Gita Daily Readings

8th February
Chapter II:42-44
Flowery speech is uttered by the unwise, taking pleasure in the eulogizing words of the Vedas, Oh Arjuna, saying: "There is nothing else."

Full of desires, having heaven as their goal, they utter speech, which promises birth as the reward of actions, and prescribe various specific actions for the attainment of pleasure and power.

For those who are attached to pleasure and power, whose minds are drawn away by such teaching, that determinate reason is not formed which is steadily bent on meditation and samadhi.

Commentary

"Veda" means "knowledge." The Vedas prescribe certain actions calculated to lead us to heaven. In modern parlance, even "science" can be included here. Does not science promise to bring heaven on to earth? All these may be noble professions. But an element of our personality which neither science nor ritualistic religion is able to keep in check destroys what they build. That is desire, which is the cause of sorrow. We do not want to bring heaven to earth nor do we want to go to a heaven from here. We should liberate ourselves from sorrow inherent in birth and death.

Krishna has given a clear psychological picture of our life here. We are all goaded in our activity only by these two: lust for pleasure and lust for power. Everyone wants to become Ishvara or God (as the word aisvaryaprashakta in verse 44 implies), even with powers to create (e.g., the scientist who wants to create the living cell), to protect (every father feels he is protecting the family) and to destroy. Though it is not openly admitted for fear of blasphemy, such desire is there in our hearts. Man has intelligence and also free will. If the former is overwhelmed by desire, he is left with mere free will goaded by base instincts. When lust usurps the throne and dethrones wisdom, free will follows. Yoga is beyond the reach of such a one.

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