Monday, November 19, 2012

Faith & Fact

One is not really guided by information and facts that one reads in books and other sources of knowledge. One is guided by his faith or by scepticism. One's understanding of what one reads is guided by his faith or scepticism.

A person who has faith uses information to reinforce his faith. And a sceptic uses the same information to verify and support his scepticism, scanning the information for ‘faults’, contradictions, loopholes and defects.

What else does it mean when someone tells you he has read the scriptures, the epics, the Gita, and a whole library of sacred texts, a feat you think remarkable, not achieved by most of the believers you know, even father, grandfather... you listen in awe, eyes wide open for he even knows Sanskrit and then...and then it turns out the guy believes Krishna was wrong, Arjuna was vindicated in the end, the Gita is imperfect and the Hindus merely put it on a pedestal to compete with the Bible of the Christians, that religion is mere clever arrangement to enforce conformance in societies?

One isn’t guided by what one reads. One reads to verify what one already ‘knows’.

That applies not just to religion but to everything. Almost. Our opinions and beliefs – on politics, sociology, economy, history, philosophy, ideology...

We ‘know’ and then we set about to verify.


Sachin Thombre said...

yes, quite true in my case. My experience and perception about certain things overshadow the words that I intend to read and learn.

how amazing it would be if we could enable/disable our memory as per our needs!

Good one Sowmya.

Ranj said...

Tatz the second thing am in agreement with u today...Tatz a record :)

But w.r.t. the example of Bhaghvad Gita I agree to what Devdutt Patnaik had to say: "The value we give to the Gita today is because the British valued it greatly and equated it with the Bible when they made it part of the judicial system. For an Indian scholar, the Gita is but one of the many religious texts in India, that brings together many of the diverse intellectual streams of the land.
I guess, spellbound by the Western template of having one definitive religious book to validate Hinduism, we cling to the Gita. But that reveals a poor understanding of Hinduism itself" A lot of them read it, know it byheart, can recite verses but if u get it, you would be at peace with life....U need a lot of faith to achieve that...

Anonymous said...

Sorry , Patnaik might be wrong , Both Shankara, Ramanuja wrote commentary on Bhagavad Geetha.

Jnaneswar Maharaj also wrote Jnaneswari in Marathi. That was before british came into India.

Geetha puts in the essence of all the other 1000 scriptures in 700 verses.

Sowmya said...

Thanks Sachin, but I did not mean we should not have prejudices, only that we should have the right kind of prejudices. Evolution would not be possible if all of us had to begin life from the scratch! which is what is implied by a condition of no memories.

Personally, I am much now happier after 'finding' faith and allowing myself to be guided by faith than I used to be when I was skeptic/agnostic/doubtful.

Ranj, yeah...a record...

I don't know about the post British status of the Gita, but then, I know we should also start taking notice of various other scriptures that adorn our libraries. Most of them seem to be ignorant of the hundreds of other works and think that Gita is the only work in Hinduism. That said, the Gita came right from Krishna's mouth, the greatest prophet of India and is one of the most important works we have if not the most important.

Anonymous said...

kindly find the Jnaneswari online -

This is what Jnaneswar Maharaj had to say -

One should tell the Gita
without words,enjoy it without the knowledge of senses, and grasp, its doctrine before it is spoken. Just as the bees pick the pollen without the lotus buds knowing it, that is the way to understand this text. Or just as without leaving its place, the blue lotus plant knows how to embrace the moon when it rises and enjoy its love (56-60), so only a person whose mind has become steady and profound can delve into the secret of this

Therefore all of you saints who are fit to hear Gita in the company of Arjuna, may kindly give your attention to what I say.O hearers, I have taken this liberty with some familiarity, as I know that you are broad-minded. The parents naturally like the lisping words of the child; and so need I, whom you have accepted and called your own. Beg you to forgive my many lapses (61-65)? But I have made a bloomer in thatI have wished to grasp the meaning of the Gita and on the top of it entreated you to give your attention to me. Without realising that this taskis beyond my capacity; I have made bold to undertake it. But what is aglow-worm before the sun'? I hear that a lapwing tried to empty the sea to save her chicks, so ignorant that I am, I have set out to do this difficult task. If a person wishes to clasp the sky. He has to be bigger than the sky;so all this seems like an impossible task to me. When Lord Shiva was expatiating on the greatness of the Gita, his spouse Bhavani questioned him in wonderment (66-70). Lord Shiva said, "O goddess, like your figure which no one can fathom, this doctrine of the
Gita appears ever new when one thinks of it". While the ocean of the Vedas sprang from the snoring of the Supreme Lord, He told this scripture that is
Gita in person. This Gita
isso profound that it confounded even the Vedas. How then can a dull-witted person like me attempt to explain it? How can one hold within one'sgrasp this boundless text or hold candle to its light? Or how can a midgehold the heavens within its fist ?
Then his Guru said, "Enough, you don't have to tell us all this. Bequick and give your thought to the work in hand." After hearing thesewords, Jnanadeva, disciple of Nivritti Joyfully said, "Now listen leisurely to what I say"

This is how the commentary begins and it is one of the lengthiest and fun filled commentary full of laughter and wisdom.