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    Srimad

    Bhagavad GitaEnglish Translation of

    Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary

    Swami Gambhirananda

    Source: Project Gutenberg

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    Chapter 21

    2.10 O descendant of Bharata, to him who wassorrowing between the two armies, Hrsikesa,mocking as it were, said these words:

    English Translation of Sri Sankaracharya's SanskritCommentary - Swami Gambhirananda

    2.10 And here, the text commencing from 'Butseeing the army of the Pandavas' (1.2) and endingwith '(he) verily became silent, telling Him(Govinda), "I shall not fight"' is to be explained asrevealing the cause of the origin of the defect in thefrom of sorrow, delusion, etc. [Delusion meanswant of discrimination. Etc. stands for thesecondary manifestations of sorrow and delusion,as also ignorance which is the root cause of allthese.] which are the sources of the cycles of birthsand deaths of creatures. Thus indeed, Ajuna's ownsorrow and delusion, cuased by the ideas of

    affection, parting, etc., originating from theerroneous belief, 'I belong to these; they belong tome', with regard to kingdom [See note under verse8.-Tr.], elders, sons, comrades, well-wishers (1.26),

    1 Sri Sankaracharya begins his commentary of the Gita only from the

    10th verse of 2nd Chapter.

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    kinsmen (1.37), relatives (1.34) and friends, havebeen shown by him with the words, 'How can I(fight)...in battle (against) Bhisma' (4), etc. It isverily because his discriminating insight wasoverwhelmed by sorrow and delusion that, eventhough he had become engaged in battle out of hisown accord as a duty of the Ksatriyas, he desistedfrom that war and chose to undertake other'sduties like living on alms etc. It is thus that in thecase of all creatures whose minds come under thesway of the defects of sorrow, delusion, etc. thereverily follows, as a matter of course, abandoningtheir own duties and resorting to prohibited ones.Even when they engage in their own duties theiractions with speech, mind, body, etc., are certainlymotivated by hankering for rewards, and areaccompanied by egoism. [Egoism consists inthinking that one is the agent of some work and theenjoyer of its reward.] Such being the case, thecycle of births and deaths -- characterized bypassing through desireable and undesirable births,and meeting with happiness, sorrow, etc. [Fromvirtuous deeds follow attainment of heaven andhappiness. From unvirtuous, sinful deeds followbirths as beasts and other lowly beings, andsorrow. From the performance of both virtuousand sinful deeds follows birth as a human being,

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    with a mixture of happiness and sorrow.] from theaccumulation of virtue and vice, continuesunendingly. Thus, sorrow and delusion aretherefore the sources of the cycles of births anddeaths. And their cessation comes from nothingother than the knowledge of the Self which ispreceded by the renunciation of all duties. Hence,wishing to impart that (knowledge of the Self) forfavouring the whole world, Lord Vasudeva,making Arjuna the medium, said, 'You grieve forthose who are not to be grieved for,' etc. As to thatsome (opponents) [According to A.G. the opponentis the Vrttikara who, in the opinion of A.Mahadeva Sastri, is none other than Bodhayanareferred to in Sankaracarya's commentary on B.S.1.1.11-19.-Tr.] say: Certainly, Liberation cannot beattained merely from continuance in theknowledge of the Self which is preceded byrenunciation of all duties and is independent ofany other factor. What then? The well-ascertainedconclusion of the whole of the Gita is thatLiberation is attained through Knowledgeassociated with rites and duties like Agnihotra etc.prescribed in the Vedas and the Smrtis. And as anindication of this point of view they quote (theverses): 'On the other hand, if you will not fightthis righteous (battle)' (33); 'Your right is for action

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    (rites and duties) alone' (47); 'Therefore youundertake action (rites and duties) itself' (4.15), etc.Even this objection should not be raised that Vedicrites and duties lead to sin since they involveinjury etc.'. Objection: How? Opponent: The dutiesof the Ksatriyas, charaterized by war, do not leadto sin when undertaken as one's duty, even thoughthey are extremely cruel since they involveviolence against elders, brothers, sons and others.And from the Lord's declaration that when theyare not performed, 'then, forsaking your own dutyand fame, you will incur sin' (33), it stands out as(His) clearly stated foregone conclusion that one'sown duties prescribed in such texts as, '(One shallperform Agnihotra) as long as one lives' etc., andactions which involve crutely to animals etc. arenot sinful. Vedantin: That is wrong because of theassertion of the distinction between firm adherence(nistha) to Knowledge and to action, which arebased on two (different) convictions (buddhi). Thenature of the Self, the supreme Reality, determinedby the Lord in the text beginning with 'Those whoare not to be grieved for' (11) and running to theend of the verse, 'Even considering your own duty'(31), is called Sankhya. Sankhya-buddhi [Sankhyais that correct (samyak) knowledge of the Vedaswhich reveals (khyayate) the reality of the Self, the

