Madhusuudana's Sarasvatii's introduction to the Giitaa (1)

anand hudli ahudli at SILVER.UCS.INDIANA.EDU
Sun Aug 11 12:15:37 CDT 1996

  Here is the first verse of Madhusuudana Sarasvatii's introduction
  to his commentary on the Giitaa called the GuuDhaartha diipikaa.
  I have given the word for word meaning along with the translation. I am
  no Sanskrit Pandit, although I have had the privilege of studying Sanskrit
  under some fine teachers back in India. Fortunately, almost all
  philosophical literature in Sanskrit, and advaitic literature in
  in particular, is not as difficult to follow as, say, the
  kaavya literature  which is replete with similes and other
  colorful ideas that poets make use of. Just compare the Sanskrit of
  the Giitaa with any work of Kalidaasa to see the difference.
  This, of course, does not mean that advaitic works are a translator's
  delight, because the translator has to understand the philosophical
  terms and be able to provide English equivalents. This latter task
  is very difficult, but again, fortunately there is some standard
  established by earlier philosopher-translators who had a good knowledge
  of the English language. The English equivalents may not be the intended
  meaning of the Sanskrit terms but at least they provide a starting
  point to understand the intended meaning. Finally, I would like to
  hear of any mistakes or inconsistencies in the translation.

  In the introduction, Madhusuudana summarizes the teachings in the Giitaa,
  and discusses the motivation for its study. Briefly, he divides
  the Giitaa into three parts, each containing six chapters. The first six
  chapters explain the meaning of "tvaM" in the Vedic sentence
  "tat-tvam-asi", the second six chapters expound the meaning of "tat"
  and the last six chapters establish the identity of "tat" and "tvam".
  The three parts also correspond to the Karma (action), upaasana
  ( worship or meditation), and jnaana (knowledge) portions of the Vedas.

 AUM namaH paramahaMsaasvaaditacharaNakamalachinmakarandaaya
  bhaktajanamaanasanivaasaaya shriimadraamachandraaya |
  bhagavatpaadabhaashhyaarthamaalochyaatipraytnataH praayaH
  pratyakshharaM kurve giitaaguuDhaarthadiipikaaM  || 1 ||

  namaH -  salutation
  paramahaMsa - literally great swan, but here it means a sage of
                the highest order
  aasvaadita - tasted or enjoyed
  charaNakamala - lotus feet
  chinmakaranda - the nectar called Consciousness
  bhaktajanamaanasanivaasaaya - to the One who dwells in the
  hearts (lit. minds) of His devotees
  shriimadraamachandraaya - to Lord Raamachandra

  bhagavatpaadabhaashhyaarthaM - the purport of Shankara Bhagavatpaada's
  commentary on the Giitaa
  aalochya - having reflected on or having studied
  atiprayatnataH - with a great effort
  praayaH - mostly
  pratyakshharaM - every word (lit. letter)
  kurve - I will make
  giitaaguuDhaarthadiipikaaM - (the commentary) which will shed light
  on the inner or secret purport of the Giitaa.

   I offer obeisances to Lord Raamachandra, who dwells in the hearts of
   His devotees, and from whose lotus feet the sages of the highest order
   drink the nectar called Consciousness. Having made a thorough
   study, with great diligence, of Shankara Bhagavatpaada's commentary
   on the Giitaa with its purport, I will write the GuuDhaarthadiipikaa
   which will be a word for word commenatary, for the most part.
   (The name GuuDhaartha- diipikaa indicates that the commentary will
   illumine the secret or inner meaning of the Giitaa.)


  1) The word ParamahaMsa denotes a sage who is a knower of Brahman,
    and sports like a swan in the ocean of Sat-chit-aananda.

  2) Madhusuudana adds "praayaH", for the most part, to indicate that
    he will comment on most parts of the Giitaa, word for word. Some
    parts of the Giitaa, for example the first chapter, do not receive
    a detailed analysis.


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