Knowing God

 

Although God cannot be understood by the mind, God can be known by the spirit. In chapter seven of the Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjun that he will understand God after knowing Him. God says the He knows all beings, but they do not know Him. People cannot see God because confusion and desire cover their minds, but they can reach God by seeking Him.

The Sanskrit language distinguishes between spiritual knowledge (seeing, knowing) and rational knowledge (understanding). We can come to know God only by seeking Him. Trying to understand God is a path to knowing Him, yet we cannot understand God without knowing Him. This is an apparent paradox, not a real one. It means that we must take steps toward understanding God in order to experience God. While the absolute cannot be understood by our finite mind, it can be known by our infinite soul. However, the soul can only experience the truth if the mind strives for it to do so. Reason or understanding is a path that leads to spiritual knowledge, but only spiritual knowledge has the power to reveal God.

Learn more about Irina’s book, On Hinduism. You can purchase the book on Amazon using this link.

The Gita, Chapter 3: God Explains Right Action

May 1, The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina N. Gajjar

Commentary and Chapter 3, God Explains Right Action

Chapter 3 of the Gita continues to explore the ideas and values that are introduced in Chapter 2. Arjun remains bewildered and troubled by doubt. He does not understand why God, who has said that He can be reached through wisdom or knowledge of truth, wants him to fight and kill. He says that God is mixing him up and asks for a clear answer to this dilemma.

Lord Krishna responds by explaining the virtue and necessity of action, but He makes it clear that only detached action undertaken as a fulfillment of duty brings merit. Action is inevitable. Our bodies compel it. Even God must act to keep the world from coming to an end and to prevent confusion, trouble, and destruction. But a person who acts without self-control and in order to satisfy his desires instead of for the sake of the world is unworthy. A person who merely pretends not to care about his body is a hypocrite and a fool, whereas a person who cares for his body for the sake of God will reach God.

People, the Lord explains, come from food which comes from rain, which comes from prayers which are actions. Prayers come from the Vedas which come from God. Thus, actions come from God. So, action is best.

Though elsewhere in the Gita other paths are glorified, at this juncture Lord Krishna tells Arjun and that he must act with a sense of duty, for the right reasons and not out of desire. Arjun’s duty is to fight, even if fighting leads to his death. Each individual’s duty is greater than anyone else’s duty. But actions undertaken as a duty must be performed with trust in God because such trust eliminates doubt. In Lord Krishna’s words, “Those who trust God are on the road to Me. Those who do not trust Me are lost.”

The concept of pathways to God is an important theme in the Gita and an integral part of Hindu belief and philosophy. The paths are aspects of Yoga. The Yoga of Action specifically teaches that good action can lead to liberation which means freedom from the cycle of birth and death and oneness with God. Attaining this state—believed to be total ecstasy—is the long-term goal of our existence. But the merit of other paths remains to be studied as does the relationship between them.

As Arjun listens to Lord Krishna and absorbs his teaching, his mind seeks to grasp the notion of duty and to understand why some people are unable to act righteously but instead are moved to sin. To understand specifically why Arjun is perplexed, it is important to understand the full meaning of “dharma” which translates into duty. Dharma has a deeper and broader meaning than duty. It includes cosmic order, harmony, and destiny or karma, all directed by positive energy. From this perspective, Arjun asks Lord Krishna why some people cannot help sinning and doing wrong things.

Bhagavan, or God, answers that wanting makes us sin. Desire creates greed, evil, and anger. He says that when our greed is satisfied, we merely want more and that therefore we must stop wanting. Desire covers truth like dust covers a mirror or like smoke covers fire. Further, liking and hating separates us from God.

The way to control these enemies, the Lord says, is to remember that our mind is greater than our desires and that reason is greater than the mind, but that our spirit is greatest of all. Through our mind and our reason, we can reach our spirit and our spirit is God. Self-control helps us to stop wanting which is difficult but, with the help of reason, we can use self-control as the means to stop sinning.

Chapter 3 ends on this note, preparing the ground for further exploration of the precepts that Hinduism embodies.

Please enjoy Chapter 3.

 

Chapter 3: God Explains Right Action

Arjun asked Bhagavan: Oh Krishna, if the wisdom of knowing truth is even better than good action, they why are you telling me to do this awful thing?

Why are you telling me to fight and kill?

