If one gives up the doctrinal method of determining the purport of a book as faulty, one must show what other means there are for determining the import of the Gita. There is an old and more or less generally accepted rule on this matter in the form of a verse of the Mlmamsa writers, who were extremely skilful in determining the meanings of a particular book, chapter, or sentence. That verse is as follows ;—
upakramopasamharav abhyaso 'purvatu phalam I arthavadopapatti ca lingam tatparyamrnaye ||
The Mimamsa writers say that if one has to find out the purport of any particular writing, chapter, or book, then the seven things mentioned in the above verse are necessary ( i. e.,linga ), and all these seven things have got to be considered. The first two out of these are ' upakramopasamharau ', which mean the beginning and the end of the book. Every writer starts writing a book with some motive or other in his mind ; and when that particular object has been achieved, he completes his book. Therefore, the commencement and the end of the work have first to be taken into account in determining the purport of the book. Geometry has defined a straight line as a line which goes from the point of commencement straight to the last point without swerving above or below or to the right or to the left. The same rule applies to the purport of a book.
That purport which is properly fixed between the beginning and the end of the book and does not leave or divert from either of them, is the proper purport of it. If there are other roads for going from the beginning to the end, all those roads must be considered as crooked roads or bye-paths. When the direction of the purport of a work has in this way been fixed with due consideration for the commencement and the end, one should ssa what things are told repeatedly in it, that is to say, of what things an ' abhyasa ' has been made. Because, whatever thing is intended by the writer of a book to be proved, he shows numerous reasons in support of it on numerous occasions and refers to it as a definite proposition over and over again, saying each time : " therefore, this thing is proved ", or, " therefore, this particular thing has got to he done ", The fourth and the fifth means for determining the purport of the work are the new-ness ( apurvata ) and the effect (phala ) of it. ' Apurvata ' means something new. Unless the writer has something new to tell, he is usually not induced to write a new book ; at any rate, that used to be so when there were no printing-presses. Therefore, before determining the purport of a book one has in the first instance to see what it contains which is new, particular, or not previously known In the same way. if some particular result has been achieved by that writing or by that book, that is to say, if it has had some definite effect, then one must also take into account that result or effect. Because, in as much as the book has been written with the express intention that that particular result or effect should be achieved, the object of the writer becomes clearer from the effect which has been achieved.