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Third Shatkam (Contd.)

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Thu Nov 23 1995 - 08:38:02 PST

THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER:GUNATTRYA VIBHAGA  YOGAM
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This chapter describes the three Gunas (dispositions or states of Mind or
attributes) as being born from the Lord"s Mula Prakrti .These three Gunas are
Sattvam, Rajas and Tamas.Sattvam is 
affiliated with supreme joy ,Rajas with action and Tamas with Ignorance.

Sri Geethacharyan states further   that if the body of the  Jeevan meets death,
when sattvam is dominant, then  the Jeevan reaches the world ,where the
worshippers of the Lord are; meeting death in the Rajas dominant state leads to
birth among those,who are devoted to action. Meeting death in the
Tamas-dominated state leads  on the otherhand to birth in the wombs of the
ignorant 
and the irrational ones of the earth.

Sri Geetharchayan summarizes that the fruits of good and pious actions
(Saatwikam) is pure
happiness; that of Rajas is pain and that of Tamas is delusion and ignorance(Ch
14: Slokam 16)

He insrtucts Arjuna that the wise ones ,who understand the grounding of all
actions in th ethree Gunas and who recognize the Atman(Jivan) as being higher
than the three Gunas reach HIM effortlessly.He states that the Wise ones ,who
have gone beyond the htree Gunas from which 
the mortal body is evolved are liberated from the cycles of birth,death,
pleasure ,pain and decay and reach immortality (Ch 14: slokam20)

Arjuna now wants to know how one can tell that  the Chetana has gone beyond
these three Gunas. Bhagavan explains that the behavior of one , who transcended
the three Gunas in terms of his reaction to Worldly stimuli.He points out that
the one , who has gone beyond the three Gunas reacts in the same way to honor
and disgrace,to freinds and foes and relinquishes all his worldly action to the
Lord and serves  HIM with unswerving devotion and thereby Joins HIM(Ch14.25)

Alavandaar"s  crisp summary of this chapter is as follows:

GUNABHANDAVIDHAA TESHAAM KARTRUTVAM TANNIVARTANAM I
GATITRYASVAMOOLATVAM CHATURDASA UDHIRYATEH II

The literal translation goes this way: " THE VARIOUS WAYS IN WHICH  THE GUNAS
(OF PRAKRTI)
BIND (THE SELF) ,THEIR RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL  ACTIVITIES , ESCAPE FROM THEM AND
HIMSELF BEING THE FOUNDATION FOR ALL THE THREE GOALS (OF SUPERMUNDANE
SOVERIGNITY, THE SELF IN ITS PURE   STATE  AND GOD-- ATTAINMENT)"..
  
Swami Desikan deftly captures the essence of Alavandaar"s thoughts this way:

The Lord, who is beyond all the three Gunas instructed Arjuna this way on the 3
Gunas, their binding of  and hold on the Jivans.He points out that Jivan by its
individual nature is Pure. It                 does not have the proclivity  or
power to act (Kartrutvam)..  It is of the form of supreme bliss.
For this Jivan, there is no leaning towards actions leading to Punya or Papa.
That arises as a
result of association with Gunas such as Sattwa et al. Association with the
three Gunas arise in turn from the Karmas of previous births.In reality,
Kartrutvam and Sattwam are attributes of the Gunas 
alone. The second line of Swami Desikan"s verse contains these meanings. In the
first line of the verse, Swami  refers to the way the  three Gunas bind Jivans
to Samsara and its travails.

In the third line of his verse, Swami states  that single -minded devotion
extended to the Lord empowers 
one to transcend the Maya made up of the three Gunas and get  the three boons:
Unimaginable wealth , Enjoyment of the ever pure Atman (kaivalyam ) through Atma
Sakshatkaaram and 
ultimately Moksham with eternal kainkaryam to the Lord.

SWAMI DESIKAN'S SUMMARY OF THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER GOES THIS  WAY:

MUKKGUNAMEH UYIR MURRAVUM KATTIDA MOONDAMAYUM
MUKKGUNAMEH ANAITTHUM VINAI KOLLA  MUNRAMAIYUM
MUKKGUNA MAYAYAI KADATTHALUM TANDHU ALIPPUM
MUKKGUNAMARRA PIRAAN MOZHINDHAAN MUDIYOHN TANAKKEH

THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER: PURUSHOTTAMA YOGAM( WAY TO THE SUPREME SPIRIT)
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 Krishna reveals HIS supreme status (Purushottama svarupam) to Arjuna in this
chapter . He states that HE is the indweller (Antaryamin) of all living
beings(Chetanas).He points out that the memory and perception of the world
originates from HIM.HE says that it is indeed HIM that all the Vedas are
 trying to comprehend  and that HE is the author of all Upanishads and also the
comprehendor of the Vedas (CH 15: slokam 15).

