Categories
Uncategorized

Gandhi’s Bible or a Call to War? (Gita Talk 4)

The reading for this week was Chapters 3-4, thru p. 80.

The reading for next week is chapters 5-6, p. 81-98.

One of the first difficulties that confronts the new reader of the Gita is that Arjuna is being urged to fight a bloody war, one in which he knows many of his friends, teachers, and relatives will be killed.

This can be somewhat of a shock to someone reading the Gita for spiritual enlightenment, perhaps aware that it was one of the guiding lights for Gandhi.

How can we resolve this issue of the Gita’s attitude toward war? Here are a few suggestions:

1) You can decide that this is a justified war. Think of his opponents as like the Nazis–they need to be stopped or they will enslave us all. It’s not obvious in all commentaries, but some make it clear that Arjuna’s opponents, at least its leaders, are really bad people. They are dishonest, violent, abusive, immoral, materialistic, and power-hungry.

2) You can see war as a metaphor for struggle. It’s true that the Bhagavad Gita was Gandhi’s bible. The ultimate pacifist concluded that war was an ordinary human activity back then, like going to the office for the elite classes. It’s what they did, so that was an obvious example to use at that time. But it’s just a metaphor now. Perhaps it was a metaphor even back then.

Gandhi and others simply convert Arjuna’s battle into their own life struggle, even a rigorously pacifist agenda like Gandhi’s. This point of view removes the difficulties of justifying violence. The Gita helped Gandhi give himself completely to his mission, which was to free India though non-violent means. See Gandhi’s The Message of the Gita, p. 211-221 in Mitchell.

3) A third way to reconcile the war setting is that many commentators think the Gita was grafted into this context from another source, since the vast majority of it has nothing to do with war, and, in fact, much of the Gita is more supportive of Gandhi’s pacifism than war. It really does seem like a complete non-sequitor when, after a long flowing passage about loving all beings as one, Krishna will suddenly say, “So now go out and kill like crazy.” Probably a bolt-on?

Just when I was feeling self-satisfied about the “war as metaphor” and “Gita as bolt-on” approaches above, we got this moving comment on Gita Talk #3 from Debyoga:

The first time I read the Gita…was several years ago when my son was in Iraq. It was actually an assignment for my 200 level yoga teacher training. I can definitely relate to p. 18 when Mitchell says the following: “When you approach it as a sacred text, you can’t help standing, at first, in the place where Arjuna stands, confused and eager for illumination”.

I think I felt that at the time because war was so real to me. It was difficult as Mitchell wrote about whether Arjuna should fight as being the secondary question. I was a little angry about the wars and the fact that my son and other sons and daughters were there too. Overtime after several readings, even if I didn’t have the exact clarity of the primary question, “how should we live?”, p. 18 I think I got to that place with the Gita.

I suppose what I’m trying to say, it that it was then as it is now, very much a part of my yoga journey and I think by the focus being on “how should we live” wars would cease to exist.

Please give us your thoughts:

–How do you choose to deal with the battlefield setting of the Gita?

–How did you feel about the reading for this week, Chapters 3-4, p. 61-80?

–What did you like?  What did you dislike? 

–How does it relate to your life?

–What questions would you like to ask?

We would like to hear from all of you, even if it’s just to let us know you’re out there!

If you feel lost and need a roadmap, see Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

The reading for next week is chapters 5-6, p. 81-98.

Please help spread the word about Gita Talk by clicking
on the social media icons at the top and bottom of this page.

~

Previous Blogs In This Series (latest first):

Why Is the Bhagavad Gita So Upsetting At First? (Gita Talk 3)

It’s Showtime. Please Start Talking All At Once! (Gita Talk 2)

Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe. (Gita Talk 1)

Ten (mostly funny) reasons to read the Bhagavad Gita.

Ongoing Resources:

Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk

Yoga Demystified (free eBook)

~

Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.

Categories
Uncategorized

Why Is the Bhagavad Gita So Upsetting At First? (Gita Talk 3)

This week we are discussing Chapters 1-2, thru p. 60.

Reading for next week is Chapters 3-4, thru p. 80.

Many people who love the Bhagavad Gita were frustrated or turned off when they first tried to read it.

One reason is often the translation. Some versions are very hard to read—stilted, unnatural English, and lots of Sanskrit terms that have you jumping down to the footnotes every other word.

