Found in Sanga, Sanga 2001.


February 27th, 2001 | No Comments

Q. Your new book idea of rendering the Bhagavad-gita as a novel sounds fascinating! What do you mean that the commentary will be the thoughts behind Krishna and Arjuna’s questions and answers. Could you give an example?

A. Krishna of Bhagavad-Gita has a life and history outside of his speech to Arjuna in the Gita, as does Arjuna. Their lives are discussed primarily in the Puranas. In consideration of their lives and personalities, as well as those of other characters in the Gita, I hope to shed light on what Krishna is saying to Arjuna. I will try to post a sample of a chapter later this month. Look for it on the site.

Q. Are you working on a new book?

A. I am conceptualizing a rendering of the Bhagavad-Gita in the form of a novel, with the commentary taking the form of the thoughts of Arjuna and Krishna behind their questions and answers. Their thoughts will be based on an understanding of their personalities as described in other sacred literature, and on the commentaries of earlier commentators of the Gaudiya lineage. I hope to make it adaptable to drama. It is an ambitious project and, again, I am only in the conceptual stage. More feed back as to the interest in such a project would help to move it beyond conceptualization. If readers are interested in this approach to the Gita, let me know. Post your comments and questions about it.

Q. I picked up your book ‘Rasa: Love Relationships in Transcendence’ at Barnes and Noble and was really surprised by the contents. Aesthetic Vedanta is next on my list. Your books add much original thinking and experience to the spiritual marketplace. They are in a word, “revolutionary.”

A. Thank you.

Q. When Arjuna broke down on the battlefield, were his enemies mocking him? What was Duryodhana and all of Pandavas’ enemies doing the whole time while Krishna was preaching the Gita?

A. Krishna spoke the Gita in about 45 minutes. According to the text, both sides were readying for battle. Arjuna, with Krishna as his charioteer, had surveyed the battlefield in preparation for battle. Conch horns had been sounded. Once Krishna began instructing Arjuna in Bg 2.11, other parties were not privy to the intimate conversation of Krishna and Arjuna, while they could understand that something was up. Many saw him throw down his bow and arrows, for after the Gita was spoken and Arjuna picked them up, Mahabharata informs that the Pandavas were heartened seeing this and cheered.

Arjuna’s enemies were not mocking him, although Krishna warned earlier that should he desist they would. After Krishna spoke the Gita, the battle was delayed further by Yudhisthira, who before fighting approached Bhisma, touched his feet, and asked his blessings. So there was considerable foreplay before the battle actually commenced and both parties were involved in such. Arjuna’s discussion with Krishna is one example of this, one that while catching everyone’s attention, its details were not known to all parties.

Q. You mentioned before that you are thinking of writing an adaptation of the Bhagavad-gita. Why is there little mention of Aesthetic Vedanta’s ‘sacred passionate love’ in Krishna’s most famous Gita?

A. In the Gita, Krishna is not in the mood of passionate love. Still there are hints of it in the Gita. I have cited the 10th, 12th, and 18th chapters of the Gita in the last chapter of Aesthetic Vedanta, pointing to hints of passionate love. The 9th chapter also indirectly refers to it. We cannot expect the full face of sacred passionate love to appear in Bhagavad-Gita because at the time it was spoken Krishna of Vraja had already left the world, leaving his expansion (Vasudeva Krishna) to complete his lila.

Q. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita that lust is situated in the senses, the mind and the intelligence. From experience one can see that sometimes this lust is manifest and sometimes unmanifest. But it is always there ready to “strike” so to speak. Can you explain how lust attacks the senses. How it attacks the mind. And how it attacks the intelligence?

A. Lust attacks the intelligence in the form of planning for improving one’s sense gratification, the idea of which first appears in the mind, and is later carried out by the senses.

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