Bhagavad Gita, ch. 7

Krsangi Dasi - September 12, 2004 3:07 pm

Dear devotees


We had our seventh Bhagavad Gita meeting before Janmastami, but I've been too busy to post anything about it before now. Bhrigu, Guru-Nistha, Eija, Kamalaksa, Milla and I discussed the basic principles about reincarnation and karma as well as higher philosophy.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7: Yoga of knowledge and realization


In the purport to text 7.1 Guru Maharaja desribes the different aspects of Krishna: Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Bhrigu remembered an example given by Bhaktivinoda Saraswati Thakur about three men who went to see a train and all experienced it in different ways: one of them only saw the smoke coming from the chimney, one of them saw the outside of the train while one of them went inside the train and found out how it worked. In the same way different people see Krishna in different ways and are attracted to his different aspects.


People often state that they'll believe in God as soon as he shows himself to them. But it is by love for God we can make him manifest, not by aggressive and/or cynical demands. God doesn't necessarily appear in a cloud of smoke, making the ground tremble and lightnings strike down around him, he usually appears in the form of the guru. We can see him to the extent of our feeling for him.


In text 7.3 Krishna says that only a very rare soul know him in truth. As I've heard Guru Maharaja say in lectures people often end up getting stuck in the social aspects of Krishna consciousness, forgetting the most important part of it: striving for pure bhakti.


In text 7.4 Krishna says that everything rests on him like pearls strung on a thread. I'm especially enchanted by this allegory. A child could think that the pearls on a bracelet are glued together, or even that there's some kind of magic behind it, but actually the pearls are supported by the thread. In the same way an atheist claims that God can't be seen in the nature and that his existence can't be scientifically proven, but a devotee knows that it's Krishna who ultimately supports us and looks after this world.


Later in this chapter it is described how Krishna is the light in fire, the life in all living beings and so on. Bhrigu pointed out that the point here is to say that Krishna is the goodness that can be found in everything. We should see him in everything and see everything as a part of him.


In texts 7.15-16 Krishna describes the different categories of people who do not surrender to him and who worship him. Bhrigu felt that it's typically Indian to divide things into categories, we see a lot of this kind of lists in the scripture: the six limbs of saranagati, the three modes of nature and so on. We discussed these different groups of people who either feel attracted to Krishna or dislike him and concluded that the jnani's faith is the best because it's strongest and he doesn't approach Krishna to improve his material standing. But even the people who have developed an interest in Krishna because of their distressful material situation (like myself) often stick to the path of bhakti even when their situation gets better, feeling thankful to Krishna for helping them with their problems.


Then Krishna mentions people who worship the demigods. They often feel very abstract for the Wstern devotees, but Eija actually told us that she's always felt that the demigods are a bit like angels: they serve God but have special powers that ordinary people don't. We very seldom see anyone worshipping them, but we see people all around us worshipping money, sex and power hoping that they'll find happiness in them. Looking at them we are reminded over and over again of that Krishna is the only real source of happiness.


In text 7.24 Krishna says that the unintelligent think him to be the unmanifest that has become manifested, eg. ultimately impersonal. By logical deduction we can arrive at the conclusion that God exists and has an impersonal form, but to get more information about God's superior form as Krishna we need help from the guru and scripture. Other religions don't seem to have as much information about God as we can find in the Vedas. For me personally it gets much easier to develop love and attachment for God as I get more information about him, it's extremely difficult to try to meditate on Krishna's lilas if I don't really know that much about them. That's why I feel it's important to study the scripture and to try to learn as much about Krishna as possible.


After we had finished reading this chapter Eija asked how we feel about the effect of Indian culture visible in the Krishna conscious movement. Why should one wear Indian clothes and sing songs in Bengali? We ended up mostly talking about the clothes. Bhrigu said that he feels that people don't go to the church in jogging pants, either, so when we worship Krishna with arati and other rituals we should also dress up a bit to honor him.


I've previously felt a bit uncomfortable with the custom of wearing saris and dhotis is the cold Finnish winter but have recently started to think that it's good to remind others, as well as ourselves, of our mission in life as devotees of Krishna. I feel that if I'm wearing a sari (which I still quite seldom do) I have to behave properly, to act as a good example. And that when I present myself as Krsangi instead of Kaisa I must behave better than Kaisa sometimes does.


The discussion then continued with Milla asking about karma. Having gone through some difficult things in this life she wondered if she would somehow be compensated for it later on. According to our understanding the amount of good and bad karma isn't necessarily equal in each life, sometimes the living being suffers more and sometimes less. But I strongly feel that the difficulties we face in our lives can be seen as reminders of the futility of searching for material happiness and thus help us become more attached to Krishna.




Rama-priya - September 12, 2004 6:37 pm
But I strongly feel that the difficulties we face in our lives can be seen as reminders of the futility of searching for material happiness and thus help us become more attached to Krishna.




I have a similar experience about suffering or difficulties and its influence on our spiritual life or progress. By them sometimes is easier to concentrate on Krishna and see very clearly what is our goal of life and who is our real shelter. It also make that surrender is simplier. Once one devoty told me that when he was suffering and had so many problems in his life and he cannot find shelter anywhere it was wonderfull time for him to concentrate on Krishna. He experienced that it is so easy for him to concentrate fully on chanting. Devoties of Krishna sometimes even want difficulties and problems and pray about them like queen Kunti, because thanks them Krishna is present.

From another side I know persons for whom too much difficulties and suffering makes that cannot even think about God, they concentrate on own problems and even doubt in mercy or even existence of God.

Yours servant

rama-priya dd

Krsangi Dasi - September 13, 2004 3:24 pm

Dear Rama-Priya dd


I've also seen people suffering so much that they're unable to look at their situation objectively and to try to find something good in it. They should be helped to improve their situation so that they can look at it with a philosophical eye, the most unsensitive thing imaginable would be trying to diminish their suffering by saying that it's "just their karma" or something.


I was mainly thinking of suffering in situations that can't be changed, like my own disability (I'm a double below knee amputee), where you just have to learn to accept the situation and make the best out of a bad deal. It's no use for me to be angry and bitter, so I try to take my disability as a reminder of Krishna: he's the only one who can provide me with an eternally healthy body.




Rama-priya - September 13, 2004 5:39 pm
They should be helped to improve their situation so that they can look at it with a philosophical eye, the most unsensitive thing imaginable would be trying to diminish their suffering by saying that it's "just their karma" or something.


Therefore we are in very good situation, because we have a some knowlege about why we are suffering, what is our goal of life, who is our the higest shelter and so on. So many persons ask ask and ask why must I suffer and they feel angry. Therefore it is so important, where it is possible to share with this knowlege, which can help to understand this and even accept own situation as You dear Krsangi are example of this.

I agree that this knowlege about karma should help us, and others and shouldn't be reason for closing our heart for compassion and sincere attempt at help others

Yours servant

Ramapriya dd