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    supreme Goal. The Reality under discussion,which is related to this sankhya by way of havingbeen revealed by it, is Sankhya.] (Conviction aboutthe Reality) is the conviction with regard to That(supreme Reality) arising from the ascertainmentof the meaning of the context [Ascertainment...ofthe context, i.e., of the meaning of the versesstarting from, 'Never is this One born, and neverdoes It die,' etc. (20).] -- that the Self is not an agentbecause of the absence in It of the six kinds ofchanges, viz birth etc. [Birth, continuance, growth,transformation, decay and death.] Sankhyas arethose men of Knowledge to whom that (conviction)becomes natural. Prior to the rise of this Conviction(Sankhya-buddhi), the ascertained [Ast. and A.G.omit this word 'ascertainment, nirupana'-Tr.] of theperformance of the disciplines leading toLiberation -- which is based on a discriminationbetween virtue and vice, [And adoration of God].and which presupposes the Self's difference fromthe body etc. and Its agentship and enjoyership -- iscalled Yoga. The conviction with regard to that(Yoga) is Yoga-buddhi. The performers of rites andduties, for whom this (conviction) is appropriate,are called yogis. Accordingly, the two distinctConvictions have been pointed out by the Lord inthe verse, 'This wisdom (buddhi) has been

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    imparted to you from the standpoint of Self-realization (Sankhya). But listen to this (wisdom)from the standpoint of (Karma-) yoga' (39). And ofthese two, the Lord will separately speak, withreference to the Sankhyas, of the firm adherence tothe Yoga of Knowledge. [Here Yoga andKnowledge are identical. Yoga is that throughwhich one gets connected, identified. withBrahman.] which is based on Sankya-buddhi, in,'Two kinds of adherences were spoken of by Me inthe form of the Vedas, in the days of yore.' [Thisportion is ascending to G1.Pr. and A.A.; Ast. omitsthis and quotes exactly the first line of 3.3. Bysaying, 'in the form of the Vedas', the Lordindicates that the Vedas, which are really theknowledge inherent in God and issue out of Him,are identical with Himself.-Tr.] similarly, in,'through the Yoga of Action for the yogis' (3.3), Hewill separately speak of the firm adherence to theYoga [Here also Karma and Yoga are identical, andlead to Liberation by bringing about purity of heartwhich is followed by steadfastness in Knowledge.]of Karma which is based on Yoga-buddhi(Conviction about Yoga). Thus, the two kinds ofsteadfastness -- that based on the conviction aboutthe nature of the Self, and that based on theconviction about rites and duties -- have been

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    distinctly spoken of by the Lord Himself, who sawthat the coexistence of Knowledge and rites andduties is not possible in the same person, theybeing based on the convictions of non-agentshipand agentship, unity and diversity (respectively).As is this teaching about the distinction (of the twoadherences), just so has it been revealed in theSatapatha Brahmana: 'Desiring this world (the Self)alone monks and Brahmanas renounce theirhomes' (cf. Br. 4.4.22). After thus enjoiningrenunciation of all rites and duties, it is said incontinuation, 'What shall we acheive throughchilderen, we who have attained this Self, thisworld (result).' [The earlier quotation implies aninjuction (vidhi) for renunciation, and the second isan arthavada, or an emphasis on that injunction.Arthavada: A sentence which usually recommendsa vidhi, or precept, by stating the good arisingfrom its proper observance, and the evils arisingfrom its omission; and also by adducing historicalinstances in its support.-V.S.A] Again, there itself itis said that, before accepting a wife a man is in hisnatural state [The state of ignorance owing to non-realization of Reality. Such a person is aBrahmacarin, who goes to a teacher for studyingthe Vedas]. And (then) after his enquiries into ritesand duties, [The Brahmacarin first studies the

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    Vedas and then enquires into their meaning.Leaving his teacher's house after completing hiscourse, he becomes a house holder.] 'he' for theattainment of the three worlds [This world, theworld of manes and heaven.-Tr.]