Posts Tagged ‘God’

QUANTUM PHYSICS AND GOD

July 13, 2010

 

When we discuss at the macro level, we have to face the question: “Where is God in the evolutionary process?” Today we face it also at the micro level, when we speak about quantum physics and elementary quanta: “What is the place for God in the field of quantum physics?” We shall discuss: 1.2.3.

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TAGORE’S IDEA OF RELIGION

January 17, 2009

*José da Conceição Souza

(Manila, Phillipines)


Foreword:

I have something in common with the dust and the rocks, the grass and the trees, with all animals, and with all men. But in the field of my ego that stands as an individual, I have nothing in common with others, here I am completely different from the rest. That ego is unique without a second, matchless, incomparable. In the midst of the creation of this universe, the creation of my ego is mine alone. Into this world can enter only the Lord: ‘who knows the heart of man’, and no one else. For that ego which has no equal in this whole world, what a frightening solitude, what an infinite loneliness. Yes, it would be frightening if that ego were not meant for your love. Therefore, in this field of free ego my greatest of all sorrows will my separation from you, that is, sorrow of my egotism; and the greatest of all happiness is union with you, that is, the happiness of love. It is your free love which constitutes me as an ego, not the common law of the Universe. Of all manifestations, man is incomparable. The human self is unique, because in it God reveals himself in a special manner”.

In this essay I intend to give a systematic exposition of Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophical and religious views Tagore’s religion cannot be tackled apart from his philosophy. His philosophy is only the ancient wisdom of India restated to meet the needs of modern times. (1) His philosophy and religion went hand-in-hand. He himself was deeply aware of the fact that his essentially poetic approach made his philosophy something distinct. If by philosophy it is meant academic philosophy with theories and counter-theories, then Tagore has no philosophy. But if philosophy is only an insight into reality, he is as much a philosopher as he is a poet. The central idea of Tagorean philosophy is the concept of evolution that makes his religion something spontaneous to man and subject to growth. His aim is to synthesize the elements of highest worth in every religious and philosophical tradition to soften the edges and take a middle course between contending viewpoints, to mediate between extremes. He is t h e supreme peacemaker in the domain of modern thought. (‘) He begins with Brahmoism, passes through a liberal Hinduism and finally settles on the universal religion which centres around man. And this universal religion is called by him the ‘Religion of Man’.(2) Tagorean religion is not worship, but primarily a personal, living experience.

I. Religion and Evolution

In his grand description of evolution, Tagore shows us the outflowing of the whole process. First came the light as the radiant energy of creation starting the ring-dance of atoms in a diminutive sky and also the dance of stars in the vast, lonely theatre of time and space. Then came a time when life was brought into the arena in the tiniest little monocycle of a cell, facing the ponderous enormity of things. With life’s gifts of growth and power of adaptation, it contradicted the un-meaningness of their bulk and became aware not of the volume but of the value of existence. But the miracle of creation did not stop there, in that isolated particle of life launched on a lonely voyage to the Unknown there were a multitude of cells bound together in a larger unit. A perfect coordination of functions was kept, not through aggregation but through a marvellous quality of complex interrelationship. (4)

The march of evolution unfolded the potentialities of life. However, this evolution comes to an end and does not continue on the physical plane. All exaggeration of this physical aggrandisement becomes a burden which breaks the natural rhythm of life and leaves everything in an absurd and perishable state. A change was required. It came when man appeared and diverted the course of this evolution from an indefinite slavish march of physical grandeur in a freedom of a more subtle and royal perfection. Thus, evolution finds its value and climax in Man, in his own body, its most perfect inward expression.

As a nineteenth century thinker, Tagore could not help being happy with the theory of evolution, the key-note of the thought of that time. Tagore states that this is the evolution of which Science talks, the evolution of man’s Universe. Here man attains its realization in a more subtle body outside his physical system. He finds the divine principle of unity, the principle of an inner interrelationship. And this principle of interrelationship makes him find his Religion. In the ideal of unity“, says Tagore, (man) realizes the eternal in his life and the boundless in his love.” (5) Man finds immortality in his multi-personal humanity. He becomes conscious of unity and this consciousness is spiritual. It becomes for him an energizing living truth and not a mere subjective idea. And the effort to be true to this living truth is man’s religion.

