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Bg 9.32

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hi everyone, there seems to be a litte confusion/controversy about the verse 32 of chapter 9 (BG):


mam hi partha vyapasritya

ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah

striyo vaisyas tatha sudras

te ’pi yanti param gatim


possible translation 1:


O Arjuna, those who take shelter of Me, although they may be of a lower birth / sinful birth, like women, vaisyas and sudras, can still attain the supreme destination


possible translation 2:

O son of Pritha, anyone who will take shelter in Me whether a woman, or a merchant, or born in a low family, can yet approach the Supreme Destination.







I checked various bg translations (sivananda,aurobindo and few other) and they don´t have the same translation of this verse, and some could lead to misinterpretation.

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32. For, taking refuge in Me, they also, who O Partha, may be of a "sinful birth" --- WOMEN, VAISHYAS as well as SHUDRAS --- even they attain the Supreme Goal.

As an annotation and an explanatory appendix to the immediately preceding pair of stanzas, it is added that it is not only those who are placed under wrong influences and unfavourable external conditions who are redeemed by the constant remembrance of the Divine. Those who are victims of congenital maladjustments, both in their mental make-up and in their intellectual constitution, also can get their equipments readjusted and tuned up properly by the same process of constant remembrance of the Truth Eternal.


No doubt, there are expressions in the Vedas, in the Puranas, and in the Smritis, which seemingly fall in line with the language of this stanza. To condemn women, traders (Vaishyas) and workers (Shudras) as individuals of inferior births is equivalent to accepting that religion has an effective influence ONLY upon a mere handful of members of our society. This would be a denial of what Krishna had been hammering upon from the opening stanza onward. Therefore, we have to understand the true implications of His words as He uses them here.


Religion is not a technique for developing the physical body, nor is it an art to be fulfilled through the play of the physical body. The condition and status of the physical body have nothing to do with the evolutionary progress which religion aims at through all its preachings. The spiritual practices contribute to the integration of the mind and intellect and to their progressive unfoldment, until, in their ripeness, they shed themselves, leaving the Spirit naked in all its divine glory. Thus, these terms, as used in this stanza, are to be understood as indicating some special qualities of the human mind-and-intellect, manifested in varying degrees in different individuals, at different times.


The "feminine-minds" (Striyah) are those that have a larger share of deep affections and binding attachments. So too, there are people, who have a "commercial attitude" in all their thoughts and actions and who live in their mental life as traders (Vaishyas), ever calculating the profits that would accrue from all their psychological investments. Such a calculating mind, ever looking to the profits that could be raised, is not fit for easily evolving through the "Path-of-Meditation." To surrender all fruits of actions is the secret of holding the mind still, and of making it live vitally, the Infinite, that is the content of a single present-moment. Thus, when the Science of Spirit-development condemns the traders, it is only a denunciation of the particular commercial tendency of the mind. Those who fall under the group of 'traders' PSYCHOLOGICALLY cannot hope to progress on the Path Divine.


Lastly, mental attitudes of "slumber and slothfulness" are indicated by the term "Shudra" here.


When we have understood that these terms, familiar in that age, are borrowed by Krishna to indicate special types of mind-intellect-equipments, we have understood the stanza rightly, without pulling down the entire Geeta from its well-merited pedestal of dignity as a Scripture of Man.


The verse promises that, through constant remembrance of the Lord, not are only all men of evil ways redeemed, but even those who are not able to walk the "Path Divine," because of some psychological and intellectual debilities in them, will be cured and steadily strengthened to walk the "Path" efficiently, if they too, with single-pointed mind and sincere devotion, learn to remember continuously, and meditate daily upon the Divine Self.


BORN OUT OF THE WOMB OF SIN --- Sin, according to Vedanta, is a wrong tendency in the mind created out of the past unhealthy thought and negative living. These wrong channels of thought (vasanas), irresistibly drive man to live false values and bring about confusion and chaos into his life, as well as into the lives of others. It is these wrong tendencies, ploughed on the mental fields, that are the sources of the feminine nature of the mind (Stritvam), or the commercial attitude of the intellect (Vaishyatwam), or the general dullness and somnolent morbidity in one's inner life (Shudratwam). A dull-witted pundita alone will have the audacity to commit the folly of interpreting this stanza, adhering faithfully to the literal meaning, conveniently forgetting Sri Krishna's own definition of Varnashrama Dharma given previously in his discourses.


In short, when these wrong tendencies are in the mind, the Rishis have declared, in sheer kindness, that it is useless for that mind to undertake a study of the Vedas. Therefore, such minds were debarred from doing so. To attain the necessary qualification for a successful study of the sacred lore, the prescription is Sadhana. Of all the spiritual practices (Sadhana), the most efficient is the constant remembrance of the Lord with a heart overflowing with love and devotion (Upasana). It is the Vedantic declaration that through Upasana the mind gets purified --- purified of its debilities which are classified and indicated by the terms, "WOMEN, TRADERS AND WORKERS."


When once these negative qualities have been removed from a mind, it gains in its powers of achieving concentration, single-pointedness and balance for its flight to the very horizons of thought. When once the equipment is ready and rigged for the pilgrimage, the destination will soon be reached; and therefore, Krishna promises "EVEN THEY ATTAIN THE SUPREME GOAL."



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This is the problem most Hindus face when confronted by non Hindus like Muslims and Christians saying Hinduism is bias and supress women and non brahmins. As I have said in other forums all these scriptures of various relgions have flaws and translated and rewriten by people who think they are superior to others. I only take what is good for the general population of the society and not everything that is written. So, do not accept everything, take what is useful and acceptable by all.

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