Sinfulness vs. Goodness

In the view of Hinduism, sinfulness and goodness are mixed in our characters. Our natures contain different proportions of these qualities or tendencies and we should strive to behave in a manner that develops good tendencies and wipes out bad ones. While our deeds reflect our nature, they also impact it. For example, being truthful and worshipping God with a loving heart are signs of persons who are good and doing these things leads to goodness. Conversely, being dishonest or pretending to worship God with a hate-filled heart are signs of a person who is evil and doing these things leads to evil.

In chapter sixteen of Bhagavad Gita which discusses goodness and evil, Lord Krishna sums up the tendencies and behaviors that constitute goodness:

The Lord said:

Goodness is many things.

Goodness is being brave and pure

And thinking of your soul.

Your soul is God inside you.

Goodness is helping others.

It is self-control and worshipping God

And having pujas

And studying the Vedas and other holy books.

It is calling out God’s names and glories and suffering for your beliefs.

Goodness is being straight and strong

In body and mind.

Peacefulness, truthfulness, and kindness are good.


This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. To purchase the book, visit our Amazon Link.


Ahimsa, or nonviolence, is a Hindu principle that means we should live in harmony with the universe. We should be considerate of all creatures and all natural forces and live in balance with them. We should be compassionate. We should exercise self-control and not go into a frenzy to satisfy our desires and with the world. We should not needlessly hurt others in any way. However, we should do what our duty demands.

While Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all endorse the doctrine of Ahimsa, they consider it differently. Buddhism bans killing along with stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxication. Jainism opposed all killing categorically. Hindu tenets are not so specific. They go to motive. Hinduism does not oppose killing. Rather, it opposes senseless killing. The distinction is difficult to put into words. The effects of an act depend on the thoughts that engendered it. The doer of the act must decide whether an act is hurtful or not and whether is necessary or not. It is the quality of the actor’s nature that determines if he or she makes the right decision and that sets karma in motion, for better or for worse. While a wise person performs acts that are in keeping with universal harmony, an anger driven fool is likely to commit acts of unwarranted violence.

Violence and destruction are not always harmful. Burning fields to improve their fertility is a good thing. It is different from starting a wildfire that will burn and destroy forests. The Gita speaks of a moral war, explaining that the soul cannot be killed and that the body does not matter at all. The Mahabharata and the Gita illustrate rather than explain what constitutes a moral war. Lord Krishna speaks on the “Battlefield of Dharma.” The noble hero, Arjun, does not want to slay his enemy. He does not want a kingdom, or victory, or pleasures. He would rather his enemy kill him than kill them. Lord Krishna convinces Arjun to fight, leaving the outcome of the war in God’s hands:

Do not care if your fighting brings pleasure or pain,

Victory or defeat.

Just do your duty.

In this way you will be free.

(Gita 2:38)

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. To purchase the book, visit our Amazon Link.


The Principles of Dharma

Dharma gives every human being a place and a role within which individuals have a chance to improve their position in the world until they are free of its bindings. They have an opportunity to write their own destiny to make things better for themselves and to make a difference in the world. To do so, they have to think about what is good. Hinduism teaches that responsibility, compassion, spirituality, piety, selflessness, and renunciation are good and these ideas have become ideals. Scripture, society, and culture have translated Hindu ideals into values that in turn determine behavior. Hinduism expects its followers to engage in behavior that promotes the greatest good and this entails living by the principle of dharma.

Dharmic principles mandate behavior that relates to family life, social life, and spiritual life. These principles are not exclusive to Hinduism, but they are specifically integral to Hindu thought. Dharmic laws are both natural and learned, passed on from generation to generation.

Teaching children Sanatana Dharma which is the heart of the Hindu value system has become a challenge in the twenty-first century. As families are separated, as Hindu live more and more in the midst of other communities, as mothers and grandmothers work, and as information overload impinges upon time, it takes more and more of a focused effort to raise children in accordance with traditional values. Customs that passed on from generation to generation naturally now have to be passed on purposefully.