The external senses give man the vision of the physical universe. But the inner faculty, his luminous imagination, helps man to find his relationship with the supreme self of other men, the universe of personality. And the result is quite surprising. When the course of evolution advanced to the stage of Man, its character changed; it shifted its emphasis mainly from the body to the mind.” (6) Yet, as I said above, there is not only body and mind in man: there is also and above all the personal man. This personal man is the highest in him. It has personal relations of its own with the great world and comes to it for something to satisfy its personality. This relationship is the fundamental truth of this world of appearances.

The divine principle of inner interrelationship leads man to find the truth which reveals the divinity in him-his humanity-the humanity of his God, or the divinity of Man, Eternal; in other words, the religion of Man. The individual man is the expression of the Great Man. He finds fulfillment in Him and thus accomplishes in Him the sense of perfection which ideally dwells in the Supreme Man, inspiring love for this ideal in the individual and prompting him to realize it. This urge for realization comes from the feeling of intimacy with Nature-not the physical Nature, but that which satisfies our personality, makes our life rich and stimulates our imagination.

But this true enjoyment of our personality can never be bad through the satisfaction of greed, but only through the surrender of our individual self to the Universal Self. For this world, which is all movement, is pervaded by one supreme unity. (7) Hence, the highest aim of our life is to reveal in ourselves, through renunciation of self; the God of this human universe whose mind we share in all our true knowledge. Through our limitation, we have to realize the Supreme Man who has individual limitations. (8)

Science cannot give us that with which it is not concerned. Science is concerned only with the impersonal world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs, thus giving universal significance to our individual consciousness. Religion applies values to truth and only when bur Universe is in harmony with the Eternal Man, we know it as truth, we feel it as good and beauty. (9)

The deepest and the most earnest prayer risen from the human heart according to Tagore is: “0 thou self-revealing one, reveal thyself in me.” (10) This should be our prayer at every moment, for “we are in misery because we are creatures of self- the self that is unyielding and narrow, that reflects no light, that is blind to the Infinite. Our self is loud with its own discordant clamour-it is not a tuned harp whose chords vibrate with the music of the Eternal.’ And our shallow hearts are troubled with all kinds of regrets and anxieties, discontent and failures because we have not found our seuls and not manifested. the self-revealing spirit within us.

The change in the world, the continual process of evolution makes us more and more hungry for the love and wisdom that belong to the Supreme Person whose Spirit is over all of us, who loving Him loves all creatures, exceeding all other loves in depth and strength. (11)

1. Evolution and the Universe

After having seen how Tagore bases his whole conception of Religion on Evolution and why there was a need of man’s appearance in the world to turn its former process, let us now see how this evolution takes place until it reaches man. Tagore describes the course of evolution by an illustration where he shows a child improvising a story. He writes that the child made him imagine himself to be in a dark room locked from the outside. Then he asked him what he would do in order to come out of the room. In reply he said that the first thing would be to shout for help. But to prevent any success the door was imagined to be made out of steel. And the bunch of keys Tagore had with him would not fit, so that the child was very happy at the development of the whole scene as at each obstruction proposed the captive would not find out a means of removing it. (12)

The improvisation develops the process of thinking and progression in the child’s mind. According to Tagore, the same manner of development is seen in the life’s story of evolution There is creativeness and continual process of conquest. Thus, was the bird gifted with a marvellous pair of wings in order to resist the air; the fish was furnished with appliances for moving in the water; and there was one success after the other in dealing with the laws of the guiding Nature with the invention of new instruments. This was a life of ruthless competition. But this evolutionary progress being on the physical plane emphasized the professionalism of its subjects, making them specialists in their own place, thus defining their special efficiencies to narrow compartments. This form of progress was inevitable because it dealt with materials that are physical and necessarily have their limitations.

So far success is limited. And the reason is that “the units of single cells formed themselves into larger units“, thus leaving gaps between them. “While the unit has the right to claim tile glory of the whole, yet individually it cannot share the entire wealth that occupies a history yet to be completed”‘. So the material world being a world of quantity has its resources very limited and there is a need of superior weapons to win a victory.

