3.42 indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur (Original)

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Chapter 3

<< Chapter 3 verse 41

Simple

indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ

‘The senses, they say, are the chief; manas1, even more than the senses; yet buddhi2, more than manas3 but that (saḥ4=kāma=lust) is even more than buddhi5.’

The senses are said to be the chief impediments to knowledge in the hostile camp arrayed against it; for while the senses are occupied with objective concerns, knowledge can never develope as regards ātmā.

But manas (the fickle mind, the lord of feelings), surpasses the senses (in its obstructive character.) This means that the senses may be quiescent, but if the mind is full of objective thoughts, no knowledge of ātmā can develope.

But buddhi (the intelligence or the intellect, which judges, ascertains, which is one of the four functions of the antaḥkaraṇa) even exceeds manas. This means that the manas may be quiet, but if the intellect or intelligence is ill-directed along the channels of world-activities, (a perversion of intelligence quickens or) no wisdom developes in the realms of ātmā.

Supposing the senses and all, buddhi inclusive, were quiet and passive, desire or lust, which is craving, deeply rooted in the heart, and rajas-born, will yet assert mastery over all, and wins them all to its domain of objective-pleasures, obscuring the light of knowledge as respects ātmā.

That which then is the most strong and overpowering, viz., kāma (lust, desire, craving, or appetite for phenomenal experiences) is denoted by the pronoun ‘sah.’6

>> Chapter 3 verse 43

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  1. Manas is generally translated as mind, but mind in English Psychology is a general term denoting Intellect (or Thought), Will (or Volition) & Feelings (or Emotions); but in Indian Psychology, manas is substance, the 11th organ, the internal organ of perception and action. Manas, the mind that functions in the world is the instrument of objective consciousness; whereas buddhi may be considered as the subjective or spiritual consciousness. Manas or the worldy mind constitutes the personality of an entity conterminous with a single incarnation on the material plane; and constitutes also the individuality of the entity as well in its various transmigrations from incarnation to incarnation; the personality being distinguished in the sthūla or gross visible bodily manifestation, and the individuality being distinguished in the sūkshma, linga, or subtle invisible bodily manifestation, and experiences thereof in dream, Svarga, etc. Whereas buddhi is consciousness pure, exempt from all material conditions, and is an inseparable adjunct of the soul. It is spiritual consciousness which eternally adjectivally co-exists with soul (ātmā). In the Yudhishṭhira-Ajagara-Samvāda (vide, Mahābhārata, Aranya Parva, 181st Adhyaya) Ajagara (or the dragon) gives a short and clear definition of buddhi, and manas, worth quoting here:- ‘Buddher ātmānug-ātīva, utpāte na vidhīyate, Tadāśritā hi sā jñeyā, Buddhis tasya-ishiṇi bhavet (25)’. ‘Buddher utpadyate kāryān, manas t-ūtpannam eva hi. Buddher guṇa-vishir nāsti, manas tad-guṇavad bhavet (26)’. Meaning: Buddhi (or intelligence) is the ever indissoluble attribute of the soul (ātmā), and is to be known as dependent on the soul, and ministering to it. Buddhi is the evolvent of effects (or cause) whereas manas is the evolute (or effect). Buddhi is not circumscribed by the guṇas (or properties of matter, whereas manas changes according to the guṇas).
  2. Buddhi is generally translated as understanding, will and so on. Indian philosophy understands by it, the judging, discerning, ascertaining or deciding faculty of the mind. Vide, note 1, above, on ‘Manas‘.
  3. Manas is generally translated as mind, but mind in English Psychology is a general term denoting Intellect (or Thought), Will (or Volition) & Feelings (or Emotions); but in Indian Psychology, manas is substance, the 11th organ, the internal organ of perception and action. Manas, the mind that functions in the world is the instrument of objective consciousness; whereas buddhi may be considered as the subjective or spiritual consciousness. Manas or the worldy mind constitutes the personality of an entity conterminous with a single incarnation on the material plane; and constitutes also the individuality of the entity as well in its various transmigrations from incarnation to incarnation; the personality being distinguished in the sthūla or gross visible bodily manifestation, and the individuality being distinguished in the sūkshma, linga, or subtle invisible bodily manifestation, and experiences thereof in dream, Svarga, etc. Whereas buddhi is consciousness pure, exempt from all material conditions, and is an inseparable adjunct of the soul. It is spiritual consciousness which eternally adjectivally co-exists with soul (ātmā). In the Yudhishṭhira-Ajagara-Samvāda (vide, Mahābhārata, Aranya Parva, 181st Adhyaya) Ajagara (or the dragon) gives a short and clear definition of buddhi, and manas, worth quoting here:- ‘Buddher ātmānug-ātīva, utpāte na vidhīyate, Tadāśritā hi sā jñeyā, Buddhis tasya-ishiṇi bhavet (25)’. ‘Buddher utpadyate kāryān, manas t-ūtpannam eva hi. Buddher guṇa-vishir nāsti, manas tad-guṇavad bhavet (26)’. Meaning: Buddhi (or intelligence) is the ever indissoluble attribute of the soul (ātmā), and is to be known as dependent on the soul, and ministering to it. Buddhi is the evolvent of effects (or cause) whereas manas is the evolute (or effect). Buddhi is not circumscribed by the guṇas (or properties of matter, whereas manas changes according to the guṇas).
  4. This pronominal particle has been wrongly interpreted to mean ‘Him’ or ‘Brahm’ or ‘ātmā’ by other commentators, except Rāmānuja, whose interpretation, that it means lust or desire, is justified by the tenor of the subject-matter, which Gītā deals with just here. Cf. Dhammapāda, V-203, which says:- ‘Desire is the worst of diseases; if one knows that truly, that is Nirvāṇa. Also read (61): The Qautrains of Omar Khayyam by E. H. Whinfield. M.A.‘Men’s lusts like house-dogs, still the house distress, 2 ‘With clamour, barking for mere wantonness; 3 ‘Foxes are they, and sleep the sleep of hares; 4 ‘Crafty as wolves, as tigers pitiless,’.
  5. Buddhi is generally translated as understanding, will and so on. Indian philosophy understands by it, the judging, discerning, ascertaining or deciding faculty of the mind. Vide, note 1, above, on ‘Manas‘.
  6. The motive underlies thought tersely expresses what is meant by ‘Yo buddeḥ paratas tu saḥ’.

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