Is gItA an Upanishad?

S. V. Subrahmanian svs_shankara at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 27 10:18:38 CDT 2000

A few questions:

1.  Shruti is that which was "shrutam" (heard, as it were) by God-realized
beings (Rishis).  If that be the broad defintion of Shruti then, can we say
that every utterance of a God-realized person is really Shruti for one who
is one with God, there is no separate identity, in which case when he speaks
God speaks, which for the hearers is Shruti.  Does it work that way ??

2.  If Shruti is supposed have to emanated from Brahman, how different is it
if Brahman in the form of Krishna uttered the GIta.  Would the very fact
that it comes from Krishna qualify it for the status of Shruti ??

3.  How come the process of "shrutam" has stopped ?  There are God-realized
beings even in this age (may not be as many as before).  Why did none of
them either "retrieve" lost shruti or cognize more and give it to mankind ??
  Or, are we missing it because it is not in Sanskrit ??

4.  In the Narayana Upanishad (not MahAnArayana), there is a verse which
"brahmanyo devaki putro, brahmanyo madhusudhanom".
It clearly talks about Krishna.  In which case this must have been cognized
after the advent of Krishna, which means the process of cognition was active
even just before the beginning of the Kali yuga.  Is it a curse of the Kali
age not to be able to cognize the Vedas ??

5.  Who decides what is Shruti and what is not ?  Are we going by a
classification made by Shankara or some authority in the past ?  If it is by
Shankara then clearly there must have been some misconceptions before that
would have been cleared up by Shankara.  Agreed.  Now, is that
classification static ??  Can't anything be added to it (not in the
conventional sense of adding a chapter to a book), ie., can't anybody else's
cognition be recognized as Shruti and included in the main body of Vedas ??

6.  Are we being too conservative in our defintion/recognition of what is
Shruti and what is not ??

>From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM>
>Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
>Subject: Re: Is gItA an Upanishad?
>Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 00:31:58 +0000
>Vivek Anand Ganesan <v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> >Hello all :
> >
> >    Going by the enumeration of the upanishads and
> >their classification as shruti as accepted by tradition,
> >why is gItA not considered an upanishad even though it
> >refers to itself as an upanishad?  Is it just because it
> >occurs as part of MahAbhAratam?
>We must distinguish between a generic usage of the word
>upanishad and the specific meaning of the word as referring
>to Sruti. In the concluding verses in the first verse chapter
>of upadeSasAhasrI, Sankaracarya refers to his own work as an
>"upanishad." This does not make this text Sruti, and no one,
>even among the most ardent followers of Sankara, has ever
>claimed that upadeSasAhasrI is Sruti. Since everybody views
>this text as one written by a human being, no matter how highly
>venerated, this text is not given the status of Sruti.
>So, what does this mean for the gItA? When it is called an
>upanishad, it is in the generic sense, meaning "body of teaching
>or doctrine" or "text to be studied". And yes, since the gItA is
>part of the mahAbhArata, it is classified as smRti, and not as
> > ).  Why is it that ShrI BhagavatpAda chose only the
> >Bhagavad gItA to comment on?  The reason I ask is because
> >the VaishNava-s claim the text as their own.  So, why would
> >ShrI BhagavatpAda who espouses equanimity to various
>The sectarian claims for the gItA came later. When Advaitins say,
>"tad vaishNavaM padam" to refer to the state of moksha, that does
>not make them sectarian Vaishnavas. As you note, even the Kashmiri
>Saiva author wrote a commentary on it. This author is Abhinavagupta,
>by the way. Others from the Advaita tradition have written
>commentaries on or quoted from the various other Gitas.
>The Bhagavad Gita is simply the most important text to be taken
>into account. In the brahmasUtras, whenever a reference to smRti
>comes up, the text quoted most often is the Bhagavad Gita. And it
>really serves as the model for most of the other Puranic Gitas too.
>If you study Sankara's texts closely, you will notice that he has
>a way of being concise and to the point. If the reference is to a
>text X, he will not quote texts Y and Z that are similar. If the
>reference is to a particular term or concept, he won't wander into
>discussions of things that are only peripherally related. He gives
>you the essence, without going into other things. So, if he has not
>referred to a text, that does not mean that he was unaware of it,
>nor does it mean that he did not recognize its validity.
>Best wishes,
>bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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