Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Generosity (Audaryam) in Sri Sankara's Gita Bhashya -- Part 2

In this post, we continue with our discussion of the Lord's generosity as discussed in Sri Sankara's Bhagavad Gita commentary. Let us continue to experience and enjoy more such instances. In Gita 5.29, Sri Sankara says:

"suhRdaM sarva-bhUtAnAM sarva-prANInAm pratyupakAra-nirapekSatayA upakAriNaM sarva bhUtAnAM hRdayeshAM sarva-karma-phalAdyakSaM sarva-pratyaya-sAkSiNaM mAM nArAyaNaM"
(Adi Sankara's Gita Commentary, 5.29)

Translation: "(The Lord says): 'I, Lord Narayana, am friendly to all, doing good to all creatures without expecting anything in return. I dwell in the hearts of all beings, being witness to their actions and disbursing their fruits accordingly.'"

In 9.18, Sri Sankara explains:

"gatiH karma-phalam, bhartA poSatA, prabhuH svAmI, sAkSI prANinAM kRtAkRtasya, nivAso yasmin prANino nivasanti, sharaNaM ArtAnAM, prapannAnAM ArtiharaH | suhRt pratyupakAra-anapekSaH sann upakArI"
(Gita Commentary, 9.18)

Translation: "Hari (Krishna/Vishnu) is the goal - the fruit of karma; He is the nourisher; He is the Lord, the witness of the actions of all beings, the abode wherein all beings dwell. He is the shelter for the distressed, and relieves those who surrender to Him of their suffering. He is the friend, since He helps all creatures without expecting a selfish reward."

Again, the Acharya explains:

"tapAmyhaM Adityo bhUtvA kaishcit rashmibhir ulbaNaiH | aham varSaM kaishcid rashmibhir utsRjAmi | utsRjya punar nigRhNAmi kaishcid rashmibhir aSTabhir mAsaiH punar utsRjAmi prAvRSi |"
(Gita Bhashya, 9.19)

Translation: "(Lord Hari says): 'By means of the sun's rays, I provide warmth to the earth, send forth rain, take it back during eight months, and again send it forth during the rainy season.'"

Lord Sriman Narayana, always intent on helping His creatures, pours forth grace in the form of rain. (Painting on the wall of Sri Oppiliappan Temple, near Kumbakonam, TN, India)
 (Courtesy of Sri Oppiliappan K Sadagopan. Reproduced with permission from http://thiruppavai.etemples.net/)

In the last discussion, we saw that Sri Sankara refers to the "Lord (bhagavAn) Narayana as the one who acts out of no interest of His own, but with the sole intention of helping His creatures."  In the commentaries to two verses discussed above (5.29, 9.18), we see that Acharya Sri Sankara has re-emphasized this, saying that the Lord does good to all without selfishly expecting anything in return from us (pratyupakAra anapekSa upakAri). The Lord cures His devotees' suffering by relieving them of their distress. Further, the point highlighted in the above commentary is that the entire cosmos is sustained simply by the divine grace and generosity of the Lord -- by His act of sustenance (5.29, 9.19).

To sum up, Sri Sankaracharya says that  the generosity of Lord Hari (Vishnu), who is the Supreme Lord of the Universe revealed in the Vedas, is spontaneous. This is because, being all-perfect, He lacks nothing and has no special selfish interest of His own.

[1] Thanks: Internet Archive, Google Books, Gita Supersite 2.0, Gaudiya Granthamandira

[2] Full download of Sri Sankaracharya's Gita Bhashya translated to English by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri: http://www.archive.org/details/bhagavadgitawith00maharich

[3] Gita Supersite 2.0: Unicode text of eleven commentaries to the Bhagavad Gita viewable online:

[4] Adi Sankaracharya's Gita Bhashya in original sanskrit from Gaudiya Granthamandira site, contains the original Sanskrit text of the introductory chapter not found in Gita Supersite 2.0: http://granthamandira.com/download.php?file=bhagavad-gita_-_sankara-bhasya.doc

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