Jīvana-dharma-yoga: Introduction

This article is part 1 of 5 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga
[On the occasion of D V Gundappa’s forty-fifth death anniversary, Prekshaa is delighted to publish the first episode of a new series – a modern English translation of DVG’s Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award-winning work, Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya or Jīvana-dharma-yoga. Translated from the original Kannada treatise by Sri. Raghavendra Hebbalalu and Smt. Sreelalitha Rupanagudi. —Editor]

Invocation

जगद्रणाङ्गणे यस्य
स्मरणं जयकारणं।
पार्थसारथये तस्मै
श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥

To him whose remembrance in
the world-battlefield is the cause of victory,
to that charioteer of Pārtha,
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

INTRODUCTION

ॐ तत्सत्पदसूच्याय विष्णवे परमात्मने।
जगज्जीवेशतत्त्वाय श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥ 1

To him indicated by the syllables Om Tat Sat,
to the all-pervading Viṣṇu, to the Supreme Self,
to the Essence of jagat (universe), jīva (individual), and, īśa (god)
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

मर्त्यातिमर्त्यलीलाय पृथग्जीवस्वबंधवे।
धर्माधिधर्मगुरवे श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥ 2

To him whose līla is both human and superhuman,
to the own friend of every jīva,
to the guru who teaches dharma and adhi-dharma (that which transcends dharma),
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

एको बहूनां यः कामान् ददाति बहुरूपतः।
रासिक्यमूर्तये तस्मै श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥ 3

He who satisfies the desires of many in myriad ways,
to the embodiment of aesthetic enjoyment,
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

नानामनुष्यहृदयस्पन्दसूक्ष्मानुकम्पिने।
तत्तद्धितोपायविदे श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥ 4

To him who resonates with the subtle heart-throbs of billions of beings,
to the knower of the way to each one’s welfare,
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

प्रतिजीवपृथग्व्याधिनिदानैकचिकित्सिने।
सर्वरोगैकवैद्याय श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥ 5

To him who heals by diagnosing the unique disease of each jīva,
to the one physician to myriad maladies,
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

जगद्रणांगणे यस्य स्मरणं जयकारणं।
पार्थसारथये तस्मै श्रीकृष्णब्रह्मणे नमः॥ 6

To him, whose remembrance in
the world-battlefield is the cause of victory,
to that charioteer of Pārtha,
salutations to Brahman known as Śrīkṛṣṇa!

तद्गीतार्थानुवादाय यत्यते तत्प्रसादतः।
सामान्यजनमुद्दिश्य मया कर्णाट भाषया॥ 7

By his grace, I venture to translate
his Gītā into the Kannaḍa tongue
for the benefit of common folk

व्याख्याता बहुभिर्गीता नानामतविभेदतः।
वितर्कांस्तु विहायात्र ऋज्वर्थश्चिन्त्यते मया॥ 8

Commented upon by many, has the Gītā been,
by those of various schools of thought
Abandoning convoluted logic,
I reflect upon its straight meaning in this work.

जीवनव्यवहारेषु सर्वेष्वपि च सर्वदा।
तत्तात्पर्यान्वयादेव गीतापाठफलोदयः॥ 9

In matters of life, in all of them,
through the constant application of its purport,
dawns the result of Gītā-study

तस्मादस्मिन् प्रवृत्तोहमनुष्ठानप्रयोगदृक्।
सन्मार्गदृष्टिशुद्धिम् वो दद्यादंतर्गुरुर्हरिः॥ 10

Therefore, have I embarked upon this,
having seen the benefit of the Gītā in practice
May the inner guru, Śrīhari, give
all of you the clarity to see the right path

ब्रह्मपत्तनवीथीषु चरता जीवसम्भ्रमान्।
पश्यता हितनिश्श्रेणीमिच्छता शिवभिक्षुणा॥ 11
कृतं स्वचित्तशुद्ध्यर्थं न ज्ञंमन्यतयात्विदं।
क्षम्यतां साहसं सद्भिः कृपया चावलोक्यताम्॥ 12

By Śiva-bhikṣu, who while wandering
in the streets of Brahman’s city
witnessed the agitations of the jīvas
and being then desirous of bettering their welfare,
has this work been created – to clarify his own mind
and surely not due to any pretence of knowledge
May those learned forgive this audacity
and kindly deign to see this work!

