As of today we have 76,, eBooks for you to download for free. No annoying ads, no Devdutt Pattanaik Indian Mythology Tales, Symbols - wiwitan .org. Devdutt Pattanaik writes, illustrates and lectures on the relevance of mythology in modern times. He has, since , written over 30 books and columns on. Does anyone have the PDF of the book, Sita, written by Devdutt Pattanaik? 5, Views Where do I download Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik 3 ebook?.
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Not only had fate taken the crown from him, it had also left him in a state whereby he could never father kings. Shvetaketu then introduced the law of marriage so that women were bound to husbands, enabling all men to know who their fathers were.
They could only have children by their husbands and if their husbands were unable to give them children, they could go to men chosen by their husbands.
Children borne by the wife belonged to the husband whether he fathered them or not. So it is that the father of the planet Mercury is the planet Jupiter even though it was the moon who conceived him in the womb of the stars.
So it is that you are the son of Vichitravirya even though he never made your mother pregnant. He decided to ask a sage to come to his wives. Pandu looked at her quizzically. My father asked me to take care of all his needs.
Pleased with my devotion and service, he gave me a magic formula by which I could call upon any sky-god and have a child with him instantly. Perhaps, in his foresight, he realized I would have need of such a formula in my life. So, if you wish, I can use this formula, and have a child by any god of your choice. It was an act of shame that weighed heavy on her heart. He was named Yudhishtira. He would be the most honest of men. Later, Pandu asked Kunti to invoke Vayu, the god of the wind.
He would be the strongest of men. Kunti then called upon Indra, king of the Devas and ruler of the sky. By him she had a son called Arjuna. He would be the most skilled archer in the world, capable of using the bow with both his right and left hand. Since Kunti had invoked Indra of her own volition and not because her husband had told her to, the son of Indra, Arjuna, became her favourite child.
Only he was referred by all as Partha, the son of Pritha. So it is decreed in the books of dharma. Kunti, however, was referring to the three gods who had given her three sons after marriage, and the one god who had given her one son before marriage—a secret that she shared with no one. Shvetaketu is believed to be the fountainhead of patriarchy. Before he introduced the law of marriage, women had full sexual freedom.
In fact, a woman could go to any man and a man who refused her was deemed a eunuch. This freedom was allowed because childbirth was considered of prime importance to facilitate the re-entry of forefathers into the land of the living.
Shvetaketu insisted on fidelity from women so that all children knew who their biological fathers were. If a man could not father children because he was impotent, sterile or dead, the woman was allowed to go to other men, with the permission of her husband or his family.
The number of men a woman was allowed to go to if her husband could not give her children was restricted to three. Including the husband, a woman thus could be with up to four men in her life. If she went to a fifth man, she was deemed a whore. This law gains significance later in the epic when Kunti lets Draupadi marry all five of her sons.
As per some Vedic marriage rites, a woman is first given in marriage to the romantic moon-god, Chandra, then to the highly sensual Gandharva named Vishwavasu, then to the fire-god, Agni, who cleanses and purifies all things, and finally to her human husband. Clearly this was an attempt of society to prevent Hindu women from remarrying.
My Gita - Devdutt Pattanaik - Free Download PDF
Kunti runs away in fear, abandoning her newborn but Bhima is so strong that he kicks the tiger on his head and pushes him away. With another kick he breaks a mountain. Apologizing to the mountain, Kunti transforms each broken piece of the mountain into a local deity.
She had conceived much earlier but mysteriously her pregnancy continued for two years. She could wait no more and so she took a terrible decision: Gandhari ordered her maids to get an iron bar. The maids hesitated. With great reluctance, the maids did as they were told, and struck the queen on her belly.
Strike me again. Is it a boy or girl? When told what she had delivered, Gandhari wailed. Fate was indeed cruel. She sent for the sage Vyasa. Where are they? They would incubate over a year and transform into sons, he told Gandhari. Vyasa smiled and told the maids to divide the ball of flesh into a hundred and one pieces. Thus were born the hundred sons and the one daughter of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra.
Collectively, the sons were called the Kauravas. The first among them was Duryodhana. When his pot was broken, on the day when Kunti gave birth to Bhima, the palace dogs wailed. He is my firstborn, my favourite. The daughter was called Dusshala. She was given in marriage to Jayadhrata, king of Sindhu.
She bore him a son called Yuyutsu. Like Vidura, he was an extremely capable man but disqualified from ever sitting on the throne. Contrary to popular projection, both Gandhari and Kunti are viewed by Vyasa as ambitious women who knew the value of sons in a royal household. But she wants a daughter too. Thus the Kuru household had a hundred and five sons hundred Kauravas and five Pandavas and one daughter, Dusshala, who was so indulged by the entire household that her husband, Jayadhrata, was forgiven repeatedly despite his immoral behaviour.
Maybe they could transform the remnants of a miscarriage into live children by incubating them in magically charged pots of ghee. Rationalists believe Gandhari had only two sons, Duryodhana and Dusshasana, who are the only two of the hundred to play a significant role in the epic. Let her be mother too. And let me be father of more sons. Instantly the two gods, lords of the morning and evening star, appeared and gave Madri twin sons: Nakula, the handsomest man in the world and Sahadeva, the most knowledgeable man in the world.
But Kunti refused. With one invocation, Madri had cleverly called twin gods and become mother of two sons. She feared with another invocation, Madri could call another set of gods, a male collective, and have as many as three, four, five, why even seven sons.
And with the following one, she would be mother of more sons. She could not allow that. She would not let the junior wife have more sons, hence more power than her.
The five sons of Pandu, three by Kunti and two by Madri, became known as the Pandavas. Collectively, the five sons had the five qualities of the perfect king—honesty, strength, skill, beauty and wisdom. This practice, once glorified, came to be frowned upon with the passage of time. Kunti restricts access of Madri to the gods for fear that she will end up bearing more children and so yield greater influence than her. Through this little episode Vyasa makes us aware that the desire for power is not restricted to men alone.
In the entire epic, the children of Madri are overshadowed by the children of Kunti. The gods invoked by the two wives of Pandu are early Vedic gods known as Devas: Yama, Indra, Vayu and the Ashwini twins.
The notion of an all-powerful God is a later development in Hindu thought. This clearly indicates that the epic first took shape in Vedic times which were dominated by belief in elemental spirits. Later, with the rise of bhakti or path of passionate devotion to the almighty, the ideas of God and Shiva and Vishnu and Krishna were added to the tale. But he was a young man and there were times when he sorely missed intimacy with his wives. One day, he saw sunlight streaming through the sheer fabric that Madri had draped round her body.
