[Advaita-l] On some verses of the BhagavadgItA

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 12 13:02:37 CDT 2014

Here is a post that is taken up in parts for a response.  My responses are
in blue fonts.



Some comments on Swami Sivananda's (SS) translation, which HS
Manjunath quoted (without mentioning the source) --

> But this clearly strikes against what Lord Krishna says in Chapter 4 Verse
> 11, where he clearly states that whatever path people travel, all paths
> to HIM alone.
> Ye yathaa maam prapadyante taamstathaiva bhajaamyaham;
> Mama vartmaanuvartante manushyaah paartha sarvashah.
> In whatever way men approach Me, even so do I reward them; My path do men
> tread in all ways, O Arjuna!

'yathA', 'tathA' are correlative pronouns (demonstrative proforms)
mean 'in which manner', 'in that manner'. For example, the well known
idiom - yathA rAjA tathA prajA - means 'the way Raja is, so are the

Thus, the correct translation is - In whichever manner men worship Me,
I reward them accordingly. 'Accordingly' is the equivalent of 'tathA'.

SS' translation is wrong because it ignores tathaiva. tathaiva means
'in that manner only'. But SS has (probably) misread it as 'tathApi'
(even so), despite Shankara's bhaashya on this verse being
grammatically right. Therefore, SS' translation: In whatever way men
approach me, even so I will reward them - is wrong.

Quite on the contrary, the Lord is saying that the reward is according
to the method of worship. Therefore, it does not, in anyway, support
HS Manjunath's imagination that all souls will be rewarded mokSha
irrespective of their approach.


The expression 'even so' was used as early as in 1897 by Sri AllADi
Mahadeva Sastri in his translation of the Bhagavadgita with the commentary
of Sri Shankaracharya.  It is this translation that has been used by Swami
Shivananda.  This translation is used in yet another book by a Swami of the
Ramakrishna Order, though in part, but with the expression 'even so.'  The
modern meaning / usage of that expression could be seen as under:

Definition of *EVEN SO*
 *:*  in spite of that *:*
Examples of *EVEN SO*

   1. <I know you claim not to care about the breakup; *even so*, you keep
   talking about it.>

First Known Use of *EVEN SO*
Related to *EVEN SO*
Synonyms however <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/however>,
howbeit <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/howbeit>,
nonetheless <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nonetheless>,
notwithstanding <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/notwithstanding>,
still <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/still>, still and
though <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/though>,
yet <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yet>
Related Wordsafter all <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/after+all>,
anyhow <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anyhow>,
per contra <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/per+contra>
more <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/even+so#related-to-more>

However, in an old 'Concise Oxford Dictionary' first edition 1911, with me,
there is an entry for the word 'even' with a remark as 'archaic' as:
 //neither more nor less than, just, simply, as *e*. (quite) *so*,
(emphasizing identity) that is as *God*, *e*. *our own God*. //

The scanned page containing the above is attached herewith.  Thus, the
usage by SS does not deviate from the correct meaning of the verse:  The
Lord responds to the devotee in the *same proportion* to the devotee's
approach; neither more nor less.

> The Divine and Demoniacal nature relates to creatures in THIS WORLD. Lord
 > does not say that these qualities are permanently attached to souls.
> qualities are only manifest attributes of the BEINGS IN THIS WORLD.

Looks like Manjunath stopped reading Gita at 16th chapter 6th verse.
It is understandable. After all, the next few verses detail how
advaitins hold the world as not-real.


The Bh.GitA verses of the 16th chapter that is alleged to refer to
Advaitins are:

प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च जना न विदुरासुराः।

न शौचं नापि चाचारो न सत्यं तेषु विद्यते।।16.7।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

16.7 Neither do the demoniacal persons under-stand what is to be done and
what is not to be done; nor does purity, or even good conduct or
truthfulness exist in them.

 असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम्।

अपरस्परसम्भूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम्।।16.8।।

16.8 They say that the world is unreal, it has no basis, it is without a
God. It is born of mutual union brought about by passion! What other (cause
can there be)?

