The Bhagavad Gita


According to Gandhi

Fellow sufferers, for those of you in the know, the  Bhagavad- Gita is considered by eastern and western scholars alike to be among the greatest spiritual books the world has ever known. In a very clear and wonderful way the Supreme Lord Krishna describes the science of self-realization and the exact process by which a human being can establish their eternal relationship with God.

In Gandhi’s commentary he helps the reader understand, in the way he saw it, the discussion between Shri Krishna and Arjuna where he[Arjuna] asks Shri Krishna whether it is wrong to kill one’s kinsmen. In this war epic, Shri Krishna answers Arjun in more than 11 chapters of the Gita. The other 7 chapters talk about self actualization, ways of acting, ways of letting go.

Shri Krishna in the many avatars tells Arjuna the need to forget the I, mine in all he does. We are told we must act without minding the rewards, that sand and gold should mean nothing to us, they are all dust. It is a book full of so many wise sayings.

It’s a great book for everyone. It is no wonder, Gandhi found it useful as a source of inspiration for non violence/ noncooperation.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

48 thoughts on “The Bhagavad Gita

  1. john zande says:

    As far as creation myths go, the Vedic religions kicked ass!

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  2. gipsika says:

    Stunning way of seeing things.

    I remember a good while back when I was still a lab rat, one of the trainees asking, “when I analyse chromosomes, must I think of myself as a researcher, or that I might be wrong, or..” (I can’t remember all the conditions she listed, but the answer my boss gave was: “When analysing chromosomes, don’t think about yourself at all. Just think of the chromosomes.”

    Back then the dialogue struck me as simplistic. Then I started teaching music and started to understand just how difficult it is for especially a young musician to separate his self-observation from the music and focus fully on only the music (not what the audience might think of him). However this is why playing an instrument is therapeutic. While you are truly fully involved in playing, you forget yourself – and everything that troubles you. It is a respite.

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    • makagutu says:

      it’s that state you describe when playing a musical instrument that Shri Krishna is talking of and in this case it should apply to every facet of life.

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  3. Eric Alagan says:

    Vedic religions are much closer to the Truth than many would give credit for —-

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  4. reikiheidi says:

    My partner and I had a discussion about this the other day: If the soul is immortal and the body nothing, is it then right to kill kinsmen (or anyone for that matter)?
    My thought was – just because the body is nothing, it does not take away the moral issue – a life is a life, and it is valued by the person who lives it. Taking away that life is still a moral issue.
    It was an interesting debate we had, thoughtful. But I won’t bore you with the details 🙂

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    • makagutu says:

      Given you have been missed around here, you can’t bore with the details my friend. i imagine that was an interesting discussion.

      In this story, Shri Krishna warns Arjuna it is wrong to make that distinction of kinsmen and non-kinsmen. He is told if he is to fight that which is evil, he can’t be attached even to his kinsmen.

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      • reikiheidi says:

        Ah! Thank you for the distinction. Our debate centred more around the morality of killing even it is KNOWN that the soul is ‘immortal’. Is it ever right to take a life?
        But attachment – yes, a Buddhist philosophy too. Hmm, interesting.
        I really must get around to reading that book! 🙂

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        • makagutu says:

          You should, it is a small book and there is a link on the OP if you are interested.
          The question you ask is a difficult one. I have written elsewhere that suicide, that is voluntary dying, is right. But for one person to take another person’s life, that I don’t think is right.

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          • reikiheidi says:

            That was my thought, BUT – if it is choice between someone doing evil to others, and taking their life, or lives, saves other lives… what then? Is it still immoral, or are the boundaries of morality redefined?
            🙂 AND does intent matter? Or is the action enough?
            An almost endless discussion, I think!

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            • makagutu says:

              The problem begins when someone decides to do evil to others. If that hadn’t happened the question of killing him/her would not arise. In an ideal situation, no one should harm others raising the need to debate whether he should be killed or not.
              I think even in a situation when one is doing evil to others, killing them shouldn’t be the solution but removing them from the society and keeping them in a place where they can be attended to.
              Is one life more important than the next? If we take his life because he has taken a life, are we any different?

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              • reikiheidi says:

                Depends if INTENTION comes into it, doesn’t it?
                If a hostile person comes into my house and threatens my children, and the only way to remove that threat is by causing him harm, and I accidentally kill him, instead of just knocking him unconscious, have I committed an immoral act? Am I worse than him because I committed a hostile action without intent, or is he worse because he intended to, but didn’t get a chance to carry it out?
                😉

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                • makagutu says:

                  In this case you had no intention of killing the fellow. You were trying to defend yourself and in that event she died. Did you use too much force than was necessary? The intention to cause you harm is wrong in the first place.
                  When I say we are not any different from a killer is when either through the courts on our personal initiative plan and execute him. He took a life so we take his.

