• 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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Cosmic Vision

Arjuna said: 'My Lord! Your words concerning the Supreme Secret of Self, given for my blessing, have dispelled the illusions around me.

"O Lord! Whose eyes are petal of a lotus! You have described in detail the origin and dissolution of being, and your own eternal majesty.

"I believe all as you have declared it to be. I long now to have a vision of your divine form, o You Most High!

'If you think that this can be made possible for me to see it, show me, o' Lord of Lords, your own Eternal Self.'

Lord Sri Krishna replied: 'Behold, Arjuna, my celestial forms, by hundreds and thousands varied in kind, in coulour and in shape.

'Observe the Powers of Nature: fire, earth, wind and sky; the sun, the heavens, the moon, the stars; all the forces of vitality and of healing; the roving winds. See the myriad wonders revealed only to you.

'Here, in Me living as one, Arjuna, perceive the whole universe, movable and immovable, and anything else that you would want to see.

'Yet since you cannot see Me with mortal eyes, I give you the Divine Light. See now the glory of My Supremacy.'

Sanjay continued: Having spoken thu, Lord Sri Krishna, the almighty Prince of Wisdom, showed Arjuna the Supreme Form of the Great God.

There were countless eyes and mouths, and mystic forms innumerable, with shining ornaments and flaming celestial weapons.

Crowned with heavenly garlands, clothes in shining attire, anointed with holy unctions, He showed Himself as the Resplendent One, Marvellous, Boundless, Omnipresent.

Even if a thousand suns had blazed forth together they would have been only a faint reflection of the radiance of the Lord-God.

In that vision Arjuna saw the universe, with its manifold shapes, all embraced in One, its Supreme Lord.

Then, Arjuna, awe-struck, his head bowed, his hands clasped in salutation, addressed the Lord:

'O almighty God, I see in You the powers of Nature, the various creatures of the world, the Progenitor on his lotus-throne, the Sages, the shining angels.

'I see You , infinite in form, with it as it were, eyes and limbs everywhere; no beginning, no middle, no end; O Lord of the Universe, whose form is universal!

'I see you with the crown, the sceptre and the discus; a blaze of splendour. I can hardly look at you, so radiant are you, glowing like a blazing fire, brilliant as the sun, immeasurable.

'You are imperishable, the Sole One worthy of being aware of, the priceless Treaure-house of the universe, the immortal guardian of eternal life, the everlasting spirit.

'Without beginning, without middle and without end, infinite in power, Your arms are all-embracing, the sun and moon are Your eyes, Your face beams with the fire of sacrifice, flooding the whole universe with light.

'Alone you fill all the quarters of the sky, earth and heaven, and the regions in between. O Almighty Lord, seeing Your marvellous and awe-inspiring form, the spheres tremble with fear.

'Troops of celsial beings enter You, some invoking You in fear, with folded palms; the Great Sages and Adepts singing hymns to Your glory, saying "All hail".

'The Vital Forces, the major stars, Fire, Earth, Air, Sky, Sun, Heaven, Moon and the Planets; the Angels, the Guardians of the Universe, the divine Healers, the Winds, the Fathers, the Heavenly Singers; and hosts of Mammon-worshippers, demons as well as saints, are amazed.

'Seeing your stupendous form, o Most Mighty, with its myriad faces, its innumerable eyes and limbs and terrible jaws, all the worlds and indeed, I myself are overwhelmed.

'When I see You, (your form) touching the Heavens, glowing with colour, mouth open, eyes fiery, I am terrified. O my Lord, my courage and my peace of mind, desert me.

'When I see Your multiple mouths with their fearful jaws like blazing fires at the dissolution of creation, I lose all sense of space; I find no rest. Be merciful, O Lord, in whom this universe abides.

'All these sons of Dhritarashtra , with the hosts of princes, Bheeshma, Drona and Karna, as well as other warrior chiefs belonging to our side;

'I see them all rushing headlong into Your mouths, with (its) terrible tusks, horrible to behold. Some are mangled between Your Jaws, their heads crushed to smithereens.

