• 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 15, 2008

Knowledge and Experience

Lord Krishna said: 'Listen, o Arjuna. And I will tell you how you shall know me in my full perfection, practising meditation with your mind devoted to me, and having me for your refuge.

'I will reveal this knowledge to you, and how it may be realised; which, once accomplished, there remains nothing else worth having in this life.

'Among thousands of men, scarcely one strives for perfection, and even amongst those who gain occult powers, perchance but one knows me in truth.

'Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and personality; this is the eight-fold division of my manifested nature.

'This is my inferior nature; but distinct from this, o valiant one, know that my superior nature is the very life which sustains the universe.

'It is the womb of all being; for I am he by whom the worlds were created and shall be dissolved.

'O Arjuna, there is nothing higher than me; all is strung upon me as rows of pearls upon a thread.

'O Arjuna, I am the fluidity in water, the light in the sun and the in the moon. I am the mystic syllable Om in the Vedic scriptures, the sound in the ether, the vigour in man.

'I am the fragrance of earth, the brilliance of fire. I am the life-force in all beings, and I am the austerity of the ascetics.

'Know, o Arjuna, that I am the eternal seed of being; I am the Intelligence of the intelligent, the splendour of the resplendent.

'I am the strength of the strong, of them who are free from attachment and desire; and o Arjuna, I am the desire for righteousness.

'Whatever be the nature of their life, whether it be pure or passionate or ignorant, they are all derived from me. They are in me, but I am not in them.

'The inhabitants of this world, misled by those natures which the Qualities have engendered , do not know that I am higher than them all, and that I do not change.

'Verily, this Divine Illusion of Phenomenon manifesting itself in the Qualities is difficult to surmount. Only they who have devoted themselves to me and me alone can accomplish it.

'The sinner, the ignorant, the vile, deprived of spiritual perception by the glamour of illusion, and he who pursues a godless life - none of them shall find me.

'O Arjuna, the righteous who worship me are grouped by stages: first, they who suffer; next, they who desire knowledge; and then, they who thirst after truth; and lastly, they who attain wisdom.

'Of all these, he who has gained wisdom, who meditates on me without ceasing, devoting himself only to me, he is the best; for by the wise man I am exceedingly beloved and the wise man too is beloved by me.

'Noble-minded are they all, but the wise man I hold as my own self; for he, remaining always at peace with me, makes me his final goal.

'After many lives, at last the wise man realises me as I am. A man so enlightened that he sees God everywhere is difficult to find.

'They in whom wisdom is obscured by one desire or the other, worship the lesser powers, practising many rites which vary according to their temperaments.

'But whatever is the form of worship, if the devotee have faith, then upon his faith in that worship do I set my own seal.

'If he worships one form alone with real faith, then shall his desires be fulfilled through that only; for thus have I ordained.

'The fruit that comes to men of limited insight is, after all, finite. They who worship the Lower Powers attain them; but those worship me come unto me alone.

'The ignorant think of me, who ma the Unmanifested Spirit, as if I were really in human form. They do not understand that my Supreme Nature is changeless and most excellent.

'I am not visible to all, for I am enveloped by the illusion of wonder. This deluded world does not know me, as the Unborn and the Unperishable.

'I know, o Arjuna, all beings in the past, the present and the future; but they do not know m.

'O brave Arjuna, man lives in a fairy world, deceived by the lure of opposing sensations, infatuated by desire and aversion.

'But those who act righteously, in whom sin has been destroyed, who are free from the infatuation of conflicting emotions, they worship me with firm resolution.

'Those who make me their refuge, who strive for liberation from decay and death; they realise the Supreme Spirit, which is their own real Self, and in which all action finds its consummation.

'Those who see me in the life of the world, in the universal sacrifice, as Pure Divinity, keeping their minds unwavering, they live in me, even in the hour of death.'

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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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