Bhagavad Gita

Some partial backups of posts from the past (Feb, 2004)

Bhagavad Gita

Postby Hywel » Mon Feb 02, 2004 8:38 pm

In an earlier thread, Rhett mentioned that the Bhagavad Gita could have the unfortunate effect of stopping people from seeking truth.

But from my own reading of it, it seems to brim with wisdom and encouragement for the truth seeker. Aside from a few dodgy verses, which are easy enough to identify, the whole thing is truly an excellent work. Anyway, I thought I would post a few of the highlights, for discussion, and also for anyone who hasnt read it to get a flavour.

Brief Intro

The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata, one of the two major epics of Indian literature. The Mahabharata is the story of a civil war, in the middle of which is a huge battle.

At the start of this battle, one of the generals (Arjuna), asks his charioteer (Krishna) to take them out between the two armies, and they proceed to have a philosopical discussion. This discussion is the Bhagavad Gita.

In familiar format, Arjuna takes the role of Questioner (Student etc.), and Krishna takes that of Answerer (Master etc.), and they proceed to discuss various issues, starting with the nature of action/non action. This issue is first because (this being a civil war) Arjuna knows people on both sides of the battlefield, and he doesnt want them to die.

He loves both sides equally (basically the same as the "love everything equally" problem), so he cannot choose. Arjuna feels so strongly about it, he says he would rather just let himself be killed, because then at least he knows he hasnt done anything wrong. But Krishna seems happy to get lofty...

Quote:
Quote:<hr>On Action/Inaction
"Thy tears are for those beyond tears, and are thy words words of wisdom? The wise grieve not for those who live; and they grieve not for those who die - for life and death shall pass away." Ch2.11

"If any man thinks he slays, and if another thinks he is slain, neither knows the ways of truth. The eternal in man cannot kill: the eternal in man cannot die.

He is never born, and he never dies. He is in Eternity: he is for evermore. Never-born and eternal, beyond times gone or to come, he does not die when the body dies." Ch2.19-20

"For all things born in truth must die, and out of death in truth comes life. Face to face with what must be, cease thou from sorrow." Ch2.27

"Not by refraining from action does man attain freedom from action. Not by mere renunciation does he attain supreme perfection.

For not even for a moment can a man be without action. Helplessly are all driven to action by the forces born of Nature." Ch3.4-5<hr>

Quote:
Quote:<hr>On Righteous Action
"There is a war that opens the doors of heaven, Arjuna! Happy the warriors whose fate is to fight such war.

But to forgo this fight for righteousness is to forgo thy duty and honour: is to fall into transgression."Ch2 32-33

"In death thy glory in heaven, in victory thy glory on earth. Arise therefore, Arjuna, with thy soul ready to fight.

Prepare for war with peace in thy soul. Be in peace in pleasure and pain, in gain and in loss, in victory or in the loss of a battle. In this peace there is no sin.

This is the wisdom of Sankhya - the vision of the Eternal." Ch2.37-39<hr>

Quote:
Quote:<hr>On Yoga, "path of the Eternal and freedom from bondage"
"No step is lost on this path, and no dangers are found. And even a little progress is freedom from fear.

The follower of this path has one thought, and this is the End of his determination. But many branched and endless are the thoughts of the man who lacks determination." Ch2.40-41

"The three Gunas of Nature are the world of the Vedas. Arise beyond the three Gunas, Arjuna! Be in Truth eternal, beyond earthly opposites. Beyond gains and possessions, possess thine own soul." Ch2.45

"When thy mind leaves behind its dark forest of delusion, thou shalt go beyond the scriptures of times past and still to come.

When thy mind, that may be wavering in the contradictions of many scriptures, shall rest unshaken in divine contemplation, then the goal of Yoga is thine." Ch2.52-53

"And do thy duty, even if it be humble, rather than another's, even if it be great. To die in one's duty is life: to life in another's is death." Ch3.35<hr>

Quote:
Quote:<hr>On Desire
"Desire has found a place in man's senses and mind and reason. Through these it blinds the soul, after having over-clouded wisdom.

Set thou, therefore, thy senses in harmony, and then slay thou sinful desire, the destroyer of vision and wisdom.

They say the power of the senses is great. But greater than the senses is the mind. Greater than the mind is Buddhi, reason, and greater than reason is He - the Spirit in man and in all.

