Bhagavad-gītā for Everyone

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Bhagavad-gītā for Everyone

Сообщение Mr Wednesday » 29 июл 2020, 15:04

Introduction

We decided to write a commentary on Bhagavad-gītā in order to share our view of spiritual life and perhaps even help someone on the spiritual path. This commentary does not claim to be perfect or greater than the previous commentaries, rather it is a small addition, adapted to the modern, local moment.

The Bhagavad-gītā is not an Indian scripture, it is absolute and intended for everyone, just as God is absolute for all times and people. The Bhagavad-gītā, like any other recognized scripture, expounds the science of spiritual life for all sincere and thoughtful people. The truth is unchangeable, so although approximately 5,000 years have passed since the Bhagavad-gītā was told, all this knowledge is still relevant to this day.

The Bhagavad-gītā is not exactly a philosophical treatise, it is largely an answer to practical life questions. It was told before a military battle in order to emphasize that the teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā can solve the most difficult questions of life. This book begins with the science of the soul. We may have heard a lot about the soul, but most often people have a vague idea about it. Then the principles of activity are explained in these book: how to act in the material world to be successful and happy. The following chapters explain what knowledge is and how perfect knowledge can be obtained classically – we often do not believe in perfection, but for some reason we strive exactly for it. The next thing is yoga: what yoga is and what its main principles, can a modern person practice mystical yoga? Then the qualities of material nature are described: how people live, how they think, why people have different views. Bhagavad-gītā also discusses who God is, what his hypostases are, and much more.

As for the verses of Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Caitanya-caritāmṛta used in our commentary. These verses are taken from the following books by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda: Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and commentary on Caitanya-caritāmṛta, which were published in English in 1972-1977, during the presence of Śrīla Prabhupāda and under his supervision. In our work, we also present some of Srila Prabhupada's comments from the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, and other fragments of his texts and sayings. Quotations from other Vaiṣṇava works, such as the Brahma-saṁhitā or the works by Rūpa Gosvāmī, are taken from their English translations. Herewith, we had been choosing from several available translation variants the one that is more correct, checking with the original in Sanskrit, if possible.

In later editions of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is (published after Śrīla Prabhupāda's departure) numerous changes and additions were made by ISKCON editors and translators. So, in a number of significant cases we comment on these changes and additions to show the difference and show what Śrīla Prabhupāda actually said. However, despite all the distortions, the essence of Śrīla Prabhupāda's comments in these later editions is generally saved, so they can quite be used for study. Well, those who want to understand completely, in detail, can refer to the so-called lifetime edition of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 1972 in English.

Chapter 2. Contents of the Gītā Summarized
Chapter 3. Karma-yoga
Chapter 4. Transcendental Knowledge
Chapter 5. Karma-yoga - Action in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness
Chapter 6. Sāṅkhya-yoga
Chapter 7. Knowledge of the Absolute
Chapter 8. Attaining the Supreme
Chapter 9. The Most Confidential Knowledge
Chapter 10. The Opulence of the Absolute
Chapter 11. The Universal Form
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Сообщение Aditi » 07 авг 2020, 14:19

Chapter 1. Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra

TEXT 1

Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukṣetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu do, being desirous to fight?

PURPORT

There is a certain difficulty that even a serious reader of the Bhagavad-gītā faces: the abundance of unfamiliar, often difficult to remember names, names of places, and terms. On the one hand, this is somewhat exotic and adds some mystery to the ancient scripture, on the other hand, it gives the impression of foreignness. Anyway, names are not principal, the essence of the book is principal, so we should concentrate on the essence and understand it.

The Bhagavad-gītā is part of a large work, the Mahābhārata, consisting of more than 75,000 couplets, and the dialogue described in the Bhagavad-gītā is a continuation of a fairly long narrative. So the characters mentioned in the dialogue are already known to the reader and there is something story connected with each of them. In general, the Mahābhārata is considered to be a work written for fans of interesting stories and adventure books, in which the Gītā, despite of its small size, occupies a special place, since it sets out the basics of all spiritual philosophy and religion and is also quite practical. It is often said that the Bhagavad-gītā is the essence, the quintessence of all knowledge.

