अपरं भवतो जन्म परं जन्म विवस्वतः।
कथमेतद्विजानीयां त्वमादौ प्रोक्तवानिति।।4.4।।
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?
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.
Arjuna Uvaacha: Aparam bhavato janma param janma vivaswatah; Katham etadvijaaneeyaam twam aadau proktavaan iti.
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