Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gita- Chapter 4: Ending Action in Knowledge

For the Aryan mind, novelty in the spiritual kingdom has no charm. Any new idea, however logical and intellectual it might be, is not readily accepted by the children of the Aryan-culture as a part of their Brahma-Vidya, unless the interpreter of the new idea can show that his technique has already been envisaged in the existing scriptures of this culture. In this way we can say that we are Veda-bound as a cultural unit.

In the last chapter, Krishna propounded a revolutionary idea in the form of Karma Yoga which sounded as though it was a novel intellectual theory cooked in Krishna's own brain. Arjuna, as a true student of the Hindu culture, would not willingly accept it unless his teacher gave an endorsement that, what he had lectured upon was nothing other than an intelligent reinterpretation of the ancient sacred Vedic Science. In this chapter an all-out effort is made by Krishna to bring home to Arjuna that the Lord Himself, the author of the Vedas, had been asserting the same old Truth and nothing new.

Again, whenever a teacher, in his inspiration, emphasises a particular stage of self-development, chances are that the dull-witted seekers may misunderstand the import of the words and conclude that the partial-path explained is the entire-route to the Infinite. In order to remove this mis-understanding, the fourth chapter indicates the greater path of Jnana Yoga, the "Path-of-Knowledge," which is the only main arch-way through which all pilgrims must pass in order to reach the Temple of the Self. Upto this arch-way, seekers living in different psychological and intellectual domains may walk their own "paths," but the main gate is Jnana Yoga through which all must pass to have Darshana at the glorious altar. According to Shankara, this Yoga alone forms the subject of the Lord's teachings throughout the Geeta.

A secular science can be successfully taught and ingrained on the grey-matter of the student by any teacher, and it is not at all necessary that the student must have any love for, or faith in, or reverence towards, the teacher who, in such a case, is nothing more than an "instrument of instruction." Thus, today a professor in a modern college is only a "talking instrument," with as much importance as the blackboard, or the desk, or the platform! But, on the other hand, if a cultural flavour, a moral dignity, and an ethical glow are to be imparted to the personality of the student, it is essential that the student must approach his teacher in a spirit of reverence and love, devotion and friendliness. These are the emotional requirements which alone can bring about the necessary conditions in us, so that, when the teacher drops his divine apparel, it may fall upon our shoulders.

To Arjuna, Lord Krishna was only a friend, the cowherd boy of Vrindavana. Familiarity, if it does not breed contempt, is at least sure to pull down the familiar in our estimation of its importance and sanctity. This chapter is also intended to invoke in Arjuna's mind the necessary amount of reverence and respect towards his Charioteer. In short, Krishna is here divesting himself of his work-a-day clothes and is putting on, for the first time, his full Divine apparel of Omnipotence and Omniscience, and the Aura of God, descended upon the earth.

Through an earlier training in Karma Yoga, when an individual has integrated his mind and intellect, he becomes fit for the absorption and assimilation of the greater Truth, through the process of contemplation and meditation. Therefore, there is a strong recommendation of the "Path-of-Knowledge" in this chapter.

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