Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 11 Chapter 21
Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Explanation of the Vedic Path
ya etān mat-patho hitvā
kṣudrān kāmāṁś calaiḥ prāṇair
juṣantaḥ saṁsaranti te
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; ye — those who; etān — these; mat-pathaḥ — means for achieving Me; hitvā — giving up; bhakti — devotional service; jñāna — analytic philosophy; kriyā — regulated work; ātmakān — consisting of; kṣudrān — insignificant; kāmān — sense gratification; calaiḥ — by the flickering; prāṇaiḥ — senses; juṣantaḥ — cultivating; saṁsaranti — undergo material existence; te — they.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who give up these methods for achieving Me, which consist of devotional service, analytic philosophy and regulated execution of prescribed duties, and instead, being moved by the material senses, cultivate insignificant sense gratification, certainly undergo the continual cycle of material existence.
sve sve ’dhikāre yā niṣṭhā
sa guṇaḥ parikīrtitaḥ
viparyayas tu doṣaḥ syād
ubhayor eṣa niścayaḥ
sve sve — each in his own; adhikāre — position; yā — such; niṣṭhā — steadiness; saḥ — this; guṇaḥ — piety; parikīrtitaḥ — is declared to be; viparyayaḥ — the opposite; tu — indeed; doṣaḥ — impiety; syāt — is; ubhayoḥ — of the two; eṣaḥ — this; niścayaḥ — the definite conclusion.
Steadiness in one’s own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from one’s position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained.
samāneṣv api vastuṣu
yātrārtham iti cānagha
śuddhi — purity; aśuddhī — and impurity; vidhīyete — are established; samāneṣu — of the same category; api — indeed; vastuṣu — among objects; dravyasya — of a particular object; vicikitsā — evaluation; artham — for the purpose of; guṇa-doṣau — good and bad qualities; śubha-aśubhau — auspicious and inauspicious; dharma-artham — for the purpose of religious activities; vyavahāra-artham — for the purpose of ordinary dealings; yātrā-artham — for one’s physical survival; iti — thus; ca — also; anagha — O sinless one.
O sinless Uddhava, in order to understand what is proper in life one must evaluate a given object within its particular category. Thus, in analyzing religious principles one must consider purity and impurity. Similarly, in one’s ordinary dealings one must distinguish between good and bad, and to insure one’s physical survival one must recognize that which is auspicious and inauspicious.
darśito ’yaṁ mayācāro
dharmam udvahatāṁ dhuram
darśitaḥ — revealed; ayam — this; mayā — by Me; ācāraḥ — way of life; dharmam — religious principles; udvahatām — for those who are bearing; dhuram — the burden.
I have revealed this way of life for those bearing the burden of mundane religious principles.
bhūmi — earth; ambu — water; agni — fire; anila — air; ākāśāḥ — sky or ether; bhūtānām — of all conditioned souls; pañca — the five; dhātavaḥ — basic elements; ā-brahma — from Lord Brahmā; sthāvara-ādīnām — down to the nonmoving creatures; śārīrāḥ — used for the construction of the material bodies; ātma — to the Supreme Soul; saṁyutāḥ — equally related.
Earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five basic elements that constitute the bodies of all conditioned souls, from Lord Brahmā himself down to the nonmoving creatures. These elements all emanate from the one Personality of Godhead.
viṣamāṇi sameṣv api
vedena — by Vedic literature; nāma — names; rūpāṇi — and forms; viṣamāṇi — different; sameṣu — which are equal; api — indeed; dhātuṣu — in (material bodies composed of) the five elements; uddhava — My dear Uddhava; kalpyante — are conceived of; eteṣām — of them, the living entities; sva-artha — of self-interest; siddhaye — for the achievement.
My dear Uddhava, although all material bodies are composed of the same five elements and are thus equal, the Vedic literatures conceive of different names and forms in relation to such bodies so that the living entities may achieve their goal of life.
vastūnāṁ mama sattama
niyamārthaṁ hi karmaṇām
deśa — of space; kāla — time; ādi — and so on; bhāvānām — of such states of existence; vastūnām — of things; mama — by Me; sat-tama — O most saintly Uddhava; guṇa-doṣau — piety and sin; vidhīyete — are established; niyama-artham — for the restriction; hi — certainly; karmaṇām — of fruitive activities.
