Friday, November 7, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2 Verse 5

Chapter 2, Verse 5

“Better to spend the rest of my life as a pauper,
Begging for food,
Than to kill these honored teachers.
If I kill them,
All my earthly pleasures
Will be smeared with blood.”

[Arjuna's enemy on the battlefield symbolically represents the enemy within, those old tapes that run in our minds, keeping us out of the moment, the eternal now.]

Paramahansa Yogananda:

"Arjuna's concerns and fears point out the persistent power of habitual attachments that assail the advancing student. Arjuna states his fear that (spiritual) victory would mean a desolate existence. Without his old habits, will he then, for the rest of his life, look upon all material things and sensory experiences as being permeated with evil vibrations ('smeared with blood')? The answer is no. Transgression lies only in the misuse of the powers and products of nature. The senses touched by the joy within will spiritualize the perceptions. The enjoyment of possessions will be unsullied by attachment. The inclinations, free of old habits, will seek fulfillment in the noblest achievements. But even though the student knows this as a promise in the scriptures and from the lips of the God-knowing, old attachments stubbornly persist, woven as they are into the very fiber of human nature."

4 comments:

sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

http://www.YogaVidya.com/gita.html

Krishna Jaya said...

sfauthor, I had not heard of it. Looked it up and ordered an inexpensive copy from alibris.com. Thanks for the tip!

Daniel Clark said...

For the peace-loving, it's easier to make this into a metaphor than to accept that Krishna is really ordering Arjuna to go ahead and kill his friends, relatives, and indeed his guru (Drona). I had to struggle with this for years, because I feel the Gita is both metaphorical and historical. That is, it describes an actual incident that has mythic depth. So I can't avoid the militarism, the violence, of the Gita. I only came to a conclusion satisfying to myself when I decided that even though Krishna is beyond the material world, when he advents himself, he does so in terms of the society of that time and place. In the India of 3000 BC (the traditional date), warfare was a well-respected political policy, with a moral and even spiritual dimension. In the chapters of the Mahabharata leading up to the Gita, we find that Krishna arduously pushed for peace. But when that failed, he was for war. In terms of Vedic culture, that was not immoral. But of course we do not live in a Vedic culture. We don't have to affirm Krishna's militarism. Personally, as a 21st Century American, I do not. But the rest of what Krishna says in the Gita has been "the bedrock of my faith" for decades. In other words, I winnow out the social, cultural, economic, political, and ritualistic portions of the Gita and get my spiritual nourishment from the rest. I agree that they can be understood metaphorically. But I tend to read the Gita as a historical account - it makes for a more exciting story!

Krishna Jaya said...

I also feel that both aspects are to be honored...that the evolving Dharma has both a collective component (outer battle) and an individual one (inner battle). As you point out, there are those who feel and have felt (Mahatma Gandhi for instance) that the battle on the field of Kurukshetra some five thousand years ago is to be understood only as a metaphor. Regardless, of more significance is Krishna's presence in the consciousness of devotees and the transformative quality of that presence as it inspires them, and through them the collective, to further the evolving Dharma.

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