[Advaita-l] Sanskrit contradicts

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 4 09:15:27 CST 2011

Mr. Cohen

As others said there is no difference in the translations quoted by you. Let me explain. Let us start with the actual verse: 

अव्यक्तं व्यक्तिमापन्नं मन्यन्ते मामबुद्धयः । परं भावमजानन्तो ममाव्ययमनुत्तमम् ।। VII.24 ।।

Let me translate the above word by word. First, the individual words in the Sloka rearranged for easy comprehension: abuddhayah, manyante, avyaktam, maam, vyaktim, aapannam, ajaanantah, mama, param, bhaavam, avyayam, anuttamam. Now, for the word to word meaning with some discussion:

abuddhayah = those who do not have buddhi.
manyante = think (of)
avyaktam = the unmanifest [1]
maam = me
vyaktim aapannam [2] = (as) assuming a manifest form (see [1] for a discussion of vyakti) 
ajaanantah = without knowing [3]
mama = my
param bhaavam = ultimate nature
avyayam = (which is) changeless
anuttamam = (and) unsurpassed [4]
Meaning is, therefore: Those withtout buddhi think of the unmanifest me as assuming a manifest form without knowing my ultimate  nature which is changeless and unsurpassed. 
Swami Gambhirananda (SG) calls the abuddhayah unintelligent, whereas Swami Dayananda (SD) translates the same as those lacking discrimination. Both these mean the same because intelligence is the ability to discriminate between good and bad; right and wrong; and the eternal and the ephemeral. Similarly, the other seemingly different phrases used by the learned Swamis mean the same, as shown below:
ajaanatah = not knowing (SD), unaware (SG) - no difference in meaning
param bhaavam avyayam anuttamam = limitless, changeless nature beyond which there is nothing greater (SD), supreme state which is immutable and unsurpassable (SG). Here, changeless = immutable; beyond which there is nothing greater = unsurpassable. SG's translation of Param as supreme is accurate whereas SD's translation as limitless is somewhat unusual but does not change the meaning of the phrase or otherwise cause any harm.
avyaktam = formless (SD), unmanifest (SG) - no difference in meaning, but unmanifest is a more accurate translation etymologically speaking.
vyaktim aapannam = endowed with a manifest form (SD), become manifest (SG). Again, no real difference but SG is more accurate.
Thus, we see that both mean the same. While SG's translation is more accurate, SD's translation is more readable. 
Best regards
N. Siva Senani
[1] vyakta is the past participle of vi+anj. The root anj (the balm Amrutaanjan - the immortal ointment - has its origins in this root) means to annoint, to apply all over, or to decorate. When used with the prefix vi, this means 'to make appear' to 'to manifest' by convention. (vya~Ngya, which means the projected meaning, is from the same prefix and root). 
[2] aapannam actually means 'having fallen to the state of' and 'assuming' is what fits the context.
[3] literally, this is "those buddhi-less fellows who being in the state of not knowing"
[4] uttamam means best. Anuttamam means that which is not bettered by anything, or that thing, of which there is nothing better. In other words anuttamam also means the best, or as tranlsated above, unsurpassed.

>“Those who lack discrimination, not knowing my limitless,changeless nature beyond which there is nothing greater, look upon me who isformless as one endowed with a manifest form. “ –Swami Dayananda
>“The unintelligent, unaware of My supreme state which isimmutable and unsurpassable, think of Me as the unmanifest that has becomemanifest. “ –Swami Gambhirananda
>At your collective feet,
>MichaelChandra Shekar Cohen

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