O saintly Uddhava, in order to restrict materialistic activities, I have established that which is proper and improper among all material things, including time, space and all physical objects.
abrahmaṇyo ’sucir bhavet
kṛṣṇa-sāro ’py asauvīra-
akṛṣṇa-sāraḥ — without spotted antelopes; deśānām — among places; abrahmaṇyaḥ — where there is no devotion to the brāhmaṇas; aśuciḥ — contaminated; bhavet — is; kṛṣṇa-sāraḥ — possessing spotted antelopes; api — even; asauvīra — without saintly cultured men; kīkaṭa — (a place of low-class men, such as) the state of Gayā; asaṁskṛta — where people do not practice cleanliness or purificatory ceremonies; īraṇam — where the land is barren.
Among places, those bereft of the spotted antelope, those devoid of devotion to the brāhmaṇas, those possessing spotted antelopes but bereft of respectable men, provinces like Kīkaṭa and places where cleanliness and purificatory rites are neglected, where meat-eaters are prominent or where the earth is barren, are all considered to be contaminated lands.
karmaṇyo guṇavān kālo
dravyataḥ svata eva vā
yato nivartate karma
sa doṣo ’karmakaḥ smṛtaḥ
karmaṇyaḥ — suitable for executing one’s prescribed duty; guṇavān — pure; kālaḥ — time; dravyataḥ — by achievement of auspicious objects; svataḥ — by its own nature; eva — indeed; vā — or; yataḥ — due to which (time); nivartate — is impeded; karma — one’s duty; saḥ — this (time); doṣaḥ — impure; akarmakaḥ — inappropriate for working properly; smṛtaḥ — is considered.
A specific time is considered pure when it is appropriate, either by its own nature or through achievement of suitable paraphernalia, for the performance of one’s prescribed duty. That time which impedes the performance of one’s duty is considered impure.
dravyasya śuddhy-aśuddhī ca
dravyeṇa vacanena ca
dravyasya — of an object; śuddhi — purity; aśuddhī — or impurity; ca — and; dravyeṇa — by another object; vacanena — by speech; ca — and; saṁskāreṇa — by ritual performance; atha — or else; kālena — by time; mahatva-alpatayā — by greatness or smallness; atha vā — or else.
An object’s purity or impurity is established by application of another object, by words, by rituals, by the effects of time or according to relative magnitude.
śaktyāśaktyātha vā buddhyā
samṛddhyā ca yad ātmane
aghaṁ kurvanti hi yathā
śaktyā — by relative potency; aśaktyā — impotence; atha vā — or; buddhyā — in terms of understanding; samṛddhyā — opulence; ca — and; yat — which; ātmane — to oneself; agham — sinful reaction; kurvanti — cause; hi — indeed; yathā — in actuality; deśa — place; avasthā — or one’s condition; anusārataḥ — in accordance with.
Impure things may or may not impose sinful reactions upon a person, depending on that person’s strength or weakness, intelligence, wealth, location and physical condition.
dhānya — of grains; dāru — of wood (in the form of both ordinary objects and sacred utensils); asthi — bone (such as elephant tusks); tantūnām — and thread; rasa — of liquids (oil, ghee, etc); taijasa — fiery objects (gold, etc); carmaṇām — and skins; kāla — by time; vāyu — by air; agni — by fire; mṛt — by earth; toyaiḥ — and by water; pārthivānām — (also) of earthen objects (such as chariot wheels, mud, pots, bricks, etc); yuta — in combination; ayutaiḥ — or separately.
Various objects such as grains, wooden utensils, things made of bone, thread, liquids, objects derived from fire, skins and earthy objects are all purified by time, by the wind, by fire, by earth and by water, either separately or in combination.
amedhya-liptaṁ yad yena
bhajate prakṛtiṁ tasya
tac chaucaṁ tāvad iṣyate
amedhya — by something impure; liptam — touched; yat — that thing which; yena — by which; gandha — the bad smell; lepam — and the impure covering; vyapohati — gives up; bhajate — the contaminated object again assumes; prakṛtim — its original nature; tasya — of that object; tat — that application; śaucam — purification; tāvat — to that extent; iṣyate — is considered.
