Inane Interpolations in Bhagavad-Gita – 12
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This 55 verses chapter is about the Omnipresence of the Supreme Spirit, and owing to the improbability of their being, v9-v14, make an amusing reading. V3 states that Krishna grants Arjuna the divine sight required to espy Vishvarupa (His Universal Form). Of course, the ESP that Vyasa granted Sanjaya (Ch18, V75) was to enable him to monitor the goings on at the battleground in order to appraise Dhrutarashtra the blind king about the same.
Thus, only from Arjuna’s averments could have Sanjaya gathered what he (Arjuna) was divining of the Vishvarupa, which obviously was beyond his (Sanjaya’s) own espial. But v9-v14 would have him talk about the Vishvarupa as if he himself was witnessing the same, even before Arjuna uttered a word about it. However, v29 which seeks to emphasize what was already pictured in v28, albeit with an unnecessary as well as an inferior, though not silly, simile is but an interpolation.
Having heard about the Glories of the Supreme from Krishna in the previous chapter, Arjuna said –
If Thou so feel, I’m worthy
Let me espy, Thy True Self.
manyase yadi tach chhakyam mayaa drashtum iti prabho
yogeshvara tato me tvam darshayaatmaanam avyayam
At that Krishna said –
Divine I let thee, divinity Mine
Of hues varied colours ’n kinds.
pashya me paartha rupaani shatasho tha sahasrashah
naanaa-vidhaani divyaani naanaa-varnaakritini cha
Find Adityaas, twelve therein
Vaasus eight, and Aswin twins
Rudraas eleven ’n Maruts four-nine
Wonders umpteen none else seen.
pashyaadityaan vasun rudraan ashvinau marutas tathaa
bahuny adrishta-purvaani pashyaashcharyaani bhaarata
May thou discern in My frame
Much more than thy thought would take.
ihaika-stham jagat kritsnam pashyaadya sa-charaacharam
mama dehe gudaakesha yach chaanyad drashtum ichchhasi
Bestow thee that ESP
Helps which espy form Supreme
Beyond the pale of god’s own sight.
na tu maam shakyase drashtum anenaiva sva-chakshushaa
divyam dadaami te chakshuh pashya me yogam aishwaram
As already discussed at the beginning of this chapter, in spite of his inability to espy the Vishvarupa, and before Arjuna had uttered a word about it, Sanjaya went on describing it as if he himself was espying it.
evam uktvaa tato raajan mahaa-yogeshvaro harih
darshayaam aasa paarthaaya paramam rupam aishwaram
O King, then having spoken this, Hari, the great Yogeshwara, showed the supreme form of Ishvara to Paartha.
With several faces and eyes, showing several marvellous sights, wearing several divine
ornaments, armed with several divine uplifted weapons.
sarvaashcharya-mayam devam anantam vishvato-mukham
Wearing divine garlands and clothes, anointed with divine fragrances, all of these wonderful (sights) were shining and infinite, with faces on all sides.
divi surya-sahasrasya bhaved yugapad utthitaa
yadi bhaah sadá¹›ishi saa syaad bhaasas tasya mahaatmanah
Should thousands of suns happen to rise in the sky simultaneously, their blaze would resemble the light of that magnificent one.
tatraika-stham jagat kritsnam pravibhaktam anekadhaa
apashyad deva-devasya sharire paandavas tadaa
Then, the Paandava saw the entire universe with many divisions located in one place in the body of that lord of lords.
tatah sa vismayaavishto hrishta-romaa dhananjayah
pranamya shirasaa devam kritaanjalir abhaashata
Thereafter, filled with bewilderment, his hair standing on end, Dhananjaya, with folded hands, bowed his head to the lord and began to speak.
