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Thread: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

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    Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    Namaste,

    Lord Krishna says in Bhagwad Gita, Chapter-15 verse 16 :

    "Dwavimau Purushau loke KsharashchAkshara eva cha |
    Ksharah sarvANi bhUtAni KUTasthaoakshar uchyate ||" (BG : 15.16)

    ==> There are two Purushas in this world : One is perishable and another is imperishable. All beings are perishable and KUTastha is called imperishable

    I am leaving the word KUTastha without any interpretation here because unless we keep the next verse in view it can be translated wrongly.
    In the next verse He says :

    Uttamah Purushah tu anyah ParmAteti udAhritah |
    Yo lokatrayam Avishya bibharti avyayah Ishvarah || (BG: 15.17)

    Uttama Purusha is quite another one who is called ParmAtmA. Who enters into the three worlds and maintains them and He is unchangeable and the Lord of all.

    So, in fact, not two Purushas but there are three Purushas mentioned in these two verses. What are those :

    a) BhUtAni ===> Jeevas / beings

    This has been translated by some translators as Bodies but that is not correct because Bodies are never referred to as BhUta. BhUta is the being who has a distinct identity as Mana+Buddhi+ahamkaar and it "resides" in the body.

    b) KUTastha ====> ??? what is this ? Some translators have translated it as Jeevas but BhUtas have already been mentioned above and they are called perishables in the sloka. This cannot be Ishvara living in the heart of all beings as it is described in the next verse and He is described as different from BhUtas and KUTastha. So, in the above verse KUTastha is different from BhUtas and also Ishvara.

    To understand the above, let's try to understand what KUtastha actually means.

    KUTastha = KUTa (difficult to understand, devilish, looks what it is not) + stha (staying, residing)

    So, that which resides in KUTa is KUTastha.

    KUTa is all MAyic creation and that includes BhUtas. Within BhUta/being there are two things : a) Ishvara in the heart of all beings or essence of all beings b) seed of MAyA or essence of MAyA which creates the being with Ishavara as the essence.

    MAyA is beginning-less and at cosmic level, its seed or essence is without an end. Because if it would end, it must have a beginning. So, this seed of MAyA too is imperishable. Why should I use seed of MAyA as another term when already there are so many terms available ? This is necessary to understand the nature of MAyA. MAyA is ever changeable ... always changing from one form to the other ... from one mode to different modes etc. but the essence of MAyA or seed of MAyA is indestructible. On Self Realisation, for an individual MAyic prapancha ends ... He doesn't get deluded by the delusive power of MAyA ... but MAyA at cosmic level still remains. Even when everything and all beings are annihilated ... MAyA remains as Avyakta ... the unmanifest.

    So, as this seed of MAyA is indestructible in essence, it is called as Akshara and this is the "second thing" in KUTastha, the first is, of course, the Ishvara" as claimed in the next verse (That which enters into the three world and maintains them).

    So, correct translation of Verse 16 of Chapter 15 of BG is :

    "There are two Purushas in this world : One is perishable and another is imperishable. All beings are perishable and the seed of MAyA is called imperishable"

    This translation makes 17 of chapter 15 also meaningful.

    ****************************************
    Some translators have translated KUTastha as Jeeva but that is not admissible because Jeeva is not KUTastha ... it is KUTa.

    Note : The above post is based on Shankara's translation of the verse.

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 17 October 2015 at 10:49 PM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    devotee wrote,
    KUTastha = KUTa (difficult to understand, devilish, looks what it is not) + stha (staying, residing) ; So, that which resides in KUTa is KUTastha. )
    This question is a good one; I looked at 4 different references + yours = 5.

    Let me offer some first impressions as I am not the final authority on this matter; my offers are not to correct anyone’s point of view,
    just to discuss some ideas ( and conjecture). That said, I will offer and use the support what svāmī lakṣman-jū has to offer in a later post , of which comes
    from abhinavagupti-ji’s work
    (bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha). I also looked at paramansa yoganda’s commentary, jñānadev’s work (bhāvārthadīpikā), and svāmī prabhupāda’s work.
    My teacher only commented on the 1st 6 chapters; It would have been my delight to see his translation on this matter.

    Let me offer my view which is not co-mingled with the others.


    • kūṭastha (mn¹)- standing at the top , keeping the highest position; immovable , uniform , unchangeable
      • If we disconnect the terms ( as you aptly done) we have kūṭa+stha .
      • kūṭa - summit , peak or summit of a mountain ; this infers the highest, most excellent , first which is another definition. Yet there is more to this term but will avoid them to keep the term simple.
      • stha - standing , staying , abiding , being situated in , existing or being in or on or among


    Hence as I see this word kūṭastha, it is abiding in the highest.

