Bhagavadgita, cognition, Buddhism?

Martin Gansten Martin.Gansten at TEOL.LU.SE
Mon Aug 28 13:40:16 UTC 2000

Bhagavadgita 13.5-6 gives the following summary definition of prakriti
        mahaabhuutaany aha.mkaaro buddhir avyaktam eva ca / dazaika.m ca pañca cendriyagocaraa.h //
        icchaa sukha.m du.hkha.m sa.mghaataz cetanaa dh.rti.h /
In their rendering of the last pada, most modern translators (some with a
slight twist of their own) seem to follow Sankara's understanding of the
three words as 'the body, consciousness, and endurance.' (Though one or two
prefer Ramanuja's reading sa.mghaataz cetanaadh.rti.h 'the body, supporting

Presumably, the understanding of sa.mghaata as 'body' is based on MaiU 1.3.
Nevertheless, with either reading, this last pada seems somewhat out of
place. An alternative understanding which occurs to me is that of 'contact
(sa.mghaata) [of the senses with the sense-fields], perception (cetanaa)
[of pleasure or pain], and retention (dh.rti) [of impressions producing
attachment and aversion].' This would tie in nicely with the technical use
of dh.rti as a term for mental retention in 18.29-33, as well as with
13.5-6 as a whole.

My question to list members -- especially those better acquainted with
Buddhist, Jaina, or Sankhya materials than myself -- is whether these three
terms (sa.mghaata, cetanaa, dh.rti), or others like them, occur as a sort
of cognition triad in any other text/s. Any hints on this would be

Thanks in advance,
Martin Gansten

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