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Re: REQUEST : Bhagavad Gita commentary

Posted By Shrisha Rao (shrao@nyx.net)
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 10:12:03 GMT

In article <ghenE40M5y.L4z@netcom.com>,
Michael Tandy <mpt0002@jove.acs.unt.edu> wrote:

> Your approach to the Gita appears to be empirical rather than
> paramparagata. But you would know that better than me. At any rate,
> it is no harm at all to mention that the standard approach to
> understanding the Gita is, as usual, that which is mentioned in the
> Gita itself. In the beginning of and in the middle of chapter four
> the parampara system is clearly advised. This analysis is most
> reasonable, even from as academic point of view, but one who simply
> can't stand the principle will have little recourse but to call this
> fact "ISKCON blather," in a cheap attempt to evade responsibility.

That analysis, au contraire, is quite illogical. For one thing, when
the 'Gita itself is a subject of discussion, and a proper meaning of
something stated in it has not been accepted or arrived at previously,
it is quite improper to state that the 'Gita itself is a determiner of
a certain value with regard to itself. And in fact, that
interpretation cannot be right either, because (a) if the paramparaa
system is a requirement for the 'Gita to be understood, and a seeker
approaches it who fulfills that requirement, then he has nothing to
gain from learning that particular fact; and (b) if a seeker who does
not fulfill that requirement approaches it, then he will not get the
purport at all (if the statement is true), and hence he will not be
able to try to get it by a paramparaa either; the statement is opaque
to him. Thus, in either case, the statement makes no sense.

In addition, I note that nowhere is "the parampara system clearly
advised" in the 'Gita; IV-2 is not a statement of advice, but a
statement of fact, that the knowledge that Arjuna is receiving _had_
been handed down by a paramparaa in the past. IV-34 says nothing
about a paramparaa, and only asks the seeker to serve `j~nAninaH,
tattvadarshinaH'. Relating these to a paramparaa is not trivial, and
it cannot be accepted as an ad hoc hypothesis.

And lastly, I submit that _you_ cannot indisputably claim that you
have derived understanding of the 'Gita from a paramparaa, under any
meaningful notion of the term, and that thus, it may be objected that
you seek to apply a false standard. I have expanded upon this point
in the past, and can do so further if clarification is needed.


Shrisha Rao

> -m


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