Friday, October 5, 2007

There was one passage in the second teaching of BAG that really has me thinking.

Lord Krishna says:
When your understanding turns,
from sacred lore to stand fixed,
immovable in contemplation,
then you will reach discipline.

In response Arjuna asks:
Krishna, what defines a man
deep in contemplation whose insight
and thought are sure? How would he speak?
How would he sit? How would he move?

This passage really struck me. Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna how to mold his mind to reach discipline. Why then does Arjuna ask about the physical features of a man "deep in contemplation?" Why is Arjuna so stuck on the physical actions, rather than the spiritual and emotional aspects that Krishna is referencing?

This brings back the discussion we had a few classes ago, about what is more important, thought or action. It appears to me that Krishna believes thoughts are more important, but Arjuna believes action is more important. I would like to assume that because Krishna is the "teacher" his view is right. But the culture also seems to place a strong emphasis on action. This is why Arjuna is so torn. He does not want to kill his family in the battle, but he also knows that it is his duty to fight. His physical battle is just as significant as his internal battle.

However, as I continued to read further into the teachings, I discovered that Krishna places an emphasis on both action and inaction. This led to further confusion for me. How can one place equal emphasis on two opposite traits? Arjuna seems to always place his emphasis on action. There are many other similar passages within the other teachings to the one I listed above. Arjuna always wants to know about the physical representation of disciplined or knowledgeable person.

So after finishing the book, I have not found an answer to which is more important: action or inaction. Krishna has placed an emphasis on both, while Arjuna seems to lean more towards action. However, Arjuna is the student questioning Krishna about how he should live, so I don't know if I can trust Arjuna's ignorant views. Personally, I believe that action is more important than inaction. Action is the physical representation of your thoughts and beliefs. How can you demonstrate how you have disciplined your mind or body if not through actions? Why would you work so hard to mold your mind if such discipline can't be put into action?

So as I leave, I am still pondering the significance of action and inaction. Hopefully further analysis of the text will provide me with some answers.

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