Studying Geetaa and Sanskrit together (Chapter 2 Shloka 59)

Studying Geetaa and Sanskrit together (Chapter 2 Shloka 59) 

गीतान्वेषणे (अध्यायः२ श्लोकः ५९) 

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।

रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ।।२-५९।।

पदच्छेदैः –

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।

रसवर्जं रसः अपि अस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ।।२-५९।।

अन्वयः –

  1. अस्य निराहारस्य देहिनः विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते |
  2. (एनं) परं रसवर्जं दृष्ट्वा रसः अपि निवर्तते |

अन्वेषणम् –

(1)  Commentary of रामानुजाचार्य on this श्लोक starts with a very interesting opening statement इन्द्रियाणाम् आहारो विषयाः This of course has the context of the word निराहारस्य, which is sixth case singular of निराहार (either masculine or neuter, here masculine).

  • (1-1) This word निराहार is from धातुः निर् + आ + हृ.
  • (1-2) In निराहार there are three components निर्, आ and हारः  
    • (1-2-1) Since [हृ-घञ्] would be हरः, व्युत्पत्तिः of हारः should be [हृ-णिच् घञ्].
    • (1-2-2) हृ I 1 U. (हरति-ते, जहार, जहे, अहार्षीत्, अहृत, हरिष्यति-ते, हर्तुम्, हृत; pass. ह्रियते) 1 To take, carry, convey, lead, (often used with two accusatives in this sense); अजां ग्रामं हरति ŚK.; संदेशं मे हर धनपतिक्रोधविश्लेषितस्य Me.7; Ms.4.74.
      • (1-2-2-1) -Caus. (हारयति-ते) 1 To cause to take, carry or convey, send (something) by one, (with acc. or instr.); मृत्यं मृत्येन वा भारं हारयति Sk.; जीमूतेन स्वकुशलमयीं हारयिष्यन् प्रवृत्तिम् Me.4; Ms.8.114; Ku.2. 39. -2 To cause to be taken away, to lose, be deprived of. -3 To give away. -Desid.(जिहीर्षति-ते) To wish to take &c.
  • (1-3) Among the three components निर्, आ and हारः, we can combine आ and हारः to get आहारः Then we have two components निर् and आहारः
    • (1-3-1) आहारः is a noun, meaning diet or what is consumed
    • (1-3-2) निराहारः as a noun would mean fasting
  • (1-4) But here in निराहारस्य देहिनः the word निराहारस्य is adjectival to देहिनः
    • For such adjectival meaning, we need to treat निराहारः as a compound word with निर् and आहारः as the component words.
    • The derived adjectival meaning then can be निर्गतः आहारः यस्मात् सः one, from whom all consumption has gone away.
    • Better still, to conform to the import, निष्कासितः आहारः येन सः one, who has cast off all consumption

(2) The word देहिनः is grammatically both fifth case and sixth case singular (either masculine or neuter, here masculine) of the adjective देहिन्.

  • (2-1) If we focus on विषयाः (= interests) विनिवर्तन्ते (= retire, go away, stay away) and ask the question “Go away or stay away from where ?”, then the answer should be ‘from the देहिन्’ hence देहिनः as fifth case singular becomes appropriate.
  • (2-2) If we take अस्य निराहारस्य देहिनः विषयाः as one single phrase, to mean ‘interests of such bodily entity, which has undertaken fasting, has become निराहार, then the sixth case becomes appropriate.
  • (2-3) The import may not be much different. But when writing word-by-word meaning, the paraphrasing will be different.

(3) Interesting it is to note that instead of a person’s staying away from all interests, the interests themselves stay away ! The ‘interests’ do not find him interesting any more ! Point to deliberate becomes, whether this is an idiomatic statement or whether it can actually happen only like this.

(4) रसः अपि निवर्तते is also a statement in the same vein.

(5) But is not रसः an inherent part of विषयाः ?