This verse is of special interest to the adversary of Advaita to hold that
the Lord considers the  Advaitin as asura.  The reason is: 'Advaitins hold
the world to be unreal.'  However,  here is the shAnkara bhAShya in part
for the 16.7 and the present verse:  न शौचं नापि च आचारः न सत्यं तेषु
विद्यते; अशौचाः अनाचाराः मायाविनः अनृतवादिनो हि आसुराः।।किं च -- [Nor only
do they not know what is to be done and what is not to be done, na, nor;
does shaucam, purity; na api, or even; AcArah, good conduct; or satyam,
truthfulness; vidyate, exist; tesu, in them. The demons are verily bereft
of purity and good conduct; they are deceitful and given to speaking
असत्यं यथा वयम् अनृतप्रायाः तथा इदं जगत् सर्वम् असत्यम्, अप्रतिष्ठं च न
अस्य धर्माधर्मौ प्रतिष्ठा अतः अप्रतिष्ठं च, इति ते आसुराः जनाः जगत् आहुः,
अनीश्वरम् न च धर्माधर्मसव्यपेक्षकः अस्य शासिता ईश्वरः विद्यते इति अतः
अनीश्वरं जगत् आहुः। किं च, अपरस्परसंभूतं कामप्रयुक्तयोः स्त्रीपुरुषयोः
अन्योन्यसंयोगात् जगत् सर्वं संभूतम्। किमन्यत् कामहैतुकं कामहेतुकमेव
कामहैतुकम्। किमन्यत् जगतः कारणम्? न किञ्चित् अदृष्टं धर्माधर्मादि
कारणान्तरं विद्यते जगतः 'काम एव प्राणिनां कारणम्' इति लोकायतिकदृष्टिः
इयम्। [16.8
Te, they, the demoniacal persons; ahuh, say; that the jagat, world; is
asatyam, unreal -  as we ourselves are prone to falsehood, so is this whole
world unreal [see an episode about Duryodhana and YudhiShThira below]*;
apratistham, it has no basis, it does not have righteousness and
unrighteousness as its basis; it is anisvaram, without a God-nor is there a
God who rules this (world) according to rigtheousness and unrighteousness
(of beings). Hence they say that the world is godless. Moreover, it is
aparaspara-sambhutam, born of mutual union. The whole world is born of the
union of the male and female impelled by passion. (That union is)
kama-haitukam, brought about by passion. Kama-haitukam and kama-hetukam are
the same. Kim anyat, what other (cause can there be)? There exists to other
unseen cause such as righteousness, unrigtheousness, etc. Certainly, the
passion of living beings is the cause of the world. This is the view of the
materialists. ।।16.8।।


// Remember the story of Yudhisthira and Duryodhana? They were asked by
Drona Acarya to go into the world and he asked Duryodhana, “Duryodhana,
please go into the world and find one good person.’ And he asked
Yudhisthira, “please go into the world and find one bad person.” They both
went all over the place and Duryodhana was back first so Dronacaraya asked
him, “So Duryodhana, did you find any good person in the world?” and
Duryodhana said, “I really tried, I really tried but I couldn’t find!*
Everyone’s got something bad!*” and then Yudhisthira came back and
Dronacarya asked him, “Yudhisthira, did you find any bad person in this
world?” and Yudhisthira said, “I looked everywhere, I looked everywhere but
I can’t find anyone bad because everyone has some good quality.” So who do
you want to be Duryodhana or Yudhisthira?//

Shankara, taking the previous verse where it was said that the demoniacal
people have no commitment to speaking the truth, they hold that this entire
world too is devoid of truth.  It is significant that Shankara calls them
'lokAyatika-s'. 'materialists'.  It would be beneficial in this context to
look at the chArvAka sUtra, doctrine.  I am presenting a few inputs from
the 'dvAdasha-darshana sangrahaH' [A collection of 12 doctrines] authored
in Sanskrit verse form by Swami mahAmanDAleshwar shri kAshikAnandagiri,
(along with Hindi translation, he says he has seen the
sarvadarshanasangraha of Swami Vidyaranya) [published by Sri Dakshinamurthi
maTha, vAraNAsi, 1988]:

Sutra: paralokino'abhAvAt paralokAbhAvaH -  Since there is no continuing
jIva who might be a resident of a different loka, there are no  such
loka-s. ['Death of the body is moksha']

The kaThopaniShad mantra: ayam loko nAsti para iti mAnI  न सांपरायः प्रतिभाति
बालं प्रमाद्यन्तं वित्तमोहेन मूढम् | अयं लोको नास्ति पर इति मानी पुनः
पुनर्वशमापद्यते मे ||KU(1-2-6) [He who never knows that other worlds exist
and does not know the means to attain them, and who holds this seen world
alone as existing and engrossed in the material pleasures here, comes to
the grip of death again and again...]

verse 54: paramAtmA tu na kashchit pRthagasti asya prayojanAbhAvAt...
[There is no Supreme Atma, Ishwara, as a distinct one, as there is no use
of such a one....]

sUtra: kAma Eva prANinAm kAraNam...[Lust alone is the cause of jIva-s]

sUtra: arthakAmau puruShArthau...[wealth and sense pleasures constitute the
human goals]

sUtras: 'shRngAraveshaM kuryAt',  'akShairdIyAt', 'AmravanAni sevayet',
'mattakAminyaH sevyAH', etc...are their aphorisms that instruct them to
indulge in unbridled sense pleasures.

