Typographical error in the Bhagavad-Gita?

Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jan 5 00:16:15 UTC 2000

--- Ravi Chawla <rchawla at DELLNET.COM> wrote:

>  What was true at the time when the Gita was originally written, that is also
> true today. This is the significance of the Gita.  And what is true today was
> also true at the time when the Gita was written.

What about the following verses from Chapter 18 which is purported  to be the
essence of the preceding 17 chapters?

[source: "Srimad Bhagavadgita" (with English translation & Transliteration)
by Jayadayal Goyandka, Published by :Govind Bhavan Karyalaya Gita Press,
Gorakhpur, Seventh Edition 1996.]

Here is verse 41 of chapter 18
in the words of the Lord krSNa:
"The duties of the BrAhmaNas, the KSatriyas, and the Vaisyas, as well as of the
SUdras have been divided according to their *inborn qualities*, Arjuna. "

Verse 18:42-48 specify the typical duties of each caste and why following
varnasrama dharma is the way to realization of God.

verse 18:43 for KSatriya
verse 18:44 for Vaisya and SUdra:
it says:
"...And service of the other classes is the natural duty even of a Sudra (a
member of the labouring class)."

That taken together with the phrase "inborn qualities" of verse 41 clearly
tells the reader that a Sudra is *born* with the mentality and aptitude fit
only to be a slave to upper varnas forvever.

verse 18:47:
"Better is one's own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another
well-performed: for performing the duty ordained by his own nature man does not
incur sin."

That clearly is an advice to a capable Sudra aspiting to perform the actions
reserved as duties of a brahmana.

verse 18:48:
"Therefor Arjuna, one should not abandon one's innate duty, even though it may
be tainted with blemish; for even as fire is enveloped in smoke, all
undertakings are clouded with demerit."

That clearly is an apologism to a brahmana who feels the pricks of guilt for
having to live off of the  people in the lower strata of the varnasrama system.

Are they still true?

Contrast those verse of Gita with the words of the Tamil didactic work
written no later than Gita:
"piRappu okkum ellA uyirkkum" [thirukkuRaL: 98:2]
meaning " all beings are equal by birth".


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