As I already said, there is in the Universe a continual process of conquest and there is also a progress for the kingdom of life. There is a search for Truth. The adventurous Life that is, the Spirit of Life) seems to carry on her experiments and add to her inventions just on the physical level. The evolutionary process of the world is making headway towards the revelation of its truth. It is in search for inner value, which is not in the extension in space and duration in time. This inner value will be found in religion. So far this advance has been purely physical. Evidently what is purely physical has its limits like the shell of an egg; the liberation cannot but be in the atmosphere of the Infinite that is indefinable and invisible. Consequently, religion can have no meaning in the enclosure of mere physical or material interest. Religion is nowhere except in the surplus we carry around our personality the surplus which like the atmosphere of the earth brings to her a constant circulation of light and life and also delightfulness.

Only man has reached multicellular character in a perfect manner both in his body and his personality. For centuries his evolution has been one of consciousness that tried to avoid the bounds of individual separateness and to include in its relationship a wholeness that may be easily called Man. This relationship, mostly on instinctive level, wants to find its full awareness. Physical evolution is seeking efficiency in communication with the physical world, but the evolution of Man’s consciousness seeks for truth in a perfect harmony with the world of personality. (10)

Since I have spoken about the “evolutionary progress” it would be helpful to see what Tagore means by progress. By progress he means the increasing provision of facilities (both material and moral) for the all-round development and free expression of the human personality without discrimination. From his own words one sees what he expects from life “I believe“, he writes, “only when it is progressive, and in progress’ only when it is in harmony with life. I preach the freedom of man from the servitude of the fetish of hugeness, the non-human… (14) Without progress life becomes meaningless. Progress is the very heart of the significance of human life. It means our evolution into greater and richer being. (15)

To sum up: First, the evolutionary process has been mechanical and meaningless. Then life has appeared and the plant began to exist. There is no mental awareness and consequently there is no higher and subtler grade of activities in it. And this is only a superficial progression on the road to higher ranks of values which are realized in Man.

2. Evolution and Man

Evolution reaches man and all instinctive dependence upon nature is broken. Man as an animal is still dependent on Nature, but as a Man he is a sovereign who builds his world and rules it. He proclaims freedom against the established laws of Nature. In man evolution takes place in a. different direction: We have in man a transition from vital mind to reflecting and thinking mind and consequently we have in him a higher power of observation, invention and aesthetic creation. After it reaches the human stage evolution differs from what it has been on two scores: one, it is henceforth conducted by conscious effort; and two: it is not confined to the progression of surface nature.

Man is a person and as such he has to realize his personality. Man desires perfection and this perfection can be attained only in freedom. One freedom leads to another, and man attains the freedom of view and action which gives him analogous freedom through his imagination. Freedom of view and action gives man the freedom to make mistakes), to launch into desperate adventures. Freedom first breaks the law and then makes the law which brings it under true self-rule. Man has put a bend in the path of evolution and refused to remain subject to it. Man has crossed the boundaries of animal nature, since the important difference between the animal and Man is as follows: While the animal cannot move beyond the limits of its necessities ,like a retail shopkeeper, who is satisfied only with a small profit from his trade, Man in life’s commerce is like a big merchant who earns more than he usually spends. There is a tremendous excess of wealth in Man’s life which makes him free to be useless and irresponsible to a great extent. This is the only time when Man is conscious of himself. It is the surplus of feelings resulted from freedom, seeking his outlet in Art that makes Man feel his personality. Animals have no real self-consciousness. Personality is born from the excess of feelings and there is yearning to express himself. This self-expression of personality is attained by Art (that is, perfection in harmony). Thus, Man becomes creative and desires to build up his Religion. But it does not mean that Art is the only adequate expression of personality. There can also be an artist without personality, on the one hand; and there can be a simple man with personality, on the other; and yet both of them can have union with God. (16)

Free as he is, Man naturally claims kinship with God who perfects him and the Universe and makes his religion broad-minded. This creative power is a distinguishing mark of man:

(Man) is aware that he is not imperfect, but incomplete. He knows that in himself some meaning has yet to be realized… The call is deep in his mind-the call of his own inner truth,. which is beyond his direct knowledge and analytical logic”. (18).