~

 
ಓಂತತ್ಸತ್ಪದಚಿಂತ್ಯನ-
ನಂತಂ ವಿಶ್ವಪ್ರಪಂಚಲೀಲೋದಂತಂ।
ಕಾಂತಂ ಚಿತ್ಪ್ರಭೆಯಿಂ ಜಗ-
ಕಂತರ್ಯಾಮಿ ಪ್ರಭು ಪ್ರಸನ್ನಂ ಕೃಷ್ಣಂ॥ 1

The joyous Śrīkṛṣṇa is meditated upon with the words Om Tat Sat
He is the infinite, who pervades the līlā of the universe.
He is attractive by the light of consciousness.
He is the lord and the inner controller of the world.

ಮರ್ತ್ಯಾತಿಮರ್ತ್ಯಲೀಲಂ
ನಿತ್ಯಂ ಧರ್ಮಾಧಿಧರ್ಮತತ್ತ್ವಾಧಾರಂ।
ಪ್ರತ್ಯಕ್ಷಪರಮದೈವಂ
ಸತ್ಯದಿ ನಡೆಯಿಸುಗೆ ನಮ್ಮನರ್ಜುನಸೂತಂ॥ 2

His līlās are both human and superhuman.
He is the eternal one and the support of
principles of dharma and adhi-dharma.
He is the manifestation of the Supreme divinity
May that charioteer of Arjuna lead us to Truth!

ಏಕೋ ವಿದಧಾತಿ ಬಹೂ-
ನಾಂ ಕಾಮಾನ್ ಎಂಬ ವೇದವಚನಂ ಪ್ರತ್ಯ-।
ಕ್ಷೀಕರಿಸಿದ ಬಹುರೂಪಂ
ಶ್ರೀಕೃಷ್ಣಂ ತೋರುಗೆಮಗೆ ಮಂಗಲಗತಿಯಂ॥ 3

He epitomises the Vedic statement –
Eko vidadhāti bahūnāṁ kāmān
[The one establishes the desires of many]
May he of many forms, Śrīkṛṣṇa,
show us the path to the auspicious!

ಗೋಪೀಮಧ್ಯದಿ ರಸಿಕಂ
ತಾಪಸರೊಳ್ ತಪಸಿ ರಾಜತಂತ್ರದಿ ಶುಕ್ರಂ।
ಸೂಪಾಯಂ ರಣರಂಗದೊ-
ಳಾಪತ್ಸಖನಾಶ್ರಿತರ್ಗೆ ಸರ್ವಂ ಕೃಷ್ಣಂ॥ 4

The enjoyer amidst the gopikās,
the ascetic among ascetics, Śukrācārya in polity,
Expedience in the battlefield,
a friend indeed to those in need –
Śrīkṛṣṇa is all!

ಪುರುಷಾರ್ಥಚತುಷ್ಕವ ನಿಜ-
ಚರಿತೆಗಳೊಳ್ ಕಣ್ಗೆ ತೋರ್ದ ನಾನಾ ಜೀವೋ।
ದ್ಧರಣೋಪಾಯಸಮರ್ಥಂ
ಗುರು ಕೃಷ್ಣಂ ನೆಲಸಿ ನಲಿಗೆ ಮನ್ಮಾನಸದೊಳ್॥ 4

He demonstrated the fourfold ideal of life in his own life
The One capable of elevating all the jīvas
May that guru Śrīkṛṣṇa reside and rejoice in my mind!

ಹರಿಯವತಾರಗಳೊಳ್ ಯದು-
ವರನವೋಲಾರ್ ಮನುಜಹೃದಯಮರ್ಮವನರಿತನ್।
ಗುರುವೆಮಗದರಿಂ ಕೃಷ್ಣಂ
ಧರಣಿಯ ಗುಣವರಿಯದವನ ಕೃಷಿಯಿಂದಹುದೇಂ॥ 6

Among the avatāras of Śrīhari,
who other than the best among the Yadus could fathom
the mystery of the human mind?
Thence is Śrīkṛṣṇa our guru
What can come of agriculture to him
who knows not the quality of the earth?

ಮಾನವಹೃನ್ಮರ್ಮದ ವಿ-
ಜ್ಞಾನಿ ಶ್ರೀಕೃಷ್ಣನವನೆ ಭವಗದಭಿಷಜಂ।
ಮಾನಸಕಾಯಕರೋಗನಿ-
ದಾನವ ಕಾಣದನ ವೈದ್ಯವೆಂತುಪಕರಿಕುಂ॥ 7

The scientist who divines the secret of man’s heart,
nay, the healer of the malady of mundane existence!
How can a doctor who cannot diagnose the disease
of the workings of the mind be of any use?

