Bhagavad Gita – Become & Becoming – Part 2

As I have written in Part 1 of the translation of this chapter, the first part of the chapter talks about “the environment and the knowledge of that environment”. The second part talks about “Prakriti” and “Purusha”. Here again we need to ask ourselves what is this “Prakruti” and “Purusha” that is being talked about. “Purusha” normally is translated as “man” in most places and “soul” in others. “Prakruti” is translated as just nature. These translations are insufficient with an underlying assumption of the referential point. For the verses in this part of this chapter, “Purusha” seems to refer to the “soul of that which is becoming” and “Prakruti” seems to refer to the “nature of that which has already become”.

As a comparison, if we visualise a water colour say “blue blob” painted on a canvas onto which we drip a few drops of another water colour say red, then the “blue blob” that exists on the canvas is the “nature of the become” or Prakruti and the red drops dropped into it is the “soul of that which is becoming” or the Purusha. With colours it is easy to see how the red drop diffuses into the blue blob and creates boundaries and forms various other colours patterns before the final picture of a mixture of blue and red colours is formed. Based on the characteristics of the blue blob, such as how wet is it, how dilute is it and so on, and the characteristics of the red drops such as how dilute is it and so on, the final picture varies. Can we imagine what will happen if the “blue blob” is a “set of that which has already manifested” and a few “drops of the unmanifested which is in the state of manifesting” or the red colour is diffused into this “manifested set”? This is what I believe is described in this part of the chapter.

prakRutiM puruShaM chaiva viddhyanaadi ubhaavapi |
vikaaraaMScha guNaaMSchaiva viddhi prakRutisaMbhavaan || 19 ||

prAkRutiM + puruSham + ca + iva + viddhaya + anAdi + ubhaya + api =
nature of the become + soul of the becoming + also + this + pierced + have no beginning + both + these
vikArA + aMsh + ca + guna + aMSh + ca + iva + viddhi + prakRutim + saMbhavAn =
change + division + also + quality + distribute + also + this + pierced + nature of the become + exists

kaaryakaaraNakartRutvE hEtuH prakRutiruchyatE |
puruShaH sukhaduHkhaanaaM bhOktRutvE hEturuchyatE || 20 ||

kArya + kAraNa + kartRutve + hetuh + prakRuti + ucyate =
action + cause + the state of acting + cause + nature of become + is told
puruShah + sukha + dukhAnAm + bhoktRutva + hetur + ucyate =
soul of becoming + happy + sad + experiencer + cause + is told

puruShaH prakRutisthO hi bhunktE prakRutijaanguNaan |
kaaraNaM guNasangOsya sadasadyOnijanmasu || 21 ||

puruShah + prakRutisto + hi + bhukte + prakRuti + jAn + guNAn =
soul of becoming + due to nature of become + only + enjoys + nature of become + origin + quality
kAraNaM + guna + sangosya + sada + sadyoni + janmasu =
cause + quality + attached to + always + in an instant + is birth

upadraShTaanumantaa cha bhartaa bhOktaa mahESvaraH |
paramaatmEti chaapyuktO dEhEsminpuruShaH paraH || 22 ||

upa + draShTa + anumantA + ca + bhAratA + bhokta + maheshwarah =
further + manifested + consenting + is + bharata + experience + prime potential
paramAt + eti + ChApi + yukto + deheshmin + puruShah + parah =
later + approach + yield + joined + with the body + soul of becoming + remote

ya EvaM vEtti puruShaM prakRutiM cha guNaiH saha |
sarvathaa vartamaanOpi na sa bhooyObhijaayatE || 23 ||

ya + evam + vetti + puruSham + prakRutiM + ca + gunaih + saha =
this + also + know + soul of becoming + nature of become + and + quality + along with
sarvathA + vartamAnopi + na + sa + bhUyobhi + jAyate =
in every + existing + not + that + become + happen

So, this translates to:

Both the nature of the become and the soul of the becoming that has penetrated this has no beginning. Due to division of change and distribution of quality this penetration of the nature of become exists. It is told that nature of the become is to cause action to become the state of acting and it is told the soul of the becoming is to cause happiness and sadness to be experienced. It is because of the soul of the becoming experiencing the nature of the become there is an instant birth of quality in the nature of become. Further this (soul of the becoming) consents to experience the prime potential, later approaches yields to join body with the remote soul of becoming. Know also that not all nature of the become with qualities will be affected by the soul of the becoming.

dhyaanEnaatmani paSyanti kEchidaatmaanamaatmanaa |
anyE saaMkhyEna yOgEna karmayOgEna chaaparE || 24 ||

dhyAnena + atmani + pashyanti + kecita + atmAna + atmanA =
focussed + self + perceiving + some + the self of the selves
anye + sAmkhyena + yogena + karma + yogena + chApare =
others + rational + harnessing + action + harnessing + yield

anyE tvEvamajaanantaH SrutvaanyEbhya upaasatE |
tEpi chaatitarantyEva mRutyuM SrutiparaayaNaaH || 25 ||

anye + tva + evam + ajAnantah + Shrutva + anyebhya + upAsate =
other + several + also + are non-born + having heard + of others + anticipated
tepi + ca + iti + tarantya + eva + mRutyum + Shruti + parAyaNah =
exude + also + this + abundant + also this + death + is heard + by remote

yaavatsaMjaayatE kiMchitsattvaM sthaavarajangamam |
kShEtrakShEtragnyasaMyOgaattadviddhi bharatarShabha || 26 ||

