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Jnaana-Karma-Sanyasa Yoga
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Inane Interpolations in Bhagavad-Gita – 6

Continued from Previous Page

This chapter of 42 verses that deals with the spiritual knowledge and practical wisdom is replete with interpolations, including the damning chaatur-varnyam mayaa srishtam (v13) the first of the caste-centric precepts in the Gita ‘as it is’. The plain reading of this verse would have us believe that the Lord Himself had created the four-caste system, of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Shudra, to suit their innate inclinations towards respective callings of social and spiritual life in this world. And then, as a rider that is vague at the very best; Krishna says that though he is the author of it all, he should not be deemed as the doer. These so-called caste characteristics and duties later figure in v41-v48 of the concluding eighteenth chapter, a long wait indeed, and they are discussed therein.

So, it is imperative that we try to see whether the following verses actually belong to the original text, or are latter-day insertions, meant to sanctify the Aryan caste credo with the underpinning of 'exclusivity of duties' through the venerated Gita, however, keeping in mind the Brahmanical self-aggrandizing mischief in the Purusha Sukta.

V11

ye yathaa maam prapadyante taans tathaiva bhajaamyaham
mama vartmaanuvartante manushyaah paartha sarvashah


In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly. Everyone follows my path, knowingly or unknowingly, O son of Pritha.

It should not be lost on one that this return of favour by the Lord is juxtaposing to the stated detachment of His as espoused thus in

Ch 4, V14

Detached Am from what happens
It's this knowledge that frees man

na maam karmaani limpanti na me karma-phale sprihaa
iti maam yo bhijaanaati karmabhir na sa badhyate


Hence, v11 could be nothing but an interpolation, and so also,

V12

kaankshantah karmaṇaam siddhim yajanta iha devataaḥ
kshipram hi maanushe loke siddhir bhavati karmajaa

In this world, those desiring success in material activities worship the celestial gods, since material rewards manifest quickly.

On the other hand, this ritualistic verse that is akin to,

Ch7, V20

kaamais tais tair hrita-jnaanaah prapadyante nya-devataah
tam tam niyamam aasthaaya prakrityaa niyataah svayaa


Those whose knowledge has been carried away by material desires surrender to the celestial gods. Following their own nature, they worship the devataas, practicing rituals meant to propitiate these celestial personalities,

as would be seen therein, is in itself an interpolation.

Now arrives the totally out of context Spoiler-in-Chief

V13

chaatur-varnyammayaa srishtam guna-karma-vibhaagashah
tasya kartaaram api maam viddhyakartaaram avyayam


It is I who engineered the division of men into four varna (castes) based on their guna (innate nature) and karma (earthly duties) but yet although I am the creator of this system, know me to be the non-doer and eternal.

As already seen, this alleged godly caste-ing of man goes against the grain of the His creation exemplified by –

Ch9, V6

Skies in rooted wind as spreads
Dwell in Me though disperse all.

yathaakaasha-sthito nityam vaayuh sarvatra-go mahaan
tathaa sarvaanii bhutaani mat-sthaanityupadhaaraya.


Ch6, V31

Me who sees in all beings
He’s the one that dwells in Me.

sarva-bhuta-sthitam yo maam bhajatyekatvam aasthitah
sarvathaa vartamaano pi sa yogi mayi vartate


As broached before, one school of thought tends to view chaatur-varnyam as a way of general differentiation amongst men. However, apart from what was earlier discussed on this subject, this ingenious argument cannot cut much ice since common sense suggests that Krishna would have been well aware that such a turn of phrase is bound to be viewed by man only in caste colours rather than in ethereal terms. That being the case, he would have been circumspect in his word choices to convey his scheme of things governing man’s birth if they aren’t really as narrow as the Aryan caste credo.