A particular purifying agent is considered appropriate when its application removes the bad odor or dirty covering of some contaminated object and makes it resume its original nature.
mat-smṛtyā cātmanaḥ śaucaṁ
śuddhaḥ karmācared dvijaḥ
snāna — by bathing; dāna — charity; tapaḥ — austerity; avasthā — by virtue of one’s age; vīrya — potency; saṁskāra — execution of ritual purification; karmabhiḥ — and prescribed duties; mat-smṛtyā — by remembrance of Me; ca — also; ātmanaḥ — of the self; śaucam — cleanliness; śuddhaḥ — pure; karma — activity; ācaret — he should perform; dvijaḥ — a twice-born man.
The self can be cleansed by bathing, charity, austerity, age, personal strength, purificatory rituals, prescribed duties and, above all, by remembrance of Me. The brāhmaṇa and other twice-born men should be duly purified before performing their specific activities.
mantrasya ca parijñānaṁ
dharmaḥ sampadyate ṣaḍbhir
adharmas tu viparyayaḥ
mantrasya — (the purification) of a mantra; ca — and; parijñānam — correct knowledge; karma — of work; śuddhiḥ — the purification; mat-arpaṇam — offering unto Me; dharmaḥ — religiousness; sampadyate — is achieved; ṣaḍbhiḥ — by the six (purification of place, time, substance, the doer, the mantras and the work); adharmaḥ — irreligiosity; tu — but; viparyayaḥ — otherwise.
A mantra is purified when chanted with proper knowledge, and one’s work is purified when offered to Me. Thus by purification of the place, time, substance, doer, mantras and work, one becomes religious, and by negligence of these six items one is considered irreligious.
kvacid guṇo ’pi doṣaḥ syād
doṣo ’pi vidhinā guṇaḥ
tad-bhidām eva bādhate
kvacit — sometimes; guṇaḥ — piety; api — even; doṣaḥ — sin; syāt — becomes; doṣaḥ — sin; api — also; vidhinā — on the strength of Vedic injunction; guṇaḥ — piety; guṇa-doṣa — to piety and sin; artha — regarding; niyamaḥ — restrictive regulation; tat — of them; bhidām — the distinction; eva — actually; bādhate — undoes.
Sometimes piety becomes sin, and sometimes what is ordinarily sin becomes piety on the strength of Vedic injunctions. Such special rules in effect eradicate the clear distinction between piety and sin.
patitānāṁ na pātakam
autpattiko guṇaḥ saṅgo
na śayānaḥ pataty adhaḥ
samāna — equal; karma — of work; ācaraṇam — the performance; patitānām — for those who are fallen; na — is not; pātakam — a cause of falldown; autpattikaḥ — dictated by one’s nature; guṇaḥ — becomes a good quality; saṅgaḥ — material association; na — does not; śayānaḥ — one who is lying down; patati — fall; adhaḥ — further down.
The same activities that would degrade an elevated person do not cause falldown for those who are already fallen. Indeed, one who is lying on the ground cannot possibly fall further. The material association that is dictated by one’s own nature is considered a good quality.
yato yato nivarteta
vimucyeta tatas tataḥ
eṣa dharmo nṛṇāṁ kṣemaḥ
yataḥ yataḥ — from whatever; nivarteta — one desists; vimucyeta — he becomes liberated; tataḥ tataḥ — from that; eṣaḥ — this; dharmaḥ — the system of religion; nṛṇām — for humans; kṣemaḥ — the path of auspiciousness; śoka — suffering; moha — delusion; bhaya — and fear; apahaḥ — which takes away.
By refraining from a particular sinful or materialistic activity, one becomes freed from its bondage. Such renunciation is the basis of religious and auspicious life for human beings and drives away all suffering, illusion and fear.
puṁsaḥ saṅgas tato bhavet
saṅgāt tatra bhavet kāmaḥ
kāmād eva kalir nṛṇām
viṣayeṣu — in material objects of sense gratification; guṇa-adhyāsāt — because of presuming them to be good; puṁsaḥ — of a person; saṅgaḥ — attachment; tataḥ — from that presumption; bhavet — comes into being; saṅgāt — from that material association; tatra — thus; bhavet — arises; kāmaḥ — lust; kāmāt — from lust; eva — also; kaliḥ — quarrel; nṛṇām — among men.
