Names Arjuna in the Gita -2
There are twenty-two names of Arjuna and forty names of Krishna by which each one of them is addressed in the Gita. In this series detailed explanation of each of these names will appear one by one . For the entire list of the names click HERE
Arjuna is not any unfamiliar word or a new name for any Indian or anyone who is familiar with India and its hoary tradition. The third among the Pāṇḍavas, he was the most fortunate one whom the Lord had chosen for revealing the supreme knowledge, the secret of the secrets in the battle-field of Kurukshetra. Krishna in the Gita, addresses Arjuna by the name अर्जुन twenty-two times (2:2,45; 3:7; 4:5,9,37; 6:16,32,46; 7:16,26; 8:16,27; 9:19; 10:32,39,42; 11:47,54; 18:9,34,61).
The name or word अर्जुन arjuna is connected with the word ऋजु ṛju which means upright, honest, right and sincere. The word आर्जव ārjava meaning candour or straightforwardness is also a word belonging to this family. The root-sound of all these words is either ऋज् ṛj or ऋञ्ज् ṛnj both meaning to move straight. That which moves in a straight direction, is straightforward, candid, sincere and honest, can be called by the name अर्जुन arjuna or आर्जव ārjava. The ray of light or sun because of its straight movement can also be called अर्जुन arjuna. In this case one has not only the image of what is straight, but also what is transparent, brilliant, bright, pure and penetrating etc. All these then are the inner meanings of the words अर्जुन arjuna and आर्जव ārjava . One also finds the word अर्जुन arjuna used to mean the colour of the day, of the dawn, of the lightning, of the milk, of silver etc. In India there is a particular tree called अर्जुन arjuna the flowers of which are all white. So, आर्जव arjuna means that which is full of light and purity, bright, transparent, clear, straightforward, candid, sincere, frank and forthright, honest and open. It was for this reason that he was more close to the Divine. He was a perfect representative of all soul-qualities like transparency, purity, frankness etc. These are the qualities of a man full of सत्त्व sattva. Sri Aurobindo in his Essays on the Gita refers to Arjuna as ‘the sattwic or purified and light filled soul’.
The word Arjuna has been interpreted variously by the Acharyas while commenting on the verses where the word is used in vocative. Here are the various meanings by Acharyas:
- शुद्धस्वरूपः or pure within — Vallabhacharya on 2.2
- स्वच्छस्वभावः or of clean nature — Neelakantha and Dhanapati on 2.2
- शुद्धधर्मवत्त्वाच्छुद्धः or pure because of pure nature — Dhanapati on 4.5
- निष्कलङ्कः or free from all blemishes — Dhanapati on 6.32
- शुद्धः or pure — Madhusudana 6.32; 6.46
- स्वधर्माचरणेन शुद्धचित्तः or whose mind is pure by following svadharma — Dhanapati 6.46
- सुकृतकर्मणा स्वच्छतामापन्नः or the one who has attained cleanliness by his good deeds — Dhanapati 7.16
- स्वतःप्रसिद्धमहापौरुषः or whose pure heroism is self-evident — Madhusudana 8.16
- यस्य स्वाभाविकी वंशप्रयुक्ता च शुद्धिः or for whom purity is a natural gift — Anandagiri on 8.16
- फलाभिसंधिरहितत्वात् शुद्धः or the one who is pure because of desirelessness — Dhanapati on 11.47
- अदोषः or free from all coverings, errors, faults etc. — Dhanapati on 11.54
- विशुद्धान्तःकरणः or one whose inner faculties like mind and heart etc. are pure — Dhanapati on 18.34
These are the qualities of a true devotee or friend of the Divine. Because of his sattvik nature, transparency, straightforwardness, purity, pure innocence, clean mind, honesty and sincerity, the third of the Pandavas was famous by the name Arjuna. Also we see that in the Gita mostly whenever there is reference to light, truth, pure form of the Divine, sattva and bhakti, the highest abode of the Divine or the Divine himself, Shrikrishna calls his friend as Arjuna.
1. अर्जुन arjuna and आर्जव ārjava are two beautiful names which parents may choose to name their new-born boys.
2. Commentaries followed: गीताभाष्य — Shankaracharya and Ramanuja; गीतार्थसङ्ग्रह — Abhinavagupta; गीतातात्पर्यनिर्णय — Madhvacharya; भावदीप — Neelakantha; सुबोधिनी — Shridhara Swami; गूढार्थदीपिका — Madhusudana Sarasvati; भाष्यव्याख्या — Anandagiri; अमृततरङ्गिणी — Purushottama; भाष्योत्कर्षदीपिका — Dhanapati Suri; तात्पर्यचन्द्रिका — Vedantadeshika