people come to this question at some point in their lives, beginning a quest
for the search of truth, of passion. We talked about the pursuit of happiness and how prevalent it is in
our cultures today. So it's probably fair to say that most Westerners - me
included - still hang on to the belief that we need a reason to be here.
what's the point, right?
The Bhagavad Gita
offers an interesting perspective. Also known as the Gita, it is part of the
Sanskrit epic Mahabharata and was written probably about 3000 years ago (yes,
pre-dating the Bible). It describes Arjuna (a soldier’s) conversation with
Krishna (God) and has influenced people across the world, including Gandhi,
Huxley, Thoreau, Emerson, Einstein, and Jung.
I’ve recently started
reading Jack Hawley’s translation, “The Bhagavad Gita – A Walkthrough for
Westerners”. It’s an easy read so far, like a cool story with an interesting
plot: Arjuna is a renowned warrior who is overcome by doubt right before an important battle. What is our hero supposed to do - fight, or go home?
In the second chapter, Krishna teaches him that
One's personal duty
in life (one's sva-dharma) should be viewed as one's responsibility to
his or her highest Self, the Atma.
“self” is not the same as our body or our mind – those perish. Reality in a
spiritual sense is everlasting. Your Atma
does not perish, it doesn’t die because it was never born – it has always been.
That's why your Atma is the only Real thing. The Gita describes it as “immutable, unmanifested, and unknowable” (it doesn’t
change, it can’t be touched, and the human mind can’t conceive it).
you freaked out yet? I know, me too.
does this soul of ours sit and how do we get in touch with it?
Chopra had a lecture in Dallas not too long ago, and he made us do a nifty
exercise. Let’s see if we can recreate it here. As you pay attention to your
screen right now, reading these words, turn that attention around to the person
who is paying attention.
you feel a presence? When you observe the observer, yourself, do you note that
split-second of “Huh? Hang on! There’s someone in here!”-weirdness? I noticed
it at the time and was left quite impressed (and wondering if I was going mad).
the Atma is immutable, unmanifested,
and unknowable, we live in a world that is changing at an ever faster pace, our
sciences explain all sorts of visible and invisible processes, and we strive to
understand and grasp everything else, too. To become still and feel into our Atma, then, is wholly counter-intuitive.
Yet taking that time may be an effective way for you to connect with your own
inner wisdom of what your path would be.
told Arjuna that since he is a warrior, not fighting would “violate your sva-dharma”, his personal duty in life, that which he was on the planet for.
Leave a comment and let us
know what your Atma told you?