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Thread: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

  1. #1
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    The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Namaste,

    Some zealous Vaishnavs believe and preach that Krishna is even above Brahman. This can be noticed in the discussions taking place on this forum too. In all Upanishads and Veda-samhitAs, Brahman is stated to be Supreme and essence of all that is. If we accept this version that Krishna has a higher status than Brahman ... it negates what Shruti says.

    This understanding finds its support in translation of this verse of Bhagwad Gita :

    BrahmaNo hi pratishthAham Amritasya Avyayasya cha |
    Shashvatsya cha Dharmasya sukhasyaikantimeva cha || BG 14.27||

    This translation is found as this in many places which has caused this problem of irreconcilability of Bhagwad Gita with Shruti :

    For, I am the substratum of the imperishable Brahman, of immortality, of the eternal Dharma and of unending immutable bliss.


    There are some other translations too with slight variations but the message of Lord Krishna declaring Himself being substratum of Brahman appears and creates all this confusion. It is to be noted that Lord Krishna declares Himself as both Saguna and Nirguna Brahman and therefore, this translation poses no threat to violating Shruti if it means that Nirguna Brahman is the substratum of SaguNa Brahman. This cannot have any issues as both saguna and Nirguna are aspects of the same Brahman. But as for Vaishnavas, Krishna in saguna form alone is supreme ... it creates a problem when it is given a meaning that Saguna Brahman i.e. Lord Krishna is substratum of Nirguna BrahmaNa i.e. Brahman in that verse.

    However, if we examine closely, the translation should be a little different which leaves no scope of manipulating the meaning of the verse. How ? Let's see :

    Brahmano means Brahman and not "of Brahman". If the verse intended to say, "of Brahman", there should have been seventh vibhakti in Brahman i.e. Brahmanasya instead of BrahmaNo. If we consider that translation, the meaning appears as given below :

    Brahmano = Brahman
    hi = alone
    PratishThAham = I Am + PratishTha = I am support/base/substratum/source
    Amritasya = of Immortality
    Avyayasya = of the Imperishable
    Shashvatasya = of the Eternal
    cha = and
    Dharmasya = of Dharma
    sukhasyaikantimeva cha = sukhasya + ekAntim + eva + cha = of happiness/bliss + unending + alone/too + and

    So, it translates into :

    I alone am Brahman (Brahmano hi) and source of Immortality and of the Imperishable and eternal dharma and unending bliss too.

    ... Needless to say that this translation doesn't contradict Shruti.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  2. #2

    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Pranams,

    It seems that devotee's ongoing crusade against the "zealous Vaishnavs" will not be ending anytime soon. For those who might be wondering, the interpretation being criticized by devotee is actually that of the gauDIya vaiShNavas, i.e. those following chaitanya. Now, I don't want to seem like I am defending their interpretation, but I think we should make one significant correction in the name of fairness and accuracy.

    BrahmaNo hi pratishthAham Amritasya Avyayasya cha |
    Shashvatsya cha Dharmasya sukhasyaikantimeva cha || BG 14.27||


    ....

    Brahmano means Brahman and not "of Brahman". If the verse intended to say, "of Brahman", there should have been seventh vibhakti in Brahman i.e. Brahmanasya instead of BrahmaNo. If we consider that translation, the meaning appears as given below :

    Brahmano = Brahman
    hi = alone
    PratishThAham = I Am + PratishTha = I am support/base/substratum/source
    Amritasya = of Immortality
    Avyayasya = of the Imperishable
    Shashvatasya = of the Eternal
    cha = and
    Dharmasya = of Dharma
    sukhasyaikantimeva cha = sukhasya + ekAntim + eva + cha = of happiness/bliss + unending + alone/too + and

    So, it translates into :

    I alone am Brahman (Brahmano hi) and source of Immortality and of the Imperishable and eternal dharma and unending bliss too.

    ... Needless to say that this translation doesn't contradict Shruti.
    First of all, I think devotee actually means the 6th vibhakti, which is the genitive case. The 7th vibhakti is the locative case.

    The 6th vibhakti of "brahman" (neuter) is NOT "brahmanasya." There is no such construction in Sanskrit, certainly not for neuter stems ending in "-an." Rather, the 6th vibhakti would be "brahaNas" which becomes "brahmaNo" before "hi" through sandhi, i.e. "brahaNas hi pratiShThAham" becomes "brahmaNo hi pratiShThAham"

    Devotee's incorrect translation would require that "brahman" be declined in either the first or second vibhaktis, which would be "brahma," which would not become "brahmaNo" through sandhi.