You are mixing me up. Oh God, please tell me clearly. The one way I can reach You.

Bhagvan answered: Arjun, earlier I told of two ways to reach God, the way of knowledge which Is wisdom and the way of action which is doing your duty.

A person cannot ever really give up action because a person cannot stop doing things, not completely, not even for a minute. Our body forces us to do things. A person who pretends not to care about the body, but who really keeps on wishing for enjoyable things is called a hypocrite. Such a person is a fool.

But a person who really and truly does not care about her body is good. She still takes care of her body and uses it to do good things for God’s sake because she is good. This is why I tell you action is best. It is best to do your duty well. Do it for God’s sake and not for your own sake and you will reach God.

People grow from food. Food comes from rain. Rains come from prayers and prayers are actions. Actions come from the Vedas and the Vedas come from God. So action comes from God.

Arhun, life must follow this wheel which turns and causes being born, growing, and dying. Otherwise life has no meaning.

A man who cares only about himself doesn’t do his duty. So always do your duty. Do it as well as you can, and don’t worry about how things will turn out.

Wise men like Janak have become perfect in this way and set an example for other people to follow.

Oh Arjun, there is nothing I, God, want but even I work. If I stop working, great trouble would come to the world, for people would follow my example. If I, God, give up actions, if I stop doing good things, the world would come to an end and I would be the cause of confusion, trouble, and destruction.

Arjun, a fool does things for himself. A wise woman does things for the world. A wise woman knows she does things only through God.

So go ahead. Do everything you should for My sake. Do not wonder. Fight!

Those who trust God are on the road to Me. Those who do not trust Me are lost.

People need self-control to stop them from doing things just because they feel like it. People must do things which are their duty whether they feel like doing them or not. Your own duty is greater than anyone else’s, even if your duty is to die.

The Arjun asked: Why do some people sin? Some people cannot help sinning. They cannot help doing wrong things.

Bhagvan answered: Wanting things, desire makes people sin. Wanting is bad. It is greedy and evil and causes anger. Getting what you want makes you greedy for more, and not getting it makes you angry. You must stop forever wanting things for your body.

Desire covers the truth like dust covers a mirror or like smoke covers fire. Control yourself, stop desire and you will see the truth and you will not sin.

Keep away from liking and hating, two enemies who separate you from God.

Remember, your mind is greater than your body. And reason is even greater than your mind. But your spirit, deep inside you, is even greater than reason.

The mind controls the body and tells it what to do. Reason tells the mind what is good and what is bad. With reason, you can control yourself. With reason, you can reach your spirit which is God.

Oh Arjun, control yourself. Stop wanting one thing after another. It is very hard to stop this, but your reason will help you. Control yourself and throw away sin.

Learn more about The Gita, by Irina Gajjar at www.irinaspage.com

 

 

 

Chapter 2, God Answers Arjun

April 24, The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Scared Scripture by Irina N. Gajjar

Commentary and Chapter 2, God Answers Arjun

The message of the Gita begins to take shape Chapter 2 as we are introduced to several of the themes that make up this scripture. We begin to see that while each chapter is discrete, it is not independent and that together they represent the philosophy and values that are the heart of Hinduism.

The language of the Gita in Sanskrit is pure, transparent, and beautiful. The goal of my translation was to keep these qualities in the English version. To this end, instead of translating each Sanskrit verse separately, I altered the construction to let complete thoughts flow smoothly and accurately in English. In the print version of my work, the English text faces the Sanskrit manuscript handwritten and illuminated by Navin J. Gajjar, my husband.

An additional goal in my work was to let the text speak for itself. I believe that, since it is crystal clear, no explanation is required. Each reader or listener can understand the Gita’s message without interpretation. Moreover, as this scripture is believed to be a revelation from God, it should be presented without bias. Ambiguities are deliberate and attempt to resolve them are misleading. For example, the Gita discusses different ways to achieve oneness with God. When Arjun asks which is best, Lord Krishna’s answers are inconsistent. Yet they connect and lead to a consistent conclusion.

So, Chapter 2, God Answers Arjun, begins with an exhortation by God [Bhagvan in Sanskrit and Indian vernaculars] to a dejected Arjun whose eyes are filled with tears. Lord Krishna tells him that he is silly, that if he does not fight he will be laughed at, will not go to heaven, will not be famous but will be weak and unmanly. He urges Arjun to be brave and to conquer his enemies. Yet Arjun continues to resist though he admits his confusion, saying, “We do not know what to do, to fight or not to fight.” He asks for guidance and for a clear answer to his doubts. Then again he repeats, “I will not fight” and keeps silent.

