māḿ hi pārtha vyapāśritya
ye ’pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
te ’pi yānti parāḿ gatim
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.32
O son of Pritha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaishyas [merchants] and shudras [workers]—can attain the supreme destination.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower and higher classes of people. In the material conception of life there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18) it is stated that even the lowest, who are called candalas (dog-eaters), can be purified by association with a pure devotee. Therefore devotional service and the guidance of a pure devotee are so strong that there is no discrimination between the lower and higher classes of men; anyone can take to it. The most simple man taking shelter of the pure devotee can be purified by proper guidance. According to the different modes of material nature, men are classified in the mode of goodness (brahmanas), the mode of passion (kshatriyas, or administrators), the mixed modes of passion and ignorance (vaishyas, or merchants), and the mode of ignorance (sudras, or workers). Those lower than them are called candalas, and they are born in sinful families. Generally, the association of those born in sinful families is not accepted by the higher classes. But the process of devotional service is so strong that the pure devotee of the Supreme Lord can enable people of all the lower classes to attain the highest perfection of life. This is possible only when one takes shelter of Krishna. As indicated here by the word vyapasritya, one has to take shelter completely of Krishna. Then one can become much greater than great jnanis and yogis.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Is it so remarkable that my bhakti does not consider the accidental faults arising by actions of my misbehaving devotee? For my bhakti does not even consider the inherent faults of such a person arising from his birth. Even those of sinful birth (papa yonayah), outcastes or mlecchas, who surrender to me, attain the supreme goal.
abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah
ye’nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah
sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah
Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power.I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him. SB 2.4.18
aho bata sva-paco ‘to gariyan
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are wprshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required. SB 3.33.7
What then to speak of women, vaisyas or others with such bad qualities as impurity?
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.32 – 9.33 Women, Vaisyas and Sudras, and even those who are of sinful birth, can attain the supreme state by taking refuge in Me. How much more then the well-born Brahmanas and royal sages who are devoted to me! Therefore, roayl sage that you are, do worship Me, as you have come to this transient and joyless world stricken by the threefold afflictions. Sri Krsna now describes the nature of Bhakti:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
What is there to wonder that bhakti or loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna purifies one of previously abominable behaviour? When it liberates from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death even low born and unqualified persons. This is being confirmed here that those born sinfully out of wedlock, those born in the poorest and most degraded of families such as mleccha or meat eaters, those who are vaisyas the mercantile class engaged only in business, sudras the menial class, women and all others who are devoid of Vedic knowledge. If any of them are accepted by the bonafide spiritual preceptor in one of the four authorised channels of spiritual knowledge and take complete refuge in the Supreme Lord Krishna worshipping Him or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions, it is assured undoubtedly that they will attain the Supreme destination of 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:
It has been established that bhakti or loving devotion to Lord Krishna exclusively purifies a devotee of the blemish of heinous and abominable practices due to unrighteous character and habits and that bhakti alone is capable of leading such a one directly to the supreme destination of the spiritual worlds and into Supreme Lords eternal association. Now Lord Krishna enumerates on this supreme destination even being accessible to those who are unworthy due to circumstances of birth. This includes those of vile birth such as untouchables, mleechas or meateaters, those born illegitimately, those without education, vaisyas or the mercantile class which is situated below women and above sudras which is the menial class. All these lack the qualification for Vedic knowledge and thus destitute of righteous conduct are only eligible to exist on the lowest path of existence; but if they somehow or other receive the mercy of a devotee of Lord Krishna. By this mercy taking sole refuge in the Supreme Lord then they also will verily reach the Supreme destination as well.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.32 Hi, for; O son of Prtha, ye api, even those; papayonayah syuh, who are born of sin;-as to who they are, the Lord says-striyah, women; vaisyah, Vaisyas, tatha, as also; sudrah, Sudras; te api, even they; yanti, reach, go to; the param, highest; gatim, Goal vyapasritya, by taking shelter; mam, under Me-by accepting Me as their refuge.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.32-34 Man hi etc; upto Matparayanah. Those who are of sinful birth : I.e., the animals, birds, reptiles etc. Women denotes the ignorant. Men of working class denotes those who find pleasure in different vocations, like agriculture etc. Men of the fourth caste : those who do not have any claim whatsoever for [performing] the Vedic rituals and whose livelihood depend on others. By taking refuge [solely] in Me, even these all attain Me alone. The deeds of the exceedingly compassionate Bhagavat, like the one granting liberation to a chief of the elephants are heard in thousands [in the Puranas]. Certainly it must be so, for those whose behaviour is just the opposite to that of these persons. Some (commentators] declare : The present sentence [of the Lord] intends to glorify the twice-born and members of the ruling class, and it is not uttered with the intention of speaking of the attainment of liberation in the case of the women etc. Indeed these persons [aim to] break into pieces the Graceous-to-all Power of the Bhagavat by foistering upon It, a limited applicability; likwise they do not tolerate the profoundly compassionate nature of the Absolute Lord; they contradict the [Lord’s own] statements ‘To Me none is hateful and none is dear (IX, 30)’, ‘Even a highly evil-doer etc. (IX, 31)’, and other similar statements, very clearly of the same import; with all effort they [strive to] bring in something indicative of duality even in the Absolute-being, Whose non-dual nature has been well established firmly by the diversity of the best reasonings; they are not mindful of other contradictions [that lurk in their theory] with the revealed literature; when simply questioned ‘How is this ?’ and ‘How is that ?’, these persons, having their internal organ totally possessed by the mighty devil of the caste [considerations], concealed within, and having their tongue, face and eyes all twisted by their sense of jealously, hypocrisy and shame-they prattle evil for the entire humanity; and thus they put upon themselves the status of being an object of ridicule. Therefore the above explanation [of ours] does good to all.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te ’pi yanti param gatim
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
mām — of Me; hi — certainly; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; vyapāśritya — particularly taking shelter; ye — those who; api — also; syuḥ — are; pāpa-yonayaḥ — born of a lower family; striyaḥ — women; vaiśyāḥ — mercantile people; tathā — also; śūdrāḥ — lower-class men; te api — even they; yānti — go; parām — to the supreme; gatim — destination.
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Thank you for sharing the comments that are available. I ask women not to be mistaken by the words. The translations were made by men in other times, when there were no equal chances for education (up to a certain level we still have less chances). As I understand it, there are two possible translations which are both allowed. So the “papa yonayah” does not necessarily include women, vaisyas and sudras. We should read: … even those born of a lower family as well as women, vaisyas and sudras … go to the supreme destination, when they take shelter of Me.
By the way, the difficulties rise only when we think ourselves to be this body. That is our false ego. We (women and men) should realize that we are a soul, which is covered temporarily by a body. Out of 8.400.000 life forms we reached this human body. With this higher consciousness we have an opportunity to become a devotee of our Lord and serve Him. That is how we reach the supreme destination.