Inane Interpolations in Bhagavad-Gita – 13
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This chapter of 35 verses deals with the body and spirit in the first half, and for the rest, about Prakruti (Nature) and Purusha (Supreme Spirit). One might notice that v10, advocating asceticism to which Krishna was opposed, won't jell with the rest, either contextually or philosophically, and thus should be seen as an interpolation.
V22, which states that the Supreme Soul lay in beings as a sustainer, consenter, enjoyer and overseer, contravenes its very nature expostulated in Ch15, v16-v18. Besides, as can be seen, it also affects the continuity between v21 and v23 in this, and v30, akin to v15 is an irrelevant interpolation.
It may be noted that inexplicably though, the first verse of this chapter, is either omitted from some texts or retained, but traditionally ‘unnumbered’ in others, for reasons none explained, which reads thus:
Thus spoke Arjuna:
What is nature ’n its role,
What is spirit ’n its nature,
What is frame ’n who lords it
What makes feeling ’n sixth sense?
praká¹›itim purusham chaiva kshetram kshetra-jnam eva cha
etad veditum ichchhaami jnaanam jneyam cha keshava
So be it, now to,
asaktir anabhishvaá¹…gah putra-daara-grihaadishu
nityam cha sama-chittatvam ishtaanishtopapattishu
Single-pointed devotion in me through unwavering yoga, going to solitary locations and disinterest in the assembly of people.
Maybe it’s a way for Nirvana but certainly out of place in the context of Krishna motivating Arjuna to fight a just war, and thus should be seen as an interpolation. Before going to the interpolated v22, a reading of its preceding and succeeding verses is needed to appreciate its digressive nature.
It’s Nature that tends beings
Binding Spirit to one’s own acts
prakritim purusham chaiva viddhy anaadi ubhaav api
vikaaraansh cha gunaansh chaiva viddhi prakriti-sambhavaan
Spirit that lay in beings all
Inclines to one’s attitudes,
With the ethos it imbibes
Tends it one to like rebirth.
kaarya-kaarana-kartritve hetuh prakritir uchyate
purushah sukha-duhkhaanaam bhoktritve hetur uchyate
purushah prakriti-stho hi bhunkte prakriti-jaan gunaan
kaaranam guna-sango sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu
He who is the witness, the permitter, the nourisher, the experiencer, the master and who is also spoken of as the supreme self, is the supreme Purusha in this body.
Gets one freed, as he grasps
Aspects Nature ’n Spirit as well.
upadrashtaanumantaa cha bhartaa bhoktaa maheshvarah
paramaatmeti chaapy ukto dehe smin purushah parah
Hence, owing to its digressive nature v22 is an interpolation.
prakrityaiva chakarmaani kriyamaanaani sarvashah
yah pashyati tathaatmaanam akartaaram sa pashyati
When he realizes that the variety of beings is established in the one, and it is only an evolution of that (one), he then attains brahman. It can be seen that the above is akin to v15 of this chapter and thus it is an irrelevant interpolation as well.
In beings all ’n objects too
Within He lies, without as well,
If one comes to grasp this well
It’s perception that’s Supreme.
rishibhir bahudhaa gitam chhandobhir vividhaih prithak
brahma-sutra-padaish chaiva hetumadbhir vinishchitai
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