Hare Krishna. I seem to have gotten a little Bhagavad-gita debate started on the Mensa Forums. (I’m leaving out the link because access is restricted to members. E-mail me if you want it.)
The topic of discussion was, “How did we get here?” I posted the following in response:
Misuse of our free will.
We are spirit souls, not these bodies. The body is a combination of the material elements made of the Lord’s inferior energy, which is sometimes manifest and sometimes unmanifest, existing for the sake of the disharmonious portion of the unlimited pastimes of the Lord and the living entities.
In the spiritual planets, everyone cooperates in perfect harmony for the pleasure of the Lord. We are in the material manifestation because of a desire for our own sense gratification rather than to serve the Lord’s senses, thus the disharmony.
Someone who had previously read Bhagavad-gita (not sure whose translation, and who had had been charmed by my “10 words or less” summary of morality as “Everything is for Krishna’s pleasure,” replied with the following remark:
Najma: Not sure if I agree with your interpretation of the Gita. You seem to assert that the Godhead is a fount of hedonistic display.
The fault of hedonism is when one of the individual living entities erroneously considers himself the center. However, the speaker of Bhagavad-gita and the subject of Bhagavad-gita is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the actual center and everyone is His servant. It is as natural as feeding the stomach, which in turn supplies nourishment to the whole body, or watering the root of a tree to give water to all the leaves. A part of the body that does not cooperate with the whole is a cancer, and it is removed. Similarly, those who do not cooperate for Krishna’s pleasure are cut off from the spiritual reality. We are eternal spirit souls, part and parcel of Krishna, so we are not entirely cut off, but we are separated by the false identification with the material body; and in this environment we are given some facility to try to lord it over material nature and enjoy.
Simply put, those who serve Him voluntarily, in various loving relationships, live spiritual lives. Others, who harbor some envy of His position, serve Him by force under the authority of His bewildering material energy. That is why we are here in this material world.
Why is Krishna special? Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam vidadhati kaman. (Kathopanisad 2.2.13), “Among the innumerable eternal, conscious living entities, there is one who is the chief. He is the maintainer of everyone.” The maintainer of everyone means that God is everyone’s servant, although He gives personal service to His devotees but only serves others through His external potency. Moreover, everyone is His servant, either willingly or by force of his or her own irrestible sense desires.
To be a servant of a spiritual personality is better than being the master, and servant of the servant is better than that. Spiritual means loving service for Krishna’s pleasure, and He is most pleased by serving His devotees. Thus the Bhagavd-gita is spoken with Krishna as Arjuna’s chariot driver. He was also Yuddhisthira’s messenger. He supplied endless garments to protect Draupadi’s honor. There are endless examples. This is His pleasure, loving exchanges with His devotees, with both the Lord and His devotees endeavoring to please the other through service. In this way, spiritual life is a competition of love between Krishna and His devotees. Materialistic people cannot understand it.
This is not a matter of interpretation. The prescription for understanding Bhgavad-gita is given in Bhagavad-gita itself. It must be heard submissively from a spiritual master in a bona fide disciplic succession, and it is only understood by Krishna’s devotees. This is explained in Chapter 4, verse 2 and verse 3. The requirement that Bhagavad-gita is can only be understood by Krishna’s devotees is elaborated upon elsewhere, such as verse 10.10, and again emphasized in verse 18.67.
If you would like to discuss Bhagavad-gita, I think perhaps we should start it as another topic.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare