Translation Series - Gita Bhashya - Introduction 1/3

Vidyasankar vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 5 13:07:31 CDT 2002

>When you say "to protect the divine nature of vedas" it seems to imply
>that somehow the divine nature of "vedas" could be lost and it could
>get say demonic or other nature. Divinity is inhererent in veda-s and
>it cannot be lost.

I would partially agree with you, as what I had in mind was "protecting
the divinity of the Vedas from those who follow adharma". It is not that
the divine nature is not intrinsic, but that this divinity is vulnerable
in the hands of some.

Translation is an inherently complex task, and the phrase "bhaumasya
brahmaNaH braahmaNatvasya raxaNaarthaM" is extremely complicated. My goal
is to keep out as much of interpretation as possible, for that will
introduce personal opinions into the translation, which I want to avoid.
So, I am trying to be literal, to the extent possible. Not that my
translation of this phrase is therefore perfect or anything, for I am not
entirely happy with the output yet. Translating "braahmaNatva" rather
than "divine nature" or "divinity" (as I have chosen to do) or "spiritual
power" (as Krishna Warrier does) - all seem to fall short, but I can't
think of a single word/phrase in English to capture the full meaning of
the Sanskrit word.

Anyway, the act of protecting (raxaNa) has an object, viz. braahmaNatva.
Now, this is not an entity that stands on its own, but it is a quality of
some other entity. That entity is "bhauma-brahman". The term, bhaumasya
brahmaNaH, is in the genitive case. It is indeed correct to derive bhauma
from the word bhuumii, but it should be noted that bhauma refers directly
to the term brahman, and braahmaNatva is a quality pertaining to this
brahman which is bhauma. That is the reason I choose not to directly
translate as "in the world", preferring to translate the term bhauma-
brahman as one unit, i.e. the Vedas. This is the meaning given in the
dictionaries, and is also the sense which comes across from the
mahaabhaarata -

>> yaM devaM devakii devii vasudevaad ajiijanat .
>> bhaumasya brahmaNo guptyai diiptam agnim ivaaraNiH .. 12.47.18 ..

The second line in this verse refers to gupti, i.e. hiding/securing, e.g.
like fire in the stick. bhauma-brahman is something that has to be
secured, and it is for this purpose that Krishna is born.

The varNaashrama dharma and the corresponding status of the braahmaNa-s
follows from abidance with the vaidika dharma (tad adhiinatvaat).


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