BHAGAVAD GITA X-41
Some opening remarks, based on Sri Raghavendra Tîrtha's explanation in the gItA-vivR^itti:
In the 19th verse of the chapter, Krishna starts a discourse on His `vibhUti rupa' with `hanta te', and ends it with `eshha tu uddeshataH prokto vibhUtervistaro mayA' in verse 40. In the latter, eshhaH is to be taken twice; first as `eshhaH uddeshataH proktaH' and second `eshha tu vibhUtirvistaro mayA proktaH (prochyate)'. The word meanings are as follows: eshhaH = subject until now; uddeshataH = referring to each one (shR^iNga grAhikayA = referring to a object by holding it in ones hand, as a cow may be referred to or demonstrated by holding on to its horn -- shR^iNga); proktaH = has been stated; eshha tu = the one which follows now; vibhuteH vistaraH = scope of greatness; mayA = from me, <proktaH (prochyate) = shall be told. That is to say, all the explanations of the nature of `ahaM AtmA guDAkesha', `AdityAnAM ahaM vishhNuH', etc., which have been given, are specific instances of the general rule stated in verse 40, which is that there is no end to My (Krishna's) greatness of form. Hence the statement in that verse:
nAnto.asti mama divyAnAM vibhUtInAM parantapa | eshha tUddeshataH prokto vibhUtervistaro mayA || 40 ||-- which may be understood as:
There is no end to my Divine Forms, O Parantapa; thus has been stated to you, through (`shR^iNga-grAhika') explanations; the glories of the Forms that are resident in the individual (rather than external to him as in the previous examples) will also be explained shortly.Therefore, the context according to Sri Raghavendra is that Krishna, having explained the glories of His forms through various illustrations of specific properties, now proceeds to state the general rule, to wit, that these forms are all without bound, and also states that it is not just external forms, but also the forms within and governing the individual, which are covered, and this will be shown shortly: `eshha tu vaxyamANatayA hR^idisthastu vibhUtervistaro mayA proktaH prochyate'. Thus is the context or saN^gati of verse 41, which is not at all made clear by the many incorrect explanations of the verse.
bhagavad.h gItA -- yadyadvibhUtimatsatvaM shrImadUrjitameva vA | tattadevAvagachchha tvaM mama tejo.aMshasambhavam.h || 41 || Whomsoever's existence or being is excellent of its kind, or is seen to be of deep-rooted splendor, understand that to have come into existence only on account of being energized by Me. bhAshhya -- `yadyadvibhUtimad.h' iti vistaraH | vishhNvAdIni tatsvarUpANyeva | anyAni tu tejoyuktAni | tathA cha paiN^gikhileshhu -- `yadyadvibhUtimat.h', thus is the scope; forms such as Vishnu are His own self-same nature, only. Others are endowed with His tejas. Thus, too, in the paiN^gi-khila --Sri Jayatîrtha explains in the prameya-dIpikA:
`eshha tUddeshataH' ityetachchhabdo.anukrAntaparAmarshI.ati pratItinirAsArthamAha -- `yadyad.h' iti | vaxyamANaM buddhisthametachchhabdena parAmR^ishyate | shR^iN^gigrAhikayokterapi laxaNoktervistaratvAditi bhAvaH | vibhUtimadAdikaM mama tejorUpeNAMshena saha bhavatItyuktyA vishhNvAdInAmapi bhagavadaMshayuktatvaM pratIyate | teshhAmapyetallaxaNopetatvAt.h | tannivR^ityarthamAha -- `vishhNvAdIni' iti | tarhi kiM vishhayaM etadvAkyamityata Aha -- `tathA cha' iti | In `eshha tu uddeshataH', to remove the impression that there is the intention to enumerate, it is stated, `yadyad.h', thus. The rule to be stated is indicated by this word. For it is the case that `shR^iN^ga-grAhikA' explanations are always longer than statements of qualities, thus is the purport. But by saying that all splendor, etc., derives from My (Krishna's) radiance, even Vishnu, etc., are indicated to be endowed with parts of the Lord -- in order to refute such a belief, it is stated -- `vishhNu AdIni', thus. So what is the subject of the verse? To indicate this, it is stated: `tathA cha', thus.Instead of specifying the qualities by enumerating each one, which is not possible since there are an infinite number of them, it is better to explain the common features of all by saying
