New Study Of Gita  Dec 01 Dr. Shriniwas J. Kashalikar
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New Study Of Gita  Dec 01 Dr. Shriniwas J. Kashalikar New Study Of Gita Dec 01 Dr. Shriniwas J. Kashalikar Document Transcript

  • STUDY OF GITA Dr. Shriniwas Kashalikar
  • December 1, 2009, 12:20 pm Why did I once, dislike Gita? Long back, when I used to be charged with physical needs, passions, emotions, thoughts and ideas, I used to feel agitated with the thought of similar plight of the people! The social circumstances appeared extremely dark, stark and annoying. The change, the revolution appeared to be the only purpose of life, even as the exact program of action and/or the blue print of the revolution were far from ready! The frenzy of all these complex feelings used to be so much, that any proponent of Gita, used to appear as unconcerned about peoples’ true needs, unbothered about real issues such as poverty, injustice; and hence antisocial, hypocrite, parasitic etc or at best; stupid or gullible! The restlessness within; used to be so much that it used to propel me towards addressing every problem that appeared in the news paper or on TV, apart from those in my own personal life. As a result, I used get engrossed in relevant physical work, emotional expression in poetry, intellectual analysis, discussions, public speeches, writing articles and books etc, which appeared to be the preferred ways of self assertion and solution to the problems! Withdrawal from such activities was suffocating, unbearable and killing! Gita appeared to me a despicable escapism from the problems and the activities; which I thought were
  • “important and urgent”! Gita discourses appeared to make the people facing problems; as well as the preachers; parasitic and paranoid! It appeared to make them dependent and helpless. It appeared to dissuade them from accepting the challenges in personal and social life and facing them victoriously! The fervor of my mind would never get calmed by the thought of Gita; though many a times I appreciated the honesty and selflessness of the individuals advocating it. Apart from this dislike, one of the common excuses that I used to find in studying Gita was the apparent irrelevance of the study in terms of daily livelihood. Moreover the study seemed to hinder the day to day work and disturbed the preoccupied mind. In fact it created a kind of tug of war in the mind! Now I realize that this was because of my untrained erroneous cognition (perception), affect (feelings) and conation (response). Thus I misconceived the dimension of the challenges, felt tense and restless and responded rather erratically, leading to further exaggeration of problems in mind! This is called distress cycle. When you are in such distressed state; you can not handle even small problems and hence study of Gita, which starts with the problems encompassing the cosmic, social, family and personal dimensions simultaneously; becomes a painful affair! It is like a state of severe indigestion, in which you are averse to eat anything and especially heavy food stuff that is difficult to digest! View slide
  • Another reason that caused repulsion towards Gita was, there were several tempting distractions, which seemed to offer pleasure, solace, relief and consolation. Moreover these distractions such as movies, TV shows, parties, gossip and socialization of different types did not require any active efforts on the part of your brain and heart. Study of Gita being demanding acute attention and focused concentration has always been an uphill task! Actually this was the reason, when I used to find the expressions of ecstasy and joy; by Sanjay in the last 5 verses in 18th chapter, quite contradictory and disagreeable,! Later in the course of reading Gita and about Gita, in books such as the biography of Shri Brahmachaitanya Gondavlekar Maharaj, by Prof. K.V. Belsare; and through my experiences with a variety of activities of service and social struggle for justice; I began to get intellectually convinced that Gita can evolve and transform an individual in terms of his/her perspective, vision, intellectual framework, emotions and instincts; and evolve him/her into objective or cosmic consciousness. I thought this; if happens in every walk of life; then it could usher in; individual and global blossoming, appropriate to that period, because; it could actualize globally benevolent perspective and policies! Now I realize that practice of NAMASMARAN, right from childhood, and teaching of Gita in every nursery, school, college and even professional college, would evolve the student of Gita, who would share the same joy and ecstasy that Sanjay expressed in the last five verses! I don’t want to View slide
