[Advaita-l] Bhagavad Geeta

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 24 02:03:10 CDT 2006

On Fri, 7 Apr 2006, Siddhartha Annapureddy wrote:

> Namaste all,
> I have a few questions on the interpretation of Bhagavad Geeta. The
> verses in question are
> 4.7 and 4.8.
> yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glaanirbhavati Bharata.
> Abhyuddhannamadharmasya tadayayatmaanam srujamyaham. (4.7)

Whenever Dharma is on the decline O Bharata! [Arjuna]
And Adharma begins to increase, I project myself [into this world]

> paritranaaya saadhunaam vinaashaya cha dushkrutam.
> dharmasamsthaapanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge. (4.8)

To protect the good and destroy evildoers,
To establish Dharma, I am born in every age.

> I was discussing these verses with a friend, and I did not know how to
> explain these verses in
> the framework of Advaita. I do not see why Brahman should be particularly 
  > concerned with the welfare of the human world (though I can understand why   
  > a realized man would be concerned. For example, Sri Krishna Himself).

  Though the fundamental question raised by you is central to understanding the concept of jaganmithyA, the particular verses mentioned need to be seen in the proper context. 
  In the fourth chapter the Lord proposes to explain an ancient secret 'yoga' taught by the Lord to Vivasavan, who then taught to Manu, who then taught Ikshavaku. Now, Arjuna has a doubt:

  4.4 Arjuna said -- Your birth was later, (whereas) the birth of Vivasvan was earlier. How am I to understand this that You instructed (him) in the beginning? 

  The answer of course is that the Lord had explained this secret knowledge to Vivasvan in an earlier avatar.
  4.5 The Blessed Lord said -- O Arjuna, many lives of Mine have passed, and so have yours. I know them all, (but) you know not, O scorcher of enemies!
  "How can the beginningless, endless Supreme Lord have janmas?" Anticipating this question, the Lord clarifies:
  4.6 Though I am birthless, undecaying by nature, and the Lord of beings, (still) by subjugating My Prakriti, I take birth by means of My own Maya
  Next, the question of when these avataras happen would arise, hence:
  4.7 yada yada hi dharmasya ....;  
  And to explain what the Lord does in these avataras:
  4.8 paritrANAya sAdhunAm ....
  The next verse and the BhagavatpAda's commentary on that succintly state the Reality:
  4.9 He who thus knows truly the divine birth and actions of Mine does not get rebirth after casting off the body. He attains Me, O Arjuna
  Yah, he who; evam, thus, as described; vetti, knows tattvatah, truly, as they are in reality; that divyam, divine, supernatural; janma, birth, which is a form of Maya; ca karma, and actions, such as protection of the pious, etc.; mama, of Mine; na eti, does not get; punarjanma, rebirth; tyaktva, after casting off; this deham, body. Sah, he; eti, attains, comes to; mam, Me-he gets Liberated, O Arjuna. This path of Liberation has not been opened recently. What then? Even in earlier days- 

  (English translations of both the Gita and the Bhashya are that of Sri Gambhirananda Swami)
  Seen in context, as long as we struggle with questions like why the Creator 'creates' bad and then manifests himself to cure his creation of that, we operate within the influence of avidyA. The moment we realise that the entire creation is a mithyA, all those questions dissolve. That this understanding of the Truth liberates is explicitly stated by the Bhagavan.

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