THE BHAGAVAD GITA – A RESPONSE
After all who am I to talk about the ‘Gita’. I am neither a saint nor a scholar or for that matter ‘God’. I have read it and tried to understand and assimilate what is said there. If you ask me if it has helped me, I would say ‘yes’. Then why should I want to talk about it here?
The motivation to write something came after reading the response of a person who has been described as an excellent mathematician and certainly not an ‘atheist’. I do not claim such credentials but I do have certain submissions to make in this context. Let me make it clear that I am not a diehard ‘theist’. There are times when I question the existence of such a concept. But I am certainly overawed by the existence of such scriptures and writings on the subject of God and how these have contributed to the continuation of mankind and brought it to this level, where we find ourselves in a position to question the roots of our own intelligence.
There are several noteworthy observations of this person which I shall highlight here and give my own opinions, for I guess everyone is entitled to one. I start with the very last sentence where he says –
“It is high time for everyone in the twenty first century to get rid of all kinds of spiritual brainwash”
I feel that it is time for me to get back to an earlier period in time because as per his statement it is ‘high time for everyone in the twenty first century’ for I believe I am still spiritually brainwashed as per his definition. The problem here is that he says ‘everyone’ and that is wrong, he should only talk for himself.
Next I go back to the very first sentence where he says -
“The only problem is that it is doubtful whether the Lord of the Universe ever said so. After all, this is a sloka written by a poet, probably Vyasa, who later imparted 'divinity' to the utterance”
Whether the Lord wrote it or not, my question is, do you find it relevant? What if it is written by a poet (he says ‘probably Vyasa’. He is not on sure ground there)? There could be several reasons why divinity has been attributed to it. To suggest blackmail by threatening that if these divine instructions are not followed one will be punished is tantamount to suggesting that all that has happened over the course of the centuries gone by is all wrong and we now have a chance to make it right. What a weird thought!
Next is the battle of Kurukshetra itself. If you listen to the discourses of the scholars, one would understand that the battle between the good and evil forces is within us. Kurukshetra is within everyone. It should not be tough for a man of the twenty first century to understand the metaphor involved. And of course it has to be told to a confused Arjuna on the battlefield when things come to a head. If he had been all knowing, there would have been no need to teach him, may be like the twenty first century man. A story is necessary for a man of lesser intelligence (pardon me for saying this) for it is difficult for him to grasp the meaning otherwise. Whether Krishna existed or not, whether he was God or not and whether there is a God or not, it cannot be disputed that these have served the purpose of knitting society together and bringing solace and order to the lives of so many.
Let us take another statement that has been made –
“There is even a suspicion among scholars that Adi Sankara interpolated the entire Gita in Mahabharatha, at a place and in a context that is most unsuitable and jarring for it”.
I am ignorant as to the scholars who said that. But if they have, then that is their own view point. May be they were greater scholars. I with my limited intellect find it the most perfect situation for expounding the ‘Gita’ for it has been already said that Arjuna was in a confused state. So when does anyone seek answers?
A reference is made to Swami Vivekanand who is supposed to have said
"Was there a stenographer present in the Kurukshethra battlefield to take down notes when
This is doing injustice to a great and realised soul. The problem I feel with whoever has written this response is that he has failed to understand what the Swami said in the larger context of things. Swami Vivekanand’s life itself was guided by the Gita and he himself expounded the paths of the four yogas as ways to realisation.
What the Buddha, JesusChrist, Adi Sankara, Mohammed and others have always emphasised is that God is one who is beyond comprehension and one can find him only within himself. Whether you believe there is God or not, you will always seek for answers. So what is the problem if you are enthralled by the Mahabharata and Lord Krishna’s Vishwarupam on the battlefield of Kurukshetra? What if it has been a written by a poet or God himself said it? The scriptures and the epics never cease to excite your imagination. I never fail to watch the Mahabharat on the television every Sunday morning.
But there is one thing that I agree with him when he says –
“One thing that is certain is that the Lord of the Universe is too busy running the universe, to spend his valuable time talking to a chosen person in private”
I guess that is why we need others to speak to us.