• 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.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Renunciation of Action

Arjuna said: 'My lord, at one moment you praise the renunciation of action; at another, right action. Tell me truly, which of these is more conducive to my highest welfare?'

Lord Krishna said: 'Renunciation of action and the path of right action both lead to the highest; of the two, right action is better.

'He is a true ascetic who never desires or dislikes, who is uninfluenced by contradictions, and is easily freed from bondage.

'Only the unenlightened speak of wisdom and right action as separate; not the wise. If any man knows, he enjoys the fruit of both.

'The level which is reached by wisdom is attained through right action as well. He who perceives that the two are one, knows the truth.

'Without concentration, o Mighty Man, renunciation is difficult. But the sage who is always meditating on the Divine, shall, before long, attain the Absolute.

'He who is spiritual, who is pure, who has overcome his senses and his personal self, who has realised his highest Self as the Self of all, such an one, even though he acts, is not bound by his actions.

'Though the saint sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, moves, sleeps and breathes, yet he knows the Truth, and he knows it is not he who acts.

'Though he talks, though he gives and receives, though he opens his eyes and shuts them, he still knows that his senses are merely disportign themselves among the objects of perception.

'He who dedicates his actions to the Spirit, without any personal attachment to them, he is no more tainted by sin than the water-lily is wetted by water.

'The sage performs his action dispassionately, using his body, mind and intellect, and even his senses, always as a means of purification.

'Having abandoned the fruit of action, he wins eternal peace. Others unacquainted with spirituality, led by desire and clinging to the benefit which they think will follow their actions, become entangled by them.

'Mentally renouncing all actions, the self-controlled soul enjoys bliss in this body, the city of nine gates, neither doing anything himself, nor causing anything to be done.

'The Lord of this universe has not ordained activity, or any incentive for it, or any relation between an actand its consequences. All this is the work of Nature.

'The Lord does not accept responsibility for any man's sin or merit. Men are deluded because in them wisdom is submerged in ignorance.

'Surely wisdom is like the sun, revealing the supreme truth to those whose ignorance is dispelled by the wisdom of the Self.

'Meditating on the Divine, havin faith in the Divine, concentrating on the Divine, and losing themselves in the Divine, their senses dissolved in wisdom, they go whence there is no return.

'Sages look equally upon all, whether he be a minister of learning or humility, or an infidel, or whether it be a cow, an elephant, or a dog.

'Even in this world they conquer their earth-life whose minds, fixed on the Supreme, remain always balanced, for the Supreme has neither blemish, nor bias.

'He who knows and lives in the Absolute remains unmoved and unperturbed; he is not elated by pleasure, or depressed by pain.

'He finds happiness in his own self, and enjoys eternal bliss, whose heart does not yearn for the contacts of the earth, and whose Self is one with the Everlasting.

'The joys that spring from external associations bring pain; they have their beginnings and their endings. The wise man does not rejoice in them.

'He who, before he leaves his body, learns to surmount the promptings of desire and anger, is a saint and is happy.

'He who is happy within his Self, and has found Its peace, and in whom the inner light shines, that sage attains Eternal Bliss and becomes the Spirit itself.

'Sages whose sins have been washed away, whose sense of separateness has vanished, who have subdued themsleves, and seek only the welfare of all, come to the Eternal Spirit.

'Saints who know their Selves, who control their minds, and feel neither desire nor anger, find Eternal Bliss everywhere.

'Excluding external objects, his gaze fixedbetween the eye-brows, the inward and outward breathing passing equally through his nostrils;

'Governing sense, mind and intellect, intent on liberation, free from desire, fear and anger, the sage is forever free.

'Knwing me as Him who gladly receives all offerings of austerity and sacrfice, as the Mighty ruler of all the worlds, and the Friend of all beings, he passes to eternal peace.'

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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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