God Loves Those Who Love God

Loving God is a key theme in the Gita. In Chapter 9, Lord Krishna tells us that loving God is the Holy Secret and the key to attaining ultimate freedom from cycles of birth and death. He explains that God is everything and everywhere. He is the creator and more because the very notion of the world is His. Thus, even the worst sinners are liberated by the love of God.

In Chapter 12 of the Gita, Lord Krishna describes all the good things that happen to those who love Him. He tells us that those of us who do love God are dear to Him. But He does not talk about loving humanity to the extent that He speaks of the power of our loving Him. It is through our understanding and love of the divinity that we merge into the Lord and attain ultimate salvation.

See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar.

Did God Create the World?

A number of major world religions subscribe to the notion that God, such as God is understood, created the world or worlds or universe and all existence. Hindu scripture specifically tells us so. In fact, in the Gita, God Himself reminds more than once.

In Chapter 9, Lord Krishna tells us that the whole world was His idea, and was born from Him. It explains that a great wheel makes it turn round and round and that it appears and disappears repeatedly because He wants it to.

In Chapter 10 He explains:

Everything comes from Me.

Truth, wisdom, forgiveness, self control,

happiness, unhappiness, bravery, fear,

peacefulness, fame and shame

all come from God.

The Gita, Chapter 10, Verses 4, 5

 

At the same time the very God who takes credit for creation, declares His creation to be an illusion. It is “Maya” or make believe or magic and He tells us that only fools believe that the world is real. In His own words:

The wise who understand God pass beyond

the world.

They cross over Maya and reach Me.

The Gita, Chapter 7, Verses 14

Now why would God or the sages who gave to life to the ideas embodied in the Gita create a world that is illusory only for humankind to acknowledge this truth? Why would a power like God want to create worlds that come and go?

It seems to me that the reason does not fit within human logic. It is just that this is how it is.

See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture, by Irina Gajjar.

Why God Scared Arjun 

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

Lord Krishna shows His Gentle Form

 

In Chapter 11 of The Gita, in answer to Arjun’s request, God gives Arjun a divine eye. Thus empowered, Arjun sees God in His powerful beauty, with multiple faces, eyes and mouths, and with magnificent jewels weapons, garlands and clothes. His form is covered with fragrant pastes and glows with the light of a thousand suns.

Arjun perceives the entire endless universe and contained within God and he sees God without beginning, middle or end. He sees nothing but God’s overwhelming brilliance.

The verses describing this vision of the Lord put into words the emotions and thoughts of believers and devotees who try to imagine and explain their certainty about the existence of a benevolent Creator and Preserver to whom they are devoted. The descriptions bring to life ideas that are beyond description or explanation but self-evident to many.

In my opinion, the notion of God evidences a truth that is real because it lives in human hearts and minds though it cannot be quantified or qualified in expressions or images. Human notions, howsoever inexplicable, are powerful. They do not arise from nowhere and cannot be dismissed as nothing.

See, The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture, by Irina Gajjar

Lord Krishna’s Divine Birth 

In the Gita, Lord Krishna tells us He is born from time to time to protect goodness and destroy evil. He says:

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. 

Gita: 4:5; 6; 7 

Human beings envision God in a form like ours. Thus we say that He created us like Him or now some of us consider perhaps like Her. At the same time we cannot imagine the Lord being conceived and born in the same fashion as we were.

In my view, the fact that so many of us not only imagine but also believe in miraculous birth validate our notion and make it true. The real question is what does truth mean?

For some answers, see The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture, and On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar.

Resolutions for 2017 

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? I did not. I’m just plugging along with a mixture of joy, cynicism, appreciation, fear, love, anger, neediness, and hope. I don’t see how doing any one thing better than I have done it in the past will improve me. I just hope I can minimize the extent to which I irritate myself and those I love, but this is a life long work in progress, not a resolution. Moreover, as I keep think of United Nations’ Resolutions, I become increasing skeptical about their value.

What I do have is a hope for the coming year. My hope is to remain inspired.