While children used to learn, understand, and practice Hinduism effortlessly, now families must teach its meaning. In the past, children grew up speaking the languages of their ancestors, languages full of symbolism and meanings that cannot be well expressed in other tongues. Today parents must persevere in the teaching children the languages and ways of their elders.

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, By Irina Gajjar. To purchase the book, visit our Amazon link.




Chapter 12: Loving God

July 3, 2020, The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Scripture by Irina N. Gajjar

Commentary and Chapter 12, Loving God

Arjun opens Chapter 12 of the Gita with a question. He says some people love God in His unmanifest form, as a nameless, formless, endless divinity and others love Him in His manifest form, with a picture of Him in mind and he asks Lord Krishna which is best. Lord Krishna’s answers suggest that both are equally best, though loving God without imagining what He looks like is difficult.

The Lord explains that those who love, trust and think of Him are best but that those who are calm, good, and who have self-control also come to Him. He says that He rescues from birth and death everyone who loves Him alone and who worships Him and who acts for Him.

God tells Arjun and us all that if we think of Him, we will love Him. If we cannot think of Him steadily as in meditation, we should practice, and if we cannot do that, we should perfect ourselves by doing everything for His sake. If we cannot act for Him, we should simply remember to detach from the results of our actions which means we should not worry about them and not plan beyond them. This advice puts the Gita’s message in a nutshell.

As to the specifics of the best way to worship and understand God, the general principle stated is clear yet open ended. It is ambiguous unless we see that all the ways merge into one. Lord Krishna says that knowledge is better than practice and that thinking steadily of God is better than knowledge. The best however is doing your duty for God’s sake by renouncing the fruit of your actions. Again, while this seems different from the earlier verse which says those who love and trust Him are best, we need to remember that the ways of worship are interwoven and that they all lead to peace.

In the rest of Chapter 12, Lord Krishna speaks of the persons who are dear to Him. He speaks of an array of traits that such persons possess. This array is comforting because most of us see many of these qualities present in ourselves as well as in others. Many are consistent with our notions of human goodness. Others require effort or understanding. Particularly renunciation of outcomes and detachment from comfort or pain is not easy to appreciate or achieve. However, understanding that detachment and not caring are active and not passive attitudes help. Actively doing the right dutiful thing regardless of results to the best of our wisdom and ability is liberating and brings us calmness and happiness.

God says the persons who are dear to Him include those who are friendly, kind, and unselfish and who hate no one, those who do not mind suffering or pain and those who are happy and forgiving without hoping for pleasures. Also, those whose minds belong to God and whose bodies obey their minds are dear to Him. Those who do no harm, who love the world, who are calm and do not waiver from excitement one moment to anger the next are dear to Him and the unafraid are dear to Him too.

People who want nothing and who are pure and faithful and those who understand that their actions are really God’s actions are dear to Him as are those who do not jump with joy and those who do not hate or suffer or want things. Those who are disinterested in good or bad outcomes and love only God are dear to Him. Those who treat friends and enemies in the same way and who do not care if they are praised or criticized or if they are hot or cold or pleased or displeased are dear to Him.

It is interesting to note that the very attitudes which make us happy in turn make us godly or good and that our happiness and serenity endear us to God. Most if not all these attitudes have been introduced in previous contexts in the Gita, but now they are presented together as qualities we should strive to develop within ourselves. They endow our journey through life with goodness, purposefulness, and stability.

Lord Krishna sums up His devotion to humankind saying that whoever understands and follows His teachings and whoever loves God alone is dear to Him.

Please enjoy Chapter 12 below.

Chapter 12: Loving God


Arjun said: Some people who love You, have a picture of You in their mind. Other people love You just as a formless, nameless, endless God. Which people are the best?

Bhagvan answered: I think those who love me and trust Me most always think of Me are the best. But those who have self control and are calm and do good to all also come to me. Those who never stop loving God, even without imagining what God is like, they too come to Me.

