karma yoga (MadhusUdana's commentary)
Anand V. Hudli
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 20 14:32:47 CDT 1999
To put the half verse in context, let me quote the whole verse:
api chedasi pApebhyaH sarvebhyaH pApakR^ittamaH |
sarvaM GYAnaplavenaiva vR^ijinaM santarishhyasi ||
MadhusUdana SarasvatI interprets this verse slightly differently, and
makes a significant point.
First of all, he says that the usage of the indeclinables "api" and
"chet" indicates that a purely hypothetical condition is being admitted
in the first line of the verse.
api chedity-asaMbhAvita-abhyupagama-pradarshanArthau nipAtau
The indeclinables "api" and "chet" are for the sake of showing
that an impossibility is being admitted (as a hypothetical case).
yadyapy-ayam-artho na saMbhavatyeva tathApi GYAnaphala-kathanAya-
Even though this situation is not at all possible, still for the sake
of stating the result of GYAna, it is admitted and (the following) is
yadyapi tvaM pApakAribhyaH sarvebhyo .apy-atishayena pApakArI
pApakR^ittamaH syAs-tAthApi sarvaM vR^ijinaM pApamatidustartvena-
arNavasadR^ishaM GYAnaplavenaiva nAnyena GYAnameva plavaM potaM
kR^itvA santarashhyasi samyaganAyAsena punarAvR^ittivarjitattvena
cha tarishhyasi atikramishhyasi |
Even if you may be the worst of all sinners, still you will, with
ease, completely cross the ocean of all sins, which is difficult to
cross, by making GYAna itself, not anything else, a boat, and never
to return (to worldly existence).
And MadhusUdana adds:
vR^ijinashabdena-atra dharma-adharmarUpaM karma saMsAraphalam-
abhipretaM mumuxoH pApavatpuNyasyApy-anishhTatvAt.h |
By the word "vR^ijina" (sin), here is meant karma that is of the
nature of dharma and adharma and that has saMsAra or wordly life
as its result, because even puNya (merit) is undesirable for the
seeker of liberation just as pApa (sin) is.
Notes: MadhusUdana is careful enough to make a distinction
between an actual sinner's getting liberation and using a sinner
as a hypothetical example for the purpose of pointing out the
power of GYAna. He is not saying that a sinner can suddenly acquire
GYAna somehow and get liberated. In fact, he is pointing out the
impossibility of such a thing. Rather, he points out that the
verse, in showing the efficacy of GYAna, says that even if one be
the worst possible sinner, he can liberate himself through GYAna.
The explanation of the word "vR^ijina" is meant to show that one
cannot get liberated by merely accumulating puNya earned through
good works. Such puNya can at best lead one to heavenly life and
the like, but after the puNya has been exhausted, one must return
to the world of suffering. So puNya is no better than pApa, in this
sense. The correct approach is to follow dharma in determining what
kind of karma needs to be done and offer the fruits of karma to God
or renounce the fruits of karma. In other words, do nishhkAma-karma.
There is a clear possibility that this verse can be misinterpreted
by "Internet Svamis" and others like them who may promise instant
liberation to all, even the worst sinners. And such people may
think that this is possible - a one-way ticket to bliss. But
MadhusUdana's commentary puts things in a proper perspective.
On Wed, 19 May 1999 19:35:11 -0400, Sunder Hattangadi
<gourish at INTERNET1.NET>
>CORRECTION: The verse referenced should be 4:36, and NOT 4:33.
>The line is : sarva.n GYaanaplavenaiva vR^ijina.n santarishhyasi .
>(The tr. of part of the bhashya reads: "For one who seeks liberation, even
>dharma proves to be a sin.")
>I apologise for the wrong reference previously given.
>(In case the previous message gets lost,: I would like to have someone post
>the original sanskrit bhashya on this verse, and any other commentaries on
>the bhashya, if available.)
>Thank you in advance.
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