Chapter II, Verse 1
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
The Yoga of Jnana or Perfect Wisdom
In this discourse, the true philosophy of life and immortality begins. From now on, the meanings are obvious, although the subjects dealt with are mystical in nature. Therefore, as I translate it, I shall not make it cumbersome for the Western mind to follow. From now on, there is no symbolic meaning intended in the text.
Arjuna was overcome with pity and compassion. His eyes were dimmed with tears. To despondent Arjuna, (Krishna) thus addressed: (… Ed’s note: continued in next verse).
The Destroyer of Ignorance directly imparts intuitive wisdom while the devotee is emotionally consumed by the false illusions of what could have been or of what might come to be.
The second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita primarily addresses right thinking. Most people, who find themselves turning to an advanced scripture like the Gita for comfort, have incarnated for thousands of separate human lifetimes. Individuals with fewer incarnations typically turn to rituals and contrived relationships, or to other external comforts.
In the first chapter, Arjuna is established as the soul who is seeking liberation from ignorance. A warrior on a well-defined battlefield, he was presented with his duty to accomplish freedom. The liberation seeking devotee must battle all that s/he holds dear as well as those things s/he dislikes or feels indifferent towards.
I don’t agree with Sri Nerode’s statement that “the meanings are obvious”. Surface meanings may be “obvious” but there is an ever deepening wisdom behind each verse. Reading any literal English translation from the Sanskrit, reveals repetitive thoughts stated verse after verse with little or no apparent change in the obvious meaning. For example, in the next couple of verses Krishna criticizes Arjuna for refusing to do his duty to fight. After that Arjuna makes more excuses in verses 4 through 9 for not wanting to “kill” his “relatives.” Arjuna’s excuses are followed by Krishna stating in verses 10 through 30 that the soul is immortal and not impacted outward change. The sentiments expressed on the surface seem to vary little as one progresses through a light reading of the Bhagavad Gita. By the time “The Devotee’s Gita” is complete, it should be clear that no words in the Gita are either wasted or repetitive.
Go beyond the surface level. When it appears that repetition continues throughout the Gita, contemplate what the differences between the verses actually represent. Some even dismiss the second half of the chapters to be little more than a repetition of the first half. The Bhagavad Gita is a much deeper text. The slight variations from verse to verse have meanings that may only be revealed when studied with intuitive wisdom.
Each devotee will find deeper meanings that apply to his/her own duty in life by intuitive study of this scripture. Forget the past and focus on what appears to be true in the current moment. Listen to the voice of the ever present intuitive wisdom, even if it’s only the whisper of conscience.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
“Sanjaya” – Whenever the narrator speaks, it is an indication of the past – of the reports of false sense experiences as opposed to reality of soul perceptions.
“Dhritarashtra” – In Yogananda’s “God Talks with Arjuna” commentaries, he indicates that Sanjaya addresses “The Blind Mind” in other words, the intellect.
“Madhusudana” indicates Krishna the charioteer as the destroyer of the Madhu demon of ignorance, specifically one who destroys the false illusions of past and future which are the creation of the blind intellect.
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