Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chapter 2, Verse 70

“Even as all waters flow into the ocean,
But the ocean never overflows,
Even so the sage experiences desire,
But is ever one in infinite peace.”

Paramahansa Yogananda:

“Krishna does not mean that one needs to abandon healthy aspirations, such as helping others to know God. By noble desires, one does not lose peace, which gathers reinforcement through distribution.”

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:

“Krishna is saying that lasting peace is never achieved by those who are not complete in themselves and still crave worldly things. However, this does not mean that in order to attain peace in life people should cease to aspire. It is the aspirations that lead people to greater fulfillment, and not the killing of desires which has been widely advocated through the ages.

This verse is often misinterpreted, with a consequent increase in dullness and inefficiency, particularly in the lives of young people in India. The undue stress laid on fatalism has proven disastrous for their physical well-being and for the progress of society. Thinking that to aspire will not lead to peace, people begin to abstain from enterprise. This represents a misunderstanding of Krishna’s teaching.”

[After a backpacking adventure in Grand Canyon in 2003, I put together a picture book of the experience and quoted from a book by Colin Fletcher called The Man Who Walked Through Time (1967). I wanted to use the following quote but because the attacks of nine one one were still fresh, I felt the quote might hit a nerve… “There will come a time when treason will have become a meaningless word and patriotism will be judged a crime.” Over forty years ago, Fletcher understood how the world had become a global village and how nationalistic fervor is often counter-productive to world peace and solidarity. I wondered how I might express the point in a less inflammatory way. The result was a different kind of “pledge of allegiance”…

I pledge allegiance to a dream
of humanity at peace
with itself and the land
to unity in diversity
for which it stands
nearly seven billion rays
streamin forth from the Sun
with liberty and justice
for every last one]

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