Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Three
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Five

Verse Four

With the Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura


bibharṣi rūpāṇy avabodha ātmā
kṣemāya lokasya carācarasya
sattvopapannāni sukhāvahāni
satām abhadrāṇi muhuḥ khalānām

You are that Consciousness which is fully awake. For the welfare of all animate and inanimate beings, You assume various forms endowed with pure transcendence which bring pleasure to the righteous and inauspiciousness to the wicked. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.2.29)

Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary

The Devas said, “O Infinite One! As the embodiment of knowledge, You bestow Your grace upon all beings, both moving and non-moving. You manifest in various forms – in other words, You assume a form of bliss for those who are virtuous, and for those who are wicked You always display a form of inauspiciousness.”

Through this unparalleled statement, the Devas explained the Supreme’s ātmarāma-avatāra (self-satisfied avatāra). The Supreme Lord has entered all created elements in the form of Paramātmā. All beings in all species and categories possess perceptions of Jagadīśvara. The Supreme Being is the inherent life within the life of the entire world and the jīvas – thus, if His Paramātmā avatāra were not present in all elements, they would become non-existent.

In this world, the six divine qualities of Bhagavān Paramātmā Garbhodākaśayī exist within each distinct object. As a result of differences amongst all objects, separate forms of Paramātmā are seen to manifest. Based upon whatever particular qualities are present there, a form of the Supreme is arranged accordingly. Inconceivable expertise is observed in the material world, therefore, Bhagavān who wields the cakra, manifests as the personified symbol of such skill. All those individuals who, due to their own self-importance, do not give any place to steadfast faith, cannot perceive the form of Cakradhāri Bhagavān through logic. They are not capable of deliberating upon the forms of the infinite avatāras. Similarly, as many jīvas that exist in the world, the Supreme Lord is perceived in various forms within them. By external appearance, all bodies are arranged in various forms, and all jīvas in their ātmasvarūpa (intrinsic nature), also demonstrate the infinite potency of the Supreme Lord, which is situated within different natures and qualities. In relation to all those nature and qualities, the form of the Paramātmā, who is self-satisfied, is perceived of as separate. Therefore, as many jīvas as there are in the world, that many types of avatāras of the Supreme Lord are recognised.

The ātmā of those individuals influenced by sattva-guṇa perceives a form of the Supreme Lord imbued with goodness. Those whose natures are influenced by rajo-guṇa perceive a form of the Supreme Lord imbued with passion. Individuals dominated by the quality of ignorance perceive the Supreme in a tāmasika form.*(1) In this way, infinite varieties of qualities generated by everyone’s positive and negative tendencies also lead to the possibility of infinite perceptible forms of the Supreme – hence, the ways of perceiving the Supreme are also infinite in nature for everyone. All jīvas worship a form of the Supreme according to their respective qualities. By worshipping in this way, they attain the ultimate result of enriching their own respective attributes. Persons influenced by tamo-guṇa worship a fearful form of the Supreme imbued with ignorance, and they attain the ultimate result in the form of fear. By serving the form of the Supreme imbued with sattva-guṇa, a jīva attains prema with an auspicious form which is surcharged with pure transcendence. Although Bhagavān appears as the intrinsic life-force of this world and accepts infinite forms, the jīvas who are endowed with impartial consideration, by taking support from Bhagavān’s own form and nature which are comprised of viśuddha-sattva, achieve the status of Śiva in the spiritual sky. *(2)

Those hypocrites who are steeped in tamo-guṇa achieve an inauspicious form of Bhagavān and are punished. At this point there may be a doubt that, no matter how one worships Bhagavān, there is always a possibility of the jīva’s welfare, since Bhagavān is like the sun, and thus even the presence of His form of ignorance (tama-svarūpa) is capable of dispelling inauspiciousness. This doubt is entirely baseless.