There are especially many names in the first chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā. So if you have difficulties with the perception of these names, you can briefly view the first chapter and go to the second chapter. There is nothing wrong – perhaps later you will return to the first chapter again, already more understanding the essence of what is happening. This is all the more true because the Bhagavad-gītā, like any other scripture, can be read constantly. And every time you read it you will find in it new and new meaning, as you can see for yourself practically.

In short, this verse says the following. The king asks his servant what is happening in the camp of his sons, who are going to fight against the sons of his brother, King Pāṇḍu. In other words, the battle was to take place between cousins, for the kingdom on the one hand, and for justice on the other.

TEXT 2

Sañjaya said: O King, after looking over the army gathered by the sons of Pāṇḍu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and began to speak the following words:

PURPORT

Duryodhana is the son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, he led one of the parties, and the context of the phrase is such that Duryodhana is nervous before the start of the battle (just like his blind father Dhṛtarāṣṭra). Dhṛtarāṣṭra's blindness was both physical and spiritual. Exactly because of his spiritual blindness, because of his desire for material wealth, Dhṛtarāṣṭra debarred from kingdom legitimate heirs, the Pāṇḍavas (the sons of his brother), by deceiving them, and also committed many other criminal acts against them.

TEXT 3

O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pāṇḍu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple, the son of Drupada.

TEXT 4

Here in this army there are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhīma and Arjuna; there are also great fighters like Yuyudhāna, Virāṭa and Drupada.

PURPORT

Duryodhana speaks about the seriousness of the situation, by describing the opposing party.
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Сообщение Aditi » 07 авг 2020, 14:27

TEXT 5

There are also great, heroic, powerful fighters like Dhṛṣṭaketu, Cekitāna, Kāśirāja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Śaibya.

TEXT 6

There are the mighty Yudhāmanyu, the very powerful Uttamaujā, the son of Subhadrā and the sons of Draupadī. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.

TEXT 7

O best of the brāhmaṇas, for your information, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.

TEXT 8

There are personalities like yourself, Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Kṛpa, Aśvatthāmā, Vikarṇa and the son of Somadatta called Bhuriśravā, who are always victorious in battle.
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Сообщение Aditi » 08 авг 2020, 10:36

TEXT 9

There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military science.

TEXT 10

Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhīṣma, whereas the strength of the Pāṇḍavas, carefully protected by Bhīma, is limited.

PURPORT

If you don't blow your own horn, no one will do it for you. The king was nervous, so first of all he tried to convince himself of his own strength. This is actually quite a natural thing – strong people do not brag. The second point is that even with a superior army, Duryodhana and his supporters still lost. In ordinary affairs material factors such as power, intelligence, influence or money do not always ensure victory, but in spiritual matters - they never do. Victory means achieving spiritual enlightenment, and defeat means continuation of material life. This will be discussed later again.

TEXT 11

Now all of you must give full support to Grandfather Bhīṣma, standing at your respective strategic points in the phalanx of the army.

TEXT 12

Then Bhīṣma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conchshell very loudly like the sound of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.
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Сообщение Aditi » 11 авг 2020, 14:47

TEXT 13

After that, the conchshells, bugles, trumpets, drums and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.

TEXT 14

On the other side, both Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells.