Of course, it is harder to love God without imagining what He is like.

But I quickly rescue from birth and death whoever loves only Me and does everything for Me only and worships Me all the time.

So think of Me and you will surely love Me. If you cannot think of Me steadily, without stopping, then you must practice. If you cannot even practice, then do all you can for My sake. You will become perfect just by doing things for My sake. If you cannot manage even this, then just remember not to worry about the results of what you do.

Do not plan for things to turn out the way you want them to, but simply do your best. Do your best and don’t think about what will happen next.

Knowledge is better than practice and thinking steadily of God is better than knowledge. But best of all is doing your duty for God’s sake.

She who hates no one, who is friendly, kind and unselfish is dear to God. She who does not worry about suffering or pain is dear to Me. She who does not hope for pleasures and is forgiving and always happy is dear to Me.

He whose mind is joined to God, whose body obeys his mind, and whose mind belongs to God, that person is very dear to God.

He who does no harm in the world and who loves the world is dear to Me. He who is always calm and who is not happy and excited one moment but angry the next, is dear to Me. He who is unafraid is dear to Me.

He who wants nothing, who is pure and faithful is dear to Me. He who understands that all he does is really done by God, that person is dear to Me.

She who does not jump with joy or hate or suffer or want things is dear to Me. She who gives up both good and bad, and loves only God is dear to Me.

She who treats friends and enemies alike is dear to me. She who doesn’t care if she is praised or criticized, or if she is hot or cold, or happy or unhappy, She is dear to Me.

They who understand and follow all these teachings of Mine are dear to Me. The person who loves nothing but God, only God, is very dear to Me.

The Gita is available for purchase on Amazon. Buy your copy today!



Chapter 4: The Sword of Knowledge

May 8, The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina N. Gajjar

Commentary and Chapter 4, The Sword of Knowledge

Bhagvan begins Chapter 4 of the Gita by telling Arjun that He will share the secret He taught the Sun God named Vivaswan long ago. Vivaswan shared it with his son who shared it with his son and so on. The reason the Lord now shares it with Arjun is because Arjun loves Him and is the Lord’s friend. Arjun wants to know whether God taught at the beginning of the world. God’s answer is that both he and Arjun have undergone many births but that while Arjun does not remember them, He remembers them all.

Lord Krishna’s reply incorporates the principle of reincarnation which is viewed as a given and underlies Hinduism. The Lord further explains to Arjun that He is born and comes to earth from time to time when the good need his protection. On such occasions, His purpose is to destroy the bad and help the good. God adds that those who understand that His birth is divine can escape the cycle of birth and death.

The Lord’s remarks regarding His birth purposed to destroy the evil and help the good raise this question: Are we humans in the hands of God who is the force behind our existence or are we responsible for the course of our lives, of our world and of our planet? The Gita does not consider this question as a question or as a dichotomy. Rather it considers that our karma, born of our free will, is intertwined with the karma of our nation, our times, and of those who connect with us and that all karma acts in concert under God’s auspices. So while we make our destiny, our maker helps us nudge it along. Imagine that worlds resemble multi-dimensional nets, populated by living, singing and dancing beings. The worlds evolve, brighten darken and devolve until they are destroyed to come again into being.

Karma works hand in hand with the notion of reincarnation. Literally, karma means action or doing. Philosophically it means action and its fruit. The different types of karma are discussed in my book On Hinduism, but overall karma is the effect of cause that we set into motion. For example, if we toss a glass, it will fall and break. Thus, Karma involves choices that once made either limit or expand our future destinies and choices. While God is not responsible for our karma, He is considered its merciful dispenser. At the same time, like Arjun, we are God’s instrument in the implementation of karma that has ripened into destiny.

To understand the concepts expressed in the Gita, we should remember that the Lord’s words are words that we humans put into His mouth. Even granting that these words are divine revelations, they come to us in human language. The teachings that we attribute to God represent our deepest, best, and kindest wisdom. They bridge the gap between reason and knowledge and between belief and faith. They carry us from hypothesis to thesis.

