THE BHAGAVAD GITA

THE SIVANANDA TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY BY SWAMI VENKATESANANDA

The Bhagavad Gita (Song of God)

THE MONTH OF MARCH

At this stage in the Gita we are on the threshold of a revolutionary concept of religion. In the popular mind, throughout the ages, religion means church-going, hymn-singing, cloister-life, fasting and feasting. World and work are considered somehow opposed to reality and religion. Krishna delivers a stunning blow to this misconception. He would prefer service without religion to religion without service!

In the life of the former there is a void, a vacuum, which will be filled sooner or later with God, whereas the latter is full ... of nonsense ... and even the corrective influence to restore the proper balance between religion and service may have to await a complete degeneration of the pseudo-religion.

Only God can restore this balance - and he does, by periodically manifesting himself on this earth-plane. Two such manifestations rule the hearts of humanity today - Krishna and Christ. Are they two? Do not even the names sound similar? And their lives ... and their teachings ...?

Christ was born in the manger; Krishna in a prison-cell.

Both were whisked away to a far-off place immediately after nativity. The former, for fear of Herod, the latter, for fear of Kamsa - both of whom were the rulers of the country.

Both of them sought early in their lives to effect far-reaching reform in the modes of worship.

Both of them had control over the elements.

Both of them exalted the power of faith - Christ said faith could move mountains, and Krishna demonstrated it by lifting a mountain with his little finger.

Both of them taught wonderful ethical and spiritual lessons. The Sermon on the Mount and the Bhagavad Gita contain the same gems of truth.

Both of them were glorified by some as God and ridiculed by others.

Both of them were killed.

Both of them blessed their tormentors. Christ forgave them; Krishna insisted that his killer should go to heaven first.

Even the legend which says that lord Krishna married over sixteen thousand wives might mean no more than this: every Christian nun is considered the bride of Christ, and it is possible that even at the time the biography was written, there were over sixteen thousand of them.

Are they two or one? Historians charm us with well-reasoned arguments to prove Christ lived two thousand years ago, and Krishna (if at all) nearly four or five thousand years ago. In prehistoric calculations, thousands of years are but hours in contemporary history! Could it be that Christ lived a little earlier and Krishna a little later than at present believed? Could it be then, that we are talking about the same person, some calling him Christ and others, Krishna?

There is a "missing period" in the life of Christ. Some are endeavoring to fill it by surmising that he must have traveled east. It is just as possible that some of the stories connected with Krishna's early life could also have been "fillers" to link up over the missing period.

Any guess is hazardous. But if God reveals the truth, may it not unite us all - Hindu and Christian - in the realization that we are all truly brothers and sisters, worshipping the same divinity?

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