Friday, November 01, 2013

Bhagavad Gita - Some Quotes

I have just finished the Bhagavad Gita which is part of the Mahabharata; the epic poem compiled from the stories of the Aryan conquers of India.  The Mahabharata is the longest poem in the world and is named for the founder of Indian’s royal dynasty, Bharata.  The Bhagavad Gita could have been composed as far back as 500 B. C. The story tells a king, Arjuna, who at the opening of a great battle against rebellious members of his own family, pauses to question fighting those he has known, respected, even loved.  He has his chariot placed between to two armies in order to view the battle lines.  His charioteer is Krishna, the human manifestation of the Great God, councils Arjuna.  This war is his work; it is the type of the battle of each man’s weary war struggle against evil. The story has the same culture and roots as the Iliad.  And, like the Iliad, the Bhagavad Gita presents universal truths on a battle field. 

All quotes are from the Penguin Classics edition translated and introduced by Juan Mascaro and published in 1962.

From at the introduction by translator Juan Mascaro:  

On Aryan Languages:  It was found that Sanskrit, Persian, Greek and Latin, and also the Celtic, Germanic and Slavonic languages come from a primitive unwritten language called Aryan.  From Ireland to India, and all over Europe and America, Aryan languages are spoken.  p. 9

On Sanskrit:  There are, however, two great branches of literature not found in Sanskrit.  There is no history and there is no tragedy: there is no Herodotus and Thucydides; and there is no Aeschylus or Sophocles or Euripides.  pp. 9-10

On the fourth level of consciousness:  [ I have long believed that beyond the senses and the mind, there is  a spiritual level of consciousness – the only place one can know.] We may read in the Upanishads that beyond our becoming there is our Being, that beyond suffering and sorrow there is Joy, that beyond the three stages of ordinary consciousness there is a fourth state of supreme Consciousness;. . .  pp. 17

On the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata:  The Bhagavad Gita was included in the Mahabharata.  This vast epic of over one hundred thousand slokas, or couplets, is the longest poem in the world; about thirty times as long as Paradise Lost, and about 140 times as long as the Bhagavad Gita! [My copy, a Penguin Classic – is 121 pages long.  42 of which are introduction.] p. 21

On Reason:  And the first condition for a man to be worthy of God is that his reason should be pure – 18, 51 and 18. 57.  Reason is the faculty given to man to distinguish true emotion from false emotionalism, faith from fanaticism, imagination from fancy, a true vision from a visionary illusion. p. 27

On Three key Themes of the Bhagavad Gita:  Many are the themes of the symphony of the Bhagavad Gita, but the central ones are three: JNASA, BHAKTI, and KARMA; Light, love, and Life.  p. 28

On Karma: The word Karma is connected with the Sanskrit root Kri which we find in the English words ‘create’ and ‘creation’.  Karma is work, and work is life.  The word Karma means also ‘sacred work’ and is connected with the sacrifice of the Vedas; the ritual of religion.  p. 31

On Work – Gita and New Testament: Gita 3. 30. And whatever you do, or eat, or give, or offer in adoration, let it be an offering to me; and whatever you suffer, suffer it for me.’  This is the same voice of St Paul to the Corinthians; ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God’ 1 Cor. 10:31.  And this work must be unselfish; “Let the wise man work unselfishly for the good of all the world’ Gita 3. 25. p. 33

On Work: The praise of work as a means of salvation is later expressed in the poem and we hear that all men attain perfection when they find joy in their work, and they find joy in their work when their work is worship of God, because God is joy.  p. 33

On the More You Give – the More You Get: And contrary to the law of matter where to give more means to have less, in the law of love the more one gives the more one has. p. 35

From the text: The Bhagavad Gita is divided into 18 chapters and each chapter is in turn divided into verses.  I will reference the quotes by chapter and verse rather than by page. 

The Bhagavad Gita is a record of a conversation (much like a Platonic Dialogue) as reported by an observer.  Then main speakers are King Arjuna and Krishna, the embodiment of God.  Arjuna is weary of battle and has almost decided to forsake the fight and his kingdom rather than make war on his rebellions family.  Krishna, explains the need for the king to fulfill his duty.

On the Misery of War: 2: 4 Arjuna – And we know not whether their victory or ours be better for us.  The sons of my uncle and king, Dhrita-rashtra, are here before us: after their death, should we wish to live?

On the Nature of Immortality: 2: 12 Krishna – Because we all have been for all time: I, and thou, and those kings of men.  And we all shall be for all time, we all for ever and ever.  2:17 Krishna – Interwoven in his creation, the Spirit is beyond destruction.  No one can bring to an end the Spirit which is everlasting.

On Just War: 2:31 Krishna – Think thou also of thy duty and do not waver.  There is no greater good for a warrior than to fight in a righteous war.  3:33 Krishna – But to forgo this fight for righteousness is to forgo thy duty and honor; is to fall into transgression.

On Work: 2:47 Krishna – Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.  Work not for a reward; but never cease to do thy work.   

On Leading by Example: 3:21 & 26 Krishna – 21 In the actions of the best men others find their rule of action.  The path that a great man follows becomes a guide to the world.  26 Let not the wise disturb the mind of the unwise in their selfish work.  Let him, working with devotion, show them the joy of good work. 

On Service: 3: 25 Krishna – Even as the unwise work selfishly in the bondage of selfish works, let the wise man work unselfishly for the good of all the world. 

On Faith with Works: 3:31 Krishna – Those who ever follow my doctrine and who have faith, and have a good will, find through pure work their freedom.

