Search & Read
Krishna the Trickster
Gail: Hi, Danielji.
I hope your health is improving day by day, and that you are feeling loved by All That Is.
Daniel: Gailji – one of my favourite action figures!
I’m glad to report that my jiva equipment’s slowly on the mend. May Isvara continue to grace this. Feeling loved? Ha! Sounds like a trick question. How can I not feel loved by all when all there is is only me, love itself? ☺
Gail: I have just finished reading the Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran. I haven’t quite worked out whether the Gita is incredibly complex and deliberate or whether it is actually a bit confused.
Daniel: It becomes incredibly deliberate once its logic is unfolded and the apparent contradictions are ironed out, “apparent contradictions” being the keywords here.
Remember, it needs to accommodate a mind in which non-dual thinking is not yet firm and thus uses a little honest trickery to deliver the teachings. It’s a loving set-up.
Gail: Forgive this action figure. She loves God and has a sword in her hand. But sometimes her hair blows into her eyes!
Daniel: That’s the beauty of having the sword of viveka, it’s always available and always ready to do some trimming if need be!
Gail: Pathways to self: the Gita says there are several paths to God – meditation, jnana yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga. None are better than the other, even though Krishna seems to contradict himself in saying “this one is better than that one” about each of them at different times.
Daniel: Krishna’s just a little seemingly biased – ignore the punk!
Gail: My conclusion is that the teaching points to focusing one’s attention on self, using whatever means suits your disposition at the time.
Daniel: Your conclusion is spot on.
Gail: About killing: the Gita teaches on two levels.
Daniel: The two levels are to demonstrate the two different views in which the mind can operate in/from, the view of satya (non-dual thinking) and mithya (duality).
Gail: One – that we should not harm other jivas.
Daniel: From the apparent view: non-injury is the number-one rule. Harming another jiva just means harming myself and just causes agitation. An agitated mind cannot attain moksa. It’s unnatural to harm because love is one’s true nature.
Gail: Although it is set on a battlefield, the Gita is allegory, as evidenced by statements such as 3.43: “Thus, knowing that which is supreme, let the atman rule the ego. Use your mighty arms to slay the fierce enemy that is selfish desire.”
Daniel: Recognize the one supreme awareness (you) to be everything that is, and let the jiva act in a spirit of karma yoga.
Flex your discrimination and discipline muscles to slay unhelpful desires (rajas) that cause agitation. Only a mind free of agitation can attain self-knowledge.
Gail: 16.2: “Do not get angry and harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all.”
Daniel: Following dharma is a reward in itself. The result is feeling good. And feeling good feels good.
Gail: 13:28: “Seeing the same Lord everywhere, they do not harm themselves or others.”
Daniel: A mind in which the vision of non-duality is firm. This mind understands that what moves his/her action figure is the same light/awareness that moves the next action figure. The essence behind the saint is the same that fuels the crook.
A mind with this understanding negates the apparent character (object) and identifies itself with the same awareness (subject) that shines through all the equipment of life.
Gail: Two – that only jivas who are “free from ego” may kill others.
Daniel: The self can’t kill, because there are no “others” to kill. It’s just a dramatic way to communicate the vision of non-duality.
Gail: And only if necessary, as part of their svadharma. They do not generate karma as a result (18:16). I guess this is in defence of truth, innocents and against tyranny. Krishna, I understand, does a lot of this outside the Bhagavad Gita.
Daniel: Correct. Following one’s svadharma is a primary qualification.
Gail: The Gita as a didactic device: it is long enough to go beyond what one person can recall and process at any one time. As such, the Gita is ripe for “cherry picking.” It could be seen as a device that reveals the nature of the reader by how they cherry pick at any particular time.
Daniel: The Gita reveals the nature of the reader in two aspects: as its true nature (non-dual awareness/satya) and its relative nature as jiva.
The Gita covers both satya and mithya. There ain’t any cherry picking to be done when it comes to satya, because it’s who/what you already are, have been and always will be. Satya – reality – is that which does not change, nor can it be negated. No choice in that.
It does however give instruction on how the jiva’s required to behave in order to attain self-realisation and prepares the mind with the core qualification: karma yoga.
Gail: It reminds us that there is no “doer” but Isvara. What looks like behavioural instructions must be read in this light or, it seems to me, they will merely support the idea of a separate self.
Daniel: Correct. “Surrender the results of your action to Isvara” – i.e. apply karma yoga – is the heart of the Gita.
Yes – duality is still present. This comes back to the point that it’s designed to accommodate an inquirer who still needs a little preparation.
Gail: The last third of the Gita seems to me to have a different tone and style. I’m wondering if there was a different author. In the last third, Krishna starts using language like “entering into” sentient beings – as though he is speaking from his personal aspect. We already know he IS those other beings, so there is no entering or leaving.
Daniel: It’s a set-up. As the mind gets more qualified Krishna begins to close the gap of duality.
Krishna switches roles in order to deliver particular aspects of the teaching. It’s also to demonstrate the relationship between mithya and satya.
Gail: He also talks about being “in love” with some jiva types, with the implication that he is not so chuffed with others. And there is talk of “divine versus demonic tendencies,” amongst other things.
Daniel: Ol’ Krishna’s stepping back into the apparent reality here. He wants to re-establish the importance of following dharma. “Divine” just refers to self-knowledge, and “demonic” to ignorance. As the vehicle of dharma, Krishna favours self-knowledge.
Gail: The last third strikes me as more dualistic in form and style. It’s odd that it would appear near the end of the book rather than the beginning, if the intention is to remove ignorance.
Here is an example of what I mean: Krishna is portrayed as being both partial or impartial toward jivas. Around the middle of the Gita, 9:29, Krishna says, “I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none are more dear.”
Daniel: A view from the self as the self.
Gail: Yet in the last third of the Gita we read, “They are detached, pure, efficient, impartial, never anxious, selfless in all their undertakings; they are my devotees, very dear to me,” (12:16).
Daniel: Back to an apparent view: taking into account the apparent seeker and his world. Its purpose is to demonstrate the qualifications required for self-knowledge (liberation) and the fruits attained by applying the teaching.
Gail: Do you have any thoughts on the apparent change in tone, Danielji?
Daniel: “Apparent” is the keyword here. Good for you, Gail.
Gail: Is it just my own “cherry picking” (with hair in my eyes)?
Daniel: Nah – it’s totally valid. Krishna’s known to be a bit of a trickster.
Gail: Danielji, thank you for your responses. The Bhagavad Gita is an amazing piece of work.
I cannot think how else could the author could cover so much ground, alternating between the view from self and the view from apparent reality.
Setting it up as a conversation about a pressing, emotional, “apparent” issue is clever.
The concept of the trickster – I cannot say enough good stuff about how well that concept serves.
Anyway, I’ll know better for next time.
Is this jiva supposed to be having this much fun???
I hope the sun is shining there in Cape Town.
~ Warmth and love, Gailjuna.
Daniel: The author is the brilliant self, totally brilliant in all ways.
Yes – have fun! Your jiva clearly has a good stash of punya karma in its piggy bank. Enjoy!
You shine the shine.
~ Much love, Daniel