Bhagavad Gita, ch. 8

Krsangi Dasi - October 3, 2004 7:38 pm

Dear devotees


We had our eighth Gita meeting a while ago, and the discussion was centered around death and attaining Krishna. There were six of us present: Bhrigu, Guru-Nistha, Eija, Milla, Kamalaksa and I.


Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter eight: Yoga of attaining the absolute


In the beginning of chapter eight, in verse five, Krishna says that a person who only remembers him at the time of death will attain him. I've often thought about this as it is so hard to fully concentrate on one thing only, and wondered what happens if someone who's dying is trying to think of Krishna but his attention momentarily goes to something else and right at that moment he or she dies. Like if someone is chanting Krishna's names but suddenly a mosquitoe flies in and bites him, and for a second he thinks of the mosquitoe and then dies. Will he then end up as a mosquitoe?


And what if you die in a car accident? I drive a lot and have almost crashed the car a few times, and usually the first thing that comes to my mind at that moment definitely isn't Krishna.


So I've understood now that pure Krishna consciousness isn't something cheap, you can't sneak into the spiritual world by uttering the right words at the right moment. Pure bhakti is a state of mind.


In verse 13 Krishna describes the process of moving the vital force to the top of the head and then attaining liberation. Bhrigu pointed out that this is a dangerous thing to try if you're not very advanced in yoga, it's not something you should take lightly.


In verse 16 it is mentioned that there are many different planets that one can reach but ultimately has to return here. We wondered if there are several planets like this in this universe, and came to the conclusion that at least there are similar places in other universes, our planet is not unique. But it is especially suitable for bhakti as suffering and happiness both exist here in a suitable combination: there's enough happiness to make us understand how sweet it is, and enough suffering to make us understand that the material world isn't the best place to spend the eternity in.


The Big Bang theory is often considered to be the opposite of a theistic understanding of creation. But actually you could think that when the universe is created at the beginning of Brahma's day it all begins with an explosion-like phenomenon, and then the universe keeps expanding to a certain point, then shrinking and finally collapsing when it's put to rest during Brahma's night as it's described in verse 18.


Verses 24-26 deal with different times when one can leave this world. Bhrigu said that he doesn't really understand the concept of departing during smoke or fire. It's also cescribed in these verses that there's a difference in departing at the bright or dark lunar fortnight. We talked quite a bit about the moon and the effect it has on us. For me it's easier to understand these kind of statements as symbolic, but Eija pointed out that the moon does have a huge effect on Earth, it causes the tides. If the moon can make huge quantities of water move in the oceans, why wouldn't it affect our fragile bodies?


Bhrigu pointed out that we should also remember that the moon we're talking about here is not just a dead lump of stone rotating around the Earth, but according to the Vedic world view there are living creatures everywhere, also on the moon. It's hard to grasp how someone could live for example on the sun but that's just because our experience of different living beings is so limited. The beings living on the sun could have bodies made of some kind of gas or something, they wouldn't necessarily have to have bodies like ours.


At the end of our meeting we returned to the subject of dying and leaving the body. Milla felt it was illogical that Krishna could come and take someone to the spiritual world, but Bhrigu answered that Krishna probably wouldn't come after someone if he or she wasn't a great devotee.


Now that I'm writing this I remember one of Guru Maharaja's lectures I just listened to last week where he was talking about the Damodara lila. He said that the rope Yasoda tried to tie Krishna with was always two fingers too short, and those two fingers represent mercy and effort. To capture Krishna both are needed. This answers our questions about attaining Krishna at the time of death: our own effort just isn't enough, it's Krishna and his causeless mercy who open the gates of the spiritual world for us.

Babhru Das - October 4, 2004 8:30 pm

What I find particularly appealing in these reports is the lively discussion of the points that arise, which shows the devotees acticely engaging with the philosophy.


Are the Santa Rosa Chaitanya-charitamrita discussions still happening?

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - October 5, 2004 5:05 am

And what about San Francisco classes at Brahma dasa’s house? Is there any plans to start them again any time soon?