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" Mama vartma---" : Our pUrvAchAryAL's comments

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Wed Oct 22 1997 - 18:19:15 PDT

Dear Sri Narendran : 

It is amazing that GeethAchAryan used the exact
paadham in two different chapters of GitA . It is
therefore a challenge to understand the text 
and the context .

AlavandhAr was the first one to cover the commentary 
on the essence of GitA in his GithArtha Sangraham(GS)  .
The postings on the above sacred text are in the Bhakthi 
archives. Sri RaamAnujA's GitA Bhashyam is an 
elaboration of AlavandAr's GS . Swami Desikan gave us
two commentaries on GitA , one in Tamil ( GS ) and 
another in Sanskrit known as Taatparya Chandrikai .

I will cover Sri RamAnujA's comments first and then 
Swami Desikan "s . You had also asked about the meaning of
Varthma . It has two meanings . Mama Varthma means
my path or way and also means my svabhAvam or natural
disposition . The first meaning is applicable for 
the slOkam line in the third chapter
and the second meaning is applicable for the slOkam line 
in the fourth chapter , when every thing else remains same .

The word varthman arises from Vr*uth+maninn suggesting
a way ,  a road , a path , a passage or a track or  a course 
and finally  an established or prescribed usage or course of 
conduct . 

SlOKam 3.23

yadhi hyAham na varthEyam jAthu karmaNatandhritha: I
mama varthmAnuvartanthE manushyA : Paartha sarvasa : II

In the previous slOkA (3 . 22) , GeethAchAryan stated : 
O ArjunA ! for Me , there is nothing in all the three worlds 
that ought to be accomplished , nor is there anything 
unacquired that ought to be acquired . YET I GO ON WORKING 
( i.e.,  I keep on working for the protection of the  world 
although there is nothing whatever for Me to achieve . 
Even though there is nothing yet to be acquired by 
Me through work , I go on working ) . 

In the verse of interest to us ( 3.23 ) , he continues with the thought 
of his working . Here , He says " If I did not continue to work unwearied ,
O ArjunA , men would follow My path thinking that is the correct  way  " . 

RaamAnjuA's commentary 
Here , our Lord points out that He is SarvEsvaran , sathya sankalpan
( whose will is always true )  and He is born as the son of Vasudeva 
out of His own volition  to help the world( Loka ujjeevanArtham ) . 
He states that He has to continue to work unwearied as the son 
of the noble Vasudeva in a way suitable (prescribed ) for the son 
of such an illustrious  family . The Lord says that if He takes it easy 
and slackens by not performing  His duties assidously , 
the human beings with imperfect knowledge will think that
it is the  real way and will follow Him . Through that  act of imitation , 
they will end up in NarakA by failing to do what ought to be
done and also because of the sin arising from the abandonment 
of their prescribed duties . 

Swami Desikan"s comments 
All the SaasthrAs are my command .Hence I do not
need to be subservient to them . For those , who 
are under the influence of karmAs ( karmavasyAs ) ,
they have no choice but to obey the saastraic injunctions.

When I incarnate out of My own will , I am not bound to
observe these injunctions like the karmavasyAs and yet 
I follow the dharmAnushtAnams prescribed by Me for others 
without let . If I follow that path , is there any choice for 
the earthlings ? If I do not follow  that prescribed path , then 
they will stray thinking that this is the right way and end up 
with disastrous consequences thru the neglect of
their duties . 

Athandritha: is an important word here meaning " unwearied "
and without slack . If I do not stay the course of the prescribed
duties befitting the varNAsrama dharmAs ( Yadhi na 
varthEyam ) , then manushyA: ( those , who look to 
the righteous ones to follow their path ) , would 
fully  follow My path ( Sarvasa : mama varthma 
anuvarthanthE ) and end up in disaster .

SlOkam 4.11
This is a celebrated slOkam of GitA :

taamstathaiva bhajAmyaham I
mama varthmAnuvarthanthE 
manushyA: Paartha sarvasa: II

RaamAnujA's commentary

yE math samAsryaNa apEkshA yathA , yEna prakArENa
svApEkshAnurUpam maam sankalpya prapadhyanthE ,
samAsrayanthE , thaann prathi tathaiva tanmaneeshitha 
prakArENa bhajAmi maam darsayAmi .

" whoever desirous of resorting to me , in whatever manner
they think of Me according to their inclinations and take refuge
in Me,i.e., resort to Me --I favour them in the same manner as 
desired by them ; I reveal Myself to them .

Kimathra BahunA ? ( Why say much here ? 
why elaboratefurther on this point ? )

sarvE manushyA : madhanuvarthanaika manOrathA 
mama VARTHMA mathsvabhAvam sarvam yOginAm 
vaangmanasAgOcharam api svakeeyai: 
chakshuradhikaraNai: sarvasa: svaapEkshithai : 
sarva prakArai: anubhUya anuvarthanthE .

(Meaning) : All men , who have made up their mind to
follow Me do experience  Me with their very eyes and 
other sensory organs in every manner desired by them .
My form is acccessible to them readily , even if it is 
beyond the reach of the speech and  thought of yOgis
generally . 

Swami Desikan"s comments :

Swami Desikan explains that it is the guNAdhisayam
( wonderous quality of the KalyANa guNam of the Lord )
that makes Him responsive to the wishes of those , who
approach Him with their own prayers and selected ways . 

This flexibility of the Lord to respond to the wishes of 
bhakthAs approaching Him through  different routes  
and choices  is a doctrine celebrated by the Sathapatha
BrAhmaNam ( tham yathA yathOpaasathE tadhEva Bhavathi ).
The above -quoted scripture says that BhagavAn 
takes the form desired by the human beings 
worshipping Him in whatever way they wish to see Him . 

Some wish Him to go as a messenger to the court
of DuryOdhanA , some want Him to graze the cows ,
some wish Him to perform raasakreetA and play the flute .
The Lord says that He obliges them all and takes on these 
different roles in response to their wishes . He states further 
that His body , which is not easily seen or comprehended 
even by parama  yOgis becomes visible and  accessible 
during the avathArams in response to the request of 
the people approaching Him in the manner elected by
them . Even His appearance to bless us as ArchA mUrthys
of  different divya dEsams will fit in this category of His
flexible response to the wishes of the people approaching
Him in their own ways guided by their predispositions . 

yE yathA maam prapadhyanthE  taan  aham tathA yEva
bhajAmi ( In which ever way , anyone , who desires Me and 
reach towards Me , I reach them in the way they wished . I make
them enjoy Me in the same way they visualized Me and 
worshipped Me . 

Paartha  ! ManushyA : Sarvasa: mama vathma anuvarthanthE 
( O ArjunA ! Therefore through this willing rsponsiveness of
Mine , every one , who who approached Me in whatever way get 
the fulfillment of their wishes through the enjoyment of My 
svabhAvam and thus attain the supreme status of Moksham ) . 

In the slOkam 3.23 , the Lord explained why He has to 
perform His duties so that people do not slack off and
end in Narakam ; here , he says that the enjoyment of
His svabhAvam yields readily the supreme purushArtham .
He underlines His Bhaktha Sulabhatvam here .
These two identical sections  found in chapters III and
IV have the same thread running through them (viz)., 
sowlabhyam and bhaktha dhAkshiNyam .

Sri GeethAchAryan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri sadagopan