So I’ve been looking through all my writing and organizing it for myself and I came across this piece. It was from an assignment back in 2017 from a Gita Course I took. I found my stream of consciousness funny, insightful, and also — I have no idea who this person is! But it was me and I love when I read back on something that I wrote, whether it’s a journal entry, blog, or this assignment — we’re always evolving.
I thought I would share here, for anyone that is interested. Are you familiar with the Bhagavad Gita? Have you read any parts of it?
“Thus, inquisitiveness is the first step in spiritual life and in general, acquisition of knowledge follows the process of hearing from a qualified teacher.”
As I was thinking of what to write for this paper I kept going back to so many of my questions that popped up for me as a was reading through ‘The Yoga of Dejection’. I kept avoiding it thinking I would have something better or more profound to write about, but then I opened up to the first page of chapter 1 and re-read the sentence above. I realized that perhaps that is exactly where I should begin to write.
As I read the pages in the preface, I was triggered by some of the commentary, which perhaps is based on my past experiences which Dasa does explain, “we comprehend new things based on our past experiences.” I found it interesting that it explains the Gita as the truth of all theorists and teachings (pg. xxii). What if someone has found truth and direction from other philosophers and theorists. Or what if one found guidance and direction from a self-help book? Those that follow Buddhism or the school of Stoicism are the ones that initial came to mind. Are they all doomed or do all the other teachings lead to Vedic Philosophy, the Gita and Krishna?
I found the analysis on Gratitude to the Lord conflicting for myself. Dasa explains, “It is evident that the Lord supplies all our needs, yet we deny his very existence. It is as though a man had a son at home and maintained him in every way- providing his food, clothing, education, money, comfort, and everything- but then the son said, “My father does not exist” (pg. 34). One can argue that food, clothing, education, money, and comfort are all material things. Can these elements be considered pleasurable? And as explained earlier in the preface, “pleasure that is pursued in the material world is ephemeral and thus ultimately culminates in misery, anxiety, and dejection.” One could also argue that when a father only supplies material necessities such as food, clothing, education but lacks the emotional awareness and the emotional necessities, it can be very challenging to feel the connection with said father and perhaps even feel like, “my father does not exist.” My point being that, although I understand one must be grateful what kind of connection do we have with the Lord aside from these tangible material elements? Primarily when one is starting on the path of spirituality, this may be challenging to see or experience. I do believe as human beings we are running on emotions and feelings. So, what part of our emotions are being maintained by the Lord?
The way Bhakti was described was also interesting to me. This was the first time I read that Bhakti is a confidential item, and “Lord has ensconced it in the center of the Bhagavad-gita” (pg. 21). That sounds so mystical and beautiful but yet also uninviting. Are we all meant to experience the teachings of Bhakti Yoga? Can everyone be on this path? I questioned whether other spiritual practices said the same thing about their practices but I couldn’t seem to find any other connections.
Lastly, I realize that perhaps all of my inquiries may be due to some of my own attachments, which Dasa points out by saying “when we come to the spiritual path or feel the inclination to perform righteous acts, our attachments make us so weak-hearted that we are unable to properly take spiritual practices.” It was relieving to write down all my inquiries and thoughts, perhaps even knowing that my questions are somewhat unanswerable and simply a step in attaining knowledge.