Gita Talk

I love Facebook. There’s just no denying it. I know many people believe our relationships become disconnected through social media, but I believe the opposite. I’ve maintained connections with friends all over the globe through simple ‘likes’, wall posts and photo tags. There’s no way I would have written all these friends letters or emails, and some of them I’ve not seen for years. Social media has also provided me with an avenue to explore yoga philosophy in a whole new way. Recently Elephant Journal posted in my news feed ‘Gita Talk’ – exploring Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Bhagavad Gita, the central text of Hindu and yoga philosophy. Many times before I had wanted to explore this text and discuss it with like minded yogi/ni friends, but honestly, there was always something else to do.

Elephant Journal’s discussion is broken up into weekly bites of two chapters per week, totally manageable for a time poor yoga teacher. I thought I might post my comments on chapters 2&3 below, as well as the response from our group leader.

My comment:
“I have never read Mitchell’s translation before, and I have been so pleasantly surprised to find it written in simple English prose that doesn’t require me to have the dictionary sitting beside me the entire time. Having read Weiss’ “Many Lives, Many Masters” it’s been reassuring for me to hear Krishna speak of eternal Spirit and reincarnation. The more Spirit presents this message to me the more willingly I listen. In “Many Lives” the author speaks of souls being reincarnated in groups, and an example of that for me was remembering my son the moment I saw him at birth, as though we were long lost friends or family members.

I can’t say I hated anything, I find hate quite a strong word that I use very rarely. Certainly the singularly masculine language does alienate the female reader somewhat, but I really do feel we need to just let that go people. I am quite challenged though by the concept of renouncing the fruits of my actions. As someone who enjoys goal-setting I find it difficult to consider acting for action’s sake. I understand Krishna’s meaning, no desire for outcome = no opportunity for sufferance of disappointment or anger when the outcome is less wonderful than we expected.

So I terms of how this applies to my life right now, I have to say I’m just not sure. Right now I have very distinct goals and desires, and no intention at all of surrendering them. The thought of failing however, is not very palatable, so perhaps my goals give me direction for my actions, but ultimately my actions should be performed simply with goodness in my heart and strong intention, but with an openness to the outcome.

Looking forward to Chapters 3&4 (and that’s saying something)!”

And Bob’s reply:
“The big breakthrough for me was when I realized the Gita is not telling us not to strive for results, but not to be too attached to the results. These are two very different things.

Obviously Arjuna is going to go out and try to win that battle. Krishna is urging him to do so. And we should all go out and try to achieve whatever we want to achieve.

But just don’t be so attached to winning or losing that it’s all that matters. The action itself, and in fact, just BEING HERE, is far more important than the results.

I’ve been watching a lot of U.S. Open tennis this week. If Krishna were advising one of the players, he would not say, “Forget about trying to win this tournament, don’t bother striving to achieve your dreams.”

In contrast he would say, “Knock yourself out trying to win this tournament, just don’t value yourself or your life based on the results.”

You can see that the Bhagavad Gita is the ancient source of all modern sports psychology, and all modern notions of mental health.”

Elephant Journal Gita Talk