Juggling with 'Atman'. Remarks on the 'Bhagavad-gita' 6.5-6
The 'Bhagavad-gita' passage 6.5-6 is regarded as one of the most difficult points in the poem. The difficulty is caused by the fact that in these two stanzas the term 'atman' appears as many as 13 times. There is no agreement as to the proper meaning of 'atman' and whether the term should be understood in the same way every particular time in both stanzas. In this paper, the interpretations which have been suggested so far have been traced, and also one more attempt at an interpretation of this text is proposed. Attention is drawn to the compositional technique of these 'slokas' (for example the re-use of some established verse formulas in the new context). The role played by these 'slokas' within the context of 'gita' chapter 6 is considered. Finally, the confrontation of BhG. 6.5-6 (and also a few other 'slokas' of the poem) with some passages of both the early 'Jaina' texts and the 'Pali' canon is proposed. This confrontation points to the 'gita' as being a poem of the (broadly understood) orthodox current which also contains some polemical elements..
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