Another problem can be the commentary, which is sometimes harder to understand than the text itself and can get very technical.

This, of course, is fine and appropriate for someone approaching the Gita from a scholarly perspective.  But it can be a serious obstacle for many readers, especially new readers.

The Mitchell version overcomes these obstacles. It reads easily and naturally, with no footnotes at all. And the commentary is thoroughly enlightening.

But it still has a third common problem which comes from the content itself. Within a few pages of starting the Gita, the reader is told:

–Women who are allowed to marry outside their caste are “corrupt”. (D)

–If the caste system is violated, society will collapse and those responsible will suffer in hell. (D)

–Men who refuse to fight will be disgraced forever as unmanly cowards. (D)

–Reincarnation will be our reward or punishment for our actions. (M)

–God thinks it’s a great idea to cajole the hero into fighting a bloody war against his relatives. (M)

–We should be indifferent when someone dies. (E)

–There is no real distinction between good and evil. (E)

–We should cut ourselves off from all sensual desires and pleasures. (E)

Is it any wonder that many readers stop right there and say, “I don’t need this. I’m going to find something more uplifting to read”? It certainly doesn’t live up to the promise of “Falling Head-Over-Heels-In-Love With The Universe”.

It takes a little effort and insight to be able to handle these and other jarring issues that come up in the text. Eventually, for each unacceptable or repugnant idea, you have three choices:

1) Decide to simply ignore it. (Mitchell is right up front about this in a way few other translations are. On page 209 he writes, “the Gita contains passages that are culture-bound and should be disregarded by readers who are serious about its deeper teachings”, and he goes on to list the specific stanzas this applies to.)

2) Turn it into a metaphor. For example, war can be seen as a metaphor for whatever big challenges we face in life.

3) Further explain the troublesome idea in a way that it eventually turns out to make sense.

Each of you will have a different way to work this out. There is no correct way.  For example, some people believe in literal reincarnation and some do not.

The Gita hits us hard with a lot of these problem passages right up front. The effort to overcome them will be richly rewarded. (I’ve coded my own personal decisions on the issues above with “D” for “Disregard”, “M” for “turn into a Metaphor”, and “E” for “makes sense when Explained”. But that’s just me.)

You’ll be encouraged to know that Arjuna, at the beginning of chapter 3, pretty much says to Krishna, “Are you crazy or something”. He has some of the the same problems we do!

Now, before this turns into a lecture instead of a discussion:

–Tell us what you think about the first two chapters.

–What did you love? What did you hate?

–Does this relate to your life yet? If so, how? What questions would you like to ask?

–What insights can you bring us from other versions you might have read?

We would like to hear from all of you, even if it’s just to let us know you’re out there!

Reading for next week is Chapters 3-4, thru p. 80.

Please help spread the word about Gita Talk by clicking
on the social media icons at the top and bottom of this page.

~

Previous Blogs In This Series (latest first):

It’s Showtime. Please Start Talking All At Once! (Gita Talk 2)

Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe. (Gita Talk 1)

Ten (mostly funny) reasons to read the Bhagavad Gita.

Ongoing Resources:

Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk

Yoga Demystified (free eBook)

~

Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.

Categories
Uncategorized

It’s Showtime. Please Start Talking All At Once! (Gita Talk 2)

Bhagavad Gita MitchellOK, sports fans, the game is on. This is our first weekly discussion of Mitchell’s Bhagavad Gita. This week we’re talking about the Introduction, which goes through p. 35 (with ten pages of very interesting notes, pages 199-210.)

Before I forget, the reading for next Monday is Chapters 1 and 2, pages 41-60.

The best thing that can happen is if you all jump right into the game, instead of watching from the sidelines. I know we’ll have a great discussion if you:

–Tell us what’s on your mind.
–Ask us the questions you were asking yourself as you were reading the Introduction.
And especially, read other readers comments and reply with your questions, disagreements, or comments.

I like to respond to as many questions as I can myself, but the more help I get the better.

Don’t be shy! There are no wrong questions. And the Elephant crowd is noted for its warmth and civility in handling even the most controversial issues. We have a wide variety of experience in this group, from many first time readers to veteran devotees and everything in between. We all have something to offer each other.

If you don’t have anything particular in mind, then think about these issues and give me your thoughts:

1) How did the Introduction make you feel about reading the Gita?