Or, is the chaatur-varnyam his real will, whether one likes it or not? The answer could be found in his averments as one goes through the Gita that is by skipping its interpolative turns. The four types of beings he identified by their nature and disposition are - the virtuous, the vile, the passionate, and the deluded. Isn’t the proposition that people of a given nature and disposition could be bracketed into a single caste so absurd? Why, in every family, of any of the four castes, one sees assorted natures and myriad proclivities among its members, and that being the case, could have Krishna, the Jagadguru been so naive as not to know about it at all!

However the clinching evidence that the three above verses are interpolations is provided by the preceding and the succeeding ones of this contentious verse as –

Ch4, V7

Wanes if good ’n vile gain reign
Know it's then that I come forth.

yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glaanir bhavati bhaarata
abhyutthaanam adharmasya tadaatmaanam srijaamyaham


Ch4, V8

It’s thus I from time to time
Manifest here to uproot ill
And uphold well for public good.

paritraanaaya saadhunaam vinaashaaya cha dushkritaam
dharma-sansthaapanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge


Ch4, V9

Grasp who this true self of Me
Are bound to become one with Me.

janma karma cha me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktvaa deham punar janma naiti maam eti so rjuna


Ch4, V10

So with who lead poised life
Reining in their base instincts.

vita-raaga-bhaya-krodhaa man-mayaa maam upaashritaah
bahavo jnaana-tapasaa putaa mad-bhaavam aagataah.


Now read the next three out of context verses that follow-

V 11 - In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly. Everyone follows my path, knowingly or unknowingly, O son of Pritha.

V12 - In this world, those desiring success in material activities worship the celestial gods, since material rewards manifest quickly.

V13 - It is I who engineered the division of men into four varna (castes) based on their guna (innate nature) and karma (earthly duties) but yet although I am the creator of this system, know me to be the non-doer and eternal.

It may also be noted that while V11 is a replica of V9, V12 is a worn out ritualistic hymn and V13 comes from nowhere, without rhyme or reason, with its second line being the borrowing of the first line of the succeeding v14 and the last one a rehash of the verse of the seventh chapter that follows it hereunder –

Ch4, V14

Detached Am from what happens
It's this knowledge that frees man.

na maam karmaani limpanti na me karma-phale sprihaa
iti maam yo bhijaanaati karmabhir na sa badhyate.


And onto –

Ch7, V12

Virtue, passion so too delusion
Send I forth though all of them

Come to dwell in none of them

ye chaiva saattvikaa bhaavaa raajasaas taamasaash cha ye
matta eveti taan viddhi na tvaham teshu te mayi


So, going by Krishna’s narrative up to V10, it is left for man to make it to the Him and in V14 he’s detached from the goings on in this world, so his alleged creation of the four castes that too based on group nature does not jell, and moreover, he had stated that

Ch6, V5

Noble or naughty it’s thy make
Self thus thine but shapes thyself

uddhared aatmanaatmaanam naatmaanam avasaadayet
aatmaiva hyaatmano bandhur aatmaiva ripur aatmanah


Now the following v24 to v32 that are of religious / ritualistic nature, like in the previous chapter, clearly are out of context besides being prejudicial to the Gita’s philosophical character. Moreover, prior to this seemingly interpolated body of eleven slokas, the nature of the Supreme Spirit and the conduct of those who realize it are dealt with as follows:

Ch4,V20
He that content leans on none
Resigned he lives in thick of things.

Tyaktvaa karma-phalaasangam nitya-tripto niraashrayah
karmanyabhipravritto pi naiva kinchit karoti sah


Ch4,V21
Mind if keeps thy greed at bay
It’s no sin thou meet thy needs.

niraashir yata-chittaatmaa tyakta-sarva-parigrahah
shaariram kevalam karma kurvan naapnoti kilbisham


Ch4,V22
One that truly well realized
Happy being with his share
Rids of envy from his mind
Easy he feels ever engaged
Treats he alike grief ’n joy
Wins ’n losses not to speak.

yadá¹›ichchhaa-laabha-santushto dvandvaatito vimatsarah
samah siddhaavasiddhau cha kritvaapi na nibadhyate


Ch4, V23

Acts of man to favour none
Grace they have of deeds selfless.

gata-sangasya muktasya jnaanaavasthita-chetasah
yajnaayaacharatah karma samagram praviliyate


After the self-actualization clues is this recurring ritualistic regimen that’s an anathema to Krishna!

