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N E W S T U D Y O F G I T A N O V 5 D R


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N E W S T U D Y O F G I T A N O V 5 D R

  3. 3. 3 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA November5, 2009, 10:00 am What were the first impressions of 1st chapter? Initially when I began to read Gita, I felt that I am reading a story of war. I was rather put off by the list of names and the description of conches they blew. Later I read about the repulsion of Arjuna about the idea of war and violence and his arguments about the disastrous effects of war. I felt that there was nothing intellectual and it all seemed to be too obvious to be stated. But I kept on by hearting it apparently; as a kind of exercise of memory and probably also to fill the void in me; and actually because Gita “swallowed” me as I have mentioned earlier! I did not quite understand the exact meaning MOHA for long time. Some said that Arjuna was afraid and some said that it was his love for the family members. Some felt Arjuna was right and some said he was wrong. But I never seemed to understand how this was related to the day to day problems in life of a common man and me; and why Gita was acclaimed as the greatest exposition of philosophy! DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  4. 4. 4 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA Some said that the description of war was symbolic and actually Gita relates to the higher self in an individual with lower self. This seemed impressive but could not explain the relevance of Arjuna’s arguments about VARNA SANKAR i.e. haphazard and lawless marriages amongst different strata and groups in society and their ill effects. What happened to the impressions of 1st chapter? At this juncture; it is clear; that Gita actually deals with the individual existence, universe, the time and cosmic consciousness. She also deals with different stages of human development from SADHAKA i.e. seeker and SIDDHA i.e. enlightened individual and the various ways and techniques to attain the ultimate state of liberation. Initially I used to feel that Gita relates to individual emancipation and hence felt that there was nothing in terms of solution for the welfare of world. This was because of the repeated description of STHITAPRAJNA (a person beyond the influence of painful and pleasurable influences in life) and absence of any reference to dream society! This could be because of my ego (not necessarily unjustified or condemnable, but not accurate either), which prevented me from seeing my unity with the universe and how the STHITAPRAJNA state was related to social welfare. Hence I could not see how Gita could help in social emancipation! In addition, the DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  5. 5. 5 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA obsession and yearning that “I have to change the world for better” was the stumbling block in getting satisfactory solution from Gita! Moreover; I was expecting some kind of a blue print for the universal welfare; and since I did not find it; I used to feel that Gita is individualistic and hence of no consequences for the global welfare. Naturally I was not quite in love with Gita. In fact I read and studied it with reluctance and as if because; somebody was pushing me from within to study it persistently. Due to my honest (though subjective) concern; I was obsessed by global welfare, of which I had faint sketch in mind. But I was neither finding any reflections of the sketch in reality; nor was I completely convinced by it. I was probably looking for clearer blueprint in Gita. But since Gita does not give any such blueprint, I was rather getting depressed by reading Gita. Study of Gita was thus a kind of invited trouble! However gradually; this turmoil began to subside; when I started to realize that the role of Gita is not to provide any blueprint; but to inspire the student to create a universal blueprint conducive to blossoming (in a most democratic) of everyone in the world! What were the hurdles in the process of studying Gita? DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  6. 6. 6 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA Sometimes I thought Gita was produced on battlefield, sometimes I felt that it was not a creation of one individual. Sometimes I felt that many people have added different verses out of context and relevance. But these feelings did not deter me from studying Gita, because; these feelings had nothing to do with what I was looking for in Gita! I was really not concerned and bothered whether Gita was created by one or many and whether on battlefield or elsewhere! Some people said that it was not proper to read Gita at home as it leads to conflicts in home and some people said that it was inauspicious to read it because it was read after some one’s demise. Although these views sometimes disturbed me temporarily; while studying Gita; they could not deter me from studying her! I however felt that Gita was not very pleasant like a romantic poetry and did not generate elation or ecstasy. She seemed to ruthlessly remind unwanted, unnecessary and unrelated questions and problems such as those of war and death! Arguments that Gita preaches violence and the opinion that she promotes inequality and exploitation appeared too superficial and based on casual reading with preformed notions and prejudices; though they harmed my enthusiasm to some extent. DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  7. 7. 7 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA Many people in the world alleged then and do so even today; that; Hindu scriptures such as VEDAs, SMRUTIs (Compilations of rules, regulations and practical techniques for social stability, growth and harmony) advocate inequality (and hence exploitation). This was because of the labor division that continued through generations, in a structured form. It is true that various influences such as military invasions and religious persecutions tore apart the fabric of holistic Hindu philosophy and way of life, into somewhat arbitrary, coercive and at times absurd traditions and conventions, but it does not render the Hindu philosophy as such; exploitative, outdated and counterproductive. These views create doubt and suspension in one’s mind even before a Hindu like begins to study books such as Gita. Can Gita guide the world today? I began to understand that Gita philosophy (the cosmic dynamics) reveals to us our position and role in the eternal orchestra and guides us to live to our fullest satisfaction; while simultaneously aiding the blossoming of the universe. I realized that by studying Gita superficially one can not see her potential to rejuvenate, regenerate and even revive the chaotic and turbulent human civilization all over the world. I therefore felt greater and greater need to explore the heart of Gita. I started getting as if haunted DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  8. 8. 