He realized how beautiful she was. He could not resist touching her. Unknown to all, Pandu had a premonition of his death and had told his sons a secret.
It is embedded in my body. When I die, eat my flesh and you will be blessed with great knowledge. That shall be your true inheritance. The children could not do what their father had asked them to do. He put that piece in his mouth.
Instantly, he knew everything about the world—what had happened in the past and what would happen in the future. And when a question is asked, reply with a question.
Sahadeva had no choice but to keep quiet, knowing all but never being able to tell people what he knew or do anything to avert the inevitable. He realized the future that he knew could be deciphered if one observed nature carefully. And so he put together various occult sciences that helped man predict the future. As for himself, Sahadeva waited for people to ask him the right question.
They asked him many questions—but never the right one. But in all cases, it is voluntary; nobody forces the women to submit to this violent practice. Around CE the practice of Sati became part of liturgical manuals and a common theme in folklore as well as worship. In South India, Sahadeva is renowned as the master of astrology, face reading and all other forms of divination.
They had been placed on a tiger skin and next to them were a trident and a pot, indicating they were the children of a sage. They were the children of sage Sharadwana and an Apsara called Janpadi. Shantanu named them Kripa and Kripi and raised them in the palace.
Kripa grew up to be a teacher. Bhishma appointed him tutor to the five sons of Pandu and the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra who were now under his care.
Kripi was given in marriage to Drona. Drona was the son of sage Bharadvaja. He was born in a pot into which his father had spilt semen at the sight of a beautiful Apsara called Ghrutachi. In time, Kripi gave birth to a son, Ashwatthama. Drona was extremely poor, so poor that he did not have a cow in his house. Ashwatthama grew up without ever having tasted milk.
He could not even distinguish milk from rice water. Unable to bear the poverty, Kripi finally convinced Drona to go to his childhood friend, Drupada, king of Panchala, and ask him for a cow. Unfortunately, Drupada burst out laughing when Drona reminded him of the childhood promise. We were friends then. Now I am a rich king and you are a poor priest.
We cannot be friends. Do not claim cows in the name of friendship; ask for alms and I shall give you a cow in charity. Kripa, Kripi and Drona are illegitimate children born after nymphs seduce ascetics and make them break their vows of celibacy. The epic age was one of tension between those who believed the purpose of life was to enjoy material pleasures and those who believed the purpose of life was to renounce the same.
In the epic age, kings were supposed to take care of Rishis either by daan or charity or by dakshina or fee paid for services rendered. Drupada treats Drona as the son of a Rishi and offers him daan.
Drona is angry because he is not treated as a friend and equal. Drupada is thus the dispassionate follower of the code of civilized conduct dharma while Drona yearns for human affection and respect that transcends social stratification.
The conflict between Drupada and Drona is thus the conflict between head and heart. Through Drona, Vyasa draws attention to the disruptive power of desire kama. Like Drupada and Drona, they were the best of friends, one a rich nobleman and the other an impoverished priest.
Unlike Drupada, however, Krishna shares all his wealth with his friend. For Krishna, there can be no dharma without the spirit of generosity. Without genuine love, laws and rules are worthless. Drona promised never to do so. He made his way to Hastina-puri, intent on making the Kuru princes his students and using them against Drupada. When Drona reached Hastina-puri, he found the Kuru princes trying to retrieve a ball from a well. Drona decided to help the princes. He picked up a blade of grass and threw it with such force into the well that it pierced the ball like a pin.
Then he threw another blade of grass which pinned itself to the free end of the grass pinned to the ball. Then he threw a third blade of grass which pinned itself to the far end of the second blade of grass. Soon he had a whole chain of grass that could be pulled up along with the ball. Drona then dropped his ring into the well. He raised a bow and shot an arrow which pierced into the waters and ricocheted back along with the ring. The children, astonished by what they had seen, ran into the palace and told Bhishma about this strange priest-warrior near the well.
Kripa was more than happy to give employment to his brother-in-law. But Drona had a condition. Drona accepted the hundred Kauravas and the five Pandavas as his students. Soon, Yudhishtira became skilled with the spear, Arjuna with the bow, Bhima, Duryodhana and Dusshasana with the mace, Nakula and Sahadeva with the sword. In due course, the Kauravas and Pandavas were well versed in the art of war. We must not lose focus by fighting his army.
It will wear us down. They rushed forward but the Pandavas stayed back. We four shall meet you there after capturing the king of Panchala. Drupada, distracted by the Kauravas, was caught by surprise.
Before he could defend himself, Arjuna pounced on him and pinned him to the ground. Bhima got a rope and bound him. Then placing him on their chariot they took him straight to Drona. Your rule is now restricted to the southern half. We are equals. Can we be friends now? Rishis were supposed to focus only on spiritual pursuits and stay away from society. This spiritual pursuit gave them many magical powers.
Over time, unable to resist material desires, Rishis became members of society. They split into worldrenouncing ascetics known as Tapasvins or Yogis and world-affirming scholars, priests and teachers known as Brahmans. Parasara and Bharadvaja belonged to the former category while Kripa and Drona belonged to the latter. Some sages like Parashurama gave up spiritual practices and took up arms in revolt against the excesses of the warrior community.
In contrast, some warriors like Kaushika, father of Shakuntala, became Rishis when they realized true power lay in spiritual practices and not in weapons. The epic age was a time of flux. Education involved not just the study of Vedic hymns, rituals and philosophy, but also the study of the Upavedas which included the study of warfare Dhanur-veda , health Ayur-veda , theatre Gandharva-veda , time Jyotish-shastra , space Vastu-shastra and polity Artha-shastra. This was called guru-dakshina, a transaction fee, after which all obligations to the teacher were severed.
Ideally, a teacher was supposed to take only that which he needed for sustenance. But Drona takes much more. Wealth in Vedic times took three forms: Most Vedic warfare was over livestock and pasture lands. These he reserved for his son, Ashwatthama.
Arjuna noticed this. So he followed Drona wherever he went, determined to learn all that Drona had to teach, never leaving father and son alone, making it impossible for Drona to pass on any teaching to Ashwatthama exclusively. Eventually, there were lessons that were exclusive to Arjuna and Ashwatthama, secret lessons that no other student of Drona was given access to.
