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The Vision of Krishna

Discussion in 'Hinduism - Philosophy and Theology DIR' started by sayak83, May 23, 2019.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    This thread is my personal interpretive analysis of the Gita, what Krishna says in it and how I think, feel and envision of it. Not sure how much I will cover, but I begin with the intention of going it all. Let's see how it goes.

    Today, Krishna's words have become part of the core philosophy and praxis of Hinduism, and there is a tendency to see everything that is the mainstream practice of the traditional faith as fully endorsed by his words. Yet what I have found from my reading throws up a different story. In his time much of what he was saying was not the mainstream Hindu practice (which was the Vedic Hinduism of around 800 BCE appx. if you believe the historians) and much of it remains unfulfilled even today when Vedic Hinduism has been largely replaced by Agamic Hinduism based on temple worship. This is something that gets overlooked by those who worship Krishna himself. Whatever the case may be, a careful look into Krishna's own words in the Gita shows a distinctive vision of Hindu Dharma that is worth pondering about.

    I will set up this thread into multiple topical points in order to highlight themes of importance.

    Krishna and the Vedas
    Hinduism began with the Vedas, and the Vedas mostly concern themselves with detailed discourses on conducting yajna rituals. From the Vedas right down to this day, the elaborate practice of ritualistic performance based worship with exact actions and exact mantra-s (incantations) have dominated the day-to-day public practice of the faith.
    Krishna himself states emphatically that the usefulness of rituals is limited and mixed at best and those who seek true religious knowledge would do well to abandon them. Here is what he says about Vedic rituals in general,

    Chapter 2 of Gita (2:40 - 2:48)

    The ignorant ones proclaim
    This flowery discourse, Arjuna,​
    Delighting in the doctrine of the Veda
    And saying, "There is nothing else."


    Full of desires, intent on heaven,
    They offer rebirth as the fruit of action,
    And are addicted to many specific rites
    Aimed at the goal of enjoyment and power.


    To those (the ignorant ones) attached to enjoyment and power,
    Whose thought is stolen away by this kind of doctrine,
    Resolute insight in meditation is not granted.

    The Vedas are such that their scope is
    confined to the three qualities (gunas);

    Be free from those three qualities, Arjuna.
    Indifferent toward the pairs of
    opposites (desire and aversion),
    Eternally fixed in Truth,
    Free from thoughts of acquisition and comfort,
    And possessed of the Self.

    As much value as there is in a well
    When water is flooding on every side,
    So much is the value in all the Vedas
    For a brahmana who knows.


    When your intellect crosses
    beyond the thicket of delusion,
    then you shall become indifferent
    With that which is yet to be heard
    And with that which has been heard
    (in the Veda and the Agama).

    When your intellect stands
    flxed in deep meditation, unmoving,​
    disregarding ritual-centric Vedic doctrine,
    then you shall attain Self-realization
    . ​




    I think its quite clear that Krishna is against the ritual-centric fruit-desiring transactional worship and yajna. These fruits are of dubious value and continue to enmesh the self in the rebirth cycle. Yet, if one looks at the overwhelming practice of worship today and the associated incantations...we find it to be precisely this. Ritualistic and transactional in nature, and there is a widespread belief that mantras and rituals have power in and of themselves like something akin to magic. Whatever the truths to such beliefs, there seems to be a clear instruction from Krishna to not pursue such a course if one is to attain the Brahman.

    The question then arises in my mind. Are we, who revere him and his words as a path to the Truth, not disregarding him in actual practice by making most of our practice rife with such opulence of rituals. Should we not encourage and exhort lay Hindus to abandon these and engage in the path of yogic Self and God realization from the get-go?

    I will continue with further themes and thoughts. I am a simple brahmana and do not claim any infallibility in my analysis. So all comments, discussions, and criticisms are welcome.

    :)
     
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  2. ameyAtmA

    ameyAtmA SacchidAnanda
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    Namaste

    You are right, Sayak - partly* -- see *NOTE at the bottom of the message.

    Bhagvad Gita shows the ultimate advaita, and what KRshNa meant by "avidhipUrvakam" in chapter 9 is that worship of a Devata for gaining something, or fulfilling a purpose is ultimately a hindrance to jnAna (Highest Spiritual knowledge that this is all Me the AtmA) , it creates a triangle (tripuT) of (i) worshiper (ii) Worshiped (iii) phal obtained / target / means / paraphrenilia used / World as frame of reference.

    For those interested in investigating "avidhipUrvakam", Swami SwaroopAnanda Saraswati whose ashram is in Phulgaon near Pune, Maharashtra, has given eye-opening commentary on these verses in his 3-volume Bhagavad Geeta commentary. I do not think they have an English translation though. This applies to all chapters.

    While pointing out the role of worship also, swamiji says It keeps the sAdhak (seeker) , or devotee one step away from that understanding that the subject is I and apparent "other" is an expansion of the I-source.

    Yet we need and yearn for a personal relationship with the Highest, with Him, and through that , at least some of us come to terms with the advaitic nature of existence, and cross that bridge. It is very critical and essential that we bow down to Brahman as a Person, offer our vices, anger, pride, ego (ahaMkAr) at His Lotus Feet.

    ------
    *NOTE: On the other hand, KRshNa also says BG 12.2 (Worship of My Personal Form or SaguNa rUpa is more beneficial in this world) in answer to Arjun's question - which is not ritualistic, but a thirst of the soul for the bhAv-bhakti relationship with the IshTa. This should not be mixed with the ritual worship for a cause / to gain something which re-enforces the adnyAna (ajnAna). In any case that and this are both essential stages in a soul's journey. At least it makes them faithful.
     
    #2 ameyAtmA, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  3. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Do not overlook what Lord Krishna said in 12.4:

    "Sanniyamyendriya-grāmaṁ, sarvatra sama-buddhayaḥ;
    te prāpnuvanti mām eva, sarva-bhūta-hite ratāḥ.
    "

    Controlling the sense-induced conception of the Absolute Truth, being equally disposed to everyone, (such persons) engaged in the welfare of all, they too achieve Me.

    Bhaktivedanta Swmi Prabhupada, my homage to him, I do not mind these small discrepancies done in good faith :), has done a trick in the translation. He says "such people achieve me at last" (meaning not soon, not as quickly as the believers), but that is not what the original verse says. It says 'eva', 'they too'. The Lord accepts all well-meaning people. :D
     
  4. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Let's not make this a debate. I will use as accurate a translation as possible.
    You are correct by the way.
     
  5. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    OK, agree.
     
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