• Ch. 1: Arjuna feels despondent on seeing his family and friends ranged in battle against each other
  • Ch. 2: When he seeks Krishna's advice, Arjuna is told that only the physical self perishes, whereas the Spirit is immortal. Krishna exhorts Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior.
  • Ch. 3: Karmayoga. Arjuna asks, if knowledge is suprior to action, why he should engage in battle. Krishna stresses to Arjuna that performing his duties for the greater good, but without attachment to results is the appropriate course of action.
  • Ch. 4: Krishna reveals that He has lived through many births, always teaching Yoga for the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious and stresses the importance of accepting a teacher.
  • Ch. 5: Arjuna asks Krishna if it is better to forgo action or to act. Krishna answers that both ways may be beneficent, but that acting in dispassionate and detached manner is superior.
  • Ch. 6: Krishna describes the correct method of meditation and self-control for achieving that special state of consciousness which allows self-control and helps to reach the Supreme Being.
  • Ch. 7: Krishna speaks to Arjuna about the path of knowledge.
  • Ch. 8: Krishna defines the terms Supreme Spirit, the philosophy of duty, the spirit of the Imperishable and the Unmanifest and explains how one can remember him at the time of death and attain His supreme abode.
  • Ch. 9: Krishna explains panentheism, "all beings are in Me" as a way of remembering Him in all circumstances. He posits that He exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well.
  • Ch. 10: Krishna describes his various manifestations and how He is the ultimate source of all material and spiritual worlds.
  • Ch. 11: On Arjuna's request, Krishna displays his "universal form", a theophany of a being emitting the radiance of a thousand suns, containing all other beings and material in existence.
  • Ch. 12: Krishna describes the process of devotional service .
  • Ch. 13: Krishna describes nature (prakrti), the enjoyer (purusha) and consciousness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dnyana-yoga: The Path of Wisdom

Lord Krishna said: 'This is imperishable philosohphy I taught Viwaswana, the founder of the Sun-dynasty, Viwaswana gave it to Manu the Lawgiver, and Manu to King Ikshwaku.

'The Divine Kings knew it, for it was their tradition. Then, after a long time, at last it was forgotten.

'It is the same ancient Path that I have now revealed to you, since you are my devotee and my friend. It is the supreme secret.'

Arjuna asked: My Lord, Viwaswana was born before you; how then could you have revealed it to him?'

Lord Krishna replied: 'I have been born again and again, from time to time; you too Arjuna. My births are known to me, you do not know yours.

'I have no beginning. Though I am imperishable, as well as the Lord of all that exists, yet by my own will and power do I manifest myself.

'Whenever spirituality decays and materialism is rampant, then, o Arjuna, I reincarnate myself.

'To protect the righteous, to destroy the wicked, and to establish the kingdom of God, I am reborn from age to age.

'He who realises the divine truth concerning my birth and life, is not born again; and when he leaves his body, he becomes one with me.

'Many have merged their existence in mine, being freed from desire, fear and anger, filled always with me, and purified by the illuminating flame of self-abnegation.

'As men try to worship me, so do I welcome them. By whatever path they travel, it leads to me at last.

'Those who look for success, worship the Powers; and in this world their actions bear immediate fruit.

'The four divisions of society (the scholar, the soldier, the merchant, the worker) were created by me, accordign to the natural distribution of Qualities and instincts. I am their author, though I myself do not perform any action, and am changeless.

'My actions do not fetter me, nor do I desire anything that they can bring. He who realises me is not enslaved by action.

'In the light of this wisdon, our ancestors, who sought deliverance, performed their acts. You must act too, as did our forefathers of yore.

'What is action and what is inaction? It is a question which has bewildered the wise. But I avouch to you the philosophy of action, and knowing it, you shall be free of evil.

'It is necessary to consider what is right action, what is wrong action, and what is inaction; for mysterious is the law of action.

'He who can see inaction in action, and action ininaction, is the wisest among men. He is a saint, even though he still acts.

'The wise call him a sage; for whatever he undertakes is free from the devices of desire, and his deeds are purified by the fire of wisdom.

