Topics for today:
- Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
- “Context of the Gita” continued
Highlights of today’s class:
Universal values and individual pursuits:
- We saw in previous class that all humans are endowed with common sense knowledge of right and wrong, which can be summarized as, “I must not do to others what I do not wish others to do to me”. For example, I do not want to be robbed, harmed, cheated, disliked, etc. Hence I must not rob, harm, cheat or dislike others. Hence sympathy, love, compassion, non-violence, etc. are values that are universal to all human beings.
- As long as individual pursuits (which may be for money, power or pleasure) conform to the universal values, one lives a life of dharma. However if one’s pursuit comes into conflict with universal values, then there is adharma.
- A person’s understanding of the laws of dharma is reflected in his/her choice of means to achieve an end. This is also a sign of the degree of one’s inner maturity.
Value for Universal values:
- A person of inner maturity has a value for universal values because he/she understands the immensity of loss if compromises are made to gain such things as money, power, etc. One does not go for the bargain because one sees it as a bad bargain.
- By compromising a universal value a split is created in oneself – a split between the thinker and the doer. For example, by telling a lie, one is saying something that is not true to what one thinks. Therefore the thinker is one and the speaker is another. This split or conflict is in one’s very personality which makes one’s mind unable to enjoy the pleasures gained by making the compromise in the first place.
- The battle of Mahabharata can also symbolically be seen as an inner battle between a person’s common sense knowledge of right and wrong and what he or she wants to accomplish.
Body Chariot Analogy:
- Kathopanishad gives an illustration where a body is likened to a chariot. Senses are the horses, mind is the reins, intellect is the driver and the atma is the master seated in the chariot. The intellect (driver) has to have the discrimination to know where to lead the chariot, the mind (reins) has to be strong enough to keep the sense (horses) under control and the senses have to be trained to not stray from the right path. Such a person is a ‘together’ or mature person.
Protecting the dharmi:
- Dharma is something that has to be lived and not confined to text books. By protecting a person who lives a life of dharma, dharma is protected.
Arjuna’s sorrow turns into a desire to solve his fundamental problem:
- Arjuna recognized that his sorrow would not go away even by gaining the kingdom or even by going to heaven. He identified the fundamental problem he was facing, which was the problem of self non-acceptance.
- He had been busy dealing with immediate, empirical concerns and had never dealt with the ultimate concerns of life. Now he desired to solve the original problem and offered himself as a student to Lord Krishna.
om tat sat