Sri Sankara's BGB 15.13

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 11 01:39:01 CDT 1999

Ashish Chandra <achandra at WNMAIL.WNDEV.ATT.COM> wrote:

>Namaskar All,
>I am not sure if the answer to my question already lies in AV archives but
>anyhow, I'd like someone to please explain BGB 15-13. The sloka is as
>follows :


>Why is the moon invoked here ?

This may be based on some ancient belief about the moon. There are some
upanishad passages (e.g. cchAndogya) describing the "way of the fathers"
(pitRyAna), according to which the jIvas return to embodied life from the
lunar world, by entering the herbs and plant life, which are then ingested
by animals. Sanskrit poetry also has a long tradition of relating the moon
to water, and fluidity. Perhaps this is related to the phenomenon of tides.

Both Warrier and Mahadeva Sastri translate soma as the moon here. As far as
I can make out, however, neither the verse nor the bhAshya says that soma
is exclusively the moon. I suspect that other interpretations are possible,
e.g. soma could mean the juice that was used in old Srauta sacrifices. I
say this only because of the word rasAtmakaH. I have to check if any
commentator or translator explicitly say this, or if all take soma to mean


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