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Ishvara Gita - Sri Vaishnava Commentary - Chapter 1 - Questions of the Rishis

NOTE: Prior to reading this article, we request you to read the preludes to comprehend the concepts discussed here clearly --- [1][2][3][4][5]
ṛṣaya ūcuḥ bhavatā kathitaḥ samyak sargaḥ svāyaṃbhuvastataḥ brahmāṇḍasyāsya vistāro manvantaraviniścayaḥ  tatreśvareśvaro devo varṇibhirdharmatatparaiḥ jñānayogaratairnityamārādhyaḥ kathitastvayā (1-2)
Meaning: You have explained to us about the creation of Brahma, the extent  of the Universe and the determination of the (nature and periods) of Manvantaras. In that (ie, relevant to that), you have described the God (Narayana), who is the Supreme among Ishvaras, who is ever worshipped by those who are exclusively devoted to their varNAshrama dharma (karma yoga), who are conversant with the knowledge of the self (jnana) and meditation on the auspicious qualities of the Supreme (yoga).
Prior to this section, the different manvantaras were described in the kUrma purANa. As these manvantaras alter in terms of sattva, rajas and tamas, accordingly, the worship of Hari varies in each. In the sattvik manvantaras, Hari is worshipped. In the description of the tAmasa manvantaras, other deities like Shiva are predominantly glorified in the purANa even over Hari.
For example, in this purANa, Lord Hari was described as Supreme in the svarOcisa manvantara. However, in the vaivasvata manvantara, Shiva was glorified. This is only based on the dispositions of people in each manvantara, and the other deities are also forms of Hari as they are his bodies as per the Gita shloka yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah (~ Gita 7.21).
Also, among the different creations of Brahma, some are sattva, some are rajas and some are tamas. The worship varies accordingly.
Therefore, the rishis say “tatra” – “in that” or relevant to the context of those periods (manvantaras) and the creations of Brahma, accordingly you have described Hari, the God of Gods, in his own form, or you have described him indirectly in the forms of other deities who are his bodies. Any glorification of other deities, even above Hari, is simply an indirect glorification of vishNu only (though avidhi-pUrvakaM as per gIta), and so it can be said Hari has been glorified in different forms.
The kUrma purANa is a tAmasa purANa that mixes the absolute truth with the lower knowledge meant for people of different dispositions. But now, the rishis are asking Suta to explain to them the true knowledge in its’ proper form.
tadvadāśeṣasaṃsāraduḥkhanāśamanuttamam jñānaṃ brahmaikaviṣayaṃ yena paśyema tatparam tvaṃ hi nārāyaṇātsākṣāt kṛṣṇadvaipāyanāt prabho avāptākhilavijñānastattvāṃ pṛcchāmahe punaḥ (1-4)
Meaning: You have also expounded about the knowledge that has the Jivatma alone as the subject matter which destroys the misery of samsAra, by which we can directly perceive that Atman (through Jnana-Yoga). Prabhu! You have obtained this knowledge of the Atman from Vyasa, who is verily Narayana. Therefore, we ask you (to describe it) again.