Arjuna, who as usual was following his teacher, immediately raised his bow, released an arrow, struck down the crocodile and rescued his master. He declared that he would make Arjuna the greatest archer in the world, not out of gratitude, but because Arjuna possessed all the qualities of a good student: Still Arjuna found that his fingers carrying food could find their way to his mouth. He started practising archery at night blindfolded and, to the amazement of his teacher, developed the skill of shooting arrows at the target without depending on his sight.
Because of this he became renowned as Gudakesha, he who has conquered sleep. Arjuna also was able to shoot his bow using either his left or his right hand.
Hence, he came to be known as Sabyasachi. In an archery test, Drona asked his students to point their arrows at the eye of a stuffed parrot placed high on the wall. Only an eye. The arrow was released and sure enough, it hit the mark. India is the home of the guru—shishya tradition where pupils stay in the house of the teacher.
The teacher is supposed to treat his students as his own sons. This tradition is prevalent even today especially in the fields of music and dance. But as many art lovers have discovered, many teachers are blinded by their love for their children and give them priority over students at the cost of true talent.
Vyasa perhaps experienced this in his lifetime too. Arjuna is considered to be the greatest archer in Indian epics, second only to Ram, the protagonist of the Ramayana. More than talent, Vyasa portrays him as one with grit and determination. The bow is the symbol of poise and balance. The third of the five Pandavas is an archer, suggesting his role in balancing his brothers. His two elder brothers represent royal authority Yudhishtira and force Bhima , while his two younger brothers represent royal splendour Nakula and wisdom Sahadeva.
He is neither as aggressive as his elder brothers nor as passive as his younger brothers. But when he approached Drona, Drona turned him away on the grounds that he was too busy to take more students. In a clearing in the woods, not far from Hastina-puri, Ekalavya created an effigy of Drona, and taught himself archery under its watchful gaze. A few weeks later, he was disturbed by the sound of a barking dog. He shot several arrows in the direction of the dog.
The arrows entered the mouth of the dog such that, without harming him in any way, they kept his jaws pried open making it impossible for him to bark. The dog turned out to be the hunting hound of the Pandavas. Arjuna was surprised to find his dog gagged thus. Ekalavya, who stood before it with a bow in hand, rushed towards him and fell at his feet.
Drona looked at Arjuna and remembered his promise to make Arjuna the greatest archer in the land. Arjuna returned to Hastina-puri shaken by the cruelty of his teacher, for without the right thumb Ekalavya would never be able to wield the bow. Arjuna did not comment. Vyasa portrays Arjuna as a highly insecure and competitive youth. Through the tale Vyasa demonstrates how greatness need not be achieved by being better than others; it can also be achieved by pulling down others who are better.
Drona therefore was supposed to be a priest like his father, or a sage, but he chooses to become a warrior, as does his son, Ashwatthama. While he breaks the varnadharma code himself, his argument against Ekalavya bearing the bow, that encouraging lower castes to become archers would destroy the varna system of society, seems rather hypocritical. The Mahabharata does not refer to the classical four-tiered Vedic society of Brahmans priests , Kshatriyas warriors , Vaishyas merchants and Shudras servants.
Instead, it refers to a three-tiered society where Rajanyas or Kshatriyas warriors-kings-rulers provided for Rishis or Brahmans priests-teachers-magicians and ruled over commoners— cowherds, farmers, fisherfolk, charioteers, potters, carpenters.
Outside this society were the Nishadhas, or forest-dwellers, who were treated with disdain. There are clear signs of prejudice against those outside or at the bottom of society.
They were forbidden from learning archery, for example. The bow was the supreme weapon of the Vedic civilization. It represented poise and balance. It also represented desire, aspiration and ambition. When a king was crowned, he was made to hold the bow.
Winners of archery contests were given women as trophies. All the gods held bows in their hands. The star pupil was none other than Arjuna who could use his bow to shoot multiple arrows and who never missed a target.
Everyone cheered for the royal archer and this filled Kunti with great pride. The Kauravas were envious for Arjuna outshone everyone and was clearly the favourite of the people. Suddenly, there entered in the tournament another archer. On his chest dazzled a brilliant armour and on his ears were radiant jewels. Suddenly Adiratha, the chief of the royal stables, ran into the arena and hugged Karna.
This man is the son of a charioteer. How dare he challenge Kshatriyas in an archery tournament? Karna did not know what to say. The cruel words of Bhima stung him like a swarm of bees.
Was his skill not good enough? Why should his birth matter? Let us treat him as one. He cannot therefore be a Kshatriya. But then people would ask who his father truly was and he would have no answer, for he was a foundling, abandoned at birth by his mother, found by Adiratha floating on the river in a basket.
Karna swallowed his pride and kept quiet. I will not let him be insulted. I take him as my friend, closer to my heart than my brothers.
He who insults him insults me. Karna felt a lump in his throat. No one had ever come to his defence thus. He was eternally obliged to Duryodhana. He swore that he would be the friend of the Kauravas till the day he died. The Pandavas protested quoting the dharma-shastras. The Kauravas argued, realizing that with Karna on their side they were as powerful as the Pandavas, if not more.
Bhishma sensed the family feud was becoming a public spectacle. On one side were the five Pandavas and on the other side were the hundred Kauravas and their new friend Karna. He was embarrassed as his grand-nephews abused each other over Karna. They were about to come to blows when suddenly, in the pavillion reserved for the royal women, they heard a cry. Kunti had fainted. Everyone rushed to her side. Taking advantage of this moment, Bhishma declared the tournament to be formally closed and ordered the princes to return to the palace.
Watching her great grandsons snarl at each other like street dogs, Satyavati took a decision. I cannot bear to see it. I will therefore go to the forest. The tensions between Kunti and Gandhari and their sons were becoming unbearable.
It was clearly time to leave. With Karna, Duryodhana becomes as powerful as Yudhishtira. While Yudhishtira has Arjuna, Duryodhana has no archer on his side. This deficiency is made up when he accepts Karna as an equal. Vyasa never clarifies if Duryodhana is using Karna or genuinely admiring him. Arjuna is the son of Indra, god of the sky and rain. Karna is the son of Surya, god of the sun. Indra and Surya were ancient rivals, each claiming supremacy in the Vedic pantheon.
In the epic Ramayana, this rivalry takes the form of a conflict between Vali, who is the son of Indra and Sugriva, who is the son of Surya. God in the form of Ram sides with Sugriva over Vali. Thus the balance is achieved between the two gods over two lifetimes.
Karna embodies a man who refuses to submit to the social station imposed upon him by society. He was born before marriage, hence abandoned to save her reputation. Pleased with her services, the sage Durvasa had given Kunti a magic formula by which she could call upon any Deva she wished and have a child by him.
