Vikram, Vetal and (१४’९)

सत्त्वं सुखे सञ्जयति रजः कर्मणि भारत ।

ज्ञानमावृत्य तु तमः प्रमादे सञ्जयत्युत ।।१४’९।।

पदच्छेदैः – There are only two संधि-s.

  1. ज्ञानमावृत्य = ज्ञानम् आवृत्य
  2. सञ्जयत्युत = सञ्जयति उत

अन्वयाः – There are 3 clear sentences.

  1. भारत, सत्त्वं सुखे सञ्जयति = Oh descendant of (the great) भरत ! Happiness is the victory of righteousness. OR Righteousness will result in happiness.
  2. रजः कर्मणि (सञ्जयति) = Action is the victory of indulgent character. OR Indulgent character will result in action.
  3. तमः तु ज्ञानम् आवृत्य प्रमादे सञ्जयति उत = Alas ! occurrence of mistakes due to clouding of knowledge makes victory of darkness. OR Darkness, due to clouding of knowledge will result in mistakes.

In each of these sentences, there is one word, which is in seventh case, सुखे, कर्मणि, प्रमादे, respectively. In the optional OR-interpretations,  the seventh case is rightly interpreted by the preposition “in”. This has become so, by interpreting सञ्जयति as “will result (in)”.

Notes –

(1) सत्त्वं सुखे सञ्जयति = Righteousness will result in happiness. It is to be understood that every happiness may not be due to righteousness. If theft gives happiness, that happiness is certainly not due to righteousness. But righteousness will certainly result in happiness.

(2) रजः कर्मणि (सञ्जयति) = Indulgent character will result in action. Generally speaking, रजः the indulgent character is neither as good as righteousness सत्त्वम्, nor as bad as darkness तमः.

  1. Etymology of रजस् (रजः) is given as [रञ्ज्-असुन् नलोपः Uṇ.4.224]. रजस् (रजः) is derived from धातुः रञ्ज्
    • रञ्ज्
      1. To be dyed or colored, to redden, become red, glow;
      2. To dye, tinge, color, paint.
      3. To be attached or devoted to (with loc.).
      4. To be enamored of, fall in love with, feel passion or affection for.
      5. To be pleased, satisfied, or delighted.
  2. ‘Indulgent character’ as interpretation of रजस् (रजः) is good. 
  3. People of indulgent character have great curiosity. That is how scientists’ brains work.
  4. This statement “Indulgent character will result in action”,  can be connected with शरीरवाङ्-मनोभिर्यत् कर्म प्रारभते नरः (गीता १८’१५). Action gets initiated in any of three ways, with organs, with speech or with mind.
    1. Actually speech becomes speech, i.e. uttered sound, only in the fourth stage (1) परा (2) पश्यन्ती (3) मध्यमा (4) वैखरी. Initiation of speech as human action happens at the परा-stage itself.
  5. Point here is, curiosity exciting the thought-process is action. That connects well with meaning of रञ्ज् as “To be enamored of, fall in love with, feel passion or affection for”. 

(3) तमः तु ज्ञानम् आवृत्य प्रमादे सञ्जयति = Occurrence of mistakes due to clouding of knowledge makes victory of darkness. Darkness, due to clouding of knowledge will result in mistakes.

  1. “Victory of darkness” brought to my mind वेतालपञ्चविंशति the 25 stories of Vikram and Vetal. At the end of every episode, Vetal succeeds in forcing Vikram to break his vow to stay dumb. Success of Vetal is victory of darkness. Vetal तमः achieves his success सञ्जयति by forcing Vikram ज्ञानम् आवृत्य to commit the mistake प्रमादे of breaking his own vow.  
    • The whole setting is apt for victory of darkness. Everytime, King Vikram goes out to the dark jungles on no-moon night तमः and carry the corpse on his shoulders, connoting blinding of his reasoning ज्ञानम् आवृत्य.
    • Vetal threatens him of the consequence that Vikram’s brain will be shattered to pieces. That threat is also blinding of his reasoning ज्ञानम् आवृत्य. 
  2. The stories also illustrate रजः कर्मणि (सञ्जयति) = Indulgent character will result in action. It is Vikram’s own resolve, his indulgent character रजः to relieve the corpse from Vetal’s grip, which prompts सञ्जयति him to act कर्मणि. 
  3. Vikram would have been happy, by being what he was, the King. सत्त्वं सुखे सञ्जयति = Righteousness will result in happiness.

