18.1 sanyAsasya mahAbAhO

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 18

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SlOkam – Original

arjuna uvAcha
sanyAsasya mahAbAhO thathvam ichchAmi vEdhithum |
thyAgasya cha hrushIkESa pruthak kESinishUdhana ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

mahAbAhO – Oh mighty armed!
hrushIkESa – Oh one who controls the senses!
kESInishUdhana – Oh killer of demon kESi!
sanyAsasya – about sanyAsa (renunciation, which is explained as the means for mOksham in upanishaths)
thyAgasya cha – about thyAga (sacrifice)
thathvam – truth
pruthak vEdhithum – to know if they are different from each other (or the same).
ichchAmi – I desire

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

Oh mighty armed! Oh one who controls the senses! Oh killer of demon kESi! I desire to know th truth of sanyAsa (renunciation, which is explained as the means for mOksham in upanishaths) and thyAga (sacrifice) and if they are different from each other (or the same).

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

‘Of Sannyāsa1, Strong-armed! and of Tyāga2, Hṛishīkeśa!, I would fain distinctly know the truth, O Keśi-Slayer.’

Notably, Tyāga (renunciation)3 and Sannyāsa (resignation)4 were dictated as the Means to Moksha, according to the Śrutis, for example:

‘Some by Tyāga (renunciation) achieve Immortality, not by action, not by (means of) progeny, nor money, (=property).’5

‘Those Yatis (or Sannyāsins) all, who ascertaining to themselves of what is good, from the knowledge acquired from the Vedāntas; and made pure of heart by means of Sannyāsa-yoga(=resignation), are delivered (from bondage) by reaching the Immortal (=God) in the Brahma-loka at the close of mortal life (=parānta-kāle = at the dissolution of the last karma-body, vide., Ranga Rāmānuja’s Commentary on Taittiriya-Upanishat, Nārāyaṇam)’6

Distinctly do I desire to know the truth regarding Sannyāsa and Tyāga. The import is this: Do these two terms mean different things, or do they mean the same thing? If they mean different, I wish to learn in what does the difference consist; if not, what is the unique sense conveyed by both?

In order to prove that the nature of both is identical and to show what that nature is, Śrī Bhagavān first exhibits the error of an objector. He says:

>> Chapter 18 Verse 2

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  1. Surrendering oneself to action-less contemplation (=Jñāna-yoga or Sannyāsa in the sense employed in
    Sts: 1, 2 and 3., Lec:5) = Positive side of Renunciation.
  2. Abandonment of action = Negative side of Renunciation.
  3. Abandonment of action = Negative side of Renunciation.
  4. Surrendering oneself to action-less contemplation (=Jñāna-yoga or Sannyāsa in the sense employed in Sts: 1, 2 and 3., Lec:5) = Positive side of Renunciation.
  5. Tait: Up°: Nārā: X-21. ‘Na karmaṇā &c.’ Ranga Rāmānuja quotes the authority ‘Sannyāsas tyāga ity uktaś śaraṇāgatir ity api’ according to which Sannyāsa and Tyāga mean one and mean seeking the Lord as the One Refuge. Tyāga here is the negative side of Renunciation.
  6. Tait: Up°: Nārā: X-22; also Mund: Up: III-2-6. ‘Vedānta vijñāna &c.’. Ranga Rāmānuja explains Sannyasa in this passage to mean Prapadana or unconditional surrender (to the Deity) = the positive side of Renunciation.

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