Tagore meets God, the eternal spirit, in all objects. To him the eternal spirit is personal: he is the Supreme Person. And be says that since Man is born for perfection, the urge for it takes Man back to the source from where he· came. Man is restless until he finds union, truth and kinship with God. His freedom makes him long for a spiritual union that he is able to acquire only through religion. (19)

Religion makes Man determined to establish the bond of kinship with the Supreme Being. Man wants to go deep into the mystery of his own self and, therefore, cannot help feeling that the truth of his personality has both its relationship and its perfection in an endless world of humanity. Since this union has to be established with a Being whose activity is world-wide and whose dwelling-place is the heart of humanity it cannot be a passive union. Therefore, Tagore seems to give much importance to the need of action. He says that life by its very characteristic cannot be complete within itself. It must come and find its truth also outside. And the body cannot live if it has no relation with the outside light and air; it fails, if the inner activities stop.  ” Yet”, Tagore writes, “this is not enough; the body is outwardly restless all the while. Its life leads it to an endless dance of work and play outside; it cannot be satisfied with the circulations of its internal economy, and only finds the fulfillment of joy in its outward excursions. (20)

If the body cannot remain passive, much more the soul, if man wants to complete and perfect himself, he has to do it and can do it only by the identification of his soul with the Soul of all people. Tagore says:

“It (the soul) cannot live on its own internal feelings and imaginings. It is ever in need of external objects; not only to feed its inner consciousness but to apply itself in action, not only to receive but also to give. The real truth is, we cannot live if we divide him who is truth itself into two parts. We must abide in him within as well without. In whichever aspect we deny him we deceive ourselves and incur a loss. (11)

This mutual interchange of give-and-take implies divestment of our selfish interests and only then it will make us world-workers restlessly working for all. However small in extent our work be, if it is good, it manifests its universal character. For the Divine Being, the world-worker ,where is the Great Soul, in the every dweller in the hearts of all people.

Finally, man has the satisfactiop of seeing his religion coming to a higher stage, where he gets the human truth of personality. Tagore insists very much in the union with Brahman. The human truth of personality,  which silently cries for mukti, the freedom in truth which is expressed in action. And he continues that action is the play of joy. Needless to say, we cannot achieve this union with God except by bearing always in our mind a loving thought for all creatures.

I

THE CONCEPT OF GOD AND SALVATION IN BHAGAVADGITA

January 17, 2009

INTRODUCTION

In  the  pages of the Bhagavadgita, we find the image  of  a personal  god who appeals to our relationship with him. It  calls us  to knowledge, love, peace of mind, and a sense of  duty  to­wards  him, the world and humankind. We also enjoy  its  literary and esthetic charm, intellectual depth and emotional richness. In these  lines, we shall glance at the concept of God in the  book of Bhagavadgita and its consequences for the human salvation.

Bhagavadgita  is a part of the book of Mahabharata  (Bhisma­parvamhabharat) and has 18 chapters, which are doctrinal treatis­es, representing several schools of thought. It is a  conversa­tion between Krsna and Arjuna one the battlefield, on the eve  of the battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The five Pandava  brothers  were fighting for the restoration of  their  rights against the Kaurava usurpers. But Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers,  sits down dismayed before Krsna, with his  arrows  and bow dropped, ready to stop fighting against his kin and kith.

But Krsna exhorts him not to yield to cowardice and  “faint-heartedness”  (II:2f). He explains to him detachment  from  the perishable  body and from worldly desires. Through  renouncement, man should be united with Brahman, the Source of all beings,  and attain salvation/liberation (Moksa).


1)GOD, SUPREME RULER OF THE WORLD

Bhagavan/Brahman  is the highest god and origin of  all  be­ings, comprising all the perfections of the Upanisadic Atman  and Brahman. He is the centre of all thoughts and deeds. This is  the dominating  theme  of the Gita.

