Chapter II, Verse 2
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
How has this weakness befallen thee at this hour of crisis? It is inglorious, disgraceful and inimical to the Path of good and progress.
From an absolute and aloof perspective, from the internal subjective view, objective emotions are delusion. Human emotions should not be entertained by (embraced by) a true “Aryan” or one who sincerely seeks the absolute Truth.
Emotions are arguably the most powerful of the paradoxes that confront every devotee who strives towards enlightenment. Emotions, the blind intellect, separation from others and the phenomenal bodies both physical and subtle are all illusions. Yet if the devotee wants to fulfill a role in the world, s/he must utilize the illusions of the world.
Worldly results are born from worldly actions. A devotee can be free from worldly attachments only by maintaining a perfect balance between the positive and negative poles of duality. Complete non-attachment (or balance) is possible by oneness with intuitive wisdom.
Sri Nerode has translated the name of the speaker as “Krishna”, however, in the original Sanskrit the reference is to “Lord” as in “The Blessed Lord spoke”. The difference is that in this case “Lord” indicates that the Absolute state of consciousness is expressing through the form seen as Krishna. Allegorically in the “Bhagavad Gita”, Krishna is always the human who expresses various aspects of God.
The epithets used for both Krishna and Arjuna (the human forms of the Godhead and the ideal Devotee) are significant to understand the deeper meaning of each verse. In this case for example, God states that a display of weakness is “disgraceful.” In the absolute sense, weakness is disgraceful.
However, rare is the person who is able to operate their entire life from the one-pointed state of intuitive wisdom. So, from a human perspective it could be said that showing weakness is a normal part of the process. For example, if Krishna had spoken these lines as “Govinda”, the chief herdsmen, then the verse would indicate that any human in any state of spiritual evolution should be expected to perform their duty without the slightest complaint. Instead, the expectation of enthusiasm is reserved for the devotee who increasingly maintains the highest state of unlimited consciousness.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
“The Lord said:” – Krishna portrayed as the absolute Godhead.
“not like an Aryan” – Even as the caste system indicates the different stages of an individual’s evolution, so also ethnicities indicate the state of development for an entire community. At the time of the first telling of the Bhagavad Gita, the Aryan civilization was the most spiritually advanced civilization on earth.
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