Know Him therefore who is above reason, and let his peace give thee peace. Be a warrior and kill desire, the powerful enemy of the soul." Ch3.40-43<hr>

Quote:
Quote:<hr>Problem/Solution
"(But) He who has no faith and no wisdom, and whose soul is in doubt, is lost. For neither this world, nor the world to come, nor joy is ever for the man who doubts.

He who makes pure his works by Yoga, who watches over his soul, and who by wisdom destroys his doubts, is free from the bondage of selfish work.

Kill therefore with the sword of wisdom the doubt born of ignorance that lies in thy heart. Be one in self harmony, in Yoga, and arise, great warrior, arise." Ch4.40-42<hr>

I will end up posting pretty much the whole book if I carry on, so I'll leave it there. But I thought I would post a couple of the dodgy verses, as these seem to be the only ones that could perhaps give the impression that effort is not required. I found these verses to be so easily misinterpretable as to be pretty worthless, if not plain wrong.
Quote:
Quote:<hr>Dodgy Verses
"As the Spirit of our mortal body wanders on in childhood, and youth and old age, the Spirit wanders on to a new body: of this the sage has no doubts." Ch2.13

"As a man leaves an old garment and puts on one that is new, the Spirit leaves is mortal body and then puts on one that is new." Ch2.11<hr>


These verses are clearly supporting literal reincarnation of the soul (Spirit), which I've always thought there was no real evidence for, or even reason for (though if it were true, it wouldnt really make any difference to me). But an unpleasant side effect of the belief in literal reincarnation is the idea that the seeker can just do a little bit this lifetime (usually enough for the cessation of their major sufferings), because their soul will get there eventually.

This seems (to me at least) to be the only way in which the Bhagavad Gita could let people "off the hook" of seeking truth, and there are probably only 5 or 6 verses like this in the whole thing. Overall, I really did think it was an excellent book, and I wonder how Rhett (and presumably other people) have got such a negative opinion of it. Perhaps you are judging it by its effects, which is fair enough, but people can ignore the most glaring truth if they just dont want to hear it.

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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby voce io » Mon Feb 02, 2004 9:01 pm

I'd like to know what Rhett is talking about. The QRS teaching itself can have the unfortunate effect of stopping people from seeking truth, as it does at least in the case of ynthrix, Rhett, and a few other people here. Why single out a BETTER teaching as having that unfortunate effect?
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby cassiopeiae » Mon Feb 02, 2004 9:17 pm

Yes, as voce said, the reason would be nice...

I was recommended this read by a Hindu friend of mine, who is also a chemist...he finds it hard to believe in any religion due to his love of science. Anyway, I found a lot of insight in this book, none of which had anything to do with NOT seeking the truth...
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Paul » Mon Feb 02, 2004 11:36 pm

All those, from some religion (conditioning)
stemming books are worthless, in the end.
And we know it, don't we.
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Hywel » Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:36 pm

Quote:
Quote:<hr>All those, from some religion (conditioning)
stemming books are worthless, in the end.
And we know it, don't we. <hr>


I agree, although, the ultimately worthless Bhagavad Gita also mentions its ultimate worthlessness:-

"When thy mind leaves behind its dark forest of delusion, thou shalt go beyond the scriptures of times past and still to come." Ch2.52

Does this mean it has some worth?
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Rhett » Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:30 am


In an earlier thread, Rhett mentioned that the Bhagavad Gita could have the unfortunate effect of stopping people from seeking truth.



I withdraw the statement (and ideally wouldn't have made it), considering that i've only read a few bits of it on the 'Minefield'. I actually thought it was yourself that was making that statement, and that i was only reinforcing it.

I reinforced it for a number of fairly insubstantial reasons. I live with a couple that have delved into it fairly deeply that don't seek truth, and the same applies to a yogi i know. Additionally, i remembered that Kevin had mades important corrections to it as it appeared on the 'Minefield'.


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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby suergaz » Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:35 am

Rhett thinks I am pure evil! (:D)
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby jimhaz » Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:44 am

Ultimately, there is no worthlessness or worth in any thing.

It is all a matter of degree in between the two.
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Paul » Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:46 am

Quote:
Quote:<hr>I am pure evil! (:D) <hr>

Read your last word backwards.
Then we're talking!
Hope you're fine, Mr. Zag.

