Gita Study: Class 21


Topics for today:

  1. Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
  2. Chapter 2 verse 16 (contd) and verse 17

 Highlights of today’s class:

A couple of highlights from Swami Pratyagbodhanandaji’s talk

  • In his Satsang with the class members, Swamiji spoke about the gist of this verse. Swamiji said this verse 2.16 is a charama sloka, i.e. a sloka revealing the essence of the Gita text.
  • One way to understand satya, mithya and tuccha is in this way: Along the time scale if something is present in one of the three periods of time (past, present or future) but not in all of them, then such a thing is mithya. If it is present in all three periods of time it is sathya and if it is not present in any of the three, that is tuccha.

yat karyam tat mithya

  • Another profound statement is made by Sankara in his bhashyam of this verse. He says, “yat karyam tat mithya” – whatever is a product, is mithya. A product of something does not exist without its source. For example a cloth is a product of another entity namely thread, so it is mithya. A pot is a product of clay, so it is mithya. Clay depends on the atoms, etc.
  •  Only a self-existent entity can not be mithya. That is the satyam, atma.

tattvavits are those who know the truth

  • This verse concludes by stating that the truth of sat and asat, satya and mithya, is known by the wise people who are capable of seeing the truth, tattva of everything. Hence they are called tattvavit‘s or tattvadarshi‘s.


Verse 2.17

avinaasi tu tadviddhi yena sarvamidam tatam | vinasamavyayasyasya na kascitkartumarhati ||

  • In this verse Krishna reveals a couple of important facts about the sat vastu or atma.
  • Firstly, that there is no destruction for the sat vastu or atma. Sankara proclaims that even Ishwara cannot destroy this atma. Since Ishwara is atma, there can be no destruction of atma even by Ishwara.
  • Secondly, the sat vastu is that which pervades everything, meaning the entire world including space. This is a profound statement too, because this summarizes the relationship between asat and sat. If sat pervades everything, then where is asat? What is seen as asat is nothing but sat, when properly understood. asat is none other than sat, but sat is not asat. As Swami Dayanandaji points out, the crux of the matter here is that ‘B’ is ‘A’, whereas ‘A’ is not ‘B’.

om tat sat


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