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                  • reikiheidi says:

                    Yes, I totally oppose the death sentence. But when we talk about personal decisions and actions, that’s a different story.
                    Ah, questions of morality!
                    Have you heard the story of (I think) the Buddhist Monk who, when confronted with an assassin who told him he could run him through with the blade without blinking, the Monk replied,
                    “I can be run through without blinking.”
                    Non-attachment to life at its highest form!

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Yes, questions of morality. It is an interesting discussion.
                      That would be the highest form of non-attachment. I haven’t that story but it is an interesting one.
                      Personal decisions and actions is also a long discussion in itself.

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  5. themodernidiot says:

    Might I pose this question:
    If one is a killer, and he kills because he is free to kill, does not incarceration then just kill him slowly?

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    • makagutu says:

      How is one a killer? Is it because he has killed or is likely to kill? All of us have the potential to kill we may not just have tried it. Even if incarceration kills him slowly, society has a duty to protect itself and if all attempts at rehabilitation should fail, then such a person should be isolated. If he so chooses to kill herself, no problem but that decision should not be made by anyone else!

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      • themodernidiot says:

        I don’t know, I thought that’s what was interesting about your post.

        In America we lock up, for instance, the one who pulled the trigger, but what about all the people involved in that? And is that killer actually bad? Or is he just bad because the survivors need a logic, or reason behind it. No one wants to accept that we’re no more significant that insects that we don’t think twice about killing.

        Life has natural killers. Were it not for certain rules, that natural killer would be free and doing what he’s supposed to. We lock him up, his spirit dies, and therefore he dies, but just really slowly-much like an insect who has been poisoned, or a child choking on nerve gas.

        We’re all killers. So yeah, we need some rules here and there.

        But I was just thinking out loud about them. How funny we are as a species.

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    • reikiheidi says:

      Also, incarceration cannot kill one whose mind is free…

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      • themodernidiot says:

        Yes, thankfully sane humans start from a complex place, and can adjust in captivity. Incarceration does change psychology long-term. The spirit breaks. But non-humans do not have the higher functioning to reason, or imagine their captivity away. If a natural killer is mostly instinct, his healthy equilibrium will decline from not being able to go kill. Like lions in a zoo; a sad, slow physical and metal decline into an early death.

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        • reikiheidi says:

          But is that society’s problem? If we do not remove a threat that intends to harm others – then what else do we do with them? Can we honestly say that ‘we’, as a culture or society, should be responsible for the way that someone’s mind works?
          Interestingly, my partner and I were debating personalities through the ages – these ‘killers’ today, people we call ‘psychos’, would they have been, say in Roman/ancient Greek times, good soldiers? Would they have been the heroes of that era? Is it a matter of culture, society, and times, rather than someone being ‘bad’ or ‘good’?
          🙂

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          • themodernidiot says:

            Well sure, because they are what we made them. If we weren’t polluted and lived the way our brain-body balance should, we wouldn’t have such crazy extremes. Anomolies, sure, but more manageable.

            And yes, then, as now, our psychos made great killers, and leaders, and helped create our civilizations today. The Romans made the Nazis look like school boys on Holiday.

            Now we have the military, law enforcement, Monsanto, oh so many killers, and we don’t bat an eye. Death is part of the process, be it individually or en masse. Population control really, so I suppose on a macro level, it isn’t really anything to get to worked up over. But I think deep down we care.

            And the way we kill, as a society, is just as sick as what one killer may do to one person, or a New England school. But the killer isn’t remorseful, the killer is just doing what comes natural. I think the other ways we kill people are not.

            Who knows? It’s all ridiculous. My parents don’t want my schizo brother running around killing people, so he’s incarcerated in a haze of shitty meds that are literally killing him. We keep lions in zoos where they slowly die.

            Seems to me we are very responsible for the kinds of minds we make. garbage in garbage out kinda thing.

