Is the rendition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is 2.2 sexist?


In his corrective 1983 “Second edition” of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, HH Jayadvaita Swami often made a laudable effort to get closer to the original word for word translation. BGAII 2.13 is a perfect example of his technic, wherein he replaces “The self-realized soul” with “A sober person”, the translation “the sober” being found in both versions as rendition of the Sanskrit word “dhira”. The use of “sober” is also confirmed in purport as follows: “Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and nature—both material and spiritual—is called a dhira, or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies.”

 There is therefore, no other conclusion to be drawn than this is a superior presentation.

In BGAII 2.2, He restored “the Supreme Personality of Godhead” from the word for word translation, instead of the somewhat clumsy “the Supreme Person [Bhagavan]”.

He restored “know the value of life” from the word for word translation and dropped “the progressive values of life” of previous rendition one, even though the latter also sounds good.

In the word for word however, both version of Bhagavad-gita As It Is  agree on the rendition of “anarya” as “persons who do not know the value of life” . And both versions transform the plural word “persons” into a singular “man” in the translation. 

One can therefore not fail to ask the question: “Are both these renditions of Bhagavad-gita As It Is sexist or not?”

In the purport however, we find the use of “person(s)” four times as follows:

“Such impurities were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Äryans. The word Äryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Vishnu, or Bhagavän, and they are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Äryans. Although Arjuna was a ksatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Äryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity to become famous in this world. Lord Krishna did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.” But the verse itself is always the center of attention and my question stands.

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