  • (5-1) But they have been mentioned in two different sentences, distinct from each other. So they need to be deliberated upon separately.
  • (5-2) विषयः 1 An object of sense; (these are five, corresponding to the five organs of sense; रूप, रस, गन्ध, स्पर्श and शब्द corresponding to the eye, tongue, nose, skin, and ear)
    • (5-2-1) विष् I. 3 U. (वेवष्टि, वेविष्टे, विष्ट) 1 To surround. -2 To spread through, extend, pervade. -3 To embrace. -4 To accomplish, to effect, to perform. -5 To eat. -6 To go to, go against, encounter; (not generally used in classical literature). -II. 9 P. (विष्णाति) To separate, disjoin. -III. 1 P. (वेषति) To sprinkle, pour out.
  • (5-3) रसः – Its meanings are derived from those of the धातु रस्, there again, its meanings in 10 U.
    • रस (रस्) । चु० सेट् उ० (१.३.७४) । रस आस्वादनस्नेहनयोः १०.४७७ ॥
      • 10  U. (रसयति-ते, रसित) 1 To taste, relish; रसती रसना रसान् Mb.12.285.19; मृद्वीका रसिता Bv.4.13; Śi. 1.27; Mv.7.3. -2 To feel, perceive. -3 To love.
  • (5-4) From the above, it comes to mind that विषयाः are external instincts and रसः is internal.
    • Even when a poet dwells on non-existent ideas, yet the poetry is charming, such poetry is full of काव्यरसः.
  • (5-5) In the context of विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते can we say that मेनका would not have been able to distract विश्वामित्रऋषि, if his intellect would have become so steadfast, that the result would have been only विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते ?

(6) The word रसवर्जम् also makes an interesting study. It is a compound word having रस and वर्ज् as the component words. In (एनं) परं रसवर्जं दृष्ट्वा the word रसवर्जम् is object of the verbal derivative दृष्ट्वा. Hence it is masculine second case singular of रसवर्जः

  • (6-1) Since रसवर्जः is also adjectival to एनम्, such derivation of meaning should be as रसस्य वर्जः येन सः or रसस्य वर्जः यस्मै सः To weigh these two options we may rather examine वर्जः
  • (6-2) In Apte’s dictionary वर्जः Leaving, abandoning.
    • (6-2-1) वर्जनम् [वृज्-ल्युट्] 1 Leaving, giving up, abandoning. -2 Renouncing. -3 Exception, exclusion; P. I.4.88.
    • (6-2-2) Taking clue from वर्जनम् [वृज्-ल्युट्], वर्जः should be [वृज्-घञ्]. Basically the धातु is वृज्
  • (6-3) वृज् I. 2 Ā. (वृक्ते) To avoid, shun, abandon. -II. 7 P. (वृणक्ति) 1 To avoid, shun, give up, abandon. -2 To choose; आसामेकतमां वृङ्ध्वं सवर्णां स्वर्गभूषणाम् Bhāg.11.4. 14;5.1.16. -3 To atone for, efface, purify; तन्मे रेतः पिता वृङ्क्तामित्यस्यैतन्निदर्शनम् Ms.9.2. -4 To turn away, avert. -5 To remove, set aside. -6 To give, bestow. -7 To hurt, injure, kill. -8 To take away; परस्परं घ्नन्ति शपन्ति वृञ्जते पशून् स्त्रियो$र्थान् पुरुदस्यवो जनाः Bhāg.1.18.44. -III. 1 P., 1 U. [वर्जति, वर्जयति-ते, वर्जित] 1 To shun, avoid. -2 To give up, abandon. -3 To exclude, set aside, leave out, except; हंसो हि क्षीरमादत्ते तन्मिश्रा वर्जयत्यपः Ś.6.28. -4 To abstain from. -5 To cut to pieces. -6 To take away, deprive (one) of. -7 To discharge, pour or give out, emit. (The following verse from Kavi-Rahasya illustrates the root in its different conjugations – वृणक्ति वृजिनैः संगं वृक्ते च वृषलैः सह । वर्जत्यनार्जवोपेतैः स वर्जयति दुर्जनैः ॥)
  • (6-4) Considering that the अन्वयः is (एनं) परं रसवर्जं दृष्ट्वा रसः अपि निवर्तते, the विग्रहः as रसस्य वर्जः येन सः (one, who has resolved abandonment or casting off of रसः) suggests higher self-same intellectual strength than रसस्य वर्जः यस्मै सः (one, for whom it has to be abandonment or casting off of रसः).