The sages also say that Suta has in other places described the knowledge relating to the jIvAtma (brahmaikavishaya), by which the perception of the jIvAtma can be obtained for experience of its’ intrinsic bliss. The jIva is called “brahma” because its’ knowledge is all-pervasive in its’ pure state.
tatparam” – The individual self is called “param” because the experience of it is greater than material pleasures.
This establishes the subject matter of the Ishvara Gita. It is not a discourse on Paramatma, but a discourse on the Jivatma only.
śrutvā munīnāṃ tad vākyaṃ kṛṣṇadvaipāyanaṃ prabhum sūtaḥ paurāṇikaḥ smṛtvā bhāṣituṃ hyupacakrame
athāsminnantare vyāsaḥ kṛṣṇadvaipāyanaḥ svayam ājagāma muniśreṣṭhā yatra satraṃ samāsate
taṃ dṛṣṭvā vedavidvāṃsaṃ kālameghasamadyutim vyāsaṃ kamalapatrākṣaṃ praṇemurdvijapuṅgavāḥ
papāta daṇḍavad bhūmau dṛṣṭvāsau romaharṣaṇaḥ pradakṣiṇīkṛtya guruṃ prāñjaliḥ pārśvago 'bhavat
pṛṣṭāste 'nāmayaṃ viprāḥ śaunakādyā mahāmunim samāśvāsyāsanaṃ tasmai tadyogyaṃ samakalpayan (5-9)
Meaning: Hearing the words of the sages, Suta Maharishi, who had heard the Puranas from Vyasa, began to narrate. Around that time, Vyasa himself arrived there where these sages were performing the satra rite. On seeing the lotus eyed Vyasa, the knower of the Veda, who was the color of a dark cloud (owing to being the Avesha-Avatara of Narayana), the dvijAs saluted him. Romaharshana fell on the ground like a staff upon seeing him.  Bending down, he circumambulated his guru and with palms joined in Anjali mudra, sat beside him.
athaitānabravīd vākyaṃ parāśarasutaḥ prabhuḥ kaccinna tapaso hāniḥ svādhyāyasya śrutasya ca
Tataḥ sa sūtaḥ svaguruṃ praṇamyāha mahāmunim jñānaṃ tad brahmaviṣayaṃ munīnāṃ vaktumarhasi
ime hi munayaḥ śāntāstāpasā dharmatatparāḥ śuśrūṣā jāyate caiṣāṃ vaktumarhasi tattvataḥ (10-12)
Meaning: Vyasa, the master, and the son of Parasara asked them “Is there any loss of your penances, learning (from a guru) and study of the Veda?” To that Suta, prostrating his preceptor replied, “You must declare to these munis, the knowledge that pertains to the Jivatma known as “brahma”. These munis are tranquil (having subdued their senses), engaged in austerities, and solely devoted to dharma which is meditation on the individual self. There is a desire born in them to hear (about the jIvAtma). So, you must tell them about the self.
Here, vyAsa is hailed as the son of parAshara. This shows the greatness of parAshara maharishi who gave the vishNu purANa, that even vyAsa derives his greatness by his association with him.
The munis are mentioned to be situated in activities and dispositions that are characteristic of sattva. Thus, in them, a desire is born to know the nature of the individual self and how to experience it. Thus, rather than deluding them with tAmasa kathAs as is the wont of such purANAs, give them the true knowledge pertaining to the jIvAtma. This is the point of the shloka.
As swami manavAla mAmunigal says “Aasai udaiyorkellAm Ariyargaal” – The acharyas disseminate knowledge to those who are desirous of it. Mere desire is enough, other qualifications do not matter.
jñānaṃ vimuktidaṃ divyaṃ yanme sākṣāt tvayoditam munīnāṃ vyāhṛtaṃ pūrvaṃ viṣṇunā kūrmarūpiṇā
śrutvā sūtasya vacanaṃ muniḥ satyavatīsutaḥ  praṇamya śirasā rudraṃ vacaḥ prāha sukhāvaham
vyāsa uvāca vakṣye devo mahādevaḥ pṛṣṭo yogīśvaraiḥ purā sanatkumārapramukhaiḥ svayaṃ yatsamabhāṣata (13-15)
The divine knowledge of the individual self that is liberating, that has been directly taught to me by you, should be declared to these munis, that knowledge which was taught to sages by the Lord as Kurma. Listening to the words of Suta, the muni who is the son of Satyavati, bowed to Rudra (mentally) and spoke the following words which were agreeable. Vyasa said, “I will tell you the discourse imparted by the god Mahadeva upon inquiry by the great yogis (sanat-kumaras) in olden times.”
Here, Suta has asked for a specific aspect of brahma-jnAna. We will know later on, that it is a discourse on the nature of the individual self. Suta asks vyAsa to reveal that particular topic, which was disclosed earlier by Rudra, and which had also been explained by Kurma in a prior age.
We have to assume that Bhagavan in his avatara as Kurma, like Krishna, imparted the entire knowledge of the shAstra. This Ishvara Gita however, does not talk about all the topics in the Bhagavad Gita, but only on select topics regarding the individual self.  So, the scope of the Ishvara gIta is limited.
Thus, Vyasa bows to Rudra, who apparently had imparted the same knowledge to the sanat-kumaras.
Here, “devo mahādevaḥ” implies Rudra is considered as the great god who is well-versed in the knowledge of Brahman according to upanishadic vAkyas such as puruṣasya vidmahe sahasrākṣasya mahādevasya dhīmahi tanno rudraḥ pracodayātand others. If he possesses the knowledge of Brahman, it goes without saying that he also possesses perfect knowledge of the individual self.
sanatkumāraḥ sanakastathaiva ca sanandanaḥ aṅgirā rudrasahito bhṛguḥ paramadharmavit
kaṇādaḥ kapilo yogī vāmadevo mahāmuniḥ śukro vasiṣṭho bhagavān sarve saṃyatamānasāḥ
parasparaṃ vicāryaite saṃśayāviṣṭacetasaḥ taptavantastapo ghoraṃ puṇye badarikāśrame  (16-17)
Meaning: The munis Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanananda, Angira, Rudra, accompanied by Bhrigu the knower of the highest means Narayana (Paramadharma), Kanada, Kapila muni, the great muni vAmadeva, sukra and bhagavAn vaShishtha --- all of them had kept their minds under control. They enquired amongst themselves (about the Self). With controlled minds, they performed a severe penance in Badarikashrama.
Special reverence is paid to Bhrigu, Vamadeva and Vashishta. Bhrigu ascertained that Vishnu alone out of the trimurtis was the sattvik god worthy of worship, thus he knows Narayana who is called “paramadharma” as he is the best means to all ends. Vamadeva realized the sharIrAtma bhAva and is referenced in the brahma-sUtrAs by Vyasa himself. Vashishtha is the greatest among rishis and hence is renowned for his jnAna.
apaśyaṃste mahāyogamṛṣiṃ dharmasutaṃ śucim nārāyaṇamanādyantaṃ nareṇa sahitaṃ tadā
saṃstūya vividhaiḥ stotraiḥ sarve vedasamudbhavaiḥ praṇemurbhaktisaṃyuktā yogino yogavittamam
vijñāya vāñchitaṃ teṣāṃ bhagavānapi sarvavit prāha gambhīrayā vācā kimarthaṃ tapyate tapaḥ
abruvan hṛṣṭamanaso viśvātmānaṃ sanātanam sākṣānnārāyaṇaṃ devamāgataṃ siddhisūcakam
vayaṃ saṃśayamāpannāḥ sarve vai brahmavādinaḥ bhavantamekaṃ śaraṇaṃ prapannāḥ puruṣottamam (18-23)
Meaning: They saw the rishi Narayana, the son of Dharma, who is the great means to liberation (mahāyogam), who is pure and makes anyone associated with him pure (śucim), without a beginning and end, along with Nara. They praised him with diverse stotras from the Vedas. The yogis bowed down, in bhakti to the Lord, who is the highest among the practitioners of yoga (as he leads those who practice yoga to their goal). The Lord, being omniscient and knowing their desire, asked them in a majestic voice, “What is the purpose of your penance”?
With a gladdened mind, they spoke to the Lord who had arrived, who is verily Narayana, the ancient (sanātanam), the self of the Universe (viśvātmānaṃ), whose visit guaranteed success (in fulfillment of their desires), “We are all propagators of the knowledge of the individual self, but have a doubt (about it). We have surrendered unto you who alone are puruShOttama, seeking refuge”.
puruṣottamam” – “puruSha” signifies he is higher than the baddhas. “ut” signifies he is higher than the muktas. “-tamap” signifies he is higher than the nitya sUrIs. Thus, he alone is the highest.
“brahmavādinaḥ” – Here, “brahma” again refers to the individual self on account of its’ all-pervasive nature in the pure state.
These munis are well known as propagators of the knowledge of the individual self, but they themselves have been overcome by doubt. Thus, it does not befit their position and they seek to remove the doubt.
tvaṃ hi tad vettha paramaṃ sarvajño bhagavānṛṣiḥ
nārāyaṇaḥ svayaṃ sākṣāt purāṇo 'vyaktapūruṣaḥ (24)
Meaning: You certainly know the knowledge of the individual self as you are bhagavān– the one with 6 attributes, who knows that he is the antaryAmin or inner self of everything (sarvajña) and one who is omniscient (ṛṣi), who is verily Narayana, the ancient Purusha whose true nature is not easily manifest to everyone in his avatArAs (like the Nara-Narayana avatara we are seeing now).
sarvajña” - tatha sarvātmana ātmānam janati iti sarvajñaḥ – Bhagavan knows he is the inner self of everything, thus he is called “sarvajnaH”. Since the term “rSi” implies omniscience, this meaning of sarvajna as provided by Bhattar in the sahasranAma is most apt.
Since he knows himself as the inner self of everything, it goes without saying that he also knows the jIvAtma very well, for whom he is the innerself. So bhagavAn could easily discourse about it and clear their doubts. That is the idea.
The Lord’s true nature is not easily known in his avatArAs vide the following gIta slOka:
naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah
mudho ‘yam nabhijanati loko mam ajam avyayam || BG 7.25||
