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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 Verse 33

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 3 श्लोक 33

सदृशं चेष्टते स्वस्याः प्रकृतेर्ज्ञानवानपि।
प्रकृतिं यान्ति भूतानि निग्रहः किं करिष्यति।।3.33।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

3.33 Even a man of wisdom behaves according to his own nature. Being follow (their) nature. What can restraint do?

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

3.33 Even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature; beings will follow Nature; what can restraint do?

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

3.33. Even a man of knowledge acts in conformity to his own Prakrti, the elements go [back] to the Prakrti; [and] what will the restraint avail ?

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

3.33 सदृशम् in accordance? चेष्टते acts? स्वस्याः of his own? प्रकृतेः of nature? ज्ञानवान् a wise man? अपि even? प्रकृतिम् to nature? यान्ति follow? भूतानि beings? निग्रहः restraint? किम् what? करिष्यति will do.Commentary He who reads this verse will come to the conclusion that there is no scope for mans personal exertion. It is not so. Read the following verse. It clearly indicates that man can coner Nature if he rises above the sway of RagaDvesha (love and hatred).The passionate and ignorant man only comes under the sway of his natural propensities? and his lower nature. He cannot have any restraint over the senses and the two currents of likes and dislikes. The seeker after Truth who is endowed with the four means? and who is constantly practising meditation can easily control Nature. (Cf.II.60V.14XVIII.59).

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

3.33 Api, even; jnanavan, a man of wisdom-what to speak of a fool!; cestate, behaves; Sadrsam, according to;-what? svasyah, his own; prakrteh, nature. Nature means the impressions of virtue, vice, etc. [Also, knowledge, desires, and so on.] acired in the past (lives) and which become manifest at the commencement of the present life. All creatures (behave) according to that only. Therefore, bhutani, beings; yanti, follow; (their) prakrtim, nature. Nigrahah kim karisyati, what can restraint do, be it from Me or anybody else? If all beings behave only according to their own nature-and there is none without his nature-, then, since there arises the contingency of the scriptures becoming purposeless owing to the absence of any scope for personal effort, therefore the following is being stated:

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

3.33 Sadrsam etc. There is hardly any difference in the wordly activities like eating etc., of him who is a man of wisdom. But he too acts only in conformity to the Sattva, etc., just knowing in this manner : Because the elements like the Earth etc. get absorbed into the prakrti; and the Self is also a non-doer and ever-freed; therefore the erradication of birth etc., are for whose sake ? Then how can there be bondage at all [for a man of worldly life] ? That is as follows, it is said :

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

3.33 Such and such is the nature of the self, which is different from the Prakrti - this has to be always contemplated upon: thus declare the Sastras. Even a person who knows this, acts in relation to material objects only according to his own nature, i.e., guided by his old subtle impressions. How is this? All beings follow their nature. Beings in conjunction with non-conscient matter, all follow only subtle impressions which have continued to come from time immemorial. What can the control enjoined by Sastras, do to these beings who follow their subtle impressions? Sri Krsna expounds the way by which individuals are overpowered to follow their respective natures:

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

“Would they not be afraid of not following your instructions, the instructions of the Supreme Lord, or the instructions of a king?” “No, they are not afraid.” “Those who engage their senses for enjoyment, even if they are intelligent, cannot consider the orders of the king, the Supreme Lord. This is because of their nature.” The Lord explains this in this verse. If the person of knowledge engages in sin, he will receive hellish punishment, just as a king punishes. And he will also bear infamy. Still, even the person of discrimination performs actions : which yield a burden of suffering, following his previous sinful habits. Therefore all follow after their natures.  The instructions oil scripture (nigrahah) made by me or the king, in the form oil niskama karma yoga, are able to purify and enlighten the impurel hearted, and in the form of jnana yoga, are able to purify and enlighten the pure hearted. But neither can purify the extremely impure (nigrahah kim karisyati). But bhakti yoga arising from my unpredictable mercy can deliver even those most sinful persons. As the Skanda Purana says: aho dhanyo ‘si devarse krpaya yasya te ksanat nico ‘py utpulako lebhe lubdhako ratim ucyate My dear friend Narada Muni, you are glorified as the sage among the demigods. By your mercy, even a lowborn person like this hunter immediately became ecstatic. This is called bhava or rati.

