Names of Arjuna in the Gita — 1
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 has been addressed three times in the Gita (3:3; 14:6; 15:20) by the name अनघ anagha. The usual meaning of अनघ anagha is sinless. The word अनघ anagha is formed by the combination of two words: न na and अघ agha. The sound न is used to negate and it means no. The word अघ comes from the root-sound अघ् agh which means ‘to move wrongly’ or ‘to move in wrong direction’. So any wrong movement, mistake, fault, error, misapplication, selfishness, blemish, violence, sadness, misery, evil etc. are the meanings of the word अघ agha. The word अनघ anagha therefore has for its sense all that is opposed to अघ agha. The various meanings of अनघ anagha can be: sinless, stainless, uninjured, unhurt, free from grief or sorrow, faultless, pure, spotless, clean, transparent, straightforward etc.
In the Gita itself (3.13) the word अघ agha is used once and almost all commentators have interpreted it as पापम्. The earliest reference to the word अघ agha can be found in the Rigveda (for example: 5.3.7 or 10.117..6 — केवलाघो भवति केवलादी).
In a psychological sense, the sound ‘घ gha’ being the aspirate or महाप्राण adds the sense of violence or forcefulness to the quality or properties of its unaspirate or अल्पप्राण sound ‘ग ga’ which refers to motion, contact, application, action etc. So the sound ‘घ gha’ has violent motion, hostile action, strong and forceful insistence as its property. This justifies the sense of अघ agha as evil, violence, sin, error etc.
In the verse 3.16 of the Gita there is the use of the word अघायुः which means one who is evil in his being; whose life is full of errors and misapplications, as Shankaracharya puts it while commenting on the word अघायुः (अघं पापम् आयुः जीवनं यस्य सः अघायुः पापजीवनः इति); he who lives for doing evil only as Madhvacharya says: (पापनिमित्तमेव यस्यायुः सोऽघायुः); whose life is sinful as Neelakantha says (सोऽघायुः पापजीवनः); whose life begins with errors or ends with errors as Ramanuja says (अघारम्भाय एव अस्य आयुः अघपरिणतं वा उभयरूपं वा; Or as Shridharaswami says, whose life itself is in the form of papa (अघं पापरूपमायुर्यस्य सः).
A man of this nature (अघायुः) is sensible in his pleasure and does not follow the laws of the nature. And he lives a life in vain.
But by addressing Arjuna as अनघ anagha Krishna asserts that Arjuna is sinless, transparent and open, and has no crookedness or evil in him. This makes him fit to receive the teaching. Therefore Anandagiri in his commentary on the 3.3 and 3.14 says that this spotless nature or anaghatva of Arjuna makes him worth receiving the teaching directly from the Divine himself — अर्जुनस्य भगवदुपदेशयोग्यत्वं सूचयति अनघेति; पापादिदोषहीनस्यैवात्र शास्त्रेऽधिकार इति द्योतयति. Madhusudana Sarasvati’s interpretation too confirms this: हे अनघ अपापेति संबोधयन्नुपदेशयोग्यतामर्जुनस्य सूचयति. The commentator Purushottama also corroborates the above idea: हे अनघ निष्पाप मद्वाक्यश्रवणयोग्य.
Dhanapati in his commentary on 3.3 of the Gita says that by addressing Arjuna as अनघ Krishna indicates that his purpose of giving this teaching is to engage him in his svadharma removing the veil that does not allow him to see himself — हे अनघेति संबोधयन् भवच्चितशुद्य्धर्थमेव त्वां स्वधर्मे नियोजयामि न स्वार्थमिति ध्वनयति.
The word अनघ is interpreted variously by various Acharyas while commenting on the verses 3.3, 14.6, and 15.20 of the Gita.
- अपाप, निष्पाप or sinless — Shankaracharya, Shridharasvami
- अव्यसनिन्, अव्यसन, निर्व्यसन or free from being purposeless, evil, incompetent etc. — Neelakantha, Shankracharya, Madhusudana Sarasvati.
- असङ्ग or with no attachment — Vedantadeshika (न काङ्क्षे विजयम् इत्यादिवदतस्तव न सङ्ग इत्यभिप्रायेणानघशब्दः)
- योग्यतम or most befitting — Ramanuja (अनघतया योग्यतम इति कृत्वा), Vedantadeshika (अनघ इति सम्बुद्धिरधिकारिसूचनार्थेत्याह — अनघतया योग्यतम इति कृत्वेति)
All the above interpretations also repeatedly convey that Arjuna was the most befitting instrument in receiving the teaching directly from the Divine himself. This anaghatva or stainlessness and simplicity makes Arjuna to be the chosen instrument of the Divine.
Also the interpretations of the Acharyas confirm that anaghatva is a necessary condition not just for receiving the upadesha of the Guru but also for attaining the highest aim or parama purushartha in life.
- अनघ for a boy and अनघा for a girl are two beautiful names which parents may choose to name their new-born babies.
- 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