Chapter II, Verse 43
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
Full of desires for self, and looking upon heaven as their highest goal, they offer many and various ceremonies as a means to attain pleasure and power from God. And they regard them as leading to new births as the reward for their (religious) performances.
Worldly and egoistic humans proclaim that god grants pleasure and power. To garner god’s attention, these same egoistic people create rituals and dogmas.
Everyone incarnates for a reason – to fulfill desire. The ignorant believe that fulfilling desires leads to lasting joy. Instead fulfilling material desires leads to more desires. If one car is good, two cars must be better!
The ignorant priests, ministers and leaders of various religions manipulate human behaviors by promising the fulfillment of desire upon the performance of specific actions. Ignoramuses degrade the “Name of God” and lead the masses astray from the true purpose of spirit-based religions.
In a broad sense, most religions are little more than a form of government. Members of a religion agree to a set of principles and promote specific practices. For examples, Christians agree upon the Ten Commandments and practice “communion” with Jesus through a symbolic wine and bread ritual.
All religions have leaders who adjudicate upon the behaviors of their individual members and congregations. Like governments, today’s religions control their members with threats and promises. In its own terms each religion claims, “Follow the scripture and go to heaven. Ignore the scripture and go to hell.” It doesn’t matter if the disciple answers to a priest, a self-proclaimed guru, the Pope or an Ayatollah, whenever the interaction becomes either abusive or threatening the disciple would be wise to choose a more joyful and supportive religion.
In this verse, Krishna is telling Arjuna that any religious person promising the fulfillment of sensual desires and worldly power through the practice of rituals is incorrect. Especially beware of any religious leader who promises glory upon death.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Kriya – Rites and Rituals
In this verse of the Bhagavad Gita the Sanskrit “Kriya” refers to performing many rituals for the purpose of worldly pleasure and gain.
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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