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Sanatan PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

 arjuna uvaca
aparam bhavato janma
param janma vivasvatah
katham etad vijaniyam
tvam adau proktavan iti

Arjuna speaks

You are not that old
You were born only recently
Sun is ancient
Sun was born centuries ago
How can I comprehend?
You could have spoken these truths
Directly to Sun (Vivaswat)
How could you have?
Talked at the beginning of time. ||4:4||

There is a difference between how Arjun and we think when compared to the thinking process of Krishna. This difference arises because Krishna knows and sees from a different level. Krishna says that he has said these words to Vivaswat (sun) at the beginning of time. Arjun can see Krishna in his times and wonders how this would ever be possible. Arjun and most of us may know of past lives but it is a theoretical knowledge. We do not really know when and what we were in our past lives. Krishna can see the entire past; it is not a belief for him.

We need to understand how humble Krishna is here. He is not saying to Arjuna that this is his own product. Krishna is not insisting on the fact that what he is saying is new, original or revolutionary. He is not applying for a copyright and he is not going to patent his ideas. At the same time he is not saying that these ideas are old and obsolete. He brings freshness to the whole product.

We think differently. Newton invented gravity. Krishna will say that gravity has already always been there. Newton was the one to see its presence. The same can be said about electricity or the sound energy. We say that Columbus discovered America. We like to put labels. America has always been there. People have been living there before Columbus accidentally bumped into the shores of America. But, that is not us. Krishna does not insist on the ownership; he also does not want to claim that he is saying anything new.

Krishna says, “Yogo nashtah parantapa.” He uses the word yoga and not knowledge. Krishna has used this word yoga throughout Gita and he conveys various meanings through this word. It is not just the knowledge. It is:

knowledge+technique=experience to centering growth.

And this yoga according to Krishna has been lost in his time for some reason or the other and Krishna is bringing the same yoga back to Arjun. It is nothing new.

Krishna simply means that yoga is sanatan, “yogah proktah puratanah.” Yoga cannot be antique. It is not like an old car or a statue that is several thousand years old. It is like a fresh breeze or a fresh fragrance that has existed as long as the wind has been there or as long as flowers have been there. Yoga has always been as fresh as it can be and there is no way of it becoming stale. Krishna’s yoga is as fresh today as it was when he told to Vivaswat or to Arjuna.

This approach is so significant. There is nothing new to be said. There is no insistence of being original. There is no difference, in this thinking, between what the Upanishads say and what Buddha has to say. The truth stays the same whether it comes from Mohammad or whether it comes from Jesus Christ. There is no need to become distinguished. There is no need to have separate institutions in the name of religions. The truth is the truth is the truth. Who says it becomes irrelevant. But, we are not prepared to listen to Krishna that way. We like to make the distinction between all the messengers and create institutions around them. That creates a perfect ground for us to argue, disagree and fight. This says much about us that about the messengers themselves. We ought to listen to what Krishna has to say here or else we will end up destroying our whole civilization trying to be separate and distinct.

Rajiv Malhotra has come out about his theory of U-turn. He has several examples of people who have been to India and the east to learn. They go and learn different yoga principles and techniques. They spend time with a Guru or a gyani. Then, they come back, practice and teach the yoga principles and practices they have learned. Slowly and slowly, they stop telling about the source of their information. As time goes by, they modify the package a little and start calling them their own. The ownership of information starts here. The last phase is the trashing phase when the same people start trashing the source. This is the whole U-turn theory and it is so much against the theory of Krishna, where there is nothing new to be said. What Krishna is telling is as old as the appearance of any light.

I once went to meet with Herbert Benson at Harvard University in Boston. He has written books on Relaxation Response. It was a good meeting. He has done a lot of work on this relaxation response and it is impressive. We were talking about meditation and he mentioned that he would like to monitor some of the responses to the meditations I would do in his place. I mentioned the techniques and said that they were from Bhagwan Rajneesh. He was very happy and wanted to go ahead on one condition that I would not use Rajneesh (now Osho) name. This attachment or detachment to a name is in our blood. Krishna would not approve of that today and would not have approved of it in his time with Arjuna.

Krishna creates closeness with Arjun and calls him a Bhakta and a friend, both at the same time, before he imparts this yoga knowledge to him. Arjun in turn has to respond with devotion and trust. Let us bring that trust to Krishna and go on further with this book of yoga that deals with what has always been there (sanatan). There is no need to use a U-turn and there is no need to ignore or avoid one name or the other. Let us all focus on the learning and practicing the yoga techniques that Krishna has to show us.

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