Geethaacharyan states that there are two kinds of Purushas in this world,one
that is                         perishable and the other that is
imperishable(Akshara and supreme)). He reveals that HE                is that
Supreme imperishable  Purusha recognized as Purushottama (Ch 15.18).

Here, the perishable is the tree of Samsaara known as Aswata, a reference to
which is made at the beginning of the chapter. The imperishable is connected
with the seed of the tree of Samsaara. Geethaacharyan says that HE even
transcends that imperishable by virtue of containing that seed in HIM and hence
is described as the highest of the Purushas by the Vedas .

Alavandaar"s summary of the key ideas outlined above is as follows:

ACHINMISRADHVISUDDASCCHA CHETANAT PURUSHOTTAMA: I
VYAPANAADHBHARANAAT SWAMYAADANYA: PANCHADASODHITA: II

THE LITERAL TRANSLATION  REVEALS THAT "The highest person is declared to be
other than 
the Self when in its state of pristine purity  and when in association with the
Prakrti, because of HIS pervading, sustaining and ruling over(Them).  

 Swami Desikan States that the  Lord has the  24 Tatvaas as HIS body and
transcends them and 
stays therefore as a supreme being. He says that the Lord is revered as
Purushottaman,
because HE is superior to the three groups known as Bhadda , Mukta and Nitya
Jivans. He is             inside  all of them as Antaryaamin and yet is the Lord
of them all. Hence , He is recognized as 
Purushottaman. Swami Desikan"s verse is as follows:

MOOVETTINUMADIN  MOHAMADAINTHA UYIRGALINUM 
NAAVETTU EZHUTTHODU NULVEEDU NANNINA NAMBARINUM
MEHVETTU VANGUNA VINNORGALINUM VISAYANUKKU 
TAAVITTU ULAGALANTHAANRANNAI VERU ENRU SARRINANEH

Here  Swami refers to the three kinds of Jivans bound by Mula Prakrti ( those ,
who experience the fruits of their Karmas and toil in this world, the Jivans  ,
who were blessed to have the upadesam of Ashtaakshara Mantram  and became Muktas
and  finally  the Nitya Jeevans , who have the eight Gunas of the Lord). Swami
states that the Lord is the indweller of all the thre types of Jivans and
transcends them in every way, befitting HIS title as Purushottama.

SIXTEENTH CHAPTER : DEVAASURA SAMPATVIBHAGA YOGAM(DIVINE AND NONDIVINE
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In the last three chapters(13 to 15), Parthasarathy explained to Arjuna about
Chetanam,
Achetanam and Iswaran.In the next three chapters, HE focusses on Anushtaanam or
practise of precepts. HE asserts that the pracise has to be sanctioned by
Saastraas  and the chetanas
are subject to the dictates of Saastraas.In this context, he dwells upon the
division of chetanas 
into the two categories of Devas and Asuras.HE classifies those , who obey HIS
commands  revealed in the Saastraas as Devas and the others as Asuras. The Devas
have 24 modes of 
practise sanctioned by Saastras. 

When Parthasarathy dwelled upon the Devas and Asuras as two categories, Arjuna
got confused 
and did not know, which category he belonged to. The Lord revealed to him that
he will never be
an Asura by dint of his noble  qualities that qualify him as a Deva. He asks
Arjuna to be ever vigilant on practising his duties according to the path laid
out by Saastraas, Ithihaasams, Puraanams, the 
Behavior of the righteous  and worship HIM and practise Bhakti Yoga .

Alavandaar"s  summary of the sixteenth chapter is as  follows:

DEVAASURA VIBHOGKTHI POORVIKAA SAASTRA VASYATAA I
TATTVAANUSHATAANA VIGYANASTHEMNEH SHODASA UCHYATEH II

Swami Desikan tersely summarizes Devas as  aaNai    MARAATAVAR (those, who do
not disobey 
the rules laid out by the Lord in the Saastraas) and the Asuras as those, who
consistently 
behave the other way. Swami says that the Lord addressed Arjuna as the one with
utter faith
in the Saastras and asked him to perform duties ordained by Vedas and Saastraas.


In this chapter, Krishna explains to Arjuna the differences between beings ,who
are born for a 
divine state and those , who are born an Aasurika state(Demonic state). He
points out that  the 
divine state is poised to liberate the being ,whereas the Aasurika state leads
to bondage.His
description of the Aasurika state contained in Verse 7 is a gem of a word
picture: He says that 
a person of Aasurika nature does not know about the right things to do and will
not refrain from doing inauspicious things. They also do not have the puity of
thought or deed and do not follow the 
truthful path. He says the Aasurikaas lead  a life full  of  deceit  and
conceit.

