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

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 03:15:01 CDT 2015

Sri Jaldharji,

Adi Shankara's BhAshyam has a slightly different explanation than yours for
the term निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन.

Shankara BhagavatpAda defines निस्त्रैगुण्यो भव as निष्कामो भव, or be
beyond desires for samsAra viShayA.

Krishna immediately before uses त्रैगुण्यविषयाः,  for which bahuvrIhi
Shankara gives the vigraha vAkya as त्रैगुण्य=संसारो विषयाः; प्रकाशयितव्याः
येषां ते = वेदाः.

So Shankara is saying that when we consider त्रैगुण्याः as संसारो विषयाः in
the word त्रैगुण्याविषयाः, we should use the same meaning in the
immediately occurring निस्त्रैगुण्यो भव, which should mean, be without
desires for विषयाः, not transcend the guNAs.

The benefit of this explanation is that it would avoid the contradiction of
निस्त्रैगुण्यः as "be beyond the three guNAs" with Krishna's immediately
occurring dictum to Arjuna, to be नित्यसत्त्वस्थ or "सदा सत्त्वगुणाश्रितो
भव". It would be contradictory to ask Arjuna to first be beyond the three
guNAs and immediately ask him to abide in the sattva guNA always.

While we may argue that Krishna is giving Arjuna a lower target immediately
(sattvasTho bhava) after telling him what the ultimate aim is, i.e to be
beyond the guNAs, the context of 2.45 is in the middle of an exposition of
karma yogA, not jnAna yogA. If Krishna were talking of jnAna yogA, and said
निस्त्रैगुण्यो भव, then we could take this as asking Arjuna to abide in his
svarUpam as nirguNa Brahman. Here Krishna is leading up to कर्मणि एव
अधिकारः ते.

This is how it was explained to me and seems logically consistent too, not
to imply your meaning wasn't correct. Thought I would share it to draw a
slight contrast to your explanation. Any offence caused is not intentional.

On 11 Oct 2015 08:12, "Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l" <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> 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
> things.
> [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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