I, being enveloped in form, dress, gait and other characteristics appropriate to the relevant species of creation, take birth in during my avatArAs (yoga-maya-samavrtaH), am not manifest as the Supreme to the world. The ignorant, who are unaware of my glorious nature, identify me with that species. These people do not recognize me, who am unborn and immutable unlike the other creatures.
The idea being, the Lord is the Supreme Brahman who cannot be easily known and yet takes avatArAs due to his sousIlya guNa. But he hides his nature in his avatArAs and hence is not easily recognized as the supreme. The rishis are clarifying that they are not making such a mistake.
nahyanyo vidyate vettā tvāmṛte parameśvara śuśrūṣāsmākamakhilaṃ saṃśayaṃ chettumarhasi (25)
Meaning: Oh Supreme Ruler (Parameśvara)! No-one knows you truly (as you are hidden as sarvAntaryAmin and by virtue of prakrti which is mAya). We have a strong desire to know the truth. Please clarify our doubts.
The idea is that though bhagavAn is “Parameśvara” or the Supreme Ruler of all, though he is sarvAntaryAmin present in everyone, and though he appears amongst the people in his avatArAs, nobody knows him truly as the Ruler, or as the antaryAmin, or even his true nature which he hides during his avatArAs. This is by virtue of prakrti that is Maya. As the Lord is the Maheśvara who is the wielder of this mAya, the rishis opine that he alone can clarify their doubts and dispel confusion.
Thus, even before Rudra begins his discourse, the rishis have clarified that only nArAyaNa alone is independently supreme and the bestower of knowledge. Rudra gets his knowledge from nArAyaNa.
kiṃ kāraṇamidaṃ kṛtsnaṃ ko 'nusaṃsarate sadā kaścidātmā ca kā muktiḥ saṃsāraḥ kiṃnimittakaḥ
kaḥ saṃsārayatīśānaḥ ko vā sarvaṃ prapaśyati kiṃ tat parataraṃ brahma sarvaṃ no vaktumarhasi (26-27)
Meaning:  The rishis then asked the following questions
Q1) kiṃ kāraṇamidaṃ kṛtsnaṃ- What is the Cause of all this (Creation)? – This means, “Explain the nature of Brahman who is the Cause of the Universe”. A seeker of the self needs to meditate on Brahman to attain a similar state, and Brahman is also the means for him. Thus, knowledge of Brahman is mandatory. This is explained in Chapters 4 and 5 of this work.
Q2) ko 'nusaṃsarate sadā - Who is always moving? – That which moves is the jIvAtma undergoing births and deaths, moving from body to body. So this means, “How does the jIva, in association with association with prakrti (matter) and kAla (time) move about from birth to birth in samsAra”This is expounded in Chapter 3.
Q3) kaścidātmā - What is the “Atma”? – Explain the nature of the jIvAtma in its’ pure state divested of prakrti. The previous question was to understand the self in association with prakrti and kAla, but this question is on the pure self, in its’ natural condition. This is the subject matter of Chapter 2.
Q4) kā muktiḥ - What is liberation, ie, knowledge that leads to freedom from distress of samsAra? – This means, explain how the three entities – the individual self, prakrti and the Lord –are meditated upon to attain liberation from the distress of samsAra. “Liberation” here means the state of being unaffected by distress of samsAra (sthitha-prajna) and not moksha proper. Since this knowledge is closely associated with this liberation, it is itself termed as “mukti” here. This knowledge is described in Chapter 8.
Q5) saṃsāraḥ kiṃnimittakaḥ - What is that by which the Universe (samsAra) is caused (to exist)? – This means, explain how the individual self, despite being pure and diametrically opposite to prakrti in nature, is nonetheless the sustainer of the Universe and its’ characteristics. Does this self impart its’imperishability to the Universe? Or does the Universe make the self perishable by association? Or do both merge and become one? Explain this association. This forms the content of Chapter 9.
Q6) kaḥ saṃsārayatīśānaḥ - Who is Ishana, or the Lord who is the controller of samsAra? – This asks “How does the Lord perform the activities of the Universe?” – and is a twofold question.Thus, it requires an explanation of the various vibhUtIs in samsAra that constitute the bodies of the Lord, by which he runs the affairs of the Universe. Then, having understood that everything is his vibhUti, the second part of the question is to understand how the Lord binds the jIvAs who are his vibhUtIs in samsAra and also liberates them. This vibhUti yOga is fully covered in Chapters 6 and 7.
Q7) ko vā sarvaṃ prapaśyati - Who perceives all, ie, how can we perceive the individual self? – This means, explain the nature of the Yoga practiced for perception of the individual self. Since the individual selves are all identical in nature, and since the various forms of man, deva, plant etc are but the forms of such identical individual selves, the perception of the true nature of the self means that everything (sarvaṃ) is perceived, as it is the same everywhere. Thus by knowing the self, everything is known. This is the topic of discussion in Chapter 11.
Q8) kiṃ tat parataraṃ - What is that individual self which is the highest object of attainment under the dominion of the Lord? This means, elaborate on how the individual self is the highest object of attainment as compared to prakrti. After all, material objects are also enjoyable. But the self is said to be more pleasurable than the material objects. Why or how is this so? This is the question. As the Lord controls both prakrti and the self, the latter is called “parataraṃ” as it is the superior-most object of attainment under his dominion. This is duly elaborated in Chapter 10.
You must explain everything.
Shiva, who eventually agrees to enlighten the sages, does not explain these questions in the exact order, but follows the sequence that is natural to a step-by-step realization. The chapters mapped to the questions have already been provided. We will see all this in detail later.
It must be noted that these rishis are jnAnIs and so do not in reality have any doubts. It is purely for the welfare of the worlds that they want these questions answered, so that shrI veda vyAsa can record the conversation. Also, even if you know everything, such knowledge is of no use until you formally hear it from a guru. Thus, they were seeking an Acharya before beginning their upAsaNa.
evamukte tu munayaḥ prāpaśyan puruṣottamam vihāya tāpasaṃ rūpaṃ saṃsthitaṃ svena tejasā vibhrājamānaṃ vimalaṃ prabhāmaṇḍalamaṇḍitam śrīvatsavakṣasaṃ devaṃ taptajāmbūnadaprabham  śaṅkhacakragadāpāṇiṃ śārṅgahastaṃ śriyāvṛtam na dṛṣṭastatkṣaṇādeva narastasyaiva tejasā (28-29)
Meaning: Upon saying this, the sages looked at Purushottama (Narayana), who shed his form of a tapasvi and was established in his own effulgence (tejas).He was shining as purity incarnate, and surrounded by light. He was the god with the Srivatsa mark on his chest, which was glittering and held the conch, discus, mace and bow in his hands. He was enveloped by the effulgence of Lakshmi. Nara was not visible due to his luster.
The Lord had been in the guise of a tapasvi, and thus by shedding that form, he showed that he was the Supreme Being, who had no need of tapas. Such is the idea.
Why did Bhagavan not answer their questions and simply revealed his true nature? It is because he did not want to answer these questions himself.  
The reason is this – Meditation of the jIva is performed by those seeking to escape the distress of samsAra and experience the intrinsic bliss of the individual self. Bhagavan by nature is free of such distress. As such, he knows no suffering truly. Bhagavan also derives bliss by experiencing himself, and he has no need to, and has never experienced the bliss of the jIva. Thus, he is not the right person to guide the seekers of the individual self.
This does not compromise his omniscience or omnipotence, as these qualities only apply to things that are possible. It is impossible for bhagavAn to suffer or experience the bliss of the jIvAtma, and thus, his omniscience and omnipotence does not apply here. This is the logic as explained by shri Kurattazhwan.
So, he revealed his true nature, showing he was Paramatma. By this gesture, he is hinting that he cannot lecture the munis.
tadantare mahādevaḥ śaśāṅkāṅkitaśekharaḥ prasādābhimukho rudraḥ prādurāsīnmaheśvaraḥ (30)
Meaning: In the meantime, Maheshvara, who is called Mahadeva, Rudra, who has the moon on his head, arrived with a disposition to bestow his favor on the rishis.
Rudra – One who cried upon birth due to being a jnAni.  Maheshvara – The great one who has controlled his mind. Mahadeva – the god who is great among the devas due to performance of the “sarvamEdha yAga” and his ascetic penances.
Rudra has the moon on his head, which symbolizes the fact that he is sheltered from the heat of samsAra by his meditation on the bliss of Brahman which is cool like the moon.
He arrived to bestow his favor, as he knew the will of Narayana -“Jnanam icchet Ishvarat”.
These characteristics of Rudra, in contrast to Narayana, are described because it shows Rudra unlike Narayana is a Jiva who knows what suffering is, having cried upon birth due to his karmas. He has mastery of his body, senses and mind, as indicated by his name of Maheshvara. He knows how to meditate on the pure nature of the jIvAtma as signified by his penances that earned him the name of Mahadeva and he is one who has experienced the bliss of the individual self as signified by the moon.
