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For someone caught in a paradoxical dilemma, both fighting and escaping lead to endless complications. Only wisdom, which Arjuna will soon seek out from his servant Krishna, can bring about a felicitous outcome. Arjuna thus stands for each one of us. His challenges symbolize ours, and in our journey through the Gita the parallels will be made clear. With this first chapter we are entering a path of enlightenment that bursts all the boundaries of orthodoxy and grants us the right to be utterly and spectacularly ourselves. In the field of righteousness, the field of the Kurus, gathered together, intent on battle, what did my people and also the sons of Pandu do, O Sanjaya?
Dhritarashtra has only one line in the Gita, and this is it. He is the king of the Kauravas, the overwhelmingly powerful oppressors of their cousins the Pandavas. He is asking his aide Sanjaya to describe the action because he is blind, but also to promote Sanjaya to the role of narrator. Besides Krishna and Arjuna, Sanjaya is the only other speaker in the entire Gita, except for this one verse. Longstanding Sanskrit tradition demands that the parameters of a work be set out in the first verse.
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This means the Gita will address questions of action and conflict. Unlike many scriptures, it is not an escapist tome promoting an afterlife or invoking divine intervention. It is about taking control of our life and living it not only to the best of our ability, but to a better ability than we are even aware we possess. All actions are intended and performed to produce happiness.
What is the meaning of all the chaos down below? One thing is certain: these humans are intent on fighting. The realm of humanity is the field of growth and the struggle for happiness through conflict. The most important question each of us has to ask ourself as we mature is What do I do to make my life a success? In other words, How should I act in this world that appears so like a battlefield wherever I look? Right at the outset, the author Vyasa tips us off that there is more here than meets the eye. The battlefield on which the impending war is going to take place is the field of righteousness, meaning the domain of proper conduct.
The war of the Gita, then, is a metaphysical one addressing broad issues of right livelihood, and is not about the actual physical war that surrounds Arjuna and Krishna in the context of the Mahabharata epic. The field of dharma, often translated as righteousness, refers to the ground of the Absolute, or the unitive principle; while the field of the Kurus—the participants on both sides—means eternal happiness and refers to the realm of action.
The dharma field is what we call the vertical aspect of eternal values, while the field of the Kurus represents the horizontal world of specific behaviors. In spiritual life we need to bring both aspects, the horizontal and the vertical, into balance, as well as into harmonious alignment with each other. The Gita takes an interesting slant here.
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Dhritarashtra is the blind king who leads the faction that has usurped the rightful domain of the sons of Pandu, the Pandavas, who include Arjuna. When the leader of a nation is blind to moral values it invariably precipitates a crisis. The nation becomes divided into those who adhere to upright behavior and those who debase themselves for profit and position. This is a perennial problem, and it should not be hard for the reader to think of examples more recent than BCE. In our day the blind king might represent the entity that far exceeds the power of a President or king: the limited liability corporation.
Intentionally morally blind, while wielding stupendous power, they threaten to consume the entire world in their unbridled appetite for profits. The thrust of corporate intent is as problematic to parry as the vastly more powerful Kauravas are for Arjuna. There is no way to attack them head on, and fleeing from the confrontation just leaves the field open for more rapid exploitation. Since their charters outlaw moral considerations, they are immune to ethical appeals. A new solution is necessary.
We can think of spouse, friends or coworkers. In fact, you did most of the work, and he is jockeying for the credit.
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If you lodge a protest, it will look like you are being selfish and manipulative. Put simply, your opponent is using aggressive tactics to have the argument framed on his terms, and to cut you out. Such a self-seeking attitude is very dispiriting, and the immediate reaction is likely to be that you should just resign and concede everything the aggressor claims. You have to get a grip and calmly present your side, no matter how dire the circumstances, or you will lose everything. If you allow yourself to be drawn into quarreling and bickering, you are even more likely to be fired.
The actual problem may be very difficult to assess correctly. In the confusion of the battle, separating truth from fiction is essential and requires constant striving to maintain a clear perspective. A clever opponent can win through kicking up clouds of dust to heighten the confusion, as is often seen in political confrontations, for instance.
All models of truth without exception have their limitations, which over time cause them to be supplanted by revised models.
Handbook of Hindu Mythology (World Mythology)
Therefore it is a process under consideration, not a finalized viewpoint. This is a primary failing of the scientifically minded nearly as much as the religiously minded. Tenaciously holding on to a particular viewpoint may prove less successful in the long run than remaining flexible. As far as spiritual technique goes, your attackers should not necessarily be taken at face value, though the wise person will consider it. Greedy people often use disinformation to blame their selfishness on you or confuse the issue so they can more easily get away with their scheme. The conflict needs only to be viewed as a field kshetra for the mining of deeper truths.
The goal is always to have truth revealed despite the chaos. This is universally considered to be a magnanimous gesture on her part. One step above suttee, where the widow casts herself on the funeral pyre to join her husband in death.
Comments like these merely reveal a sexist cast on the part of the interpreters. The Gita does not necessarily approve of everything it portrays. Much of it is set down to demonstrate how what seems reasonable can go terribly wrong. Why is it so difficult to think that a revered scripture could be presenting the foibles of the ignorant along with exemplars of the wise?
It says more about the reader than the book whether something is unquestioningly accepted as literal truth or whether they dare to remain skeptical until they really get the gist.
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Such skepticism is not blasphemous, it is merely intelligent. The penalty for taking symbolic instruction literally is blindness, or what we sometimes call spiritual death. Anyone who is married to or otherwise serves a blind despot is generally required to close their eyes to truth in order to retain their post.
Blindfolding themselves is the typical behavior of sycophants. This means that his ugliness is on display. His son Ham saw him and proclaimed it to his brothers, and so Noah cursed him for all eternity when he awoke. His less honest brothers, keeping their eyes averted, backed into the tent and covered Noah, and so were blessed by him. Where a group of individuals freely examining matters in detail could steer the ship of state through rough seas, those fearing for their security must shut their mouths while watching the waves crash on the reefs dead ahead.
To warn the captain would be to display a lack of faith, and to very likely lose your job.
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So let the chips fall where they may! One of the rarest of human types is the leader who recognizes the inevitability in themselves of degrees of blindness and welcomes contradictory points of view into the decision making process.