[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.10,11

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Thu Nov 17 07:37:43 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!    
  (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 [1]. 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 [2]. 
 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 [3].
  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 [4].
  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
  [1] '...paNDA AtmaviShayA buddhiryeShAM te hi paNDitAH.' (G.B. 2.11). 
  [2] 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.
  [3] '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)
  [4] '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. 
  vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
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