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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Verse 4

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 15 श्लोक 4

ततः पदं तत्परिमार्गितव्य
यस्मिन्गता न निवर्तन्ति भूयः।
तमेव चाद्यं पुरुषं प्रपद्ये
यतः प्रवृत्तिः प्रसृता पुराणी।।15.4।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

15.4 Thereafter, that State has to be sought for, going where they do not return again: I take refuge in that Primeval Person Himself, from whom has ensued the eternal Manifestation.

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

15.4 Then That goal should be sought for, whither having gone none returns again. I seek refuge in that Primeval Purusha Whence streamed forth the ancient activity or energy.

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

15.4. Then that Abode must be sought, having reached Which one would not return. [The Yogin] would attain nothing but that Primal Person from Whom the old activity (world creation) commences.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

15.4 ततः then? पदम् goal? तत् That? परिमार्गितव्यम् should be sought for? यस्मिन् whither? गताः gone? न not? निवर्तन्ति return? भूयः again? तम् that? एव even? च and? आद्यम् primeval? पुरुषम् Purusha? प्रपद्ये I seek refuge? यतः whence? प्रवृत्तिः activity or energy? प्रसृता streamed forth? पुराणी ancient.Commentary That which fills the whole world with the form of ExistenceKnowledgeBliss is Purusha. Or? that which sleeps in this Puri (city) of the body is the Purusha.Singleminded devotion which consists of ceaselessly thinking of or meditating on the Supreme Being is the sure means of attaining Selfrealisation. Taking sole refuge in the Primeval Purusha is the means to know or realise that supreme goal goind whither the wise do not return again to this world of death.The aspirant should know the abode of Vishnu. He should struggle hard to reach it. He should seek it by taking refuge in the Primeval Purusha. If he reaches this immortal abode of Vishnu or the imperishable Brahmic seat of ineffable splendour and glory he will never return to this mortal world.The Primeval Purusha or the pure? Supreme Being Who is ExistenceKnowledgeBliss Absolute is the goal or the supreme abode or the abode of Vishnu. Just as illusory objects like elephants? horses? etc.? come forth through the jugglery of the magician? so also this ancient energy or the original divine power or emanation of this tree or illusory Samsara has streamed forth from that Primeval Purusha.What sort of persons reach that goal eternal Listen.

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

15.4 Tatah, thereafter; tat, that; padam, State of Visnu; parimargitavyam, has to be sought for, i.e. realized; gatah, going, entering; yasmin, where, into which State; they na, do not; nivartanti, return; bhuyah, again, for worldly life. As to how It is to be sought for, the Lord says: Prapadye, I take refuge; tam, in that; adyam, Primeval-existing from the beginning; purusam, Person, who has been mentioned by the word State; eva, Himself. The search has to be carried on thus, i.e., by taking refuge in Him. Who is that Person? That is being stated: Yatah, from whom, from which Person; prasrta, has ensued, like jugglery from a magician; purani, the eternal; pravrttih, Manifestation, the magic Tree of the World. What kind of persons reach that State? This is being answered:

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

15.4 See Comment under 15.5

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

15.3 - 15.4 The form of this tree, having its origin above, i.e., in the four-faced Brahma and branches below in the sense that man forms the crest through continual lineage therefrom, and also having its branches extended above and below by actions done in the human state and forming secondary roots - that form of the tree is not understood by people immersed in Samsara. Only this much is perceived: I am a man, the son of Devadatta, the father of Yajnadatta; I have property appropriate to these conditions. Likewise, it is not understood that its destruction can be brought about by detachment from enjoyments which are based on Gunas. Similarly it is not perceived that attachment to the Gunas alone is the beginning of this (tree). Again, it is not perceived that the basis of this tree is founded on ignorance which is the misconception of self as non-self. Ignorance alone is the basis of this tree, since in it alone the tree is fixed. This Asvattha, described above, firm-rooted, i.e., the roots of which are firm and manifold, is to be cut off by the strong axe of detachment, namely, detachment from the sense objects composed of the three Gunas. This can be forged through perfect knowledge. As one gains detachment from sense-objects, one should seek and find out the goal from which nobody ever returns. How does this attachment to sense-objects, which consists of the Gunas and erroneous knowledge forming its cause, cease to exist? Sri Krsna now answers: One should seek refuge (Prapadyet) in the Primal Person alone in order to overcome this ignorance. One should seek refuge (Prapadyeta) in Him who is primal, namely, the beginning of all entities, as stated in the following text: With Me as the Lord, the Prakrti gives birth to all that which moves, and that which does not move (9.10), I am the origin of all; from Me proceed everything (10.8), and There is nothing higher than Me, O Arjuna (7.7). From Me, the creator of everything, has streamed forth this ancient activity, continuing from time immermorial, of attachment to sense-objects consisting of Gunas. This has been declared already by Me: For this divine Maya of Mine consisting of the Gunas is hard to break through. But those who take refuge in me alone shall pass beyond this Maya (7.14). Or a variant of this stanza is prapadya iyatah pravrttih (in place of prapadyet yatah pravrittih). This gives the sense that this discipline of taking refuge in the Supreme Person for dispelling of ignorance has continued from a distant past. The tendencies of ancient persons seeking liberation are also ancient. The purport is this: The ancient liberation-seekers, taking refuge in Me alone, were released from bondage. [This can be taken to mean that Prapatti or taking refuge in the Lord had originated in the Bhakti tradition of the Sri-Vaisnavites from ancient sages i.e., from the Alvars who preceded Ramanuja by several centuries. It is not a creation of Ramanuja].

