9.33 kim punar brAhmaNA: puNyA

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 9

<< Chapter 9 verse 32

SlOkam – Original

kim punar brAhmaNA: puNyA bhakthA rAjarshayas thathA |
anithyam asukham lOkam imam prApya bhajasva mAm ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

puNyA: – taken such births due to previous puNyas (virtuous deeds)
brAhmaNA: – brAhmaNas (the priestly class)
rAjarshaya thathA – rAjarishis (kingly sages)
bhakthA: – if they engage in devotion towards me

(that they will attain liberation)
kim puna: – is it necessary to explain?

(Hence)
anithyam – temporary
asukham – filled with sorrow
imam lOkam – this world
prApya – due to being present in
mAm bhajasva – engage in devotion towards me

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

Is it necessary to explain that those brAhmaNas (the priestly class) and rAjarshis (kingly sages) who have taken such births due to previous puNyas (virtuous deeds) will attain liberation if they engage in devotion towards me? Hence due to being present in this world which is temporary and filled with sorrow, engage in devotion towards me.

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

‘Why doubt then, about the merit-full loving brāhmaṇas and king-saints. Do you, who are in this transient and joyless world, worship Me’1.

By putting trust in Me, even women2, the vaiśyas, (or the trading [or farming] class who, by the very nature of their calling, commit sin, [in terms of inadvertent killing of insects, etc., while farming, etc.])3 (see footnote 2 below) or the Śūdras (services class), though sin-born4 (see footnote 4 below), do yet go to the supreme state. While so, that well-born brāhmaṇas (priest-class) and king-saints are established in My love, need not be questioned.

Joyless world: because it is stricken with the three-fold afflictions (tāpa);5 and it is fleeting.

You (Arjuna)! are a king-saint and are living in such a world. Do you worship Me.

The nature of bhakti (God-love) is thus described:—

>> Chapter 9 verse 34

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  1. Vide Bhāg: II-7-4: Te vai vidanty etc.’
  2. Editor’s note: Women are mentioned here for a couple of reasons. One is that there is suffering/pain involved with female bodies with the monthly cycles and tremendous pain giving birth (often in the old days to 10+ children), etc. Secondly along the same lines as mentioned in the above note 1, Śāstras don’t prescribe Sastrokta upaya anushthana (Upāsana, practice of formal means for Moksha) for women. Nevertheless, women (as better-halves) automatically achieve liberation along with their husbands by dint of their husbands’ spiritual progress alone, or by themselves taking refuge in the Lord and becoming His devotees as mentioned in this verse. It is also worth mentioning here that in Hinduism, women are held in the highest regard. Taittirīya Upanishad teaches “matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava, atithidevo bhava”, which literally means “be one for whom the Mother is God (God’s representative to be precise), be one for whom the Father is God, be one for whom the Teacher is God, be one for whom the guest is God.”, because every being receives nourishing/nurturing/love from one’s mother primarily, while receiving protection and support from one’s father primarily, etc.
  3. Editor’s note: These sins can be gotten rid of by unselfish performance of work.
  4. Editor’s note: “sin-born” is to be understood on multiple levels. At a very general/basic level every living being in this material world is sin-born since there’s much suffering in this world. At a higher level, in the context at hand, “sin-born” because of past Karma (pāpa/bad) resulting in births with certain limitations in terms of formal/ready opportunities for spiritual advancement in the environments one is born into. For example, Upāsana (formal means for moksha) aren’t prescribed for Śudras. While Upāsana are available for Vaisyas, Satra yāga isn’t available. But Lord Krishna is saying here that, these limitations are of no consequence in that, by taking refuge in Him, by becoming His devotees (as detailed in the Itihāsās and Purāṇās) all (regardless of caste, gender, etc.) can attain moksha. Here’s a case of the tables turned whereby the so-called virtue-born (such as Brahmanas) tend to slog along so many formal paths for Moksha (Upāsanā), while the same Moksha is easily and readily obtained by the so-called “sin-born” by simply taking refuge in the Lord and becoming His devotees. Indeed Brahmanas that have realized this feel inferior to others in this regard as related in Ramanuja’s Ten Words. In the grand scheme of things, both pāpa (bad karma) and punya (good karma) are fetters (impediments) to Moksha. One is an iron fetter and the other a gold fetter but it doesn’t matter, just like how it doesn’t matter whether the prison walls are made of gold or iron.
  5. The three kinds of sufferings man is subject to, viz,, ādhy-ātmika= self-caused, ādhi-bhautika=those arising from the external world, and ādhi-daivika=providential visitations.

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