  • generalize this and give any guarantee abut this, but this is my experience! It is my experience that once Gita enters in the system, the movies, dramas, TV shows and other activities can be enjoyed or avoided; without getting overwhelmed or disturbed respectively. Gita provides the ultimate and invincible satisfaction coupled with vigor, buoyancy, fearlessness and benevolence encompassing universe! Many times I used to feel disturbed by comments from friends; apparently ridiculing Gita as very recent; only about 1000 years old! I did not quite understand how a book or a scripture could be judged on the basis of when it was written! But somehow and somewhere these comments tended to dishearten and discourage me or at least thwart my enthusiasm in studying Gita. Many would say that Upanishads are really enlightening and Gita constitutes only citations from the Upanishads. These people obviously were ignorant about Upanishads as well as Gita, but may be because of my weakness; their comments could often sabotage my interest, dedication, efforts, concentration, commitment and involvement in the study! There were others; who used to praise Gita (without reading it) and boast that Gita is very old! I could not derive any inspiration from this either; because I could not agree to judge a book from its age! In fact one
  • could argue that inspite of being so old the book does not have significant impact on the world civilization in view of the stark global reality we witness! Another argument that could annoy and discourage a new student was; Gita is not written by one individual but by many people over centuries and further; Gita could not have been written on the battlefield at all, because no sane person would spend time in discussion, in such a situation of war! In fact this fact itself makes the Gita quite absurd! Such remarks from people who have been cut off from their roots, ancestors, history and most importantly their true self; due to petty, individualistic ideas and fanatic beliefs, could reduce one’s reverence for the book and hence the enthusiasm in studying it. Gita is studied with reverence. I also studied Gita because of the reverence she enjoys from billions of people and for millennia! Some people laugh at reverence and think that is irrational! But that is wrong! Reverence is not superstition! Reverence adds to one’s interest, commitment, focus, motivation and involvement! Reverence for Gita makes it easy to absorb the vital wisdom from Gita! But after, I studied Gita inspite of such criticism and insulting talks, for some time, I also felt there could be some truth in the argument that Gita is written by not but many people, in view of somewhat conflicting concepts finding place in her!
  • But, Gita, whether written or sung or addressed by; a particular person, one person, many persons, by a person in chariot to another in the chariot on the battleground, a person in his living room to another person, is only relevant to those; who are academic historians or those involved in divisive politics with some vested interests. For me; as I kept studying (and realizing the content of Gita); it was immaterial in view of the content of Gita and its scope and potentials for individual and global blossoming! It is silly for a student of Gita to dwell on such issues and waste time, rather than dedicating to the study of Gita so as to grasp and realize the core of Gita! Some used to ask, “What is the basis to prove that Gita can lead to global blossoming? Study of Gita does not seem to do anything, if compared to for instance; scientific research or socio-political manipulations! It does not seem to work and produce results; even comparable to those produced by relatively simple agricultural activities or other andicrafts!” If I say that Gita evolves us into objective or cosmic consciousness or imparts global perspective, then the argument is, “Can you prove the cause and effect relationship?” The answer obviously is, “No! I can not prove that Gita evolves us into objective or cosmic consciousness or imparts global perspective”, because many of those who study Gita can disprove my contention!!
