[Advaita-l] gItA bhaashhya sudhaa bindavaH - 4

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 04:45:07 CDT 2010

On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 12:01 AM, Ramakrishna Upadrasta <
uramakrishna at gmail.com> wrote:

> OM shrii shankaraachAryavaryaaya namaH
> We continue with the series.
> 18. prakR^itirnaama pUrvakR^itadharmaadharmaadisaMskaaraaH
> vartamaanajanmaadau abhivyaktaaH || 3.33 ||
> ##Nature means the impressions of virtue, vice etc. acquired in the
> past (lives) and which become manifest at the commencement of the
> present life.##

A very important discussion is commenced by the BhAshyam that is
sAdhana-specific.  All of us are convinced that there is something called
'nature/natural' to each of us.  That is the proclivity, the tendency, that
is observed in us with regard to any given situation.  The Acharya defines
this as : prakRtiH, one's nature.  What determines this?  There is an answer
to this.  Our actions and the residual tendency they leave in us.  These
tendencies prompt us to engage in similar action when certain situations
arise.  Even if situations do not arise, if the tendencies are strong, they,
we,  look for and create situations conducive to give expression to them.
It is these tendencies that remain strong in us and at the time of death,
they manifest themselves and  determine the kind of birth we will be taking
next. So says the scripture. In the new birth these tendencies show
themselves.  That is why in common parlance we talk of a prodigy, an
extraordinary skill, etc. manifesting even without the presence of
conditions for their practice in this birth.

> 19. yadi sarvaH jantuH aatmanaH prakR^itisadR^ishameva cheshhTate\, na
> cha prakR^itishUnyaH kashchit.h asti\, tataH purushhakaarasya
> vishhayaanupapatteH shaastraanarthakyapraptau idamuchyate || 3.33 ||
> ##If all beings behave only according to their own nature -- and there
> is none without nature -- then, since there arises the contingency of
> the scriptures becoming purposeless owing to the absense of any scope
> for personal effort, therefore the following is stated [Verse 3.34:
> indriyasyendriyasyaarthe ...]##

Now the question arises as to how is one to manage  one's nature.  Is one
completely driven by it or is there scope for exercising one's volition?
Bhagavatpada raises a question to address this crucial issue.  He touches
upon the very purpose of the Scripture, shAstram, which means: शास्तीति
शास्त्रम्. That which enjoins, teaches, advices, keeping in view our
ultimate good: hitam, is what Scripture is.  If one's nature is to hold
complete sway and that is the unchangeable law, then scripture would not be
able to play any useful role in man's evolution.  We have to also note that
someone with extremely favourable tendencies would have already 'escaped'
from the scope of scriptural teaching; he has outgrown the essential need
for it.  We have to infer that scripture is there to address the other,
majority of humanity, that is faced with the problem of largely adverse
tendencies.  This can be known from the quote No. 21  that follows.

Bhagavatpada puts the subsequent verses in perspective by raising this

> 20. yadaa punaH raagadveshhau tatpratipaxeNa niyamayati tadaa
> shaastradR^ishhTireva purushhaH bhavati\, na prakR^itivashaH || 3.34
> ||
> ##On the other hand, when a person controls love and hatred with the
> help of their opposites, then he becomes mindful only of scriptural
> teachings; he ceases to be led by his nature;##
> The YogavAshiShTha teaches:

शुभाशुभाभ्यां मार्गाभ्यां वहन्ती वासना सरित् ।
पौरुषेण प्रयत्नेन योजनीया शुभे पथि ॥

The river of tendencies, vAsanAs, flows in the course set on beneficial and
harmful agendas.  This is the lot of the vast majority of humans:  the
definition of human birth being that it is a result of past good and evil
actions, combined.  So we have in us shubha as well as ashubha vasanas.  The
scripture teaches us that we stand to immensely benefit if we were to eschew
the harmful agendas and by overpowering effort direct all our energy to
engage in the beneficial agendas alone.  The words  पौरुषेण प्रयत्नेन are
reflected in Bhagavatpada's bhashyam  expression:  'purushhakaarasya'  in
the quote no.19.

> 21. kaamo hi udbhUtaH rajaH pravartayan.h purushhaM pravartayati ##'##
> tR^ishhNayaa hi ahaM kaaritaH ##'##  iti duHkhitaanaaM rajaHkaarye
> sevaadau pravR^ittaanaaM pralaapaH shrUyate || 3.37 ||
> ##When desire comes into being, it instigates a person by arousing
> rajas.  People who are engaged in service etc. which are effects of
> rajas, and who are striken with sorrow are heard to lament, "I have
> been led to act by desire indeed"##

Bhagavatpada gives an example from day-to-day life to highlight the kind of
problem faced by a person in the world.  Desire and anger are products of
rajas.  These are taught to be the greatest enemies of a man who is
determined to tread the path to liberation.  He aught to be extremely wary
of these.  To know their nature is the first step to control them.  To know
where and how they manifest becomes another significant weapon in combatting
them.  There is a saying in Hindi: साधु सावधान् [Oh mendicant (aspirant)
beware!] The need for alertness is being stressed in the concluding verses
of the third chapter of the Gita.

Om Tat Sat

> (To be continued.)
> Ramakrishna
> _______________________________________________

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