PURPORT

Fighting with God is a doomed business, this is joyless and senseless. There it took place on the battlefield, in our case it takes place in ourselves, as a struggle of the good, spiritual principle and that which forces us to degrade. In one degree and form or another the struggle against God is constantly going on in the material world, because people themselves want to take the position of God, the position of the master. We can see this tendency everywhere. In fact, the desire for domination is the main impulse of the material world. The desire to possess something, the creation of their own ideas, the struggle for power, for wealth, for recognition, and so on. Religions are also often engaged in the same things, with the same mercenary motives, but under a spiritual guise. People often and quite justly criticize religions (churches) and clergy for being materialistic, but we cannot say unequivocally that such churches are not needed. Even on condition of their materialism, they at least somehow try to follow the spiritual life, try to convey something to people. Sometimes the presence of a person in a church or spiritual society is quite positive, sometimes it is destructive, all this can be determined from the position of intelligence. But in any case, any believer can also develop outside the church, there is no mistake or any obstacles in this. Sometimes churches present some of their rituals, such as baptism or ceremony of initiation, as particularly sacred, which are a prerequisite for salvation or some sort of other spiritual achievements. All this, of course, is a bit of guile to attract people to the bosom of the church. The role is played not by quantity, but by quality, and we can see practically that all the world's religions began with one person – in Christianity it was Christ, in Buddhism it was Buddha, and so on. By all materialistic standards, it is impossible for one person to change the whole world, but God shows us the opposite by these examples, and just as the Pāṇḍavas will win on Kurukṣetra. Therefore, having a superior military force, the king felt despondent, but when Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna sounded their conchshells, it was the sound of happiness and victory.

TEXT 15

Then, Lord Kṛṣṇa blew His conchshell, called Pāñcajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhīma, the voracious eater and performer of Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell called Pauṇḍram.

TEXT 16-18

King Yudhiṣṭhira, the son of Kuntī, blew his conchshell, the Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughoṣa and Maṇipuṣpaka. That great archer the King of Kāśī, the great fighter Śikhaṇḍī, Dhṛṣṭadyumna, Virāṭa and the unconquerable Sātyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadī, and the others, O King, such as the son of Subhadrā, greatly armed, all blew their respective conchshells.
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Сообщение Aditi » 12 авг 2020, 16:44

TEXT 19

The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious, and thus, vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

PURPORT

Material wealth cannot make a person fearless. The soul is always dependent by its nature, and everyone instinctively seeks something higher, stronger than himself, some shelter. Usually people seek shelter in family, at friends and acquaintances, in money, at the state or in some post. One might get the impression that people have even found a certain shelter in all this, but in fact this impression is deceptive, because temporary things cannot provide protection. But when we depend on God, we are protected. At the same time, God's protecting does not always mean full physical protection, which is not so important in principle, while depending on God means following His instructions. Sometimes God puts a person in a desperate position, depriving him of the usual "supports", but in this way He only teaches one to depend on Him in different life situations.

Dependence on God, faith in God, love of God – all this in its expanded form means following the instructions of God. It is not that we do anything we want and then ask, "Protect me," although this appeal to God carries a certain spirituality too. To follow the instructions of God, one needs to apply a lot of internal forces, intelligence, and it will take a long time until such a connection becomes strong, and the person becomes experienced. Some kind of initial capabilities of a person – mind, education, or mystical powers – do not play a special role in this. Whether they exist or not, rather, personal interest, the search for truth, and sincerity are important. Everyone starts with a clean slate, and our personal preferences are of little importance, since they are usually, first, false and, secondly, insignificant against a spiritual background. It is valuable to try to understand everything "as it is", and if a person acts persistently and intelligently in this direction, gradually everything will be revealed to him. It takes time for spiritual knowledge to germinate, so even if a person has received the most wonderful blessings, it will take years to gain spiritual experience.

TEXT 20

O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pāṇḍu, who was seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanumān, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hṛṣīkeśa [Kṛṣṇa] these words:

PURPORT

Few know who God is. Most often, people formally accept that God is Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu, or Christ, that is, they simply “believe” in this. This happens because of materialism, because of the lack of real interest in spiritual life. People go to the temple of Kṛṣṇa or Christ, but their main interests are focused on materialistic needs. Therefore, by and large, they do not care who God is, so both materialistic priests and gurus and materialistic believers are quite satisfied with their union of “holy faith”. They praise blind faith in every way and constantly speak on the themes of faith, that “one must believe”, by virtue of which religion all over the world is now in fact destroyed. However, the foundation of religion is knowledge. And further we will read how Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna spiritual knowledge stage by stage. Spiritual life, religion is, first of all, scripture and knowledge, and not any rites and faith in priests.

TEXTS 21-22

Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see who is present here, who is desirous of fighting, and with whom I must contend in this great battle attempt.

