4.6 ajo ’pi sann avyayātmā (Original)

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Chapter 4

<< Chapter 4 verse 5


ajo ’pi sann avyayātmā
bhūtānām īśvaro ’pi san
prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya
sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

‘Birthless, and of nature Imperishable, and Lord of all beings, yet do I establish Myself in my own Prakṛiti (matter), and will (māyā) Myself to be born.’

Never divesting Myself of My essential attributes of Suzerainty, that of being Birthless, of being Exhaustless (avyaya), of being the Lord of all, et cetera, I go into birth, of My own free choice, by planting Myself in My own native (material) nature.

Prakṛiti=substance literally, or the material part of My nature, or nature itself.

‘I enter into My own nature, take on My own form, and with My own free-choice, I take on births.’ This is the purport.

The forms or shapes in which I make Myself visible are such as are described in such Śruti passages as:—

‘Him, Who is of Sun-color, Who is beyond tamas (darkness).’1

‘Him, Who dwells beyond rajas (matter)’2

‘He, the Spirit in the interior of the sun, of golden hue.’3

‘That Spirit in it (the heart), Who is mind-pervaded (i.e., Whom a cleansed mind perceives), the Immortal, the Golden.’4

‘All the unwinking (devas), (or the winking=man etc.,) sprang from the lightning-like Spirit.’5

‘He of resplendent Form, the Firm-resolved, and Subtile-souled like space (ākāśa).’6

‘He is All-act, All-desire, All-odour, All-taste.’7

‘Whose raiment is gold-colored.’8 etc., etc.

Ātma-māyā=Ātmiyayā māyayā=By My own native Māyā or will (or will-power).9

Māyā meaning will, knowledge, consciousness, intelligence or understanding is from the authority:— ‘Māyā vayunam jñānam’ (nighant).

Famous authors have used māyā in the above sense, as for example:—

‘By His intelligence (or omniscience=māyā), He knows the ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ of His creatures.’10

‘By My intelligence’ or ‘by My knowledge’, means : ‘by My will (sankalpa=resolve).

By My (free)-will, thus, I am born, but not laying aside My essential (godly) attributes of, viz; the being evil-Opposed, the being the Abode of Glorious Perfections, the being the Lord of all, etc.

I take on forms as pertain to the devas (celestial beings), man (terrestrial creatures), and so on and manifest Myself as if I were of their nature, by My own free choice. It is this that is voiced in the Śruti:—

‘Being Unborn, He is (yet) born Multiform.,’11 etc., meaning that Isvara incarnates in manifold ways as like the devas, like man etc., —only so far is He in common with His creatures. As for taking birth it is, in His case, by free-will, whereas in the case of the creatures, it is impelled by karma.

In declaring this sense, the previous verse, viz; ‘ Many births have past for Me; for thee also, Arjuna!. I remember them all etc.’ (iv-5), and the following verses viz:

‘Then do I create Myself.’ (iv-7);

‘Whoso understandeth rightly, thus, My births and Works etc.’ (iv-9),—are one in agreement.

The times of the Avatāras are now indicated:-

>> Chapter 4 verse 7

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  1. Āditya varṇam tamasaḥ parastāt. Svet: Up: III-8.
  2. ‘Kshayantam asya rajasaḥ-pa-rāke. Tait: Samh. II-2-12.
  3. ‘Ya esho ntar-āditye hiranmayaḥ Purushaḥ.’ Chh: Up° 1-66.
  4. ‘Tasminn-ayam Purusho manomayah, amṛito hiraṇmayaḥ.’ Tait: Up: 1-6-1.
  5. ‘Sarvenimeshā jajñire vidyutaḥ purushād-adhi.’, Tait: Nārā. I-1-8.
  6. ‘Bhārūpas sattya-sañkalpa ākāś-Ātmā’. Chh: Up: III-14-2.
  7. ‘Sarva-karmā Sarva-kāmas Sarva-gandhas Sarva-rasaḥ’. Chh: Up: III-14-2.
  8. ‘Māhārajanam vāsaḥ.’ Bṛi: Up: IV-3-6.
  9. ‘Sarva-karmā Sarva-kāmas Sarva-gandhas Sarva-rasaḥ’. Chh: Up: III-14-2.
  10. ‘Māyayā satatam vetti prān. inānchaśubhāśubham’. Also consult Bhagavad-vishaya Vol. Ill, p. 1264. Also See Vedānta-Tatva-Sāra (Benares Edition) on Māyā and Śāndilya Sūtras.
  11. Ajāyamāno bahudhā vijāyate’. (Tait: Āran: III-13).

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