    Practically every translation I have seen takes "brahman" in the genitive case, i.e. "I am the basis or the support of brahman." How can this be, since Krishna is brahman? Does this not contradict shruti, to suggest that Krishna, who is Brahman, is actually the foundation for Brahman? Not really, because "brahman" in this context actually has a secondary meaning. The gauDIyas take it to refer to the effulgence radiating from His body based on some shlokas from the harivamsha. The sense of their interpretation as I understood it is that the attainment of this brahmajyoti means to dwell in His physical presence, bathed in His natural effulgence. Thus, it is consistent with "brahman" in this context which is clearly in the genitive case.

    Meanwhile, rAmAnuja takes it to refer to the jIva, since the jIva has brahman as its inner controller. This too is consistent, for the jIva is equated to brahman in numerous ways, even as the difference is also mentioned.

    EDIT: Just to clarify, the -asya ending is seen for masculine a- stems, i.e. "devasya" which is genitive for "deva." Devotee has confused the declension tables between different classes of stems, hence his erroneous remarks above.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    One would think those who believe in two brahmans should find it easy to explain one (krishna) to be the basis of the other, instead of this unfortunate cock-up.
    Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 per cent Of everything you think, And of everything you do, Is for yourself And there isn't one

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Just checked the boring shankara bhasya, and truely he explains it as everyone else like phil has said. From advaita pov he finds no issue of sri krishna being ground of brahman, as they r same.

    But he also gives another explanstion which is what i thought in the last post. Brahman here is taken to be to be the lesser brahman with attributes (although krishna would fit that bill better imo).
    Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 per cent Of everything you think, And of everything you do, Is for yourself And there isn't one

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    BrahmaNo hi pratishthAham Amritasya Avyayasya cha |
    Shashvatsya cha Dharmasya sukhasyaikantimeva cha || BG 14.27||
    This verse is not from the Bhagavad Gita.

  6. #6

    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Madhva interprets Brahman in this verse to mean Laxmi.

    One wonders what the author of this BG verse actually meant, as a literal reading does not align with any of the three major interpretations.
    http://lokayata.info
    http://shivsomashekhar.wordpress.com/category/history/

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Quote Originally Posted by shiv.somashekhar View Post
    One wonders what the author of this BG verse actually meant, as a literal reading does not align with any of the three major interpretations.
    One should find the answer in the purport or explanation by a self-realized guru of his path.

    For example,as gaudiya-vaishnava,I believe in the purport of Swami Prabhupada.
    A Sri Vaishnava believes in the purport of Sri Ramanuja etc

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    hari o
    ~~~~~~
    namast


    take ananta and cut it in half , what do you get ? amita.

    iti śiva

    worfds
    • ananta - endless , boundless , eternal , infinite ; some call śeṣa, others call śeṣa's brother vāsuki
    • amita - unmeasured , boundless , infinite
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Namaste to all

    >> The Purushottama is in the heart of every creature and is manifested in his countless Vibhutis; the Purushottama is the cosmic spirit in Time and it is he that gives the command >> to the divine action of the liberated human spirit. He is both Akshara and Kshara, and yet he is other because he is more and greater than either of these opposites.

    >> Uttamah.purus.as tvanyah. paramatmetyudahr.tah. , yo lokatrayam avisya bibhartyavyaya ısvarah. ,

    >> But other than these two is that highest spirit called the supreme Self, who enters the three worlds and upbears them, the imperishable Lord. This verse is the keyword of the >> Gitas reconciliation of these two apparently opposite aspects of our existence.

    The above is an extract from pages 441 and 442 of "Essays on the Gita" by Sri Aurobindo.

    The monistic philosophy of Adi Shankara, assigning primal status to monks pursuing renunciation through direct inwardness into the Immutable Silent Self, had for its kernel the method of Self-Inquiry. This was thrown open to everyone by Sage Ramana. This method is of immeasurable utility to the common man, if pursued intermittently, as laid down by Saint Sri Sadhu Aum, a primeval disciple of Sage Ramana.

    However, as Sri Aurobindo says above, the doctrine of Purushottama, that at once exceeds the mutable Kshara Brahman and the immutable Akshara Brahman, who is the Master of all works and who is seated in the hearts of all, and to whom all works are to be offered in consecration, may be the secret of the Upanishads, which was explicitly laid down in the Gita by Bhagawan Krishna. This surely makes one try to recover God in the manifest world of painful contraries.

    Incidentally, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother propounded a new "Vaishanvo-Shaaktam", in the 20th century, for the benefit of all humanity.

    Ra K Sankar

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    Re: The correct meaning of verse 14.27

    Namaste Devotee Ji,

    Doesn't advaitins believe that any being that realizes Self , is identified as Self? If Krishna is such an exalted figure - I believe he was , since he showed viswaroopa to Arjuna by just touching him - is it incorrect to equate Krishna to Brahman?

    Is this just a question of how we choose to name the Nameless? Does it mater whether we name the Supreme one as Brahman or Shiva or Narayana or Krishna?

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