PURPORT

Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, Allah and Jehovah are all names of God. Because the qualities of God are unlimited, the number of His names is also unlimited. In a sense, it is not so important whether a person accepts Kṛṣṇa or Allah as God, it is important one's understanding and following God. We are united not by our daily bread, not by some kind of rite, but by spiritual understanding, knowledge about God, discussion. Each of the churches or sects dreams of “dragging” the whole world to itself, they declare their rites the most developed and necessary and do not forget to exalt themselves too – all this is not modest and does not correspond to the truth. Even if people all over the world join this kind of church, in fact, it will not change anything in the world, because most of such churches are quite nominal.

When a person is a materialist, public recognition is very important to him. And, having come to the church, a materialist person naturally brings this desire to be recognized there. It is very important for him to be considered as “the best”. Moreover, not only he, but his religion must also be “the best”. For example, Christian denominations fight for the right to consider themselves the only true representatives of Christ and in order to prevent the unwise congregation from running away from them, they usually restrict their communication to the confines of their sect. All other religious denominations are declared by them as objectionable – “not from the apostles” or, for example, “offenders”, “from Satan”, and so on. I have given the example of Christians, but this tendency exists everywhere, for ignorance also has standard forms. Since recognition is important to them, but they do not have knowledge, such materialistic priests constantly talk about faith, because one can have faith in anything, including them.

Speaking about Christ or Jehovah, they mean first of all themselves as His only true representation and try to establish the idea that there is no way to come to God except through them, and that all those who disobey will face a heavy punishment, hell or something like that. Of course, this looks childish in some ways, but in many cases such intimidation is not harmless at all, it creates an obstacle to spiritual life and distorts the scripture – the words of God. That is why there is so much hatred and quarrel in the world. For any sane, intelligent person, it is obvious that God has many names, isn't it? Every religion talks about the Almighty, isn't this about God? Then why so many contradictions? The principle of faith gives birth to ignorant fanatics who are ready to do anything, considering it a spiritual activity, because they lack spiritual understanding.

Arjuna knows that Kṛṣṇa is God, and therefore Arjuna calls Him infallible. Who else can be infallible? Further, Kṛṣṇa will show the whole world that He is God, and He will do this not by calling to have faith in Him, but by consistently explaining all spiritual principles and also the structure of material creation.

TEXT 23

Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.
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Сообщение Aditi » 14 авг 2020, 15:32

TEXT 24

Sañjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, being thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Kṛṣṇa drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.

TEXT 25

In the presence of Bhīṣma, Droṇa and all other chieftains of the world, Hṛṣīkeśa, the Lord, said, Just behold, Pārtha, all the Kurus who are assembled here.

TEXT 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 father-in-law and well-wishers-all present there.

TEXT 27

When the son of Kuntī, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus:
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Сообщение Aditi » 16 авг 2020, 16:10

TEXT 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.

PURPORT

References to one or other relatives are constantly found in the Bhagavad-gītā. God always comes with His entourage, and kinship ties with Him, all real kinship, are precisely on the spiritual level, in contrast to material kinship. Ordinary relatives are the result of the actions of the soul in the past, the soul is born in one or another environment due to its merits or sins. Material relatives, as well as the family as such, are a temporary phenomenon. It is not necessary to neglect relatives, but there is no sense to attach great importance to them: if a person preaches, then the whole world is his relatives, with thousands of moms, dads and children. There are millions of children in this world. Of course, one must take care of one's children, but why only one's own? Also, if a person honestly preaches, all doors will open for him and the whole world will become his caring relatives, this is much more than our two parents.

Arjuna, a kind soul, was thrown off balance by the belligerent appearance of his friends and family. He knew they would fight, but he did not expect they have so much belligerence. This is a fairly typical situation. There is a good saying that “the problems of this world exist because intelligent people are full of doubts and fools are confident in themselves,” and this is true: the more stupid a person is, the more self-confident he is. Some sincere people would rather stand aside than fight for any benefits, while materialists greedily seek power, but, of course, nothing good is waiting for them.

