[Advaita-l] Help required to understand the Bhashyam

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 3 02:34:13 CST 2007

This is kind of late, but prodded by Sri Vidyasankar, here I try.

----- Original Message ----
From: br_vinayaka vinayaka_ns at yahoo.com

I am going through acharya's gita bhashya. I have some difficulty to understand the bhashyam for the 27th sloka in the 14th Chapter which seems to be very abstruse. 

In the first paragraph is acharya referring to incarnation of god or Ishwara in the first case by telling- 'Indeed, that power of God through which brahman sets out, comes forth, for the purpose of favouring the devotess, etc.' 

* No, in the first part of the bhAshya the AchArya interprets 'brahma' of "brahmaNo hi pratishThAham" as the nirguNa- or suddha- Brahman. Here, the AchArya says the pratyagAtmA, Sri Krishna is the abode of Brahman, the paramAtmA, which is without death etc. With samyag-j~nAna, the pratyagAtmA is estabslished to be the same as the paramAtmA and hence it was said “brahmabhUyAya kalpate” (14-26). Then the AchArya equates ISvara Sakti with Brahman, and Brahman with Sri Krishna as the Sakti and the SaktimAn are not different. Instead of the usual two, we apparently see three gradations of Brahman: ISvara – paramAtmA – pratyagAtmA, but that is a different issue.

and secondly, is he referring to Hiranyagarbha? by referring his as 'or, brahman means the conditioned brahman.'

* In the second part of the commentary, the AchArya interprets Brahman as saguNa-brahman who is amrita and avyaya, and that Lord Sri Krishan is the abode of such a saguNa-brahma; the latter half of the Sloka is interpreted as the Lord also being the abode of the dharma that is SaSvat (forever), and the eternal bliss that is generated thereof. This being clear, there is no need to introduce hiraNyagarbha here.

What is exact definition of dharma given by acharya in the present context?

* One of the adjectives used for Brahman in 14-27 is dharma. In the first interpretation, the quality dharma of Brahman is elaborated by the AchArya as "dharmasya  j~nAnayogadharmaprApyasya", (that which is attainable by the dharma called j~nAnayoga). To understand this better, one should look at the context of the Gita. What is the immediate provocation? To make Arjun fight again, that is the teaching of svadharma; How is this achieved? By teaching that knowledge, paramadharma, which dispels Arjuna's Soka and moha. Thus the Gita teaches dvividhah dharmah, those with pravritti and nivritti as qualities ("dvividho hi vedokta dharmah pravrittilakshaNah nivrittilakshaNaSca" - bhagavatpAda's upodghAta to gItAbhAshya). Of these the former teaches doing of karma, and the latter acquisition of knowledge; and it is the AchArya's oft-stated view that karma prepares one for j~nAna and j~nAna alone leads to moksha. So when the Gita says the Brahman is attainable by following dharma,
 the AchArya clarifies that it is the dharma called j~nAnayoga, [as opposed to the one called karmayoga] that leads to Brahman. In the second intepretation, dharma is elaborated as "dharmasya j~nAnanishThAlakshaNasya" for similar reasons.

Swami Tapasyanandaji of Ramakrishna Order has made a very interesting observation here....

* The sum and substance of the rest of the post seems to be that there are gradations in bliss: brahma-bhUyatvam, and then identity with the abode of such Brahman. The former is like the nirvANa of buddhists. The Gita, like sA~Nkhya, might have imbibed Buddhist teachings, but has built upon it by describing a goal or place beyond nirvANa, and that support for the same can be found in the 18th chapter of Gita. If such is the case, elsewhere as well, the bhagavatpAda describes two kinds of release: identity with ISvara and identity with Brahman. If it is proposed that identity with ISvara (that is what the brahma-bhUyatvam of 14-26 seems to be) is nirvANa, the position is fine, but this is entirely dependent on nirvANa = identity with ISvara, which is a question for those who do comparitive studies to tackle. 


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