  • Looking back; I realize that my opinions changed due to the influence of factors beyond my comprehension constituting the “field”, cosmic consciousness or God that encompasses and influences not merely “me” but everything; including the people in the universe! Whether the people in the world would also change and begin to get associated with Gita, also therefore be determined by the same “field” and hence I need not feel restless about whether people accept the importance of Gita or not! But if I say so, then next argument would be; “What is the proof for existence of such a field”? Obviously; I have no proof! Another argument is; Gita has no influence on individual or social life; studying Gita is wastage of time! One may feel that Gita has benevolent role, because of erroneously attributing the good changes in him or her to the study of Gita! Actually it could be the other way round; the good change leads him or her to admire Gita! This argument also, can not be refuted. What can be said is that cosmic consciousness or objective bliss is somehow associated with Gita. But even this can not be proved. Neither can I show that some one is linked through Gita to cosmic consciousness; nor can I prove that those; who are not studying Gita; are dissociated from cosmic consciusness or objective bliss! But having gone through the experience of all this, I am convinced beyond doubt that Gita is a transtemporal, transintellectual, transnational, transcultural and universally
  • benevolent manifestation of cosmic consciousness, irrespective of whether, written or narrated or sung by one person, many persons, on battleground or in a living room & at given time or over a period of centuries! Further, I would like to add that GITA, (& VISHNUSAHASRANAM and NAMASMARAN) is a life time golden opportunity or golden gate to cosmic consciousness provided by the cosmic consciousness Himself! Even so, the study of Gita and the experience associated with it; are essentially personal and beyond linguistic communication, beyond a certain point! One may or may not believe in them; and may or may not provisionally accept, study, experiment out and decide; their validity or otherwise! No one; including me; should feel that he/she can, (because no one can); oblige them; by studying or harm them by insulting! No one can elate them by praising and sadden them by maligning! Hence it said, in verse in 6th chapter, which implies that those who would study and realize the immortal cosmic consciousness would actually get the same in reciprocation (from the cosmic consciousness)! It appears however, that it is time that a vast majority of the world; would get freedom from the shackling conflicts generated from fulfillment or otherwise; of their physical needs, instincts, feelings, arguments, flights of imaginations, infatuations and restlessness; and get the privilege of being associated with the essence of Gita, NAMASMARAN, Vishnusahasranam, objective bliss,
  • cosmic consciousness, globally beneficial perspective and policies and their implementation; irrespective of the nature of cause and effect relationship (which also incidentally; is a product of human intellectual framework!)! In 4th chapter the importance of SHRADDHA is stressed. I used to feel that SHRADDHA is same as; or at least similar to; blind belief, thoughtless trust, superstition or unreasonable and unfounded devotion, with petty and mean ulterior motives. At times I used feel that SHRADDHA is; merely being emotionally attached or devoted to a particular God, doctor etc, with some hope against hope! Hence I thought SHRADDHA is opposed to thorough, critical and honest analysis! During my study of Gita, Vishnusahasranam and Namasmaran I realized that SHRADDHA is absolutely different. SHRADDHA is totally selfless and unprejudiced approach or attitude! Thus it is a serious and sincere commitment for some study or a task! It is being honest, integrated and committed and nothing else. It does not in any way, opposed to analysis; even if be ruthless and unending! Now I am convinced that the appreciation of the spirit of Gita is extremely difficult; as mentioned in 7th chapter, especially; without SHRADDHA! SHRADDHA is absolutely essential for learning the purport of Gita, as ASHRADDHA, which means casual, prejudiced, petty and/ or selfish approach; usually associated with cynicism and
  • contempt; is a major hurdle in learning Gita! ASHRADDHA makes the understanding or realization of Gita impossible, as implied in 4th and 9th chapters. December 1, 2009, 05:50 am What can deter us from SWADHARMA? Even as I was trying to integrate my concepts, feelings, passions and my practice, and share it with others; one of my near dear ones; often kept saying that there won’t be any change in the world and hence all efforts in that direction are in vain! His comments would come suddenly during the peak of discussion and give a jolt, as if some one splashed his vomits on you. Whether that individual gets convinced or not; at least I am happy to have gradually realized that a body cell and body work cooperatively to make life possible. If a cell were not to work in this way, the body would cease to live and the cell also would die. We live because of this cooperation. MOHA is ignorance of this which is suicidal. I have to understand that I eat every day and keep on eating, without questioning, but when it comes to getting engaged in SWADHARMA; I start giving excuses! This is MOHA addressed in Gita; and which is a universal problem, not only that of the person criticizing, and which is at the root of all other problems!
