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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 Verse 23

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 7 श्लोक 23

अन्तवत्तु फलं तेषां तद्भवत्यल्पमेधसाम्।
देवान्देवयजो यान्ति मद्भक्ता यान्ति मामपि।।7.23।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

7.23 That result of theirs who are of poor intellect is indeed limited. The worshippers of gods go to the gods. My devotees go to Me alone.

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

7.23 Verily the reward (fruit) that accrues to those men of small intelligence is finite. The worshippers of the gods go to them, but My devotees come to Me.

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

7.23. But, that fruit of those men of poor intellect is finite. Those, who perform sacrifices, aiming at the gods, go to gods, and My devotees go to Me.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

7.23 अन्तवत् finite? तु verily? फलम् the fruit? तेषाम् of them? तत् that? भवति is? अल्पमेधसाम् those of small intelligence? देवान् to the gods? देवयजः the worshippers of the gods? यान्ति go to? मद्भक्ताः My devotees? यान्ति go to? माम् Me? अपि also.Commentary The exertion in the two kinds is the same and yet people do not attempt to worship the Supreme Being in order to attain the maximum benefits or the infinite reward (liberation or Moksha). The reward obtained by men of small understandng and petty intellect who worship the minor deities is small? perishable and temporary.Yajnas (Vedic rituals)? Homas (rituals in which oblations are offered into the sacred fire) and Tapas (penance) of various sorts can bestow only temporary rewards on the performer. Liberation from the wheel of transmigration alone will give everlasting bliss and eternal peace.Those who worship Indra and others are Sattvic devotees those who worship Yakshas and Rakshasas (demoniacal beings) are Rajasic devotees and those who worship the Bhutas and Pretas (discarnate spirits) are Tamasic devotees.The knowledge of those who worship the small deities is partial and incomplete. It cannot lead to liberation. (Cf.IX.25)

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

7.23 Since those non-discriminating men with desires are engaged in disciplines for limited results, therefore, tat phalam, that result; tesam, of theirs; alpamedhasam, who are of poor intellect, of poor wisdom; antavat tu bhavati, is limited, ephemeral, indeed. Deva-yajah, the worshippers of gods; yanti, go; devan, to the gods. Madbhaktah, My devotees; yanti, to; mam api, to Me alone. Thus, though the effort needed is the same, they do not resort to me alone for the unlimited result. Alas! they are surely in a pitiable condition. In this manner the Lord expresses his compassion. Why do they not take refuge in Me alone? The answer is:

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

7.20-23 Kamaih etc. upto man api. On the other hand, those persons, whose minds are conditioned by a variety of their own respective desires for the best and so on (or the desires that may be classified as the best and so on) - they have thier thinking faculty carried away by their desires, and worship a particular deity who possesses nothing but My intermediate body that suits only to those devotees desires. Hence, they obtain their desired result from Me alone. But, that result has an end of its own, because it is limited by the mental impressions of their own. Therefore those who perform sacrifice etc., with the aim of becming Indra etc., (or of attaining the houses of Indra etc.) gain their desired fruit accordingly. On the other hand, those whose chief aim is to attain Me, they gain Me alone. But, while the Absolute-being is immanent in all, how is it that the fruit achieved by the worshippers of other deities is limited ? The answer is given as :

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

7.23 The men of small understanding means those whose understanding is poor, who worship only Indra and other divinities. The fruit of their worship is small and finite. Why? The worshippers of divinities like Indra go to the divinities. And Indra and other divinities possess limited joy and live only for a limited time. So if they attain eality of enjoyment with them, they also fall down along with them in due course; but My devotees, knowing that their acts are of the nature of My worship, renouncing attachment for finite, fruits, reach Me, having for their purpose the pleasing of Me alone. That is, they never more return to Samsara. For Sri Krsna teaches later on: But on reaching Me there is no rirth, O Arjuna (8.16). Now Sri Krsna declares: But these others (i.e., who worship Indra etc.) regard as insignificant even My incarnations among men and other beings in order to make Myself easy for all to resort to.

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

“But you give the devotees of the devata temporary results, whereas you give your devotees permanent results. It is unjust for you to do that, as the Supreme Lord.” No, it is not unjust. Those who worship the devatas attain (yanti) the devatas. Those who worship me attain me. The meaning is this. It is very logical that a person attains what he worships. Thus if the devata are temporary, how can their devotees be permanent, and how can the results of worship be permanent? Thus it is said here that the devotees of those devata are not intelligent (alpa medhasam). The Supreme Lord however is eternal, and therefore his devotees are also eternal. Their bhakti and the results of their bhakti are all eternal.

