Sanskrit 2: Electric Boogaloo!

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gjd800
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#81
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#81
(Original post by artful_lounger)
It's 2.16 from the Gita specifically (in the start of Krishna's reply to Arjuna's lament)

Also it's funny you note about the philosophical point followed by "clever people just know this" because we were talking about how at the start of Krishna's reply, Krishna is kind of mocking Arjuna or being sarcastic sort of in his reply, saying something along the lines of "you mourn those which are not to be mourned and you speak words of wisdom" with the italicised portion being a literal translation but probably mocking or sarcastic (I think Maurer suggests instead of "and" to use "but", going along with his assertion that prapanann iva is meaning "almost laughing" or "a slight smile/shrug" so as to have Krishna not mocking Arjuna, whereas our lecturer seems to think actually Krishna probably is mocking him to some extent). Which sort of follows that format but subverts it perhaps (and given Arjuna had been speaking before trying to expound his sort of philosophical argument against killing the sons of Dh. in tristubh metre and so trying to sound knowledgeable).



That would make sense since the previous two sloka talked about material senses/contacts and the sensations from them, how they are fleeting and must be endured and so on. Although the sloka before those two were more about metaphysical things and our lecturer seems to think the two in the middle talking about material contacts and sensations is more likely an interpolation added in after the fact, if we take BhG 2.16 to be talking exclusively about more metaphysical/abstract conceptions of the eternal soul and so on.

Maybe I'll try and translate some of the commentaries over the winter break to see what they say
I reckon the slightly mocking thing has legs - Krsna is a bit of a boy in this sense, and I think at this point in the Gita, the relationship between him and Arjuna is still one of friends rather than one of a strict guru-novice deal. So subtext wise I think Krsna is still at the point of trying to subtly 'show-up' Arjuna as overconfident and a bit of a (but not a total) know-all-know-nowt, but in a way that is friendly and not horrible.

Could well be right about the interpolation, the Skt stuff is full of them (as you no doubt already know!). Commentators like Sankara take the whole of the Gita to be a huge metaphor about how to orientate ourselves towards the divine, so the battle described is really the battle to discover the atman in the midst of innumerable distractions and false conceptions. If we think that is the case (I reckon it probably is) then the more weird, finicky, really oddly specific philosophical stuff is a little out of place!
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artful_lounger
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#82
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(Original post by gjd800)
I reckon the slightly mocking thing has legs - Krsna is a bit of a boy in this sense, and I think at this point in the Gita, the relationship between him and Arjuna is still one of friends rather than one of a strict guru-novice deal. So subtext wise I think Krsna is still at the point of trying to subtly 'show-up' Arjuna as overconfident and a bit of a (but not a total) know-all-know-nowt, but in a way that is friendly and not horrible.

Could well be right about the interpolation, the Skt stuff is full of them (as you no doubt already know!). Commentators like Sankara take the whole of the Gita to be a huge metaphor about how to orientate ourselves towards the divine, so the battle described is really the battle to discover the atman in the midst of innumerable distractions and false conceptions. If we think that is the case (I reckon it probably is) then the more weird, finicky, really oddly specific philosophical stuff is a little out of place!
That's interesting about that commentator's approach to the Gita....I think we actually looked at his commentary briefly today (if the Skt for his name is Śāṃkara, that's the one we looked at! He was a proponent of Advaita Vedanta according to our lecturer), and our lecturer said Śāṃkara's commentary tended to be very much taking the BhG as a vehicle to espouse his own philosophical system/beliefs (which apparently was not uncommon in Sanskrit commentaries generally) but as a result he definitely had an "agenda" so to speak! So I guess it might be interesting to see how the other commentaries compare...although the ones we have been referencing (on the bhagavadgita.eu/en/ website) all seem to be non-dualist commentators (at least the ones I can find wikipedia entries for!) so might be more similar than different...
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gjd800
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#83
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Well, शङ्कर so no initial long a but yes, same guy! I think the Gita is pretty much Advaitin, but again, could be my own biases! (I'm not an Advaita proponent, but it is a research area ha)
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artful_lounger
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#84
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(Original post by gjd800)
Well, शङ्करा so no initial long a but yes, same guy! I think the Gita is pretty much Advaitin, but again, could be my own biases! (I'm not an Advaita proponent, but it is a research area ha)
Ah interesting, the website above gave his name with the long [a] in transliteration...must be an error (which I reproduced when I copy pasted it )

