“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.2)Download this episode (right click and save)
The Bhagavad-gita is a famous work of the Vedic tradition. Read by scholars, statesmen, and spiritualists alike, it offers pearls of wisdom in short verses that are easier to remember. The less amount of words you can use to make your point, the more effective your message will be. The Gita is not voluminous, but its commentary can be. The same can be said of the contemplation focused on its wisdom. As important as what’s in the Gita is what’s not in it. The absence of specific topics puts those topics into the proper perspective.
Utopia is the fantasy world where everything is good. Whatever you think is bad, take that out of your ideal place and you thus have a utopia. If you don’t like fighting, get rid of it. If you don’t like bullying, that is gone too. No more sadness. Only happiness exists in utopia. Take every issue of the day, every cause, of every single person, and then imagine that it is resolved. Then you get utopia for everyone. The Bhagavad-gita does not address anything of the sort. Shri Krishna did not forget to mention it, either. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, so when He speaks, He only discusses the most important topics.
“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.14)
In the Gita you will not find the cure for world hunger. This does not mean that everyone should starve. This does not mean that God intended us to fall asleep hungry every night. Indeed, the occupational duties of the vaishyas include production of food. You harvest the land, take care of the cows, and engage in commerce. You perform sacrifice in order to get the necessary rain. In this way you will have relative prosperity. This has worked in every land in every time period. Even the Pilgrims in America discovered this process, minus the cow protection. They divided up the land, instituting the concept of private property, during their initial stay in the New World and what resulted was a harvest so bountiful that the tradition of Thanksgiving took birth.
In the Gita you will not find the cure for poverty. This does not mean that everyone should be poor and destitute. If the vaishya community, the mercantile class, takes care of their responsibilities, the economic problems are minimized. There will be plenty of stuff to enjoy. So God does not want us to be poor, but at the same time in His work which is considered the essence of Vedic philosophy the focus is not on how to become materially prosperous.
In the Gita you will not find the formula for stopping all arguments. This does not mean that we should live in strife, constantly arguing with our fellow man. This does not mean that it is necessary to take up arms and invade our neighboring countries when they have a commodity of value to us. By following the essential teachings of the Gita, one automatically becomes peaceful. They are automatically a good citizen and someone who does not need to rely on unnecessary violence.
“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 5.29)
These causes and issues are not covered in the Gita because when one understands the nature of the world they presently inhabit, they learn that the idea of utopia can only remain that, an idea. To eliminate hunger one must eliminate freedom of action. What do we mean by this? One is hungry if they have not eaten a sufficient amount of food in a while. To eliminate hunger for everyone, everyone must be compelled to eat in a timely manner. They must be forced to eat, and in order to eat there must be food. Thus others must be compelled to grow and store enough food.
When you compel, you get disagreements. This is only natural. Who will enforce the laws? Who will follow them? The people following will want to be in the position of power, for then they get to make the rules. With this clash in desire, you get conflicts, which escalate into wars. You also can’t eliminate poverty, since that means everyone will have to work a sufficient amount to earn enough money. Again, there is coercion. There is force, which clashes with desire.
It is that desire which causes the birth in the material world. When desire is impure, all the issues which need to be addressed in the utopian ideal manifest. When desire is pure, the situation starts to turn around. Pure desire is Krishna consciousness, where one wants only to meet the interests of the Supreme Lord. What are His interests? He does not want anyone to remain in a land of duality, where temporary conditions necessitate good and bad, happy and sad. In a temporary world, there must be poverty and prosperity, war and peace, and disease and good health. With temporary conditions, it is impossible to eliminate everything that is unwanted, especially since what is wanted for one person is unwanted for another.
The desire of the Supreme Lord is to reclaim His fallen sons and daughters, to have them again merged into their eternal occupation, devotional service. To take that service up in earnest, the desire must be there. Force will not work, as the impure desire will be a boundary to restrict entry into that engagement. To reclaim the desire that was once there, the fallen living entity must be educated upon all important matters. To eradicate a specific disease or remove hunger around the world will not bring the proper education. In fact, the mind may turn in the opposite direction, thinking that life can indeed be great without service to God.
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 18.66)
Krishna says in the Gita to abandon all varieties of religion and surrender unto Him. Give up the idea of making this world a permanent home of steady happiness and zero strife. Give up the chase to find happiness through sense gratification alone, for in renunciation there is temporary pleasure as well. After giving up these various causes, take up the eternal occupation of devotion in surrender. Put your fate in the hands of the wielder of the flute, the lifter of Govardhana Hill, and the chariot driver of Arjuna. Take up the science of self-realization, learn your true identity, understand the difference between matter and spirit, and know that heaven for you can be created on any earth, whether in this realm or another, through full surrender in devotion. Start that surrender today and maintain it through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Bhagavad-gita not to correct all flaws,
Nor to give solution for every cause.
Utopia neither here nor there to be found,
Duality a must when to earthly realm bound.
Krishna most important topics covering,
Like how individual real identity discovering.
Surrendering to Him in full understanding,
So into eternal service again landing.