कार्यकारणकर्तृत्वे हेतुः प्रकृतिरुच्यते |
पुरुषः सुखदुःखानां भोक्तृत्वे हेतुरुच्यते ||१३-२१||


kāryakāraṇakartṛtve hetuḥ prakṛtirucyate .
puruṣaḥ sukhaduḥkhānāṃ bhoktṛtve heturucyate ||13-21||



13.21. In creating [the process of] cause-and-effect, the Material Cause is said to be the basis; and in experiencing pleasure and pain, the Soul is said to be the basis.

Shri Purohit Swami

13.21 Nature is the Law which generates cause and effect; God is the source of the enjoyment of all pleasure and pain.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

13.21 See Comment under 13.23

Sri Ramanuja

13.21 The ‘Karya’ means the body, the ‘Karanas’ mean the instruments, i.e., the senses of perception and action plus the Manas. In their operations, the Prakrti, subservient to the self, is alone the causal factor. The sense is that their operations, which are the means of experience, have their foundation in the Prakrti, which has developed in the form of the body subservient to the self. In regard to this, the authority is the aphorism, ‘The self is an agent, on account of the scriptures having the purpose’ (B. S., 2.3.33) etc. The agency of the self means that the self is the cause of the will (effort) to support the body. The self (Purusa) associated with the body is the cause for experiencing pleasures and pains. The meaning is that It is the seat of those experiences.

Thus, has been explained the difference in the operations of the Prakrti and of the self when they are mutually conjoined. He now proceeds to explain how, though the self, which in Its pristine nature experiences Itself by Itself as nothing but joy, becomes the cause of experiencing both pleasure and pain derived from sense objects when It is conjoined with a body.

The term Guna figuratively represents effects. The self (in Its pristine nature) experiences Itself by Itself, as nothing buy joy. But when dwelling in the body, i.e., when It is in conjunction with the Prakrti, It experiences the alities born of Prakrti, namely, happiness, pain etc., which are the effects of Gunas like Sattva etc.

He explains the cause of conjunction with the Prakrti:

Sri Shankaracharya

13.21 Karya-karana-kartrtve, with regard to the source of body and organs: Karya is the body, and karana are the thirteen [Five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, intellect and ego.] organs existing in it. Here, by the word karya are understood the aforesaid elements that produce the body as also the objects which are modifications born of Nature. And since the alities-which are born of Nature and manifest themselves as happiness, sorrow and delusion-are dependent on the organs, (therefore) they are implied by the word karana, organs. The kartrtvam, (lit) agentship, with regard to these body and organs consists in being the source of the body and organs. With regard to this source of the body and organs, prakrtih, Nature; ucyate, is said to be; the hetuh, cause, in the sense of being the originator. Thus, by virtue of being the source of body and organs, Nature is the cause of mundane existence. Even if the reading be karya-karana-kartrtva, karya (effect, modification) will mean anything that is the transformation of something; and karana (cause) will be that which becomes transformed. So the meaning of the compund will be: ‘with regard to the source of the effect and the cause’. Or, karya means the sixteen [The eleven organs (five sensory, five motor, and mind) and the five objects (sound etc.).] modificaitons, and karana means the seven [Mahat, egoism, and the five subtle elements.] transformations of Nature. They themselves are called effect and cuase. So far as the agentship with regard to these is concerned Nature is said to be the cause, because of the same reason of being their originator. As to how the soul can be the cause of mundane existence is being stated: Purusah, the soul, the empirical being, the knower of the field-all these are synonymous; is the hetuh, cause; bhoktrtve, so far as enjoyership, the fact of being the perceiver; sukha-duhkhanam, of happiness and sorrow-which are objects of experience, is concerned. How, again, is it asserted with respect to Nature and soul that, they are the causes of mundane existence by virtue of this fact of their (respectively) being the source of body and organs, and the perceiver of happiness and sorrow? As to this the answer is being stated: How can there be any mundane existence if there be no modification of Nature in the form of body and organs, happiness and sorrow, and cause and effect, and there be no soul, the conscious being, to experience them? On the other hand, there can be mundane existence when there is a contact, in the form of ignorance, between Nature-modified in the form of body and organs, and cause and effect as an object of experience and the soul opposed to it as the experiencer. Therefore it was reasonable to have said that, Nature and soul become the cause of mundane existence by (respectively) becoming the originators of the body and organs, and the perceiver of happiness and sorrow. What again is this that is called worldly existence? Worldly existence consists in the experience of happiness and sorrow; and the state of mundane existence of the soul consists in its being the experiencer of happiness and sorrow. It has been asserted that the state of mundane existence of the soul consists in its being the experiencer of happiness and sorrow. How does it come about? This is being answered:

Swami Adidevananda

13.21 The Prakrti is said to be the cause of agency to the body (Karya) and sense-organs (Karana). The self is said to be the cause of experiencing pleasure and pain.