2) How did it compare to your expectations going in?

3) If you have read other versions of the Gita, how does Mitchell’s vision in his Introduction compare?

4) Are there any questions you’d like to ask?

Helpful Hints

Elephant has a excellent discussion system. If you haven’t been here before, I think you’ll find it very intuitive. Some hints:

–When you post a comment, make sure you subscribe to “All new comments” in the pull down menu at the bottom of the comment box. (Otherwise you’ll just receive e-mails when people reply to your comment.)
–You can post ad hoc each time, or you can register with “Intense Debate”, which will allow you to show your avatar, profile, and keep a history of all your comments.
–This system allows replies to replies and keeps good track of them in an easy-to-read and intuitive way.
Replies get hidden automatically as comment volume grows. You need to click on “Replies” at the bottom of each comment to see them.

If a particular issue gets particularly big or hard to follow , I may open subsidiary blogs to help focus our attention.

I prefer to keep the substantive Gita discussion here on Elephant Journal. But we can also communicate on our Facebook site and on #GitaTalk on Twitter.

Again, the reading for next Monday is Chapters 1 and 2, pages 41-60.

Please be sure to let me know if I can help you in any way.  You are always welcome to contact me directly at bob@elephantjournal.com.

Previously:
–Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe. (Gita Talk 1)
–Ten (mostly funny) reasons to read the Bhagavad Gita.

Resources:
–Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

–The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk

–Yoga Demystified (free eBook)

Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.

Categories
Uncategorized

Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe. (Gita Talk 1)

Bhagavad Gita MitchellThe response to my announcement of our new Gita Talk online discussion series has been overwhelming.  Thank you for your interest and support.

Let’s begin by reading the introduction (thru p. 35) of Stephen Mitchell’s Bhagavad Gita–A New Translation.  Then on August 29 I’ll put out a blog with some discussion provoking questions.

That doesn’t mean we can’t start talking now, though. Let’s tell each other what our experience with the Gita is going in.

1) Have you read the Bhagavad Gita before or is this your first time?

2) Either way, what is your impression of the Gita going in to this discussion?

3) What are you hoping to get out of this discussion series?

I encourage you to dive into the discussion right away with both feet.  The more people who participate, the better it is for everyone.  And I deeply appreciate anyone who is willing to help us respond to all the comments.

This time you can look ahead if you like, because we will be following, with some additions, the original sixteen session Gita Talk.  You can also see the Gita sliced and diced by major theme in the sequel sixteen part series Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations, which just ended recently.

Gita Talk is like an online book club. We will read about one chapter per week and discuss it right here on Elephant.  Join our Gita Talk Facebook page for weekly notices of each new discussion blog and to get to know your fellow Gita geeks. Each blog also gives you the short reading assignment for the next week.

I am very pleased to have Elephant writer Jennifer Cusano as my partner in running this new Gita Talk. Jennifer will moderate the discussions and will get the word out about Gita Talk in the social media.

If you ever have any questions or issues you’d like to discuss with me one-on-one, please write to me at bob@elephantjournal.com.  I’m anxious to be personally helpful to you in any way I can.

A Little Background Material

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the “big three” ancient Yoga texts, along with the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutra. The Yoga Sutra gets 95% of the attention, but it is quite incomplete without the other two. The three together are nothing short of astounding.

My own feelings about the Bhagavad Gita are well expressed in my review last year of Mitchell’s version:

Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe

For those of you who have always wanted to absorb the spectacular wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, but have found it difficult, I highly recommend Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell. This is my fourth version and sixth reading of the Bhagavad Gita. I have gotten a lot from all four versions, but Mitchell’s is clearly the most accessible and enjoyable, without sacrificing any of the meaning.

The Bhagavad Gita is quite literally about falling in love with the indescribable wonder of the universe, that is to say, God. These two are synonymous in the Gita. (Believe it or not, the text itself says that you can approach God as either an unfathomable cosmic life-force or as an intimate personal diety. Either leads you to the same boundless love and joy.)

The Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutra are two of the most important ancient texts of Yoga. They could not be more different. The Yoga Sutra is mostly secular in nature, and mentions God only briefly and perfunctorily. The Bhagavad Gita, in contrast, is literally “The Song of the Beloved Lord”, and most of the text is the voice of the awesome life-force of the universe itself.

