Monday, August 22, 2016
As is known, the sacred texts are immeasurably more content than it seems. They have infinite different levels of interpretation: some were used to arrive at the plain meaning of the text, some expounded the law given in the text, and others found secret or mystical levels of understanding. As said the ancient Greeks:
Litera gesta docet, Quid credas allegoria, Moralis quid agas, Quo tendas anagogia.
The literal teaches what God and our ancestors did,
The allegory is where our faith and belief is hid,
The moral meaning gives us the rule of daily life,
The anagogy [symbolic interpretation] shows us where we end our strife.
Mahabharata is the greatest text of this kind. And not only for Hindus but also for the whole of humanity, I think. In general, it is the outstanding Itihasa that tells about dharma, artha, kama, and moksha - all that make our life meaningful. But it is also the biggest epic battle in world mythology. The battle between whom? It's clear that the main story line is the constant struggle between the human and the divine element in individuals. And Bhagavad-Gita, which is a discourse between the Divine and the human takes place in the battle field of Kurukshetra, which is known as Dharmakshetra. This scene of battle is between two dynasties symbolizing the Ego-self (Kurus) and the Divine-Self (Pandavas).
Kurukshetra, the battle-ground of the Mahabharata war, is inside us as well. At this level of understanding, there is absolutely no difference between the battle within and the battle without. In fact, the real battle is that which is waged within ourselves. It corresponds to the Greater inner jihad as the struggle of personal self-improvement against the self's base desires. But I was faced with the fact that the current internal battle is increasingly coming to the surface. It happens gradually but with increasing acceleration.
It becomes a Kurukshetra battle on the world stage; and not only in allegory. This is not only a war between specific countries or religious organizations. Rather, the different states are engaged in a battle on a par with individuals, with each of us. And the victory is not always on the side of those who have more weapons. The problem is that most people do not know what they are fighting. They do not choose some side in this war, and then, the choice is made instead them. And then, unwittingly they become the pawns in this biggest chess game. In this sense, the fearsome words from the Bible are perfect: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
So, we have to choose. Upholding the code of dharma or not. How can I determine the fighting forces - i would argue it the next time. Although, the entire story the Mahabharata is about it!
There is the Truth and a lie. The lie as the perversion of dharma. Sometimes, in order not to be driven away from that Truth by fear, it must be actively defended in the outer world, by word or by deed. If not, how can we be sure that our inner faithfulness to God is anything more than lip service, or spiritual pride?
Some say that the Gita is no longer relevant or unsuitable today. Nonsense. I quoted this book to the soldiers who had to go into battle - not Indians, not Hindus, or remembered the words of Krishna to the stuck weak people. Always, those who can hear - hear. Even if they had never heard. Without exception. It is an eternal book and the battle is today. Until we know that the struggle is entirely up to us, and that the battle will never end, we will never know that, in reality, the struggle against it is God's business alone, and the battle is ended already. It was never necessary. It never began. When, as is predicted in the Hindu scriptures for the end of the cycle, "a hundred suns arise at once in the sky", no nothingness can be located; no shadow appears. When God Himself takes the field of battle, He encounters no resistance: because only God is.