Thus, he is more suited to lecture the rishis than Paramatma.
nirīkṣya te jagannāthaṃ trinetraṃ candrabhūṣaṇam tuṣṭuvurhṛṣṭamanaso bhaktyā taṃ parameśvaram (31-32)
Meaning: On seeing the three-eyed, moon adorned Lord of the Universe, the master of the supreme knowledge (Parameshvara), the minds of the sages were delighted, and they extolled him in devotion.
Rudra is called the Lord of the Universe on account of being the AvEsha-avatAra of bhagavAn who is conducting the affairs of the Universe, or because he is the medium of knowledge of Brahman. Alternatively, one can take “jagannāthaṃ” as referring to his antaryAmin who has Rudra as his body in accordance with “śāstradṛṣṭyā tūpadeśo vāmadevavat" (Br.Su.1.1.30-31)
The rishis now start singing praises of Rudra, as they realise he is about to give them the knowledge they seek.  
jayeśvara mahādeva jaya bhūtapate śiva  jayāśeṣamunīśāna tapasābhiprapūjita (33)
Meaning: Victory to Ishvara, to Mahadeva, to the Lord of embodied beings (bhūtapate), to the one made auspicious by Ganga (from the feet of Hari). Victory to the one who commands the sages, who is worshipped by knowledge (of the Supreme Brahman Narayana) which is called “tapas”.
āśeṣamunīśāna” – This signifies Rudra as parama-guru who is the bestower of knowledge of Brahman.
tapasābhiprapūjita” – The term “tapas” means knowledge as per tapObrahma.  This is the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman. So, the rishis are saying that Rudra is worshipped through knowledge of the Supreme Brahman being his antaryAmin.
Thus, Rudra and the rishis all know that Narayana alone is the Supreme. The succeeding shlokas are thus a stuti of the Lord Narayana, whose attributes are superimposed on Rudra.
sahasramūrte viśvātman jagadyantrapravartaka jayānanta jagajjanmatrāṇasaṃhārakāraṇa
sahasracaraṇeśāna śaṃbho yogīndravandita jayāmbikāpate deva namaste parameśvara (34-35)
Meaning: One with a thousand forms, One who is the self of the Universe, One who activates or impels the jIva that is the support (yantra) of the Universe, the infinite One, the cause of creation/sustenance/destruction of the Universe, Victory to the One who is the controller having a thousand legs, to Shambhu who is worshipped by the Yogis, to the consort of Ambika, Obeisance to the God known as Parameśvara.
As had been clarified by “āśeṣamunīśāna” and “tapasābhiprapūjita” earlier, the worship of Rudra is based on the knowledge that Narayana is his indweller, and on account of the fact that he is a medium of knowledge of Brahman.
Hence, the rishis praise Rudra here by superimposing attributes of Narayana on Rudra, in accordance with the nyAya “brahmadṛṣṭirutkarṣāt” (brahma sUtra 4.1.5).
sahasramūrte viśvātman” brings out the sharIrAtma bhAva nicely. The forms or bodies of all beings are his forms or bodies (sahasramūrte) because he is the Atma (self) of the Universe. Note that nArAyaNa was already referred to as “viśvātman” earlier by the rishis. These are all attributes of Narayana, superimposed on Rudra.
śaṃbhu” – sam bhAvayati – He causes happiness by imparting brahma-jnAna to others. Hence he is worshipped by Yogis for knowledge of Brahman.
“āmbikāpate” – The consort of Uma, who herself is a renowned brahma-jnAni . Thus, she gets her knowledge of Brahman from Rudra.
parameśvara” – One who is the most celebrated “Ishvara” or Master of the Knowledge of Brahman. “Param” means “ūtkrṣtaṃ”.
saṃstuto bhagavānīśastryambako bhaktavatsalaḥ samāliṅgya hṛṣīkeśaṃ prāha gambhīrayā girā (36)
Meaning: On being eulogized in this manner, the three-eyed Bhagavan ISa, who is affectionate towards the bhaktas, embraced Hrshikesha and addressed him in a majestic tone –
bhaktavatsala” – One who is fond of those jnAnIs  who are endowed with knowledge of the means,  who surrender to Vasudeva, who are endowed with learning and other attributes, as he (Rudra) himself is endowed with such attributes. The idea is, Rudra knew that these rishis were praising Bhagavan in the previous shlokas and thus he is fond of such people, as he himself is one such person. This is as per Srimad Viraraghavacharya.
Bhagavan is called “hrishikEsha” here specifically because it means he is the controller of the sense-organs of all including brahma, rudra, etc. The idea is that the Lord is the sarvAntaryAmin of even Rudra and thus is the real object of praise of the previous shlokas.
kimarthaṃ puṇḍarīkākṣa munīndrā brahmavādinaḥ imaṃ samāgatā deśaṃ kiṃ vā kāryaṃ mayācyuta (37)
Meaning: “O PundarIkAksha! Why have these expounders of the Vedas, these foremost of munis, come to this place. O Achyuta! What is to be done for them by me?
pundarIkAksha” – O you who are like the Eye for the residents of the  Supreme Abode Sri Vaikunta known as “Pundarikam”! On account of this, doubtless you can provide the “perception” these munis seek (through me)!
Achyuta” – O you who never let your devotees fall!  On account of this, you are going to fulfill the  desires of these munis who are your devotees, making me (Rudra) an instrument! So I wait for your consent.
ākarṇya bhagavadvākyaṃ devadevo janārdanaḥ prāha devo mahādevaṃ prasādābhimukhaṃ sthitam (38)
Meaning: On hearing this, the god of gods, Janardhana spoke to the God Mahadeva who was situated in a disposition to favor.
ime hi munayo deva tāpasāḥ kṣīṇakalmaṣāḥ abhyāgatā māṃ śaraṇaṃ samyagdarśanakāṅkṣiṇaḥ yadi prasanno bhagavān munīnāṃ bhāvitātmanām sannidhau mama tajjñānaṃ divyaṃ vaktumihārhasi (39-40)
Meaning: Deva! These munis are devoid of sins obstructing yoga as they are tapasvis. They have come to me, seeking refuge, being desirous of the correct perception (of the individual self). If you are kindly disposed towards them, O Respected One (Bhagavan), impart to them the divine knowledge in my presence.
Bhagavan did not want to make the discourse himself, because this lecture is about the individual self and not about attaining the Supreme Brahman. Since Bhagavan, being paramAtma, is not a meditator of the jIvAtma, he has never experienced suffering, and never undertaken any means to relieve such suffering. He cannot use certain terms the way Rudra can (such as saying, “I meditate on this individual self”). Bhagavan also does not have practical application in experience of the intrinsic bliss of the jIva, having never undertaken such an upAsaNa himself. He only meditates on himself.
Rudra is a jIva and hence a meditator of the essential nature of the jIva. The idea is, Rudra is a more apt teacher for this topic than the Supreme Brahman, on account of being a practitioner of this Vidya.
Nampillai says in Eedu, “to correct an animal, bhagavAn sends another animal” – this describes the fact that to correct us who are samsArIs, bhagavAn sent azhwars who also were in samsAra and were liberated. The azhwars thus know our sufferings and can relate to us better than bhagavAn.
Similarly here, Rudra knows the sufferings of the rishis, the experience of the self and can relate to them better than bhagavAn. Rudra himself was born at an inauspicious time, and has conquered his tamo guNa by penances and thus is a practitioner of this vidya. He has direct experience as compared to Bhagavan.
tvaṃ hi vettha svamātmānaṃ na hyanyo vidyate śiva tatastvamātmanātmānaṃ munīndrebhyaḥ pradarśaya (41)
Meaning: One who has been purified by austerities (Shiva)! Only you know your body (and not me, who am not a jIva). No-one else (who does not have your ascetic prowess) knows (in that way). Therefore, you by your mind (free of attachments) can reveal the self to these foremost of munis.
Here, bhagavAn openly declares why he cannot discourse on the Atman.
He tells Rudra, “Only you, being a jIva, know yourself as distinct from your body perfectly (svamātmānaṃ - here “Atmanam” means body; sri bhAshyakArar writes under Gita 13.23-25 that it is possible to interpret “Atma” as body). No-one who does not belong to your category of jIva-koti, can know this as well. Meaning, I cannot know it as well as you do since I do not have a body made of prakrti like yours. Neither do others know it as well as you do, since they do not have your ascetic merit and hence lack proper discrimination of self and body.”
svamātmānaṃ” – “ātmā” refers to Rudra’s body. Bhagavan Narayana has never suffered in a body, never had a wayward mind dragging him to sense-objects, never had an intellect numbed by karmas and never had a reason to experience the bliss of the self, as he is ever contented in his own experience. That being the case, how can he know as well as Rudra, who has experienced all these?
“tvamātmanātmānaṃ” – You, by virtue of your mind that is free of material attachments (ātmanā), reveal the self (ātmānaṃ).
Rudra is called “Shiva” here because he purified himself with the Lord’s sripAda theertha, Ganga and thus his mind is free of material attachments. Thus he knows himself as distinct from his body. Thus, Bhagavan is implying, “You know what suffering is, having experienced it, and you also know the means to relieve yourself of this suffering, having purified your mind by your austerities and attaining the name of Shiva. You are situated in perfect knowledge of difference between self and body, you do not have dehAtma bhrama. Thus, teach them.”