One who accepts material sense objects as desirable certainly becomes attached to them. From such attachment lust arises, and this lust creates quarrel among men.
kaler durviṣahaḥ krodhas
tamas tam anuvartate
tamasā grasyate puṁsaś
cetanā vyāpinī drutam
kaleḥ — from quarrel; durviṣahaḥ — intolerable; krodhaḥ — anger; tamaḥ — ignorance; tam — that anger; anuvartate — follows; tamasā — by ignorance; grasyate — is seized; puṁsaḥ — of a man; cetanā — the consciousness; vyāpinī — broad; drutam — swiftly.
From quarrel arises intolerable anger, followed by the darkness of ignorance. This ignorance quickly overtakes a man’s broad intelligence.
tayā virahitaḥ sādho
jantuḥ śūnyāya kalpate
tato ’sya svārtha-vibhraṁśo
mūrcchitasya mṛtasya ca
tayā — of that intelligence; virahitaḥ — deprived; sādho — O saintly Uddhava; jantuḥ — a living creature; śūnyāya — practically void; kalpate — becomes; tataḥ — consequently; asya — his; sva-artha — from the goals of life; vibhraṁśaḥ — downfall; mūrcchitasya — of him who has become like dull matter; mṛtasya — virtually dead; ca — and.
O saintly Uddhava, a person bereft of real intelligence is considered to have lost everything. Deviated from the actual purpose of his life, he becomes dull, just like a dead person.
nātmānaṁ veda nāparam
vṛkṣa jīvikayā jīvan
vyarthaṁ bhastreva yaḥ śvasan
viṣaya — in sense gratification; abhiniveśena — by overabsorption; na — not; ātmānam — himself; veda — knows; na — nor; aparam — another; vṛkṣa — of a tree; jīvakayā — by the lifestyle; jīvan — living; vyartham — in vain; bhastrā iva — just like a bellows; yaḥ — who; śvasan — is breathing.
Because of absorption in sense gratification, one cannot recognize himself or others. Living uselessly in ignorance like a tree, one is merely breathing just like a bellows.
phala-śrutir iyaṁ nṝṇāṁ
na śreyo rocanaṁ param
phala-śrutiḥ — the statements of scripture promising rewards; iyam — these; nṝṇām — for men; na — are not; śreyaḥ — the highest good; rocanam — enticement; param — merely; śreyaḥ — the ultimate good; vivakṣayā — with the idea of saying; proktam — spoken; yathā — just as; bhaiṣajya — for taking medicine; rocanam — inducement.
Those statements of scripture promising fruitive rewards do not prescribe the ultimate good for men but are merely enticements for executing beneficial religious duties, like promises of candy spoken to induce a child to take beneficial medicine.
utpattyaiva hi kāmeṣu
prāṇeṣu sva-janeṣu ca
utpattyā eva — simply by birth; hi — indeed; kāmeṣu — in objects of selfish desires; prāṇeṣu — in vital functions (such as one’s duration of life, sense activities, physical strength and sexual potency); sva-janeṣu — in his family members; ca — and; āsakta-manasaḥ — having become attached within the mind; martyāḥ — mortal human beings; ātmanaḥ — of their real self; anartha — of defeating the purpose; hetuṣu — which are the causes.
Simply by material birth, human beings become attached within their minds to personal sense gratification, long duration of life, sense activities, bodily strength, sexual potency and friends and family. Their minds are thus absorbed in that which defeats their actual self-interest.
natān aviduṣaḥ svārthaṁ
kathaṁ yuñjyāt punas teṣu
tāṁs tamo viśato budhaḥ
natān — submissive; aviduṣaḥ — ignorant; sva-artham — of their own interest; bhrāmyataḥ — wandering; vṛjina — of danger; adhvani — upon the path; katham — for what purpose; yuñjyāt — would cause to engage; punaḥ — further; teṣu — in those (modes of sense gratification); tān — them; tamaḥ — darkness; viśataḥ — who are entering; budhaḥ — the intelligent (Vedic authority).
Those ignorant of their real self-interest are wandering on the path of material existence, gradually heading toward darkness. Why would the Vedas further encourage them in sense gratification if they, although foolish, submissively pay heed to Vedic injunctions?
evaṁ vyavasitaṁ kecid
na veda-jñā vadanti hi
evam — in this way; vyavasitam — the actual conclusion; kecit — some people; avijñāya — not understanding; ku-buddhayaḥ — having perverted intelligence; phala-śrutim — the scriptural statements promising material rewards; kusumitām — flowery; na — do not; veda-jñāḥ — those in full knowledge of the Vedas; vadanti — speak; hi — indeed.