(7) Honestly speaking, I had somehow memorized this श्लोकः reciting as रसवर्ज्यम् in place of रसवर्जम्. Grammatically रसवर्ज्यम् is also a valid word. Pronunciations of रसवर्ज्यम् in place of रसवर्जम् is quite similar-sounding and does not affect the rhyme either. रसवर्ज्यम् also  makes an interesting study. It is a compound word having रस and वर्ज्य as the component words.

  • वर्ज्य is adjectival derivative from धातुः वृज् having ण्यत्-प्रत्ययः
    • Such कृदन्त has passive voice inbuilt.
  • In (एनं) परं रसवर्ज्यं दृष्ट्वा the word रसवर्ज्यम् is object of the verbal derivative दृष्ट्वा. Hence it is masculine second case singular of रसवर्ज्यः.
  • Considering that वर्ज्यः has passive voice inbuilt, deciphering रसवर्ज्यः should be रसेण वर्ज्यः (तृतीया-तत्पुरुषः) to be shunned by रस. Since रस is discussed above as internal instinct, रसवर्ज्यः means one, who is to be shunned by रस, hence one, from whom all internal instincts also shun away.

(8) It comes to mind that a देही, from whom विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते and also रसः अपि निवर्तते, because he is रसवर्ज्यः, is like a sea, which is calm not only on the surface, but has no undercurrents also. A sea, which is calm on the surface could have undercurrents, maybe, due to movements of whales and other amphibians. Those amphibians are like रस-s ! They also shun such part of the sea, which is रसवर्ज्य.

(9) The रसवर्ज्य state is further qualified by the word परम्.

  • (9-1) Grammatically word पर a. [पॄ-भावे-अप्, कर्तरि अच्-वा] (Declined optionally like a pronoun in nom. voc. pl., and abl. and loc. sing. when it denotes relative position)
    • (9-1-1) Its etymology पॄ-भावे-अप्, कर्तरि अच्-वा provokes an interesting study. This etymology itself seems to get different meanings associated with the word पर.
    • (9-1-2) धातु itself is पॄ 3, 9 P. (पिपर्ति, पृणाति, पपार, अपारीत्, परि-री-ष्यति, परि-री-तुम्, पूर्ण; pass. पूर्यते; caus. पूरयति-ते; desid. पिपरि- री-षति, पुपूर्षति) 1 To fill, fill up, complete. -2 To fulfil, gratify (as hopes &c.). -3 To fill with wind, blow (as a conch, flute &c.). -4 To satisfy, refresh, please; पितॄनपारात् Bk.1.2. -5 To rear, bring up, nourish, nurture, cherish.
  • (9-2) One interesting meaning of पर, which seems relevant here is “.. Highest, greatest, most distinguished, pre-eminent, chief, best, principal; क्षत्रात् परं नास्ति Bṛi. Up.1.4.11. न त्वया द्रष्टव्यानां परं दृष्टम् Ś.2; Ki.5.18; परतो$पि परः Ku.2.14 ‘higher than the highest’; 6.19; Ś7.27…”

(10) The implied advice to अर्जुन is for him to become such a देही, from whom विषयाः विनिवर्तन्ते and also रसः अपि निवर्तते, because he is परं रसवर्ज्यः. And that advice to अर्जुन is eternal advice for the mankind, certainly for each one of us. Very, very challenging though !!

शुभमस्तु !