(Rhett is a believer. He believes himself.
Oh my God, yes, that's what I mean :-)
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby suergaz » Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:52 am

Paul?! live.. er.. up ..ma ..I?!!
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Paul » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:50 am

'word'. I said 'word'.
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---

Postby suergaz » Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:46 pm

Live! But am I pure?! Mark Twain once wrote that to the pure all things are impure...well, we know what he meant anyway.
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Hywel » Sun Feb 08, 2004 11:31 pm

Quote:
Quote:<hr>I withdraw the statement (and ideally wouldn't have made it), considering that i've only read a few bits of it on the 'Minefield'. I actually thought it was yourself that was making that statement, and that i was only reinforcing it.<hr>


I know, you thought I was being sarcastic. But I thought there might be some good reasons for your view, as you discounted the possibility that I was serious when you replied.

Quote:
Quote:<hr>I reinforced it for a number of fairly insubstantial reasons. I live with a couple that have delved into it fairly deeply that don't seek truth, and the same applies to a yogi i know. Additionally, i remembered that Kevin had mades important corrections to it as it appeared on the 'Minefield'.<hr>


Do you have any idea why these people have deeply studied it? I just mean, if these people arent seekers, and the Bhagavad Gita is basically all about truth-seeking (which it certainly appears to be, at least to me), then what about it do these people find interesting enough to deeply study? Just curious.

Although I got my own copy and made my own notes, I had a look at Kevin's version, and the commentary was pretty good. Obviously, Kevin's version cuts out the unimportant stuff at the beginning (names of the generals of the armies etc.), which is fine, but I also noticed at least one verse was missing from the main body of the text. I only really noticed because it was a verse I had noted as the meaning being very unclear, and I wondered if Kevin had noticed too.

Heres the missing verse -
Quote:
Quote:<hr>One sees him in a vision of wonder, and another gives us words of his wonder. There is one who hears of his wonder; but he hears and knows him not. Ch2.29<hr>


I think its just saying "to hear about it is not to know", but its a bit vague.
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Rhett » Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:48 am

Do you have any idea why these people have deeply studied it? I just mean, if these people arent seekers, and the Bhagavad Gita is basically all about truth-seeking (which it certainly appears to be, at least to me), then what about it do these people find interesting enough to deeply study? Just curious.


Many people follow this path:


They genuinely seek wisdom and the alleviation of their suffering.

They think and read a lot, but then find that they are suffering even more than they were in the first place.

They realise that their thinking is the cause of their increased suffering (but not that it's because their delusions are getting smashed on the rocks of reason!).

They find it all too much to bear and can't see an end to this path, so they look for something to conclude the affair.

They then come across the words of Wise Men, that have spoken about the limitations of thinking and conceptualisation.

Like most people, they are all too happy to have found such a great excuse to de-value thinking, and expediently apply it to themselves. Basically, they try to convince themselves that the act of giving-up on thinking is wisdom. However, they will never succeed, they will only achieve a partial and insecure alleviation of their suffering by doing this. They remain grossly ignorant, and are no different from anyone else.


The highest wisdom is such a trap for the ignorant.


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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby suergaz » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:00 am

The highest wisdom is no trap for the ignorant. How could they know it?
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Re: Bhagavad Gita

Postby Rhett » Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:38 am

Don't you think you know it?



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---

Postby suergaz » Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:45 am

I will know it.
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Re: ---

Postby silentsal » Wed Feb 11, 2004 6:15 am

Quote:
Quote:<hr>Basically, they try to convince themselves that the act of giving-up on thinking is wisdom.<hr>


yet the very act of thinking is the biggest hurdle to wisdom
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Re: ---

Postby Rhett » Wed Feb 11, 2004 6:54 am

Quote:Quote:<hr>Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Basically, they try to convince themselves that the act of giving-up on thinking is wisdom.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


yet the very act of thinking is the biggest hurdle to wisdom<hr>
How can that be? Without thoughts there is no wisdom.


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Postby suergaz » Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:01 am

Rhett, you mistakenly think a hurdle to wisdom goes against wisdom. Wisdom itself is a kind of hurdle!
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Re: ---

Postby Rhett » Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:19 am

Suergaz wrote:

Quote:Quote:<hr>Rhett, you mistakenly think a hurdle to wisdom goes against wisdom. Wisdom itself is a kind of hurdle!<hr>
Can you be more specific?


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