V24

brahmaarpanam brahma havir brahmaagnau brahmanaa hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahma-karma-samaadhinaa


For those who are completely absorbed in God-consciousness, the oblation is Brahman, the ladle with which it is offered is Brahman, the act of offering is Brahman, and the sacrificial fire is also Brahman. Such persons, who view everything as God, easily attain him.

V25

daivam evaapare yajnam yoginah paryupaa sate
brahmaa gnaa vapare yajnam yajnenaivopajuhvati


Some yogis worship the celestial gods with material offerings unto them. Others worship perfectly who offer the self as sacrifice in the fire of the Supreme Truth.

V26

shrotraadinindriyan yanye sanyamaagnishu juhvati
shabdaadin vishayaananya indriyaagnishu juhvati


Others offer hearing and other senses in the sacrificial fire of restraint. Still others offer sound and other objects of the senses as sacrifice in the fire of the senses.

V27

sarvaanindriya-karmaani praana-karmaani chaapare
aatma-sanyama-yogaagnau juhvati jnaana-dipite


Some, inspired by knowledge, offer the functions of all their senses and their life energy in the fire of the controlled mind.

V28

swaadhyaaya-jnaana-yajnaash cha yatayah sanshita-vrataah

Some offer their wealth as sacrifice, while others offer severe austerities as sacrifice. Some practice the eight-fold path of yogic practices, and yet others study the scriptures and cultivate knowledge as sacrifice, while observing strict vows.

apaane juhvati praanam praane paanam tathaapare
praanapaana-gatiruddhva praanaayaama-paraayanaaḥ


Still others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming breath, while some offer the incoming breath into the outgoing breath. Some arduously practice naayaam and restrain the incoming and outgoing breaths, purely absorbed in the regulation of the life-energy.

V30

apare niyataahaaraah praaṇaan praaneshu juhvati
sarve pyete yajna-vido yajna-kshapita-kalmashaah


Yet others curtail their food intake and offer the breath into the life-energy as sacrifice. All these knowers of sacrifice are cleansed of their impurities as a result of such performances.

V31

yajna-shishtaamrita-bhujo yaanti brahma sanaatanam
naayam loko styayajnasya kuto nyah kuru-sattama


Those who know the secret of sacrifice, and engaging in it, partake of its remnants that are like nectar, advance toward the Absolute Truth. O best of the Kurus, those who perform no sacrifice find no happiness either in this world or the next.

V32

evam bahu-vidhaa yajnaa vitataa brahmano mukhe
karma-jaan viddhi taan sarvaan evam jnaatvaa vimokshyase


All these different kinds of sacrifice have been described in the Vedas. Know them as originating from different types of work; this understanding cuts the knots of material bondage.

What is more, the discontinuity in the discourse, brought about by the body of the above interpolative verses, would be self-evident if we read the preceding v23 (cited already) and the succeeding v33 of this very chapter:

Ch4, V23

Acts of man to favour none
Grace they have of deeds selfless.

gata-sangasya muktasya jnaanaavasthita-chetasah
yajnaayaacharatah karma samagram praviliyate


Ch4, V33

Better wise deeds than acts selfless
Wise thus strive to better themselves.

shreyaan dravya-mayaad yajnaaj jnaana-yajnaah parantapa
sarvam karmaakhilam paartha jnaane parisamaapyate


And then this

V34

tad viddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa
upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattva-darshinah


Learn the Truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him with reverence and render service unto him. Such an enlightened Saint can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the Truth.

This indeed is laughable to say the least for not only was Krishna imparting divine wisdom to Arjuna at that very moment that is but also is absurd in the context of the discourse fashioned to set the latter’s fears at rest in the battlefield itself, then and there.

Continued to Next Page  
 
 

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02-Oct-2021
More by :  BS Murthy
 
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