Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Recap Chapters I - VI

Sri Aurobindo:

The first six chapters of the Gita form a preliminary block of the teaching; the other twelve chapters represent the working out of certain unfinished elements in this block.  If the Gita were not a great written scripture which must be carried to its end, if it were actually a discourse by a living teacher to a student which could be resumed in due course, when the student was ready for the next step, one could conceive of the teacher stopping here at the end of the sixth chapter and saying something like, "Work this out for now.  There is plenty for you to do to absorb this teaching.  You have been given the largest possible basis; as difficulties arise, they will solve themselves, or I will help you to solve them.  At present, live out what I have told you.  Work in this spirit."

True, there are many things here which cannot be properly understood except in the light thrown on them by what is to come later.  In order to clear up immediate difficulties and misunderstandings, I have had to anticipate a good deal, bringing in, for example, the idea of the Purushottam, the Supreme Lord, for without that it would have been impossible to clear up certain obscurities about the Self and action and the Lord of action, which the Gita deliberately accepts so that it may not disturb the firmness of the first steps by reaching out prematurely to things too great as yet for the mind of the student.

Arjuna, himself, if the Divine Teacher were to break off his discourse here, might well object, "You have spoken much of the destruction of selfish desire and attachment, of equality, of the mastery of the senses and the stilling of the mind, of the spirit of worship in action, of the inner as preferable to the outer renunciation.  These things I understand intellectually, however difficult they may appear to me in practice.  You have also spoken of rising beyond the Gunas, the qualities of Nature, while yet remaining involved in action, but you have not told me how the Gunas work.  Unless I know that, it will be difficult for me to detect them and rise beyond them.  In addition, you have spoken of Bhakti [devotion] as the greatest element in Yoga, but you have talked at length about works and knowledge and very little about Bhakti.

To whom is Bhakti, this greatest thing, to be offered?

It is not to be offered to the still, changeless, impersonal Self, but to you, the Lord.  Tell me, then, who and what you are.

What is the relation between these three things, between works and knowledge and devotion, between the soul in Nature and the immutable Self and that which is at once the Master of knowledge, love, and works, the Supreme Divinity who is here with me in this great battle and massacre, my charioteer?"

It is to answer these questions that the rest of the Gita is written, and for a complete solution they must be taken up and resolved.  However, in actual Sadhana, one has to advance from stage to stage, leaving many things, indeed the greatest things, to arise subsequently and to be solved in the light of the advance.  The Gita follows to a certain extent this arc of experience, putting forth first a sort of large, preliminary basis of works and knowledge, which contains some elements of Bhakti without yet fully arriving.  The first six chapters contain this basis. 

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