SankarAcArya's bhagavad gItA bhAshya: 2. 12-13.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Wed Nov 11 00:54:00 CST 1998

In the commentary to verse 2. 11, it had been said that Bhishma and Drona
are not to be grieved over, so that Arjuna's lament is misplaced. Verses
2. 12-13 and the corresponding commentary expand upon this reasoning. We
also start seeing the development of one characteristic feature in the
commentary, namely, how SankarAcArya connects the previous verse to the
current one.



Translation -

Why is it said that they (Bhishma and Drona and others) are not to be
grieved over? Because they are eternal. How? -

Verse -

na tv eva ahaM jAtu nAsaM na tvaM neme (na ime) janAdhipAH |
na ca eva na bhavishyAmaH sarve vayam ataH param || 2. 12 ||

na - used for negation, and stands for no/not/never etc
tu, eva - particles added for emphasis, meaning clear from context
ahaM - I
jAtu - at any time (kadAcit, according to the commentary)
nAsaM = na AsaM - was not (goes with ahaM in the verse)
tvam - you
ime janAdhipAH - these rulers of men
ca - and
sarve vayam - we all
na bhavishyAmaH - will not be (goes with vayam = we)
ataH param - after this time, in a future time (after death, acc. to
     the commentary)

Never was I not, nor you, nor these kings. And never will we ever cease to
be, in future.

Translation -

There was never a time in which I was not. I have always been existent.
The sense is that, like the space in a pot, [1] through the origin and
death of various bodies in the past, I have always been eternal.
Similarly, there was never a time when you were not; you too always
existed. Similarly with these rulers, they have also always existed.
Similarly, we shall not cease to exist. We shall continue to exist, beyond
the time when this body perishes. The meaning is that we are eternal
through all three times (past, present and future), in the form of the
Atman. The plural number used in this verse is in respect of the different
bodies, it does not indicate a difference in the Self.

Notes -

[1]. The space in a pot is a standard analogy in Advaita Vedanta. The idea
behind it is that when the pot is broken, nothing happens to the space
inside it. It is neither created when the pot is made, nor destroyed when
the pot is destroyed. Similarly, when the body perishes, the Atman remains

Translation -

Then, how is the Atman eternal? (Krishna) offers an example -

Verse -

dehino'smin yathA dehe kaumAraM yauvanaM jarA |
tathA dehAntara-prAptiH dhIras tatra na muhyate || 2. 13 ||

yathA - just like
dehinaH - of the dehin, the embodied one
asmin dehe - in this body
kaumAraM - childhood
yauvanaM - youth
jarA - old age (leading to death)
tathA - similarly
dehAntara-prAptiH - the attaining of another body
dhIraH - he who has intelligence (dhIH)
tatra - there
na muhyate - is not deluded.

Just as there is childhood, youth and old age for the embodied one, so
also there is the taking on of another body. The intelligent man is not
deluded by this.

Translation -

He who has a body (deha) is a dehin. For the embodied self, in this
present body, there are the states of kaumAraM - the state of being a
child, yauvanaM - the middle state of being a youth, and jarA - old age,
where the body disintegrates. These three states are different amongst one
another. When the first state (of childhood) passes, and the second state
is born, the Self does not pass away, nor does it come into being anew.
What then? It is seen that the second and third state is attained by the
changeless Atman. In whatever manner these states are gone through, in the
same manner, another body is attained by the changeless Atman. This being
so, the intelligent man is not deluded by this.


"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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