(*) Although the
bhAshhya -- ``visheshhakA rudravainyendradevA rAjAnyAdyA aMshayutA.anyajIvAH | kR^ishhNavyAsau rAmakR^ishhNau cha rAmakapilayaj~napramukhAH svayaM saH |'' iti | vi-sheshha-kAH = garuDa, shesha, brahma; rudra-vainya-indra-devAH = rudra, pR^ithu, indra devatAs; rAjanyAdyA = other kings, etc., anya jIvAH = other jIva-s, amshayutAH = are with some amsha; kR^ishhNavyAsau rAmakR^ishhNau cha rAmakapilayaj~nApramukhAH = vedavyAsa, rAma, krishna, parashurAma, kapila and yaj~na, in chief; svayaM = are He Himself; iti = thus. "Garuda, Adi-Shesha, Brahma; deities such as Rudra, Indra, Prthu, etc.; and other great kings, and other jIva-s, are all endowed with His amsha. Those such as Krishna, Vyaasa, Raama, Krishna, and Raama, and Kapila, Yajna, are He Himself," thus. bhAshhya -- ``sa evaiko bhArgavadAsharathikR^ishhNAdyAstu aMshayutA.anyajIvAH |'' iti gautamakhileshhu | sa eka eva = he alone, bhargava-dAsharathi-kR^ishhNAdyAH = parashurAma, rAma and krishna, etc., tu = but, anyajIvAH = other jIva-s, amshayutAH = are his amsha, iti = like this. "He alone is the Bhargava, the Dasharathi, Krishna, etc.; other (great) jIva-s are endowed with His amsha," thus says the Gautama-khila.Sri Jayatîrtha explains as follows:
visheshhakAH garuDAnantaviriJNchAH | vainyaH pR^ithuH | rAjAnyagrahaNena gR^ihItasyApi punaruktiH sAxAdavatAratvavisheshhokti- bAdhanArtham.h | kR^ishhNo dharmasUnurapi | rAmo bhArgavo.api |By `visheshhakAH', Garuda, Ananta (Adi-Shesha), and Virincha (Brahma) are indicated. `vainya' refers to Prthu (son of Vena). Even though the class of kings (in which Prthu is included) is separately specified the name of Prthu is separately mentioned, as there are statements (for example in the Bhagavata Purana) which seem to indicate that Prthu is the Lord's own avatAra, and this idea is to be refuted. By `kR^ishhNa', even dharmasUnu is indicated. By `rAma', even bhArgava (Parashurama) is indicated. (Here the names of Krishna and Raama are used twice. One kR^ishhNa is vAsishhTha-kR^ishhNa and other yAdava-kR^ishhna; one rAma is dAsharatha-raama and other parashurAma.)
bhAshhya -- ``R^ishhayo manavo devA manuputro mahaujasaH | kalAH sarve harereva saprajApatayaH smR^itAH | ete svAMshakalAH puMsaH kR^ishhNastu bhagavAn.h svayam.h ||'' iti bhAgavate | (bhA. pu. I.3-27/28) R^ishhyAdIn.h aMshayutatvenoktvA varAhAdIn.h svarUpatvenAha | tushabda evArthe | anyastu visheshho na kutrApyavagataH | aMshatvaM tatrApyavagatam.h ``udbabarhAtmanaH keshau'' iti | mR^iDayanti iti cha bahuvachanaM chAyuktam.h | na hyantarA.anyaduktvA pUrvamaparAmR^ishya tatkriyochyamAnA dR^ishhTA kutrachit.h || 41 || "The R^ishhi-s, the Manu-s, and the devatA-s, the kings who are the sons of Manu, are all, along with Brahma, to be known to be energized by Hari, only; the forms [of Vishnu] like Krishna, are the self-same Lord," thus says the Bhagavata. Having stated that the sages, etc., are endowed with the energy of the Lord, the incarnations like Varaha, are stated to be His own self-same nature. The word `tu' is used in the sense of `eva'. There is no other specialty that could be indicated by the use of `tu'. Even for him the same would be indicated, as in the statement `udbabarhAtmanaH keshau' (he plucked his hairs). By `mR^iDayanti', the use of the plural would be inappropriate (if Krishna alone were the Bhagavan). Indeed, it is never seen that having stated something vastly different later, without considering what has been stated, some use is indicated of the previous. || 41 || prameya-dIpikA TippaNI -- aMshayuktatvenoktvA kalA ityanena kalA eva kalAH | na svarUpatvena | ``ete svAMshakalAH'' ityanena svarUpAMsharUpA eva kalAH | na tu pUrvavadupachAreNeti | nanvatraite varAhAdyAH