Madhusuudana Sarasvatii's introduction to the Giitaa (5)

anand hudli ahudli at SILVER.UCS.INDIANA.EDU
Fri Aug 23 10:40:27 CDT 1996

  ekamekena shhaTkena kaaNDamatropalakshhayet.h |
  karmanishhThaajnaananishhThe kathite prathamaantyayoH ||5 ||

  word for word meaning:

   ekamekena shhaTkena -  by each group of six (chapters in order)
   kaaNDaM - a section of the Vedas
   atra - here
   upalakshhayet.h - should be designated
   karmanishhThaa - performance of action
   jnaananishhThaa - practice of jnaana
   kathite - (the two) are said
   prathamaantyayoH - of the first and last


    Each group of six chapters should be designated by a section
    of the Vedas. The practice of karma and the practice of jnaana
    are said to (designate) the first and last groups of six chapters.
    (ie. The chapters 1-6 are related to karma and chapters 13-18 are
    related to jnaana.)


   1) Shankara, in his introduction to the Giitaa, says that the
      Lord imparted the two-fold Dharma of the Vedas.

     svaprayojanaabhave .api bhuutaanujighR^ikshhayaa vaidikaM
     dharmadvayam-arjunaaya shokamohamahodadhau nimagnaaya upadidesha...

     Even though the Lord has no objective of His own to fulfill,
     with a desire to promote the welfare of all beings, He imparted
     the two-fold dharma of the Vedas to Arjuna, who was drowned in
     the sea of grief and delusion.

     This two-fold dharma of the Vedas which is necessary for the
      maintenance of the world consists of 1) pravR^itti or activity
      and 2) nivR^itti or cessation of activity (renunciation).

      dvividho hi vedokto dharmaH, pravR^ittilakshhaNo nivR^itti-

 2)   Anandagiri, in his gloss on Shankara's commentary, points out
      the two-fold Vaidika dharma spoken of by Shankara may be
      characterized as karmanishhThaa and jnaananishhThaa.

      karmanishhThaa or the practice of action is meant for those
      desire prosperity and those who desire liberation by successive
      stages. jnaananishhThaa or the practice of knowledge is the
      direct cause of mokshha.

 3) Shankara further adds that karmanishhThaa, when done without any
   expectation of rewards and with a sense of dedication to God, serves
   to purify the mind and makes it fit for jnaananishhThaa.

 4) Madhusuudana differs from Shankara regarding the contents of the
    Giitaa. Madhusuudana agrees that the Giitaa describes karmanishhThaa
    and jnaananishhThaa. But he says that in addition to those two
    it also describes upaasana or worship.

 5) In my opinion, this difference may be reconciled if we admit that
    jnaananishhThaa, according to Shankara, includes upaasana of the
    Lord. This is supported by Shankara's interpretation of verses
    13-20 in the 12th chapter. He points out that these verses
    describe the jnaani, but in most of these verses the jnaani is
    also called "madbhakta" (My devotee) or "bhaktimaan.h" (devotee).
    So the implication is that the jnaani is also the Lord's devotee.
    Later in his introduction, Madhusuudana states that upaasana is
    compatible with both karma and jnaana. Devotion to the Lord comes
    naturally to jnaanis.


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