• 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.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Life Everlasting

Arjuna asked: "O Lord of Lords, what is that which men call the Supreme Spirit, what is man's Spiritual Nature, and what is the Law? What is Matter, and what is Divinity?

'Who is it who rules the spirit of sacrifice in man; and at the time of death how many of those who have learnt self-control come to know you?'

Lord Krishna replied: 'The Supreme Spirit is the highest Imperishable Self, and Its Nature is spiritual consciousness. The worlds have been created and are supported by an emanation from the Spirit which is called the Law.

'Matter consists of forms that perish; Divinity is the Supreme Self; and he who inspires the spirit of sacrifice in man, o noblest of your race, is I myself, who now stand in human form before you.

'Whosoever at the time of death thinks only of me, and thinking thus, leaves the body and goes forth, assuredly he will know me.

'A man will go to that sphere of being where his mind was focussed at the time of death.

'Therefore, always meditate on me, and fight; if your mind and your reason are fixed on me, to me you will surely come.

'He whose mind does not wander, and who is engaged in constant meditation, attains the Supreme Spirit.

'He who meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, more minute than an atom, yet the Ruler and Upholder of all Unimaginable, Brilliant like the Sun, Beyond the reach of darkness;

'He who leaves the body with mind unmoved and filled with devotion, by the power of his meditation, gathering between his eyebrows his whole vital energy, attains the Supreme.

'Now I will speak briefly of the imperishable goal, proclaimed by those versed in scriptures, which the mystic attains when free from passion, and for which he is willing to undergo the vow of continence.

'Repeating Om, the symbol of Eternity, holding me in remembrance always, he who thus leaves his body and goes forth reaches the Spirit Supreme.

'To him who thinks constantly of me, and of nothing else, to such an ever-faithful devotee, o Arjuna, am I ever accessible.

'Coming thus unto me, these great souls go no more to the misery and death of earthly life, for they have gained perfection.

'The worlds, with the whole realm of creation, come and go; but, o Arjuna, the man who comes to me, for him there is no rebirth.

'Those who understand the cosmic day and cosmic night know that one day of creation is a thousand cycles, and that the night is of equal length.

'At the dawn of that day all objects in manifestation stream forth from the Unmanifest, when dusk falls, they are dissolved into It again.

'The same multitude of beings, which have lived on earth so often, all are dissolved as the night of the universe approaches, to issue forth anew when morning break. This is it ordained.

'In truth, therefore, there is the Eternal Unmanifest, which is beyond and above the Unmanifest Spirit of Creation, which is never destroyed when all these beings perish.

'The wise say that the Unmanifest and the Indestructible is the highest goal of all; when once that is reached there is no return. That is my Blessed Home.

'O Arjuna, That Highest God, in whom all beings abide, and who pervades the entire universe, is reached only by whole-hearted devotion.

'Now I will tell you, Arjuna, of the times at which, if the mystics go forth, they do not return, and at which they go forth, only to return.

'If knowing the Supreme Spirit the sage goes forth with fire and light, in the daytime, in the fortnight of the waxing moon, and in the six months before the Northern summer Solstice, he will attain the Supreme.

'But if he departs in gloom, at night, during the fortnight of the waning moon, and in the six months before the Southern Solstice, then he reaches but lunar light and he will be born again.

'These bright and dark paths out of the world have always existed. Whoever takes the former, does not return; he who chooses the latter, returns.

'O Arjuna, the saint knowing these paths is not confused; therefore, meditate perpetually.

'The sage who knows this passes beyond all merit that comes from the study of the scriptures, from austerities and charity, and reaches the Supreme Primeval Abode.'

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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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