paramapurushhasya aMshA eva | kR^ishhNatvaMshI bhagavAn.h svayamiti pratIyate | tatkathamuktavyAkhyAnam.h ? anyathA tushabdAnupapatterityata Aha -- `tushabda' iti | tatashchAyamarthaH | ete varAhAdyAH puMsaH svAMshakalAH | ko.arthaH ? kR^ishhNaH paramapurushho bhagavAn.h svayameva eta iti | kuta etaditi chedudAhR^itashrutisaMvAdAt.h | arthAntarasya saMvAdAbhAvAchchetyAha -- `anyastu' iti | varAhAdayo aMshAH, kR^ishhNo.aMshI ityevaMrUpaH | ito.apyeyaM visheshho na yukta ityAha -- `aMshatvaM' iti | tatrApi kR^ishhNe.api | As their being endowed with fragments or energy is stated, the ones stated as `kalAH' are only energized; they are not the self-same Lord. By `ete svAMshakalAH', the ones stated to be the self-same amsha-s are the real kalA-s. They are not merely stated as previously merely for the sake of usage. [An objector asks:] But in the Bhagavata, other incarnations such as Varaha, etc., are only small parts of the Supreme Being. Krishna is the original form, the Lord Himself, thus is the standard meaning. So how is this stated purport? This would make the word `tu' useless in meaning -- to answer this, it is stated, `tushabda', thus. The following is the meaning of the same: these incarnations such as Varaha, etc., are all svAMshakalA-s (the self-same natures of the Lord). So what is the meaning? Just as Krishna, the Supreme Being, is the Lord Himself, so are these. And why should this be so? -- on account of its agreement with the Shruti cited in this context (by Srimad Acharya). The lack of sensibility of the other interpretation is also stated: `anyastu', thus. By this is meant the interpretation that Varaha, etc., are the fragments, and that Krishna is the original, thus. That here, the specialty is not appropriate, such is indicated, `aMshatvaM', thus. By `tatrApi' is meant, "even with Krishna" (it would have to be said that He is only a fragment and not the whole). kiM chAsmin.h vyAkhyAne kR^ishhNasyaikasyaiva prakR^itatvAt.h ``indrArivyAkulaM lokaM mR^iDayanti yuge yuge'' ityuttaravAkye bahuvachanaM nopapannamityAha -- `mR^iDayanti' iti | nanu bahuvachanaM pUrvoktaiH varAhAdibhiH sambadhyate, na kR^ishhNena, iti chenna | ``kR^ishhNastu bhagavAn.h svayam.h'' iti vAkyArthena vyavahitatvAt.h | vyavahitasyApi punaH sannidhAnAya parAmarshAbhAvAt.h | sati gatyantare.adhyAhArAyogAt.h | asa.nnihitenAnvayabodhasya kvApyadarshanAditi bhAvenA.aha -- `na hi' iti | ``kriyA'' iti prakR^itApexayoktam.h | nanu sannidherapi yogyatA balavatIti chet.h ? satyam.h | sannidhimanatikramya yogyAnvayastUktaH || 41 || Also, in your interpretation, since only Krishna is considered the special subject of discussion (for being the only Original Form), in the subsequent statement `indrArivyAkulaM lokaM mR^iDayanti yuge yuge', the use of the plural is inappropriate, thus is stated -- `mR^iDayanti', thus. However, the plural applies to the earlier Varaha, etc., (the fragments rather than the total), and not to Krishna, thus say you? -- no, that is not right. Because the statement `kR^ishhNastu bhagavAn.h svayam.h' is found interposed. And to take the subject as that of the previous statement, even given the presence of the interposed one, is inappropriate. If we take (adhyAhAra) `ete' -- (these) here, the phrases which are apart are not to be read together. With this opinion the bhAshhya says, `na hi' -- when something is said in between, considering the previous one, one cannot see that it will be linked to the present topic. In the bhAshhya, kriyA is stated to specify the present situation. The gist is that not just kriyA (action), but in any distant adjective (visheshhaNa) relation is not seen in language. [An objector says: While doing anvaya (interpretation), one is required to consider sannidhi (proximity) and yogyatA (propriety). Even when sannidhi is not available, yogyatA is a must, and in fact,] yogyatA is a stronger consideration than