaining the Supreme Lord Krishna.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.1 Te, to you; anasuyave, who are not given to cavilling, who are free from carping; pravaksyami, I shall speak of; idam, this. The Lord uttered the word ‘this’ by bearing in mind as an immediately present fact the knowledge of Brahman that will be and was spoken of in the earlier chapters. The word tu (however) is used for pointing out a distinction [The distinction of Knowledge from meditation that was being discussed.]. (I shall speak) of this itself-what is that?-(it is) guhyatamam, the highest secret; and is jnanam, Knowledge, complete Knowledge-nothing else-, the direct means to Liberation, as stated in the Upanisads and the Smrtis, ‘Vasudeva is all’ (7.19), ‘the Self verily is all this’ (Ch. 7.25.2), ‘One only, without a second’ (op. cit. 6.2.1), etc., and also as stated in such Upanisadic texts as, ‘On the other hand, those who understand otherwise than this come under a different ruler, and belong to the worlds that are subject to decay’ (op. cit. 7.25.2). (Knowledge) of what kind? It is vijnana-sahitam, combined with experience; jnatva, by realizing, by attaining; yat, which Knowledge; moksyase, you shall be free; asubhat, from evil, from worldly bondage.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.1 Idam etc. Not to entertain displeasure is an important requisite for communicating knowledge. The words Jnana and Vijnana [mean respectively ‘knowledge’ and ‘action’] as above.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
idam tu te guhya-tamam
yaj jñatva moksyase ’subhat
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; idam — this; tu — but; te — unto you; guhya-tamam — the most conﬁdential; pravakṣyāmi — I am speaking; anasūyave — to the nonenvious; jñānam — knowledge; vijñāna — realized knowledge; sahitam — with; yat — which; jñātvā — knowing; mokṣyase — you will be released; aśubhāt — from this miserable material existence.