  • Another argument against SWADHARMA is that even if we try our best the maladies are bound to recur. Why waste time and energy in it? I don’t realize that I keep on doing things, such as taking bath, even when I know that I am bound to get dirty again and need to repeat it. I don’t give excuse; that I am going to get dirty again, to avoid bath. But I keep giving excuses that nothing is going to change permanently in the world and hence it is stupid and in vain to make efforts! This is MOHA and makes me tubular, short sighted and petty. It makes me timid and inert. It keeps me separated from my true self and hence from the society. This is why the contradiction between ‘me’ and ‘society’ is born and perpetuated. I have begun to understand that just as we sleep at night and start working in morning and just as during spring the gardens blossom, similarly at opportune times people work for global blossoming, even if the blossom is bound to end at some time and followed by summer. The ego of an individual hides the fact that trillions of activities going on in the trillions of body cells and in the innumerable molecules, atoms and subatomic particles; and trillions of activities going on for trillions of years in the universe are not done by an individual! He is a part of them! When spring comes he will have to blossom even if be for a specified time! Hence Arjuna is given to understand that irrespective of what he feels, he would be engaged in his work just as the
  • flower has no choice but to bloom during spring! This is said in 18th chapter (YADAHANKARAMASHRITYA ….NA YOTSYA…, SWABHAVJEN KAUNTEYA…). How is Gita, related struggles against exploitation, slavery, chaos and foreign rule? Gita has given the answer in 14th chapter, in very precise manner. Thus a person, a society, a nation, the world and even the entire universe; either perish or blossom; in accordance with the proportion of; SATVA, RAJA and TAMA, present in them. When SATVA predominates many begin to blossom and when TAMA predominates many begin to perish. The conditions in the society reflect the proportion of SATVA, RAJA, and TAMA! From the point of view of Indians, blacks and other Asians the root of slavery has to seen in the preponderance of TAMA in the world and growth capitalism, individualism and imperialism in the growth of TAMA and RAJA. Gita has given the solution of focusing on cosmic consciousness through e.g. NAMASMARAN, thereby increasing SATVA and going even further! What is the meaning of KARMA and AKARMA? In 4th chapter, there is a verse (KARMANI AKARMA YAH PASHYET….) indicating that one who sees action in inaction and inaction in action is the intelligent and accomplished yogi.
  • Thus pure and cosmic consciousness never does anything in the routine sense of that word. He does not perform any action! But He is responsible for the whole universe! This is seeing KARMA in AKARMA! Conversely, all that we do is like a part of the engine. We are not drivers of the engine. It is a fallacy to feel that we are driving. Hence when we realize that we are not doers, then “our” action becomes null and void and then it is called as seeing AKARMA in KARMA! What is the importance of social opinion? I have mentioned (Pages 4 and 5) what I felt about argument in favor of war, in 2nd chapter, (Akeertin cha pi bhootani….Bhayat ranat uparatam…..Awacchya vadanscha bahoon…..), in which the point of possible social indignation is used to ‘incite’ Arjuna to participate in war. But now I see there is another dimension to this argument. The social opinion is a double edged weapon. It is extremely harmful if we get sheared apart from our true self, but it is extremely useful if we get pulled out of our basal or carnal instincts and/or petty ego! Society is like our mother. It nurtures us in every way. It is important that we do not malign it and attribute the responsibility of our miseries on it, by knowingly or unknowingly concealing our weakness.
  • Can simplicity of Gita come in the way of people studying her? If we are in sinking frame of mind, we need something bombastic or dramatic for elevation! The words of Gita appear too simple to convey much content! We never get quite impressed by simplicity! We need something dramatic and/or melodramatic! In fact we start doubting the importance because of simplicity! We wonder, because of her simplicity, how and why Gita could enjoy such a coveted position and reign supremacy in world literature; inspite of simplicity! We do this rather than going ahead with study!