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by Ganesh V. Burde

Previously:  Arjuna throws up his weapons in despair, and Krishna preaches action.

Krishna Teaches Arjuna
The Teachings of Krishna
In a Rangoli Masterpiece

Chapter V
The Yoga of Renunciation

Here Krishna begins with the dictum that a duty rendered is an abandonment of it. This appears like a paradox. It appears that many people of the time were obsessed with dhyaana or contemplation like  the Rishis or sages engaged solely in tapashchrya or austere contemplation or itinerant affairs. It was argued that work begets more work, action begets more reaction and the man is immersed in the affairs of the world, forgetting God. Hence the Lord, time and again, is repeating action, which should be executed without selfish ends. A devoted worker, treating everybody equally a dog or an elephant, serf or a scholar, lodged in the supreme, reaps the benefit of renunciation. God does not interfere in one's work; neither does He rewards one for it. It is the inner urge that drives man and he only reaps the benefit thereof. A man is called lifelong sanyaasi who does not indulge in hatred or exploitation. At last he will be released from earthly bonds. Calm, celibate, controlling the mind absorbed in God. To him, pleasure and pain, clod of earth and piece of gold are equally worthless. One life may be insufficient to reach perfection; the devotee may have to be born in a convenient family to realize his ambition. 

Chapter VII
The Yoga of Knowledge and Specialized Knowledge

" I am made up like other men" says Krishna, of material and immaterial things; but "there is another aspect of me, divine, unknown to others. I beget; I destroy. I am the cosmic thread on which creatures and things are mounted, like jewels on a gold wire. I am the essential part of everything, like taste in water, light in the sun and moon, life in beings, seed in plant, and majesty in royalty. I am not of them. They are in me. I am the God who grants favors to those persons who pray to different deities, because all the prayers to all the deities reach me."

The idea of one God in the Semitic faiths could not be explained in better words. These stem from the liberal Hindu background that all faiths are different aspects of the Supreme being. God is not known to all due to maya or illusion. "Only those who are bereft of vision cannot see and realize the one great integer, Me, and serve me faithfully."

Chapter VIII
The Yoga of the Indestructible Brahman or God Supreme

Krishna says that the time of death of a person is important. There are two solstices in a year. When the sun crosses the equator to the south is the southern part and when he passes to the north is the north part. Those who die thinking of God in the southern part, to the abode of Yama, the god of death, return to the earth after rebirth. Those who similarly give up the ghost (like Bhishma) and die on the first day of north solstice are truly blessed.

The first day of the northern solstice was considered so sacred, that some people believe that the Latin Aryans, who were the first Christians, declared Jesus was born on 25th of December as we know today -- although he was born thirteen days after that.

In the Gita, we find that Shri Krishna advices everybody to meditate on the supreme at all times of both the solstices.

Chapter IX
The Yoga of Royal Knowledge and the Royal Yoga

The Lord is divulging to the disciple, Arjuna, the Arcanum of knowledge, which is also the specified knowledge. This knowledge is about the God being the motive force of the cosmos. "In fact, I am the unseen. All the creatures are in me, but I am not in them. The world is ruled by natural laws; those who do not follow them come to grief. I guide people; people do not guide me. Votaries of gods go to gods; vagaries of goblins go to goblins. Every era finds me creating the world and every era (Yuga) sees me ending it. After creation, I remain indifferent as it were."

"Entertaining high hopes, some people act in vain. Some of demonic nature is churned into wicked acts. Good people praise me and are devoted with a fixed mind. They perform the sacrifice of knowledge." -- This is an example of Shri Krishna using old words to mean new meanings. Here the sacrifice of knowledge is spreading knowledge. "Various people are devotees of mine in the various avatars or manifestations."

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