HE says further  that the Aasurikaas think that they are the Lords  full of
success,power,
happiness and enjoyment. Such a person believes that no one can equal them and
is 
deluded by their own limiting ignorance.With his pride and haughtiness,he
flaunts his
wealth and descends into darkness; ultimately ,he perishes because of his
demonic nature.

In an earlier section of the sixteenth chapter, Krishna described at length, the
being , who has the divine nature and his laudable attainments resulting from
the conquest of lust, anger and  greed.
Such a person realizes the supreme boon of eternal service to the Lord in Sri
Vaikuntam.

In HIS instructions to Arjuna, Geethaacharyan reveals that those ,who transgress
HIS commands
(Anushtaanams or righteous observances  codified in Saaastraas) are  Asuras and
those who follows HIS commands are Devas. Latter follow the Veda Margam(path)
and the Asuras follow the Veda Bahya margam (path outside the Vedic way). He
recommends to Arjuna to follow the Vedic way (Vaidhika Anushtaanams) prescribed
by Saastraas, since latter are the most authoritative 
bases to gain an understanding of what should be done and what should be
rejected. He
commands Arjuna to follow the wise directions of Saastras and abide by them to
attian HIS
lasting blessings (Verse 24).

SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER: SRADDHAATRYAVIBHAGA YOGAM( THREE FOLD SHRADDHA)
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 Alavandaar states that the essence of Saastras as revealed by the Lord is a
group of three words:
OM TAT SAT. He says that all that is not sanctioned by Saaastraas is demoniacal.
What is permitted by the Saastraas is varied befitting  the three Gunas found in
chetanas. He says that the Lord characerizes , what is established in Saastraas
is of  a threefold nature . Alavandaar"s summary of the Seventeenth chapter is
as follows:

ASAASTRAMAASURAM KRTSNAM SAASTRIYAM GUNATA: PRUTAK I
LAKSHANAM SAASTRASIDDHASYA TRIDHAA SAPTADASODHITAM II

Swami Desikan uses the first three lines of his Verse to summarize  Alavandaar"s
verse.
The elaboration of both Alavandaar"s and Swami Desikan"s thoughts are as
follows:
  In the 17th chapter, Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna on the three kinds of
Shraddha based on their natural dispositions or Samskaaraas. Geetaacharyan
states that the three types (driven by Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas ) have different
tastes in the choice of their foods, Yajna(austerities undertaken) and Alms
giving (Ch17. slokam 7).He describes then in great detail , the types of food
three 
kinds of people eat,the three types of Yajnas they perform, the different types
of worship they carry out and the different kinds of alms giving that they
practise.

To illustrate one of the areas of difference, we can look at the styles of Gifts
giving.THe Saatvika gives the gifts to a worthy person in a fit place without
expecting anything in return. The Raajasika
gives reluctantly with anticipation of  some returns. The Taamasika gives the
gifts to unworthy persons at the wrong place  or time and with contempt and
disrespect. The three types perform their Karmaanushtaanams according to their
different Svabhaavaas or Samskaaraas.

After that instruction,  Krishna explained to Arjuna the important meanings
behind The sacred mantram "OM TAT SAT".This is the triple designation for the
Para Brahmam or Supreme Lord
according to Vedas and Yajnas( Ch 17.slokam 23). 

According to Krishna, the designation "OM" refers to HIMSELF in the manifest
(Vyaktam ) and Unmanifest (Avyaktam ) states; "TAT" means that which is
indefinable and therefore can only be explained as "that which shines, that
which activates, that which is inside us and so on; "SAT" , which is the
opposite of ASAT means the everpresent ,auspicious Paramatma. He explains to
Arjuna that all acts of sacrifice ,gifts, Austerities ordained by the Saastraas
should be initiated by Vaidhikaas (one who follow the Vedic Way) with the
Utterance of "OM" , the Lord"s name ( Ch: 17
Slokam 24). 

Krishna explains next that the seekers of  Moksha should utter the designation
"TAT" ,while performing  Yajna or giving alms without anticipating the fruits of
that action. 

Geethaacharyan instructs Arjuna further that the word "SAT" denotes reality
,goodness, steadiness in Yajna  and austerity. Any action connected with
Steadiness and Shraddha is defined by our Lord as belonging to the category of
"SAT". He adds that whatever that is sacrificed, given or performed without
shraddha is ASAT. He points out that Asat karmas are of no use to this world or
the other.; on the contrary, the karmas associated with SAT pave the way for
happiness and Vivekam in this world and Moksham at the end of the earthly life.
This is because of the supreme significance 
of the designation"SAT",which connotes the ever present ,eternal and auspicious
reality ,which is nothing but the Paramatma.

