SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
SlOkam – Original
mAm hi pArtha vyapASrithya yE’pi syu: pApayOnaya: |
sthriyO vaiSyAs thathA SUdhrAs thE’pi yAnthi parAm gathim ||
word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
pArtha – Oh son of kunthI!
sthriya: – women
vaiSyA – vaiSyas (merchant class)
thathA SUdhrA: – SUdhras (labour class) too
pApayOnaya yE api syu: – those who have acquired inferior births
thE api – they too
mAm – me
vyapASrithya – attain through perfect surrender
parAm gathim – supreme goal
yAnthi hi – they reach too.
Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
Oh son of kunthI! Those women, vaiSyas, SUdhras who have acquired inferior births too attain me through perfect surrender and they reach the supreme goal too.
- Here the reason for women, vaiSyas and Sudhras being highlighted as inferior births is due to their lack of right to engage in karma, gyAna and bhakthi yOgam. As a matter of fact, all births in samsAra (material realm) are bound by temporary and sorrowful nature as highlighted in the next SlOkam. bhagavAn explains here and will emphasise further in the end that SaraNAgathi (surrender) is the apt means for everyone.
Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam
‘Be they the sin-born1, women2, vaiśyas or śūdras, yet by trusting Me, even they shall go to the superior state.’
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- 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. ↩
- 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. ↩