I definitely need to read a lot more in and around Sanskrit to make more sense of the Gita for sure though
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Ah interesting, the website above gave his name with the long [a]...must be an error (which I reproduced when I copy pasted it )

I definitely need to read a lot more in and around Sanskrit to make more sense of the Gita for sure though
I just made a mistake too by adding a long a at the end in my transliteration app :lol:

More like शङ्कर or शंकर, without the long a at the end haha
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And that's a wrap on Term 1!

Term 1 has come to an end (finally! I definitely feel like I need a break...)

For the end of term tests, I think they went OK! The Prakrit one was a lot easier than I thought it would be for the parsing and translation. Composition was difficult but that's always the case because it's just harder going from English to target language than the reverse I think...a lot of the sentences were very nearly identical to examples from the lesson handouts or the exercises, but with slight changes, which helped There was one form I totally didn't recognise and had to spend a bit of time trying to reverse engineer...I think it was from ko/ka/kim, but with the addition of an enclitic which caused some sandhi to occur making the ending look slightly unexpected. That was at least what I went with

The Sanskrit test I think went well also, I think my parsing was fine and my compositions were OK (for Sanskrit composition we're told to compose our own sentences, unlike Prakrit where we are given English sentences to translate into Prakrit, so I could pick VERY simple sentences to make sure I got the grammar right). A couple of the translations were maybe a little shaky (mainly those with a lot of participles in different forms, trying to decide how to construct those in English) but I think I got the gist of them across.


Next Term

For next term I'll be continuing both Sanskrit and Prakrit!

Prakrit will be a "readings" class where we are translating initially the Story of Nami - I gather it's about a Jain laywoman, who is essentially the "hero" of the story. The lecturer has advised me this is not unusual in Jain narratives, and woman are often portrayed as very clever/shrewd protagonists. Which is somewhat interesting since from what I'd heard about Jainisim was that it was somewhat conservative with regard to gender (roles)...clearly things are a lot less cut and dried than presented elsewhere!

In Sanskrit we'll be continuing with the Gita for at least the first half of term, but our lecturer has said if we decide we're getting sick of it by then we can look at something else It's been pretty interesting (albeit, abstract and difficult of late!) so far, but equally it might be interesting to have more exposure to other Sanskrit texts (especially of different genres, since there are many different kinds!). Equally though it might be somewhat hard for the class to all to agree on one other text/genre since we all have quite diverse interests

I'll also be submitting my UCAS application in January when we get back D: I think I will just apply to the one course at UCL for deferred entry (since they won't take part-time students on it until 2023) and then if I get rejected look to apply next year anyway (possibly reapplying to UCL). I've already more or less planned to have this "year out" so to speak and hopefully might get my contract extended into that and be able to work full time then, so it's not really any skin off my nose (since if I applied elsewhere I would also apply for deferred entry for that reason).


The Winter Break

Over the break my plan is to hopefully do SOME Sanskrit and Prakrit work, on the Gita and Nami story respectively. I think I might try and do one verse of Sanskrit per day (or maybe weekday) and a bit of the Nami story each day if possible too just to continually be doing a bit of each. I know I said I would do this for reading week but this time I'm going to try and avoid doing what I did then (nothing)

While in Sanskrit for term 2 there is another portoflio, I think we'll have done enough translation work that I can avoid using any translations I do over this break. Therefore, my aim is to post on here each (week?) day the Sanskrit verse I've worked on, with my translation, grammatical information, and any notes/comments about it in context of the rest of the Gita we've done so far Hopefully this will keep me motivated to keep working on things, and be interesting for you guys reading it

That said there might be the odd day where I miss it out - next Thursday I'm working in the morning then travelling in the afternoon so I imagine I might not get anything done then unless I can work through the verse on the train (theoretically possible but, maybe TMI, I get travel sick when I'm reading and writing in a moving vehicle so, not sure if I'll be able to do the whole thing ).



