Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Friday, March 26, 2004
Buy Some Cleaning Fluid, and Use It!
A man is in a room with one window. Although it is daytime, the light in the room is awful and it’s rather damp, for no light can get in because the window is so dirty. The man wants to know what is outside, but can’t because of the dirtiness of the window. After touching the window and realizing it is the inside that is dirty, rather than the outside, he uses environmentally just cleaning fluids to clean the window. He is suddenly hit by intense rays of light which illuminate the room. A smile spreads across his face, for he is now much warmer, and able to see the entire room and everything outside of the window.
While the true substance of truth, God, and Krishna can not be attained by reading a book, the Bhagavad-Gita provides the reader with a way to understand the relationship between these three principles to a higher degree. Previously, after reading sections of the Bible and a combination of other texts, I had concluded that God was an eternal spirit synonymous with nature. And that nature, which is pure, acts in a just manner. Reading the Gita originally threw my understanding of God and truth into a whirlwind. Yet, I realized the God I observed and followed was the same as the one described in the poem, just with a different name.
Plato’s Republic, The Torah, as well as the Gita use light to symbolize truth, God, and Krishna. In the allegory of the cave, Plato describes the light outside of the cave which the prisoner aspires to as “the good,” or the source of all. In The Torah, The Lord is displayed as a burning bush. Krishna is so bright, that Arjuna struggles to see him: “ I see you blazing through the fiery rays oh your crown, mace, and discus, hard to behold in the burning light of fire and sun that surrounds your measureless presence” (100).
If these three texts, use the same symbols to illustrate three different things, does this mean that truth, god, and Krishna are all the same? No. Words cannot accurately describe this relationship, and inevitably fail, yet is apparent that they are all interrelated. Krishna is described as being: “The god of all gods” (99). Thus, it is apparent that Krishna is the amalgamation of all of the gods, and himself is a “god.” It is fair to say that God, and Krishna are the same thing. Krishna says that once one has reached his state, he truly sees reality: “When lucidity prevails, the self who body dies enters the untainted worlds of those who know reality” (123). Yet, to achieve this lucidity one must act in a judicious manner.
Krishna directs Arjuna: “Keep your mind on me, be my devotee, sacrificing, bow to me—you will come to me, I promise, for you are dear to me” (152). Krishna tells Arjuna that by being devoted to him, that he will be able to reach him. This has two levels of understanding. The first one is that by praying to Krishna one is able to reach a state of happiness. But this is not enough, and does not get at the true meaning of the text. Only by acting in the ways that Krishna does, rather than just worshipping him, one is able to reach a state of Krishna-like joy. In other words, the man who is able to act in a truthful manner is able to reach Krishna, or God. Krishna takes another step by pointing the way to this ability to act like him. Through devotion to Krishna and acting upon that conviction, one is able to see reality.
The man will finally be able to feel the joyous rays of Krishna and God if he uses the cleaning fluid produced by Krishna.