Forgive me for the Blasphemy ?
20th Nov 1998 RAJESH @wipsys.ge.com
Hello Folks I have joined this list recently. I've a question which keeps bugging me all the time. And after noting the mention of Bhagvad Geeta somewhere, I thought this might be the place where *some* answers (and brickbats) may come up: Since childhood, I have been hearing and reading that Bhagvad Geeta is one of the GREATEST books that mankind will ever come across. Every theist (even some atheists too) has been recommending it to everyone else. But, I *found* the Bhagvad Geeta really disappointing. And please bear in mind the fact that I've arrived at the above conclusion not just after a casual perusal of the Geeta but after cover-to-cover reading of three versions of it (those include the one where interpretations are given by Dr. Radhakrishnan). The most distressing thing about the Geeta is that it looks like one of those books where the protagonist (Lord Krishna) keeps singing paens of himself. The rest all stuffs like bothering about your own job at hand leaving the results to HIM are all good. But the self-praise, beyond one stage, becomes unbearable. It also is not a good lesson in humility. Many elders and well-wishers keep recommending Geeta to me. As a result, I have tried (three times as has already been mentioned) to make some sense out of it but in vain. Please don't take it as the usual arrogance of the products of X-generation or MTV age. Neither am I an atheist (I strongly believe in God). I'm also not one of those card-carrying communist who hate anything remotely related to Hinduism. Ironically, I'm sympathetic to the BJP, the so-called Hindu fundamentalist party. But, let's keep all these political issues aside. What I want to emphasize here is that I want some convincing logic or rationale for what Lord Krishna keeps saying throughout Geeta: Admire me, Adore me, Cajole me, Pray me. Someone please come up with some good and serious argument. I don't want the typical Sadhu-Sansyasi type answer that Lord Krishna wants to ram it into my system: that I must remember him everyday. That I'll do in anycase. Instead, he could have said something useful. I know this mail is getting longer. I want to stop here. I hope you have understood my dilemmas. Please help. Keep Faith Rajesh Agrawal Bangalore -------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- ----------------------------------- Mujhe Tuffan Kehta Hai Wo Kishti Dubo Dega Agar Sab Kuchch Wohi Hai To Khuda Kuchch Bhi Nahin Hai Kya -------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- ------------------------------------
21st Nov 1998 Sears @bom3.vsnl.net.in
Rajesh, I have not read the Bhagwad Geeta as many times as you have read but have tried to u/stand it from whatever I have read & the conculsion that I have drawn is as follows:- Lord Krishna sings praises for HIMSELF because HE is GOD himself - HE also says that all humans are part of HIM so as a result he also means that all good that is in HIM is also there in all humans provided we understand and follow the preachings and behave the way HE wants every individual to. The results are not known and we should not try to do our actions based on the results thereof because that is not within our reach. The philosophy and complexity is too great for any one individual to try and understand it or try to change things because all humans being part of the supreme being are a subset of HIM but not HIM - I understand it as - just like lots of bees are required to make a beehive and no one individual bee can claim to be the creator of the Bee hive so also all individuals strive to do good and do their actions but the entire results of such actions of all individuals put togather are beyond comprehension of any individual and only HE knows the result. HIS praise for HIMSELF is also a means of making the individual feel more concerned for himself as he is part of GOD and also when you praise HIM the individual learns humilty and not the other way round. I am a Gujarati and when we greet somebody we normally say " Jai Shri Krishna" - other religions also say similar things - this is because when you say this you are saying that I see Lord Krishna in the other person whom I am greeting. I hope I have been able to express myself without hurting anybody's religious beliefs. Please excuse if any error on my part. Regards
21st Nov 1998 GIRISH.JAIRAM.KALRA @giasbmc.vsnl.net.in
Hi! I read your message regarding the BhagvadGita. I understand your problem. However you should understand that Lord Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita does not praise himself but tells the absolute truth. I have queried on this issue several times and I am able to understand that every single word spoken by him in the Gita is correct. it is only a matterof faith and deeper understanding on your part that is required to understand the essence of the gita. by the way, the Gita does not in any way try to bring out the superiroity of one religion over another. Lord Krishna nowhere mentions that Hinduism is better than other religions. In the true sense religion is propogated by people who are giving their own judgements on the Gita. In case you still need clarification, you can read the book "BhagvadGita As It Is" by Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON. You can also visit any of the Iskcon temples world wide to get insight into this issue. Bye!