The Yoga Sutra is a cookbook for achieving inner peace. The Bhagavad Gita is a very practical document as well, but won’t settle for anything less than ecstatic union with the universe. Put them together and you have the astounding philosophy of Yoga in two relatively short texts.

Try Mitchell’s version of the Bhagavad Gita. You’ll be glad you did.

So, again, the assignment for next week, August 29, is to read the Introduction (th p. 35), and share with us any thoughts you have before we get started on the text itself.

All questions and comments at any level are welcome at all times.

Categories
Uncategorized

Ten (mostly funny) reasons to read the Bhagavad Gita.

Gita Talk has begun! See 
Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe.
(Gita Talk 1)

I’m pleased to announce the start of a new round of the popular online discussion of the Bhagavad Gita, Gita Talk, beginning August 22.  This will give you plenty of time to get the Stephen Mitchell text.  Order it now so you’ll be ready to begin on August 22!

This time you can look ahead if you like, because we will be following, perhaps with some additions, the original sixteen session Gita Talk.  And you can also see the Gita sliced and diced by major theme in the sequel sixteen part series Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations, which just ended recently.

Gita Talk is like an online book club.  We will read about one chapter per week and discuss it right here on Elephant.  Join our Gita Talk Facebook page for weekly notices of each new discussion blog and to get to know your fellow Gita geeks.  Each blog also gives you the short reading assignment for the next week.

I am very pleased to have Elephant writer Jennifer Cusano as my partner in running this new Gita Talk.   Jennifer will moderate the discussions and get the word out about Gita Talk in the social media.

If you’re still uncertain about whether you should join us, here are ten reasons why you should, brought to you by Elephant and Yoga Journal writer, Erica Rodefer:

10 Reasons to Read the Bhagavad Gita

1. You were supposed to during teacher training, but only got through 20 pages. And you’ve felt guilty ever since.

2. You need a fresh, new bedtime story to tell your kid, niece, nephew, dog, cat or goldfish.

3. “I find a solace in the Bhagavad Gita that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies—and my life has been full of external tragedies—and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavad Gita.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

4. You think “Bhagavad Gita” sounds like an exotic disease that could have been prevented with a simple mosquito net. (I hear it gives you a horrendous rash!)

5. You were trying to follow your dharma, or life’s purpose, but got distracted by something shiny.

6. Learn about bhakti yoga (devotion), jnana yoga (knowledge) and karma yoga (service), and apply all of these things to your own practice.

7. It will give you something intelligent to talk about at cocktail parties. You’ll be the life of the party!

8. Shouldn’t you know more about the practice you’ve devoted so much time, effort, energy and thought to?

9. It’s available for free online! And you’ve never been one to pass up a bargain … http://www.bhagabad-gita.us (Ignore this one.  You really want the Mitchell version.  Trust me. ~ Bob W.)

10. Now you have a supportive community to share your comments and questions with.

Let’s motivate each other to get through this all-important yogic text.

I’d like to have a cyber show of hands.  If you’re in for the new Gita Talk, leave a quick comment below!  And any other ideas or comments you have about the Bhagavad Gita are welcome too!

Categories
Uncategorized

Yoga calls for direct experience & straight-forward wisdom (over scripture, dogma, and ritual) (GN #16)

The Bhagavad Gita calls for direct experience & straight-forward wisdom (over scripture, dogma, and ritual).  In this sense, it is the most modern of spiritual systems, completely at home with today’s emphasis on the individual experience of spirituality, as opposed to the spirituality of rules, regulations, and required procedures.

This is, no doubt, one of the reasons for the Gita’s endless popularity.  It places the direct experience of the individual, in all its varieties, at the core of its philosophy.

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.)

As usual, let’s let the Gita speak for itself.  These words really don’t need any explanation from me.

On this path no effort is wasted,
no gain is ever reversed;
even a little of this practice
will shelter you from great sorrow.
(BG 2.40)

~

The scriptures dwell in duality.
Be beyond all opposites, Arjuna:
anchored in the real, and free
from all thoughts of wealth and comfort.

As unnecessary as a well is
to a village on the banks of a river,
so unnecessary are all scriptures
for someone who has seen the truth.   (BG 2.44-46)

~

When your understanding has passed
beyond the thicket of delusions,
there is nothing you need to learn
from even the most sacred scripture.

