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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Verse 4

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 4 श्लोक 4

अर्जुन उवाच
अपरं भवतो जन्म परं जन्म विवस्वतः।
कथमेतद्विजानीयां त्वमादौ प्रोक्तवानिति।।4.4।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

4.4 Arjuna said Your birth was later, (whereas) the birth of Vivasvan was earlier. How am I to understand this that You instructed (him) in the beginning?

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

4.4 Arjuna said Later on was Thy birth, and prior to it was the birth of Vivasvan (the Sun); how am I to understand that Thou taughtest this Yoga in the beginning?

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

4.4. Arjuna said Your birth is later, [while] the birth of Vivasvat is earlier; how am then to understand that You had properly taught [him this] in the beginnig ?

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

4.4 अपरम् later? भवतः Thy? जन्म birth? परम् prior? जन्म birth? विवस्वतः of Vivasvan? कथम् how? एतत् this? विजानीयाम् am I to understand? त्वम् Thou? आदौ in the beginning? प्रोक्तवान् taughtest? इत thus.Commentary Thy birth took place later in the hourse of Vasudeva Vivasvan or Vivasvat (the Sun) was born earlier in the beginning of evolution. How am I to believe that Thou taughtest this Yoga in the beginning to Vivasvan? and that Thou? the selfsame person? hast now taught it to me I am not able to reconcile this. Be kind enought to enlighten me? O my Lord.

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

4.4 Bhavatah, Your; janma, was aparam, later, in the abode of Vasudeva; (whereas) the birth vivasvatah, of Visvasvan, the Sun; was param, earlier, in the beginning of creation. Therefore, katham, how; vijanyam, am I to understand; etat, this, as not inconsistent; iti, that; tvam, You, yourself; who proktavan, insturcted this Yoga; adau, in the beginning, are the same person who are now teaching me? By way of demolishing the doubt of fools with regard to Vasudeva, that He has no God-hood and omniscience-to which very purpose was Arjunas estion-

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

4.4 Even though he knows the nature of the Lord, Arjuna asks this estion in order to publisize it to the world.

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

4.4 Arjuna said According to the calculation of time, your birth was indeed later, contemporaneous with our births. And the birth of Vivasvan was at an earlier time, reckoned as twenty-eight cycles of units of four Yugas each. How can I understand as true that you taught it in the beginning? Now, there is no contradiction here, for it was ite possible that He had taught Vivasvan in a former birth. The memory of what was done in former births is ite natural for great men. This should not be taken to mean that Arjuna does not know the son of Vasudeva, the speaker, as the Lord of all. Because he (Arjuna) says later on: You are the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Light and the Supreme Purifier. All the seers proclaim You as the eternal Divine Purusa, the Primal Lord, unborn and all-pervading. So also proclaim the divine sage Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa. You Yourself also are saying this to me (10.12-13.) Arjuna had heard repeatedly from Bhisma and others during the Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhisthira, Krsna alone is the cause of creation and submergence of all the worlds. This universe, consisting of things both animate and inanimate, was created for the sake of Krsna (Ma. Bha., 2.38.23) The entire universe is subservient to Krsna is the meaning of For the sake of Krnsa. This apparent contradiction may be explained as follows: Arjuna surely knows the son of Vasudeva as the Bhagavan. Though knowing Him as such, he estions as if he did not know Him. This is his intention. Can the birth of the Lord of all, who is antagonistic to all that is evil and wholly auspicious, omniscient, whose will is always true and whose desires are fulfilled - can the birth of such a Person be of the same nature as that of the gods, men etc., who are subject to Karma? Or can it be false like the illusions of a magical show? Or could it be real? In other words, is the birth of the Supreme Being as the incarnate a real fact or a mere illusory phenomenon produced by a magicians art? If His birth is real, what is the mode of His birth? What is the nature of His body? What is the manner of His birth? What is the nature of this body of His? What is the casue of His birth? To what end is He born? The way in which Sri Krsna answers Arjunas estion, justifies the construing of his estion in this way.

