Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5, sloka 15

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 15


The Lord does not receive either the bad or the good of any one. Knowledge is
enveloped by ignorance and by it beings are deluded.


Having said that each individual acts on his own and the Lord is just a neutral
witness, we now get another firm assertion from Him that He does not receive the
good or bad from the actions of any individual.

It is a simple statement of fact that good actions result in good results and
bad actions result in bad results. We get the results of all the actions
conducted by us. The Lord does not receive the results of any actions.

What is then “The knowledge” that is enveloped by ignorance?

The knowledge we should remember is that each one of us is truly “The Atman”
within which is part of Parabrahman. Each one of us is “Tat”, so says the
Mahavakya from Chandogya Upanisad, Sama Veda,”Tat Tvam Asi.” (Thou Art That.)

There are three aspects of “Ignorance” that hides this “Knowledge” and these

a) We carry forward results of a number of actions in our past including the
past births. We did not get the results during that birth. The timing of
receiving the results is “In His hands.” The ignorance is that we do not
remember this truth.

In the past births of ours, each one of us has done both good and bad actions.
The Lord does bestow the results of actions is also something that has been
drilled into us by the sastras.

Physical death in any one birth does not mean the end of all vasanas stored in
the mind. We have to get the results of thoughts and actions in that birth and
that of the past births too. The results will be given to us either in this
present birth or later in the subsequent births we may have to take.

b) Whatever actions we conduct in this life should also bear fruits and these
may be sweet fruits or bitter fruits as the case may be.

Some fruits we taste in this life but many are yet to ripen and we do not know
when they will ripen. We have even forgotten that we have sown the seeds for
these fruits by our actions. Not only we have forgotten the past but we do not
realise that our actions now will give us the fruits at a later date and we have
to taste them. The ignorance is that we do not know this truth also.

c) Finally, the ignorance is that we have forgotten our true identity with the

The absence of knowledge of these three aspects of our life is “Ignorance”. This
is referred to in the sloka with the statement “Knowledge is enveloped by
ignorance and by it beings are deluded.”

The “Ignorance” is referred to as “non-apprehension” of reality which in
Sanskrit is “Avarana”. This leads to “mis-apprehension” of Reality which in
Sanskrit is “Vikshepa.”

Let us realise that the God does not sit on a high pedestal in a remote part of
the universe and blesses the jivas with vanquishing of all the vasanas at the
time of death.

(refer to sloka 38, chapter 3: the fire is enveloped by smoke, the mirror is
covered by dust and the foetus is enveloped by amnion).

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