The so-called traces of extremism in Srimad Bhagavad Gita located by over enthusiastic pseudo intellectuals led to huge genuine protest in many circles. Many were left stunned as Srimad Bhagavad Gita is primarily a life giving scripture which talks about evolution of human being via various devotional and spiritual practices formed as per one’s bent of mind. It’s one of the Prasthantrayi scriptures, which deal with principles related with deep philosophical truths aimed at making a person a self realized soul. In fact, all the conscious and evolved souls who came to rely on this enlightening piece delivered by the Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra have perceived it as medium to rise to a higher plane of thought.
Mahatama Gandhi was of the opinion that ” when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.” In fact, the brilliant minds across the globe have also intercepted the same great truth about this Divine document. Emerson categorically states that “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”
Henry David Thoreau , an American author and philosopher, words are enough to put to shame the people interested in viewing it as a literature promoting extremism. Thoreau says: ” In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.”
I must say that it’s a devastating scheme on part of misguided souls to defame Hinduism. However, these voices originating from the hearts and minds of agents of devil cannot wipe out the life-giving essence inherent in this Eternal Song sung by the Lord. Let me make it clear that the whole issue needs to viewed in light of the property dispute between The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and local authority in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
It remains a mystery as to why Russian version of Prabhupada’s ‘Bhagwad-gita As It Is’ was brought in question while dealing with an alleged property dispute? It was this version which was being treated by the prosecutors in Tomsk as an extremist literature. It’s no secret that Orthodox Church at various places be in Russia or elsewhere is not happy with ever increasing reach of ISKCON.
Anyway the recent verdict that summarily rejected the stand of prosecutors interested in seeing the scripture as an extremist literature. The verdict allows the Hindus to heave a sigh of relief. One cannot ignore the fact that present Congress regime which usually takes an equivocal stand pertaining to cause of Hindus and divided Opposition which loves to remain disunited on sensitive issues came together on this issue and sent a strong message to Russian government.
“This complaint, apparently driven by some local individuals, was to the effect that the third Russian edition of the publication ‘Bhagwad Gita As It Is’ – a translation of a commentary by Swami Prabhupada, founder of Iskcon, had certain portions that were ‘objectionable’ and ‘extremist’ in nature… It (Gita) is one of the defining treatises of Indian thought and describes the soul of our great civilization. The Gita is far above any cheap propaganda or attacks by the ignorant or the misdirected.” ( S M Krishna addressing the Lok Sabha)
He had later assured the agitated members that government is pursuing the matter quite seriously and is in constant touch with embassy of India (in Moscow). Anyway, all’s well that ends well! Let’s understand one thing very clearly that readers would fail to get the true purport of any verses if they are not familiar with Sanskrit terms besides the fact that reading a refined scripture needs a certain refined bent of mind. If any of them is missing one would rarely get the true meaning of the verses.
Deviating away from the main theme of the article I wish to say that many religious gurus like Sri Osho or Sri Prabhupadaji have interpreted the scriptures from a certain vision. Unless a devotee owns a certain bent of mind it would a great possibility that he/she might not be able to digest the interpretations. I find that critics of Sri Osho commit the same blunder when they come face to face with the views of Sri Osho. For them Sri Osho was a sex maniac, who advised free sex in name of spiritual insights. The truth is that he practiced a higher spiritual form having close proximity with Vama Marga( Tantra Marga). This path is certainly not made for ordinary seekers. Again many object to Sri Osho’s love for Bhagvan title as prefix. As per the critics it led to rise of many so-called Bhagvans ( Gods). The technical definition of Bhagavan means one who is owner of six primary attributes: strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and detachment. ” Iśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥjñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva ṣannāḥ bhaga itīṇganā” ( Vishnu Purana (6.5.79), Parashara Rishi )
In this context it would not be out of place to inform that a true self realized soul can be addressed as Bhagvan. I find no harm in it. However, the pretenders would meet the same fate the way fake Krishna came to meet at the hands of real Krishna in his own times !! Ending the issue with a verse from Srimad Bhagavad Gita:
“tvam aksharam paramam veditavyam
tvam asya vishvasya param nidhanam
tvam avyayah sasvata-dharma-gopta
sanatanas tvam purusho mato me”
(Chap.11 Verse 18)
“You are the supreme primal objective. You are the ultimate resting place of all this universe. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my opinion.”
We had a fascinating discussion on this issue on Facebook. I am sharing the excerpts of that discussion which I had with Dharmendra Sharma, Ras al Khaima, United Arab Emirates and Vishal Sabharwal , New Delhi, India.
Vishal Sabharwal said:
Why even write about people like Osho? There are billions like him trying to concoct their own religion. Brahmakumaris preach their own manufactured theory and so funny that they claim someone in their lineage to be Lord Brahma. Absolutely silly thoughts they preach out of their own whims and fancies. I think Arvind PRABHU can tell us something and that may be value addition for us . Certainly one thing as to what osho preached about the absolute truth. What was the sum of his teachings? What according to him is God and why he taught abominable sex as means to achieve God?
Dharmendra Sharma said:
Yes I have heard few discourses of Brahmakumaris also. They also have the habit of introducing there own free style thoughts without any solid basis. in one discourse they preached that we call the birthday of Sri Krishna as Janmashtami because it was the eigth birth of Sri Krishna as Sri Krishna.
Arvind K.Pandey said:
Well, just a minor clarification that when I treat him as person whom I respect or admire it does not mean that I accept each and everything flowing from him as a gospel truth.. My own sense of discretion is always there. That’s why many of the views of Sri Osho are always under my mind’s scanner.