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Since all the demigods in their various positions of universal management are actually manifestations of the Supreme Lord, in actuality worshipping them is worshipping Him; especially due to the fact that it is the Supreme Lord who sanctions and grants all results to their supplications; but it should be understood that there is a vast difference in the results between the adorers of the demigods and the devotees who adore and worship the Supreme Lord. It is being clarified by Lord Krishna that the result gained by persons of limited understanding who worship the demigods is perishable and has an end. This is because the demigods themselves are perishable and have a fixed span of life. Those whose propitiation of the demigods is successful go to the planet of that demigod in their next life and enjoy until that life is ended and then they return and take birth again in the material existence. But the devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna attain association with Him in His abode in the spiritual worlds, which are eternal and everlasting and from where there is no returning back to the material worlds.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The conceptions of an impersonal unmanifest god is what causes illusion. People who are under the influence of an impersonal conception of god are essentially bewildered by God Himself. Only those who are aware of the Supreme Lord possessing form, qualities, attributes, personality and propitiate Him with loving devotion are able to cross over this ocean of illusion. Gross illusion is the Supreme Lords external potency and it manifest as external energy in the form of the demigoddess known as Maya; both are under the control and subservient to the Supreme Lord Krishna. Therefore everyone should surrender without hesitation in ananya bhakti or unadulterated devotion. This ananya bhakti is uncompromising and should be know as that devotion which is dedicated to the Supreme Lord exclusively in all its entirety. This capacity of fullness of devotion has no possibility of arising anywhere else except for the Supreme Lord. Offerings to Brahma, Shiva and all other demigods should be done as a preliminary worship to the Supreme Lord Krishna and nothing more, because all of the demigods are part of Him and subservient to Him. Comprehending this one can attain Him but not by or through any other means. Vasudeva is a name of Lord Krishna meaning the cause of all causes. He is the only whole. All else are merely parts. The only complete one is Him. The spiritually intelligent who realise this within are very rare in this world while in retrospect we are all actually looking for this internal realisation and until we achieve it are merely aspirants. Yet even after having this internal realisation those who propitiate Brahma, Shiva and other impersonal gods as being something superior; by such worshipping they enter the dark dreary worlds of obscurity, which is full of endless suffering and misery, taking birth in a family without the light of awareness. The irreplaceable awareness that only Lord Krishna is to be propitiated exclusively and no other. Without the awareness that Lord Krishna is to be propitiated first and foremost, any and all other propitiations become disparate an have no efficacy. Knowledge then degenerated to be utilised only for the satisfaction and gratification of the temporary physical body. If by reflection and discrimination one becomes aware of the truth and achieves the realisation of Lord Krishnas supreme position then it should be understood that all other gods and demigods are all subject and subservient to Him. Worship erroneously propitiated unknowingly on false objects and inferior subjects as well as temporary gods; if later renounced causes no demerits if one does not return back to them, But it will still be cause for reincarnation and one will take birth again but in their subsequent life such a person will be blessed by the Supreme Lord to gain rapid recollection of their previous spiritual direction and be graced with proper association to continue their worship where they left off at the end of their previous life. Thus it is clarified that for one who has realisation by spiritual intelligence, the immortal soul within the etheric heart of all sentient beings is non-different from Lord Krishna. After innumerable lifetimes one begins performing righteous actions. After many lifetimes of performing meritorious activities one achieves spiritual intelligence and from then on one is qualified to attain the mercy of Vasudeva, the cause of all causes, the Supreme Lord. Those who are devoted to lesser gods only get the temporary material rewards which such transitory gods are able to bestow. While those who worship the Supreme Lord Krishna attain the blessed eternal spiritual realms with all its bliss and felicity. Knowing the supremacy of Lord Krishna those beings who would deign to propitiate lesser gods thinking them independent of the Supreme Lord go to the dark worlds of ignorance in all obscurity. Also anyone who considers the demigods or any other gods as similar to, or capable of being equal to, or greater than will also go to the dark worlds of ignorance in obscurity

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The rewards which the unintelligent seek who worship the lesser demigods such as Indra the celestial chief or Surya the sun god are trivial and temporary. It might be asked why? It is because the votaries of those demigods end up at the planets where such demigods reside. The celestial realm of Indra is certainly opulent with all facility to experience heavenly delights and such a votary upon arriving is able to enjoy to their hearts content; but when Indra and the other demigods span of life has ended, they too must transmigrate and be reborn again falling back down into the material existence and of course this applies to all their votaries as well. As for the devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna they all perform the same activities as votaries do to the demigods such as worship, offering hymns of praise, celebrating appearance festivals etc. But the distinct difference is that the devotees of Lord Krishna perform these activities solely for His pleasure without ever thinking of seeking any reward or benefit for what they do for Him. Happily offering all results and rewards to the Supreme Lord they have nothing but Him to be attached too, thus they attain Him in His spiritual abode, which is eternal and from where there is no return to transmigration and rebirth. In the next verse Lord Krishna will explain that the ignorant disregard His authorised avatars or incarnations as verified in the Vedic scriptures which descend from the spiritual worlds into the material worlds for the express purpose that all beings may have easy and regular access to Him in every age.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The rewards which the unintelligent seek who worship the lesser demigods such as Indra the celestial chief or Surya the sun god are trivial and temporary. It might be asked why? It is because the votaries of those demigods end up at the planets where such demigods reside. The celestial realm of Indra is certainly opulent with all facility to experience heavenly delights and such a votary upon arriving is able to enjoy to their hearts content; but when Indra and the other demigods span of life has ended, they too must transmigrate and be reborn again falling back down into the material existence and of course this applies to all their votaries as well. As for the devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna they all perform the same activities as votaries do to the demigods such as worship, offering hymns of praise, celebrating appearance festivals etc. But the distinct difference is that the devotees of Lord Krishna perform these activities solely for His pleasure without ever thinking of seeking any reward or benefit for what they do for Him. Happily offering all results and rewards to the Supreme Lord they have nothing but Him to be attached too, thus they attain Him in His spiritual abode, which is eternal and from where there is no return to transmigration and rebirth. In the next verse Lord Krishna will explain that the ignorant disregard His authorised avatars or incarnations as verified in the Vedic scriptures which descend from the spiritual worlds into the material worlds for the express purpose that all beings may have easy and regular access to Him in every age.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 7.23

Antavattu phalam teshaam tadbhavatyalpamedhasaam; Devaan devayajo yaanti madbhaktaa yaanti maamapi.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 7.23

anta-vat—perishable; tu—but; phalam—fruit; teṣhām—by them; tat—that; bhavati—is; alpa-medhasām—people of small understanding; devān—to the celestial gods; deva-yajaḥ—the worshipers of the celestial gods; yānti—go; mat—my; bhaktāḥ—devotees; yānti—go; mām—to me; api—whereas