'Having surrendered all claim to the results of his action, always content and independent, in reality he does nothing, even though apparently he is acting.

'Expecting nothing, his mind and personality controlled, free of greed, performing only bodily actions; though he acts, he remains untainted.

'Content with what comes to him without any effort of his own, rising above the yoke of paradoxes, free from envy, his mind stable in both success and failure, though he act, yet the consequences (of his action) do not bind him.

'He who is without attachment, apathetic, his min centred in wisdom, such a person's actions, being performed as a sacrifice leave no trace behind.

'For him, the sacrifice itself is the Spirit; the Spirit and the oblation are one; it is the Spirit itself which is sacrificed in its own fire, and the man, even in action, is united with God, since while performing his act his mind never ceases to be fixed on Him.

'Some sages sacrifice to the Powers; others offer themselves on the altar of the Eternal.

'Some sacrifice their physical senses in the fire of self-control; others offer up their contact with external objects in the sacrificial fire of their senses.

'Other sacrifice their activities and their vitality in the spiritual fire of self-abnegation, kindled by sapience.

'And yet others offer as their sacrifice, wealth, austerities and meditation. Monks wedded to their vows renounce their scriptural learning, and even their numinous powers.

'There are some who practise control of the Vital Energy and govern the subtle forces of prana (breathing in) and apana (breathing out), thereby sacrificing their prana unto apana, or their apana unto Prana.

'Others, controlling their diet, sacrifice their worldly life to the spiritual fire. All understand the principle of sacrifice, and by its means their sins are washed away.

'Tasting the nectar of immortality, as the reward of sacrifice, they reach the Eternal. This world is not for those who refuse to sacrifice; much less the other world.

'In this way, other sacrifices too may be undergone for the Spirit's sake. Understand that they all depend on action.. Knowing this, you shall be free.

'The sacrifice of wisdom is superior to any material sacrifice; for, o Arjuna, the climax of action is always Realisation.

'This you will learn by protrating yourself at the Master's feet, by asking him questions, by serving him. The wise who have realised the truth will teach you this wisdom.

'Having known that, you will never again be perplexed; and, o Arjuna, by the power of that acumen, you will see that all these people as it were your own self, and therefore as me.

'You may be the greatest of sinners, yet you will cross over all sin by the ferry-boat of sapience.

'As the fire consumes the fuel, so, o Arjuna, in the flame of wisdom, the embers of action are burnt to ashes.

'There is nothing in this world so purifying as wisdom; and he who is a perfect saint finds that, at last, in his own self.

'He who is full of faith attains wisdom, and he too who can control his senses. Having attained that wisdom, he shall before long, attain Supreme Peace.

'But the ignorant man, and he who has no faith, and the sceptic are all lost. Neither in this world, nor elsewhere, is there any happiness in store for him who always doubts.

'But the man who has renounced his action for meditation, who has cleft his dbut with the sword of wisdom, who remains always enthroned in his self, is not bound by his acts.

'Therefore, cleaving asunder with the rapier of enlightenment the doubts of your heart, which your own ignorance has created, follow the path of knowledge and arise!'

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Why The Geeta? Why now?

I took to reading the Geeta seriously in 2007. The idea of putting it on the WWW is not original. But I am doing it anyway as a labour of love. Just another excuse to read over and over again the wonderful words of this song divine which are a source of inspiration and of solace.
The context is a scene of battle, but that is only a metaphor for the greater battle that goes on within each one of us: the battle between our higher and lower selves, between desires and detachment, between our material and spiritual selves, between our physical senses and cosmic intuition.
There are five basic concepts: the Supreme Being, the Soul, Matter, Action and Time. In a sense, the entire divine symphony contains variations on these five basic themes.
The Geeta's greatest quality is its non-sectarian and non-dogmatic world-view. Exhorting action above mindless worship, it offers to its reader a whole new way of life; one that is free of fatuous rituals. What needs to be remembered while reading the Geeta is its emphasis on action and self-discipline.

Caveat emptor

This blog contains only a simple translation of the Geeta. I do not offer any commentary on the text (as yet). However, you are more than welcome to leave a comment on your understanding of a particular verse or chapter.

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