    Now can one tease out the notion of ‘devilish’ in this term? Perhaps the neuter term ( as we have masculine, feminine and neuter genders to work with)

    is defined as ‘the bone of the forehead with its projections or prominence's , horn’. This horn ~could~ be aligned to the looks of a devil-ish being,
    but for me ( and me only) I would not go in that direction for a few reasons. Why ? keeping the continuity of śloka-s 16 + 17 + 18 aligned.

    So, I wish to rest with this word before moving on till you weigh-in on the matter… too many ideas only causes confusion ( and mischief)



    iti śivaṁ


    1. mn = masculine gender or neuter gender
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    Namaste Yajvan ji,

    KUTa has many meanings. You may please refer to this link :

    http://spokensanskrit.de/index.php?s...e&direction=AU

    ... and yes, KUTa means peak of mountain too as in ChitrakooTa. However, KUTa is more commonly used for "something deceitful, not easily understandble, devilish". The root-word KUTa makes many other words like KUTanIti ==> Diplomacy, KUTa-lipi .==> script used by spies which is difficult to decipher, KUTa-karma ===> magical (deceitful) activities, KUTa-dharma ===> false religious practices, KUTa-yogi ===> Pseudo-mystic etc. In fact, even though there may be so many meanings of a root-word, normally we take the meaning which is most widely and commonly used.

    Sankaracharya has not used the meaning for KUTa that you have suggested i.e. standing at the the Top/Summit. Moreover, if that meaning is used then what can go beyond Top/summit ? Nothing. So, in that case, the second Purusha i.e. Akshara which is KUTastha and the Uttam Purusha which pervades all beings and maintains them would be the same. As no two can be at the Top. So, due to there being three Purushas and the third one being the "Uttama" (the best/at the top) the second Purusha must be at a lower status than the Uttam Purusha. So, the translation suggested by you doesn't bring in coherence in the meanings of the verses 16 and 17.

    Another translation that Sankara has suggested in that verse for KUTa is "heap" ... this creation is a heap and them KUTashta would mean "what is there in the heap" which again means "hidden" and would lead us to the similar meaning.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté



    However, KUTa is more commonly used for "something deceitful, not easily understandable, devilish"
    I can see how this may be possible with the term kū ( 3rd derivative, female gender) = a female piśāca or goblin. If that is
    the case and kūṭastha is more aligned to your offer, then for me I have little to offer as I am stopped in my tracks.
    The offers of svāmī lakṣman-jū & abhinavagupti-ji’s work
    (bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha) will not apply. So, I will leave
    it at this point.

    iti śivaṁ


    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    Namaste Yajvan ji,

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    I can see how this may be possible with the term kū ( 3rd derivative, female gender) = a female piśāca or goblin. If that is
    the case and kūṭastha is more aligned to your offer, then for me I have little to offer as I am stopped in my tracks.
    The offers of svāmī lakṣman-jū & abhinavagupti-ji’s work
    (bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha) will not apply. So, I will leave
    it at this point.
    "Ku" as an upsarga is used to denote something bad e.g Kuroopa, kulakshaNi, Kumati etc. However, not only etymology but we have to keep in mind the semantics also to understand the meanings of the words. KUT also gives the word, "kuTil" which means "crooked, cunning, devious etc." KUT also gives KUTokti ==> crooked saying etc.

    I will like to know how Svami Lakhman-ju and Abhinavagupta ji have translated the verses.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    Namaste yajvanji

    please clarify who is referred to akshara kutastha in verse 3 of chapter 12 of BG

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by jopmala View Post
    Namaste yajvanji

    please clarify who is referred to akshara kutastha in verse 3 of chapter 12 of BG
    I did not wish to reply for one simple reason... this knowledge is so delightful so joy-filled I chose not to get into a debate. What good will come from that ?
    To explain it to one's deepest satisfaction from the point of view of svāmī lakṣman-jū's commentary of abhinavagupti-ji’s bhāṣya¹ bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha,
    more verses would then be needed. Yet this work his bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha, as I see it is not every-day reading. That is, it is quite profound.
    It then requires more and more explanations for one to get to the core the essence (s
    āra
    ¹).

    Perhaps another time...

    iti śivaṁ

    words

    • bhāṣya -an explanatory work , exposition , explanation , commentary


    • sāraḥ- the substance or essence or marrow or cream or heart or essential part of anything
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    Namaste Yajvanji

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan;[SIZE=4
    [/SIZE]I did not wish to reply for one simple reason... this knowledge is so delightful so joy-filled I chose not to get into a debate. What good will come from that ?
    To explain it to one's deepest satisfaction from the point of view of svāmī lakṣman-jū's commentary of abhinavagupti-ji’s bhāṣya¹ bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha,
    more verses would then be needed. Yet this work his bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha, as I see it is not every-day reading. That is, it is quite profound.
    It then requires more and more explanations for one to get to the core the essence (s
    āra
    ¹).

