[Advaita-l] Clarification on BG Chapter 10 Shloka 21

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Dec 12 01:19:31 CST 2007

On Wed, 12 Dec 2007, N R, Chakradhar \(Chakradhar\) wrote:

>> Namaskara,
>> I have a doubt regarding the BG Chapter 10 Shloka 21. The english
>> translation of the shloka is:
>> Among the Adityas I am Visnu; among the luminaries, the radiant sun;
>> among the (forty-nine) Maruts I am Marici;
>> ** among the stars I am the moon. **
>> Why is MOON referred to as a STAR?
>> Is the translation of 'nakshtra' as a star fine?
>> Does this match with the today's definition of the star or moon?

In this section Bhagavan is describing his Vibhuti (hanta te kathayiShyAmi 
divyA hyAtmavibhUtayaH 21:19) by explaining how he is the foremost 
out of various classes.

In some cases the comparison is more subtle than simply biggest or best. 
the translation of the text you are mentioning

nakShatrANAmahaM shashI

is "_amongst_ the nakshatras I am the moon."

The 27 nakshatras are portrayed as the wives of Chandradeva.  Compare the 
phrase in 21:27

narANAM cha narAdhipaM

"Amongst men I am the king"

The king is not the "biggest" man in the way that Meru is the biggest 
mountain (see 21:23) but he is their leader.  (And notice we use the same 
word pati for husband or leader.)

Also, although neither the Gita or Shankarabhashya mention it, I can't 
help but think there is a deeper reason for the nakshatra-chandra simile. 
Just as Shashideva is the husband of 27 nakshatras but he visits them in 
turn one at a time, Krishna Bhagavan is the lover of thousands of Gopis in 
Vrndavan but he appears in a sole relationship to each of them.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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