[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.10,11
Amuthan Arunkumar R
aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Thu Nov 17 07:37:43 CST 2005
(all the main ideas contained in BP's avatArikA to the second adhyAya have been covered earlier. so, we'll now move on to the gItopadesha itself. the format to be followed is the following: first, the shloka will be given. this will be followed by it's english translation and some explanatory notes.)
tamuvAcha hR^iShIkeshaH prahasanniva bhArata.
senayorubhayormadhye viShIdantamidaM vachaH..2.10
to arjuna, who was filled with grief while being stationed between the two armies, kR^iShNa spoke the following words, as if mocking. 2.10
here, 'as if mocking' can be understood in many ways: 1. kR^iShNa always has a mandahAsa on his face and sa~njaya refers to this, or 2. kR^iShNa is mocking arjuna to point out that he had surrendered to Him first and then, without hearing anything from Him, decided not to fight, or 3. kR^iShNa is smiling at the fact that he got an opportunity to expound the essence of all vedAnta in the form of the gItA etc. bhakta-s can interpret it in any particular way that suits them.
since grief can be completely removed only by Atma j~nAna, kR^iShNa begins an exposition of the nature of the AtmA in the following verses,
shrI bhagavAn uvAcha -
ashochyAnanvashochastvaM praj~nAvAdAMshcha bhAshase. gatAsUnagatAsUMshcha nAnushochanti paNDitAH..2.11
bhagavAn said: you grieve for those who are not to be grieved for and yet you speak words that are spoken by the wise. the wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. 2.11
here, 'ashochyAn' - 'those who are not to be grieved for' - does not refer to any particular set of people (like those who do adharma etc.). it refers to people (and objects) in general (including one's own body). one's own body and the body of others are subject to the six-fold modifications like birth, growth, etc. and hence are not fit to be grieved for. on the other hand, it is only due to avidyA that multiplicity is perceived here. in reality, when AtmA / brahman, which forms the substratum of all these appearances, is intuited, it is known to be eternal and without any modifications. thus, by knowing either the anityatva of the dR^iShya or the nityatva of the dR^ik, we can conclude that it does not befit us to grieve.
'praj~nAvAdAn' can be split as either 'praj~nAnAm avAdAn' or as 'praj~nAnAm vAdAn'. in the former case, the meaning is this: 'you speak words that are not fit to be spoken by the wise'. in the latter case, it means, 'you speak like a wise person, but you really do not understand it'.
here, 'paNDita' means one who has Atma j~nAna . a paNDita, knowing that only the body is subject to birth and death, does not grieve for those who live or those who are dead. or, the paNDita, since he remains as the brahman, does not see any multiplicity and hence, there is no grief for him .
in this shloka, kR^iShNa consoles arjuna by saying that his grief is improper and reinforces the teaching by showing the conduct of the wise. this is done because righteous conduct cannot be better appreciated than when it is seen practiced by the wise. as long as the notions of 'i' and 'mine' exist, it is best to follow the conduct of the wise when faced with any dilemma. this is also mentioned in the taittirIya upaniShad .
now, it may be objected that we see some wise people grieving. MS takes up the instance where vasiShTha mourns for the loss of his sons. he says that in the case of j~nAni-s, we may see their body function due to a predominance of prArabda karma. but as far as following their actions is concerned, we can follow only those which are virtuous or those that lead to alaukIka vyavahAra, i.e. Atma j~nAna .
to sum it up, the purpose of this shloka is to help us develop vairAgya and overcome grief by showing us both the temporary nature of all objects and also the conduct of the wise (shiShTAchAram).
references and footnotes
 '...paNDA AtmaviShayA buddhiryeShAM te hi paNDitAH.' (G.B. 2.11).
 MS also mentions in passing that for one who has attained nirvikalpa samAdhi, but not jIvanmukti, during samAdhi, the world of multiplicity does not manifest itself. however, when one 'comes back' from samAdhi, one knows for sure that jagat is mithyA. see G.D.2.11, 'samAdhisamaye tatpratibhAsAbhAvAt vyutthAnasamaye tatpratibhAse'pi mR^iShAtvena nishchayAt.' this clearly shows that MS, though a great propounder of pAta~njalIya yoga, admits it's limitations. the way to achieve jIvanmukti was already covered while discussing MS's avatArikA.
 'ye tatra brAhmaNAssamarshinaH. yuktA AyuktAH. alUkShA dharmakAmAsyuH. yathA te tatra varteran. tathA tatra vartethAH. athAbhyAkhyAteShu. ye tatra brAhmaNAssamarshinaH. yuktA AyuktAH. alUkShA dharmakAmAsyuH. yathA te teShu varteran. tathA teShu vartethAH. eSha AdeshaH. eSha upadeshaH. eShA vedopaniShat. etadanushAsanam. evamupAsitavyam. evamuchaitadupAsyam..' (tai. up. 1.15)
 'vasiShTAdInAm... alaukIkavyavahArasyaiva tadAcharatvAt...' (G.D. 2.11). MS's bhAShyam, after this point, is quite amusing. the story is that when vasiShTha tried to drown himself in a river for the loss of his sons, the river split into hundred sub-currents and he was not able to drown himself (can someone can locate this story?). MS says that if we insist on grieving since j~nAni-s like vasiShTha have shown grief, then we must also expect other events like splitting of the river to follow for our case also :-) this is similar to the instance where kR^iShNa lifts up the govardhana with one finger. we cannot issue license to ourselves to follow each and every action of kR^iShNa (like say the rAsa lIlA), since if we do that, we must also follow Him and try to lift a mountain with one finger :-) the point is that we can follow only those actions of j~nAni-s that are condusive to vairAgya and lead to mukti.
Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
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