Lord Krishna concludes this phase of His discussion explaining that people have become pure and attained oneness with Him by concentrating on God. He adds that as people look for God, He looks for them.

Then, the Lord says that He created the caste system which divided society into four castes. While this organization does not comport with twenty-first century values in India, or for that matter anywhere, the Gita acknowledges it as the social order of the times. Later the castes come up again to illustrate the merit of the respective duties of people that comport with their natures as priests, warriors, business people, and servants. In the context of this chapter, the reference is meant to urge Arjun who is a kshatriya, or warrior, to wage a righteous war.

Overall, Chapter 4 promotes the goal of becoming one with God. It teaches that we can attain freedom from action by acting dutifully, and by distinguishing good action from bad action and inaction. Lord Krishna reiterates that we can reach happiness by acting for the Lord’s sake. He also elaborates on the merit of rituals, on the meaning of sacrifice, on the virtue of faith and on the value of knowledge which means knowing the truth. These themes are now familiar to Arjun as well as to all of us who have been reading or hearing God’s words in the Gita and we can appreciate both their nuance and the interplay between them.

Lord Krishna concludes Chapter 4 telling Arjun that the sword of knowledge will cut doubt out of his heart and once again encouraging him to stand up and fight!

Now, please enjoy this Chapter as cited below:

Chapter 4: The Sword of Knowledge

Bhagvan said: I have taught the truth to Visvaswan, the Sun God; Visvaswan taught it to his son Manu and Manu taught it to his son Ishvaku. And today I teach it to you, because you love Me and are My friend. This truth is very secret.

Arjun replied: But Vivaswan lived long ago. Did you teach at the beginning of the world?

Bhagvan answered: You and I have passed through many births. I know them all but you do not remember. I am born from time to time whenever the good need my protection. I am born to destroy the bad and help the good. My birth is divine and those who understand this become part of Me and do not have to be born again.

Many people have become pure. They have become wise and they have concentrated on Me. They have become part of Me. People look for Me and I too look for them.

I made the four groups of people for the world and divided people according to their natures and work. These groups are priests, warriors, business people, and servants.

From very early times, people who wanted to reach Me and become part of Me did not stop doing everyday things while they concentrated on Me. But even wise men do not understand how to do this. So I will explain the truth to you. I will tell you how you can be free from action without stopping it.

If you become free from action, you do not have to be born again and again. You will not need a new life to finish what you started in your old life. You will not be tied to the circle of birth and death. But you do not have to stop doing things to be freed from the things you do. You can act and still be free.

I will explain good action, good things; bad action, doing things which are not allowed; and inaction, doing nothing. All this is a real mystery. All this is hard to understand.

It is hard to understand that the wise are free because they do nothing while they do their duty. The secret is doing your duty for God’s sake.

A person who does everything just for God’s sake is wise. She is always happy. She does not want or need anything so she is free. She is calm while she does her duty. Her mind is doing nothing except concentrating on God.

A person who is wise never sins. She is always cheerful. She is not jealous. She is past happiness and unhappiness.

The wise person is free. He does not have to be born again. The things he does do not give him any punishments or rewards, so he does not need another life in which to be punished or rewarded.

A person who does everything for God’s sake is free and becomes a part of God. Doing your duty only for God’s sake is the secret.

A puja is a ceremony for God. It is a sacrifice. The puja is Brahma. The fire which is part of the puja is Brahma. The person who performs the puja is Brahma.

Brahma is God’s absolute, everlasting power. We cannot see or hear or feel Brahma. Reaching Brahma and understanding Brahman is the reason for the puja.

A sacrifice is giving something up for God. It is doing something for God’s sake. Some people give things up for God. Some people suffer for God’s sake. Some study for God’s sake. Some breathe for God’s sake. All these people sacrifice for God and their sins are washed away.