The independence of the jīva is the cause for Bhagavān to descend as an avatāra. It is one’s duty to consider what is the jīva’s eternal and intrinsic nature. Dependence upon the Supreme is the jīva’s eternal nature since the jīva is inherently kṛṣnadāsa. For the welfare of the jīva, in other words, to deter him from temptation, the Supreme Lord only displays a fragment of the jīva’s independence to him. Being misled by the illusion of independence and abandoning their inherently dependent nature, all the weak jīvas crave independence and take support from the qualities of māyā. Having adopted this ‘independence’ by accepting these qualities awarded by māyā, all these jīvas take on various forms. However, those jīvas who are strong and ignore such independence, remain in their constitutional position as a servant of Kṛṣṇa. They never fall down at any time – for this reason, they are called nitya-mukta (eternally liberated). Those who accept the support of māyika qualities attain the designation of baddha (bound). Being attracted by the sweetness of the Lord’s own form, those eternally liberated persons attain servitude in His transcendental abode – in other words, they do not know about topics concerning the Lord’s avatāras because they have attained His original inherent form and nature. The Lord’s avatāras are for those persons who are bound. All those persons bound in the material world who worship the Lord’s guṇāvatāras thus attain the results guided by those qualities. Therefore, the independence of the jīva must be said to be the cause of the avatāras, because if the jīva had not accepted his independence by accepting the material modes of māyā, then there would not be various avatāras of the Self-satisfied Lord. Applied Vedānta-śāstra describes material nature as sva-kriyā (dynamic) and the Supreme as nirvikāra (inactive).*(3)

It is evident here that the jīva achieves his bound state due to the results of his own independent karma. With due consideration it could be said that the results of karma are the cause of this situation, yet since there is not always a clear conclusion in every case, it is accepted as the Lord’s līlā.

Jagadīśvara is all-powerful, therefore what is the necessity for Him to bestow auspiciousness to the jīvas in the form of inauspicious independence which binds them to māyā? To try and ascertain this is asādhya (impossible). Śrī Caitanyadeva considers this as asādhya-bhrama (an inherently impossible bewilderment) and advises Vaiṣṇavas to abandon it.*(4) In fact, this instruction of the Lord is important, because if it is transgressed, one will enter into the realm of futile wrangling. Although such independence has been the cause of many misfortunes for the jīva, still the Lord explains to Rāmānanda that it is also an auspicious gift from the Supreme.*(5) All those jīvas who take support of such independence while remaining as dependent followers of the Lord become more dear to Bhagavān than before. Thus, Mahāprabhu’s instruction is that if all jīvas use their God-given independence properly, they can achieve the highest state of kṛṣṇa-bhakti. If there were no independence, the jīva would become dependent on the Supreme by force, thus there would be no glory for the jīva.

All jīvas who have been subjected to independence that are mostly bound and roaming the world, have obtained various qualities produced by māyā. With all those qualities, they render service to the Lord in various ways. However, not all these services constitute service to Bhagavān, because different results are obtained through different forms. The primary service to Bhagavān is prema, because those who serve tāmasika forms out of fear, hatred and lust, distance themselves from serenity. Although Bhagavān manifests in some form to accompany them, even in hell, without prema, they cannot attain auspiciousness.

The Lord is all-pervasive and within the hearts of all living beings, so the jīvas cannot stay away from the Supreme, no matter where they are. However, the primary means of attaining peace is through causeless bhakti, and as long as the jīvas do not take shelter in it, they cannot perceive the peaceful aspect of Jagadīśvara beyond His awe-inspiring form. That is why, from the jīva’s impartial consideration, meditating upon and serving the peaceful form of the Lord, which manifests through sattva, is an essential duty. It is possible for the state of conditioning produced by the independence of the jīva to be dissolved through service in the mode of goodness.



(1) Rājasika and tāmasika forms of the Lord primarily refer to the guṇāvatāras of Brahmā and Śiva, as well as ghastly forms of Śiva such as Kāla-Bhairāva, Kapālī etc.

(2) For more explanation on this point, please read: Śiva-tattva – the Position of Lord Śiva by Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja

(3) Bhagavān is called nirvikāra because He has no duty to perform. Since He is eternally ātma-rāma (self-satisfied), He has no necessities and remains impartial and aloof. Material nature is referred to as sva-kriyā because she is constantly in flux.

(4) In Datta-Kaustubha 11, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes:

Asādhya-bhrama is the inherent faults in the jīva’s finite intrinsic nature in regards to those things of infinite reality. It is improper to make endeavours to eliminate them by the power of one’s own intelligence. This is because such misconceptions are produced by the power of Bhagavān and they cannot be removed without Bhagavān’s grace.

(5) Vide. Caitanya-gītā 1.44

Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Three
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Five

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