ಪ್ರತ್ಯಕ್ಷಧರ್ಮನ್ ಅಂತೆಯೆ
ಮೂರ್ತಿಮದಧಿಧರ್ಮನ್ ಅಖಿಲಸುಲಭೋಪಾಸ್ಯಂ।
ಪಾರ್ಥಗುರು ಪರಮತೇಜಂ
ನಿತ್ಯಂ ತನ್ನಡಿಗೆ ನಮಗೆ ತೋರುಗೆ ಪಥಮಂ॥ 8

He, the epitome of dharma, who embodies adhi-dharma,
is easily worshipped by all
May the Supreme effulgence, the teacher of Pārtha,
ever show us the path towards to his divine feet!

ಭಗವದ್ಗೀತಾಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಂ
ನಿಗಮಾಗಮಸಾರಮಖಿಲಮನುಜಕುಲಕ್ಕಂ।
ಲಘುವೆನಿಸಿ ಜಗದ್ಭಾರವ
ಸುಗಮವನಾಗಿಪುದು ಜೀವಿತೋತ್ತಮಪದವಂ॥ 9

The Bhagavad-gītā śāstra
is the crux of the Vedas and Āgamas (traditions)
It lightens the burden of the world for all humankind
It makes the summum bonum of life accessible

ಶ್ರೀವೇದವ್ಯಾಸ ನಮೋ
ಭೂವಿಯದಾದ್ಯಂತದರ್ಶಿ ಕವಿಸೂರ್ಯ ನಮೋ।
ಜೀವಿತಸಾರಜ್ಞ ನಮೋ
ಭಾವಿತವಿಶ್ವಪ್ರಜಾಭವಿಷ್ಯಾರ್ಥ ನಮೋ॥ 10

Salutations, O Veda-vyāsa!
Salutations, O one who has seen the origin and end of the world!
Salutations, O sun among the seers!
Salutations, O knower of the essence of life!
Salutations, O one who knows the future of the dwellers of the world!

ಗುರುವೇ ನಿನ್ನಿತಿಹಾಸಾಂ-
ಬರಭಾಸ್ಕರದೀಪ್ತಿನಿಧಿಯ ಭಗವದ್ಗೀತಾ-।
ಪರಮಾರ್ಥವನೆನ್ನ ಜನ-
ಕ್ಕರಿಪಲ್ಕನುಮತಿಯ ನೀಡು ಮತಿವಾಗ್ಬಲಮಂ॥ 11

O guru! The Bhagavad-gītā is verily the glory
of illumination of the sun in the sky of your Mahabhārata!
May you consent to my attempt to teach my people its essence!
Bestow upon me the required intellect and wordy vigour!

ಗಿರಿಶಿಖರದಿಂದೆ ಧರೆಯಂ
ನಿರುಕಿಸಿದರ್ ಪೂರ್ವಭಾಷ್ಯಕಾರರ್ ನಾಮೀ।
ಧರಣಿಯ ನಿಮ್ನದೆ ಜೀವಿತ-
ಗಿರಿಶಿಖರವ ನೋಳ್ಪ ನಮ್ರ ಲೌಕಿಕರಲ್ತೇ॥ 12

The commentators of yore
saw the ground from the lofty peaks
We, humble laymen, however, strain to see
those lofty peaks of life from low ground

ಮೋಕ್ಷವ ಪಾಡುಗೆ ಸಿದ್ಧರ್
ಲಕ್ಷ್ಯಂ ಸಾಧಕರಿಗಿರ್ಕೆ ಜೀವನನಯದೊಳ್।
ದಕ್ಷತೆ ಕೃಷಿಕರ್ಮದೊಳಿರೆ
ಸುಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಂ ತಾನೆ ಫಲಿಸದೇಂ ನಿರ್ಯತ್ನಂ॥ 13

The seers sing of mokṣa (the final puruṣārtha)
as a goal in the plan of life
If there be dexterity in cultivation,
will not the fertile field yield
bountiful harvest without much effort?

ನಾರಾಯಣನಂ ನರನಂ
ಭಾರತಿಯಂ ವ್ಯಾಸನಂ ಸದಾ ನಮಿಸುತೆ ಸಂ-।
ಸಾರಾಹವಮಂ ಭಾರತ
ಸಾರಥಿಗೀತೋಪದಿಷ್ಟಬಲದಿಂ ಗೆಲುವಂ॥ 14

Bowing ever to Nārāyaṇa, Nara,
Bhāratī [Sarasvatī], and Vyāsa,
we will win this battle of saṁsāra by the
energy taught to us
by the song of Bhārata’s charioteer!

