Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The quintessence of the Bhagavad Gita

The beauty of the Bhagavad Gita lies in its compassion for the spiritual seeker. Lord Krishna is the Guru, Arjun is the typical spiritual seeker. Arjun is in turmoil - full of doubts and questions and, like all seekers, burdened with a zillion misconcepts. Lord Krishna plays the perfect Guru - at times patient, at times cutting and at all times compassionate. He is a spiritual surgeon who cuts to heal. Fondly-held concepts are peeled away and the Way is pointed to again and again, from this angle and that, using down-to-earth examples. A glimmer here and a glimmer there till there is blazing light that annihilates the darkness of ignorance.

The other beauty of the Bhagavad Gita is, it serves you wisdom customised to your programming: if you are a bhakt (given to devotion) it will endorse and consolidate your devotion; if you are a karma yogi (given to action), it will urge you to go forth and act; if you are a gyan-margi (given to contemplation), it will make you contemplate deeply on the nature of reality. So each one sees in, and takes from, the Bhagavad Gita different things.

In shunyayogi's take on the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna deals with four important concepts, offered here almost telegraphically with a view to aid contemplation (and, yes, for minds to disagree!):

One, the vital difference between inaction and non-action.

Inaction is, in fact, volitional action - a 'me' entity, an entity claiming to be a name-and-form, deciding not to act.

Non-action is non-volitional action - acting with the full understanding that one is not the doer of that (or any) action.

Also, inaction is not possible for any length of time since every impact on the senses will produce an action based on the programming of the body-mind organism. (Read the posting that follows: You cannot not act.)

Two, the concept of doership.

No entity is the doer of its action. The 'me' thinks it does everything - it is in charge of not only its actions but also the consequences of its actions. Not the case. The 'me' is merely a programmed instrument through which certain consequences are achieved. As the Buddha said, events happen, deeds are done but there is no individual doer thereof.

Three, the concept that time is linear.

Time isn't linear. What was, is. What is, is. What will be, is. (Check out an earlier posting titled Elastic time.)

Four, the concept of karma.


Actions must have consequences and consequences lead to actions. That is indeed true. However, there is no individual karma, only impersonal karma since no individual does anything anyway. Drawing from point two, if you are not the doer then to whom will accrue the consequences of the action that happened through you? And drawing from point four, if time isn't linear then the action and its consequence co-exist. So what happens to your concept of individual karma?

The clearing of these four concepts leads to the gentle dropping away of the sense of doership. And when the total irrevocable understanding happens that one is not the doer, that 'event' is referred to by many as Enlightenment.

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