mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaishyas tatha shudras
te ’pi yanti param gatim
"O son of Pritha, those who take shelter in Me- though they be born due to papa in the past or as woman, vaishyas [merchants] and shudras [workers]—can attain the supreme destination."
They also attain Moksham. Te 'pi = they also, yanti = attain, param gatim = supreme place [Moksham]. Where sage Vasishta went, Vibheeshana also reached the same place. Same place is reached by Vidhura or Sisupala. Our origin and past deeds, even if they were of bad character, are never criteria to reach the Lord. Partha = Arjuna, mam hi = if I [Sri Krishna] am, vyapasritya = taken as shelter specially, ye'pi = anyone, papa yonaya syuhu = having born due to past papa, they willl also reach the supreme place. That is the Lord says that the cause of one's origin, whether due to papa or not, is not considered for attaining Moksham. Striya = women, vaishya = vaishya community, tatha = and, shudras = labour community, everyone can attain the Lord. Why should the Lord mention these categories specifically? There could be wrong propaganda that females and some other communities are not eligible to reach Vaikuntam. In fact today we see special commissions are arranged mainly because of such propaganda. Vedas have placed women at a very high pedestal. Like the rails, both male and female, are reaching the same destination. Vedas have prescribed certain duties for males and females. But both can reach Moksham. Certain disciplines are prescribed in the duties to be performed to reach Moksham, separately for men and women. Breaking these disciplines one can not reach Moksham. But adhering to these disciplines everyone has the right to reach Vaikuntam. Sri Krishna is mentioning these categories not in any inferior context but to remind Arjuna that in the society certain wrong propaganda are done against these categories. There are many instances to prove this point. When Mahabali was trapped to give away all his possessions, even his grandfather Prahalada opposed; but that was pardoned and he got the supreme place. Dharmavyada, a butcher by profession, was considered as a source of reference for enquiries on Dharma as he performed his duty of caring for his parents sincerely. Jatayu was after all a vulture, but it got Moksham. It could not do Karma yoga nor Gyana yoga. Sabari, a woman born in hunter's family, was able to reach Moksham and the Lord Sri Rama consumed the fruits offered by her. Nammalwar says that from Ayodhya everyone, including tiny ants and plants, accompanied Sri Rama to Vaikuntam. Many of the Alwars were not born as Brahmins. So, there is no reason to think even whether a person belonging to any sex or community is eligible to attain Moksham. Bhakti alone is the one and only criteria to qualify for Moksham. There are many born because of past papa karma. But by seeking shelter in the Lord, they also attain Moksham, the supreme place. Here the Lord uses the word specially holding to Him. Mere holding is performing Bhakti yoga. But holding on to Him specially is saranagathi - ultimate surrender. Because Bhakti yoga is possible only for certain people;but to surrender, everyone can do. The finest example for this sloka is Gajendra, the elephant. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.