Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Tobi S. Drori
March 14, 2004
Global Studies IIA
Krishna and Truth
The walls, which block us from receiving a better understanding of concepts related to metaphysics questions, hinder our capability of grasping the meanings of terms such as justice, action, discipline, and truth. These limitations derive from our use of language as well as knowledge of these convoluted notions. Our inability to describe the significance of truth, or God, causes incongruent perceptions of the ultimate reality, and produces varying ways in which to interpret “definitions” for one ultimate truth. Though there are numerous understandings of this truth or reality, there is only one central truth.
The different insights that the many may uses to understand this concept of truth all derive from a theory, which humans cannot perceive because of our imperfect intelligence and perspectives. Therefore, men and women will find themselves in a binding situation when trying to take hold of an image of truth. Some may act without reason or knowledge, but rather only for themselves, therefore getting nowhere nearer to a better awareness of truth. Others will entirely not take part in action even if they feel they may understand the connotation of reality. What good may it be to be theoretical, but not to put that knowledge to actuality? By not taking action, our understanding of what the ultimate reality is fades. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna describes three qualities that a man can encompass, lucidity, passion, and dark inertia. Each of these qualities either incorporates action or inaction, and a degree of discipline. “From lucidity knowledge is born; from passion comes greed; from dark inertia come negligence, delusion, and ignorance.” (Gita, page 132:17). It is important to have action with knowledge, to understand the purpose of your act in order to find a path or process that will lead you to a truth.
The Bhagavad-Gita illustrates a method of discovering the meaning of truth, or rather Krishna, by a process. This manner of discovering what is truth eliminates misapprehension and delusions about reality while enhancing one’s understanding and discipline in order to connect and become one with everything and nothing, with Krishna. Arjuna, the archer, is a warrior who becomes perplexed with his emotions, and whether or not his action is just or not. Lord Krishna sees Arjuna’s confusion and conflicting reaction. He realizes that he must clear Arjuna’s thoughts by telling him that he is being taken over by his reactions and emotions while letting his mind be manipulated. Instead of understanding why he feels the need to stop in the mist of a battle, he proceeds with action only. Lord Krishna recognizes Arjuna’s misunderstanding, and takes the initiative to clear his mind, and to provide him with a path so that he may find the meaning of reality in it’s totality.
“Keep me in your mind and devotion, sacrifice to me, bow to me, discipline your self toward me, and you will reach me!” (Gita page 87:34). As Krishna continues to explain the difference between action and knowledge we see a connection between truth and Krishna, the God of all Gods. When Krishna says, “discipline your self toward me,” he is instructing Arjuna to look towards knowledge and understanding before acting. In other words, Krishna is instructing Arjuna to look towards the “light,” knowledge in order to find truth, find Krishna. For example, in The Republic of Plato the allegory of the cave resembles what Krishna is trying to teach Arjuna through out the Bhagavad-Gita. Krishna keeps reinforcing the concept of discipline and knowledge instead of delusions such as the shadows that are described in the allegory of the cave. Krishna enlightens Arjuna by informing him why it is important to have knowledge and an understanding of why one performs an action, for what purpose. The cave was a metaphor to present the same intention for the importance of knowledge before action. In the allegory of the cave the concept of truth is described as the light at the end of the cave to signify the difference between deception and faulty reasoning. Socrates realizes that those who have lived in the cave for their whole lives have no understanding of the truth, and they wouldn’t be able to accept the light as the truth. “Don’t you’d suppose he’d be at a loss and believe that what was seen before is truer than what is now shown?” ( The Republic of Plato, 515 d).
Krishna is a representation of the truth. He is everything and nothing, he guides people on a path towards the origin of action. Where as the connotation of truth does the same. They are both some form of reality. A way to understand questions that cannot be answered by ourselves. Krishna, the God of Gods, as well as the concept of truth have set us on a path in which we must follow our duty to create order, as well as gain knowledge for the reasons that we perform action. “These bright and dark pathways are deemed constant for the universe; by one, a man escapes rebirth; by the other, he is born again.” (Gita page 80:25-26).
How are Krishna/god and truth similar/or different?
“Krishna, the great lord of discipline, revealed to Arjuna the true majesty of his form. It was a multiform, wondrous vison, with countless mouths and eyes and celestial ornaments, brandishing many divine weapons. Everywhere was boundless divinity containing all astonishing things, wearing divine garlands and garments, anointed with divine perfume. If the light of a thousand suns were to rise in the sky at once, it would be like the light of that great spirit. Arjuna saw all the universe in its many ways and parts, standing as one in the body of the god of gods” (Gita 98-99).
It is in this quote that all is explained about Krishna to the reader. It is an important quote to look at because in this quote it is explained what Krishna represents that is, god, and truth. Arjuna after meeting with Krishna for some time gets to see what Krishna’s true form is. The end of this quote represents what Arjuna thinks of this divine spirit. Arjuna views Krishna as truth because he sees in Krishna all of the universe in its many ways and parts. The part of this quote that represents Krishna meaning god is this, “standing as one body of the god of gods” (see above). Thus Krishna represents truth.
“I see your boundless form everywhere, the countless arms, bellies, mouths, and eyes; Lord of All, I see no end, or middle or beginning to your totality” (Gita 99). This quote represents Arjuna describing how he views the god of all gods in his truest form. Arjuna sees everything within Krishna’s true form, therefore we as readers can conclude that Krishna in his truest form represents truth.