bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

Chapter One: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra | Bhaktivedanta Vedabase Online

Bg 1.26 — There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his fathers-in-law and well-wishers.
Bg 1.27 — When the son of Kuntī, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.
Bg 1.28 — Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.
Bg 1.29 — My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.
Bg 1.31 — I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Kṛṣṇa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.

Bg 1.37-38 — O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?
Bg 1.44 — Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.
Bg 1.45 — Better for me if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.
Bg 1.46 — Sañjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.

Chapter One: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra | Bhaktivedanta Vedabase Online


If i were a spiritual follower of this "Gita" i will have read several commentaries on it and then meditate deeply on each of the 697 verses over the next two years, for each verse is said to have many levels of meaning, indeed, each word (at least in Sanskrit) is placed where it is for a reason.  I will not be doing this.  But in every chapter i have found both food for thought and nourishment for the soul.

The Bhagavad Gita is enclosed within, or has been added to, the much larger Indian war epic, the Mahabbarata, the "longest poem in the world." The "Krshna" and "Arjuna" who appear in the "Gita" are not the same Krshna and Arjuna of the larger epic, nor is the war being contemplated, the same war that is at the core of the epic.  The war is a spiritual battle between good and evil.  The battle takes place in the soul, though it cannot help but spill out into the illusory world known to people.  It is important to keep this in mind because, otherwise, Arjuna comes off as the wise person, while Krshna, the incarnation of God, comes off as the one in need of instruction -- despite his all encompassing knowledge.

The assumptions of a North Indian cultural and social environment is a constant presence; even the word of God, it seems must filter through the prejudices of men and their, as it turns out, local deities.  The caste system lurks in the background and hierarchy and sexism are assumed to be the will of God and/or nature.  There is an assumption that God endorses the North Indian moral code.  We are told that the great warriors and kings of the world are arrayed against each other in what is in fact a very local war.

It is hard to tell which side is which and why the battle is being fought.  Symbolically, it is for a "kingdom," perhaps the "kingdom of God."  Without a scorecard it is hard to tell which side is in the "right"  The Kuravas' leader, Duryodhana, is called "evil" which is no surprise since the name caller  is an enemy, a  Pandaya.  The enemies are also cousins, and in the older generation, brothers.

Can such a war, asks Arjuna, prince of the Pandayas bring anything but more evil?  We must wait seventeen chapters for Krshna's complete answer.

Commentation:  Someone has said that two armies in battle, seen from a distance, looks like one army trying to commit suicide.  This would seem to be especially true in a civil war or a family feud.  Then, after the killing is over, the survivors must find some way to get along, often in a diminished, damaged environment.

But i must remember that it is spiritual warfare that is at issue hear; and the lessons may be much different.and even logically incoherent from the standpoint of the practical world (the world of maya).  Krshna (God) will seem to contradict himself again and again if the metaphor of war is taken seriously.

Here it seems that "good" and "evil" are complementary, depending on each other as the Tao Te Ching would have it,  Good can only be seen as good when it is contrasted with evil.  The concept of good necessitates a contrary concept.

But though the world is illusory, it is our illusion, and we must live within it for as long as we have illusions.  Living within it we must show some discretion.  If we have the Tao, we need nothing else.  But if we don't have the Tao we need love, and mercy, and moderation, and compassion.  Maybe we even need rules.  If i say that the hair on my head is mine, i will need some way to keep you our of it, and me out of yours.  When mine and yours yield to ours, and ours expands to fill the cosmos, and the cosmos is enveloped in love, then, as the Sufis say, the need for law is done.

Prayer:  Spirit of Wisdom, as i read the chapters of this great spiritual classic, help me to discern the wisdom that is there and use it to make my purposes truer and my actions more meaningful.

Tags: bhagavad gita, contemplation, sacred poetry, spiritual practice, sufism, tao te ching, taoism, violence
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