Gita Daily Readings

21 December
Chapter XVIII: 59-60
If, filled with egoism, thou thinkest: "I will not fight," vain is this, thy resolve; nature will compel thee.

Oh Arjrna, bound by thine own karma born of thine own nature, that which from delusion thou wishest not to do, even that thou shalt do helplessly.

Commentary

These verses may sound fatalistic and seem to sanction predestination - perhaps justifiably so. Man has striven day and night to conquer nature, yet he has not succeeded in making the sun rise in the west nor in making the apple fall upwards. At great trouble and expense, he pumps water up, but it quickly flows down. Death freezes all individual achievements into a pleasant memory. Time bulldozes civilizations into non-existence, creating a pastime for archaeologists. Hunger and thirst, illness and death, heat and cold, and numerous other forms of suffering inherent in earthly life always have the last laugh.

Nature, whether cosmic or personal, cannot be cancelled. A nature law is inviolable, eternal; and all the realities of nature are constant. Thus, nature can only be understood. If such understanding creates the impression that we can defy nature, it is a delusion. Nature will continue her play. The ego standing in front of her and defying her will be crushed; the ego pushing her from behind will frustrate itself. We can neither  desire nor desist egotistically.

This nature includes what we call "my" body and mind. All these function. It is natural. But where is the ego, the self? Who or what is it? Why does it wish to desire or desist? And, what does the egoistic man achieve?

Sin is neither in God nor in nature, but is hidden in the defiance and the desire. Knowing this, the wise one does not incur sin. Yet, repressed desires still remain within the ignorant man, indicating that he is only clinging to illusion and turning what seems to be valid knowledge into a tool of this illusion. Whatever one does in ignorance is sinful. Even egoistic virtue is only postponed vice. Egoism born of ignorance is the sinner - thank God it is only born of ignorance and hence not real.

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