Bhagavadgita, cognition, Buddhism?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 30 21:34:05 UTC 2000

>But the body has already been equated with the k.setra (13.1), whereas
>sa.mghaata etc. are listed as constituent parts (or even transformations:
>vikaara) of the k.setra. From a purely text-internal perspective, then, one
>would not expect sa.mghaata to be yet another synonym for 'body'.

Agreed. Which is why sa.mghaata is not just the body or the deha, but the
totality of deha + indriyas. It would then include that which causes the
association between these. Perhaps, the expectation is that the whole is
more than the sum of the parts.

>To be sure, mental 'organs' are regarded as material; but why should buddhi
>(listed in 13.5) be thought more so than cetanaa or dh.rti (13.6) -- which
>even in Sankara's view are functions of the buddhi, vijñaana or
> I don't follow this argument. As far as I can see, from a
>Samkhya perspective, all items listed in 13.5-6 would seem to belong to the
>same category, i.e., prak.rti.

In saa.mkhya, you have,

avyakta -> mahat -> aha.mkaara -> 5 tanmaatras -> 5 mahaabhuutas
                  manas and ten organs

In Gita 13.5, you have,
5 elements, aha.mkaara, buddhi, avyakta, 11 organs and 5 sense-objects.

If you correlate the two, the five mahaabhuutas are the five objects of the
senses, and manas is the eleventh organ. If you also view Gita 13.5 in terms
of a causal chain, as in standard saa.mkhya, buddhi represents mahat, which
arises directly from avyakta, but prior to aha.mkaara. It is therefore a
more universal principle, as you need to admit aha.mkaara, in order to talk
of the individual (body, gross or subtle). All saa.mkhya texts view buddhi
as a synonym for mahat, but this is part of the thoroughgoing correlation
between macro- and micro- realms in saa.mkhya. Note also that there is
sufficient evidence to show that in early saa.mkhya there was substantial
debate over whether is one or many.

There is also the individual intellect, which is "", which
is a function of mental activity, and which, being an individual principle,
presupposes aha.mkaara. cetanaa in 13.6 would fit in with this notion. The
other distinction that can be made from within a saa.mkhya perspective is
that buddhi in 13.5 would be both generated and generative, but cetanaa in
13.6 would be derivative of manas and not generative of any new principle.
Thus, k.setra is described, from yad vikaari in 13.4, to savikaara.m
samaasena in 13.6.

Re: five karmayonis, yuktidiipikaa and tattvasamaasa list dh.rti, ;sraddhaa,
sukha, avividi.saa and vividi.saa. The first four lead to bandha and the
last leads to There is a 1967 edition of YD from Banarsidass, edited
by R. C. Pandeya, and a critical edition by Wezler and Motegi has come out
in 1998.


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