But sacrifice that is knowledge is better than giving up things. Learning the truth for God’s sake is the best sacrifice.

To get knowledge means to learn the truth. To learn you must bow down with respect to the wise. You must serve them and wait on them with a pure heart and they will teach the truth to you.

Then, Arjun, when you know the truth, you will not doubt any more. You will not be mixed up. You will see the whole world in your own heart and then in God.

Even the worst sinner can become good and reach God through Knowledge. Knowledge is like a boat which takes you across the ocean of sin.

Like fire burns wood to ashes, the fire of knowledge burns the things you do to ashes and these burnt actions give you no punishments and no rewards. This is how knowing the truth makes you free.

Knowing the truth takes you right to God.

If you have no faith, no trust God, you will doubt and lose God and be unhappy.

Oh Arjun, do everything for God’s sake. The doubt in your heart is the doubt of not knowing the truth. With the sword of knowledge, cut this doubt out. Be free. Do your duty for God’s sake. Stand up and fight!


Read more from Irina Gajjar at

A Note from Irina

Dear Friends and Followers,

We are happy to announce that starting today; we will be discussing The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture in its totality. My translation differs from its predecessors’ in that it flows evenly and clearly in late-twentieth-century English. Thus, the Gita’s beautiful message can be easily appreciated. In the printed book, each page of the English appears along with the Sanskrit manuscript,

Today I will give you an overview of the Gita and its origins. Next Friday, April 17th, I will introduce and present Chapter 1. Each Friday, we will have a new post featuring the next chapter or portion of a chapter, along with commentary, until all 18 chapters of the Gita are completed.

The exact date that the Gita or Bhagavad Gita -meaning Song of God- came into existence is disputed. No doubt, its origins extend further back than we can substantiate. We do know that this remarkable text, which first existed as an oral tradition, stems from a chain of thought going back at least to about 1500 B.C.E. [before the common era]. However, scholars attribute the Gita in its present crystallized form to about 500 B.C.E.

The Bhagavad Gita is written in Sanskrit, a beautiful, complex, and sophisticated language which explains elaborate concepts with clarity. Because of its precision and its richness, Sanskrit is viewed not merely a language but also as an extension of philosophy.

This teaching represents the essence of the Vedas, sacred texts that are the foundation of Hindu belief, philosophy, theology, and ritual. It is considered sruti meaning a revelation coming directly from God. Self-described as a “Sacred Scripture of the Knowledge of Brahma and the Science of Yoga,” the Gita is structured as a dialog between the Lord and the great hero, Arjun. It is part of the Bhagavad Gita Upanishad. The reference to Brahma refers to the holy trinity of Brahma, the Creator, Krishna the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. The Upanishads, also sruti, are a series of sacred texts that expound on the Vedas.

The Gita is inserted into the Mahabharata, a great epic which along with the Ramayana has made Hindu mythology exquisitely three dimensional. Both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are post Vedic writings and are known as smriti or recollections.


As an aside, it is interesting to note that televised airings of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana in the late 1980’s changed the rhythm of life and the Hindu perspective. Around 80 to 100 million people, one-eighth of the Indian population watched the epics on Sunday mornings resulting in shops and businesses closing more on weekends than on lunar holidays.

The Mahabharata is the story of the Great Kurukshetra War involving two families, the Kauravas, and the Pandavas.  Since Lord Krishna preaches just before the onset of this war, its story sets the stage for the Gita.

The Pandavas were led by Arjun and his brothers Yudhishtir, Bhim, Nakul, and Sahadev. They were sons of King Pandu of Hastinapura but born in the forest after their father became ill and left his throne. The boys were gifted by the gods and were said to have been born brilliant with heavenly light. As they were still young at King Pandu’s death, they returned with their mother, Kunti, to Hastinapura to find their cousin Duryodhana ruling. Duryodhana, son of the blind King Dritarashtra, was the eldest of the hundred Kauravas, and he was fiercely jealous of the Pandavas, especially of the praise showered upon them by the people of Hastinapura. Though Duryodhana and the Kauravas pretended to welcome the Pandavas, they secretly plotted their ruin.

