bhagavad gita bhashya (ramanujacharya)
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DESCRIPTIONCommentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Ramanujacharya.
rmate Rmnujya Nama
rrrmmmaaaddd BBBhhhaaagggaaavvvaaaddd GGGttt with
Gt Bhya of Bhagavad Rmnujcrya
Edited by U.Ve. Sri Rama Rmnuja Achari
CCCooonnnttteeennntttsss Forword ________________________________________________________________ 3
A Note on the Translation __________________________________________________ 4
1. Arjuna-vida Yoga Arjunas Grief ____________________________________ 5
2. Skhya Yoga Communion through Knowledge 14
3. Karma Yoga Communion through Action 36
4. Jna Vibhgha Yoga Communion through Wisdom 51
5. Karma Sanysa Yoga Communion through Renunciation 65
6. Dhyna Yoga Communion through Meditation 74
7. Adhytma Yoga Communion through Knowledge & Realisation 86
8. Traka Brahma Yoga The Way to the Immutable Brahman 97
9. Rja-vidy Rja-guhya Yoga The Regal Science & the Royal Secret 107
10. Vibhti Yoga Manifestation of Divine Glories 119
11. Vivarpa Darana Yoga The Vision of the Cosmic Form 131
12. Bhakti Yoga Communion Through Devotion 143
13. Prakti-purua-viveka Yoga Differentiation between Spirit & Matter
14. Gua-traya-vibhga Yoga The Threefold Division of the Modes of Material Nature
15. Puruottama Yoga The Mystery of the Omnipresent Supreme Being
16. Daivsura Sampad Vibhga Yoga The Division between the Divine & Non-Divine.
17. raddh-traya-vibhga-yoga The Three Classifications of Conviction
18. Moka-sannysa-yoga Liberation Through Renunciation 193
APPENDIX # 1 Esoteric Interpretation of the Names mentioned in the First Chapter
APPENDIX # 2 Rmnujas Polemics 217
Index to the first lines (Sanskrit) ______________________________________________ 227
hy another translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita when there are already so many available in the bookstores and libraries throughout the world? The answer is that of the three Vednta caryas only ankaras commentary supporting his Advaita (Non-
dual) philosophy has been well propounded and perpetuated through the centuries, whereas Rmnujas commentary from the point of view of Visishtadvaita (Qualified non-dualism) has been largely ignored or available only to the Tamil speaking public or to Sanskrit scholars. As far as I am aware there are only two English versions in print. One by M.R. Sampatkumaran, published by Ananthacharya Indological Research Institute in January 1985. The other is by Swami Adidevananda published by the Ramakrishna Math. These two works are of impeccable scholarship being based on a phrase for phrase translation of the medieval Sanskrit. Unfortunately this approach results in an English text that is stilted, repetitious and incomprehensible to many people. My approach has been to be as true as possible to the original meaning but to be more creative in its formulation into contemporary English. I have relied heavily on these two scholarly works in making this work available to the lovers of the Gita. How well I have succeeded is for the discerning reader to judge.