Persons with perverted intelligence do not understand this actual purpose of Vedic knowledge and instead propagate as the highest Vedic truth the flowery statements of the Vedas that promise material rewards. Those in actual knowledge of the Vedas never speak in that way.
kāminaḥ kṛpaṇā lubdhāḥ
svaṁ lokaṁ na vidanti te
kāminaḥ — lusty persons; kṛpaṇāḥ — miserly; lubdhāḥ — greedy; puṣpeṣu — flowers; phala-buddhayaḥ — thinking to be the ultimate fruits; agni — by fire; mugdhāḥ — bewildered; dhūma-tāntāḥ — suffocating from smoke; svam — their own; lokam — identity; na vidanti — do not recognize; te — they.
Those who are full of lust, avarice and greed mistake mere flowers to be the actual fruit of life. Bewildered by the glare of fire and suffocated by its smoke, they cannot recognize their own true identity.
na te mām aṅga jānanti
hṛdi-sthaṁ ya idaṁ yataḥ
uktha-śastrā hy asu-tṛpo
na — do not; te — they; mām — Me; aṅga — My dear Uddhava; jānanti — know; hṛdi-stham — seated within the heart; yaḥ — who is; idam — this created universe; yataḥ — from whom it comes; uktha-śastrāḥ — who consider Vedic ritual activities to be praiseworthy, or else, for whom their own ritualistic performances are like the weapon that kills the sacrificial animal; hi — indeed; asu-tṛpaḥ — interested only in sense gratification; yathā — just as; nīhāra — in fog; cakṣuṣaḥ — those whose eyes.
My dear Uddhava, persons dedicated to sense gratification obtained through honoring the Vedic rituals cannot understand that I am situated in everyone’s heart and that the entire universe is nondifferent from Me and emanates from Me. Indeed, they are just like persons whose eyes are covered by fog.
te me matam avijñāya
hiṁsāyāṁ yadi rāgaḥ syād
yajña eva na codanā
hiṁsā-vihārā hy ālabdhaiḥ
yajante devatā yajñaiḥ
te — they; me — My; matam — conclusion; avijñāya — without understanding; parokṣam — confidential; viṣaya-ātmakāḥ — absorbed in sense gratification; hiṁsāyām — to violence; yadi — if; rāgaḥ — attachment; syāt — may be; yajñe — in the sacrificial prescriptions; eva — certainly; na — there is not; codanā — encouragement; hiṁsā-vihārāḥ — those who take pleasure in violence; hi — indeed; ālabdhaiḥ — which have been slaughtered; paśubhiḥ — by means of the animals; sva-sukha — for their own happiness; icchayā — with the desire; yajante — they worship; devatāḥ — the demigods; yajñaiḥ — by sacrificial rituals; pitṛ — the forefathers; bhūta-patīn — and the leaders among the ghostly spirits; khalāḥ — cruel persons.
Those who are sworn to sense gratification cannot understand the confidential conclusion of Vedic knowledge as explained by Me. Taking pleasure in violence, they cruelly slaughter innocent animals in sacrifice for their own sense gratification and thus worship demigods, forefathers and leaders among ghostly creatures. Such passion for violence, however, is never encouraged within the process of Vedic sacrifice.
svapnopamam amuṁ lokam
āśiṣo hṛdi saṅkalpya
tyajanty arthān yathā vaṇik
svapna — a dream; upamam — equal to; amum — that; lokam — world (after death); asantam — unreal; śravaṇa-priyam — only enchanting to hear about; āśiṣaḥ — mundane achievements in this life; hṛdi — in their hearts; saṅkalpya — imagining; tyajanti — they give up; arthān — their wealth; yathā — like; vaṇik — a businessman.
Just as a foolish businessman gives up his real wealth in useless business speculation, foolish persons give up all that is actually valuable in life and instead pursue promotion to material heaven, which although pleasing to hear about is actually unreal, like a dream. Such bewildered persons imagine within their hearts that they will achieve all material blessings.
devādīn na yathaiva mām
rajaḥ — in the mode of passion; sattva — goodness; tamaḥ — or ignorance; niṣṭhāḥ — established; rajaḥ — passion; sattva — goodness; tamaḥ — or ignorance; juṣaḥ — who manifest; upāsate — they worship; indra-mukhyān — headed by Lord Indra; deva-ādīn — the demigods and other deities; na — but not; yathā eva — in the proper way; mām — Me.
