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Gita Today: Dharma and Morality

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We'll go through "R" which includes RELATIVITY and RELATIVITY of RIGHT and WRONG.

Relativity :

We had a Urology conference recently in Sugarloaf in Maine. Sugarloaf is a ski place. We were all sad the next day because one of the doctors Dr. Soleman was found dead on the slope. He was in his fifties and known to many of us. What happened? Death has been a mystery to most of us and continues to be like that. Whether you believe in re-birth or not, one thing is sure and that is the dead person is not in our company.

We were sad because Dr. Soleman is no more with us. We were able to relate to him before, but we can’t relate to him now. The world still exists, but Dr. Soleman has traveled beyond this world. We had a moment of silence at the meeting for his departure from our world. The meeting then went as usual.

Prakriti and Purursha :
The world exists relative to us. I am living today and the world around me can relate to me and I can relate to this world. When I die I do not exist relative to this world. My relationship to this world is because of my physical body. We all kind of know that there are two parts of this body. One is the physical part which our medical world knows very well. The body is alive when the heart is pumping, lungs keep breathing and the brain keeps working. The other part is the life energy. The life energy is what we are not able to grasp. We know that the physical body dies and we take care of the body in different ways after death. We do not know what happens to the life energy. We can call it soul or we can call it the essence. When we say that ‘death is the only certainty in life,’ we talk about this physical body. We actually very rarely talk about the essence or the life energy when we are alive.

Kapila Muni gave us the concept of Prakriti and Purusha. In essence the world according to Kapila Muni is made up of two components. The physical body comes from the Prakriti and the life energy comes from the Pusrusha. Purusha can be conceived as a life energy pool. The form is coming from what we can see, the Prakriti (loosely translated as Nature). What was before Purusha and Prakriti? The answer is difficult to grasp. Krishna mentions that manifest comes from the unmanifest (avyakta). We shall continue this discussion in detail later when we come to that shloka.

Relative to whom: Our Limits or Krishna’s Limitlessness
We know about the physical aspect because we can grasp it with our senses. Dr. Solomen is dead and that is our inference because we cannot see his body any more. The life energy (Purusha) aspect of his existence is not in our grasp. In fact we are not even aware of our own Purusha aspect during our life time.

Our sense organs have limitations. We can see only to some extent. Normal person has a 20/20 vision. We can use microscope to see smaller objects such as bacteria or even viruses. Telescopes can help us see black holes in the universe. Before we had these extenders our visibility had been restricted. We are learning all the time.

As we know now, we cannot grasp what happens to life energy after death. Most of us believe that there is another world. The life energy goes to this other world. We live in this world and as long as we live this world is real to us. When I die, this world dies for me. The trees and the houses still are there. But, I am not able to relate to them and therefore they do not exist for me when I am gone.

The bigger question is which is the bigger world, this world or the other one. We live on planet earth. Earth is not the largest planet in the universe. Earth in fact is a very small planet and forms a very small portion of the entire universe. We as individuals may think that this world is the only world; the truth may be totally different. Our scriptures talk of several lokas (worlds); this being one of the worlds.

There are some people who can relate to both worlds at the same time and all the times. Krishna is one of them. Death to him is not real. Death to Krishna is a transplant surgery. Prana or life energy is removed from one body and then transplanted into another. It is like taking a car engine from one car and placing into another. The engine may be in a holding place for some time before it is place in the other car. There may be limitations as to what engine can and cannot fit another car.

There are systems for travel of the life energy (the essence or the soul) as well. The entire system is known to Krishna. We and our world form a small part of the whole system. Dharma for Krishna applies to the health of the entire system. Krishna is concerned about the value system of this entire system because he is aware of the whole system. We sometimes are concerned about the value system only of our family because we are limited to that.

This relativity needs to be understood. We relate to only one world at a time. When we are in this world, the other world is absent for us. When we leave this world this world does not exist for us. If we are able to wake up and see both worlds, then we can also say that this world is a Maya (illusion) and we can also see that this world is important but forms only a small part of the entire Maya Loka (Mayaspace). We can then also see that a decent value system (Dharma) is needed for a healthy regulation of the entire system. This is where Krishna is coming from. Until then let us continue with our limited relativity and rely for the rest on Bhagavad-Gita and Krishna.

Relativity of Right and Wrong :
As Arjun is concerned about death of his loved ones. He becomes emotional about this. He is about to fight a war of his life, but is overcome with his emotions. He starts talking about what is right and what is wrong. Krishna’s arguments are flawless. It is hard to counter Arjun’s logic even in today’s times. Many in fact believe that Arjun had been right. Mahatma Gandhi came to a conclusion that Mahabharat did not happen because of this. How could Krishna advocate a war? This is hard to conceive and justify for many.

Morality survives on right and wrong. Dharma is not. Dharma needs to be upheld and Krishna would go to any extent to get that done because health of the value system is important for a healthy nation or a healthy society. No body has a problem in formatting a hard drive of a computer when it gets infested with viruses or spy ware. Krishna is similarly concerned about the hard disk of the entire existence.

Right and wrong is a good idea for a healthy society. It has a utilitarian value for Krishna. It is like driving a car on the right side in USA and driving on the left side in England. Krishna would not get disturbed if he has to drive on the wrong side in special situations. Right and wrong are relative to a Dharmic person. A moral person draws firm lines. Dharmic person does not believe in lines. Morality needs enforcements. You need rules of right and wrong because there is chance to become amoral. A Dharmic person cannot be amoral. This possibility does not exist in a Dharmic person. Krishna can dance with several Gopis at the same time. He can be intimate to several women at the same time. His interiority can still stay un-attached.

There is no possibility of getting involved. We do not understand such a person because we measure them with our standards. We look at them relative to how they behave compared to our behaviors in similar situations. We need to conform to morality and right and wrong because we can cross over to the other side. Krishna or Buddha do not need this because the other side does not exist for them. In other words, whatever they do is works out to be right for that moment. We can also understand this if we can get there. Krishna tells us the pathways. Buddha tells us the pathways; Buddha even calls his book Dhammapada (the feet of Dharma).


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