How did most of the relatives end up on the side of those who are against Arjuna? We know for sure only about a few: because of material dependence – although they knew about the unrighteousness and treachery of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, they had to participate in the battle on his side. Whatever bad a person wants to do, he can always find an excuse for himself, including in the scriptures, and the only way to avoid such mistakes is to continue to follow the spiritual life, understanding everything “with all your mind” (with all your intelligence). It is not worth to go blindly, hoping for any “mercy” or some miraculous rites. And such thoughtful following will surely produce fruit, because God is in everyone's heart.

Devoting his activity or knowledge to God, a person will never lose, God sees everything, knows everything, and will give an assessment in due time. God is the absolutely intelligent Personality, so it is not easy to serve Him, but He will always help a sincere person and lead him to a clean path. This is not always easy, but it will bring real happiness, which is even difficult for us to imagine now. We have no such experience in the material world, nevertheless, as the scriptures say, exalted poets try to describe it to us.

TEXT 29

My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end. My bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.

PURPORT

We should not forget that all this happened in the war. They stood in front of each other in full combat gear, making a conscious choice. No kind of mercenary violence, that is, violence committed for gain and out of selfishness, can be justified by the Bhagavad-gītā.

TEXT 30

I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of the Keśī demon.

PURPORT

When a person follows the instructions of the scripture, he will never have any principal problems, because from the scripture he can learn everything completely and get answers to all questions. However, it is not so simple, because the scripture is very extensive, it consists of many parts that are harmoniously connected with each other. And when God gives the scripture, he counts on thoughtful, consistent study. The scripture does not initially assume that fools will interpret it, and the scripture cannot be understood by superficial reading or “pulling” quotes from it that someone liked or disliked. Different parts and statements of the scripture may have different context and meaning, and all this can be understood only by studying it completely, holistically.

In this regard, it is sometimes said that one should not study too many scriptures or try to conduct something like a “comparative research of religion”, such “researchers” will rather fail. There are no contradictions in the scriptures, all “contradictions” are simply the result of an unfair approach to understanding or the desire of atheists to point out flaws. For example, in one place you will read that Arjuna is the eternally liberated associate of God, and in another place you will find that he has fallen into an illusion. Formally it is a contradiction, but in reality there is no contradiction, because the influence of illusion on Arjuna is simply God's plan to tell Bhagavad-gītā to everyone else. This way one can a n a l y z e any “contradiction” and find the answer. The only thing is that it is hardly possible to understand everything quickly and completely. Religion is much more complicated and multifaceted than any of the sciences.

When a person follows the instructions of the scripture, he accordingly becomes unselfish, and thus all his personal problems gradually disappear. God really owns everything and He is really present everywhere. This world is His property, given to rebellious souls for use. Therefore, when we follow His instructions, we gradually get into the field of His protection. In fact, this is the ultimate goal of spiritual life: connection with God, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. With the interests of God in mind, the person becomes preoccupied with them, and all his own problems are gradually nullified. This is also well said in the Bible: seek the kingdom of God, his righteousness, and the rest will be added to you. Since God is the center of everything, something secondary (household and other) aspects of life will be solved automatically.

Here the example of Arjuna shows how own interests lead person to confusion. Of course, feelings for relatives indicate good qualities of the person – a religious person cannot hate their relatives. However, the position of God is higher than such relations. In the case of Arjuna, a very extreme situation has been created in order to emphasize, on the one hand, kinship ties, on the other hand, the consciousness of God. As a rule, in ordinary life the issue is not so sharp and there is no need for any radical decisions, such as leaving the family and so on. Spiritual consciousness presupposes the development of internal activity, and the external position of a person, whether he is family or not, does not matter in principle.

TEXT 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.

PURPORT

Arjuna was in a difficult situation: he had to fight with those he loved. However, it is worth remembering that Duryodhana has already tried to kill all the Pāṇḍavas, he has humiliated Draupadī, and he has done many other bad things. So how to understand those who joined him after all he done? Having joined the side of Duryodhana, all these people actually became accomplices in both crimes and meanness. The Pāṇḍavas did not even claim their inheritance, they asked to be given at least a village from such a huge kingdom, but Duryodhana's father, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, was so angry and hated them so much that he refused. Perhaps, many of Arjuna's relatives had to go over to the side of Duryodhana under a certain pressure, but another of the lessons of the Gītā is that one must be more firm and principled. The Pāṇḍavas were right not only from a material point of view, but God was on their side, and many people from the opposite camp quite understood this.