Indifferent to scriptures, your mind
stands by itself, unmoving,
absorbed in deep meditation.
This is the essence of yoga.
(BG 2.52-53)

~

Better than any ritual
is the worship achieved through wisdom;
wisdom is the final goal
of every action, Arjuna.   (BG 4.33)

Nothing in the world can purify
as powerfully as wisdom;
practiced in yoga, you will find
this wisdom within yourself.   (BG 4.38)

The man of yoga is greater
than ascetics, or the learned, or those
who perform the rituals; therefore
be a man of yoga, my son.   (BG 6.46)

I will teach you the essence of this wisdom
and its realization; when you come
to master this,  there is nothing
further that needs to be known.   (BG 7.2)

For men whose minds are forever
focused on me, whose love
has grown deep through meditation,
I am easy to reach, Arjuna.   (BG 8.14)

This is the supreme wisdom,
the knowing beyond all knowing,
experienced directly, in a flash,
eternal, and a joy to practice.
(BG 9.2)

Not by study or rites
or alms or ascetic practice
can I be seen in this cosmic
form, as you have just seen me.   (BG 11.53)

By devotion he comes to realize
the meaning of my infinite vastness;
when he knows who I truly am,
he instantly enters my being.
(BG 18.55)

~

(Thanks to Jennifer Cusano for transcribing the stanzas from the Gita and moderating the discussion.)

Categories
Uncategorized

Is Love Itself the Overriding Theme of the Bhagavad Gita? (GN #15)

To some prominent Gita scholars, like Graham Schweig, love itself is the overriding theme of the Gita—two way love, we love the world and the world loves us back.

My own feelings are well expressed in my original review of Mitchell:

Falling Head-Over-Heals In Love with the Universe

For those of you who have always wanted to absorb the spectacular wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, but have found it difficult, I highly recommend Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell…

The Bhagavad Gita is quite literally about falling in love with the indescribable wonder of the universe, that is to say, God. These two are synonymous in the Gita. (Believe it or not, the text itself says that you can approach God as either an unfathomable cosmic life-force or as an intimate personal diety. Either leads you to the same boundless love and joy.)

The Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutra are two of the most important ancient texts of Yoga. They could not be more different. The Yoga Sutra is mostly secular in nature, and mentions God only briefly and perfunctorily. The Bhagavad Gita, in contrast, is literally “The Song of the Beloved Lord”, and most of the text is the voice of the awesome life-force of the universe itself.

The Yoga Sutra is a cookbook for achieving inner peace. The Bhagavad Gita, in contrast, won’t settle for anything less than ecstatic union with the divine. Put them together and you have the astounding whole of Yoga philosophy in two relatively short texts.

Try Mitchell’s version of the Bhagavad Gita. You’ll be glad you did.

Last but not least, here are the most relevant passages from the Gita itself (although, keep in mind that Schweig and Ghosh would say the entire text  is about infinite love):

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.)

However men try to reach me.
I return their love with my love;
whatever path they may travel,
it leads to me in the end.
(BG 4.11)

For men whose minds are forever
focused on me, whose love
has grown deep through meditation,
I am easy to reach, Arjuna.   (BG 8.14)

~

But the truly wise , Arjuna,
who dive deep into themselves,
fearless, one-pointed, know me
as the inexhaustible source.

Always chanting my praise,
steadfast in their devotion,
they make their lives an unending
hymn to my endless love.   (BG 9.13-14)

~

I am the beginning and the end,
origin and dissolution,
refuge, home, true lover,
womb and imperishable seed.   (BG 9.18)

He who can understand
the glory of my manifestations
is forever united with me
by his unwavering love.
(BG 10.7)

He who acts for my sake,
loving me, free of attachment,
with benevolence toward all beings,
will come to me in the end.   (BG 11.55)

Those who love and revere me
with unwavering faith, always
centering their minds on me-
they are the most perfect in yoga.   (BG 12.2)

~

He who, devoted to me,
is beyond joy and hatred, grief
and desire, good and bad fortune-
that man is the one I love best.

The same to both friend and foe,
the same in disgrace or honor,
suffering or joy, untroubled,
indifferent to praise and blame,

quiet, filled with devotion,
content with whatever happens,
at home wherever he is-
that man is the the one I love best.