Curious to test the mantra out, without realizing the consequences of such an action, she had invoked Surya, the sun-god. Surya appeared before her and gave her a son.
He was born with a pair of earrings attached to his ears and a golden armour that clung to his chest. This basket was found by Adiratha who served the Kuru clan as a charioteer. He and his wife, Radha, had no children and so they raised the foundling as their own.
As the years passed, Karna had this great desire to be a warrior. He even approached Drona but Drona refused to teach him the art of war. But his mother, Radha, encouraged him to follow his own heart. Parashurama accepted Karna as a student and was pleased with his eagerness to learn. A worm had eaten into his flesh.
Devdutt Pattanaik - Jaya.pdf
Why did you not shout or move to pull the worm away? Instead of being impressed, Parashurama lost his temper. His eyes widened in realization. Only a Kshatriya is strong and stupid enough to suffer such pain silently. Tell me truly who you are. You are the child of a warrior. You are a Kshatriya and that is why you have been able to display such strength. Because you duped me into teaching you, you will forget what I taught you the day you need it most. There are those who speculate that Karna was a love-child, a product of a premarital liaison with a prince of the solar dynasty, hence the reference to the sun-god.
This story is narrated to warn women against the dangers of submitting to passion before marriage. He is considered to be a form of Vishnu who hacked many warrior clans with his mighty axe when warriors abused their military might to dominate society.
He taught many Brahmans warfare to neutralize the power of the Kshatriyas. The tale of Parashurama comes from a time when the conflict between priests and kings was at its height.
And a father is the man who marries the woman who bears the child. The Pandavas are warriors because the man who married their birth-mother, Kunti, was Pandu, a Kshatriya. Since Karna does not know who his birth-mother is, he does not know the man who married her, and so does not know what vocation he should follow.
All he knows is his inner calling to be a warrior. Vyasa constantly draws attention to the dangers of conflict between individual aspiration and family duty imposed on children by their fathers. Driven by desire, Karna refuses to be a charioteer like his foster father.
Driven by vengeance, Drona refuses to be a priest like his natural father. Krishna, though born in a warrior family, prefers being identified as a cowherd or charioteer.
For it is not vocation that matters; what matters is the underlying intent. This is why Kunti is still a virgin when she gets married to Pandu. They were conceived by the law of niyoga through other men. The blood of Pratipa and Shantanu flows only in Bhishma. Neither Pandu nor Dhritarashtra belong to the original bloodline. So your argument has little weight.
Besides, Pandu was crowned king before your father. The hatred was mutual. The Pandavas feared the Kauravas as they had no real power in the court; their mother was a widow and their father dead. They all lived in the shadow of the blind king and his blindfolded wife. Bhima often bullied the Kauravas, picking them up and throwing them to the ground, or shaking trees that they had climbed on until they fell down like nuts.
They offered him sweets laced with poison. When he had lost consciousness, they tied his limbs and threw him into a river. Bhima would surely have drowned. But in the river lived Nagas. Their leader, Aryaka, rescued Bhima and asked his Nagas to draw the poison out of him. Aryaka then took Bhima to Bhogavati, the city of the Nagas, and presented him to the Naga king, Vasuki.
Thus the blood of Nagas flows in your veins. You are one of us. They also made him drink a potion that would forever protect him from any poison in the world. Thus revived and restored to health, Bhima returned home, much to the delight of his mother and brothers, and much to the chagrin of the Kauravas. The eldest son or the fittest son? A child belonging to the original bloodline, or anyone with the right capability? The solution itself is comprehensive, involving the behavioural karma yoga , the emotional bhakti yoga and the intellectual gyana yoga.
However, no one reads The Gita as a book, or hears every verse in a single sitting. Chapter Architecture in The Gita Traditionally, a guru would only elaborate on a particular verse or a set of verses or a chapter of The Gita at a time. It is only in modern times, with a printed book in hand, that we want to read The Gita cover to cover, chapter by chapter, verse to verse, and hope to work our way through to a climax of resolutions in one go. When we attempt to do so, we are disappointed. For, unlike modern writing, The Gita is not linear: In fact, The Gita specifically refers to the Brahma sutras Chapter 13, Verse 5 , also known as Vedanta sutras, said to have been composed by one Badarayana, sometimes identified with Vyasa.
Further, at places, the same words are used in different verses to convey different meanings, and at other instances, different words are used to convey the same idea. This can be rather disorienting to a casual reader, and open to multiple interpretations. So My Gita departs from the traditional presentation of The Gita—sequential verse-by-verse translations followed by commentary.
Instead, My Gita is arranged thematically. The sequence of themes broadly follows the sequence in The Gita. Each theme is explained using several verses across multiple chapters. The verses are paraphrased, not translated or transliterated. These paraphrased verses make better sense when juxtaposed with Vedic, Upanishadic and Buddhist lore that preceded The Gita and stories from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas that followed it.
Understanding deepens further when the Hindu worldview is contrasted with other worldviews and placed in a historical context. For those seeking the standard literal and linear approach, there is a recommended reading list at the end of the book.
Reason 2: My Gita is subjective We never actually hear what Krishna told Arjuna. We simply overhear what Sanjaya transmitted faithfully to the blind king Dhritarashtra in the comforts of the palace, having witnessed all that occurred on the distant battlefield, thanks to his telepathic sight.
The Gita we overhear is essentially that which is narrated by a man with no authority but infinite sight Sanjaya to a man with no sight but full authority Dhritarashtra. This peculiar structure of the narrative draws attention to the vast gap between what is told gyana and what is heard vi-gyana. Krishna and Sanjaya may speak exactly the same words, but while Krishna knows what he is talking about, Sanjaya does not. Krishna is the source, while Sanjaya is merely a transmitter.
Likewise, what Sanjaya hears is different from what Arjuna hears and what Dhritarashtra hears. Sanjaya hears the words, but does not bother with the meaning. Arjuna is a seeker and so he decodes what he hears to find a solution to his problem. Dhritarashtra is not interested in what Krishna has to say. In fact, Dhritarashtra is fearful of Krishna who is fighting against his children, the Kauravas. But I do not want to be merely its transmitter, like Sanjaya.
I want to understand, like Arjuna, though I have no problem I want to solve, neither do I stand on the brink of any battle.
So I have spent months hearing The Gita in the original Sanskrit to appreciate its musicality; reading multiple commentaries, retellings and translations; mapping the patterns that emerge from it with patterns found in Hindu mythology; and comparing and contrasting these patterns with those found in Buddhist, Greek and Abrahamic mythologies.
This book contains my understanding of The Gita, my subjective truth: You can approach this book as Arjuna, with curiosity, or as Dhritarashtra, with suspicion and judgement. What you take away will be your subjective truth: The quest for objective truth what did Krishna actually say? The quest for subjective truth how does The Gita make sense to me? It allows everyone to discover The Gita at his or her own pace, on his or her own terms, by listening to the various Gitas around them.
Argument and Discussion Objectivity is obsessed with exactness and tends to be rather intolerant of deviation, almost like the jealous God of monotheistic mythologies. But meanings change over time, with the personality of the reader, and with context. Subjectivity challenges the assumption that ideas are fixed and can be controlled; it celebrates the fluid. Modern global discourse tends to look at truth qualitatively: That which is objective is scientific and true. That which is subjective is mythic and false.
Hindu thought, however, looks at truth quantitatively: Limited truth is mithya. Limitless truth is satya. Satya is about including everything and being whole purnam. The journey towards limitless truth expands our mind brahmana.
The Gita itself values subjectivity: Reason 3: My Gita is not obsessed with the self Traditionally, The Gita has been presented as a text that focusses on self-realization atma-gyana. This suits the hermit who isolates himself from society. This is not surprising, since most early commentators and retellers of The Gita, such as Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa and Dyaneshwara, chose not to be householders.
The original Buddhist monastic order may not have survived in India, but it did play a key role in the rise and dominance of the Hindu monastic order. The monastic approach willy-nilly appeals to the modern individualist, who also seeks self-exploration, selfexamination, self-actualization and, of course, selfies. Shankara But the Mahabharata is about the household, about relationships, about others. It is essentially about a property dispute.
The Buddha spoke of nirvana, which means oblivion of individual identity, but Krishna speaks of brahma-nirvana as an expansion of the mind brahmana that leads to liberation moksha while ironically also enabling union yoga , indicating a shift away from monastic isolationism. That is why, in Hindu temples, God is always visualized with the Goddess as a householder, one half of a pair. Relationships In Chapter 5, Verse 13, of The Gita, Krishna describes the human body as a city with nine gates nava-dvara-pura: A relationship involves two bodies, two people, the self and the other, you and me, two cities—eighteen gates in all.
That The Gita has eighteen sections, that it seeks to make sense of the eighteen books of the Mahabharata—which tells the story of a war between family and friends fought over eighteen days involving eighteen armies—indicates that the core teaching of The Gita has much to do with relationships.
It serves the needs of the householder rather than the hermit. Nine Gates Before starting on these eighteen chapters we shall briefly explore the history of The Gita.
After these eighteen chapters, we shall discuss the impact of The Gita on Arjuna. Writing My Gita helped me expand my mind. I discovered more frameworks through which I could make better sense of reality.
I hope reading this book informs your Gita and helps you expand your mind. Should the urge to find a fixed single objective truth grip you, remind yourself: Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes Indra, a hundred You and I, only two. Before My Gita: Vyadha Gita The Vyadha Gita is found earlier in the Vana Parva, Book 3 of the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are still in exile in the forest, having lost their kingdom to the Kauravas in a gambling match.
In the forest, the Pandavas encounter the sage Markandeya, who tells them the story of a hermit who would burn birds alive with a fiery glance of his eye, if they accidentally dropped excrement on him while he was meditating. When the hermit threatened to curse a housewife because she kept him waiting for alms while attending to her household chores, she admonished him for his impatience, and advised him to go to learn the secret of the Vedas from a butcher in Mithila.
In both the Vyadha Gita and the Bhagavad Gita, the discourse takes place in a violent space: In both, there is a separation of the physical prakriti and the psychological purusha , which is the hallmark of Vedic wisdom. What distinguishes the Bhagavad Gita is that it talks explicitly about God bhagavan and devotion bhakti. It marks the transition of the old ritual-based Vedic Hinduism into the new narrative-based Puranic Hinduism. Approaches to Hindu History The history of Hinduism spreads over 5, years and can be seen in eight phases that telescope into each other.
The first is the Indus phase, then come the Vedic phase, the Upanishadic phase, the Buddhist phase, the Puranic phase, the Bhakti phase, the Orientalist phase and finally the modern phase. Relics from the Indus—Saraswati civilization reveal ancient iconography that is considered sacred in Hinduism even today.
But much of the knowledge of that period remains speculative. The subsequent three phases constitute Vedic Hinduism, when there were no temples and the idea of God was rather abstract. The final four phases constitute Puranic Hinduism, characterized by the rise of temples and belief in a personal god, either Shiva, or one of his sons; Vishnu, or one of his avatars; or the Goddess, in her many local forms. The Vedic phase began 4, years ago, the Upanishadic phase 3, years ago, the Buddhist phase 2, years ago, the Puranic phase 2, years ago, the Bhakti phase 1, years ago and the Orientalist phase only years ago.
The modern phase is just emerging, with Indians questioning the understanding of Hinduism that has so far been based on Western frameworks. Dating of Hindu history is always approximate and speculative, and often a range, as orally transmitted scriptures precede the written works by several centuries, and parts of the written work were composed by various scribes over several generations, in different geographies.
Everything is complicated by the fact that writing became popular in India only 2, years ago, after Mauryan Emperor Ashoka popularized the Brahmi script through his edicts. Hindu History Before we proceed, we must keep in mind that the historical approach to Hinduism is not acceptable to all Hindus. The ahistorical school of thought sees all Hindu ideas as timeless. The rather chauvinistic proto-historical school sees all Hindu rituals, stories and symbols, Vedic or Puranic, as having been created simultaneously over 5, years ago.
These have become political issues, which influence scholarship. Historical, Proto-historical and Ahistorical Schools We must also guard against a masculine view of history based on conflict and triumph alone: This has been popularized by Western academics and their love for the Hegelian dialectic, where thesis creates antithesis until there is resolution and a new thesis.
This approach assumes that history has a natural direction and purpose. An alternate, feminine view of history looks at every event as the fruit of the past karma-phala as well as the seed of future tendencies karma-bija , without the need to play judge. Thus, we can see the writing of the Gitas as a response to, not an attack on, Buddhist monasticism, and the feminization of Buddhism as a response to, not an appropriation of, the idea of the Goddess found in Hindu Puranas.
No idea emerges from a vacuum. Different ideas amplify from time to time. Old ideas coexist with new ones. Contradictory ideas influence each other. Here the world has no beginning, no end, no value, no purpose.