Arjuna displays his compassion and is ready to leave the battlefield by showing peacefulness. All these are good qualities. He says the right things, the true things from the ordinary point of view, but, on the other hand, is it possible to forgive criminals? What will it lead to if the king begins to forgive murderers and those like them? That is, if one looks deeper, it is false compassion. And another point: who have the power or have the right qualities, those should not give up in the forced struggle with avaricious people like the blind Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his son Duryodhana. By giving up post to such people, they can bring misfortune to many others, and in the case of governing a country, to the whole country. At the same time, this is a difficult moment, because everyone in the material world believes that he is right. Therefore, more often such situations are decided by life itself, and people like Arjuna should bear all this in mind and not shy away from the battle.
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Сообщение Aditi » 18 авг 2020, 15:14

TEXT 32-35

O Govinda, of what avail to us are kingdoms, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed in this battlefield? O Madhusūdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, then why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive? O maintainer of all creatures, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.

PURPORT

Arjuna does not understand yet that this is all God's plan and that Kṛṣṇa does not want to forgive the offenders of the devotees. “Devotee” means “one who is totally devoted to God.” In other words, a devotee or Vaiṣṇava is primarily one, who stands at the highest spiritual platform and realizes God. One does not become a devotee simply by wearing religious clothing or calling oneself a devotee, but one should start following a highest-class devotee, Śrīla Prabhupāda, thoroughly studying his works and applying this knowledge in one's life. Because of his treacherous desire to kill the Pāṇḍavas, Duryodhana incurred the wrath of the God, and his fate was already predetermined. Whether Arjuna would have taken part in the battle or not, the result of this battle was already known.

TEXT 36

Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?

PURPORT

By following the spiritual instructions, a devotee can find himself in difficult situations, and their task is to teach him to apply intelligence and spiritual knowledge. The main purpose of the devotees is to develop knowledge and to preach. The devotees do not claim to dominate in the material world, and they also have nothing to share neither with materialists nor among themselves.

Spiritual knowledge transcends the entire material world, therefore a mature spiritual intelligence is enough to change something here or even to control something. We can practically see that material wealth does not change the situation in society or religion. There is already enough of everything in this world – money, factories, various institutions, and only spiritual understanding is lacking. The purpose of religion is to give knowledge about God. When people realize the qualities of God, their lives become dedicated to Him. In this case, the greed and egoistic desires that tear society apart subside, and material wellbeing and prosperity come automatically.

TEXT 37-38

O Janārdana, although these men, overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one's family or quarreling with friends, why should we, with knowledge of the sin, engage in these acts?

PURPORT

Arjuna uses the arguments of scripture in dialogue with God. The point is that almost no religious precept can be made a universal rule and applied in all circumstances. The ability to apply properly various kinds of precepts is called intelligence. God knows about the situation in the material world, and He also knows about our tendency to manipulate the scriptures in our own interests. Sometimes we do it unconsciously, sometimes we do it clearly for selfish purposes. All this is taken into account and the person is given time to understand. On the other hand, in fact, the moral and social principles of scripture are always secondary. The scripture gives many recommendations on family life and on the life of society in general, but all this is an accessory part. It is the same with the regulations concerning temple life and rites.

TEXT 39

With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligious practice.

PURPORT

Arjuna says everything right. In fact, this is exactly what happened: the downfall of civilization has accelerated, including because of the destruction of the family institution. However, such arguments are not appropriate in the presence of god, who is beyond all traditions. They are not also appropriate because the reasons for this battle lay in a completely different plane. Due to his attachment for relatives, Arjuna could not understand this yet. We should also remember that Arjuna received the order to fight from God personally, and this did not happen in a dream or with the help of any “unearthly voices” or visions. There are many people now who claim to have any “revelations”, or false teachers who talk that they are selected, and such things should not be accepted as divine. The criterion of everything is the scripture, so the plan of God and the spiritual master is to enlighten everyone with the spiritual knowledge set forth in the scripture.
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Сообщение Aditi » 06 сен 2020, 13:23

TEXT 40

When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kṛṣṇa, the women of the family become corrupt, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, comes unwanted progeny.