Those who realize the essence
of duty, who trust me completely
and surrender their lives to me –
I love them with very great love.   (BG 12.17-20)

~

If you focus your mind on me
and revere me with all your heart,
you will surely come to me; this
I promise, because I love you.
(BG 18.65)

~

(Thanks to Jennifer Cusano for transcribing the stanzas from the Gita and moderating the discussion.)

Categories
Uncategorized

Gita in a Nutshell #13: The Yoga of Action (Karma Yoga).

As you recall from “Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks“, the ancient Yoga sage(s) who wrote the Gita recognized that different people would need different types of Yoga to match their personality types:

Yoga of Understanding / Yoga of Meditation / Yoga of Love / Yoga of Action

Today, let’s let the Bhagavad Gita speak directly to you about the Yoga of Action, or Karma Yoga.  As we’ve seen, when the passages are grouped together like this, they are so clear and powerful that they really don’t need any interpretation:

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.)

The superior man is he
whose mind can control his senses;
with no attachment to results,
he engages in the yoga of action.   (BG 3.7)

The whole world becomes a slave
to it’s own activity, Arjuana;
if you want to truly be free,
perform all actions as worship.     (BG 3.9)

Though the unwise cling to their actions,
watching for results, the wise
are free of attachments, and act
for the well-being of the whole world
.   (BG 3.25)

Performing all actions for my sake,
desireless, absorbed in the Self,
indifferent to “I” and “mine”,
let go of your grief and fight!   (BG 3.30)

~

He who can see inaction
in the midst of action, and action
in the midst of inaction,  is wise
and can act in the spirit of yoga.

With no desire for success,
no anxiety about failure,
indifferent to results, he burns up
his action in the fire of wisdom.

Surrendering all thoughts of outcome,
unperturbed, self-reliant,
he does nothing at all, even
when fully engaged in actions.

There is nothing that he expects,
nothing that he fears. Serene,
free from possessions, untainted,
acting with the body alone,

content with whatever happens,
unattached to pleasure or pain,
success or failure, he acts
and is never bound by his action.

When a man has let go of attachments,
when his mind is rooted in wisdom,
everything he does is worship
and his actions all melt away.
(BG 4.19-24)

~

A man is not bound by action
who renounces action through yoga,
who concentrates on the Self,
and whose doubt is cut off by wisdom.   (BG 4.42)

~

He who performs his duty
with no concern for results
is the true man of yoga-not
he who refrains from action.

Know that right action itself
is renunciation, Arjuana;
in the yoga of action, you first
renounce your own selfish will.

For the man who wishes to mature,
the yoga of action is the path;
for the man already mature,
serenity is the path.   (BG 6.1-3)

~

He who acts for my sake,
loving me, free of attachment,
with benevolence toward all beings,
will come to me in the end.     (BG 11.55)

If this is beyond your powers,
dedicate yourself to me;
performing all actions for my sake,
you will surely achieve success.  (BG 12.10)

~

Give up all actions to me;
love me above all others;
steadfastly keeping your mind
focused on me alone.

Focused on me at all times,
you will overcome all obstructions;
but if you persist on clinging
to the I-sense, then you are lost.   (BG 18.56-7)

Categories
Uncategorized

The Yoga of Love.

Gita in a Nutshell #12

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations.
For notice of each weekly blog,
please join our Facebook group.
)

As you recall from “Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks“, the ancient Yoga sage(s) who wrote the Gita recognized that different people would need different types of Yoga to match their personality types:

Yoga of Understanding / Yoga of Meditation / Yoga of Love / Yoga of Action

In the original Gita Talk discussion series, I brought in a wonderful guest writer, Amy Champ, to cover the Yoga of Love and Devotion or Bhakti Yoga.  I highly recommend it to you:

Gita Talk #14: A Warm and Wonderful Article by Special Guest Amy Champ

Here are the specific passages in the Gita about the Yoga of Love and Devotion:

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.)

This Supreme Person, Arjuana,
who contains all beings and extends
to the limit of all that is,
can be reached by wholehearted devotion. (BG 8.22)

~

But the truly wise, Arjuana,
who dive deep into themselves,
fearless, one-pointed, know me
as the inexhaustible source.

