[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.10,11

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Thu Nov 17 18:09:07 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!
  dear shrI jayanArAyaNan,
  thanks for your reply. i disagree with your objection though i have no  problems with the alternative interpretation you have provided. 
  it was for the reason that many possible interpretations of the phrase  'prahasanniva' are possible that i mentioned in the earlier post that  bhakta-s can interpret it in any particular way that suits them. the  alternative interpretation that you have provided is quite beautiful  and also does not cause any confusion regarding the usage of 'prahAsaH'  in the main text. 
  now, to your objection...
 -- shrI S Jayanarayanan  wrote:-----------------------------------------------------------------------
  One more (better) interpretation I've heard:
  The English word "mocking" is not a good translation (rather, a very  poor translation) of Sanskrit "prahasan". The latter is NOT a derisive  smile, while the former usually is.
  Krishna is smiling at Arjuna in the same way that a father smiles at his  child crying due to an insignificant problem (like the child's toynot  working at the moment). The father knows it's a trivial problem that  can easily be fixed and does not require tears. His smile therefore is  at the child's innocence/ignorance, but without anyderision associated  with it.Krishna's smile is that of one who is in complete control of  thesituation, and smiles at Arjuna for thinking otherwise and giving  wayto grief.
  actually, one of the meanings of the word 'prahasanam' or 'prahAsaH' is  'ridicule, mockery' (for instance, see Apte's Sanskrit English  Dictionary) and it is used here only in that sense. the word 'mocking'  is defined (at least in the oxford dictionary that i have) with a sense  of derision associated with it. so, prahasanam does in fact refer to a  derisive smile. but that is not the meaning here as will be explained  below. 
  that 'prahasanam' is used here in the sense of 'mocking' is accepted  even by MS. it is only for the reason that 'prahasanam' should not be  misinterpreted to be a derisive smile that the word 'iva' is included  in the main text. the translation is not 'mocking' but 'AS IF mocking'.  
  since this has caused some confusion, i'll quote MS to clarify the issue:
   '...anuchitAcharaNaprakAshanena lajjotpAdanaM prahAsaH. lajjA cha duHkhAtmiketi dveShaviShayaiva mukhyaH...' (G.D. 2.10)
  '...prahAsa means putting one to shame by exposing improper behaviour.  shame is verily painful; prahAsa primarily refers to something  disdainful...'
  '...arjunasya tu bhagavatkR^ipAviShayatvAdanuchitAcharaNaprakAshanasya  cha vivekotpattihetutvAdekadalAbhAvena **gauNa** evAyaM prahAsa iti  kathayitum **iva** shabdaH.  lajjAmutpAdayitumiva  vivekamutpAdayitumarjunasya anuchitAcharaNaM bhagavatA prakAshyate.  lajjotpattistu nAntarIyakatayAstu mAstu veti na vivakShiteti bhAvaH.'  (G.D. 2.10)
  '...but, since arjuna was an object of bhagavAn's grace, kR^iShNa's  'mocking' at arjuna is only for developing viveka (discrimination) in  him. thus, 'mocking' is used in a **secondary** sense here and this is  shown by the term **iva** (as if). but, whether or not shame arises in  arjuna because of this is not kR^iShNa's intention. this is the  meaning.'
  even without getting into the details of the bhAShyam, it is a well  known fact that kR^iShNa invariably makes fun of others in order to  teach them Atma vidyA. this itself is one of the sweetest aspects of  kR^iShNa, as compared to say, rAma, who is always composed and calm.  and it is also well known that kR^iShNa does this only to help others  and not at all with an intent of derision. 
  hope this clarifies,
  vAsudevaH sarvaM,

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