Inane Interpolations in Bhagavad-Gita – 10
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This 28-verses chapter deals with an un-wavering devotion to the Supreme to attain Him besides the science of meditation to realize the Brahman towards the same end. It can be seen below how v5 places the cart before the horse, and why v9-v14 too, are interpolations that is going by their content that’s out of context.
However, the interpolations that take the cake are the superstitious v23-v27 that pollute an otherwise thought-elevating work, and as already noted, it was to Sir Edwin Arnold credit that he deleted these from his timeless The Song Celestial.
So, to see all these interpolations in their improper place, one may appreciate the text and the context of this chapter that opens with Arjuna’s query to Krishna thus:
O Lord appraise what’s Brahman Lies what within ’n backs action Nature of deities besides the beings.
kim tad brahma kim adhyaatmam kim karma purushottama
adhibhutam cha kim proktam adhidaivam kim uchyate
What is that guides bodily acts,
What makes yogis realize Thee?
adhiyajnah katham ko tra dehe smin madhusudana
prayaana-kaale cha katham jneyo si niyataatmabhih
And thus spoke Krishna,
Self-Imperishable is Brahman
But dwells it yet there in beings Brings that forth is Act Supreme.
aksharam brahma paramam svabhaavo dhyaatmam uchyate
bhuta-bhaavodbhava-karo visargah karma-sanjnitah
Perish as beings all in time
Spirit that lasts of them is Me.
adhibhutam ksharo bhaavah purushash chaadhidaivatam
adhiyajno ham evaatra dehe deha-bhá¹›itaam vara
Now note this -
anta-kaale cha maam eva smaran muktvaa kalevaram
yah prayaati sa mad-bhaavam yaati naastyatra sanshayaá¸¥
Those who relinquish the body while remembering Me at the moment of death will come to Me. There is certainly no doubt about this.
And going by the following, the above is a prehash of the same -
In the end the way one tends
Charts that future course he takes.
yam yam vaapi smaran bhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya sadaa tad-bhaava-bhaavitah
If thou act with this in mind
In the end thou gain Me true,
By My word now opt for war
With thy strength ’n skill I gave.
tasmaat sarveshu kaaleshu maam anusmara yudhya cha
mayyarpita-mano-buddhir maam evaishyasyasanshayam
Me they reach whoso keep
On Me focus as they work.
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajatyante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad-bhava-bhavitah
So, as v5, places the v8 cart before the horse, here comes v3’s expansion of after the closure of the subject as above
kavim puraanam anushaasitaaram
anor aniyaansam anusmared yah
sarvasya dhaataaram achintya-rupam
aaditya-varnam tamasah parastaat
He who is omniscient, timeless, the commander, subtler than the subtlest, protector of all, incomprehensible, brilliant like the sun, beyond darkness, (one) contemplates (him).
Now follows a mixture of lectures on yoga, meditation, celibacy etc.
bhaktyaa yukto yoga-balena chaiva
bhruvor madhye praanam aaveshya samyak
sa tam param purusham upaiti divyam
At the time of departure, endowed with devotion, an unwavering mind, as well as the power of yoga, fully establishing the praanaas in the centre of the eyebrows, he attains that supreme divine person.
yad aksharam veda-vido vadanti
vishanti yad yatayo vita-raagaah
yad ichchhanto brahmacharyam charanti
tat te padam sangrahena pravakshye
Scholars of the Vedas describe Him as Imperishable; great ascetics practice the vow of celibacy and renounce worldly pleasures to enter into Him. I shall now explain to you briefly the path to that goal.
arva-dvaaraani sanyamya mano hridi nirudhya cha
murdhnyaadhaayaatmanah praanam aasthito yoga-dhaaranaam
Restraining all the gates of the body and fixing the mind in the heart region, and then drawing the life-breath to the head, one should get established in steadfast yogic concentration.
om ityekaaksharam brahma vyaaharan maam anusmaran
yah prayaati tyajan deham sa yaati paramaam gatim
One who departs from the body while remembering Me, the Supreme Personality, and chanting the syllable Om, will attain the supreme goal.
ananya-chetaah satatam yo maam smarati nityashah
tasyaaham sulabhah paartha nitya-yuktasya yoginah
O Parth, for those yogis who always think of Me with exclusive devotion, I am easily attainable because of their constant absorption in Me.
And here we have the v23-v27 superstitious kit, the pièce de résistance that was broached at the beginning of this chapter introduction, and before, which, if literally taken, would imply that if one dies when the moon is on the ascent he would be heaven bound and, to hell, if it’s other way round. So, Sir Edwin Arnold, one of the foremost to translate the Gita that was way back in 1885, dismissed these as the work of some vedanti and thought it fit, justifiably at that, not to include them in his The Song Celestial, of course, along with the tailpiece v28.
In this connection it may be noted that the relationship between the state, in which a person dies, and his imminent rebirth is covered in Ch14, v14 ‘n v15, which are seemingly authentic.
yatra kaale tvanaavrittim aavrittim chaiva yoginah
prayaataa yaanti tam kaalam vakshyaami bharatarshabha
But, (there exists) the path of no return for a yogi who is leaving his body, and also the path of return, I shall speak about those, O scion of the Bharatas.
agnir jyotir ahah shuklah shan-maasaa uttaraayanam
tatra prayaataa gachchhanti brahma brahma-vido janaah
Fire, light, day, the bright (fortnight of the month), the northern movement comprising six months; those people who have departed through that path, knowers of brahman attain brahman.
dhumo raatris tathaa krishnah shan-maasaa dakshinaayanam
tatra chaandramasam jyotir yogi praapya nivartate
Smoke, night, darkness and the southern movement comprising six months; the yogi (travels through) that path, attains the light of the moon, to return.
shukla-krishne gatihyete jagatah shaashvate mate
ekayaa yaatyanaavrittim anyayaavartate punah
For, bright and dark, both these paths have been known since eternity. By one, the traveller does not have to return, by the other, he has to return again.
naite sriti paartha jaanan yogi muhyati kashchana
tasmaat sarveshu kaaleshu yoga-yukto bhavaarjuna
Yogis who know the secret of these two paths, O Parth, are never bewildered. Therefore, at all times be situated in Yog (union with God).
vedeshu yajneshu tapahsu chaiva
daaneshu yat punya-phalam pradishtam
atyeti tat sarvam idam viditvaa
yogiparam sthaanam upaiti chaadyam
The yogis, who know this secret, gain merit far beyond the fruits of Vedic rituals, the study of the Vedas, performance of sacrifices, austerities, and charities. Such yogis reach the Supreme Abode.
It is worth noting that v1- v4, v6- v8 and v15-v22 of this chapter, if read together would bear an unmistakable continuity of argument that these thirteen interpolations as above deprive it.
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