[Advaita-l] Please tell the meaning of this verse from bagavath geetha verse 2.45

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Oct 11 02:12:15 CDT 2015

On Sun, 11 Oct 2015, Harsha Bhat via Advaita-l wrote:

> traiguNyaviSayA vEdA nistraiguNyO bhavArjuna /
> nirdvandvO nityasatvasthO niryOgakshEma AtmavAn //
> Please tell the meaning of the above verse....

"The Vedas which tell of that which is composed of the three Gunas, Be 
beyond those three gunas Arjuna[2].  Beyond the pairs [2], always abiding 
in sattva[3], free from material pursuit[4], and possesed of Atma.[5]"

[1] the produced universe is created from sattva, rajas, and tamas.  It 
and its objects are created, exist for a length of time, either short or 
long but in any case finite, and then they become subject to destruction. 
The karmakanda of the Vedas (and therefore all the other shastras derived 
from them) are concerned with those things therefore those people who 
treat such things as real must abide by the dictates of the shastras 
concerning those things.

However the jnanakanda of the Vedas (and therefore the shastras 
derived from it including this very gita.) speak of something else, 
Brahman which is beyond the three Gunas, not created and not subject to 
destruction.  Bhagavan advises Arjuna to move away from the samsara 
composed of three gunas and towards the Brahman of no gunas.

[2] The pairs of opposites such as light and dark, heat and cold, pleasure 
and pain  etc. or in a nutshell, duality.  Duality is the characteristic 
of samsara and non-duality is the characteristic of Brahman.

[3] But renouncing the three gunas is easier said than done.  Arjuna for 
instance, is a soldier on a battlefield not a philosopher.  So the next 
best thing is to atleast abide in sattva the guna of purity and goodness.

[4] yogakshema which I have translated as material pursuit has two 
aspects, the urge to keep what one "owns" and the urge to acquire new 

[5] The -vAn suffix to a sanskrit noun makes it an adjective signifying
possession of that noun as a characteristic.  For example a synonym for 
Himalaya is Himavan "possesed of snow" because those mountains are very 
snowy.  Vidvan means scholar because the defining characteristic of a 
scholar is possessing vidya or knowledge.  An atmavan is a person whose 
characteristic is atma.  But doesn't everyone have an atma? Yes but most 
do not think of it except as a specific and ephemeral name and form.  Only 
for a few are the notions that "I am the atma" and "this atma is brahman" 
their paramount characteristics so only they can be described as atmavan.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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