Share this page on following platforms.
Download Bhagwad Gita 3.21 Download BG 3.21 as Image

⮪ BG 3.20 Bhagwad Gita English BG 3.22⮫

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 Verse 21

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 3 श्लोक 21

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते।।3.21।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

3.21 Whatever a superior person does, another person does that very thing! Whatever he upholds as authority, an ordinary person follows that.

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

3.21 Whatsoever a great man does, that the other men also do; whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world (mankind) follows.

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

3.21. Whatsoever a great man does, other commoners do the same; whatever standard he sets up, the world follows that.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

3.21 यद्यत् whatsoever? आचरति does? श्रेष्ठः the best? तत्तत् that? एव only? इतरः the other? जनः people? सः he (that great man)? यत् what? प्रमाणम् standard (authority? demonstration)? कुरुते does? लोकः the world (people)? तत् that? अनुवर्तते follows.Commentary Man is a social animal. He is an imitating animal too. He takes his ideas of right and wrong from those whom he regards as his moral superior. Whatever a great man follows? the same is considered as an authority by his followers. They try to follow him. They endeavour to walk in his footsteps.

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

3.21 Yat yat, [This is according to the Ast. The G1. Pr. reads, yat yat yesu yesu.-Tr.] whatever action; a sresthah, superior person, a leader; acarati, does; itarah, another; janah, person, who follows him; does tat tat eva, that very action. Further, yat, whatever; sah, he, the superior person; kurute, upholds; as pramanam, authority, be it Vedic or secular; lokah, an ordinary person; anuvartate, follows; tat, that, i.e. he accepts that very thing as authoritative. If you have a doubt here with regard to the duty of preventing people from straying, then why do you not observe Me?

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

3.21 See Comment under 3.22

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

3.21 Whatever an eminent man, i.e., he, who is famous for his knowledge of all the scriptures and for his observance of the scriptural dictates, performs, others who have incomplete knowledge of the scriptures will also perform, following his example. With regard to any duty which is being performed with all its ancillaries by an eminent personage, the people with incomplete knowledge will do it with the same ancillaries. Therefore for the protection of the world, all acts that are appropriate to ones station and stage in life must always be performed by an eminent man who is distinguished for his wisdom. Otherwise, the evil generated from the ruin of the large masses of the world (who neglect their duties by following his example), will bring him down, even if he were a follower of pure Jnana Yoga.

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

In this verse he explains how the people are taught: by following example.

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

How the performance of prescribed Vedic actions acts as an incentive to the masses is what Lord Krishna is emphasising here. That line of reasoning that great personalities accept as authoritative people will also follow.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The great personalities naturally set the example for the common man to follow in the manner in which they speak and in the way in which they act. This is Lord Krishnas meaning.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

So understanding that the whole Earth benefits from the performance of prescribed Vedic activities, one should act altruistically not for themselves but for the welfare of the world. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying. The word sresthah means great personality expert in the conclusions of the Vedas. Whatever actions such a great person performs others will try to follow. It may be that a certain activity should be performed on a special day. The common people will wait to see how a great person takes the initiative on such an action and then they will follow suit. Hence the great personalities should always act in an exemplary manner to set the standard for the world. In this way they inspire everyone to perform prescribed Vedic actions according to the qualification of ones varna or caste in life and ones asrama or stage in life. If one fails to do this by neglect or omission one commits sin by omitting to help benefit the welfare of the world by their example and the consequence will be one will fall down from the path they achieved after many lifetimes.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

So understanding that the whole Earth benefits from the performance of prescribed Vedic activities, one should act altruistically not for themselves but for the welfare of the world. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying. The word sresthah means great personality expert in the conclusions of the Vedas. Whatever actions such a great person performs others will try to follow. It may be that a certain activity should be performed on a special day. The common people will wait to see how a great person takes the initiative on such an action and then they will follow suit. Hence the great personalities should always act in an exemplary manner to set the standard for the world. In this way they inspire everyone to perform prescribed Vedic actions according to the qualification of ones varna or caste in life and ones asrama or stage in life. If one fails to do this by neglect or omission one commits sin by omitting to help benefit the welfare of the world by their example and the consequence will be one will fall down from the path they achieved after many lifetimes.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 3.21

Yadyad aacharati shreshthas tattadevetaro janah; Sa yat pramaanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 3.21

karmaṇā—by the performance of prescribed duties; eva—only; hi—certainly; sansiddhim—perfection; āsthitāḥ—attained; janaka-ādayaḥ—King Janak and other kings; loka-saṅgraham—for the welfare of the masses; eva api—only; sampaśhyan—considering; kartum—to perform; arhasi—you should; yat yat—whatever; ācharati—does; śhreṣhṭhaḥ—the best; tat tat—that (alone); eva—certainly; itaraḥ—common; janaḥ—people; saḥ—they; yat—whichever; pramāṇam—standard; kurute—perform; lokaḥ—world; tat—that; anuvartate—pursues