Brahman demands supreme devotion and answers such  devotion by freeing man from the wheel of births and rebirths and leading him to final goal: liberation.

When the contradictory predicates are attributed to him,  it means  that he is the Supreme Reality, not confined to  empirical determinations. Thus, for instance, he is “neither Being nor  No-being”  (XIII:12), he is “invisible, unthinkable  and  immutable” (II:25).
He  is Sadchitananda–eternal, full of  knowledge  and bliss.

While  the  concept  of God in Upanishads  is  abstract  and highly  impersonal  and does not appeal to the masses,  the  Gita speaks  of  a personal, quasi-human and incarnate god  for  their worship. Krsna, the local chieftain of the Vaishnava class, was divinized  into an appealing divine figure. This  divinized  hero appeals to both the higher and the lower classes. In this  direc­tion, the Gita has satisfied the monotheistic tendencies of all.

2)INCARNATION

God  is  close  to the world, immanent in  it.  He  actively participates in it and guides it. But he is not defiled by it. He appears in a tangible living form as to protect it and lead it to higher  evolution. When the world was deteriorating,  Vishnu/Nar­ayana incarnated himself as Krsna. He appears as born and related to the world, though he is infinite knowledge and power, controls maya  and  is  the  first  cause/mulprakrti,  composed  of  three gunas/energies and is Eternal, Indestructible, Free and the  Lord of creatures. Krishna is one of the millions of  forms  through which the universal spirit manifests itself.


3)WORLD

The Supreme Being is the source of everything, both material and spiritual. The world has emerged from two primary  elements, namely  Prakriti or the Nature (Not-Self), which  is  changeable, and Purusha or the Person (the spirit or conscious Self),  which is  immutable.  They are the forms of one Supreme  Reality.  They have  their origin in the Eternal Brahman and are without  begin­ning. That is the reason why the Supreme Reality is said to be the supporter of the world and all its activities. Also He is the efficient and material cause of the Universe.

In the Gita, prakrti is no longer independent, it is Krsna’s “lower nature” (VII:5), which means that nature also is  pervaded by the divine being. Thus, nature and spirit subsist in the  same divine self. In this Gita overbridges the dualism of Samkhya.

In  the last vision, Arjuna perceives Krsna in  divine  body with many mouths, eyes and arms (XI:8).

One  does not live in a deceiving world, but in a real  and genuine  world. “The world and God are one as body and  soul  are one.  They are a whole but at the same time unchangeably  differ­ent. Before creation, the world is in a potential form, in  crea­tion, it is developed into matter and form. The world is produced by  the Supreme Reality out of His own nature” (S.Radhakishnan, Bhagavad Gita, p.18).

The  world  is like a vast temple of God. Our  existence  in this world is a privileged condition to enjoy close and constant companionship with God.

If  we look at it as a bed of thorns, we will only sour  our lives. Although there is sorrow and suffering, much of it is  due to  man’s  own  mistakes.  If every  one  pursues  the  path  of righteousness,  pain and misery would disappear. Thus, the  world created by God is His love and delight. A lover of God must  love the world and its inhabitants.

4)UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER TO GOD

The  Eternal  God demands unconditional  surrender  to  him, devotion, love (bhakti). The basic requirement of Bhakti-Devotion is : i)Correct Knowledge of God or Jnana-marga: The truths of God can be apprehended only by those who prepare themselves for their reception by rigorous discipline. We must cleanse the mind of all distractions  and purge the heart from all corruption to  acquire spiritual wisdom. By such knowledge, man comes to God.
ii)Offering: The highest way of making offering to God is to offer  all actions to Him, without claiming any merit  for  one’s own self.

To attain perfection, man must learn detachment from worldly desires.  Through Yoga, man can have command over sense and  mind and centre himself on the emancipation from the limitations of the empirical world. If he fails in his efforts for self-control, the answer is the doctrine of rebirth, which finally leads to perfec­tion: “He who through many births has won perfection goes  thence on  the  highest way” (VI:45). The aim of the  yogic efforts  is exclusively  God,  who becomes the centre of all  intentions  and actions:  “Holding  all  these (senses) in check,  let  him  sit, controlled,  intent  on me” (II:61). This ideal of the  yogin  is perfected  in the love of God: “Of all yogins him who with  faith devoutly worships me, whose inmost self is lost in me, I hold  to be  the  most  controlled” (VI:47). When one  worships  the  Lord devoutly  and  is lost in him, the Lord controls him so  that  he knows the Lord fully.

