in ,

What is Knowledge in mode of Passion?


What is Knowledge in mode of Passion?

BG 18.21

pṛthaktvena tu yaj jñānaṁ
nānā-bhāvān pṛthag-vidhān
vetti sarveṣu bhūteṣu
taj jñānaṁ viddhi rājasam


pṛthaktvena—because of division; tu—but; yat jñānamwhich knowledge; nānābhāvān—multifarious situations; pṛthakvidhān—differently; vetti—one who knows; sarveṣu—in all; bhūteṣu—living entities; tat jñānam—that knowledge; viddhi—must be known; rājasam—in terms of passion.


That knowledge by which a different type of living entity is seen to be dwelling in different bodies is knowledge in the mode of passion.

PURPORT by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The concept that the material body is the living entity and that with the destruction of the body the consciousness is also destroyed is called knowledge in the mode of passion. According to that knowledge, bodies differ from one another because of the development of different types of consciousness, otherwise there is no separate soul which manifests consciousness. The body is itself the soul, and there is no separate soul beyond this body. According to such knowledge, consciousness is temporary. Or else there are no individual souls, but there is an all-pervading soul, which is full of knowledge, and this body is a manifestation of temporary ignorance. Or beyond this body there is no special individual or Supreme Soul. All such conceptions are considered products of the mode of passion.

Link to this page:


One possible conclusion regarding this verse is, if the jivas are not different in the different bodies, then the jiva’s rasa cannot be fixed differently in the different jivas. This results in the conclusion that the rasa of the jiva is not fixed and the jiva can choose the rasa it wants to have with Krishna.

Literal Translation:

But that knowledge which sees different kinds of varied existence in all living entities as separate, know that knowledge to be in the mode of passion (Rajas).


  • pṛthaktvena: by way of separateness or as separate
  • tu: but
  • yat: which
  • jñānaṁ: knowledge
  • nānā-bhāvān: various natures or different kinds
  • pṛthag-vidhān: varied existences or different types
  • vetti: perceives or sees
  • sarveṣu: in all
  • bhūteṣu: living entities
  • tat: that
  • jñānaṁ: knowledge
  • viddhi: know or understand
  • rājasam: in the mode of passion (Rajas)

The verse is emphasizing a type of knowledge that perceives differentiation and separateness in all living entities. Such a viewpoint, according to the Gita, is influenced by the mode of passion (Rajas).

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

This verse speaks of rajasic knowledge. That knowledge which one sees the soul as different in each body that it accepts, accepting the asuric idea that the soul perishes with the body, with a different soul in every body that arises; that knowledge by which one knows various opinions arising from such asuric scriptures, such as “the soul is the shelter of happiness and distress, the soul is not the shelter of happiness and distress, the soul is unconscious, the soul is conscious, the soul is all pervasive , the soul is atomic, the souls are many, the soul is one” is known as rajasic knowledge.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

18.21 Whatever knowledge perceives in Brahmana etc., at the time of work, the entity known as the Atman as of diverse nature because the bodies of those beings are tall or fair and are fit to attain the fruits of work — know that knowledge to be Rajasika. The point is this: It is not a condemnation of the plurality of Atman. The Atman, though distinct, is uniform everywhere. The bodily attributes do not affect it. The knowledge lacking this understanding is stigmatised as Rajasa.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Now the nature of knowledge in raja guna or mode of passion is explained by Lord Krishna. The knowledge where one imagines all jivas or embodied beings as distinct, possessing different atmas or souls diversely conditioned by pleasure and happiness and pain and suffering is situated in raja guna.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

18.21 Tu, but; viddhi, know; tat, that; jnanam, knowledge; to be rajasam, originating from rajas; yat, which; sarvesu bhutesu, amidst all things; vetti, apprehends-since knowledge cannot be an agent of hends-since knowledge cannot be an agent of action, therefore the meaning implied is, ‘that, knowledge…through which one apprehends…’-; nana-bhavan, the different entities; prthagvidhan, of various kinds, i.e., those possessing diverse characteristics and different from oneself; prthakrvena, as distinct, as separate in each body.

Commentaries from


What do you think?

26 Points

Leave a Reply

Meeting Srila Prabhupada

Meeting Srila Prabhupada

Glories of Balaram Purnima