The Pandavas grew up to be fine men, well educated as Kshatriyas or warriors, and they successfully protected themselves from Duryodhana’s plots. The five of them won the princess Draupadi and shared her as their wife.

Finally, the Kauravas heeded the advice of wise elders and agreed to make peace with the Pandavas giving them a small empty piece of land to rule. Yudhishtir became king there and ruled wisely. Soon he turned this land into a rich, happy kingdom. He built a new city, Indraprastha, and made it his capital. The Pandavas became so wealthy and strong that Yudhishtir could perform the Rajasuya sacrifice, which proved him to be the most powerful and greatest ruler in the country.

The more Duryodhana saw of the Pandavas’ glory, the more he hated them and determined to destroy them. Eventually, he decided to capitalize on Yudhishtir’s love of gambling and invited him to a game of dice. Despite his misgivings, Yudhishtir accepted. He and his brothers entered the new hall built for this match. The teacher Drona, Bhim – wise uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas- along with others, sat with the old blind Dritarashtra and watched with heavy hearts.

Yudhishtir staked and lost a pearl necklace, jewels, and the gold and silver in his kingdom and lost it all. Then he staked and lost his chariots, elephants, horses, cattle, his slaves, his kingdom, and finally his and his brothers’ freedom. Then, losing all his self-control, he staked his and his brothers’ wife, Draupadi, and lost her too.

When Dritarashtra saw this, he could not bear the burden of Draupadi’s dishonor and misery. So, he promised to grant her whatever she might wish. She asked only that she and her husbands be freed and given their weapons. The blind old King begged the Pandavas to accept the return of Indraprastha, and thus the brothers and Draupadi returned home.

When Duryodhana heard what had happened, he was enraged. He then challenged the Pandavas to a final game of dice. The stakes were that if Yudishtir lost, he and his brothers would go into the forest for twelve years and spend a thirteenth year hiding in disguise. Should they be discovered, they would have to return to the forest for twelve more years.

Yudishtir agreed and played and lost again. So the Pandavas and Draupadi went into the wilderness for twelve years and decided to spend the thirteenth year working in the court of King Virata in Matsya. They succeeded undiscovered. But when they returned, the Kauravas refused to give them back their kingdom. Duryodhana refused to give them any land at all, not even as much land as would cover the point of a needle. Thus, the Kauravas set the stage for war.

Both sides made preparations and asked for Lord Krishna’s help. Krishna agreed to give his whole army to one side and to give himself as charioteer

to the other.  Duryodhana chose the army, and the heroic Arjun, Yudishtir’s brother and the leader of the Pandavas in this fight chose Krishna to drive his chariot. At this point, the Gita begins giving us a picture of the warriors, their complex relationships, their state of mind as well as a feel for the scene of the battle.

As Chapter 1 unfolds, we are introduced to the overarching question Arjun raises. He is distressed by the prospect of war and killing, and he asks Lord Krishna whether it would not be better to die and lose his life than to fight and kill. This question opens the door to the other questions Hindus, believers, and even atheists ask about life, death, honor, duty, virtue, destiny, knowledge, God, goodness, evil, faith, and truth.

Arjun’s journey from doubt to faith and resolve symbolizes mankind’s journey toward belief in a principle greater than ourselves, a journey that can transcend the limitations of humanity.

With this brief introduction, I leave you to await Chapter 1 of the Gita, one of the most significant scriptures of all time. I hope you will participate and contribute to this and the following presentations. I look forward to learning your thoughts, to perhaps answering your questions and I thank you and look forward to your feedback.

Becoming a Yogi

A person’s karma—or self-created destiny—determines whether the new body that his or her soul acquires will be born in the world of the wise and pure or in the lower world in the body of a senseless deluded being. The Gita is a guideline for uplifting the soul so that it ascends to the world of higher beings.

