Raghavendra’s Geetha

It was in the early part of the 14th century that Madhwacharya wrote  two beautiful commentaries in Sanskrit on the Bhagavath Gita. They are Gita Bhashya and Gita Tatparya.
Several decades later, Teekacharya or Jayatheertha, the fifth pontiff of the Dwaitha Matha after Padmanabha Theertha, wrote commentaries on these two works. Unfortunately, these commentaries-Prameya Deepika and Nyaya Deepika- are more for the scholars than for the common man. Though they are the first interpretations of  Madhwa’s works, they are a hard nut to crack and extremely difficult to understand.   
However, we should be thankful to Jayatheertha for having given us these two interpretations and many scholars and Dwaitha saints have written extensively keeping in mind the original (Madhwa) and also the commentaries of Jayatheertha.
Raghavendra Swamy was able to “digest” both the Bhashya and Tatparya of Madhwa and the Prameya and Nyaya Deepika of Teekacharya and give us a fundamental understanding of the Geetha.
The language used by Raghavendra Swamy in Geetha Vivrutti or Geetharatha is simple and he starts off the Geetha with the feeble voice of Dhritharashtra asking Sanjaya how his sons have fared in the battle. This question is irrelevant as even the blind king knows that when Krishna is on the side of the Pandavas, his sons cannot escape death. Why then does he ask the question?   
The entire work is in simple Sanskrit (Of course when compared to Madhwacharya and Teekacharya) and even a layman is able to easily understand what Rayaru means.
Rayaru himself answers this query for us. Rayaru here uses the words “Kimi Kurvata Sanjaya”-What happened in the battlefield. He emphasis his attachment to his sons by stressing on the word “Mamaka.” Rayaru has held up as a mirror the selfish nature of the Blind King, He means that the King is not only physically blind but also mentally blind-he does not see the path of destruction that he himself has set his sons on.  

In another verse, we see Duryodhana approaching Dronacharya  just before the beginning of the war and complaining to him, “Pashyaitam panduputranam …”. Here, Duryodhana is envious of the strength of  the Pandava Army even while his forces are almost double in number. Duryodhana’s army was eleven Akshouhini strong as compared to seven of  Pandavas. (An Akshauhini is an ancient Indian battle formation consisting of 21,870 chariots; 21,870 elephants; 65,610 cavalry and 109,350 infantry. The ratio worked out here is 1 chariot : 1 elephant : 3 cavalry : 5 infantry soldiers. In each of these large number groups -65,610, etc.-, the digits add up to 18.)

Another reason for Duryodhana to be wary of the  Pandavas is that their army is led by Dhrishtadyumna, the brother of Draupadi whom they had insulted. Drona had also insulted and humiliated Drupada, the father of  Dhrishtadyumna.
No wonder Duryodhana appeared pensive.
While conversing with Drona, the Kaurava Prince uses the word “aparyaptam” while describing his army. Many critics and people who have commented on the Geetha have interpreted ‘aparyaptam’ to mean “unlimited.” Their meaning is that Duryodhana means  “Our army, protected by Bhishma is unlimited, whereas their army, protected by Bhima, is very limited.” However, this meaning does not stand the test of  reasoning. How can Duryodhana make such a comment when he is agitated earlier to express apprehensions.
Rayaru hits the nail on the head when he interprets “aparyaptam” as “inadequate or incapable”.
This interpretation juxtaposes completely with earlier remarks of Duryodhana.
When Bhishma blows his conch for instilling courage in Duryodhana, prompt is the reply from Krishna on behalf of the Pandavas. “Panchajanyam Hrushikeshah ………”, says Krishna, the non-combatant of the battle.
Many have failed to explain Krishna’s retort. Krishna had promised not to carry arms and he was in Kurukshetra as a  charioteer. Moreover, he was not regarded as a great warrior by the Kauravas.
Again, we have Rayaru explaining this paradox in easy terms. Rayaru says what Krishna meant was that everybody are mere actors and I am the only one really fighting. It is I who control them and make them fight.
There are a lot of places where Rayaru makes it easier for our understanding of the nuances of the Geetha. But for him, out understanding would have been clouded.

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