Non-Academic Things

My contract looks like it's going to be renewed into the new year, they said it looks like it will be a three month renewal as well which is nice to have some certainty about that! I did negotiate to drop my hours a bit because I anticipate with the Prakrit moving to a readings/translation format I'll need more time to spend on that. Hopefully this should accommodate that and give me some additional work-life balance between work, my studies, and downtime!


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artful_lounger
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#87
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(Original post by gjd800)
I just made a mistake too by adding a long a at the end in my transliteration app :lol:

More like शङ्कर or शंकर, without the long a at the end haha
To be fair typing in devanagari is probably quite tricky! I've only tried typesetting devanagari once, very early last year, using LaTeX...it went horribly wrong and I couldn't figure out how to use the Skt package and get it to actually display the right conjuncts and so on

Late response as with the two tests I was a bit frazzled
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Well done on getting to the end of term! And great that your contract is being renewed/extended, but that you have negotiated fewer hours :woo:

Hope you have a lovely rest over the festive break
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Well done on getting to the end of term! And great that your contract is being renewed/extended, but that you have negotiated fewer hours :woo:

Hope you have a lovely rest over the festive break
Thank you! I hope you also have a nice break, and that you are able to get some downtime Although I know in a PhD you don't really have the formal holiday structure like in undergrad!
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Thank you! I hope you also have a nice break, and that you are able to get some downtime Although I know in a PhD you don't really have the formal holiday structure like in undergrad!
Indeed: trying to finish current chapter by/on 31st Dec, so no rest for the wicked :emo:
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Indeed: trying to finish current chapter by/on 31st Dec, so no rest for the wicked :emo:
In that case, good luck - but I'm sure you won't need it! Hopefully you can carve out a little time for yourself before then as well :hugs:
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
In that case, good luck - but I'm sure you won't need it! Hopefully you can carve out a little time for yourself before then as well :hugs:
Thank you
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Sanskrit Verse of the Day: The Bhagavad Gita 2.17

Kicking things off with the first verse of the break! I'll be continuing from where we stopped with the Bhagavad Gita in term 1 (in preparation for term 2) and putting up my work on here I've decided not to type up my grammatical parsing because it's tedious to type and probably tedious to read If there are specific points of grammatical confusion I've decided I will address these individually in the comments section.

Note all transliterations will be from the critical edition worked on by M. Tokunaga, care of GRETIL and bhagavadgita.eu!

For context, we are at the point in the Gita where Arjuna has lamented needing to kill his (extended) family in battle, initially quite emotively and then trying to form a logical argument on the basis that it will damn them all to hell (both the innocent and the guily on both sides of the conflict). In this sense there is a hell which is something akin (it seems) to western Christian eternal torment - quite different from concept of the transmigration of the soul associated with Hinduism and Buddhism in South Asia otherwise.

Krishna then replies to Arjuna, laughing at him (or nearly laughing at him - see above comments for some discussion about this!) and then "setting him straight" so to speak it seems. This reply is what we're in the middle of translating, and we've been told it more or less lays out the basis for this concept of transmigration of the soul and thus sets the stage for what would become the basis of more modern Hindu belief (perhaps, co-opting the potentially then more fashionable similar/related Buddhist concepts of reincarnation for Brahmanism, it was suggested by our lecturer).

