Learning Sanskrit by fresh approach – Lesson 32

Learning Sanskrit by fresh approach – Lesson 32

संस्कृतभाषायाः नूतनाध्ययनस्य द्वात्रिंशः (३२) पाठः ।

To carry forward from where we closed for Lesson # 31, let us study this second line of || 8-3 || in श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता –

भूत-भावोद्भव-करो विसर्गः कर्म-संज्ञितः || 8-3 ||

B-१. सन्धि-विच्छेदान्  कृत्वा समासानां पदानि च दर्शयित्वा ।


भूत-भाव-उद्भव-करः विसर्गः कर्म-संज्ञितः || 8-3 ||

B-२. समासानां विग्रहाः, शब्दार्थाः, अन्वयार्थाः, भावार्थाः च ।

१.     भूत-भाव-उद्भव-करः विसर्गः ।

This is actually the reply by श्रीभगवान् to one of अर्जुन’s questions in 8-1 and 8-2, specifically in reply to the question

“किम् कर्म ?” (=what is meant by कर्म ?)

भूत = past, what is gone, over.

भाव = present Actually literal meaning of भाव is feeling, sentiment, nature, as in स्वभाव, meaning nature, inherent characteristics of oneself. But another definition can be “भाव्यते इति भावः” meaning, भाव is what can be sensed, felt, experienced. This can happen only in the present. Hence भाव = present.

One comes across these words भूत and भाव in a substantially different context and meaning in 10-5 in the phrase “भवन्ति भावाः भूतानाम्”

Or one can apply that meaning here also. It all depends upon how, by what all perceptions, one would see the meaning of the total phrase भूत-भाव-उद्भव-करः ।

उद्भव = what emanates. In 10-30 one comes across another phrase “उद्भवश्च भविष्यताम्” meaning emanation of the future. So, one can take उद्भव to mean “future”.

विसर्गः = happening, event. Actually if “event” = e + vent, where e = out and vent = release. Thus event = what is released out, hence the happening.

By such thinking विसर्गः would be something that happens and hence an event of the present. But when saying that some event is happening in the present, along with it something has been pushed into the past. So an event of the present also causes something to become “past”. Thus every present event has a context of a past event. Every present event also forebodes a future. If you are putting together 2 + 2, it is going to result into 4. When bringing in the second 2 to add to the first 2, the first 2 becomes the past, the second 2 becomes the present and the process of addition forebodes the result 4, the future.

Such eventuality of something can happen in the present only by pushing something into the past and would forebode something to happen in the immediate future, all such eventuality will keep happening moment after moment, right ? Is there any steady state any time, that nothing will be happening at all ? Clearly the answer is “No”. This is what is emphatically endorsed in,

न हि कश्चित् क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत्  || 3-5 ||

no being न कश्चित् जातु: is ever devoid of activity अकर्मकृत्, not even for a moment क्षणमपि.

Or also see

न हि देहभृता शक्यम् त्यक्तुं कर्माण्यशेषतः ||18-11||

whatever has an embodiment cannot forsake कर्माणि totally, (अशेषतः means with no remainder, with remainder being zero) i.e. forsake कर्म in a manner that no कर्म remains, no कर्म is happening.

न शक्यम् = this is not possible.

Such incessant eventuality being the inherent nature or fact of all life, how can one pinpoint the beginning or end of one कर्म or the other ?

So, one, who has transcended all qualitativeness has become गुणातीतः, will forsake all concepts of beginnings and endings. He will end up becoming सर्वारम्भ-(परि)त्यागी, right ?

In this interpretation भूत-भाव-उद्भव-करः is taken to mean what makes past, present and future, “(यः) भूतं, भावं, उद्भवं च करोति (सः)”

Another or alternate meaning of विसर्गः can be manifestation. In grammar, विसर्गः is the vowel sound of aspiration. Aspiration is again something that emanates, comes out. Emanation or manifestation does not have to be necessarily visible. A thought emanating within the mind may not be visible to the world. Yet it has of course emanated even if internally.

कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैर्-इन्द्रियैर्-अपि |

योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा (आ)त्म-शुद्धये || 5-11 ||

कर्म happens कायेन (= by body) मनसा (= by mind) or बुद्ध्या (= by intellect) This is also so stated in

शरीर-वाङ्-मनोभिर् यत् कर्म प्रारभते नरः || 18-15 ||

यत् कर्म नरः शरीर-वाङ्-मनोभिः  प्रारभते (= what कर्म man commences by body (and/or) by speech (and/or) by mind).

Is it not fascinating to see how minutely कर्म has been defined as manifestations, eventualties emanating whether by organs of sense or by organs of action or even internally in the mind or by intellect ?

By another way of interpretation, भूत-भाव-उद्भव-करः विसर्गः can be deciphered to be meaning

(यः) भूतेषु भावानां उद्भवः करोति (सः) विसर्गः,


such eventuality which will cause भूताः (= beings, all those things, which have assumed an existence) to experience भावाः feelings, sentiments, sensations


such eventuality which causes feelings, sensations भावाः to emanate उद्भवः in beings भूतेषु ।

2. कर्म-संज्ञितः = is called as karma

2.1 संज्ञितः = संज्ञां इतः ।

इतः =  past passive participle कर्मणि-भूतकालवाचकं धातुसाधितं विशेषणम् of

इ (2 प.) meaning “to go”

meaning of इतः = what is gone to, what is attained

संज्ञा = definition

संज्ञां इतः = gone to the definition, having attained the definition

2.2 कर्म-संज्ञितः = कर्म इति संज्ञां इतः = what has attained the definition as karma i.e. what is called as karma or what is defined as कर्म ।

3. On the whole अन्वयः of भूतभावोद्भवकरः विसर्गः कर्म-संज्ञितः can be put either as

3.1 (यः) भूतेषु भावानां उद्भवः करोति (सः) विसर्गः कर्म इति संज्ञां इतः (अस्ति) or

3.2 (यः) भूतं, भावं, उद्भवं च करोति (सः) विसर्गः कर्म इति संज्ञां इतः (अस्ति) ।

I have not dwelt much on meaning in (3.1) because to say, “only that, which causes  भूतेषु भावानां उद्भवः is to be called as, to be defined as कर्म”, does not appeal to me to be a proper definition. If a plant grows out of a seed, the plant also is a भूत and the growth of a plant is a कर्म, with or without there being भावानां उद्भवः । When I first read this श्लोक: || 8-3 || in श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता, it was the meaning (3.2), which came to mind. And after all the analysis, as presented here, meaning in (3.2) appeals to me to be the most appropriate interpretation. To get to the significance of the word विसर्गः is still a challenge. I have tried to make some sense of it. But I shall be obliged for all comments, criticisms, suggestions.

Consummate conclusion of all the discussion is, for us to be clear, that we do not embark upon anything, saying “now I shall do this !” Renounce all concept of commencing with one कर्म or another, become सर्व-आरम्भ-(परि)-त्यागी | That is the step to become गुणातीतः |

To recapitulate from where we started in Lesson # 31,

“…to acquire equanimity between likeable or dislikeable speech प्रियः or अप्रियः वादः one should become गुणातीतः | and to become गुणातीतः means –

सम-दुःख-सुखः स्व-स्थः सम-लोष्टाश्म-काञ्चनः |

तुल्य-प्रियाप्रियो धीरः तुल्य-निन्दात्मसंस्तुतिः || 14-24 ||


मानापमानयोस्तुल्यः  तुल्यो मित्रारिपक्षयोः |

सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी गुणातीतः स उच्यते || 14-25 ||


In the exercise of exploring the meaning of

  • these two श्लोकौ in the 14 th chapter and
  • of the second line in श्लोक: || 8-3 ||

I migrated into the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th and 18th chapters, as well. I hope, that readers will appreciate that these migrations were relevant and essential to delve as deep as was possible into the meanings.

शुभमस्तु ।


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