Wednesday, May 5, 2010

III: 16

Chapter 3, Verse 16

"Those who play no part
In the acts thus appointed
Miss the mark.
Know this, Arjuna,
Their lives are for nothing."

Sri Aurobindo:

“In the Gita there is very little that is only local and temporal; its spirit is large, profound and universal. By giving an ampler scope to the teaching than that which belonged to the country and epoch five thousand years ago, it grows in depth, truth and power. The Gita dwells on the ancient Indian system and idea of worship as an interchange between gods and humans, a system and idea which have long been practically obsolete in India itself and are no longer real to the modern mind, but we find here a sense so entirely subtle, figurative and symbolic and a conception of the gods as so entirely cosmic and philosophical that we can easily accept both as expressive of a practical fact and general law of nature. In addition, we can apply them to the modern conceptions of interchange between life and life and of ethical self-giving so as to widen and deepen them, casting over them a more spiritual aspect and the light of a profounder and more far-reaching truth.”

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

"Once when Krishna was playing on his flute, Radha eyed it with jealous eyes and asked, 'What has your flute done to enjoy the blessing of being held to your lips while you play upon it hour after hour?' With a twinkle in his eye, Krishna took the flute from his lips and turned it so his left eye met her right eye through the hollow cylinder. Then he said, 'See how empty it is…all the more easy for me to fill it with the harmony of my divine song.'"

Parker Palmer:

“Barry Lopez speaks for me when he says that truth cannot ‘be reduced to aphorism or formula. Story creates an atmosphere in which [truth] becomes disernible as pattern.’ When truth is told through the imaginative patterns of stories, we have a chance to be caught up and rewoven into truth’s own designs.”


Jessica said...

Beautiful story of Radha & Krishna! I do love the stories as teaching tools.

Is this verse referring to dharma? It seems to say that not following one's dharma leads one astray.

Krishna Jaya said...

"Dharma" has more than one level. Generally, Dharma is about living in harmony with natural law, to be in harmony with the Tao, the Chinese idea for being in the flow of nature. Individually, Dharma is about being true to the promptings of our own hearts. If Mikao Usui had submitted to the dictates of his superior in the monastery (discussed in a comment to verse III: 14), he would have remained there and endeavored to become a model monk. As Krishna says elsewhere in his teaching to Arjuna, it is better to actualize one's own Dharma imperfectly than to actualize another's Dharma perfectly. The message is that even if Usui had become a "perfect" monk, still, it would have been virtually impossible for him to live in harmony with the Tao, because, as a natural born healer, he needed to practice that art to thrive. There is a lesson here for all of us who have been encouraged by authority figures to follow a path that is not in accordance with our own hearts: don't listen to these encouragements. Follow your heart!

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