Krishna has so far told Arjuna he shouldn't care, essentially, about killing the family on the other side of this war, and is in the process of explaining why. The why is quite abstract though, and I don't really understand a lot of it! So far he's stated that none of them have never NOT existed (i.e. that they have always existed), and they always will exist. Hence in the same way that as one grows old their body changes without dying/stopping at each stage from childhood to youth to old age,, one shouldn't be surprised that their (immortal) "self" changes but does not cease. He's also remarked that material senses/sensations (sense data?) should be "endured" and that for the wise pain and pleasure are all the same and are fleeting (i.e. they are unimportant and ignored, I took it as meaning).

There was then the very difficult (for me!) section discussed earlier in this thread which marked the beginning of a discussion of the eternal and transient. This is what follows:


Transliteration

avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṃ tatam
vināśam avyayasyāsya na kaścit kartum arhati

Translation

Know that in which manner all this diffused world is imperishable, no-one can cause the annihilation of this, the immutable.

Comments

The meaning is, unsurprisingly, rather obscure to me...the exact nature of "diffused" is perhaps where this is a little vague to me. I've seen two other translations use "pervaded" although I'm not sure that clears much up. I'm guessing in connection with the earlier verses, this world (which seems to be more generally like, reality or the universe i.e. everything) is everywhere always and eternal, and so because of that it's not possible to destroy anything within it as all that is in it is likewise unchanging/eternal?

Possibly interesting with respect to modern physics given the whole matter and energy cannot be destroyed concept, just transferred from one state to another (although then there is another potential level to that of information relating to entropy and so on). Although that somewhat assumes that is the meaning of the original verse...and not just my conception of things influencing my translation and hence creating a confirmation bias!


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gjd800
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I'd go at it like this (I think you have the second part wholly right but I'd change around the phrasing to be less clunky):

avināśi - imperishable/indestructible; tu - but; tad - that; viddhi - know; yena - 'in which manner' can be right, by so can 'by whom' or, even better, by which; sarvam - all of, the totality, everything; idaṃ - this; tatam - widespread, spreading over, covered, concealed, also pervaded

vināśam -
destruction/decay; avyayasyāsya - of the imperishable/indestructible; na kaścit - no somebody (no-one); kartum - to do; arhati - be able/is able

Thus:

But know to be indestructible That by which everything is pervaded
Nobody is able to destroy the Imperishable

Context gives you a bit of freedom here: Tat is often used as a synonym for the Brahman, saccidānanda, or - in the Upaniṣads - तत्त्वमसि (tat tvam asi; you are That (Brahman)). So you can use 'That' as a synonym for the Absolute (the Real, whatever you want to call it).

So it's not the case that all within the universe is unchanging or permanent (in fact the opposite is true), it is simply that the essence which underpins the world as we know it cannot be destroyed. Thus, in killing his family, Arjuna only appears to be doing a harm - they are permeated or pervaded by the Brahman, and the Brahman cannot be destroyed (or changed, or 'sent' anywhere - including to hell)
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#95
I should add that if you're interested in keeping metre etc (well, as far as you can with this stuff), then my way isn't great because there's a bit too much brevity. But I'm more bothered about meanings and that is the biggest influence when I'm translating!
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by gjd800)
I'd go at it like this (I think you have the second part wholly right but I'd change around the phrasing to be less clunky):

avināśi - imperishable/indestructible; tu - but; tad - that; viddhi - know; yena - 'in which manner' can be right, by so can 'by whom' or, even better, by which; sarvam - all of, the totality, everything; idaṃ - this; tatam - widespread, spreading over, covered, concealed, also pervaded

vināśam - destruction/decay; avyayasyāsya - of the imperishable/indestructible; na kaścit - no somebody (no-one); kartum - to do; arhati - be able/is able

Thus:

But know to be indestructible That by which everything is pervaded
Nobody is able to destroy the Imperishable

Context gives you a bit of freedom here: Tat is often used as a synonym for the Brahman, saccidānanda, or - in the Upaniṣads - तत्त्वमसि (tat tvam asi; you are That (Brahman)). So you can use 'That' as a synonym for the Absolute (the Real, whatever you want to call it).