Bhakti  leads to final release after death. Misery comes  in this world because of the body. Arjuna must fix his thoughts  on the Lord Krishna, in order to attain Sadchitananda body, as it is promised  by  him:  “He who goes remembering me at  the  time  of death,  after  leaving the body, goes to my being,  there  is  no doubt of that (VIII:5). Thus, everything is to be done for God as all things are comprised in Him: the universe is the unfolding of
of his lower nature, which is qualified by the three gunas/quali­ties of prakrti/nature:   sattva   (purity/lucidity),   rajas (energy/passion), tamas (darkness/indolence). God is the origin, abode  and absorbing abyss of created beings. By  such  knowledge man comes to God.

However, Gita proclaims tolerance towards those who  worship other deities.  It states: “If anyone worships any  other  deity with  true devotion, he worships Me, though  only  imperfectly” (IX:23).  The  idea  is not that “one  man’s  god  is  another’s devil”, but that any true devotion has its own divine side.  What matters  is  not so much the object that is  worshiped,  as the spirit in which one worships.

5)WORK

God is the Ruler of the world. He is interested in its main­tenance and progress. God continuously works. “Whatever may be  a man’s profession, he can reach the Lord by doing his duty  super­bly. For performance of duty is tantamount to worship of God”.

Work is to be done without a reward. The motive for exertion may be i)”purifying the self/cleansing the heart’ and ii)subserv­ing the purpose of God. In the Gita, moral rectitude aims at the elimination of worldly desire. It is not satisfied with rational­izing  our  impulses. It tends to spiritualize them.  It  teaches that  an  active  life led without any thought  of  securing the worldly  results,  it may yield, is necessary. If the  motive  is “cleansing the heart”, the goal is self realization. If, on  the other hand, it is subserving the purpose of God, then the end  is God-realization,  which  means reaching the presence of  God  and being absorbed in the Absolute Brahman.

Devotion  to duty in life (Svadharma) for  emancipation  is the central teaching of Krsna to Arjuna: “Do the duty without  an eye to the results thereof. Thus, shouldst thou gain the  purifi­cation of heart which is essential for Moksa?” (XVIII:46).

A WORD OF CRITIQUE AND CONCLUSION

Gita  addresses its teachings to humankind. It gives a  uni­versal teaching. God is the god of all, the God of the  Universe, the  Protector,  the Destroyer and the Establisher of  Peace  and Harmony. Secondly, it exhorts to devotion and surrender to God.

It also points out to the need of God’s help in human strug­gle.  It  stresses the incarnation, the coming of  God  to  this world. It speaks of God being in all beings, but it boils down to being identical with all. his presence is needed for every  human action.

If  God  is the Creator, why should he come to  protect  the good and destroy the evil? We are deeply moved to the devotion to and  love of God. But the difference arises at the first  glance: whereas in Christianity the teacher of the message is  historical person, who through his death and Resurrection became the  centre of  Revelation, the Krsna of the Gita is a literary fiction; the hero  of the epic war was slowly divinized. His  literary  speech inspired  thousands  to a deeper love of  God,  but  historically speaking, Krsna never uttered the words attributed to him.

Further,  the  idea of creation is not clear.  There  is  no sovereign  freedom of God in relation to the Universe. The  world moves by necessity. There is no beginning, no final aim of  human history. Obedience results in the salvation of man, that is  from the wheel of the world. But there is no mention of the  resurrec­tion of the body and the renewal of heaven and earth. We have  to read  the Bhagavdgita, enjoy it and find our self-fulfillment  in
the fullness of Revelation, Jesus Christ.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:


Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita As it Is, Collier  Macmillan Publishers, London, 5th ed., 1974