They do not believe in adRShTa, the unseen fruit of karma done, as they do
not believe in any other loka.  Therefore they have no belief in any
scripture, pramANa, called Veda that teaches the Immutable Truth, Satyam.
Since such a scripture does not exist in the world, it is asatyam [This is
the commentary of Sri Madhusudana Saraswati for that verse-word 'asatyam'.]
About Veda their verse is: 'trayo vedasya kartAro
bhaNDa-dhUrta-nishAcharAH' [Three are the authors of the Veda: a buffoon, a
fraud/villain and a demon] (quoted by SridharaswAmin in his BG commentary
for 16.7/8)

One can see a reflection of these in the B G 16th chapter.

 एतां दृष्टिमवष्टभ्य नष्टात्मानोऽल्पबुद्धयः।

प्रभवन्त्युग्रकर्माणः क्षयाय जगतोऽहिताः।।16.9।।

16.9 Holding on to this view, (these people) who are of depraved character,
of poor intellect, given to fearful actions and harmful, wax strong for the
ruin of the world.

 काममाश्रित्य दुष्पूरं दम्भमानमदान्विताः।


16.10 Giving themselves up to insatiable passion, filled with vanity, pride
and arrogance, adopting bad abjectives due to delusion, and having impure
resolves, they engage in actions.

 चिन्तामपरिमेयां च प्रलयान्तामुपाश्रिताः।

कामोपभोगपरमा तावदिति निश्चिताः।।16.11।।
16.11 Beset with innumerable cares which end (only) with death, holding
that the enjoyment of desirable objects is the highest goal, feeling sure
that this is all.

आशापाशशतैर्बद्धाः कामक्रोधपरायणाः।

ईहन्ते कामभोगार्थमन्यायेनार्थसञ्चयान्।।16.12।।

16.12 Bound by hundreds of shackles in the form of hope, giving themselves
wholly to passion and anger, they endeavour to amass wealth through foul
means for the enjoyment of desirable objects.

 इदमद्य मया लब्धमिमं प्राप्स्ये मनोरथम्।

इदमस्तीदमपि मे भविष्यति पुनर्धनम्।।16.13।।

16.13 'This has been gained by me today; I shall acquire this desired
object. This is in hand; again, this wealth also will come to me.'

 असौ मया हतः शत्रुर्हनिष्ये चापरानपि।

*ईश्वरोऽहम*हं भोगी सिद्धोऽहं बलवान्सुखी।।16.14।।

16.14 'That enemy has been killed by me, and I shall kill others as well. I
am the lord, I am the enjoyer, I am well-established, mighty and happy.'

About this verse, here is an extract from my communication with a Dvaitin:

ईश्वरशब्दस्यार्थानवबोध एव तादृशगीतावाक्यस्यापार्थकरणे कारणम् ।
’दानमीश्वरभावश्च’ इति तत्रैव गीताशास्त्रे क्षत्रियकर्मत्वेनोक्तं विस्मृत्य
मोहात्कृतं दूषणव्याख्यानं तादृशम् । स्वस्मिन् क्षेत्रे क्षत्त्रियः
’ईश्वरोऽहम् एतस्य सर्वस्य’ इति स्वीयैश्वर्यं भावयत्येव । तेन स असुर इति
कथने भगवतः स्वोक्तिविरोधदोषोऽनिवार्यः स्यात् । ’तमीश्वराणां परमं महेश्वरं’
इत्यादिश्वेताश्वतर(६.७)वाक्यमप्यस्ति ईश्वरशब्दस्य ‘समर्थः बलवान्
भूरिधनकनकादिमान्’ इत्याद्यर्थसंभवे । अमुमर्थमवलम्ब्यैव शांकरभाष्यं
प्रवृत्तं तच्छ्लोके । एतेन गीतायामद्वैतिनिन्देत्यापादनं निरस्तं मन्तव्यम् ।
[The gist of the above is: The charge that the Lord indicts Advaita through
the words 'Ishwaroham' ['I am Ishwara'] as Asuric is based on ignorance
about the various meanings the word 'Ishwara' has.  The Lord Himself has
said in 18th ch. that the kShatriya's karma is to entertain the bhAva: I am
Ishwara, 'I am the lord of all the aishwaraya/kingdom/subjects under me'.
The Lord is demonstrating the demoniacal tendency of bragging that I am the
lord of all the wealth and I am an indulger in sense pleasures.  In the
shve.up. is a mantra (6.7) that uses this word 'Ishwara' in the plural to
indicate great, accomplished, ones (deva-s) who have as their Lord verily
Ishwara, the Supreme.  So, the word connotes someone who is wealthy, of
great ability, etc.