'As rivers in flood surge furiously to the ocean, so these warriors, the greatest among men, fling themselves into Your flaming mouths.

'As moths fly impetuously to the flame
only to be killed, so these men rush into Your mouth to court their own destruction.

'You seem to swallow up the worlds, to lap them in flame. Your glory fills the universe. Your fierce rays beat down upon it irresistibly.

'Tell me then who You are, that wear this dreadful Form? I bow before You, o' Mighty One! Have mercy, I pray, and let me see You are You were at first. I do not know what You intend.

Lord Sri Krishna replied: 'I have shown myself to you as the Destroyer who lays waste the world, and whose purpose now is destruction. In spite of your efforts, all these warriors gathered here for battle, will not escape death.

'Then gird your loins, and conquer. Subdue your foes and enjoy the kingdom in prosperity. I have already slain them. Be my instrument, Arjuna!

'Drona and Bheeshma, Jayadratha and Karna, and other brave warriors -- I have condemned them all. Destroy them; fight and fear not. Your foes will be crushed.'

Sanjay continued: Having heard these words from Lord Krishna, Prince Arjuna, with folded hand, trembling, prostrated himself and with a choked voice, bowed down again and again, and addressed the Lord once again.

Arjuna said: 'My Lord! It is natural that the world rejoices when it praises Your glory; demons flee in fear and Sages offer You salutations.

'How should they do otherwise? You are Supreme, greater than all Powers of Creation, the First Cause, Infinite, Lord of the Lords, the Home of the universe, Imperishable, Being and Not-Being, yet transcending both.

'You are the Pirmal God, the Ancient, the Supreme Abode of the universe, the Knower, the Knowledge and the Final Home. You fill everything. Your form is infinite.

'You are the Wind, You are Death, You are Fire, Water, Mon, Father and all Ancestors, Honour and Glory to You a thousand times!

'Salutations to You from all sides, You who encompass me. Your power is infinite; Your majesty immeasurable; You uphold all things; yea, You Yourself are All.

'Whatever I have said to You in rashnes, taking You as a friend and addressing You as "O Krishna! O Yadava! O Friend!" in thoughtless familiarity, not understanding your greatness;

'Whatever insult I have offered You in jest, in sport, or in repose, in conversation or at a banquet, alone or in a crowd, I ask Your forgiveness for them all, o' You who are without equal.

'For You are the Father of all things movable and immovable, the Worshipful, the Master of Masters. In all the Worlds, You have no equal, You stand alone.

'I prostrate myself before You. I salute You and ask for Your blessings. Only You can be trusted to bear with me, as father to son, as friend to friend, as lover to beloved.

'I rejoice that I have seen what no man ever saw before, yet, I am overwhelmed wit hfear. Please assume the form I know. Be merciful O Lord, who are the home of all universe.

'I long to see You are You were before, with the crown and the sceptre and the discus in Your hands, in Your other form, You whose forms are Infinite.

Lord Sri Krishna replied: 'My beloved friend! It is only through My grce abd power that you have been able to see this vision of splendour, the Universal, the Infinite, the Original. Never has it been seen by anyone except you.

'Not by study of the scriptures, not by sacrifice or gifts, not by rituals or rigorous austerity, is it possible for man to see what you have seen, o' you, the foremost hero of the Kuru clan.

'Do not be afraid, or bewildered, by the terrible vision. Put away your fears and with joyful mind, see me once again in my usual form.'

Sanjay continued: Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Lord Sri Krishna showed Himself again in His usual form; and in gentle tones consoled Arjuna who lately trembled with fear.

Arjuna said: 'Seeing You in Your gentle human form, my Lord, I am myself again, calm once more.

Lord Sri Krishna replied: 'It is hard to see this vision of Me that you have seen. Even the most powerful have longed for it in vain.

'Not by study of scriptures, or by austerities, not by gifts or sacrifices, is it possible to see me as you have done.

'Only by tireless devotion can I be seen and known; only thus can a person become one with me.
'He whose every action is performed for my sake, to whom I am the final goal, who loves me only and hates no one -- o my dearest son, only he can realise me.'

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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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