8 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA by a beautiful and barely seen blurred “melodious light” in the core of Gita. Gita begins with the description of legions of Kauravas and Pandavas on the Kurukshetra. Thus Gita directly begins with the most crucial dilemma or tricky situation one can have in life viz. the question of life and death! All conflicts in life are concentrated in this situation! This makes Gita the ultimate counselor! I now feel that; Gita deals with war of higher self with the lower self in an individual, where the lower self is attached to many likes and dislikes! This attachment is depicted in terms of attachment (like that for suicidal and destructive addiction) for the relatives even if they were social psychopaths. This attachment leads to despondent retreat to lower self and passive acceptance of and involvement in degeneration and decay of one’s own true self (and that of the universe). This is surrender of higher self to lower self, or surrender of higher self of the society to the lower self of the society, that is called MOHA of Arjuna, which I guess is common to most people in the world (which is why Gita is universal). Gita simultaneously deals with the actual war also; because she looks at the individual and society in a holistic way. She conceives and teaches to appreciate that the condition of war within and our response to that war; naturally manifest in family and social life. If our DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  9. 9. 9 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA response is of surrender due to MOHA then it is detrimental to an individual as well as the society. I think, I can appreciate this (previously thought unwanted and irrelevant and hence unpleasant) unavoidable and eternal war within and out! In fact knowledge of Gita makes it clear that presence of this war and its comprehension is a golden opportunity to live in SWADHARMA and achieve individual and global blossoming! Strange (To state the war as opportunity) though it may appear it is true that this internal and external war is a product of evolution! Animals have no choice! They neither can glorify their instincts nor can they condemn it! Neither are they endowed with the freedom to choose indulgence nor are they free to opt for abstinence! They do not have the golden opportunity to live in SWADHARMA as there is o conflict. Arjuna’s response of MOHA is a response to inner war (that invariably manifests in the society)! Such despondent response to the lower self of an individual is invariably reflected in the form of a retreat to the lower self of the society i.e. psychopathic and detrimental elements in the society! Gita not only depicts the individual and global despondency; but it also depicts; an intellectual explanation and justification of such despondency in the form of apparently sublime values and concerns; as advanced by Arjuna. DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  10. 10. 10 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA Thus Arjuna is dismissing the idea of killing teachers, brothers and other loved ones by forecasting the social holocaust in terms of the ruining of families and the exploitation of widows and mutilation of social discipline and harmony; leading to ill effects on the departed souls and the abyss thereof! Arjuna represents erudite but erroneous arguments! Thus Gita creates a strong case for individual and social mediocrity, individualism, pettiness, gullibility, defeatism, and despondency with intellectual explanations and justifications, which span from individual and social life; to even life after death! It is at this point that I realized that Gita is unique in NOT providing an arbitrary blue print that upholds individualism or socialism; but enlightens the root of our being and provides freedom and blossoming of individuals and the universe simultaneously. This understanding has wiped out my previous reservations about Gita (of being individualistic or addressing merely personal needs or problems) and made me far more comfortable with Gita than I used to be earlier. I now understand that Gita is more personal and more social in true sense because she takes us to the core of both! This makes her really and absolutely accurate, just and totally democratic in true sense, which the individualistic and socialistic philosophical frameworks are not! I felt very happy for having persisted on the study of Gita and DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  11. 11. 11 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA having come out of the limitations and inadequacies of individualistic and socialistic philosophies. Through depicting the individual and social despondence (represented by ARJUNA VISHADA) Gita creates a ground for an eternal discourse to shun the individual, social and universal tendencies to sink and decay! Gita enters into 2nd chapter and then offers the omnipotent and omniscient panacea to such despondence and decay that surfaces repeatedly in the human civilization throughout history; from millennia to millennia and time and again; from the very source of eternally provident and rejuvenating cosmic consciousness! November 5, 2009; 10:00 pm How is MOHA a universal problem and the resurrection from MOHA a universal solution? After creating a strong case for the despondence; like a devil’s advocate; in 1st chapter; the propounder of Gita straight away proclaims in 2nd chapter; the aphorism that you don’t die! This aphorism can cause a massive shock for any serious reader and I was no exception. Isn’t it natural that normally our mindset cannot understand, agree, believe or realize the concept of immortality of soul? DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  12. 12. 12 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA I however; kept on reading it, but without really understanding, agreeing, believing and of course realizing! In fact this discussion in 2nd chapter made me feel miserably torn in two conceptual premises! Neither could I agree with the claim of immortality, which was beyond my comprehension and even imagination; nor could I felt that I was a complete mortal with no traces of life after the death of my body! I could never imagine myself discarding my body like “old clothes” or in; living in absence of the body, but I could not dismiss the claim of immortality also; because I “knew” (though I had not personally realized) that a) nothing is destroyed b) consciousness; thoughts, feelings, time, space, energy etc do not have the same kind of “existence”, “birth” or “death” and c) ‘beginning and end’ are human concepts; derived from the limitations of physiological state, consciousness, perceptions, thinking, feelings and the information processing in the neurons and their network! Now I realize that such tearing off; of my conceptual premises lead to dialectical process breaking down the sectarian ideas and promoted evolution of the holistic perspective. Arjuna has indicated his disgust for a war that involves killing of near and dear ones. He is selfless and has no interest in any gains from such a war that involves shading of blood of his teachers, brothers and other close DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR
  13. 13. 13 NEW STUDY OF BHAGAVAD GITA ones. So Arjuna is NOT afraid of war like a timid creature, but his conscience has paralyzed him! Arjuna like any sensitive, honest, brave and conscientious individual despised the killing of his brothers. I am sure that any sensitive and conscientious individual would relate with the plight of Arjuna; because it results from information processing through neuroendocrine, autonomic and central nervous systems; and hence is universal! But having said that; as I went on studying Gita, it started becoming clearer, that human beings are not merely physiological; they are potentially much more than that! DR. SHRINIWAS JANARDAN KASHALIKAR