In Eedu, Nampillai remarks thus – Sri Krishna failed to enlighten Arjuna even after teaching him the Gita. Why? It is because nobody can understand Bhagavan properly, as he is not “one of them”.  In order to tame an animal, one must send another animal who is already tamed, to subdue and win over the rogue animal. So, bhagavan sends those jIvAs who are the azhwars and Acharyas to correct the Samsaris. As the Acharyas are Jivas, they have already been through suffering and reached the highest state – so they can relate to our condition unlike Bhagavan who truly cannot understand what suffering is. Hence, they are better teachers than Bhagavan.
Similarly, Rudra is a better teacher than Vishnu for the knowledge of the Jivatman, as it requires exposition on detachment from material objects. Rudra has first hand experience of suffering and detachment unlike Bhagavan who neither suffers nor needs to be detached.
evamuktvā hṛṣīkeśaḥ provāca munipuṅgavān pradarśayan yogasiddhiṃ nirīkṣya vṛṣabhadhvajam saṃdarśanānmaheśasya śaṅkarasyātha śūlinaḥ kṛtārthaṃ svayamātmānaṃ jñātumarhatha tattvataḥ (42-43)
Meaning: After saying this, Hrshikesha, exhibiting the success of his divine will, looked at Rudra who has the banner of the bull and instructed the sages as follows – “O Munis! Consider yourself blessed for being able to see Mahesha, Shankara bearing the trident. You deserve to know (the jIvAtma) as it is.”
Rudra has the bull as his banner as it stands for dharma, an anga of upAsaNa. He is Mahesha as he is the controller of his mind, Shankara as he does good deeds for the Universe. He bears the trident which signifies that he pierces the triguNAs and rids himself of their influence.
"pradarśayan yogasiddhiṃ" - "yoga" means "dhyAna" -- refers to divine will for which thought is the basis. "siddhi" means success or fulfillment. Bhagavan displayed the fact that his divine will is always successful and fulfilled. How? It is indicated by the name "hṛṣīkeśaḥ " - the controller of the senses of brahma, rudra and everyone else. During the bhagavad gIta discourse, it was bhagavAn who as the indweller influenced the senses of Arjuna to cause despondence in him, so that Arjuna would seek the Gita discourse. Similarly here, it is bhagavAn who influenced the senses of the rishis to ask the questions related to the Jivatma, and it was by his divine will that Rudra arrived to give the discourse. This is by virtue of his sarvAntaryAmitva -- and thus, bhagavAn only is the true instigator of all these incidents, with everything happening according to his will.
The trigger to the Lord's divine will is the fact that the rishis said "We surrender to you, Purushottama". Just as the Bhagavad Gita discourse properly began only when Arjuna surrendered to him (mam tvam prapannam -  Gita 2.7), the Ishvara Gita discourse became a reality only when the Rishis said "śaraṇaṃ prapannāḥ puruṣottamam" (23rd shloka). It is only by Prapatti/Sharanagati that the Lord helps his bhaktas.
praṣṭumarhatha viśveśaṃ pratyakṣaṃ purataḥ sthitam mamaiva sannidhāveṣa yathāvad vaktumīśvaraḥ (44)
Meaning: You must ask Ishana, the controller of the minds of all beings in the Universe (leading them to Brahman), who is standing directly in front of you, as he alone is capable of saying everything accurately.
“iṣohaṃ sarva dehinām”  – Rudra is a controller of the embodied beings according to Harivamsha.
niśamya viṣṇuvacanaṃ praṇamya vṛṣabhadhvajam sanatkumārapramukhāḥ pṛcchanti sma maheśvaram (45)
Meaning: Hearing the words of Vishnu, the munis with Sanat-Kumara as their chief bowed down to the bull-bannered God, and inquired Maheshvara (ie, they put before Rudra the same questions they had asked Narayana earlier).
“vṛṣabhadhvajam” – He bears the bull, a symbol of dharma, thus he knows the purport of the Vedas.
athāsminnantare divyamāsanaṃ vimalaṃ śivam kimapyacintyaṃ gaganādīśvarārhaṃ samudbabhau (46)
Meaning: Then, a divine seat, pure, auspicious seat appeared there from the sky inconceivably, shining there for the sake of Ishvara (Shiva).
As Shiva is Vishva-Guru, the seat is meant for him to sit on and commence his discourse.  
A few shlokas occur which have a standard meaning.
tatrāsasāda yogātmā viṣṇunā saha viśvakṛt tejasā pūrayan viśvaṃ bhāti devo maheśvaraḥ (47)
Meaning: The god Maheshvara, whose mind is united with the auspicious attributes of Brahman in meditation (yogātmā) and who performs acts for the good of the world (viśvakṛt) was seated there along with Vishnu. He shone there filling the world with his radiance.
yogātmā” – The term “Atma” refers to the mind. “yujyatE iti yOga” – One whose mind is yoked to Brahman in meditation.
gurur devo bhava” – Therefore, Rudra was seated with Vishnu as though he were an equal.
taṃ te devādideveśaṃ śaṅkaraṃ brahmavādinaḥ  vibhrājamānaṃ vimale tasmin dadṛśurāsane (48)
Meaning: Those expounders of the Vedas saw the god who performs auspicious deeds (Shankara), the Ruler of even Indra the God of Gods, shining in that pure seat.
yaṃ prapaśyantiyogasthāḥ svātmanyātmānamīśvaram ananyatejasaṃ śāntaṃ śivaṃ dadṛśire kila (49)
Meaning: The sages situated in Yoga, saw by virtue of their minds, the Ruler of himself, with incomparable splendor (ananyatejasaṃ), who is tranquil (śāntaṃ), who is pure as he is devoid of the triguNAs (śivaṃ).
The reference to the rishis being situated in Yoga is only there to imply that having meditated on Rudra in the previous shloka as the bestower of knowledge to the beings in the Universe, they are now meditating on his indweller. That is the reason for the usage of “yogasthāḥ” and “svātmanyā” here in particular.
These attributes describe the indweller of Rudra.
“ātmānamīśvaram” is similar to ātmeśvara in the Narayana Suktam.
ananyatejasaṃ” is according to pramANAs such as visnor cātma bhagavato bhavaḥ amita tejasaḥ and tejasā jvalayanviṣṇostryakṣasya ca mahātmanaḥ”.
śāntaṃ śivaṃ” is similar to the Narayana Suktam – “śāśvataṃ śivaṃ”. “śivaṃ” means nirūpādhika shuddimatvam”.
The idea is that Narayana, the indweller of Rudra who has the latter as his body, can be visualized only by skilled yOgIs, after understanding that Rudra is the bestower of knowledge of Brahman. That is why the reference to the munis being yogis is mentioned here, as opposed to the previous verses.
yataḥ prasūtirbhūtānāṃ yatraitat pravilīyate tamāsanasthaṃ bhūtānāmīśaṃ dadṛśire kila (50)
Meaning: The sages saw the Lord of Beings (Rudra) seated in the throne, from whom the created beings appear and within whom the world disappears.
These attributes describe Narayana as the antarAtma of Rudra using the nyAya of “śāstradṛṣṭyā tūpadeśo vāmadevavat" (Br.Su.1.1.30-31) on account of sharIrAtma bhAva, or because of being the AvESha-avatAra of bhagavAn.
yadantarā sarvametad yato 'bhinnamidaṃ jagat sa vāsudevamāsīnaṃ tamīśaṃ dadṛśuḥ kila (51)
Meaning: In whom everything exists (ie, dependent) and from whom this Universe does not have a separate existence, the sages saw that Ruler (Isham) seated with Vasudeva.
The words “abhinnamidaṃ jagat”, further confirm what was explained earlier. The idea is that, just as the Universe does not have a separate existence from the Lord, neither does Rudra. It is aprthak-siddhi.
This is just as the body cannot exist independently of the self. Hence, these attributes belong to paramAtma Sriman Narayana only.
Such a Rudra-Shariraka-Paramatma, is seated in the form of Rudra, along with Vasudeva, his other form.
The usage of “vāsudeva” is significant. The name means to reside and envelope everything. sarvam vasati - everything lives in him, and sarvatra vasati - He lives everywhere as he is the inner self.  By using “vāsudeva” to denote the supreme Lord sitting with Shiva, the rishis are showing that the attributes ascribed to Shiva in the above sloka belong to his indweller only. For the name “vāsudeva” has the same meanings as the description of Shiva in this sloka.
After such praise, Shiva commenced the discourse that is known as “Ishvara Gita”, which vyAsa related to the rishis. This sloka occurs to describe this event:
provāca pṛṣṭo bhagavān munīnāṃ parameśvaraḥ nirīkṣya puṇḍarīkākṣaṃ svātmayogamanuttamam (52)
Meaning: On being enquired by the munis, the omniscient one (bhagavān), Master of Supreme Knowledge (parameśvaraḥ), spoke to them about the excellent yoga of his intrinsic disposition, after looking at Pundarikaksha.
svātmayogam” – The Yoga of his “intrinsic disposition” (svātma) which means a discourse on the nature of the self, its’ association with prakrti and the consequent attributes, as well as the means to meditate on it and experience its bliss . Thus follows a discourse on the attributes of the individual self.
nirīkṣya puṇḍarīkākṣaṃ” - This shows that he is meditating on vishNu for gaining the ability to impart knowledge. The usage of “pundarIkAksha” has two meanings:
  1. The Lord is “puṇḍarīkākṣa” or lotus eyed as he is the Lord of Lakshmi. By constantly looking at her glowing form, his eyes have become red. As Lakshmi is the compassionate mediator, Shiva meditates on the lotus-eyed lord to gain the mediatorship of Lakshmi, which secures bhagavad anugraha for commencing the discourse.

