[Advaita-l] No Arjuna was not a jnani

Akilesh Ayyar ayyar at akilesh.com
Sun Jun 20 01:39:20 EDT 2021

If Sankara wanted to say that Arjuna merely thinks he is a jnani, but
isn't, he would have said so. To do otherwise would be sloppy, and Sankara
isn't sloppy.

Far more likely is that Arjuna really is a jnani, and is playfully giving
Krishna another opportunity to speak again about Brahman and moksha. Likely
they are both in on the joke.

That seems far more likely than that
a) Arjuna forgot everything Krishna said in the BG (really it's
b)  that Krishna didn't realize that Arjuna *didn't* actually destroy his
ignorance at the end of the BG & that his answer to Krishna's question
about that was fasle
c) that Sankara didn't note this point at all
d) that Krishna lacks the yogic power to repeat what he said in the BG.


On Sun, Jun 20, 2021 at 1:15 AM Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Having heard the soul-stirring words of Krishna Bhagavan at the beginning
> of the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna shook off his depression and fought.
> Eventually the Pandava side won and the survivors now back in Indraprastha
> made preparations for Yudhisthira to perform the Ashvamedha yajna
> confirming his position as emperor.  Krishna bhagavan says after the
> festivities are over He will return to Dwarka.  Whereupon Arjuna says to
> him,
>   विदितं ते महाबाहॊ संग्रामे समुपस्थिते  माहात्म्यं देवकी मातस तच च ते
> रूपम ऐश्वरम
>   यत तु तद भवता परॊक्तं तदा केशव सौहृदात तत सर्वं पुरुषव्याघ्र नष्टं मे
> नष्टचेतसः
>   मम कौतूहलं तव अस्ति तेष्व अर्थेषु पुनः परभॊ  भवांश च दवारकां गन्ता
> नचिराद इव माधव
> [Translation based on Kishorimohan Ganguly's one. Also some of the
> sanskrit appears to have typos in it but I haven't had time to examine it
> more closesly.]
> "O mighty-armed one, your greatness became known to me upon the approach
> of the battle. O son of Devaki, your form also, as the Lord of the
> universe, then became known to me! What you said to me at that
> time, O Kesava, out of friendship, has all been forgotten by me, O best
> of men, in consequence of the ***fickleness of my mind***. Repeatedly,
> however, have I been curious on the subject of those truths. But O
> Madhava, you will return to Dwaraka soon."
> This is the start (there are a few introductory shlokas that establish the
> frame story but this is the actual start) of the Anugita in the
> Ashvamedhaparvan of the Mahabharata.  This work also has a commentary by
> Shankaracharya though it is not nearly as well known as some of his other
> works.  Given that Shankaracharya quotes from the Anugita several times in
> the prasthana trayi, even some historians who doubt the authenticity of
> many works ascribed to Shankaracharya, consider this Anugitabhashya to be
> genuine.
> Anyway Krishna Bhagavan replies to Arjuna
> शरावितस तवं मया गुह्यं जञापितश च सनातनम  धर्मं सवरूपिणं पार्थ सर्वलॊकांश च
> शाश्वतान
> अबुद्ध्वा यन न गृह्णीथास तन मे सुमहद अप्रियम नूनम अश्रद्दधानॊ ऽसि
> दुर्मेधाश चासि पाण्डव
> "You heard from me the most secret and eternal truths that are regarded as
> dharma in its purest form in all the worlds.  It is displeasing to me that
> in your folly **you did not understand** what I taught then.  Truly **you
> lack intelligence** and **are devoid of faith**.
> So then what prompted Shankaracharya to make the remarks he made on
> Bhagavadgita 18.73?  First of all he does not actually say Arjuna is a
> jnani.  Arjuna himself at that moment *thinks* he has grasped what Krishna
> bhagavan is telling him and his doubts have been dispelled enough to
> rescue him from despair and fight as Krishna Bhagavan has advised him to.
> But as his later life story shows, Arjuna did not in fact grasp the big
> picture.  That's why in the Anugita passage quoted above, he is
> specifically admonished as being "devoid of faith".  He followed the
> teachings of the Gita enough to win the war but did not follow it to its
> ultimate conclusion.  Shankaracharya goes on to say that this destruction
> of moha and recognition of identity with Brahman is the purpose of "this
> shastra" and if it is understood fully, nothing further needs to be known.
> Perhaps that is why Krishna Bhagavan goes on to say in the Anugita:
> स हि धर्मः सुपर्याप्तॊ बरह्मणः पदवेदने  न शक्यं तन मया भूयस तथा वक्तुम
> अशेषतः
> परं हि बरह्म कथितं यॊगयुक्तेन तन मया  इतिहासं तु वक्ष्यामि तस्मिन्न अर्थे
> पुरातनम
> "I cannot, Dhananjaya, repeat in detail what I had said then. That dharma
> which is enough to know the Parabrahman, was revealed when I was in a
> state of yoga [yogayukta]  I shall [instead] tell you an itihasa that
> you will be better able to understand."
> I don't know why Krishna Bhagavan thinks he cannot re-enter that yogic
> state but that's what he says.  Perhaps because the Bhagavadgita is
> already "complete" and contains His divine energy so it cannot be added
> to.  If Arjuna didn't get it the first time, there is no point in
> repeating the same thing again.  The Anugita is more in the style of
> akhyanas like in itihasa-purana which might be more at Arjunas level for a
> Jnani he is not.
> -- Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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