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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Verse 13

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 4 श्लोक 13

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम्।।4.13।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

4.13 The four castes have been created by Me through a classification of the gunas and duties. Even though I am the agent of that (act of classification), still know Me to be a non-agent and changeless.

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

4.13 The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma; though I am the author thereof know Me as non-doer and immutable.

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

4.13. The four-fold caste-structure has been created by Me, according to the division of [their respective] alities and actions. Though I am the creator of this, know Me as a changeless non-creator.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

4.13 चातुर्वर्ण्यम् the fourfold caste? मया be Me? सृष्टम् has been created? गुणकर्मविभागशः according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma? तस्य thereof? कर्तारम् the author? अपि also? माम् Me? विद्धि know? अकर्तारम् nondoer? अव्ययम् immutable.Commentary The four castes (Brahmana? Kshatriya? Vaishya and Sudra) are classified according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma. In a Brahmana? Sattva predominates. He possesses selfrestraint? purity? serenity? straightforwardness? devotion? etc. In a Kshatriya? Rajs predominates. He possesses prowess? splendour? firmness? dexterity? generosity and the nature of a ruler. In a Vaishya? Rajas predominates and Tamas is subordinate to Rajas. He does the duty of ploughing? protection of cattle and trade. In a Sudra Tamas predominates and Rajas is subordinate to Tamas. He does service to the other three castes. Human temperaments and tendencies vary according to the Gunas.Though the Lord is the author of the caste system? yet He is not the author as He is the nondoer. He is not subject to Samsara. Really Maya does everything. Maya is the real author. Society can exist in a flourishing state if the four castes do their duties properly. Otherwise there will be chaos? rupture and fighting. (Cf.XVIII.41).

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

4.13 Catur-varnyam-meaning the same as catvarah varnah, the four castes; srstam, have been created; maya, by Me who am God, which accords with such Vedic texts as, The Brahmanas were His face৷৷. (Rg. 10.90.12); guna-karma-vibhagasah, through a classification of the gunas and duties. [A.G. writes: guna-vibhagena karma-vibhagah, classification of the duties, determined by the classification of the gunas.-Tr] By the gunas are meant sattva, rajas and tamas (see note under 2.45; also see Chapter 14). As to that, the control of the mind and body, austerity, etc. are the duties of the Brahmanas, who are sattvika, i.e. have a predominance of the ality of sattva (purity, goodness, etc.). Courage, valour, etc. are the duties of the Ksatriyas, in whom sattva becomes secondary and rajas (passion, attachment, etc.) preponderates. Agriculture etc. are the duties of the Vaisya, in whom tamas (indolence, ignorance, etc.) is secondary and rajas is predominant. Service is the only duty of the Sudra, in whom rajas is secondary and tamas predominates (see chapters 14, 16,17 and 18). In this way, the four castes have been created by Me through a classification of the gunas and duties. This is the idea. And these four castes do not prevail in the other worlds. Hence the specification, in the human world. Well, in that caste, by virtues of Your being he agent of the acts of creation of the four castes,etc. You become subject tothe conseence of those actions? Therefore you are not eternally free and the eternal Lord! This is being answered: Api, even though; I am kartaram, the agent; tasya, of that act, from the empirical standpoint of maya; still, from the highest standpoint, viddhi, know; mam, Me; to be akartaram, a non-agent; and therefore, also know Me to be avyayam, changeless, not subject to the cycle of births and deaths. In reality, however, I am not the agent of those actions of which you think I am the agent. Because

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

4.13 See Comment under 4.14

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

4.13 The whole universe beginning with Brahma and ending with a cluster of grass, with the system of four stations divided according to Sattva and other Gunas and by actions like self-control corresponding to the Gunas, was created by Me. The mention of creation is for illustration. The universe is protected by Me alone and is withdrawn by Me alone. Know Me to be the creator of his manifold actions of creation etc., but at the same time to be non-agent. Sri Krsna explains here how this is possible.

