Chapter II, Verse 42
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
Flowery speech is spoken by the foolish who rejoice in the letter of the scriptures, saying, “This all that we have or that we need” (or “there is nothing else”).
Ignorance is present everywhere in the material world. Many people memorize each word of their preferred scripture and recite it loudly while proclaiming “this is the immutable Word of God.” The rants of these fools create misery and suffering in every generation.
Ignorant are those who follow the letter of the law and not its intention.
The Bhagavad Gita describes a battle. It is both a fictionalized account of a historical event and a detailed exposition the “psychological” battle that occurs within.
More specifically, the inner battle is between two pairs. The ego and the intellect – both are essentially deaf, dumb and blind – and the liberated Consciousness and Intuition – both of which are unlimited, yet they need the ego and the intellect to express through the human form. The ego and the intellect are tools of Consciousness and Intuition that have run amuck.
All enduring scriptures have been based upon the actions and words of those who achieved a state of expanded awareness and who felt guided to help others. However, once the disciples of these visionaries cast the words of their prophets in stone, the trouble began. There’s not a single world scripture that has not been significantly edited and translated through the generations. In addition, every prophet and each savior is born to address the needs of a specific society at a specific state of evolution. While the basic principles may carry forward for many generations, most of the specific actions apply only to those people who received the instruction.
My maternal grandfather was a farmer. He had a small herd of dairy cows, produced butter and milk for the local community and for extra cash he turned the sap of sugar maples into Vermont Maple Syrup each spring. One of my earliest sweet memories in this life is him sharing “sugar on snow” with me. While the sap is boiling down to a syrup, it is tested by pouring a small amount over snow. This creates a maple candy with the consistency of taffy.
My grandfather was a Christian. He might literally apply Jesus Christ’s command to “be like a good shepherd” to his dairy cows. Cows are similar to sheep in many ways. However, for me, the command has to be treated as analogy to caring for the people and the things entrusted to me in my life. If I took the command literally, I would have to buy a flock of sheep and tend to them.
Scriptures directly apply to those who received them and to the time when the words and deeds were presented. Each generation thereafter becomes removed from the specifics and only the principles may apply. So, dogmatic believers who repeat poorly edited and translated scriptures that are even just one generation removed from the prophet are fools.
Don’t follow the herd of fools, break away and express your own uniqueness.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Partha – Son of Pritha
Pritha is the birth name of Arjuna’s mother Kunti. (His “father” is Indra, the lord of heaven, Svargaloka, who has a thunderbolt, Vajra, in his hand.) Partha indicates the state of human consciousness that is innocent or naïve. Contrast with Kaunteya. The feminine origin of this moniker indicates it is related to the ida nadi.
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