Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Krishna

April A-to-Z: must-read books

Bhagavad Gita and its Message (1995)
By Sri Aurobindo
(1872-1950) India

Aurobindo Ghose was an Indian nationalist raised for significant periods in England before revolting against their occupation of his homeland—through passive resistance in public, but privately in militant form. While jailed for prosecution in connection with a failed assassination attempt (for which he was eventually acquitted) he made that greatest use of solitude which brings about revelation and enlightenment.

As a guru and yogi, he built an ashram which exists today as an intentional community; one which attempts to guide its population according to its founder’s teachings.

For a long time I wished to visit Auroville because the messages which I gleaned from Aurobindo resembled my own understandings about life, humanity and evolution more closely than those of any religion or philosophy I’d ever heard, and at that time I yearned for the companionship of those with like minds.

Reading his English interpretation and treatment of Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita was a thrilling emotional experience because I read things which I had been experiencing but which I had never spoke or written of to anyone, nor ever read or heard about before. I finally had some affirmation; some evidence that I was not entirely alone, even if the source was more than two thousand years old and its translator dead (or rather, he left his body, according to followers) for more than fifty years. The book however, had just been published in 1995, finally edited posthumously from a great volume of drafts.

If you have ever redefined for yourself, the nature of truth; ever been so humble as to abandon all your beliefs, knowing they had to be flawed, and started all over again; ever came to regard causality and perspective with a new reverence, ever pondered the prevalence of illusion in society and in your own mind, ever looked inward with great courage; ever been so staggered; knocked off your feet, by the miracle of your own existence – any of these experiences… then this book, and possibly other treatments of the Gita, are a must-read.

Some short passages which moved me very deeply:

While the actions are being entirely done by the modes of nature, he who's self is bewildered by egoism thinks that it is his "I" which is doing them.

The mind is restless and very difficult to restrain; but it may be controlled by constant practice and non-attachment

When thy intelligence shall cross beyond the whirl of delusion, then shalt thou become indifferent to scripture heard or that which thou hast yet to hear.

The sages who have united their reason and will with the divine renounce the fruit which action yields and, liberated from the bondage of birth, they reach the states beyond misery.

The enlightened man does not mourn either for the living or the dead.


IntrepidReader said...

FWG, you write so well that I want to read every one of these books. I found the passage for this one very relevant. Attachment is suffering, indeed.

Mary t Kincaid said...

It is always enlightening to read the journey of someone else. We all search for our understandings as best we can.

cammies on the floor said...

Love the passages, sounds like an interesting book