Introduction to the Treatise

ಗುರಿಯೇಂ ಜೀವನಕದು ಬರಿ
ಪರದಾಟಮೊ ಮನಸು ಬೇಡುವಿಂದ್ರಿಯಸುಖಮೋ।
ಸಿರಿತನಮೋ ದೊರೆತನಮೋ
ಸೆರೆಮನೆಯೋ ತಿರುಕನುಂಡ ಕನಸೌತಣಮೋ॥ 1

What is the goal of life? Is it mere wandering?
Or sense pleasures begged for by the mind?
Riches? Or Kingship? Is it prison?
Or the dream-feast eaten by a beggar?

ಜೀವಿತದರ್ಥವದೇನ್ ಅದು
ದೈವಾಗ್ರಹಬಲಿಯೊ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಯಂಧವಿಕಟಮೋ।
ಸೇವಾರ್ಹಮದರೊಳೇನ್ ಅದು
ಭಾವುಕರಿಗೆ ಸುಕೃತಭೂಮಿಯದು ಪಿರಿಯರ್ಥಮ್॥ 2

What is the meaning of life?
Is it an oblation to the whims of Fate?
Or Creation’s crooked caprice?
What is to adore in it?
To those devoted, it’s a ground of virtue;
of immense value

ತತ್ತ್ವವಿವೇಕದೆ ಜೀವವಿ-
ದುತ್ತಮಪದಕಡರಲಹುದು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿನಯದಿಂ।
ಆತ್ಮೋದ್-ಧೃತಿಯವಕಾಶಮೆ
ವಿತ್ತಗಳೊಳ್ ಪರಮವಿತ್ತಮದು ಪುರುಷವಶಂ॥ 3

Through an understanding of reality,
the jīva can endeavour to strive towards a better position
through the guidance of self refinement
The opportunity to elevate oneself
is indeed the greatest wealth within man’s control

ವರಗಳೊಳಗ್ರದ ವರಮಿದು
ನರಜನ್ಮಂ ಮೃಗಕಲಂಕಶೇಷವ ಕಳೆದೀ।
ಪುರುಷತೆಯಿಂದಧಿಪುರುಷತೆ
ಗರಿವಿಂ ಪ್ರಗತಿಯ ಗಳಿಪ್ಪ ಸಾಧನರಂಗಂ॥ 4

This indeed is the greatest of boons!
Human birth, devoid of beastly blot,
is the arena of achievement
to ascend from the human to superhuman!
 

Does not every human being have the natural desire to live well or be able to lead a good life? What is ‘good’ in our life? What is beautiful? What is valuable? What is the meaning of good? How do we establish the value of a thing? How can life be made good? Those desirous of finding answers to these questions can benefit immensely by an ardent study of this work – the Bhagavad-gītā. Who or what is a jīva? What is the relationship between a jīva and the world? What is Divine? What is the relation between jīva and the Divine? These are some of the questions for which answers can be found in the Gītā.

Our ancestors have referred to the Bhagavad-gītā as a mokṣa-śāstra (a treatise on liberation). The Gītā is indeed a mokṣa-śāstra; but it is a jīvana-śāstra (treatise on living) as well. A temple comprises the garbha-gṛha housing the mūrti, the mukha-maṇḍapa (front porch of the temple), the pradakṣiṇa-patha, and the gopura. While there may be one who can scale the tall gopura and touch its golden kalaśa at the top, the other nine hundred and ninety nine will be content with doing the pradakṣiṇa, getting a darśana of the mūrti, and partaking of the prasāda. Similarly, while there may be one person benefiting from the instruction on mokṣa, nine hundred and ninety nine people will derive benefit from the instruction on dharma. Essential lessons on improving one’s life gradually—be it for a scholar or a layman; be it for those well-settled or those who are struggling with difficulty, be it for men or for women—can be found in the Bhagavad-gītā. A healthy respect for one’s life, enthusiasm to do one’s own duty, courage in the face of adversity, faith that brings solace during moments of doubt – are some of the treasures that we can glean from the Gītā.

To be continued…

The translators wish to express their thanks to Śatāvadhāni R Ganesh for his valuable feedback and to Hari Ravikumar for his astute edits.

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Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Engineer. Lapsed blogger. Abiding interest in Sanskrit, religion, and philosophy. A wannabe jack-of-all.

About:

Mother of two. Engineer. Worshiper of Indian music, poetry, and art.

Prekshaa Publications

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...

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इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Vaiphalyaphalam

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Nipunapraghunakam

इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।

Bharavatarastavah

अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...

Bharatilochana

ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...

Vagarthavismayasvadah

“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...