Bhagavad Gita, ch. 13

Krsangi Dasi - February 9, 2005 10:09 am

Dear devotees


We had our latest Bhagavad Gita meeting about a week ago, this time dealing with chapter 13. Bhrigu, Jani, Mikko, Nea, Hanna, Milja (a new face!), and I were all impressed by Kamalaksa's thorough presentation of the chapter, he hadn't just read it several times but had also written down his comments and questions, which Bhrigu answered with brahminical precision.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13: Yoga of deliberation of matter and spirit


In chapter 13 Krishna explains some important philosophical concepts to Arjuna. This chapter contains a large part of the philosophy in a nutshell, and fully understanding all this one would already have come a long way on the path of Krishna consciousness.


In the beginning of the chapter Krishna describes himself as "the knower of all the fields". A clear distinction is made between ordinary jivas, who only know their own fields (bodies), and Krishna, who is all-knowing. He then defines what he means with the terms "field" and "knowledge". In verse 12 he states that knowledge among other things includes "disinterest in social gatherings", which lead us to wonder if our Gita meetings would be classified as social gatherings or something else. We came to the conclusion that when we're sitting in the living room with the books in our hands we're taking part in a spiritual gathering, but as soon as we move to the kitchen and start chatting about whether cinnamon buns are better than doughnuts or vice versa, it's clearly a social gathering. So it's the room that counts. :lol:


Krishna then goes on to talk about prakriti and purusa. It is interesting to note that in verse 20 Krishna says that both prakriti and purusa are without beginning. The traditional Christian view of creation is that of God creating the material world out of nothing, and the material existance therefore having a beginning and an end. It's created some problems for fundamental Christians as archeologists constantly find evidence of older and older civilizations. The cyclical worldview presented in the Gita seems to match the modern scientific research better, as it doesn't rule out the possibility of universes expanding and collapsing infinitely.


In verse 25 Krishna mentions the different methods of self-realization presented in the previous chapters: meditation, introspection and karma-yoga. In the next verse he gives an even more generous option for those not inclined to studies and austerities: one can also worship Krishna according to instructions he or she has received from spiritual authorities. Reading this I felt that I finally recognized myself in the descriptions of different devotees Gita gives. I feel completely unqualified to follow all of the other paths the Gita presents, but this is something I feel I can commit myself to: following the guru's instructions and hopefully making some advancement in that way.


In the end of this chapter, in verse 30, Krishna says that one who sees that all actions actually are carried out by material nature and that the soul is not the doer, actually sees. This is a difficult concept to understand, as it seems to give us a license to whatever we want to, even crimes, and claim that we're not responsible for our actions, but the material nature is. Bhrigu pointed out that a person who truly sees the soul separately from the body wouldn't mind if the body was punished for its actions, it wouldn't be a problem for him or her to be put to prison, or to be beaten up as a punishment. We can't artificially claim to be independent of the body and deny responsibility for its actions as long as we identify with it, and when we've reached the level of not identifiying ourselves with the body it's highly unlikely that we'd be interested in committing crimes.

Kamalaksa Das - February 9, 2005 8:14 pm

Pictoral evidence.


Bhrigu - February 10, 2005 11:13 am

Clockwise, starting at one o'clock, the persons in the picture are Krishangi, I, Mikko, Nea, Hanna, Milja and Jani. Kamalaksha behind the camera, as usual.