The passages in the Bhagavad Gita that pertain to “science of yoga” instruct humankind on how to better its karma and ultimately attain enlightenment. They intermingle with the “scripture of knowledge” passages which are philosophical in nature and pertain to the unmanifest world of spirit. Yoga in its broadest sense means the path to union with God which can be described as the joining of individual consciousness to the universal consciousness. A yogi is a person who has attained a consciousness that approaches the universal consciousness. Such a person, ruled more by spirit than by body, is wise.

Many passages in the Gita describe yogis and instruct us on how to become yogis:

The person whose spirit rules her completely is ruled by God.

The person has self-control.

She is calm no matter what happens.

She is calm if she is cold or hot.

She is calm if she comfortable or uncomfortable.

She is calm if she praised or criticized.

The person who has self-control never changes.

A piece of stone and gold are the same to her.

A wise person like this is called a yogi.

(Gita 6:6, 7, 8)


This excerpt is from On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar. Learn more about the book at

A Dialog Between God and Arjun

The Gita is structured as a dialog between God and Arjun. The first chapter describes Arjun on the battlefield facing his enemies. Earlier, both he and his opponents called upon Lord Krishna for help. Krishna offers his entire army to one side and Himself as charioteer to the other. Arjun chooses Lord Krishna. But even with God by his side, Arjun feels dejected and filled with doubt. His mind starts spinning. He sees his wise old uncle, his teacher, and his cousins facing him and he cannot make himself fight:

How, Krishna, can I fight Bhishma and Drona with arrows on the battlefield?

I respect them.

It is better to live as a beggar, but without killing, because after killing them our hands will be stained with their red blood.

(Gita 2:5,6)

This excerpt is from On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar. To read more from On Hinduism or other of Irina’s books, visit

Hindu Texts

Hindu texts contain the oldest documented repository of modern day philosophical and scientific knowledge. Vedic tradition distinguishes eternal unchanging reality, which begins with a breath, from temporal ever-changing unreality, which begins with infinitesimal particles of matter. It recognizes the existence of multiverses. Ideas that today float between science and science fiction—precursors of scientific discovery—abound and astound in ancient Hindu scriptures and legends.

In Hindu thought, God alone creates, sustains, and destroys time. God also has the power to expand and contract time. As time cannot be realized apart from God, God is time. Brahma sleeps, the universe ceases to be.


When He awakens, He recreates it.

Brahma’s day lasts a thousand ages

And Brahma’s night lasts a thousand more.

Only the wise

Know this truth

About Time

(Gita 8:17)

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. You can purchase the book from Amazon or read more from Irina at

Incarnations of Vishnu

Ten incarnations emanate from Vishnu. The last, Kalki, is yet to come. Rama, Krishna, and Buddha are His seventh, eighth, and ninth incarnations respectively. All three were originally historical personages, though the dates of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna’s lives are not established.

Rama and Krishna’s stories are told in the two grand Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These works came to full fruition after the Vedic era introduced by the Aryans, but they were centuries in the making. Many components of the epics antedate Aryan predominance in India, be they of Vedic or of indigenous origin. The chronology of the Aryan cultural sweep does not put the age of the Vedic literature at issue because its roots antedate its appearance in India.

Rama, the son of a King, is the hero of the grand Ramayana, which tells of his early life, his exile in the forest, and his battle to rescue his wife, Sita, who was abducted to Sri Lanka by the demon Ravana.

Lord Krishna was a cowherd, much-beloved from the time he was a baby filled with mischief. He was flutist and a charmer who teased the gopis milkmaids and who won the hearts of all whose hearts he touched. Krishna’s devotees worship Him with single-minded love, finding ecstasy in simply uttering his name. His dark blue skin comes from absorbing the poison of a five-headed snake he killed. Many worship Radha, Krishna’s beloved, as one with Him because her devotion both controlled and reflected His divinity.