All meaning is created by humans, individually and collectively: Masculine and Feminine Approaches to History In most parts of the world, a new idea suppresses and wipes out the old idea, but in India, thanks to the abstract nature of Vedic ideas, new worldviews—be they native ones like Buddhism or Bhakti or foreign ones like Islam and Christianity—simply helped reaffirm the Vedic way in different ways. The same idea manifests as 4,year-old Vedic rituals, 2,year-old stories, 1,year-old temple art and architecture and year-old devotional poetry.
This resilience of the Vedic way led to the Vedas being described in later texts, such as the Brahma-sutras, as being of non-human origin a-paurusheya. This means Vedic ideas are not artificial: It is common, however, to glamorize the Vedas by claiming them to be superhuman or supernatural. Veda essentially refers to a set of hymns, melodies and rituals put together nearly 4, years ago that symbolically and metaphorically communicate knowledge vidya —observations of seers rishis , people who saw what others did not, would not, could not see.
The Upanishads speculated on these ideas while Buddhism and other monastic orders challenged the rituals inspired by these ideas. These inform The Gita. The ideas in The Gita were illustrated and often elaborated in the Puranas, including the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These were simplified during the Bhakti period and communicated in regional languages. They were expressed in English from the eighteenth century onwards.
On one side were kings who established great empires, such as those of the Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Kanvas, Satavahanas, Kushanas and Guptas, which heralded great prosperity but also involved great violence. On the other side were hermits shramanas such as the Jains, the Ajivikas and the Buddhists, who spoke of the household as the place of suffering and sought solace in the solitude offered by monasteries viharas.
Chandragupta Maurya embraced Jainism. His grandson, Ashoka, embraced Buddhism. For 2, years before this, society was dominated by Vedic lore. At the heart of the Veda was the ritual called yagna, which involved exchange, giving in order to get, thus establishing a relationship between the yajamana, who initiated the ritual and the other—family, friends, strangers, ancestors, gods, nature and cosmos.
It was all about the household. Vedic ideas were transmitted via the hymns of the Rig Veda, melodies of the Sama Veda, rituals of the Yajur Veda and even the spells of the Atharva Veda.
The idea of including the Atharva Veda in the list of Vedas is a much later phenomenon. Still later, the epic Mahabharata and even the Natya Shastra—that discusses art and aesthetics—came to be seen as the fifth Veda. Vedic transmission is highly symbolic, with the onus of transmitting the ideas resting on priests brahmanas, or Brahmins and the onus of decoding them resting on the patron yajamana.
As the centuries passed, as society grew in size and complexity, as economic and political realities shifted, as tribes and clans gave way to villages with multiple communities, which gave rise to kingdoms and later empires, the transmission began to fail. The transmitters of Vedic lore, the Brahmins, assumed the role of decoders. In other words, the librarian became the professor!
Consequently, hymns and rituals stopped being seen as symbolic puzzles that when deciphered unravelled the mysteries of the world. Instead, they became magical tools to attract fortune and ward off misfortune.
This trend towards materialism over self-enquiry may have contributed to the rise of the shramanas, who were known for their disdain of Brahmins and Brahmanic rituals. The need for reframing Vedic ideas was felt even within the Vedic fold. The reframing of Hinduism happened rather organically over a period of another 1, years. No authority spearheaded it. Sages began communicating Vedic ideas choosing stories as their vehicle, instead of rituals and hymns.
The stories were based on traditional accounts of events, both experienced and imagined. Everyone worked anonymously and attributed their work to one Vyasa, who was the son of a fisherwoman.
He was also credited with reorganizing the lost Vedas. They were also called Itihasa. Itihasa, taken literally, means stories from the past. Itihasa, taken symbolically, means stories that will always be true: Those who affirmed iti were the astikas. Those who denied iti were the nastikas. Later, as Hinduism turned more theistic, iti denoted faith in God, and so astikas and nastikas would come to mean believers and non-believers. Unlike monastic orders of Buddhism, which spoke of withdrawal and renunciation, these narratives spoke of liberation despite engaging with society and upholding responsibilities.
Household quarrels and property disputes were always resolved using Vedic wisdom presented in the form of conversations. Often, the conversations were turned into Gitas, made lyrical using the anushtup metre, where each verse has four sentences and each sentence has eight syllables.
It is the counsel of a chariot-driver called Krishna to the chariot-rider and archer, Arjuna, just before the start of a war at Kuru-kshetra between the five Pandava brothers and their hundred Kaurava cousins.
It is so popular that today, when we say Gita, we mean the Bhagavad Gita. In its final form, the Bhagavad Gita had verses, split into 18 chapters, of which are spoken by Krishna, 84 by Arjuna, 41 by Sanjaya and 1 by Dhritarashtra. There are suggestions that the Bhagavad Gita originally had verses. It is a conversation, though it does seem like a discourse, which takes place over ninety minutes while fully armed soldiers on either side wait impatiently to do battle.
Whether this event is a time-bound physical objective truth history or a timeless psychological subjective truth mythology remains a matter of opinion. Commentaries, Retellings, Translations Interpretations of The Gita started appearing nearly five centuries after its final composition.
The reason for this gap remains a mystery. The Vedic idea was widely prevalent, but no special attention was given to this particular conversation in the Mahabharata between Krishna and Arjuna. Commentaries on The Gita start appearing from approximately the time Islam entered India. A relationship cannot be denied.
Whether this was pure coincidence or the cause for the resurgence of The Gita remains a matter of speculation, mired in contemporary politics. With Islam, India was exposed to Abrahamic mythology: Christian and Jewish traders had introduced many of these ideas before, but nothing on the Islamic scale. As many Muslims settled in India, as many kingdoms came to be ruled by Muslims, as many Indian communities converted to Islam, they were bound to influence Hindu thought.
However, the extent of Islamic influence provokes fierce debate. The Gita readings took place in five waves spread over 1, years. They were concerned about the nature of God, and the relationship of divinity and humanity. Was God within or without? Was God embodied sa-guna or formless nir-guna? Their language was highly intellectual.
It contributed to the gradual separation of the more intellectual Vedanta from the more sensory Tantra, with the former becoming more mainstream and the latter being seen more as the occult. The tone in these regional works was extremely emotional, with the poets speaking of God in extremely personal and affectionate terms.
