Bhagavad Gita

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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23 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    Hi Rufus. Nice article.

    Yoga is this wisdom in work, and the lesson of the Bhagavad-Gita, incidentally.

    It should be noted that here Krishna is not just talking about the meditation etc etc that we would learn from various classes. What He is saying is something a bit stranger, but which makes more sense in context. Krishna is saying that the daily actions of living when done for the sake of Dharma (Duty) count in the same way that meditating upon God while sitting in a lotus position does. Krishna is basically broadening the use of the word Yoga to encompass our daily actions as well as the other more common form. Action (when carried out in the proper frame of mind) just is yoga.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Murali says:

      Thanks! That’s a good explanation. I take it that Krishna is responding in some way to an ongoing discussion of action versus inaction? Indeed, I think he comes down very much on the side of living one’s life as a dutiful and unselfish work.Report

  2. Andy Smith says:

    Said more simply, we must meditate all the time, whatever we are doing. This is how we transcend desires, and the endless and fruitless struggle of good vs. evil.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Andy Smith says:

      That’s a good concise summary. My question is, aren’t most things we call evil basically a matter of selfish desires anyway? I’m often impressed that, when people come to decide which actions are evil, they tend to talk about the same ones, and they often boil down to acting like your desires are more important than your responsibilities.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

        The theory of morality that I’ve heard is that morality is based on how close to oneself one’s actions are.

        Immediate self-interest, short-term gratification with no thought beyond this moment is considered animalistic amorality. “I’m going to eat that food, drink that booze, screw that other person’s body” and nothing matters but this moment.

        Get out to the medium term and you have run-of-the-mill bad people. “I’m only not going to eat that food, drink that booze, screw that other person’s body because I don’t want to go to jail.”

        As you get farther and farther out, you get to “enlightened self-interest”, “tribalism”, “nationalism/patriotism” until you get to the most distant forms: One’s relationship to God and/or Gaia and/or The Brotherhood of Man.

        When someone cares only about him or herself, we know that they’re evil. When someone cares about Gaia, however, we know that, golly, they’re a good person!

        And when one finds out that Bob Tilton/Al Gore/(insert politician here) ended up making millions and millions and millions of dollars, one’s head explodes. Or, I suppose, one starts explaining how the underlying issues are too important for us to attack that man for making money when there are souls/planets/people to be saved and at least he’s raising awareness, besides, his circumstances are extraordinary, etc.

        From my cynical, selfish point of view, I find myself envious of how much money there is to be made in altruism.

        For my part, I come back to Gilgamesh.

        The female bartender explains the world to him:
        “Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.”

        This moderate and humble selfishness strikes this Westerner as containing infinitely more Truth than any amount of transcended desire.

        But I ramble and get ahead of myself.Report

        • Rufus in reply to Jaybird says:

          Ah, now I’m going to have to go read Gilgamesh again! It’s a good point. I’m also fond of the fact that Enkidu is enlightened and civilized in the story by having sex with a harlot.Report

  3. Fish says:

    Dangit, Rufus! Every time you write one of these posts I end up having to add a book to my “To Read (or reread)” list. Keep it up. 🙂Report

    • Rufus in reply to Fish says:

      Thanks. I’ve been going back and forth about trying to decide which ones could be skipped. I’ve enjoyed all of them so far, but if I had to pick between Hesiod and Homer, for example, Homer would win. Mostly though, I feel a bit absurd when I try to make those distinctions.Report

  4. angullimala says:

    Actually, the main story is a quite reminiscent of the Iliad; it’s also the tale of a great warrior who balks at fighting in an epic battle.

    Probably because (IMO) both are evolutions of deeper, shared, Indo-European myths.

    The more direct parallel to the Trojan War epic is the Ramayana. The more direct Greek parallel to the “core” of the Mahabharata is “7 Against Thebes” epic.Report

  5. angullimala says:

    By the “‘core’ of the Mahabharata” I mean the story of how sharing of the kingship between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, the refusal of the Kauravas to relinquish the kingdom when the time comes, and the resultant war.

    Obviously, as I’m sure you know, the current Mahabharata reflects almost countless add-ons and additions that were added to this core myth by equally countless storytellers over time. In fact, there is no single “Mahabharata” because each region added it’s own legends in it’s own wat and has a slightly different version reflecting some of these addons and additions and not others.Report

    • Rufus in reply to angullimala says:

      That’s true. I see what you mean about the core of the story. Admittedly, I’ve not read very much of the Mahabharata. I think I’ve read about a tenth. My sister has read about a third. I have read the Ramayana; it’s funny though- you’re right that it’s closer to the Iliad, but I always remember the Ramayana as a love story and tend to forget the battles!Report

      • angullimala in reply to Rufus says:

        Really? I loved the descriptions of the battles and the various “astras” (divine weapons) flying around. I felt like the Ramayana was the world’s first japanimation with all the crazy energy weapons and beam-attacks :).

        I’ve read one translation of the Mahabharat but I know it left a lot of the side-stories and stuff out to make it more coherent and readable to English-speaking audiences. I’ve read parts of the longer version found on but I like books more than internet reading.

