[Advaita-l] Discussion on Bhagavat Gita

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon May 12 23:57:46 CDT 2008

On Sat, 10 May 2008, Suresh wrote:

> Here's another verse, which is quite popular and often
> quoted.
> --------------------------------------------------
> 2.59
> viSayA vinivartante
> nirAhArasya dehinaH
> rasa-varjam raso 'py asya
> param dRSTvA nivartate
> --------------------------------------------------
> I'll be honest. The words make sense individually, but
> as a verse, it's quite difficult to understand. Any
> insights will be appreciated. If the words from 'raso'
> to 'nivartate' mean 'Seeing the Supreme, even his
> taste ceases,' how is the rest interpreted?

"The sense-objects withdraw from the desireless embodied one but not sensations.
On seeing the Supreme even the sensations cease."

Rasa is not taste as in the sense recognized via the tongue but more like 
how we say in English e.g. "he has good taste in music."  A rasika is one 
with a highly developed aesthetic and cultural outlook.  He is not a mere 
hedonist, on the contrary he has to be very disciplined in order to get 
the maximum sensation out of a poem or raga etc.

When one takes up the even more rigorous disciple of triple-brahmacharya 
(of body, mind, and speech) the desire for the external objects 
apprehended by the senses becomes less and less until it completely goes 
away.  In this matter many other philosophies are in agreement with the 
Advaitin.  However where we part company is that while we think vairagya 
is good and vitally necessary, it is not enough because such vairagis may 
still identify with the body as a seperate entity. They are repressing 
sensation but still subject to it.  So there also has to be jnana which is 
the understanding that "I" is really Brahman not the limited ahamkara. For 
the one who has "seen" this (i.e. has used his senses to ultimately 
transcend the senses) even the duality implicit in the idea of sensation 

Krishna Bhagavan brings this up because Arjuna thinks the solution to his 
problems is renunciation of his rights to the Kuru kingdom and withdrawal 
from the battlefield.  This is vairagya in the literal sense but it is 
motivated by his fear, sadness and other negative thinking.  Thus it is 
useless and counter-productive.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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