PURPORT

Arjuna describes properly the process of degradation. At first, men lose their religiosity, and with it they lose their strength. So women become internally stronger than men, and society begins to follow women's values: comfort and things manufacturing. Further, the born children receive mainly women's education and women's convictions, and, accordingly, a women's mentality. Aiming at comfort and family is natural for a woman, but a man should follow higher purposes. When a man is truly religious, he will benefit everyone, including his country and his family. Now men and women are basically equal, but in the spiritual process, developing, mostly men become more successful in understanding the scriptures. A man and a woman complement each other, a man is a defender and a leader, a woman is a guardian of the family and sincere in her religious feelings. A man who follows the instructions of God begins, accordingly, to manifest God's qualities; he becomes stronger than the woman, in a good sense, and most attractive to her.

There are many ideas on how to make family life happy, but there will always be some kind of friction in the family, and since in the modern world the whole society is increasingly plunged into chaos in all senses, it is doubtful that the problems of the family can in general be solved in the near future, including by introducing Vedic standards into the family. This is more the time of preachers than the time of Vedic standards, which, again, are secondary. Against the background of active preaching, the system of varṇa and āśrama can function to some extent, but in itself it is not effective now. The family as a Vedic institution will be restored later, with the establishment of varṇāśrama all over the world. This will happen after many more shocks, when society will understand the falsity of modern development.

Varṇāśrama is the natural division of people into four varṇas: brāhmaṇas, the intellectual stratum of people; kṣatriyas (rulers, leaders, warriors); vaiśyas (farmers, merchants, bankers); śūdras (workers). And into four āśramas: brahmacarya, the āśrama of student life; gṛhastha, the āśrama of family life; vānaprastha, the āśrama of retirement; sannyāsa, the āśrama of complete renunciation. Varṇāśrama is not an Indian caste system. In any society with any political or economic structure, we will always find those who are primarily interested in the development of knowledge, those who are primarily interested in management or agriculture, and those for whom it is more organic just to work. This division into four classes of people is eternal, and when this system is used consciously and correctly, it is most effective.

There are so many problems in the modern world that most often the solution is to chant the holy name rather than try to solve them directly. Studying the scriptures and discussing them with others is also a form of chanting the holy name, and often chanting in this form is even more important than physical singing of the names of God. A person who wants spiritual development should study spiritual science and preach it to others. This does not require titles, dignities (such as bishop or sannyāsī), or regalia, nor is it essential to be in a particular church or spiritual society, but it is necessary only to study the scriptures conscientiously and follow them. Spiritual impulse or even spiritual vision is not transmitted by any “spiritual ray” or rite. All that is necessary is set forth in the scripture and can be understood by intelligence and logic. The same concerns initiation: initiation is an aid to the development of spiritual understanding, and the initiating mentor does everything through regular learning and communication, and not in any other way.

We are always imperfect, at all stages, so we may not wait for our own “perfection” and consistently begin to explain the spiritual subject to other people, to the extent that we have already understood it ourselves. When a person is inquisitive and sincere, God will certainly support him and be revealing him more and more details of spiritual life step by step.

TEXT 41

When there is increase of unwanted population, a hellish situation is created both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. In such corrupt families, there is no offering of oblations of food and water to the ancestors.

PURPORT

Those who are less intelligent follow one or another of the Vedic rites, they are also very concerned about their material well-being, family, or health. However, all this often just burdens people, without really leading to anything significant. Perhaps sometimes the preaching of the “Vedic way of life” can be accepted as positive, nevertheless it is better to follow the spiritual science directly, without overloading yourself and others with often meaningless information. If you “water the root of the tree”, all parts of the body and society will be in order, this is what will be revealed to Arjuna further.

“Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all kinds of obligation, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind or forefathers.” (Bhāg. 11.5.41)

TEXT 42

Due to the evil deeds of the destroyers of family tradition, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.

