svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 30 09:07:10 CDT 2010
After re-reading my post to the list on this topic and also the gItAbhAshya again
last night, I realize I have to clarify one point.
> Going back to anAdimatparam brahma, after giving his own explanation of
> anAdimat, the bhAshyakAra then goes on to say that others split the term
> as anAdi + mat-param + brahma (atra kecit ... padaM chindanti) and then
> goes on to show that while such an explanation may be allowed inasmuch
> as it yields meaning, it will require a consideration of the -mat as being
> merely for the sake of finishing the metric requirements of the verse. This
> is because there has to be a consistent reason within this verse for why
> brahman is said to be neither existent nor non-existent (na sat tan nAsad
> ucyate). The rest of the bhAshya goes on to expand on the subject in
I would like to amend my words "inasmuch as it yields meaning" and instead say,
"if it yields meaning."
The bhAshya says, "... syAd, arthaS cet sambhavati. na tv arthas sambhavati".
This is better translated as saying that the alternative parsing of words as
anAdi + matparam can be allowed IF it is meaningful, but in fact it does NOT
yield a consistent meaning. This important detail did not come through in the
words I chose in the post yesterday.
To expand a little more on the thrust of this bhAshya passage - some split the
term as anAdi + matparam, on the grounds that if you split it as anAdimat +
param, the -mat suffix would be superfluous and that it would have been enough
to say anAdi. Sankara bhagavatpAda's answer to that is along the lines of, "if
you think the suffix is superfluous, then take it that it is there for the sake of
poetic metre." He himself does not think it is superfluous at all, nor does he
dismiss it as being there only for metrical reasons, as shown by his primary
explanation of the term anAdimat. As an aside, please note that all of Sankara's
bhAshya-s are very careful with textual readings, noting variant pATha-s where
there may be some, taking grammatical constructions and exceptions into account,
but it is not his primary intention to conduct a detailed grammar lesson when he
comments on the source text.
Another side-comment here - given that the verse begins with saying that
brahman is to be known (jneya), compare another verse in the 15th chapter,
vedaiS ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedAntakRt ... . Here, the word vedya is
used instead of jneya. A careful reader of the bhAshya will note that Sankara
bhagavatpAda's explanation of all these verses is thoroughly consistent. He
does not make one verse say one thing and another verse say another thing,
which is how most people understand the gItA and delude themselves into
thinking that they understand it right. It is vAsudeva who is param brahma,
who is jneya, who is vedya through the veda-s, who is the AtmA, who is
everything, by knowing which one knows the immortal and is immortal.
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