[Advaita-l] The AdhyAsa bhashyam and the Gita 13th Ch.
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 04:56:25 CDT 2010
The adhyAsa-bhAshyam and the Gita 13th Chapter
The 13th ch. of the Gita opens with the verse:
idam sharIram kaunteya kshetram ityabhidIyate
Etad yo vEtti tam prAhuH kshetrajna iti tad-vidaH
The body (body-mind complex) is termed as the field. He who 'knows'
the field as being aware of it is termed the kshetrajna.
The adhyAsa bhashyam opens with the words:
[The object consciousness and the subject consciousness ....are of mutually
opposed characteristics....object is akin to darkness and the observer
subject is like the light; object is insentient and the subject is sentient;
object is transitory, just an appearance for the time being and the subject
is the eternal one; the object is the known and the subject is the
We are able to see that the Gita verse provides the scriptural support
for the adhyAsa bhAshyam. The word 'vEtti' is of special
significance here. The kshetrajna has the kshetram as a vedyam,
knowable object. The kshetrajna is the vishayi and the kshetram is
the vishayam. And the kshetrajna is sentient, being the knower. The
kshetram is insentient, jada, being the known. Hence these two
entities hold mutually opposite characteristics, viruddha-svabhAva, a
term used by the adhyAsa bhashyam.
The next verse of the Gita teaches that the kshetrajna in every
kshetra is to be realized to be Brahman – kshetrajnam mAm viddhi. The
vishayi is the knower-chaitanyam non-different from the akhanda Brahma
chaitanyam, the non-dual Truth. The vishaya, kshetram, is the
kalpita-dvaitam, that which gets negated upon realizing the Absolute
Truth. That the kshetram is to be separated from the kshetrajna is
specifically taught by the Gita in the verse 13.34:
evam kshetra-kshetrajnayorantaram jnAnachakshuShaa…
.the eye of wisdom is to be opened and the kshetra and the kshetrajna are to
and known as separate entities. The need for 'separating' these two arises
only when it is shown that they are now mixed up and appearing as only one.
This is taught in the Gita in the verse:13.21:
purushaH prakritistho hi bhunkte prakriti-jaan gunaan:
the sentient vishayi, the purusha, takes up a position in the prakriti, the
kshetram, the body-mind complex, owing to lack of discrimination and
ends up as a karta-bhokta samsari.
That the mix up is also taught in the adhyaasa bhashyam is quite
evident. The vishayi and the vishaya are mixed up in such a way as to
result in a mutual superimposition of their properties,
'dharma-dharmiNoH'. The properties of the vishayi, namely sentience,
ever-lastingness, etc. are superimposed on the kshetram resulting in
taking the kshetram to be sentient, nitya, etc. The nAnAtvam,
guNavattvam, duhkhitvam, etc. pertaining to the kshetram are
superimposed on the vishayi, kshetrajna resulting in the feeling: I am
happy, sorrowful, I act, enjoy, suffer, etc.
When the Gita teaches that these two are to be separated, there would
arise a doubt as to whether it is meant that after separation we will
have two entities separate from each other. The answer is: No. There
is always the Only One Absolute Brahman. What has happened is the
superimposition of the 'other' on this One Brahman. When the
separation, discrimination, takes place owing to jnAna, the 'other' is
known to be mithya. That which is mithya does not have an existence
of its own. This is the meaning of paratantra satya. It is the prakRti and
jeevatva. Therefore it cannot be counted along with the satya vastu
Brahman, the Swatantra Satya. What remains is the one satya vastu that
ever has been. These concepts Swatantra and Paratantra satya, used by
Shankaracharya Himself, constitute the best means to comprehend the
satya-mithya nature of the vishayi and vishaya, the Kshetrajna and the
We see that the Gita 13th chapter contains the teaching of adhyAsa
and its removal.
More thoughts, comments, questions, etc. are welcome so as to enrich
and strengthen our understanding.
Om Tat Sat
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