अर्जुन उवाच |
अपरं भवतो जन्म परं जन्म विवस्वतः |
कथमेतद्विजानीयां त्वमादौ प्रोक्तवानिति ||४-४||


arjuna uvāca .
aparaṃ bhavato janma paraṃ janma vivasvataḥ .
kathametadvijānīyāṃ tvamādau proktavāniti ||4-4||



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 ?

Shri Purohit Swami

4.4 Arjuna asked: My Lord! Viwaswana was born before Thee; how then canst Thou have revealed it to him?

Sri Abhinav Gupta

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

Sri Ramanuja

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 magician’s 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 Arjuna’s estion, justifies the construing of his estion in this way.

Sri Shankaracharya

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 Arjuna’s estion-

Swami Adidevananda

4.4 Arjuna said Later was your birth, and earlier the birth of Vivasvan. How then am I to understand that you taught it in the beginning?

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?

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?


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.