[Advaita-l] Question on BG 4.21

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jan 3 23:27:33 CST 2005

On Wed, 15 Dec 2004, Murali Karamchedu wrote:

> Dear List Members,
> I have a question on Sankara's commentary for this verse (begining with
> nirAshIryatacittAtmA...). He says:
> cittam. ant:karaNam. AtmA bAhya: kAryakaraNasam.ghAta:
> Is there a reason that he specifically qualifies AtmA in this particular
> way? I tried to understand it by eliminating this qualification and ended up
> with this meaning - one who has restrained his cittA(no confusion here) and
> the AtmA. This lead me to the question, what does it mean to say one who
> restrains the AtmA? So, the qualification could mean, the AtmA, in avidyA,
> as the kAryakaraNasam.ghAta:, which in this sense is bAhya:. This has in
> turn lead me to two more questions:
> 1. Is one to understand therefore, that the complex of action and its
> results is a defining characteristic of this AtmA as the jIvAtmA?

Yes I think so.  Shankaracharya distinguishes between the purely
instinctual reactions of the body (hunger, thirst etc.) and actions done
with volition.  It is the embodies presence of the atma which allows the
body to be more than just a machine.

> 2. Why would this not be a more appropriate qualification of cittA itself?
> or for that matter the sukshma sharIra rather than the AtmA?

Because Chitta is Brahman itself?  Shankaracharya is adamant that there is
no connection at all between Brahman which is of the form of jnana or
chitta and action of any kind.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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