In the remainder of this chapter Lord Krishna further explains why Arjun should take on the battle. His first reason is that Arjun pities those whom he should not because the souls of the Kings who are his enemies are everlasting. The soul, Lord Krishna says, is eternal. It does not change. It cannot be killed. It simply moves on to another body. Just like a man changes clothes, the soul changes bodies. It is formless between lives, but takes on a form between birth and death. This concept introduces the principles of reincarnation and karma which future chapters explore in greater detail. Orthodox Hinduism does not debate either principle but takes them for granted as premises.

Next, the Lord tells Arjun that it is his duty to fight a war for a good reason. He is a Kshatriya, a member of the warrior class, and engaging in battle will lead him to God, whereas failure to do so will be viewed as cowardice.  Krishna Bhagvan or Lord Krishna further explains that the way to fight without committing a sin is to be detached. This means Arjun should make up his mind to wage battle without considering how the fight will turn out. He should not be concerned about winning or losing but only about doing his duty. Thus, Arjun’s mind will be clear, focused, and concentrated on God. Doing his duty well will make Arjun wise.

Lord Krishna’s comments lead to the next focus of Chapter 2. Now Arjun asks how he can recognize a wise man, how a wise man behaves, how he sits and walks and talks. God answers that a wise man wants nothing. He is satisfied and content within his soul. He is without hatred, envy, anger, or fear. He controls his mind and is calm and focused on God. The Lord adds that this is difficult but not impossible. In contrast, a person who keeps wanting things gets disappointed, angry, and confused. She has no peace. Her mind wanders like a boat lost on the water and carried here and thereby the wind.

Chapter 2 concludes with God’s answer to Arjun’s question about recognizing a wise person. He explains that a wise person can be recognized because she is one with God and stays calm like the ocean when rivers flow into it. She is at peace, she understands the truth, and she is forever happy.

The subjects of wisdom and truth arise in other contexts in future chapters. These are fundamental questions. Understanding them is essential to an understanding of the Gita. They are two of the many threads that weave into the rich fabric of Hinduism. While the answers may not be absolute, the questions are.

Now, please enjoy Chapter 2 of the Gita.

Chapter 2: God Answers Arjun

 

Sanjay said: The Lord Krishna talked to Arjun, who was sad and full of pity. Arjun’s eyes were filled with tears.

Bhagvan said: Arjun, how can you be so silly now? You will be laughed at by everyone. You will not go to heaven and you will not be famous. Do not be unmanly. It does not suit you. Don’t be weak. Be brave. Rise and conquer your enemies!

Arjun said: 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.

We do not know what to do. To fight or not to fight. We do not know if it would be better for us to win or to lose and be conquered. The sons of Dritarashtra, the Kauravas, are lined up against us and we do not want to stay alive by killing them.

I am confused. I do not know what to do. I do not know what my duty is. I pray to you, tell me clearly what is right and good for me. Sadness is drying up my mouth.

Sanjay spoke to Dritarashtra: Oh King, after saying this Arjun told Lord Krishna a second time, “I will not fight” and then he kept quiet.

So Lord Krishna, smiling, spoke to sad Arjun who was still standing in the middle of two armies.

Bhagvan said: You pity those whom you should not pity. Wise men do not pity those who are dead nor those who are alive. The reason is simple.

I, God, have always lived. You and those Kings you pity have always lived too. And all of us will never stop living.

The soul of the little boy, the young man, and the old man does not change even though the body changes. And even if the soul moves on to another body after the body dies, the soul stays the same.

So you see, you do not have to feel sad at all. You cannot kill someone else’s soul and someone else’s soul cannot kill you. And the body doesn’t matter. Do not worry about killing the body.

Oh Arjun, do not worry about the body at all. A wise person does not care about heat and cold or about pleasure and pain. These things belong to the body. They come and go. They are not permanent and so they are not real.

Only the soul is real. And the soul can never be killed. A wise person understands this. For this reason, Arjun, go and fight!

The soul is never born. It never dies. It does not have a beginning and so it has no end. It is everlasting and immovable.

