Monday, December 11, 2006

Our misplaced obsession about Bhagwad Geeta

Thousands of years, and this scripture is still so current. This has been the guide of the Hindu lifestyle, and may I propose- the Indian lifestyle, since time immemorial. And amazingly enough the ancient philosophy finds its relevance in our lifestyle even on this day, despite so many social and technology-driven changes. I was mesmerized to see the rock sculpture of Shree Krisna and Arjun on their chariot, on the battlefield, with Krisna’s forefinger stretched outwards (to the enemies) at the entrance of IIM-Lucknow. Perhaps this is the first and most classic case of war-management, wherein the Advisor—or the manager, in the seat of the chariot pilot, changes the ordained outcome of a war, the Mahabharata.
The holy Shlok(the Verse) associated with this famous scene read:
Yadaa yadaa hee adhramasya, glaanir bhavati bharatah,
abhyuthanam dharmaya, tadaatmaanam shrijaamayham’

Whenever shall the Adharm (the evil) humiliate this land,
I shall be reborn to establish the Dharm (the righteousness).

But soon, I begin to wonder that the entire philosophy of Geeta is deemed to have been contracted in this Shlok along with another famous one, mentioned below; and this is what looms over the masses, no matter how they are acting:
Karma kiyae jaa fal ki ichcha na kar tu insaan
Jaisa karm karega tu, waisa fal degaa bhagwan.
Keep going with thy work, without bothering for the fate,
For how thou shall work, thou shall be rewarded
I must mention that this one a vox populi interpretation of the scripture, coined as recently as 16th or 17th century.
The theory contained in these verses is so ambiguous that the entire demarcation of the good and the evil is comfortably fuzzed up. Every person can find its relevance in his deeds; so much so that the superego to judge the good and the evil is sent to summer sleep as the meaning of Dharm itself becomes so hazy.
Take a few examples- anytime a murder is to be carried out, the whole trauma of conducting the heinous act can be overcome by recalling Krisna’s Shlok.
Every time a burglary is done, Krisna’s picture is conjured up in mind to hold the belief that the booty rightfully belongs to us! And if it is not delivered back, then we have the Dharm to snatch it away. On occasions, a girl can also be eloped with, for Krisna is famous for one such act also.
More than anything, it is the commoners’ self-styled interpretations of the entire book which lends such dubious place to it. The interpretations are stuffed with logical inconsistencies which are overcome by mere stifling of doubts.
Back in early nineties the teleserial, Mahabharat, had presented some of the more consistent explanations of the scripture for the commoners. The teleserial was a phenomenal success, may be, in the history of entire world. Some of the more tenable arguments now pervaded through the commoners. Like, they could now argue with increased confidence the prevailing inconsistencies in the society in regard to place of women. The womanizing behaviour and the Butter-pilferage deeds of Krisna were understood in more Dharm-compliant manner. In short, the morality and the act were construed against each other.
However, what this teleserial couldn’t have done for obvious reason was to call off so much of obsessive belief in the doctrine of Karma. I have often noted people clinging to it in many of their arguments when they find themselves defeated by other theories. It is well known fact that matters of life and death are still un-deciphered by present advances in Sciences. Since the Geeta mostly lies down the facts pertaining to these matters, an ultimate and insurmountable resort to Bhagwad Geeta saves them complete humiliation. The result is that they become deaf to many other doctrines which have relevance for moments other than birth and death. They even become rejecting to the idea of finding more current and deeper theories of these mystic matters also.
IIM-L may be having the rock sculpture to inspire its students to deliberate how motivation through speeches, careful planning, and out-of-norms tactics by Krisna won the war to the Pandavs from the mighty Kauravs. Who knows how many of us Indians see this as another proclamation of the Bhagwad Geeta theories over the rest!