18.15 SarIravAngmanObhir yath

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Chapter 18

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SlOkam – Original

SarIravAngmanObhir yath karma prArabhathE nara: |
nyAyyam vA viparItham vA panchaithE thasya hEthava: ||

word-by-word meaning

nyAyyam vA – as established in SAsthram
viparItham vA – as forbidden in SAsthram
yath karma – any act
SarIra vAng manObhi: – through body, speech and mind
nara: – a man
prArabhathE – engage in
thasya – for such act
EthE pancha – these five [explained in previous SlOkam]
hEthava: – are the causes.

Simple Translation

For a man to engage in any act through his body, speech and mind, which is either established in SAsthram or forbidden in SAsthram, these five [explained in previous SlOkam] are the causes.

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

‘Whatsoever act man does by the body, speech and mind, —right or the reverse,— these five are its causes.’

Right = That which Śāstra sanctions.

The reverse = That which Śāstra proscribes.

In all acts of any nature, whether they pertain to body, or speech or the mind, the following are their five fold causes:—

    1. adhishṭhānam = Seat = body, since it is the locus of the jīvātma, (soul) —or the collocation of the five great Elements: (Earth etc.,);
    2. Kartā = Actor = jīvātma; or jīvātma endowed with the properties of intelligence and action (or capacities to think and to act) as established in the Brahma-Sūtras:

      ‘He is knower (or intelligent), —therefore.’[1. Br: Sūt: II-3-19: ‘Jno `taeva.’]

      ‘He is actor, —Śāstrās (thus alone) becoming significant;’[2. Br: Sūt: II-3-33 ‘Karta &c.’]

    3. The various instruments or organs (=karaṇam) are the quintuple groups, voice, hands, feet etc., with the manas = the organs endowed with different functions all combining to produce an act.;
    4. The several functions of various sorts mean the several functions of the five-fold (vital) air, in its divisions of Prāṇa, Apāna, etc. vitalizing the body and the senses;
    5. The Divinity (=Daivam) the Fifth: Divinity = Paramātma, the Inner Guide, is the Chief Fifth Factor in completing an act, since it has already been affirmed:

      ‘Verily am I enthroned in the hearts of all; from Me is memory, wisdom and conjecture etc.’, (Gi: XV-15)

      And further also it will be found stated:

      ‘Īśvara, Arjuna! is seated in the heart-region of all beings, whirling all beings (as if) mounted on a machine.’ (Gi: XVIII-61).

That the Jīvātma’s actorship (or the capacity of Jīvātma to act) is dependent on Paramātma, is established in the Brahma-Sūtra:

‘Verily from (Him) the Superior —(for) so declares the Śruti.’[3. Br: Sūt: II-3-40. From Gitabhashya(1969) by Śrī M.R.Sampatkumaran: “That (i.e., the power of being the agent possessed by the individual self) is, however, from the Supreme Being because the scripture says so.”]

It may be brought forward as an objection that if Jīvātma’s agentship (or actorship) is dependent (or consequent) on Paramātma, then Jīvatma has no concern in work, and then the Śāstras embodying rules of injunction and interdiction become useless! This objection was however anticipated by the Śāstra-kāra himself, and met thus:

‘But with a view to the efforts made; —on account of the (otherwise) purposelessness of the mandates and prohibitions (of Śāstras).’[4. Br: Sūt: II-3-41: ‘Kṛita-prayama &c.,’. From Gitabhashya(1969) by Śrī M.R.Sampatkumaran: “But He requires the efforts made (by the individual self) from the reason among others that the mandates and prohibitions (in the Śāstras) should not become purposeless.”]

The purport (of the whole) is this: Paramātma grants the body and its organs, and also the powers inherent in them, all dependent on Him; and Jīvātma, so equipped, and so empowered, but dependent himself on Him, manifests his will in the shape of effort through the organs. And Paramātma who is located inside him, allows him to act by His (silent) sanction.[5. From Gitabhashya(1969) by Śrī M.R.Sampatkumaran: “By means of the senses, the body and such other things given by the Supreme Self, having Him for their support and deriving their power from Him, the individual self, who finds his support in Him and derives his power from Him, undertakes, of his own free will, the effort, which is of the form of directing the senses and other things, for the purpose of performing work. The individual self, himself of his own free will is indeed the cause of work, because the Supreme Self, remaining within him, causes him (who has made the effort) to act by granting His permission. (The reality of moral choice is affirmed on the basis of the initial effort of the individual self being entirely free, the Lord remaining neutral. Later efforts are assented to by Him, so that they may be carried into effect.)”] Jīva (soul) may in this sense be supposed to be the actor by self-will, and becomes himself subject to the mandatory and interdictory provisions (of Śāstra); for example: A heavy stone or timber requires the help of many persons to move, and though many people do constitute the combined cause in effecting the movement, there is the chief person for whose benefit alone the movement is effected, the benefit or non-benefit of the act done by more than one agent thus accruing to the chief agent.[6. The soul’s powers are delegated (to the soul by Paramātma). He is endowed with the free-will to use them (i.e., the powers), a Law (i.e., Śāstra) being given him to point out how to use it (i.e., the free-will). Infraction (of the Law/Śāstra) becomes punishable. The soul is the subject of punishment necessarily. See articles on Predestination and Free-will. (Theosophist, 1897).]

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