As a man takes off old clothes and changes them for new ones, so the soul removes its old body and replaces it by a new one.

The soul cannot be cut by knives or burned by fire, or wet by water, or dried by the wind.

The soul cannot be seen nor described nor imagined. The soul never changes. It has no form, but it is everywhere. So do not worry about the soul.

Oh Arjun, birth leads to death and death leads to birth, so do not grieve over something that cannot be helped. Everyone died before he was born and was born before he died. So what is there to be sad about?

All creatures are formless before birth and formless after death. They only have form during life which is between birth and death.

Some see that the soul is wonderful; some people say that the soul is wonderful, and some hear that the soul is wonderful. Yet some, even hearing, do not know the soul.

The soul which lives in the body cannot be hurt or destroyed, so do not worry about it.

Besides, you have to think of your duty. You are a Kshatriya, a warrior, and to fight a war for a good reason is your duty.

You are lucky to have the chance to fight in this war for your duty will take you to God. And if you do not fight, you will be giving up your duty. Giving up a duty is a sin.

People will laugh at you. You will be ashamed. The shame will be worse than death. People will think you were afraid to fight. Your enemies will say shameful things about you.

But if you fight, you will either go to heaven or win victory. SO, Arjun, arise. Make up your mind to fight. Fight and do not worry about how the war turns out. Do not care if you win or lose. Do not care if your fighting brings pleasure or pain, victory or defeat. Just do your duty. In this way you will be free.

If you are not worried about winning or losing, about killing or being killed, you will be able to do your duty very well because you will not be afraid. Your mind will be on your duty and not scattered her and there.

Oh Arjun, do not care about opposites like pleasure and pain. Just work. Do not care how your work turns out. Do your work well. This is being wise and being wise takes you to God. Being wise, you will not be confused. Your mind will concentrate on God.

Then Arjun asked: Oh Krishna, how can we recognize a wise man whose mind is concentrating steadily on God? How does a wise man speak, and sit and walk?

Bhagvan answered: A wise man is he who is always satisfied because he wants nothing. He is happy by himself, inside himself within his soul.

Because he is always satisfied, the wise man neither feels joyful when he gets something good, nor sad when he gets something bad. He has no hate or envy. He is not afraid. He is not angry. His mind is always calm.

A wise man is he who tries to control his mind and senses. This means he tries to separate himself from outside objects, even though this is very difficult. Yet wise man controls his mind and concentrates on Me.

By thinking of objects, a person starts to want them. And a person who always wants things cannot have them all. Then she gets disappointed. Her disappointment makes her angry. Her anger confuses her. She loses her mind and is ruined. She has no peace.

But a person who stops wanting things is free from attachment. She is free from loving things and free from hate. Such a person is on the path that leads to peace.

How can a person without self-control have peace? And without peace, How can she have happiness?

A person whose mind wanders is like a lost boat on the water carried here and there by the wind.

But a person who has self-control is calm and happy. She is never sad. She goes right inside God. The wise woman who is part of God sees beyond night and day.

Like the ocean stays calm when rivers flow into it, so a person with self-control stays calm no matter what flows into her mind.

Oh Arjun, You can easily recognize the wise man who is one with God. He is at peace. He understands truth. He is calm and he is forever happy.

End Note

We look forward to discussing and presenting Chapter three to you next Friday, May 1st.

Please note that for those interested, I will occasionally be writing blogs regarding general matters in between the presentations of the Gita. These will not appear Fridays or regularly but from time to time as certain events or recollections strike me as relevant. Hopefully, they will not distract from the Gita but rather offer a change of pace. Recently I discussed the state of the world as we cope with Covid-19. Since the Gita represents a way of life, it is valuable to seek ways to integrate it into our responses to daily challenges and incorporate into our thoughts regarding personal and public events.

You can purchase The Gita using this link.

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.

The Knower and the Known

Although God cannot be understood by the mind, God can be known by the spirit. In chapter seven of the Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjun that he will understand God after knowing him. God says that He knows all beings, but they do not know Him. People cannot see God because confusion and desire cover their minds, but they can reach God by seeking Him.