However, having said that, I need to say that Sri Osho is not meant for average readers. There is no point in discussing his views from a layman’s perspective. Those who are sensible in approach on road to spiritualism will always have the ability to see the right meaning in words of Sri Osho. The lesser mortals shall always remain confused. There are many ways to reach to the highest goal. Some are easy to comprehend while some are difficult like the Tantra Marga. So select the one that suits you instead of meddling with the routes not meant for you. I must add our society needs more people like Vishalji and Dharmendraji.. You people are coming up with excellent views on matters related with higher truth. Just keep the diya (oil lamp made of clay) of knowledge burning with full glory. We need the light badly.
Dharmendra Sharma said:
Dear Arvind Ji, I am not saying that all of his thoughts were wrong. that is why i mentioned his thoughts as delicate mixture of nectar and alcohol. and it is also correct that hardcore spirituality is not a matter of average minds. “Manushyanam sahashreshu kashchidyatati siddhaye”. And it is not the genesis of the thought which is important, but it is the outcome/essence (conclusion) of a thought process which is important, because that is directly affect the life style of the followers. There is a basic antagonism in the attachment to worldly pleasures and attractions, and the self realisation (the highest goal of spiritual practices).
Osho’s approach to cut these attachments by not highlighting these pleasures and attractions by any restrictions (he thinks that if you restrict yourself from eating some delicious food, you are actually increasing its importance and simultaneously the desire to have it). and he advocates that free yourself from all restrictions and enjoy all the pleasures to negate there importance and to kill the desires and uproot the attraction towards these pleasures. But this approach has several loopholes and drawbacks, even if we keep aside the societal norms and culture. and a better and non-failing approach is available.
Osho says that to extinguish the fire of desire, do not starve it with fuel, but add in the fuel in plenty and you will find that all the desires are non-existent after that. (My concern: True momentarily, but it is an illusion, the desires are still there but dormant. If a hungry person is provided with too much of delicious food daily, he may develop aversion to it. However, the desires will ignite again very soon upon the deprivation of food, and this time the fire will be much more fierce and powerful than before because you have added extra fuel to it. Just think about the end result.
The better approach is to fix all our senses to the sea of infinite beauty, Bhagwan Sri Krishna. By doing so we are not restricting our desires, and are not highlighting or giving indirect importance to the material subjects of worldly pleasures. Osho’s approach :- Jal me rah kar magar se vair na karo ( never be in conflict with those living in your surrounding) ; Sri Krishna’s approach :- why to remain in water itself come directly out of the water.
By the way, the only thing exalted in this creation is the dust of lotus feet of Sri Krishna.
Vishal Sabharwal said:
Two very admirable people are discussing things which actually need discussion. All glories to both of you. My humble obeisances may KRSNA bless you both. Only point is if a person knows the absolute truth there may be millions of ways to reach that truth but if a person is preaching something as absolute truth which may not be truth then any endeavor to reach that truth does not carry much of significance. I m not sure but i think he advocated impersonal GOD theory. Please correct me if I am wrong .
Senses are such devilish masters that more you serve them more they are burning for more. That’s the basis axiom of VEDIC knowledge. Subdued senses are really good masters. Lust ll burn more and more and can never be satiated .
Also KRISHNA is the absolute truth that he himself has declared in Gita not only that other scripture like Puranas ,Guru Granth Sahib second the truth. So if someone is aware of this basic fact then anything built on it ll not perish as KRISHNA ll take care like Mira Rani followed a path which is so simple yet so difficult and it just cant be taught by any Guru. Its spontaneous. Point is whats the end goal. If end goal is not KRISNA then entire theory is flawed.
It’s so divine to learn things from such exalted devotees. Not to be proud but i must have done so much austerities whenever to be present here. Krishna is such a sweetheart. Who won’t love Krishna ? Who can remain uninfluenced, who can remain untouched ,who can think of anything else when it comes to beauty, mercy, wealth, pure love, strength and whatever quality Krishna is master of all 64 kalas (arts) !!! HARI Bol Radhey Radhey Bol !!!
Arvind K. Pandey said:
True!!! The senses are hardcore masters !!
Chanchalam hi manah Krishna pramaathi balavad dridham;
Tasyaaham nigraham manye vaayoriva sudushkaram. (Gita 6.34)
“The mind verily is restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding, O Krishna! I deem it as difficult to control as to control the wind.”
So it’s clear that dominance of senses is not because of the teaching of Osho. The revival of vasanaas (desires) is not because of the methodology of Sri Osho !!
It’s because of the nature of vasanas (desires) itself. I don’t remember clearly but I think it was Ramakrishnaji who said that as long as the body is there the vasanas would always make their presence felt!! Anyway, Dharmendraji I am very pleased to see you dealing with the theme in such a refined way and you sound so right ‘ to fix all our senses to the sea of infinite beauty, Bhagwan Sri Krishna” is the the ultimate method”. Undoubtedly, the supreme path !! The end result of any spiritual exercise should make you Krishnamaya (like Krishna).
P.S.: I also need to thank Narendra Bisht for his presence in this post. The editing of the Facebook conversation is a challenging task as the writers there mostly use abbreviated forms. So I tender my apology if some grammatical errors in construction of sentences make their presence felt.
I have tried my best to avoid major mistakes but in case they still appear I hope the readers would ignore them, concentrating more on the theme raised instead of taking note of minor mistakes.