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The reality of this asvattha or ancient banyan tree having its roots above and branches below is not perceivable by jivas or embodied beings habitating material existence in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death for 43,200,000 lifetimes that transpire for a human in one day of Brahma. Neither can its end be discerned or its beginning determined. It is unlimited and its continuity and how it exists is unknown. Since this tree is extremely difficult to uproot and surmount and is also the actual cause of all suffering, a spiritually knowledegable living entity should sever all ties from this tree by the weapons of nonattachment and dispassion and strive for attaining atma tattva or realisation of their immortal soul. Enunciated clearly having severed all ties to this deep rooted and all encompassing tree with the powerful discriminative weapon of renunciation which consists of relinquishing all concepts of ego such as I and mine and instead see oneself as belonging fully to the Supreme Lord Krishna in complete communion with Him, who is the ultimate source from where this tree has arisen. Upon realising the Supreme Lord one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence and is no longer subject to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. In conclusion one must wholeheartedly seek communion with the Supreme Lord and take full shelter of Him by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

This ancient asvattha or banyan tree represents material existence but it is not perceivable yet it is seen to have been established. The word adi means beginning and anta means the end which refer to the Supreme Lord. The Bhagavad Purana states: The Supreme Lord is the beginning, the end and the middle as well. The Moksa Dharma states: The Supreme Lord has neither beginning nor ending, more the demigods and seers cannot penetrate. The compound word asanga-sastrena means the wisdom of non-attachment arising from association with Vaisnava devotees of the Supreme Lord. With the sword of detachment sharpened by meditation on the wisdom of renunciation. By this method the world does not become a place of bondage. By knowledge of the Vedic scriptures and practice the knowledge of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence will be revealed to one. It is confirmed in the Vedic scriptures that: Meditation verily is the way and the means for discrnment and detachment. Such a one will not be bound although others will. The purport is that with the weapon of detachment one should sever ties with everything except the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorised avatars or divine incarnations and expansions. The Moksa Dharma states: When on surrenders unto the Supreme Lord one does not suffer or grieve. Neither is one born, nor does one die. Such a one is verily situated in the brahman. Only one who has been graced by the blessing of the Supreme Lord can be elligible to become qualified to attain this. The describibng of the means of severing attachment have been given for the sake of an aspirant receiving the Supreme Lord grace. No other shelter or refuge exists in all creation other than the Supeme Lord Krishna and this fundamental understanding must be realised. Since this material existence is like a horse with an unstable gait it is known as unsteady. That it is immutable is because samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death is like a stream and endless until one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence. This liberation is determined by detachment. The firm conviction that the Supreme Lord is transcendental to everything in the physical existence is the knowledge gained from the destruction of this ancien banyan tree. The Vedic aphorism neti neti meaning it is not this, it is not that clarifies what is the unmanifest. Realising that the Supreme Lord Krishna is the seperate and distinct from all else is what makes Him clearly superior and paramount. He is the primal Supreme Lord, the only progenitor. All created beings including Brahma, Shiva, Indra and all the 300 million demigods are nothing but emantions from Him like rays of sunlight from the sun.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The jivas or embodied beings immersed in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death are unable to comprehend this asvattha or banyan tree and its symbolism. It is impossible for them to understand that this tree symbolising material existence has its root above in Satyloka with Brahma and its branches descending downwards are all the innumerable jivas or embodied beings throughout all of creation and that humans are its terminals from where there are branches spreading upwards as well determined by karma or reactions to actions based upon following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures which apply when one finally achieves a human form out of the millions of different plants, birds, fish and animal species. As a human one is quickly indoctrinated into samsara with the conceptions of I am. I am a man. I am a king. I am the son of this person. I am the wife of that person. I am beautiful. I am great, etc., etc. Such I am conceptions keeps one locked in samsara and causes one to be fully occupied with mundane concerns and worldly affairs appropriate to such conceptions. Such persons look upon their bodily conceptions as there very self and are completely oblivious that they are factually eternal beings possessing an atma or immortal soul. They perceive not that they can gradually wean themselves from this ancient tree by renuciation of the three gunas or modes of material nature and detachment from the objects of the senses. Neither do they comprehend that the atma is seperate and distinct from the physical body. Nor can they differentiate that the ego is not the physical body and the atma is not the ego. Bewildered by illusion they believe what is unreal to be real and what is real they cannot perceive. The origin and source is unfathomable to them and so deluded they remain in ignorance. This asvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jiva enslaved in samsara can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses. This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jivas and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation. Demolishing this strong and durable asvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces disike and disdain for sense gratification which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the gunas