The Sanskrit language distinguishes between spiritual knowledge (seeing, knowing) and rational knowledge (understanding). We can come to know God only by seeing Him. Trying to understand God is a path to knowing Him, yet we cannot understand God without knowing Him. This is an apparent paradox, not a real one. It means that we must take steps toward understanding God in order to experience God. While the absolute cannot be understood by our finite mind, it can be known by our infinite soul. However, the soul can only experience the truth if the mind strives for it to do so. Reason or understanding is a path that leads to spiritual knowledge, but only spiritual knowledge has the power to reveal God.

The Gita understands God to be both the knower and the known, or that which we wish to know. He is the great soul, the individual soul called Atman. He is spirit. God is the knower of the universe and the knower of the “field” which means the human body as well as all embodiment. “Field” refers to place or area, like “field of knowledge.” The term field implies that the body is a place where action or conflict occurs. Lord Krishna delivered the Bhagavad Gita on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, also known as the field of Dharma or righteousness.

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

 

To Know God

Although God cannot be understood by the mind, God can be known by the spirit. In chapter seven of the Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjun that he will understand God after knowing Him. God says the He knows all beings, but they do not know Him. People cannot see God because confusion and desire cover their minds, but they can reach God by seeking Him.

The Sanskrit language distinguishes between spiritual knowledge (seeing, knowing) and rational knowledge (understanding). We can come to know God only by seeking Him. Trying to understand God is a path to knowing Him, yet we cannot understand God without knowing Him. This is an apparent paradox, not a real one. It means that we must take steps toward understanding God in order to experience God. While the absolute cannot be understood by our finite mind, it can be known by our infinite soul. However, the soul can only experience the truth if the mind strives for it to do so. Reason or understanding is a path that leads to spiritual knowledge, but only spiritual knowledge has the power to reveal God.

This excerpt is from On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar. If you’d like to read more from On Hinduism, you can find the book here.

The Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri Mantra, dedicated to the Goddess Gayatri, Mother of Vedas, is one of the most important chants in Hinduism. This mantra expresses the essence of the Vedas. It contains only fourteen syllables, but its compact, complex eloquence is difficult to express in languages other than Sanskrit. It means:

Om
Truth
Earth
Air
Heaven
May the Brilliant Glory
Of the Supreme God
Enlighten Our Minds
Enlighten Our Thoughts
Enlighten Our Meditation

(Rig Veda III.62.10)

Read more about the Gayatri Mantra in On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar.

 

Vedic Worlds: Naraka

The seven lower worlds described in the Vedas are located in Naraka, the netherworld belonging to demons and souls that have become distanced from goodness and God.

Naraka is the plane of lower consciousness. Its regions are temporary hells of the mind and the universe. They are places where souls may wander for many ages or for just moments. Ancient scriptures accepted the relativity of time and space.

Thus, according to Vedic literature the duration of any soul’s existence in any world depends upon whether the time experienced by a particular soul expands or contracts and upon the time scales that are in play when souls migrate from world to world.

Hinduism believes that the destination of our soul depends upon our nature at the time of our death. Our nature is made up of different combinations of three attributes or qualities called gunas in Sanskrit.

These are sattva which is purity and truth, rajas which is desire driven activity, and tamas which is ignorance and inertia. Our actions and aspirations during our life create the sum of the attributes that make up our aura at death and determine what happens to our soul. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita describes the essence of the Hindu understanding of reincarnation in just a few short lines:

If when we die,
we are mostly Sattva,
our spirit gets born again in the world of the wise and the pure.
If we are mostly Rajas,
our spirit gets born again on earth.
If we are mostly Tamas,
our spirit gets born in the body of a dumb, ignorant being.

For more on Vedic Worlds, read On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar.

Multi-Planetary Species

space

 

In previous blogs, I mentioned our potential to become a multi-planetary species. I also said that all human ideas must arise from some human experience. These two notions put together lead me to consider the possibility that our species already is multi-planetary and that we were visited and/or informed by alien astronaut savants. Quite a few of us believe humans have had experiences with aliens, even though we are not sure about our own beliefs.

Proponents of the theory that we have multi-planetary connections think that ancient ruins in various places from Stonehenge to the Americas were landing sites for alien aircraft. Others suggest that bursts of civilization in the Middle East or the remarkably sudden appearance of Sanskrit on the Indian subcontinent are evidence of knowledge that came from beyond our planet. Still others claim to have seen unidentified flying objects and to have experienced probes.

Can we either grasp or disprove the existence of human alien links? What do you think?