  1. Alternatively, “puṇḍarīkākṣa” means he is the eye of all the liberated selves in paramapada known as “puṇḍarīkaṃ”. Thus, the implication is that nArAyaNa is meditated upon by jnAnIs incessantly to derive their jnAna, or he is the one who facilitates their perception of himself. Shiva, being a jnAni, was thus also perceiving this pundarIkAksha.
The second meaning is likely closer to the context of the sloka. It is also the one favored by Bhattar in the sahasranAma.
tacchṛṇudhvaṃ yathānyāyamucyamānaṃ mayānaghāḥ praśāntamānasāḥ sarve jñānamīśvarabhāṣitam (53)
Meaning: O you sinless ones! Listen with tranquil minds to the pure knowledge pertaining to the individual self (Ishvara) which will be discoursed by me.
The knowledge about to be imparted by Shiva is on the essential nature of the individual self which is called “Ishvara” as it is the ruler of the body, senses and mind.
The Bhagavad Gita is spoken by Bhagavan and contains knowledge on attaining Bhagavan. The Ishvara Gita is spoken by Rudra (a Jivatma), and contains knowledge on attaining the Jivatma.
There are 11 chapters in the Ishvara Gita. Thus, they stand for the control of the 10 senses and the mind, engaging them in the meditation on the individual self.
With this, the first chapter of Ishvara Gita is over. This series will be continued.

