Here are a few questions about Bhagavad Gita, with my replies.
The first questions I have are about chapter 10 – verse 7-8…
Why by comprehending krishna\god’s mystical nature, will we develop a devotional feeling towards him?
We may develop devotion to him after understanding his unique nature and position. It is not certain. Just like by hearing that someone is very amazing you may become more attracted to that person, or you may not. Most likely you will, but it is not certain.
why by understanding everything comes from him – are we attracted to devotion to him?
Everything that we love is an expansion of him. Realizing this causes intense love for him. Imagine if you learned that every song you ever loved came from the same artist. Imagine how much love you would feel for that artist.
How can you comprehend the incomprehensible through devotion, if that devotion doesn’t arise without comprehending the mysical nature?
This connundrum is explained in Gita directly. The initial knowledge of God needs only be cursory, brief and general. Then, through the relationship established by devotion it becomes incredibly direct, detailed and full. It is very similar to any ordinary relationship. You don’t need to know everything about a person in all detail before falling in love. You may simply hear a word or two about the person, or see them from afar, or even see a picture. But that small amount of initial knowledge inspires you to form a loving relationship and through that loving relationship you come to know everything about the person in intimate detail.
Another thing I struggle with is the last verse of chapter 16. As a person raised in modern culture, i don’t think i can accept vedic authority for the sake of being “vedic.” We who were not raised in vedic india – what does this principle of sacred-scripture mean to us?
This verse simply says that rules of self-discipline are essential for regulating and reasonably controlling the three undesirable qualities of lust, anger and greed. This is a universal principle, we don’t need to approach it as a cultural thing.
The Veda contain a very, very amazing and excellent collection of moral principles tailored for different people in different circumstances in different times of their life. If we learn them from a person who understands them, it will make no difference if we are Bengalis, Israelis, or Eskimos. It is not a cultural thing, but a real guru is required to make that clear.
And I know ancient scriptures have the tendency to be very uplifting and coherent at points and very crazy and nonsensical at other points. I cannot believe the vedas are any different
Śāstra seems confusing at times when we read them without the guidance of a true guru who has really understood their essence and details.
I cannot believe there is a “pure” scripture – beyond any fault and any level of short-sightedness
Śāstra on its own is insufficient, it requires guru; just as medicine is insufficient without a doctor.
what is the right approach for a person with my secular-rational mindset – to the concept of “vedic authority”?
Find a real guru of the śāstra you want to learn and learn it from that person. That is the right approach. Do not accept a person as a guru just because he or she looks like a guru, or has the title of a guru, or has people who think he or she is a guru. Use your critical intellect to discover the true guru who truly grasps the details and essence of the śāstra and strives to apply those to their life. Learn śāstra from such a person – at the very least from books written by such a person. Best would be in a real, personal teacher-student situation.
krishna is saying the only way to be free is by accepting scriptural authority so basically, unable to do so – i’m hopeless to ever really advance. what to do?
No. He says that the only way to be free from undesirable qualities is to regulate them. Then he adds that the Vedas are a very excellent source of regulation.
Vraja Kishor das