On Evil: 3:37 & 40 Krishna – 37 It is greedy desire and wrath, born of passion, the great evil, the sum of destruction; this is the enemy of the soul.  40 Desire has found a place in man’s senses and mind and reason.  Through these it blinds the soul, after having overclouded wisdom.

On the Mind and Reason Being Greater Than the Senses:  3:43 Krishna – They say that the power of the senses is great.  But greater than the senses is the mind.  Greater than the mind is Buddhi, reason; and greater than reason is He – the Spirit in man and in all. 

On the Cast System:  4:13 Krishna – The four orders of men arose from me, in justice to their natures and their works.  Know that this work was mine, though I am beyond work, in Eternity.

On “The Truth Shall Make You Free”:  4:16 Krishna – . . . I will teach thee the truth of pure work, and this truth shall make thee free.

On The Equality of All Men: 5:16 & 18 Krishna – 16 But those whose unwisdom is made pure by the wisdom of their inner Spirit, their wisdom is unto them a sun and in its radiance they see the Supreme.    18 With the same evenness of love they behold a Brahmin who is learned and holy, or a cow, or an elephant, or a dog, and even the man who eats a dog.

On Nirvana:  5:24 & 25 Krishna – 24  He has inner joy, he has inner gladness, and he has found inner Light.  This Yogi attains the Nirvana of Brahman; he is one with God and goes unto God.  25 Holy men reach the Nirvana of Brahman: their sins are no more, their doubts are gone, their soul is in harmony, their joy is in the good of all. 

On Reason: 6:21 Krishna – Then the seeker knows the joy of Eternity: a vision seen by reason far beyond what senses can see.  He abides therein and moves not from Truth. 

On “Love God with All Thy Soul”: 6:47 Krishna – And the greatest of all Yogis is he who with all his soul has faith and he who with all his soul loves me.

On God Defined: 7:10 Krishna – And I am from everlasting the seed of eternal life. I am I am the intelligence of the intelligent.  I am the beauty of the beautiful. 

On Definition of Terms: 8: 3 Krishna – 3 Brahman is the Supreme, the Eternal.  Atman is his Spirit in man.   Karma is the force of creation, wherefrom all things have their life. 

On the Force of Nature: 9:10 Krishna – I watch and in its work of creating nature brings forth all that moves and moves not: and thus the revolutions of the world go round.

On the Acceptance of the Worship of All Gods: 9:23 Krishna – Even those who in faith worship other gods, because of their love they worships me, although not in the right way.

On Living One’s Life As a Prayer: 9:27 Krishna – Whatever you do, or eat, or give, or offer in adoration, let it be an offering to me; and whatever you suffer, suffer it for me.

On the Good and the Beautiful: 10:41 Krishna – Know thou that whatever is beautiful and good, whatever has glory and power is only a portion of my own radiance.

On Call God I AM: 10:42 Krishna – . . . Know that with one single fraction of my Being I pervade and support the Universe, and know that I AM.

On God Is Time, On Time: 11:32 Krishna – I am all-powerful Time which destroys all things, and I have come here to slay these men.  Even if thou dost not fight, all the warriors facing thee shall die.

On How to Reach God through Truth: 12:4 Krishna – Who have all the powers of their soul in harmony, and the same loving mind for all; who find joy in the good of all beings – they reach in truth my very self.

On Loving Your Enemies as Yourself: 12:18 & 19 Krishna – 18 The man whose love is the same for his enemies or his friends, whose soul is the same in honor or disgrace, who is beyond heat or cold or pleaser or pain, who is free from the chains of attachments . . . [19] . . . this man is dear to me.

On Faith, Love, and the Waters of Everlasting Life: 12:20 Krishna – But even dearer to me are those who have faith and love, and who have me as their End Supreme: those who hear my words ofTruth, and who come to the waters of Everlasting Life.

On Nature and the Spirit: 13:20 Krishna – Nature is the source of all material things; the maker, the means of making, and the thing made.  Spirit is the source of all consciousness which feels pleasure and feels pain.

On a List of Good Things: 16: 1 – 3 Krishna – 1 Freedom from fear, purity of heart, constancy in sacred learning and contemplation, generosity, self-harmony, adoration, study of the scriptures, austerity, righteousness; 2 Non-Violence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, serenity, aversion to fault-finding, sympathy for all beings peace form greedy cravings, gentleness ,modesty, steadiness; 3 Energy, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, a good will, freedom from pride – these are the treasures of the man who is born for heaven.

On Evil: 16:4 Krishna – Deceitfulness, insolence and self-conceit, anger and harshness and ignorance – these belong to a man who is born for hell.

On Scripture: 16:24 Krishna – Let the Scriptures be therefore thy authority as to what is right and what is not right.  Know the words of the Scriptures, and do in this life the work to be done.

On the Evil of Doing One’s Works for the Eyes of Men: 17:18 Krishna – But false austerity, for the sake of reputation, honor and reverence, is impure; it belongs to the Rajas and is unstable and uncertain.

On the Cast System: 18:42–54 Krishna – 42 The works of a Brahmin are peace; self-harmony, austerity and purity; loving-forgiveness and righteousness; vision and wisdom and faith.  43 These are the works of the Kshatriya: a heroic mind, inner fire, constancy, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and noble leadership.   44 Trade, agriculture and the rearing of cattle is the work of a Vaisya.  And the work of the Sudra is service. 45 They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work. . .

On Truth through Love: 18:55 Krishna – Buy love he knows me in truth, who I am and what I am.  And when he knows me in truth he enters into my Being.

On Salvation through Work and Grace: 18:56 In whatever work he does he can take refuge in me, and he attains then by my grace the imperishable home of Eternity.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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