    Perhaps another time...

    I respect the meaning of kutastha offered by you as standing at the top , keeping the highest position; immovable , uniform , unchangeable. It is abiding in the highest. only nirgun nirakar brahman was considered to enjoy such characteristics. besides , in Gita nirgun nirakar brahman is described as akshara in many verses. only purushottam excels this akshara brahman.
    I wanted to know how you think the verse 3 of chap 12 only . I do not want you to debate or anything like that. It is not correct to interpret the verses of Gita according to particular school of thought. Gita itself bears a school of thought. Nirgun nirakar is one aspect only. purushottam is both nirgun nirakar and sagun sakar therefore, purushottam is the highest tattva.
    Last edited by jopmala; 30 October 2015 at 01:29 PM.

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté


    Quote Originally Posted by jopmala View Post
    Namaste Yajvanji
    I respect the meaning of kutastha offered by you as standing at the top , keeping the highest position; immovable , uniform , unchangeable. It is abiding in the highest. only nirgun nirakar brahman was considered to enjoy such characteristics. besides , in Gita nirgun nirakar brahman is described as akshara in many verses. only purushottam excels this akshara brahman.
    I wanted to know how you think the verse 3 of chap 12 only . I do not want you to debate or anything like that. It is not correct to interpret the verses of Gita according to particular school of thought. Gita itself bears a school of thought. Nirgun nirakar is one aspect only. purushottam is both nirgun nirakar and sagun sakar therefore, purushottam is the highest tattva.

    Very nice ( and I concur) akṣara - imperishable

    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Who/What is KUTastha : Bhagwad Gita Verse 16, chapter-15

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Japmala
    It is not correct to interpret the verses of Gita according to particular school of thought.


    I am surprised that it comes from a person who considers BG as proprietary article of Gaudiya Vaishnavas. If one looks at previous posts from him, he has likened Brahman with Prakriti just because in different places Brahman and Prakriti have been described as "Neither Sat nor Asat" !! He has also tried to prove that Brahman in BG chapter 13 is not the same Brahman that is described in Upanishads. How ? Brahman is stated to be Nirguna i.e. Brahman cannot "Hear/See/Touch" whereas in Chapter 13, It has been called to have Ears and Eyes everywhere. So, Brahman in BG is different from what is described in Upanishads !

    If we take such illogical interpretations then flawed results would be attained as is explained below :


    How do we come to such logical faulty conclusions ? :

    Premises :

    a) A cow has four legs.
    b) A Table also has four legs.

    ====> Therefore, Cow is nothing but Table ! Otherwise, except Cow nothing else can have four legs !

    a) Brahman is called imperishable i.e. Akshara somewhere in BG.
    b) Seed of MAyA is also Imperishable i.e. Akshara as has been explained.

    ====> So, Brahman is nothing but Seed of MAyA. Or there cannot be anything else as "Askshara". Or, except Brahman nothing else can be called as "Akshara".

    a) I live in House no. 65
    b) My wife lives in House no. 65.

    ===> Therefore, I and my wife are same. Or, there cannot reside anyone except me in House no. 65.

    a) People call me an Indian.
    b) People call Japmala an Indian.

    ====> Therefore, I and Japmala are the same. Or no one can be called Indian except me !

    Such "logical conclusions" are just laughable !

    **********************

    This thread was created to show how the verse is interpreted by Advaita school. I was expecting the members to respect that until there was any logical flaw in that. I have already explained in my post why KUTstha is both Ishvara and also the seed of MAyA. KUTa is the body, the worldly things. Within KUTashta there is Nirguna Brahman (as Nirguna Brahman is here in association with MAyA, I have called it as Ishvara in my post) and also seed of MAyA and that is why both have been referred to as KUTastha.

    ******************

    I have nowhere claimed that interpretation of only Advaita school may be considered valid. Every school has some valid arguments to accept what it believes in. Why Advaita schools's interpretation appears more logical to me ? As Yajvan ji has not shared, how Abhinava Gupta ji has interpreted the verse, I cannot comment on that.

    "If KUTastha is interpreted as "That is at the summit" then there cannot be anything beyond the summit otherwise "Summit is not really Summit". Moreover, in the next sentence, Purushottma is described as that which enters into the worldly beings and that maintains/nourishes them. How can we have two different "summits" --- one for the Akshara and another for Puroshottma ? Purushottma must be at the highest plane and therefore, interpreting KUTastha as "that resides at the Top" in this verse doesn't appear as logical.

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 01 November 2015 at 01:53 AM. Reason: Typos
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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