21st Nov 1998 Vivek Malpani @indrayani.com
Dear Rajesh, Hi !! At one point you say that you believe in God, at another, your question of the Lord's self praise. Well, if one seriously believed in Him, such a question would not have arisen. Anyway, my answer to this: Knowing that all humans are not great thinkers or intellectuals, the Lord has spoken the Geeta for the benefit of one and all, in any situation that he may be. Take the case of a poor farmer, illiterate, unsophisticated, yet humble and simple. He makes his living by working in the field all day. Now if the Lord were to preach him with high funda definitions like, "What is the Atman, what is the Body, Mind, Intellect, who is the Perceiver, Feeler, Thinker, what are the Objects, Emotions, Thought, What are the panchakoshas, the Gross Body, Subtle Body, Causal Body " (All this is there in the Upanishads, explained in great convincing detail for an intellectual), then the simple farmer would have been confused thoroughly. Instead, he needs simple instructions. He may wonder, "what do I do in life?", "Who's the Lord?" For him, simple answers are enough. So the words could be directed towards people with that frame of mind. Even an intellectual may face a time in life where he feels so demoralized, dejected, that only such words of authority may give him solace and support. Anyways, if one is sure that it is Him alone that pervades the entire universe, these doubts would be of little relevance. In any case one can always turn to study of the Upanishads, to get a very logical understanding. All the Best, Sudarshan Malpani, Sud@indrayani.com Bombay
22nd Nov 1998 Aditya, the Hindu Skeptic @bc.seflin.org
On 11/20/98, ""RAJESH"
" wrote: > Since childhood, I have been hearing and reading that Bhagvad Geeta is > one of the GREATEST books that mankind will ever come across. Every > theist (even some atheists too) has been recommending it to everyone > else. But, I *found* the Bhagvad Geeta really disappointing. And please > bear in mind the fact that I've arrived at the above conclusion not just > after a casual perusal of the Geeta but after cover-to-cover reading of > three versions of it (those include the one where interpretations are > given by Dr. Radhakrishnan). The most distressing thing about the Geeta > is that it looks like one of those books where the protagonist (Lord > Krishna) keeps singing paens of himself. The rest all stuffs like > bothering about your own job at hand leaving the results to HIM are all > good. But the self-praise, beyond one stage, becomes unbearable. It also > is not a good lesson in humility. Dear Rajesh, I had missed your message when it came to me by email but became interested in it after reading two responses to it therefore I went back to website and am responding by web this time. I have to assure you that you are not alone in reaching this conclusion. I was raised as a child by a very orthodox Brahmin father and have studied not only Gita but several Upnishads, Purans, Manusmriti and Ramayan etc very thoroughly and devotedly. I have also passed several examinations conducted by Gita Press, Gorakhpur in Ramayan and Gita. ( I am not sure if these courses are still being offered or not). Therefore nobody can accuse me for not knowing about these sacred texts. However, for some reason, I started seeing holes in the arguments of all the sacred texts and became a skeptic as you can see on my home page. I am just surprised why people like you and me are so few while the majority remains gullible and does not apply logic and reason to religious texts. Having since migrated to USA, I find that fundamentalism and gullibility is as much popular in the West and in India. Have a peaceful and joyous day. (c)1998 Aditya Mishra homepage: http://www.smart1.net/aditya ICQ Pager: 1131674 Random thought of the day: Mollison's Bureaucracy Hypothesis: If an idea can survive a bureaucratic review and be implemented, it wasn't worth doing.