Those established in material passion, goodness and ignorance worship the particular demigods and other deities, headed by Indra, who manifest the same modes of passion, goodness or ignorance. They fail, however, to properly worship Me.
iṣṭveha devatā yajñair
gatvā raṁsyāmahe divi
tasyānta iha bhūyāsma
evaṁ puṣpitayā vācā
mad-vārtāpi na rocate
iṣṭvā — offering sacrifice; iha — in this world; devatāḥ — to the demigods; yajñaiḥ — by our sacrifices; gatvā — going; raṁsyāmahe — we shall enjoy; divi — in heaven; tasya — of that enjoyment; ante — at the end; iha — on this earth; bhūyāsmaḥ — we shall become; mahā-śālāḥ — great householders; mahā-kulāḥ — members of aristocratic families; evam — thus; puṣpitayā — by the flowery; vācā — words; vyākṣipta-manasām — for those whose minds are bewildered; nṛṇām — men; māninām — very proud; ca — and; ati-lubdhānām — extremely greedy; mad-vārtā — topics about Me; api — even; na rocate — have no attraction.
The worshipers of demigods think, “We shall worship the demigods in this life, and by our sacrifices we shall go to heaven and enjoy there. When that enjoyment is finished we shall return to this world and take birth as great householders in aristocratic families.” Being excessively proud and greedy, such persons are bewildered by the flowery words of the Vedas. They are not attracted to topics about Me, the Supreme Lord.
parokṣaṁ mama ca priyam
vedāḥ — the Vedas; brahma-ātma — the understanding that the soul is pure spirit; viṣayāḥ — having as their subject matter; tri-kāṇḍa-viṣayāḥ — divided into three sections (which represent fruitive work, worship of demigods and realization of the Absolute Truth); ime — these; parokṣa-vādāḥ — speaking esoterically; ṛṣayaḥ — the Vedic authorities; parokṣam — indirect explanation; mama — to Me; ca — also; priyam — dear.
The Vedas, divided into three divisions, ultimately reveal the living entity as pure spirit soul. The Vedic seers and mantras, however, deal in esoteric terms, and I also am pleased by such confidential descriptions.
śabda-brahma — the transcendental sound of the Vedas; su-durbodham — extremely difficult to comprehend; prāṇa — of the vital air; indriya — senses; manaḥ — and mind; mayam — manifesting on the different levels; ananta-pāram — without limit; gambhīram — deep; durvigāhyam — unfathomable; samudra-vat — like the ocean.
The transcendental sound of the Vedas is very difficult to comprehend and manifests on different levels within the prāṇa, senses and mind. This Vedic sound is unlimited, very deep and unfathomable, just like the ocean.
mayā — by Me; upabṛṁhitam — established; bhūmnā — by the unlimited; brahmaṇā — the changeless Absolute; ananta-śaktinā — whose potencies have no end; bhūteṣu — within the living beings; ghoṣa-rūpeṇa — in the form of subtle sound, the oṁkāra; viseṣu — in the subtle fibrous covering of a lotus stalk; ūrṇā — one thread; iva — as; lakṣyate — appears.
As the unlimited, unchanging and omnipotent Personality of Godhead dwelling within all living beings, I personally establish the Vedic sound vibration in the form of oṁkāra within all living entities. It is thus perceived subtly, just like a single strand of fiber on a lotus stalk.
ūrṇām udvamate mukhāt
ākāśād ghoṣavān prāṇo
sṛjaty ākṣipate svayam
yathā — just as; ūrṇa-nābhiḥ — a spider; hṛdayāt — from its heart; ūrṇām — its web; udvamate — emits; mukhāt — through its mouth; ākāśāt — from the ether; ghoṣa-vān — manifesting sound vibration; prāṇaḥ — the Lord in the form of the original life air; manasā — by means of the primeval mind; sparśa-rūpiṇā — which exhibits the forms of the different phonemes of the alphabet, beginning with the sparśa letters; chandaḥ-mayaḥ — comprising all the sacred Vedic meters; amṛta-mayaḥ — full of transcendental pleasure; sahasra-padavīm — which branches out in thousands of directions; prabhuḥ — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; oṁkārāt — from the subtle vibration oṁkāra; vyañjita — expanded; sparśa — with the consonant stops; svara — vowels; uṣma — sibilants; anta-stha — and semivowels; bhūṣitām — decorated; vicitra — variegated; bhāṣā — by verbal expressions; vitatām — elaborated; chandobhiḥ — along with the metrical arrangements; catuḥ-uttaraiḥ — each having four syllables more than the previous; ananta-pārām — limitless; bṛhatīm — the great expanse of Vedic literature; sṛjati — He creates; ākṣipate — and withdraws; svayam — Himself.
