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The Bhagavad-Gita


Translation and Commentary
Notes and References


1. Literally: "Highly Respected God-Song."
2. He is the current sun god and hence king of all planets and their inhabitants.
3. Lord Ramacandra, as Shri Krishna, was an avatara or Incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is the celebrated hero of the Ramayana. Iksvaku, who received the knowledge from Manu, was born from Manu's nostril when he sneezed and ruled at Ayodhya as the first king of the solar dynasty.
4. The first age, satya-yuga, lasts 1,728,000 years.
5. Shri Yukteswar developed (“discovered”) “the mathematical application of a 24,000-year equinoctial cycle to our present age. The cycle is divided into an Ascending Arc and a descending Arc, each of 12,000 years. Within each Arc fall four Yugas or Ages, called Kali, Dwapara, Treta, and Satya ... the last Kali Yuga ... of the Ascending Arc, started about A.D. 500. The Iron Age, 1200 years in duration ... ended about A.D. 1700. That year ushered in Dwapara Yuga, a 2400-year period of electrical and atomic-energy developments ... The 3600-year period of Treta Yuga will start in A.D. 4100 ...” (AY 193,194). If he is correct, we are living in dvapara-Yuga, not kali-yuga. Most authorities reject this system of calculation.
6. Vivasvan, the sun-god, is a member of the ksatriya varna (warrior caste) and is therefore the father of all ksatriyas (BG 215 pur).
7. According to Swami Prakashanand the earth was created one thousand nine hundred seventy three million and eight hundred thirteen thousand eighty nine years ago, as of 1989 (PL 19). This universe was created 155.52 trillion years ago (SK 10).
8. There is some question as to which is most popular, the Ramayana or Gita/Mahabharata. I agree with Swami Prabhavananda, R.C. Zaehner, Nicol Macnicol and others that it is by far the Gita (SoG 28; GW 61).
9. Shruti: revealed by God to man.
Smriti: teachings of Incarnations, saints or prophets.
10. The Bodhayana Bhashya from which Shri Ramanuja compiled his Shri-Bhashya was a "worm-eaten manuscript which he happened to find" (SV 4.99).
11. As usual, there is debate concerning the dates of the Pancharatra. Eliade places them at circa 550 C.E. (Y 201). Since the Mahabharata mentions them as one of the five prominent systems (XII 337.59), if we can date the text we will date the Pancharatra sect (ToE 202). The issue at hand is not affected by this debate however.
12. Garu*a is the half-man half-eagle upon whom Lord Vishnu rides. Krishna is generally accepted as Vishnu. This association of Vyasudeva with Guruda links the two at this early date (CDM 109).
13 Although the origins of the Gupta family are somewhat obscure, most scholarship, including the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Romila Thapar and others place Chandra Gupta I cir. 4th century C.E. (CA 1-3; HoI vol. 2, 136 ). Due to the emphasis which Ranade places on this point I thought it worthy of inclusion, however I don't know where his dates come from in this instance.
14 Traditionally, the name is derived from Shri Krishna's father Vasudeva. More specifically, Krishna is called this because he dwells within all beings (vasanat). The name was once assumed by an imposter named Paundraka and Krishna killed him (CD 343).
15 Sankarsana is the name of Krishna's first expansion, His brother Balarama. Lord Vishnu plucked two hairs and dropped them to the earth, where they entered the wombs of Rohini and Devakî. The white hair became Balarama, the black, Krishna (CD 161)
16 The Vedas are eternal and so have no actual beginning. One can only date this round of texts from the creation of the earth, this time, by the present Brahma.
17 Or muhu — always; mukunda — Krishna, as He who desires to give everyone a spiritual, eternal, blissful life (SB 10.8.15 pur.); sevaya — by the service of.
18 Karma-yoga is the "yoga of [self-transcending] action" or complete renunciation of the fruits of one's actions (EDY 174).
19 Which is similar to karma-yoga, with certain Tantric additions (EDY 185). 20 Or the essence of pure bliss which comes from devotional surrender to the Divine (EDY 289).
21 The system established by Patanjali is often "considered to be a second division of the Sankhya philosophy" (SE 788).
22. Karma means action and, in this context, refers to past and present fruitive reactions. It governs the concept of transmigration. Maya is translated in many ways according to various school philosophies. In essence, it is illusion, though it originally meant 'She Who measures' — i.e. the Goddess, and refers to Her creative power. Nirvana is the concept of extinction or the utter linkage of attention (chitta) in union (yoga) with the Self (EDY).
23. The word dharma has many meanings. In this case I use it to refer to primal virtue, the foundation of the world. It is one of the four goals of human life (purusha-artha) EDY 93.

Thus ends the Notes on Jagannatha's Prakasha's Gitabhasya.

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