365 Challenge Day 171 – Gita

23 Nov

I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita for my yoga teacher training, and I’m sad to say that so far I’m not connecting to it all.  This is disappointing to me for many reasons.  I’ve only read the first two chapters, so it’s not like I’ve formed any hard fast decisions about it, but so far I feel like I’m just not getting it.

It is a story about a battle, with the main character a warrior, destined to kill off the “evil” rulers who cheated their way into power.  Most of the people he is meant to kill are his own family members.  When he hesitates, saying that he doesn’t feel right killing his own family, and if he does there is no way it will bring him happiness anyway, I can fully relate to this sentiment!  I agree with it!  But the god, Krishna, tells him he must fulfill his duty.  And Swami Satchidananda, the author of this translation, says that he just making excuses.

I’m having a lot of trouble relating to this metaphor!!!  First, I’m realizing I’m not a fan of metaphor to begin with.  Communication is hard enough even when we *try* to be clear, what hope is there when we are being intentionally vague about the point we are trying to make???  Second, I’m so used to Eastern religions practicing non-harm, ahimsa, I know for example that Swami Satchidananda was a vegetarian. In Buddhism the monks will catch bugs to put them outside rather than kill them.  The Jains have been known to wear masks so they don’t inadvertently breath in and kill any insects.  There is something very beautiful about this respect and reverence for all life.  So I find this metaphor of being a warrior and slaughtering off the bad guys, as a *spiritual* teaching, well honestly, I find it quite distressing!!  And finally, even if the metaphor is meant to symbolize parts of ourselves that we should not give into and should kill off, I’m not a fan of that plan either!!  My experience in spiritual transformation is that these parts of ourselves only shift through acceptance. The more we try to push something away, the more it digs in and resists change.

So basically, I’m totally confused.  I’m not getting this story.  I feel like I must be completely missing the point somehow.  My sister is reading it at the same time and really likes it.

On a positive note this is bringing me a lot of gratitude for the Buddhist teachings which I find very clear and always resonate as true for me!

I don’t mean to offend anyone, so my apologies if you find this upsetting or offensive.  If you have another interpretation that you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear it!!


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