4.6 ajO’pi sann avyayAthmA

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

Chapter 4

<< Chapter 4 verse 5

SlOkam – Original

ajO’pi san avyayAthmA bhUthAnAm ISvarO’pi san |
prakruthim svAm adhishtAya sambhavAmyAthmamAyayA ||

word-by-word meaning

aja: api san – being birthless (not being subject to birth influenced by karma)
avyayAthmA (api san) – being imperishable (not being subject to death/destruction influenced by karma)
bhUthAnAm – for all beings
ISvara: api san – being the lord
svAm prakruthim – distinguished forms (made of spiritual matter)
adhishtAya – accepting
Athma mAyayA – by my will
sambhavAmi – descend in many births

Simple Translation

Being birthless and imperishable, being the lord of all beings, I descend in many births by my will accepting distinguished forms (made of spiritual matter).

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

‘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. Āditya varṇam tamasaḥ parastāt. Svet: Up: III-8.]

‘Him, Who dwells beyond rajas (matter)’[2. ‘Kshayantam asya rajasaḥ-pa-rāke. Tait: Samh. II-2-12.]

‘He, the Spirit in the interior of the sun, of golden hue.’[3. ‘Ya esho ntar-āditye hiranmayaḥ Purushaḥ.’ Chh: Up° 1-66.]

‘That Spirit in it (the heart), Who is mind-pervaded (i.e., Whom a cleansed mind perceives), the Immortal, the Golden.’[4. ‘Tasminn-ayam Purusho manomayah, amṛito hiraṇmayaḥ.’ Tait: Up: 1-6-1.]

‘All the unwinking (devas), (or the winking=man etc.,) sprang from the lightning-like Spirit.’[5. ‘Sarvenimeshā jajñire vidyutaḥ purushād-adhi.’, Tait: Nārā. I-1-8.]

‘He of resplendent Form, the Firm-resolved, and Subtile-souled like space (ākāśa).’[6. ‘Bhārūpas sattya-sañkalpa ākāś-Ātmā’. Chh: Up: III-14-2.]

‘He is All-act, All-desire, All-odour, All-taste.’[7. ‘Sarva-karmā Sarva-kāmas Sarva-gandhas Sarva-rasaḥ’. Chh: Up: III-14-2.]

‘Whose raiment is gold-colored.’[8. ‘Māhārajanam vāsaḥ.’ Bṛi: Up: IV-3-6.] etc., etc.

Ātma-māyā=Ātmiyayā māyayā=By My own native Māyā or will (or will-power).[9. ‘Sarva-karmā Sarva-kāmas Sarva-gandhas Sarva-rasaḥ’. Chh: Up: III-14-2.]

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. ‘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.]

‘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. Ajāyamāno bahudhā vijāyate’. (Tait: Āran: III-13).] 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 passed for Me; for you also, Arjuna!. I remember them all etc.’ (iv-5), and the following verses viz:

‘Then do I create Myself.’ (iv-7);

‘Whoso understands 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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