23rd Nov 1998 vikram @kshitij.com
Dear Rajesh, Please don't consider your question as Blasphemy. The Hindu Philosophical discipline does not consider any Honest question or doubt as blasphemy. It recognises it for what it is - an honest question or doubt. It might help you if you put the words of Krishna such as "praise me, adore me, admire me" etc. in the context of the most basic tenet of Hindu Philosophy given in the following: ...Aham Brahmasmi.......I am The Eternal/ God/ Force/ Whatever ...Shivoham, Shivoham.....I am Shiva ...Tat Twam Asi....YOU are THAT Hindu philosophy says YOU (Rajesh) and I (Vikram) are the Force, the Life Principle, the Eternal etc. Krishna's words in the Geeta can be looked at from a number of angles and can be seen to be applicable to the realities of the person reading those words. To a person who thinks of God as someone other than himself, Krishna says love Me, in the form of Krishna, the cowherd. To a person who thinks of God as someone none other than himself, Krishna says Love Me (that is, love yourself), Admire Me (that is, admire yourself), Adore Me (that is, adore yourself). The questions that can then arise are, "Who am I?" and "Is this guy actually teaching me arrogance?" Throughout the Geeta, Krishna gives techniques to help you quieten your Mind, whereafter you will be able to answer the first question more easily. The process of quietening the mind (the most advisable technique being "Do your work, leave the fruits" etc) itself takes you closer to the answer to this question. The second question is a feeble doubt, which will not deter any honest seeking of answers to the first question. It might also help you to increase your faith in the teachings of Geeta (forget Krishna the character if he is an ego-maniac. Ask yourself whether he's speaking the truth......I mean, you'll accept the truth even if its coming from Snoopy the Dog, wouldn't you?) to know that those who have achieved greatness in life have turned to it time and again for the strength inherent in the truths it holds. Stuff like this is discussed regularly (weekly) by members of the MTV and X Generation all over India. Questions are raised, doubts are cleared, new insights are gained, strengths are discovered. All through honest, fearless questioning, analysis and discussion. Should you want to try it, you could contact the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, the youth wing of the Chinmaya Mission. If I'm not mistaken, you can find them on the Web at http://www.chinmaya.org Hari Om - Vikram Murarka email@example.com Vikram Murarka Director Kshitij Consultancy Services 8, Old Post Office Street Calcutta - 700 001 INDIA firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.kshitij.com Ph: 00-91-33-2480059, 2104634, 2427370 Fax: 00-91-33-2207857, 2427370
27th Nov 1998 Vivek Murarka @manaskriti.com
Dear Aditya & Rajesh, I drafted the mail below soon after I read Rajesh's query. Then I read the rest of the mail I had downloaded that day. And I thought that Rajesh had received satisfactory responses - esp. because he did not react to any of them. So I deleted the mail below from my send queue. Then the Skeptic explained himself. So I was tempted to resurrect my two-books bit. Regards Vivek PS : You may have already read the books I suggest. In that case, re-read all the books mentioned in the steps. I, unfortunately, am yet to read the Geeta. But this thread has made me put it on my To-Read list. -------- Dear Rajesh These may be half baked steps to help you out of your dilemma(s). So save them only until you get better suggestions : 1. Go back a few score mails on this list - get the sloka defining infinity. Ponder thereupon. 2. Ponder upon "Tat Twam Asi" - Thou Art That - in conjunction with "Om Purna Madaha .... " and the teachings of the Geeta. 3. Read Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead". Then read "Atlas Shrugged" by the same author (In that order - The other way around is the wrong way). Ponder thereupon. The latter book is recommended as the Geeta of/for the Modern World by some people who have read and understood both (The Geeta & Atlas Shrugged). 4. Delve a bit into the background of the Geeta. Realise the times in which it was written. Understand that it is written in an almost unique style. Appreciate that it is allegoric and that a lot of it uses metaphors for concepts that most people (then and now) cannot handle in the form of concepts. 5. Come back to the list with the result. Basically, having gone through the text (and commentary) thrice you must understand that to understand the teachings of the Geeta you must introspect upon it (before, while and after reading it) and must apply it in your daily life. And you must avoid being bogged down by the seemingly larger than life self- image of Krishna which you find in it. For a more human (and our- worldly) image of Krishna you can read The Mahabharat. In fact reading the Geeta without reading the Mahabharat is just like reading Atlas Shrugged without Fountainhead. In fact it can be worse. HTH Vivek
27th Nov 1998 Aditya, the Hindu Skeptic @bc.seflin.org
On 27 Nov 98, Vivek Murarka wrote: > Dear Aditya & Rajesh, > > I drafted the mail below soon after I read Rajesh's query. Then > I read the rest of the mail I had downloaded that day. And I > thought that Rajesh had received satisfactory responses - esp. > because he did not react to any of them. So I deleted the mail > below from my send queue. Then the Skeptic explained himself. So > I was tempted to resurrect my two-books bit. I do not about know Rajesh to comment about his own reaction to the two responses that you refer to. I can only speak about myself and since I was not only not satisfied with the two numbo-jumbo responses but my curiosity became so aroused with the curiosity that I had go to the web archive to read his original letter. Normally I ignore such matters and do not get involved in matters pertaining to once faith. In this I considered it appropriate to assure him that his questions were legitimate and have bothered many a people before him the earliest and most prominent of whom was Siddhartha. FYI if you read my earlier message you will find that I have a lot more of Hindu scriptures than you might assume. I have read not only Mahabharat but most of the other Purans as well and am familiar with the approach of these books. As a matter of fact the more I read the more convinced I became of their facade and shallowness of various interpretations.