yAvat + saMjAyate + kiMci + sattvam + sthAvara + jangamam =
that which + conquering + somewhat + true essence + fixed + moving
kShetra + kShetragya + samyogAt + tad + viddi + bharatashbha =
environment + knowledge of environment + coherence + that + piercing + bharata

samaM sarvEShu bhootEShu tiShThantaM paramESvaram |
vinaSyatsvavinaSyantaM yaH paSyati sa paSyati || 27 ||

samaM + sarva + eShu + bhUta + eShu + tiShThantaM + paraeShvaram =
equally + every + become + by abiding + to that prime potential
vinash + yatsva + avinashyantam + yah + pashyati + sa + pashyati =
destruction + being + non-destruction being + that which + is perceived + that + will be perceived

samaM paSyanthi sarvatra samavasthitameeSvaram |
na hinastyaatmanaatmaanaM tatO yaati paraaM gatim || 28 ||

samaM + pashyant + hi + sarvatra + sama + vasthitam + ishwaram = equally + is perceived + also + everywhere + equally + standing + potential
na + hinastya + atman + atmAn + tato + yAti + parAM + gatiM =
not + destructive + self + of selfs + to fade away + to attain a condition + prime + in motion

prakRutyaiva cha karmaaNi kriyamaaNaani sarvaSaH |
yaH paSyati tathaatmaanamakartaaraM sa paSyati || 29 ||

prakRutya + iva + ca + karmANi + kriyamAnAni + sarvashah =
become + this + also + action + doing / being done + each and every
yah + pashyati + tathA + atmAnam + akarthAraM + sa + pashyati =
this + perceiving + then + from the self + non-division + that + perceives

This translates to:

Focussed self perceiving some self of the selves yields to others harnessing the rational action. Many others also are unborn, having heard of others and having heard of the perishing of the remote, it is anticipated in abundance. That which is moderately conquering is piercing the true essence of the coherence of the environment and the knowledge of the environment. Equally every become, i.e., destroyed and non-destructed beings, abiding to that prime potential, will perceive that which can be perceived. Equally perceiving, is therefore, everywhere equally standing potential, not that destructive self of selves that fades away when the main motion is attained. The nature of the become is this also that while perceiving and doing each and every action, the non-division of the self is also perceived.

yadaa bhootapRuthagbhaavamEkasthamanupaSyati |
tata Eva cha vistaaraM brahma saMpadyatE tadaa || 30 ||

yadA + bhUta + pRuthag + bhAvam + ekastham + anupaSyati =
if + become + separately + bringing about + combination + perceiving
tata + eva + ca + vistAram + bramha + saMpathate + tadA =
spread + also + then + expansion + creation + happen + at that time

anaaditvaannirguNatvaatparamaatmaayamavyayaH |
SareerasthOpi kauntEya na karOti na lipyatE || 31 ||

anAdi + tvA + nirguNa + tvat + param + atma + ayam + avyayah =
having no beginning + that + is quality less + that + prime + self + this one + not liable to change
sharIra + sthopi + kaunteya + na + karoti + na + lipyate =
this body + insignificant + kaunteya + not + do + not + spread

yathaa sarvagataM saukShmyaadaakaaSaM nOpalipyatE |
sarvatraavasthitO dEhE tathaatmaa nOpalipyatE || 32 ||

yathA + sarva + gataM + saukShmyAd + AkAshaM + nopa + lipyate =
if + every + disappeared + subtle + space + not + spread
sarvatra + avasthito + dehe + tathA + atma + nopa + lipyate =
each and every + determinate + body + hence + self + not + spread

yathaa prakaaSayatyEkaH kRutsnaM lOkamimaM raviH |
kShEtraM kShEtree tathaa kRutsnaM prakaaSayati bhaarata || 33 ||

yathA + prakAsha + yaty + ekah + kRutsnaM + lokam + imaM + raviH =
if + perception + contained + one + entire + world + in this + light
kShetram + kshetrI + tathA + kRutsnaM + prakAshayati + bhArata =
environment + of environment + then + entire + perceived + bharata

kShEtrakShEtragnyayOrEvamantaraM gnyaanachakShuShaa |
bhootaprakRutimOkShaM cha yE viduryaanti tE param || 34 ||

kShetra + kShetagnyor + evam + antaram + gnyAna + cakShuShA =
environment + knower of the environment + also + difference + knowledge + perceived
bhUta + prakrutim + moksham + ca + ye + vidhuryAnti + te + param =
become + nature of the become + freed + also + this + knower + this + prime / chief / main

This translates to:

If the separate becomes coming together in a combination is perceived, the spread as well as the expansion, creation occurs at that time. That prime self has no beginning and is quality-less and is not liable to change, this body is insignificant does not act nor spread. If, every disappeared subtle space does not spread, each and every determinate body and thus the self does not spread. If perception is contained in this one entire world of light, then the entire environment of this environment is perceived. If the difference between the environment and the knowledge of the environment is perceived, also, freed from the become and the nature of the become, he is held as the prime knower.

If we were to start comparing this to the other texts that we have translated, it looks like this is explaining the “Pankaja” or the concentric circles of creation. Say, there was a “first unmanifested that manifests to become the prime self”, imagined as a dot, this now has a nature or “Prakruti”. The next unmanifested that penetrates this “nature” changes the quality of this so that it becomes a combination of the original and the that which penetrated it and it has now expanded to include both and has a single nature of the become. Then the next unmanifested again penetrates this combination and so on it goes recursively. This gives rise to a set of concentric circles of creation which is continuously expanding. As it expands what we have is a combination of the selves or atmas that have penetrated it. This can be considered to have one abstract higher level self or the atmAna atmana or the self of the selves.

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