which causes delusion be guaranteed? Lord Krishna has already previously confirmed in chapter VII.VII: That there is nothing superior to Him. In chapter VII.XIV: That those who surrender unto Him alone can surmount the three gunas. In chapter IX, X: That material nature is operating under His control. In X.VIII: That He is the origin and source of all material and spiritual worlds. So let glorious propitiation and devotion be given unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as He alone is the sole refuge of all living entities. Inasmuch as all material impressions, instincts and influences arise from contact with the three gunas proceeding from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is controlled byHim. It is logical to understand that by Him they can also be transcended. The question that naturally comes to mind is how? The word prapadye means surrender. In VII.XIV is stated prapadyante or have surrendered. In this verse a variant is stated as prapadye yatah which by the gramatical rules of Panini can be interpreted as prapadye iyatah meaning by a mere step of surrendering unto Him spiritual impressions, instincts and influences are activated and awaken in such a one. They will manifest as spontaneous impulses arising with frequency in the heart and dispel all nescience. They are ancient because they embody the collective consciousness of all the mumukshas or achievers of moksa or liberation from material existence since time immemorial, who surrendered and took refuge of the Supreme Lord Krishna or His authorised incarnation and expansion as revealed in Vedic scriptures and were released forever from the bondage of samsara.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The jivas or embodied beings immersed in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death are unable to comprehend this asvattha or banyan tree and its symbolism. It is impossible for them to understand that this tree symbolising material existence has its root above in Satyloka with Brahma and its branches descending downwards are all the innumerable jivas or embodied beings throughout all of creation and that humans are its terminals from where there are branches spreading upwards as well determined by karma or reactions to actions based upon following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures which apply when one finally achieves a human form out of the millions of different plants, birds, fish and animal species. As a human one is quickly indoctrinated into samsara with the conceptions of I am. I am a man. I am a king. I am the son of this person. I am the wife of that person. I am beautiful. I am great, etc., etc. Such I am conceptions keeps one locked in samsara and causes one to be fully occupied with mundane concerns and worldly affairs appropriate to such conceptions. Such persons look upon their bodily conceptions as there very self and are completely oblivious that they are factually eternal beings possessing an atma or immortal soul. They perceive not that they can gradually wean themselves from this ancient tree by renuciation of the three gunas or modes of material nature and detachment from the objects of the senses. Neither do they comprehend that the atma is seperate and distinct from the physical body. Nor can they differentiate that the ego is not the physical body and the atma is not the ego. Bewildered by illusion they believe what is unreal to be real and what is real they cannot perceive. The origin and source is unfathomable to them and so deluded they remain in ignorance. This asvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jiva enslaved in samsara can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses. This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jivas and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation. Demolishing this strong and durable asvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces disike and disdain for sense gratification which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the gunas which causes delusion be guaranteed? Lord Krishna has already previously confirmed in chapter VII.VII: That there is nothing superior to Him. In chapter VII.XIV: That those who surrender unto Him alone can surmount the three gunas. In chapter IX, X: That material nature is operating under His control. In X.VIII: That He is the origin and source of all material and spiritual worlds. So let glorious propitiation and devotion be given unto the Supreme Lord Krishna as He alone is the sole refuge of all living entities. Inasmuch as all material impressions, instincts and influences arise from contact with the three gunas proceeding from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is controlled byHim. It is logical to understand that by Him they can also be transcended. The question that naturally comes to mind is how? The word prapadye means surrender. In VII.XIV is stated prapadyante or have surrendered. In this verse a variant is stated as prapadye yatah which by the gramatical rules of Panini can be interpreted as prapadye iyatah meaning by a mere step of surrendering unto Him spiritual impressions, instincts and influences are activated and awaken in such a one. They will manifest as spontaneous impulses arising with frequency in the heart and dispel all nescience. They are ancient because they embody the collective consciousness of all the mumukshas or achievers of moksa or liberation from material existence since time immemorial, who surrendered and took refuge of the Supreme Lord Krishna or His authorised incarnation and expansion as revealed in Vedic scriptures and were released forever from the bondage of samsara.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 15.4

Tatah padam tat parimaargitavyamYasmin gataa na nivartanti bhooyah; Tameva chaadyam purusham prapadyeYatah pravrittih prasritaa puraanee.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 15.4

na—not; rūpam—form; asya—of this; iha—in this world; tathā—as such; upalabhyate—is perceived; na—neither; antaḥ—end; na—nor; cha—also; ādiḥ—beginning; na—never; cha—also; sampratiṣhṭhā—the basis; aśhvattham—sacred fig tree; enam—this; su-virūḍha-mūlam—deep-rooted; asaṅga-śhastreṇa—by the axe of detachment; dṛiḍhena—strong; chhittvā—having cut down; tataḥ—then; padam—place; tat—that; parimārgitavyam—one must search out; yasmin—where; gatāḥ—having gone; na—not; nivartanti—return; bhūyaḥ—again; tam—to him; eva—certainly; cha—and; ādyam—original; puruṣham—the Supreme Lord; prapadye—take refuge; yataḥ—whence; pravṛittiḥ—the activity; prasṛitā—streamed forth; purāṇi—very old