        Seriously, to those interested in these things, check out and consider buying the DVD like I did. That site has MASSIVE amounts of free material (and primary sources) … everything from the Greek classics to the Rig Veda in sanskrit. It’s been a bookmark of mine for years. I’m not affiliated in any way, but I think they provide a good service and I want to plug them to help them continue to provide it.Report

  6. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    In Bhagavad-Gita Lord SriKrishna says to Arjuna:
    “I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (sun-god), Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu(his son), and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. Thus transmitted to succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarisis (royal sages). It has however long since disappeared from this earth. The same ancient Yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend, and also because this is a supreme secret”.
    At this Arjuna said: You are of recent origin while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, I am to believe that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation? Lord SriKrishna said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I remember them all, you do not remember.
    1. Radha Soami Faith was founded by His Holiness Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Soamiji Maharaj on the prayer of His Holiness Huzur Maharaj who later on became second Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith. The prime object of the Radha Soami Faith is the emancipation of all Jeevas (Souls) i.e. to take the entire force of consciousness to its original abode. There is a tradition of succession of Gurus or Spiritual Adepts in Radha Soami Faith. I am one of them as is evident from the following facts or ….
    “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith.
    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”Report

  7. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    Radhasoami Faith View of Modus Operandi of Creation of Universe
    Universe existed before Big Bang please.
    Stephen Hawking writes in The Grand Design, “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” Hawking said the Big Bang was merely the consequence of the law of gravity. In A Brief History of Time, Hawking had suggested that the idea of God or a divine being was not necessarily incompatible with a scientific understanding of the Universe.
    Although Hawking is very close to Truth yet he is not perfect in his views while discarding the role of divine being. I consider the role of eternal gravity uppermost but I strongly differ with Hawking on the role of divine being. I consider Divine Ordainment is the cause of Creation of Universe.
    I give Radhasoami Faith view of Creation Theory. In Sar Bachan (Poetry) composed by His Holiness Soamiji Maharaj the August Founder of Radhasoami Faith the details of creation and dissolution has been described very scientifically. It is written in Jeth Mahina (name of Hindi moth) in this Holy Book: Only He Himself (Supreme Father)and none else was there. There issued forth a great current of spirituality, love and grace (In scientific terminology we may call this current as gravitational wave). This is called His Mauj (Divine Ordainment). This was the first manifestation of Supreme Being. This Divine Ordainment brought into being three regions, viz., Agam, Alakh, and Satnam of eternal bliss. Then a current emerged with a powerful sound (this was the first Big Bang). It brought forth the creation of seven Surats or currents of various shades and colours (in scientific terminology we may call it electromagnetic waves). Here the true Jaman or coagulant was given (in scientific terminology this coagulant may be called as weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force). Surats, among themselves, brought the creation into being.
    These currents descended down further and brought the whole universe/multi verse into being i.e. black holes, galaxies etc. were born.
    I would like to add further that sound energy and gravitational force current are non polar entity and electromagnetic force is bi-polar. Hence spiritual polarization, if occurred, is occurred in the region of Sat Lok and region below to it only.Report

    • It is written in Jeth Mahina (name of Hindi moth) in this Holy Book: Only He Himself (Supreme Father)and none else was there. There issued forth a great current of spirituality, love and grace

      Then a current emerged with a powerful sound (this was the first Big Bang).

      Here the true Jaman or coagulant was given (in scientific terminology this coagulant may be called as weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force).

      This is all passive voice. “There issued forth.” “A current emerged.” From a Supreme Being. But why?

      Western thought asks, why is there something instead of nothing? We are bears of little brain.

      Surats, among themselves, brought the creation into being.

      OK, that’s active voice. Western minds pick up the thread here, then. Hello, Surats. Whatcha got? Why am I here? I used to be nothing and now I’m something and I’m typing at you on this stupid computer. I don’t get it. Pls advise.Report

      • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi in reply to tom van dyke says:

        Nothing can be created from ‘Nothing’.

        The Universe includes everything that exists. In the Universe there are billions and billions of stars. These stars are distributed in the space in huge clusters. They are held together by gravitation and are known as galaxies. Sun is also a star. Various members of the solar system are bound to it by gravitation force. Gravitation force is the ultimate cause of birth and death of galaxy, star and planets etc. Gravitation can be considered as the cause of various forms of animate and inanimate existence. Human form is superior to all other forms. Withdrawal of gravitational wave from some plane of action is called the death of that form. It can be assumed that gravitation force is ultimate creator. Source of it is ‘God’. Gravitational Field is the supreme soul (consciousness) and its innumerable points of action may be called as individual soul or surat (consciousness). It acts through body and mind. Body is physical entity. Mind can be defined as the function of autonomic nervous system. Electromagnetic waves are its agents through which it works. This can be realized through the practice of meditation and yoga under qualified meditation instruction. This can remove misunderstanding between science and religion and amongst various religions. This is the gist of all religious teachings – past, present and future.Report

  8. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    Radhasoami Faith view of Universe supports Helio-centric Universe Theory. Region of Nameless Being (Anami Purush) is in the center of entire Universe (known and unknown). Our Sun along with its family (Solar System) is taking revolution in the outermost orbit of the the Universe. According to Radhasoami Faith Theory in the beginning there was only Nameless Being and nothing else.Report

  9. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    I am affiliated to Radha Soami Satsang, Dayalbagh. Thanks pleaseReport

  10. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    During my previous birth I was His Holiness Sarkar Sahab the Fourth Sant Satguru of Radhasoami Faith. I established Radhasoami Satsang Sabha in my previous birth.Report

  11. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    Dear Rufus

    Thank you very much for your very kind words of appreciation.Report