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245 pages, Paperback
Published September 1, 2000
Know that to be imperishable whereby all this is pervaded. No one can destroy that immutable Being.(First, an aside: could the translation of each verse's first sentence be any clunkier? They're barely comprehensible. Perhaps this is an adequate paraphrase of verse 17? "You should know that That which pervades everything is imperishable. No one can destroy that immutable Being." And for verse 18? "All bodies are finite even though they come from The Embodied One (Who is eternal, imperishable, and immeasurable). Fight, therefore, O descendant of Bharata.")
These bodies of the embodied one who is eternal, imperishable, and immeasurable are finite. Fight, therefore, O Bharata.
If we argue that since all bodies are perishable, one may kill, does it follow that i may kill all the women and children in the ashram? Would i have, in doing so, acted according to the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita, merely because their bodies are perishable? We believe the watchman to have been mad because he killed a person. [i assume G's alluding to a well-known topical event.] If, however, he were to cite this verse of the Gita to justify what he did, we would call him wicked. What, then, shall we say of a person who mouths these seemingly learned arguments and then commits wickedness? To know the answer to this, we should go back to the first chapter. Arjuna said that he did not want even the kingdom of gods if he had to kill his kith and kin for that; but he is bound, in any case, to kill them, for he has accepted the dharma which requires him to kill. Verse 18 applies to him, but it does not apply to others. (16-17)
O Kaunteya, contacts of the senses with their objects bring cold and heat, pleasure and pain. They come and go and are transient. Endure them, O Bharata.The Gita's structure and form are about as aesthetically pleasing as a "play" that i wrote in college (rather than a boring ol' essay) about Northrop Frye's theory of comedy. You should just trust me on this. [obviously i'm begging you ... someone ... anyone ... to ask me about it ... but seriously! don't enable this kind of behavior.]
O noblest of men, the wise man who is not disturbed or agitated by these, who is unmoved by pleasure and pain, he alone is fitted for immortality.
Any being who is not subject to the impressions of senses will never experience fear. It is these impressions which are responsible for feelings of happiness and misery. Someone has said that the muscles of a man who is angry become 13 times as tense as when he is normal, and of a man who is laughing 9 times as tense [as normal]. That is, one spends more energy when one is angry and one whose energy is thus wasted cannot attain to immortality. The cultivation of this state (non-attachment to sense perceptions) requires practice. We can even say of a person who has attained to it that he is God. (p.15)