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

In this verse, Arjuna asks about the impossibility of what Krishna has just spoken. “Your birth is recent (aparam) and Vivasvan’s birth is ancient (param). How can I understand that you spoke it to him?”

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Considering the possibility of Visvavan being instructed 120 million years previously by the same Lord Krishna as He is standing before him, Arjuna asks the Lord to explain just how it was that He taught this eternal yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness to Visvavan, the demigod of the sun.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

This question is asked in relation to Lord Krishnas earlier declaration in chapter III.XXX mayi sarvani karmani meaning to offer all activities to Him. Now begins the summation. The purpose of inquiry from men of wisdom as given in the Agni Purana has a dual purpose. First is reconfirmation of the knowledge of eternal principles that they already possess. Second is that their explanations offer additional clarification. In this same way these questions asked to Lord Krishna should be understood in this manner. One should be aware that Arjuna was not a novice bereft of Vedic knowledge, he had been to the heavenly planets and had received instuctions from his father Indra the chief of the celestials. He also had never broken his vows and was never defeated in battle. So he was not an ordinary being and was somewhat cognizant of Lord Krishna supreme position.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The sun-god Visvavan had duly received the Bhagavad-Gita from Lord Krishna 120 million years previously; yet he was Arjunas contemporary; so an explanation of this anomalous anachronism is being requested. One may question what is the purpose to ask this from one who is aware of Lord Krishnas supreme position for it is known that even saintly and noble souls remember events from previous incarnations. Also before when the Pandava king Yudhisthira performed the Rajasuya ceremony the grandsire Bhishma was heard to say that Lord Krishna alone is the origin of all created beings and the beginning and the ending of all movable and immovable beings. So the reason Arjuna asked such a question was to get clarification presented in an exposition on the meaning of avatars or Lord Krishnas authorised incarnations in the Vedic scriptures and answer these questions. 1) Are avatars real or illusory? 2) Under what circumstances do avatars manifest? 3) What is the nature of the body the avatar assumes? 4) Are all the avatars expanding from Lord Krishna? 5) Are all the avatars omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent? 6) Are all avatars transcendental to the cycle of birth and death? 7) Are all avatars able to fulfill all desires? 8) What is the time schedule which avatars manifest themselves? This was the purpose of this question so Lord Krishna would give an expose on these topics.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The sun-god Visvavan had duly received the Bhagavad-Gita from Lord Krishna 120 million years previously; yet he was Arjunas contemporary; so an explanation of this anomalous anachronism is being requested. One may question what is the purpose to ask this from one who is aware of Lord Krishnas supreme position for it is known that even saintly and noble souls remember events from previous incarnations. Also before when the Pandava king Yudhisthira performed the Rajasuya ceremony the grandsire Bhishma was heard to say that Lord Krishna alone is the origin of all created beings and the beginning and the ending of all movable and immovable beings. So the reason Arjuna asked such a question was to get clarification presented in an exposition on the meaning of avatars or Lord Krishnas authorised incarnations in the Vedic scriptures and answer these questions. 1) Are avatars real or illusory? 2) Under what circumstances do avatars manifest? 3) What is the nature of the body the avatar assumes? 4) Are all the avatars expanding from Lord Krishna? 5) Are all the avatars omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent? 6) Are all avatars transcendental to the cycle of birth and death? 7) Are all avatars able to fulfill all desires? 8) What is the time schedule which avatars manifest themselves? This was the purpose of this question so Lord Krishna would give an expose on these topics.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 4.4

Arjuna Uvaacha: Aparam bhavato janma param janma vivaswatah; Katham etadvijaaneeyaam twam aadau proktavaan iti.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 4.4

arjunaḥ uvācha—Arjun said; aparam—later; bhavataḥ—your; janma—birth; param—prior; janma—birth; vivasvataḥ—Vivasvan, the sun-god; katham—how; etat—this; vijānīyām—am I to understand; tvam—you; ādau—in the beginning; proktavān—taught; iti—thus