Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, Slokas 42-44, part 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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(including part 1 slokas 42-44)

###  amendment to last week  ##

Sloka 42 as translated last week:

O Arjuna, the unwise utter flowery speech. They take pleasure in the eulogising words of the Vedas (annotation by Dasha: Sri Swamiji translates: “Vedic words which glorify earthly and heavenly enjoyments”) and say, “There is nothing else but pleasures.”

Amendment by Dr. Nath:

I have used the word “eulogising” to mean –
“express words of praise for the sake of praising only – not having totally understood the true meaning”.

###  continuation from last week  ###

If we compare this three-tier system of Vedic education to our present day education system, we can understand the implications more clearly.

Before the education, one is considered as “ignorant.” The ignorant lives in darkness. He/she is lazy and/or not interested in acquiring knowledge. (tamasic living)

We, the elders in the society have to tempt (bribe) the young kids who are keen to spend their time on playing and enjoying themselves to accept the need for education. To do so, we have to tempt them with rewards like sweets, gifts etc for showing progress in learning. With the progress in education, the need for giving rewards for success has to get less and less. Instead of rewards as the motive for good work, maturity should bring in the attitude that the knowledge acquired for welfare is the reward for hard work.

The Karma Kanda section of the Vedas deals with various rituals and the benefits one can get by performing them. They offer the promise of “heavenly pleasures” for those who conduct the rituals. This is like inducement to show interest in learning the Vedas.

The Upasana Kanda takes the spiritual seeker a step higher and gets him/her to concentrate more on the end result of acquiring the total knowledge that leads to the path of “Moksha”.

Finally, the “Jnana Kanda” that takes the seeker away from worldly pleasures and gives the end result of “Moksha.”

It is important to remember that the Vedic education is to dissuade the seeker from running after the personal pleasures and to live the life of “Peace and Contentment.”

They say that “heaven” is an intermediary plane of experiencing higher forms of pleasures. They also teach that the pleasures experienced in heaven are not permanent and are directly proportional to the amount of spiritual effort put in.

It is like spending the money saved by hard work to relax and go for holidays. As soon as the savings are exhausted, we cannot remain in the resort we enjoyed previously and have to start working and saving for next period of holidays.

Heaven is to be looked upon as a place of reward for good deeds done on earth. The one who is looking for pleasures in life, albeit, in an honest way, will experience the heavenly pleasures in relation to the good deeds conducted. As soon as the benefits proportionate to the good deeds are exhausted, he/she has to work again to acquire more spiritual points.

The highest goal for man is to know and realise the Eternal truth. Every benefit that he/she gets for the efforts which comes short of the final end result is of no consequence. Heaven is not the goal. Those who go after the pleasures of heaven will unfortunately fall down to earth on exhausting good spiritual points acquired by hard work. They have to go through many more cycles of births and deaths before reaching the final goal. This is what the texts say as “samsara.”

###  to be continued next week  ###

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