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            • reikiheidi says:

              Wow, that was long, complex, and heartfelt! I don’t know if I can reply to it all, but I am enjoying the discussion – so thank you 🙂
              I agree with you, I feel the same about society. i hate being British and the empirical heritage, I hate what white people have done to tribes throughout history. But I can’t help when and where I was born – should I be to blame for my predecessors? Society is such a big machine now, so many caught up in its wheels, many are not aware of its turnings, only trying to get by as best they can – they can’t see the bigger picture, or see what they can do to change it.
              Society is not, and never has been, a utopia. We moan about our society now – but can we point to any time and place where things were any better? Culture and society change, and always always someone, some race or class etc have been abused, torture was used, no understanding of compassion… this ‘ideal’ we feel we should be at – it has never existed. We can hope that it will… some day… but I don’t think we are now, any worse than anything that has come before. Just different.
              To live is to struggle – you see it everywhere in nature… the human condition is no different, even with our consciousness and supposed conscience.

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              • themodernidiot says:

                Yup. As a species we kinda suck.

                Agreed, apologies for birthplace are ridiculous. Be glad you’re British. The empire’s done fairly well atoning for that pesky colonialism; and you have the best sense of humor, ever.

                Besides, it could be worse! You could be an American; we’re all shite 😉

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            • makagutu says:

              Yes, some societies, indeed most societies, are not good for breeding good people. They are breeding grounds for robbers, murderers and rapists then we go all out in rage when they act in some way while the society is partly responsible for how they have ended up!

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          • makagutu says:

            I don’t think the gladiators in ancient Roman were psychos. They only killed each during the matches unlike the psychos we have among us who go on shooting sprees or abductions.
            Society must protect itself. Retributive justice is not the way to go. If there is no chance of improvement with rehabilitation, by all means let these people be kept in isolation so that they do not endanger the lives of members of the society and two that they do not have the opportunity to procreate.

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        • makagutu says:

          When you talk of natural killers, it reminds me of the movie Kill Bill and there is this discussion with the Black mamba and they are talking about superman. Bill says, without the costume, superman is not super, while her, the black mamba[Uma Thurman] is a natural killer. I don’t think locking them up would take that away from them. They will be natural killers to their death.

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          • themodernidiot says:

            i LOVE kill bill! excellent movie reference.

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            • makagutu says:

              Kill bill is great, Uma Thurman is so dedicated to exacting her revenge that nothing can stop her!

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              • themodernidiot says:

                best part-“move your big toe”

                so back to your quote-put a killer in jail, you never rehabilitate him. so why spend all that money putting a killer in jail? and where do we draw the line on what killers we accept and what we don’t? look how many the US has propped up?

                I’m not advocating letting people run free to stab everybody, but the incarceration thing doesn’t work when you create criminals, in order to imprison them, in order to profit from it.

                i can’t speak for other countries, but I can tell over here, we’ve got it all messed up.

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                • makagutu says:

                  Is that where she kills Bill? I like the part where she puts all she has learnt to get out of the grave, sort Bill’s brother, sort lady and drive off to get Bill.

                  I don’t think your system is trying to rehabilitate the prisoners, but just to lock them up so that at the end they come out worse depending on who their cell mates were. The question of money is an interesting one. I have said that as a society we are poor, it is for that reason that we see it as expensive to rehabilitate offenders.

                  Where do we draw the line? Easy I think. Why for example should we lock up a person who accidentally fired a gun and it ended up killing someone with whom they have had no prior relationship? Or why should we lock up a mother who in a fit of fury should kill an abusive husband unless we are helping her recover from the trauma? Am here not justifying killing an abusive partner, I mean you can walk.

                  Yes, we have to stop creating criminals.

                  I think for the developed world, US of A has the most people in prisons. It must be a business venture, that is, running prisons!

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                  • themodernidiot says:

                    Yes we are in the business of prisons. it’s a problem some of us recognize, others support, and most do not see. We also don’t lock up many of our mentally ill, we drug them, which basically just kills them slowly. Then we yank the money for their meds, which makes them all crazy enough to go kill again. It’s all dependent on profit, and it’s all shite.

                    In the meantime, we forcefeed people so many chemicals that the mental imbalances keep climbing. We suffer from malnutrition in body and mind. Just imagine what we could do if if was the opposite.

                    Yes, I agree, the lines of justice are drawn to suit prejudice, and money, not fairness. we do have a good justice system, just too many lawyers mucking it up.

                    And as far as poverty as a deterrent to rehabilitation-poverty of mind in childhood scares me more. Why are we letting things go bad then being reactionary. It is much cheaper for everyone to be proactive and work toward a common ideal.
                    Competition is fine, but this level of disparity is not.

                    Like

      • makagutu says:

        You are right on that one!

        Like

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