[Advaita-l] Gita Jayanti / Adhikara for Gita

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Dec 11 17:38:04 CST 2005

On Thu, 8 Dec 2005, sunil bhattacharjya wrote:

> Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya,
>  I think the statement that Arjuna was not an uttamadhikari for Vedanta 
> is not correct. According to Mahabharata Arjuna knew all the sashtras. 
> Vaishampayana was telling Janmejaya that even the hundred sons of 
> Gandhari were well-versed in all the sashtras. Moreover Arjuna was in 
> his early seventies at that time and Lord krishna was seventy nine years 
> old. What happened was that Arjuna was temporarily deluded before the 
> war and the Lord had to tell him briefly everything that was needed to 
> remove his delusion.

Today, Mrgashiras Shukla 11, is Gita Jayanti.  It is the anniversary of 
the very day, some 5,000 years ago by the traditional chronology when 
Krishna Bhagavan taught Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Now, that Bhagavan would have the adhikara to teach is beyond question. 
But many people have the doubt why was Arjuna of all people chosen to 
receive this precious gift?  After all, there were many eminent sages and 
jnanis alive at the time.

It could be argued on the basis of the Gita itself (4:1-2) that this vidys 
is a special inheritance of the Suryavamshi Kshatriyas but even then, 
isn't Yudhisthira, celebrated as the knower of Dharma, a more likely 

Gita 18:67 describes who is fit to be taught the Gita shastra.

1. One who does tapa (an English version I have translates as austerity 
but I think "effort" or "hard work" is a better translation in this context.)

2. One who has bhakti or faith in God and Guru.

3. One who is willing to listen.  i.e. who is open-minded and willing to 
take advice and change his life.

4. One who does not speak ill of the Lord.  Shankaracharya explains that 
one who says that Krishna Bhagavan is just a man, the son of Vasudeva and 
does not recognize him as Ishvara is speaking ill of the Lord.

We can see that Arjuna has these qualities but with flaws.  He is 
indecisive about action and has to be prodded to do his duty.  But when he 
does, he acquits himself with distinction.  He has faith but his mind is 
clouded by agitation and turmoil.  Only after much arguing does Arjunas' 
resolve become firm.  Though he trusts Krishna as his childhood friend, it 
is only during the revelation of the Gita that he comes to know Him as 
God.  So it is no wonder that Shankaracharya describes Arjuna as being 
only a madhyama adhikari.

Also the theory of temporary delusion does not hold water.  There is a 
section of the Mahabharata called Anugita.  Here Bhagavan has to repeat 
the message of the BG because Arjuna has forgotten it all!  This is not 
what we expect of an uttama adhikari is it?

To me, this is actually the beauty of the Gita.  It is aimed not at the 
perfect but the ordinary people like us.  We are all in a similiar 
situation as Arjuna.  We want to do the right thing but our deluded 
natures get in the way.  But if Arjuna can receive the grace of God, we 
can rest assured that there is hope for us too.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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