So it's not the case that all within the universe is unchanging or permanent (in fact the opposite is true), it is simply that the essence which underpins the world as we know it cannot be destroyed. Thus, in killing his family, Arjuna only appears to be doing a harm - they are permeated or pervaded by the Brahman, and the Brahman cannot be destroyed (or changed, or 'sent' anywhere - including to hell)
Ahh, thank you

I think it was the lack of context I have for it - in my initial parse/gloss I had mostly the same meanings as you did (I even tried to work with "by which" for a while) but was struggling to put together that first line...mainly trying to figure out how the tad...yena...worked in the whole thing. Perhaps I was being too stubborn in not putting in an asti to get a finite verb in the first half and trying to make tatam some kind of adjective rather than just taking it as a noun in accusative!

I ended up with immutable for avyayasya I think from vyaya and just adding the negation/privative particle in English...I did originally have imperishable but then I had the same meaning for avināśi and it felt odd in the context you explained it does make more sense going that way and it does have a somewhat different meaning I suppose (particularly in the context of the prior few śloka.

Also I forgot about the tu, I think like half the time it ends up being entirely superfluous and I've gotten into the habit of just not translating it
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Ahh, thank you

I think it was the lack of context I have for it - in my initial parse/gloss I had mostly the same meanings as you did (I even tried to work with "by which" for a while) but was struggling to put together that first line...mainly trying to figure out how the tad...yena...worked in the whole thing. Perhaps I was being too stubborn in not putting in an asti to get a finite verb in the first half and trying to make tatam some kind of adjective rather than just taking it as a noun in accusative!

I ended up with immutable for avyayasya I think from vyaya and just adding the negation/privative particle in English...I did originally have imperishable but then I had the same meaning for avināśi and it felt odd in the context you explained it does make more sense going that way and it does have a somewhat different meaning I suppose (particularly in the context of the prior few śloka.

Also I forgot about the tu, I think like half the time it ends up being entirely superfluous and I've gotten into the habit of just not translating it
Immutable also works! I'd give it a capital letter because it's an epithet for 'Brahman', but it changes the context and meaning in no real way at all

That took me a while to get used to with Skt - you don't need to use al the words, and sometimes words are implied and left out etc. It's just familiarity - I find this stuff easier because of my background in the religious philosophy, but the stuff from the Hitopadesa etc I found harder because I was less familiar with what they were trying to get at

I am very much enjoying these posts btw, fab to see someone having a go at this stuff. You're doing well with it form what I see on here
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(Original post by gjd800)
I should add that if you're interested in keeping metre etc (well, as far as you can with this stuff), then my way isn't great because there's a bit too much brevity. But I'm more bothered about meanings and that is the biggest influence when I'm translating!
I didn't see this one, but we're definitely not translating metrically! We've been basically introduced to the concept of the metre but we aren't having to scan the metre or anything and we're definitely not expected to be translating it in a way to preserve that - I think our lecturer's main emphasis is like you on the meaning

(Original post by gjd800)
Immutable also works! I'd give it a capital letter because it's an epithet for 'Brahman', but it changes the context and meaning in no real way at all

That took me a while to get used to with Skt - you don't need to use al the words, and sometimes words are implied and left out etc. It's just familiarity - I find this stuff easier because of my background in the religious philosophy, but the stuff from the Hitopadesa etc I found harder because I was less familiar with what they were trying to get at

I am very much enjoying these posts btw, fab to see someone having a go at this stuff. You're doing well with it form what I see on here
That's good to know, it's sometimes hard to figure out the best meaning because in any single entry in MW there are like at least a dozen different (and sometimes completely contradictory!) definitions given :laugh:

Yeah I'm still getting kind of used to the omitted verbs and so on, last year was mostly "this is how it's supposed to work" and this year is mostly "....aaaand this is what it actually ends up being". The stuff we learned from a textbook doesn't always appear in such a straightforward way in "the wild" I did watch a lecture about Pāṇini's grammar in the context of computational approaches and how it really goes to the extreme with that omission/borrowing, leaving out most of the information in each sutra but having it recursively borrowed from earlier ones...quite interesting but I imagine it would be hard to work with!

