sarvendriyagunaabhaasam sarvendriyavivarjitam |
asaktam sarvabhrichchaiva nirgunam gunabhoktri cha || 14 ||

Illuminating the sense functions, yet devoid of the senses. Unattached, yet the supporter of all. Without qualities, and also experiencer of qualities.
sarvendriyagunaabhaasam : illuminating sense functions
sarvendriyavivarjitam : devoid of the senses
asaktam : unattached
sarvabhrit : supporter of all
cha : and
eva : also
nirgunam : without qualities
gunabhoktri : experiencer of qualities
cha : and
When we teach a child about electricity, it is natural to have some doubts or questions about the nature of electricity. Similarly, when we hear a description of the eternal essence, we also will have questions and doubts. Shri Krishna now continues to proceed step by step towards explaining jneyam, the knowable which is the eternal essence, by answering three questions with respect to its relationship with the organs of sense (eyes, mouth etc) and organs of action (hands, legs etc).
First question: Can the eternal essence exist without the organs? Shri Krishna says that the eternal essence can exist without the organs of action and sense, it is “devoid of the senses”, just like electricity can exist without the bulb. Organs of sense and action are one of the means by which the eternal essence expresses itself. It has the power to adapt itself to any form of expression, any upaadhi, just like electricity can power a heater as well as an air conditioner.
Then, can the organs of sense and action exist without the eternal essence? The answer is no, since the eternal essence is “sarvabhrit”, the supporter of all upaadhis in the form of “is-ness” or existence. In any language including English, we cannot say something exists without using the word “is” in some shape or form. The “is-ness” of everything is provided by the eternal essence, like the water provides “is-ness” to the wave. But the eternal essence always remains “asakta” or detached from the upaadhis, just like a movie screen remains detached from the movie.
Now, we know from earlier chapters that the senses are made up of the three qualities or gunaas : sattva, rajas and tamas. They go out into the world to chase sense objects, which are also made up of the very same gunaas. “Gunaa guneshu vartante”, the qualities are playing with the qualities. How does the eternal essence fit into this play of the senses?
Shri Krishna says that even these three qualities are upaadhis, and therefore, the eternal essence is “nirgunam”, not attached to these qualities. When the senses play with their sense objects, the upaadhis of sattva, rajas and tamas are transformed into the upaadhis of joy, sorrow, delusion and so on. The mind, when it participates in this process, becomes the experiencer on account of presence of the eternal essence.
In all of these three answers, we find that the eternal essence is always unattached, whether it is to the organs of sense and actions, to their sense objects or to the three qualities. But when the eternal essence takes on the conditioning or the upaadhi of the organs, it as though moves, and it as though supports their existence. Also, when the eternal essence takes on the upaadhis of the three gunaas, it as though becomes the experiencer. The key here is the phrase “as though”, since this addition or superimposition of upaadhis is only due to ignorance.
Let us now recap Shri Krishna’s explanation so far. In the last shloka, he said that the eternal essence is that which has hands, legs, eyes, mouth etc. In this shloka, he says that the eternal essence is that which has hands, legs, eyes, mouth etc as upaadhis or conditionings. In other words, he first said that the organs exist, and now he negates them by making them upaadhis. This process of assertion and negation is a technique known as “adhyaaropa apavaada”, a step by step means of getting closer and closer to the eternal essence.