14 Jul 2009

Rediscovering Gita

Recently I’ve begun re-reading Gita. The Bhagavad Gita for more anglocised folk.

I first read it when I was about 17. I returned to it for short periods over the years. But tonight by chance I came across it again. It’s a free download from The Big View here.

Lord Krishna said :

(last line p4)

The hero whose soul is unmoved by circumstance, who accepts pleasure and pain with equanimity, only he is fit for immortality.

(Near end p5)

Thou must look at thy duty. Nothing can be more welcome to a soldier than a righteous war. Therefore to waver in this resolve is unworthy, O Arjuna!

(Near end p6)

But thou hast only the right to work, but none to the fruit thereof. Let not then the fruit of thy action be thy motive; nor yet be thou enamored of inaction.

Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity.

Physical action is far inferior to an intellect concentrated on the Divine. Have recourse then to Pure Intelligence. It is only the petty-minded who work for reward.

I imagine that a few are trying to figure out if I am a hindu – trying to work out something about me, and missing the bigger issue. I am not a hindu. I draw on wisdom wherever I find it.

Gita is the story of a serious dilemma at the ancient battlefield of Kurukshetra. According to the preface to this edition:

When Prince Arjuna surveys the battlefield, he is overwhelmed with sorrow at the futility of war. The teachings of The Bhagavad Gita are spoken by the divine Lord Krishna, who is acting as the prince’s charioteer. They are overheard by Sanjaya and reported back to King Dhritarashtra. When Krishna has finished speaking to Arjuna, the two armies engage. The battle lasts eighteen days and by the end of it nearly all of the warriors on both sides are dead save Krishna and the five sons of Pandu.

I recommend this reading to all. I don’t buy all of what’s in it. But I’ll take from it where I can. There is much to be learnt there. I’ll be adding this one to my smartphone collection this summer.