As you welcomed 2017, did you look back upon 2016 resolutions? Were they kept?

If you want an inspirational boost for 2017, see The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture, by Irina Gajjar.

The Gita on True Happiness

 

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According to the Bhagavad Gita, the purpose of reaching God is to attain true happiness. Here is what Lord Krishna says:

Those who truly love Me know

I am God of the whole world.

They know I am the friend of all

They who really love Me

Know everlasting peacefulness

And everlasting happiness.

The Gita, Chapter 5

These words are quintessential in their simplicity and universality. At the same time philosophers could write and many have written volumes on how to interpret them.

In Chapter five, Lord Krishna discusses the best path to salvation. Arjun wants to know whether the pursuit of knowledge and renunciation are better than the performance of good actions. The answers in this chapter are as simple or complex as one wishes to make them.

On the one hand, the clear answer is that good action is the better path because it is easier. On the other hand, this reply differs from passages in Chapter 4 where we were told that knowledge is the best path to salvation as knowledge is the boat that crosses over the ocean of sin.

Some of us wonder about these contradictions. Scholars explain that the chosen paths depend on the choosers. More specifically the choice depends on the nature of the soul of the seekers of God or happiness or peace. Yet not all of us are perplexed by inconsistencies. We just know that the paths converge.

See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture, by Irina Gajjar

 

Why Hinduism Is Not Really Understood

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Western society’s interest in India has ebbed and flowed from prehistoric times to the present. Over the millennia, traders travelled to the subcontinent to exchange wares, Aryans horsemen rode in with gray pottery and the great wealth of their sophisticated language and religion, Europeans accidently discovered America seeking Indian riches and spices and the British made India the jewel of their Empire. More recently India captured the world’s attention by gaining independence through a non violent revolution, by her rise as the world’s largest democracy and by her growing economic and inventive strength.

Today, highly educated Indian Americans, mostly Hindu, are becoming a bigger part of the socio-political scene in the United States. Yet, the American people remain perplexed by their beliefs.

Why is this the case? I think a big reason is that Hinduism does not really care about being understood.  Hindus make few efforts to rein themselves in, to convince others about the value of their religion, to proselytize or even to worry about being respected as a monotheistic religion. Hindus are happy with their sprawling and rich faith which proudly accepts different philosophical approaches, blends myths with ethics and which encourages spirituality along with the quest for material success.

Non-Hindus exposed to more specific and prescriptive religions may find the choices Hinduism offers confusing, not realizing that Hinduism is based on premises rather than on conclusions. Many believers in other philosophies do not grasp the beauty that lies in a world view that embraces its followers and yet enables them to personalize individual routes to enlightenment.

To better understand and explain Hinduism see The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture and On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar.

God Is God’s Home

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In the last verse of Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, states:

I am Brahma’s home.

I am everlasting and unchanging.

I am unending goodness and unending joy.

Though these few beautiful words are open to interpretation, they embody an important concept: Lord Krishna is the home of Lord Brahma. How is this true?

Hindu Scriptures teach that Lord Brahma, the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the Preserver and Lord Shiva, the Destroyer all emerge from Brahman, the idea of an unfathomable God, beyond the grasp of humankind. This momentous idea gives rise to more easily imaginable ideas about more fathomable aspects or forms of God. The invisible, unimaginable, all powerful and all knowing Brahman is the source of Lord Brahma. Brahman is the first idea, the origin and hence the home of Brahma, the Creator.

Thus, we see how the notion of God led to the visualization of God and how an extraordinary superhuman concept has empowered human devotion, thought, and action throughout living memory

See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar.

God Describes His Glories

glory-of-god

In Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, God describes His grandeur and power. He tells us that He is causation, the source of all power and that He has neither beginning nor end. He tells us that His will created and energizes the world.

God states that His glories are endless. He is the sun, the, wind, the moon and more. He is the best and greatest of everything. He is Om, the sacred sound and symbol of ultimate truth.

See Chapter 10 of The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar.