Translation Series - Gita Bhashya - Introduction 1/3

Raghavendra Hebbalalu hs_raghavendra at YAHOO.COM
Mon Aug 5 14:08:28 CDT 2002

> Translation is an inherently complex task, and the
> phrase "bhaumasya
> brahmaNaH braahmaNatvasya raxaNaarthaM" is extremely
> complicated.

I agree with you and this phrase is indeed

> 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.

I agree with you here too. Translating brAhmaNatva is
a tough job.

> 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".

But I have a slight problem in interpretation, in the
above fragment. What I thought for 'bhaumasya
brahmaNaH brAhmaNatvasya' was bhauma and brahman being
together and brAhmaNatva being the other word.

To explain my thought - take the fragment 'sItApateH
rAmasya pUjArthaM '. Here sItApati and rAma are the
same, but sItApati just another name for rAma or can
be seen as a qualifier. In a similar vein, I thought
bhauma-brahman is the same as brAhmaNatva, and not
something that 'possesses' it. That was the reason I
saw it that way. Could you clarify my doubt here ?

Even in the following shloka,
bhaumasya brahmaNaH guptyai - for the safety or
securing of bhauma-brahman. Though bhauma-brahman is
one unit here, it could be the same as brAhmaNatva or
be something else that 'possesses' the quality of

> >> 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.

Could you please clarify my doubt ?


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