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This eternal Supreme Spirit, without beginning, devoid of modes, works not and is not stained, O son of Kunti! even when it is embodied.
As the ether that pervades all things is not stained through its subtlety, so the soul everywhere seated in bodies (m) is not stained.
As one sun alone illumines all this world, so the soul illumines the whole of matter, O son of Bharata!
They who see, by the eye of knowledge, this difference between matter (kshetra) and spirit (kshetrajna, matterknowing), and the deliverance of beings from Nature 1 (Prakriti), these go to the Supreme.
1 By the soul becoming free from all contact with matter in nirvāņa.
Thus the Bhagavad Gītā, Reading the Thirteenth, whose title is
“ DEVOTION BY THE SEPARATION OF MATTER AND SPIRIT.”
(a) In MS. (D) in the Royal Library at Paris, in two MSS. of London, in the Calcutta ed. of the Mahābhārata, and in three MSS. in my possession, the following distich is found at the beginning of the chapter. It is probably of late introduction :
“ Arjuna spoke. I desire to learn Nature and spirit-lise (purusha), matter and the matter-knowing (soul), science and its objects, O Keśava !”
(6) Kshetra, prim. a plain, a field; and hence matter, as that which is objective to the soul.
(c) Prabhāva. “Its incomprehensible sovereignty” (S'rīdhara). “Qualium capax" (Lassen and others). Primarily “birth,” its secondary meanings are good family, high rank, power, anthority.
(d) Chhandobhis. Chhandas is either metre or a chanted hymn. “ Haud dubie,” says Lassen, "indicatur pars quædam Vedorum." Sridhara says, “By Vasishtha (a Vedic poet) and the rest." “By the Rig Veda and the other Vedas” (Ananda). So say the Hindū scholiasts. This is possible, for our author does not discard the Vedas, though their ritual he held to be inferior in effect to pious meditation (yoga).
(e) Brahmasūtrapadais. Pada (foot) is here = metre or verse. The sūtras (threads) are the poetical distichs in which many of the Hindū philosophic works are composed. There is a work by Bādarāyaṇa called “Brahma-sūtras,” but the reference is probably to any hymns in honour of Brahma. Sankara says they were sūtras for the making known of Brahman
(f) A saktam, “unattached;" see p. 55. " Affectu immunc” (Lassen).
(9) Gunabhoktri. Qualitatibus fruens” (Lassen); “Il perçoit tous les modes” (Burnouf). The root bhuj, to eat, means also to possess, to enjoy. The meaning is that Brahma can use the modes of Prakriti, though they are not in him. (h) Jžānam, jñeyam, jñānagamyam.
Burnouf has, I think, correctly translated these words : “Science, objet de la science, but de la science.” Mr. Thomson's translation is: "It is spiritual knowledge itself, the object of that knowledge to be obtained by spiritual knowledge," and, thinking the first part expresses a very forced idea, would read jnānajneyam.
But all the MSS. read jñānam. The aim of all true knowledge is absorption into the Divine nature, according to Patanjali.
(e) Upapad yate. “Is conformed to my nature" (Thomson). Lassen and Burnouf, more correctly, "Comes to my nature," i.e., is absorbed in it. Srīdhara's explanation is, “ He is fit for union with Brahma."
() likārāns cha gunāns cha. “Passions and the (three) qualities" (Thomson); but all passion is from the qualities or modes. The meaning is that all the varieties of existent things and the modes, too, from which they spring, are from Prakriti (Nature). Srīdhara's gloss is : "Changes or modifications (pariņāma) of the modes, pleasure, pain, &c., which spring from Prakṣiti." Telang translates vikāra by "emanation ;” but this is not the meaning of the word.
(k) Kāryakāranakartritwe. Burnouf has kāya (body), but all the MSS., I believe, have kārya (effect, or thing to be done). The Hindū scholiasts and Lassen refer, however, the word to the body: "In actione ministerii corporalis.” The meaning seems to be : “In the activity or actual working of means and end (cause and effect), Nature is called the cause ;” both means and end being material. (See Lassen's note, p. 232.)
(1) Bhoktā. “Perceptor" (Lassen); “enjoyer” (Thomson). Brahma is a usufruct of material things by offerings, &c. Srīdhara explains the word by pālaka (guardian).
(m) Sarvatrāvasthito dehe. Ubicunque cum corpore congressus (spiritus)” (Lassen); “Present in every (kind of) body” (Thomson). Dr. Lorinser thinks the meaning is that the soul is in every part of the body, but the reference is to soul in the abstract, as everywhere enclosed in bodies. Sridhara says that the soul everywhere placed is not soiled ; it is not connected with the bodily faults of the modes (guna). The soul then has no guilt or pollution of sin upon it.
READING THE FOURTEENTH.
THE HOLY ONE spoke. Now I will further declare that sublime science, the chief of the sciences, by which all the munis have passed from this world to the highest perfection (nirvāṇa).
Having devoted themselves to this science, and having entered into my nature, they are not born again even in a new creation, and in the dissolution (of the world) they are not disturbed (a).
The mighty Brahma is my womb; therein I place the living germ, and from this comes the birth of all things that exist, O son of Bharata !
1 When a kalpa begins and ends; sentative of Vishņu or Brahmā, is see c. viii. They are born no more the material source of created things, under any circumstances.
as containing Prakriti or Nature, of ? There is a difficulty here. Brah- which they are the development, mă, the One Universal Spirit, is said and Brahmă is the animating, vivi. to be the fertilising womb in which fying power. Krishņa then may be all things are formed. Mr. Thom. considered as the material, and Brahson's explanation is that “as Brah- mă the efficient, cause of creation. mā (Brahmă as Creator) is the mytho. Humboldt offers nearly the same logical personification of a Vedic or explanation : “Krishna is the same semi-mythological Supreme Being, as Brahmă, is the highest Brahmă so is Brahmă here the philosophical himself. But we must not reverse type of the creative principle of the the proposition, and herein lies the philosophical Supreme Being.” But difference. Brahmă is the divine the only philosophy we have to con- original power (urkraft), but reposing sider here is the Hindū philosophy, in his eternity; as God, here Kșishņa, and Brahmă is not, in any Hindū the divine personality (persönlichsystem, the direct source of material keit), comes forth” (Essay on the forms. The true explanation seems B. G., p. 21). As Brahmā, Křishna to be that Krishộa, as the repre- gives the material germ (garbha)