Jesuit  Scholars,  Religious Hinduism,  St.Paul’s,  3rd.ed., Allahabad, 1968

Hari  Prasad  Shastri,  Teachings from  the  Bhagavad  Gita, Luzac, London, 1935

Swami Swarupananda, Bhagavad Gita, Advaita Ashram, 15th ed, Calcutta, 1993

Fr.Zacharias,  OCD, A Study on Hinduism, Industrial  School, Ernakulam, 1931

S.Radhakrishnan,  The  Bhavad Gita, George Allen  and  Unwin Ltd., London, 1963

R.B.Lal,  The Gita In the Light of Modern  Science,  Samaiya Publ., Bombay, 1970

T.M.P.  Mahadevan,  Outlines of Indian  Philosophy,  Chetan Pvt.Ltd., 4rth ed., Bombay, 1984


Hiriyanna, Outlines of Indian Philosophy, G.Allen and  Unwil Ltd., 5th ed., London, 1964


FOOTNOTES:

1)It is of later origin than the bulk of the Mahabharata, it may have been inserted into it about the 2nd century BCE.

2)R.B.Lal, The Gita In the Light of Modern Science,  Samaiya Publ., Bombay, 1970, p.25f.

Sebastian  Painadath, SJ, “Bhagavad Gita’s  Contribution  to the Future of India”, Jnanadeepa 1998, vol.1, no.1, pp.19-30:

The  Bhagavad  Gita  is widely known  and  accepted  in  the world…part of the threefold scriptural corpus  (prasthanatraya) Gita has been placed high among the holy scriptures of the  Hindu heritage and hence this book has a uniquely representative  char­acter.  It  is an authentic source of inspiration of the  Bhakti movements.  Over  the  last hundred years,  it  has  considerably
influenced the sages of the Indian renaissance and the leaders of the Freedom Struggle. For Mahatma Gandhi, the Bhagavad Gita  has been like a consoling mother and guiding teacher; he found in the Gita  “the essence od dharma, the highest knowledge that  evolved out of experience” (M.K.Gandhi, The Bhagavad Gita, Orient Paperbacks, 1972, p.9). It has been globally accepted as a  spiritual classic of humanity…it offers to all seekers a spirituality  of personal  integration  and social harmony. The rational  and  the emotional,  the conscious and the subconscious, the  mental and the  intuitive,  the  social and the ecological  aspects  of  the spiritual evolution of a person are brought together in a holist­ic  process  of transformation.  This  process  of  spirituality evolves  through  a  threefold path (marga):  jnana,  bhakti  and karma: contemplative perception of reality, loving self-surrender to the divine Lord and greedless work for the welfare of all. All the three are the constitutent elelments of a liberative spiritu­ality.  (It  offers a threefold path of  spiritual  integration). Jnana  enlightens  bhakti  and karma; bhakti  enlivens  jana  and karma;  karma actualises janan and bhakti. These are  correlative dimensions interwoven in the one integral growth process.


1.1. Jnana-marga: There are two types of knowledge: that  of the mind (manas) and that of the intuitive faculty (buddhi). Mind objectifies everything and analyses reality within the  I-thou/it framework;  mind  grasps reality  through  conceptualization  and articulates this understanding through words. It is a fragmentary encounter  with  reality. What takes shape through  this  mental process is vijnana, informative knowledge. Buddhi is the  faculty of a deeper perception. Through the buddhi one perceives reality as  part of the subject; the perceiving subject finds  itself  as part  of  the totality of reality. Mind  pursues  the  logic  of things, while buddhi intuits the mystery of reality. Mind  specu­lates  on the horizontal plane; buddhi dives vertically into  the sacred depth of reality. Buddhi perceives reality though partici­patory  contemplation and expresses this insight  through poetic and mythical symbols. What evolves through this intuitive process is jnana, transforming wisdom.

Integral  perception of reality according to the Gita  is  a combination of both jnana and vijnana (6:8; 7:2; 9:1). One has to acquire objective knowledge through an analytical process of  the mind,  and for this Scriptures and teachers, customs  and  tradi­tions  are  of  vital importance (4:34;  16:23-24). The  genuine seeker  cannot  do  away with them because through  them  one is inserted into the living heritage of humanity.