In view of Sanjay’s ‘visual’ limitations, this amusing account of his is improbable for its ever happening on two more counts –
Having seen Vishvarupa, Arjuna described it in similar terms and more that is after Sanjaya gave him the mike
In Thou find I
Brahma on lotus,
Gods and sages
Beings ’n serpents!
pashyaami devaans tava deva dehe
sarvaans tathaa bhuta-vishesha-sanghaan
brahmaanam isham kamalaasana-stham
rishinsh cha sarvaan uragaansh cha divyaan
With no beginning
End none sighted,
Boundless find I
In Thee universe!
pashyaami tvaam sarvato nanta-rupam
naantam na madhyam na punas tavaadim
pashyaami vishveshvara vishva-rupa
Find I blinding
Light that blazing
From Thy diadem
Club and discus!
Kiritinam gadinam chakrinam cha
tejo-raashim sarvato diptimantam
pashyaami tvaam durnirikshyam samantaad
So on, and
Who art Thou, this Terrible Thing!
For what avail, mission this Thine!!
Gripped now am with urge to know.
aakhyaahi me ko bhavaan ugra-rupo
namo stu te deva-vara prasida
vijnaatum ichchhaami bhavantam aadyam
na hi prajaanaami tava pravrittim
Then, Krishna averred:
As thou please Me, so I’ve shown
Form My Endless, none else seen.
mayaa prasannena tavaarjunedam
rupam param darshitam aatma-yogaat
tejo-mayam vishvam anantam aadyam
yan me tvad anyena na drishta-purvam
Take to penance
Or pore over four Vedas
None that helps to see this Form.
na veda-yajnaadhyayanair na daanair
na cha kriyaabhir na tapobhir ugraih
evam-rupah shakya aham nri-loke
drashtum tvad anyena kuru-pravira
Having beheld My bewildering Form
Now ease with My Form Normal.
maa te vyathaa maa cha vimudha-bhaavo
drishtvaa rupam ghoram idrin mamedam
vyapeta-bhih prita-manaah punas tvam
tad eva me rupam idam prapashya
Then Krishna added,
Ever craved gods ’n angels too
Just to behold what thee beheld.
su-durdarsham idam rupam drishtavaan asi yan mama
devaa apy asya rupasya nityam darshana-kaankshinah
Austerities well Vedic grasp
Charity, as well ritual regimen
Get none to what thou had seen.
naaham vedair na tapasaa na daanena na chejyayaa
shakya evam-vidho drashtum drishtavaan asi maam yathaa
So, we have Krishna’s word that none else in the universe but Arjuna had witnessed Vishvarupa. Also, Sanjaya had stated towards the very end of the Gita that –
It’s with Vyasa’s grace I've heard
This peerless art of yogic life
Which Lord Krishna taught Paartha.
vyaasa-prasaadaach chhrutavaan etad guhyam aham param
yogam yogeshvartt krishnaat saakshaat kathayatah svayam
Needless to say, if per chance, Sanjaya had an improbable peep at the Vishvarupa, he wouldn’t have forgotten that celestial experience in a hurry and would have surely recalled it, and mentioned it in the above verse. Besides, he was not known to have lied at any stage in his Kurukshetra reportage in the Mahabharata, these v9–v14 are unquestionable interpolations that have all along been seemingly escaping the attention of one and all! Hope this singular circumstance would enable Gita’s admirers as well as detractors to see that in the present form it cannot be taken at its face value for good or bad.
One may see how the inferior v29 as under, inserted after Vyasa’s profound v28, exhibits the interpolator’s unmistakable limitation of imagination:
Rivers as run, towards the seas
So these armies, towards Thy mouths.
yathaa nadinaam bahavo mbu-vegah
vishanti vaktraany abhivijvalanti
yathaa pradiptam jvalanam patangaa
vishanti naashaaya samriddha-vegaah
tathaiva naashaaya vishanti lokaas
tavaapi vaktraani samá¹›iddha-vegaah
Like moths enter a blazing fire with great speed for their destruction, so also do these people enter your mouths with great speed for their destruction.
Hence, though these seven interpolative verses, as such are not detrimental to Gita’s philosophical essence, just the same they prove the point that it was tampered with poetically as well.
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