THE EIGHTHEENTH CHAPTER:SANYAASA YOGAM(LIBERATION IN RENUNCIATION)
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Alavandaar calls this final chapter of Gita as the the Essence of the meaning of
Saastraas(Saastraartha Saaram).In his sloka summarizing the meaning of this
chapter, He says:
"Lord teaches here the state of mind attributing the agency (of one"s actions)
to  HIM, the desirability of adopting the sattva-guna, the culminating result of
the performance of one"s duties (being God-attainment) as the essnce of the
Saastraas(BHAKTI  YOGAM). Alavandaar"s verse regarding this chapter is as
follows:

ISWAREH KARTRUTAA BUDDHISSATVOPAADEYATAANTIMEH I
SVAKARMA PARINAMASCCHA SAASTRASAARAARTHAM UCHYATEH II

Swami Desikan summarizes in his verse how the performance of the Saatvika Karmas
with the 
Sattvika Tyagam is dear to  Sriman Narayana and how HE responds readily to the
steadfast 
Bhakti by granting Moksham without fail  as one completes Charanagati at HIS
Lotus feet. The
easy route of Charanagati as the quickest way to reach the Lord is revealed here
to all of us 
through the pretext of teaching Arjuna.

The thoughts summarized by both the Acharyas are as follows: Krishna answers the
question of Arjuna regarding the Sanyasa Tatwam in verse 2. Here, He makes a
distinction between Sanyasa and Tyaagam .He explains Sanyasa as the renunciation
of Kaamya (desirable,pleasure giving )
actions; Tyaaga is differentiated from Sanyasa as the renunciation of the fruits
of all Karmas. Afterwards, Krishna explains to Arjuna the Sattvika, Raajasika
and Taamasika Tyaagams and 
their distinctions.

He defines Tyaagi next and states that he is the one ,who relinquishes the
fruits of all actions.
He points out that actions can not be entirely abandoned by the Dehin(Embodied
one-jivan housed in the body) although the fruits of action could be
relinquished entirely through Tyaagam.A person ,who observes such a practise is
known as Saatvikaa  according to our Lord(Ch18. Verse 30).

Here, the Lord of Gita says such a person is dear to me.Such an intellect ,which
has a clear comprehension of the paths of work and renunciation of the fruits
thereof ,right and  wrong ,fear and fearlessness,bondage and freedom is
charactreized as the most beloved Saatvika.

Our Lord then goes on to a description of Varnaasrama Dharmas and the  duties of
each of the four Adhikaris to reach spiritual perfection.He points out that it
is better to do one"s own Dharma even in an imperfect manner than the  Dharma of
another Varna  in a perfect manner (Ch 18. Verse 47). 

Next, through a set of four slokas, Gitaacharyan  explains  how the chetana
becomes  a  Parama
Hamsa Parivrajaka (a sanyasi of the highest order) and then enters HIM ( Ch 18:
Verses 53-56).
Through the above slokas, Krishna says that by forsaking egotism, power,
ostentatation,lust, 
anger and property , the chetana is liberated from the notion of "Me and Mine"
and thereafter , he is fit to enter the Lord.Reaching of this state gives him
the mental clarity  and tranquility arising from his equanimity of view; he
devotes all his time and energy to the service of the Lord. Through this
steadfast devotion,he understands the reality of the Lord and enters Him  and
thereby reaches the  eternal, immutable state desired by all, but attained by a
select few only.

Krishna  then reveals that He is the Supreme Lord and by Charanagati
(self-surrender) , a chetana like Arjuna can attain the supreme peace and enter
the eternal abode of happiness , Sri Vaikuntam.The Lord says to Arjuna that he
is very dear to HIM  and commands Arjuna to abandon all  Dharmas and perform
PRAPATTI (charanagati ) to HIM.He assures Arjuna that he will liberate him from
all of his doubts and sins. He asks Arjuna to have Maha Viswasam (deep faith )
and not
to fret anymore after performing Prapatti to HIM. The three immortal verses of
Gita containing the
Prapatti principles are  Verses 62, 65  and 66  . The meanings of the
threeverses are as follows:
 " Take refuge in Him  with all thy heart,O Bharata; by His grace shalt thou
attain supreme peace (and ) eternal abode. ----- Occupy thy mind with ME, be
devoted to ME,offer sacrifices to ME and bow down to ME.Thou shalt reach MYSELF;
Truly do I promise unto thee (for ) thou art dear to ME.---------- Relinquishing
ALL Dharmas , take refuge in ME alone; I will liberate thee from ALL 
sins; greive not. "

Alavandaar says that the message contained in these verses is the quintessence
of ALL Saastras.
This message is the message of PRAPATTI or Charanaagati or the easy-to-practise
and infallible method to obtain Lord"s supreme blessings ,even by the greatest
sinners or illiterates. Alavandaar  therefore describes the content of the final
chapter as Saastraartha Saaram.

