God’s display of His horrific form in Chapter 11 of The Gita departs from the philosophical tone of rest of this teaching. It is reminiscent of great epics peopled with demons, and goddesses and heroes or even of fairy tales filled with goblins and angels.
Some have wondered why this jolting interlude is included in the otherwise mostly calm, well reasoned, uplifting sacred holy text that is believed to come to us God Himself.
In my view, the inclusion of a vivid illustration of God’s awesome destructive power could not be skipped. God is Time, who perpetually transforms worlds and creates them anew in our universe and in universes light years away.
See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar
Vedic scriptures speak of fourteen worlds. Seven of the worlds exist on three higher planes: Bhuloka, the first world or the earthly plane; Antarloka, the second world or the subtle, astral plane; and Brahmaloka, the third world or the causal plane of God. These three planes can also be viewed as dimensions.
Bhuloka is the dense outermost dimension of being and consciousness. It is the physical world perceived by the senses. Antarloka is the intermediate dimension, the sphere of gods and higher beings, that exists in between the earthly plane and God’s plane. It is a subtle, astral dimension of consciousness. Brahmaloka belongs to Lord Brahma, the Creator. It is both the highest and the innermost dimension. It is pure spirit. Brahmaloka is also known as Karanaloka, the causal plane or as Sivaloka, the plane of Lord Siva the Destroyer who, through destruction, causes a new cycle of creation. To reach this plane is to become entirely absorbed or dissolved in the Divine Spirit and to merge into or become One with the eternal God. To enter Brahmaloka is to end the cycle of birth and death.
Learn more about the Vedic Scriptures in On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar.
In Chapter 15, of the Gita, Lord Krishna says that only the wise and the good can know God. He explains that those whose minds are unformed or lacking substance cannot find God although God is present in everyone’s heart.
While we all opine on the existence of God as the Creator or the Ultimate Spirit, I suppose that the existence of such a force does not rest on human opinion. Yet most believers consider faith a virtue. Hinduism suggests that faith is wisdom.
On the other hand, non-believers view faith as beyond them or irrelevant or nonsensical. These people take a condescending view of the faithful and many consider them gullible at best.
Between believers and non-believers, we find the seekers. Seekers pursue enlightenment and answers. They enjoy the intellectual gymnastics of trying to understand that which is beyond our capacity to understand. Seekers see goodness in the quest which is an end unto itself. They tend not to believe believers and to disparage non-believers for not looking harder for answers.
Personally, I respect believers, non-believers and seekers. I must admit though that in my heart and even in my head, I am a believer. Somehow I feel that I have some knowledge of something powerful that moves my existence and makes sense of life. Moreover, I think that our conceptions cannot arise out of the blue. Thus our notion of God must come from God
At the same time, I know that in my lifetime, I cannot presume to be sure.
What do you know?
See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar.
In Chapter 8 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna speaks about Himself as spirit. He explains that He is everlasting, the origin of all things, the ruler of all, wisdom and more. He explains that as Brahma, He is beyond our understanding, but not beyond our reach.
God further explains His connection with relative Time and contrasts His permanence with the impermanence of our world. Thus, God says that by worshipping Him we all can go beyond birth and death.
See Chapter 8 of The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar.
While both Hindu and Western philosophies understand that people are a combination of body and soul or spirit, Hinduism views the mind as part of the body. The Bhagavad Gita explains that the body and mind are the “field,” or that which is to be known whereas the spirit is the “knower of the field.” The term field means the place where activity occurs.
Thus our bodies and minds consist of matter and processes whereas our spirit is causation.
Lord Krishna tells us that the body is made up of the five subtle elements, ether, air, fire water and earth plus our senses and our emotions and thoughts. The spirit gives rise to our emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
Life comes about when the body and the spirit are joined.
See Chapter 13 of The Gita, a New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar
Hindu peoples and beliefs stem from a blend of indigenous civilization and Vedic philosophy. The earliest civilization in India, known as the Indus Valley Civilization can be traced to 6000 B.C.E. Archeologists uncovered ruins of elaborate cities which traded with Middle Eastern civilizations and shared symbols and probably ancestry with peoples to the West.
On the other hand, Vedic scripture and philosophy came to the subcontinent much later, about 1500 B.C.E. Remarkably, it arrived fully formed on the backs of Aryan horsemen. These newcomers brought few material goods, but possessed of an impressive, fully formed and sophisticated language, Sanskrit, as well as an extraordinarily elaborate body of thought. How, where and when this language and world view evolved remains a mystery.
See “Origins” in The Gita, a New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture and On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar for more in this fascinating question.
Lately I have been considering the terms world and universe and using them both, in the singular and in the plural in my writing, along with the word multiverses. Technically, the term world refers to our planet and the term universe refers to all creation. Multiverses are defined as potential worlds that may or may not exist.
In my view, the word “world” goes beyond our planet and that worlds exist on other planes, but perhaps even in our minds and dreams. The word “universes” in the plural suggests to me suggests that our universe is cyclical as stated in Hindu scripture. I think “multiverses” implies the cyclical existence of universes that that come and go in spacetime beyond our perception.