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

It may be submitted that if follow the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita yields so much why isnt everyone following their prescribed duties, free from desires and attachment. Lord Krishna answers that even a person of Vedic wisdom acts according to the nature received from samskara or impressions from past life actions. One always follows without fail their own disposition and nature. So it goes without saying that an ignorant person is even more dominated by their nature and will act ignorantly in all matters. So understanding in this light what can restraint of the senses accomplish with prakriti or material nature being so powerful? This is the meaning.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

A question may be raised that if it is so beneficial to follow the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita then why is not everyone following them. Lord Krishna explains that it is according to their own nature determined by samskaras or impressions from past lifetimes and because of the influence of prakriti or material nature interacting with the three gunas, or the modes of goodness, passion and nescience.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

That person situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom is very knowledgeable with the Vedic declarations regarding the distinct difference between the atma or soul and prakriti or material nature. Such a person is also completely aware of the fact that the atma should be the sole object of their contemplation and meditation. But despite this knowledge it is seen that due to the deep influence of samskaras or impressions from past life activities, they are carried along by their subsequent nature which forces them to be act in the current of their natural tendencies and they find themselves preoccupied with various material pursuits enjoying assorted material sense objects. The reason is that living entities become indoctrinated and content with whatever relationship they establish in their environment. In other words whatever habits they form from their association with prakriti they continue to maintain and persistently follow. With the overpowering influence of these deep rooted habits how can the words of the Vedic scriptures impose restraint on such a person? One is helplessly carried away by the forceful current of past life actions and impressions. The objects of the senses are perceived through the sense organs. For example hearing is perceived by the ears through sound, seeing is perceived by the eyes through sight, smelling is perceived by the nose through smells and so on. For each of the senses one has affection and the desire to enjoy through them. But the same senses operate depending upon attraction or aversion to sense objects. For sense objects that are pleasing one has attraction for pleasure and for sense objects that are displeasing one has aversion to displeasure. All these habits are conditioned from ancient predilections of past life reminisces. Such dualities of attraction and aversion obstructs one who would want to succeed in jnana yoga by subjugating their sense. These dualities which can be understood as different degrees of love and hate, hold a person in an iron grip and forcefully drive them to commit actions that are in conformance with the attributes of one of the three gunas of goodness, passion or nescience which ones nature adheres to from past life impressions. Thus one is being constantly diverted from the real purpose of human existence, that of atma tattva or realisation of the soul and their precious human life is wasted pursuing sense objects.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

That person situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic wisdom is very knowledgeable with the Vedic declarations regarding the distinct difference between the atma or soul and prakriti or material nature. Such a person is also completely aware of the fact that the atma should be the sole object of their contemplation and meditation. But despite this knowledge it is seen that due to the deep influence of samskaras or impressions from past life activities, they are carried along by their subsequent nature which forces them to be act in the current of their natural tendencies and they find themselves preoccupied with various material pursuits enjoying assorted material sense objects. The reason is that living entities become indoctrinated and content with whatever relationship they establish in their environment. In other words whatever habits they form from their association with prakriti they continue to maintain and persistently follow. With the overpowering influence of these deep rooted habits how can the words of the Vedic scriptures impose restraint on such a person? One is helplessly carried away by the forceful current of past life actions and impressions. The objects of the senses are perceived through the sense organs. For example hearing is perceived by the ears through sound, seeing is perceived by the eyes through sight, smelling is perceived by the nose through smells and so on. For each of the senses one has affection and the desire to enjoy through them. But the same senses operate depending upon attraction or aversion to sense objects. For sense objects that are pleasing one has attraction for pleasure and for sense objects that are displeasing one has aversion to displeasure. All these habits are conditioned from ancient predilections of past life reminisces. Such dualities of attraction and aversion obstructs one who would want to succeed in jnana yoga by subjugating their sense. These dualities which can be understood as different degrees of love and hate, hold a person in an iron grip and forcefully drive them to commit actions that are in conformance with the attributes of one of the three gunas of goodness, passion or nescience which ones nature adheres to from past life impressions. Thus one is being constantly diverted from the real purpose of human existence, that of atma tattva or realisation of the soul and their precious human life is wasted pursuing sense objects.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 3.33

Sadrisham cheshtate swasyaah prakriter jnaanavaan api; Prakritim yaanti bhootaani nigrahah kim karishyati.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 3.33

sadṛiśham—accordingly; cheṣhṭate—act; svasyāḥ—by their own; prakṛiteḥ—modes of nature; jñāna-vān—the wise; api—even; prakṛitim—nature; yānti—follow; bhūtāni—all living beings; nigrahaḥ—repression; kim—what; kariṣhyati—will do