PURPORT

Varṇāśrama, or the Vedic system of life, is designed to gradually elevate people spiritually through a combination of material life and spiritual process. Although varṇāśrama is secondary to the direct path of knowledge and preaching (the path of bhāgavata), it is nevertheless significant to a large extent, since it has a wide scope and regulates people's lives. But varṇāśrama cannot be established through itself, through the mechanical introduction of varṇas and āśramas. Varṇāśrama is a side effect of following the main path, and it will not be viable without active preaching of spiritual knowledge. The devotees of Lord Caitanya are the leaders of this whole system, they give instructions, create or reform the entire brahmana class. The devotees of Caitanya Mahāprabhu are certainly superior to the varṇāśrama system, but if the preaching mission grows, they can introduce this system into society.

TEXT 43

O Kṛṣṇa, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell.

PURPORT

Arjuna alludes here to disciplic succession (the chain of spiritual masters), and a spiritual master is one who has realized the words of the scriptures. The criterion for a spiritual master is the scriptures. Of the three – guru (spiritual master), sādhu (sage, expert in the scriptures), śāstra (scripture) – the scripture is in the first place. No spiritual master can be accepted as self-sufficient, and his mission is to repeat from the scriptures what he has personally realized in practice. Spiritual science is eternal and eternally unchangeable, so the spiritual master does not introduce any innovations, but only follows the scriptures and fulfills the instructions of previous authorities.

The initiating guru must follow also all the regulative principles, both positive (such as chanting the mantra and preaching) and restrictive. A disciple must live in the guru's company for at least one year before being initiated by the guru. The disciple should do this in particular in order to make sure that guru follows all the principles (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 1.73). Or, as an exception, the disciple must at a minimum communicate with the potential spiritual master personally for at least a year. Otherwise, the disciple will not be able to understand what his potential spiritual master is, and his choice will be accidental or false. This rule (to check the spiritual master before receiving initiation from him) is now mostly not fulfilled, due to the sinful tendencies of both disciples and masters. Nevertheless, in some cases, “it is better to have a blind uncle than no uncle at all”, so at least one should make sure that the guru does not distort the scripture.

In the present age, the age of Kali, it is difficult for people to follow all the rules and regulations, but even if it is not possible to follow some principles, one should not oppose oneself them, but continue to try to follow them. On the other hand, restrictive principles are not spiritual in themselves; they are good as support for basic spiritual development and as rules for social life. Therefore, it is stated in The Nectar of Instruction that a type of obstacle in spiritual life is following rules and regulations for the sake of following, and not for the sake of positive spiritual development. For example, people fast because they are told to fast, not for the sake of increasing spiritual activity. But non-compliance with rules and regulations is also an obstacle.

The spiritual master knows that many of the disciples will not be able to follow all the regulations, yet we have no choice but to continue trying devotional service. “Success is sure for the rigid [yoga] practitioner.” (Bhagavad-gītā 6.24, purport). Therefore, over time, a person can rise to the spiritual level, whether he followed the principles, or tried to follow. Following the regulative principles is nevertheless important from many points of view.

A spiritual master can be calm if his preaching is in line with the instructions of the founder-ācārya Śrīla Prabhupāda. There is no doubt that every step we take and every word we say is in plain sight, and we should not try to be higher or smarter than the ācārya. The disciple should choose a guru according to exactly the same principle: as far as the words of the spiritual master correspond to the letter and spirit of Śrīla Prabhupāda's instructions. This is the main criterion.

A spiritual master in renounced status lives among the disciples, traveling from temple to temple and mostly being in plain sight, which insures him from unwanted connections; and a householder guru lives in a family. For those sannyāsīs who are not able to follow the principles of the renounced order of life, it is better to marry, and not to cheat simple-minded followers. It will be more honest, and so the person himself will be more happy. To follow the principles of the renounced order of life is primarily in the interests of the sannyāsī himself, and not in the interests of anyone else. The spiritual master mainly teaches how to preach; the principles of varṇāśrama and temple worship can only accompany the main path, the path of preaching. This approach insures the spiritual master from falling down, and it is possible to help the disciple effectively when the disciple is engaged in preaching.
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