15 comments :

  1. The first chapter of the Ishvara Gita is up now (along with corresponding journal article which you can read in the other section).

    If readers have any doubts, feel free to leave a comment and we will answer it.

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  2. I'm interested in your statement "The idea is, Rudra knew that these rishis were praising Bhagavan in the previous shlokas and thus he is fond of such people, as he himself is one such person. This is as per Srimad Viraraghavacharya." Did Viraraghavacharya, the Sri Vaishnava commentator on the Bhagavatam, also write a commentary on the Ishwara Gita? Or does he discuss this Ishwara Gita verse in some other work of his?

    Also, do you know who is the earliest Acharya, whether Advaitin, Dvaitin, or Visistadvaitin, who has ever mentioned or quoted the Ishwara Gita?

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    1. Dear Sri Keshav

      This may not answer your question, but Sri Shankara calls bhagavad gIta itself as Ishwara gIta at one place in his commentaries.

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    2. It is Srimad Viraraghavacharya who commented on the Bhagavatam. In Bhagavatam 4.24.26, Shiva is called "dharma-vatsala" and Sri Viraraghavachariar gives the meaning of "bhakti to vAsudeva" for "dharma" and describes that Shiva is fond of such persons in exactly the same lines that we have reproduced here. There is not much difference between "dharma-vatsala" and "bhakta-vatsala" since bhaktas are those who practice that dharma.

      Sri Shankara referred to Bhagavad Gita as Ishvara Gita because Krishna is Ishvara. In contrast, the Ishvara Gita is called so because "Ishvara" can refer to two things - 1) Rudra, the speaker, 2) The Jivatma, which is called "Ishvara" as it is the Ruler, supporter and nourisher of the body. Thus "Ishvara Gita" - The Song of the Jivatma (Ishvara).

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    3. And in answer to your second question, the Ishvara Gita has been quoted by the guru of Madhusudhana Saraswati, as you can read in the journal article. Vijnana Bhikshu has written a commentary as well.

      It is not quoted by Sri Vaishnava acharyas because just like Kaivalya/Jabala Upanishads, it talks of the Jivatma and has no polemical value. However, many shlokas in this section are drawn from bhagavad gita and so an explanation of these will certainly be based on what acharyas have already said.

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    4. Yes, I'm familiar with the fact that Vishveshvara Saraswati quoted from it and Vijnanabhikshu wrote an Ishwara Gita Bhashya. (He chose to write a Bhashya on it rather than on the Bhagavad Gita in writing commentaries on the Prasthanatraya.) But both of them are from the 16th century. Do we have any record of its existence before then?

      if not, do you think it may be an interpolation in the Kurma Purana? (Even if it is an interpolation, what you are doing is still useful, because if Shaivites are basing their claims of Shiva Paratva in part on the Ishwara Gita then it's good to disprove those claims.)

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    5. No record otherwise.

      It is not an interpolation, for the simple reason that it checks out philosophically and has no errors im its' composition. In contrast, shiva gita, interpolated parts of drona parva etc are fraught with philosophical errors which we have/will point out.

      Just FYI, Vijnanabhikshu was wrong in his assumption that Ishvara Gita is a substitute for Bhagavad Gita, as he didn't realize the former only talks about attaining the Jivatman and not Brahman.

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    6. Additionally, if it were interpolated, we wouldn't be wasting time and energy interpreting the entire section of 11 chapters just to spite some Shaivas. Yes, we did that once for some bogus upanishads as we had no choice due to some spectacularly silly claims by our opponents, but it was not an endeavor we liked one bit.

      We do not want to play a game of one-upmanship here. Our motivation is that interpreting shastras is not a game, but that the knowledge it contains will confer moksha to all sincere readers. Also, it is beautiful to see how even these previously uncommented portions conform perfectly to the views of our Purvacharyas - it highlights the greatness of these Acharyas and their tremendous intellect as well as grasp of the shastra.

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  3. These ishwar gita and Shiva gita are just for the purpose of misguiding people from the worship of Vishnu ji. At the time of tulsidas ji,these gitas were not part of any puranas. Shiva gita especially is a bogus fraud scriptures which shows Shri Ram as a coward, getting frightened upon witnessing the virat roop of Lord Shiva.

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    1. For the reasons already stated in the comments here, it is not right to discard Ishvara Gita as an interpolation. We will show in further articles that it does not show ShivasS supremacy.

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  4. It seems like hindu internet's resident buffoon, Santosh, the author of the Mahapashupatastra garbage has been reading our commentary:

    https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-in-Ishvara-Gita-Lord-Shiva-only-repeated-what-Lord-Vishnu-had-already-told-old-Vivaswan

    //There are another class of people (the narayanastra bloggers) who are desperately trying to prove Ishvara Gita is a “Jiva Upasana” etc. and trying to discredit Shiva’s greatness from that discourse. Reading their interpretations adds some comic relief to our lives. Good to have such commentaries in today’s stressful corporate.//

    Bit rich coming from him as his blog is strewn with fantasies, errors in phiosophy and grammar.

    He says Bhagavad Gita extols Shiva by quoting the likes of Abhinava Gupta, a non-vedAntic shaiva who never proved Shiva was supreme from a vedic contexr, and the words of Garbage Spewer #1, the Chief of Veerashaivas - Chandrasekhara Saraswati, the erstwhile pointiff of that bogus mutt. Talk about throwing credibility and logic to the winds, and he thinks he actually has a leg to stand on.

    Still thinks "Ishvara" everywhere refers to Rudra for some reason as well. When even in the Ishvara Gita, the rishis address Narayana as Parameshvara! The irony!! Why talk of things like "Jivatma Upasana" when you don't understand the first thing about it, ha ha.

