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