Overviews of specific chapters in the Bhagavad Gita is one thing, but being able to truly apply it and “feel” it in your own experience of yoga and life is a whole other story. This is a work that gets discussed a lot in modern yoga circles made up of mostly non-Hindu and non-Eastern Indian origins, and I love the debates that ensue. From the extreme pacifists, there are the questions of “nonviolence” as taught in yoga and “warrior duty” as being urged by Krishna to Arjuna. By the atheists there is even the question of “God” and what role Krishna is really playing here. For any other religion other than Hindu, the leap to make to having a conversation with Krishna is a hard one. And, strong women take issue that most translations of the book use the masculine in all forms and ways, so it is hard to relate.
I totally get every single one of these arguments…been there. At times, depending on the translation – and this recent one was a hard one – I am still put off by the idea of a singular male identified Deity speaking only to a male warrior doing a duty that is definitely not mine. If I read with my mind alone I would throw this book out, baby with the bathwater. But like the Yoga Sutras of Patanajali, though hard to read sometimes, and definitely I do not nod my head at every single word, there are truths and teachings within that I “feel” on a deeper level than my brain. The experience of the reading leaves me feeling lighter in my load for some reason and gives me food for contemplation on every level of my life experience.
From the reminder that no act is wasted (whew!), to the Cosmic Image of God that is awe inspiring and all encompassing, to the last words of pure urging through love, my heart really does open and I am able to read the Bhagavad Gita as a call to my own practice and a deeper reflection on my own life. There is something that sticks with me for a long while after I have read it again and again…
Do we have a duty not just as “individual”, but as “human being” ? “Arjuna”, “Jennie”, “Tom, Dick, and Harry” all have an individual “duty”, but I feel there might be something more in “duty as human” ?
What falls into the category of “fruits of action” for me ? Seen and unseen ? From self and other ?
Faith and Courage ? In so many recent conversations and readings these terms have been coming up. These concepts are absolutes in the Bhagavad Gita making them sound so simple, but there is a part of me that cannot quite separate faith from being “blind” and courage from being “un-conscious”. Where do I have faith and courage and where do I lose it? On what levels? …physical, mental, spiritual, conscious, unconscious, etc…