    Sit tight and enjoy our commentary. All 11 chapters with their proper meaning will be out soon. Maybe you could learn something too.

    Lots of desperate vishnu-dveshis taking recourse to Quora nowadays, makes for good entertainment.

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    1. Hi Aaryamaa,

      My name is Navin and I read Santhosh's blog right before stumbling upon yours.
      To be honest I am glad I came upon your blog because I was deeply disturbed reading his.
      Before I continue, let me tell you that Krishna is my ishta deivata, but I was never attracted in arguments of which of the two Gods are superior and so on because to me that always reflected immaturity and ignorance.

      I actually stumbled upon his blog when I was looking for the meaning of the shloka “Om Tad Visno Paramam Padam” . I found what he wrote very informative, but I still could not buy his point that the veda’s disguised Uma/Shakti’s potential by calling her (the Kundalini) as Vishnu. What was even more disturbing was of course the Ishvara Gita. A work that I never have heard prior . He goes on to say that it was actually Shiva’s will that spoke the knowledge about Yoga/Paramatma through Krishna to Arjuna, and when the war was over, Arjuna asked Him to repeat the Gita, Krishna couldn’t do it. This then is the basis where he says the Gita actually comes from Shiva. This was of course interspersed with snide comments on the Vaishnavite believe.

      I can’t tell you how completely bewildered and astounded I was when I read that.

      It would help me and a lot of others out there if you could offer an explanation as a form of rebuttal to the points set forth by him. This is of course is in the spirit of a healthy debate , we do not need to dish on others or descend to name calling to prove our mettle. Lets simply be in the pursuit of the Truth together, with guidance of Bhagavan.

      P.S. Why on earth would you call Maha-periyava of the Kanchi Mutt to be bogus?!
      My dear man, let’s not spew hatred on each other, the world is full of it as it is.

      Radhekrishna.

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    2. Dear Navin,

      I missed your comment.

      //Before I continue, let me tell you that Krishna is my ishta deivata, but I was never attracted in arguments of which of the two Gods are superior and so on because to me that always reflected immaturity and ignorance.//

      Au contraire, if you have already assumed that the two gods are equal without learning what is said about them in shruti or smriti, it is your condescending attitude that makes you the immature party. So please do not preach something that is based on your sentiments to those who have sufficient knowledge on the subject. Shastra is clear that one is Brahman, but the other is a Jiva.

      Anyone who comes on here claiming "I think all are equal and it is immature to claim superiority" has obviously not read a lick of shAstra. Let's be clear - truth is not all-inclusive or secular. If it was, Krishna wouldn't say that one in millions reach him. True knowledge is indeed sectarian.

      //I actually stumbled upon his blog when I was looking for the meaning of the shloka “Om Tad Visno Paramam Padam” . I found what he wrote very informative, but I still could not buy his point that the veda’s disguised Uma/Shakti’s potential by calling her (the Kundalini) as Vishnu//

      Couldn't help but laugh at this. If you found that gibberish he wrote as informative, it only speaks volumes about your own ignorance. Then you call us immature for highlighting the truths of the shAstra!

      //He goes on to say that it was actually Shiva’s will that spoke the knowledge about Yoga/Paramatma through Krishna to Arjuna, and when the war was over, Arjuna asked Him to repeat the Gita, Krishna couldn’t do it. This then is the basis where he says the Gita actually comes from Shiva. This was of course interspersed with snide comments on the Vaishnavite believe//.

      We have already explained everything on this blog as well as the anu gita, seems like you haven't looked hard enough. If you drop the condescending tone wrt "all gods are equal is the "mature" idea" , might help your quest to learn vedAnta. Secularism and "worship anyone/anything to attain anyone/anything" is new age nonsense and won't help anyone.

      //P.S. Why on earth would you call Maha-periyava of the Kanchi Mutt to be bogus?!
      My dear man, let’s not spew hatred on each other, the world is full of it as it is.//

      P.S. Unless you fully understand everything about the debates between this Kanchi vishNu-dhveshi and other vedAntins, do not interfere. My dear man, let us not discuss matters that are far above your understanding which would lead to tedium, the world is parched of genuinely stimulating discussions as it is.

      Enough of that.

      Delete
    3. Navin and his ilk typify the prime reason for struggles of sanatana dharma today, in all honesty. The modern day hindu simply assumes "worship anything you want, regardless of whatever rules the shAstra has laid down" and this practice has been ingrained so much that they have even started accepting avaidika trash like christian and islamic gods in their life.

      Then, not being content with assuming things of their fancy, they throw accusations at those who sincerely follow the true purport of the shAstra by saying "you are narrow-minded, sectarian, etc etc". From their seat of ignorance, they take a condescending attitude towards those who are actually well-versed in what the shAstras say.

      Take a look at Navin's statement - He says, "I was never attracted in arguments of which of the two Gods are superior and so on because to me that always reflected immaturity and ignorance" -- On what basis did he assume that arguments on which god is superior or not is immaturity and ignorance? Does he know more than Sri Adi Shankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva who debated on these exact issues? These are the sort of sanctimonious, ignorant hindus who try to sermonize knowledgeable people, but gawk and gape helplessly when the leftists, christo-islamists and anti-hindu elements in our country ask them rudimentary questions on certain so-called controversial sections of rAmAyaNa, manu smriti to trap them! They are not even aware of the answers to such questions because they have never even made the effort to understand the shAstras in the first place.

      These are also the sort of hindus who probably believe that icon worship in temples is a "rudimentary practice" to attain some "formless higher truth" without knowing that the reality is actually in reverse!

      When you seek knowledge, approach it with an open mind. Do not ever try to take a higher moral ground, especially when yours is a mere opinion. If you think all gods are equal, or hold similar views, prove it with proper pramANAs from the shAstra. If you can't do that, then do not pass it off as some lofty ideal or truth.

      Delete
  5. NOTE: We have amended the commentary for shlokas 42-43 slightly. Turns out there was a minor grammatical error we didn't notice -- "pradarśayan yogasiddhiṃ" in that shloka indicates Bhagavan and not Rudra, and we initially assumed wrongly that it was for Rudra. So, we have modified the meaning accordingly.

    In fact, it is even more befitting now as the meaning is quite beautiful -- see the significance of the name "hrishikesha" in the shloka and compare it to "hṛiṣhīkeśhaḥ prahasanniva" (Gita 2.10) --- the Lord was happy he had managed to cause despondency in Arjuna by virtue of being the controller of the indriyas (hrishikesha), so he could discourse on the Gita. Similarly, the name is used in the Ishvara Gita to indicate his sankalpa.

    Just as a note, we might make such minor corrections in the future even after uploading the articles. This is because these write-ups are bulky and minor errors may be missed which will be proofread by use later. If we make any corrections post-publication, we will mention that in the comments section.

    It needs to be noted that such minor errors do not actually change the main intent or meaning of the shloka, so they are quite harmless.

    ReplyDelete

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