Karma Yoga

Inane Interpolations in Bhagavad-Gita – 5

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The pundits and the plebeians alike aver that the philosophy of the Gita is the practice of disinterested action, that is apart from an unflinching devotion to the Supreme, and in that context, it may be noted that while postulating the same, Krishna, as was seen before, had been critical of the ritualistic aspects of and mundane expectations from the Vedic ceremonies (Ch2, v42 -v 46 ‘n v53). Given that the avowed philosophy of the Gita is to tend man on the path of duty without attachment, the about turn in this chapter, v9 - v16, to formulate the procedural aspects of the rituals and the divine backing they enjoy (not to be confused with bhakti that is devotion to god) cannot stand up to commonsense not to speak of logic and reason.

Thus, it is unthinkable that Krishna, having been unequivocal about the fallacy of the Vedic rituals, and the lack of wisdom in those that lay store by the ceremonies that promise rewards here and in hereafter, would have, in the same breath, advocated the following that turn the rational clock back in the ritualistic direction.


yajnaarthaat karmano nyatra loko yamkarma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samaachara

Other than those actions performed for yajna, this world gets bound by action. Therefore, O Kaunteya, perform actions in that regard, without attachment. In so far as the spirit of the rituals is concerned, so far so good, but then comes


saha-yajnaah prajaah srishtvaa purovaacha prajaapatih
anena prasavishyadhvam esha vo stvishta-kaama-dhuk

In ancient times, Prajaapati created humanity along with yajna. He said “through this (yajna) let everyone prosper, and may it become your fulfiller of wishes”.

However, if it was the Lord that so readily changed his mind in the above and the two succeeding verses, then it would lend credence to Allah’s over and again abrogation of his own diktats in the Quran! But at the mundane level, it can be inferred that the interpolator was just mindless, and so are those that fail to discern this and other ‘divine’ contradictions that abound in the Gita in vogue.


devaan bhaavayataanena te devaa bhaavayantu vah
parasparam bhaavayantah shreyah param avaapsyatha

You will make the deities prosper through this (yajna), and the deities will make you prosper. By mutually making each other prosperous, you will attain the highest good.


ishtaan bhogaan hi vo devaa daasyante yajna-bhavitaah
tair dattaan apradaayaibhyo yo bhunkte stena eva sah

The deities, nourished by yajna, will also provide you the objects you desire. One who consumes these objects without offering them to others, he is a thief.


yajna-shishtaashinahsanto muchyante sarva-kilbishaih
bhunjate te tvagham paapaa ye pachantyaatma-kaaranaat

The spiritually-minded, who eat food that is first offered in sacrifice, are released from
all kinds of sin. Others, who cook food for their own enjoyment, verily eat only sin.


annaad bhavanti bhutaani parjanyaad anna-sambhavah
yajnaad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma-samudbhavah

All living beings subsist on food, and food is produced by rains. Rains come from the performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is produced by the performance of prescribed duties.


karma brahmodbhavam viddhi brahmaakshara-samudbhavam
tasmaat sarva-gatam brahma nityam yajne pratishthitam

The duties for human beings are described in the Vedas, and the Vedas are manifested by God himself. Therefore, the all-pervading Lord is eternally present in acts of sacrifice


evam pravartitam chakram naanuvartayatiha yah
aghaayur indriyaaraamo mogham paartha sa jivati

O Parth, those who do not accept their responsibility in the cycle of sacrifice established by the Vedas are sinful. They live only for the delight of their senses; indeed their lives are in vain.

However, in contrast to the above postulations, it is pertinent to note that while describing the Omnipresence of the Supreme Spirit in Ch10,V22, it has been averred that among the Vedas, the Supreme Spirit is Sama Veda that, symbolizes music but not Rig or Yajur Veda, both associated with ritualism.

Ch10, V22

I am the Sama of Vedas
It’s Me Indra, god of gods
Of all organs, mind is Me
And so life in all beings.

vedaanaam saama-vedo smi devaanaam asmi vaasavah
indriyaanaam manash chaasmi bhutaanaam asmi chetanaa

And again, in v25 of the said chapter, it is averred that among the sacrifices, He is tapo yagjna, prayer muted, and not Asvamedha, the horse sacrifice.

Ch10, V25

Bhrugur I am the well-realized
So Am ‘Om’ that sound supreme,
Of rituals Am prayer muted
Himalayas high that kiss the skies.

maharshinaam bhrigur aham giraam asmyekam aksharam
yajnaanaam japa-yajno smi sthaavaraanaam himaalayah

Hence, it can be said without any contradiction that the eight above cited verses are no more than mere interpolations for the purpose already stated.

Now, over to the rest of the rest of the interpolations in this chapter thus:


yas tvaatma-ratir eva syaad aatma-triptash cha maanavah
aatmanyeva cha santushtas tasya kaaryam na vidyate

But those who rejoice in the self, who are illumined and fully satisfied in the self, for them, there is no duty.


naiva tasya kritenaartho naakriteneha kashchana
na chaasya sarva-bhuteshu kashchid artha-vyapaashrayah

Such self-realized souls have nothing to gain or lose either in discharging or renouncing their duties. Nor do they need to depend on other living beings to fulfill their self-interest.

Clearly intended to exonerate the Brahmins from the tedious menial occupations, the above two verses v17-v18 are out of context as well, even in the interpolated text, which, along with the preceding ones, as can be seen below, unambiguously break the continuity of the discourse between v8 ‘n v19

Ch3, V8

Lest thee should stake survival
Turn thy back not on thy work.

niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyaayo hyakarmanah
sharira-yaatraapi cha te na prasiddhyed akarmanah

Ch3, V19

Ever thee act at par duty
Let that be thy goal of life.

tasmaad asaktah satatam kaaryam karma samaachara
asakto hyaacharan karma param aapnoti purushah

Then comes this


utsideyur ime lokaa na kuryaam karma ched aham
sankarasya cha kartaa syaam upahanyaam imaah prajaah

If I ceased to perform prescribed actions, all these worlds would perish. I would be responsible for the pandemonium that would prevail, and would thereby destroy the peace of the human race.

which is but an analogy of

Ch3, V23

Were I to fail to self-exert
Man might follow suit as well

yadi hyaham na varteyam jaatu karmanyatandritah
mama vartmasaanuvartante manushyaah paartha sarvashah,

This thus is an interpolation. Then this mischief monger


shreyaan swa-dharmo vigunah para-dharmaat sv-anushthitaat
swa-dharme nidhanam shreyah para-dharmo bhayaavahah

It is far better to perform one’s natural prescribed duty, though tinged with faults, than to perform another’s prescribed duty, though perfectly. In fact, it is preferable to die in the discharge of one’s duty, than to follow the path of another, which is fraught with danger.

This motivated insertion (and its convenient cousin V47 in Ch18) obviously meant to confine the Shudras to the menial work, read together with its preceding and succeeding ones in the text, is contextually out of place in this egalitarian discourse, fouled by the motivated interpolations, and any whitewashing of the cynical intent by Gita’s diehards in rationalizing these with holistic spins won’t cut much ice.

Ch3, V34

Pays it to see grips avarice
Senses those thine nature tends.

indriyasyendriyasyaarthe raaga-dveshau vyavasthitau
tayor na vasham aagachchhet tau hyasya paripanthinau

Ch3, V36

Thus spoke Arjuna:
Why should one with right intent
Stray ever on the wayward ways!

arjuna uvaacha
atha kena prayukto yam paapam charati purushah
anichchhann api vaarshneya balaad iva niyojitah

That’s about the interpolations in this chapter.

Continued to Next Page 


More by :  BS Murthy

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