Always chanting my praise,
steadfast in their devotion,
they make their lives an unending
hymn to my endless love.
(BG 9.13-14)

~

In this way you will be freed
from all the results of your actions,
good or harmful; unfettered,
untroubled, you will come to me. (BG 9.29)

~

He who can understand
the glory of my manifestations
is forever united with me
by his unwavering love.

I am the source of all things,
and all things emerge from me;
knowing this, wise men worship
by entering my state of being.
( BG 10.7-8)

~

To those who are steadfast, who love me
with true devotion, I give
the yoga of understanding,
which will bring them to where I am. ( BG 10.10)

~

Only by single-minded
devotion can I be known
as I truly am, Arjuna-
can I be seen and entered.

He who acts for my sake,
loving me free of attachment,
with benevolence toward all beings,
will come to me in the end. ( BG 11.54-55)

~

Those who love and revere me
with unwavering faith, always
centering their minds to me-
they are the most perfect in yoga. ( BG 12.2)

~

He who, devoted to me,
is beyond joy and hatred, grief
and desire, good and bad fortune-
that man is the one I love best.

The same to both friend and foe,
the same in disgrace or honor,
suffering or joy, untroubled,
indifferent to praise and blame

quiet, filled with devotion,
content with whatever happens,
at home wherever he is-
that man is the one I love best.

Those who realize the essence
of duty, who trust me completely
and surrender their lives to me-
I love them with very great love. ( BG 12.17-20)

Previous:
#11: The Yoga of Meditation.

Next:
#13 The Yoga of Action (Karma Yoga).

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
To receive notice of each weekly blog,
please join our Facebook group.)

Categories
Uncategorized

Gita in a Nutshell #11: The Yoga of Meditation.

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations.
For notice of each weekly blog,
please join our Facebook group.
)

As you recall from “Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks“, the ancient Yoga sage(s) who wrote the Gita recognized that different people would need different types of Yoga to match their personality types:

Yoga of Understanding / Yoga of Meditation / Yoga of Love / Yoga of Action

Today let’s look at specific passages in the Gita that describe the Yoga of Meditation or Dhyana/Raja Yoga.

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.)

The man of yoga should practice
concentration, alone,
mastering mind and body,
free of possessions and desires.

Sitting down, having chosen
a spot that is neither too high
nor too low, that is clean and covered
with a grass mat, a deerskin, and a cloth,

he should concentrate, with his whole
mind, on a single object;
if he practices in this way,
his mind will soon become pure.   (BG 6.10-12)

~

Constantly mastering his mind,
the man of yoga grows peaceful,
attains supreme liberation,
and vanishes into my bliss.
(BG 6.15)

~

With a mind grown clear and peaceful,
freed from selfish desires,
absorbed in the Self alone,
he is called a true man of yoga.

“A lamp sheltered from the wind
which does not flicker”—to this
is compared the true man of yoga
whose mind has vanished in the Self.

When his mind has become serene
by the practice of meditation,
he sees the Self through the self
and rests in the Self, rejoicing.

He knows the infinite joy
that is reached by the understanding
beyond the senses; steadfast,
he does not fall back from the truth.

Attaining this state, he knows
that there is no higher attainment;
he is rooted there, unshaken
even by the deepest sorrow.
(BG 6.18-22)

~

You are right, Arjuna: the mind
is restless and hard to master;
but by constant practice and detachment
it can be mastered in the end.   (BG 6.35)

Meditate on the Guide,
the Giver of all, the Primordial
Poet, smaller than an atom,
unthinkable, brilliant as the sun.
(BG 8.9)

But to those who meditate on me
undistracted, and worship me
everywhere, always, I will bring
a reward that can never be lost.   (BG 9.22)

Concentrate your mind on me,
Fill your heart with my presence,
love me, serve me, worship me,
and you will attain me at last.   (BG 9.34)

Those who love and revere me
with unwavering faith, always
centering their minds on me—
they are the most perfect in yoga.   (BG 12.2)

Concentrate every thought
on me alone; with a mind
fully absorbed, one-pointed,
you will live within me, forever.   (BG 12.8)

Give up all actions to me;
love me above all others;
steadfastly keep your mind
focused on me alone.   (BG 18.57)


Previous:

#10: The Yoga of Understanding.

Next:
#12: The Yoga of Love.

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
To receive notice of each weekly blog,
please join our Facebook group.)