Swami Gambirananda

13.21 With regard to the source of body and organs, Nature is said to be the cause. The soul is the cause so far as enjoyership of happiness and sorrow is concerned.

Swami Sivananda

13.21 In the production of the effect and the cause, Nature (matter) is said to be the cause; in the experience of pleasure and pain, the soul is said to be the cause.


Swami Sivananda

13.21 कार्यकारणकर्तृत्वे in the production of the effect? and the cause? हेतुः the cause? प्रकृतिः Prakriti? उच्यते is said (to be)? पुरुषः Purusha? सुखदुःखानाम् of pleasure and pain? भोक्तृत्वे in the experience? हेतुः the cause? उच्यते is said (to be).Commentary Pleasure and pain are the fruits of virtuous and vicious actions. The force of desire acts on the mind and the mind impels the senses to act to get the objects of desire. Good and evil actions proceed from Nature and lead to happiness or misery. Evil actions produce misery and sorrow. Virtuous actions cause happiness and joy. The soul is the enjoyer. The wife works and prepares nice? palatable dishes the huand silently enjoys the fruits of her labour. He sits ietly and eats them to his hearts content. Even so Nature works and the soul experiences the fruits of Her labour? viz.? pleasure and pain.When harmony predominates? virtuous actions are performed. When there is a preponderance of Rajas? both virtuous and vicious actions are performed. When Tamas predominates? sinful? unlawful and unrighteous actions are done.In the place of Kaarana (कारण) which means cause? some read Karana (करण) which means instrument such as the five organs of knowledge? five organs of action? mind? intellect and egoism (thirteen principles located in the body).Karya The effect? viz.? the physical body. The five elements which form the body and the five senses? and which form the senseobjects which are born of Nature come under the term effect. All alities? such as pleasure and pain and delusion which are born of Nature? come under the term instruments because these alities reside in the instruments? the senses.In the production of the body? the senses and their sensations Nature is said to be the cause. Thus Nature is the cause of Samsara.Sugarcane is the cause. Sugarcane juice? sugar and sugarcandy are the effects or modifications of sugarcane. Milk is the cause. Curd? butter and ghee (meleted butter) are the modifications of milk. Whatever is a modification of something is its effect? and that from which the modifications come is their cause. Nature is the source or cause of all modifications. She generates everything. The ten organs? mind and the five objects of the senses are the sixteen modifications or effects.Mahat (intellect) is born of Mulaprakriti. From Mahat Ahamkara (egoism) is born. Mahat is the effect of Mulaprakriti and the cause of Ahamkara. Therefore Mahat is called PrakritiVikriti. Mahat? Ahamkara and the five Tanmatras (rootelements of matter) are the seven PrakritiVikriti. Each of these is a modification of its predecessor and is in turn the cause of its successor. The five rootelements generate the five gross elements. They are the subtle elements. These seven are both Nature and modification (Prakriti and Vikriti)? cause and effect? and are included under the term cause.The functions of the body? senses? lifeforce? mind and intellect are superimposed on the pure Self. So the ignorant man says I am black I am fat I am hungry I am angry I am deaf I am blind I am the son of so and so? I know? I am the doer? I am the enjoyer? etc.The intellect is very subtle. It is in close contact with the most subtle Self. The Consciousness of the Self is reflected in the intellect (Chidabhasa) and so the intellect which has the semblance of,the Consciousness feels I am pure consciousness or Chaitanya. I experience pleasure and pain. The attributes of the pure Self are superimposed on the intellect. There is mutual superimposition between the intellect and the Self? Nature and Spirit. This is the cause of Samsara.Purusha? Jiva? Kshetrajna and Bhokta are all synonymous terms. Purusha here referred to is not the Supreme Self. He is the conditioned soul? the soul subject to transmigration who experiences pleasure and pain. The Self or the Absolute is ever free from Samsara and is unchanging.Prakriti and Purusha are the cause of Samsara. Nature generates the body? lifeforce? mind? intellect and the senses. The soul experiences pleasure and pain. Samsara is the experience of pleasure and pain. The soul is the Samsarin. He is the experiencer of pleasure and pain. (Cf.XV.9)