The 25 stories are said to be महाकविश्रीसोमदेवभट्टविरचिते कथासरित्सागरे शाङ्कवतीलम्बकेऽष्टमस्तरङ्गः specks in

  • अष्टमस्तरङ्गः = eighth wave 
  • शाङ्कवतीलम्बके = on the शाङ्कवती stream 
  • कथासरित्सागरे = of the ocean of fluent stories
  • महाकविश्रीसोमदेवभट्टविरचिते = composed by the great poet श्रीसोमदेवभट्ट

Every story, a node on the wave of a stream of an ocean ! Such is the immensity and high intellect of authorship of Sanskrit litterateurs ! One life is certainly not enough ! One life is not enough, even to understand and build one’s character as per just the गीता.

शुभमस्तु !



ये चैव सात्त्विका भावा राजसास्तामसाश्च ये ।
मत्त एवेति तान्विद्धि न त्वहं तेषु ते मयि ॥ ७’१२॥

पदच्छेदैः – ये च एव सात्त्विकाः भावाः राजसाः तामसाः च ये मत्तः एव इति तान् विद्धि न तु अहं तेषु ते मयि 

There are no compound words in this verse. Just putting into syntax, one can read this as भावाः ये सात्त्विकाः च राजसाः च ये तामसाः एव (सन्ति), तान् मत्तः एव (विद्धि), अहम् तेषु न (अस्मि), ते तु मयि (सन्ति) इति (अपि) विद्धि ।

If we get meanings of the words, interpretation of the verse should come through straightforward. 

भावाः is पुँल्लिङ्गी, and प्रथमा वि. बहुवचनम् of भावः [भू-भावे घञ्] 

  1. Being, existing, existence.
  2. There are many other meanings given in the dictionary. But we can explore with this meaning.
  3. भावाः encompasses all that exists. 


  1. सात्त्विक a. (-की f.) [सत्वगुणेन तत्कार्येण मनसा वा निर्वृत्तः ठञ्] 1 Real, essential. -2 True, genuine, natural. -3 Honest, sincere, good. -4 Virtuous, amiable. -5 Vigorous. -6 Endowed with the quality Sattva (goodness). -7 Belonging to or derived from the Sattva quality


  1. राजस a. (-सी f.) [रजसा निर्मितम् अण्] Relating to or influenced by the quality rajas, endowed with the quality rajas or passion


  1. तामस a. (-सी f.) [तमो$स्त्यस्य अण्] 1 Dark, consisting of darkness -2 Affected by or relating to तमस् or the quality of darkness (the third of the three qualities of nature) -3 Ignorant. -4 Vicious.

मत्तः –

  1. This is मत् + तः
  2. Actually मत् is पञ्चमी विभक्तिः, एकवचनम् of अस्मद्.
  3. But it is also used as a partial component in a compound word as in मत्कर्म (my job). 
  4. तः is an optional suffix for पञ्चमी विभक्तिः 
  5. मत्तः = from me.

Meaning of the verse then becomes 

  1. भावाः ये सात्त्विकाः च राजसाः च ये तामसाः एव (सन्ति) = All that exists, whether virtuous, mediocre or vicious
  2. तान् मत्तः एव (विद्धि) = understand them to be from me only
  3. अहम् तेषु न (अस्मि) = I am not in them.
  4. (अपि)तु ते मयि (सन्ति) = Nevertheless they are in me 
  5. इति (अपि) विद्धि = understand this also.

Discussion – 

  1. General tendency among people is not to own viciousness. Here श्रीकृष्णभगवान् says “All that exists, whether virtuous, mediocre or vicious is from me only”. 
  2. But having made all that exists to exist, does he own their virtuosity, mediocrity or viciousness ? “अहम् तेषु न (अस्मि) = I am not in them” seems to negate ownership of the behavior, what they would indulge in, after having come into existence ‘from Him’.
  3. The next statement “ते तु मयि (सन्ति) = They are in me” sounds like the story in Bible, of the father accepting the Prodigal Son back into the family. 
  4. But from a much vaster metaphysical perspective, looking at the canvas of the universe or of the cosmos, one can appreciate that, the whole canvas cannot exist in ‘every particulate, that is prompted to exist’. So, the अहम् of अहम् तेषु न is the canvas and certainly the canvas अहम् would not exist तेषु in them. But all the same, all that is prompted to exist, exists on the canvas ते मयि (सन्ति) ‘they are in me’.
  5. When discussing this verse yesterday (Friday, Feb. 18, 2017) another metaphor came to mind. Say, there is the field with crop of wheat. But the soil would have allowed some weeds and some thorny creepers also to exist. Now to detail the metaphor, let us say the field or the soil is अहम्, the wheat are the सात्त्विकाः भावाः, the weeds राजसाः भावाः and the thorny creepers तामसाः भावाः. Obviously the soil does not exist in the wheat plants or in the weeds or in the thorny creepers अहम् तेषु न. But they all emanate from the soil and exist on the field ते तु मयि (सन्ति). 
  6. This verse seems to hint at विश्वरूपदर्शनम् which would come in the eleventh chapter. 

शुभमस्तु !