In conclusion, We can say that the situation faced by Arjuna in the battle field
of Kurushetra is common to ALL  of us. We  are confronted by temptations of
every kind and we do not know the right way to act . With  Arjuna and ALL of us
in mind , Lord Blessed the whole of mankind with HIS message enshrined in Srimad
Bhagavat Gita. The Conversation between Arjuna ( Nara) and Lord 
Krishna (Narayana) in the battle field of Kurukshetra  (theatre of Life ) is the
most helpful  as a  compass and guide for every step of our life to inspire us
to get closer to our Supreme Lord. It has been stated "Only because Narayana has
been separated from Nara in our Life, there has been immorality,need and misery
everywhere around us. In our lives , there should be a union of Nara and
Narayana.We must choose the Lord as our Charioteer ,guide and inspirer.Only then
will our Whole life be a treasurehouse of spiritual wealth." 
        
Sanjaya , the narrator of the happenings at  the battle field  for the blind
king Dridhirashtra concludes aptly  about the uniqueness  of the place, where
Lord Krishna and Arjuna are together this way: " Where there is the Lord of
Yoga, Krishna and where there is Arjuna  with his bow, there will always be the
divine  wealth,Victory, Lord's majesty and Justice.There is no doubt about this.
That is my conviction ".

THE REMAINING TEN VERSES OF GITAARTHA SANGRAQHAM OF ALAVANDAAR
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**********                                There are  ten remaining verses adding
up to the total of 32 verses of his magnum opus . In these ten verses,  he deals
with the individual charactrestrics of the three Yogas  and  their
interrelationships .

He concludes his summary and  draws our attention  once  again to the importance
of Saastras and the  need to adhere to them.He draws our attention to the fact
that any one of the  three yogas contain the elements of the other two. For
example, in Karma Yoga , meditation on the Self (Atman) and loving  devotion to
God are included.   Meditation on the self  and cognition of the  Self is Jnana
Yoga and the loving  devotion to God is Bhakti Yoga.

In the final four verses (29 to 32), Alavandaar concludes that Gita is
essentially " an  authoritative 
religious treatise teaching the way to Salvation"..Alavandaar was taught the
meaning of Gita by his Acharya, Ramamisra  and he in turn was instructed by
Nathamuni, the grandfather of our author of
Gitaarthasangraham. The  literal meaning of the last four verses of Alavandaar
are as follows:

"the man of wisdom (among the devotees) is indeed foremost among those
exclusively devoted (to the Lord). The life of his self is dependent  on Him.He
has no joy and sorrow other than union 
with and separation from HIm. His thought rests in Him alone.......... He feels
that he has gained his self(only) through meditation on the Lord ,direct vision
(of Him through such meditation ), teaching  (about Him), bowing down (before
Him in temples etc), praising (His auspicious qualities) and reciting
(His)names. The activities of his senses ,will , intellect and vital energies
are concentrated 
on Him........ He should perform all things from his own duties to the practise
of devotion ,getting them done solely through love ( for God).Giving up (the
view of finding in them ) the character of 
being the means ( for final release) ,he must place it (i.e., being hte means )
in God ,and be rid of
all fear.................... He finds his sole delight in exclusive and never
-ending service to God . He attains HIS feet. This authoritative religious work
is concerned principally  with such a devotee
(and his goal of final release).Such is a summary of the purport of the Gita."

With this summation, I offer this brief commentary to Gitaacharyan and place it
at  HIS lotus feet 
on this Thanksgiving Day, where much thanks is due to HIM for  Satsangam with
the members of the PRAPATTI Group.

Sri Nigamantha Desika Guraveh namah
Sri Ramanuja Gurave Namah
Srimate Yaamuna Gurave Namah
 
VANDEH BRINDAAVANA CHARAM VALLAVEE JANA VALLABHAM I
JAYANTHI SAMBHAVAM DHAAMA  VAIJAYANTI VIBHOOSHANAM II

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
Yuva Samvatsaram, Kartigai Month, Sukla Prathamai, Anusha Nakshatram.

SRI KRISHNAARPANAMASTU .