sannidhi. So giving prominence to sannidhi alone is not acceptable. So say you? Let it be so. Without giving up sannidhi, we will demonstrate yogyatA. yogyatA with sannidhi is better in comparison with yogyatA without sannidhi.Therefore, in summary, the correct interpretation of the Bhâgavata statement is to say that Krishna and other avatAra-s are ALL the self-same Lord, not that Krishna alone is. Srimad Âchârya explains this by saying that the word `tu' does not specify special meaning to distinguish Krishna from other avatAra-s. Its meaning is `eva' = is. It comes with the word "svayaM" = himself. Therefore the whole sentence means Varaha, etc., are are svAMsha kalA-s. What does it mean? kR^ishhnaH = the great person, svayameva = himself, ete = Varaha, etc. It is of note that here the word `kR^ishhNa' is not used to refer to the avatAra of Krishna (either the two-armed one or the four-armed one, for those silly enough to make distinctions there); it is referring to the mUla-rUpa. [kR^ishhNo muktairijyate = `kR^ishhNa' is worshipped by mukta-s.]
Why should the meaning be like this? There are two reasons for this:
1> This has Shruti support as stated.
2> The other meaning does not have support, and makes no sense.
Srimad Acharya says in the sentence `anyastu' that there is one reason
in support of the claim that the other meaning is not proper -- it
fails to excuse Krishna from the burden of being a mere fragment. For
the interpretation of `
When it is said that Krishna is the amshi (the whole), and that
Varâha, etc., are amsha-s, there is another problem -- in the
subsequent verse of the Bhâgavata, it is said: `
Some closing remarks: in the next verse, i.e., the 42d and last one of the chapter:
athavA bahunaitena kiM j~nAtena tavArjuna | vishhTabhyAhamidaM kR^itsnamekAMshena sthito jagat.h || 42 ||-- the expression `
athaveti paxAntare | etena bahunA vibhUtyAdiyuktaraviprabhR^iti- tattadvastunishhThaparichchhinnavibhUtirUpANAM vistareNa j~nAtena tava kim.h ? na kimapi phalam.h | vaxyamANavyAptaj~nAnaphalAd.h alpaphalatvAdAxepaH | na tu vaiphalyAditi bhAvaH | By `atha vA', the other case (that of describing the forms of other entities besides Krishna) is discussed. By knowing in great detail the forms of limited entities considered to have lustre, such as the sun, what is achieved? There is no gain. On account of any such gain being much less than the result gained by knowing the statement to be made (in the second line of the verse) about the omnipresence (of Krishna), there is the objection. Certainly not on account of fruitlessness (in regard to knowing about the forms of Krishna).In summary, in the tenth chapter, the glories of the forms of the Lord are indicated through various examples, and then the general rule applicable to all of them is stated, and then it is indicated that even any glory found in others is due to Him only, and finally, it is stated that knowing others of limited glory is useless in comparison with knowing Krishna of infinite opulence.
It is in this context that one must understand Arjuna's statements in the eleventh chapter just commencing, indicating his desire to see Krishna's `vishva-rUpa'. It is grossly incorrect to postulate that the vishva-rUpa is "material," "unimportant," "temporary," etc., and that Arjuna wished somehow to see it in spite of this -- in fact, upon understanding the eleventh chapter correctly, it becomes clear that Arjuna's request was specifically in order for him to witness through that form the opulences which had been explained to him in the previous one. This is explained by Sri Jayatîrtha and Sri Raghavendra Tîrtha in their commentaries at the beginning of the eleventh chapter, but that is a subject for a different article.
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This article is due to Shrisha Rao, Tirumal Kulkarni, and Sridhara T.V..
Created February 19, 1999.