Just as a spider brings forth from its heart its web and emits it through its mouth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself as the reverberating primeval vital air, comprising all sacred Vedic meters and full of transcendental pleasure. Thus the Lord, from the ethereal sky of His heart, creates the great and limitless Vedic sound by the agency of His mind, which conceives of variegated sounds such as the sparśas. The Vedic sound branches out in thousands of directions, adorned with the different letters expanded from the syllable om: the consonants, vowels, sibilants and semivowels. The Veda is then elaborated by many verbal varieties, expressed in different meters, each having four more syllables than the previous one. Ultimately the Lord again withdraws His manifestation of Vedic sound within Himself.
gāyatry uṣṇig anuṣṭup ca
bṛhatī paṅktir eva ca
triṣṭub jagaty aticchando
gāyatrī uṣṇik anuṣṭup ca — known as Gāyatrī, Uṣṇik and Anuṣṭup; bṛhatī paṅktiḥ — Bṛhatī and Paṅkti; eva ca — also; triṣṭup jagatī aticchandaḥ — Triṣṭup, Jagatī and Aticchanda; hi — indeed; atyaṣṭi-atijagat-virāṭ — Atyaṣṭi, Atijagatī and Ativirāṭ.
The Vedic meters are Gāyatrī, Uṣṇik, Anuṣṭup, Bṛhatī, Paṅkti, Triṣṭup, Jagatī, Aticchanda, Atyaṣṭi, Atijagatī and Ativirāṭ.
kiṁ vidhatte kim ācaṣṭe
kim anūdya vikalpayet
ity asyā hṛdayaṁ loke
nānyo mad veda kaścana
kim — what; vidhatte — enjoins (in the ritualistic karma-kāṇḍa); kim — what; ācaṣṭe — indicates (as the object of worship in the devatā-kāṇḍa); kim — what; anūdya — describing in different aspects; vikalpayet — raises the possibility of alternatives (in the jñāna-kāṇḍa); iti — thus; asyāḥ — of Vedic literature; hṛdayam — the heart, or confidential purpose; loke — in this world; na — does not; anyaḥ — other; mat — than Me; veda — know; kaścana — anyone.
In the entire world no one but Me actually understands the confidential purpose of Vedic knowledge. Thus people do not know what the Vedas are actually prescribing in the ritualistic injunctions of karma-kāṇḍa, or what object is actually being indicated in the formulas of worship found in the upāsanā-kāṇḍa, or that which is elaborately discussed through various hypotheses in the jñāna-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas.
māṁ vidhatte ’bhidhatte māṁ
vikalpyāpohyate tv aham
śabda āsthāya māṁ bhidām
mām — Me; vidhatte — enjoins in sacrifice; abhidhatte — designates as the object of worship; mām — Me; vikalpya — presented as alternate hypothesis; apohyate — am refuted; tu — also; aham — I; etāvān — thus; sarva-veda — of all the Vedas; arthaḥ — the meaning; śabdaḥ — the transcendental sound vibration; āsthāya — establishing; mām — Me; bhidām — material duality; māyā-mātram — as simply illusion; anūdya — describing elaborately in different aspects; ante — ultimately; pratiṣidhya — negating; prasīdati — becomes satisfied.
I am the ritualistic sacrifice enjoined by the Vedas, and I am the worshipable Deity. It is I who am presented as various philosophical hypotheses, and it is I alone who am then refuted by philosophical analysis. The transcendental sound vibration thus establishes Me as the essential meaning of all Vedic knowledge. The Vedas, elaborately analyzing all material duality as nothing but My illusory potency, ultimately completely negate this duality and achieve their own satisfaction.