Sve. Up. vetavatra Upaiad Mun. Up. Muaka Upaiad Chan. Up. Chogya Upaiad Ka. Up. Kaha Upaiad Brh. Up. Bhadrayaka Upaiad B.S. Brahma Sutras V.P. Viu Pura
A Note on the Translation It must be born in mind that Rmnuja did not actually translate the Gita but paraphrased it in simpler Sanskrit. Much of the actual Commentary (Bhashya) is repetitive paraphrasing which I have left out whenever it does not elucidate the meaning of the verse. I have also taken the liberty of giving exhaustive footnotes to clarify points which many less scholarly readers would find difficult to understand. Apart from the archaic language, the other problem with Rmnujas Bhashya is that he frequently launches into technically detailed refutations of the Advaitic position of Shankara Acharya. These arguments are coached in the technical terms and classical style of Vedic logic and debate, and while interesting, they tend to be daunting, confusing and tedious to those unschooled in logic and the art of debate (nyya and tarka). In order to render the text more "user-friendly" I have taken the liberty of extracting these debates and assembling them in an appendix at the end of the work so that those who are interested may study them and others may continue enjoying the text itself. Throughout the Gita Rmnuja quotes extensively and exhaustively from the Upanishads, Vedas and Puranas to support his particular interpretation of knotty points. I have again taken the liberty of substituting many of the actual quotes with their references in order to make the commentary less bulky. There is quite a difference between translating and interpreting. Each and every Sanskrit word can be substituted by up to 10 different words in English the word that we choose involves a certain amount of interpreting which means that the translator can always be accused of bias and spin in his work. I humbly request the scholars to forgive any errors that I have made, and liberties that I may have taken in interpreting Bhagavad Rmnujas work, and accept this presentation as an introduction to the study of Rmnujas Bhashya. I encourage all those readers who are captivated by this imperfect treatise to approach a learned scholar and to study the Gita under him in order to rectify all the mistakes that I have made. An important point to bear in mind is that Vedanta is an experiential methodology of investigating the highest truth. Every teaching needs to be applied in our own lives and to be integrated in order to personally experience it's veracity. Nothing of what Krishna says needs to be accepted simply because He is the speaker, rather it is accepted because it is an personally experiential Truth. Rmnuja has also summed up that according to Mmmsa (Vedic hermeneutics) in order for any Scriptural Text to be considered as authoritative it must fulfil certain conditions; It must conform to reality as we experience it. It must be logical and not contradict any of the other two other means of knowledge such as
perception and inference. The content of the text must be internally consistent. The knowledge presented in the text must have a practical application. And it is this practical application which is the true test of the Truth of Scripture.
Chapter 1 t
AAArrrjjjuuunnnaaa---vvviiidddaaa YYYooogggaaa Arjunas Grief
yat padmbhoruha dhyna vidhvasta ea kalmaa |
vastutm upayto'ham ymuneyam nammi tam ||
I bow to the renowned Yamunacharya; by meditating upon whose lotus-like feet all my mental obstacles without exception were absolved, and I was thus led to enlightenment.
The Nature of The Supreme Being
ryaa is the Consort of Sri, He is absolutely auspicious and is the antithesis of all that is evil. His essential nature consists of Being (sat), Consciousness (cit) and Bliss (nanda) and these characteristics distinguish Him from all other beings. He is veritably a great
ocean of innumerable auspicious attributes which are intrinsic to His nature and cannot be surpassed some of them being; omniscience, omnipotence, sovereignty, energy, creative-potency and glory. Nryaa has a divine form, which is both pleasing and appropriate. His form is inconceivable, indescribable1, divine, eternal and immaculate. He is a repository of limitless perfections such as radiance, beauty, fragrance, tenderness, pervading sweetness and youthfulness. The Lord is adorned with suitable divine ornaments which are diverse, infinite, amazing, eternal, flawless, unlimited and holy. rman Nryaa possesses appropriate divine weapons. They are countless, of fantastic potency, eternal, impeccable and matchlessly auspicious. He is the Beloved of r, whose eternal and immaculate nature, attributes, glory, sovereignty and virtues, unsurpassed and countless, are all agreeable and worthy of Him. The feet of the Lord are constantly adored by countless numbers of perfected beings (Suris) whose nature, existence and activities are in accordance with His will and whose numerous qualities such as knowledge, action and glory are eternal, impeccable and unsurpassed. All of these beings work joyously in complete subservience to rman Nryaa. The nature and qualities of rman Nryaa transcend all thought and words. He dwells in the divine and imperishable supreme Realm which abounds in manifold, wondrous and countless objects, means and places of enjoyment. It is an abode in consonance with His being and is infinite in its wondrous glory and magnitude. The projection, maintenance and dissolution of the entire cosmos filled with multifarious, variegated and innumerable objects is His transcendental pastime.
1 All the Scriptures state that the Supreme reality is Inconceivable therefore every description given subsequently needs to be understood as an approximation (arthavda) in order to glorify that Supreme reality and not a definitive theological statement.
The Nature of the Incarnation he Supreme Being, rman Nryaa, projected the entire universe, beginning with Brahma (the creator) down to plants and minerals. Being inaccessible in His transcendental form for meditation and worship by sentient beings including Brahma, gods, humans etc., and being
an ocean of compassion and loving condescension, maternal affection2 and generosity He took forms in the likeness of various kinds of beings. In this act of self-emb