Gyaneshwara even refers to Krishna as 'mother', and visualizes him as a cow that comforts the frightened calf, Arjuna, with the milk that is The Gita. It is through works such as these, usually presented as songs, that the wisdom of The Gita reached the masses. It is in this phase that the Bhagavad Purana, or simply Bhagavata, which describes the earlier life of Krishna as a cowherd, became the dominant text of Hinduism.
It is also during this phase that The Gita started being personified as a goddess, and hymns were composed to meditate on her Gita Dhyana and celebrate her glory Gita Mahatmya. Gita Jayanti, the eleventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Margashisha December , was identified as the day when Krishna revealed this wisdom to Arjuna, and the world.
They sought an objective, hence correct, reading of The Gita, implicitly introducing the suggestion that commentaries and retellings and poetic renditions were mere interpretations—subjective, contaminated by artistic liberty, hence inferior.
The translators were Christian and, like Muslims, immersed in Abrahamic monotheistic mythology, who saw God as the primary source of knowledge and humans as sinners who needed to follow the way of God. The Gita naturally became a directive from God, a Hindu Bible!
These translations, and the meanings given by Orientalists to Sanskrit words, with assumptions rooted in Abrahamic mythology, continue to be subscribed to and have a profound impact on the understanding of The Gita in modern times. The Indian National Movement gained momentum in the early part of the twentieth century, and there was an increased urgency to bind the diverse peoples of the Indian subcontinent into a single narrative.
The Gita seemed like a good book to do so. But different leaders saw it differently. Sri Aurobindo found in The Gita mystical ideas of an ancient civilization, while B. Ambedkar pointed out that The Gita seemed to justify the draconian caste system. Bal Gangadhar Tilak found the rationale for righteous violence in it, while Mahatma Gandhi found inspiration for the path of non-violence. This was the period that the world was introduced to the words of the Buddha that were compared with the words of Krishna.
The world, traumatized by violence, was confused as to how to interpret The Gita. Aldous Huxley saw The Gita as part of the perennial philosophy that bound all humanity.
It became the definitive holy book of the Hindus that spoke of peace. Management gurus used The Gita to explain leadership, ethics, governance and the art of winning. By the s, before the Internet explosion, there were an estimated 3, translations of The Gita in almost fifty languages, and nearly a thousand in English. Some American academicians, in recent times, have challenged the notion that The Gita has anything to do with peace.
They tend to project Hinduism as the outcome of an oppressive violent force called Brahminism that sought to wipe out Buddhist pacifism and propagate a hierarchical system that promoted patriarchy and untouchability. The Gita then becomes a complex justification of violence. Any attempt to challenge this view is dismissed as religious fundamentalism or Hindu nationalism.
Increasingly, historians are drawing attention to the deep prejudice and cultural context of many South Asian scholars, as well as nationalists, that influence the way they make sense of facts. To eyes that can see, each of these waves is a response to a historical context, be it the amplification of Hindu theism in the Buddhist and Islamic periods or the transformation of India into a British colony or the rise of the national movement or the end of empires, the rise of secular democracies with atheistic ideologies or an increasingly digitized global village having an identity crisis, where everyone seems to be tired of violence but no one seems to be able to give it up.
You and I live in unique times. We have access to the history of The Gita, its creation and its transformation over time. We have a better understanding of geography, of history, of different mythologies and philosophies from around the world, with which we can compare and contrast ideas of The Gita.
We have access to research on animal, human and developmental psychology. We are also aware that any study of The Gita eventually becomes a study of how humans see the world, how Indians saw the world, how the West wants to see India, how India wants to see India and how we want to see The Gita.
Rather than seeking a singular authentic message, you and I must appreciate the plurality of ideas that have emerged over the centuries and seek out what binds them, and what separates them. Our relationship with the other, be it a thing or an organism, and the other's relationship with us, is what determines our humanity.
And this is a timeless sanatana truth satya , a discovery of our ancestors, which we will explore in My Gita. We will continuously journey between the outer world of relationships and the inner world of thoughts and emotions.
We will begin by appreciating how we look at the world and ourselves darshan. Then we will understand the architecture of the world we inhabit, composed of the tangible and the intangible, both within and around us atma, deha, dehi, karma.
After that, we will see how humans can socially connect dharma, yagna, yoga. Then we will appreciate the idea of God deva, bhagavan, brahmana, avatara , located in all of us, that helps us cope with our fears that disconnect us from society. Lack of faith in the divine within makes us seek solace outside, in property kshetra, maya.
Because of this, a tug-of-war ensues between the inside and the outside. As long as we cling moha , we are trapped. As soon as we let go, we are liberated moksha. We become independent and content in our own company atma-rati yet generous and dependable for the other brahma-nirvana.
The sequence of themes in My Gita is slightly different from the sequence of themes in The Gita as some concepts have been elaborated to facilitate understanding. The Architecture of My Gita 1. You and I do not have to judge Hindu mythology does not have the concept of Judgement Day or qayamat in Arabic.
The God of Hinduism is no judge. Hence, Krishna gives no commandments in The Gita. He simply explains the architecture of the world. As long as we judge, we cannot see the world for what it is; we are simply spellbound by the boundaries that we build separating those whom we consider family from those whom we consider enemy, as we realize in Chapter 1 of The Gita. This chapter introduces the concept of darshan, or observing, that is implicit in the Vedas and The Gita and the Mahabharata, but becomes an explicit ritual in temples of Puranic Hinduism where devotees are invited to gaze upon the enshrined deity, and the deity looks back at them, without a blink.
The Gita begins with how Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and Arjuna view the same battlefield. Below is what Dhritarashtra says in the very first verse of The Gita. It is the only verse he speaks: Chapter 1, Verse 1 paraphrased. Dhritarashtra is the head of the Kuru family, whose two branches are about to clash on the battlefield.
Naturally, he is curious about what is going on there. He is also concerned whether the right thing is being done there, for he refers to Kuru-kshetra as dharma-kshetra. Thus, he expresses his exclusion of the Pandavas from his heart: He does not realize that this exclusion is the root of the adharma that is the undoing of the Kuru clan.
King, your son is not surprised that the enemy is well-prepared; after all, their commander, Dhristadhyumna, is also the student of his tutor, Drona. He declares that the Pandavas may have the mighty Bhima leading a limited army, but he has the veteran and the invincible Bhisma on his side leading his limitless army.
Having said so, he orders his soldiers to guard Bhisma at all costs. Chapter 1, verses 2 to 11 paraphrased. Arjuna looks confident, bow in hand, on his chariot drawn by four white horses, with the image of Hanuman, the mighty monkey god, on the flag fluttering above.
