[Advaita-l] Sankara alludes to Mahabharata Episode of Arjuna meeting Shiva

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 20 19:28:13 CDT 2016

One of the key episodes of the Mahabharata is Arjuna acquiring the Pashupatastra from Shiva.
This incident is the central theme in the Great Poem "Kiratarjuniya" by Sanskrit poet Bharavi.
Sankara refers to this encounter of Arjuna with Shiva in his Gita Bhashya 2.33.
Here's the Gita verse 2.33 as such:
  atha chettvamimaM dharmyaM saMgrAmaM na kariShyasi .
  tataH svadharmaM kIrtiM cha hitvA pApamavApsyasi ..
  "If you do not discharge your duty and engage in this righteous war,
  renouncing both your personal ethics (svadharma) and glory (kIrti),
  you will incur sin."
Note that the above verse does not require any necessity of invoking Shiva,
but Sankara freely does so in his commentary:
  atha chet tvam imaM dharmyaM dharmaadanapetaM vihitaM
  saMgraamaM yuddhaM na karishhyasi chet, tataH tadakaraNaat svadharmaM
  kiirtiM cha mahaadevaadisamaagamanimittaaM hitvaa kevalaM paapam
  "If you do not engage in this righteous war, having renounced your personal ethics (svadharma),
  and your glorious encounter with Mahadeva (Shiva), you will incur sin."
Sankara need not have referenced the episode of Arjuna meeting Shiva, especially in a
so-called "Vaishnava" scripture, but naturally does so anyway!

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