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

“Indeed, the paths of bhakti and jnana give liberation, but the path of karma leads to bondage. Therefore, there is some inequality in you, the creator of all paths, the Supreme Lord.” “That is not so at all. I have created the four varnas for people who want their own enjoyment.” The suffix ya in the word catur varna indicates self-interest in the four orders. The brahmanas, predominated by sattva, perform activities such controlling the senses and mind. The ksatriyas, who are predominated by raja and sattva, perform actions such as warfare and acts of heroism. The vaiysas, predominately tama and raja, do farming and raise cows. The sudras, predominated by tamas, serve others. I have created this system of four varnas divided according to guna and activity, taking shelter of the path of dharma. Know me as the creator (kartaram) of the system, since it is created from the gunas of prakrti which is my energy. In that way I am the creator, but actually I am not the creator, since my svarapa is beyond the gunas and prakrti. Therefore, I am said to be indestructible (avyayam). I am not at all similar to the varnas or matter, though I have created it.

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Some beings perform actions with desire and others perform actions without desire. Thus the difference in actions although subtle can be discerned. Amongst the performers of actions without desire like the Vaisnavas and Brahmins there are further classifications such as uttama or superior, madhya or good and kanistha or average. How is it that Lord Krishna who is the originator of all these classifications be free from any partiality. The word catur-varnyam specifically denotes the four classes of Vedic culture only. The Brahmins or priestly class have a preponderance of sattva guna or mode of goodnes and having their mind and senses under control their duties are to spiritually guide mankind in righteousness. The ksatriya or royal warrior class possesses some sattva but have a preponderance of rajas guna or mode of passion and their duties are to protect dharma or righteousness from the influence of evil and to protect humanity from demoniac forces. The vaisyas possess some rajas but have a preponderance of tama-guna or mode of ignorance and their duties are farming, agriculture, trade and cow protection. The sudra or lower class possess only a preponderance for tama guna and their duty is to serve the three previous classes to earn their livelihood. So although Lord Krishna is the origin of them all it should be understood that He is not affected by any of them the reason being that He is immutable, imperishable, eternal and transcendental to prakriti or material nature.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Lord Krishna is the origin of the four classifications in Vedic culture as spoken here. Those of sattva guna or the mode of goodness are designated as Brahmins or priestly class. Those of mixed sattva guna and rajas guna or the mode of passion are known as ksatriyas or warrior class. Those mixed with rajas guna and tama guna or the mode of ignorance are the vaisyas or mercantile class and those in tama guna are the sudras or servant class. The actions of Lord always possess shama or tranquillity and dama or self- control in their performance thus even if He appears to do nothing He is the performer and if He appears to be the performer He is the non- performer of His actions. Even though He is the origin of the entire creation He has no desires and remains unattached. Thus it has been perceived that those who perform actions without desires, unattached to rewards have developed an attribute of the Lord. Now begins the summation. The four orders descending in purity from sattva guna to rajas guna to tama guna have been described here. Those in sattva guna are the Vaisnava devotees of the supreme Lord Krishna possessing tranquillity and self- control. All others as their sattva decreases are in tama guna in descending order. Thus sattva guna is determined by ones ability and capacity to be a devotee of Lord Krishna and the further away one is from this the deeper one is covered by tama guna . Thus this is the difference between them and occurs naturally due to their character and disposition. The differences and conditions acquired due to birth should be understood to be merely a designation as devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna has been seen to arise and manifest in all four orders of existence. Amongst some it is more potent and in others less so and even these differences happen naturally according to an individuals inherent attributes. Although the resplendent Supreme Lord reveals He is kartaram or the origin of all creation He also reveals He is akartaram or not originated from any source. He is independent in Himself and not created from anything. The adjective api used here is to show this special at tribute that there is no creator for Him.