He asks his charioteer, Krishna, to take him to the centre of the battleground in the space between the two armies. Elders, teachers, uncles, nephews, sons-in-law, fathers-in-law. Before him are those he should be protecting, and those who should be protecting him.
Instead, they are planning to kill him, and he them. For a piece of land! How can that be right, or good? What impact would it have on civilization?
How can we slaughter them, they whose greed blinds them to the horror of the situation? If we kill family over property, why will women bother with fidelity, why will communities respect boundaries? All rituals will be abandoned and all ancestors will be forgotten. Those who unravel the fabric of family will surely sink into hell. Chapter 1, verses 37 to 45 paraphrased. This response, full of fear and confusion, is very different from the views of Dhritrashtra and Duryodhana.
The Kaurava father and son have clearly drawn boundaries dividing those they consider their own and those they consider as outsiders, intruders, even enemies. The Mahabharata describes Arjuna as a highly focussed archer, who could shoot his arrow into the eye of a flying bird without being distracted by the clouds above, or the trees below.
He questions the morality of his wanting to kill them, and the consequences of such violence on society as a whole. It is not the violence that bothers him; he has killed before. What bothers him is violence against family, those he is meant to protect. Observing Kuru-kshetra Here is the very reverse of the psychological blindness displayed by Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana: This is darshan! Focus and Perspective In darshan, there is no judgement because there are no boundaries, no rules, no separation of right and wrong, mine and not mine.
Dhritarashtra is unable to do darshan because of memories smriti ; he bears a deep grudge. He was born blind, yet it was he who was never seen. Not by his wife, Gandhari, who decided to share his blindness by wearing a blindfold, rather than compensate for it. Not by his beloved son, Duryodhana, who preferred the advice of his maternal uncle, Shakuni, to his own.
Unseen by all, he is simply paying the blindness forward. Arjuna also has many reasons not to do darshan: Memories Distort Observation In an attempt to goad Arjuna into action, Krishna reminds him of the sufferings of his brothers and his wife and of his duties as a warrior, a brother and a husband.
He speaks of the glory of paradise that awaits him if he dies, and the satisfaction of victory that awaits him if he lives. But none of these have any impact on Arjuna. He refuses to let memories strip him of empathy. He does darshan and that makes him a worthy recipient of The Gita. Long before the war, when negotiations for peace had broken down, Krishna had revealed his cosmic form virat-swarup —the same form he shows Arjuna during the course of his discourse— to both Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana, perhaps to impress upon father and son that his words needed to be taken seriously.
Both father and son refused to see what was shown. They clung to the view that they were the victims. Thus, showing does not guarantee seeing. Telling does not guarantee hearing. Gyana is not vi-gyana. In judgement, the world is divided: In darshan, one sees a fluid world of cause and consequence, where there are no divisions, boundaries, hierarchies or rules.
Rana-bhoomi and Ranga-bhoomi A world created based on judgement evokes rage. Life becomes a battleground rana-bhoomi like Kuru-kshetra, where both sides feel like victims, where everyone wants to win at all costs, where someone will always lose. A world created by observation evokes insight, hence affection, for we see the hunger and fear of all beings. Life becomes a performance on a stage ranga-bhoomi aimed to nourish and comfort the other, while deriving nourishment and comfort from their delight.
He never judges, so he sees no one as a victim. This is how he begins The Gita: Arjuna, you grieve for those whom you should not feel sorry for, and you argue as if you are a man of wisdom. But the wise grieve for no one: Chapter 2, Verse 11 paraphrased.
Do you see me as hero, villain or victim? If yes, then you are not doing darshan. If you can empathize with the fears that make people heroes, villains and victims, then you are doing darshan.
For then you look beyond the boundaries that separate you from the rest. You and I have been here before Our body is mortal and so it seeks security and creates boundaries. But within this body is the immortal atma that does not seek security and so, does not care for boundaries. Wrapped in mortal flesh, it experiences life and death, again and again.
By introducing the idea of immortality and rebirth in Chapter 2 of The Gita, Krishna changes the scope of the discussion, for without death serving as a boundary, there is no fear, no yearning for food or meaning, nowhere to come from, or go to, for the end is no longer the end and the beginning is no longer the beginning. Rather than change the world that defies control, rather than seek validation from things temporary, we engage, observe, discover and enjoy.
Arjuna, the wise know that you and I and the rest existed before this event, and will continue to exist after this event. The resident of this body experiences its childhood, youth and old age before moving on to the next.
This body gets attached to the world around it, and so fears death. They know that what matters is the immortal, not the mortal. Chapter 2, verses 12 to 16 paraphrased. With these words Krishna simply renders death irrelevant. He transforms the battlefield into one of the infinite experiences of the immortal resident dehi of the mortal body deha. Later, he identifies dehi as atma, purusha, brahmana and kshetragna. It inhabits various bodies, again and again, lifetime after lifetime.
This means that this is not the first time we have experienced the world, and it will not be the last. We have been here before and will return again. Our birth is a re-birth. Our death is a re-death. Arjuna, you wear fresh clothes at the time of birth and discard them at the time of death.
You are not these clothes. Chapter 2, Verse 22 paraphrased. In Chapter 4, Krishna declares he has transmitted this knowledge before, to the sun or Vivasvat the first celestial being , then to Manu the first man , and then to Ikshvaku the first king , and that this knowledge is often forgotten.
Krishna, Vivasvat lived long ago. You live now. How could you have taught him? Chapter 4, Verse 4 paraphrased. Arjuna is naturally startled. Krishna responds by revealing that he has lived before, as has Arjuna; he remembers it, but Arjuna does not, for Arjuna is trapped in the outer world of tangible objects and has no insight into the inner world of intangible thoughts. At dusk, they withdraw into formlessness.
The children of Brahma stay entrapped in the wheel of rebirths as their mind is drawn by their senses. But those who fix their minds on me break free from this wheel of rebirths, of fluctuating between form and formlessness.
Chapter 8, verses 16 to 26 paraphrased. The idea of rebirth forms the cornerstone of Hindu thought. It is also the mainstay of Buddhist and Jain philosophies. But there are differences. Buddhists do not believe in the existence of the immortal resident atma , and Jains do not believe in the concept of God param-atma , but they both agree on the concept of rebirth punar-janma.
In Jainism and Buddhism, the world of rebirths is called samsara, propelled by action karma and memories of past actions samskara. These are sometimes referred to as dharma mythologies, distinguishing them from Abrahamic or non-dharma mythologies such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam that believe in only one life, and an afterlife in heaven or hell.
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