Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bhagavad Gītā catuḥ-ślokī 3

Gītā catuḥ-ślokī 3

|| 10.10 ||

तेषां सततयुक्तानां भजतां प्रीतिपूर्वकम्।
ददामि बुद्धियोगं तं येन मामुपयान्ति ते॥१०॥

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam |
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te ||

ahaṁ teṣāṁ (pūrva-ślokayoḥ ukta-budhānāṁ) satata-yuktānāṁ prīti-pūrvakam bhajatāṁ buddhi-yogaṁ dadāmi. kaṁ buddhi-yogaṁ ? taṁ yena te mām upayānti.

  • satataṁ = (adv.) constantly
  • yuktānāṁ = “connected” (past.part. from √yuj, genitive plural) nityābhiyuktānāṁ nivṛtta-sarva-bāhyaiṣaṇānāṁ: “those who are permanently connected and have given up all their external cravings (bāhya eṣaṇa)” (Śaṅkara)
  • bhajatāṁ = “of those worshiping” (pres. part. from √bhaj, genitive plural) sevamānānām. ("of those serving")
  • prītiḥ = (f.) love. snehaḥ.
  • prīti-pūrvakaṁ = “with love” (adding pūrvakam to a noun is one way of creating an adverb or adverbial phrase, “lovingly.” This describes bhajatām. How are they worshiping?) prītiḥ snehas tat-pūrvakaṁ māṁ bhajatām ity arthaḥ.
  • dadāmi = “I give.” prayacchāmi.
  • buddhi-yogaṁ = yoga here means “connection.” “contact with intelligence” buddhiḥ samyag darśanaṁ mat-tattva-viṣayaṁ, tena yogo buddhi-yogas taṁ buddhi-yogam, samyag-darśana-lakṣaṇaṁ. "Intelligence means samyag darśanaṁ or proper knowledge about my position." (Śaṅkara)
  • upayānti = approach, come close. (upa) pratipadyante

To them who are [thus] constantly joined with me, who worship me with love, I give the yoga of intelligence by which they come to me.


Though all these verses are essential (and as such a part of the Bhagavad Gītā catuḥ-ślokī), this verse and the next show most clearly where they fit into the overall scheme of the book, which on the most general level is about the decision making process, i.e., the realm of buddhi. Whereas mind processes the data and presents the options for action, the intelligence makes the decision.

The first verse of the three gave the Gītā's sambandha, the second the abhidheya. The last two give the prayojana. Though the last two verses have similarity, the differences need to be noticed.

Buddhi has been promised from the beginning of the Gītā especially in the first chapter of Krishna's teachings. In 2.38 it is made explicit that there are always going to be two kinds of buddhi, one that consists of the right understanding only, and the other than expresses itself in right action. 2.48-53 also speak of buddhi, and in particular the kind of intelligence that has becomes free of all constraints, religious and scriptural (vaidika) or social (laukika).

yadā te moha-kalilaṁ buddhir vyatitariṣyati |
tadā gantāsi nirvedaṁ śrotavyasya śrutasya ca ||
śruti-vipratipannā te yadā sthāsyati niścalā |
samādhāv acalā buddhis tadā yogam avāpsyasi ||
When your intelligence has passed beyond
the forest of confusion, dark and dense,
you shall become indifferent to all
that has been heard or ever will be heard.

Unaffected by scriptural injunction
when your intelligence stands firm
situated motionless in samadhi,
then will you attain to yoga.
We also saw there in the second chapter the processes by which intelligence is lost (2.62-63) as well as gained through subduing or pacifying the noise distortion that comes from hyperactivity of the mind and senses (2.65-66). And this discussion has been implicit through the intervening chapters and now brings us to this point here where Krishna summarizes the formula for accessing the intelligence to act in this world and for what purpose.

There is one mentality that is authoritarian and will only accept what is ordained by scripture or has been fully vetted by the rational mind. There is another mentality that more recognizes the intuitive function and responds to a wider set of data, including the fundamental emotional needs of the human being. It is the synthesis of these two that results in proper buddhi and which leads to ethical action.

Discriminating intelligence is something that cannot be learned from texts alone. An over-attachment to textual knowledge can hamper one in the decision making process. The surrender that Krishna will talk about in Gita 18.66 is in fact what is being stated here. "You surrender to Me and you act, and don't worry, because whatever you decide, whatever your intelligence dictates to you, right or wrong, that will come from Me; you will act as my instrument and the results are therefore entirely in my hands."

The primary characteristic of the buddhi that Krishna is talking about, therefore, is the one that answers the question: "How will this action or non-action bring me closer to Krishna?" In other words, the inner guidance to ethical action comes to those who fit the qualifications, i.e., have undergone the inner purification process given in this and the two previous verses.

Here Vishwanath writes nicely
satata-yuktānāṁ nityam eva mat-samyogākāṅkṣāṇāṁ taṁ buddhi-yogaṁ dadāmi teṣāṁ hṛd-vṛttiṣv aham eva udbhāvayāmīti | sa buddhi-yogaḥ svato'nyasmāc ca kutaścid apy adhigantum aśakyaḥ kintu mad-eka-deyas tad-eka-grāhya iti bhāvaḥ | 
Those who are always joined means those who desire to always and only be with me. To them I give the connection to their inner intuitive intelligence (buddhi-yoga), in other words, I alone produce it in the functions of the heart. One cannot realize this connection to the intelligence by oneself or from any other source at all. It is mine alone to give, and the one who receives it alone can understand it.
Here the last line is particularly significant. This kind of knowledge is sui generis, in the sense that ethical decisions have to be taken individually, i e. without being submerged into any group think, But at the same time without ego -- selfish or alienated -- motivation.

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