Perhaps fortunately there isn't much on Pāṇinan grammar at SOAS (I think it's a bigger thing at Oxford, and apparently the only resident Sanskritist at Cambridge exclusively works on that?) might be something to look at after exams though

Also I'm glad you're enjoying it! I do (usually!) enjoy the process of translating so it's fun to share that
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Sanskrit Verse of the Day: Bhagavad Gita 2.18

Today's verse was a bit tricky grammatically, because it didn't have a finite verb (of course!) so trying to render it in sensible English was a bit harder. I think I may have taken some liberties in doing so but hopefully haven't departed too much from the text and its meaning D:

So something I should have mentioned before for those who aren't familiar with this text, is that the Gita is a "text within a text", part of the epic the Mahābhārata. It is narrated in the latter by the poet (?) Samjaya, to one of the kings descended from Bhārata. As a result we often see vocatives referring to a lord/king/descendant of Bhārata which take us outside of the narrative of the Gita and back into that of the MBh. These vocatives often come at the end of the third or fourth pada (half verse), here at the end of the fourth.


Transliteration

antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ
anāśinoprameyasya tasmād yudhyasva bhārata

Translation

It is said these bodies of the eternal, imperishable embodied Self have an end. Therefore, fight O descendant of Bhārata!

Comments

Putting together the first bit with all the nominatives was tricky, Sargeant and Stoler-Miller I think both inserted a "to be" after "these" (ime) in their translations, but I'm not sure that's really allowed, given that they are all in nominative plural so must be the subject of a verb and realistically I can't imagine they would be different subjects of different verbs as I took them to all be referring to the same thing/in agreement. I tried to kind of cheat that issue by using the "having an end"(antavantaḥ) to sort of supply the verb "have"...not sure that's allowed either though

The vocative bhārata is maybe troubling trying to use it to refer outside of the Gita narrative here. I suppose technically Arjuna is also a descendant of Bhārata and would make a lot of sense to go with the imperative "fight". However, I don't think we've encountered him being referred to by that epithet yet, which has so far to memory only referred outside the narrative to the person Samjaya is narrating to. I've taken it to refer to Arjuna just for simplicity's sake as I'm not really sure how to deal with it otherwise, but I'm also not happy with this approach entirely as I feel like I'm going the wrong way about it...

In a general sense I think the gist of this particular śloka is tying up everything Krishna has said so far by him pointing out that the body is temporary while the "soul" as such (which was given as an alternative definition for śarīriṇaḥ but everyone seemed to use embodied Self and I'm not sure if soul should be reserved for ātman specifically) is eternal, so he shouldn't be worried about destroying his family (a lot of Arjuna's reasoning for not fighting, after his emotive response to fighting his family, was that destroying the family causes all kinds of societal damage and so on) as it is just their bodies and their eternal Self will continue existing anyway.


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Last edited by artful_lounger; 1 month ago
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gjd800
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I think you're right not to simply equate शर्īरिणः with 'soul' as we think if it - the embodied part is really crucial and I'd always understand it as 'embodied self'. The translation you;ve got is pretty much there, and I think your understanding of what is going on is pretty much there, too

The next verse talks about how there is, for the ultimate perspective, no slayer and no slain - it's quite a controversial verse with no real universal agreement on how to understand it. It ties in with your verse aboe, because there is an argument to be made that Krsna is actually saying that since we are all part of the one ultimate self (Krsna/Brahman), any action is merely a manifestation of that self, and subsequently, there is no individual blame first because there are no individuals; and, second because karma and the associated fruits thereof become moot points when the Absolute is simply manifesting itself.

This is hard stuff, there's a cool recent paper here but it's a bit technical and terse. Nonetheless, it's a very current debate that you have ambled into - which is itself very cool!
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