इदमप्युदाहरणं बहुषूदाहरणेषु मध्ये यदद्वैतशास्त्रमनवगम्यैव दोषोत्पादने
प्रवृत्ता अद्वैतेतरे इत्यत्र । यतो हि अद्वैते ईश्वरः सगुणः,
निर्गुणब्रह्मभिन्नत्वेन स्वीकृतः, तस्य मायोपाधिमत्त्वात् ।
सर्वज्ञत्वादिगुणकोऽयमेव न तु पारमार्थिकसत्यं निर्गुणं ब्रह्म   । [यतो हि
सर्वज्ञत्वादिगुणाः जगज्जीवपरतन्त्रत्वेनैव सिद्ध्यन्ति ब्रह्मणि, न तु स्वतः
]।  तेन साकं अल्पज्ञत्वादिविशिष्टस्य जीवस्य ऐक्यं नैव सम्भवति । तथा च
अद्वैतमते ऐक्यज्ञानं न ’ईश्वरोऽहं’ इतिप्रकारकं किं तु
शुद्धकेवलचैतन्यात्मकब्रह्मस्वरूपेणैव ’अहं ब्रह्म’ इति रूपम् । तत्तु
सर्वज्ञत्वादिसकलगुणनिरासेन परे, जीवे तु संसारित्वसकलगुणनिराकरणेन
उभयत्रानिरस्यशुद्धचैतन्यमात्रावशेषेण सिद्ध्यति । इदमजानन् कृतदूषणस्य
केवलाज्ञानमूलत्वादसारत्वं बोध्यम् । एतेन सर्वज्ञस्य भगवतो गीताचार्यस्यापि
अद्वैतशास्त्रानबोध आपादितः स्याद्द्वैतिभिः इत्यतिनीरसं जातं दूषणम् ।

This is yet another example, of several, for the Dvaitins indulging in
attacking Advaita without knowing the methods thereof.  In Advaita the
realization of the identity between the Supreme and the individual is not
of the manner: 'I am Ishwara' but it takes the form 'I am Brahman'.  In
advaita, Ishwara is saguNa brahman who is the causal factor for creation,
sustenance, etc.  This entity is accorded only a paratantra satya,
mAyopAdhika, vyAvahArika reality, subject to sublation upon the rise of
True knowledge of the Self/Atman/Brahman.  So, on a mistaken ground this
charge is placed that the Lord is indicting advaitins through the words
'Ishwaroham'.  This amounts to transferring their own ignorance of the
advaita doctrine on to the Omniscient Lord too.

Advaita does not hold the world / jivas to be a product of lust.  The jIva
is not a bhogI; it is svarUpataH akartA/abhoktA that Brahman is.

See also:

[MBTN 32.160-163

समस्तशास्त्रार्थविनिर्णयोयं विशेषतो भारतवर्त्मचारी ।

ग्रन्थः कृतोयं जगतां जनित्रं हरिं गुरुं प्रीणयतामुनैव।।160।।

विनिर्णयो नास्त्यमुना विना यद्‌ विप्रस्थितानामिह सर्ववाचाम्‌ ।

तद्‌ ब्रह्मसूत्राणि चकार कृष्णो व्याख्या तथैषामयथाकृतान्यैः।।161।।

निगूहितं यत्‌ पुरुषोत्तमत्वं सूत्रोक्तमप्यत्र महाऽसुरेन्द्रैः ।

जीवेश्‍वरैक्यं प्रवदद्भिरुग्रैर्व्याख्याय सूत्राणि चकार चाविः।।162।।

व्यासाज्ञया भाष्यवरं विधाय पृथक्पृथक्‌ चोपनिषत्सु भाष्यम्‌।

कृत्वाखिलान्यं पुरुषोत्तमं च हरिं वदन्तीति समर्थयित्वा।।163।।

The highlighted portion means:  Veda Vyasa composed the Brahmasutras but
its commentary by 'others' is untrue to the sutras, who the 'great
asurendra-s' have hidden the PuruShottamatva of the Lord even though it is
stated in the sutras, by propounding 'jIveshvaraikya' (identity of jiva and
Ishwara) who are 'ugra-s' (the terrible ones). ]

Om Tat Sat

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