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The entire material manifestation from Brahma down to a blade of grass has been divided by Lord Krishna into the four-fold divisions in accordance to their natural dispositions and qualities. For humans they are brahmin or the priestly class, kshatriya the royal warrior class, vaisya the farmer and trading class and sudra the servant class. This is in conformance with their material natures being in goodness, passion or nescience which subsequently qualifies them for the type of occupation they engage in their life. Creation implies all the universes where He sustains and maintains as well causing them to manifest and unmanifest. Although He is the origin of all these activities He should be known as not being the doer. This is because the wondrous activities to be found in creation although originated from Lord Krishna do not bind him as He is not the doer. The wonderful variety of creation from demigods, humans, animal etc. are beings created by the effects of their own karma or present reactions to previous actions either by merits or demerits. In as much as ones own activities determines their karma activating what reward or punishment one will receive; then this is totally determined by each individual themselves and thus Lord Krishna is no way answerable to the reactions living entities bring upon themselves by their actions. There is another reason Lord Krishna is not the doer as well and that is all the embodied being assuming various and diverse forms get endowed with limbs and senses to enjoy material objects being interested in the rewards of their actions. Consequently pursuing this they trap themselves in samsara or the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. It is all of their own doing and Lord Krishna is not responsible for the desires the living entities choose to pursue. In the Vedanta-Sutras which are aphorisms exegetic of the 108 Upanisads by Vedavyasa it states in II.III.XXXIV that: The Supreme Lord can never be reproached for what seems to be partiality and injustice seen as rewards and punishments because the results for all human beings are determined solely by their actions. In the act of manifesting the creation Lord Krishna is the original source but the instrumental cause is prakriti or material nature itself and the determining factor for all beings is that they come into their various existences as a result of their own karma. Except for the will from the original source of Lord Krishna no other cause is needed to manifest myriads of marvellous creations represented by unlimited and diverse variegated beings. This is because all embodied beings accept a form in accordance to the inherent primal force of their past karma.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The entire material manifestation from Brahma down to a blade of grass has been divided by Lord Krishna into the four-fold divisions in accordance to their natural dispositions and qualities. For humans they are brahmin or the priestly class, kshatriya the royal warrior class, vaisya the farmer and trading class and sudra the servant class. This is in conformance with their material natures being in goodness, passion or nescience which subsequently qualifies them for the type of occupation they engage in their life. Creation implies all the universes where He sustains and maintains as well causing them to manifest and unmanifest. Although He is the origin of all these activities He should be known as not being the doer. This is because the wondrous activities to be found in creation although originated from Lord Krishna do not bind him as He is not the doer. The wonderful variety of creation from demigods, humans, animal etc. are beings created by the effects of their own karma or present reactions to previous actions either by merits or demerits. In as much as ones own activities determines their karma activating what reward or punishment one will receive; then this is totally determined by each individual themselves and thus Lord Krishna is no way answerable to the reactions living entities bring upon themselves by their actions. There is another reason Lord Krishna is not the doer as well and that is all the embodied being assuming various and diverse forms get endowed with limbs and senses to enjoy material objects being interested in the rewards of their actions. Consequently pursuing this they trap themselves in samsara or the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. It is all of their own doing and Lord Krishna is not responsible for the desires the living entities choose to pursue. In the Vedanta-Sutras which are aphorisms exegetic of the 108 Upanisads by Vedavyasa it states in II.III.XXXIV that: The Supreme Lord can never be reproached for what seems to be partiality and injustice seen as rewards and punishments because the results for all human beings are determined solely by their actions. In the act of manifesting the creation Lord Krishna is the original source but the instrumental cause is prakriti or material nature itself and the determining factor for all beings is that they come into their various existences as a result of their own karma. Except for the will from the original source of Lord Krishna no other cause is needed to manifest myriads of marvellous creations represented by unlimited and diverse variegated beings. This is because all embodied beings accept a form in accordance to the inherent primal force of their past karma.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 4.13

Chaaturvarnyam mayaa srishtam gunakarma vibhaagashah; Tasya kartaaram api maam viddhyakartaaram avyayam.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 4.13

chātuḥ-varṇyam—the four categories of occupations; mayā—by me; sṛiṣhṭam—were created; guṇa—of quality; karma—and activities; vibhāgaśhaḥ—according to divisions; tasya—of that; kartāram—the creator; api—although; mām—me; viddhi—know; akartāram—non-doer; avyayam—unchangeable